I think I will leave San Francisco behind for the time being, and focus on something more topical: homeschooling. My siblings and I were homeschooled for most of our lives, and while it was vastly preferable to us most of the time, I know it did provide some challenges for my parents, particularly in the area of group trips. As our primary educators, my parents had the basics covered: my dad helped us with math and science, and my mom taught us how to write papers, and helped us with history and grammar. Extracurricular activities were a bit more challenging though; finding something that was educational and age appropriate for all of us was a bit more challenging. Here are some tips for homeschooling families in regard to field trips.
Something my mom learned relatively quickly was that homeschoolers can go anywhere regular schools can. We went on trips to museums, the St. Louis Science Center, and the Zoo, just like any other kid. An advantage to this was that we could go at times when school groups couldn’t, such as the afternoon, or early evening when things weren’t as crowded.
Another thing that became an important asset was collaborating with other homeschoolers. This was especially valuable at places where group discounts, or school discounts were in place. On our own, my family couldn’t get a group discount, but when we visited with two or three other families we usually qualified for the group rates. Group tours can usually be arranged as well, and I recall going on group tours to various places around the city. Another advantage to traveling in groups is that there are more chaperons on hand to make sure kids can visit age-appropriate displays. For example, I remember being annoyed when my family would go to a museum, and we had to visit the children’s area so my younger sisters could learn at their level. It was much more enjoyable to go with kids my own age, and explore things on a level I was interested in, and my mom didn’t have to worry about me getting into trouble because another parent was there to supervise.
A final tip is to enjoy the flexibility that homeschooling brings. The fluid nature of homeschooling allows for field trips to be taken at any convenient time. Even vacations can be fit in with relative ease. I remember one April my parents had the chance to go to Florida with another homeschooling family, and we all took our school work with us, and did our homework in the evenings, giving us the chance to visit museums and other areas of interest in the mornings. It was an opportunity that made my friends pretty envious and something that can definitely be used to your advantage.
Here are a few thoughts on field trips as a homeschooler. The most important takeaway: Don’t limit yourself. Being a homeschool family may mean more work and definitely takes a lot of thought and careful execution, but with a little creativity and research homeschoolers can have the same opportunities that other students are given.