I love The homeschooling products from Apologia Educational Ministries.
I mean, I REALLY, REALLY, love them. I also love the books I’ve gotten from them which are for the mamas among us, but this time, it’s one for everyone in the family!
The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is a wonderful resource, and I feel very fortunate to have been chosen as one of the lucky Review Crew members to check it out with my kids!
As always, Apologia does not disappoint when it comes to the quality of the construction of their products. This is a spiral bound (which means it will lay flat, yay!) book, approximately 8 1/2 x 11 inches. The cover is glossy card stock, giving it an expensive look and feel. However, in reality, it is quite reasonably priced at $22.00.
This is a very well laid out book, giving you lots of options. To me, it’s part field trip journal and part nature journal, actually.
There are pages with ideas for when you are preparing for your field trip, most of which I would never have thought of. We tend to just go off and do something like go to the zoo, or other places, and just call it a field trip! This book gives me things to do the week before the trip, the night before the trip, on the way to the field trip, and finally, at the actual destination! I won’t detail them here for you though, as I would be doing a disservice to the publisher if I gave spoilers which would allow duplication, lol! I CAN tell you though, about many of the wonderful sections in this journal. I am looking right now at the terrific two page chart which gives GREAT ideas for different field trips, and how they relate to specific things such as animals, earth, space, the human body, history & government, business, culture and so on. This chart alone is worth my time, since it helps me to figure out different things to do, and how they work into our education. On the same page of the chart is a link for those who own the book to go to the Apologia website with a special password. There, you will receive additional materials to go along with your journal, making it an even better buy.
When I first looked at the journal, flipping through it, I immediately thought, “scrap booking”, because I am a scrap booker, and the pages remind me of scrapbook layouts. This is something my kids also find to be attractive, as when I find time to scrapbook, they often want me to show them the pages I’ve done.
This journal has three sections I particularly like. The first one is “Places I’ve Explored”, my state. There is a place to write in the state name, and to place a map of the state. After that, there is plenty of room to list dates and destinations of all the places we go in our state. Given that we’ve been wanting to learn more about our state ever since we moved here about 3 years ago, I think this might just be the incentive we need to plan out some day trips. After all, not only are we in the “wild wild west”, we live right where part of the historic Route 66 goes through! 🙂
Next is the same idea, places I’ve explored in the United States. When we have time, I would really like to, with my kids, go through and use this to document all of the states we went through during our move across the country three years ago.
Finally, we have places I’ve explored in the world. It may be a while before we use that, as my kids haven’t been out of he country, and the only “out of the country” I’ve been to was to go shopping in Canada when we lived in a border city, lol!
The next section covers field trip pages, for specific trips. There is enough room to document ten trips, with space for a map, a photo or drawing, and a section to show books read to prepare for the trip. There is also a place to write in the emergency contact plan, along with what the child (or family!) wants to see and do. There is plenty of room to write about the field trip on each two page lay out.
My favorite section is the “My Special Spot” section. The idea is to choose a place where you will go four times a year, once in each season. We are using our front yard, as we found it interesting how a tree there bloomed pink flowers in spring, yet only a few weeks later, the blossoms went away and the tree is covered with beautiful purple leaves! We also have an abundance of southwest wildlife going through our yard on a regular basis at this time, like little blue tailed lizards, and sometimes, even a road runner! There is space to draw an aeriel map of our space, plus to put in a photo is we like. We can list the location, the date, the temperature, and the rainfall, and on the facing page is a chart where we will list the changes that we observe. I’m counting on “The Artist” to help there, as he is our “go to” guy when it comes to nature things!
The “As I See It” section is a lot less structured. this is working well with some of my kids, and not so well with others. These pages are for the times we may not want to document our experience in the exact way given on the specific field trip pages. Some of them have fun prompts, and others have only the scrap book-y format, leaving it up to the kids how the want to document our field trip for that day. I quite like those pages, but as I said, I am a scrap booker, so I am used to working from the blank page without the prompts.
All in all, we really like the Field Trip Journal from Apologia, and will continue to include it in our education! 🙂
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