Field Trip Friday: North Carolina Zoo

We hadn’t been to the North Carolina Zoo in several years until earlier this week. We live about four hours from the zoo, so it is generally an overnight trip that takes a little more planning and budget.

This time we went with two other homeschooling families and stayed at a local campground. ( I am really enjoying having the flexibility of the camper.) It was a great trip, both for fun and for education.

I am excited to share more about the zoo with you today, as well as some tips and tricks for getting the most from your visit.

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A Little About the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. It is divided into two major sections: North America and Africa. As a natural habitat zoo, the animals are given larger habitats to roam. This is great for the animals and the experience, but it does mean more walking because they are spread out.

There are hundreds of different animals, from the large giraffes, elephants, and bison to tiny insects and birds. The zoo does a great job of showcasing each animal in its natural habitat, with lots of information about the animal and various conservation projects.

While some of the animals have lots of room to roam and can be further away, they provide a variety of viewing areas for those animals so that most of the time, you can get a good view from at least one of the animals.

Educational Benefits of a Field Trip to the Zoo

I love that the zoo is an educational trip for all ages. My younger children saw animals they had only read about in books. The older children had seen the animals before but learned more about conservation.

Any trip to the zoo can be educational, but we found that we get the most out of the trip by taking the time to visit the educational carts that are set up throughout the zoo. At these mobile carts, zoo educators have different displays and information to share with visitors.

My younger boys also participated in the free zoo trekker program, a little workbook they could complete while walking around the zoo. Once they had done six of the activities, they were awarded a free zoo pin. (This program was very similar to the Junior Ranger program at national parks.)

Finally, make sure to take time to read some of the displays located with each animal. They share so much wonderful information.

Tips for Families and Small Children

We love going to the North Carolina zoo, but it can be a bit overwhelming for small children and families. So, I have a few tips and tricks to make it more manageable. 

First, it can be really hot and really busy during the summer. I highly recommend going during the off-season. There is a lot of walking, so the cooler weather is much more pleasant.

You can see the whole zoo in a day, but it is a lot of walking and would take pushing really hard. So we split it into two days. We can travel there one morning and see one section of the zoo and the other section the next morning.

Wagon for the win!

We also used a collapsible wagon for this trip, which was a huge help. My four-year-old could ride in it when he was tired or if we had long stretches of walking. We could also carry our umbrellas, water bottles, cameras, etc. in the wagon.

Finally, there is an AMAZING natural play area near the entrance to the North America section. It has a small stream, a mud kitchen, bubbles, a tree house, and so much more. It is a great place to give kids (and parents) a break. To let them just play and relax. Honestly, if we lived closer, I would go to the zoo just to let my kids play there.

The stream in the play area

Money Saving Tips and Tricks

Looking at the pricing below, you may wonder about my suggestion to split the zoo into two days. We use a family membership to make that an affordable option. In North Carolina, the zoo, all three aquariums, and the bird park all offer reciprocity with their memberships. (There is also reciprocity at numerous other sites.)

Since we are closer to the aquarium, we purchase an aquarium membership yearly, but if you do not already have a membership, you can purchase one when you arrive at the zoo. For our family of 6, entrance to the zoo for one day would cost us $82. An annual membership would be $84. This means that we save $80 just on the second day of our visit.

Also, at the zoo, you can not bring in outside food unless you are a member. There is a members-only picnic area within the zoo and other great money-saving benefits.

Also, bring your water bottles! While they do not allow other outside food, water bottles are welcome, and there are refill stations throughout the park. Purchasing water from restaurants or machines in the park will cost you over $4 per bottle.

Finally, I highly recommend the $15 refillable bottle if you want a soft drink or tea. You pay $15 when you buy it, but then you get unlimited free refills. Otherwise, a cup of soft drink will run you $7. You also get the benefit of a nice souvenir to take home.

Eating at the restaurants inside the zoo can get very expensive. We had four adult meals and two kids meals with one refillable bottle and one regular soft drink and paid a little over $100 for that one lunch. On the second day, we planned to be there in the morning and leave around 1 pm, so we made lunches and ate them in the van when we were finished.

Fun Extras at the North Carolina Zoo

I have just talked about ways to spend money, and now I am going to share some extras that are available. These are optional activities that are not included in the admission fee.

First, there is a butterfly garden. This costs an additional $3 per person. You get a ticket to enter the butterfly garden and could stay as long as you wanted to stay. We chose to try this one since we are studying flying creatures this year in science. Honestly, it was worth the $18 for all of us. There were hundreds of butterflies flying around. We watched them eat from plants, flit from one plant to another, and they would even land on us.

