The following post is a guest post by Adriana Zoder of Homeschool Ways. Much like Adriana, I wasn’t always thrilled with the idea of taking homeschool field trips (I thought I was the only one!) but have found much value in them! She has shared some great experiences!
8 Homeschool Field Trips that Offer a Great Learning Experience
You may have thought from the beginning of your homeschool career that field trips rock. I did not. Then, one day, I took a field trip with my small children (because other homeschoolers did) and realized how much children learned about their world by being exposed to 3D experiences. I came to understand for myself that field trips truly are like Velcro for the mind: hooks upon which to hang theoretical concepts found in books.
Here are 8 field trips we have taken and learned from more than we ever could if we just read about the subject matter from books:
1. Zoo and/or Petting Zoo
– Children love animals. You will have no problem getting them into the car for this one. While there, they will see, hear, smell (oh-uh!) and even touch these animals, as allowed. No matter how many YouTube videos you watch, you will never understand how big an elephant is until you see one five yards away from you. Zoos also have indoor activity areas with books and toys which encourage exploration. My children love to play dress up at our local zoo. They become scientists by wearing white lab coats and plastic glasses or camouflage vests.
– We happen to have an aquarium in our small town. As such, my children have practically grown there. With our annual membership, we go there whenever we want to. I have seen them interact with the exhibits differently over the years. As babies, they just stared at the fish. As toddlers, they pronounced the names of different species in a cute way. As preschoolers, they started making connections and remembering different facts about certain fish. Now in pre-K and first grade, my children take science classes there. The annual membership helps save us money on those classes and any merchandise we might want from the Gift Shop.
3. Science Museum
– Many cities in the United States have a science museum for children. Some call it The Muse or Discovery Place. Look to see if you have one nearby in your town on the list of the Association of Science Technology Centers. Membership in one such center will enable you to visit all others for free or for the cost of a parking ticket. Children explore scientific concept in hands-on experiments and exhibits in such centers. Many also offer IMAX Theaters or Planetariums.
4. History Museum/History Fair
– We took our children to our local history fair and they took everything in like sponges. The costumes from different eras startled them, especially when they saw soldiers marching. My daughter loves princess-type dresses and when she met face to face with a Southern Belle, she got very, very quiet and observed every detail. You can almost see their wheels turning.
5. Literary Festivals
– Once a year, the city of Sevierville (30 minutes from our house) organizes a literary festival with a Kids’ Corner, where children’s authors read to and engages with little ones. One hour away from our house, in Knoxville, they have a Children’s Festival of Literature in the summer. There, children learn from story tellers, craftsmen, musicians, and book enthusiasts.
6. Symphony concerts
– Music transcends culture, reading levels, and emotional boundaries. Many symphonies dedicate at least one concert per year to children audiences. Nothing beats live music from a full orchestra. Your budding musician needs to be exposed to a concert hall on a regular basis.
7. Art Museum
– The museum staff thanks me for bringing my children to the Art Museum just because. Why wouldn’t I bring them? It’s free, they have wonderful exhibits, and a Creative Corner for kids. All sorts of craft materials and art books for children await exploration. And I can see how my children calm down after being in the presence of art. The gift shop contains a treasure trove of art books and sets for children.
8. Factory Tours
– We visited the Bush Beans Visitor Center last year. I thought I would never get my children out of there. They loved the interactive exhibit and the short documentary about the plant. They asked me to go back there several times and we will definitely go back there in the summer.
As you can see, lots of learning happens during a field trip. When you need a break from your daily book routine, get in your car and hit one of these destinations. Document it and it’s a school day.
Adriana Zoder is a polyglot, a newspaper columnist, an author, a homeschooling mom of two, and a book lover. She blogs at www.HomeschoolWays.com, where you can get her FREE ebook, 21 Days to Jumpstart Your Homeschool. Her other books are available through Amazon in Kindle and paperback form.
What are your favorite homeschool field trips?