Flexibility and freedom are some of the best parts of homeschooling. Whenever you need a break from the normal routine, you can have a change of scenery with awesome field trips for homeschoolers. Plus, there are so many budget-friendly homeschool field trip ideas that it doesn’t need to break the bank. Consider adding in a field trip or two or three this year into your homeschool day.
Why Should Homeschoolers Take Field Trips?
Homeschoolers know that learning doesn’t always take place at home, sitting at a desk, or even reading a book. In fact, some of the best learning takes place because of hands-on activities or even field trips to interesting places!
While exceptional books can introduce your kids to ideas in a deep way, getting out of the house and interacting with the world is a great way to engage your kids. Field trips are also a great way to revive a homeschool slump.
Why should homeschoolers take field trips?
Field trips extend the learning from the books they are reading. They also provide real-world learning for your kids. Many field trip destinations are hands-on and engage all the senses. Your kids can see, touch, and experience things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to interact with except in a book.
Some kids just learn better this way and field trips are great for kids who struggle with traditional learning. Field trips also make learning content more memorable. Can you still remember some of the best field trips from your time in school?
Ways Homeschool Field Trips are Beneficial
Field trips are beneficial in that they allow the student to explore concepts in an authentic setting. Yes, they can learn about flowers in a book, but this knowledge comes alive when they can see the flowers up close and in detail at a botanical garden. Yes, your student can learn about a Civil War battle from a living book. But what if they could walk the path taken in Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg instead of simply reading about it? Suddenly the results of that day’s action make sense, come alive, and grip the student like never before. Being in that place can help you better understand what happened there.
Dive Deep into Learning About Exciting Topics
Students are sometimes motivated to learn more about a topic when they take a field trip. You might plan the field trip as a culmination of learning about a concept, but your student might love the first hand experience so much that they want to deep dive even more!
Field trips encourage curiosity and help to increase a love of learning in kids. As the homeschool parent, you can model that continual learning as you engage in educational opportunities with your kids.
Homeschoolers learn how the theories and concepts they’re learning at home translate over to the real world. For example, your kids can learn about physics and flight, but until you visit the National Air & Space Museum, they might not see how these principles have shaped the history of space exploration. Suddenly, what your kids are learning comes into focus and really matters.
Combining Multiple Subjects Into a Field Trip
Another excellent benefit of field trips is the way it combines multiple subject areas, like science, history, geography, sociology, and more. A great field trip really helps to connect all these disciplines into a holistic learning experience.
While you might think that field trips are simply for the younger kids, don’t neglect your older kids when planning awesome field trips. Here are some ideas for educational field trips for all ages.
What are Good Field Trip Ideas?
One of the best places to start when you’re making a list of good field trips for homeschoolers is your own community. Many of us forget to enjoy the places that make our local area tick. What is the history of your region? What is it known for? Who are the members of the local community and what are their jobs? This is a good place to start.
Consider these local community ideas for a field trip:
- grocery store
- local library
- local park
- corn maze
DIY Summer Camps Make a Great Field Trip
A unique low-cost idea is to explore learning at home with DIY Summer Camp. You can tailor this to your children’s passions and interests, or tackle a totally new idea with them. Camp at home can be relaxed and unhurried, or you can schedule it out with multiple activities each day. You can invite some neighbors or your homeschool group to make it a fun group event!
However you choose to do it, summer camp at home can be a realistic option for families with multiple kids who just don’t have the budget – or the bandwidth – to handle traditional summer camps each year.
Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips make another great choice for families. You can visit museums and other famous places all around the world with this option! Coordinate some history museums or historic sites based on your history studies. Now the world is your classroom when you can visit virtually.
Here are some virtual field trip ideas:
- Cincinnati Zoo and the San Diego Zoo
- Yellowstone National Park – includes a live stream of Old Faithful
- Great Wall of China Tour
- International Space Station
- The Great Barrier Reef
- Expedition Everest
- The White House
- Ellis Island
- Empire State Building
- National Aquarium in Baltimore
- Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- the Alamo
- Expedition to the Galápagos Islands
- Egyptian pyramids
- Dome of the Rock, Damascus Gate, and more in Jerusalem
- virtual African safari
- tour of Buckingham Palace
- Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas
Believe it or not, many of these virtual field trips are free! Your kids can explore the world, or outer space, without leaving home.
Local Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Many communities have a local airport. You can arrange a tour with a local pilot, and he might even take you on a short flight! Many pilots flying out of small local airports are hobby pilots. And they love to talk about their flying passion. You can even tie in a field trip like this with books you’re reading in your homeschool.
Consider these other local field trip ideas:
- Get an inside peek into other community helpers in a police station or fire department.
- Visit your local farm during the summer months or a pumpkin patch in the fall.
- Have a nature walk in a state park.
- Visit a national park if it’s within driving distance.
- Look into educational programs at a science center.
- Visiting a local aquarium makes a nice indoor option during the winter months.
- Take a walk around a local cemetery and notice veteran’s tomb stones or find the oldest stone in the cemetery. What was happening in history during their lifetime?
- Learn the history of your state. You can visit your state capital and even ask for lesson plans ahead of time from your legislator. They are eager to give educational materials to homeschool families as your kids learn about how their state government works.
- Take a day trip to art museums or nature centers. Join with other homeschool friends and you might get a discount on group tours. These centers offer many educational activities.
- Visit botanical gardens.
- Watch a live production at a community theater. This is a great opportunity to watch a retelling of a classic book they’ve been reading.
Nature-Focused Field Trips
There are so many free ideas for nature-focused field trips. Consider vising a local park that has a nature center, or one what has hiking trails. You could bring crafts and do some fun activities at a picnic table, such as decorating rocks, making crafty decorations our of twigs and pinecones, and more. If you are studying insects or learning about trees and leaves, you could bring along some nature journals to sketch what you find.
Historic Field Trip Ideas
Historic field trips help your kids be able to imagine that time in history with more clarity. It’s one thing to read about a historical event, but it’s a whole other thing to see where it happened. This is especially true if the historic location has been preserved or if there’s a museum that shows artifacts and tells the history.
See if you can find local historical sites based on the time period you are reading about in your homeschool. Those living on the East Coast of the United States likely have Civil War battlefields or other museums to visit. Learn about the role of your town, city, or region in specific time periods in American history.
Finding a Historic Field Trip Location
If you have trouble finding local historic field trip ideas, then you can think outside the box. Consider making part of your family vacation trip also include a historical field trip component.
One such option is a trip to Historic Williamsburg. You will feel like you’re traveling back in time when you visit Colonial Williamsburg. The onsite guides and re-enactors will make history come alive as never before. Download a free digital guide if you plan to visit Virginia’s Historic Triangle with your family.
Visiting a Past President’s Home
Many of the presidents have birthplaces or homes you can visit and learn about their lives. Consider visiting George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, for another great peek into life at the time of our country’s founding.
Visiting a Place from Your Favorite Book
Maybe you can even visit one of the places from your favorite book. Did an author write about a real time and place? Or is there an author local to your area that might have included references to local places? Hunting these places down and visiting them will make literature come alive for your kids.
No matter where you decide to explore, field trips for homeschoolers provide a great learning experience for the entire family! You can plan ahead or even take a spur-of-the-moment field trip if you are having “one of those days!”
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