High Expectations Can Kill a Field Trip

We had never been to Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park before. It was amazing standing at the base of Half Dome. This was by far the biggest field trip we had ever taken as a homeschool family. Twelve days together this was by far the longest family vacation we had ever taken.

Looking back at the boys I smiled with such excitement and squealed, “what do y’all think”?

Half Dome! Here – us – together – the mega homeschool experience of a life time!

“What are we gonna have for lunch”? One boy asked me. I kid you not the other chimed in, “Can I play Gameboy in the car”?

My jaw dropped and my husband immediately loaded us up before I broke down into a pile of tears in the parking lot.

Sometimes homeschool moms are guilty of putting a lot of expectations on the perfect curriculum, craft, or field trip. We expect big results. We easily set ourselves up for disappointment.

Of course you can imagine how I lectured my children all the way around the park how God’s Creation is amazing and we took all this time to go see it the least they could do was look up.

They wanted to throw rocks into rivers. I wanted to discuss ecosystems.
They wanted to climb waterfalls. I wanted to explain the flood.
They wanted to mount a monolith. I wanted to discuss new vocabulary words.

When we returned I unpacked the unopened field guides. I counted every missed lesson and every skipped teachable moment. I felt like they wasted the best opportunity.

One morning a neighbor was cutting down a tree in his yard. We all stood there stunned – feeling like it was criminal. My oldest told me about Abraham Lincoln’s Yosemite Grant in 1864 to protect the giant sequoia. “John Muir would be disappointed too” he told me patting my arm.

One weekend on the boat my youngest saw fresh water springs and pointed to us, “that looks like a geyser”.

Little seeds of our trip starting to bloom.

Naturally. Unforced.

We do not need to beat our kids over the head with facts. We just have to be there to enjoy our time together.

Stef Layton is a homeschooling mom to two energetic superheroes. She has adopted an interest-led tactile learning style to best teach her hands-on learners. Married to a busy traveling man, they enjoy school on the road and many field trips. Stef is the author of Educating Laytons.


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