June 25, 2014 Edition 

Field Trips            

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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

Summer seems to be the time many of us do more field trips than usual. A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me some excellent questions about field trips, and these were my answers:


If you go with a group, do you organize the field trips or do you prefer to let someone else do it?   


Organization is very important. We have a wonderful group of moms who take turns organizing the field trips. Organization can be tricky and time-consuming, so if I had to organize them all, I would probably stop having them! Get help!  


Do you prefer trips to explore nature or the many good things that man has made?   


Both! But my preference is nature because it is easier and you can go in a group or with just your own family. We live in the city, so one of our favorite little family trips is this: a nature treasure hunt. We write down ten things to look for, such as, a pine cone, a red bud, a bird's nest, an animal print, etc. and make a copy for each child to mark off as we set out on a nature walk around the neighborhood and the nearby creek. The kids become very observant of what's around them and love marking off what they find!


Do you have any warnings about going on too many field trips?  


Yes! If you are already involved in co-ops, sports, music lessons, etc., and find yourself out of the house too many days a week, you may want to reconsider just how many more outings you want to add in. Our group does one field trip a month which works out great for us. If you are having a hard time knowing how to balance everything, the March 2013 Editorial is a good read: How Much is Too Much? The Overwhelming Choice of Outside Activities


How do you prepare your children for a field trip?


I have friends who are much better than I at bringing out the best in field trips. They prepare in advance. For instance, when our group went to a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, my friend checked out library books on da Vinci, researched him on the web, studied his paintings and his inventions with her kids, and watched a movie about his life. Then, the day of the field trip, she and her children were more than excited to see what they had just been studying the last couple of weeks. They had a great time cementing all that information (while my own children were saying, "Who's da Vinci?").  


Do you encourage those who fear setting aside academics and allow a field trip to rejuvenate their schooling?  


Definitely. It doesn't have to be far away or expensive. But just like we get itchy to get out and do something different, so do our kids.


Parents: you know what your kids need. God has given you that wisdom. I want to remind you, too, that God knows what you need. Take a field trip into His Word, seek Him first, and all these other things that are pressing in your mind will fade in the shadow of His glory. Now, that's a field trip worth taking!





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Field trips and geography are a perfect team! What better way to explore the world around us than to go and see it firsthand? But there are places in the world that field trips cannot reach. Perhaps a trip for six to another continent isn't practical. Or maybe you'd like to explore the Sahara Desert--from a shady spot. A solid geography course can take you and your family around the world from the comfort of your home.


Geography doesn't stop there, however. In our modern times, a comprehensive view of our world is not only helpful, it is essential. That's the need Tyler Hogan's Geography lessons so beautifully and creatively meet. His geography course can help your children discover and understand the world around them.


Important Geography note: Tyler Hogan's Geography lessons remain posted on our site only through June 30, 2014. After that date, per previous agreement with Bright Ideas Press, the lessons will come off our site. We hope you will enjoy these lessons to the fullest extent through then; they have been a part of SchoolhouseTeachers.com since March 1, 2013! We greatly appreciate the Hogans' partnership with SchoolhouseTeachers.com.


If you join SchoolhouseTeachers.com during our 19 Gifts sale, not only will you save money (regular price $12.95 a month), you will lock in your membership at this price for as long as you maintain your membership (see site for details). Plus, you'll receive all 5 digital planners FREE after your first month and you'll receive 19 special free gifts from our vendors. Hurry--the 19 Gifts sale offer expires July 21, 2014.


The Familyman 
If there isn't a wall plaque that says, "Life is a Field Trip," then there should be. In our school-tainted minds, field trip is synonymous with packing a sack lunch, boarding a big vehicle, and going to a predetermined location armed with a permission slip signed by a legal guardian.

We all went on field trips during our school days. I went to pumpkin patches, museums, and the Wonder Bread Factory around the second grade. I didn't learn a whole bunch ... I mostly goofed off with my friends. I see field trip groups sometimes when we visit places as a family. Large groups of kids on yellow buses swarm the place. Luckily, we've figured out that they leave shortly after lunch and try to time our visits to coincide with their departure.


Summer is the perfect time for field trips because all the schools are on recess and don't clog things up. But here's the deal: field trips don't have to be learning-driven; they can be FAMILY-driven. So anywhere the family goes ... is a field TRIP!!!

Need a few ideas?

  • A state or city park
  • A nature center
  • The lake, ocean, or creek
  • Your yard
  • A nearby ministry where you can volunteer
  • Grandparents' house for some chores
  • A friend's farm
  • A local business/factory (call ahead)
  • The local dump
  • A car wash
  • A big playground
  • A local museum
  • A big city you don't live in
  • The library

Of course the list is endless, the process is not always fun, and it never goes according to plan ... but it's still worth it.


