Having spent $50 on the cab to get to the museum, we just didn’t have the funds available to take a cab back. Public transportation time!
It really wasn’t that long of a walk to the train station, but after such a long, sensory-overloading day, it was a REALLY long walk back to the train station.
The kids, though, got lots of real-world practice at watching the “walk”/”don’t walk” signs, and crossing busy intersections. We’ve now reached the point where, even at home, whenever we reach a crossing of any sort, the boys will stop and actually say (as they do it) “look both ways – then go!”
When we finally got to the train station, we had no idea what ticket we needed to buy. The nice lady working in the booth came out to help us. Turns out? Both kids are young enough to ride for free, and the ticket back to the airport for both the adults was a mere $10.
Yep. The airport information lady was incredibly UNhelpful and downright cruel in the morning.
Even better, the transfer we have to take is only a few stops from the museum, and after that it’s just sit on the train and wait til the end of the line.
The kids were pretty subdued on the ride back, though. Waiting for our transfer train, Jed asked to be held. He rarely does that, but he was just so tired!
On the train, he held on to his dinosaur excavation kit for dear life (he’d also insisted on carrying it the entire way from the museum to the train).
He did enjoy counting the stops until our destination, and sang his ABC song several times.
Zac just snuggled next to me…and eventually fell asleep!
Back at the airport, we grabbed the shuttle back to the hotel, ate some dinner, and Jed journaled some more about his exciting museum day.
Then it was bath and bed time, as we had an early morning on Sunday.
In the morning, I was up before everyone else. After getting dressed for my day and making breakfast for everyone, I woke the fellas up. They were surprisingly cooperative, considering it was 4:30 a.m.!
After eating, getting the kids dressed and the bags repacked, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to the airport. The kids got a little more practice at escalators and moving walkways as I escorted them to the kids play area at Terminal 2 in O’Hare.
They had a chance to play there for a while before their flight left, and while I had to leave to go to work, Darrel reported that the kids had a blast and made a new friend.
They had a pleasant flight home, a long 2 hour drive over to my parents house, and then Darrel headed back to our house without the kiddos to rest up for work the next morning.
It may not really seem like this was much of a homeschooling trip, but it actually was a highly educational outing.
We covered the following subjects:
- Math: counting stops on the train, talking about flight times and flight numbers, talking about money (buying tickets for the museum, buying the toys at the end of the day, train vs. cab), trying to get the kids to imagine being 1 inch tall and showing them how little that is
- Language Arts: having Jed dictate stories to me to write, Jed pointing to letters and saying the letter name, AND Jed pointing to letters, saying their name, and then saying a dinosaur word that started with that letter! (he did that completely on his own a few times!)
- Arts & Crafts: drawing the pictures to accompany the stories, plus the time he spent coloring in his special “travel coloring book” (These would also count as motor skill lessons)
- Science: hello…dinosaurs! They already knew a lot of what the museum covered because of things we’ve read and TV shows we’ve watched, but seeing the fossils in person really activated Jed’s imagination! Plus Zac got to play with a microscope.
- History: Jed learned about how people once lived in adobe houses and survived on maize, they both saw the timeline of earths development, and saw how Vikings lived and when (even though they weren’t really paying attention, they were exposed to it). Though much of it is undoubtedly beyond their understanding at this point, the idea of history has now been more firmly planted in Jed’s mind.
- Safety: learning how to safely walk on city streets, learning how to watch traffic signs at intersections and “walk/don’t walk” signs, learning how and where to cross streets, learning how far away from the edge of the platform you should stand for safety at a train station, holding on to something or sitting down on a moving train, how to navigate escalators and moving walkways
- Life Skills: all of the safety lessons, plus how to navigate places you’ve never been (the kids witnessed and we discussed our seeking help from the information lady and the train booth lady), how to behave at an airport, and how to read signs to learn where you’re going at an airport or train station
And probably some more things I’m forgetting to mention!
Not to mention the very cool Dinosaur Unit Study we did the three days prior to heading off on our trip.
Now that we know how to take the train (and that it’s so cheap!), Darrel and I have discussed doing simple “day trips” to the Museum. If we can catch the first morning flight and take the last flight of the day home, we can head up to Chicago more frequently to see some of the amazing things there.
Plus, a fellow Flight Attendant reminded me about Uber; I’ve never used it before, but Flight Attendants are huge fans of that service and say it’s much less expensive than a cab. When we do day trips to Chicago from now on, if the kids get overwhelmed, we can look in to taking an Uber back to the airport.
Was it worth it to take this trip?
Well, the kids loved it! They’ve commented frequently in the weeks since that they want to go back to the airport, that they want to go see the dinosaurs again, that they want to go ride the train again.
Jed’s desire to read increased greatly after the trip; I think seeing us use reading so frequently to navigate the city and discover the museum made reading a Bigger and Better Skill to Have in his mind. (We read books to him all the time, but, in perfect child logic, why bother to read it yourself when Mommy will read it for you?)
Darrel enjoyed the trip, too, though he returned home ever more grateful for our very nice, good quality mattress.
This trip was exhausting. It was a LOT of work. I made myself physically sick trying to get everything ready to go.
But it was so. worth. it.
It’s a taste of what I imagine homeschooling will look like in the future for us. At the age and stage the boys are now, our travel homeschool trips will be kept short and sweet.
But one day, oh, one day, they’ll be in the double digits age group and we can truly begin Homeschooling Flight Attendant Style.
I can’t wait!
What would your dream Homeschooling trip be?