Recently I saw a new homeschooling parent post in a Facebook group asking about suggestions for field trips (or excursions as we called them back in the day). I started thinking about all the places we have been and how much learning has taken place OUTSIDE our home.
Despite it's name, 'home' schooling actually is life schooling and life and learning as we know can happen ANY where at ANY time in ANY place with ANY person.
So I thought that I should (for my own family and memory's sake) write down a list of some of the places our kiddos have learnt OUTSIDE the home over the years.
Before I make the list and share some photos though I thought I delve a little into WHAT they have learned. Well, straight up - social skills! Despite home schoolers getting the dreaded 'how do they socialise?' question over and over again, our kids (speaking in general terms here) are very well socialised because they are constantly in different social situations.
The other question we get a lot of is along the lines of, 'how do you plan to prepare them for every day life?' Again, being in the community, working with others of various ages, stages of development and backgrounds with varying interests, ways of communicating has prepared our children so well for life. They've had ample opportunity to practice REAL life skills that they'll use over and over again in their adult lives, things like: learning to wait in line or wait in a doctor's waiting room with a book, communicating with staff in appropriate ways, asking for or paying for things they'd like, learning about spatial awareness....so many things!
I guess my point is that life skills are practiced and socialisation is achieved regularly and in real ways BECAUSE we homeschool!
So where have we experienced learning OUTSIDE the home?
Here are some of the ways and places we have experienced learning over the past 13 years:
* We've done painting at a lookout over looking our town, painted by the river and participated in painting a community mural for Youth Week.
* We've visited Lambing Flat Museum after learning about the gold rush in Young NSW (and LOTS of other museums) , explored and used microscopes and samples at museums (Age of Fishes - centre photo) and have visited historical venues like Experiment Farm Cottage.
* We've been cave exploring, shell gathering, dam building...
* ...bush walking, tadpole collecting, tree climbing...
* ...apple picking, rockpool searching and season appreciating.
* We've had learning experiences at trampolining/playland centres, library quiet times and visited lots of pools and aquatic centres.
* We've visited waterholes, lakes, dams and creeks.
* We love going to art galleries (SO many!), attended lots of plays, concerts and live shows (and ALWAYS went for pizza after a live show #ourfamilycultrure).
* We learned lots at the CSIRO Discovery Centre, The Dish in Parkes and at Sovereign Hill in Vic.
* Canberra has been a place we have visited many times including Old and the current Parliament House, Questacon, The National Library and of course Black Mountain, Cockington Green and The War Memorial. Also been to The Mint, have done the Embassy Tour looking at lots of flags, visited The National Arboretum and all the galleries and museums there too.
* Our kids have learned lots doing life skills like shopping or about risk taking when skating or even about listening when attending a homeschool co-op meet up.
* We've had countless visits with Keithy (at his place and taking him into the community), learned about paying respects at events like the local POW commemorations or supported Keith on ANZAC and Armistice Days.
* We've explored old ruins and tried to deduce what may have happened and what the structure may have originally looked like (research almost always followed to see who was closest!), attended a community corroboree and visited loads of zoos and aquariums.
* We have had the chance to meet many authors at book signings, we've cuddled rescued roos (which turned into one child sewing pouches for them) and attended important mental health talks to hear others' stories.
* Bargains have ALWAYS been had at our local book fair, we've had fun learning Hebraic circle dancing and have had a chance to sit in a fire truck, in a forklift and got to manoeuvre the levers on a remote controlling a tow truck.
* We've been in the bush with our gumboots on making nature discs by pressing found objects into prepared salt dough that we took along with us. Our country kids have loved visiting the city or the beach and the kids have enjoyed participating in public presentations for the PCYC or Youth Council.
* Learning also took place when Elijah held his solo art exhibitions, when Stassi visited the touring JFK photographic exhibition or we took all the kids horse riding for the first time.
Ok I think I've exhausted myself in uploading all those photos lol ;) so I'll just add the rest here in text form.
Learning happened outside our home also:
* by campfires
* at airports
* when we had 'night time adventures'
* during hospital visits/hospital stays
* when we went on Geocaching Adventures (so many!)
* when we visited the dentist
* attending outdoor events
* during Naidoc week celebrations
* when the kids attended art workshops (cartoon drawing, skateboard painting, weaving, 'crafty kids', pastels, photography)
* when we watched performances that friends were in: concerts, eisteddfods, musicals, etc
* being in our little boat and practicing water safety
* taking music lessons
* going to the local shows and fairs and exhibiting lego/artworks etc
* checking out an aircraft/aviation show
* by going on picnics with friends
* visiting grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins
* by stopping off at the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme
* attending Lego conventions
* going to basketball workshops with NBA or NBL players
* eating out at cafes/restaurants. etc
* browsing book shops, toy shops, game shops and saving up money to go back and buy items
* watching historical re-enactments take place (always so fun!)
The list really could just go on and on! Find out what interests your kids have and start there.
As you can see, SO much learning has taken place OUTSIDE our home (and of course in our home too). These experiences have really equipped our kiddos well (and they have also had to learn when a home day is called for ;) ) Seriously, don't be afraid to get out there in your community and explore. See what learning opportunities are hiding just around the corner. You might be surprised at just how much fun (and learning) you can have almost in your backyard ;)
Happy learning and living, Lusi x