Volunteering is Serious Business

We blame it on Little House on the Prairie. After reading the entire series, we promised ourselves we’d find time to volunteer at a nearby living history museum. In the summer of 2006, we traveled back in time to become a farming family in 1845.

We learned to bake a pie over an open fire, churn butter, wash dishes with a corn cob,  care for critters, and it was all school.

Look around your community. Where can you volunteer, make some family memories, and do school at the same time?

Consider these ideas.

  • deliver meals for Meals on Wheels
  • build a home with Habitat for Humanity
  • stock shelves at a food pantry
  • ask your local place of worship for ideas
  • prepare and serve food at a homeless shelter
  • work backstage (or on stage) at your community theater
If you can’t find anything in your community, create it yourself!
Our kids wanted to attend an old fashioned ball (thanks to Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, and Little Women).  So we learned English Country Dancing, taught it to our homeschool group, and hosted one.

Do you have a favorite charity? Instead of just donating money, come up with a way to raise funds plus awareness. At 16, Meg promoted a t-shirt sale to help a nonprofit group we work with.  She set up tables at churches, spoke to groups, and got herself on TV and in the newspaper.

Look for the opportunities within your area. Summer is the perfect time to volunteer together and continue learning as a family.

Has your family served the community together? Give us more ideas!

About Jena Borah

Jena Borah homeschooled her three children all the way to college. She blogs about her homeschooling years and her interest-led philosophy at Yarns of the Heart.


  1. We volunteer with an organization we really believe in within our community. It’s called Lots To Gardens and they help downtown residents who don’t have their own yard space grow vegetables in community garden spaces. They also teach and train youth, offer cooking classes and so much more.

    Our involvement varies from year to year but to keep life simple we have chosen this organization to be our volunteer work.

    Here’s a few things we’ve done over the years:
    Planting in the greenhouse
    Cooking for community meals
    Supporting community functions
    .-= renee @ FIMBY’s last blog: If I had a mother or mil to =-.

    • I’ve never thought of volunteering at a living history place, utterly fantastic idea!
      My 14-year-old son just finished training to be a docent (guide) at a science museum. Volunteering is a requirement in our homeschool. Even the littlest take part helping me pack care bags (toiletries, socks, granola bar, asprin) our church takes to the city homeless shelter. I found a bunch of other ideas for toddlers to teens (pretty much describes my family) in this post,

  2. Our kids volunteer with our own organization. 🙂 They clean, take out trash, listen to all the phones getting answered… it’s very cool to see what they observe and pick up. But we also do a lot of service projects for neighbours with our church. I wish we had a living history museum like that one near us – it would come in so handy right now. 🙂
    .-= Misha@ beautyandjoy’s last blog: Can You Tell What We’ve Been Doing? =-.

  3. How wonderful! Volunteering at a living history museum would be a dream of mine. I had no idea you could do that. I sure it was a blast.
    .-= Jackie@Lilolu’s last blog: Giveaway: Sam’s Club Sunny Day Snacks Spark =-.

  4. Seriously Jena, every single time I read one of your posts I wind up wishing you’d come and homeschool me!
    .-= Stefani’s last blog: Time Marches On =-.

  5. That sounds like so much fun. I’d love to volunteer at a living history museum. There isn’t any nearby us though. I’ve always thought that if I wasn’t married and a mom I’d love to work at a place like that.

    I’d love to hear more ideas about how to volunteer as a family when you still have little kids. I have two so far- ages 1 and 4. The 1 year old is at a difficult stage to do anything- I find babies easier (they can just ride around in a sling!) but I know it gets easier again soon around 2. So I’d love some more ideas so I can check out my community. Has anyone else volunteered while still having young kids? How did you work it out? (without extra help especially).

  6. It’s hard at that age. I guess it’s the stroller stage? How about a walk-a-thon?

    Or you could set up a play pen/play yard in the area you are volunteering in. I remember having Meg in a walker, roaming or bouncing around while I did things. It all depends on the environment. I’m thinking a food or clothing pantry would be a good place to volunteer at that age.

    If you are drawn to volunteer somewhere, think through all the possibilities. I bet there is something you can do and still have your child with you. Thanks for the great question.

    And thanks to everyone for the great comments!

  7. canuck_grad says:

    This is funny… I was reading through the comments thinking about asking the same question as Nola, except my little guy is 2, and she’s saying it gets easier at 2 lol. At 1 I probably could have done a playpen/jumperoo type thing for him, at least for a little while…. now at 2, he is *very* active and would not stand for being constrained in any way. He’s a grabber and a climber… so a food or clothing pantry just seems like a disaster waiting to happen to me lol. Now that he’s getting older and I’m starting to get some of my sanity back (and have a few months of mostly full nights of sleep under my belt), I have been starting to think about trying to volunteer in some way I can do with him… I’m sure I’ll come up with something eventually, but if anyone has any ideas/experiences with volunteering with kids at this age, I’d love to hear them!

    • LOL sorry about the “easier at 2” comment. I should have thought more about that one. That just MY experience with my oldest. She was a super intense, high need baby and life got much easier when she was around two, since she started sleeping most of the time all night (yes, not before 2) and we personally did not go through a difficult time at 2. Nope, no “terrible twos”. We instead went through/are going through difficult 3.5/4’s. LOL we didn’t get any real challenging from her at 2, but we’re having on and off stages of it since 3.5. Every family is different. I guess I sort of think that my toddler will get easier FOR ME then too since she’s into a really intense “into everything” stage. She won’t be contained in something like a playpen or whatever.Like find something to climb and/or take apart and she goes for it. From my experience with my first, this stage will end (if I guide her not to do it inappropriately) and will turn into some more independent and imaginative play around 2. I found that once my oldest hit that stage, she was much more happy entertaining herself for a little bit while I did something else for a bit, and she was less likely to rip things apart and get herself into danger (although obviously you still have to watch them and re-engage them etc). So that is what I meant. I hope that makes sense. Sorry! I think that for you, what you are going through at 2 sounds similar to what I am going through right now. Both my kids were early movers (oldest walked at 9 months, running at 10, youngest climbed the stairs and went upstairs at 8 months) so maybe (we’ll see) they both go through that stage earlier of needing such supervision? I don’t know.

      If I come up with anything, I will leave another comment here, but so far, I can’t think of anything. I can think of lots of things to do with my oldest, but not the toddler. I guess walkathons seems like the only thing that might work (my oldest screamed and screamed in strollers though…they’re all different!) 🙂

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