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Topsy
09-15-2010, 11:20 AM
The homeschool co-op we are involved in are BIG on field trips. However, with my boys being teens, they aren't always too exciting to join in anymore. But in our day, we were field trip fools - - going anywhere and everywhere the learning was happening. I know other families, though, who definitely see field trips as just another infringement on their time, and I can see it from both angles.

What about you...what is your field trip quotient?? ;)

Shoe
09-15-2010, 11:45 AM
Last year, we didn't do many field trips at all. This year, I have a lot more plans for field trips. We've already done one (to the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides", in Boston) and I hope to do 2 or 3 per month.

Busygoddess
09-15-2010, 12:04 PM
I need an 'Other' option. For us, it really depends. We only have one running vehicle, so it depends, in part, on when dh can get a ride so we can have the car or his time off (so we can all go). It also depends on time of year, how our finances look, what our schedule looks like, if there is something special going on that we really want to do, etc. If our week includes an appt with Dea's therapist, an appt with Dea's Psychologist, a get-together with some part of the extended family, plus the typical weekly stuff (grocery shopping, library, band practice, dh's schooling, etc.), there simply isn't time for a field trip that week. If we just had to spend a lot of money to fix or replace the furnace, A/C, dishwasher, etc. we likely won't have the extra cash to go to a museum or zoo. If a museum is going to have a really cool traveling exhibit or there's going to be an event that we really want to go see, we'll try to figure out a way to get there. If we know about it in enough time, we generally have no problem fitting it in.
As much as I love field trips, they take a backseat for us. They are fantastic & fun, but the regular work I plan is more important than extras like field trips. Also, we prefer to go as a family, all four of us, so many of our feild trips are limited to dh's time off. It also depends on what you consider a field trip. If you only count museums, zoos, art galleries, fairs, events, trips to the theater, etc. we don't do as many as we would like. However, we do nature hikes at various state parks & forest preserves as often as possible, usually several times a month in good weather. The museums we have here in town are small, but we try to get there whenever we can. I wish we had more time & cash to drive into nearby cities for the really nice museums & zoos more often, but that's just not the case lately.

farrarwilliams
09-15-2010, 12:55 PM
As soon as I saw the question, I thought, I need the option that says, "Field Trip? That's just an average day of homeschool here." We're seriously out SOMEWHERE at least two or three times a week. But I'm lucky to live where there are so many options. Our friends who do science with us are out of town today and it's dh's weekend, so he just took the kids to Smithsonian Air and Space after we did lessons and then to the National Gallery Sculpture Garden to do sketching. I kinda love our life.

hockeymom
09-15-2010, 01:43 PM
I'm with farrarwilliams in spirit, anyway. We used to have a life of always on the go, but here there just isn't anywhere to go so we're mostly home by default. I guess I don't really differentiate between "field trips" and just going out and having fun. If we spend a day at the wetlands we're studying birds, learning about Acadian farming systems, taking a nature hike and a host of other things, but also it's just spending a pretty day in a pretty place. When we lived in the city we went to the science museum, the zoo, the art museum, the living history farm etc because it was fun--educational too, but as I've said before, I have a hard time figuring the difference between education and life.

So maybe for us a dedicated field trip is planned out to coordinate with a particular study unit. In that case, we don't do any because we don't have the opportunity or resources, but if we lived somewhere else we'd do them all the time.

Teri
09-15-2010, 01:52 PM
We have a lot of them here.
We have memberships at the Arboretum, Zoo, Art museum, World Aquarium (which is also a rain forest).
We make regular visits to the Children's theater.
We participate in homeschool classes at various museums as they are scheduled.
And, then, if we need to do something for a unit, then I will schedule that.

This Friday, we will be at the Arboretum for a school assignment.

MamaB2C
09-15-2010, 02:10 PM
I guess it depends on how you define 'field trip'? We are always going somewhere and doing something that has an educational aspect, and always try to find learning opportunities in our various activities, but I just consider it stuff we do.

The first weekend of this month, we went to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville for the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. Is that a field trip?

Basically I think I probably agree with hockeymom who said

I guess I don't really differentiate between "field trips" and just going out and having fun.

Teri
09-15-2010, 03:09 PM
The first weekend of this month, we went to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville for the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. Is that a field trip?




That's DEFINITELY a field trip. ;) We went to that one three times when it was in Fort Worth.

