Homeschooling Field Trips

homeschooling field trips

Educational Homeschooling field trips can vary from a fun picnic outing to organized large co-op groups going on tours of factories, businesses or state capitals. Taking kids on expeditions can be fun, exciting and a valuable learning experience.

Kids and outings - 6 tips for a successful day.

homeschooling field trips museum guide
  1. Plan for extra time. If you are too rushed the trip may be less than fun and can in fact be too stressful.  Remember everything takes long than you think when you have a group.  Especially if there are young ones with you. 
  2. Plan for lunch. If the activity is going to take all day, are you going to bring a sack lunch? Eat out? If the majority of your trip is a place where kids will need to be still and pay attention, plan a park lunch. This gives the kids time to run. They will be excited by the change in their normal routine and may need to get rid of some of that excess energy. (especially the boys right!?!)
  3. Bring a camera. Photos are great for portfolios and of course for our own memories.
  4. Plan pre-trip activities. Talk about where you are going and the expected behavior. What will they be learning about, and what you expect them to learn. If appropriate, read books about where they are going or what they will be seeing. Ask them what they think they will learn.
  5. Scavenger hunt. Once you are there, have a list ready of things to look for.  Sometimes museums will have these "scavenger hunts" available. Ask before you go, if they do not have this make your own list. Once we were going to a trip to the Arizona dessert. We came up with a list of wildlife and types of cactus to look for and took pictures when we found them. My boys really wanted to see a jackrabbit... no luck. :0(
  6. Plan post-trip activities. This may be something like putting together a notebooking page. Or fill out a field trip report form. Ask your children to tell you the best part of the trip and the worst part. What did they learn. Remind them of important facts if there is something in particular you want them to remember.
  7. Write thank you notes!! Especially if someone went out of their way to give your kids a good day. A friendly thank you note from a bunch of homeschool students will go a long way in improving attitudes towards homeschool education. Besides it is good manners.

Science and Nature Field Trips

homeschooling field trip bug hunting

Trips to natural settings are obvious supplements to most any science study. We live in the country so our natural surroundings provide plenty of science study.  But if you live in the city you can simply walk down the street and you will find nature.     Bring a book on clouds and determine what types of clouds you see.  Apologia has a great nature books.  I remember taking the Botany book with us on one trip and ended up in a parking lot discussing and inspecting leaves. 

Go to a town park and check out the bugs and take examples of local flora, watch the birds. Be sure of any park rules if you will be collecting samples! Some areas may prohibit picking flowers or plants.

Here are some more ideas

fish hatchery
butterfly gardens
bee farmer
fruit orchards
farmers markets
packing sheds
organic garden
zoo farm
state parks

Look for visitor centers with area information and scheduled educational talks and or classes.

These examples represent what is available in our area. Be creative and find what is available to you.

Supplement your history studies.

homeschool filed trip state capital

Museums are great for learning more about history and seeing artifacts and information about certain time eras. Get on the mailing list of any museums in your area. They will often have special events and some of these may be of interest to your family or may supplement something you are already studying.
homeschooling field trips

I personally can spend HOURS in a museum. I love wandering around reading every little sign and visiting every corner of any museum. However.... I have sons.... they are not as enamored as I am.

They like going... they have fun... but the interest level will fall off if I try to spend too much time. If your museum offers tours, I'd suggest giving it a try. Often the stories of tour guides are able to keep the interest of students who may not have a long attention span. If you have a good guide it can make all the difference. Sometimes these tour guides will be volunteers who really have a passion for the topic. They can spread their enthusiasm!

Field trips for the younger homeschool set. 

homeschool nature walk with bug net

When taking younger elementary age students on a field trip there are some things to consider. Be sure that the destination is child friendly. Think ahead about the youngest members of your group. Many times homeschooling field trips will involve children of all ages, which is a good thing. It is one of the benefits of homeschooling. However if there are very young children, be sure where you are going is appropriate.

For example we once went on a field trip to a local newspaper. They specifically requested no children under the age of 5. The machinery is dangerous if a little one should slip away.

And remember they may not get just what you think they should get out of the trip.  It's ok... they are young and will go off on rabbit trails.  As long as they are exploring let them. 

Homeschool field trips for the student in upper grades.

Middle and High school students can gain much from well organized and planned field trips. These can be aimed specifically at their strengths or interests. It would be especially effective if you can arrange a career day with someone in a chosen field of work. Spending a day or better yet a few days can really let your student see what this job is really like.

For instance if you have a son who is a writer, try a field trip to a local newspaper. Get an interview with an actual writer or reporter.

You may want to arrange for your aspiring police officer to ride with a cop. Some communities arrange for students to be able to spend time with a police officer on duty.

Spend a day or a few hours in court. If your student has debating abilities (what teen boy doesn't) he may be considering law. Spend some time seeing what the courtroom is actually like.

I don't know if this would be considered a field trip, but your agriculture guy might want to get a job for a summer on a ranch or farm. Find out just how much work is involved.

Tour a local college. This is great for high school students thinking about college after graduation. Eventually they should actually visit their college of choice but even touring a local college will give them an idea of what a campus is like. 

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