When was the last time your children were excited about something they’d learned? Was it after reading a book? Hearing a lecture? Seeing something on television?
Could it also have been after visiting a place of interest and seeing something first-hand?
When teaching our children, it is important to notice — and remember – times when our kids are really engaged and deeply learning. By adding more of these opportunities into our homeschool days, we can insure that quality learning occurs in many different ways — not just from a curriculum or a book.
Did you know that many children actually learn much more when on a field trip or participating in some “live” activity? For some kids, just the act of experiencing something themselves creates a richer environment and sparks greater interest than just hearing or reading that lesson alone. Parents sometimes call this, “hands on” learning. I like to think of field trips as ways for learners to “step into” experiences, instead of watching them from the outside.
The flexibility of homeschooling makes it possible to plan field trips all year long. These live experiences may be scheduled randomly throughout the year or added as a regular part of every homeschool week (i.e., “Field Trip Friday”). Any number of experiences add another dimension of fun and learning. Field trips don’t have to be far away or expensive, either (read THIS).
One of the best field trips our family has ever taken was at the former homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe (neighbors — who knew?). I could spend hours writing about these tours and accompanying museum displays — it was some of the finest learning we have ever experienced, sparking months and months of reading, research and studies after the fact (there are still several titles on our reading lists to this day).
If you’re homeschooling, consider adding more field trips and live experiences into your homeschool repertoire. These days are often unforgettable.
My kids and I often think back on this scene, that of Mark Twain’s solarium in his Hartford, CT home:
We imagine all of the dreaming and inspiration that occurred while he and his family shared books and conversation on the divan nearby. It was a day that impacted each of us so much, and I know my children will never forget.
Don’t you love to be able to say that about things your kids are learning?
Is it time for another field trip?
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I talk about how to discover ways your child learns best in my book, Suddenly Homeschooling. Feel free to grab a copy if you’d like advice about recognizing patterns of learning and incorporating more of those into your daily homeschooling.
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.