Sunday, May 4, 2014

B - Big Field Trip Appeal

Thinking outside the box……Life learning……Living History…… do most homeschoolers teach this?  One of our favorite ways of doing this is …. a field trip.

Our kids used to get excited when I said field trip.  Now they cringe…..they seriously say, “Do we HAVE to go?”  As homeschoolers, there are so many opportunities for learning.  I love planning field trips for our local groups.  I dig and dig through area websites looking for unique opportunities.  I also have several people that send me ideas.  I even watch a show on our local PBS channel about area attractions to get ideas.  I do this work though, because going to fun places to learn is always more fun with friends.

Planning field trips entails a lot of work of planning and organizing.  I start out researching by scouring websites for unique opportunities.  I also look at a list of suggestions that people have given me.  I have been known to spend a few hours scouring websites.  Then there’s phone tag with the place I am thinking of setting up a trip too.  Tracking attendance and ages of the attendees.  Some places cap the attendance, some only allow certain ages, some want the admission fee collected early and the list of questions never ends. 

I have been a little too relaxed lately on these matters.  I guess I have gotten a little burnt out because of some issues lately.  After thinking about it, I decided that I need to reach out to the homeschooling community.  To implore to you and see if these issues are something that you all are feeling and see if we can change things to make them better.

The biggest issue that I have experienced lately is last minute cancellations. 

This wouldn’t bother me so much, except they wait until the morning of the trip to decide they are too busy.  Didn't they realize a week ago that their children have sports practice at the same time or they are going on vacation the day after the field trip and they might be running behind. (These are all hypothetical by the way.)  This is frustrating because when you need to verify a set number of attendees and have already called totals into the field trip location it produces a bad situation with the field trip location.  They bring in extra help to handle a specific number of students.  When a group shows up with drastically less numbers, we as a group look unappreciative of the location's efforts to help us and a complete disrespect for the docents' efforts and time.

Another issue with field trips is people that just do not show up.  

They respond, and are counted in the totals.  The group waits and waits at the location and the tour starts late because we waited for them.  This affects both our group’s time and the docents' time.  It creates a real inconvenience for everyone involved.  Again remember most places have brought in extra people.  Then they are standing around and have nothing to do.  I always feel so bad and apologize profusely for those that didn’t show.  

Please also if you are responding to a field trip calendar, check the location and time, and payment options if there are any.  Some places require one-payment, and not multiple ones.  Bring exact change.  Dealing with large groups and collecting payments is a bit stressful.  Please do not heap more stress on the person planning the trip.   Location is important.  If you don’t like to drive long distances, please do not respond.  Mapquest or Google map the location to check and see if it’s even a possibility. 

We all live busy lives.  As homeschoolers though, I feel like we overlook and take things for granted.  We are very fortunate to have many “outing” opportunities.  I actually need to really look at the calendar carefully before making a commitment now.  I can very easily overbook myself.  I have to catch myself before I respond to the calendars, and really look at my week and see if the activity will work out for the kids and me.

I have had to cancel a few things last minute lately and I feel horrible.   I personally know how much work is put into field trips, and I feel like I have wasted that planner’s time.

But I am making a conscious effort to make sure to respect those outing planners and their time.  I ask you fellow homeschoolers, would you please show respect for your field trip planner’s time also?? 

Before you respond to an invite:

  • Check your schedule and look to make sure that you can attend or want to attend.  
  • Check the location.  
  • Check if there is a fee  

Write these things on your calendar so that you can budget for the trip better.   Respond to the person posting the event with how many students and adults will be attending.  If payment needs to be mailed, get it done ASAP.

Last minute illness and family emergencies do happen.  We all know that, and that is not what I am referring too.   But please think twice before you cancel last minute on a field trip for reasons other than these.  How would you feel if you spent the time planning and making arrangements and was left standing apologizing to a group of docents? 

Linking up with other moms at Blogging through the Alphabet....

Ben and Me

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