Today my children and I are going on a field trip. We are packing into the car and driving three hours north to the totality zone of the solar eclipse. For much of the last few months we have been learning about space, the sun and the moon in preparation for this adventure. We are going to observe and discuss and do a little bit of arts and crafts. This is all in our effort to explore and experience all of the wonderful miracles of the world.
What is a Field Trip
A field trip is defined as a visit made for the purposes of firsthand observation. Field trips take learning out of the books and out of the screens and let children learn through experience. Field trips are a vital part of learning. But what counts or doesn’t count as a field trip? How do you plan a field trip that is both educational and fun?
Step 1: Pick a Destination
A field trip can be as simple as an outing to the grocery store to a weeklong national park adventure. A field trip doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, though. There are many wonderful opportunities near where you live. The key is to make the field trip meaningful and applicable to your homeschool.
Some ideas for your next Homeschool Field Trip
- Consider factories or other businesses that you could tour.
- Visit a local nature reserve or state park.
- Tour your state capitol.
- Visit a local historical site.
- Attend a reenactment or Renaissance fair.
- Tour or volunteer at an animal shelter or veterinary hospital
- Visit the birthplace of a famous person.
- Tour your local police or fire department, post office, airport or other civic entity
- Visit a history, art, science or another type of museum.
- Check out a nearby zoo or aquarium
- Visit a local farm or ranch
- Take in a live theater or musical event
Step 2: Decide on an agenda
The old saying goes – Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Even the simplest of field trips could benefit from a bit of preparation. Make sure you know what hours your destination is open. How long do you plan on being there? Will you need to preorder tickets or plan for a lunch?
Step 3: Preliminary Learning
Before stepping out for your field trip you should learn something about your destination. Whether it’s learning the history of the place or learning the amount of money that costs to park, each step in learning about your destination is important.
Here is a set of questions to research before the field trip day:
- What history does this place have?
- How busy is the place?
- Are there dining options?
- How many other subjects can you learn from the field trip?
Step 4: Getting the most out of the activity
This step is very important. You don’t want to leave a field trip wishing they did more, or that they got a chance to learn something specific. Like any great field trip you have, you have to be cognizant about what you do and how your children will receive the information. If you have children that are different ages and grades you have to pattern at least a part of the field trip to each child. Make sure the information is easily understood, and make it interesting for your children. Finally plan everything that you and the kids want to do, within reason.
Step 5: Post field trip activities
The learning and excitement of a field trip shouldn’t stop when you get home. Many activities and destinations offer their own followup activities. However, here are several more activities that your children can do to carry the field trip further.
- Talk about what they did and did not enjoy.
- Make a list of several things that they learned from this experience.
- Create a flyer or ad for the destination, listing the high points
- Where appropriate, send a Thank You note to the staff at the venue.
- Create a painting, sculpture or other art project related to the subject of your field trip
There are a lot of steps that go into making a field trip one that your children will remember. It requires planning, finesse, and the ability to improvise at the drop of a hat. Just remember that the best-laid plans don’t always work out, so be sure to not lose your cool and to make each field trip as good or better than the last.
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