At my kids’ elementary school it has been the tradition that the fifth grade field trip at the end of the year goes to the Six Flags. It’s an adventure, it’s exercise, it’s outdoors, and it’s friendships. Recently, this year when my son is in fifth grade, they decided that the field trip isn’t educational enough so it was canceled.
My first reaction was can’t you let kids be kids.
My second was that as educators they should know that there is education in everything, and Six Flags is no exception.
Instead of canceling it, they could have created learning experiences within the field trip experience. Scavenger hunt. Math problems when buying food or souvenirs. Map-making. Journal writing. These four ideas were literally just off the top of my head as I typed this. It’s sad that an entire school and school board couldn’t come up with a compelling reason to continue this fun tradition as these students go on to middle school and thoughts of career and puberty.
There are so many ways in your everyday to keep learning alive. My three favorite things are:
1. Read. Read. Read. I’m constantly talking about my Kindle Fire, but it’s not the machine as much as what it allows me to do with my limited time and my limited space.
Read the books sitting on your shelf for years. Re-read child favorites. If you like historical fiction, check out some of that history on the Internet or the Outernet, like at your local library.
2. Visit a local museum or historical site, or take a tour of the local attractions as if you were on vacation. I’m often surprised at how much has happened in my little corner of the world. Instead of trying to get away to do fun things, stay home and do what the tourists come to your neighborhood for, and learn something new!
3. Google. When you’re scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed, click the link, read it, and then hit Google for more information on the subject. It’s amazing at how much is left out of those quick posts. Get the other side of an opinion piece. Find out the history of what’s going on in the headlines.
Most importantly, remember that learning is fun, and it’s not all taking place in a formal classroom between the ages of 5
five and twenty-five.