Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Importance of Field Trips in Homeschooling

Public school kids have field trips, so homeschooled kids should have them too! Field trips are a fun way to get out of the classroom, or out of the house in this case, and experience a bit of the real world. Even things that don’t seem terribly educational on the surface serve a role in teaching kids about the world. The end of the year picnic for your homeschool group is just as appropriate a field trip as a trip to the zoo, because it gives homeschooled kids a chance to engage their peers in social situations and have some fun.

Ideally, a field trip isn’t just a break from the daily grind of schoolwork, but it gives kids a chance to learn even more from real-life experiences. Trips to an art museum, for example, don’t just teach about art. Kids also learn what a museum looks like and feels like, and they learn about the expected behavior in art museums, like not touching the artwork! Some museums don’t allow photography of their art or exhibits, and it’s important to explain these things to children. These are lessons that could never be learned just from a book.

Field trips are also helpful to add depth to subjects covered in school. Learning about steam locomotives is great in the classroom, but seeing one in person at the local museum is even better. Learning about the behavior of bees in colonies is interesting from a book, but enthralling to kids who are learning the art of beekeeping from a real bee keeper. Field trips like this help to round out the incomplete parts of homeschool lessons, so get the kids out of the house and let them benefit from the great learning opportunities available with field trips.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Elementary Homeschool Sports

If you’re a homeschooling parent of elementary aged children, letting them play in the backyard or with their friends in the neighborhood, left to their own imaginations, is probably enough exercise for them. As long as you’re minimizing how much TV they watch, and “screen time” in general, there’s very little else that can keep kids sedentary. They’ll be up and moving without another thought because they won’t be able to stop themselves!

If you’re looking for a more formal physical education program, you can sometimes find homeschool gym classes in your community. They usually meet for an hour or two per week, and often involve group sports like soccer or basketball, and games such as kickball, flag football, and tag. The kids can also benefit from the use of the facility where the classes are held, like running on an indoor track, playing on the soccer field, or using a climbing wall, for example. Check with your community rec center or YMCA for these homeschool gym classes.

Another option for getting your child some exposure to organized sports would include things like Little League baseball, or Pee Wee football leagues. Many towns have softball teams for kids, or cheerleading, or any number of other options. Just because they’re homeschooled doesn’t mean they need to miss out on sports and fun!