MamaB2C
09-15-2010, 03:32 PM
We did it for fun though! LOL

InstinctiveMom
09-15-2010, 03:41 PM
We have an organized 'with our homeschool group' field trip every week, and the boys and I are out of the house at least a couple days each week as well - so we're fans of them. Like hockeymom and MamaB2C, education is life is education :)

Lil Mouse
09-15-2010, 06:02 PM
I would love to do more field trips, but the primary thing that holds us back is the cost. Budget is the primary concern for us at the moment, and I get so frustrated at how many great opportunities are just too much financially. With three kids, even the zoo is out of our reach at the moment. I'm going to check out some of the county's parks before the weather gets too cold. We've got some great hiking spots.

The world needs more FREE STUFF!!

Does anyone ever call up to a place and ask if they have a homeschooler's discount? I have tried that and most people act like I'm from another planet!

Teri
09-15-2010, 06:06 PM
We did it for fun though! LOL

Well, of course! Who wants to do a field trip that is not fun?!

dbmamaz
09-15-2010, 06:06 PM
Last year I tried to find a field trip every week, and found myself exhausted and burnt out. This year, we'll be doing martail arts twice a week, park day once a week, and i'd say a field trip 1-2 times/month. Its hard because I get easily exhausted, we have to bring all our food due to allergies, and the 7 yo usually asks to leave after 30 minutes if there is nothing hands-on, or 1 hour if there is hands-on stuff. So the thought of travelling 2 hours to the smithsonian just to have a kid whining that he wants to go home, after packing meals and snacks, planning a dinner ready in advance, and knowing i might be too tired to do any school at all the next day . . . . doesnt appeal much. But since we're studying big bang, earth science and evolution . . . i should consider it.

otoh, we live so close to colonial williamsburg and jamestown . . . but the older one went w his school, and the younger one hasnt studied that period yet. I think it makes more sense for us to wait until we've studied it, rather than just randomly going somewhere the 7 yo doesnt care about. sigh.

my kids like books.

Teri
09-15-2010, 06:10 PM
Oh Cara, I so wish we were closer to Virginia/DC. I would have loved for my kids to see all of it first hand when we were studying it last year.

I hear ya with the wanting to leave. That's where memberships come in really handy for us. We don't have to try to get our "money's worth" every time we go. We can go to the zoo for an hour in the morning if it is cool out or check out our favorite part of a museum.
Of course, for us, everything is centrally located in Dallas, not spread all over a state. :p Everything is about 45 minutes away.

Busygoddess
09-16-2010, 06:39 AM
I would love to do more field trips, but the primary thing that holds us back is the cost. Budget is the primary concern for us at the moment, and I get so frustrated at how many great opportunities are just too much financially. With three kids, even the zoo is out of our reach at the moment. I'm going to check out some of the county's parks before the weather gets too cold. We've got some great hiking spots.

The world needs more FREE STUFF!!

Does anyone ever call up to a place and ask if they have a homeschooler's discount? I have tried that and most people act like I'm from another planet!

You should check for free days. Many museums have one day each week or each month that they are free for everyone.

I do agree that more stuff needs to be free or at least less expensive. We have a few small museums in our town. They're nice, but they don't change exhibits a lot and you can easily get through the whole place in 2 hrs, even with taking your time at each exhibit. There's a bigger city about 1 - 1 1/2 hours away (more if we hit traffic) that has fantastic museums & zoos. I have always loved visiting the museums, zoos, planetarium, aquarium, theaters, etc in that city. However, spending over $100 for admission to each museum, paying for parking, plus paying $50+ for fuel isn't always an affordable option for us. Membership is an option for the museums in our town (and we generally have a membership to at least 1 of them), but it doesn't make much sense for the museums in other cities, since I can't be sure we'll get there.

mommykicksbutt
09-16-2010, 07:05 AM
I voted one every month or so. When sonny was younger we would do day trips every week out somewhere for something... science museum, natural history museum, museum or man, museum of modern art, botanical gardens, Japanese gardens, organ pavilion, aquarium, tide pools, theater in the round, and aviation museum. Longer trips included weekend trips to the Grand Canyon, Hover Dam, or skiing the highest ski resort in America (Brian Head Utah).

Last year after moving to Spain our day trips were visiting other towns like Cadiz (the oldest known city in all of Europe), Baleo Claudio (roman ruins), the Alhambra, the Rock of Gibraltar, sherry bodegas, flamingo, tapas, olive oil mills, and Gothic cathedrals and castle exploring, etc. On longer "field" trips we have even been to the Napoleon museum in Monte Carlo Monaco and watch as the city was setting up for the Grand Prix race, seen the statue of David in Florence, the leaning tower in Pisa, the Colosseum in Rome, the ruins of Pompey, the ruins of Delos, the Acropolis in Athens, the Hagia Sofia and the underground cisterns in Istanbul, and have even been in the library of Ephesus! We consider all these "field trips" even they took days to do.

