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Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Deep Thoughts

The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics

Homeschool Field Trip Co-operatives
Join One Today!

Start a co-operative in your area -- it's a fun way to provide educational activities for your children and
a great way to meet other homeschoolers.

What is a field trip co-op...?  
It is a wonderful resource for homeschooling families.  It gives your
child the opportunity to attend a wide variety of educational activities that have been arranged by other
homeschool parents.  

How does it work...?  Co-ops vary a bit in their guidelines, but generally, when you join a co-op you
make a commitment to arrange one field trip for the group during the semester (or sometimes the
school year).  This can be any educational activity - a tour, a trip, an activity, or a class.  In exchange,
your child can attend field trips arranged by other members of the group.  There is no long-term
commitment involved -- you can re-join every year, or not.

What does it cost to join...?  There is usually little to no cost to join the group.  Some groups
schedule "get to know everyone" parties or have parents meet to share ideas for outings.  Others
boast that they have "no dues, no planning meetings, and no volunteer time".  Frequently, the only
commitment is to arrange one educational activity for each semester or school year in which your
family participates.

How much will it cost me in the end...?  It depends on the field trips that you choose to attend.   
Some activities will be entirely free.  Some events (to plays or museums, for example) require an
admission fee.  Some classes ask for a supply fee, or a class fee of a few dollars per student, but
others are free.   Some classes are expensive - such as a four-week class learning to use a potter's
wheel.  Families are free to choose events within their budgets.

Why should I join...?  Because, by ourselves, we can only do so much.  If we pool our talents and
interests and energy - we can provide an amazing array of educational opportunities for our kids.  All
our children will benefit from our combined efforts.  

This is also a great way to build a homeschooling community.  We can meet new families who
share our interests.   We can meet with others who agree that home-based education is a wonderful
choice.  Our kids can interact with each other, make new friends, and also learn some really cool

Why haven't I heard about co-ops before...?   Probably because field trip co-ops are a pretty new
idea!  But wherever it is introduced, it tends to catch on quickly :-)

But... how do I think up a field trip to offer...?   

There are several options:

If you have a hobby or talent or career that kids would find interesting... you can give a demonstration
of what you do, or give a class to show them how to do it.  If you have a skill or profession that you can
introduce kids to... think of a way to share it with them.  You can do one outing... or a series.  Or start a
club that meets weekly or monthly!

Imagine the possibilities...  setting up an aquarium, maple syruping, leather craft, weaving, wood
carving, raising worms, running a dairy farm, a factory tour, floral arrangement, cake decorating,
changing the oil in your car, writing Letters to the Editor, sewing, word processing, foreign language
clubs, chess clubs, learning old-timey games, pre-school activities, book clubs, geography clubs,
writing Haiku, orienteering, American Girl clubs, caring for a horse, kitchen science, wiring a lamp,
volleyball, jumping-rope... you can make learning fun!

Another option is to arrange for a group to attend a play or performance.  The major venues
all have websites that explain how to reserve blocks of tickets (at reduced prices) for school groups...  
please check with the co-op coordinators before reserving tickets – someone else may have had the
same idea.

Another option is to arrange for a homeschool class at a museum, nature center, or rec
This is a great opportunity to arrange something that your child (in particular) would enjoy...
but might not be able to do without being in a group… such as science or nature classes, art classes,
music lessons, dance or acting classes, swim lessons, karate, fencing, etc.

The possibilities are endless... just focus on the idea of an "educational opportunity" and I'm sure
you can think of something that you wouldn't mind doing... and the kids would enjoy learning about!  
You can target a specific age group or ability level, or you can keep things open to all ages and
 You can even do more than one field trip if you want!  

This is so cool!  How do I join...?   
Just contact person listed below and tell her you'd like to become
a member!  

Are these field trip co-ops open to all homeschoolers...?  
Yes, they are!  So, please pass this info on to your other local homeschool groups.  The more
members that a field trip co-op has... the more activities there will be to choose from!   I can't wait to
see what fun and educational field trips you come up with!   

*Copyright 2003, 2006 by Julie Shepherd Knapp.  Permission is granted for individuals and homeschool groups to
, print, and distribute this article, "Homeschool Field Trip Co-operatives" to help them form field trip co-operatives in
their area.  Please include this copyright info and permission to reproduce and distribute in your final product
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Try not to have a good time ...
This is supposed to be educational.  
-- Charles Schulz