Homeschooling Field Trips – Planning an Adventure4 min read
Field trips are one of my favorite things about homeschooling. They make learning fun for you and your kids, and they give everyone a break from the routine of books, pencils and computers.
Field trips are a wonderful way to instill the value of lifelong learning in your children, as you both experience and discover new places together. Sometimes getting out of the house for a day gives you a little inspiration, or a spark of curiosity, reaffirming just why you chose to home school in the first place.
Choosing your field trip
Museums, national or state parks, science centers and zoos are some great places to start. Your local theatre, community orchestra or art show are other options. However, you might consider a “routine” place for a field trip as well. We discovered that our local grocery store offers a 2-hour program for school groups. My friend contacted the store and scheduled a group for the home school community. A dozen or so kids registered through our local online group. When we arrived, a friendly manager provided the tour, including a lesson on nutrition and the food pyramid, as well as samples of food.
Who will go on your field trip?
Although homeschooling can attract some independently minded people, consider asking others to come with you on your field trip. Is there another homeschooling family you have wanted to get to know? Would a grandparent like to come along? Perhaps you have a single friend who would enjoy a day out with your family. These are the days on which memories are made. Sometimes we need the reminder that everything is better shared! But there may also be times you could use some quality time alone, just you and your kids.
What kind of field trip will this be?
If you and the kids just need a break, don’t put pressure on yourself to make the day any more than simply a fun day out. Have no agenda. Enjoy talking on the ride there and back. Make the most of being Mom more than Teacher for the day. If you decide you want to step it up and make a little more of it, plan ahead.
Getting the most out of your day
There are also other ways to prepare your kids with information on the subject. For example, if you are going to visit the planetarium, check out some library books the week before on astronomy or do an Internet search. Ask your kids what they hope to learn on the trip. Consider bringing clipboards and paper so they can do a writing response on the spot, after eating your brown bagged lunches. Or, the day after, review the trip with your kids. What was their favorite part? What surprised them? What questions were answered? What new questions arose? Would they recommend this place to a friend? Why or why not?
Why are field trips so important for homeschoolers?
Field trips are a great way for homeschoolers to provide their children with a wide variety of learning experiences. In fact, the freedom to go on field trips is one of the ways homeschooling exceeds traditional brick and mortar schooling.
What to do on a home field trip?
Take a nature walk – and collect items for your home school nature table. Even a local park can unearth some wonderful finds. Pick your Own – grab opportunities to pick your own pumpkins, strawberries, apples or blackberries. Visit your local farm or orchard.
Planning home school field trips doesn’t have to be intimidating. Pick a few ideas that are of interest to your children and call around to schedule a day and time to attend. Many of the places on this list even have specific events for home school families, so you’ll be in good company when you arrive.
Yes, the main reason we typically take a field trip is for educational purposes, but I’d say that fun should be right up there near the top too. Engage in the activities with your children and be an example to them while you’re there and they will most likely walk away with some new knowledge and sweet memories.