Most lesson plans focus on learning from textbooks, enjoying a creative project, and ending with some type of exam or culminating activity to show what was learned. Educational trips for kids provide an additional dimension to learning. The lesson plans below incorporate virtual field trips, museums, and web-based activities that allow you to incorporate virtual educational trips into your everyday learning. They can also serve as a starting point for creating family vacation trip itineraries.
Homeschool Lesson Plans That Double As Resources For Educational Trips For Kids
The Let’s Study series of lesson plans are a perfect way to fuel curiosity and create adventure in your homeschool. In some places, you can even find it called ‘edventure’! Each lesson plan includes exciting museums and provides opportunities to learn and explore the world virtually and in person. If you are eager to plan an educational trip, then the Let’s Study World Geography will help your family learn before you go and provide exciting resources and even projects (for class credit) to help create a travel itinerary you could actually implement if desired.
For literature studies, the Let’s Study Great Authors lesson plans are perfect companion resources to learn about an author and historical time period. These unit studies bring historical context creating an understanding of the author, the literature, and the historical time period using the creative idea of creating a dinner party where the guests are other famous people that lived during the time the author was alive.
Let’s Study Great Scientists is a series of unit studies with videos, experiments, and historical information that will make the lives and accomplishments of these famous scientists so exciting you will want to visit their museums, homes, and labs in person.
Finally, Let’s Study the 50 USA States is a series that incorporates lessons that fulfill your state’s requirements for social studies. It provides an excellent list of additional resources for literature, geography, and history. If that’s not enough, it also includes resources to help you plan an educational trip within the state. It is perfect for learning about the state you live in or one you plan on visiting.
All of these resources are perfect for standalone studies for your homeschool or you can use them to create your personal travel itinerary for day trips, road trips, or extended education trips for your entire family.
Why Educational Trips Are Important
The first place I want to start with is looking at the why of learning on location. Why would you want to plan education trips that support your homeschool curriculum? While it’s a good opportunity for older children to have a great time exploring away from their normal activities of daily life, many homeschool families would agree that it’s hard enough to plan the curriculum each year for each child in your family but then to take it to the next year of going hands-on and in some cases outside your home, it might be completely overwhelming for some people.
Every season of the year provides a great opportunity to explore new places and those you’ve visited previously. Educational trips for kids can be as simple as observing how things change through the year on a nature walk around the same wildlife center or an interactive tour of the latest scientific advances that visit a museum near you on its worldwide tour. Homeschool Planet lesson plans will help you streamline the whole process, I’ll explain in more detail further in the post.
Coordinate Learning with Educational Trips for Kids
For some homeschool families, coordinating their learning with exciting educational opportunities is really very freeing. Whether it’s climate change, U.S. History, or a visit to the local bakery, educational tours are a wonderful way to incorporate education trips for kids and bring learning to life.
When we look at the various academic subjects that we incorporate into our homeschool we can see that there is exceptional value in field trips (even virtual field trips) and other experiences as opportunities to learn. When we add educational trips for kids it supports your homeschool curriculum by ‘supersizing’ the impact of learning for young children, school groups, and the whole family.
For example, when we think about 17th century scientists, we begin to see how looking at culture firsthand by visiting a historical location or museum artifacts and exhibits we see the progression of contribution to a specific field of study over time have laid the foundation for where we are today. Add in a space camp and your kids will remember everything because of the exciting experience of the camp.
How Educational Trips Can Support Your Homeschool Curriculum
Educational trips can support the education programs and goals of your homeschool curriculum in so many ways! Providing hands-on, away from the textbook and kitchen table experiences that both inspire and solidify earning for kids of all ages.
Educational trips allow for interactions that build layers of understanding that go deeper and progress further than many textbooks make room for. The impact of solidifying learning you are making by making connections beyond the textbook, workbook, or TV screen. Educational trips to a popular place, are a perfect family trip allowing kids to remember with their senses. These additional connections with educational activities are important ways to help deepen understanding.
Get Passionate About The Why!
Take the road trip. Visit the aquarium or water park. Go on nature walks. Experience the subject you are studying up close with your hands, minds, and all your senses. It is so important because it creates a broader worldview and a greater understanding of the world around us both near and far.
Take a look at what happens when:
- Kids visit historical locations:
- Literally, step into history
- Make memories and form connections about subjects they are interested in.
- A better understanding of the challenges of everyday life in that era or region
- Often have a ‘Wow!’ moment of ‘I’m actually standing where…!’
