Category Archives: Field Trips

Science World Extravaganza!

Our summer holidays took us on a day trip to visit Science World, in Vancouver, B.C. This is an amazing place to take the kids and let them explore the wonders of science to their heart’s content. Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day here in order to explore all the fascinating science displays and interactive stations that are available. 

Occasionally, I like to sneak in learning– kind of like sneaking vegetables into the kids’ meals. The children have no idea of all the incredibly great learning that is taking place – they think they are just having fun. It’s neat to watch the kids in this kind of environment, as it gives a parent and idea (if you’re paying close attention) as to what kind of sciences naturally appeal to them. 

I also had an ulterior scheme motive, I must confess, besides subjecting the kids to a world of science. There is a Disney trip in our near future, and I had conspired thought that planning a full day of walking/exploring in Vancouver would give me a taste as to who might behave like what. This was indeed a very good experiment. It gave me an idea as to how many times people (big and small) got hungry, how many times they had to pee, how many times someone needed to sit down, how long we could walk, and ultimately: how sore everyone’s feet got. In the end it was determined that an afternoon rest and possibly a nap), a fanny pack full of snacks, a large bottle of water and much better walking shoes for everyone would definitely be in order! 

But I digress, so back to Science World. The kids had an amazing time. The favourite science room was the one on forces in motion. There were pulleys to play with, giant levers to learn on, and forces of air and water to wonder about. Ever hour on the hour there was also a live science show on the main stage – a highlight for the kids, and an opportunity for everyone to sit for 20 minutes. 

If you haven’t already, and you plan to visit Vancouver, BC, then consider visiting Science World with the whole family. Your kids will thank you for it (though your feet may not), and you may even end up covering a learning outcome or two for next year. Failing that, you’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two that you didn’t know before.

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Filed under Field Trips, Learning, Places To Visit, Science, Summer

Romancing the Raptors!

We wound up our school year with a final field trip that took us up island to the Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan, BC. Since we have been learning quite a bit about owls while reading The Guardians of Ga’hoole series (the author of these books has done extensive research about various species of owls and their corresponding behaviours and habitats), we thought we would tie in some of our learning with an up close and personal encounter with owls and other raptors.

For those of you who may not know, the Pacific Northwest Raptors specializes in:

  • training and working with captive-bred birds of prey
  • training their handlers
  • educating the public about raptors 

This is a great place to take the whole family to see these magnificent birds of prey up close, and a great way for the kids to connect what they may have read about to something visual. It’s one thing to read about how a falcon stuns its prey in the air, it’s another thing to actually *see it with your own eyes. The kids were able to see and learn about various species of raptors, including but not limited to: Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and various species of owls. These birds were even able to put on a flying demonstration to woo the crowds. The children (and moms and dads too) were able to witness a falcon’s hunting techniques, view a Great Horned owl and his wing span, see some baby falcon and eagle chicks, and witness the majestic pass of the resident Bald Eagle Mahwe. Unfortunately, Mahwe was enjoying the tree tops a little too much to come in for a landing, but such is the way with the wild.

If you’re in the Malahat area of beautiful Vancouver Island, be sure to make the Pacific Northwest Raptors a place to visit. It’s an experience your family will be sure to remember.

*Here’s a little video of some of the falconry training that is available at the centre. Summer programs are available to children, and volunteers over the age of 13 are welcome.

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Filed under Field Trips, Learning, Nature, Places To Visit, Science, Summer

Field Trip Tuesday

Swan lake/Christmas HillHeart of the Matter Online Magazine features a weekly meme called Field Trip Tuesday. Swan Lake Floating BridgeThis meme gives homeschoolers a global view of a variety of ideas for homeschool field trips. Since we’ve had a variety of field trips over our five years of homeschooling, I’ve been sharing some ideas from last year’s archives. This weeks field trip features a nature walk (one of many) at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, complete with nature note books. You can read about it here.

Why not head on over to Heart of the Matter and share some of your won field trip ideas?

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Field Trips, Learning, Meme, Nature, Places To Visit

Nature Notebooks and Winter Birding!

M’s nature notebookP’s nature notebookI haven’t posted in a while about nature notebooks, and considering they’ve made a winter revival in our house I thought this post might be timely. One of my daughters is very keen about birding and diagramming, the other  more into art and sketching. Winter birding; however, can rekindle a natural curiosity between said child and her nature notebook.

backyard bird feederOur winter birding experiences can take on the appearance of the following. Firstly, get yourself a bird feeder and place it somewhere close to a window. It’s handy to be able to observe them without pulling out the binoculars. Secondly, have a handy field guide available to easily look up new and interesting birds that come to visit your feeder (a camera is also handy). Thirdly, watch and wait. If you build it, they will come.

Birding Field TripOccasionally we will venture outdoors with our binoculars and partake on a birding field trip put on by the CRD. These are free and usually include a very knowledgeable guide, to teach us the art of observation. Often my daughters are quick to point out new birds on a family hike, or nature walk as well.Birds of Vancouver Once we’ve identified the bird we are able to look up the species in our field guide at home and take this opportunity to diagram what we’ve seen. We’ve been using a field guide called Birds of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland which has proved easy for the kids to use by themselves, but are now ready for something with a little more depth. Still, that said, I would recommend this field guide for elementary aged children.

Noggins Bird GameOne of the best Christmas gifts my children have keenly taken to are the Professor Noggins card games. We have a few and one, obviously, on birds. My youngest daughter is the continual champion of this game and I highly recommend purchasing one in any area of study that interests your child. If is a fun way to fuel the natural interests in the children.

