Homeschooling families are often criticized for not being involved in the community but in most cases that stereotype could not be farther from the truth. Very often homeschooling parents and children are active volunteers who serve in a wide array of roles in the community.
Homeschooling as a system encourages and fosters responsibility and self-motivation in both parents and children. Parent/teachers are volunteering their time in the homeschool classroom to prepare lessons, give instruction, and follow-through on an educational plan. These homeschooling parents have a clear sense of what is right and the fortitude to follow through on those principles; these strong beliefs in making their children’s lives better translate easily into working to create a better community for their children. Some homeschool parents volunteer to serve in civic roles such as city council leaders, on community boards such as Zoning or Parks and Rec. Many more homeschool parents volunteer to serve as coaches for park and rec teams, teachers of summer art classes, or hosts of adult education courses.
Often homeschooling families are willing to invest more time and energy into community organizations and civic duties because they are not involved in the public school system, they are not volunteering at the local elementary school or chairing PTO events so they have more time to devote to other groups. Homeschool families might also be more dependent on city parks, the public library, and city recreational programs than families whose children attend public school; homeschool families don’t have access to the school library or playground so have a more vested interest in the community attractions quality. If your child will be attending story time at the library, you want to make sure the librarians have the resources they need. If your child will be playing at the city park, you want to ensure the safety of the equipment, the cleanliness of the park, and that various types of play and movement are encouraged. If your child will be making friends and learning skills through the community soccer program, you want to make sure it is well-coordinated and well-coached. This is why homeschool parents get involved in the community.
This parental volunteerism provides a role model and expectation for children who are watching their parents for clues on how to be a good person. Homeschool children are learning to be self-motivated learners and responsible students in the classroom so it is easy to extend those values into volunteering in the community. Older students are often asked to help teach younger siblings, an experience that translates well into coaching, teaching summer courses, or volunteering at church camps or community summer day camps.
Homeschooling families’ flexible schedules provide more opportunities for volunteering in civic and community roles as they are not bound by a timeclock. Both students and the parent/teacher can be available for morning or afternoon courses or allow for prep time for evening activities during the day.
Homeschooling leads to community involvement in a natural way for both parents and students and local communities reap the benefits.
Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.