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Plan a Fantastic, Stress-Free Field Trip!

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, July 25, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 59 July 25, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Foolproof Field Trips
Helpful Tip
-- Paper Butterfly Project
Winning Website
-- EdHeads.org
Reader Question
-- Different Reading Levels
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

My new online friend, Jill Hart, has some great tips for making
group field trips -- and even just personal family field trips --
memorable, stress-free experiences!

After this excerpt from her website, which includes 6 great tips,
you can read about the related e-book she has written -- which
she is graciously offering at *no charge* to interested families.

Thanks, Jill, for sharing your wisdom and practical advice!


From her website...

"I dare say we've been on dozens of homeschool field trips. I've
planned them for just our family, for just a few friends, and for
as many as several hundred people as the trip coordinator of our
local support group. Here are a few things I've learned along
the way.

1. If you have young children, go when they are fresh. Having a
tired, cranky child is a sure way to ruin a great trip for you
and for those around you.

2. Bring food and drinks. Even if it's a short trip, at least
pack some crackers and water. Leave them in the car if the venue
prohibits them. It seems like outings have a funny way of creating
an unquenchable thirst and ravenous hunger in kids.

3. Enjoy yourself. Don't worry about being a tour guide or expert
teacher who is always quizzing on the most recent happenings. I
have found that when my children wander through a museum exhibit
at a leisurely pace -- reading, asking questions, and studying
details -- they end up learning more than if I am constantly draw-
ing their attention to and asking questions about this or that.
I'm not saying you should never try to encourage or guide toward
something of interest, just make sure that's what you are doing,
and it's not an effort to control the inputs and make sure they
'learn something'.

4. If things don't go exactly as planned, DON'T PANIC! Unexpected
things can ruin your day or be a lesson in flexibility. Your chil-
dren are watching your reaction!

5. If your destination isn't a typical 'field trip' venue, make
sure to call ahead and make special arrangements. Be prompt and
appreciative on the day of your trip. Thank you notes following
these types of visits are very appropriate and are appreciated by

When we were studying hearing and the ear, I saw an ad for a free
hearing test. I called the office and explained that we were a
homeschool family that would like to come in for the test as an
exciting culminating activity for our unit. (Plus, I thought it
couldn't hurt to make sure my kids were hearing okay!) When we
arrived for our appointment, we were surprised to learn that the
audiologist and his wife homeschooled their children. He had
blocked out extra time to spend with us explaining all sorts of
things I never expected. What a bonus! I'm proud to say, he was
very impressed by the amount of things my girls knew about the ear
and hearing. Our thank-you note had a picture of him and the kids
on the front and mentioned a few things they learned in the body
of the letter.

6. This should go without saying, but make sure you and your chil-
dren are well mannered during your homeschool field trip. Remember,
small children can be overcome with excitement on field trips.
Don't overreact! Usually a quiet reminder of appropriate behavior
so others can enjoy the experience is all that is needed. An
incessantly nagging, overbearing parent is much more annoying than
an excited child. If the behavior continues, is unsafe, or undeni-
ably hindering others' ability to enjoy the experience (say, a whiny
3 year old at the symphony), it's probably best to leave."


Excerpt copyright 2008 - Jill Hart. Used with permission.


Jill Hart is a homeschool mother of two. She has previously
served as a board member and field trip coordinator for her local
homeschool support group. Her helpful and informative website --
http://www.homeschool-by-design.com -- has ideas and encouragement
for new and veteran homeschoolers.


If you would like more information on planning group trips, Jill's
e-book, "Organizing Homeschool Field Trips for Groups" is available
as a free download for a limited time. Check her website for details!



Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


Awesome Home School Notebook Planner
The Full-Year Notebook System

Plan your home school curriculum using a simple/flexible
system that works!

This is a simple program which includes step-by-step
instructions and worksheets for both analyzing your time and
resources as well as worksheets to include in your children's
notebooks for subjects that don't fit well into "regular "
school such as field trips, music lessons, service
opportunities and more.

One of its best features is that it doesn't take a semester
to learn, in fact you could download it today and be
implementing it tonight.



Helpful Tip

"For anyone studying butterflies, we have a FABULOUS resource
that we do yearly. What they have you do is send in paper
butterflies (they even have a template that you can print) and
then you follow the butterflies on a map to watch them 'migrate'
They get sent to Mexico where the real monarch butterflies go.
Children in Mexico will then take care of your butterflies over
the winter and in the spring (usually around May), they send you
other butterflies back from all over the USA and Canada. You can
send in as many as you want and track their progress on a map.
They also have tons of videos and lesson plans that go along
with learning about monarchs and their migration. Most of the
students, whose butterflies we received, have written to us
several times. We have a couple of students in Mexico who write
regularly to my son. For every butterfly that you send, you
will get one back (unless one gets lost along the way). You
can also type messages to the children in Mexico on the back in
Spanish. Butterflies must be sent in by October 14th. It was a
blast and we can't wait to do it again!

Go to http://learner.org/jnorth/sm/index.html for more info."

