I’m nearing the end of my homeschool journey. One child will graduate next year and the other two will soon follow. As I look back over our fondest homeschool memories I think of amazing read alouds that stole a piece or our hearts, co-ops with friends, and even a few science experiments gone bad. I also remember some of the many field trips that we’ve taken since we embarked on our homeschooling adventure and why, if I had to start at the very beginning, I’d incorporate even MORE field trips.
1. Field Trips aren’t only educational; sometimes they’re a lot of fun!
Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to get out of the house. Field trips are a great way to learn a few new things and make some new friends. I guess you could say that field trips have been essential for socialization for my children.
2. Field Trips are a great way to introduce your child to something they wouldn’t normally be interested in.
When my children were younger, we visited the Statue of Liberty. We’d spent a little bit of time learning before our trip but nothing appealed to my daughter until she actually saw Lady Liberty with her own eyes. Our trip led to further research and she ended up putting together a presentation on our trip for our local homeschool group.
We visited Epcot at Disney several years ago. My kids were fascinated with the Earth Pavilion and the hydroponic farming technology. When our vacation was over I found a local hydroponics farm for us to visit to further our knowledge of soilless farming techniques.
3. Field trips can save you money.
My kids have seen jazz performances, Shakespeare plays and ballets all at free or discounted prices as part of an organized school group. Attending a classical music performance wasn’t something my family would normally budget for, but the low cost performances introduced my children to the arts while allowing them to develop an appreciation for something that they wouldn’t necessarily choose to purchase tickets for in another setting.
4. Field Trips can be used to kickoff to a new area of study or as a springboard for delving deeper into a subject.
Several years ago, we were getting ready to study Ancient Egypt. I wanted my kids to be really excited with our new unit study so we took a trip to a nearby art museum that had an extensive exhibit on loan from Egypt. We invited another family and spent the day immersed in the ancient world of mummies. The field trip did just the trick; my kids couldn’t wait to learn more!
5. Field Trips are a great way to wrap up a study.
Not only do field trips make a great kick off to a subject, they’re also a great way to wrap things up! My boys have been fascinated by WWII for years and last year we did a brief study of the time period. When we’d finished our formal study we visited a local WWII Museum where we met a Veteran of the war that walked us through the exhibits. Of course, what we thought was a wrap- up actually spurred my boys on to learn more, but who’s complaining?
6. Field trips are a great way to bring your book study to life through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities and guided tours!
As a homeschooling parent, I can’t afford to purchase that rock collection that I think will round out a great unit study. But I can afford a trip to the natural history museum to see the collection on display, or to the zoo to see an albino crocodile, or to learn about 18th century life while touring one of the older homes in our community.
Field trips allow me to experience some of the things that I normally couldn’t afford.
The end result of a good field trip is that my children have learned something new or, understand a concept better, have a curiosity or appreciation for what they observed and that the new found knowledge will stick with them, if not forever, for a long time.
There’s nothing Tonya loves more than spending time traveling with her family. You can read about their educational outings and field trips at her blog, The Traveling Praters.
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