[Today’s post “Inspired Ways to Fit Volunteering into Your Homeschool Schedule” was written by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
Inspired Ways to Fit Volunteering into Your Homeschool Schedule
Raising children who help others is priority in our household, as I know it is in many others. When you’re homeschooling, you will find there are many opportunities to fit volunteering into your schedule.
Food pantries can be a good way to show kids that many people are in need in their own backyard. In our area, we volunteer at Luke 3:11 Share Center. This is a combination food pantry and household goods distribution center. At Luke, everyone is encouraged to share what he or she has (whether it is talents, time, or tangible items), while simultaneously receiving to fill their needs. My kids and I have volunteered here since its opening in 2012. Kids of all ages are encouraged to help however they are able, from carrying boxes and stocking shelves, to hosting guests through the pantry. Not every food pantry welcomes younger helpers, but at Luke we have volunteers as young as 5 serving right alongside their parents and teens. Many times it was the help of our kids that made the pantry opening go more smoothly. As a family, my kids and I serve here twice a month.
Babysitting for Bible Studies
Churches often run Bible studies during the day for moms who are home with their young children. Babysitters are often needed to watch those children while moms learn in another room. In past years, when I was a paid babysitter, my kids came along with me. Once they were old enough to help but too young to be paid, they volunteered as babysitter helpers. My then preteens enjoyed playing with the 1-year-olds, gaining experience while volunteering to help a local church.
Vacation Bible School
Speaking of children, last summer both of my teens volunteered at another local church to be Vacation Bible School helpers. My daughter, who enjoys being around people, helped lead a classroom of VBS kids through the morning’s activities. My son, more introverted but still wanting to help, ran the lights and sound for the event, as well as helping wherever there was a need.
Leaders-in-Training for AWANA
We love our local AWANA program, and there is an opportunity for teens in grades 7-12 to give back by being leaders-in-training (LITs). Both of my teens are doing this one night a week throughout the school year. My daughter is an LIT in the Cubbies program, which is for preschoolers. She assists with puppet shows, crafts, games, and whatever else is needed. She absolutely loves it. In fact, one of the babies she volunteered to babysit a few years ago has now grown up and is in her group! My son is volunteering for his second year as a LIT with the Sparks, which is young elementary students. He enjoys helping the kids memorize their Bible verses.
Feed My Starving Children
Another fun way to volunteer for a few hours is by helping pack meals at Feed My Starving Children. My kids have enjoyed this over the past five years since our first remote pack with our church. Since then, we’ve been able to go to FMSC’s warehouse locations on numerous occasions. The kids have gone with friends for birthday parties, with AWANA, and as a homeschool outing. It’s a fun activity and it’s helping others who live outside our area.
Benefits of Volunteering
In addition to helping others, volunteering gives the kids a sense of responsibility. I have seen both of my children mature and rise to the occasion when given leadership roles in the various ministries. They also have fun and make stronger bonds with the friends with whom they volunteer. There are many other opportunities for volunteering. Find something you are all interested in and volunteer!
What are other ways your family volunteers? Please share in the comment below or on this Facebook post.
Read about more ideas for volunteering:
Michelle Habrych and her homeschooled teenagers schedule volunteering as a priority into their school week. They have gained so much from helping others and encourage everyone to find a place to give back.