I could tell you about the time my husband and I took an early morning, business-class flight from Boston to California with our baby, thinking he’d fall asleep, only to have him reach through the seats and accidentally spill coffee on a sleeping woman.
Or, I could tell you about how my oldest screamed in the car until he was able to read books independently.
Or, I could tell you about the time we went to a model train museum and my son, in his excitement, knocked over a display of toy trains. (This same kiddo knocked over a life-sized Nutcracker in CVS the other day.)
Or, I could tell you the many exciting field trips we planned, only for him to have a meltdown or become frightened once there.
It’s not that we don’t take field trips, we do, but field trips are more challenging for some kids than for others.
I have one of those kiddos.
He’s either on or he’s off.
He has one volume setting and that volume is extremely loud. Despite being loud, my little guy has always been sensitive to unfamiliar sounds. And unfamiliar places have unfamiliar sounds.
His energy is unsurpassed, he bounces and zings from one thing to the next; there is no reeling him in.
He gets bored easily and he’s not afraid to tell you about it, over and over and over.
He has so many strengths, but they do not include patience, the ability to travel well, or the ability to stay calm.
All of this can make field trips tricky.
It’s a gamble. Will it be a good day, or will it be a bad day? Will the trip be worth the drive/planning/cost/time?
There is really no way to predict these things.
It has been on my list – forever – to research virtual field trips. But life happens and that box has been sitting there, on my to-do list, unchecked.
When I heard about the virtual field trips offered by FieldTripZoom, I had to check it out. The possibility of attending over 300 annual field trips from the comfort of home? This sounded like the perfect way to spend a long New England winter.
Sign. Me. Up.
10 Practical Reasons Why You Need Virtual Field Trips in Your Life
*Disclosure: I received FiledTripZoom for free and was compensated for my time to write a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share products and resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe others will find useful.
Before I gush about our experience with FieldTripZoom, I’d like to talk about some reasons why you might need virtual field trips in your life, too.
10 Signs You Might Need More Virtual Field Trips
Yes, you can go to the library or the farm. You can hike at the local nature conservation center. You can borrow day passes for museums from your local library and take advantage of coupons. But once you do all of that, field trips get pricier… especially if you have more than one kiddo.
FieldTripZoom, which I will get to in a minute, is only 49.95 for an annual family membership. With over 300 annual field trips, this is a fantastic deal. We are a family of five and the annual membership is less than I would pay for admittance to most field trips around here!
2. Your children don’t travel well
Believe me, I understand how nerve wrecking it can be if you have to drive with a bad traveler. I spent the first three years of motherhood driving with a screaming child. I can’t imagine enjoying a field trip after that …and knowing that I would have to endure it again for the ride home!
With virtual field trips, you don’t have to worry about traveling. You can attend from your kitchen table!
3. You have a large family with a wide range of ages
If you have multiple children, field trips are not only costly but it can also be challenging to meet each child’s needs and interests.
FieldTripZoom offers virtual field trips for a range of ages and each field trip is clearly marked with recommended grade levels. Field trips are offered for the following levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-9, and high school.
4. Two words: inside voice
I’ll never forget the time I took my oldest to the super-crowded DMV and, at his normal top-volume-level, he mused:
It smells in here, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it smell like someone didn’t shower?
How do you KNOW what an unshowered person smells like? How do you know that already? It’s just clear to me that somone in here didn’t shower.
Do you have a kid like that, too? A kid who speaks his mind at top volume? A kid who doesn’t realize he is being loud, or that he might be interrupting? Yeah, me too.
With FieldTripZoom, your family is on mute… and – in my world- that’s a beautiful thing!
5. Your children are unique learners
And maybe you have a mix of the two, like me.
Many kids don’t fit in that old proverbial box. Some six-year-olds would love a middle school field trip to a Civil War museum, while some middle schoolers may love an elementary trip to a sea center.
With FieldTripZoom, you decide what works for you. No one is there to check your grade level and turn you away.
6. You want to explore the country and speak with experts
I don’t know about you guys, but for the majority of field trips we’ve been on, we don’t get to chat with experts. Yes, if we are part of a large group it can happen, but if we just end up at the zoo or museum, we are mostly on our own.
With FieldTripZoom, your children experience live streaming with an expert. The best part? Every field trip has a live chat so your child can ask any and all questions and the expert will answer them!
7. Life gets in the way
We moms have the absolute best of intentions, don’t we? We have grand plans.
And then life hits…
Ridiculously long delivery windows
Working from home
Sometimes, the field trips we had planned never come to fruition.
This week, thanks to FieldTripZoom, my youngest and I were able to learn about Alaska’s amazing skates from the Alaska Sea Life Center ….. while my big kids were at piano lessons. (I mean, really, when can you ever pull that off?)
We learned about the difference between skates and rays, observed a live feeding, learned about skate anatomy, and learned about “mermaid purses”- or skate eggs (which can take over 3 years to hatch).
As a parent, I have to say that I have enjoyed these field trips and learned quite a bit. My guard is down- I’m not checking to make sure all kids are accounted for, or shushing one child, or running another child to the bathroom. Instead, I’m fully immersed in the conversation, too!
The program ran longer than we had anticipated, so we actually switched from computer to my iPhone for the last few minutes because we didn’t want to miss a second (but also didn’t want to be late to grab the big kids!).
8. You’re forever running always late
Before kids, I was always on time. It’s not in my nature to be late… but then I had a child who is as slow as molasses. We always say he’s going to live on an island one day (and he’d better invite us!).
FieldTripZoom gives you reminders, via e-mail, one day before the event and then one hour before it begins. No excuses! Plus, you can attend the field trip as-is. It doesn’t matter if one kid needs to use the bathroom, or can’t find his shoes, or refuses to put on his britches. You can even attend in your pajamas- no one will know!
9. You live in a rural location
If you live in a rural area, virtual field trips can be a godsend! I’m fortunate because I have Boston in my backyard, but not everyone has the ability to pick up and head to a major city for a day. With FieldTripZoom, you can travel across the United States.
We’ve only been using FieldTripZoom for a couple of months, but we have already traveled to Alaska for sea life, St. Louis for bats, Pike’s Place Market to learn about Native Americans, and we visited the Mexic-Arte Museum to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
10. You’re looking to make things simpler and easier in the coming year
Are you looking to simplify your homeschool in 2017? Yeah, me too. And this is why FieldTripZoom is a no-brainer for our family:
Learn in your jammies.
Learn on the go.
I have the 2017 calendar printed out and we have circled oodles of field trips we wish to attend!
The Scoop on Virtual Field Trips with FieldTripZoom
FieldTripZoom offers over 300 annual live streaming interactive field trips with experts from across the country. An annual family membership is just $49.95, providing year-long access to amazing programs.
The only thing you need to enjoy these field trips is internet access. You can participate via desktop, laptop, tablet… and even your smartphone!
Most field trips are 30-45 minutes long and each includes a chat option/Q and A session, so your child can speak with an expert!
Field trips are offered for all grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-9, and high school) and are clearly marked in the description. You get to choose and everyone can watch, so little kids can learn alongside big kids!
The topics include:
- American History
- Marine Science
- Performing Arts
- Puppetry Art
- Social and Emotional
- Social Studies
And… guess what?
FieldTripZoom has created a coupon for My Little Poppies readers. By using the code 1340, readers will receive a 10% discount off the subscription fee. This offer expires December 31, 2016, so act now!
Do you want to incorporate more field trips, but you don’t know where to begin?
This post might help:
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Do you take a lot of field trips? Why or why not? Have you tried virtual field trips? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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