Monday, June 8, 2015

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia (on Middle School Monday)

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Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @
Thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew, sometimes the products we get to try out are brand-new and we get a first look. We were definitely excited about being able to review the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal, hot off the presses from Apologia Educational Ministries!

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Apologia Educational Ministries is one of the premier publishers of Christian education materials, providing homeschooling curriculum and resources including Creation-based science, worldview curriculum, and books about homeschooling and parenting. It's a family-owned corporation, and having met some of that family and some of the Apologia staff, I can tell you that they are some of the most wonderful people with such a heart for homeschoolers.

The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is one of the newest resources offered by Apologia. This journal is a fun, colorful scrapbook-style journal for kids to record their adventures and experiences. It includes checklists, maps, a list of field trip ideas (and an exclusive link to tons more ideas and links on the Apologia website), and plenty of pages to take notes, add pictures, and record special memories about the places visited.

How did we use it?  I was delighted about being among the first to try out the Exploring Creation Field Trip JournalBut at the same time, I was a little worried - because I wasn't sure we'd have many actual field trips planned during the several weeks before sharing my review. Ironically, we have a great field trip planned for this week, right after the final bell for sharing these reviews! And then another trip planned for next week! Well... for those trips, Kennady is doing a little research so she has some idea what to expect. And now, after she's perused the website of the art museum we plan to visit later this week, I know what she most wants to see there - Piet Mondrian artwork, the Sculpture Garden, and some of the French artwork collection. I will do my best to make those things happen!
Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @

The other thing we could do right away was start listing some of the previous places we've explored. There are three two-page spreads for this near the beginning of the book - for places explored in your own state, for places explored in the rest of the USA, and for places explored around the world.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @

Here's what else we have done with it so far: Shortly after we received the journal, Kennady's choir was invited to sing at a CAF Red Tail Squadron event called RISE ABOVE at our small town airport. Landon's Civil Air Patrol Squadron was also there all day assisting with the event. We made sure that we did more than just show up and sing - we looked at all the exhibits of WWII artifacts, and we saw the movie about the Tuskegee Airmen. We watched the restored aircraft fly (Landon was one of the cadets moving the plane to the flight line!), and perhaps most importantly, Kennady got to meet two of the Tuskegee Airmen! And then, she recorded her experience in the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal. For each trip, there is a two page spread like this, with spaces to record the date and time, list any books the student read related to the trip, draw or add a map of the trip location, and record what she saw and did. For this trip, we didn't really need a map, because it was just our little airport. We stuck in the brochures we picked up, and Kennady wrote a journal entry explaining her day.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @

It's covered by the one pamphlet, but the bottom third of the right-hand page has a section with the title, "Something I never want to forget", and that might be my favorite part of the journal, because you never know what will make that lasting impression. If I had been filling it out, I know that I would never want to forget the quiet courage of the two history-makers we had the privilege to meet and the sight of our kids shaking their hands and thanking them for their service. 

Another "field trip" that Kennady got to complete already was a camping trip to Assateague Island with friends. She started filling out her journal ahead of time. The journal has pages with checklists and suggestions for planning ahead, which we did use. And on the specific trip page, there's a place to record books read (I suggested that she read Misty of Chincoteague, so it's on the list, but she hasn't read it yet!); and there's a place for the student to write down what they hope to get out of the trip. So check it out - Kennady wanted to see horses. I mean, it's Assateague Island, so of course!

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @

But sadly, even though they had a prime campsite right on the beach, the weather was less than wonderful (read: it rained the entire night, and was insanely windy) so they moved to a hotel the second night and only saw one or two horses. Not even very close up either. Boo. But Kennady had a great time anyway, especially the first day spent on the beach, and she wrote a great description of the fun they had doing other things. 

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal - A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew @

Other features of the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal that we've looked at, but haven't been able to make use of (yet) include:
  • a table of field trip ideas focused on different subject areas (Animals, Space/Aviation, History, Culture, etc) and ranging from places right in your local neighborhood to international trips. This page also includes an exclusive link to a collection of resources on Apologia's website.
  • a set of pages in a section called "My Special Spot" which encourage a student to record details about a place they can visit during each of the four seasons.
  • a set of pages titled "As I See It" designed for the student to use their creative side to record what they see and their impressions. 
What we liked best:
  • beautiful, colorful, and high quality spiral bound book makes it a pleasure to journal about field trip adventures.
  • space and encouragement to be creative and to keep a very personal record of what you saw and did.
  • could easily be used as a joint effort by siblings to record their homeschool field trips.
What I need to mention:
  • I would have liked the map area and the one spot for a drawing on the Specific Trip pages to be bigger. There is that "As I See It" section just for drawing pictures, but there's not much room right on the Specific Trip pages. 
Our bottom line: Once again, Apologia has delivered a winner! The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is fun and easy for kids to use, and is full of ideas for parents wanting to plan creative field trips for their homeschools. I'm looking forward to updating after Kennady has had a chance to fill out more journal pages after her upcoming trips!
Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review
Would you like to journal your family's field trips ? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website:

Pricing: Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal is available for $22.

You can follow Apologia on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, and on Google+.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews. 
Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Crew Disclaimer

P.S. - Because I think this journal is great for middle school age kids, and because I'm sharing my review on a Monday, I'm adding this review to my Middle School Monday link-up for June.
Middle School Monday

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