Making the Best of Local Interests for Homeschool Field Trips

by Tammy Smith
(New Bern, NC)

My children LOVE field trips! But, so do I... They are just the thing we need to take a break, and still do something "educational!"

For my family, we have two kinds of field trips, the ones we take time to plan out or go with a group of homeschoolers, then there are the everyday ones from errands to getting away from it all for a couple hours...

Here are a few of our favorite things to do, maybe it will encourage and/ or inspire someone else:

1) We live near a large river that runs into the ocean, so on days when things are at a stand still and nothing is going right, or we are climbing the walls, we will pack a lunch and head down to the little park a couple miles from the house with field guides in hand and observe nature and try to classify what we see.. because of where the park is located, salt & fresh water mingle, so that blesses us with being able to see all kinds of animals, from dolphins and skates, to ducks and deer... it is our favorite local place to go, and it is isolated for the most part in which we find a blessing!

Sometimes we fish, or other times just explore, or yet other times take lots of pictures, but always come back feeling refreshed and have learned something...

2) We live in a historical area, so we like taking "tours" of our area and learning the history and how this area played an important part in state and national history! Currently, we are working on a "live tour" to share with our loved ones back west, and the research is currently sooo much fun they do not realize they are learning local, state and national history, and the children find it amazing all the things they have learned...

3) We are blessed to live near the ocean, so year round we head down there not only to view nature and learn about the ocean and the life living in and around there, but also to do fun activities such as shell collecting, playing in the sand & designing different projects, observing nature and how they respond and interact, and in the warm months, of course, we swim... =)

4) There is a phosphate plant not far from our house, so we go down there a couple times a year and the children go fossil digging! What a great thing to do! It is free and costs nothing, not even touring the museum! They have discovered many fossils, shark's teeth, and the like that they get to keep and bring home. We also enjoy going through the museum the plant runs year round.

There are soooo many more things to do, we just make it an adventure and keep our eyes open for opportunities! We live on a shoe string budget, so we try to plan things that will not cost a lot of money. For the big trips, we save and plan, which builds anticipation for the event.

My Comments: Wow! Thanks for sharing all that. Those of us that don't live by the ocean are probably jealous. But the truth is that each of us have something unique in our area that we can use and observe like you observe your ocean area. We just need to keep our eyes open and be creative like you suggest.

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