Feeling stuck at home during these final winter days?
As spring approaches, it’s the perfect time to break with routine and head out for a field trip. Homeschoolers have a decided advantage in planning outings–we can go any time of day or year, plan around the crowds, and create our own experience.
If you’re in need of an easy outing, here are six places that young and old can enjoy together–coming away refreshed and with much learning inspiration.
1. A Performance
Photo by midiman
Whether it’s the symphony, a concert, or the ballet, exposing our children to the arts nurtures their spirits and minds. Not only do our children see the wonder of music or dance firsthand as a result, they also learn valuable social skills of how to behave in a performance environment.
Years ago, while reading And the Skylark Sings with Me: Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-Based Education by David Albert, I learned a helpful tip for successful outings with children at these venues.
Albert mentions his frequent trips with his two daughters to performances–often at very young ages. The goal, in his mind, was merely exposure. So when his girls started to fidget or were no longer interested, he would leave immediately.
He didn’t want to ruin the experience with lots of “Sit down, be quiet” nagging advice. Instead, Albert just accepted his daughters’ developmental limits, knowing that their attention span would grow with time. I found this philosophy both enlightening and freeing.
2. A Children’s Museum
Children’s museums are perfect for little ones because they represent hands-on, experiential learning. We have a yearly membership to our local venue and visit each month. My three kids never tire of all the scope for the imagination residing there.
3. A Scenic Trail
Photo by OakleyOriginals
Perfect for both nature study and physical education, hiking is the ideal educational outing. And this time of year is ideal for beginning a weekly hiking ritual.
One of Simple Homeschool’s contributors, Renee Tougas, has a passion for outdoor exploration as a family. At her blog you can find further information to make your outings both memorable and educational.
We’re not ardent hikers in our family, but we make an effort to explore local trails on a regular basis. I find it amazingly rejuvenating and excellent for bonding as a family.
4. A Restaurant
Now this is my type of learning! Last night our family of five visited a Thai restaurant for the first time. While eating incredible food we discussed Thai culture, heard the Thai language, and browsed brochures about Thailand.
As Heidi mentioned in her post about geography, restaurants can be a wonderful way to introduce the world to your children.
5. An Art Museum
The key to a successful art outing, especially if your children are younger, is knowing when to get in and get out.
What is it about parents that make us feel as though we must see every. single. painting–while our children’s eyes glaze over with boredom?
Much better to whet their appetite for art and leave them begging for more! So hang around as long as it is fun–then take a break.
6. A Farm
Photo by Nicholas
On a day when little and big bodies need to get out and move, a farm is the perfect destination.
Our children have been to a dairy farm and touched the cows that provided our raw milk.
We also recently joined an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which will allow us to drive to the farm each week and pick up our produce. In this day and age many children and adults hold a foggy idea of how food actually grows and arrives at the store. Take the opportunity to give your children a firsthand look at the process.
If you’re interested in a CSA, this is the best time of year to sign up. Visit localharvest.org to locate one in the United States.
When it comes to field trips, sometimes the challenge of organizing the outing holds us back. That’s why having a regular (though flexible) field trip schedule helps. Plan an easy outing for the first week of each month, or every Wednesday–whatever works for you.
Often outings lead to new memories and take book learning to the next level.
So don’t wait–head out the door today. Where will you go?
What is your family’s favorite educational outing?