Homeschooling Field Trips

Homeschooling field trips are my favorite part of educating at home. They provide us with much needed breaks from our daily routine, and they are fun ways to watch my children learn and enjoy new experiences.

When searching for field trip opportunities, look for places that interest your children or relate to topics you are studying.

Some field trips offer behind the scenes looks at an everyday place, such as the post office, bank, bakery, hospital, ice cream shop, grocery store, library, fire station or police station. Even simple train or bus rides can be valuable learning experiences for children.

Museums, theaters, symphonies, aquariums, planetariums, courthouses, farms, orchards, lakes, animal shelters, bowling alleys, newspaper offices, radio/television stations, water treatment plants, power plants, and zoos also offer educational opportunities.

If you need additional help finding field trip destinations, take a look in your local newspaper or children's magazine.

Because of concerns about homeschooling and socialization, some homeschoolers over schedule outside activities. This can be expensive, and leads to burn out, restlessness, and neglect of school and household duties. If you find yourself yelling, “stop reading and put your shoes on so we can go have fun,” you may be involved in too many homeschooling activities.

Discount Homeschooling Field Trips

Are you homeschooling on a budget? If so, that doesn't mean you have to avoid homeschool field trips!

Ask your local nature reserve, art museum, zoo, symphony, children's theater, sports complex or amusement park if they have free or discounted admission days for home educators. Taking the extra step to plan your field trips on specific dates can greatly reduce the amount of money you spend on admission fees.

Another great way to save money on homeschooling field trips is to go with friends or members of your local homeschool support group. Most museums, theaters and other educational venues offer discounts for groups over a certain number.

How to Prepare for Homeschool Field Trips

Preparation is the key to enjoyable homeschooling field trips. Consider the following when making your plans:

  • Decide if you will go alone or with homeschooling support groups. My children typically learn more when we go alone as a family.

  • Check the hours of operation for the day you plan to visit. Ask about parking arrangements, and get directions and a map, if necessary. If you have young children, find out if strollers are allowed.

  • If the homeschooling field trip is a group outing, ask if there is a limit to the number of adults and children who can attend. Find out if a deposit is required, and whether attendees can pay individually or in a lump sum. Don’t forget to RSVP.

  • Make sure the subject matter and field trip length are age appropriate for your children. Talk to your children about rules and expected behavior. Try to avoid scheduling outings that interfere with mealtimes or naps. I have found that it is sometimes best to leave my toddler at home for some one on one time with Grandma.

  • Pack all necessary supplies, bring extra cash and make sure you have a full tank of gas.

Here's a free, printable field trip checklist to help you plan your outing.

Follow this link to find ways to enhance learning on homeschool field trips.

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