The kids are restless, the baby won't quit crying, you have lost all momentum to get any school work done...and it's only 10 am!
What you need is a field trip!
Studies have shown that giving your children experiences, instead of toys, boosts their intelligence and happiness. Field trips are a great way to expose our children to a world outside of their own.
Almost everyone has a memory of a field trip...bagged lunches, bus rides, and fun with their friends.
Field trips are real-world learning. It will allow your children to connect and reinforce what they are learning at home. They can be fun but also add in a hands-on learning experience with tools that may not be available at home. Field trips are wonderful for those who are #VisualLearners and can easily spark an interest in new topics. Our children are more likely to retain information if they experience it... see a covered wagon, feel a real stingray, and discover life in the creek under the microscope.
Field trips also introduce our children to a variety of professions. My children have spoken to NASA employees, discussed ocean life with the biologists at the aquarium, and gained historical empathy while listening to those who have come before them.
How can our large family afford to take field trips?
This might take some creativity on your part. I have had yard sales and put all the money towards our upcoming school field trips. I have sold things online, worked extra shifts, and eaten plenty of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To us, crunching the numbers and saving some extra money is worth the effort for a good field trip!
I hope to inspire you with some of our favorite field trips and what we learned or gained from the experience.
Fair Hill Nature Center
We LOVE this place. If you are local (anywhere near Cecil County, MD) this is a fabulous field trip. The Nature Center connects children and adults to the environment by educating, engaging, and exploring our local natural resources. My children have spent time in the shallow creek discovering how living and non-living things connect within our ecosystem and learned first hand about various types of habitats. They searched for producers, consumers, and decomposers. They have hiked in the woods and collected soil samples and touched fossils. My older children participated in the water quality class where they collected their own data from Elk Creek and observed it under a microscope. The teachers are energetic and have a love of nature.
This is another favorite! If you are a local...although worth the travel...this is a must. Longwood Gardens is one of the world's great gardens with so many class options for your students. There is NO other place that will give a botany lesson like Longwood Gardens. There Horticulture program is second to none. Our younger children enjoyed the H2O class where they learned all about the water cycle with so many hands-on experiments. Our older children have been inspired and challenged in the Biodiversity, Adaptions, and Biomes class. And I have LOVED walking through the beautiful gardens.
Washington, DC is in a league of its own when it comes to world-class museums-many which are #FREE. Almost every school year we take the train to Washington, DC. Each year I pick one to visit. We have been to the White House, sat in the Senate, reviewed our American History while visiting the beautiful monuments, and took an entire day at the Bible Museum. My boys loved the International Spy Museum and the Smithsonian is amazing. We went home after our visit and watched a Night in the Museum with a totally different perspective.
Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool Days
I'll admit, I LOVE colonial history. Even our home is a colonial farmhouse. I would love to step back into time...just for a day.
This year we visited our son and his wife who happen to live near Williamsburg. We jumped on the opportunity to take the boat across the river and enjoy some living history. It was amazing! And being that it was a homeschool day it offered reasonable rates for our large tribe. Our girls tried on colonial outfits, we observed a blacksmith, sat in a "real" trial, and tasted some yummy food.
University of Maryland Agriculture Department
This field was FULL of surprises. First, they have a Campus Farm-right in the middle of a very large and busy college campus. The farm is used primarily for teaching their agriculture classes. But livestock is also kept in the barn with the Animal Science students taking charge of their care. We had the opportunity to put our hand INSIDE a cow! Yes, you read that right. We learned all about the mystery of the fistulated cow. I will never look at a cow the same way! What an #Adventure!
Turkey Hill Experience
This is yummy chemistry at it's best! Turkey Hill is not a guided tour through the ice cream factory, but rather an indoor interactive attraction in the heart of Lancaster County, PA. You can milk a mechanical cow, learn the history of milk delivery, and even develop your own ice cream flavor. Our co-op had fun in the ice cream lab learning a little chemistry as we created our own flavors. Who doesn't love ice cream! (This was Peyton's favorite #FieldTrip)
NASA Goddard Space Center
The Goddard Space Center is a major NASA space research laboratory located outside of Washington, DC. During our study of astronomy, our co-op discovered this gem. I'll admit, I'm not much into astronomy. But I enjoyed learning from these highly intelligent people. I was shocked at how much goes on in space! Plus, this was a great trip that offered insight to various employment opportunities and they talked to our older students about different courses of study, including internships.
We have been on SOOO many great field trips. Remember, not all of your children will love every trip. We have some who have begged to stay "a little longer" at the National Aquarium or the Science Center while others would rather take a science class at the Anita Estuary Center.
Yearly we attend the Baltimore Symphony and pick a few programs at the Arts on Stage at Goucher College-to add a little music and art to our portfolio.
Field trips don't have to be at a museum. Think outside the box! They can be as simple as a day at the park discovering nature, ice skating with friends, or even the library. Grab a few other homeschool families to get a group rate or look for special homeschool discount days. Just get out of the house!
Fill your life with adventures, not just busy workbooks and "things." My motto: Make some memories together. Have a story to share...not just stuff to show.
All good field trips lead to an early bedtime!
Have any good field trip locations? Let me know in the comment section below and submit it to our field trip database! Submit Field Trip
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