Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Field Trips

When we started homeschooling, my oldest son was in first grade and my daughter was four but wanted to ‘do school’ like big brother, so she was doing a mix of preschool and kindergarten materials. I had set up our school schedule and thought I had a great plan. It worked for a week or two but then we found the other homeschoolers in our area and started hearing about all of these wonderful opportunities. A trip to the fire department, a local play, a trip to the nature center. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in these wonderful trips and saw how much my children were learning.

Adding Fun Field Trips

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

There was just one problem, it was putting me behind on my schedule and I felt like I was struggling to keep up with my plans and these trips. By the second year, I realized that I needed to value these opportunities and leave space for them in my plans. I started planning for a four-day school week and allowing a day for field trip, or enrichment, opportunities each week. While it looks a little different now with two middle school students, I still allow for a field trip day each week because I think those opportunities are invaluable. They learn so much for the real-life environments and they have fun. When people ask my 13-year-old why he likes homeschool better than public school, one of the first things he says is that he gets to go on more field trips. Our field trips range from a quick trip to the local library, a day visit at a nearby nature park or aquarium, to incorporating learning opportunities into family vacations out of state. They all provide a variety of learning opportunities.

For young children, field trips provide great exposure to a variety of people and places that they need to be familiar with particularly the group that are often called, “community helpers”. What better way to understand about police officers, postal workers, firemen, and other community workers than to talk to them, see them working, and learn about their jobs. A trip to the fire department most often also includes some great fire safety education to help keep them safe in our homes.

You can talk about flowers, birds, and fish all day long, but if you want to get a child really excited about those things, they need to see them. Hikes in your local park and trips to the aquarium, zoo, or nature center can help students really enjoy learning about the world around them and give them a greater appreciation for God’s creation. Many state and national parks offer free or inexpensive classes and guided programs, and self-guided junior ranger activities to help them learn more about different aspects of nature that are present in that park. We have enjoyed bird walks, tree identification programs, and a nature scavenger hunt at area parks.

I feel saddened every time I hear someone say that history is boring.  Too often people view history as a list of dates and names to memorize. When my children were in preschool we were very blessed to find living history programs geared towards preschoolers at our local historic site. We would attend once a month and they would bring history to life. There were crafts, impersonations, tours, and more that all made them excited to learn about history. Historic interpreters and living history events can really bring history to life and make it so much more fun and exciting. We now actively search out living history events at other historic sites to visit and volunteer our time at our local site to help bring history to life for other families.

I have had people tell me that they don’t have the budget for field trips and I know this is true in some situations. However, please note that trips do not need to be expensive or far away to add in lots of fun and education. Many of the parks and sites are free or only a couple of dollars per person and some offer group rates for homeschool groups. Most of the community services will do free field trips. There are also often homeschool discounts at larger venues such as aquariums and zoos. When we go overnight, we often camp in a state or national park to save money over hotels (most charge around $25 a night) and pack most of our meals.

I would love to hear about how you incorporate field trips into your homeschool. For more information about specific field trips check out our Field Trip Friday posts. Thank you for joining us this week for the blog hop! Don’t forget to check back often for more homeschool encouragement and check out the other posts in the hop today.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together –  A Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4 

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Back to School Bundle Sale going on now!! Back to Homeschool Online Course Bundle

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Pre-K Farm Study Ideas

My sweet, sassy, short attention span five year old is enthralled with farms and farm animals. I decided that I wanted to spend a couple weeks doing a farm themed unit study with him for his ‘school’. He just turned five so he is not officially in Kindergarten yet but he loves the idea of ‘doing school’ like his older siblings. I want to encourage his love for learning without burning him out with too much work, so this was a perfect way to get him actively engaged on something that he loves, work on a few skills, and spend some time together.

 

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I spent some time each day working with him on different farm activities and then gave him some free time to play and explore using his farm toys and the other farm activities that I put together. One of his favorites was harvesting letters. I took out our set of magnetic letters, some black beans that we had for a sensory bin, and a couple of toy tractors that he had in his farm set. Then I put the beans and the letters into a large metal pan (you could use any deep dish). I explained to him that the beans were ‘soil’ and he needed to use his tractors to ‘harvest’ the letters that were planted in the soil. He would scoop up the letters and then we would talk about what each letter was before putting it into the bucket and scooping up another letter.  He thought it was great fun and it helped him get a little practice with his letters.

