Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Field Trips!

Ah, field trips. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My weary teaching heart can reach, for thou doest
Energize and inspire me.
I love thee for the excuse of skipping school,
Leaving dishes unwashed and carpets unvacuumed
While those weary of everyday chores load up the van
And voyage out.
I love thee for the smiles and the memories and the dreams
Thou doest inspire.
I love thee for the memories thou doest make
And the stories thou does generate.
I love thee, O field trip, in the winter
When the skies are grey and the weeks seem long.
I love thee, O field trip, in the spring
When the days are warm and our hearts sing songs.
I love thee, O field trip, in the summmer
When our bookwork is done and we're free to roam.
I love thee, O field trip, in the autumn,
When pumpkins and crisp fall leaves lure us from home.
I love thee, O field trip, at any time.
I love thee, O field trip, for escape, thou art mine.

Coincidentally, we are heading to the zoo today! Nora gave us two free tickets on Sunday. They expire this Friday, so to the zoo we will go :)

The zoo is a favorite field trip destination. Now, our world-class zoo is rather expensive usually BUT if you call in advance and make reservations as a homeschool family, you get the school group admission rate... which is $1.50 a child, free parking, and one free adult. This is a big savings over the regular $8 per child, $6.50 for parking, and $14 per adult. The catch is, you have to make your reservations 2 weeks in advance....which makes the weather a bit difficult to call. For a few years, it seemed Sweetling and I were doomed to rain on the days we have made our reservations. Rain and zoo field trips were just an ongoing tradition.

Our field trips do seem to be seasonal, so I think I'll group them like that.


Fairy Houses: We started a new tradition this year. In september, we hike into the woods and build fairy houses. You see, fairies are flighty creatures. They frolic in the forest all summer long, with never a care for winter. Come winter, they are often left finding any old log or hollow tree they can to live in, but it hardly has the comforts of home. But, if you go in the fall and build them a house, and furnish it with bright leaves, white rocks, and acorn caps, then they have a happy retreat in the cold winter months. (They can, of course, use their fairy magic to seal up the gaps and cracks left in houses built with sticks by children's hands.

Leaf Hunt: One has to go on a walk through the park to pick up leaves (and other small items.) One brings them home and presses them in the phone book, with the intention every year of making a fall collage. Really, they just stay in the phone book all winter, and annoy the Jedi.

Pumpkin Patch: No fall is complete without a trip to a pumpkin patch for a hay/wagon ride and assorted other fall activities. This year, there was a small, very child-friendly corn maze to enjoy as well. Next year, I want to go to one of those hope-to-see-you-again-in-a-few-hours types of mazes.


Children's Museum: This is a, no one can work any more and we need to get out and play, destination. We keep a museum membership active and we use it in the winter.

Sledding: Oh yeah baby. We only get one or two really good sledding days each winter. We bundle up and head to a local park that has a great hill that isn't very crowded during the day.

Train Exhibit: Every holiday the Museum Center has a large train display. We get in free due to membership, and its a fun little trip.

Krohn Conservatory: This is a Mommy sanity pill. After so many days of cold, grey, rainy, nasty days...I need a little warmth and light and beauty or I'll crack. So, to the conservatory we go to wonder around beneath the canopy of exotic plants, watch the waterfall splash over rocks, study the koi in the stream, marvel at the bonzai, and so forth.


Park, park, and more park: Lets face it. Mommy is done with school. I'm tired of being indoors all winter. As soon as the weather breaks, we're gone. Bike riding, hiking, playgrounds...any destination under the yellow sun is good with me.

ZooBlooms: oh yeah. Tulips and sunshine and peacocks, oh my! We used to do the ZooMath days...but I decided the zoo is more fun when we just go.

Butterfly exhibit: Another Krohn trip, this time to see the butterfly exhibit in May.

Gardening projects: Every spring I have the best of intentions. We'll spend several day outdoors trying to make my dreams a reality. Negligence takes over during the heat of July and August, so these projects never take root. (ha ha)


Park Programs: The local park board does an amazing job of putting on free summer programs. We usually take advantage of them on a weekly basis. Creeking is an all time favorite.

