photo credit-© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime Stock Photos
This year in our homeschool we are doing something new. Every month we meet with a couple other homeschool families from our church and go on a field trip together. It is a great way for our children to build friendships and to have some fun. Combined we have 14 children, so keeping our outings free or at least very frugal has been important. I’m going to share some ideas for some of the outings we have done so far or have thought about doing in the future, with the hopes that you can use some of these ideas for your family or co-op, or at least get some ideas for what would work for you.
- Back to School Picnic at the Park- This was the first activity we did this year. When school started we all met at a local park for a picnic. Everyone brought their own sandwiches, and then we brought snacks to share with everyone, pot-luck style. One of the mom’s planned some PE-style activities, and then after we ate everyone played on the playground. Us mom’s used the free play time to plan out some events for the future and to iron out the details of our emerging co-op.
- Tour at the local Fire Station – Not only was this free, it was educational! Our children learned fire safety, got to see all the inner workings of the fire house, saw a fireman slide down the pole, watched a fire fighter get dressed all up in her fire gear (over her clothes, of course), learned about all the equipment on the fire engine, and even got to go inside the engine! My son still talks about this field trip. Most fire stations would be happy to give you a tour, just call and check their availability. The local police station might be open to giving tours to homeschoolers also, it’s worth a call!
- Seasonal Outdoor Activities - This month we went to a pumpkin patch. Many pumpkin patches can be on the expensive side, but some can be very frugal. The mom in charge of this month’s event called all the pumpkin patches in our area and found one where EVERYTHING was free except the pumpkins! There was a hay-stack maze which was perfect size for the little ones, a bigger corn maze that we all went through together and then let the older ones run through again, and a hay ride on a big tractor. All free! And since we all had already gotten our pumpkins from other places, we were able to spend a fun morning at the pumpkin patch for just the cost of our picnic lunches. Other seasonal activities to look into would be going to an orchard and picking apples. We are looking forward to going to a local Christmas Tree farm in December that has complimentary popcorn and hot cider around a campfire as well as sleigh rides from Santa and a life-size, walk-in Nativity set up in a tent. And in the Spring, a kite-day is a fun outing where you can include contests for highest flying kite and physical activities like foot-races, plus you could include a book reading on wind currents to make it educational as well.
- Local Candy Factory - Next month we are taking a free tour at the Jelly Belly Factory. Call around to see if there are any candy factories within driving distance, and if they give tours. Bonus-you’ll probably get samples!
- Bakery Tour - My husband works at a grocery store, and they are happy to give behind-the-scenes tours to school groups. The children can see the inner workings of the bakery, meat-deli, and more. There are also plenty of family-run bakeries in town that would probably be willing to have a school group come in and learn about their business. All it takes is a phone call to find out!
- Historical Buildings - We are lucky to live in an older town, so there are plenty of historical buildings to choose from. There is a house here that is still completely fashioned on the inside and outside with the original decor from the 1800’s, including clothes line and washing area in the backyard, and the bedrooms are all decked out in the latest fashions from that era. There is also a 1 room school house in town that enjoys hosting field trips and leading the kids in a lesson and outdoor activities from way back in the day. Even if your town isn’t quite as historically oriented, check around. There may be some hidden gem somewhere just waiting to be found out! Museums are also likely to give discounts to big school groups if you call and talk to them.
- In-Home “Parties”- Last year before we got our co-op going, we had one party together and the children had a blast! It was a Valentine’s Day party. All the children decorated shoe or cereal boxes and then passed out Valentine Cards to each other. We had a heart shaped cake, a heart shaped pizza, and red jello and red strawberries. I totally took a page out of my public school education for this one, because I remembered how much I loved these parties as a kid. You could also have a Christmas party where the children decorate a tree and/or have a small gift exchange.
- Visit Local Landmarks - Do you live near an ocean? The mountains? Good hiking terrain? Use the land that God blessed us with to explore. Children LOVE most anything that has to do with the outdoors and a change of scenery every once in a while can be both refreshing and educational!
I hope these field-trips have given you some ideas that you can use in your own homeschool or with your co-op. Can you add any others to the list?
linked up at Family Fun Fridays, I Choose Joy, Whole Hearted Home, Messy Marriage, Time Warp Wife, Teaching What Is Good and Rich Faith Rising