Volunteering should be a part of your home-schooling student’s experience. Volunteer opportunities exist in your community all around you.
Select an area within the community that your student would enjoy learning more about and then work at finding an opportunity to serve. Whether your student is college bound or not, working together with others on a community project helps in several ways:
Employers, Colleges, (and grandparents) want to see that our students are well-rounded. Often scholarship applications ask, “How many hours of volunteer service did you perform during high school?”
Some variety of community service is good, but as students get into high school, colleges like to see a dedicated effort to one organization. Several hundred hours of volunteer service with one organization would give the student a variety of experiences and leadership within an organization to prepare them to serve on their college campus.
Tracking the number of hours a student volunteers is important throughout their high school years, especially. (Remember, you can track mileage for your taxes when they or you drive back and forth for their volunteer experiences.)
IFHS wants to serve as a networking resource for organizations trying to get the message out to homeschoolers who might want to serve with them and we will post some opportunities on our site and direct you to other websites that list opportunities too.
HSLDA conducted a study called Homeschooling Grows Up and it cited that homeschoolers tend to become active citizens. Many have seen their parents as community volunteers and have gotten involved in projects themselves. This sense of involvement continues after they graduate too and demonstrates that homeschoolers are not ‘loners’ or ‘isolated’ but very engaged in community service.
The IFHS conducted a survey of graduating seniors in the statewide graduation for 2005. Of the 135 students participating, 103 completed a survey. Of those 103 students, they collectively served over 24,556 hours during high school! We want to continue to encourage community service for homeschoolers.
Some large community service projects might combine together to be a source for academic credit, but most would be on the transcript as extracurricular hours.
You might consider developing a service learning course for your homeschool. Incorporating service learning experiences into a course curriculum is becoming popular in public schools and colleges. According to http://www.servicelearning.org/, “Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” They also have a list of lesson plans on service learning and academic subjects.
Learning to Give is an Indiana based education project with many resources and lesson plans to incorporate service learning in your curriculum.
Students in Service to America Guidebook can be downloaded as an additional resource in understanding how to apply service learning to your homeschooling experience.
The Congressional Award is about challenge. It is a fun way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you would like to try for the first time. To earn the Award, you set goals in four Program Areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. You select an adult advisor who will help you set challenging but achievable goals and plan activities to reach those goals.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award The VSA is a Presidential recognition program for Americans of all ages, who contribute a significant amount of time to volunteer service. The program recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard – measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period. Your local support group or the service organization could validate your hours for this award.
Senator Lugar's Page Program in Washington D.C. Indiana High School Juniors can apply to be a Page for the Senator in Washington D.C.
You can also visit our IFHS Bookstore for some titles on Service Learning
Local Opportunities to Volunteer:
Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) publishes a youth directory that lists volunteer opportunites.
Reach for Youth offers Teen Court volunteers to participate in the legal cases of teens who have been arrested for non-violent offenses. To volunteer, you must been between 12 and 17 years old. Teens are trained to be an attorney or juror, and you will participate in real cases! It only takes a commitment of a few hours per month in any of the 7 locations throughout Indianapolis.
Y-Press: Youth News Network offers young people between the ages of 10-18 an opportunity to volunteer as reporters and editors to produce stories for a column that appears in the Indianapolis Star.
Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana is a network of over 30 organizations with the common goal of engaging youth in giving and serving. They have a list by county of some volunteer opportunities and/or agencies that work with youth volunteer programs.
Youth As Resources (YAR) challenges youth to identify community needs and provides small grants for volunteer projects they design and lead. Youth partner with adults govern local YARs, including all aspects of grant review and funding. This would be a great resource for homeschool groups, co-ops, scout troops to work with and then get their projects funded.