A couple of weeks ago our local homeschool group took a field trip to a bee farm, and despite all of the children’s misgivings about it, it was actually a lot of fun!! The beekeeper was very nice and told us a lot about bees and the important role they play in nature. He showed us how he collects and harvest honey and let us all have a tasty sample of fresh honeycomb – yum!!
We actually did learn a lot and the kids found it really interesting. Here’s some of what I remember (because I’m getting old and I didn’t write them down.)
~The queen bee can live up to 8 years. 8 years!!
~ The queen bee lays about 1400 eggs a day (you’ll have to ask my kids if I got that right.)
DO THE MATH ON THAT. IT’S CRAZY.
~Of course we all know it the GIRL bees that do all the work *ahem* and the boy bees are just kept around for reproduction purposes. But did you know that the bees kick all the males out for the winter? There’s no reproduction going on during the winter. No work, no food for you! Hahaha!
~A flower needs to be pollinated by a bee not just once, but something like 8 times in order to produce fruit. (Don’t you like how specific I’m being with this? I should have taken notes.)
~A queen bee can CHOOSE what kind of egg she is laying, whether a worker, a drone or a new queen. Totally cool.
~When a colony becomes too large, a new queen egg will be laid and a new colony will break off from the exiting one — but not the new queen. The existing queen will take off with a swarm off bees and go begin a new colony elsewhere.
There were more, I really should have written them down. Fortunately for me, the kids remember more than I do. ; ) Sometimes when we go on field trips we have a lot of fun but the kids don’t retain anything that they’ve learned. This time the kids remembered MUCH of what the beekeeper told us. I think that’s partially because between the honey tasting, watching him spin the honeycomb to get the honey out, and getting a closeup view of a queen and new colony inside of a glass viewing box… it was pretty hands on and involved.
Field trips like this one not only help to make memories, and serve educational purposes, but they really make learning fun and totally come alive for a little while. We were a little obsessed with bees for almost a week after we went. We shared the fun bee facts with anyone that would listen. We looked for bees in our yard. It was pretty cool. =)
Also, inspired by all the bee learning, I watched the Vanishing of the Bees on Netflix, because one thing that homeschooling my kids has taught me is that this mom is not too old to learn something, too! The documentary was really interesting and I definitely recommend watching it.
Field trips like this are awesome and I definitely want to make time for more educationally fun field trips this year. But you don’t have to take a field trip to have fun learning, sometimes you can just have fun learning something new that came up in daily life!! Like panthers are not their own breed of cat but a black variant of either a jaguar, cougar or leopard, the smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird and the hummingbird moth is not a hummingbird but a moth that imitates one (all questions the kids and I have recently looked up and had fun learning about!)
So whether bees or birds, at home or not, remember: ALL of life is a field trip! Have fun with it. Learn something new every day. =)
This is a part of the ABC’s of Homeschooling by Dawn @ The Momma Knows.