-- from Tracie Schooley on the LiveAndLearnPress Yahoo Group
(used by permission)


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website


You be the surgeon - get all scrubbed up and conduct a realistic
virtual hip replacement or knee surgery. Learn about simple and
compound machines, and try your hand at reporting and predicting
the weather!

"Edheads creates unique, educational web experiences designed
to make hard-to-teach concepts understandable using the power
and interactivity of the Internet."

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have 3 daughters - the oldest is 7 and the twins are 5 1/2.
I have homeschooled since birth and accidentally the twins are
going to be doing second-grade work along with their big sister.
(I had let them 'play' kindergarten when my oldest was doing it
for real and when this year started I had planned on them doing
Kindergarten and my oldest doing 1st-grade, but the twins kept
up with the oldest.) So, my problem is one twin is very gung-ho
about reading, is doing the invented spelling and reading every-
thing she can see, my oldest is very uninterested in reading and
seems to have trouble even sounding out simple words and gets
discouraged when any of us try to help her, and the other twin
is kind of in the middle of the other two. We take turns read-
ing just a page or two from the simple readers, but it seems too
easy for one twin, just right for the other and too difficult
for my oldest. Any suggestions on how I should handle reading
time? I had thought about doing individual work, but the others
get jealous when I spend time with just one. Thank you for any
advice." -- Laura

Our Readers' Responses

"Laura, one of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to
individualize each child's academic program according to their
needs and abilities. It's very unusual for any two children to
always progress at exactly the same pace in any subject, and each
child needs to be allowed to progress at her own pace. I believe
that individual reading time with each child is the best way to
teach them at this time. At the same time, you can take advantage
of this opportunity to help them cultivate the character traits
of unselfishness, patience, humility, and consideration for others.
Part of education -- perhaps even more important than academics --
is character development. Teach them to put the needs of others
ahead of their own desires; to do unto others as they would like
to be treated; to graciously allow the others to go first, and to
patiently wait for their turn. Those lessons will serve them well
throughout their homeschooling years and into their adult life."
-- Mary Beth


"Hi, Laura! The thought that came to my mind as I read your ques-
tion was to use the same story for each girl, just at different
reading levels. Then you will be able to implement the story
into all the other areas of learning, (spelling, writing, math,
critical thinking). As all the girls will be reading the same
story, no one will feel left out, and as you converse through the
day with them, you can use your story as a foundation for teaching
different subjects." -- Suzanne in Ohio


"My son is 2 1/2 years older than his sister. He was a slow
starter when it came to reading and still dislikes it as an adult.
I took the approach of reading the same books aloud to both of
them right up until his 12th grade year. While I didn't always
follow their curriculum, I used book lists from Beautiful Feet
(www.bfbooks.com) and Sonlight Publications. After reading a
historical novel, I would seek out a movie to watch which rein-
forced the main points. After reading one of Shakespeare's plays,
we would watch a movie based on it. Yes, it took a great deal
of time, but we have lots of good memories too. God bless your
homeschool." -- Rhonda


"Hi, Laura! My suggestion is that you work individually with each
of them on something just slightly beyond their reading level. I
know you mentioned jealousy when they get one-on-one time, but it
is very important for them to get this individual attention. They
need to be able to deal with Mom spending time alone with each one;
they are individuals and their lessons and 'Mom time' should reflect
that. I would alternate days or just blocks of time in the same
day (15 - 20 minutes with each of them) and dock the time of anyone
who interrupts when it is not their time. Also it would be good
for all of them if you read to them above their reading level.
This demonstrates how language flows and how it sounds when it is
smoothly strung together; it also allows them to relax and just
enjoy the story and exposes them to a higher vocabulary. Perhaps
you could assign them book report activities from books, articles,
or pamphlets with a wide range of topics and from a broad range
of sources. You could use cookbooks, instruction manuals, travel
magazines, children's literature, easy reader books, newspapers,
Bible -- anything you have around the house -- or you can print
from the computer or use books from the library. This will rein-
force the importance of reading and expose them to many types of
written material and different subjects. From there, you can
further tailor the reading assignments based on what each child
shows an interest in. Good luck!" -- Angela

Answer our NEW Question

"It seems that whenever I plan any hands-on science or math
activities, I end up frustrated and disappointed. Within five
or ten minutes of beginning the activity, my 9-year-old son has
wandered off in body or in spirit. I plan these activities
with such anticipation and eagerness, only to be let down by
his lack of interest or ability to stay with the task.

You'd think that a hands-on experience would be a welcome change
from workbooks. He's not crazy about workbooks either, but he
understands that a certain amount has to be done. I also have
a 7-year-old daughter and she's much more engaged by the hands-on

Should I pursue the hands-on learning and 'train' my son to
'stick with it' -- or back off until he takes the initiative?"

-- Chun Mei W. in California


Do you have a ready answer for Chun Mei?

Please send your email to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

Need Immediate Help?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
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and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
ear and encouragement.


[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
all are welcome. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you
have any technical difficulties.]

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