Our Summer School: Getting Out and About

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Make weekly outings a summer learning experience.

Our Summer School: Getting Out and About - Make weekly outings a learning experience.

Last year I had great big dreams for a summer school that was lively and unique. We were going to read great literature, get ahead with math, learn filmmaking and cooking and basically expand our horizons beyond our wildest dreams.

Bwahaha. Can you hear me knock over end tables as I roll on the floor laughing? Yeah, that didn’t all happen, despite my best intentions. But, we did do math and reading, so that’s something.

What I’ve learned over the last year is that I’m a homebody. I’d much rather stay home. Well, at least I think I would. It takes effort to pack snacks, lunches, and water bottles, organize kids, and make sure the girls go to the bathroom before we go and don’t throw up on the way.

BUT, once we go, we have a really nice time. I’m almost always glad we went on the outing once we do it. So, this summer, one of my goals for homeschooling is to establish some habits for getting out and about.

It’s proven to be education and all hands-on and stuff as well as beneficial to our family as we get less home-focused and more world-minded.

In the last month, we’ve visited the San Diego Safari Park, the USS Midway, LaJolla Shores Beach, and the San Diego Museum of Art. This week we have different playdays scheduled, but next week, we’re getting back to outings.

Our Summer School: Getting Out and About - Make weekly outings a learning experience.

On my calendar for the summer are these planned, education outings:

Our Summer School: Getting Out and About - Make weekly outings a learning experience.

When we went to Balboa Park last week we toured the art museum first (about 2.5 hours) and then ate our picnic lunch on a grassy knoll. I asked the kids what they thought. My more artist and creative-minded kids had more favorable reviews. My eldest said it was “okay, but Papa wouldn’t have liked it.” That was so interesting to me!

My husband loves touring art museums, but we haven’t done it in years. In fact, I don’t think we’ve gone to art museums with kids. (What kind of homeschoolers are we?) My kids just didn’t know that this is something that we’ve always enjoyed doing together. It was a very eye-opening comment, and a myth we hope to disspell in the coming months.

If all goes well, we will do weekly “cultural” outings until we leave for Europe. So help me. 🙂

Where are YOU going this summer?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I am also a homebody, it takes effort to make plans, pack lunches/snacks, deal with traffic and parking, I’d rather stay home. I do it for my boys. Now, you have encouraged me to make even more of an effort (as if!;). You seem to have quite a few different offerings in your area (love the free Tuesday museums!). I’ll have to do some more investigating in our local area. Thanks, Jessica!

  2. What a lot of outings there are in your area! We have to get back into that sort of thing, too, but now we’re getting ready for a cross-country road trip to visit family…and that is a massive lesson in itself. Driving through the Canadian shield for 24 hours gives a whole new meaning to the idea that God created the world. All those billions of trees on all those hills…and also on all the hills we can’t see! It’s amazing!

    1. There are actually MORE! I only listed the ones that I thought were the most interesting. A few of them at the bottom of the list will require 1 to 2 hours in the car, but it’s in the direction of the grandparents’ house so it works. My mom is going to meet us at the Getty on the days we go.

      Enjoy your trip!

  3. My husband and I went to the Ronald Reagan Presidental Library – worth the money. But, having a large family as well – 7 children, we haven’t visited the Gerald R Ford in our nearby town :). I know that at least once or twice a year there is free admission on Sunday afternoon. Maybe there is something like that at the RR museum.

    1. My mother-in-law is the curator of the Reagan Ranch, having been asst. curator of the library. She and my FIL actually got married at the library which is cool. Hopefully, she’ll be able to meet us there and give us extra history. 🙂

  4. When my oldest was young – 10-ish – she told me she wanted to visit every state in the country. I knew that we probably won’t make it to every state, but since we live in New England and have family in CA and LA I thought we could make it to quite a few, and we did. It was a great inspiration to get out and do and see and learn. We tried to do something interesting or relevant in each state and (I have all girls) we got them a charm of their choice for each state they visited. It wasn’t always fun – although the kids seem to forget the bad stuff! And, looking back (my oldest is now 22) it was one of the better things we did as parents. It was worth the effort.

  5. One of our favorite, and inexpensive, places we would take our children when they were growing up was the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Orange County. It is a great place for birding, walking on trails, and picnicking. Admission is still free, although donations are always welcome.

  6. If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch debit or credit card, you can get into a number of museums for free during the first weekend of each month. The details start here: http://museums.bankofamerica.com/ We’ve used it for some pricey museums where adults are $15 each, students are free and parking is $15. Since the adults each have a card in their name, we only have to pay for parking instead of $45 for a day.

    Some museums in our area have specific student rates (including K-12 students) based on foundation donations, etc. It’s worth looking for. Also, many area libraries have museum passes that you can check out and get at least 2 free admissions for a visit.

    Lastly, we found that buying a family membership to a smaller science museum allowed us to use their passport or reciprocal admission program to attend a larger, more expensive one without any additional cost. As a plus, the larger museum had a teacher-only lending library which allowed homeschooling parents to participate as teachers. Big bonus there!

  7. The Getty is great! If you are willing to drive to Pasadena, the Norton Simon Museum is nice too. Only $10 for adults and free for kids.