My absolute favorite thing to do in homeschooling is find ways to integrate service and acts of KINDNESS into our curriculum. November is easy because we discuss Thanksgiving and being thankful for what we have in our lives. My daughter is 4.5 years old, so I love watching her experience service projects. It is so precious! Last year, my daughter Marley and I made “Blessing Bags” for people in need. We both had a great time putting them together and it was a special experience to teach her about caring for others even though we don't know them. She was very sweet whenever she saw someone standing on a corner with a sign and say “Can we give a blessing bag to that man?” Her eagerness to give was inspiring. I think I learned more about love and kindness then she did. 😉
This year we decided to participate in a program called the Kids Who Care Club. We found them by Googling our local areas for opportunities to do service. The Kids Who Care Club directs people to get involved in spreading love and joy to children who are suffering from long term illnesses or conditions. We put together something called a “Smile Pack” which is a package containing things that will cheer up and comfort a child. The suggested items are: toys, books, games, cards, gift cards, DVDs, etc. They also have instructions on how to make a “Card Quilt.” It is very simple to make with step-by-step instructions.
When I first explained the project to Marley, she was very quiet. I wasn't sure if she understood the purpose of the package. We discussed it further and I asked her what kind of pictures she would like to draw that she thinks might make a sick child happy. I asked her what would make her smile if she was sick or sad. She started to smile just thinking about it and she began naming things she wanted to draw and stories she wanted to tell the child. After she understood that we were going to cheer someone up by sending things, she kept talking about it for days. She kept drawing more pictures each day and handing them to me saying, “Mommy, this is for the sick kids, so don't lose it.”
I thought it would be fun to involve some of Marley's friends in our service project. So we asked our homeschool co-op students if they would like to contribute to the Card Quilt. They were enthusiastic to participate and they had fun drawing happy pictures. The instructor for the week said the kids enjoyed making the cards so much that they were spending a lot of time on each picture. The results were beautiful and we were able to piece together and amazing Card Quilt for our Smile Pack.
Marley and I made a trip to the store to pick up some fun items for the Smile Pack. We grabbed a books, some bubbles, a stuffed animal, crayons, some play dough, a kaleidoscope, silly string, and glow in the dark stars to stick on a wall. We put everything in a pretty plastic tub and decorated it with happy stickers and a bow. Marley was so excited about the items in the box that she said, “Mommy, I hope that when I'm sick in the hospital somebody will give me a smile pack too.” Oh my heart. I replied, “Yes. This box is going to make someone very happy. She smiled.
I called our local Ronald McDonald House and asked how we could make sure that our Smile Pack would be delivered to a child in their care. They were happy to hear from us and said we could drop it off to their front desk in person. They lady assured me they would be able to give the package to a child in need of some cheer. So Marley and I took the package down to the Ronald McDonald House together. We knew she wouldn't be able to see a child open the box, but Marley kept talking about it and imagining how it would play out. She said, “And then they will give it to a sick boy or girl. And then the doctor will say ‘Hey, someone brought this for you.' And then the sick child will be so happy.” She was cracking me up.
I can truly say that incorporating acts of service into our curriculum has been the most rewarding part of homeschooling. Encouraging my daughter to spread kindness has been a beautiful experience for our whole family. She is getting joy through acts of kindness and is happily learning how to interact with people in society with love and respect. I believe this is the best way for us to make a positive difference in this world. It is never too early to encourage kids to take initiative and serve others. By teaching our children the importance of unconditional kindness, we can ensure a brighter future and we can all experience the blessings of KINDNESS together. Happy Holidays!
Hi, my name is Jen! I am a wife and homeschooling mom. My husband is incredible and I am madly in love with him. We are blessed with two beautiful daughters who remind us that our Heavenly Father does exist and creates miracles for us. I am LDS and my faith does not define who I am but nurtures who I am and blesses me with opportunities for my soul to progress and to create a happy home for my family. I have a degree in Criminal Justice and I was a preschool teacher for 8 years. I am interested in science fiction, political history, the human mind, and life philosophy. Our homeschool is based on inspired, interest-led learning. We highly encourage artistic expression and innovation. Follow us at: Inspired Academy Homeschool or at the following social media links: