One of the great advantages of maintaining a connection with either a home school group or a virtual charter school is that other people can do all the leg-work for planning and executing a successful field trip. Today, we have two opportunities. My 6th grader was invited to join other middle school students on a field trip to meet an astronaut in the morning. All of my students and entire family were invited to the Olympic training center in the afternoon. All I had to do is say that we wanted to participate. Then, I had to become flexible with the day’s schedule.
Getting ahead: If you have advance warning that some special opportunities are coming up, plan to do an extra lesson the other days of the week so that lessons are not rushed or over looked. For instance, on Monday, do an extra math lesson. Tuesday, do an extra vocabulary lesson. On Wednesday, and extra creative writing lesson. On Thursday, an extra spelling lesson. My kids are motivated to go on field trips and skip lessons on Friday, so they do not complain about the extra work. They also know that if we stay on top of our school work, I will accept more opportunities for outings.
Adapting Lessons: When you do not have advance warning, it is possible to adapt the lessons to coordinate with your field trip. Sometimes, that means skipping ahead in your curriculum or changing the approach for the lesson.
For instance, if my son was doing a lesson on journal entries, I would have him choose between writing about the topic the lesson suggests or about the day’s field trip while still aiming to follow the lesson objectives.
In math, I could make word problems that have something to do with the lesson. My first grade son is learning how to regroup in addition and subtraction problems with four or more digits. He happens to be very good at doing the math in his head. If the tour guide is explaining when two events happened in different years, I could have him find out the difference between the two years.
Have a vacation day: While I often use the suggestions I mentioned above, I am a fan of simply not worrying about lessons and enjoying activities as they come up. Both parents and children need to simply enjoy life and drop what is normally required. Learning is important, but field trips offer real life experiences that you can’t find in a book. In fact, more learning may take place.
Transportation: I was fortunate that one of today’s field trips was ONLY for my 6th grader and transportation was provided. That allowed my younger children to have some down time before heading to our second field trip. We also ran the risk of an overlap for both activities. I simply communicated with the sponsor of the first field trip and arranged to pick up my son at the first field trip, which was on the way to the second field trip. This prevented us from being late and missing the second outing entirely.
We had a second transportation issue we had to take into consideration today. My husband’s car broke down. I was able to drop my son off for his field trip and take my husband to work. Sometimes, I would have to ask for help from a friend to make sure people got where they need to go. They might help by watching some of my kids if I have to use a car that is too small or we might carpool.
Conclusion: Be flexible. Life is anything but rigid. Everyone needs to know how to adapt to scheduled or unscheduled changes to the schedule. More learning can take place when quality field trips are chosen, so drop lessons or adapt the amount of lessons that are completed on other days. Most of all, have fun!
Did we have have fun with the astronaut and at the Olympic Training Center? Sure did!