This is old news, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true: Museums are the bee’s knees. Art museums impart an appreciation for culture, history and aesthetics; Children’s museums are full of sensory activities and other age-appropriate (often hands-on) educational delights; Natural history museums will inspire a budding Indiana Jones, and aerospace museums will do the same for aspiring astronauts. There are a lot of museums out there and you can file all of them under the ‘worthy field trip’ category. And now you can check out some of the world’s greatest museums using just your computer.
7. Visit an observatory
Planetariums, star-gazing—both are great. But if you have an observatory nearby, you’re truly sitting pretty. These buildings, often associated with universities and research institutes, house high-powered telescopic equipment that provides an unparalleled view of the planets as well as various weather and terrestrial events. Ground-based observatories require certain conditions, namely high altitude and a healthy distance from big city pollution, but if you can reasonably make the trek, the view will be well worth the effort.
8. Stroll through a cemetery
It sounds a little grim, but don’t fear the reaper. The truth is that death is everywhere in education—presidents, civil rights leaders, celebrated poets and artists—so you might as well take it all in with a pleasant cemetery stroll. The atmosphere is reliably peaceful so your homeschooled student can enjoy a calm tour of the grounds, discovering not just the graves, but also the contributions of local historical figures every step of the way.
9. Visit the courthouse and observe a trial
Law and order are a big deal (hey, there’s a reason why the show ran for two decades). In all seriousness though, a criminal justice unit should be required curriculum...and seeing is better than reading. Take this field trip more than once with your homeschooled students to observe open trials (you might want to vet them for appropriateness) and then open up a dialogue. The intricacies of crime and punishment are admittedly rather daunting (just like the book), but early exposure to the judicial process and open dialogue are key educational components.
10. Tour a local factory
There are few lessons as valuable as the one gained from watching people actually making things. After all, it’s that very process which feeds the imaginations of children (“but how did they put it together?”) and inspires so much pride (the tower they built, the drawing they made). Yep, all it takes is a quick phone call and, from there, it’s easy enough to tour a factory. In fact, most workers would likely be excited to share their craft with a curious, young mind. Hint: This field trip makes it very easy (necessary) to include labor union history and the concept of solidarity in your lesson plan.