Most families who homeschool live on a single income, which can make taking yearly vacations a bit tricky. Some years, the dollars just don’t stretch far enough to pay the regular expenses and save up for a trip as well. If you are in this situation, do not despair. Fortunately, there are all sorts of super fun activities you can do without ever spending big bucks – or even leaving your hometown!
Here are 7 Super Fun Staycation Ideas for Families Who Homeschool:
1 – Camping in the Backyard – If you have a backyard, you can enjoy the best parts of a camping trip without ever leaving your home. Pitch a tent in your backyard. Roast marshmallows over a campfire. Lay on a blanket and look up at the stars. Give your kids a jar with holes in the lid and let them catch lightning bugs. Run through the sprinkler with them. Try to do as much as possible without entering your house to make the experience as authentic as possible. Lots of fun memories can be made in this way!
2 – Movie Night – It can get quite expensive to take an entire family to the movie theater. It’s so much less expensive to rent a movie and watch it at home. To make the experience special, be sure to pop some popcorn. Dim the lights. You can even buy movie theater candy at most grocery stores and offer that to the kids as well.
3 – Game Day – There are all kinds of variations you can make for this one. Have a Wii U Marathon. Play a bunch of board games back-to-back. Play touch football or soccer in the backyard. When we have a game day around here, we like to accompany it with an All Day Buffet. I premake some of our favorite foods and set out a delicious spread on the counter. Then, everyone is allowed to help themselves to food and snacks while we play. The added benefit to this scheme is that I get the entire day off from cooking. Be sure to have paper plates and plastic silverware available so that cleanup is also a breeze.
4 – Reading Aloud – Choose a favorite book and have dad read it aloud to the entire family each night before the kids go to bed. This is a wonderful time for family bonding and it’s a great way to experience some of those books that you meant to get to during the school year… but didn’t. Another variation on this idea is for the entire family to listen to an audio drama together. Lamplighter Theatre and Heirloom Audio Productions are some of our favorites!
5 – Biking – Depending on the age of your kids, you can get elaborate with this one as well. You can take short bike rides around your neighborhood. Or, you can have everyone wear backpacks filled with food and drinks and make a day out of it. More and more cities are making bike trails through Rails to Trails and other programs which make it easier to get to various destinations safely by bike.
6 – Hiking – Most areas have vast networks of hiking trails as well. While hiking, you can learn all about the flora and fauna in your area. Point out various types of trees and wildflowers to your kids. Try to walk quietly so that you can observe wildlife as well. Hikes are also good times to have great conversations with one or more of your kids.
7 – Day Trips – Usually, the most expensive part of a vacation is the lodging. Rather than taking overnight trips, consider taking several smaller day trips instead. Try to view your area as a tourist and seek out activities that your family would enjoy doing together. Are there any festivals or other special events taking place? Is there a zoo or a museum nearby? Special events are usually publicized in local newspapers and on the radio. I know some families who jump in the car and simply go wherever the road takes them. They read the signs and pull off at whichever destinations look interesting. If you’re really stuck for ideas, consider driving to a nearby rest area and look at the brochures that are in the lobby. State Welcome Centers are especially good for this sort of fact finding mission. You can even make a family adventure out of doing your research!
Whether you have the funds to take a family vacation or not, you can still come up with all sorts of fun and memorable activities to do as a family. With a little bit of planning and ingenuity, this summer could very well be filled with the most family fun you’ve had in a long time!