Library Summer Reading Club: Not quite a field trip, but we do it every summer, and head to the library at least once a week. Plus, the local libraries put on fun programs that we like to participate in.

Movies: Either at the $2 theater or for free at the main theaters as part of their book club (bring a book report and come to our free showing at 10am on Wednesday), going to the theater isn't a treat we take advantage of often, but during the summer we'll do so about once a month.

Drive-in Movies: We did this for the first time this summer. I'm not sure how much the Jedi enjoyed it, but the kids and I had a blast. I'm hoping we can talk him into it again next summer.

Swimming: We mooch off of friends who have pools. Or friends who have family members with pools. Or friends who's family members have friends with pools. We're big pool moochers in the summer.

Childen's Museum: Come August, it's too hot and humid to do anything outside (unless we can mooch a pool day). So, back to the Children's Museum we go.

Road Trips: Every summer, I have great plans for daytrips. We manage at least one, sometimes two of them. This past summer, the most memorable was the trip to a nearby sculpture park. There was a lot of walking involved, some really great pieces, a tree that was nearly hit, a van that was nearly stuck, a little bit of drizzling rain, a sharp spike in the humidity after the almost rain, and some drive-by art viewing from the air-conditioned van at the end of the long day. "Look kids, art," became the catch-phrase of the visit.

School again, school again, jiggity jig: Not a field trip. But by the second week of August, we hit the books again, breaking up our first couple weeks with a trip or two to the children's museum. Its too hot to do anything outside, and kids cooped upside with nothing productive to do get bored and cranky and whiny. Besides, getting an early start helps justify field trips and sanity breaks needed in the middle of winter. This August was an exception because in the first place, our books didn't ship until September. In the second place, we got a wii. For a week, there was nothing but a solid wii party with many different friends going on at our house.

And now, I'm off to pack lunches for the zoo. I should also check to see what time it opens. Thanks for reading my1,334 words. No, I'm not neurotic. I'm psyching up for National Novel Writing Month.


Sarah said...

Great post, I didn't think about listing all of our favorite field trips :) I enjoyed reading about yours. I am in the great state of the Buckeye too :)


MrsMomma said...

Loved your post! You made me laugh!
Thanks for sharing your great list of field trips!

SuzyScribbles said...

He-he! Looks like you "school on the road" and more power to you! What a great organizer you must be for being "random" since it does take some kind of organization to do all those field trips. And boy do I know about the weather!
Wild Waves Water Park is one of those places you have to do the group thing and pick a date. Right. In Seattle. In June. Uh...80% chance the day you pick is raining and cold. But amazingly the place is packed. I guess we don't really realize that a person is supposed to go to a water park when it's sunny and warm. LOL

Berry Patch said...

What a great post! I loved your poem at the beginning. I also loved all your field trip ideas. You let out a little known secret amongst us homeschooling mommies - field trips are what keep us SANE. We take the kids to play & learn & get to call it a "day" of school done. phew! ;-)

SmallWorld at Home said...

Fabulous! I love everything about this post. I love your writing style and your sense of humor! Very nice to meet you!

The Maven said...

You are, like, very, very busy. I think you're my new favourite mom. I'll clean off the shrine and get some pictures and stuff set up. Wow. Just... wow. If I ever come down your way soon I'll have to follow along with my camera, documentary style!

Mary Elizabeth said...

You crack me up! I'm serious--we're twins! :D

Thanks for reminding me about Krohns Conservatory. I was there once for the butterfly exhibit, and it was cool. We'll have to visit again. And I keep forgetting about that sculpture park, too. I hear there's some kind of German clock park or something in Covington. ??

(I've decided I need to explore Cincy a bit more. I'm a Cleveland native, but it's about time I learned more about this area. It's only been, um, like almost 15 years.)

As for Hocking Hills, yes, we love it there, too. We've spent a few anniversaries in Salt Fork State Park, and then other trips in Hocking Hills proper. Lovely place! Nice substitute for the Smokies.

I need to check out letterboxing. Is it the same as geocaching? I've been wanting to do that.


Mary Beth

P.S. We do fairy houses, too! :)