I try to go on as many of my sons field trips as I can. This is partly because I know the teachers need help, and partly because I'm a very paranoid individual and I'm always afraid something will happen to one of them! The latter reason became a little more valid today when one of the students on the field trip was taken away by ambulance. The child was from a different school, but it made my paranoia worse!
That was just one part of the suckishness that was this trip. We went to our local fairgrounds for what was supposed to be some sort of farm safety/day in the life sort of thing. Luckily the weather was beautiful or it would have been even more miserable. Overall it might have been a nice experience but the organizers tried to cram entirely too much stuff into the day and so we were just herded around the grounds all day. We weren't able to spend much time anywhere and so the different presenters would often be in mid-presentation when we'd have to move on to the next stop. Most of the stops were very boring, and way over the heads of these fourth graders.
It was even more annoying to me for several reasons. There were several people there talking about animals and food related topics. The first stop we made dealt with chickens. One of the presenters was from George's poultry which is one of our largest poultry processors in the area. So here they are telling us about all the gear they have to wear into the chicken houses and showing us how they give the animals water. The whole time I'm fuming over the fact that these kids are being taught about the factory farming of chickens and not how they should live. Then they let the kids hold chicks. That wouldn't be so bad except there was no rhyme or reason to it so the kids were just manhandling them and I worried that all of those babies would be dead by the end of the day.
Fast forward through some other boring exhibits to the dairy exhibit. The farmer proceeded to tell us about all of the things the dairy cows eat...none of which were things any of them should eat. Then he quizzed the kids on what they should be eating. Thankfully my wonderful son looked at me and said "None of that is what they should be eating". If we'd had more time I would have asked him to repeat that to the farmer.
Then after a number of even more agonizing exhibits and lunch we were on to the Virginia Cooperative Extension's presentation on the food pyramid. I think most people, even non-vegetarians, would agree that the new pyramid is just insanely confusing. The lady did a pretty nice job of explaining it, but the old pyramid was more logical even if I didn't agree with it's breakdown. Aside from that, there were several other issues at this stop. There were two people there to present, but only one spoke. The one who spoke was quite overweight. She was certainly knowledgeable, but how can you speak to kids about good nutrition and exercise when it's clear you don't practice it? It's sort of like going to an overweight doctor (I'll post on that another time). In addition to that, it was clear that there was a very big slant toward the use of corn products. She spent most of the time talking about corn and where it could be found in our food. That's great...except she was making it sound like corn was this miracle food. Well, I enjoy some corn, but I don't enjoy the high fructose corn syrup that's in everything these days! So, I wasn't a huge fan of the way that presentation went.
There were a few good parts of the trip. The farrier was interesting and I learned a lot about horseshoeing from him. Of course, that just made me miss riding again. Overall though, this trip was a total bust. Both of us came home exhausted and with major headaches. I truly hope that they don't repeat this trip next year when my other child is in the fourth grade.