Almost every child looks forward to going on a field trip. The opportunity to explore something new is exciting for children of any age. Homeschooling families have more time to go on field trips because they are not restrained by strict school schedules. This allows children and parents to learn more through the world around them. Planning a field trip will ensure the most educational benefit is gained from each experience.
Field trips can be short, simple trips to a local bank or to an animal park several hours away. Determine how far the family is willing to travel based on patience, transportation and finances. Farther trips will require lodging reservations, so planning a two day trip may be more cost effective. Check hours of service and rates to schedule around busy days. Some attractions offer discounted prices based on days or seasons that see less traffic.
Once it has been determined what is available within the desired distance and time frame, decide where to go based on what is being studied at the time. When focusing on biology, a zoo is a better choice than an observatory. Learning how a bank is operated is a great trip when focusing on economics. Taking a trip to the mountains and exploring nature paths would provide a good writing topic for an essay.
When possible, traveling with a group of homeschooling families is fun and practical. Many places offer discounts for small groups that homeschooling groups can take advantage of. Learning together is fun because everyone can give different perspectives of what they are seeing or doing. An art museum is a great place to explore as a group. Costs for travel expenses can be divided between the families, making it more economical than traveling alone.
An important issue to consider when determining where to go for a field trip is the interests of the children. Go where they will have the most enjoyment while learning. This varies greatly depending on age as well as individual personalities. A young child isn’t going to be interested in a trip to an art museum and an older child may not be thrilled about visiting a petting zoo. However, if the trip involves hands-on experimentation, everyone may enjoy the excursion. Therefore, involve the children in the decision making process.
Planning a field trip around the weather is important if it is an outdoor adventure. If it is extremely hot outside, and indoor activity will be more enjoyable. Visiting a farm in the middle of winter brings with it rain and lots of muck. Make sure the visits are appropriate based on the seasons for optimal satisfaction. It isn’t fun to drive two hours with excited children only to find out the attraction is closed for the season.
Word of mouth
Before making the final decision, ask other families who have visited the destination to see if they enjoyed themselves. Find out if the food was high priced or even good to eat. Ask about rates, days of service and access for those who may have special needs. Decide if they felt it was a good value. Relying on the experiences of others to help make a decision may prevent the feeling that wasted money and time was spent.
With a little planning, field trips can be a great addition to a homeschooling curriculum. Taking the day off from formal education to get out of the house and learn first hand about the world is a great way to cement concepts being taught throughout the school year. The bonding time spent together as a family is priceless.