As we like to remind homeschool families — just because your kids get older it doesn’t mean their hands-on, experiential learning has to stop!
Schedules do get busier when kids move into the higher grades, but it is still important to plan opportunities for students to explore their community as a way to enhance their learning.
Below are some of the places middle & high school kids should visit. These field trips will be interesting to older students because they offer a great deal of practical knowledge. By spending time at these places students will not only make connections between the subjects they have been studying and the world around them, but they will also better understand what it means to be a a part of the community they live and work in.
Field Trips for Middle and High School Students
1. State Capitol Building
Most states require high school students to complete a Government class. Plan to have your teen spend a day at the state capitol meeting legislators, learning how state government operates, witnessing discussions on issues, and more. Many offer homeschool days or tours specifically for homeschool families. Contact your state representatives to determine the best time of year to visit.
2. Local Government Buildings
Soon enough your child will be old enough to drive, vote, and have a part-time job. It is important for teens to understand what it means to be an active citizen within their local community. Students should learn how the local government agencies operate, where the buildings are located, and which department to contact with specific questions. Your family can make arrangements to visit the supervisor of elections, courts, sheriff’s department, election offices for local candidates, and more.
3. Television Station
My kids have always been curious to learn about “behind the scenes” type information. On several occasion we have visited TV stations and newspaper offices to find out what it takes to research and present the news. We have learned about how many people are needed to create and present a TV broadcast, the equipment and technology used, the amount of research and preparation that goes into writing news stories, etc.
4. Historical Sites
Unfortunately many teens think the study of history is boring. Actually, history is very interesting, especially if you help kids get to know the people and experiences of the past. By visiting birth places of famous people, battlefields, historical buildings, national parks, and museums students can better understand the circumstances surrounding important events and decisions people made when faced with difficult situations.
5. Factory Tours
Do your kids ever think about how something is made or why it operates in a certain way? A lot of hard work goes into bringing a product to market. Factory tours will help teens think about items they use everyday in a new way. You can visit a small family-run candy factory, food processing facilities, car and airplane manufacturers, and more – find tours in your area with the help of Factory Tours USA.
6. Art Museums
I have to admit, when my kids were younger they weren’t the biggest fans of art museums. Recently we have started to re-visit some wonderful museums and my teens don’t want to leave! They now realize how so many subjects they have studied come together in an art museum. By visiting these museums we can see historical artifacts, learn about the life and times of artists, get a glimpse into societal issues of the past, see demonstrations of various art techniques, and so much more.
7. Live Stage Performances
For years our book club has enjoyed reading books together and discussing them as a group. Sometimes we watch a movie based on the book and compare the film and print versions of the story. We really enjoy when we have a chance to see a live stage performance of our favorite books. Last year we were dreading reading Shakespeare, but it actually turned out to be one of our best learning experiences of the year because we were able to see the play come to life during a live stage show. Not only did the story make sense, it was also a lot of fun!
Although Broadway style shows are wonderful, you don’ have to go for just large scale productions. Look for local theater productions of stories your family is familiar with. Many local theaters offer student performances/prices during the day, study guides, and even opportunities for students to talk with the actors after the show.
8. Small Businesses
Does your student want to be a young entrepreneur? Starting a business can be fun and interesting, but it requires a lot of hard work. Look around your community and find small locally owned businesses. Stop by and ask to talk with the business owner about how/why they started their business, what type of experience/education they had before launching their business, things they do differently, what advice they have for young entrepreneurs, etc. Who knows, your child might even find a part-time job or mentor through the experience!
We hope your older children have fun and valuable experiences as they begin to explore their community in greater detail.
What field trips would you recommend for middle & high school students?
Make sure to check out all of our other Simple Back to Homeschooling ideas!