Monday, August 3, 2009

Mondays Our Way: Community Projects

It's my personal opinion, that one of the very best things you can do with your kids-both as a homeschooling parent, and just a parent in general-is get involved with volunteering. This is the triple play-it teaches life skills, it teaches moral lessons, and it gets your kids active in the community....everybody wins!

The trick is to find things that are age appropriate and match your child's skill level. When kids are small they will probably need your help, so it's a good idea to volunteer as a family. This not only provides your kids with a good example (Mommy helps people and so can I!), it also lends them a leg up when they need detailed instructions and/or supervision during their volunteering activities.

You can help your child get the giving bug when they are little-even a toddler can help you walk toys, clothes, canned food, and backpacks of school supplies to charity donation centers and community drives. Preschoolers can use their sorting skills to work at a food or clothing pantry. Grade school children can follow instructions well enough to do community clean up projects, and may be mature enough to work in a senior center.

Besides looking at your child's skills you're also going to want to look at their natural interests. This can help them to really connect with the volunteering experience and will help them stick with it. For example, a child who likes to build with blocks may enjoy volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. A child who is devoted to your family pet might like to volunteer at the Humane Society. Kidlets who love gardening might enjoy participating in a park restoration project.

Matching your child's skill level, skill set, and interests to find the right volunteering action for them can be hard, but it is so worth it. Community involvement is priceless-in life and unschooling alike. A base of compassion and understanding, a love for people from many different walks of life, hearing and understanding the life experiences of others, learning to give of themselves and be a part of their greater community-all of this and more can be learned in addition to simple homeschool lessons; reading, writing, math all has a place in the real world, and your child will experience the joy of giving to the community and practice their skills while volunteering.

So what's to stop you? Take your kids out and get involved!

1 comment:

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

That's awesome! We're hoping to get Rose involved with some sort of volunteer project when she turns three...