Thursday, June 11, 2015

Exploring Creation with Apologia's Field Trip Journal {A TOS Review}

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Apologia Educational Ministries seems to be quite well known in Christian homeschool circles. However, I only started learning about this company after I was introduced to their products with the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  As a Christian homeschool mom, I was thrilled to hear that they offer creation-based science curriculum. They also have Biblical worldview curriculum, homeschooling books, and more. Their newest addition is a wonderful elementary science resource which my husband and I were thrilled to discover we had been chosen to review. I am excited to be able to share about the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal.

I like to think of the Field Trip Journal as a scrapbook for field trips. I used to love scrapbooking, back when I still had a 35mm camera. I enjoyed choosing and arranging the pictures, along with embellishing and adding little captions to tell the story. Scrapbooking has sort of gone to the wayside as all my pictures are on the computer now, plus it is hard to find time to even attempt such a feat. However, being able to record my our memories is still very important to me. 

Now, to be honest, we hadn't been taking field trips before receiving the Field Trip Journal for review. We figured it would cost too much money or take up too much of our time. However, the time came to declare our interest in this product, and my husband and I both realized we had been missing opportunities. There are so many places that can be visited for little or no cost. Additionally, though a field trip will take time, it can also count as a school day, so we are weren't going to be wasting time. Far from it actually. What better way to learn about something than to see it up close and in person.  Suddenly, I was very interested in receiving this product to review. In fact, hubby started planning the field trips as soon as he knew we were getting it. 

So, what makes this Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal such a wonderful resource, besides getting us excited about field trips?  I mentioned that it had a scrapbook feel to it, but there is so much more. It can also be used as a nature journal to help take the time to focus on and appreciate God's creation. Additionally, there are tips for preparing for field trips to get the most out of them, and a huge list of ideas for field trip destinations. If that isn't enough, Apologia provides online extras that can be accessed using the password found in the beginning of the book. You will find articles about field trips and why they are important, along with even more ideas for where to go on field trips, with links to learn more about them. There are also links to maps and information about art journaling. 

Let's take some time to look inside this wonderful resource.

The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is a spiral bound book, filled with 64 color, journaling pages. The pages are normal notebook dimensions,  8 1/2 inch by 11 inch; however, the paper is heavier, making for a nice quality that will last, keeping the memories safe. 

There are several sections making up this journal. Here is what you will find:

  • Preparing for a Field Trip
  • Field Trip Ideas 
  • Places I've Explored Maps
  • How to Use the "Specific Trip" Pages
  • Field Trip Pages
  • How to Use "My Special Spot" Pages
  • My Special Spot Pages
  • How to Use " As I See It" Pages
  • As I See It Pages
I already discussed the first couple of sections above, so I would like to move on to to the actual interactive pages. There are "Places I've Explored" pages with room for you to list the places you have been, from places in your state, to places in the United States, and finally places in the world. As you can see below, there is a space to add an image of your state in the State section.

After a short introduction explaining how to use the Specific Trip pages, you will find 10 double page spreads devoted to sharing field trips. On the left-hand page there are spaces for recording many aspects of the trip: the destination, the time and date, books you have read in preparation for the trip, your emergency contact plan, a map, a photo or drawing and what you want to see or do. On the right-hand page there is ample room to write the story of your day and to jot down what you never want to forget about the trip.

Next you will find "My Special Spot" pages. These are meant to record one specific section of wildlife. There are pages for each of the four season, so you can document how things change during the year.

The remainder of the journal is devoted to "As I See It" pages. Some give prompts, such as movement, the heavens, and lifecycles. The rest of the pages are to use as you see fit. These pages are a place to record your thoughts and drawings of a specific part of God's creation.

Now I would like to share how we used this journal.

There were two places we knew we wanted to take the children to right away. My husband had a vacation week and we used it to our advantage. We decided to go to Animaland and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I read through the tips on preparing for a field trip and we prepared as well as we could. Besides perusing the site, there wasn't much preparation we could do. We looked for maps of our destinations as recommended, but we didn't have much luck. 

Animaland has a website, but it consists mostly of pictures of the animals we would be seeing. The children did enjoy perusing the pictures in anticipation. We figured a map wasn't essential anyway, as visitors to the zoological park are to stay on the trail. 

For our second trip we went to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It was mommy and daddy who needed the map to make sure we arrived at the right location (which we didn't as we had been given wrong information). Once we got on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, there was only one way to go, down as far as we wanted to go and back. 

Our last field trip was a spur of the moment trip, so we didn't have any time to prepare. Once again, it didn't negatively affect our trip, as there was a main trail to follow. We decided to go to Rock City Park. Their brochure does include a map of the trail which includes specific landmarks. It was really informative to read through this booklet, but we did that at home, after the trip. 

On the way to each destination I asked the children what they wanted to see or do. I recorded their reply in the journal. I found there was no need to take the journal in with us, so we left it in the van. I took lots of pictures of our trips. When we went to Animaland, Tabitha spent time writing down facts about the animals.

When we arrived home, I uploaded the pictures to the computer and the children each picked one to draw.

On the trip to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, I had the children carry along a nature scavenger hunt paper and a pencil. We had fun looking for all the items. 

We did see something we weren't planning on seeing. We spent some time balancing before making our way down the trail.

On our trip to Rock City Park, we were glad we hadn't taken in any extra papers as the trail was steep at times and quite challenging. Funnily enough, this was my favorite field trip so far. We got to see the wonders of God's creation. We stopped to look at roots and observe spiders along with other bugs. When we arrived back at the museum/gift shop, we were able to check out the Glowing Rocks Room and look at all the amazing rocks.

Not surprisingly, I took many, many more pictures of our trips. I have been sharing them in my recent Wordless Wednesday post. If you would like to see more of our fun adventures in God's marvelous creation, you can see them in the following Wordless Wednesday posts: 

It was at home that we finished filling out the journal. I admit, I was the one doing the writing. I didn't want our fun adventures to turn into a burden for the children. If they were older, I would have had them take turns writing in the book. However, we did take turns suggesting things for me to record about our day. I had everyone tell me what they never wanted to forget. Then I printed out a couple of pictures to add to the  page. As the maps we had were in the brochures or nonexistent, I used the map space for an additional picture.

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon:

Rock City Park:

We have not had a chance to use the "My Special Spot" pages as of yet. Before we received the journal, I had planned to use a spot in our back yard. However, it is recommended to select a spot that grows wild, and I haven't quite decided where I want that to be. The "As I See It" pages are going to be great for the children to take turns to draw about nature. This fits in great with our core curriculum, as we are to be taking one day out of the week to do outside nature studies.

There was one little modification I made to the journal. I desired a place to keep our brochures and other keepsakes secure, to avoid losing them. So, I added pockets to the inside front and back covers using card stock. 

I feel the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia is a wonderful resource for getting the most out of your field trips and for recording God's wonderful creation. It is a well made journal, with sturdy pages. I love the spiral binding which allows the journal to lay flat. The details on the pages give it the feel of a scrapbook. I love the little clock and date stamp for recording the date and time of the trip. The field trip suggestions and online resources are a wonderful bonus. I highly recommend this journal as a way to really enjoy your adventures and create special memories. 

The Field Trip Journal can be purchased for $22.00. It is a great family resource, great for use with children of any age. 

You can find Apologia on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Don't forget to stop by and see what my fellow Crew mates had to say about the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Crew Disclaimer

1 comment:

  1. How neat! We are frequent field trippers; so much so that we often can't remember everywhere we've been! This would be a great supplement to all our travels.


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