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Old 05-16-2009, 08:35 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
546 posts, read 1,463,307 times
Reputation: 583

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I love when my son has a field trip. He's only in first grade now and I have the ability to offer to chaperon so I do anytime I can. It not only breaks up the drudgery, but puts a real life perspective on the things they are learning academically at school. It makes learning more fun, and I notice the kids learn more when they can really see/touch/smell what the teacher has been trying to teach them in the classroom.

Field trips help to cement the lessons they have been learning, or will be learning in school, because instead of just pictures in a book to refer to, they have actual memories of the subject.

We just had a field trip 3 weeks back to the museum of natural science in Raleigh and I was in charge of a group of 4 first graders. They were learning about mammals in school. I loved to watch their complete enthusiasm as we came up to the whale skeletons, and they started asking questions about them as mammals. The whole time we passed by animals they would stop and confer to each other whether they thought it was a mammal or not. I'd ask them how they came up with their answers. They'd say "oh this one lays eggs so it cant be a mammal" or "this one (insert reason) so it could be a mammal". It was just very cool to watch.

So I'm all for field trips.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Right where I want to be.
4,507 posts, read 7,823,618 times
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It depends on the trip and the school.

Our middle school field trips have been a waste for the most part. A waste of time and money. Since when is going to an amusement park educational? Even the 'educational' trips are questionable. They went to a science museum but once they arrived there were no planned demonstrations, no schedule for the kids to see the exhibits, it was a free for all. DD could get more out of a 2 hour family visit on a Saturday than she did out of a 5 hour field trip with school because the kids were running around, butting in, waiting 15 minutes to try to do one activity only to have some other kids barge in. It was a zoo. Sure, they got a bit of a group discount on the tickets but then charged $30 for transportation. DD came home and begged not to be sent on any more field trips.
DS did go to the State Capitol and that was well worth it. Most of the rest are a complete waste and my kids don't want to go anyway.

High school is a different story. So far all of the trips are appropriately educational and given the smaller school environment (they are not attending traditional high schools) I expect them not to be a free for all.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:15 PM
 
161 posts, read 484,313 times
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I remember when I was younger living in the Washington DC area, we went on field trips at least twice a year to the Smithsonian (usually one trip to Air and Space, and one to Natural or American History). I loved it.

Now where I am in Texas, the district has a rule that families can't pay for these trips, so the PTA has to raise enough money for them. It works out to each grade having one field trip per year. The kindergarteners usually go to the Zoo, the second graders to a show at the local theater, the fifth graders go to a local museum, etc. I understand not having individual families take on this extra expense, but I do think it's kind of a shame that they can't get out of the classroom more for these different experiences. I think if done right, they can be very valuable!
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:23 PM
 
1,788 posts, read 4,147,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
A group of ladies were talking and one of them was angry at the local school her son went to. She said learning was in the class room and she was tired of all the field trips that the kids were being sent on. She said that if a permission slip came in asking if her son could go on a school sponsored field trip, she always refused to sign.

As a parent she did not believe that the kids should be gallivanting around the town and wasting valuable instruction time on all these silly field trips. What do you think of her hard edged response?
Meh, it's her kid. If she wants to have him miss out on fun learning, that's her prerogative.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:03 PM
 
2,005 posts, read 5,121,815 times
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As a teacher, I hate field trips, they're so mentally and physically exhausting. As a parent, most are OK, but some are real stupid. I know that some schools take the kids to the circus. We have a rule in our house that no one goes to the circus (they exploit and mistreat animals). If my child's class was going to the circus or any other place that was against our values, then I wouldn't let them go. I really do think some field trips are a waste. Our school is going to the beach for the day, well it's a $60 field trip. Yes, PTA will cover the cost for kids who can't go, but really, the beach?? A waste IMO. Amusment park? A waste. The pool?? A waste. If it isn't related to the curriculum, then they just shouldn't be going. But that's my own opinion, and probably unpopular.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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When I was a kid, the only thing I learned on "field trips" was how to walk "Indian-file". We wren't so PC in those daysl My parents hever had to pay for field tripls, and whan I was a parent, we didn't either. I think it is outrageous that the schools arrange or even permit anything that parents have to pay for as part of the schoolday. It creates a class elitism, separating the kids whose parents can afford to pay, from those whose can't. Or forcing a single mom to spend a half-day's overtime pay to let her kid go along with the country-club kids. In that sense, I would object very loudly. Imagine, making a kid who qualifies for free lunch pay $30 for a field trip.

