Go! Tips

What do YOU do to make your learning adventures go smoothly?
How do you decide where to go, or put fun adventures together?
Have other tips to share?
Leave tips in the comments below or become a Goschooler Reviewer. (right)

TIP 1: Put it on your calendar! Even if "it" is a blank space. Keep time open for any adventures that may arise. Even if the adventure doesn't fall in the time you've saved, you might be able to bump other plans into it to make time for those unscheduled opportunities.

TIP 2: Don't rush. Leave yourself plenty of time for travel and to take it all in. Rushing increases stress which decreases retention. But with enough time, you'll be free to try a new road, make an unplanned stop, have an extended conversation with an expert. And if nothing else, you'll have time to relax after your learning adventure, which INCREASES retention!

TIP 3: Bring food. Remember how stress decreases retention? Well hunger can cause stress too! Food can be a great transition from one activity to another for little ones ("I have a granola bar for everyone who is ready to go and buckled in their car seat.") AND with your extra time (see tip 2), you might enjoy a picnic, increasing the enjoyment for everyone which - you guessed it! - ALSO increases retention!

TIP 4: Bring friends. Start a field trip co-op so you only plan one adventure but have many more to go on! If the ages and stages of children are a good match, management can be easier with the buddy system. AND a larger group may make your adventurers eligible for individualized attention, tours, or group discounts.

TIP 5: Be open, be connected. There as as many different passions as there are people in the world. Talking to people about what they love not only brings you closer, but is a great way to discover new adventures and learning opportunities you may not have considered. If you are willing to try anything good at least once, you might discover you love more than you ever knew!

Managing Museums

I love taking my family to museums. Over the years I have learned a few tricks to maximize learning and save money. Here they are:

1. Find out about free days or opportunities to go for free or at a discount. Many museums offer free days to the public in exchange for public tax funds. Others may offer discounts to groups or homeschoolers. Any time you hit a new museum, try to go as inexpensively as possible.

2. Leave lots of time for your first visit. Some museums will engage your children and they won't want to leave. Try to leave lots of time for your first visit. If you've gone on a free day, you may need it for the crowds. And if you have payed money, you never want to short change any experience your kids may be enjoying. If they aren't engaged, you can always leave earlier than planned.

3. Get a membership. When you find a museum that rocks your kids' worlds, get a membership. This decreases what you spend on each visit and allows your kids to learn more, and more deeply each time they go. I would only recommend one museum membership per family per year. The bonus is that many memberships allow visits to other museums for free or at a discounted rate. Try a new membership to a different museum each year. They make great Christmas gifts!

4. When you go often, ask your kids before you enter what they already know about some of the displays and things inside. Then invite them to learn three NEW things on your visit and report back on what they found out. With regular visits, you may wrap up a year's membership with a child expert on your hands!

5. Go and go again. Some museums are geared for different ages, and we never know when a subject or display will suddenly engage our kids. That's why trying as many as you are able each year on the cheap is a great idea - you may discover your child is suddenly interested in art, or dinosaurs, or space when he hadn't been before! Pick the one that meets the most pressing needs and master that location for a year with a membership.

Other Ideas 

*Consider a Picnic Sheet Instead of a Picnic Blanket!  A picnic sheet is perfect for hot weather! A sheet is not only less heavy and takes less room (crucial factors if your capable big people are outnumbered by little ones), but placed on grass it let's some of the cool through, keeping you more comfortable. And at the beach, it holds less sand than a fuzy blanket or quilt. (Hang on to your picnic blanket though! They are nice for spring, fall, and evening cooler temperatures!)

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