Roadschooling is one of the very best things about deciding to hit the road fulltime with your family. After all, what could be better than taking an active role in your children’s education, giving them the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and diving into interesting topics as a family?
Of course, the most fun way to do this while traveling is through educational sightseeing. These roadschool field trips are the perfect way to use your unique situation as a traveling family to show your children the beauty of the world around them, and help them learn through hands-on experiences.
Wondering how you can make the most of your roadschool field trips? Honestly, just the fact that you’re taking such field trips is pretty awesome. However, there certainly are ways to sneak a little extra learning out of your attraction visits.
Read on to learn our top tips for doing so.
Choose the Right Attractions
Your work as a roadschool “teacher” begins with the planning process.
Now, we all know that learning can happen absolutely anywhere. However, picking attractions that are more likely to pique your child’s interest is sure to work in your favor. Additionally, choosing naturally educational options will make your job a whole lot easier.
Some great options include zoos, aquariums, museums of all kinds, and national parks. All of these have very intentional hands-on learning experiences built right in, while still being super fun and exciting places to visit.
On top of that, many of these types of tourist attractions can be seen for free or for very little using reciprocal memberships, and some—such as the Smithsonian Museums—don’t require any sort of pass. This means your school budget will spread further, and you’ll be able to get in even more awesome field trips!
To find the very best options in a particular area, begin by searching “attractions near me” or “museums near me”. This will pull up a variety of results you can sift through, using reviews to decide which will best suit your family.
A lot of travelers like to fly by the seat of their pants. That said, having some sort of plan at least a week or so ahead of time can be enormously helpful when it comes to making the most of your field trips.
Why? Because having a plan in place will allow you to prepare your homeschool students for the attraction in question.
Preparations for a field trip may include reading, projects, or a combination of both. For instance, if you’ll be visiting a zoo, you might have the kids read up on their favorite zoo animals. Meanwhile, those who will be visiting a living history museum might create a meal from the time period represented at the museum.
The goal is to get the kids excited about what they will be seeing and give them something to relate back to during their visit.
Chat It Up
When you arrive at your roadschool field trip destination, it can be tempting to let the kids wander on their own. However, everyone will get much more out of the experience if the family sticks together, discussing all they are seeing and sharing thoughts and ideas.
Encourage this ongoing conversation by asking the kids questions about their thoughts on things and pointing out links between what is seen in the attraction and what they’ve been learning at home through reading or doing projects.
You might even be able to link one attraction to the next. For instance, if you’ve visited a whole string of history museums, you might point out that a certain event happened just before or after another event you learned about on a previous sightseeing venture.
Another great way to encourage conversation is to talk with the staff. In most cases, the staff at parks, museums, and zoos is more than happy to share what they know about the place and the topics being presented. Chat them up and see what bits of knowledge they have to offer your family.
Get Them Involved
Your conversations are sure to help keep everyone engaged throughout your visit. That said, it doesn’t hurt to have a few other roadschool tricks up your sleeve, especially if your kids are very young or have short attention spans.
Some great ideas for keeping younger students engaged and learning during homeschool field trips include:
- Camera — Hand your kids cameras and allow them to photograph the experience from their own point of view. The photos are always interesting, and this encourages close examination.
- Scavenger Hunt — Create a list of things for the kids to find during your visit. Hand each child a list and a pen, and have them check items off as they go.
- Junior Ranger Books — If you’ll be visiting a national park, pick up Junior Ranger books at the beginning of your visit and have the kids complete them throughout the day. At the end of the day, show a ranger your finished books and receive Junior Ranger badges.
- Take Turns Reading — If your kids can read, have them take turns reading bits of information throughout the attraction. This can go hand in hand with your ongoing conversation, as the information read can lead to new questions and thoughts.
At the end of field trip day, be sure to check in with everyone. Ask about favorite parts and new things that were learned.
Most importantly, find out if any part of the attraction was especially interesting to any member of your family. If it was, take advantage of that interest by offering that student the opportunity to dive deeper. You might be surprised to learn that a simple field trip can open the door to an intensive roadschool study you otherwise never would have thought to offer your kids.
All that said, it is important to keep in mind that even if the majority of your field trips don’t result in deep dives, you will still be giving your kids amazing, memorable experiences that will help them grow into curious and adventurous adults with a love of learning and the ability to find new information and see beauty around every corner.
That is what homeschooling and roadschooling are truly about, and that is why roadschool field trips are an amazing thing.