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Planning educational field trips for homeschoolers

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Planning educational field trips for homeschoolers

Rare, anymore, is the homeschool family who spends their days huddled over the dining room table. Modern homeschoolers don’t need to hide from society from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each weekday. Many communities embrace home-based education with homeschool support groups and other resources for families who homeschool.

It’s totally plausible to simply call the local factory, museum, veterinarian’s office or television station to schedule a personal tour for one’s own homeschooled family. A lot of moms are wary of making the phone call and might not even think of scheduling a field trip for their own family. Attending a field trip with other families, however, is another story.

Calling to Plan a Field Trip

The first question to ask when calling to schedule a field trip is “do you do group tours?” Once they answer in the affirmative, it’s important to explain that the reservation is for homeschooled children. School groups travel by grade level and many places won’t know what to do with mixed age groups. It helps if you break the ice by saying “The children in our group range in age from newborn to high school. What age group is your tour most suitable for?”

Similarly, school field trip planners know that one classroom will likely mean 20-30 people on a field trip. So when the person on the other end asks “How many people?” it’s not a trick question. it may be one you’re unprepared to answer, though. A homeschool support group with 20 families can mean anywhere from 60-100 or more members. The odds of them all showing up to the same field trip, however, are slim to none. The best advice for this conversation is, again, to answer the question with a question, saying “You’d be surprised how many people we can drum up. How many people would you recommend, in order for us to get the best experience?” Often, smaller groups of 10-15 people will get a better tour than a large group.

Planning Homeschool Field Trip Details

Announcing the field trip to your group is the next step. Whether you’re using Facebook to communicate, or an old-fashioned snail mail newsletter, you’ll need to make sure the information is in print, somewhere. Imagine having a phone conversation with every interested party. State very clearly that RSVP’s are mandatory and start a “waiting list”once you’ve reached your desired level of attendance.

A few days before the field trip, call the facility to confirm the reservation. A day or so before the field trip call each family that RSVP’s to make sure they don’t forget. Be sure they’re aware of the waiting list and give them the chance to back out, rather than simply not showing up.

On the Day of the Field Trip

Ask attendees to arrive a few minutes early, so everyone can walk in together. Bring a few thank-you cards for your host(s) and have everyone in attendance sign the thank-you cards. Collect all necessary fees and pay as a group, if it helps the facility. Some homeschool support groups have funds set aside for field trips, from homeschool fundraisers and donations.

After the Field Trip

A picnic lunch in the park, if weather permits, is often a nice way to help the children get the most out of a field trip. Having the opportunity to discuss the things they saw and heard with other children and families can help enhance the learning experience. A fast-food restaurant with an indoor play place is an alternative option, in inclement weather.

Share with your group a mini “review” of the tour, emphasizing your favorite and least favorite aspects. If there’s enough people on the waiting list, consider asking one of them to schedule a second field trip so the rest of the families can participate.
Homeschool field trips are a great way to explore the businesses and institutions that communities depend upon. Visiting with other homeschoolers helps create memories, fun photo opportunities and contributes to a community’s general acceptance of home education. Planning homeschool field trips is a task that benefits many children, providing opportunities to socialize and explore the world around.

Choosing the Best Education

Choosing the right schooling method for your child is a big decision. Whether you are looking into schooling options for your preschooler, are dissatisfied with the current educational system that your child is enrolled in and want to make a switch, or just want to know what else is out there, it is good to know that Christian parents have some options to consider. This article will take a look at a few of those options, weigh some pros and cons to each method, and hopefully help you better decide which option is right for your family.

Public Schools

Pros:

  • Teachers are well-educated in their expertise
  • Transportation is provided for you
  • Materials are provided by tax dollars
  • Offers a good range of extracurricular activities

Cons:

  • You may not be as involved in your child’s education as you would like to be
  • Early morning hours might not suit your family situation
  • For the most part, children are treated equally, so there may not be enough challenge or too much challenge for the over or under achiever
  • School violence is worrisome
  • The student to teacher ratio is quite high

Private Schools

Pros:

  • You can pick the school that your child attends based on your criteria
  • The student to teacher ratio is usually less than that of a public school
  • You may have a say in what teacher you would like your child to have
  • May offer some extracurricular activities
  • Do not tolerate violence

Cons:

  • Private schools can be limited by demographics such as distance, religious bias, or curriculum taught
  • Parents provide the transportation in most cases
  • Can be an expensive way to educate your child
  • Early morning hours might not suit your family situation

Charter Schools

Pros:

  • Provide more flexibility than public schools in what is taught
  • Children are placed by their level of skill and not necessarily by age
  • Often started by teachers and offers heavy parent involvement
  • The student to teacher ratio is less than that of public schools
  • Do not tolerate violence

Cons:

  • Must pay for their own facilities through fundraising and donations
  • Early morning hours might not suit your family situation
  • Parents provide the transportation

Homeschool

Pros:

  • You have total control over what your child is learning
  • Scheduling school hours can fit into a routine right for your family
  • You can teach in a way that your child is better suited to learn (visual/hands-on)
  • The student to teacher ratio is much lower than public and private school
  • No transportation worries involved
  • The cost of homeschooling can fit into your budget
  • Most areas have support groups that work together for field trips and co-op learning
  • Homeschooled students tend to score higher on standardized tests than most public school students

Cons:

  • If not careful, you can overspend on materials that are not needed
  • There are not as many extracurricular activities provided for you, so you will have to spend money for extracurricular lessons/activities
  • Parents may not be as well-educated in certain areas, but likely can find help
  • Requires motivation to teach school regularly and not fall behind
  • The type of education you choose for your child is a very personal decision that affects your entire family. No group of people are going to agree on the best educational system out there, and it is good to be informed of your options to make your decision. This article is just an overview, of course, and not intended to sway anyone one way or another.

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