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As our homeschool matures, so do our needs. Connor is a tween, ya’ll. Unfortunately this means that he is pulling away from that time when watching videos and looking at books can induce that
He needs experience. He needs to get his hands dirty. He needs to get out there and live the lessons I am trying to teach him.
It’s hard for me to take my littles to things like museums or to co-ops where kids are expected to sit like in a classroom like setting.
How can we balance Connor’s need to get out in the world and participate in experience based learning with my need for frugality and activities geared toward our whole family?
The answer is simpler than you think.
We live in Arkansas. Our state is teeming with National Parks, State Parks, and historical places of interest.
These parks and places are my secret to finding field trips that essentially free!
State and National Parks
First, these National and State Parks often do free demonstrations for groups of all ages. Everything from what place bugs have in the ecosystem and eating chocolate covered crickets, shooting blow darts and learning about native fowl species, dressing in camouflage and a wicked hide and seek to participating in pretend archeological digs and learning about the Native Peoples that inhabited this area.
Those are just a few free field trips within an hour from my house.
How do you find these awesome opportunities? I picked up a free copy of my state’s tourist books that outlined each park, its amenities, its schedule, and what costs money. These books also detailed local history museums in my state and their admission fees.
Game and Fish Commission
You can also contact your state’s Game and Fish Commission (or wildlife organization). This is the organization that oversees hunting, fishing, and other outdoor sports. Here we have Game Wardens that patrol like police.
They provide programs that get kids into the outdoors. They also maintain several free museums dedicated to the native fauna and flora of Arkansas. These are free to enter, and let you go on self guided tours and do things like scavenger hunts that teach the kids about zoology. Some have movie theaters, do arts and crafts, and a variety of other activities geared to kids of all ages. Of course, They also happen to do free cooking classes for adults.
State Funded Historical Museums
Arkansas has several museums throughout the state dedicated to native flora and fauna that have free admission and conduct all sorts of programs like free fishing weekends, tours of fish hatcheries, and nature centers where you can do activities like scavenger hunts.
Colleges and Universities
Last, seek out colleges and universities near you. They often have public nights to showcase their work in science and theater.
I am lucky to live in a town with 3 colleges. One is very involved in the community with free children’s plays, astronomy nights where you can look through the large telescope, free planetarium shows, and free cooking classes for kids. That’s in addition to the regular community/adult greared classes and language, coding, and engineering classes for kids for small fees.
There are several fun celestial events like the Perseids meteor shower (just missed it this year, mid August) that happen regularly. Even for those spread out quit a bit like the 2017 eclipse, there is usually plenty of press beforehand, especially if follow NASA, or another astronomy resource like Skytalk.
We have driven just outside of town to look through our telescope several times. We have stayed up late to catch meteors while making space inspired art and reading books about space or set in space.
How do you guys save money on field trips? Leave me a comment below.
As parents who have chosen to go against the grain, we often feel like we have to present this image of complete control and serenity. But we are rarely that.
People don’t understand the weight of choosing to be responsible for our child’s education in addition to all the regular pressures of being a parent, especially of a large family.
As a homeschool coach, I strive share my insights and experience to help more homeschooling families go from chaos to order, to help you feel confident in your abilities, to turn your doubters into supporters.
Please check out this page to learn more about my coaching sessions. I am only opening services up to 3 clients a week right now. I just can’t plan for more.
I am going to drop some affiliate links now.
My readers can enjoy 10% off sitewide at Evan-Moor Publishers using the code “SUMMER10”.
I know how it feels to spend weeks researching curricula and receive box set that you hate. Adding some games to the mix can really take the sting out of the slump from buying a curriculum that you don’t like.
I am also attending the Back to School Summit. This is an intense 3 day conference where you will get advice from career educators on how to start off this year on a good note and keep the enthusiasm going all year long. This program is only for those parents that want to give their kids their best year ever.
If you would like to me to compile an index of these resources for each state, write on my Facebook wall. Like my page while you’re there.
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