The Ultimate Field Trip

Postcard image with a traveling family on an ocean tripThe Ultimate Field Trip – Traveling!

Travel is the ultimate field trip! It is so educational. Traveling exposes you to new people, places, language, food, culture, and ideas. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. Travel helps us see the long view instead of our shorter, “close-to-home” view. It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it!

This past week, my husband traveled to Nashville for a professional conference and our youngest and I went along for the ride. We worked and studied for part of each day and then went adventuring. One day we went to Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage. The next, the Botanical Gardens and Cheekwood Estate. The last day we met family members at the Grand Old Opry and roamed around the amazing gardens. It gave us a lot to think about.

Have Family – Will Travel

Over the past two years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit three presidential residences: Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson; Mt. Vernon, home to George Washington; and now The Hermitage, home to Andrew Jackson.

Visiting all three presidential estates has given us the opportunity to compare and contrast Presidents; the impact each has had on the country, their attitudes towards the Union, slavery, and marriage. These inexplicably different presidents, each charted the course of this great nation.  Even affecting the way Americans live today. It’s a great history lesson! Our academic lessons are made all the more powerful by seeing where and how they each lived, ran their personal lives and interacted with others.

The Gift of Travel

Having the opportunity to travel has been a gift and one we don’t take lightly! We’ve worked to maximize travelling opportunities as they’ve come up. In the past year, we’ve taken field trips to the Black Hills in SD, St. Louis MO, South Carolina, San Antonio TX, Washington DC, Gettysburg, VA and Nashville, TN. Some of that travel was for our kids’ activities (Bible Bee participation, graduation from Army Basic) and some for work. We’ve visited Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg, Mission Conception, State and National sea-side parks, Botanical Gardens in TX and TN, the Arch in St. Louis, Mansions and Colonial homes, the Museum of the Bible (read my review here), Lincoln Memorial and a host of other D.C. Memorials, and the Grand Old Opry. We’ve eaten the best shrimp and grits in TX, fries smothered in gouda cheese in D.C. and superb hamburgers in TN. We’ve been on the look-out for amazing opportunities and experiences and found them!

Of course, that list also represents admissions fees, gas, and other costs. We are fortunate that we are able to write off some expenses for our work. We have also traded admissions fees for blog reviews and asked for the homeschool discounts whenever appropriate. Planning ahead and discovering off-season discounts can also make family travel more affordable. We count these fees as part of our homeschool expenses because they add so much to our children’s education.

Travel is the ultimate field trip...It promotes wonder, curiosity, research and exploration if you let it! Lisa Nehring, author, and administrator at True North Homeschool Academy and Softskills 101 Podcast Show Host. Click To Tweet

Tips for Planning Amazing Family Field Trips

  • Facebook groups provide great opportunities to connect with natives who know their area. I am in a couple of homeschool travel groups and there are always a few people who just got back from where we’re going or someone who lives where we are going in the group. It’s a great way to get a current perspective and get reasonably priced ideas on amazing places to eat!
  • Google – search “Best Sightseeing” in whatever place you plan to visit. I just searched Tampa and came up with various categories: parks, sight-seeing, air-helicopter-balloon rides, shopping, eating, museums, sights, and landmarks, etc.
  • Pick up brochures at area restaurants or cruise through the Airbnb/Vrbo binder wherever you are staying.
  • Ask the locals – whenever we land in a new location, we ask waitresses and other service professionals what the “must-see” and “must-do” opportunities are in any location.

Wherever we go, we do a bit of research and gather everyone’s ideas ahead of time. Because we are all readers, we might have ideas in mind already- historical places we want to visit, or places my husband and I visited as children. We decide how much time and money we have to spend and make a tentative plan for what we want to get done. In the last several years we have often traveled for work and my husband and I have taken turns going places with the children while the other does the work-related stuff.

The World Is Our Classroom

Finding great field trips while traveling, in many ways, gets back to having a sense of what you believe about education. Do you believe that the world is your classroom? If so, you’ll make a point of being curious about the world and want to explore the nooks and crannies. Your preferences and those of your family will differ from mine. Perhaps you are real foodies and are willing to wait in line to experience the most amazing Hunan food in San Francisco, while I am more interested in the Missions along the coast. Of course, one would expect nothing less!

And when I meet you in an on-line group, or at a conference, and we compare notes, we might both broaden our horizons by doing what the other experienced and found fascinating, further enriching our lives through travel!

About the Author: Lisa Nehring hosts the podcast Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, along with her husband Dr. David Nehring. She is the Director of  True North Homeschool Academy and she and her husband have homeschooled their five kids for the past 27 years. Lisa is passionately committed to resourcing and connecting fellow homeschoolers and Christians with the tools and resources necessary to navigate a complex world in need of a Savior. You can connect with her at the True North Homeschool Tribe on Facebook

Peaceful Family Vacations

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #088, Help! My Daughter’s Getting Married, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio NetworkPeaceful Family Vacations

In “Peaceful Family Vacations,” episode #091, Meredith Curtis reminds you that peaceful family vacations don’t just happen. Would you like to know how they happen? Well, Meredith is happy to give you practical tips and biblical wisdom to help you and your family enjoy rest, refreshment, and family unity on your next family vacation.

 

 

 


Proverbs 1:5 by Laura Nolette and Powerline Productions, Inc.

 

Powerline Productions, Inc.

Being World Changers, Raising World Changers!

Check out our great literature classes!

 

 

 


Show Notes

Different vacations and rating them on the peaceful quotient.

Cover with Prayer

Pray, pray, and pray. Together and alone.

Plan with Spouse

Discuss Vacation until there is Joyful unity with your spouse.

