Charlene Notgrass
As you homeschool this year, remember field trips! Homeschool children and mamas, too, need days off from their normal routine. A field trip is the perfect change and you can still count it as a day of school! Field trips are definitely not filler. They are some of the richest, most memorable learning experiences you can give your children. So take some field trips – enjoy the break and enjoy knowing you are a homeschool supermom!

But are field trips too complicated? Too expensive? Do you have no idea where to go? Look first right under your nose.
When I was homeschooling our children, we took some of our most exotic field trips right in town at the home of someone we went to church with. Our whole family had a special relationship with one of the elders. He was a retired engineering professor who had truly traveled the world — from Russia to Papua New Guinea to Africa to Antarctica. He preached in many of the places he visited. He was also a talented photographer.
The children and I used to go to his house every Wednesday afternoon after lunch. We sat in his den filled with artifacts from around the world while he carried us far, far away with stories and beautiful slides he had taken in exotic places. It was fabulous for him and fabulous for us. He got companionship and an enthusiastic audience for his stories and we got a wonderful education from a godly man.

Even in small towns, field trips abound. We live in a little town of around 1,000 people. In our local Jackson County Historical Museum children can learn the local history of pioneer days and river boats and bluegrass music and toys and telephones and World War II.
Children can learn about history at our local courthouse and our veterans hall, too. And we have an antique store. It’s free to walk through an antique store with your kids, showing them things you, your parents, and your grandparents used before your kids were born.
You can take a short drive to other towns in your area. They might have interesting courthouses, churches, museums, libraries, and banks. Many old store buildings — and new ones — have interesting architecture.
In the spring, it’s fun to take a field trip to a farm supply store to see the baby chicks and ducks or to a greenhouse to see many different kinds of plants all in one place. Also check out local orchards and farmers markets.
We like to go to small town parades and festivals. At local festivals near our hometown  we’ve talked with a real organ grinder and seen weavers and basket makers and blacksmiths and potters. We’ve watched folk dancers and musical performances.
You can even go on field trips right outside your own front door. I once walked about a mile near our house and saw 40 different kinds of wildflowers on that one walk.
Special field trips to take again and again are to the homes of older relatives and church members. Again you are blessing them with a visit and they can bless you with stories.
Most of the field trips that are under our noses are free or very inexpensive. For the field trips that cost money and are farther away, think about the little and insignificant things you spend money on that you could exchange for the grand and wonderful.
Would you rather drive through a fast food restaurant once a week all year or go on a vacation to Mount Rushmore next year?
If you do something very simple, such as  eating at home instead of eating at restaurants, you might be surprised at how much money you can save. You might even be able to eat cheese and crackers on a picnic table at the Grand Canyon next spring if you are willing to give up most of your restaurant meals between now until then.
One of the most valuable benefits of going on field trips far and near is simply being with your family and having new experiences together. Each moment with your family is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live that moment together.
Go ahead, “play hooky” from school. Actually, it’s not playing hooky at all.

You shall therefore impress
these words of mine on your heart
and on your soul;
. . . You shall teach them to your sons,
talking of them
when you sit in your house
and when you walk along the road
and when you lie down
and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NASB

Sounds like Biblical support for a road trip to me– and sounds to me like it counts for school!

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