Have you ever noticed that tourists sometimes know more about your area than you do? That’s because tourists seek out people and places of interest, and then spend a concentrated amount of time learning about them.
Tourism can be great for homeschooling, too. Whether you live in a large city or a small rural area, there are always neat things to learn about. Not only that, getting to know your region can make you and your children feel more connected, too. Plus, this kind of learning is often free, making it a great way to homeschool inexpensively in your own backyard.
I am fortunate to live in an area that is rich in nature and wildlife and steeped in history. That means that my children have grown up being able to observe and study all kinds of woodland animals, fish and marine mammals and learn just about anything they want about early Spanish settlers. We have even found primitive artifacts, including pottery shards, bones and old pieces of china, in the area that we live. Imagine all of the possibilities! As a homeschooling parent, I have tried to utilize these opportunities in our studies.
You can do the same thing.
Think about where you live. Do you have access to modern sky scrapers, Victorian-era houses, or beautiful architectural buildings? Are you within commuting distance of factories, farms or historical sites? Are there local museums, railroads, trolleys, brick or cobblestone roads, sites where movies have been filmed or famous artists or authors have lived? How about courthouses, battle sites, or places of very unusual distinction? These are all opportunities for discovery and learning.
How about learning how your area was settled? When was the land originally purchased? Who were the original settlers? Where were some of the first homes, farms, settlements — and are any of the ruins still standing to look at? Where were the first roads, churches and schools? Which famous explorers may have set foot in your backyard and when? How did the names of your town, city, streets and county derive? Are there graveyards or other remnants of earlier peoples and are these open to the public? How did the past help to shape your area in the present? Imagine earlier life and try to spot ways that it influenced the future of where you now live.
Consider a STAY-cation in your own home this summer and focus on learning like a tourist. You won’t believe the learning that can take place. Plus, the next time you receive out-of-town guests, you’ll be able to share all of the local points of interest with knowledge and authority, rather than feeling like a stranger in your own hometown!