I think it is time for somebody to wring the school's neck.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:41 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,707,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
A group of ladies were talking and one of them was angry at the local school her son went to. She said learning was in the class room and she was tired of all the field trips that the kids were being sent on. She said that if a permission slip came in asking if her son could go on a school sponsored field trip, she always refused to sign.

As a parent she did not believe that the kids should be gallivanting around the town and wasting valuable instruction time on all these silly field trips. What do you think of her hard edged response?
I guess it depends on the trip. The kids learn a whole lot from some trips. Some children never see a live theater performance in their entire lives if not for having the experience in school.

My kids have gone on some field trips that simply cannot be replaced by classroom instruction. Do you think they learned more about marine biology in class or at a visit to the marine biology center in the FL Keys, where they got to swim in the ocean and EXPERIENCE the animals they were learning about? How about FL history? My son's class took a trip to St. Augustine to see all the history in that area (oldest European settlement in N. America). There are things they experiences that cannot be taugt in class.

People learn more by experiencing something than they do from listening to a lecture or reading a book. Of course an effective teacher can spark interest in a subject prior to the trip.

My kids have taken some field trips that were purely "fun" trips and I can see parents skipping those (although I think it's ok to have a fun trip at the end of the school year). However, most of the trips my kids have taken have been very valuable and interesting trips.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:43 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,707,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandycat View Post
As a teacher, I hate field trips, they're so mentally and physically exhausting. As a parent, most are OK, but some are real stupid. I know that some schools take the kids to the circus. We have a rule in our house that no one goes to the circus (they exploit and mistreat animals). If my child's class was going to the circus or any other place that was against our values, then I wouldn't let them go. I really do think some field trips are a waste. Our school is going to the beach for the day, well it's a $60 field trip. Yes, PTA will cover the cost for kids who can't go, but really, the beach?? A waste IMO. Amusment park? A waste. The pool?? A waste. If it isn't related to the curriculum, then they just shouldn't be going. But that's my own opinion, and probably unpopular.
You paid $60 for a BEACH TRIP? My kids go to private school and the 6th grade is the only grade allowed to have a year end party (they graduate from lower school to upper school). The trip cost us $20 and included lunch. What cost that much money?
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Australia
1,492 posts, read 2,653,749 times
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Personally I think that too much emphasis is put on formal in classroom education.
I also think schools do too much in the classroom.

So I think field trips are a good idea as it shows the kids that the world is bigger than their class room. As a parent I have let the school know that I am willing to come as a helper if they want and every now and then I get a call. I think everyone enjoys it. Even more so if the kids dont have to fill in some silly form as they go along.

I thnk schools should concentrate on the basics and do them in depth. Reading, writing, maths, history and so on. I am concerned that the schools do too many things just a little bit. I think this innoculates kids. A bit like we give kids a injection to stop them getting an illness. I think if the schools did less in some areas, some kids would get into areas that interested them in more depth outside the school.

Having said all of that, I do know parents who see formal classroom and school based education as the absolutely most improtant part of their childs life. They want to see the school teach their kid. They make sure the kids do their homework. They get tutors in to help and they go to summer school to learn more.

One family I knew made their kids only wear their school uniform Monday to Friday during school term (or their pj's when they went to bed.) This was to reinforce in the kid how important school was. So if the family went out to visit someone on a school night, the kids still had to wear their school uniform. On Fridays. the child came to youth group. They had to do their homework before youthgroup. If they didn't then they turned up to youthgroup in their school uniform.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:06 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,432,996 times
Reputation: 1957
Our field trips have always had some sort of educational value. My first grader went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago and each child had a clipboard with a sheet to fill out. They picked an animal,and the teacher had a list of questions to answer about it (eg. what is its habitat, lifespan, does it hibernate, is it endangered etc....).

My 4th grader got to go to the symphony a few wks ago.

Other trips have included: bird refuge, aquarium, Museum of Natural History/Planetarium, and a day trip on a railway (kindergarten trip). None have been more than about $7 (if any charge at all).

I like field trips.
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