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Home Product Catalog Top 20 Q & A Shipping Info Meet Authors Customer Reviews Family Travel Blog Family Travel Mom Homeschool Help Updates Group Sales Fundraisers Wholesale Buyers Media School Speakers Print and Mail Specials

 

UPDATES
Home Product Catalog Top 20 Q & A Shipping Info Meet Authors Customer Reviews Family Travel Blog Family Travel Mom Homeschool Help Updates Group Sales Fundraisers Wholesale Buyers Media School Speakers Print and Mail Specials

 

UPDATES
Home Product Catalog Top 20 Q & A Shipping Info Meet Authors Customer Reviews Family Travel Blog Family Travel Mom Homeschool Help Updates Group Sales Fundraisers Wholesale Buyers Media School Speakers Print and Mail Specials

 

Homeschool Help
Home Product Catalog Top 20 Q & A Shipping Info Meet Authors Customer Reviews Family Travel Blog Family Travel Mom Homeschool Help Updates Group Sales Fundraisers Wholesale Buyers Media School Speakers Print and Mail Specials

 

 

The Best Part of Homeschooling - Field Trips!

Hi Friends! Meeting thousands of you each year at the annual home educators conventions got me thinking – many folks never get to hear my little “kwips” about how we've approached “school on the road.”

Besides my love for knowing exactly what is being taught to my kids (and bubbling my adult curiosity), Home Educating has the wonderful privilege of field trips! Let’s take advantage of this time with our kids and let me share some tips that make field trips and corresponding workbooks fun!

 - Michele Z

 

Just to get our feet wet, let’s explore the basics of how to use products from KidsLoveTravel.com to plan science/history-related curriculum and field trips.

Any touristy website or guide book is going to lead you straight to the major attractions – amusements, children’s museums, huge historical parks, etc.  Sure, our KIDS LOVE TRAVEL GUIDES have them, but quite often they are not our favorites things to do in each state.  The real “meat” of our family mission are those hidden gems that we discovered over 10 years, 5000 places with our kids, and 275,000 miles!  Here’s some categories in our ACTIVITY INDEX to examine closer at various stages:

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PreschoolersAnimals & Farms, Museums (children’s)

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Early Elementary – Adventure – boats, trains Tours, Outdoor Exploring

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Late ElementaryHistory, Science, Factory Tours, The Arts

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Teens – High Adventure – Tours, Outdoor Exploring, Sports, Amusements - invite friends along and buy pizza for meals

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Grandparents History / Seasonal & Special Events – especially bring them along to a war reenactment, ice cream social festival, fall harvest or Christmas open house. Old-fashioned memories flow…and, it gives seniors an opportunity to share some of their heritage in a fun setting – without Grandpa Harry’s boring slide shows.

Planning a Field Trip

Ok, now you know how to use our Activity Index to determine WHAT TYPES of things are best suited to your kid’s age, but what about how to plan that day trip? Each chapter of our books is a Day Trip region – a two hour radius of the state. Once you’ve chosen 1-2 places or events that you want to see most, find that chapter (for example, Northeast) and stay there.  Browse through the listings and choose 2 to 3 more sites that pique your interest.  (Note: often, it’s best to let each child pick one thing they really want to do – so, at some point in the day, everyone is happy ;-).  If you can’t easily decide, use our Chapter Favorites or Quick Tours itineraries (new books starting 2008) to plan it for you.

Workshop Handouts - Click State Name or Topic

How Do We Combine Field Trips with Curriculum-based Products?

Here’s my suggestions (tried and true) based on grade levels:

bulletPRESCHOOLERS: Since we’re promoting Animals & Farms, let’s stay with that. Really, just the experience of seeing animals and watching them is learning enough. Sometimes, the kids want to take that home with them and you may want to purchase some picture books from the gift shop before you leave. KidsLoveTravel.com has an Invisible Ink book set on Animals and there’s a Travel Mystery about Zoos and one about Aquariums that you can read to them. There are Vocabulary and related activities suggested in every book. bulletEARLY ELEMENTARY (grades K-3): Adventure and Outdoor Exploring are the name of the game with this age. I recommend Travel Bingo for the road trip to your destination. It teaches kids the power of observation (Science) and word association (Language Arts). If you’re going on a historical boat, trolley or train tour – or, maybe to a historical re-enactment festival – what better way to sneak in curriculum than the State Activity Books. Start with the Coloring Book (grades K-2) or begin the Big Activity Book. Add the colorful Pocket Guide so they really catch the feeling that their state history is really fun! (if you’re traveling out-of-state, try the new USA Big Activity Book). All of the State Activity Books also cover Natural History so it would tie into that trip to a State Park or Nature Center. Introduce Travel Mysteries as part of your Reading time (aloud or silent). Let the kids choose titles that really interest them the most – for example, Pirates or Disney. bulletLATE ELEMENTARY (grades 4-6): Ok, this is the prime age to really input a ton of basic history and science. Normally, boring, right? Not the way we do it! Hands-on attractions and workbooks full of fun and games force boredom out and stimulation in! State History is a requirement at this age. So, I recommend two products that correlate with the State Standards: 1. State Big Activity Books (best for 3rd-5th grade) – less intense, for casual styles. Better pick up a State Pocket Guide too, as you’ll need to look up about 40 pages of answers to questions in the Big Book there. 2. State Dailies – a new spiral bound format that allows the self-guided student to read a little background and then complete the simple puzzle or problems (best for 4th-7th graders) each day or each week. I like the fact that this is really a Unit Study that covers requirements in Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Vocabulary), History, Math, Government, etc. – not just History. Many History and Science Museum websites have specific online activity sheets you can supplement with. If you’re writing a report on a historical figure, several websites now provide excellent biographical information of that individual during the time period they lived at the site. (Note: beginning in 2008, we’re now including Educator information in our listings). If you’re wondering which attractions are out there, be sure to consult your KIDS LOVE TRAVEL GUIDE in the “History” section of the Activity Index. This is also the perfect age to encourage strong reading skills correlated to other disciplines. Any of you that have met me at a show know how passionate I am about Family Travel, but also how excited I am about the new series of Travel Mysteries or, “History Mysteries”, as I fondly call them. In these books, real kids go on a field trip and something disappears. The kids in the story (ages 6-14) use clues from historic sites in the area to solve the mystery. You can easily tackle subjects like the Underground Railroad, the Gold Rush, Colonial Times (Jamestown), or the Revolutionary War (Freedom Trail) with mysteries! Kids read the mystery first. Once you’ve got them interested, then use the Teacher’s Guides (Unit Studies) to solidify it all. They relate the storyline to problems in Math, Vocabulary, Writing, Spelling, Science (often a cooking project), Art, Geography and History – you get everything but music lessons in one booklet! Each booklet has two options: a read-aloud group/family path or traditional worksheet pages. Try a few sets out and see if your kids don’t love it… bulletMIDDLE SCHOOL (grades 7-8): To prepare for High School, there is a strong school focus on understanding timelines of U.S. History & Government and a good control of Essay Writing. I’ve already introduced the State Dailies as your curriculum guide for State History (usually done already in 4th or 5th grade). If you haven’t completed a unit on your State History – you better get it done soon. For those of us that have completed Elementary State History, we’re kind of in the “shadow years” of pure curriculum at this age – nothing quite fits. Still, there’s a Middle School requirement to complete another unit on State History and Government as it relates to U.S. History. This group craves Adventure– so give it to them! Here’s the best (and cheapest) way I know how to tackle it: 1. Use our KIDS LOVE TRAVEL GUIDES “History” column in the Activity Index. Choose maybe 10 historical places or events that cover several different time periods. Because our reviews focus on what we discern as the most engaging aspects of each attraction for KIDS (not how many awards they’ve won or what cafes or shopping they have on site – a common online tourism bent), you can easily choose the best picks for your family that allows you to absorb the most educational value. 2. Next, contact the Education Director personally to schedule your visit. Education Directors are thrilled to hear from folks who really want to learn – that’s why they are in their position. The Director will either direct you to the attraction’s online lesson plans and activity sheets or send them to you by mail. Usually, this is FREE of charge or a very minimal charge. You’ll find resources to read before your visit, activities to do during your visit, and then tests to take afterwards. (Note: beginning in 2008, we’re now including Educator information in our listings). Guess what, you just acquired your History & Government curriculum!

Geocaching and Letterboxing

Geocaching and Letterboxing are the ultimate treasure hunt and can add excitement and fun to your driving, camping and hiking experiences. You'll need a GPS receiver that will determine your position on the planet in relation to the cache's "waypoint," its longitude/latitude coordinates. You can buy a decent GPS receiver for around $100. More expensive ones have built-in electronic compasses and topographical maps. Geocaching employs the use of a GPS device (global positioning device) to find the cache. Letterboxing uses clues from one location to the next to find the letterbox; sometimes a compass is needed. Both methods use the Internet advertising the cache, providing basic maps and creating a forum for cache hunters.

bulletGeocaching - The object of Geocaching is to find the hidden container filled with a logbook, pencil and sometimes prizes! Where are Caches? Everywhere! But to be safe, be sure you're treading on Public Property. When you find the cache, write your name and the date you found it in the logbook. Larger caches might contain maps, books, toys, even money! When you take something from the cache you are honor-bound to leave something else in its place. Usually cache hunters will report their individual cache experiences on the Internet. (www.geocaching.com). bulletLetterboxing - The object is similar to geocaching — find the Letterbox — but instead of just signing and dating the logbook, use a personalized rubber stamp. Most letterboxes include another rubber stamp for your own logbook. The creator of the letterbox provides clues to its location. Finding solutions to clues might require a compass, map and solving puzzles and riddles! This activity is great fun for the entire family! (www.letterboxing.org)

 

 
 

Kids Love Travel Guides

State Activity Books

Invisible Ink Books

Best Travel Games

 Travel  Mystery Books

Best-selling family travel guides available for: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland (includes DC), Michigan, Missouri, North & South Carolina (the Carolinas), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee   & (Virginia (includes DC), Wisconsin. Interstate Guides for I-75 AND I-95 TOO!

Kids will learn about State History, Geography, People, Places, Nature, Animals, Holidays, Legend, Lore and much, much more by completing these enriching activities. Includes dot-to-dots, mazes, coloring, matching, word searches, riddles, crossword puzzles, word jumbles, writing, and many other creative activities. Available for all states listed at left.

 The ever popular series from Lee Publications that you remember as a child is still available! Many categories to choose from including, Mr. Mystery, Disney, Know Now, Guess & Show, Mazes, Bible, and more!

 So many choices for hours of backseat fun and entertainment. Auto Bingo (4 varieties)

Our kids love these books! A great way to engage the kids and learn about places they may visit. An EXCITING new series of mystery books for kids ages 7 to 14 featuring REAL KIDS in REAL PLACES! This series plunks real children in a current-day adventure mystery set in famous settings across America.