Short day trips for the most part don't happen very often anymore but do occur a handful of times for the year. We are now into the "travel to historical significant sites" field trips, we figured we might as well take advantage of Europe while be can, he sure is learning a lot of geography and history here.

Busygoddess
09-16-2010, 07:07 AM
After reading through all the responses to this thread, I'm reminded that this is another thing that is pretty subjective. Everyone has their own idea of what actually constitutes a field trip. It doesn't mean that anyone is right or wrong, but the differeing opinions about what a field trip is will make the responses wildly unbalanced.

Many of the things we do I don't count as field trips, but others do. I don't really consider our hikes & time spent at state parks & forest preserves as field trips. We're not doing them for school. We do them because it's fun & something we all enjoy. The fact that it's educational is just a bonus. Most of our trips to museums & zoos I don't even count as field trips. I only count it as a field trip if there is somthing there directly related to something we're studying at that time. Otherwise, it's just a fun family day. Going to museums & zoos is just a part of life for us. That's usually part of what dh & I decide we want to do for our b-days, Mother's Day, and Father's day. It almost always involves us going to a museum, a zoo, or going hiking & having a picnic by a lake or river.

There are also people that consider normal errands, like grocery shopping or going to the library, to be field trips. So this is one of those questions like 'what is an eclectic homeschooler' or ' what does it mean to be a secular homeschooler' where everyone is going to have a very different idea of what they're talking about.

Just an observation.

inmom
09-16-2010, 07:22 AM
The homeschool co-op we are involved in are BIG on field trips. However, with my boys being teens, they aren't always too exciting to join in anymore. But in our day, we were field trip fools - - going anywhere and everywhere the learning was happening. I know other families, though, who definitely see field trips as just another infringement on their time, and I can see it from both angles.

What about you...what is your field trip quotient?? ;)

Like your family, Topsy, my teens aren't all that interested in most of the field trips planned by our group. They are mostly for younger children. It's more difficult to find places to see/go as the kids interests change.

However, I did manage to arrange a tour of a local computer tech services company (web design, applications, how it relates to businesses, etc.) for later this month. Granted, it will be a whopping group of 3 homeschoolers with their parents, as that is who is interested, but these three will get a great personalized tour.

We're finding our field trips now center upon careers--job shadow, business or company tours--as a way to see if that is what our kids want to do.

inmom
09-16-2010, 07:27 AM
After reading through all the responses to this thread, I'm reminded that this is another thing that is pretty subjective. Everyone has their own idea of what actually constitutes a field trip. It doesn't mean that anyone is right or wrong, but the differeing opinions about what a field trip is will make the responses wildly unbalanced.

Many of the things we do I don't count as field trips, but others do. I don't really consider our hikes & time spent at state parks & forest preserves as field trips. We're not doing them for school. We do them because it's fun & something we all enjoy. The fact that it's educational is just a bonus. Most of our trips to museums & zoos I don't even count as field trips. I only count it as a field trip if there is somthing there directly related to something we're studying at that time. Otherwise, it's just a fun family day. Going to museums & zoos is just a part of life for us. That's usually part of what dh & I decide we want to do for our b-days, Mother's Day, and Father's day. It almost always involves us going to a museum, a zoo, or going hiking & having a picnic by a lake or river.

There are also people that consider normal errands, like grocery shopping or going to the library, to be field trips. So this is one of those questions like 'what is an eclectic homeschooler' or ' what does it mean to be a secular homeschooler' where everyone is going to have a very different idea of what they're talking about.

Just an observation.

Brandi:

A very interesting observation. We also do not count errands and normal activities we'd do anyway (whether the kids were in ps or homeschooled) as field trips. Ours are those things out of the ordinary.

However, I can see those with younger children counting them as field trips, especially if an effort is made to make it a teachable moment, as in comparison shopping at the grocery store. (Personally, I've never had the patience to do that with my kids. I hate shopping in the first place and consider it an onerous task to get through. The thought of taking extra time finding cost per ounce and checking labels fills me with dread. We've always just brought the items home and checked the receipt and made our comparisons then.)

hockeymom
09-16-2010, 09:37 AM
Brandi:


However, I can see those with younger children counting them as field trips, especially if an effort is made to make it a teachable moment, as in comparison shopping at the grocery store. (Personally, I've never had the patience to do that with my kids. I hate shopping in the first place and consider it an onerous task to get through. The thought of taking extra time finding cost per ounce and checking labels fills me with dread. We've always just brought the items home and checked the receipt and made our comparisons then.)

