Down on the Farm Field Trip

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.

BHEA Group

BHEA Group

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.

Milking

Milking

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

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4 thoughts on “Down on the Farm Field Trip

  1. Oh fun! We just went to the Living History Farms this past week with another homeschooling family… we met on our vacation time to go. They were very busy, a lot of schools were visiting and they had several bus loads there. They rushed the kids through everything… as they passed us several times we would hear the teachers instruct them… ok, we are all to stay in a line, don’t touch anything, be quiet when they are talking… or the one favorite when we were at the zoo the day before… ok kids, we are going inside… please walk quickly to the science lab, try to enjoy the exhibit as we walk through it. They were out of the science lab before we even got there… It’s a wonder the kids learned anything on their field trips! They had no time to observe anything. Anyways, we got bumped out because the school had schedules, so they would ask us to wait or say, a school is going to come through here in a couple minutes, you can’t go into that room, but feel free to look around upstairs and come back down when they are gone… after the kids went through… we had at least 3/4 of the staff apologize and ask if we homeschooled and said… you guys are going the right thing… these school kids… they don’t respect anything, they don’t listen, they touch everything… your kids… they are asking all kinds of questions and you can tell they are eager learners… Good Job! But, I’m like Rhonda, I don’t elaborate much anymore, but my husband enjoys the admiration and loves to share with them what we do, as well. I think as Moms we get more eye brows raised at us and we do get weary wondering if this will be another chance for someone to look down on us… Enjoy the kind remarks… they don’t come as often, but the encouragement is wonderful!!! It gets you through the harder days! I find the older generation more and more approving as they come into contact with a group of mouthy kids more often these days… our kids can be a breath of fresh air and if they are warm to talking with the older person… then they make fast friends.

    • Thank you for the comment. I chuckled when I read about the school children being rushed and hushed. And yes, you are right. Some older people can tell the difference between homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers if they have been exposed to enough homeschoolers.

  2. LOL! Love the situation with the older lady. When we go to visit National Parks during the school year, we always get questioned. I usually say something under my breath, because I get so weary of being asked, but not Nathan. He doesn’t have to face the questioning as often as I do, so he gives them a full explanation of homeschooling, why this counts for school, why it’s important and really all kids should be doing it, etc. By the time he’s done a crowd is listening (even though it doesn’t take more than a minute, I suppose) and there’s always somebody that says, “I wish I had been homeschooled.” I still keep on muttering though when asked, because I get asked by everybody and I just, well, get weary of it.

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