Give Everyone Ownership

Family meeting where everyone shares goals, expectations, and dreams.

Family group text

Have schedule before you take off

Set A Trip Budget

Everyone needs to know what the budget is and be willing to stay within it.

Weight Comfort vs. Savings option

Comfortable place to sleep

No bugs for Julianna

Hotel vs. Resort vs. Condo vs. House

Settle In After Arrival

Unpack & Have something fun to do when you finish

Explore

Balance Relaxing with Go, go, go

Time by the pool

Museums

Art Galleries

Amusement Parkts

Plan for the Afternoon Grumpies

Late afternoon is the time when everyone is tired and grumpy, not just toddlers.

Plan a light snack, early dinner, or rest time.

Learn the Fun Way

There are so many opportunities to learn on vacation.

But keep it fun!

Healthy Vacationing

Exercise the fun way

Eat Healthy MOST of the time

Be Positive, Grateful

Share praise reports each evening

Share photos

Laugh and love on each other

 

Resources

"Travel to Europe for the Fun of It" by Meredith Curtis - PowerlineProd.com blog "12 Travel Tips Before You Visit Europe" by Meredith Curtis - PowerlineProd.com Blog "Summer Family Fun" by Meredith Curtis - PowerlineProd.com Blog
Travel God's World Geography by Meredith Curtis Travel God's World Cookbook by Meredith Curtis Travel to London Unit Study by Meredith Curtis Travel the World Country Report Lapbook by Meredith Curtis

Making Memories as a Family: Summer Edition

making memoriesAs the school year comes to a close and summer is right around the corner, it is important to prioritize making memories as a family. When planning trips, weekend outings, or summer camps make sure I’m sure you are like many other homeschoolers and family needs are at the center. Making memories together will only increase family unity and stories that will be remembered and retold for years.

Choose a Destination that …

1. Matters to Family Heritage

Family heritage is so important to know and pass on to your kids. Not only will your child be able to understand basic genealogy, but researching family heritage can be fun! Flip through some old photo albums of relatives and tell your kids the story of how their grandparents met. Visit the town where they met and find the house where each grew up. If you can do this as a couple, this is fun as well!

Does your family have an annual family reunion? Maybe consider going so that your kids can meet the people in the pictures hanging on your wall or sitting on the shelf. Still not jazzed about packing the kids in the car and heading to Small Town, USA? Research interesting places around the location of the get-together. Perhaps there is a county fair, national park, or town museum nearby. Even window-shopping down Main Street can be a new and exciting experience for a suburban kid.

2. Reinforces your studies

We planned a trip to the mountains in order to collect rocks for an upcoming Geology study the coming year. It was a wonderful time or climbing and hiking. The kids enjoyed a train ride in the mountains and we were blessed to stay at a cabin owned by friends. The entire trip was well within our budget and best of all, one we still remember years later. The rocks were used over and over again in studies throughout their homeschool years and now are used by my daughter with her children as she homeschools! Another year we took a trip to the Florida Keys. Actually, several trips. This was used as research for our Truth Seekers Mystery Series novels.

Another time we visited the DC area and the Smithsonean Museums. We studied American history that year and this was a culmination of our studies. How wonderful to see a the Constitution and visit the artifacts in the American History Museum. These memories were revisited by my daughter and I when she visited colleges in that area during her high school years.

  • What are you studying this upcoming year?
  • Is there any way to reinforce a study?
  • Can you plan a trip in advance or even after the fact that will be enjoyable for the entire family but also further your studies?

3. Increases family time

Going on a family vacation means doing things together. Whether that is hiking, visiting museums or on a cruise. Many times “family vacations” mean separating the kids from the parents. We all need time away to regroup, but a family vacation should center around doing things as a family and exploring together. How else can you talk about your vacation if you didn’t experience it together?

4. Focuses on Faith

A family we know takes a pilgrimage every summer with their family. They have toured the shrines in Europe, walked along the Via Delarosa – the path that Jesus walked in Jerusalem, visited the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. While this is outside of our budget, for them it was important. They saved money all year long with this trip in mind, and it was on a tight budget staying at convents whenever possible. They told the children ahead of time if they wanted to purchase souvenirs, they needed to bring their own money. Once home, they gathered family and friends and we viewed their movies and still shots and visited these beautiful sites alongside them. What a wonderful legacy they leave their children as well as sharing it with us, their friends!

5. That includes extended family

One year we tied a family trip to Canada, a place I lived for three years as a child to a family reunion in upstate New York. We were able to combine alone time with our family. After walking the streets of Niagra Falls, my son asked if we could read books by the fireplace, a tradition started at home–since the hotel had a fireplace! After a few days drove our rental car to our location in New York, for extended family fun, which included a horseback ride on trails through streams and hills.

Recently, after picking up my daughter at her college location, I realized that Long Island, New York was only four hours north. We visited the city while staying with my cousin and his wife. My second-cousin, who attends a college in Manhattan took us on a nine-mile hike throughout the city, showing us sites and insiders locations. On Sunday we enjoyed a family reunion with my cousins, the last time I visited them was as a teenager.

Memories that last a lifetime are easier said than done. It takes time, planning and a budget. There were many years that we could only afford day trips, and truthfully my family still prefers a weekend camping to a ten-day trip! Patrick Patton may have popularized the saying, “A family who prays together stays together,” however it is something we say as well! You don’t need a long or expensive vacation to make memories. Remember to spend time as a family laughing and enjoying each others company!

You may also be interested in several sessions I recorded for the 2018 Homeschool Moms Conference. This conference is a wonderful addition to your education, moms–and I’m sure you’ll agree. Check it out!