Thursday, September 9, 2010

An excursion to new frontiers

What do you remember about school excursions? Hours on buses. Pages of worksheets. Total exhaustion on arrival home. That pretty much sums it up for me.

Mr6 went on his first 'big' excursion today. No more wandering around town, checking out the library and the post office. No more walking to the local park to avoid the hissing geese that guard the pond. No more visits to the local Animal Park, where, because of our then recent move, he was the only kid who hadn't been 16 times since birth.

No more.

We have hit the big league. The bus. To another town. For $28. (May I just mention here my nostalgia for the local excursions with maximum cost of 50c?)

He went to the nearest Botanic Gardens (or Botannical, according to the note sent home... I know). Due to our recent holiday, we had missed the permission note send-out, so the first I knew of it was on Monday when he asked why I hadn't sent the note back. Cue frantic shuffling through piles of papers in the 'to be read' pile on the kitchen bench. No note.

On Tuesday, he returned home with a note and strict instructions to bring it back the following day with his money. It was at this point that the $28 was brought to my attention.

"Why are you going to the Botanic Gardens?" I enquired, scrawling my signature on the form and hastily circling NO I could not help. I can be forgiven for this, I think, given I am still recovering from last week's preschool outing.

"We're going to see the difference between the manmade and natural environments," he informed me. For $28? Do we not have a shed and a tree in our backyard?

He must have seen my face. "And we're going to look at wet and dry environments," he added. I read the top section of the note. There it was in black and white. Wet and dry environments.

"Did you read this note?" I asked, suspiciously.

I'm not sure what your memories of school excursions are like, but highlights for me tend not to revolve around the actual subject of said excursion - historic building, seat of Government, natural rock formations - but the bus trips to and from. Mr6 carefully packed two books to take care of that time.

As far as I can remember, we had no excursions during my primary school years in the Northern Territory. Possibly because the bus trips to and from anywhere would have taken days. I remember an early high school trip to Canberra mostly because I didn't have a Walkman and everyone else on the bus did. I did, however, have a brand new, fetchingly oversized-sloppy joe shirt-dress arrangement, worked back with skinny jeans. Possibly the last time I was qualified to wear skinny jeans.

A year 10 trip to the Warrumbungles resulted in a serious lesson after I watched one of my classmates cope with a catastrophic hangover on a bus full of teachers. "Avoid the self-inflicted sick man blues," he wrote in my snappy autograph book memento of the trip.

Mr6 came home worried that he would miss his afternoon snack as the bus arrived at 3.30pm, rather than the usual pick-up time of 3pm. He told me he'd found a bug that turned out to be dead and, anyway, no-one else could see it. They saw a tree frog, but it wasn't in a tree, it was on the ground, so did it still count as a tree frog? He liked the desert bit and the jungle bit, but the playground wasn't all that.

Was it fun? He mustered up a half-hearted 'yeah', before wondering again about his snack.

Tick the fun, educational excursion off the list for this year. Can't wait to see what second grade throws up.


PS: I'm back on the Flog Yo Blog horse with Lori at RRSAHM this fine Friday - it's a wild ride every week, go visit!


  1. Ive been on some great excursions to the zoo with the kids. Ones where we got to see the 'working' part of the zoo where all the food is kept. I had to keep my amusement to myself as all the little girls burst into tears when some worker told them that the cute little chickens were actually snake food.

    Other than that i haven't been to all that many excursions really. We've had countless zoo trips, marine life centres, the museum/art gallery, a bowls club for bowls and an Italian lunch, the markets. The boys have had camps to random rural areas as well as Canberra. Michael has been to Melbourne and Woomera with school. They went to Woomera to fix up a school. We don't pay any extra (mostly). All gets tacked on the fees (except Michael's mega excursions). Oh add to that the beach, the movies and other school for religious days.

    Oh and I very rarely have the note signed on time. Its not uncommon for the school to call me on the day to ask if its ok.

  2. I remember a school outing when I was a kid living in Fiji. We were taken to the local police station and shown the cells. Then they locked the entire class of 5 year olds in jail. Funny sense of humour in the islands.

  3. At school, all I remember was sitting on the back of the coach and making faces at the other drivers. Or giggling at the security guards in the museum. Lots of service stations on motorways spending our money on vile snacks.

    I can't believe how much they charge for school trips here and (although I don't know the exchange rate) there. $28 sounds a lot. Wet and dry environments - what a load of rot. Mine's going on one to Hampton Court near London soon - that's quite a trek. They're studying the Tudors. I wouldn't mind circling the I can help box on that one for a change but doubt the 2 year old will be that enamoured and she'd have to come too.

  4. I was one of the designated moms on the last field trip I took, 15 years ago. It was Houston, in May, in a unairconditioned school bus with 40 kids amped up on junk food. Who could ask for anything more?

  5. I recall going to Chessington Zoo and spending my pocket money on a little fuzz covered lion. And picking all of the fuzz off on the long journey home, exhausted.

    I did not know you had spent time in the NT?!

  6. I remember an awful lot of Bon Jovi on the way to and from Hill End. 'Oh, we're half way there"... again?

  7. The highlight of my primary school days was an excursion when I was in about grade 3 and we got to see local farms, and cows milked etc. Then in Gr 7 we got to go to the Sunshine Coast and visit The Big Pineapple, and ride on the Nutmobile. I was a bit pissed off we didn't get to go to the Golden Circle factory like my older siblings had, because they got free stuff to tak home. The best part was when one of the naughty boys taunted a kangaroo and it punched him to the ground. True story.

