Field trips can be a rich source for actual education; I mean REAL learning. My family visited a military history museum in Broken Arrow recently, and the guys who work there are all military veterans who want to tell you about the wars they were in and their personal experiences. It was enlightening! There’s no better inspiration for opening up a history book than listening to a riveting first-hand account.
Whether you are just taking your family or you want to join up with friends, you can plan field trips in your area. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way.
The first steps to planning a field trip:
- Choose a few future dates (at least one month out, if possible).
- Call or email the establishment for the information below.
- If you are planning the trip, you should communicate that you are the Field Trip Coordinator. You are in charge of the trip and will be the contact person for the site and the attendees.
- Make a reservation at this time, if necessary.
Some suggestions: Whether or not there is a maximum required for attendance, we suggest limiting the number of families or people in attendance because large groups are hard to wrangle. We also suggest having some sort of dress code in place.
Things to ask the establishment:
- Is there a cost?
- Is there a minimum or maximum for attendance?
- What are the age requirements?
- What dates and times are available? (it helps if you have a range of dates to give them)
- Are there field trip rules of conduct available?
- Are masks required?
Once you get a response from the establishment, the next step is to communicate all the information to those who will attend. After several trips where ‘anything goes’ was the general rule, we realized that we were making a bad name for homeschoolers and for our little group. As much as we didn’t want to be the group with all the rules, once established, the trips ran more smoothly.
Things to tell attendees:
- Be on time. We need to respect the time of the person giving the tour and the other families that are in attendance.
- If there are site rules, read them thoroughly, and review them with your children. The field trip coordinator may go over some of the site rules before the tour begins.
- If you sign up for a field trip, either attend it or call ahead if you can’t attend. Field trips are wonderful when everyone participates, and sometimes we are required to have a minimum number for that trip. If you simply don’t show up, you could potentially ruin the trip for everyone else.
- Be there with your children throughout the entire event. Absolutely NO drop-offs unless the activity has been specified as such or you have coordinated with another parent to be fully in charge of your child.
- Be engaged in the event you are attending to the best of your ability.
- Remind students to show respect to the tour guide and the facility by staying with the group and listening.
- If there is a cost, pay in advance to secure your spot.
- Directions to the location and exactly where to meet on site.
That’s it! Easy peasy field trip planning. Enjoy your education!