Article: Homeschool isn't Homebound
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I remember fondly my favorite (public) school field trips -- the week-long wilderness campout, the weekend jaunt to a Gulf island national park, the summer exchange program in Germany, the summer workshop in Washington DC. These moments were truly highlights.

The beauty of homeschooling is the freedom for a bounty of field trips (schedule and finances permitting, of course). Capitalize on the anticipation of an upcoming field trip by building unit studies around the destination. And with the opportunity to experience things firsthand, your children are bound to learn even more.

When planning a learning vacation, here are a few suggestions.

  • Undersea wonders. What better way to cap off a marine biology unit study than with a trip to an aquarium. Visit one of the Sea World theme parks (Orlando, San Antonio, or San Diego), for up-close experiences with marine mammals, aquatic critters, and lots of things to explore. There are also three amazing aquariums to consider -- Baltimore, Monterrey, or New Orleans. Combine this with historical sightseeing, and your kids will be positively beaming.
  • Change the scenery. To give some sense to geography and geology, go someplace completely new to your child. If you are landlocked, try the coast. If you live in flat terrain, head for the mountains. Consider a National Park for their natural beauty and educational direction.
  • History a kid'll love. History can be dull and monotonous. Or history can be exciting and splendid. Opt for choice #2 by touring a history-rich locale. Consider Washington DC (a week in the Smithsonian would be fantastic), Philadelphia, New York, Williamsburg, or St. Augustine. Or jump the pond and head for Paris, London, Rome, or Athens. Of course, you'll want to start your unit study on the history a few weeks prior to your trip.
  • The more the merrier. Are you a member of a homeschooling organization? Recommend a group trip. Escorted tours can be enlightening, or each parent can host a tour and topic on the trip.
  • Even small trips can be rewarding. If a big trip isn't realistic right now, think about a nearby overnight trip you can plan. Kids just love to explore.
  • Travel Journal. Give your child a Travel Journal at the start of your trip. This is a great way to encourage a love for writing. To be doubly nice, a disposable camera will make your junior adventurer smile.

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