Two days ago we took a field trip to the Hale Theater in West Valley City, Utah. We saw a wonderful performance of The Three Musketeers. The fencing (just feet from our heads) was fantastic (particularly measured by the fact that no one in the audience was maimed in the action). It was a fun experience and introduced Monica and her friend to some classic works they hadn't yet read.

Field trips can be valuable and truly educational — not to mention fun — but can be expensive. In these economic times, lots of schools are being forced to greatly reduce or eliminate field trips in order to stay within their budgets.

Personally, I don't think this is a bad thing. My take is that anything that is funded with taxpayer funds should be frugal and carefully run. In the case of schools, they should have a narrow, defined purpose and focus strictly and thoughtfully on that, rather than expanding to meet all possible needs and/or all that is “good.”

Since we homeschool, our theater outing was arranged by another homeschool mom and funded by our families and the theater that so graciously offered their program to kids in the community. I like that model — as opposed to field trips being an integral part of school at taxpayer expense.

Lunchables has something of the same idea. As part of a private, commercial company, they have offered a contest called Field Trips For All. This contest allows anyone over the age of six to nominate a deserving classroom to go on an inspiring, educational field trip — at the companies expense.

As long as the awarded field trips are truly educational and further academic learning — rather than being a captive informercial — this is an ideal model. Companies hoping to create goodwill give back to communities by providing something of real value.

If you know of a deserving classroom, nominate them! 50 classrooms around the country will be selected. If you nominate someone, let us know who you selected and why you think they deserve to win.