Field trips and fun days are among the highlight of every traditional school child’s year. Field day, crazy sock day, assembly times and the one field trip of the year. These days bring energy and a change of pace. When I was teaching, even I looked forward to these real life moments and breaks in the routine.
Though field trips and fun days are often thought of as a very traditional school thing, why shouldn’t they also be a part of the school year for our homeschool children? If I’m completely transparent, I believe they should be a bigger part of a homeschool education than they are in traditional school situations.
Well, field trips and fun days – planned well – are more than breaks. They are learning opportunities. They are hands on opportunities. They are real life in action opportunities. There is little in our homeschool year that doesn’t have some sort of intentional purpose – field trips and fun days are no different. I take a look at what we will be learning and plan accordingly. Below you can find some of our favorite field trips and fun days so far this year as well as the corresponding reason for the trip or fun day because let’s face it, we can all use an example or two.
– Dozen Day: a study of all things dozen on the 12th day of school complete with donuts, eggs and cookies.
– Crazy Sock Day: a study of color and pattern for art class.
– Maple Sap Collecting: a conclusion on a unit about trees, how they grow and the ways they benefit humans.
– Antique Store: the beginning, schema activating event for a unit on comparing things from long ago to now.
I’m often asked if there is a reason that I do not chose to do field trips and fun days all on a specific day of the week – like field trip / fun day Friday. The answer is, yes. If you always do all your fun stuff on Fridays, you don’t get the same feel. You lose some of the spark, energy and change of routine. To be blunt, it becomes routine and expected instead of fun and exciting. I much prefer to take out my calendar and plan our days based on what we are learning or getting ready to learn.
Yes, I actually put our field trips and fun days on the calendar. There is something about scheduling a particular day that helps me actually follow through. That’s not to say that we don’t have a random, “Oh, it’s beautiful out. Let’s go to the nature center” type day because that totally happens but the majority of our field trips and fun days are planned to fit what we have been learning or are getting ready to learn. We use field trips to activate schema – what we know about a topic – and to cement what we have learned.
Calendaring out our field trips and fun days also keeps me from only doing them during the first month or two when everyone’s energy is at it highest. I do my best to make sure that we have something at least once a quarter and more often than not it is at least once every other month. Though from time to time we will have a couple of fun days or field trips in back to back weeks because of how our units fall out, we try to space them out and keep the fun going all through the year.
The final bonus to calendaring them out is the ability to invite friends and family to join you! We love spending time with people and seeing those that we may not get to see day to day or week to week and everyone loves field trips and fun days so why not invite them to join you? We’ve found by calendaring out our days, people can usually take the day off work to join us or can plan their schoolwork around that particular day.
We’d love to hear from you! How do you do field trips and fun days? What have been some of your favorites?
However, your family chooses to do fun days and field trips, remember to keep it smart and keep it simple.