Do you ever wonder what kind of a sense of humor someone had? I have wondered that several times recently as we have seen some unusual things on our field trips this year. Did you know that apparently keeping stuffed birds used to happen a lot in Indiana? Why else would Gene Stratton Porter have a stuffed Eagle and T.C. Steele have a stuffed peacock?
What? Are you wondering why those things stuck out to me from our field trips? I was too, until I realized that we all see things just a little differently than the person standing next to us. Sometimes our family will have been on a field trip and when you hear us tell someone else about it you might be thinking we went three different places because we describe it so differently.
There were so many, many wonderful things to look at when we went to T.C. Steele's studio and House of the Singing Winds in Brown County, Indiana, that I hadn't even remembered that there was a stuffed peacock in the house until I went back and looked at my photos again. How could that be, wasn't I the one taking the pictures? I was! Yet, when we went to Gene Stratton Porter's home in Geneva, IN, back in the Spring I easily remembered the stuffed eagle.
Perhaps it was the stories that went with the stuffed eagle that made it more memorable, or maybe I was just in a different mood that day. Whatever the reason, I don't think I'll be surprised by seeing stuffed birds anymore in a historic home.
Why was I thinking about Field Trips anyway? I was reviewing the things we had done together this past 12 months. Emily is getting ready to graduate High School next month and I will be the first to admit we have managed to fit an amazing amount of living into the past 12 months! We did some bookwork too, but I'm hoping she remembers the other things more. Here is why: I graduated High School 25 years ago. So very, very little of what I learned from those books in High School has been crucial to my adult life. And yet, having graduated gave me a freedom to explore the world that would have been lacking if I had not spent time on those books and graduated.
How can we provide our children a balance between the book learning they need to graduate and the real life adventures they want? Field Trips! Our life has been full of field trips since before the girls were even officially old enough to count their schoolwork. If you're feeling burnt out by the bookwork, why not spend some time planning some field trips. They need not cost much. We have first hand experience that field trips can be done on a shoestring budget.
Some of our favorite field trips for High School include historic homes, but there are so many great places to visit. You may need to investigate to find the most economical way to take your trips, but please, please - take them! Many sites have family caps on entrance fees or a free or reduced evening each month. Do your research, and then get going. Pack a lunch, grab your coat, and get moving. There will always be time for bookwork. There are only so many opportunities to fit in the outrageously funny, unique, or interesting memories you will make with your children on field trips, don't miss them!
Dear Mom, your children will grow up before you know it. The days are long, but the years truly are short. Appreciate the gift of having your children at home with you while you can.
If you're stumped and need some ideas for a field trip you can take right now this week with your High Schooler, why not start with art. Visit an artist's home (history) visit an art studio (current events or social studies) go to a local frame shop and ask questions (shop) or visit a textile studio (home economics.) Need more ideas? Go to your local art museum or art gallery and ask questions of the docent or gallery owner (art appreciation) or visit a paint shop (science.)
Hopefully soon I'll get some more pictures edited and then I can tell you more about some of our favorite field trips from this year. In the meantime, go have your own adventure!
Have a fun-filled, field trip-based week!