Homeschool – Fitting in field trips

Field Trip Digital Scrapbook page Not So SAHM

One of my desires in homeschooling, and passions in life, is to get out and see the world. Homeschooling gives you so many freedoms, so why stay cooped up inside the house with noses buried in books? I actually don’t know many homeschoolers that do that, but I always feel like I’m not doing enough to vary our girls’ educational experiences.

For years I’ve attempted to fit field trips into the school year, but it always seems that they either don’t get planned or they get pushed off until next week, which becomes the next week, which becomes never. Sigh. In previous years I’ve been scheduling them on FRIDAYS. Why? Because that’s the end of the week. A field trip on Friday would be a great ending and a good reward for working so hard Monday through Thursday. Something fun to look forward to. But then they were almost always pushed to the wayside. Or I couldn’t think of where to go.

I realized two of my problems:

1) Not planning the field trips in advance
2) Making Fridays our trip days.

  1. It’s hard to get anything done if you don’t plan. Desiring to take field trips is one thing. Just like a visit to the dentist, or getting family pics made, if you don’t plan it *and get it on the calendar* it’s not going to happen. So before this school year started, I looked through what we’d be learning for the first five or six weeks and did some research as to what trips around this area would fit in. I preplanned and then wrote them in on the calendar. I’ll actually be planning the next five or six field trips this coming week. First step.
  2. This is the ingenious step, IMHO. I gave up the idea of trying to schedule field trips at the end of the week and have now switched them to Mondays. Instead of being the last thing we do, it’s what opens up our week. We’ve been schooling for four weeks now using Monday as our field trip day and it is working out really well. We have a shortened school schedule that day and leave the house around lunchtime. Sometimes we take a picnic and eat out, and sometimes we eat before going. It has been a fun way to start off the school weeks! And we look forward to Mondays now instead of grumbling.

The one downside I’ve noticed to having a shortened school day on Monday is that Tuesday seems to be pretty long. Two out of the four Tuesdays have ended with me wishing the yellow school bus stopped at our house. Right now I’m attributing that to growing pains and us having to learn our new schedule. I am also toying with the idea of lessening the Tuesday schedule somehow — rearranging our history, most likely, so we’re not spending around 2 hours on that. I haven’t figured out how to rearrange it though. But that, to me, is an issue with our history program, not necessarily the field trips.

So, there you have it. If you’ve been struggling to fit field trips into your weekly schedule and haven’t given the above tips a try, work on it and see what happens. If you are a pro at this and have tips for me that I should implement, I’d love to hear them! One of the great things about homeschooling is the freedom to be flexible – to incorporate or scrap what does or doesn’t work any time you need.

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