Friday, October 21, 2011

Field Trips

Want to get the most out of National Historical Parks, and any staffed state and local parks? Go when the rangers are bored. In other words, when other people don't go.

This is a real advantage to homeschoolers. You can choose a nice day off season, go during the school day and learn a ton. Rangers who would otherwise be stuck with paperwork and routine maintenance may well latch on to you and share their consiserable knowledge and enthusiasm.

Jordan and I had an experience like that yesterday. We attended a "canceled" hike. Neither we nor the the ranger had heard about the cancellation, so there we were. The ranger offered to take Jordan on guided tour of a trail, and we agreed. We heard about symbiosis, lichens, sassafras tea, and a host of other stuff. And we had a great time!

We have enjoyed such things before. A ranger went with us on a "self-guided" tour of historic New Bedford on a gray November day, we had a spontaneous lesson on the Revolutionary War at Minuteman National Park.  We have yet to meet a Ranger we didn't like or one that wasn't willing to talk with us.

What have been your experiences with parks?


  1. Sounds like an awesome day. Reminds me of a flight we took and the pilots were just coming out of the cockpit as my boys, then 7 and 10 were getting ready to deplane (This was way before 9/11.) They took them into the cockpit and showed them everything and gave them papers about the flight. The only bad thing was that we were there so long that they pulled our luggage and locked it up, but the boys never forgot this adventure. I love that learning is everywhere! My boys have long since graduated but the homeschooling we did was one we've never regretted.

  2. What an wonderful story. Learning truly is everywhere, and when a person is really passionate about their subject, their teaching can be just amazing!