Field trips can be an exciting part of a child’s education!. Many of us enjoyed them growing up but did not put much thought into what it took to coordinate them. Now that you are the teacher/field trip planner—what do you do? You may find existing field trip groups, but what if those are not available, you cannot afford the cost, or they are not geared for the age of your child?
You can plan your own!
It is much easier than you may think. Here are some tips:
- Keep the group small. You can plan field trips for just your family, or you can invite a few friends to join you.
- Plan field trips around what you are studying at home. Reading about people, places, events, or ideas in books and then experiences some of that hands-on helps children make connections and retain what they have learned.
- Let your child’s interests be a guide. We all learn more when we are studying something that truly interests us. Make the effort to plan a field trip that involves something they are passionate about.
- Think local. Ask around and search for field trips in your area. You may be surprised at the opportunities right in your backyard that many of us tend to drive by every week and overlook.
- Utilize friends. Are any of your relatives or friends involved in careers or hobbies that might interest your children? Ask if they would be willing to speak to your children or give a demonstration or show you their workplace.
- Don’t forget events. Many historical societies, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), clubs, non-profits, and other groups hold events that are open to the public.
- Think outside the box. You may find the most fascinating (and possibly free) field trips are at places that don’t ordinarily offer them. You could ask at factories, garden nurseries, restaurants, horse stables, and local businesses.
INDIANA FIELD TRIPS FOR HOMESCHOOL FAMILIES
Field trips provide a great opportunity for your children to make new discoveries and develop an enthusiasm for a subject that might be difficult to do from books alone. You can read about honey bees and the important work that they do, and even watch movies about them. But until you visit a place such as Hunter’s Honey Farm in Martinsville (Region 10), you don’t realize what you are missing. There is nothing quite like watching a swarm of bees carrying pollen back to their hive or looking at a real honeycomb with beautiful golden honey dripping off of it.
Maybe your family is learning about a certain topic this year and would like to plan field trips based around that. You could plan field trips around the topic of Indiana history and visit places such as Indiana’s first capital in Corydon (Region 16), the Lincoln Pioneer Village and Museum in Rockport (Region 17), and Conner Prairie in Fishers (Region 6) to learn about Indiana life in the 1800s.
You may be studying air and space travel. Consider visiting the Lawrence D. Bell Aircraft Museum in Mentone (Region 2), the Grissom Air Museum in Peru (Region 5), and the Wilbur Wright Birthplace Museum in Hagerstown (Region 7).
Is Botany the science course for the year? You may enjoy visiting the Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Hazelton (Region 17), Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart (Region 2), and a park such as Turkey Run State Park in Marshall (Region 8).
You may be concerned about all the “school” your children might miss if you take them on field trips. You can put that worry to rest. Field trips count! They count as school. They provide children with some of the best kinds of education out there. Field trips can stand on their own two feet as a day of education, or you can pair them with books, movies, and online resources for learning more about that topic. You have the freedom to tailor your family’s education system to fit your plans and the needs and interests of your children.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the thought of planning multiple field trips. Start with one, and see how it goes. You never know. You and your children may find yourselves getting hooked on history coming to life, hands-on-science, and learning from real people and places around you.
To read more about planning your own field trips, see the Field Trips article by Amanda Runge in the 2020 Fall issue of Homeschool Indiana.
To find more field trip ideas that near you, check out Indiana Field Trips by Region. Enjoy the adventure!