Bones and Beetles at the Museum of Osteology

Our first field trip season has begun! We will try to visit a local educational site of interest every week and write a blog post detailing what we experienced. Last week, we visited one of our favorite field trip locations that we frequent quite regularly – the Oklahoma City Zoo (which we absolutely love). This week, we wanted to take a closer look inside those same animals and explore their skeletons.

Of all the places in the world, did you know that Oklahoma City is home to the first and one of only two skeleton museums in America (the other is in Orlando)! I had heard of the Museum of Osteology several years ago, but I never did get around to checking it out.

I saw that Groupon and Living Social both were having deals for admission tickets, so I snagged tickets for $8 total for myself and my oldest child (children younger than 3 are free). Tickets are normally $8 for individuals 13 and older and $7 for children ages 3 to 12.

We decided to make our visit on a Friday around lunchtime, so when we pulled into the parking lot of a rather unimpressive-looking building, there were maybe 5-10 other cars. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, besides maybe 3-4 other groups of visitors.

As you enter the museum, you are greeted by a massive whale skull. Also, don’t miss the beetle exhibit in the front area of the museum on the opposite wall from where you pay. My daughter was instantly drawn over to the sight of thousands of tiny flesh-eating beetles cleaning off a skull of a fox. It’s rather creepy, while also intriguing.

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Once you go through the double doors into the main exhibit hall, be sure to grab a scavenger hunt sheet hanging on the wall to the left. These are grouped by various ages. It will help keep the kids engaged and might help make your visit more informative. I’ve also read that you can get a prize if you complete it, but I didn’t find out about this until after we left.

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What I also found out is that you are supposed to start by going counter clockwise through the exhibit hall. We didn’t do that and later found out that it would have made more sense. So head to the right after you grab your sheet.

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We were just so amazed and enthralled by the impressive whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling, the enormous elephant structure, and just the vast array and variety of animals on display throughout this space. From tiny little hummingbirds to gigantic whales and everything in between, it was truly amazing to see the inner skeletal structures of creatures of every kind. Even the baby was “ooing” and “ahhing” at what she saw!

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There is also an upstairs portion with even more skeletons on display. The kids were starting to get a little restless at this point, so we didn’t get to look as intently at the specimens on that level.

For the kids, there is a little exploration area on the second level with books to read, postcards to color, skulls to touch and explore, puppets, puzzles, and video clips. My kids really enjoyed getting to do something interactive and had fun playing for a little bit.

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Since it is rather small, it may only take a couple hours to see everything. We spent about an hour or so but could have easily stayed a little longer if the kids were older.

Overall, we were truly impressed with this museum and recommend it to all families looking for a unique and interesting experience.

Why I’m not sending my child to public school

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If you haven’t noticed from your newsfeed filled with photos of children standing on front porches holding signs, it’s back-to-school time. On the eve of this monumental event in our own family, with our oldest child entering the formal schooling years tomorrow, I am filled with excitement and apprehension.

Every parent knows that once your child becomes school-aged, you’ll have to make the weighty decision of how you’re going to educate your child. I used to think it was a no-brainer. Kids just always go to public school, right? Unless you’re extremely wealthy, own vacation homes, trust funds, etc. and can afford private school or want your kids to be socially-awkward, have no friends and not know how to function in “real life,” then you homeschool. That’s what I used to think.

I, myself, am a product of public schooling (at least until college), and I loved it (except for middle school…I mean, who really loves middle school). I feel like I received a good, solid school experience and learned what I needed in order to do well at college. I graduated near the top of my high school class, was involved in several extracurricular activities, received scholarships for college, and just generally did well in the public school system.

But, what I remember from school wasn’t so much the education part. I “learned” (crammed) enough to do well on tests, but I can’t for the life of me remember some information I should probably know in my adult life. Maybe it’s due to lack of sleep, mommy-brain, old age…or it could be because of how I was schooled.

Schooling and education these days are now really hot-button topics, kind of like trying to bring up religion or politics in a social setting. Whether it’s about budget cuts, common core, testing, school choice, etc., people all have an opinion.

I believe the educational landscape of today compared to my childhood is drastically different. The opportunities and methods of educating available to a child are so much more diverse now. With public, private, homeschool, virtual schools, charter schools, magnet schools, blended schools (part homeschool, part private school), Montessori schools, the options seem pretty overwhelming for a parent (or at least this parent).

I think it’s safe to say that we, as parents, all want the best for our kids.  Educational needs vary from one child to the next, so while I’m choosing not to send our older daughter to public school, we may very well send our younger one to public school.

We have a highly-rated and highly-acclaimed neighborhood elementary school within a stone’s throw from our house. I can actually hear their announcements on the intercom, so it is a somewhat difficult decision to have to drive across town when I could just easily walk her to school.

As our daughter begins her formal education journey, we are deciding not to send her to public school this year. For us and for this particular child, we want to uniquely tailor her education. We have enrolled her in a blended Classical Christian private school two days a week, are going to Classical Conversations one day, taking her to a Bible Study Fellowship class with me another day, and using our free weekday as a field trip day (which was the catalyst driving this blog), all while working on the next grade level curriculum through the Oklahoma Virtual Preparatory Academy.

Am I crazy? I don’t know, probably. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m doing it all!

Here is a list of the top 10 reasons why I’m choosing this education for her:

  1. I want my child to be educated within a Christian worldview.
  2. I want to have more time with my child, especially in her younger years.
  3. I want to have more flexibility of what to teach my child.
  4. I want my child to view her entire world around her as a classroom.
  5. I want to know what my child is learning at school and be actively involved in her education. 
  6. I want to reclaim my own education and learn alongside her.
  7. I want her to be taught using the Classical educational model.
  8. I’m still not ready for her to be in school all day every day.
  9. I want her to get more individualized attention in her schooling.
  10. I want to take her on more field trips!

Welcome to Field Trip Family

Hello and welcome! We are new around here and wanted to introduce ourselves. Field Trip Family is a blog resulting from years of hoping and wishing to start something where I can document and create. I had dabbled in the world of blogging before becoming a stay-at-home mom, and I loved it. Then, the baby came, and my time and energy started to fade and become redirected. We’ve since added another baby to the brood, but my desire to write and create never waned.

At this point in my life, our oldest daughter is entering into the elementary school years, and I don’t want to miss out on documenting and recording the many memories and experiences to come. We also want to capitalize on this time we have together as a family and bring more purpose and meaning to our everyday activities. We are hoping to share our adventures and experiences with others and encourage other families to also approach outings and travel with more intentionality.

If you want to read more about our purpose and guiding principles for the Field Trip Family, visit the About page.

C.S. Lewis

 

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