There is also a ropes course in the zoo. My daughter really wanted to do this, and we originally thought it was also $3, but when we got more information, the ropes course was $15 per person. Not necessarily a bad price for a ropes course, but we decided it was not the right choice for this trip.(You do have to have closed-toed shoes to be admitted to the ropes course.)

There is a playground near the ropes course that was $3 per person, but we also decided to pass on that. Additionally, there is a carousel ride that is $3 per person.

The other extra that we chose to participate in was feeding the giraffes. This was hands down, the favorite activity of the whole trip. My husband chose not to go, but the kids and I all went with our friends. We had to pay $5 per person. For that $5, we were given lettuce and instructions on how to feed the giraffes. Then we could step up to the platform and feed the lettuce to the giraffe piece by piece. Being up close and personal with the giraffes was amazing. You could feel the strong and rough tongue and really get a perspective on their heights.

Basic Information for North Carolina Zoo

Where:

North Carolina Zoo

4401 Zoo Pkwy
Asheboro, NC 27205

Hours of Operation:

Seven days a week, year-round, Open at 9am-4pm or 5pm (varies seasonally)

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

Costs:

General admission tickets for adults $15 (13-61), seniors $13 (62+) and children $11 (2-12). Children under the age of 2 are free.

Website:

https://www.nczoo.org/

Food:

There are several restaurants as well as snacks available for purchase. Only Members and those with allergies can bring in outside food.

 

 

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Around the World in a Day: Disney World Geography Lessons

I shared a couple weeks ago about how we incorporated literature into our trip to Disney World. Today  I want to share a little about how we used Disney World as a cultural/geography lesson (without the children feeling like they were in school).

During our time at Disney we were able to spend two days in Epcot, which ended up being my oldest son’s favorite park. A little of the first day and most of the second day we spent traveling ‘around the world’, visiting the 11 countries of Epcot’s World Showcase.

Epcot Pinterest

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First, we traveled to England. We had been looking forward to coming back here since our first family trip seven years ago. The fish and chips were as good as I remembered and it was a great opportunity to find a few of our favorite characters, Pooh Bear and Mary Poppins. This is also the area where you can occasionally find Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. While we were there, we also stopped at the Kidcot station. Each country that is represented in the World Showcase has a Kidcot station where children could speak with someone who is from that country, collect a postcard and sticker from the country, ask questions, and complete coloring pages or other small activities.

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We also took the opportunity to visit Canada on that first day.  We enjoyed visiting the Kidcot station and looking around at the Canadian themed buildings. Unfortunately, the movie attraction that is normally available was closed for repairs while we were there.

The next day that we spent in Epcot we went all the way around the World Showcase! We started on the other side visiting Mexico where we watched an amazing band, then Norway where we enjoyed the Frozen ride and a tasty treat of ‘school bread’ a Norwegian favorite. We picked a variety of countries to enjoy lunch including China for some great Chinese food and my personal choice of a bratwurst with kraut from Germany.

In each country we were able to see building and attractions that represented that country, visit stores with merchandise from the country, try foods, visit the Kidcot station, and enjoy various entertainment acts.  There were also a variety of character meet and greets of the characters from those countries. In particular we enjoyed meeting Belle and Aurora in France, Snow White in Germany, and Mulan in China.

There is also a great section based on the United States that has some wonderful music entertainment as well as The American Adventure, an Audio-Animatronics show where Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin debate the merits of the American experiment. This is also the location of a small but very interesting display of Native American artifacts.

Throughout our time at Epcot, we had lots of fun, enjoyed more than enough food, and met lots of really interesting people. It was a wonderful way for the children to learn more about various countries and geography without every feeling like they were ‘doing school’. You could easily follow this up at home with map work or research into the countries that you had ‘visited’ in Epcot.

Have you ever visited Epcot? What was your favorite part?

 

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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.

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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

 

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

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)

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Field Trip Friday: Kennedy Space Center

Our family had the opportunity to visit Florida last month and we had a wonderful time! The primary purposes of our trip were to visit some family in Daytona Beach and to visit Disney World. However, my husband has always wanted to take the children to visit Kennedy Space Center, and so I purchased tickets to the Space Center for his Christmas gift and worked out an extra day in Florida.  I am so glad that I did, not only did he really appreciate it, the children had a lot of fun and learned so much.

