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Field Trip Guide for Homeschooling Families

Going on a Field Trip

by Shay Seaborne

Someone in your group has announced a homeschool field trip, and it sounds great! Go for it, and remember-you can best assure there will be more field trips to enjoy in the future by implementing a few simple considerations:

  1. Reply as soon as possible. If you put it off, you may find all the slots are filled, or the trip has been cancelled due to lack of response.
  2. If fees are involved, pay them when you register-unless instructed otherwise by the trip coordinator. Keep in mind that, if you must cancel, refund may or may not be available, especially on short notice. The field trip coordinator will likely do what she can to help you recover your cost, but it may not always be possible to receive a refund.
  3. Ask what you can do to help. It is in your interest to assist field trip coordinators if you can. They will be more likely to initiate another trip if they are happy with the results of previous efforts.
  4. Find ways to prepare your family for the trip: read books, visit similar sites, talk about related topics and what you can expect or might see. If you find any particularly good resources, share them with the trip coordinator, so she can pass them along to other attendees.
  5. On the day of the trip, wear your homeschooling t-shirts, buttons, etc. Good PR for homeschooling! Also, remind children of appropriate behavior. Fair or not, you'll be considered representative of "homeschoolers."
  6. Allow plenty of travel time, and plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the tour begins. This will help the coordinator with the head count and last minute details.
  7. During the field trip, keep an eye on your children and remind them about appropriate behavior as needed. If your child is distressed or needs a break, don't feel guilty about leaving the group; it is kinder to bow out than to stay and allow sustained interruption.
  8. When the visit is over, verbally thank (and encourage children to do so) the host. Ask the field trip coordinator if there is a Thank You note to sign. If possible, mention something specific you liked about the visit.
  9. Thank the field trip coordinator for the work you KNOW was involved! A follow-up phone call, E-mail or hand-written note-telling how the trip made a difference-can bring the recipient a warm glow, and foster her interest in arranging the next trip for you to enjoy.

Copyright 2002, Shay Seaborne. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author. Other articles by Shay Seaborne can be found at her website:

Field Trip Helps

from the editor

Field Trip Forms from Highland Heritage Homeschool; includes "My Field Trip Report" and "Record of Field Trips and Events," both in PDF format.

Field Trip Planning Form from Chase, SC HS Support Group. This is a web page; for your convenience, I have made a version in PDF format.

Student Field Trip Assessment from Chase, SC HS Support Group; This is a web page; for your convenience, I have made a version in PDF format.

Coordinate a Successful Field Trip

by Shay Seaborne

Sometimes, the hardest part about planning a field trip is deciding where to go. In which businesses, parks, historical sites and museums have your children expressed an interest in learning more? Your own children's interests are very good reason to initiate a field trip. Having a group to visit will often gain you access to places that would not normally welcome individual families. As homeschooling has gained in popularity, it is not uncommon for a field trip host to be happy to hear from homeschoolers; they've had very positive interactions with homeschooled children before. Most public places and larger businesses are used to group programs and tours, and many smaller businesses are open to them-but may need some ideas about what to present. Regular Tours: some places are used to school tours, and are surprised by the idea of making a presentation to an audience consisting of people from a wide variety of ages. It can be helpful to reassure them that they can speak to a fairly high level; the older kids will understand, the middle children might ask for more information to help them understand; while the littlest ones will absorb...whatever-and that's OK. It is a good idea to tactfully remind the host they can change their presentation at any point. Special Tours: other places have never been asked to give group tours before, but are very interested in the idea. They may need suggestions on what might interest the children, and how to present. For such situations, it helps to know about the company's operation beforehand. Perhaps a short, individual visit would be a good starting point.

From there:

  1. Find out what restrictions apply. Is there a group size limit; age range; student-to-parent ratio; days and times? Is there a fee? Is photography allowed? Ask for directions, to provide to attendees.
  2. Set a date, and ask for suggestions to prepare the children for the visit. A book list or web site list is nice!
  3. Start publicizing. Your local list is the place to post a message if you want only your members to join your event. For a wider audience and larger response, post to a regional or statewide homeschool discussion list--which you can find through or through NHEN's online support groups search page:
  4. Keep track of respondents. You'll want their names, number and ages of children attending, and contact information (phone and/or E-mail). It might be easiest to create a temporary file in your E-mail program, and place all responses there.
  5. If the site requires a deposit, fee in advance or paid reservations, collect the money for each family as they register. This can save you a big headache later on! If a family cannot attend for whatever reason, tell them they are responsible for "selling" their slot if they want to recoup their money. Of course, it is appropriate to help out with this if you can.
  6. If possible, recommend books or web sites for the families to utilize in preparing for their field trip.
  7. It can't hurt to send out a reminder the day before, and include a short memo about appropriate conduct. Remember to include directions and any rules, such as a prohibition against photographs.
  8. Confirm with the host site as needed.
  9. Bring a blank Thank You note or card with you to the field trip. This may be the only time you have these particular people together in one place! Encourage group members to sign the note before leaving the premises. Note who has taken photos, and ask for their phone numbers, so you can obtain a photo to send with the note.
  10. Be sure to verbally thank the field trip host before leaving the site. They will appreciate it if you can say some specific things about what you enjoyed.

Copyright 2002, Shay Seaborne. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author. Other articles by Shay Seaborne can be found at her website:

About the Author: Shay Seaborne is a Virginia native, and has been officially homeschooling her two children since 1995. Her hobbies include genealogy, gardening, monitoring a bluebird trail, and creating artwork. She is also a softie for wayward animals, and has welcomed two rescued cats - Comfy Rags and Wish Come True - into her family. Shay is co-founder and facilitator of the FOLC eclectic homeschool group) in Prince William County, VA. She is an active volunteer and advocate for the Virginia Home Education Association (VHEA), and has served on its board of directors since 2001. She is also founder and moderator of the very large, active VaEclecticHomeschool e-mail list.

These articles are shared freely from the NHEN Article Clearinghouse -

Growing Together Family Learning Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, page 5

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