Do you have any birders in your homeschool? If so, why not share what you are doing or have done to explore birding in your homeschool or family. Include drawings or diagrams your child may have done in a sketch or nature notebook. I’ll include a Mr. Linky below and you can link from here directly to your site in order to share with our readers on a broader scale. In the meantime, happy birding!

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Filed under Art, Charlotte Mason, Field Trips, Nature

Take a Trip Back in Time!

Craigflower SchoolhouseLast week we had the pleasure of participating in a field trip to an 1850’s Manor and Schoolhouse. Since we are working our way through our Pioneer Unit Study, we figured a visit to this museum would be very timely.

Manor wallThe Craigflower Manor is one of the few remaining original HBC (Hudson Bay Company) wooden structures in North America. Built in 1856, it housed Kenneth Mackenzie, his wife Agnes and their children. Hand PlaningMackenzie was hired by the HBC company to manage a large agricultural farm. The farm was to provide fresh produce to nearby Fort Victoria. The Craigflower schoolhouse was completed in 1856 in order to provide education for the children of the employees who worked on the farm.

Grinding WheatOur tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and great with the kids. This was by far one of the most fascinating field trips we attended this year. One of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability to cater your child’s learning experiences to the subject you have chosen to investigate. Organizing a field trip is easy and rewarding as it provides the opportunity for community learning. Using Their SlatesOur tour guide had lots of hands on activities for the children to participate in. We did things like take a turn at hand grinding some wheat (grown on the farm), experimenting with a carpenters hand plane and even an outdoor game of pioneer style ‘catch’ with a hoop and sticks. But the best part of all was the opportunity to sit in the old schoolhouse desks and practice our penmanship on real slates with authentic slate pencils. The kids were absolutely thrilled.

I highly recommend tying in your study of pioneer times with a visit to this historic site. You will not be disappointed.

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Filed under Community, Field Trips, History/Socials, Learning, Places To Visit, Unit Studies

Meet the Author!

TobascoLast week we had the privilege of attending a writing camp presented by Lyn Hancock author of Tobasco the Saucy Racoon. What a delight! If you ever have the chance of meeting this dynamic, enthusiastic writer then I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

WritingWriting CampLyn, who used to be a school teacher, was wonderful with the kids. She has a way of bringing out the reluctant writer in all of us and her tales about her adventures with Tobasco were pure delight. She has a way of teaching without sounding like she’s teaching , if you know what I mean. By the end of her presentation some kids had already startedwriting in their notebooks, anxious to get started.

Lyn HancockLyn offered ways to encourage and inspire children to write. She encouraged them to write about things that excite them – things they are passionate about. She also encouraged them to write about things they are familiar with, and about things in their own backyard. It was truly rewarding to be able to witness the kids who, inspired by Lyn’s stories, were anxious to sit down and write their own tales.

M with LynI highly recommend these types of writing camps, and if you have an opportunity to attend one by all means do so. What better way to become inspired to write than by meeting and talking to a writer herself?

This is a clip from one of Lyn’s book signing tours in Salmon Arm, BC 

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Filed under Field Trips, Language Arts, Learning, Writing

Something Fishy!

AlbacoreLast year we had the privilege of touring various aspects of mining industry and forest industry of B.C.  However, a study of B.C.’s resources wouldn’t be complete without taking a closer look at some of B.C.’s fishing industry. Fortunately we live in a location that allows us to tour all three of these industries fairly easily. Although if you want a closer look at some of B.C’s major mines you will have to drive a considerable distance east, like here for example where we landed during last years summer vacation. But I’ll save that for another post. 

Fisherman’s WharfToday we went on a field trip to our very own Fisherman’s Wharf in downtown Victoria, BC. Close to the district of James Bay, this little jewel is a fun place to discover. Talk a stroll along the wharf and take in the quaint float homes, sip a latte, nibble on some fish ‘n chips (seasonal) or talk to a fisherman! Fishermen moor here as they come and go and some make their wares available to the paying public. Some even deliver to your door!

Iron MaidenSo today we had the privilege of touring the Iron Maiden. A local fishing boat that also sells its wares to the paying public. We learned some very interesting facts about tuna varieties and how they fish them in BC waters. We also learned an awful lot about how the trollers work, how they attract fish and where they have to go to catch them. In addition, we learned how much they catch as well as what they use to catch them and what they do with the fish when they catch them. We were able to tour the boat, inspect the equipment, get up close and personal with a 15 lb. albacore tuna, and even taste the wares. Yum!

Big TunaThe kids got to climb on board and take a closer look at all the equipment and take a look inside the cabin, living quarters and even inspect the deep freeze. This is like no other freezer you’ve ever seen!

Harbor SealsTo top it off, the kids enjoyed a visit from a couple of local residents who will do tricks for food. (No kidding!) These little visitors understood how to wave at you and spin in the water for your amusement, all in exchange for a few fish heads and tails.

01wharfSo, if you have a chance to visit Fisherman’s Wharf go ahead and take the family with you. People love to talk about what they do and it gives the kids a chance to learn more about B.C’s fishing industry up close and personal. You may even decide to buy some of the yummy fish available or try their own BC canned tuna, which is by the way, worlds apart (literally) than what you find on the shelves of your local grocery store.

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Filed under Community, Field Trips, Learning, Places To Visit