I will skip that part about the merits of field trips for both institutionally schooled and homeschooled children. I assume that there very few non-believers out there, anyway.
Let me go ahead and share with you some do's and dont's about field trips that I've learned as a homeschooling mom. (Please read disclosure section of this blog before you proceed :-))
1. Group size. It is good to keep the size of your group manageable for the sanity of the moms and volunteer dads :-). It is easier to move, do on-the-spot lectures, eat, monitor, and Heaven forbid, deal with an emergency situation if group size is manageable.
Coordinator. Assign a coordinator, but share tasks. The coordinator will stay on top of preparations, keep the group moving during the field trip, and make quick decisions on site, if necessary.
3. Choice of sites. Ideally, the choice of places to be visited should be aligned with the children's lessons. This is not a rule, though, and if it were, it is not set in stone. As far as practicable, it is good to follow a theme. You can also ask the children what they wish to visit, and just give it a go! Consider location, location, location. Don't end up logging in more hours in the car moving from one site to another than staying in the sites, learning, absorbing, and lingering to enjoy them more.
4. Preliminary knowledge about the sites. Study the websites of the sites that you will visit. If at all possible, conduct an ocular inspection. Ask friends and other resource persons about the sites. Know as much as you can. There are two reasons for this:
a. You have to introduce the kids to the content of the field trip. For example, if you are going to a
historical museum, they have to know the relevant what's, who's, where's, and when's, so that the trip will be more meaningful for them. If you are really into it, you can even prepare worksheets that the children can answer before, during, and after the field trip.
b. There are practical considerations like expenses, promotions, best time of the year to visit, alternative routes, proximity to emergency health facilities, and so on.
5. Make a packing list for your family and if you are a coordinator, for the group. Don't over-pack, but don't travel too lightly either. Some things in your list: food (!), extra clothes, first-aid kit, maps, notes, emergency money.
punctual and cooperative, observe good manners, and look out for each other. This is for everyone joining the trip. Don't forget to enjoy the sites and each other's company.
7. After the field trip, discuss learnings with your children. This is a good way to evaluate the success of the trip. Discuss with the other moms what you did right, what you did wrong, and where you can improve. Plan the next trip!
How do you do your field trips?
Please share your experiences, tips, opinions, and suggestions in the comments section!
1. Jumbo kaleidoscope at the Philippine Science Centrum
2. Signage of the Shoe Museum
3. Exterior of the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Church
All sites are in Markina, Metro Manila.
This post was originally written for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.