LOL My son LOVES to comparison shop. No quick trip to the grocery is complete until he's checked out the ingredient list of everything we buy (and lots of things we don't buy), has read where the item is from (pears from South Africa--really?!), prices etc. Included is the litany of "what if" questions and debates about various food related issues. What if you can buy pears from South Africa but they are organic? Is that better than buying local "conventionally" grown pears? Why does the orange juice bottle say it's a product of Canada (and why can't we find out where the oranges are really from?)? Why do so many people eat X when Y is healthier for us/the planet/the oceans/the worms in the soil/the farmers? It does take *a lot* of patience some days, but it's totally worth it in the end. :)

MamaB2C
09-16-2010, 09:52 AM
The world needs more FREE STUFF!!


Agreed! I just found that I need to get creative. Take advantage of your library system...even here in the sticks ours offers a lot of free kid's programs. Hiking is always awesome. Free museum day on the 25th, and I recently heard some states offer a free museum program through their libraries! We have also decided to visit National and State Parks, usually a day pass is very inexpensive and/or kids get in free as well as tent camping is under 20.00.

Melyssa
09-16-2010, 02:53 PM
We used to do a lot before we moved but since coming here we haven't really connected with a group to do field trips and that aside the heavier work load for school this year plus her extra classes don't really allow much time for them although I try to keep Monday and Friday clear. I use those as catch-up days for lessons or to go do fun things if we're free in the afternoons but it seems like something always comes up. I'd make time for a good field trip though if one came up but I don't like arbitrary field trips 'just because'.

Jennifer Gray
09-16-2010, 03:37 PM
We don't have much in the way of educational field trip opportunities locally...so we save them for our trips into the Bay Area.

Lil Mouse
09-16-2010, 06:08 PM
You should check for free days. Many museums have one day each week or each month that they are free for everyone.


Agreed! I just found that I need to get creative. Take advantage of your library system...even here in the sticks ours offers a lot of free kid's programs. Hiking is always awesome. Free museum day on the 25th, and I recently heard some states offer a free museum program through their libraries! We have also decided to visit National and State Parks, usually a day pass is very inexpensive and/or kids get in free as well as tent camping is under 20.00.

Woot! I just called the Memorial Art Gallery and they do have a free family night once a quarter, which is coming up next month! And we have an amazingly huge and historical cemetery that is gorgeous to walk around and I just found out they do free tours on the weekends!

We are goin' places!

Firefly_Mom
09-16-2010, 06:46 PM
I answered several times a month. We're fortunate in that the group we belong to has a larger than average number of tweens/teens, so a lot of the clubs, field trips, activities, etc. are geared toward older kids. That being said, most of what we consider "field trips" are done either as a family, or with one or two other families. We go on more, or less, depending on our schedule. We love, love, love going and exploring new things so it's been one of our favorite aspects of homeschooling.

As for the cost, there are A LOT of museums, etc. that offer discounted days. Sometimes it's a 2 for 1 deal, some times it's a $2 day or free day, and if you have a membership, a lot of museums have reciprocation agreements.


And Topsy - I miss our field trip wars! :D

Fiddler
09-16-2010, 07:47 PM
Wow, it is so hard for my family of introverts to commit to even one field trip a month. Though we do try. Jazz is part of a co-op (drop-off) that goes hiking, does orienteering, etc., so he gets "out" once a week. But museums are tough, as, even though we're 45 minutes from Boston, I have city-phobia and have to have a really good reason to go in. Luckily there are some museums that are not in the city that are still fun to visit.

Kylie
09-17-2010, 01:24 AM
As soon as I saw the question, I thought, I need the option that says, "Field Trip? That's just an average day of homeschool here." We're seriously out SOMEWHERE at least two or three times a week. But I'm lucky to live where there are so many options. Our friends who do science with us are out of town today and it's dh's weekend, so he just took the kids to Smithsonian Air and Space after we did lessons and then to the National Gallery Sculpture Garden to do sketching. I kinda love our life.

This used to be us, but now that we need to be home for afternoon naps we are pretty limited and haven't much in the way of field trips for a couple of years. We've got roughly anohter 12 months or so and we will be back into the swing of things.

