Using homeschooling field trips for social studies can help ignite your child's passion for history and all things social studies. There are a myriad of ideas, many of which are free or low cost.
Ten Homeschooling Field Trips for Social Studies
Field trips really bring home and tie together what you're learning around the dining room table to the real world. Homeschoolers have unique opportunities because they are not limited the school's schedule. Before you go, consider what you are studying and think about what type of field trip would make the most sense for your current curriculum. Then, call your venue of choice and ask about what outreach programs it might offer to homeschooled students. Most not-for-profit agencies are happy to help homeschoolers with their field trip endeavors.
Tour Your Town's History
Whether you are from rural Tennessee or Orange County, California, your town is rich with historical information. Most have town historians, and for those that don't, there is often a historian that serves a larger region. Call and make an appointment with your town historian to find out about the history of the house you live in, important events that happened in your town, and other interested tidbits of information. Create a lapbook to display your findings.
Your Town's Heroes
National Fire Prevention week is in October and it is generally the time that publicly schooled kids get the opportunity to learn about "Stop, Drop and Roll," or how to get out of a house in case of a fire. Take the opportunity to visit your local fire department or police station to incorporate this important safety into your home curriculum.
Visit an Art Museum
Art has a way of speaking about a people's livelihood, vitality and culture. Visiting an art museum will tell you an awful lot about history. However, there are many types, especially in larger cities, that are dedicated to specific kinds of art. For example, you may find a Native American art museum or a Scandinavian folk art museum.
Visit a Living History Museum
A living history museum is one that is set up visualize a specific period of time. Generally, it is decked out in period props with costumed curators that explain what life would've been like at that time. A great example of a living history museum is Colonial Williamsburg. However, there are living history museums all over the United States that are much smaller in scale but equally as delightful.
Take a Historical Walking Tour
Most major cities offer historical walking tours through significant portions of the city. If the nearest city doesn't happen to offer anything, make up your own as you do research on your area.
Eat Ethnic Cuisine
Undoubtedly, you will study foreign countries during social studies. Give your students a literal taste of what the culture is like by visiting an ethnic restaurant.
Check Out a Local Powwow
Find a local powwow and have a unique experience for a day. There is nothing like learning about Native American history by actually being there.
Take the time to visit historical and cultural significant spots in your own neighborhood. This could be as something as small as a strawberry farm or as big as Time's Square. Do a little research before (or after) you go to help your students gain an appreciation for where you are living.
Incorporate both music appreciation and social studies. Like visual arts, you can glean and understand more about a culture when you listen to its music. Consider too that many cultural organizations do outreach programs for the community where their goal is to interact with the audience.
Check out what your local city is planning for Kwanzaa, Yom Kippur or even Boxing Day! The United States is incredibly ethnically diverse and there exist local ethnic communities in every major city. Check out a Cinco de Mayo celebration in May or Chinese New Year in February. Take part in the festivities and you will find that your student will retain far more.
After Your Homeschooling Field Trip for Social Studies
Once you come back from your field trip, make sure to help your child process through what she has seen, heard, and learned. Discuss the experience or have your child do a project. Include work from the field trip with your class work and help your child tie it all together.