There are few things that help foster a love of learning and field trips are at the top of that list. While classroom-style teaching has its benefits, it’s hard to beat first-hand (and hands-on) experience. Heading out into the real world is a fantastic way to capture your kids’ attention and show them that learning can be fun. Plus, going out and about is sure to stick in their minds more than sitting at home doing exercises from a book.
Homeschool field trips can be untested grounds for a lot of new homeschooling moms. While you can find some fantastic trip ideas on sites like www.onlinecollege.org, many homeschool parents are reluctant to branch out. After all, getting this right is about more than simply picking a place, packing up and going. Though you may already take your kids for day trips (yes, the grocery store trips count LOL), educational options are a whole different ball game. There are several things to consider and prepare for when considering planning homeschool field trips whether it’s just for your family, or a group. You’ll benefit from considering and prepping for these three potential issues before you go:
While we certainly don’t plan for things to go south on field trips, it is a good idea to have a plan in place in the event something does happen. Without a plan, an accident while you’re out could end up costing you more than can imagine… then you may end up on the phone with folks from www.diamondinjurylaw.com (LOL)! 🙂 Obviously, that’s not the only motivation for keeping your kids safe. But, it’s worth considering. For starters, prepare for single or group field trips by providing a waiver of liability agreement form. You can create one or use pre-made ones like these from A2Z Homeschooling. There are also some other great forms on that site too! 😉 It’s also a good idea to have pep talks with your kiddos about sticking close at all times (especially on group trips). If you’re going with multiple families, consider wearing the same color to help easily identify one another. It’s also worth checking out all destinations for safety before you commit to visiting them.
This may seem a little awkward as something to consider and prepare for, but let’s be honest – sometimes our children can be a lot different in public than they are at home. Your children may be used to doing fun things at home or going on fun trips with you, but there could be the possibility of an issue arising when it comes down to gaining (or keeping) the necessary authority while being on a field trip with others. Moment of honesty here, I’m that passive jellyfish kind of parent who desperately
wants needs a stronger backbone when it comes to disciplining my children… let alone having them respect my authority. The thing is, while this should be a fun learning experience, learning is the key word and hindsight goal. So let’s talk preparation. Prepare for the chance of your children (especially the younger ones) losing focus the moment you get to where you’re going. Don’t ponder on thoughts of it being difficult to regain control. Instead, be prepared by packing some trip-related coloring pages, activity sheets, and/or books. Also, it’s not a bad idea to bring that pep talk back into play. Sit your kiddos down and talk to them before heading off. Make sure they know what behavior is acceptable, and stress that this isn’t just an average day out. It also doesn’t hurt to let them know what will happen if they fail to listen to your authority on the day. If there’s a risk of no more trips, there’s more chance they’ll pay attention.
This typically isn’t something that most homeschoolers worry about, but it isn’t a bad idea to get other homeschool parents on board. There are some cases where going on field trips with just your family is better. On the other hand, making it a group effort can add to the excitement and quite honestly… this can be an excellent way to take some pressure off your shoulders. Having other moms to hang out and chat with can speak to our adult interaction tanks which can get pretty empty. Not to mention, kiddos love it when they know others are coming along.
Of course preparation goes further than liability, authority, and chaperones so I’ve done a little research and found some good resources to help you plan an amazing homeschool field trip:
- Find field trips in all 50 states here
- Here is a guide to planning
- Find lots of field trip printables here
CHIME IN: Share your field trip tips in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!