Next, we did some shadow matching, puzzle making and cutting practice as a part of this fun on the farm printable pack from the multitaskinmom.com. We did not do the entire pack but picked a few activities that he would enjoy each day.

IMG_20190506_155228_461

We added in some art by using these fun preschool You Are An Artist Barnyard Art Lessons. He did the chick hatching out of the egg the first day and then did all the rest of the lessons the next day because he was enjoying them so much. I pulled them up on the computer and he was able to work on the independently while I was helping my older children with some of their schoolwork.

Throughout the week, we read a variety of farm books. Some of my favorites are the Usborne On the Farm Shine a Light Book and Farm Animals. We also have the Baby’s Very First Tractor Book which I read with both my five year old and the baby.  Another farm favorite in our house is the Otis series. These fun books about Otis the tractor get requested over and over.

 

For a more hands-on component of our study, my five year old helped his older brother tend our chickens and plant some squash and pepper plants in the garden. If you do not have room for a full garden, it would be lots of fun to plant a small container garden. You could plant lettuce which grows fast and can be harvested multiple times, or our family favorite, tomatoes. Herbs also tend to do very well in containers.

For some fun independent play my son has a Fisher Price Little People Farm set as well as a variety of other farm toys. He can use his imagination to set them up and ‘play farm’. He loves to build farms and create stories of the events that are going on at the farm. I am blessed that my older son is gracious enough to often get on the floor and play with him. It is a great bonding experience for them. While we have cleared out a lot of his toys because he was struggling with cleaning up and clutter, the farm set has been a staple for several years.

 

Finally, I scheduled our unit study around a fun farm field trip. We had some friends invite us on a field trip to an alpaca farm. My son loves llamas and I knew that since they are so similar, he would really enjoy the alpaca farm. We were able to see the different alpacas, learn about how they care for and groom them, and see various products made from alpaca wool. My five year old really enjoyed it and my older children are dreaming of starting an Alpaca farm.

 

As luck would have it, our church also had a farm event going on during our study. One of the generous families from our church invited all of the families with young children out to see their farm. We were able to pet a cow and some sheep, take a hayride, and hang out with the chickens. This was a great time with friends and perfect for our farm study.  If you do not know of a field trip in your area, check with local farms. Many of them will welcome scheduled groups to see their animals or crops. You can also contact your local cooperative extension to see what activities might be available.

We had a great time with our farm unit study and home you get some ideas to help you teach your children about farms. I would love for you to share any other ideas you have in the comments!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale!

May Sale

Fit2B just announced they are having a Mother’s Day sale! Use code mothersday25off for 25% off! We use this for both my personal fitness and some of our PE for the kids (all included in one membership). A great way to get you safely moving and incorporate fitness into a busy day.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

The Tummy Team is having a 35% off sale! This makes for some very reasonably priced online rehab programs or esessions. I am excited to be getting a course to help me get back to being in my best health! I have loved the other courses that I have taken from them and they are so  helpful and supportive. I know this one is not directly homeschool related but it affects so many moms that I wanted to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Field Trip Friday: Wright Brothers Memorial and Jockey’s Ridge State Park

I am a big fan of the ocean and will happily accept any opportunity to take a field trip to the beach. Something about that salt air seems to take the stress away.  A few weeks ago we had the benefit of studying about Orville Wright as my son read Orville Wright: The Flyer by YWAM publishing. We decided to finish that study with a quick trip to the Wright Brothers Memorial and Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

We had been to the Wright Brothers Memorial several years ago but were excited to go back because they recently finished renovating their visitors center. The visitors center is not large but has some really neat information in it along with a replica of the Wright Flyer. The original flyer is actually located in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. There is also a small gift store and rest rooms located at the visitors center.

When we first arrived, we talked to the ranger and two of my children picked up a junior ranger packet. Most of the national and state parks have these programs and we love to utilize them. They are almost always free (one park we went to charged $1.25) and they really help us get the most out of the park. They have various activities that the children have to complete prior to finishing our visit and it helps them to learn more about the nature or history of the park.

20190329_113550

I think that one of the coolest parts of this park is that they have marked off the place where the first flights took off and then they have markers showing how far out the flights went. You can run the length of the flights. This is such a great visual and really helps them to better understand the distance and connects you with the history.

Next, we climbed up to the top of the sand dune where the gliders were first flown. There is now a monument to the Wright Brothers that sits atop the hill. It is a steep climb but offers a beautiful view.

