My philosophy has always been, “Why read about it, let’s do it!”
With that statement in mind, I’d be lying if I said that field trips have not played a huge role in my children’s education. When the kids were young we took the typical trips to the post office, fire station, police department, city hall and grocery store. As they grew, I began to realize the benefits of using a field trip to liven up a subject, introduce them to an area of study or to reward them for a job well done. So if you have any doubts about the benefits of field trips, allow me to share how field trips can be a useful tool for homeschoolers.
A Socialization Tool
As homeschoolers, we know our children receive plenty of socialization but one way I’ve attained this has been through field trips with our local homeschool support group. Sometimes getting out of the house and meeting with other homeschooling friends have been just what my family has needed. Of course, many of the field trips or outings we take are just for our family and sometimes I prefer that too.
Teaches them how to Interact in Different Settings
Field trips have been a great teaching tool when it comes to interacting with others. My kids have been able to practice good manners, listening skills and proper conduct in many different types of settings outside the home. They’ve learned how to conduct themselves when we visit the theater, ballet or art museum and to give the speakers their full attention even the few times when they haven’t been completely enthralled.
To enhance an area of study
What better way to make a subject come alive than through a field trip? Some of our favorite studies have been enhanced with field trips to living history museums, Renaissance Fairs and battlefields. Perhaps you’ve run into a difficult subject that you are finding hard to teach, why not take a field trip to allow them to learn from someone who is passionate about physics, chemistry or math- I guarantee they’ll encourage your children to look at those tough subjects in a brand new way!
Some field trips have been interest based
One of my children is interested in the military which has led to a trip to a nearby Army Reserve Base to see the C-130 planes and as an added bonus, to learn about survival skills. We’ve watched paratroopers take practice jumps and recently toured an historic B-17 bomber from the WWII era. As my children have grown accustomed to regular field trips, they’ve often suggested that we visit a particular type of venue, such as a fort, a chocolate factory and a car manufacturing plant.
To introduce career options
As my children have gotten older, we’ve used field trips as a way to introduce them to various career options. Why not schedule a field trip and use it as an opportunity to show your children what other people do to make a living while presenting options to your child that they normally may not think of? This would be a great time for older children to add in some volunteer work. Could they volunteer a few hours at the local veterinarians, lawyer’s office, hospital or police department? Give them a chance to experience hands-on what those careers are all about.
Sometimes you just need to have fun
Field trips shouldn’t just focus on education, they should also be fun! There have been times when we’ve needed to lighten up a bit and a field trip was just the way to reach that goal! Not only could we enjoy a day hiking in the outdoors, viewing the exhibits at a local science museum or watching the monkeys at the zoo but we could also learn a thing or two and didn’t feel like the day was a total waste when we really just needed a break.
I hope that you realize that homeschooling does not always need to take place in the home. There is a whole world out there to discover and the possibilities are endless!
If not on a field trip, Tonya’s writing about one on her blog, Live the Adventure.
photo by Old Shoe Woman