Later this week we're headed to a local amusement park for a day of exploring physics. We'll find out how the rides work, and also have a great time experiencing them. That's right, a field trip which combines fun with learning. It happens all the time. Instead of packing a bunch of kids the same age onto a bus with one or two adults who end up trying to keep them calm and all accounted for, we head off as a family, sometimes with other homeschoolers, to enjoy learning about some aspect of the world. These field trips can be formal events or informal jaunts that turn into learning adventures.
In fact, when you homeschool, a trip to the credit union or chiropractor can be a field trip in itself. It would seem that this would be more true for the younger kids, who are still learning about the basic setup of their world. But with older kids, the things we encounter as we move through life can spark wide-ranging conversations. These discussions lead to more learning, as we research new topics and share our opinions on current events.
What kind of field trips do we enjoy? Over the past few months (within the traditional "school year"), we've explored archaeology at a local university, talked with a web designer about the process of setting up a new website, seen several plays (and in one case, gone backstage to find out about the special effects), learned about the benefits of raw foods, voted in the fall election, volunteered at a community art fair, visited the planetarium, gone hiking, picked out our CSA veggies at a local farm, shopped for supplies for art projects at various craft stores, gone skiing and sledding, learned about investing, taken many nature walks, and more.
Even though it's called "homeschooling," there's no need to limit our learning to the things we do at home. The whole world is our classroom, and we have the time to enjoy it whenever we like. As the kids get older, I'm sure the list will grow. We'll add internships, jobs, more volunteering, visiting colleges, and who knows what else. I'll just have to wait and see where our interests take us...