When we started homeschooling, my oldest son was in first grade and my daughter was four but wanted to ‘do school’ like big brother, so she was doing a mix of preschool and kindergarten materials. I had set up our school schedule and thought I had a great plan. It worked for a week or two but then we found the other homeschoolers in our area and started hearing about all of these wonderful opportunities. A trip to the fire department, a local play, a trip to the nature center. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in these wonderful trips and saw how much my children were learning.
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There was just one problem, it was putting me behind on my schedule and I felt like I was struggling to keep up with my plans and these trips. By the second year, I realized that I needed to value these opportunities and leave space for them in my plans. I started planning for a four-day school week and allowing a day for field trip, or enrichment, opportunities each week. While it looks a little different now with two middle school students, I still allow for a field trip day each week because I think those opportunities are invaluable. They learn so much for the real-life environments and they have fun. When people ask my 13-year-old why he likes homeschool better than public school, one of the first things he says is that he gets to go on more field trips. Our field trips range from a quick trip to the local library, a day visit at a nearby nature park or aquarium, to incorporating learning opportunities into family vacations out of state. They all provide a variety of learning opportunities.
For young children, field trips provide great exposure to a variety of people and places that they need to be familiar with particularly the group that are often called, “community helpers”. What better way to understand about police officers, postal workers, firemen, and other community workers than to talk to them, see them working, and learn about their jobs. A trip to the fire department most often also includes some great fire safety education to help keep them safe in our homes.
You can talk about flowers, birds, and fish all day long, but if you want to get a child really excited about those things, they need to see them. Hikes in your local park and trips to the aquarium, zoo, or nature center can help students really enjoy learning about the world around them and give them a greater appreciation for God’s creation. Many state and national parks offer free or inexpensive classes and guided programs, and self-guided junior ranger activities to help them learn more about different aspects of nature that are present in that park. We have enjoyed bird walks, tree identification programs, and a nature scavenger hunt at area parks.
I feel saddened every time I hear someone say that history is boring. Too often people view history as a list of dates and names to memorize. When my children were in preschool we were very blessed to find living history programs geared towards preschoolers at our local historic site. We would attend once a month and they would bring history to life. There were crafts, impersonations, tours, and more that all made them excited to learn about history. Historic interpreters and living history events can really bring history to life and make it so much more fun and exciting. We now actively search out living history events at other historic sites to visit and volunteer our time at our local site to help bring history to life for other families.
I have had people tell me that they don’t have the budget for field trips and I know this is true in some situations. However, please note that trips do not need to be expensive or far away to add in lots of fun and education. Many of the parks and sites are free or only a couple of dollars per person and some offer group rates for homeschool groups. Most of the community services will do free field trips. There are also often homeschool discounts at larger venues such as aquariums and zoos. When we go overnight, we often camp in a state or national park to save money over hotels (most charge around $25 a night) and pack most of our meals.
I would love to hear about how you incorporate field trips into your homeschool. For more information about specific field trips check out our Field Trip Friday posts. Thank you for joining us this week for the blog hop! Don’t forget to check back often for more homeschool encouragement and check out the other posts in the hop today.
CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew – 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses – ABC of Homeschooling
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag – Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family – Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens – Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling – Homeschooling the High School Years
Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom – Homeschooling With Autism
Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range – 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling
Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool – 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance – Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time – Homeschooling.
Betty @ Lets Get Real – Homeschooling High School
Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess – Eclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase – Roadschooling with a Teenager
Yvonne @ The Life We Build – 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling
Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny – Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together – A Peek into Our Homeschool
Cassie D @ Deputie Tribe – Homeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU
Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach –Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year
Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy – My Favorite Homeschooling Things
Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane – 5 Days of Nature Study
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning – Homeschooling my final 4
Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities – Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child
Sally M – Tell the Next Generation – Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners
Kim @ Good Sweet Love – Last Year of Elementary
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Deals and Freebies
Back to School Bundle Sale going on now!! Back to Homeschool Online Course Bundle
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!