Over 40 {Free} Field Trips for Homeschooling Families in Wichita

field trips for homeschooling families in wichita

Homeschool families have a variety of motives for homeschooling, and contrary to what some might think, being a “cheap” option is typically not one of them. Homeschool education can be a rather pricy endeavor, and I’m sure we all have a story to share about that time we got “creative” finding inexpensive alternatives.

It wasn’t until our fourth year of homeschooling that we finally discovered that savvy resourcing, (not an elaborate budget), is all it takes to achieve a quality homeschool experience.

And we have some pretty amazing {free or really inexpensive} resources right here in Wichita.

Our family tries to view education by encouraging our children’s natural pattern to engage in an exploration process, rather than a series of rote memorization. We have found they retain information better and even have more acute reasoning skills in real world situations. These results just scratch the surface of why we have become insanely passionate about creating an environment of self-learning inspired by our children’s personal interests.

This list is a culmination of our family’s “unschooling” journey right here in Sedgwick County.

Art

Ulrich Museum of Art: A monthly inspection of their upcoming events calendar will reveal a whole world of free art activities; including my personal favorite “Empty Bowls”.

Wichita Art Museum: Hosts Art Start for children ages 3 to 5 to engage with art, imagine, and learn together. Of course, admission is always free on Saturdays.

Wichita Center for the Arts: Scholastic awards offered for contest submissions winners. Scholarships are also available, so act quick and fill out a scholarship form to get your budding artist plugged in.

Ballet in the Park: During the summer there are a variety of outdoor plays presented at local Wichita parks; performed by the Wichita Ballet. Their Facebook page is good about announcing performances.

Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestra : Available scholarships are awarded to talented musicians based on tryout results.

Biblical Studies

Church Meet-up: After studying about Eric Liddell this year, we were inspired to visit a local Chinese Church to learn the difference between how our cultures worship Christ. I encourage you to contact others to learn more about church and religious history.

AWANA: “A global, nonprofit ministry committed to the belief that the greatest impact for Christ starts with kids who know, love and serve Him.” Find a group near you, today!

Vacation Bible School: A simple google search will reveal all the local church’s VBS schedules and themes

Community/Culture

Businesses: Behind the Scenes: I’ve approached a number of businesses that I am personally interested in hosting a behind the scenes tour. I’m still working on coordinating these hands-on events, but receptive establishments have comprised of a sausage making class at The Chop Shop, donut decorating at The Donut Whole, and a cooking class at Taste and See. I think because this is a new school of thought (pun intended) in the area, many business have bAviation Museumeen receptive to this unique exposure through community outreach.

Urban Farm Tours: Home Grown Kansas is a vibrant, active, urban farm that has been very open to tours; but there are quite a few in the country to approach and visit.

Small Town Museums: The Derby Historical Museum is just an example of a small town museum available for schools to coordinate free history lessons. Check to see the closest one in your area.

Airport Tour: I’m still waiting to hear back for an upcoming tour, but I have participated in airport tours with other groups. They usually include history of the airport as well as information that teach kids how an airport operates. We have even gotten some pretty sweet swag in the past. It never hurts to ask.

Fairs and Festivals: Some of these occur outside Sedgwick County but it’s a rather extensive list that can be filtered by date/location. Feeling adventurous?

Hiking Trails: Consult the Trail Link to discover hidden trails all throughout the county. Sorted by length, this list even includes a short description of the area and possible nearby parks to stop and have a picnic. A great way to mix things up and even get some schoolwork outdoors; don’t forget your books!

YMCA: As a member, you have access to free/cheap Homeschool classes, including P.E.

Kids Bowl Free: All Summer Long! (Shoe rentals usually cost around $2 each)

Palace West Wichita: Not Free…but worth mentioning that movies are $1.50 every “Time Warp Tuesday.” Keep tabs on what’s playing.

History/Government

Host a Geography Fair:  A Geography Fair provides an interactive approach to learning Geography. The concept is simple, each student researches a country and presents their findings using displays, posters, reports and of course…FOOD! The Homeschool Hackers are hosting ours on November 6th.

The Wichita Historical Museum: Their mission is to “educate the community and its visitors about the local history by collecting, preserving and interpreting materials that reflect Sedgwick County.” Be sure to inquire about their FREE guided school tours.

City Hall/Trolley Tour: There is a formal request form that can easily be obtained by contacting them on Facebook, including choices to tour the Mayor and City Council Chambers, Studio 7, Municipal Court or The City Mangers Office. I’m also in the works of coordinating to include a trolley tour.

Mid-American Indian Center: Most lectures and community Nights are free. Including their Big Read event on October 17th.

