With summer almost here, vacation planning is in full swing. As homeschoolers, the learning does not have to end when we take off for family vacations. Learning should be a natural extension of our children’s day-to-day experiences in the classroom of life!
Family vacations are the perfect time to get in some fun, hands-on, child-led learning. However, while vacations can provide a wealth of educational opportunities, try not to cram in too many lessons. Keep the family vacation fun and flexible with plenty of free time.
No matter where you go or what you do, you can find ways to explore the wildlife, geography, history and culture of the area you are visiting. Plan a vacation around your child’s interests or a family hobby. If it were up to my boys, we would end up at Disney World or LEGOLAND, which is just fine since there is so much to learn at both of these parks.
Homeschool vacation ideas
Head to the beach. Study marine biology, explore tide pools, catch and observe crabs and clams or gather shells. Use a unit study to guide the learning process.
Go back in time, and experience a part of American history. If you can’t visit the Colonial Williamsburg living history museum, try a colonial museum or plantation home closer to home to travel back in time and become immersed in the everyday life of colonial times.
Plan a trip to Washington, DC. Where better to study American history than in our nation’s capital? Visit the National Mall, Smithsonian museum, Veteran Memorials, Lincoln Memorial, Library of Congress and the White House.
For more homeschool vacation ideas, read through the Homeschoolers Guide to Field Trip & Family Vacations, a 140-page guide to educational family vacation destinations listed by state.
Learning while on vacation
Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your educational family vacation:
- Visit your local library and check out books to research your travel destination beforehand.
- Create a travel journal or a fun unit study for each child to record vacation highlights, moments to remember or educational facts. Be sure to include a glue stick so to attach memorabilia.
- Research the famous people and places in the area you will be visiting.
- Visit the websites of any destination you plan on visiting for education resources and materials, most sites will provide them free of charge.
- Keep a running list of the people, places and foods you encounter from different countries and cultures, then let the child create their own passport for this project.
Family time, togetherness and the memories made will be most cherished on any trip you decide to take. Remember to be flexible, and don’t stress if the educational side of your vacation is not coming together as you had planned. Lessons in patience, sharing and teamwork are important too. Happy homeschool vacationing!