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Field trips--fitting them in

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Field trips--fitting them in
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Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

Post Field trips--fitting them in Reply with quote
I wasn't sure if I should put this here or in the "Parent Interaction" section so I will cross post. I'm welcoming advice and experience from everyone.

How is it recommended/how do YOU handle field trips and still do the recommended amount of daily work? I've found that over the last two years, I've started to decline field trips more and more that might be interesting and fun because it will mean that daily work won't be done "on schedule" and finished within the year.

As a bit of context, I normally schedule out 3 formal days of school per week year round. This means we are in the classroom, doing our assigned lessons per the Kolbe plans. We take Wednesday for roller skating in the morning and run errands in the afternoon or visit the library for new books to read. On Fridays, we do meal planning and grocery shopping and any leftover errands and during the warmer months, we host a homeschool park day in the afternoons. I'm left with a balance of about 4 weeks of actual down time which either becomes makeup time for sick days or the occasional day off. We don't have any breaks longer than a day or two for holidays. We normally do school work on all the Federal/State holidays since they typically fall on Mondays which is one of our regular school days. I do try to keep weekends open and strictly meant for family time together.

One of my kids is a competitive figure skater and the other is a very busy scout and competitive rock climber and they have afternoon commitments to their activities most days. They are 7 and 11 and in 2nd and 5th grades. We've been with Kolbe since my youngest started Kindergarten and my oldest was in 3rd grade. They do have good grades and neither of them is struggling in any areas.

I guess all of this is to say that we are ferociously busy but we manage to get everything finished. I know there was a poll about finishing course plans a while back and pretty much the responses were in the affirmative of actually finishing them.

So this leads me back to the real question. How do field trips/enrichment activities (especially those that are directly related to what they are studying) fit in? Should I/would you schedule them anyway and just count them as a school day and figure on one less day of formal work subtracted from the end of the year? I'm not sure how that even works in a traditional school environment.

Honestly, I feel a little exhausted and anxious over trying to fit everything in and complete all the assigned work. I'd love for them to have the experience of field trips related to their studies but I'm at a loss as to how to do it.

Thank you,

Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:43 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 123
Location: New York State

Post Reply with quote
I have this problem too. Extra events stress me out. This is how my week is ordered:

Mon-Thurs: working all day.
Friday morning: Co-op (plus whatever schoolwork needs to be finished on a 5th day)
Friday afternoon: Free.

Once a month, we have a Little Flowers / Blue Knights meeting with our Catholic homeschool group. That happens on Friday afternoon. I deliberately left Friday unscheduled, to give us a few hours of extra time in the week. This way, we could do a field trip, or play date, or some other event that is not planned for in the schedule. If it works out that the event is another day of the week, we have Friday afternoon to finish the school work. I have also been known to have them do some work on Saturday if the week got interrupted a lot.

Like you, we work on most national holidays. I just hate to get my weekly schedule mixed up. I plan for 36 weeks of school, then 6 weeks of light summer studies (mostly math). This leaves us another 10 weeks, which I place throughout the year. I do assume that we'll get behind, and make sure that there is time scheduled to be off spaced throughout the year that we will also be home, so I can use it for Catch-up. 5 of those weeks I WILL NOT let the kids do school, but the other 5 weeks just depend on how smoothly we stuck to our schedule.

I don't run errands at all during school hours (which I consider 9-4, even though we're not working for all of that time). I have pretty much decided that those hours, Monday through Friday will only be used for activities for the kids. I do make an exception if my dh has to work the night shift - then I will run my errands at lunch time while he's home, so I can go alone. And of course visits to the doctor/dentist/orthodontist etc... have to be done during school hours too, but anything else happens in the evening or on the weekend. It makes me less flexible than I thought I would be when I was looking forward to homeschooling, but it also makes me much more sane, and the kids happier.

Truth be told, we don't go on many field trips. My schedule only works if we keep the Monday - Thursday routine impeccable. So it was great in our first quarter, and then when the 2nd quarter illnesses came on (like they do every year, as though I plan it out or something), things broke down. We really needed that Friday afternoon just for catching up on what we were too tired to handle during the week. And we ended up getting behind and having to use scheduled "time off" to catch up. BUT, when my schedule is working, it does leave room for some level of spontaneity.
Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:55 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 572

Post Reply with quote
I pretty much plan Mon-Thursday as full days for my two in grammar school. My high schooler has pretty much a 5 day schedule although some Fridays may not have all the subjects.

Fridays for my younger two include art appreciation, a workbook page about our state (MN), working on a study saint curriculum (which alas doesn't appear to be available anymore--I bought it for my older two), spelling/vocab tests, timed math tests, sometimes a math assignment, and art/craft time.

We have never attended daily Mass daily, but I try to do First Friday and a quarterly homeschool Mass with friends.

We usually take off Holy Days of Obligation and usually end up doing some work on national holidays (except Thanksgiving) but not a full day as hubby is a state university employee. We try to do field trips on Holy Days (and still count that as a school day for our attendance record!). It is harder to fit in with Little Flowers once a month, picking up high schoolers from dual-enrolled college classes, and orthodontist/dental/doctors appointment. If we do a field trip, the work flows over to Friday and the saint curriculum, art appreciation, state workbook and art may be jettisoned. It was easier to do field trips before anyone hit high school.

Volunteer Kolbe Parent
Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:19 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 123
Location: New York State

Post Reply with quote
I realized I never mentioned the ages of my kids, and that that detail might be useful: I am teaching 4th grade, 2nd grade, and preschool, and also have a toddler along for the ride.

Another thing about the errands is that I am getting better about consolidating them. Like I said, I can't handle doing them during school hours, but our evenings feel busy too with 2 Irish dancers, a cub scout, and one who goes to religious ed one night a week. I pretty much do all of my shopping/errands on one evening a week, and I limit it to mostly groceries unless I really HAVE to go somewhere else. This year, while my dd is in sacramental prep classes on Monday nights at our church, we use that hour to shop at the wholesale club. I almost never go to the library anymore. If I need books, I try to "order" them online through the inter-library loan system, so that my trip to the library can be a quick stop on the way to somewhere else. If the kids actually go to the library, it will more likely be with dh on Saturday than with me. I don't do a good job of meal planning, but I do have it written in a schedule to be done on Friday nights after the kids go to bed.
Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:17 pm View user's profile Send private message
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