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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

5 Tips for Field Trips in your Homeschool

5 tips for field trip
Tips for a great homeschool field trip


One of my favorite parts of Homeschooling has been the many field trips we get to go on.

Why you ask?




-Our destinations are often EMPTY!  Other kids are in school, so we rarely have to deal with crowds.  This gives us plenty of time to immerse ourselves in the places without worrying about a child wondering off with another crowd.  It also gives us time to actually explore without so many other distractions.  Our first day of school at the beach has become our new tradition!

-Gets us out of the house!  Breaking up our week with a field trip helps us all with this change of pace and scenery.

-We learn more when we can touch, see, and experience what museums have to offer.  How many field trips do public school kids get to go on?  Often it's just one, if any at all in any given school year.  As homeschoolers, we can go on as many as we'd like!  I've loved this freedom, and what kid doesn't like a field trip?

-Can be free!  You don't have to go to a museum or a zoo to call it a field trip.  Going to the library, park, the post office, on a hike, or any kind of store can qualify as a field trip.  If you're teaching your child about the world around them, everywhere you go can turn into a field trip.  Stay on the lookout for those teaching moments!

Here's a great link that I found that can help you get started in deciding where to take your kids anywhere in the US!
Homeschool destinations by state

Here are   5 Tips to keep in mind if you're just getting started on your homeschool journey!

1. GET YOUR MEMBERSHIPS 

Get memberships to places that have reciprocal agreements with other local museums, zoos, etc.
This is a must if you plan on going on more than one field trip a year.  The costs of going to museums, zoos and other educational destinations can quickly add up, so you will find this to be very important.  I live near Boston and have taken full advantage of our Museum of Science membership by going to many other places around me for hugely discounted prices, but more often than not, the admissions have been free!  These memberships allow you to go more than once as well, which me and my kids have both enjoyed.  Shop around and find the best membership that gets you into the most places for what you want to do.

2.  DOWNLOAD EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

Check the website for the place you are visiting.  They will often offer an educational packet/materials that you can download to help your kids prepare for the visit.   This will help you to prepare your kids and get them more excited about what they will be seeing.

3.  GO AS A GROUP

Call your other homeschool friends or co-op and go as a group!  Many places will offer homeschool discounts the same way they offer them to public schools.  The key is to get a bunch of you to go together.  Make sure you call ahead and make these arrangements before you show up.  In my area, some of the places we visit have specific days set aside for homeschoolers, so you'll want to plan ahead.  Going as a homeschool group also gives the kids extra time to hang out with their friends, which they always love.   (Ok, the mom's love the chatting with other mom's as well...)  :)

4. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR WILL SEE

If there is no educational packet offered, spend some time talking about and showing your kids what they can expect to see on their field trip.  I've found that the more we've talked about a field trip before hand, they more they can relate to when they get there.

5.  COME WITH A QUESTION IN MIND

Have each of your kids come with a question that they have about what they will be seeing for the day.  This will depend on your child, the location, and what else you've been studying lately, but I've found that if they have some kind of an assignment to do, even a simple one like a question to be answered, then they are more engaged and will find more meaning in the trip.  I've seen mom's make up packets for the kids as well, but I don't recommend this for all of your trips, you don't want your kids to feel like there will be a lot of work involved by going.  

Enjoy your field trips!  

What have I missed?  Do you have any other helpful hints from your field trips?