Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Links and Items
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Community Field Trips in Illinois
Chicago Area Homeschool Field Trips
A group of homeschooling parents dedicated to providing local field trips and group classes in the Chicago Metropolitan Area by taking advantage of discounts and special privileges given to groups versus individuals. Parents volunteer to organize events geared towards the age, interest and benefit of their students. Each event or part of it is usually aimed at a specific age or grade range. Any member may organize trips, and post events sponsored by other groups.
CiCi's Pizza Field Trips
CiCi's Pizza offers Lunch & Learn Field Trips for school groups. This is a hands-on workshop at CiCi's designed by teachers to help kids develop basic math skills. Students use pizza ingredients and other related items to solve problems, and in the process make and enjoy their very own pizza! They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced math level curricula.
Factory Tours
Long Grove Confectionery Company
Located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, the Long Grove Confectionery Company Chocolate Factory Tour takes you under the Antique Stained Glass Dome in the 85,000 square foot Long Grove Confectionery to begin your tour of the specialty chocolate kitchen. The tour includes a short video on how cacao is grown and processed into chocolate, a history of the family-owned business, giant sculpted chocolate, and a viewing of the production and packaging of thier chocolates. Includes a visit to the factory store where purchases can be made at a discount. There is a fee associated with this tour.
Zoos & Wildlife
Henson Robinson Zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo is located in Springfield. More than 300 animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America find refuge at the zoo. Come and view the naturalistic exhibits that house more than 90 species of native and exotic animals. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the lagoons and watch mischievous spider monkeys at play on monkey island. Delight at the river otters. Marvel at the grace of the cheetahs and the deceivingly cuddly appearance of the Asiatic black bear. Then take a walk on the wild side with cougars, gibbons, lemurs, and more.
Scovill Zoo
From cheetahs to spider monkeys, giant toads to pygmy goats, you can journey around the world at Scovill Zoo. See animals on the verge of extinction as you take a spin on the Endangered Species Carousel, journey through the zoo on the Z.O. & O. Express train, feed the goats in the petting area, and search for the glass lizard in the herpaquarium. Located in Decatur.
Miller Park Zoo
Bloomington's Miller Park Zoo features a walk through Wallaby exhibit, the new ZooLab exploration center, which includes an indoor butterfly and birds exhibit (butterflies from April-October), sun bears, snow leopards, red wolves, Sumatran tiger, a Children's Zoo, and a rain forest exhibit.
Cosley Zoo
Located in Wheaton, the Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. You can enjoy sitting by the picturesque duck pond, get close to a 2,000 pound horse, and if you're lucky, hear the coyotes howl. The 1887 railroad station, antique caboose, and a 125-year-old barn provide visitors with a piece of local history.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is one of the nation's oldest zoo and one of the last free zoos in the country. More than 1,000 animals make their home here. Rare and exotic species, as well as more familiar animals, are exhibited in environments that reflect their habitats in the wild.
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is home to animals representing more than 400 species. This magnificent collection inhabits nearly 20 naturalistic exhibits within the zoo's 216 acres.
Glen Oak Zoo
The Glen Oak Zoo is an AZA accredited facility located in Peoria, Illinois, and is home to more than 175 animals from around the world.
John G. Shedd Aquarium
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is the world's largest indoor aquarium. The facility houses nearly 8,000 aquatic animals representing some 650 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year.
Field Trip Tips & Guidelines
Field Trip Planning Form
Helpful form for getting organized when planning field trips. Free and printable.
Field Trip Report Form
This handy printable form lets your child record a written record of your field trip visit.
Field Trips in a Large Family
There are lots of things to love about a large family, but being agile and moving about quickly isn’t really one of them. Learning in action and experiencing something first hand is one of the best things about homeschooling. It’s often what really sets apart our education from that of a traditional brick and mortar school. It is worth it to make the effort for field trips, though it doesn’t necessarily make them any easier!
Field Trips 101
Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed unit. Is there somewhere you’d like to take your children to reinforce a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag along (think: group rate)—voila! You’re planning a field trip!
