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Home Schooling and Community Service

I am the daughter of a home health nurse who worked in one of the poorest counties in our state. Whenever my brother and I were out of school (either we students had a holiday, it was the weekend or summer break) we had to go with Mom to visit her patients.

I have vivid memories of knocking on dilapidated doors and evading unchained dogs in order to visit with Mom’s elderly patients. What I remember most about those visits is how happy they were to see a child and to talk to a child. I also remember their poverty. Most of these patients did not have anyone who checked on them every day. Mom would often buy new slippers or a few groceries for her patients. In the winter, she made sure they had enough blankets to make it through the coldest nights. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, going with and watching my Mom do her work trained my heart to care for the poor.

When I first entertained the idea of home schooling, I had grand visions that included community service. When my children were really young, there was not a whole lot for them to do. But now that they’re older, new opportunities for community service are opening to us. For their safety, there are many activities in which my children cannot yet participate. However, I’ve done a little research on community service programs in our area to find ways that our children can be more involved in serving their community.

They can:

stock canned and dry goods at one of our local food banks
prepare bags of food to be given away
fold clothes (or put them on hangers) for one of the ministry clothes closets
participate in fund-raisers, clothing drives and food drives
help serve at the community soup kitchens
visit one of the nursing homes and adopt a grandparent
befriend the children they meet when we visit the homeless shelter

Like my mother did for me, helping my children become more aware of the poor in our community and showing them ways to help is one of the most important things I can do.

Many Heart of the Matter contributors and readers have been moved to action after seeing the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti. My eyes and my heart have been overwhelmed by the images that I’ve seen on television and various internet sites these last few weeks. Perhaps the most heartbreaking to me, though, are the pictures of the displaced and orphaned children. I want so badly to be able to help them, to do more than send money and prayers. With each picture, impulse to help them grows. I want to do something. And I have been a little frustrated that I can’t do anything. Then it occurred to me that, though I can’t travel to Haiti, I can drive across town where there are people in need of a home, food and water and clothing, a warm touch or a hug.

In doing research on my own community to find ministries that my little family and I can get involved in, I learned that there are between 40 and 50 homeless children in my city. When I heard that, I found a little piece of Haiti in my own backyard, a place where I can try to make an impact.

Perhaps there are ministry ideas I have not considered. Maybe you would be willing to share something that you’re doing that does not exist in my community that we could start. Please take a moment to share what you and your children are doing together in your communities. How do you incorporate community service in your home school life?

Written by: Leslie Wiggins(http://lesliewiggins.com).


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