Review: Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal by Apologia Educational Ministries

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review
If you know anything about my family and our homeschool than you know that we take our field trips seriously!  We LOVE to get out and explore.  I’m a big believer in making school as hands on and adventurous as I possibly can.  Of course I love to record where we’ve been and what we learned.  I didn’t have a perfect system for that so I was excited when I was given the opportunity to review Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal by Apologia Educational Ministries.

What We Received!

This is a very nice quality spiral bound notebook.  It lays flat when opened.  The front and back covers are made from a nice quality laminated stock that will hold up well to lots of handling.  This is a very good thing.  If your field trips are like ours than this thing will get tossed into backpacks, laid on top of coolers, bounced around the van, and thumbed through by lots of little (or not so little) hands.  Even the pages are printed a fine quality thicker stock material.

6224c2ac-a11b-4ef4-8b80-d1e6914d6e59_zpsn5ilbsmsThe notebook is split up into several sections:

  • Preparing for the field trip – this section contains tips for you as the teacher.  What things can you do in the weeks or days leading up to the trip to prepare and therefore get the most from you experience.  How best can you pack for the trip, what can be done on the way to the destination to ensure safety and success.    In this section, for example, they suggest the teacher do a little research about the location/history/topic so that he/she can be at the ready to answer questions and guide the experience.  They have suggestions for students as well.
  • Field trip ideas – here you’ll find two pages of field trip ideas (over 100) segregated by topic.  The suggestions are generic, for example visit a Planetarium under Space/Aviation, in order to make it relevant to just about anyone no matter where you live.
  • CSH_7544Places I’ve Explored – these are pages dedicated to recording the various places your family has explored within your state, country, and the whole world.
  • Field Trip Pages – There are 12 specific trip pages to record details about specific experiences you’ve had on trips that you want to remember.
  • My Special Spot- This is a great place to record seasonal wildlife.  Children can draw or place photographs of what they see.
  • Thoughts and Drawings As I See It – This is sort of a journal/sketchbook section.  Some pages have little prompts like Movement, or Predators & Prey.  Others are totally open ended with no prompt.

Apologia also provides bonus online material that includes virtual feild trip ideas, lists of museums and aquariums, and lots more.  A very very handy resource

How We Used It!

Since we received this journal a couple of months ago we have been on at least four field trips.. no five… wait it might be six! Plus there was supposed to be one other that was postponed.  It is spring time, we’ve been cooked up in the house all winter… it is time to GO GO GO!  We used this journal to record four of those trips.  A couple of them were to places we’ve visited dozens of times (museum passes are a Godsend) so we chose not to record those and instead stick to new or out of the ordinary experiences.CSH_7545

So far we’ve mostly used the pages related to Specific Trips.  Before a trip I did a google search to see if I could come up with a map that I could download.  We taped that into our journal.  Then I attempted to answer the questions as they are laid out.  One asks for an Emergency Contact Plan.  This is always… Call Daddy.  Then I ask the kids what they’d like to see or do at the destination and I record that.  There is a section for recording books we’ve read to prepare for the trip.

After the trip we fill in the last two sections… Story of my day and  Something I never want to forget.  I also print of a photo from the day and include that too.  We’ve also tried to fill in the Places I’ve Explored pages.  Plus, since it is spring we recorded some observations from our yard on the My Special Spot in Spring page.

What Do We Think?

This is a great quality product.  It is well made, bright and colorful, and chock full of great ideas and pages that will help you get the most out of your field trip experiences.  I think it could be even better though.  As a seasoned homeschooler I don’t feel like I need the Preparing for a Field Trip pages.  These would be great as a web link or download but they don’t need to take up two pages of the Journal.  We personally need way more Specific Trip pages.  12 isn’t nearly enough if you are really an on the go family like we can be at certain times of year.  I could potentially fill those pages in 3-4 months even if we only included NEW places or experiences that were some how novel.  I’d love to see that section seriously beefed up with 3-4 times as many pages.  That way if you are an on the go family like my own, one book could cover a year.  Another family that doesn’t venture out quite as much could keep this book going for a couple of years.

Over all though.  This is a great journal and if you’d like a great place to track your field-trip memories you’ll really enjoy this product.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

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