Chicago Area Homeschool Field Trips
A group of homeschooling parents dedicated to providing local field trips and group classes in the Chicago Metropolitan Area by taking advantage of discounts and special privileges given to groups versus individuals. Parents volunteer to organize events geared towards the age, interest and benefit of their students. Each event or part of it is usually aimed at a specific age or grade range. Any member may organize trips, and post events sponsored by other groups.
Field Trip Guidelines
Some helpful guidelines from Home School Legal Defense Association. The guidelines could easily be adapted as a list for members of a homeschool group. There is also a helpful checklist for field trip planners.
Organizing Homeschool Field Trips for Groups
Organizing group field trips is becoming a highly desired activity in homeschool support groups and co-ops. Not only do they offer social interaction but learning experiences as well. But without good planning, a field trip can end up being just a glorified play date. Home education time is limited, especially with the increasing number of extra curricular options for homeschoolers. Parents are becoming more selective of outside activities and attendance on group trips will fall off if participants aren’t seeing an educational benefit in addition to social time. This e-book will describe how to plan and host a great group field trip that will leave the participants anxious for more and perhaps even take a turn at planning themselves.
Field Trip Guidelines for Homeschool Groups
This letter can be used to establish an understanding about homeschool groups when you organize a field trip.
10 Tips for Finding and Planning Homeschool Field Trips
While it may be easy to understand the value in visiting the aquarium, history museums and other great field trips, a good field trip can provide much more than interesting facts and new discoveries. Field trips don’t have to be complicated or expensive in order to be effective. These ten tips will help make your planning go smoothly.
The Ultimate Guide to Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Field trips don’t have to be elaborate or cost of ton of money to be both fun and educational. Some of the best “field trips” are a nature walk and park lunch with friends. Especially when your children are young, keep them simple. Nature walks, zoos, and local places like the bakery, pizzeria, greenhouse, post office, police station, fire station, coffee shop, you name it you can tour it!
5 Steps to a Successful Field Trip
Summer is a great time for field trips. Your schedule may be a bit more flexible, making it the perfect time to head out and explore! Field trips are an excellent way to enhance the learning done during the previous school year and inspire future learning. Planning and enjoying a field trip for a group or for your own family is easy. Here is a list of ideas to make the most of every experience.
Homeschooling Field Trips :: Planning an Adventure
Field trips make learning fun for you and your kids, and they give everyone a break from the routine of books, pencils and computers. Field trips are a wonderful way to instill the value of lifelong learning in your children, as you both experience and discover new places together. Sometimes getting out of the house for a day gives you a little inspiration, or a spark of curiosity, reaffirming just why you chose to homeschool in the first place. These ideas will help you make the most of your field trips.
Planning Homeschool Field Trips: 10 Things To Do Before You Go
Children enjoy field trips because they’re able to explore new destinations. Parents enjoy field trips because they offer children hands-on learning and specialized information. Farms, museums, gardens, landmarks, industrial centers, battlegrounds, and businesses are great field trip destinations. Educational opportunities at these sites are plentiful, so homeschool parents will want to venture out so their children can glean valuable information. However, in order to experience a worthwhile field trip, some advanced planning is necessary. Here are ten things to do before you go on a homeschool field trip.
How to Plan a Successful Field Trip
One of the highlights of homeschooling is a fun field trip. With the flexibility that homeschooling offers, the world is our oyster, right? Why read about something in a book when you can go experience it firsthand. Planning field trips, however, can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be, though. Read through tips that can help you plan successful field trips for your homeschool group.
10 Rules for Taking Field Trips
At the beginning of each school year, it would be a good time to have a field trip manners lesson with your support group. Parents and children alike sometimes need to think about what it’s like to be a docent or tour leader. Perhaps your group would even like to consider creating some field trip rules. The rules in this article are ten examples.
The Ideal Homeschool Field Trip
Guidelines for planning a great outing with your homeschooling kids. This post is written by an experienced homeschooler who loves to get out and about to learn in a variety of ways.
A Field Trip Should Not Be a Free-For-All
A reminder of the importance of teaching children respect and proper behavior when out enjoying field trips.
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