Life's a field trip and be real,


Navarre Beach

Marine science meets art education--on the white sands
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Raising Real Men    
When we were children, both our families enjoyed traveling, and when we hit the road, it was time to buckle down, hold on, and see everything we could manage! When we started homeschooling, we realized we had an unprecedented level of freedom and independence. No longer tied to the local school schedule, we could take family vacations when the rates were low and the crowds were lesser; and if Dad had a business trip, the whole family could pack up and come along!


Every part of the country has interesting and historical locations to visit, and with a little forethought, you can make even a routine visit to family or a quarterly business meeting into a large scale field trip.  


First, traveling with your family can be cheaper than you think. Whether it means taking a couple of sleeping bags for the kids or packing some lunch meat and fruit in a cooler, there are many ways to avoid prohibitive vacation expense. Be creative, be flexible, and remember that memories are better than extra stars on the hotel listing.  


Second, plan ahead! Most towns and cities have a visitors' bureau with a website of interesting tour sites. Many have pages on Wikipedia, which will lead you to other websites. Of course, you may already have plans in mind; if you're going to Washington, D.C., you'll naturally include the Smithsonian and the Lincoln Memorial in your itinerary, and who can go to Boston without visiting "Old Ironsides" and the Public Gardens (remember Make Way for Ducklings?)


Be sure to check entry fees and opening hours. Many great attractions are totally free, including some of the best museums and historic sites in the country. However, some places are closed certain days or at unexpected times-so do your homework and avoid disappointments!


One surprising resource is the AAA Travel Guides. Besides the restaurant and hotel listings, they include all sorts of information about notable sights and local history. You can get them free if you're a member, but we've often seen them in used bookstores for pennies. Even if they're a few years old, they're still useful.

Finally, stay flexible! Often we'll catch sight of a historic marker or a brown informational sign and shout, "Field trip!" as we make an unplanned turn-off. You'll be surprised at hidden treasures off the beaten path, places you might not make a journey to see, but will enjoy when you uncover them along the way.  


Our family has had some incredible "big field trip" adventures, whether exploring the historic sights of downtown Boston or camping near the Civil War battlefields of Virginia and Maryland. Whatever your travel plans this summer, make the most of the educational fun you'll find just off the roadside!


Yours in the Battle,


Hal and Melanie


For more information on how to travel big on a small family budget, check out our podcasts on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. Go to www.HalAndMelanie.com/radio to find out more!


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Six days specifically created to build confidence and leadership skills for  teens. Learn core values and principles that serve as a solid foundation to communicate, empower and lead. Mention 'TOS' & receive a $100 discount!

Is Your Teen a Poet?  


If you have a teenager that likes to write poetry, TOS would like to publish his/her poem in the 2015 Annual Print Book (Big Book). 


We are looking for poems that are 300 words or less about any of the following topics:

  1. family
  2. the Lord
  3. your teen's life
  4. education in general

Please send your submissions to Heather at HMader@TheOldSchoolhouse.com by July 5, 2014. We will be selecting 10 poems. So have your teen get his/her pen and paper out and possibly get published in the next TOS Big Book!  


Nature study is a wonderful way to open the door to scientific learning to your children.

TOS Article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.



June's Spotlight on Summer Fun!
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at the June Spotlight on Five!



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Contest Corner 

For the month of June, 2014  


"Mr. Wizard's World" Volume 1 DVD


My children and I recently reviewed two DVDs, "The Best of Watch Mr. Wizard" Vol. 1, and "Mr. Wizard's World" Vol. 1. When I was offered this review, I jumped at it, for two reasons. First, I am currently recovering from surgery, and my boys and I could easily review this, we just had to watch the DVDs! But more importantly, I wanted it because I have a fond childhood memory of a Mr. Wizard book that I got from the library when I was young. I used instructions from it to make a beautiful crystal garden in a fish bowl using charcoal, food coloring, bluing, and I don't recall what else.


While we all enjoyed watching both of these DVDs, I preferred watching "The Best of Watch Mr. Wizard" Vol. 1. This DVD has four episodes from the original hit TV series of the 1950s and 1960s, which is more from MY childhood. The episodes are themed as follows:


#1 - Heat Transfer

#2 - Adhesives

#3 - Electricity

#4 - Animal Motion


My boys at first were not so sure they would enjoy taking time away from their electronic games to watch these DVDs with me (especially since "The Best of Watch Mr. Wizard" Vol. 1 has a running time of two hours, and "Mr. Wizard's World" Vol. 1 has a running time of 1 hour and 44 minutes), but lo and behold, they all four sat with rapt attention, commenting often about the things they were learning and found so interesting. They were disappointed when I told them they had to wait until the next day to watch the second DVD!


(Read the rest of the review!)


You can WIN these DVDs!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Mr. Wizard" for a chance to win* the DVDs for your family!  


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Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner

Molly Green

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