It Started with a Simple Question…
Homeschool co-ops can be great successes, or great failures, depending on what the parents put into it.
At one of our planning meetings a few years back, one of the moms spoke up and said, “Why don’t we incorporate some community service projects into our classes?” It seemed like a really good idea, so we took a vote and gave it a go.
That was four years, and several projects, ago! Some of the projects our kids have helped out with include baking bread for the local food pantry, hauling books for a book ministry, building bookshelves, collecting items and stuffing ‘necessary bags’ for the homeless, and Christmas caroling at the nursing home.
Pulling Double Duty!
We typically incorporate the service projects into our regular classes. For example, when we made loaves of bread as part of the Bake for Good Program, we did it during Home Economics class. We also stuffed bags during a Home Ec class.
As part of Woodworking, we built bookshelves for the local book ministry, and over a period of several weekends and summer weeks, the kids helped to haul and unpack books to set up. At the end of the year, caroling was part of our annual Christmas party!
Many of our kids are in American Heritage Girls and Cub / Boy Scouts, both of which require community service hours. They’ve easily been able to meet those requirements in only a few short months by participating in our co-op activities!
As we complete these activities, we talk about the world around us – at an age-appropriate level, depending on which class is currently working – and how to find ways to help others every day. We talk about ways to show kindness, too, as part of our RACK program. This began off the cuff after reading North Pole Ninjas back at a Christmas party, but just stuck!
Is your co-op interested in adding service projects?
- Sit down with the other parents and decide how often you’d like to complete them.
- Brainstorm which local charities or ministries you could assist, and contact them to see if they accept donations of time / goods.
- Based on what you can do, get the kids involved in the decision-making. They’ll be more enthusiastic about projects they helped design!
- Start small — pick out only one or two projects for the year, see how they go.
- After each project, talk with the parents and kids about what worked, what didn’t, and changes you could make. Tweak your approach based on this conversation.Thank
With a little bit of extra planning, we’re able to incorporate service projects into our regular co-op classes. Though we only meet once or twice a month, for half a day, our students accomplish so much together and are learning to effect change in this world!
How can you incorporate service projects into your homeschool?
Yvie practices the art of simple living with her chickens, goats, dogs, rabbits, and house full of boys in rural America. She loves accoustic guitar, historical novels, and anything with dark chocolate! You can find her at Homeschool On the Range, or on Facebook and Instagram.