Tuesday, March 1, 2011

But What Do You Do All Day?

"But what do you do all day?" pops up frequently in homeschooling. People envision sitting across the table from their children, begging them to complete yet another page in an endless stream of workbooks, eight hours day, five days a week. Yikes! Who wants to do that? Not the parents and certainly not the kids.

So what do we do? Well, we have chores, piano practice, a bit of math, a lot of reading, playing, and exploring. But what we really enjoy are field trips. Remember the thrill of field trips when you were in school? Getting out of class to actually go do something?

We love learning about our local area. We have memorized all the "free admission days" at our local attractions, such as the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

One of my boys' favorite field trips is the airport. We must be the only people who go to the airport for fun. We pack a lunch and drive to the San Jose Airport, where we head to the very top floor of the parking structure. We park so the back of the van faces the runway, and proceed to eat while watching planes takeoff and land. Next, it's down to the baggage carousels. We discuss the baggage coming down the ramps: color, pattern, what might be in it, where it came from. Then, we head to the currency exchange booth where we talk about–you guessed it–money! We match currencies with countries, compare values to the dollar, and discuss the different designs. Terminal A baggage area has a plaque telling the history of the land on which the airport sits, including the introduction of honey bees to California. We go on like this for hours. There are buses to watch, construction to observe, escalators to ride. All this for the price of parking.
For more field trip ideas,
check out GHF's Virtual Field Trips page.

Field trips introduce the real-life element to learning. Getting out and experiencing what people do, seeing artwork up close, or touching living sea creatures, enhances and reinforces what we read and hear about. Field trips connect us to our world.

Article by Sarah J. Wilson

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