Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Plan Successful Homeschool Field Trips

Field trips allow children of all grade levels to get away from the classroom to learn in more exciting environments. Public and private schools plan a few trips throughout the year to supplement classroom lessons, but you have an advantage as a homeschooling family. You can plan more field trips throughout the year and tailor them to the interests and struggles of your child.
If your child struggles to understand a lesson, a field trip may provide a fresh perspective that helps them understand certain concepts. If your child has a passion for a particular subject, regular field trips will help them explore that subject in new ways. These trips allow children to escape the daily routine and venture nut into the world, but they also give you fresh ideas for lesson plans, experiments, and classroom projects.
These trips are essential to the learning process, but they are also a lot of fun. It is one thing to read a book or do a project on a small scale at home. It is another thing entirely to see what those books are talking about in the real world and see those projects at work on a larger scale.
Trip Selection and Planning
Every trip you take should correlate to a lesson you are currently teaching. Research all cities within a reasonable distance from your home and make a list of all museums, state and national parks, aquariums, and galleries that may apply to your child's studies now or in the future. As you develop new lesson plans for your child, add to this list.
Once you find a field trip idea that you want to pursue, the planning process begins:
1. Plan lessons to be covered prior to the trip. This will introduce your child to basic information they need to fully comprehend what they see on the field trip.
2. Plan an activity to be completed during the field trip or generate a list of questions for your child to answer during the trip. This keeps your child focused on what you want them to learn.
3. Plan follow-up lessons to recap everything your child has learned in the classroom and on the trip.
Keep It Simple
Field trips do not have to be elaborate outings. A hike through a national forest and a picnic is one simple idea that can coordinate with a variety of lessons for all age groups if properly planned.
For instance, it may be important to select the most appropriate entrance into the national forest. There may be a reception center, museum, educational trail, or another feature only found at one area of the forest. It may also be important to visit at a particular time of year to coordinate with particular lessons.
Avoid cramming too much activity into one outing. It is better for your child to fully explore one location than to briefly visit three or four locations. Create activities that make the trip more entertaining. For instance, your child may go on a scavenger hunt when you visit a museum. You may have to visit the museum ahead of time, but you can make a list of items to be found in the museum and allow your child to check off the list during the field trip. Your follow-up lesson may hit on the importance of each item on the list.
Share Your Ideas... and Win!
Share your most successful homeschool field trips for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. You receive one entry into the gift card contest just for sharing the details of a field trip you have planned for your child. Share up to four pictures of your field trip and you will earn one additional contest entry per picture.

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