Take Advantage of Homeschool Field Trips
When I first started homeschooling, I didn’t take advantage of the incredible flexibility it offered. I guess I was afraid to break away from the traditional classroom learning atmosphere. After talking with a few veteran homeschoolers, things changed. I thought, “what the heck” let’s start venturing outside the classroom!
Since then, I’ve incorporated field trips into our educational experience. I mean, it makes total sense — the whole world offers so many learning opportunities in the areas of math, science, art, computers, business, life skills and more. And what’s crazy is, I found a plethora of places to visit within the city I live in — and all of them are within easy driving distance. I bet your town or county offers the same options, but to get you going, I came up with a short list, which should jumpstart your learning adventures.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a small country town or in the city, almost every area has a local museum that celebrates its history. For instance, my small but growing town has a museum that honors the local fishermen. It showcases the old wooden boats they used, their gear and the fish and shellfish they harvested for the local markets. There are other museums that teach my kids and I about the local railway system, local artists, and even one about the native American Indians who first settled here. Some museums include interactive touch screens, videos, and walk-thru tours. These cool features not only impart knowledge of our community’s history but also provide a hands-on learning experience. Check out what awaits you and your kids.
The obvious choice here is visiting a zoo but there are other ways you can experience wildlife. For instance, our town was once filled with local farmers. Unfortunately, many have sold all their land but there are still a few holdouts. These farmers often allow children or teens to visit their farms, feed their animals, and even spend a day working. My kids learned so much about how animals are cared for, what they eat, the environment that best suits them, and how hard farmers work to maintain the land and animals.
We also walk around local parks with this cool birding book I found for cheap at a garage sale. My kids spot different birds, identify them in the book, and then jot down their names in special birding notebooks. One park has a visitor center with a large aquarium that features all the fish, turtles, lizards, and other animals that exist in the park. They even offer educational tours that are free to kids.
Many local businesses and factories offer tours. One memorable tour for us happened spur of the moment when I asked a local bakery manager if my kids could learn how they make their pastries and breads. She said, “sure, how about right now!” How cool is that? And because homeschooling offers flexibility, we toured their bakery. My kids learned about measuring ingredients, mixing tools, ovens, and how yeast expels carbon dioxide, which makes baking bread “rise.” They even worked the cash register and learned about credit card machines. Contact some local businesses such as supermarkets, factories, and small businesses, and see if they are offering any learning opportunities you can take advantage of.
Additional Field Trips Adventures
Over the years, I found more places in my community that I never knew existed – it’s really amazing. It seems like new opportunities to learn outside the classroom pop up each month. Here are some more ideas for you and your children to explore and experience.
- Local and state government buildings
- Botanical gardens
- Local theatre performances
- Local artist workshops
- Farm markets
- Historical sites
Like I said before, it really doesn’t matter if you live in a small town or a large city, every place has its own history, industry, community, and wildlife. Start investigating what your hometown offers. A good starting point might be Time4Learning’s field trips ideas per state! Once you find an opportunity that interests your students, you’ll be prepared to move the learning outside the classroom and discover how field trips enhance and invigorate your homeschooling adventure