Here is how to make a great homeschool co-op year for your students.
Sparkle Your Homeschool Co-op with Fabulous Field Trips
The 7Sisters and many of our buddies had a homeschool co-op for many years. We loved having a mom who LIKED a topic teach it to our kids. We loved the fun of brainstorming and praying together. We loved watching our kids grow up together. One of the things we loved most, that added sparkle to each year, was the wonderful field trips we took together.
Going on field trips is one of the best things about homeschooling. Getting to experience tons of learning in unusual and exciting environments, receiving instruction from folks who are passionate about their subject area….that’s the stuff!
We live in the DE/MD/PA area, so many of these field trip ideas are in our neck-o-the-woods, but you’ll see a few suggestions that reach far beyond our locale. Here’s hoping you find some inspiration to go someplace fun and learn something fabulous with your homeschooler co-op!
* Maryland- Conowingo Dam, Ft. McHenry National Historic Park, Harmon Plantation, The National Aquarium – Baltimore, The Maryland Zoo, National Cryptologic Museum at Ft Meade
* Massachusetts- Boston, Plymouth
* Virginia- Jamestown National Park, Yorktown National Park, Williamsburg
* Delaware- Pea Patch Island State Park, Grand Opera House Performances, Old New Castle (historic town), Cape Henlopen State Park, Blood Bank
* New York City- United Nations, Times Square, FAO Schwartz, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, New York/New Jersey- State Line State Park
*New Jersey- Wheatland Village Glassblowers, Cape May
* Pennsylvania- Gettysburg National Park, Canoe Creek State Park (cool bats) Raccoon Creek (water bikes), Lancaster, Valley Forge National Park, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, The Franklin Institute Science Museum and Independence Hall in Philadelphia
*North Carolina- Kitty Hawk, Ocracoke, Roanoke
* Washington, DC – the White House, the Monuments, the Capital, Smithsonian Museum, Arlington National Cemetery
*San Antonio, Tx- Alamo, River Walk, Local Caves
* Any “special events” at local historic sites where they had costumed guides/reenactors
* Local Nature Centers
Ok, we have to stop somewhere. Lots of these trips, we took as a homeschool co-op. (If you are starting a homeschool co-op, download How to Start a Co-op.)
What are your favorite homeschool and co-op field trips?
Learning is not tied to one location! Homeschoolers learn wherever they are – read Vicki’s post about places that their family homeschooled.
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13 Replies to “Sparkle Your Homeschool Co-op with Fabulous Field Trips”
We could also add Niagra Falls, Fort McHenry, Toronto, and the Renaissance Faire.
I can’t help myself! I just love field trips…Strasburg Railroad in Pa. is a great place for kids of ALL ages. You can ride the trains, or just watch the steam engines puff away, browse the shops and visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a huge warehouse-sized building with rows and rows of train engines and cars, and information about their history.
Maureen, My Civil War re-enacting son (whom you know to be a bit opinionated) would somewhat disagree with your opinion of Gettysburg setting the bar high. He believes it has been too commercialized, and the other “off the beaten path” sites are better.
Yes, but for non-re-enactment nerds, Gettysburg is THE place. (Watch the movie before you go or bring it on DVD to watch while there). A great driving tour., love the cycleroma, the new visitors’ center…and who can beat Devil’s Den, Pickett’s Charge, or Little Roundtop? All conveniently located in a really cute small city.
While chatting about this post with some homeschool mom-friends, here are some ideas they game me:
Luray Caverns, VA
Lavendar Fields, Milton, DE
Missions in CA
Goofy roadside attractions such as The World’s Largest Hammock in NC
London- the whole place
4-H off-the-beaten-path trips like architectural walking tours
Forget Crystal Cave in PA, and spring for a trip to Karchner Caverns in AZ! and while you are there, visit the Titan Missile Museum.
Advice: visit all the other Civil War sites before going to Gettysburg. If you go there first, it will set the bar really high, and you will compare every other field trip to it.
Other really great places to take your homeschoolers:
Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA
The Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor, NJ
Skiing and/or snowboarding – not a field trip, but a great family tradition to start (I just organize and sit by the fire inside)
Maureen, you’re missing out by sitting in by the fire! (just my opinion of course)
Hagley Museum is one of our favorite places in Delaware. Delaware wouldn’t be Delaware without the DuPonts, and Hagley is pretty much the DuPont history, as well as beautiful scenery, and cool working models. We loved Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home, in Virginia. I have boys who are fascinated with guns, so they like the NRA museum in Virginia. The University of Pennsylvania’s Archaeology Museum has AWESOME collections! Of course, I’m required to put in a plug for Civil War sites: Gettysburg, Pa., Mannassas, Va., Pamplin Civil War Park in Va., Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., Fredericksburg, Va., Fort Donelson, Tenn., Shiloh, Tenn. Fort Boonesborough, Ky. is a great place. (I have to throw in here that one of my boys was so into Daniel Boone that he refused to sleep in his bed for years because D. Boone wouldn’t have slept in a bed!) Elizabethtown, Ky. is a lovely, genteel old Southern Civil War town with quaint shops, a CW museum and a neat railroad museum. Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky is beautiful with lots of nature, outdoor activities and “the Old Home Place,” an 1850’s working, living history farmstead. Whew! I got carried away with all the memories. As you said, I have to stop somewhere, so I’ll end with this one: Our kids’ (from co-op) favorite field trip was the one to Concord Mall when we tried to go to Crystal Caves and could never find our way! 😀
Our kids *loved* visiting the Herr’s potato chip factory during their elementary-school years!
Iron Hill Museum is great for geology & local history. http://www.ironhill-museum.org/
If you like to explore on your own, head down to the Delaware City end of the C&D canal (right next to the Reedy Pt.Bridge) to explore the piles of dredging spoils for squid fossils http://devonian.org/CandDCanal.html
If you are studying the Civil War, in addition to Gettysburg the Antietam battlefield (Sharpsburg, MD) and Harpers Ferry, WV are two other great sites to explore. Even without its historical importance, Harpers Ferry is a great place to go for a hike and enjoy its scenic beauty, or even go white-water rafting.
I forgot about Herrs, Brian. Which is ridiculous since they are practically in my backyard.
Hey, Angela, I’ve been to Land Between the Lakes, KY. There are some really cool archeological sites there and good hiking.