Just a comment, not a positive or negative, but have you ever noticed that field trips and some activities done in the schools seem to be family activities that many of us lower income families can’t afford very comfortably. I sometimes wonder if the schools try to even things out by doing family activities through the school so that those kids who won’t get those experiences at home can still enjoy a trip to the zoo or aquarium or local kids museum or other museum/attraction type thing? Have you ever had the experience of setting up your annual family traditions and then had your public school child tell you, “oh, we already did that at school.” Hmm. This may or may not be significant.
Any field trip can be made into an overwhelming educational experience. In my heart of hearts I still have the desire to do this. Animal reports for the zoo and aquarium – or habitat reports. Botany reports for trips to the park – or physics experiments! Oooooh! Leaf and pinecone reports for a simple walk down the street in the fall. Really, a trip to the grocery store can become an extreme educational experience – price comparison, budgeting, simple math (or complicated math!), health and nutrition analysis and grocery store layout. Really, so many possibilities. All of them sound fun to me. And worthwhile.
But for littler children sometimes just BEING there is plenty of education by itself. No need for formal reports or posters or whatnot. Just thoughtful questions – and children in the habit of giving thoughtful answers and making thoughtful observations. In fact, the more often you visit interesting places with your children and ask them those thought provoking questions, the more curious they will become and the better they will be able to question things and think for themselves.
Since I figured our neighborhood school heads to the zoo once a year (at least the kindergarten does), we might as well head there too. We hadn’t been in 2 1/2 years and my 3rd grader really, really, REALLY wanted to see the giraffes again. (He went to public school in kindergarten and giraffes were his teacher’s favorite animal. This is a great example of how much impact a teacher can make on a child – for better or worse. In our case it was for better. His kindergarten teacher was the kind all parents hope and pray for!)
I had no agenda on this trip. Just for fun. Just to see and experience. I had a question for the kids here and there, and here and there they had a question for me. But overall we just had a fabulous time.
The downside of our zoo is that they have NO homeschool pricing. So I am glad that the public schools take the children to the zoo. Not very many average families could probably afford to make the drive and pay for the tickets to get in very often. Well, not if they are super cheap like me. I think we’ll head back, but not for another 2 1/2 years or so.
The following photos are those taken by my 3rd grader. He got a $25 camera for Christmas. I started taking a bunch of photos and realized I would probably never look at them again, so I stopped and let him take a bunch for the blog. So you know, if you have issues with the photographer, just remember he is in 3rd grade. 🙂