FIELD TRIPS

 Enjoying a Philip K. installation at the Laguna Art Museum

Enjoying a Philip K. installation at the Laguna Art Museum

I love learning. If I could have it my way, I’d be a professional student. But that doesn’t pay the bills so I turn to reading for acquiring knowledge. Same for my three children. If they want to learn something, they turn to books, newspaper articles, YouTube videos (I’ll explain in detail in another entry), magazines, and other informative sources. But how much learning is truly absorbed? For me, I believe in experiential learning.

Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. It’s like a field trip. And it’s effective because there’s time for reflection, critical analysis and synthesis to take place. Plus experiential learning provides opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically.

 Malachi enjoying The Circle of Sky and Land piece by Philip K. Smith in Palm Springs 

Malachi enjoying The Circle of Sky and Land piece by Philip K. Smith in Palm Springs 

It’s getting out there and getting your hands dirty in the experience. If you’re learning about physics, then go biking (since energy, conservation of energy, gravity, balance are parts of physics); if you’re reading about animals, visit a zoo; if you’re learning about plants, take a field trip to a botanical garden.

 Maile posing in front of Philip K. Smith installation

Maile posing in front of Philip K. Smith installation

It’s these experiences that make reading come to life and creates deeper understandings in readers. You don’t have to be a trained teacher to do it. You’re already participating in experiential learning whether it’s reading a book about friendship with your child and going to the park to play. But to make things a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of experiential activities I’ve done with my own children (ages 8, 10, and 12) in the Orange County area to make your lives a little easier. (We, moms, need all the help we can get.)

So to start this new series on FIELD TRIPS, I’ll include one or two books about the theme, then provide a Field Trip experience with several options. Okay, let’s do this.