Going on vacation in the summer is nice, but it’s also an expensive affair and not always in the cards for a homeschool family. If if the budget doesn’t permit a long road trip or costly plane tickets, have some fun at home with a homeschool family staycation.
Now, as homeschoolers, we do tend to know our local area more than most. We go to the museums and visit the parks, often as part of our daily lives, so it can be a bit more challenging to come up with fun, new ideas.
However, with a bit of ingenuity and casting a slightly farther net, we can develop some new ideas for our family to explore. And a homeschool family staycation can do double duty, learning, and fun.
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1 | Find The Water
When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing better than diving into a cool pool, lake, or swimming in the ocean. Take a look at what options you have in your area and explore local lakes, rivers, and streams where you can swim or wade.
If you’re lucky to live close enough to the beach, take a day trip to go swimming.
Finding local swimming pools is another good option. Many cities have public pools that are surprisingly fun and underutilized. We’ve even been to public pools that resembled water parks for significantly less.
A neighborhood pool is easiest, and we spend most summer days at ours, but if you don’t have one yourself, get together with a lucky enough friend to live in a neighborhood with a pool.
2 | Dive Into History
A homeschool family staycation wouldn’t be complete without a bit of history.
We usually are pretty good about knowing what historical options are near us, but do some checking and make sure there isn’t something you haven’t discovered.
Many cities and areas have a rich history, and many offer various tours you have not considered. It’s worth contacting the local tourist office to find out what you’ve missed so far. If you can’t find anything in your city, expand your search and take a few day trips.
Also, I know for our family, there is always a place we put off visiting because we are too busy or it’s a bit too far with our regular schedule. A staycation is a perfect time to take the extra time needed to visit those places on our list.
3 | Peek at a Calendar of Events
Of course, take a look at your nearby local events calendars. You’ll be surprised at how much various communities offer during the summer months. There are often classes, concerts, film screenings, and even festivals that you may not have realized were occurring.
Between the events offered by your city or county and various other events hosted by cultural centers, museums, and churches, for example, you’re sure to find some things you’ll want to attend this summer.
This is another excellent time to expand your search a bit and find events and activities in nearby towns you can explore.
4 | Fun In The Back Yard
We already talked about water fun in the backyard, but why stop there. There are all sorts of fun ideas you can do right at home, from dining al fresco to roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.
Consider camping in the backyard, which always makes me happy because there is a nice bathroom nearby.
Treat your home like a vacation spot, get everyone outside and have some fun.
Get more fun ideas of things and experiences to strew this summer.
5 | Travel Overseas from Home
Just because you’re staying home this summer doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in a new culture. That’s one of the most significant benefits of traveling abroad, but with a bit of effort and imagination, you can experience some of it at home, too.
Pick a country or culture and immerse yourself in the experience. Taste the food, listen to the music, watch the movies and read the books. Maybe even learn a little of the language and do it all as a family so you can interact and explore together.
Another great idea is to see if you have an international or ethnic market near you where you could check out the different ingredients and buy some special treats.
6 | Nearby Attractions ( a Fun Family Staycation Option)
I’m not much for theme or water parks. Paying a lot of money for a crowd and noise is not my idea of a good time. However, if you have a theme park nearby, this is one of the quickest ways to make it feel like a vacation.
One summer, we purchased theme park season passes. That isn’t cheap, but it was still a more affordable option than a vacation for a family of eight. The kids had a blast, and it made the entire summer one long vacation.
You can also go to those things that never seem to come up, like the local putt-putt golf, go-carts, or bowling.
7 | Explore the Parks
Most of us might have our go-to local state or national parks. I know we do. However, many are not too far, but we never seem to get there.
Make a list of parks you’ve meant to visit and include them in your homeschool family staycation.
Here are two websites to help you find nearby park options. Just put in your zip code.
8 | Find a Factory Tour
Who doesn’t love a factory tour? Seeing the manufacturing process is always a thrill. We have a large national brewery near us that only offers tours every once in a while, and we made it to one. Seeing the process and the machinery is impressive.
As homeschoolers, this is the type of event we love. Learning doesn’t have to be boring or from a book. It’s best when it’s real life and in person, which a factory tour offers.
Check out Factory Tours USA and see what options might be close enough to your home for a quick and affordable day trip.
9 | Use Your Member Benefits
Do you have an annual membership to a museum or science center? See where you might have reciprocal benefits. Many have a 90-mile radius limit (meaning you don’t get reciprocity within 90 miles), but perhaps just a bit farther is a great museum you’ve never explored.
We’ve used our membership while visiting family. We don’t have to get a hotel, and we can see fun things for free.
10 | Bring the Cooler
Nothing can eat up a budget faster than eating out. Even stopping for drinks and a snack is expensive with six kids.
So pack the cooler and grab the snacks before you leave on your staycation adventure. Often, I will pack lunch, knowing we will need to get dinner out. At least that’s only one meal.
We do this even on a long road trip, so we’re not making as many stops, which keeps the cost down. Plus, everyone is excited to get their special snack when they know there is a longer than usual ride ahead.
11 | Unplug
Disconnecting can be difficult, but it’s hard to “get away” when everyone is still on devices and talking with friends. Perhaps try putting away the phones and tablets for one day of uninterrupted family time.
No matter what we’ve all been lead to believe, the world won’t stop if we don’t respond immediately.
Creating a Family Staycation Mindset
With a bit of research and the right mindset, you can create a fantastic summer experience for a fraction of the cost of a full-blown road trip. You also benefit from sleeping in your bed and using your shower, which makes me very happy.
So put those homeschool parent skills to use and create a family staycation full of fun and learning.