The ability to take field trips whenever you want is one of the best things about homeschooling. Over the years, we have done a ton of field trips and family trips to tons of different places. Sometimes we take so many it is hard to remember them all! For this review, we got a chance to check out the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia Educational Ministries. The spiral bound journal comes loaded with pages where you can record all kinds of details about your field trips for the entire year.
Colorful themed pages allow you and your children to list field trips based on local areas they’ve explored and states they’ve visited (with a blank map, where my kids colored in all the states they’ve been to so far), then it moves into individual pages for specific trips. Each page has a place to record the date and name of the destination at the top. Your child can then add a map and photo or drawing of the place.
There is a space to list the emergency contact plan (although we didn’t really use this part) as well as a place to record books your child has read to prepare for the trip. On the other side of the page, you or your child can write down everything you did on the trip, and then write about what they most special part of the day was.
The journal also encourages nature exploration with the Special Spot pages that ask children to focus on exploring one special spot during each season of the year. The way it works is actually pretty cool. They take a picture of the area, then map it out on a grid. They also sketch the area, taking note of the colors they see, and look closely for clues to any animals in the area (animal droppings, tracks, holes in leaves etc.). I can see how doing this during all four seasons would give children a really good idea of how the seasons change things.
There are also some extra blank pages in the back where children can either follow the prompts to sketch some things from their field trips on a deeper level (for example one page says “predators and prey”) or they can just draw their own pictures of things that really strike their fancy.
For us, this book is a great way to document our trips throughout the year. In fact, this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for for our Washington DC trip last year!! If you take a lot of field trips or family road trips, I could see this becoming a great family keepsake for the future. Of course a lot of people store pictures and things digitally these days, but you could still use this as a sort of a scrapbook to keep a written memory of your homeschool year.
With older kids, you could easily allow them to fill the journal out themselves after each field trip. I always like to have my kids write something up about the field trips we take, so for us, this would take the place of that. For younger kids, this would be something you could do together, with them more or less dictating it to you and you recording what they say. I think you would definitely only need one book per family, unless you had older children who absolutely each wanted one of their own.
Another cool thing this book offers is the book extras from Apologia. Using the code inside the book, you can access the extras on their website and find links to really cool virtual field trips, ideas for local trips, and awesome places to visit around the country!
The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal costs $22.00.
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Find out what other members of the crew had to say about this product here: