Homeschooling Field Trips
My mother was not a fan of my homeschooling my children for many years but loved going on our field trips. When I finished the first draft of this site she said but you forgot to tell about the field trips we went on, so here's for you mom!
Field trips were a staple of our support group for many years. Here are some of the places we visited. Although some are regional to our location in Southern Jersey you may find similar places in many States, or come visit.
Museums - Lots of them. Many offer great classes for "school" groups, the Philadelphia Museum of Art had the best in our area. Many museums offer lecture series, special classes and teacher training both for the public and for educators. Find the right person / department to get on their email list for all the events and then you can share them with other homeschoolers you know.
NOTE: Often sites have trouble figuring out what to do for a multi-aged group and try to offer programs that are geared toward the younger students. Remind the site that parents will be with the group and that the students will often benefit more from a program for older children or divide your group in two to better serve the interests of all.
Howell Living History Farm - a place we returned to many times for the hands on activities for the kids. They got to witness sheep shearing, maple syrup being made and other demonstrations but along with each they got to do things like card the wool, make pancakes, saw wood with a two man saw and more.
Pizza Shops, Candy Shops that make their own, Supermarkets, Firehouses, Post Offices and the local Postal Processing Facility, Zoos, Botanical Gardens
Wetlands Institute - Does great one day programs and multi-day classes in environmental science. www.wetlandsinstitute.org/
We found many of our trip ideas at this site for the North Eastern USA http://www.fieldtrip.com/ and a new site has Homeschooler's Guides to Family Trips and Vacations you can print free from their site.
We also did a camping trip to Williamsburg with a group of other homeschoolers during Homeschool week. Because we stayed outside of Colonel Williamsburg we also visited several other historic sites in the area, which others didn't and got great receptions and extra special tours.
Another time our kids were studying Louisiana for The Jason Project (a multi disciplinary curriculum for science and more) at our local homeschool coop, a number of the families visited New Orleans and other sites in the area and turned it into family vacations
I got a note from a former homeschool mom who runs tour groups in Philadelphia and loves to do special tours for homeschoolers: Philadelphia's Old Original Walking Tours (www.poowt.com) now offers tours specifically designed to help children get better acquainted with the history of Philly and of America. We tell behind the scenes tales of our founding fathers (and mothers) so kids can see them as real people who actually lived and breathed, had hopes and dreams and who even did silly things just like everyone else does. The 90 minute tours are always fun and always informative. (We guarantee money back if you don't learn something new by the end of each tour.)
Of course when you are homeschooling lots of family vacations become field trips but also it is so much easier to travel as you can go on off times and beat the crowds and increased prices.