Thursday, May 13, 2010

Duggars and Homeschool and Fieldtrips: Oh My!

This may seem like a "part 2" to the field trip post from earlier, but I'm not sure that it is. It's more of a take on field trips and their homeschooling. As I began to think of their field trips I was reminded of their early 1 hour specials and in one of them Michelle said that "when we don't know the answer, we can get in the car and go out and figure it out--find the answer for ourselves." So during that special we saw them on a field trip to see how soybeans were being used as insulation.

From that I started thinking about how people are blaming TLC for all of these "spontaneous" field trips. Now I'm beginning to think that, besides being necessary therapy for the youngsters in a stressful family time, they are great bits for homeschooling. Many people think the Duggars take homeschooling lightly and don't pay much attention to it, as if education is secondary to almost everything else in their life. I doubt that, otherwise their kids wouldn't be getting their GEDs at 16--when most kids seem to be getting them at 18 or not at all if they drop out, but that's just my opinion. Aside from the offhand remark at the mansion in Ashville about "shapes and colours," all of these trips DO make great opportunities for the Duggar kids to expand their horizons. They will always have these trips to remember.

One thing I remember about my first trip to the UK with my husband (besides w00 h00 this is my honeymoon) was WOW this is where history was really made! Seeing where things actually happened was fascinating--now because I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where "history" is relatively new, seeing things built in the 1500s and older was awe-inspiring. For those of you on the East Coast where you've seen things from the 1800s, you probably aren't that excited.

Even living in the south, the Duggars have the chance to visit some civil war territory I'm sure. That's history! Actually getting out there and seeing it is so much more amazing than reading about it in a book. The first time I saw the "white cliffs of Dover" my entire experience of World War Two in History class took on a whole new meaning--and let me tell you, 11th grade History class was a LONG time ago. And when we were in Calais, France at a tag sale and saw actual war uniforms and shells being sold--whoa--talk about bringing history alive! I imagine farmers in the south still come across the same thing (from the civil war) as farmers in France and England.

Sure we don't see these lessons being taught on camera, after all we see a mere 20 minutes (not 30 because after all, commercials), but I'm sure there is a lot of learning going on while these field trips are going on. After all, they've been going on long before the 30 minute TV show even started! It wouldn't surprise me at all if after the cameras are packed up there are learning packets, or worksheets to be done; some kind of follow-up to the trip that is age-appropriate to each child.

And why do the girls have to go? That question again? After all the oldest ones have graduated and it doesn't seem like they enjoy it, or they shouldn't have to go if they don't want to. If we are talking homeschool here, they are probably mentors. That is not uncommon in public schools at all, so why shouldn't it be common in homeschooling. Also, think back to when you were younger, seriously, how well did you always want to take direction from your mother, even if she was fantastic? Sometimes you do better when it comes from a sibling. I remember back to being in CampFire and the kid who acted out the most and was the most obnoxious was always the leader's kid--why? because she was the leader's kid--who wants their mom to be the leader? No one! It's no fun when your mom is there! Ok that was a small example, but only on occasion. Sometimes you need a break from mom no matter how great she is. I plan on homeschooling, or trying on-line school with my child and I hope she doesn't resent me for it :)

One thing the Duggars have never done, even from the moment we met them in their first special, was keep their kids at home while homeschooling. So to say that their field trips are something new to pass the time or to take up TLC space while Josie is sick, is a little bit of a cop out. While it may be partly true, after all, it's not as if there is a lot they can do with Josie in the hospital, field trips have long been a part of the Duggar homeschooling tradition and I think that TLC has merely added to their capability and their locations. But you won't convince me that learning isn't taking place when they travel to these marvelous destinations.


  1. Something that struck me is that in the UK we either have very academic qualifications or we have vocational qualifications. Nothing that really marries the two together. I'm thinking the field trips are the ways in which they show application of what they are learning. It's a very good way to get kids to be enthusiastic about learning - to be saying "hey remember how we learned about this, well this is why, so that you can do this".
    As a college lecturer (was one) I dreaded takiing the students out and about - the responsibility was a bit overwhelming, and I guess that school is similar - it's a big deal. Now I realise that the Duggars need to plan and organise things etc but it has to be a lot easier

  2. Several field trips they have taken have never made the weekly shows.... While doing their homeschool camp things they went to the Alamo.... it airs as clips on the web sites but not on the TV show....

    Michelle was answering a question as to how she keeps the LITTLE kids occupied on these field trips when she was talking about shapes and colors.... something that seemed to have gone right past the posters on the blogs.

    If I could change ONE thing about TLC filming was that they ALWAYS show the QUESTION Michelle or any of them are answering and not just the fripping answers which leads to much of the speculations....

  3. Wish I could travel with them! Looks like fun most of the time. Who wants to be cooped up at home or in class all day anyway?

    The Duggars have been to more states than I have. I have not been to Texas since the 6th grade. We just "drove through" the other states, we only stopped for gas so I can't say we "visited" them.

    JB does a good job keeping the kids from getting bored while educating them at the same time. I don't see them traveling to the Bahamas or Hawaii...because there would be a million NIKE moments. Ha Ha! :)