Webcast – Summer Field Trips

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Today we will be discussing Field Trips.  The summertime is a great time to go and do some field trips that you might not have had time to do during the school year or because of weather.  So start thinking, where would you just love to take your children.

For me, and it might just be the teacher coming out in me, but I always like to have an educational reason for my field trips.  I also like to do as much documenting as I can so I can count the trip as part of our school.  Here in MS, our home school laws are pretty lienent, but I know that in some of the other states the laws are much more rigid and you will need to be careful how you document you home school.  So start now and always keep the habit of documenting your field trips.  One way to do this is to keep a journal.  I have one just for field trips.  I include dates, times, destinations, related subjects, any work perform, and pictures.  Pictures are something that I feel gives legitimacy to your field trip.  Also if you keep a lesson plan book, make sure you document the field trip in your lesson plan.

I have two Field Trip checklists that are available.  I have changed them to accommodate homeschoolers.  Both are checklists to help you, as the field trip coordinator,  make sure not to forget anything important.  But if you think of something else that needs to go on my checklist, please let me know.

Now let’s discuss the actual field trips.  There are so many places that you can take your child and make a learning experience out of it.  So let’s start by making a list.  When you are making your list think in terms of subjects or local attractions.  Subjects would be science, history, geography, geology, etc.  Local attractions would be something like Elvis’ birthplace.  Which is where we live.  We also have furniture factories, a buffalo park/zoo and a new Toyota plant.  Think also of people you know.  Do you know anyone that owns a business that might make a good field trip.  We know a couple that have retired and have opened a pottery place.  You can go there and make your own pottery from start to finish. Things like that make great field trips.

History places are wonderful as well and during the Summer many places have days dedicated to children.  Here in North MS, we have many Civil War sites and monuments.  This Friday one of those places are having a Kids’ Discovery Day.  It’s free, but also very educational.  The best way to find these things out is to just call.  But also look in your newspaper.  One new way that I have found is Facebook.  I just found a Facebook group that is dedicated to keeping families informed about things going on in our area.  I’m not sure how you would find these kinds of groups, but it can’t hurt to search.

But even if there is no kid’s day, you can still have a great field trip.  One of the first things I like to do when we visit a history site is to read about it.  I’ve found that our local libraries do a great job of having books on places in our state.  So go and see what you can find at the library.  Also the historical place itself will have literature that tells all about its History.

Another great idea is to do a couple of lessons on the site before visiting.  This seems to make a huge difference in the children and what they learn.  Some suggestions are:

Salt maps



Mini-books/lapbook components

Make weapons or tools used during that time period.

And of course read books

Another thing I have learned through the years is that inviting other families can make an ordinary field trip, Great!  So if you are a member of a home school group, you might put in the newsletter that you are planning this trip.  If not you might just invite some friends to go with you.  The checklists that I have available take into account others going on the field trip with you.

So let’s look at the checklists.  And remember if you have any suggestions to be added to the checklist, just let me know.

I have a lesson plan full of activities for Summer Science Fun that is available.  It is for sale for $3.  If anyone is interested in purchasing this, just email me or leave a message on my blog.  I use paypal and I’ll give you the information to send the money and then I’ll email you the file.  These lesson plans include things like taking a Nature Scavenger Hunt, making a “Soda Bottle Terrarium”, studying about clouds and making a cloud in a bottle, and much, much more.

While looking for the field trip file I had saved, I found another great resource I had saved sometime in the past.  It is called “Field Trip Notebook Pages”.  It can be found at http://www.thetravelingpraters.com/ .  It looks like a great resource to journal your adventures during the Summer.

I’d like to invite everyone to the upcoming webcasts on The Homeschool Channel .  Today, June 6, 2012, there will a webcast titled “Fun Summer Activities for Homeschoolers” hosted by Susan Evans.  Tomorrow, June 7, 2012, The Justice Family will be hosting “Awesome Science”.  Both webcast begin at 3:30pm Central time.  So come on over and find out about some great Summer fun for your family.

Ok that is about all our time, so I’ll see you next week.

Webcast Schedule

June 12th – Lapbooking your Summer

June 19th – Making books

June 26th – File Folder Reports


Webcast – Using your local Library

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Today I would like to discuss how we can use our local library.  I know that many of you use your library on a regular basis.  Are you using it at it’s full capacity?  Are there programs that you could be involved in that you didn’t even know about?  Are there programs that you could help start or be involved in?

Here at our library, one of the ladies has started programs specifically for the homeschoolers in the area.  This first program has been almost an overview of the library and how to use the different sections and the Dewey Decimal system.  She is planning on doing some other programs as well.  I wonder if you there are many other communities that would benefit from a program like that?

This library is also doing a summer camp.  It is for ages 4 and 5 & 6 – 11 and will take place in July for one week.  I’m not exactly sure what they will be doing, but I know they will have crafts and games.  They also have a summer reading program like most libraries.