Field Trip Friday Pinterest

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I am a planner by nature but honestly I did very little planning for this trip because I wanted to allow my husband to show the children the things that were most important to him. When we arrived we looked over the map and schedules and decided to start with the bus tour and a visit to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The bus tour was a really great way to get an idea for the scope and scale of these rockets and the complex. From the bus we were able to see various launch pads, a SpaceX rocket that was going to launch in a couple of weeks, the crawlers that move the rockets, and the enormous building where the rockets are build and stored (with the largest doors in the world).

The tour ended over at the Apollo/Saturn V center. There we were able to to see various memorabilia including space suits worn on the moon, a real piece of moon rock, and more. My children’s favorite was Alan Shepard’s space suit. We also had fun letting the children dress in space suits and take pictures on a green screen. The pictures were then put onto ‘space’ backdrops making them look like they were on the moon or hanging out in space. There was a lunar module and ‘moonscape’ that you could view.  There was also a movie available at this location. There was a restaurant with sandwiches, pizza, and salads.

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Next, we caught the bus back over the the main center to check out all of the other buildings and exhibits.  We went over the the Atlantis building where we started with a short video, I don’t want to give too many spoilers but the video was great and ended with a wonderful surprise. Then we had the opportunity to take a good look at the space shuttle Atlantis.  Also located in this building were lots of interactive exhibits. There was a even a slide and a play area modeled after the International Space Station. There were interactive video games and virtual reality stations where you could learn about the space shuttles. There is also a Shuttle Launch Simulator for those that are 44 inches and taller. My son and husband enjoyed this experience. Also located in this building is a beautiful memorial to those that died in the Challenger and Columbia crashes.

While my son and husband were in the Shuttle Launch Simulator, the rest of decided to take a break with a bit of ice cream and try out the play area. This area was designed for younger children (I believe it was 10 and under) and provided a great place for them to play and explore in the shade.

There was a small building dedicated to the new Mars program which included an interesting live talk, virtual reality, various movies, and a prototype Mars Rover. My daughter also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with real astronaut, Tom Jones, and have him autograph his book, Ask the Astronaut.

Another wonderful exhibit was the Heroes and Legends building. This building had exhibits and interactive displays about various astronauts and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.  My children enjoyed learning more about the astronauts that we had studied prior to our arrival and learned about throughout the day.  Finally, we also walked through a ‘garden’ of shuttles and rockets that showed the progress through the history of the space program. We did not get a chance to see it, but several times a day they do guided tours through the garden.

There is a lot to see at Kennedy Space Center and I would advise you to plan on a full day and possibly two days depending on your level of interest and if you wanted to add on any of the special tours. In addition to the various attractions that we visited there are several movies, including and I-max, that are included with your admission. There is also a small museum related to the national park on which the space center is located.

Overall, we really enjoyed out trip to the Kennedy Space Center and would love to go back in a couple of years and spend a little more time exploring and learning about the space program. Prior to going we listened to Heroes of History: Alan Shepard, and I think that helped my children really make connections to what they were seeing. Since we have returned home, they are independently reading and listening to a variety of books about space.

 

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Where:

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex,

Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953

Hours of Operation:

seven days a week, year-round, Open at 9am (closing time varies by season)

Costs: $57 adults (12+) Children (3-11) $47 ( I also recommend looking online for discounts, we found several for the dates we were going,)

Website: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

Food: There are several restaurants as well as snacks available for purchase.

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.

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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

 

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

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

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Literature and a Disney Trip

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When we decided we were going to Disney World, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into our schooling leading up to the trip. I wanted real, authentic, learning that would also keep them excited about the trip and help them make connections along the way.  I decided to focus on literature tie-ins with Disney. There are some obvious choices like the fairy tale stories of the various princesses, but I wanted to interest a thirteen-year-old boy, a twelve-year-old girl, and a five-year-old boy so I was looking for something a little different. We decided to focus on some of the literature classics that Disney had turned into both movies and theme park attractions.

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Conveniently, my daughter’s literature curriculum already had her reading Tom Sawyer.  My older son had previously read the book, but decided to listen to the audio book as a refresher. Once we were at the parks, they loved the opportunity to explore ‘Tom Sawyer’s Island’ in the Magic Kingdom. They had the chance to go down into ‘mine tunnels’, cross barrel bridges, explore a fort, and check out an old windmill.  In addition to Tom Sawyer, you could choose some other Mark Twain inspired attractions. Twain is featured on the steamboat ride, the American Adventure in Epcot and more.