- Kids experience great works in the creator’s hometown
- The subject matter becomes far more impactful for many reasons that are so difficult to explain….the’Wow’ moments can be exponential.
- Experience how their life impacted their work
- Get to explore lesser know facts about the creator of the work
- Experience (even in a small way) what it is like to live in the area.
- Kids experience a location for the reason it’s famous
- History becomes reality
- Stories come alive
- The subject matter makes more sense (especially for the sciences) because of hands-on opportunities.
- More ‘Wow! More fascination and respect for the people, places, and things that made the location famous.
- Kids engage with a culture firsthand
- Gain a broader worldview
- Improve their ability to analyze events and situations (especially in history & literature)
- Understand progressive contributions over time
- Appreciate a beauty different than their own
How To Turn Any Homeschool Curriculum Into A Family Travel Adventure
Do you already have one of the Ready Made School faith-focused or secular/neutral lesson plan packages or you are enjoying stand-alone lesson plans and curriculum? Then you will want to ensure that you have the Make It The Best Day Ever Field Trip Planner for your local educational field trips and the “How to Turn Any Homeschool Curriculum into a Family Travel Adventure” video course with worksheets. These two resources provide everything you will need to turn your lesson plans into exciting educational trips for your family.
Incorporate Educational Trips Into Your Homeschool Curriculum
Let’s look at how to take a homeschool curriculum and turn it into a family travel adventure. The first step, once you have decided on your curriculum, is to get a feel for what era or region you are studying. Often your history and literature lesson plans will guide you in the right direction. Math and Sciences can be a bit more tricky but, rest assured, there is a science museum you can access in person or virtually that will provide exactly what you need to get the most out of your curriculum with educational trips for kids that are science-based. And, where ever there is science, there is always math, logic, and problem-solving involved, so you are covered!
Once you have the era or region selected, search for historical, and art museums that will expand on the ideas being studied and create excellent opportunities for your kids to take their learning to the next level.
Also, pay close attention to the subjects that inspire curiosity or that come naturally to your kids. These typically come in the form of a gazillion questions. Look for these cues to help plan your trip itinerary to ensure it’s not boring. The “This OR That Family Travel & Learning Style” game really helps with this too,… and it’s fun!
Tips For Planning Educational Trips
Whether you are just going on a day trip outing or packing your bags for an international trip of a lifetime, here are a few tips that will help you have a great time.
Ensure you know your desired entrance time is available to you. Prebook if needed or required. Call ahead to find out if there are any discounts for your group or family. Depending on your educational trip, there may be the following types of discounts:
- Kids go free with an adult
- Student rate (for students 18-26, especially in Europe, but be sure you bring proper ID)
- Homeschool/group discount
- Club or membership discounts (i.e. AAA, Historical society member, etc.)
Ask if there are lockers to store your coats and backpacks whilst at the facility.
Make a plan for meals and snacks. Decide in advance if you will eat on site or if you will leave and then return after eating. Ensure your admission price allows re-entry. For large groups, you may be able to reserve a lunch room for an additional extra fee.
There can be a lot to consider, especially if you are coordinating a group. The Make it the Best Day Ever Field Trip Planning Guide is the perfect resource to help you have an enjoyable educational trip with your family or learning community.
Check the website for learning resources and activity packs to use before, during, and after the event. While some are geared toward traditional school groups, these can be easily adapted to fit your needs. There are also an increasing number of family activities and virtual activities that are fun for everyone involved.
Free Field trips are always a big hit. Nature walks, free museums, and other important sites are perfect places to use scavenger hunts or create your own interactive experience with a list of prompts about a related topic to generate discussion.
Lastly, plan a time to ‘debrief’. Ask questions, have a discussion, be creative and use any post-visit activities to help solidify learning. Talking about travel experiences and your family vacation will knit historical sites into your family’s real life activities and produce a rich learning environment and strong family memories.
This article is written by Shannan Swindler of Captivating Compass.
FREE Field Trip Destination Guide for Homeschool Kids
Have you enjoyed all of these wonderful tips from Shannan Swindler of Captivating Compass and would love an easy to reference guide prompting you where to go for your educational trips both in the United States and abroad? You are going to love this printable guide giving you tips on where to go, what to do, and so much more!
Download your FREE Field Trip Destination Guide for Homeschool Kids by entering your information in the form below:
Meet Shannan Swindler of Captivating Compass
Shannan shares her passion for helping others use the world as their classroom at Captivating Compass. Her home base is in Scotland, where he home educates and learns on location throughout Europe as much as possible. She creates digital curricula that promote a broad worldview through creative learning and family travel experiences (in person & virtually).