  8. Easily the best excursion for me was the Year 8 trip to Canberra (as opposed to the Year 9 trip to Canberra, or the Year 10 trip to Canberra, how boring were our school excursions!). This was the trip that resulted in a near suspension and the famous letter from Mum stating that she thought it was ridiculous to suspend 14 year old kids from sneaking out at night and she had no problem with the fact that there were boys involved because as far as she knew the school was co-ed and not run by nuns. No suspension for me.

  9. My big boy goes on 2 festering, feral school camps (no excursions) a year. The school charges a $450 YEARLY camp levy (which I am sure they just bank)... as they sleep on the ground and starve and generally just have a miserable time.... EVERY YEAR! No hot showers. Not allowed pillows! What a lost opportunity for 'boy heaven'. A-M xx

  10. $28?

    I wasn't sure if I read that correctly and did quite an amusing double take (no one here to see it, unfortunately, for it was comedy gold and Hanna Barbera worthy).

    Did it come with a complimentary glass of champagne (or awesome child drink equivalent)?

  11. I didn't go on excursions when I was a kid, my dad refused to pay for them saying if the school wants you to go let them pay for it, so excursion days were spent in another classroom while my class went wherever. So when I had kids I made sure they went on every excursion offered, but this was back in late 70's early 80's so didn't cost too much. I went as a helper mum once,to the zoo. Only once.

  12. We went out for a bushwalk on school camp - somewhere in outback QLD. We got lost. They had to send a search party out from the camp site to find us. Our teacher was very embarrassed. Not really an excursion but it was a school related activity so I hope it counts.

  13. $28? Man, that better be one good "Botannical"!

    We had a Year 7 trip to Kalgoorlie, panning for gold etc....I think it stands out because they took us out to a "Bunyip Cave" and scared us all by getting one kid to linger behind and make bunyip noises...Funny joke...

    As a school teacher I have done my fair share of excursions...Depending upon the place/age of kids it can take me weeks to recover!

  14. Now, as a mom, all I can think is, those buses don't have seat belts. No seat belts! That makes me officially paranoid and old, doesn't it? (Let's make that a rhetorical question.)

  15. Now, I am on the other side of excursions. I send out the notes, handle the risk assessments, make sure the cherubs don't get left behind (by accident, of course). Remembering that same Warrumbungles excursion, I watch the cherubs, and particularly, the teen cherubs VERY CLOSELY!!

    Coincidently, I took a photography class to the National Botanical Gardens on Friday. The benefit of living in close proximity and having a smaller school bus was the cost being only $8!

    As for the cost....Next week I am taking 40+ teen cherubs to Tassie for 9 don't want to see that excursion note plastered to your fridge door every morning!

  16. I'm with you about the tree and shed in the back yard. Add a hose and there's your excursion! x

  17. you know of course, the botanic gardens was probably chosen because they provide a guide... teachers?? what teachers??... helloooo??... coffee break anyone??
    Could be wrong :-)

  18. The one I remember most was a trip to San Diego to visit the planetarium. I think I was in the 3rd grade. It was an hour on the bus and I remember how much fun it was singing songs all the way there. Probably not as much fun for the teachers who were with us though.

  19. We went to the beach once and a homeless man stole my lunch from the class lunch basket. I cried and the posh Girl's mum gave me half a cucumber sandwich, but it was weird and I was still very hungry.

  20. I only remember a few excursions in primary school, and these involved walking to the local heritage farm/woodland area to do bushwalks, study wetland birds and dress up as 'olden days' people at the heritage farm.
    $28 seems a lot - $10 bus fare, plus $18 in insurance and taxes?

  21. Excursion memories are well and truly superseded by those from camp, particularly those at times of transition end of primary to high school & Senior Camp in Year 11.

    Like yours, both involved long bus trips & spectacularly both were held by the water.
    This was terrific when you're a pre-pubescent kid fond of swimming but puts an awkward mix into the equation when you've just sprouted 'big boobies' and there's a bunch of 16yo boys whom you may or may not like too much oggling you. Needless to say my memories hold a mixture of delightful and cringe-worthy - ah the teenage years!

    Camps vs excursions - perhaps a future blog post for you dear Allison?

    Happy Easter, I hope that it's filled with family, lots of laughter and a treat or two!

    xx Felicity

  22. Aside from soggy , squashed sandwiches on my own school excursions ... I can't remember many .

    The word 'curse' stands out for me.

    My memorable memories of school
    excursions with my now 17yr - is taking numerous children to the toilet,numerous times and a few who didn't make it.

    I guess I will help when the duo when they start because I wouldn't want to miss their first adventures.

    Happy Easter :)

  23. My son went on an excursion from his day care when he was about to turn 3. They took them to the zoo and that was probably the only day of day care he absolutely loved. He was asking when he could go on the big red bus again for months (if not years) after that.

    School excursions are yet to come.

  24. The elementary school field trip...doesn't matter where they are going or what grade they are in, it will result in the need for large amounts of Advil and possibly a flask. Last one I attended with my little, who is in 2nd grade, was at a pumpkin patch where I was given charge of my son and 2 others who "are just a bit harder to handle than most". I lost one of them twice, had 4 broken pumpkins, a piece of hay in places to painful to mention and a sack lunch that fell in the petting zoo. At the end of the day the little one says, "That was the best day ever mom! Thanks for going with me." And, so that was indeed the best day ever for me too. :)


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