We’ve talked about the values of volunteering before, but that’s because a well-chosen volunteer project can give your homeschool a sense of purpose, boost your kids’ compassion IQ, and connect your homeschool to the wider world around you.
It’s awesome if your kids can point you in the direction of a cause they genuinely care about. Kids who are passionate about the environment might want to check with local parks and nature centers about weekly clean-up days, or maybe your family would get excited about doing a regular Meals on Wheels run. One of my friends does what her family calls a “reverse advent calendar” project, where they add shelf stable food to a decorated box every day, starting November 1, and deliver it to their church’s food pantry on Christmas Eve. Another friend started a recycling program for the trash at her once-a-week homeschool co-op. My daughter’s volunteer project for the past several years has been petting cats at a rescue shelter.
But there are also plenty of projects you can do right at your kitchen table. Kids can make artwork for Color A Smile, an organization that delivers kids’ drawings to hospitals, senior centers, military outposts, and more. Project Linus, which donates blankets to kids in need, has a lot of patterns that require no sewing skills to pull off, so even younger kids can participate in process. To join the Soldiers’ Angels Letter Writing Team, you just have to commit to writing and sending a certain number of letters to your adopted soldier—that’s easy to do from home. A volunteer project doesn’t have to require commute time and complicated scheduling—if your schedule is crazy, look for a project you can do at home on your own time.
I think most of us want our homeschools to be places where our kids learn to care about the world around them as well as places where they learn to read, write, and program things in Scratch. Making room for volunteering in your regular routine is a great way to do this—and not as time-consuming or difficult as many of us expect it to be.