What are you doing for your Christmas homeschool break? Shopping? Traveling? Opening your home to family and friends?

Have you thought about adding “volunteering” to your holiday festivities?

Many homeschooling families take off some time during December from homeschooling, which opens up hours for volunteering. At the same time service organizations seek willing workers to help with holiday events. It’s a win-win for both!

“Why volunteer?” you may ask. Homeschooling isn’t just about the books for us; it’s about teaching—through action—a life well lived in service to Jesus. One biblical principle is, “It’s far better to give than receive.” What could be better than giving the gift of yourself?

The benefits to volunteering are huge. First, children see a need and realize they can make a difference. Second, “socialization” isn’t just about interacting with other kids. Through volunteering children interact with people of different ages, races, and economic backgrounds. It gives them a view of the world in ways they don’t get in the four walls of their home.

The best way to make a plan for volunteering is to get your kids involved. Ask your children, “Where would you like to volunteer?” They may have an idea, or you may help them find a good match. To do this, consider their natural talents: raking leaves, shoveling snow, baking, or drawing. You can also think about new skills you’d like to help them acquire: baking, shopping, or conversing with people different than them.

Ideas for volunteering:

:: Ring the bell for the Salvation Army bucket.
:: Adopt a low-income family and buy Christmas gifts.
:: Offer to decorate or bake for elderly friends.
:: Shovel snow.
:: Babysit for a single mom so she can go Christmas shopping.
:: Do a diaper or clothing drive for a Crisis Pregnancy Center or Teen Mom Support Group.
:: Visit nursing homes, sing carols, and pass out handmade cards.
:: Host a Christmas party and collect items for a violence-free safe house, Angel Tree, or Humane Society.

Questions to ask before you go:

1. Where do we need to go?
2. When do we need to be there?
3. Who will we report to?
4. What are we expected to bring?
5. Why is our role important?

Ask your kids if they have any questions or concerns. Also ask, “What do you expect?” Tell them your expectations too, but be sure to let them know that they may come upon a situation that will surprise you both. Pray and ask God to help you in your service.

After you volunteer give your kids kudos on a job well done.

Point out:

:: Ways they cooperated
:: Positive ways they handled multi-ethnic, multi-economic interaction
:: Their problem solving skills
:: Their respect for life

This year my children are volunteering with me to serve teenage moms. I know many lives will be impacted … including my kids!

Homeschooling family or not, do you volunteer with your family during the Christmas season? What will your family do this year?