20190329_115602

Once we had climbed to the monument, it was time for lunch. In keeping with the Wright Brothers theme of our trip, we went over to the Black Pelican for lunch. This modern seafood restaurant is located in what was once the life saving station. The very life saving station where the Wright Brothers sent the famous telegram to their father, telling him of their first successful flights.

While we were in town we decided to take an hour or so and visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This park is free to enter and is home to the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast. There is a nice little visitors center that has information about the plants and animals that are native to the dunes and the area around the dunes. My daughter chose to  work on another junior ranger badge at this park.

Once we looked around the visitor’s center it was time to take a walk in the sand. While the baby and I did not go all the way to the top of the dune, the older children and my husband climbed to the top. The views are beautiful and the children enjoyed rolling back down the dune!

This was a wonderful day of family fun! We were able to visit a site where history was made, learn more about nature, and overall just really enjoy spending time together as a family. On our way home, I found out that Nana over at You Are An Artist had a cute art lesson that we could use to go along with our trip and studies. This chalk pastel lesson of the Wright Brothers airplane is included with our Clubhouse subscription or in the Inventors History Course.  This was a great way to extend what we had already done.

If you get a chance to visit, let me know how you like it and don’t forget to take your parks passport and get it stamped! We have found that the passport is a great way for the children to get a souvenir at each park with no additional expense after the initial purchase of the passport. North Carolina State Parks also offer a passport program. You can get those passports for free at any state park.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Where:

Wright Brothers National Memorial
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

Hours of Operation:

seven days a week, year-round, 9:00 am–5:00 pm (Closed Christmas Day)

Costs: $10 adults (16+) Children Free (If you have a 4th grader you can use the Every Kid in a Park Pass for free admission)

Homeschool Discount: You can apply 4 weeks ahead of time for an educational fee waiver.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/wrbr/index.htm

Food: There are drinks available for purchase and space for picnics outside.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

 

Are you ready for some spring cleaning? Need to do a little decluttering?

What is your scariest place to declutter?

There is a great FREE Decluttering Challenge going on right now.  If you are looking for some help or encouragement join this FREE declutter challenge. Saturday is the last day to sign up so hurry!

 

 

 

 

Field Trip Friday: Neuseway Nature Park and Planetarium

We recently had the opportunity to visit the Neuseway Nature Park and Planetarium in Kinston, NC with some friends. We have been several times in the past but it had been quite awhile because they had been closed due to flooding from Hurricane Florence. This is a great field trip for all ages because they have a variety of options and exhibits.

pinterest

We started the afternoon with a few minutes of free play on the playground while waiting for everyone to arrive. Once we were all present, we ventured into the science and planetarium building. There are multiple exhibits that you can explore at your own pace, including a giant model of the stomach that you can walk through, vision goggles that help you understand what it is like to have vision problems, a farm to table exhibit, building blocks, a hospital center, and even a tunnel.

Upstairs there are space themed exhibits, science books, and even a scale to see what you would weigh on different planets. This is also where the planetarium is located. They offer shows in the planetarium twice a day. You can also schedule a private planetarium show for your group for a small fee.

Once we had explored the science building and watched a planetarium showing, we ventured over to the nature building. This building houses both live animals and taxidermy exhibits, and had been badly damaged during the flooding. We were able to see a singing bird, who regaled everyone with ‘Happy Birthday’, turtles, alligators, and a tarantula. There were also some snakes on the other side of the room, but I decided I would skip that experience.

This is not a large center, but they have a variety of great exhibits and knowledgeable staff that are happy to answer questions. Admission is free unless you need special group accommodations. This is a fun half-day field trip for all ages.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Where: 401 W Caswell Street Kinston, NC 28501

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday – Saturday
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday
1 – 5 p.m.

Costs: Free (unless you want to schedule a separate Planetarium show)

Homeschool Discount: n/a

Website: http://www.neusewaypark.com/454/Neuseway-Nature-Park

Food: There are drinks available for purchase and space for picnics outside.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

 

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

 

 

 

 

 

Field Trip Friday: WonderWorks

20190111_141709
The amazing upside down building!

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Last week I shared with you about our little mini vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC and our visit to Medieval Times for a history experience. Today I want to share about our visit to WonderWorks. With its creative architecture it is hard not to notice this venue as you drive through Myrtle Beach. We had seen it several times on past visits but never had the opportunity to visit. Thankfully we had done some research before this visit and realized that it was home school days and the perfect time to check it out.

