“Homeschool groups of all sizes and shapes are finding innovative opportunities to help parents guide children as they mature into generous, caring adults,” said HSLDA Director of Group Services Darren Jones.
Spurred on by a Facebook comment from a California umbrella school about its recent participation in Operation Christmas Child (an opportunity for kids and families to pack shoeboxes with gifts and practical items for children in disadvantaged circumstances around the globe), Jones asked other homeschool groups, “What service projects have you done?”
Ten groups in locations ranging from California to the Carolinas commented, describing projects across a wide spectrum—from serving local children’s hospitals or homeless people in their area, to regularly partnering with organizations serving people persecuted for their faith.
“I was thrilled to hear the creative responses,” he said.
A group hosted out of a Tennessee church does a service project for the church’s congregation once a year, and also does a community-based project (their most recent was helping to organize a yard “sale” where everything was free!).
One homeschool group located in Pennsylvania puts together “action packs” of a tarp, sheet, zip ties, towels, Ziploc bags, soap, and other practical necessities for families displaced by persecution.
“I asked why these were called ‘action packs,’” Jones said. “The leader explained that the kids are ‘putting their faith into action’ through this service.”
Two other homeschool programs in Alabama and Tennessee also have their students assemble bags of goodies to distribute to local first responders and the homeless.
A Better Place
“I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of groups that were able to do service projects,” said Jones. “I heard from co-ops, support groups, umbrella schools, and a group that is a collection of homeschool clubs. Even the timeframes of their service projects showed a lot of creativity and customization to each group’s members and those they are serving.”
Several groups focus their service around a specific annual event, such as Christmas (like the Pennsylvania homeschool club that does an “angel tree” to recruit support for local veterans) or when volunteers do community projects for the national day of service. Two other groups (one from Michigan and one from South Carolina) reported ongoing projects through the year, including a monthly opportunity for representatives of local community programs to give presentations about how the students can help.
“Too often, homeschool students get questions about whether homeschooling prepares them for ‘real life,’ ” said Jones. “The efforts that these groups described show that homeschoolers are often engaged in making the world a better place even before they graduate high school.”
If your homeschool group has a creative idea for helping your local community, let us know at GroupServices@hslda.org.