The general picture people have of homeschooled children is that their learning is cloistered at home with their parents.
The reality is very different from this. They learn much of the time out in their community using small trips to stimulate learning development wherever they are and this is an opportunity that all parents can tap into however their children are educated.
Worthwhile trips out with the kids do not always have to be to huge commercial enterprises, as the media would lead us to believe.
Many local facilities are free and often less stressful than going to an enormous venue that requires a lot of planning. And they can sometimes have a better impact on a developing child, being smaller and more intimate, than a huge overwhelming venue parents are sold as a ‘must’ visit with the kids. Quiet conversations on a low key trip to a venue you may not think about as educative in the first instance can provide just as inspiring an experience to a learning child.
So, learning from home educators’ approaches, consider these ten locations that have that potential:
- Churches, however small, (as well as Minsters and Cathedrals) can be awe inspiring for a child to walk into. They have much history attached to them, provoking further research.
- Graveyards are the same. Not only full of historical prompts on the headstones, but also act as mini nature reserves quite often.
- Small nature reserves exist in many unlikely locations but often remain hidden as they’re not as well promoted as the larger ones. Check your locality to find some.
- To be surrounded by books is exciting for children so the library is another worthwhile destination. They often offer activities too. Bookshops can be the same – not necessarily for shopping but for inspiration. Although purchasing a book does help keep the shops going!
- Check what’s on offer at your local community centre or sports hall and swimming pool. There are usually regular clubs and activities to take part in for developing physical skills.
- If it’s not something you do regularly train rides inspire the kids, particularly if you’re lucky enough to have a historic steam railway near you.
- Riversides and quays, rural and urban, provide historical and nature interest. Small streams are also fascinating to youngsters with a net.
- Local woods, forests, gardens and parks are all worth exploring. Look out for local nature activities, often seasonal, like a bluebell walk, a meet to listen to the dawn chorus, bug hunts, pond dipping, etc
- Farms sometimes have open days, and there are city farms too.
- Charities often have local events related to their specific interest, campaigns or political topics such as litter picking, surveying, clearing beaches of plastic, etc.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of trips to small and seemingly insignificant venues like these. But they can be just as stimulating to youngsters and through our interaction and conversations with them, along with further research, contribute to their educational development in ways it’s easy to overlook.