When I told the children (and my parents) that we would be going to WonderWorks I called it a science museum. While this is a true statement it is more than just a science museum. I would say it is a cross between an amusement park and a science museum. They call it ‘edu-tainment’ for educational entertainment. There is lots to learn but most of it is very hands on and often active.

What to expect from a trip to WonderWorks Science Musuem

It would take a small book and not a blog post to do justice to all of the various exhibits but I will give you an overview and tell you more about some of our favorite exhibits. We spent between 3 and 4 hours there and easily could have spent a whole day if we had the time.  They have a cafe where we ate a late lunch, but you can also leave and come back with your ticket and hand stamp.

The first room included a Titanic exhibit in which you could put your hand into the freezing water, a hurricane exhibit where you could feel the hurricane force winds, and a computerized display and game about other weather disasters. We were having fun and enjoying our visit in this room, but soon learned that most of WonderWorks was even more interactive. For example, in the next room, you could use a pulley system to pull yourself up a tower, play various ball games (football, baseball, etc) by throwing the ball against an interactive video screen to see how well you played, and if you were brave enough even peddle a bicycle upside down and in a 360 degree turn.

In one room they had a bed of nails that you could lay on. This really interested my older children because they had recently seen a performance where the guy laid on a bed of nails. They enjoyed trying for themselves and learning about the science behind why it works. My daughter said this was her favorite exhibit, but she also spent quite a bit of time on the glow in the dark ropes course that was hanging above the top floor. She spent almost 30 minutes just climbing/walking around on the various obstacles that were suspended above the over exhibits.

20190111_113247

The baby really enjoyed the bubble exhibit where we were able to make giant bubbles and pull the bubbles over ourselves. He also enjoyed the giant piano. He may not have understood how to really play it, but he enjoyed hearing it make noise as he crawled over the keys.

20190111_114041
Forgive the glare, but this was a section of the giant pin art board.

My four year old loved the giant 8 foot tall pin art wonder wall. Many of us had a small pin art toy growing up, but I had never seen one this large. Instead of just your hand or nose you could press your whole face and body into this pin art board. We had a great time making impressions, taking pictures, and then starting it over. The baby even got involved with his hands and feet.

My oldest enjoyed the 6D motion theater. They had multiple movies that you could watch in 6D with 3D glasses and lots of movement. Personally, it was a little much for my stomach and I’ll fully admit to closing my eyes but my son and husband really enjoyed it and watched several of the options.

You can check out this educators guide for more information on all of the exhibits that they offer. You can learn about space, light and sound, weather, robotics, gears and more in a hands on way. They even offer laser tag (included in regular admission and a $3 charge with home school tickets). I highly recommend this trip for a fun science adventure. If you are not near or planning to visit Myrtle Beach, check out the website to see if they have another location near you. Also, for more great ideas in Myrtle Beach check out this great idea from my friend Jennifer over at Homeschool Fanatic.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where: 1313 Celebrity Circle Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Hours of Operation:

Sunday-Thursday – 10:00 AM-8:30 PM

Friday-Saturday – 10:00 AM-9:30 PM

Costs: Adults (13+): $28.99  Children (4-12): 18.99  Children Under 4: Free

Homeschool Discount: If you go during home school days the price is $12 per person (an additional $3 if you want to play laser tag)

Website: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/myrtle-beach/

Food: There are drink machines inside as well as a cafe in the gift shop. You cannot bring food into the museum but you can come and go throughout the day if you wanted to leave for lunch.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

 

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week ! The NEW color edition of All About Reading is ready to order! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

2019-fresh-start-new-year-1st-pinterest-768x1024

WriteShop

 

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

Did you join us for the FREE 5 Day activity challenge? To keep the fun going, and keep making memories with your kids, Jamie has a program called The Activity Room that I know you’ll love, so I have to share about it just a bit, plus it is only open for enrollment a few times a year and enrollment JUST opened TODAY.

What this means for you, right now — is that The Activity Room is open for enrollment only through this Thursday, January 24th. After that time, she’ll close down to focus on her members and won’t open the doors again until May.

 

 

 

 

Field Trip Friday: Medieval Times

20190111_173613.jpg

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

We recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Myrtle Beach, SC for a little rest and rejuvenation. Our primary purpose for this trip was not educational but we did take advantage of a few fun educational opportunities. The first one was not your typical field trip but it was so much fun and a great addition to any study of medieval history.

