I’ve often said that if I ever write a book, it will be titled, Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method. We absolutely love taking field trips and are always on the look-out for opportunities to enrich our unit studies. We even look for field trip opportunities when we take vacations! In fact, choosing which field trips we will take during the school year is almost as important as choosing which curricula we will use.
Adding field trips to your homeschool will make learning come alive for your students. It’s one thing to learn about the history of the U.S. by reading about it, it’s another thing entirely to visit Jamestown Settlement and Historic Yorktown to take in the sights and sounds for yourself. Reading about space travel is great, but visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where you can have lunch with an astronaut, will create lifelong memories.
While field trip opportunities will vary from city to city, state to state, most everyone has access to some field trip opportunities. And while some ideas listed below are common, I hope to expand your idea of what can make a great field trip. So when you are thinking about adding to your homeschool in this way, be creative, think outside the box a bit. You might surprise yourself with what you come up with.
1. Tour your state capitol. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how government works and about the history of your state. It’s likely that your capital also has some kind of historical society or history museum. Be sure to stop by there as well. Field Trip: Kentucky Historical Society
2. Visit a local historical site. Every state has a history and most will have a state park, war site, pioneer village, or other place of historical significance for you to explore. Field Trip: Spring Mill State Park
3. Bring history to life by attending a war reenactment or renaissance fair. Field Trip: Cynthiana, KY
4. Do you have an animal-lover in your house? Call your local animal shelter for a tour. You could even volunteer! Field Trip: Kentucky Humane Society
5. Visit the birthplace of a famous person from your state. Look for presidents, war heroes, inventors, artists, musicians, military heroes, politicians, and sports heroes. Field Trip: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace 6. Visit an old cemetery and see if you can find the burial spots of your local heroes. Field Trip: Historic Cave Hill National Cemetery
7. Take a civic field trip. Tours of your local police or fire department, post office, airport, or campaign headquarters can usually be arranged with a simple phone call. Field Trip: Campaign Headquarters
8. Call around to local dentists, chiropractors, and veterinarians and ask for a tour or educational class. Many community workers love to talk with children about what they do and your students just might discover a passion.
9. Museums of all kinds make for wonderful field trips. Looks for science centers, children’s museums, historical museums, natural history museums, toy museums, sports museums and art museums. Watch for traveling artifacts coming to a city near you! Field Trip: The Niña and Pinta
10. Explore ocean animals at a regional aquarium. or learn about your local animal habitats at an animal rescue hospital. Field Trip: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
11. Learn more about the solar system by visiting a planetarium.
12. Look for a local nature reserve or animal rescue hospital to learn more about animals native to your state. Or visit the zoo to learn about animals from around the world. Field Trip: Florida Everglades Alligators and Birds
13. Visit an animal rescue hospital. Field Trip: Turtle Hospital
14. Find an active archaeological site and volunteer to help dig!
15. Factories will often offer educational tours. Look for factories that produce cars, food or drink, toys, furniture, or other local industries.
16. Theatres, dance companies, and orchestras often offer discounted rates to students, including homeschoolers, for performances, plays, and concerts. Perhaps you have a local high school or college troupe offering low-cost admission for their performances.
17. Is your state or city known for something unique? Baseball bats, horses, silly string, Coca-cola? Explore the history of that topic. If your town is known for something, chances are there’s a museum, park or site of some kind to visit and learn more. Field Trip: Louisville Equestrian Center
18. Get together with some friends and learn about local farms. We’ve picked apples and watched how maple syrup is made! Field Trip: Apple Picking
19. Finally, plan a vacation around something your family is interested in. Because of our intense love of history and government, Washington DC is our favorite! What’s your family’s passion? Even a trip to the beach can become an amazing learning opportunity! Field Trip: Washington DC
20. Look for educational opportunities at local colleges, especially those with agricultural programs. We have visited schools growing cotton, operating dairy farms, and training in woodworking, as well as some with art and history collections. Field Trip: College of the Ozarks
More than anything, have fun! For added educational value, have your students write a brief synopsis of the field trip for their notebook or portfolio. Don’t forget to take pictures!
Here are a few blog posts I’ve written with even more field trip ideas in Kentucky:
What’s the best field trip your family has taken?
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing the last article in this series, and I hope you’ll come back to read it. It’s one of my favorite topics — how to make homeschool curriculum work for you. (here’s the link to that article)
If you liked this article, you’re sure to enjoy 10 Tips for Finding and Planning Homeschool Field Trips.