“What kind of field trips can you take as a homeschooler?” a woman asked.
Pretty much any kind you have the time, energy, interest, and finances to handle is likely the best answer. But I’m sure she wanted specifics.
This is an area where homeschooling can easily win hands down. I know when I was a classroom teacher, arranging field trips took a lot of paperwork and time. Often fund-raising was required to pay for a bus. Then we had to line up enough chaperones and any trip disrupted the school’s schedule. So it was difficult to organize many trips.
Now that I’m teaching my own at home (and running a homeschool support group), I love field trips. The kids learn more from them, have more fun, and get more out of them than just reading about things from books.
So what trips have we gone on? The list would be too long to manage if I attempted to include every trip, but I’ll try.
We’ve done trips to the fire station (which works for preschoolers but we’ve gone with teens as part of health/first aid lessons–we’ve found fire stations like to educate the kids; we’ve even taken a trip to a training center for fire fighters to see where and how they train), the police station (including the 9-1-1 call center), a hospital, TraumaHawk (our local flying ambulance center), nature centers (sometimes just to view the center but other times to participate in classes, hikes, and other activities), and museums (art, science, history, etc.). We’ve gone to farms and picked crops for local soup kitchens, participated in beach and park cleanups, visited various charitable organizations, helped at our local place of worship, and gone on other trips that have a citizenship/social cause purpose to them. We’ve gone on living history field trips to a Civil War battle re-enactment, a one-room schoolhouse (where the kids had to dress up and come with a lunch appropriate for 100 years ago and then spent a morning as they would have done a century ago), a Renaissance Fair, a re-created pirate ship, etc. We’ve been on trips to observe marine life, wetlands, local flora and fauna, a farm, etc. We’ve been to factories (such as a candy factory where we watched a video on the history of chocolate and then watched them make chocolates and sampled some). We’ve canoed, biked, sailed to an island, snorkled, hiked, swung on high trapezes, played laser tag, watched sporting events, and done a number of other things related to physical education. We’ve toured a recycling plant, an animal hospital, libraries, animal rescue centers, a radio station, and more. We’ve seen concerts, plays, movies, and acted in a few Talent Shows and plays in venues for other people. We’ve gone on some trips because they were related to topics we were studying (such as visiting a hospital at the end of a unit on anatomy, visiting a fabric shop to learn how to buy fabric and a sewing machine repair shop to learn about sewing machines when studying sewing, and taking an airboat tour of the Everglades as well as tours of various Oceanographic centers when studying marine science), and other trips were taken just because we heard about the opportunities and were able to drop everything and go.
Sometimes a field trip can even be as simple as going to a park–whether to run off some energy, study nature, or act out some math word problems. Some tour ideas take some creativity: When we wanted to tour an airport, we had to search to find a tiny commercial airport without massive airlines that was willing to allow us there. Some trips have minimum requirements which require some type of homeschool support group or lots of connections to meet. Some have costs, which are sometimes much lower than expected if booked ahead of time for an group at their educational discount rate. Sometimes we’ve gone on our own and just dropped in somewhere with no prior planning. Other times, we’ve joined forces with some other group such as when we went with our local 4-H and 400 other kids to our state’s capital and toured a number of sites. Field trips can be far from home or can involve a walk around the neighborhood, but they can make learning much more interesting.