We are currently studying Ancient history but still wanted to take advantage of this opportunity while we were there both because of its educational value and because we knew the children would have a great time. What is this wonderful opportunity? The dinner show at Medieval Times. We went to the regular evening show, but some days they offer special school/ homeschool shows at lunch time. They even have free lesson plans and materials that you can download to accompany your trip.

When you arrive at Medieval Times you immediately notice that the building is designed as a large castle. This is a great visual for children that have been learning about castles. On the inside you get a chance to meet several costumed interpreters that are playing the role of the queen, knights, and the queen’s advisors. You have the opportunity for pictures and to ask questions while looking at various shields, suits of armor, and other replica items. For a small additional fee you can also tour the dungeon, but this tour may scary for small children. My husband took my oldest through it but said that he would consider the some of the content to be ‘PG13’ so use your own discretion but I probably would not recommend it for children younger than teenagers.

Once the time of your show has arrived you will be seated according to the color that you were assigned when you arrived. This color represents the knight that you will be cheering for during the show. Once seated your server will bring you your beverage of choice and the first of several courses. My four year old’s favorite part of this experience was that there is no silverware; you eat everything with your hands.

Once you are seating with your drinks the show begins. Each year the show changes a bit but the overall idea is that you have multiple knights competing in a series of games. They demonstrate some wonderful horsemanship as well as skill in the competitions. There is jousting, sword fighting, targets and more all demonstrated as a part of the story and show that is taking place in the arena while you enjoy your dinner.

The dinner consisted of soup, bread, chicken, potato, corn and dessert. While not the most gourmet meal that I have ever eaten, it is well cooked with generous portions. It also includes your choice of tea, soft drink, water or lemonade. The ticket price includes the show and your dinner but not the gratuity. You also have the option of purchasing additional drinks (frozen novelties, adult beverages, etc) and a variety of souvenirs and pictures.

My children all enjoyed the show and their dinner. It was exciting and engaging. The horses were beautiful and very well trained. The knights did a great job in the games and they provided an excellent show.

This field trip would be a great way to introduce or conclude a study of knights, castles, and medieval times. The ticket costs vary depending on the season. We went in January which is the off season and they were offering a variety of discounts. They also have special ticket pricing for the lunch time shows. We went to the show in Myrtle Beach, SC but they do have several other castles through the United States and Canada.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Where: 2904 Fantasy Way Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

Hours of Operation:

Varies depending on the season and castle. Check the calendar here.

Costs: $55.95 adults $28.95 Children 12 and under (regular pricing check for discounts and deals)

Homeschool Discount: If you go during a school showing you can get School Show Pricing of  $26.95 per person

Website:

School Show Pricing $26.95 per person

Food: Included with your ticket

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

 

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week ! The NEW color edition of All About Reading is ready to order! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

2019-fresh-start-new-year-1st-pinterest-768x1024

WriteShop

 

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

Did you join us for the FREE 5 Day activity challenge? To keep the fun going, and keep making memories with your kids, Jamie has a program called The Activity Room that I know you’ll love, so I have to share about it just a bit, plus it is only open for enrollment a few times a year and enrollment JUST opened TODAY.

What this means for you, right now — is that The Activity Room is open for enrollment only through this Thursday, January 24th. After that time, she’ll close down to focus on her members and won’t open the doors again until May.

 

 

 

 

Field Trip Friday: It’s A Zoo Life

received_356184181616358.jpeg

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

It has been awhile since I have done a field trip Friday post, but I’m very excited to share our latest field trip with you! I had wanted to take my four year old back to our state zoo since his birthday in April but the timing and weather have just not worked out. However, we found this smaller zoo that is closer to home and a great day trip for us. I’m so glad we took the time to check out and plan to go back and visit again.

This is no ordinary zoo; this facility is the large backyard of a family home and includes over 85 animals. Unlike many zoos where you just walk through and read signs while looking for the animals, each person who visits It’s A Zoo Life takes a guided tour including a variety of animal encounters.

With-in seconds of our group walking through the gate with our tour guide the children were in an enclosure and petting kangaroos. As an adult that was an amazing experience and the children were even more thrilled than I was.  They were soft and gentle animals and you could tell that they were very comfortable in their environment and with their caretakers.  Then the camel in the next enclosure came walking over and the children were able to pet him through the fence. As a Campbell University graduate, I’m a big fan of camels!

There were some animals like a Watusi Bull and several emus that we viewed from behind the enclosure while the guide told us more about the various species and the stories of the individual animals. There were other animals such as a variety of turtles and tortoises that they children could pet and even some goats. The goats and a bird which we saw later were the only two that my four year old was brave enough to pet but my older two children were much more interactive with the animals.