Skype in the Classroom: National historical societies host lesson discussions via Skype in the classroom, such as the upcoming “Learn about Fort Loudoun, an Outpost Among the Cherokee.”

Life Skills/Occupational

Police/Fire Department Tour: For Fire Safety Week, our group has secured our tour of Station 81 in Derby. This is a service they also offer the public schools and they are very receptive to having homeschoolers visit as well.

High School Internships: Every summer a variety of local businesses offer internships to students preparing to enter college. If there is not a company on this list, I suggest approaching one to inquire.

Young Entrepreneurs: This nonprofit organization teaches business and entrepreneurial skills to high school students across the state. They believe” teaching entrepreneurship better prepares students for success in business and other future career and education endeavors.” Get plugged into the Wichita branch.

Wichita Entrepreneurs Task Force: Currently under development, this centrally located group is looking to fund up-and-coming technological ideas that expand industry in Wichita far beyond aerospace.

Code/3D Printing: Right now there is a company based in Australia offering Skype Sessions to teach and demonstrate how coding and 3D printing combine to create some pretty amazing things.

MakeICT Makers Space: “A maker space is a location where people with common interests can meet, socialize and/or collaborate. Makers space can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where makers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things. Their long term goal includes a location close to downtown Wichita that would include elements of a wood shop, machine shop, electronics lab, science lab, and art studio. But for now, come and collaborate. “

Lowes/Home Depot: Build and Grow with their free workshops, once a month.

Willams Sonoma: Participate in their adult or kids cooking class every Saturday. They post their schedules at the end of the month, but space is limited. Call for most up to date details and to snag your spot.

Literature

Your Local Library: As a homeschooler, the library is not doubt one of your most valuable resources. But, we keep tabs of their afterschool activities as well, which normally include a hands on activity. We live close enough for our kids to walk, so they participate every week.

Host a Literature Circle: A literature circle is an age appropriate book club that teaches a variety of skills that are sometimes lacking in the life of a homeschooler, including group collaboration and public speaking. We are in the midst of one now and will begin the next cycle in January.

Live Book Discussion: Meet an author and host a book discussion VIA skype in the classroom.

Math/Science

The Fairmount Center for Math and Science

  1. Jason Days: Yearly from September 22-October 2 JASON ”offers students and teachers in upper elementary and middle school a comprehensive, multimedia approach to enhance teaching and learning in science, technology, math, geography, and language arts. The project delivers its educational content through a print curriculum, videos, interactive Internet programming, and live web-based broadcasts with a renowned host researchers.”
  2. Classroom Kits: Visit their lending library full of “math/science kits for teachers to use to teach hands-on science to their students. The kits range from single topic kits that can be used for a few days to kits that comprise a whole unit and can be kept in the classroom for several weeks. Each kit contains enough materials for an entire classroom to participate. There is no charge to use these kits, however teachers need to make arrangements to pick the kits up.”
  3. Classroom Presentations: You can schedule a time for a “FaCSME staff member to bring materials to engage, educate, and entertain students in a variety of science topics. Each presentation is 45 to 60 minutes with the content adjusted so it is appropriate to the grade level.”

Wichita State University’s SEED program: SEEDS is a program for K-12 students offered through the College of Engineering at Wichita State University. “The objective of SEEDS is to promote science, technology, engineering, and math skills so that young people will be familiar with the career options that exist in engineering.”

Great Plains Nature Center: Keep an eye on their ongoing nature activities. There is always something very interactive to get involved in.

Chaplin Nature Center (Wichita Audubahn Society) Their winter homeschool classes start soon! Including nature walks, butterfly tagging and of course plenty of outdoor exploration.

Kansas Starbase: This summer STEM academy is available to students who have completed 4th, 5th, or 6th grade. NO EXCEPTIONS! It is held yearly on McConnell Air Base; Limited space available.

Upward Bound Math and Science: Hosted by Wichita State University, it “provides an academic-year program and a summer program for low-income, first-generation high school freshmen through seniors who are interested in math, science, engineering, or health professions and encourages them to pursue these subjects as post-secondary majors.”

Math League: As a registered and recognized “school” did you know you can create your own? You can!

I hope you’ve gotten some great encouragement on all the local options available to create a pretty epic home education experience. However, if you feel overwhelmed by all the things there are to do in the area, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Feel free to join the Homeschool Hackers group on Facebook and take advantage of most of these already available for you and your students to participate in.

Are you a homeschool family? What are your favorite field trips?


 

Sarah BioBalancing life and clients one adventure at a time. As a passionate military spouse, homeschool mom and social media marketer, I’m always creativly looking to innovate everything I get my hands on. Who’s with me?
 
Follow me professionally at SarahStahl.com or just for fun on Twitter @mrsdstahl

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