Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Field Trip Brainstorm

Over the past couple weeks, I have been brainstorming ideas for regular field trip activities that transcend age, ability, and learning method. I wanted to construct a routine activity guide to begin now and continue indefinitely as an addendum to our ever-changing homeschool curriculum. We do many of these things regularly now, but this will serve as a reminder to continue. I'm a huge advocate of travel and mobile exploration and am not barred in or limited to certain attractions; if it's fun, we're going! If we learn something, bonus!

Homeschool Hikes
Regular hikes along paths/trails in varying types of nature and seasons as a means of reconnecting with nature, learning from what the world has to offer as that second, and getting back to basics.

Mt. Diablo  in Contra Costa County, CA
Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, CA
Big Basin State Park Santa Cruz County, CA
California State Parks website for hikes near you

Discovery Destinations
The choice or draw of a particular direction with no preset destination in mind. For example, a family member may either choose a direction at random, or we could roll a four-sided die to choose for us. Once we head in that direction, depending on the amount of time we have, we may continue to roll or randomly choose until we stumble upon something interesting to stop for. This could be as simple as an unusual rock structure on the side of the highway, an antique store, a major state park in a county we rarely travel to, or (time willing) a complete weekend getaway to a place we've never set foot on.

In San Joaquin County

Community Connections
Opportunities to connect with various parts of the community: tours of community service buildings (fire houses, police stations, hospitals, post offices, animal shelters, courthouses, etc.--all by appointment, of course), colleges, volunteer work, community-run museums and activities.

Town of Sonora and Tuolomne County Museum
Museum of Entomology at UC Davis
The Bone Room and The Great Stoneface Park in Berkeley, CA

Museum Meanderings
Regular trips to museums far and wide and not particularly connected with current unit study (though, of course, they could be) as a means of learning new things and contributing to an organization's effort to keep memories, relics, art, ideas, and learning opportunities alive.

Factory Fun Trips
Trips to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste how things of all sorts are made.

Roadside Rarities
Exploration of unusual oddities along the roadside. This is an opportunity to see some of the strange things that are built with incredible passion, such as shoe trees, quirky restaurants in the shape of unordinary things (flotsam art or concrete dinosaurs, anyone?). The purpose is not only to have fun and embrace our own eccentricities, but to remember to not get bogged down in taking ourselves too seriously!

I use Roadside America- California to find all sorts of kooky field trips.

Animal Encounters
Real, hands-on opportunities to interact with animals. This is not your average zoo trip! Rather, it's a way of meeting and greeting these animals up close with a skilled zookeeper or animal handler that is ready to answer tons of questions.

Open Road Roams
Regular trips to some of California's (and other states as well) most beautiful natural resources. These may not always be the most well-known destinations, but will include often missed gems of the state.

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