Whenever we go on field trips or attend classes, I document those days in my lesson planner. I use a binder for my record-keeping, and I have it organized into several sections. One section is devoted to field trips and classes. I use the same form for field trips and classes.
My Field Trip form is simple, but it covers what I want to keep track of. I print them on card stock and fill in the place we went or the name of the class we attended, the date, and resources I want to use to enrich the experience, such as books, videos, websites, etc.
I add in any follow-up activities such as nature journals, reading assignments, or further research that I want the kids to do. Then I write about what we did, what we learned, and what I want to remember about the field trip and attach tickets, brochures, pictures, etc. I also print out a few photos and either add them to the page or put them into page protectors and insert them behind the page.
If we receive any class handouts, I will usually put one in a page protector here as well, unless they get filed in my kids’ notebooks. It’s also nice to add in information on pricing, phone numbers, web addresses, etc. for future field trips to the same places.
My style of documenting is to write a narrative of the experience and include things that stood out or that we might want to revisit later on. An example of this from our recent trip to a wildlife park is, “The presenter explained the difference between a tortoise and a turtle and identified their body parts.
The kids all got a chance to touch the tortoise.” The kids eagerly share what they learned with Daddy when he gets home, and I will be sure he asks them how you can tell a tortoise from a turtle.
My resource list for this field trip included: Answers in Genesis Zoo Book.
In this section I might also include reading assignments, websites, movies to watch, or other subject-related assignments. When we visited a nuclear power plant, I included reference pages from my son’s science book and a web address for an online video about nuclear energy. For follow-up activities to our wildlife park visit, the kids document what they want to remember in their nature journals, either with drawings, words, things they collected on the field trip, or photos we print out at home. We found some peacock feathers, which my youngest put in the pocket of his journal.
At the end of the year, my planner ends up looking like a scrapbook because it is filled with so many memories. I’ve tried various ways of record keeping in our eight years of homeschooling, but for now, the binder method works best for me. I like being able to rearrange things, add pages as needed, and even move everything into a larger binder if needed as the year goes on.