Last week, we took not one, not two, but three field trips. We are involved in three homeschool support groups. We pick and choose different activities each group does based on our interests, ages, and calendar.
It just so happened that last week all three groups organized a field trip we were interested in. I will tell you all about them in the next three blog posts, this being the first one.
We went to the TVA Fair in Knoxville for a program called “Down on the Farm” with our Blount Home Education Association (BHEA) support group. For this particular event, 234 participants signed up. Yes, that was a large group. Glad I was not the organizer.
Once I registered online for this field trip, I received the instructions:
(1) park in the field in front of the TVA Fair Grounds and
(2) say the magic words “Down on the Farm with BHEA” wherever there is a checkpoint.
It worked. We got in for free. Past the entrance, we simply looked for someone holding a “BHEA” sign and followed them.
After we got seated in the arena, a very funny juggler entertained us. Then, one of the cows gave us an elimination show. It was so intense, the kids in the lower levels almost got splattered. They quickly moved out of the way.
The organizers split our large crowd into ten smaller groups simply by bringing in ten fair staff holding a number sign. The closest sign to us was the number of our group. Somebody gave a signal somewhere. The people with number signs started walking.
We followed our leader. Each small group was lead to a teaching station. When the whistle blew, we moved to the next station. We felt a bit – well – herded like cows, but hey, it worked and it moved us from point A to point B.
Here were the ten stations: sheep and wool, bugs, corn-soybean-wheat theory, corn-soybean-wheat tubs to play in, bee keeping, pizza ingredients, cows, chickens, rabbits, horses. My children pet the animals and took everything in.
It was hot and dusty, tiring and, at times, boring. But, overall, they had fun and learned a few things.
The fair staff were middle school and high school students from different area public schools, private schools and homeschools. I was amused when an elderly lady asked the girl at the sheep pen, “Did you kids have to get out of school today to do this?”
The answer came respectfully, “We homeschool, so this counts as school for us.” The facial expression of the lady who asked the question spoke volumes about the clash of concepts that had just happened. She was stunned. All she could say back was, “Oh, OK.”
I get that older generations in particular have a hard time accepting homeschooling, especially if they grew up attending quality little schools. I just wish the older generations could keep an open mind about, well, anything, including educational choices. And that they could be as gracious as this lady, no matter how weird homeschooling sounds to them. Wishful thinking… I linked this post up to