Are you looking for new ways to add interesting and educational activities into your homeschool days? If so, then consider taking more field trips! Field trips are not only fun, but they offer many valuable benefits to your homeschool family. And they don’t need to be elaborate or expensive in order to provide these memorable experiences.
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When I am thinking about our upcoming school year, I start by planning what topics we will cover, what material and curriculum we will use, and what our calendar will look like. However, over the years, I have come to realize just how important (and often times much needed!) field trips are to our homeschool journey. There are so many reasons why field trips are valuable, so I really try and focus on how to incorporate them into our schedule whenever possible.
Here are six reasons why field trips are important to your homeschool year. (Plus a list at the end of 34 different places you can go!):
They give everyone a break from the normal routine.
There are times throughout the year when my children and I just need to take a day off from “regular schoolwork” and do something fun together. And since there are so many places we can go that still incorporate learning, I don’t worry that we are missing our regular school day.
Make connections to the real world.
Reading is an important and wonderful way to learn about the world around us. But equally important is having the chance to interact and make connections to the parts of life going on around us everyday. By doing so, kids are given the opportunity to socialize and connect with different people, places, and events in a more meaningful way.
Bring “book learning” to life.
Again, reading is a great way to learn about so many different topics, and we personally incorporate a lot of books into our homeschool. However, the information gathered in these books can often times be taken a step further. By going on field trips, kids can learn more about what they’ve read. This hands-on way of learning helps bring to life what you have only read about in books.
Encourage your child’s interests.
A huge benefit to homeschooling is that you can help your children follow their passions and learn more about a topic that they are interested in. Add a field trip to this interest-led learning and your child can gain a lot of valuable knowledge and experience – not to mention have fun while doing so!
See real world applications.
If you have been learning about where our food comes from, then a trip to a working farm, for example, can show your kids this topic in action. Combining reading and studying a topic with a field trip helps your child see real world applications of the things they have learned.
Good for different learning styles.
Since kids all learn differently, it’s important to recognize what works best for each child. For many kids (mine included), learning through hands-on activities helps them to better remember what they have learned. And when your field trip incorporates multiple learning styles, such as reading, listening to presentations, and hands-on activities, then consider that a win for everyone!
Grab these free blank field trip forms that both you and your child can use to record your trip! (Plus, get access to my entire FREE resource library full of fun and helpful printables!)
So now that I’ve listed some of the benefits of including field trips into your homeschool schedule, I thought it would be helpful to also give a list of places you can go!
And here are some inexpensive (or free!) places you can go with your kids to add a fun and educational element to your learning adventure!
- Your local library (learn how to find books, talk to a librarian, go to story time, read a new book aloud to your child, or see what fun events they may be having. Here’s a huge list of US public libraries)
- A working farm
- Your fire and rescue department
- The police station
- Animal shelters
- Local community events
- A Planetarium (here is a great site for finding planetariums in your state)
- A lake, pond, river, or beach
- Living history centers
- An apple orchard
- Historic sites or monuments
- Local landmarks
- Art galleries or studios
- A corn maze
- Farmer’s Market
- Pick-you-own farm (This site will help you find U-pick farms in your area)
- Animal sanctuaries
- The zoo or aquarium (may be pricey, but worth looking into – here you can find a list of all the zoos and aquariums in the US)
- Animal rescue center
- State capitol buildings
- Botanical gardens or arboretums
- Museums (art, history, science, natural history, cars, etc.)
- State or national parks (search for parks in your area here)
- Old cemeteries
- Hiking trails (see AllTrails or Hiking Project for lists of trails near you)
- Take a walking tour
- The post office
- Go geocaching (this site is helpful to learn more about geocaching)
- Explore your local city or town
- Walk around and look at different types of architecture
- Radio or TV station
- A factory
- Children’s museums (here is a list of children’s museums throughout the US)
As you can see, there are many places you could go for your homeschool field trips that combine learning and fun! And even if you can only go on a couple of field trips a year, you’ll still be providing great learning experiences. What else would you include in this list of field trip places?