I think my twelve year old son’s favorite animal was the wolf! The wolf was 90% wolf and 10% Malamute and we were able to be in the enclosure with the wolf and get quite close to it though we did not touch it. I was very impressed with their policy of only allowing you to touch animals that were comfortable with it and allowing them to go back into their homes at any point. There were also a variety of barnyard type animals including chickens, sheep, ducks, and goats.

The last two animals that we had the chance to see were a talking bird which would sit on your arm or shoulder and a sloth. I had seen a sloth at another local science museum but it is far away and rather hard to see. This one we were able to see up close and watch it hang from a tree and then later walk itself back into the house.

Our tour guide was very personable and knowledgeable and did a great job teaching the children about the various animals. They had a chance to ask any questions they had about the animals as we went through the tour. When the tour was over we were able to utilize their picnic area which includes some nice tables and chairs underneath a large tent for shade. There was also a bouncy house and some playground equipment for the children to enjoy when they were finished with their lunches.

Unlike many zoos you did need reservations to get into Its a Zoo Life since all admissions include a guided tour. They offer tours Tuesday through Saturday at 10 am and 1pm. You can make individual or group reservations. I highly recommend group reservations if it is an option both because it is a significant savings and because it was a lot of fun for the children to do together.

In addition to running the tours, the zoo has recently begun a television show on TLC, Our Wild Life. We had not seen it prior to our visit but the children were so excited that we watched the first episode that night when we got home. It is very much like many reality shows, a bit corny and staged, but the children loved it and are still talking about it a week later.

Overall, this was a great field trip for a family or group. While you may not see as many animals as you would at a typical zoo, you certainly get a more up close and personal experience with the animals. Many of these animals are rescues that needed a safe home.  All of my children enjoyed the trip and would like to go back again soon.  Do you have a zoo near you that you enjoy visiting?

 

Where: 4313 NC Hwy 42, Macclesfield, North Carolina

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday through Saturday (10 am and 1 pm tours)

Costs: $20 ages 6 and up $10 ages 2-5

Homeschool Discount: Homeschool Groups get a rate of $10 per person 2 and up (under 2 free)

Website: https://www.itsazoolife.com/

Food: You can pre-order meals if you desire or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy at their picnic area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Deals and Freebies

Amazon has put Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 on sale and there is a coupon on the page to make it even cheaper! This is a great Christmas gift.

Free I”m Thankful For…. Book from Amazon! (Always check prices as they are subject to change)

The 2018 Lego Advent Set is on sale right now for only $21.97. If you are looking for one grab it soon because they typically sell out!

2018-fall-harvest-special-ban-240x400-2

FREE Fall in Love with Science e-book from Apologia

The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends Only .99 on Kindle! We love Beatrix Potter’s stories and this one includes her original illustrations.

Sunny Under the Sea  Free (always double check because Amazon changes prices regularly!)

Wind in the Willows on Audio for only $2.95

Alice in Wonderland on Audible for less than $1!!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Fantasy and Fairytales StoryBuilders from Write Shop!

 

 

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Thankful Thursday: The Three ‘F’s

FriendsField Trips&Family Time

When I decided to homeschool our children everyone from family to strangers had an opinion on what was best. Some folks thought we were crazy, some assumed I had lots of patience, some were encouraging, and some shared their concerns that our children would be missing out. For the record homeschool moms do not naturally have more patience than non-homeschool moms, but that is a post for another day.

Some of the most common concerns that people had are actually reasons that I am most thankful to be going ‘back to homeschool’ for another year of learning and growing as a family. Today we are going to discuss the three ‘F’s.  Friends and field trips were two things that some people assumed my homeschooled children would be missing out on. The thrid ‘F’ concern was family time, not a lack of it but having too much time together.

20180510_142853

Friends (or socialization) is a homeschool concern that is shared so much that it is a running joke in most homeschool circles. While there are exceptions both with homeschoolers and traditionally schooled children, homeschoolers in general have no lack of friends or social opportunities. In a regular school setting my children would spend the majority of their waking hours with the same group of same age children each day. In our lives as homeschoolers my children interact with many different groups of people throughout the week.

They have friends that are younger, friends that are older, and they interact with a variety of adults. When I look at my life outside of a classroom, my social interactions and my friends are made up of a variety of people from all ages and walks of life. In the natural flow of life we interact with a variety of people and I’m thankful that my children get that opportunity so frequently. They have friends they hike with, friends they do 4H with, friends in church, Trail Life, American Heritage Girls, friends that live in our town, friends that live several towns over, and a even a few friends we have to go visit out of state.

