One of the bonus points of a homeschool life is being able to go on field trips during term time when it’s quiet! But what are you supposed to do on a homeschool history trip?
Do you have to take all your books with you?
Do your children have to complete a project?
Do you have to collect “evidence” to prove your visit?
This blog post offers advice for each age group when attending a homeschool history field trip.
Why are homeschool history trips important?
The first piece of advice is the most important – you don’t HAVE to do anything! If all you and your children do is attend a field trip, explore your surroundings, and have a great day, then class that as a successful field trip!
However, as homeschool mothers, we carry a heavy pressure to squeeze every learning opportunity as much as possible. So, how can you make the most of a homeschool history trip?
First, understand why a homeschool history trip is important. The Charlotte Mason philosophy encourages our children to build relationships with the topics they are studying. What better way to build a relationship with the knights of medieval times than exploring the ruins of their once-glorious castle? How better to understand the struggles of Victorian life than to trail through the London dungeons?
By exploring history through trips as well books, children benefit from seeing their studies come to life. It allows them to experience the information first hand!
What should you do before a homeschool history trip?
How do you prepare for a homeschool history trip? This part can create an overwhelming to-do list, if you’re not careful. So, it’s important to remember that we cannot possibly teach our children every single piece of information available. The aim of our homeschool is to create a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation of the journey. We need to spark our children’s interest.
So, before a homeschool history field trip, that is your only goal – spark their interest. Teach them just enough to create a buzz of excitement about your upcoming trip.
- Read impressive battle stories from Arthurian legend before visiting a castle.
- Discuss the struggles of Abdullah Quilliam before he established the UK’s first mosque.
- Try a day living like Tudors before visiting the Tudor houses and museums.
By creating this sense of wonder in your children, you are prepping them to make way for any new experiences the field trip has to offer.
For your older children, encourage them to think about other things they would like to know. If they have their own set of questions they want answering during the trip, they are taking charge of their own learning and being responsible for the satisfaction of having their questions answered.
Maybe they can research the field trip destination beforehand, and they can be the tour guide. Allow them to research what is available, and they can oversee where you go and what you do on the day.
Homeschool History: Level 1 (Under 7s)
If following a Charlotte Mason philosophy, you’ll know the “requirements” for under 7s are minimal. The focus should be on being outside as much as possible, maybe a little arithmetic, and plenty of snuggles with living books!
But this is when a field trip comes in handy. A child under 7 can enjoy a homeschool history trip for exactly what it is – an adventure and a chance for more exploration!
Encourage your child to collect souvenirs, and I don’t mean the expensive ones from the gift shops! Maybe your child finds an interestingly shaped rock or a flower? Maybe they find it thrilling to follow a map of your location in a brochure!
To find out more about How to Use a Book of Centuries – CLICK HERE
The idea for this age group is to keep stoking the fire of curiosity and wonder. Children under 7 have a natural inclination to explore and ask questions. Your only job is to not get in the way!
When travelling home, or even the following day, ask your child to orally narrate what they did on their trip. Let them tell you what they understood and the connections they made.
Homeschool History: Level 2 (Ages 7-11)
Once your child hits this age bracket, the intensity of work steps up a little bit.
Please note: this is by no means a hard and fast rule for this age group. Judge your child’s ability based on their progress rather than their age. If your child is still at the freestyle-exploration stage, leave them there! Often, they’ll show YOU signs they are ready to upgrade their learning.
So, what can a child do on their history trip? If their trip includes a destination linked to a current area of study, your child probably already has some questions they need answering. Find out beforehand what they will have access to on your trip and help them come up with a list of questions they’d like answering.
Another hands-on idea for your child is for them to document their trip – whether a video or photo diary, keeping a written journal, or even just collecting memorabilia for a scrapbook!
Homeschool History: Level 3 (Ages 12+)
Now is when we must get serious… right? Well, not necessarily! Once your child hits this age range, a lot of his/her studies may start to take a “serious” turn. Whether you’re thinking about secondary school or GCSEs, children will notice the expectations for their work are increasing.
A history trip is not that time. See your history trip as a blessing and a chance for your pre/teen to get back to enjoying learning and seeing what they can soak up without an official plan. Children absorb a lot more information when they don’t think they HAVE to!
However, if you or your child are eager for more, set a history trip as part of a greater research project.
- They don’t just have to visit Stonehenge; they are researching the impact of religion and spirituality in pre-historic Britain!
- They’re not just visiting Gettysburg National Military Park; they are creating their own timeline and map of the civil war.
- They’re not just visiting Titanic Belfast; they are putting together an engineering report of the safety requirements for a cruise ship.
- They’re not just visiting Mesa Verde National Park; they are researching the Native American contribution to civilisation.
Helping your child build connections with what they are seeing on their trip with other areas of study is a guaranteed way to embrace the Charlotte Mason mentality during their older years. Education is a study of relationships, and a history trip is a fantastic way for older children to appreciate how their different areas of study are interconnected.
Once you get home
The days after a homeschool trip are a great time to soak in what you have all experienced and learnt. Whether you have an informal discussion or even go as far as to put on a presentation for family members! Find a way to recap or narrate your experiences and spend time with what you have learnt before moving on to the next topic. And that means you too! Join in with the children and show them that learning truly is a lifelong pursuit.
As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to go on a homeschool history trip. But what is important is that you remember your focus as a Charlotte Mason homeschool:
- Discuss how topics are related.
- Facilitate your child building their own relationship with their topic.
- Remind them of the disciplines and habits required when out of the house.
- Narrate back what they have learnt in a range of creative ways.
What do you do on your homeschool history trips? Leave a comment with your history trip recommendations!
[Don’t forget to order your Book of Centuries here UK USA .]
Related: Muslim Homeschool Curriculum: How to Use a Book of Centuries
Related: Charlotte Mason in Our Homeschool Centuries
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