Away We Go! Ten Awesome Field Trips

Published with Permission

Written by Kelly Vittoria

www.TOSMagazine.com

As any homeschooling family knows, much of our children’s learning actually takes place outside of the home. Field trips can be an exciting, if not essential, component of your family’s curriculum. They spark an interest in children of all ages and can be valuable resources to enhance lessons being taught in the home.

Following is a list of ten free or low-cost field trips that can boost learning and in some cases help nourish your child’s soul:

1. Pizzeria/Bakery

Major Educational Themes: Nutrition, Science

How to Schedule: Start by calling around to your favorite spots, explaining that you and your group would like to request an educational tour. There may be a nominal fee for supplies.

Bonus: Children may be able to make an edible treat to take home.

2. Music Store

Major Educational Theme: Music

How to Schedule: Again, calling a local business to inquire about a tour is the way to go. This tour should be free.

Bonus: This is an opportunity for parents to ask about instrument rentals and lessons offered, if their children are not already studying a musical instrument. Children may be invited to handle and play different instruments, getting a feel for which one(s) they might be interested in.

3. Police Station

Major Educational Themes: Social Studies, Personal/Public Safety, Science (forensics for older children), Problem Solving/Critical Thinking, Public Policy/Law Enforcement

How to Schedule: Research your community’s police station non-emergency phone number. Do not call 911 to schedule a tour. This tour should be free.

Bonus: Police stations often offer parents public safety materials such as child identification kits, which help law enforcement officers safely locate children in the event that they are missing. Some police departments work in cooperation with the area school system and/or children’s hospital to provide public relations programs such as Safety City, a miniature model of a city where elementary-aged children drive mini-cars and learn safety related to bicycles, pedestrians, vehicle traffic, stranger danger, and school buses. Sponsors often offer a take-home workbook curriculum as well.

4. Firehouse/Ambulance Station

Major Educational Themes: Fire Safety, Health (basic first aid), Science

How to Schedule: As with those listed above, be sure to use the non-emergency line when calling about a tour. Since firehouse tours can be popular with public schools, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and other organizations, unless you have a particularly large homeschooling group, be prepared for the possibility of having to share a tour. This tour should be free, but donations may be accepted or expected if your town relies on a volunteer fire department.

Bonus: Children may get the chance to try on a fireman’s suit and/or helmet. Take your camera.

5. Farm

Major Educational Themes: Science, Math & Economics/Industry, Local History

How to Schedule: Look up the phone number of a farm near you, and when you call, ask to speak to the owner or manager. You may have a better chance in the off-season, before harvest, when staff members may be more readily available to give a tour.

Bonus: Many farms will offer free or low-cost samples of their products. Farms that raise seasonal products, such as apples, strawberries, and pumpkins, may allow your children to pick their own produce to take home.

6. Play or Concert

Major Educational Themes: Music/Performing Arts, Literature

How to Schedule: To save money, keep your eye out for performances that are being held at churches, colleges, and toward the end of the traditional school year, at public high schools. If your community has a local theater for the performing arts, you may have the luxuries of more choices and more professional performances. Depending on which venue you opt for, there will be a varying fee.

Bonus: You may get a discount on tickets if you have enough homeschoolers in your group.

7. Hospital/Medical Center

Major Educational Theme:  Health, Science

How to Schedule: Call the main phone number of your local hospital(s) and ask to be directed to their public relations or similar department. Tours can vary in nature from an administrator walking your group through the main hallways explaining the mission of the hospital to a nurse educator explaining how germs are spread and offering health tips.  This tour should be free, though you may have to pay for parking.

Note:  For security reasons, the newborn nursery may be off limits, but be sure to ask! Seeing new life is exciting for children and parents of all ages.

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