I Homeschool For The Impromptu Field Trips

Like the homeschool field trip we’re on right now to see the sandhill cranes.

homeschool field trip sandhill crane

This is an almost annual tradition in our family. One day in March, usually at the last minute, I look to see if there are any hotel rooms available and we head out to Kearney to watch the sandhill crane migration. We drive around the outskirts of town looking for cranes. We watch them dance. We watch them eat. We watch them in their family groups and in their larger flocks.

And at sunset, we watch them descend upon the Platte River, filling the skies with their calls.

It is the familiarity of the annual event that makes it special. The children look forward to different parts. There is always excitement when we spot the first flock just outside of Grand Island, And even more when we get to the river and they can finally just run. Their favorite is walking under the highway bridge to get down close to the river.

Why is it so fun to just poke sticks in the water?

And I always enjoy looking at the pictures they took when we get home. Like 15 different views of this sheet of ice on the shore.

homeschool field trip Platte River

Impromptu field trips are the best because I have no specific plans or objectives in mind. We are just here to explore and take part in the annual migration of the sandhill crane. They’ve never had an assignment about the birds. We have no lapbooks on the subject. All we have is a love for being out in nature, listening to their calls and sharing just a moment in their life journey.

And yet they know why the birds sleep standing in the river. They know how important this stop over is to birds that need to be able to start nesting and raising young as soon as they land in the far north. They know about their family structure, diet and migration pattern. They know about the Platte River, how significant it is to Nebraska and how significant it is to this migration.

And of course they know about the dance of the sandhill crane. We drive around the countryside outside Kearney, looking for flocks close to the road just so we can watch them dance.

I enjoy this freedom homeschooling gives us to just notice what is going on in the state and go out to take a look. Sometimes, our field trips have something to do with what we are studying. More often, we just take a break from our lessons to be travelers for a day.

They give us the opporunity to just explore.

This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!

A is for Adventure
B is for Boredom
C is for Christ
D is for Daydreaming
E is for Every day
F is for Failure
G is for Grow
H is for Homework

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10 Comments on "I Homeschool For The Impromptu Field Trips"

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JoJo Tabares

I LOVE the picture of the ice. I used to do a lot of field trips when they were younger. My son now has Bible Studies, Youth Group, and other events so they take up more of his time.


They sure fill up their time fast, don’t they? I love last minute trips, but they get harder the older they get.

Mother of 3

we love impromptu field trips! Often we take them on days when I look at our books and think “Ugh! I’m so sick of this”… then we head out to the shore, to the zoo, wherever we fancy and have a fun day of learning through exploration.


Yes! Those are the best days for a field trip!

annette @ A net in Time

I so enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for writing it.
That would be VERY neat to see. 🙂

Rebecca C

Love taking impromptu field trips.


They’re the best kind. 🙂

Carol E.

We love field trips! Last fall we saw the sandhill cranes (thousands) at one of their overnight/ congregating spots about two hours from our home. Then the next week, we saw them flying over the parking lot at Kurt’s work (not as many that time!) What a fun field trip. 🙂

Kirsten West

Wow. I loved you post! We have had plenty of impromptu homeschool field trips, but none that are as great as sandhill crane watching!