Monday, September 9, 2013

Using Field Trips to Work Through Homeschooling Troubles

We headed to the science center yesterday and while I want to focus on all the fun that we had I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that the day was a struggle.

Don't get me wrong; the science center is amazing! 

We didn't have a stellar day because my boys were not behaving at all.  

I had a Groupon that was going to be expiring soon and I have been dying to take the boys to check the place out so I finally decided this was the day.  I told the boys on Monday that we'd be heading out to Hartford and spending the day at a new science museum on Tuesday.  They seemed excited.  

Then Tuesday morning rolled around and no one wanted to go or get ready.  

I'm getting so used to the whining and complaining about getting dressed it's not even funny. 

 I refused to see this Groupon go to waste and quite frankly I refused to stay home with the boys.  

I kindly reminded them that they could be getting in the car and going to school instead.  That was the last of the complaining!

Their behavior has been less than stellar lately and I have been ignoring what I can and trying to use gentle reminders to get us back on track.

I keep thinking we need to get out of the house, spread out, and focus on something other than each other.  I hoped this trip to the museum would be just what we needed.




They were all ready early and decided to sit and watch the last of our Disney Imagineering movies from the library.   I could tell the exact moment it ended.

They are so loud and obnoxious lately.  They fight constantly-- not just bickering fighting either.  They hit each other with toy swords, whip each other with blankets, kick each other with their feet... I have said "keep your body to yourself!" more times than I can count lately.

The car ride was even difficult and I soon found myself resorting to threatening the boys.   

About half- way to Hartford they all started fighting with one another over the few toys they brought into the car.  It got very loud and they were all being so rude to one another.

I turned off the book and told them that I'm seriously considering taking away all privileges for a month or so-- no trampoline, no karate, no birthday parties with friends, no day trips, etc.

I explained that I'm sick of the way they talk to one another.

I'm sick of how they constantly fight and complain and I reminded them that if they can't act appropriately then we can't go anywhere.

However, if we have to stay home because of bad behavior there won't be any TV, movies, DS games, etc. either.  I will find household chores for them to do, school work to catch up on, and that will be it.

They seemed to understand that I was serious and their behavior improved a lot! 

I used to think I was rewarding their bad behavior if I ignored their bickering and fighting and took them on a field trip.  But I have noticed that if I can just get them out of the house and involved in something else it helps them to get along and behave.

I think they just get sick of one another, sick of the house, and sick of our toys and don't know how to voice that aloud.

I finally realized that field trips are sanity savers when nothing else seems to work.

As long as they can spread out and each find something to absorb their attention we can usually reset our day and their attitudes towards one another.

We finally arrived!!

We found the science center was practically deserted.  I think we ran into a total of 5 families throughout the day.  Once we had our bracelets for the day, the boys all headed into the water room and they played so nicely and so intently for the next hour and half!

 I was actually starting to panic that we might never eat lunch or get to see any of the other exhibits.

Alec, in particular, had no desire to leave the water room.  He was running experiment, after experiment and having a ball.  At times they all worked together, other times they wandered off to work alone.

Ian and Evan each built a Lego dam/ pool with a neat water table set up.

It was great.  I loved seeing how engrossed they all were with what they were doing.  While they were playing I sat there marveling over how hard they were working and learning. 



After lunch we decided to start at the top and work our way down. 

 The Science Center Covered Many Different Topics--
  • our bodies, muscles and joints  
  • the science behind sports, injuries and safety equipment.   
  • the Connecticut river and local animal life
  • weather
  • alternative energy and fuels
  • dinosaurs
  • space exploration
  • musical instruments and sound waves
  • magnets
  • robots
  • air currents
  • nutrition

We got to: 
  • dig for dinosaur bones
  • stand in the middle of a "hurricane"
  • look at rocks under the microscope
  • build dams
  • test out crash helmets on a dummy
  • check our heart rate and see the heart pumping
  • make patterns using musical vibrations
  • record ourselves as Dj's, Weather men, and athletes
  • race cars, boats, and helicopters
  • race against the robot to complete a puzzle
  • watch videos about outer space
  • make our own craters
  • build with Lego's and various types of blocks
   It was a fun day of learning and the boys seemed to have finally set aside their differences.  The bickering stopped and they got along great.

I could see the wheels in their head turning and they were all so engaged in what they were learning.

Unfortunately, they resorted to their fighting and bickering by the time we got home and I found myself at my wit's end with our unschooling journey.  You can read about what we did when I found myself at my wit's end here.  

Linking Up With:

Strawberry Butterscotch

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