Do you ever feel like field trip days end up being days off? Do you feel like your children don’t actually learn anything while you’re out having a hands-on experience? Apologia Educational Ministries has a solution for that. They have introduced a brand-new Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal, and we received an opportunity to take a peek at it and review it.
What We Received
We received a lovely spiral-bound (lays flat!) workbook with thick plastic coated covers. The pages inside are full-color, and have an inviting, almost scrapbook like appeal. They’ve also chosen a nice thick weight of paper for the inside pages, and the whole book seems sturdy enough to take out on a field trip with you if you choose to do so. I don’t usually go on about the specific construction of a book, but I want you to understand that it’s a high quality journal that is going to appeal to your child (and maybe to you as well).
The journal is divided into several sections:
- Preparing for a field trip–These are hints for the the teacher on how to make a field trip be an educational experience and not just a waste of time
- Field Trip Ideas–Here there are some cool ideas for places to go, and also a password to the online extras section of their website, where you can find maps, more field trip ideas, and ideas for creative journaling
- Places I’ve explored–There’s a page dedicated to listing places you’ve visited around your state, a place for listing the destinations you’ve visited around the United States, and another page for listing the places you’ve explored around the world.
- Field Trip Pages–There are twelve “specific trip” pages for recording details about specific experiences and trips that you want to remember
- My Special Spot–This is a place for doing a seasonal wildlife spot study. There’s a place for drawing, notes and to put a photograph of your special spot each season.
- Thoughts and Drawings as I See It–This is a nature journal/sketchbook section of the book. Some of the pages are prompted with prompts like shapes, movement, and lifecycles. Other pages are just waiting for you to fill up with nature study ideas and images of your very own.
How We Used It
So far, we’ve used it to record the details of one field trip, and we’ve started making a list of places that we’ve gone on exploring as field trips in our state since we received our journal. We’ve also printed out a state map (with counties marked), and we’ve glued it into our notebook. We’ve also started drawing in some of our first bee and flower sightings this month in the “as I see it” pages. We’ve had one of those busy months with school studies and finishing up our co-op type activities in May, so we actually haven’t used it as much as I would like yet. However, I will confess I can’t wait to take it to the beach next month!!
Our Opinion on This Product
I’m totally in love with this product. I have an eight year old who hates to write and hates to “do science” or anything that smacks of school. I gave her this book and I told her that it was her special “scrapbook” to things that she likes out in the yard, at her Nana’s house or anywhere else so that she could get on the computer and identify it later. I also told her she could use our sparkly gel pens to fill it out, and she is making it her own.
She has enjoyed taking photos on field trips, choosing photos and editing their sizes to be just right, writing and dictating about our trips to me and doodling meaningful doodles onto the pages to coordinate with whatever trip or outdoor excursion she’s made.
I imagine that this is a book that we’ll get plenty of use out of over the next few months, and I think it would make a great annual scrapbook of both field trips and gentle nature study. It’s perfect for Rose, but it would also make a great whole family heirloom that we can all look back on and see where we’ve been in a given year, what we’ve done and even what plants and animals we’ve seen in our yard or on our travels.
I also can’t wait to use the “my special spot” pages with her to help her record the differences in a special spot over the course of a year. It’s next on my to-do list as soon as we figure out where that special spot is going to be. I think she’ll really enjoy and be surprised by how this part of her nature study turns out.
I’m grateful for this product and that we have gotten to use it because it’s a product that makes education fun. It makes education stealthy, and it allows room for a child who wants to keep track of her memories and experiences a user-friendly, flexible way to do so.