20170601_142510
Field Trip to Roanoke Island Festival Park

Field trips are one of the best educational opportunities available. When I was a student I enjoyed them and then as a teacher we used them to help provide experiences that would supplement our classroom instruction. In a school setting those opportunities were limited by funds, logistics, and often county policy. Funds can still be a limiting factor in our homeschool at times but we are able to take advantage of many opportunities for field trips and real life learning experiences. Everything from our twice monthly group hikes to a family trip to Washington DC become fun and educational trips. My children have had far more field trip opportunities in our homeschool than they would have had in a traditional school setting. I have not set up all of our trips but I already know in September that they will attend a concert, two hikes, apple picking, a visit to the mountains, and a trip to a cheese factory.

20180513_094942_002

The third ‘F’ is family time and honestly it is the one that makes me the saddest. This is the one where they tell me they couldn’t’ stand to be with their children all day. I don’t want to paint some unrealistic rosy picture where I never get frustrated with my children and I don’t enjoy a quiet dinner out with my husband on occasion. However, I am so very grateful that I have the opportunity to be with my children each day. I am the one that gets to teach them and share life with them. Of course there are days when I just want to lock myself in the closet with a candy bar for a few minutes of golden silence, but all in all I love doing life with my family. Homeschooling means that we can travel together, eat our meals together, spend time with my husband around his work schedule, and continue to learn and grow together.

Those are three of the many reasons that I’m thankful to homeschool. I’d love for you to share the reasons you are thankful to homeschool.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Back to School Bundle Sale going on now!! Back to Homeschool Online Course Bundle

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Check out these posts from other Review Crew Members:
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

5-Days-of-Homeschool-Encouragement-2018-small

Field Trip Friday: Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

20180429_121234

During our whirlwind mid-Atlantic trip we made our way as far north as Pennsylvania before heading back home to North Carolina. We made a lot of stops and saw some really neat places. We all enjoyed the trip but everyone had their own favorites. For my husband and twelve year old son, Gettysburg National Battlefield Park was certainly one of the highlights. This was a ‘bucket list’ item that we were all grateful to have the chance to visit.

Due to our schedule we only had about half a day to visit Gettysburg. If you are interested in history you could easily spend two days at the park in order to get the full experience. To make the most of our time we chose to purchase the guided tour on CD. We wanted the benefit of the guided information but the flexibility of being in our own vehicle on our own schedule. With a four year old and a baby we sometimes need to stop more frequently than a regular tour would allow. Having the tour CD also gave us the opportunity to listen to parts of the story later even if we did not have time to see the entire park that morning.

The CDs told the story of the Battle of Gettysburg as well as the Gettysburg Address. They gave us directions to follow and told the story of each location as we drove. There were various stops along the way to get a closer view of some of the monuments and other important locations. There were three different tour options depending on the amount of time you had for your tour.  The stories and the sound effects were riveting and well done. It made it easy to imagine that you were there watching the battle those many years ago.

For those that prefer an actual guide to the CDs they offer both bus tours and guided tours where you pay a tour guide to ride in your personal vehicle as you tour through the park.

On the day we were there it was unseasonably cool but sunny. We had the opportunity to talk with a reenacting group that had set up a camp near one of the monuments. This allows for the children to see what they would have been wearing, eating, and even the sleeping conditions.  They also offer various walking tours and demonstrations throughout the park at different times and dates. You can check the calendar prior to arriving or check at the ranger desk inside the visitors center for that day’s schedule.

Since we decided to spend the afternoon at the Eisenhower National Historic Site we did not get a chance to watch the movie or tour the museum that are inside of the visitors center.  You can enter the visitors center for free (this is where you will get your National Park Passport stamp if you participate in that program) to enjoy the restaurants, gift shop, restrooms, and information desks. However, admission to the museum and movie areas are ticketed.  If your children wish to participate in the Junior Ranger program you will also want to stop here when you first arrive to get the free Junior Ranger booklet for them to work on as you complete your tour.

If we are able to make it back in the future I look forward to visiting the museum. You can find more information about the museum portion of Gettysburg on the Gettysburg Foundation website.

We felt that this was a wonderful field trip. There is so much to see and learn at Gettysburg and it has an important place in American History. I truly recommend it to anyone that can make the trip. If you cannot make an actual trip to Gettysburg, there are many videos and pictures on the website. They even have a virtual tour of the National Cemetery.

 

 

Where: 1195 Baltimore Pike Gettysburg, PA 17325

Hours of Operation:

Park Grounds and Roads

April 1 – October 31: The park is open daily from 6 am – 10 pm
November 1 – March 31: The park is open daily from 6 am – 7pm

Museum and Visitor Center

April 1 – October 31: 8 am – 6 pm
November 1 – March 31: 9 am – 5 pm

Costs: Visitors Center and Grounds are Free. The museum and other features have varying ticket prices. There are also paid tours available.

Homeschool Discount: There are group rates available for the museum and film.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm

Food:

There is a restaurant and snack bar back at the Gettysburg Visitors Center. There are also places for picnics.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Deals and Freebies!!

 

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

The Last Archer (Green Ember Series) is only $.99 (prices subject to change)

The Black Star of Kingston (Green Ember Series) is FREE (again always check Amazon changes prices frequently)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Field Trip Friday: Eisenhower National Historic Site

 

20180429_133020
Living Room Portrait

The Gettysburg battlefield site is huge, so with this in mind, we almost didn’t go to the adjoining Eisenhower Farm. In hindsight, we’re glad to have taken a couple of hours and made the short bus ride.

The Eisenhower National Historic Site is the only home that Dwight Eisenhower ever owned. The home and farm are adjacent to the Gettysburg National Park and can only be accessed by shuttle bus from the Gettysburg Visitors Center.

When we stepped off of the shuttle there was a Park Ranger waiting to tell us about the home and begin our tour. This was a guided tour through the only house that Dwight Eisenhower ever owned. When asked later my 12 year old son said that was the fact that impressed him most from the tour.  It was a lovely house but not grand or magnificent. It felt very family oriented and ‘down to earth’.  The decorating style was very typical of the 50s and reminded me very much of my grandmothers home. There were lovely porcelain figurines in the formal living room and pink tile in one of the bathrooms. My daughter was surprised to learn that he only had one television set (though we also only have one in our home).

Once you completed the tour of the home you were free to do a self guided tour of the grounds and visit the gift shop. We did not have a lot of time and were unable to see most of the farm but the areas that we saw were beautiful. My son really appreciated that he had his own skeet range. At the gift shop and visitors center you can watch a short film about Eisenhower, see some displays about his career and get the materials to complete a Junior Secret Service agent badge program. This is a cute program similar to the Junior Park Ranger program that is available at many sites. Each child gets a free workbook and upon completion of a set number of activities receives a badge and certificate.

This was a great way to start our study of the Cold War. The guide in the house even told us a story of how Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev  had actually visited with Eisenhower and his three ‘secret weapons’ (his grandkids) at the home. My children found that story so interesting that it was the part most retold to people when they asked about our visit.

We were only able to spend about two hours at the Eisenhower National Historic Site but if I were planning a trip and had the time available I’d say you really need 3 or 4 hours to see everything and get the most out of the trip. It is free for fourth graders and their families with the ‘Every Kid in a Park’ pass but otherwise costs $9 for adults and $5 for children.

If this sounds interesting but you can’t make it to Pennsylvania to see it in person they also offer this free virtual tour for kids. There is also an online version of the Junior Secret Service Program.

 

Where: 1195 Baltimore Street Gettysburg, PA 17325 (This site is adjacent to Gettysburg National park and only accessible via a shuttle from Gettysburg National Park)

Hours of Operation:

 MAY 1 – MAY 25
The Eiesenhower Shuttle Bus will depart from the Gettysburg National Military Park bus station at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm.MAY 26 – OCTOBER 28:
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Eiesenhower Shuttle Bus will depart from the Gettysburg National Military Park bus station every hour.

Costs:

Tickets:
Adults (ages 13+): $9.00
Youth (ages 6-12): $5.00
Kids (ages 5 and under): Free

Group Rates:
Groups of 16+ (ages 6-12): $5.00 per person
Groups of 16+ (ages 13+): $7.00 per person

Homeschool Discount: Included with your 4th graders Free National Parks Pass

Website: https://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm

Food:

There are drinks available for sale in the gift shop on site and there is a restaurant and snack bar back at the Gettysburg Visitors Center.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Deals and Freebies!!

 

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

LAST DAY for enrolling in the annual You Are An Artist Clubhouse Subscription! Suumer Art Camp starts today!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.