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Since homeschooling is more flexible than a traditional school, your classroom can be anywhere. Planning some homeschool field trip ideas for your academic year will allow you to extend your learning outside of books and worksheets.
Students who regularly go on field trips do better in school, are more interested in the arts, and are more tolerant of people and viewpoints that are different from their own. Luckily, you can get all the benefits of taking your kids on field trips without traveling far or spending a dime.
1. Get Outside
If you’ve been trapped indoors all week, head outside to get rid of stir craziness. The opportunities for fun and learning in nature are endless. Local and state parks are a great place to go if you want a large area to roam around. However, you can do some activities like bird watching from anywhere.
These ideas can help you satisfy requirements for physical activity and tie in with science lessons.
- Explore natural geography
- Go bird watching
- Categorize plant and animal species
2. Participate in Local Programs and Events
You often won’t need to look far to find excellent homeschool field trip ideas. Check your local newspaper each week to see if there are any free activities and events that would tie in well with your lessons.
Community festivals and events bring many people together and can be great educational and socialization opportunities. Local businesses and organizations often hold free events as well for community outreach.
- Attend a festival or fair
- Listen to storytime or a speaker at the library
- View a local art exhibition
- Take part in a building project at a hardware store
- Watch free performances at a community theater
3. Explore Careers
It’s never too early to help kids learn about possible careers. Get feedback about jobs they’re currently interested in and add some others to the list you think they might enjoy. For most, you should be able to find a business or professional who’s willing to let your children shadow them for a day.
Another option is to arrange for a tour of the business or organization. Your kids could get the opportunity to see what working at a particular job looks like in reality. If you’re struggling to think of occupations to test out, here are some possibilities to get you started:
- Emergency Responder (ambulance, fire, police, etc.)
- Media Outlets
- College Student
- Small Business Owner
4. Find Community Service Opportunities
Encouraging students to be global citizens is a large part of an educator’s mission. Helping to take care of the environment and other local causes will help build their values and see the bigger picture of global issues.
Many organizations desperately need the help. However, most of them only see increased volunteers during holidays. Help out your community during the off-season to make the most significant impact. Here are some community service options for your next homeschool field trip:
- Clean cages and play with animals at the shelter
- Pick up trash at the park or on the highway
- Collect donations for women’s shelters
- Distribute food at a food pantry or soup kitchen
- Read books to older adults in assisted living homes
5. Take a Virtual Trip
Though a wonderful experience, travel is expensive and time-consuming. As an educator, you want to help your kids learn about other cultures, science, art, and history. However, there’s only so much they can get out of a book.
Virtual trips have become exceedingly popular over the last few years. The increased demand has brought a variety of new opportunities online. The best part is many of these experiences are free of charge, and you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home.
- Tour countries around the world with Air Pano
- Explore the past at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- Watch live footage of your favorite animals at the San Diego Zoo
- Go on a tour of Colonial Williamsburg and participate in a virtual scavenger hunt
- View pieces from the most influential artists around the world at the Louvre
6. Learn About Government and the Justice System
For a taste of history close to home, you could take your homeschoolers on a field trip to explore how local or state government and the justice system work. A trip like this would take some forethought and planning but is well worth the effort.
Please consider the ages of your students before deciding to go on one of these field trips. The subject matter and environment of each may not be suitable for kids of different maturity levels.
- Watch an age-appropriate trial at the courthouse
- Meet with a representative
- Tour your state capital building
- Talk with an officer at the police station
7. See How Things Work
We take many occupations and systems in our daily lives for granted, but kids have questions about all of them. They’re curious about where our energy comes from and what happens to our garbage and recycling when we put it by the road.
The best way to show them how the world works is to get them out in it. Again, this will take some phone calls and planning, but the experience should be eye-opening for the whole family.
Here are some great places to tour and get answers:
- Power plant
- Post office
- Recycling center
- Water treatment facility
Free Can Be Fun
Activities can still be fun and educational without costing a fortune. Every one of these homeschool field trip ideas is entirely free but packed with learning and adventure. Also, staying free and local means you can do more of these activities each year and consistently extend your kids’ education beyond class time.