From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


8/16/2012 9:58:48 AM
Vicki Bentley--HSLDA
Toddlers to Tweens--Field Trips 101

HSLDA's Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens Newsletter
August 2012--Field Trips 101

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Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further
insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed
unit. Is there somewhere you'd like to take your children to reinforce
a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their
lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other
families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag
along (think: group rate)--voila! You're planning a field trip!

How to Plan a Field Trip

After you choose a location, call or visit their location or their
website for pricing, group rates, size limit, recommended ages,
stroller access, food facilities, and information on activities for
the students. Will there be bathrooms available? Is there a fee for
parking? Do they provide guides? How about handouts for advance
preparation? What are the deadlines for registration and payment, and
is there a refund policy?

If your group has a calendar, get the event onto your group's page. If
there's an attendance minimum or maximum, or monies to be collected,
get a count of interested families and ages; if not, you can just set
and announce the date for folks to show up. Keep track of any monies
paid, and provide updates about the event and facility to your
families. Delegate leadership, if desired, or recruit helpers--just
because you plan this, you don't necessarily have to be in charge

The day before the event, you'll want to confirm with the manager that
they are expecting you, and send a reminder through your email loop,
if possible. Be sure any carpool plans have been distributed or
directions given. When you get there, name tags or color-coded
T-shirts are helpful.

In Charge at the Event

If you are leading the field trip on-site, you'll want to arrive a bit
early and introduce yourself to your host. This is a good opportunity
to get the contact information for thank-you notes--and to scope out
where the bathrooms are! Take care of any payment arrangements, then
review the rules with the group and introduce the guide to your group.

During a tour, it helps for you to stay at the front to encourage the
group and guide questions as needed. You'll want a helper at the back
to round up stragglers (for a larger group, you'll want more helpers
along the way). At the end of the visit, be sure to thank the guide or
manager, and leave the area at least as tidy as when your group

Tips for a Better Trip

As homeschoolers, we of course want our children's conduct and
appearance to reflect well upon the Lord, our families, our homeschool
group, and homeschooling in general--so the host will invite
homeschoolers back!

Ask the field trip planner about any special dress requirements so
your children can be dressed appropriately for the activities. It
helps to know if there are any other restrictions or rules--for
example, no strollers or no photography.

If you sign up for a trip, your space may be reserved, so let the
planner know (as far in advance as possible) if you absolutely cannot
attend after all so she can release your spot to someone on the
waiting list. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, funds paid
by no-shows may be non-refundable.

Avoid last-minute confusion by arriving at least 10-15 minutes early.
Remind your children to use the buddy system so nobody ventures out
alone; be sure they know to stay within your sight. Let them know
where they may go and what they may touch. Good vocabulary words:
courteous and attentive! This is a good time to practice raising
hands, speaking in turn, and being quiet when the guide or an adult
leader is talking. (And parents, it can be tempting for us to chat
quietly during these social opportunities, but our whispers can be
distracting to the participants, too!)

What should you bring along? Will you need sunblock or bottled water?
A change of clothes or shoes? What about snacks? Many trips end in a
picnic lunch, so be sure to know what foods are appropriate for your
venue, as well as where you may eat. You may want to pack a hairbrush
and hair accessories for little ones who tend to get slightly
disheveled en route or manage to get out the door before a final

If the field trip is an unguided tour, it's easy for children to be
overwhelmed. A scavenger hunt, simple puzzle or worksheet, or even one
question to answer afterward can give them focus. For example, a
scavenger hunt for a visit to the state fair might include such items

> Name two animals in the aquaculture exhibit.
> What are two ingredients in soy donuts?
> How big is the biggest pumpkin?
> Name one baby animal born during the fair? What kind? Birth
> What is your favorite animal in Young MacDonald's Farm?
> Find our town on a state map: Section ________
> What does NASA stand for?
> Get a state trooper's autograph.

Be sure the children thank the guide or host of the event. A follow-up
thank-you note from the students is polite; a note to the event
planner for her efforts is thoughtful, too.

Whether you are planning a field trip or simply attending, I hope
these guidelines will help you participate with confidence!


Vicki Bentley

From Scripture

"Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure
and right."
--Proverbs 20:11 (NIV)

Online Resources

For a printable list of field trip guidelines, visit our website.

Teaching Home e-newsletter No. 281: Family Day Trips

A few field trip ideas:
(For some that seem fairly "everyday," ask for a manager about a
hands-on or behind-the-scenes tour. Even a medical visit can become an
educational field trip with a little advance planning!)

Ice skating
Roller skating
State capitol
Bowling alley
Pizzeria kitchen tour
Local little theater/playhouse
Ballroom dance studio
Movie theater
Art museum
Recycling facility
Water treatment plant
Gem mine
Botanical gardens
Television or radio station
Movie studio
Bird-banding station
Art studio
Chocolate factory
Spice factory
Snack factory
Distribution center
State park
Local historic attractions
Plant nursery
Post office
Fire station
Police station
Historic homes
Pumpkin patch
Farmer's market
Berry farm
Peanut or cotton fields
Dairy farm
Weather station
Science museum
Historical museum
Sheep shearing
County or state fair
Photo processing lab
Grocery store (they give tours, health talks)
Eye doctor
Children's museum (hands-on)
Local hospital (ours has a "teddy bear" tour for kids)
Horse farm/stables
Local university
Shoe repair shop
Nature trail
Car dealership
Military museum or installation
Historic cemetery
Shopping for Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child gifts
Health food store

See the rest of the list in the full article at our website.

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