When planning my homeschool activities I look at my entire day as a learning experience. Then I try to divide the day into blocks of time. Some time will be used for formal learning, some time for discovery learning, some for personal projects and development, some for family projects and development and some for service. There are days when I have activities planned for each category and other times that I disperse them throughout the week to try to create a good balance.
At this point in our families life and also because of our living circumstances (ie: safety and cultural issues) I sometimes struggle to create experiences in which to teach my children service outside of our own family service to each other.
My desire is to have them look for ways they can serve in their daily lives (ie: help their family with daily tasks and/or the elderly and/or busy moms and/or neighbors) by simply looking around and seeing ways they can be kind. But I also would like to purposely create opportunities to serve. To do this can be tricky with young children, especially to keep them interested.
One way that we have created service opportunities is by using holidays to share treats! Not only do the children always enjoy either making them with me or inviting friends over as we did today, but since they created the goodies themselves they seem to take added enjoyment in sharing them with other people.
For Valentine’s day we like to choose a family to “heart attack” (tape paper hearts with fun messages all over their front door, along with a treat). We try to pick someone that we think needs a friend or encouragement or just needs to know they are loved.
This year we invited a few friends to join us in decorating one plate of cupcakes for our own families and one to give away. The kids had a blast and were very excited to choose which one of their special creations they were going to give away! Here’s hoping that along with the inordinate amount of sugar they consumed (yes, that would be my son eating a handful of sprinkles!) they also learned that service can be sweet!