The most dreaded sight on a homeschooling day out… school buses   1 comment

One of the great benefits to homeschooling is the freedom to go places on our time schedule.  Museums, parks, orchards, beaches – all are fairly quiet Monday through Fridays during the school year.  I’d rather sit on a cacus than to go to these places on a weekend.  But there have been times when our family has sought out a quiet, peaceful filled weekday afternoon at one of these places only to pull up and see the most dreaded sight – school buses.  I have used these unfortunate times to observe how children behave in these large groups and I don’t like what I see. 

Some years ago we went to Old World Wisconsin in May.  It is a large living history ‘museum’ where you walk around to old time farms, homes and a town with people dressed in period clothing to tell about life from that time.  There happened to be a field trip there, but we managed to avoid them until we got to the town church where it was jammed packed with jr. high kids being led in a hymn sing by a lady dressed in period clothing.  One obnoxious girl began literally screaming the words to the hymn – looking for attention and I’m sure thinking her actions made her ‘cool’.  We talked to the women afterwards about the church and the school group.  She said she does not enjoy it when field trips come through – it always the same ‘crap’. 

We recently enjoyed going to a bird exhibit at a local museum.  The museum was empty and quiet.  At the end of the exhibit is a children’s area for doing art, puzzles and play.   We all quietly sat for about a half an hour drawing birds with the help of ‘how to’ books and listened to various bird calls that were playing.  The kids enjoyed the time so much, they wanted to return at the change of exhibits which would be the following month.  We did go, but somehow my eyes had missed seeing the parked school buses and the children’s area was anything but peaceful.  Chaos was more like it.  Kids were bouncing from activity to activity, not putting time and thought into anything – and really how can any thought be put into anything without a quiet atmosphere in which to think?  Teachers were slowly pacing around, watching the time and looking tired.  I wonder what those kids really got out of the day.

I remember the anticipation of going on a field trip when I was a kid.  It didn’t really matter where we were going – it was just the fact that we were going to be out of school.  Out in the world and free from the daily classroom environment.  I know that’s what the kids on those school buses feel, I felt the same. 

I don’t think it’s a matter of school vs. homeschool because we avoid homeschool field trips with our homeschool group as well.  Something happens to kids when they congregate in large groups – the stimulation from their peers seems to make them uninterested and unengaged, focusing more on each other and often looking to be the center of attention.  Obnoxious, loud behavior is common as kids try to look cool in the eyes of their peers. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to be the one who enjoys museums and such with my children on a regular basis.  Not only do they get to really be able to take the time to look at what they want to see, but I learn as well.  We recently went to an auto museum because of my 15 year old’s interest in cars and were delighted to be the only people there.  He got to see something he enjoyed and the rest of us learned more about his interest. 

After earlier encounters with field trips, I now try to call ahead to see if there are any planned.  But sometimes, it’s unavoidable and we have to deal with the swarm of school children that get off of the big yellow buses.  I try to use it as a time to observe and be thankful for home education.

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Posted February 12, 2011 by The Nonconformist Mom in Uncategorized

One response to “The most dreaded sight on a homeschooling day out… school buses

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  1. Glad you are writing about your adventures. The school bus chaos is inevitable, but dreaded for sure. The group experience (1 adult to 10-15 children) is bound to be chaotic and exhausting.

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