Monday, June 8, 2015

{Review} Apologia Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal
Ever since we began homeschooling, Amber and I have made it a priority to include field trips in our studies even if it was only the two of us taking a tour of a local historical site. Not being scrapbookers, we've never had a good way to document our excursions. Apologia Educational Ministries now has a brand new Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal that fits the bill perfectly.

We honestly stalked our mail and UPS deliveries waiting for this review item to arrive. Amber began using it within five minutes of the UPS man kindly dropping the box at our front door. She ripped open the packing box to find the colorful, glossy covered, spiral bound journal provided for the review. Without even letting me touch her new journal, Amber inscribed her name on the first page, then proceeded to look through all the different sections to decide which to use first.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Apologia's Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. Perfect for non-scrapbookers to document field trips and more!

This full color journal is not only for field trips one might take with a group; even those trips taken as just a mom and child can easily be recorded. It is so much more than a simple field trip documentation system too! The first pages are full of detailed teacher and student field trip preparation suggestions that could be useful the week before, the night before, on they way and finally at the field trip.  Next up is a huge chart of field trip ideas sorted by topic. Access to a special website with additional materials, which include virtual field trip ideas, also comes with this book!

Now that planning and trip ideas are out of the way, how about documenting places we've already explored?  There is a two-page spread to record the date and destination of excursions in your own state. After that are two more similar sets, one for trips around the United States and one for places explored in the world!

Then comes numerous double-page spreads to document specific field trips in detail. The first page of each field trip has ingenious spots to record the name, date, time, and even a map of the trip location. A quaint old-fashioned library checkout slip is used for the student to record books or other information read for the trip.

Planning spaces to record an emergency contact plan and things the child wants to see or do on the trip are also provided. Each trip has a place to attach a photo or draw a representation of the event. Whew! And that's just page one. Page two provides lines for the student to write the story of their day and make notes of things they never want to forget about the trip.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Apologia's Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. Perfect for non-scrapbookers to document field trips and more!
Amber took the journal from me immediately, added her name and decided what she wanted to use first.

After the many specific field trip pages comes a section to document "My Special Spot." The student can select a small special section of wildlife anywhere, even if it's their own yard, to document over the four seasons. The Field Trip Journal includes a two-page set for each of the four seasons to assist with this documentation. The student can take a photo of the location, record the date and weather, as well as make any pertinent notes. Then a full page grid is given for drawing of the special spot.

Finally the journal includes numerous "As I See It" single pages for the student to record any experience as only they can see it. Some of the "As I See It" pages have very broad, yet fun, prompts to get the child started. The remainder of the these pages are entirely available for the imagination of the child. 

Our Field Trip Journal:
Amber immediately started working on her past trip documentation the day the journal arrived. She did ask me for help with dates and we even looked back in some of our school records to find a few of our more obscure field trips. It was fun to go down memory lane and think about the excitement on those field trips.

Next we started planning for our symphony field trip that was coming up right away. Because we had subscription seats to the symphony last season, there wasn't a lot of unknowns about this field trip. Still Amber wrote down her emergency contact plan and what she wanted to see or do since this was the last performance of the season. A few days later, after arriving home from the symphony, Amber diligently documented all that happened. It was so lovely for her to keep that memory alive in this journal. Why didn't we think of this sooner?

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Apologia's Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. Perfect for non-scrapbookers to document field trips and more!
Working on the Symphony field trip entry, and the final product.  Also her previous field trip list.

We also began the farther out planning for an much anticipated field trip to the St. Louis Art Museum. With Amber's dysautonomia we've had a great deal of trouble scheduling this trip with my mom. We were determined to make the visit work this time so Amber could see the Renaissance art we've been studying in history. The journal planning tips helped us to narrow down our objectives for the trip and see easier ways to get Amber there. Of course Amber duly documented her first visit to the Art Museum in 6 years! It's amazing to read what a child takes away from a field trip as opposed to an adult.

Still, the Field Trip Journal has so many other features besides the specific trip pages. We've always wanted to conduct a nature study, but never managed to make it happen. We've even purchased resources to help us, and yet didn't manage a single study day. The once a season approach to nature documentation and study in this journal made it seem so easy and something even we could do. We found a close, while suitably undisturbed area of wildlife, and Amber happily completed the entire set of pages for the Spring "My Spot." It was actually a lot of fun and we are looking forward to returning in a couple of weeks to document the same spot for Summer!

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Apologia's Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. Perfect for non-scrapbookers to document field trips and more!
Amber's completed page for Spring, one of her completed "As I See It" pages, and working out on the diagram at her nature spot.
Even though Amber enjoyed all the other features of the this journal, I do think the "As I See It" pages are probably her favorite. She is a very imaginative child who sees the world through awe and wonder still at thirteen years old. The prompted pages helped get her started, then she continued to put down her own drawings, words, and doodles.  She used this section almost like an art journal or smash book.

The open and versatile design of the pages make this journal perfect for students of any age. It can be used for years with a single student or over a shorter time period with a family. Even non-scrapbookers like us are able to document their trips into creation.  I just wish it had been available years ago!


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Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

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1 comment:

  1. This journal sounds like a real keeper! I will definitely look into this thanks!!!