Parent Community and Forum - Blog: Field Trips and Special Needs
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  • Blog: Field Trips and Special Needs

    Field trips are always a fun addition to any home school schedule. I feel this is even more important to families with special needs children. Not only are field trips fun and often times educational, but they can also help with social skills. Some of my favorite home school memories are of field trips with our friends and the bonds that are formed between my children and their friends. We live in an area with a lot of homeschoolers and my children have been fortunate to be around a lot of the same friends since we started homeschooling.

    We started homeschooling halfway through my sonís kindergarten year and I admit field trips were not always successful in those early days. It would have been easy to completely avoid them (and I admit, sometimes I did) but I am glad I did take them to the ones we didÖeven during difficult times. What better time to learn appropriate social skill but while at an event with other homeschoolers? They learn to sit, listen, and pay attention by watching what their friends are doing. Is it always an easy process? No, but I have seen the progress my son has made by watching his friends.

    We cannot tell our son too far in advance about an event but we normally tell him the day before. We explain where we are going, who we will see, and sometimes I will show him a picture of the place if it is somewhere we have not been to before. This seems to really cut down on the anxiety about the event. He loves going places but sometimes the excitement can cause behaviors even before the event. Letting him know all of the where, who, what, and whyís seems to help with this.

    I feel it is a huge benefit for a child with special needs to be around other children both typically developing and others with special needs. I think the benefit goes way beyond that of the child who has special needs. I know that it is not always easy to be around my son (oh do I ever!) but I think the benefits of children being around others with special needs is just as beneficial! The other children benefit by learning patience, tolerance, and empathy by being around children with special needs. Most likely if they were in public school their contact with special needs children would be limited, and my sonís contact with typical developing children would be even more limited. Itís definitely a win/win situation!

    If you are a family with a special needs child what are your experiences going on field trips with other homeschoolers? If you do not have a child with special needs is your home school group inclusive of families that have a child with special needs? I can tell you from experience acceptance and being inclusive of these families is beneficial for everyone.
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