Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Museum Learning on a Budget

The last few months have been blessed with a lot of interesting, informative and fun field trips for our family homeschooling enjoyment. When I look back at my elementary school years (in public school) it is the experiences, projects and field trips that made the biggest impact on me (i.e. I still remember them.) So, I am always trying to throw those kind of learning experiences on the kiddos.
All of these museums might seem like they would add up to $$$$$$$, but actually, I feel like we've tackled them in a very affordable way.

Here's how:
1. FAMILY MEMBERSHIPS! We have a family membership to our local aquarium. It would cost our family about $130 to get in for one day, but the year membership for a family of two adults and all the children in the house is only about $125! WOW! I feel thankful every time we go, and we go a lot. I took the three littles most of the Mondays this semester while the two bigs were at their homeschool tutorial. And now that summer is here, we have an awesome entertainment for rainy or too-hot days. So, look into family memberships.
2. FREE MUSEUMS! Most of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. and most of the museums in St. Louis are free. (Makes me feel like running and skipping through a field!) We have enjoyed the Missouri History Museum, Smithsonian Museums, National Archives all for free! I am sure there are other cities with the same benefits. Check it out!
3. ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers) Travel Passport Program   This is a best-kept secret, for sure! I can't rave enough about how much of a deal this is! This is a group of museums where if you join one, you can visit any of the others that are 90 miles or more away from the one you joined for... Free. Yes, you heard right! Being a member of one gets you into them all. So my family is a member of the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We got a two year membership for our whole family for $70. We have visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL and Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, GA for only the gas money to get there. Hurrah! The list of museums that participate in the passport program is very long; I'm sure you could find one or two or twelve near you!

We've seen rockets and dinosaurs and panned for gemstones and dug up dinosaur bones.


We've looked at helicopters and learned about bears.



We've held the Washington Monument in our hand (sort of).


And we've stopped to cool off in some beautiful places!


I know I could never teach the kids from books, worksheets, curriculum or the internet what they have learned in person from these museums. I am very thankful!