Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Planned... and the Unplanned Field Trips


I remember when I was in pre-school visiting the city jail and fire station when I was four years old. One of the most vivid memories of this trip was the fact that both of these facilities were located across the street from the church school I attended and our whole class had to walk across the street. That must have been a big deal for me because I still remember that to this day, but I also remember meeting the police officers and fire fighters and the big red fire truck in the station. It was neat to look around the stations and walk through the jail. I remember feeling quite scared and holding my best friend, Sara’s, hand. She was never scared of anything. I think it is important for children to get out in the world and see these things first hand like we used to.  

When I taught in the public school, I was discouraged every year as field trips were cut to fewer and fewer until we just had one due to budget cuts. It is really sad that when there’s a budget crunch, it always seems like the most beneficial forms of education get cut (field trips, the arts, etc.).  

It makes me happy that I home roadschool Caleb and Lily Anne. They really get to see and be out in the world first hand. Today, was a field trip day to the Children’s Museum of the Highlands. They have a “Tot Time” where a teacher reads a book, sings songs, plays some games, and does a craft with the kids. It’s a really nice program. Today was Caleb’s first day and while he didn’t participate too much this time, I know with another visit or two he will be taking over the classroom. I watched him as he observed the other children dancing with scarves, studied the teacher’s reactions to him (she was great by the way) and listened to everyone singing. He was absorbing it all in. One area he did jump right into was  the craft, probably because we do so many together at home he felt very comfortable with this, not that we don’t sing and dance, but there aren’t any other children around except Lily Anne… 

After “Tot Time,” he explored the museum.  It’s a lot like the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids that we visited in Gainsville, GA about 2 months ago. It has a grocery store, a train that moves when you push the button, a real airplane, race car, fire truck, mail jeep, a water play area, life-size bubbles area, and so much more! He played, he explored, and he learned more than I know in these few hours. It was a good day…

But that was just the planned field trip…   As we were walking down the street to a local diner for lunch, Caleb pointed and said, “Fire truck… Wooo Wooo.” We all looked down the street and there was a fire truck pulled out in front of the station. We weren’t in a hurry, so we walked down to get a closer look. We met two firemen working on the truck. One offered to let Caleb sit in the fire truck. I whipped out my camera and started taking pictures when he offered to get a picture of the whole family. Then, while we took a look at the ladder truck, rescue truck, and 2 other fire trucks they had stationed there, the fireman ran inside and got Caleb a sticker badge and fire safety magnet. Caleb wore his badge proudly all day! The fireman gave us a brief tour inside the station where there are poles to slide down and more trucks out back! It was a very exciting day!

I encourage homeschooling parents and even public school teachers to contact your local civil services to see if they provide tours and can talk to your child(ren)/students about their profession. It is so much better to see these community helpers first hand in their place of business.

Blessed Learning ~

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