I decided thatPeter Pan would be a great choice for the whole family. We purchased this one on audio bookand began listening before we left for our trip and listened a bit while we were traveling. I do want to note that we used an unabridged version of the book and there were several instances of inappropriate language ( I have found this to be fairly common in older British literature).  We enjoyed the Peter Pan’s Flight ride in Magic Kingdom and look forward to using the Disney movie for a family movie night soon!

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We had listened toAlice in Wonderland earlier in the year prior to watching a play based on the book. The story can get a bit crazy but the children enjoyed it and The Mad Tea Party ride was one of their favorites! We managed to ride that one three or four times while we were there. We did not try them but they even have themed snacks at the restaurant next door to the ride.

With my five-year-old in mind, but knowing we would all enjoy it, we also listening to the House at Pooh Corner. This was a great choice because it was a fun and easy story and there were lots of connections to be made. We rode the Pooh Corner ride and had dinner with Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger. We also had the chance to meet Pooh over in the England section of Epcot.

Our final selection was Swiss Family Robinson. This book is such a fun classic tale of adventure that all of my children enjoyed. Disney has an awesome replica of the tree house that you can walk through and enjoy seeing the various rooms as described in the book. Even better, there was no wait time for this attraction so it was a great way to take a break from the lines and enjoy a more leisurely pace in the shade.

There are lots of ways to incorporate learning into your Disney trip, but we really enjoyed making the connections with literature. It also kept the children entertained as we listened on the long road trip down to Florida.  There are many options that we didn’t have time to cover that could be used for a variety of aged and interests. What is your favorite book that has a Disney connection?

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.

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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

 

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

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All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

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

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

An Adventure Inside an Adventure

Our family recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days camping in the mountains between two scheduled trips to our state fair. We had lots of fun adventures and I am planning several Field Trip Friday posts about that trip, but today I want to talk about another part of our trip. Our adventures through three different books while we were on our trip. We listened to two books on audio while we were traveling and read another one aloud at our camp site. (If you have not tried Audible, you are missing out on a great way to get more reading into your life.)

goldtown 2

I love that books can give us a family adventure while we ride and I enjoy watching the children make connections to the book as we go throughout our days. On this trip, the first book we listened to was My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. This book is about the adventures of a boy named Sam that leaves home to live by himself on a mountain. He learns how to make fire, build a home in a tree, find food, hunt, and more. They loved hearing all of his adventures and the fact that we were on our way to the mountains made it even better. At our campsite and as we hiked, they would talk about what Sam might have done. They looked at the trees and wondered what it would have been like to hollow one out and create a home. They found streams of water for bathing and cooking. They found rocks that could be used as shelters and wondered if the plants we found were edible. We are actually doing a unit study on this book so I will be sharing more in a couple of weeks but know that everyone in the family enjoyed this book. The children have all asked that we listen to the sequels soon. 

Goldtown

While we were at the campsite we read Jem’s Frog Fiasco . This is the second book in the Goldtown Beginnings Series. I will be doing a full review of both this book and the first one in the series soon but I had to mention them because everyone enjoyed listening to them. They are designed for young children and are perfect for my five-year-old. However, the bigger children listened without complaint and wanted to me to keep reading. They tell of the adventures of two young siblings and their parents as they live and play in a California gold camp town.  The book had my son looking for gold along the mountain lake near our camp site. He enjoyed it so much that we are looking into taking him to a mining museum to learn more and try his hand at gold mining.

Finally, on the way home we listened to The Last Archer.  The story is a side story in the wonderful Green Ember series. We love this series by S.D. Smith and all of the adventure and excitement that he includes. The series is about “rabbits with swords”. It tells the story of groups of rabbits who are coming together to fight the “Lords of Prey”, create a mended wood, and put the rightful heir to throne back into place. We had gotten a little behind on listening to the series but the last book is coming out in the spring of 2020 so we are getting caught up so we will be ready for that book when it is launched. These books have so much to offer in the way of good versus evil, bravery, compassion, and more. I would say they are ideal for the upper elementary and middle school age group, but my five-year-old enjoys listening to them as well.

Whether you are traveling or at home, books can be a great way to have a family adventure. They give children shared experiences, positive role models, fun stories, and fuel for the imagination. How do you use books and stories in your family? What are some of your favorite book adventures?

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

Crystal Paine is launching her newest e-book, Slashing Your Grocery Bill for a special launch price of just $7!! She always has great tips on saving money over at her blog, Money Saving Mom.

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

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

You ARE an Artist at ChalkPastel.com

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

Starting August 31st all of Evan Moor’s Daily Practice titles will be on sale 20% off!

The NEW color edition of All About Reading is ready to order!

 

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!