Educational adventures are the best way to learn. Homeschool can include adventure and excitement that goes beyond just school.
This can inspire curiosity and engage your child in ways that books and worksheets cannot.
It is easy to become focused on academics in your homeschool. You choose a curriculum or online classes, you buy resources and off you go. Especially, if you went to traditional school yourself, it is easy to think that homeschool is just school at home. It is so much more than that, though!
Experiences Can Provide the Education
We are more likely to remember what we learn if it is tied to an experience and an emotion. There are many ways to learn. When you homeschool, you can bring in experiences, trips, and other adventures to make learning more engaging and memorable.
Epic Homeschool Adventures
We’ve had some amazing adventures in our years of homeschooling. On one of our first big adventures, we rented an RV and took a 3-week trip around the Southwestern United States.
The kids learned about US geography as we mapped our route with dry erase markers on a map taped to the table of the RV. As we entered each new state, we learned about that state and they colored a page in their state coloring books for that state.
We visited 5 National Parks and the kids earned their Junior Ranger badges at each park.
They were only 5 and 8 years old then, but they still remember and talk about that trip and things they learned on that trip!
Homeschool Adventures Closer to Home
Homeschool learning experiences don’t have to be quite so epic to be amazing, though. You can have memorable educational experiences at the local zoo or museum. Even a simple hike in the woods can be an educational adventure with a little planning.
A simple hike can be elevated to an educational nature walk experience with a few simple additions. We always take along a pocket microscope and pair of small binoculars. Sometimes I’ll take along a guide to local trees, birds, or insects. Those books can get heavy, though, so it is often best to take pictures and use Google Lens to look them up or look them up in the books when we return home.
I’m sure, like me, you and your kids have been to the zoo a million times. Make the trip more engaging and educational by creating a zoo scavenger hunt. Especially for older kids, I don’t mean to just give them a list of animals to find. That’s boring.
Give them clues and have them find the animals that match the clues. Make it a challenge to encourage them to use their brains. They will be far more likely to remember the animals that matched the clues if they have to work a little to figure them out.
Clues could include things like:
- scientific names
- region where the animal lives in the wild
- the animal’s endangered status
- whether it is a mammal, reptile, marsupial, etc.
- the climate of its natural habitat
This will require a little work on your part, but many zoos have some sort of animal guide on their website that can make your job easier. The Columbus zoo, for example, lists the animals they have at the zoo and you can click on each one to see some facts about it.
Many cities have children’s museums, as well as science, history, or art museums.
As a homeschool family, you can take field trips whenever you want.
It is a good idea to try to plan field trips to tie in to what you are studying at the time. This can help to cement the lessons you are covering in your curriculum.
We visited the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and went to the China exhibit when we were studying about China.
Like the zoo trips, it can help to give kids a task to complete at a museum. Don’t make this a boring list of questions they have to answer, though. Keep adventure in mind! Make a scavenger hunt or create a mystery for them to solve.
It helps, when planning your activities, if there is an ultimate goal at the end. Have them put all of the clues together to solve a cipher or fill a Bingo card. That way, kids know they are working towards a goal and they stay motivated.
Creating an Educational Adventure
A little pre-planning turns a simple trip into an educational adventure.
Yes, all of this requires some effort on your part. It helps to research the location you’ll be visiting ahead of time so that you can plan activities to go along with it.
For an epic trip, I recommend researching the locale and buying or checking out a few books for kids about the place you’ll be visiting. This will get your kids excited about the trip, will provide information about things you might want to do when you get there, and will make the sights more interesting for your kids while on the trip.
Try to keep any boring academic work to a minimum on the trip itself. While traveling, the experience is the education. If you’ve done some pre-work, your kids should be excited to recognize sights and wildlife they read about ahead of time.
It might be fun for them to look up sealife or birds in an identification book while on the trip. Other than that, I wouldn’t recommend forcing the learning. Learning will occur if you just let it happen.
Education can be an adventure and the adventure can provide the education!