Homeschool Field Trip Tips

A huge part of why we homeschool is to have the freedom to explore and learn about the world around us outside of the classroom walls. We want to be able to dig deeper into our interests and further explore subjects we are reading about in our text books. Field trips are a big part of that.

Since Field Trip Friday is now a big deal at our house and we have quite a few trips under our belt, I wanted to share some field trip tips with you. I want you to get out, explore and make the very most of your time.

Make A List

At the very beginning of the school year, the kids and I make a list of possible field trip destinations. We start with those in and around our town. These make great afternoon trips. Then, we branch out to those which are a bit farther drive, but still perfect for a day trip. Last, we think of where grandparents and friends live. We make a list of field trip spots that we could visit if we make a weekend trip to see family or friends.

Pick A Day

We like our Field Trip Fridays. It is the capstone on the week. It is something we all look forward to. Scheduling a field trip day gives us all incentive to get our school and house work completed during the rest of the week. If the work is not done, we don’t go.

Put It On The Calendar

Go through your list of field trip possibilities and decide which ones would work best at what time of year. For instance, we schedule the apple orchard for late September/early October for obvious reasons. Just use common sense when scheduling.

Do Your Research

Many field trip destinations have some sort of a education director and materials available for teachers to prepare for their visit. Lots of times, these resources are on their web sites for easy downloads. Take advantage of these. There might be prep material for you and your kids to get ready for your trip or their might be activity downloads for you to complete while you are on the field trip. If these resources are not available, there is always Google!

Find The People In The Know

I used to try and figure things out on my own when we went on field trips. “Just give me a map and leave me alone.” Not anymore. I know look for people in the know. Most places have some sort of welcome or information desk. Tell them who you are and what you are doing there. We have found that most of the time, those people manning the desk are volunteers and are there because they are passionate about wherever it is you happen to be. These people can be treasure troves of information. If they are not, they know who is.

More than once, we have made friends with volunteers manning the front desk and before our trip was over we have had the director of the entire facility or an expert find us during our trip and offer us a private, behind the scenes tour – all because we were friendly, we asked and we were genuinely interested in where we were.

Visit The Gift Shops

I know. I know. Never take kids in gift shops unless you have money to burn. This used to be my philosophy, too. Until I realized that if you get past the junk in the clear plastic bins when you first walk in, there are usually amazing resources hidden in there. After our trip and while the kids are still interested in what we just saw, I look for books, maps, games – something interesting and unique that we can take home right then and dive into or revisit over the next few days. This makes the learning last. I don’t always find something in the gift shop and I sometimes come out with a fake stick frog or a bag of rocks, but sometimes I find a real treasure.

Get Out There

What are you waiting for? Plan your trip and get out there!

How often do you have field trips? Do you have any field trip tips to share?

Comments

  1. Our homeschool group has a Field Trip Coordinator, and she schedules the group field trips for the year-usually 2-3 per month go on the schedule. They’re a mix between freebies and low cost, if at all possible. They’re also varied in type and interest – ranging from a Pioneer Museum to a Recycling Plant. Just recently, we toured our local Rescue Mission here in Phoenix. As moms we loved that field trip as is it gave us and our children an opportunity to see life and great needs, physical, spiritual, and emotional, outside of our own world. We learned that there are many things we can do to help meet their needs by getting involved, from the youngest to the oldest student. Throughout the year, the Moms generally post field trip opportunites they become aware of as well. Because there are so many available through our group, we use that as our primary source of field trip ideas rather than scheduling our own.

    • We have a couple moms in our area who organize field trips and offer the opportunity for others to join via our user group. I never thought of having a designated field trip person through our homeschool group. Brilliant!

  2. We take field trips weekly. I totally agree with you about learning outside classroom walls. When we are out on a field trip the kids learn so much through the hands on experiences they get. We normally do about 2 fieldtrips a month that go along with our unit study. Then we do some other fun ones with our homeschool group. Here is our fieldtrip page my blog http://www.kathysclutteredmind.com/search/label/Fieldtrips

  3. Great tips! My oldest daughter graduated last year and is now out in the working world, but she’s usually off on Fridays. So, we decided a few weeks ago that we’re going to incorporate Field Trip Fridays at our house too – at least once a month if not more.

  4. We love field trips! We try to find a field trip to go along with different studies we are doing. Recently, we took one to an apple orchard. Nothing says fall like an apple orchard!
    https://yestheyareallmine.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/ahhhh-the-smell-of-an-apple-orchard-in-the-fall/

  5. We big puffy heart field trips! Right now, we are coordinating them to go with our Florida History studies but I am always a sucker for a good field trip anywhere! :P We usually get them coordinated through our local homeschool group. I actually joined 2 this year because of the field trips.

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