Homeschool Field Trip Ideas…
The first year we homeschooled, I was so excited… I sat down and made a list of all the places we were going to go and all the things that we were going to learn about those places. While my intentions were great and my ideas grand, I have to admit that we might have made it to one of those places. We were so busy with school work and house work and… just life in general. So while I was a bit put out by the fact that we didn’t hit all of the educational highlights that I had planned, I realized that life, all by itself, is a field trip (with tons of roller coaster rides!). My homeschool field trip ideas have evolved over time… and now, I know how to balance our fun trips with our educational trips.
We go on a field trip every single week! It’s not a typical field trip that a public school would go on, but it is educational and one of the best life experiences that I can offer my children. The grocery store. When we go to the grocery store, we take a list and a calculator. I have my oldest practice his reading of the list and his math skills with the calculator while my youngest hunts for the groceries on the shelf (it’s the best scavenger hunt!). And as my oldest gets older, he will help me plan out the grocery list and pay for the groceries at the register. This keeps them from fighting over who pushes the cart and running up and down the aisles like madmen. While this may not sound like the most fun field trip in the world, it is a genuinely great learning experience for them.
I would say that we generally have a strictly fun-only outing at least once a month. We might find ourselves at the fair or the amusement parks playing video games or driving go karts. These are some of the most rewarding trips for us all because there are no expectations (except behavior). We will invite friends and just spend the day enjoying ourselves. Or sometimes, it’s a cheaper version of fun that includes a picnic or bumper boats out on the lake. Sometimes, we invite friends and just go chill at the pool or we go to a nice park for the day. Even though we homeschool and literally EVERYTHING can be a learning opportunity, I choose to just let them set the learning pace here. If they ask any questions, I am 100% ready to whip out the teaching hat and learn them up good… but if they don’t, that’s perfectly okay too because they’re children. While children are naturally curious and want to learn, children also desperately need to just unwind and let loose.
Middle of the road
Most of the time, this is where our outings fall. I feel like there is a time and a place to learn, a time and a place to have fun, AND there is a time and a place to do both, learn and have fun! These are the trips that I enjoy the best. Trips to the zoo, planetarium, science center, museum, historic landmarks, trains, boats, etc… I really could go on all day with the fun/learning opportunities that are out there. My children get so excited for these trips, even though they know they’re going to learn new things, because it’s a new experience and it’s going to be fun.
I typically try to choose about 3 age-appropriate lessons for each of them, and I start laying the foundation for their learning the morning of the trip. As their parent and their teacher, I can start building their curiosity before we even step foot in the building. I might ask them questions that I wouldn’t have even known the answer to, like, “How do the stars stay in the sky?” This triggers their brain (oh, that sometimes elusive organ) to start thinking about stars and forming its own questions. And then, in the science center, when we get to the stars, they’re drawn to that area and are more interested in the topic seated in their heads than they would normally be. And oh boy! If they so happen to figure out the answer without my assistance, they absolutely do NOT hesitate to inform me. I LOVE the moments that they “teach” me.
Whether it’s just a routine trip to the grocery store or an all-out water park fest, I love trips out with my boys and building those memories. Field trips for us don’t require permission slips, and I don’t have to beg off of work so that I can go because I can schedule their field trips around our work schedules (which also makes it possible for dad to go with us!). We get to invite our friends on these field trips and make sure our schedules sync up. Or, if any of the kids get sick, we can reschedule our field trips so that nobody misses out on the fun. I still have my list from the first year we homeschooled. I have turned that list into our homeschool bucket list. While I definitely still want to go visit all of those places with my kids (Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Smithsonian, NASA, etc.), but I realize that I have time for all of that and we don’t have to knock it out in just one year.
On the flip side, I do love a good science center. There seems to be at least one science center in every state and a lot of states have more than one. Whenever we are visiting friends or family in a new area, my husband and children already know we are going to be checking out that science center. They are SO fun and SO amazing! I absolutely love them and so do my children.
Have you guys been on any field trips or done anything really exciting with your kids lately? What is your favorite thing to do? Let me know in the comments or send me a message with the details! I’d love to be able to add to our bucket list!
Erin T. is a military wife, mom of two homeschooled boys, and works PRN at a local hospital. She has lived in multiple states including NC, VA, and KY. She enjoys writing articles about her homeschool journey and different life experiences. If you would like to email Erin directly, please do so at email@example.com.