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Homeschool Fun With Field Trips
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Homeschooling offers may flexible opportunities for learning in a variety of contexts and venues.  Field trips are one of those types of opportunities.  Benefits that accrue from them are that they add variety to your homeschool game plan, they can be very low or no cost options, and they can be really fun.  One of the most surprising things that my family discovered about field trips was that there were so many very educational possibilities within a relatively short distance from our house.  This post will cover some possibilities of “local flavor” that might be in and around your neighborhood.

To generate some ideas for finding local attractions that will be grist for the field trip mill, start by considering where you live and asking what is your area famous for?   You might be surprised at how many interesting places, buildings, businesses, and events are nearby.  Where do you actually start?  A few local places to begin your search for ideas are: your library, chamber of commerce, historical society, town hall, your state capital, office of tourism, and local businesses.  Keep in mind that large factories will often sponsor tours and attractions that can have educational and entertainment value. 

The Internet has provided a whole new way to have no-cost field trips: Virtual Tours.    Virtual tours use multi-media technology, fly-throughs and virtual reality to provide a rich educational experience.  These virtual tours offer many fun ways to experience interesting places such as museums, castles, famous buildings, and other architectural structures.  You can visit some of the world’s famous castles, see big-game wild life from Africa and other natural environments around the globe.  You can even do a virtual fly-by over the Great Wall of China.

In the state of Maine some of the major attractions are ship and boat building, and fishing, including lobster trapping.  Some of the interesting places are Maine’s islands: there are about 3,000 of them along its 3,478 miles of shoreline.  Some of the smaller islands are uninhabited and have only lighthouses on them.  In the mid-coast of Maine and once a year there is a lobster festival in Rockland, that draws crowds from all over. Lighthourse are another feature of Maine along its coastline.  In the mid-coast area, there is a lighthouse at the U.S. Coast Guard facility, adjacent to the State Park in Owl’s Head.  There are about 60 lighthouses along Maine's coast.  A famous one that often appears in photographs is the Cape Neddick Nubble lighthouse in York.

When the weather is warm, you can combine a field trip with a picnic or a bicycle tour.  A favorite Maine picnic spot is Arcadia National Park, located in Mt. Desert Island.  It happens to be the only national park in New England.  It has mountains, lakes, trails, forests, islands, and many miles of shoreline.  You can take along your homeschool logs and journals and jot down notes from your field trip adventures so that you can use them afterward to write field trip reports.

Pairing field trips with report writing and homeschool log updating provides a more rich and varied homeschooling experience.  Field trips can also offer homeschooled kids an opportunity to interact with other kids, so they can provide socialization benefits as well as educational ones.  Even outings that you might do purely for entertainment such as taking in a movie, visiting a mall, watching a sporting event, or going to a restaurant can have academic value as a field trip when the goal is to focus on its educational value.

Field trips can offer a tremendous bang for your educational buck.  With a little planning you can create homeschool value from field trips close to, or even actually within, your home.  Places as near as your immediate neighborhood, or local areas that are a short distance from home can offer many educational possibilities.  Costs for these activates can rage from free to very small expenditures.  And the things you can learn can be fulfilling and form the basis of memories that can last a lifetime.  We’re all about lifetime learning at Academic Boot Camp Tips, where you can learn more and also participate in our community’s adventures in learning.


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