For us field trips are just another 'subject' to add to our schedule and feel they are an important part to our overall education. :)

paganmomblog
09-17-2010, 08:55 AM
We take weekly trips around town running errands that I turn into a field trip, but trips specifically for school and not me trying to squeeze in errands are done around once a month. Mostly because we have one car and we have to rearrange our schedule so that I have the car. Secondly, I like to have my hubs come along and since I prefer to hit field trip locations during the week when it's less crowded.....it's just more rearranging lol

InstinctiveMom
09-18-2010, 01:08 AM
Does anyone ever call up to a place and ask if they have a homeschooler's discount? I have tried that and most people act like I'm from another planet!

If I am taking the kids and it is just us, then yes, I do ask about a discount. This is a situation where having a homeschool group comes in handy; most places have a group rate that is cheaper, and some even have a 'school rate' that homeschoolers qualify for (and if they don't I usually ask to speak to someone about it and try to get it applied for us). We rarely go anywhere without a rate - some places even waive the fee entirely if you pre-register. It's ALWAYS worth it to call in advance and see!



After reading through all the responses to this thread, I'm reminded that this is another thing that is pretty subjective. Everyone has their own idea of what actually constitutes a field trip. It doesn't mean that anyone is right or wrong, but the differeing opinions about what a field trip is will make the responses wildly unbalanced.



Interesting... we count anything that has a downloadable curriculum to use/follow as a 'field trip', and since our library day carries required tasks, I also count that as a field trip. We also count anything we go to or visit 'with intent' as a field trip; for example, we have gone to the grocery store with a lesson to be accomplished and that was a field trip, but normal excursions don't count as such. It really just depends :)


Brandi:
However, I can see those with younger children counting them as field trips, especially if an effort is made to make it a teachable moment, as in comparison shopping at the grocery store. (Personally, I've never had the patience to do that with my kids. I hate shopping in the first place and consider it an onerous task to get through. The thought of taking extra time finding cost per ounce and checking labels fills me with dread. We've always just brought the items home and checked the receipt and made our comparisons then.)

Ditto that! Our one grocery store 'lesson' was a resounding failure, lol. I'm just not cut out for that kind of schooling! :)
~h

farrarwilliams
09-18-2010, 07:45 PM
I don't count the grocery store as a field trip or a playground (though we don't go to those as often as we used to). But I do count trips to nature as field trips - even if it's just creeking in the park or taking a short hike. Our field trips from the last week... African Art Museum, apple picking, creeking and the Air and Space Museum. So that's four. Next week... the book festival (maybe... I'm less excited about the names this year) and a trip to see a presentation about animals being specially trained for vets at Walter Reed.

QueenBee
09-21-2010, 03:02 PM
I count the same sort of trips as Farrar - we try to go every week, but that doesn't always happen so I chose "a few times per month." I wish we could do more "big" field trips - and I think we will as the girls get older. Right now, it's not worth the drive to some places for my six-year-old to be done after 30 minutes. But we still manage to hit museums, art shows, performances, nature programs, etc., etc., etc.

Karenwith4
09-24-2010, 01:06 AM
We do lots of "field trips" as well as just family fun times. My kids love museums, galleries etc and we will often pack up and take off just for fun - it's educational but it isn't part of a planned unit of study.


I would love to do more field trips, but the primary thing that holds us back is the cost. Budget is the primary concern for us at the moment, and I get so frustrated at how many great opportunities are just too much financially. With three kids, even the zoo is out of our reach at the moment. I'm going to check out some of the county's parks before the weather gets too cold. We've got some great hiking spots.

The world needs more FREE STUFF!!

Does anyone ever call up to a place and ask if they have a homeschooler's discount? I have tried that and most people act like I'm from another planet!

We have a weekly co-op and we do 4 activities a month - primarily field trips. Our goal is to keep it under $10 per kid per month. This year, our 3rd, we are doing a theme of "exploring our community" and we have booked lots of free or very low cost field trips to places around town - city hall, the court house, the performing arts center, the water treatment plant, the police station, recycling centre, the newspaper, postal distribution centre, a couple of local factories, labs at the university, local airport, glass blowing and pottery studio, model train club, behind the scenes at the local museum, beekeepers, a local urban farm, the hospital etc. Once we got brainstorming we found we had tonnes of options. We are only paying for 2 field trips out of that list.

A couple of other ideas we found for cheap/free stuff. Ask local hobby groups if they have experts who can do hands on stuff with the kids - our historical society took us on a walk through downtown telling us stories, the artists council has set up the pottery and glass blowing tours, the nature/hiking club has a couple of experts who will talk to the kids about their passions while we hike, the model airplane club is going to do a demo for the kids.

hth
Karen