One thing that homeschoolers are known for are some of the amazing field trips we take. Trips to museums, police stations, behind the scenes at restaurants, and more. What happens though when we want to do somewhere and we can’t? Face it, we can’t all afford trips (financially, time-wise, or other) to the far north of Canada, or visit the hot springs of Banff, or take in the Huagapo Cave of Peru. What does one do when field trips are out of reach?
Why Take a Field Trip?
- Connect book-learning to the real world.
- Give students access to culture, history, and art they might not otherwise have access to.
- Social-emotional growth. Studies have shown that empathy increases after visits to art galleries and museums.
- An opportunity to learn from other individuals who specialize in a given field.
- To gain hands-on learning experiences.
- To learn some of the sights, sounds and smells of a place, occupation, or historical event.
- Gives a break (sometimes very needed) from the normal routine.
- To have information presented in a new format can help that information gain significance, or become relevant, or just to make sense.
- Builds a sense of community with other field trip participants.
Why Not Take a Field Trip?
- Takes time to organize.
- Takes more time to do. The drive there and back, the time spent at the activity.
- Financial. A lot of field trips cost money.
- Missed time with other subjects, needing to play catch-up later.
- Field trip might not live up to your expectations.
- Distance and starting times are too hard to coordinate.
Mitigating the Negatives of Field Trips
Joining a homeschool group can make field trips less expensive (as then you can get in for the school rate).
You plan a vacation around desired places to go. For instance when we went to Toronto one year we also visited Colborne Lodge. It was a great way to do our annual visit to the fair and also take in a good field trip.
Another option is to take in some virtual field trips.
For instance I would LOVE to take my lad to the parliament buildings in Ottawa, but renovations and distance (it’s over 8 hours from where I live) make it a difficult undertaking. But I can take him on a virtual tour. We can walk down the various hallways and see the paintings and the architecture. Perhaps not as good as a real tour with a talking guide, but definitely better than nothing eh? 🙂
Discovery Education lists a number of virtual field trips.
You might want to see how Churros are made, or you want to see more of Hawaii after doing a unit study, or Mount St. Helens intrigues you. If you want to go somewhere, do some research, you just might find a virtual way to do it! 🙂 With a little bit of creativity you can usually find a way make your needed field trip happen.