Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Field Trip Picks for Baseball Unit Study

Back when A3's first birthday was approaching, my dad was sent on a business trip to Louisville. My mom, on summer break from teaching, was talked into going along. When she said she was heading to the Louisville Slugger Museum, I shared that I had been wishing to take the boys there someday and made a request. I asked her to get our littlest guy a keepsake personalized bat for his first birthday gift (because, really, how many toys does a baby need?). She loved the idea and on his first birthday, he got the gift I hope he will keep forever: a good ole American-made tee-ball-sized baseball bat, complete with his name engraved on the end.

He was playing with it yesterday, and this reminded me that opening day is fast approaching for baseball season.

Before the twins were adopted I researched our school options and gobbled up so many books about education, including a best-selling book by Rafe Esquith: Lighting Their Fires. Among many other inspiring things, the author explained how any why he teaches his students about baseball. His point of view was compelling, and I jumped in and created a unit study for my twins, age 13 at the time.

Our oldest boys are definitely not athletes. If you ask them what their favorite sport is, they'll say "fishing." All things sport were foreign to them, and I wanted them to share a bit of my husband's enthusiasm for the all American pastime.

Our unit study was beefy and thorough - from the physics of the game, to scoring, to Jackie Robinson, to the locations of each MLB team; we consumed all things baseball for about two months. My boys never were inspired to the point that they wanted to join a team, but they were absolutely captivated when we finally did make it to the Louisville Slugger Museum for ourselves. Today little A3 is curious about the sport, an interest I'll jump on through library books, attending a minor league game and playing tee-ball in the back yard. This month if his curiosity keeps up, I'll teach him "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and do some themed crafts and snacks. When he's older and an official student, I'll pull out more of my notes and items from our 2011 unit study.

 If you're inspired to bring a bit baseball into your homeschool, I'll share some resources over the next few weeks.

 For now, here's a sampling of baseball-inspired field trip ideas:

The Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Kentucky
When we went in 2011 I spent most of my time chasing a toddler, but it definitely will be a trip to repeat.

The Shoeless Joe statue and Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina
What a great story, and a reminder that being a terrific athlete isn't about having the best gear or flashiest uniforms.

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York
I need to plan a road trip for this one!

Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia
 Go for a game or just enjoy a guided stadium tour.

Field of Dreams in Dubuque County, Iowa
This one's on my wish list for a trip along the Mississippi River. BYO ball and bat.

If none of these are close by, just head to your local ball field next month and watch any given Little League game for free. Cheer on whoever is up to bat and encourage your kids to try and keep score.

 Have you studied baseball in your homeschool? I'd love to read your ideas! Leave a comment or join the LinkUp below.

  PS You can still enter to win a little SAT prep giveaway until the end of March!

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