It’s finally happened. After 11 straight years of having children in elementary school, I believe I have just gone on my final elementary school field trip. Two fifth grade classes, one charter bus, mom and son matching bagged lunches, two power plants and one long day.
Field trips have been one of the few school projects in which I have enjoyed being involved, and have happily volunteered to participate for many years. Starting with the four-year-olds’ preschool class trip to the National Gallery of Art, through kindergarten walks around the neighborhood, first grade ventures to the library, the second grade journey to the butterfly exhibit, third grade treks to the National Zoo, fabulous days at the great Smithsonian museums and concerts at the Strathmore music hall in fourth grade, and now the famous fifth grade power plant outing, I have enjoyed joining my kids on their learning adventures.
And now it’s coming to an end. The sixth graders, in their first year of middle school, go on a three-day, Outward Bound type of thing called Outdoor Ed, and yes, they do need parent chaperones to join them, but overnights in rustic cabins and exploring icky things outdoors are where I draw the line with my field trip duties. Plus, the fact is, your kids really don’t want you around anymore when they’re in middle school, and neither do the teachers, really. I’m ok with that.