Some other programs here at our library are a monthly game night and a weekly storytime.  It is for families and is a way to get families together and children off the computers and game boys for a little while.  There is also going to be a Literacy Workshop for children that don’t like to read.  They will be using the book, “Dussie” and will be tying it into a science project fair.  The Tweens and Teens group will have the opportunity to participate in a Science Fair and could win a Kindle Fire or a Nook.   They will also be having a Lock-in for the teens and tweens where they will be doing activities related to the book “The Hunger Games”.

I went to my library to find out if there were programs that I wasn’t aware of and got most of the information I just gave you.  But I also found out that they do beginner computer classes.  I went and talked to the lady in charge of the classes and discussed having computer classes for the home school children.  She was very receptive and wanted to start working on it right away. I think we could have many more programs if we would just take the time to suggest them and help out with them.

Using your library can be very easy.  Finding books that go along with whatever you are studying and also finding videos to enhance your learning are the most common things homeschoolers do at the library.  But did you know your library has classes, one seminars and much more available to you?

During the summer many libraries have programs for children to come and participate in.  Our library has this program.  There will be people reading books aloud, some arts and crafts, and a magician.  You might check with your library and see if they have something like this going on this summer.  If not, ask about getting it started.  Remember you might be just the person to get some great things going at your library.

If your library doesn’t offer some of these programs, you might go and suggest them.  Also I believe all children need to understand the Dewey Decimal system, so I have put together a “Tic Tac Toe” board (well a friend of mine came up with it) to help children understand the system.  The summer is a wonderful time to do this little reading project.  Your child will read different books from the sections of the Dewey Decimal system.  They will also read Biographies and Fiction titles as well.  When they have completed their board, they should be rewarded with a prize of some sort.  If you have a home schooling group, you might want to do this with other homeschoolers.  Our board looks like this.  If you are interested in this board just email me and I’ll send it to you.  My email is  cstanley@afr.net

I hope this webcast has been of some help to you.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know.  Also I would love some suggestions on topics for future webcasts.

Thanks and I’ll see you next week.


Some Summer fun ideas!

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Here are some great Summer fun ideas:  To go to the page, just click on the image.

water sponge balls

super slip and slide

homemade sidewalk chalk


melty crayon colors

ice diggers

Very lonely firefly craft

summer journaling

I love this idea, so I made a journaling sheet myself.  I haven’t figured out how to add a document, so If you would like a copy of my sheet just email me.

New Resources

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I have found some great resources and I thought I would pass them onto “you.

This is a wonderful site called “Growth of a Nation” –  http://www.animatedatlas.com/movie2.html   It is a movie that you watch and listen to narration about how our country has expanded through the years.  A timeline is included at the bottom of the screen.

This site is full of great vocabulary games.  I sat here for an hour playing one after another.  http://www.vocabulary.co.il/

This site has reading and math assessments.  http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/title1/resource/select/index.shtm

If you like the Magic Treehouse books, you can go to this site and your child can take quizs on each book.  http://www.magictreehouse.com/

I also found a great writing prompt site, but I can’t find the address.  It was so good I went ahead and made cards for it and Abby has loved doing it.  So I thought I would just explain it.  There are four sets of cards, Character, setting, time, and situation.  Each set has 10 cards with a different prompt on it.  Your child them picks a # from 1 to 10 for each set.  Then they write a story with the prompts they picked.  Here are the cards:

Characters: 1) a new mother, 2) a photographer, 3) a recent high school graduate, 4) a restaurant owner or manager, 5) an alien from outer space, 6) a homeless child, 7) a 93-year old woman, 8)an environmentalist, 9) a college student, 10) a jazz musician.

Setting: 1) near a National forest, 2) a wedding reception, 3) a celebration party, 4) an expensive restaurant, 5) a shopping mall, 6) a city park, 7) the porch of an old farmhouse, 8)a polluted stream, 9) a college library, 10) a concert hall.

Time: 1) during a forst fire, 2) after a fight, 3) the night of high school graduation, 4) after a big meal, 5) sometime in December, 6) late at night, 7) after a big thunderstorm has passed, 8)in early Spring, 9) first week of the school year, 10) during a concert.

Situation: 1) an important decision needs to be made, 2) a secret needs to be confessed to someone else, 3) a bully is bothering the main character, 4) a death has occurred, 5) someone has found or lost something, 6) someone has accussed someone else of doing something wrong, 7) a friend has confessed stealing some money, 8)someone feels like giving up, 9) something embarrassing has just happened, 10) someone has reached an important goal.

I hope you can understand that.  If not just email me.



Summer Bucket List


I found a website that is hosting a Summer Bucket List.


So We’ve decided to make one for ourselves.  So here it goes:

1.  Go to the beach

2. Go to the zoo in Memphis

3.  Roast marshmellows in the backyard.

4.  Go to a Memphis Red Birds game.

5.  Catch fireflys and observe them.

6.  Play disc golf as a family.

7.  Play putt putt golf.

8. Participate in Summer Reading program at the library.

9.  Go to Summer Movies at mall.

**More to come **