Field trips bring lasting benefits for fathers and their children, providing life lessons and character-building opportunities.

If like me, you were a kid in the 1980s, chances are you remember watching The Waltons.

The two-story white house, Mary-Ellen, John-Boy, the sawmill, Ike and the general store; the yellow rumble-seat car, the ‘recipe,’ the Baldwin ladies, and John Walton Snr calling out “Good night, everybody” at the close of every episode.

There was also the larger-than-life Grandpa Walton, who would walk his grandkids up to Walton Mountain, share its history, and explain how the mountain was unique to their family’s story.

Grandpa Walton would invite them to wonder at the beauty of it all. Each Walton child would learn about the flora, fauna and what they would inherit — not to squander — but to live off, cheer on, and conserve.

His field trips even teach us.


For dads who choose to play an educational role in their child’s life, field trips are as easy as one of Grandpa Walton’s afternoon strolls on a Sunday. This is of particular interest if you are a home-schooling dad like I am — but if you are a dad, you are an educator, whether you like it or not.

Lifelong Benefits

A 2014 study from Ohio University explained that field trips are ‘instructional outings.’

These are what we call school excursions, and are defined as life lessons that connect children to classroom concepts.

The official definition is: ‘interactive experiences outside the classroom carried out at locations designed for educational purposes.’

The Marc Behrendt and Teresa Franklin study looked into the benefits of field trips through the lens of experiential learning.

Benefits included: an improved attitude to learning, an awakening to vocation, a better understanding of a subject, and respect for a subject.


While these benefits ‘are not guaranteed’, Behrendt and Franklin argue securing benefits can be helped by good ‘planning’, ‘reinforcement, reflection or debriefing.’

An easy way for mums and dads to achieve this is to get their kids to reflect on an educational outing by asking them:

  • What did they like?
  • What did they not like?
  • What did they learn?

This adds a lesson in communication skills, while encouraging kids to own the life lessons gained.

Cultural Enrichment

Some of our best homeschool field trips have been while on holiday, at the theatre, or a random discovery we decided to explore.

For example, Bell’s Shakespeare company’s touring performance schedule has always seemed to match up perfectly with our study of Shakespeare. Such as Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venus.

Reflecting on watching a physical version of the play took these homeschool lessons to the next level.

Emotional Intelligence

Behrendt and Franklin’s 2014 Ohio University study is backed up by an unrelated 2019 analysis from author Natalie Wexler.

Writing in the education section of Forbes, Wexler noted:

‘A flurry of recent studies [of experiential learning] shows a range of benefits from cultural experiences — some as minimal as going to see one play or spending half a day at an art museum.’

The University of Arkansas study concluded that simple field trips like these “increased students’ tolerance, empathy, and ability to understand life in another time and place, as measured by survey questions.”

Other benefits included ‘students engaging better in school’ and an ‘increase in compassion for others.’

Wexler acknowledged that higher participation in extracurricular arts programs and field trips are proven to ‘expand a child’s knowledge and vocabulary.’

Family Time

The additional bonus for dads is that field trips can increase quality family time.

They are an opportunity for QFT regardless of whether the field trip is parent-chauffeured, school-related, or is as simple as Grandpa Walton teaching about fish, birds, bees, and trees.

Field trips are an opportunity to connect with our kids in awe and wonder about the world around us.

They’re rarely joyless, are not hard to find or organise, and can be as simple as a Sunday stroll.

As the Behrendt and Franklin study concludes,

‘There is much to be learned from a vacant lot, the edge of a parking lot, a puddle, or a bush.’


Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.


  1. Warwick Marsh March 15, 2022 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Fantastic article Rod!!!!

  2. Dubai Desert Safari August 13, 2022 at 9:29 pm - Reply

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