Planning for a Field Trip
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Businesses can be some of the best field trip destinations. A field trip to a business can give your students a fascinating view into how some of the subjects they are learning about actually apply to the real world. They also help kids explore possible career options. Many businesses support tours, such as field trips, because they make for good public relations. In these cases, arranging a field trip is usually straightforward.
For those businesses that don't support field trips in a formal way, you might have to work a bit harder to make it happen. If you'd like to visit such a business on a field trip and you know someone who works there, that person should be your first contact. He can either help you plan the field trip or can put you in touch with the person to whom you need to speak to make the appropriate arrangements.
If you don't know anyone who works at a facility, contact that organization's public relations department. They will be able to help you make arrangements.
Some organizations that do not formally support field trips might be willing to have you visit when they know that it will be a relatively small group of homeschoolers. Companies are often willing to provide one-time tours without needing to have a formal visit program in place, especially for homeschoolers, who have a reputation for being pleasant to host.
Planning a Field Trip
There are two general types of field trip destinations you will visit.
One type is where your field trip doesn't require (or benefit from) formal support from someone at the location. At these locations you control most aspects of the field trip and the responsibility for making it work the way you want it to. The benefit of this type of field trip is that it doesn't require that you coordinate your field trip with anyone at the destination and you are free to conduct the field trip as you see fit (within the confines of the location's rules, of course). That benefit is also a drawback in that you will be responsible for everything about your field trip and won't have support, such as that you would get from a staff. Destinations of this type include national and local parks, zoos, and other "public places."
The other type of field trip is where you do get support from the destination by being able to take "official" tours or by participating in specific programs. These types of trips require a bit more planning and coordination on your part, but that additional work is often well worth it because you will have access to the people who run the facility and who know its operations better than you. Formal field trip support usually includes activities that aren't available to the general public such as backstage tours, behind-the-scenes demonstrations, and so on.
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Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.