20 Ways Socialization Can Be Achieved Through Service
By Jen Holmstrom
We’ve all heard it many times before. “What about socialization?” It’s one of the common arguments against homeschooling. But it’s quite ironic, because many of us homeschool so that we can have more flexibility in how and what our children learn. It isn’t difficult to make socializing an important part of lesson plans. For each unit study or lesson plan, you can easily include an activity that focuses on social interaction. Treat it like any other subject, and your curriculum will include an activity that requires your child to interact with the community.
The best way to do this is to make SERVICE part of your lesson plan. For example, I require my children to participate in one act of service at least once a month. These opportunities for service will vary month to month.
Ask your child to collect bottles around the neighborhood for recycling. This allows them to speak independently to their neighbors. They are also contributing to the preservation of the earth and setting a good example to others. I’m willing to bet most people would be very impressed with a child knocking on their door asking to collect their plastic bottles.
Your child can also offer a favor free of charge, like taking the neighbors dog for a walk or washing their car. Just offering to do something for someone out of kindness (no compensation required or expected) is an amazing experience. It’s a priceless quality to have a giving nature and these acts of kindness can encourage our children to seek out further opportunities.
You can help your child set up a time to volunteer at the local library. Your child might be able to read to younger children. Explain to your child that some children do not have the privilege of being read to at home. This will help them understand how important it is to volunteer their time. They will feel cherished when they bring smiles to the faces of younger children. And interacting with people of all ages, older and younger, is a fantastic skill to develop.
Here are 20 ideas for socialization through service:
- Collecting Bottles for Recycling
- Volunteering to Read to Kids At the Library
- Offer to do a Favor for a Neighbor
- Bake a Treat for the Neighbors
- Deliver Flowers to a Neighbor You Don't Know Well
- Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless
- Collect Used Children's Books and Donate Them to a Hospital
- Visit a Nursing Home & Play a Game With a Resident
- Rehearse & Perform a Song for Friends or Extended Family
- Invite Friends to Help You Pick Up Trash At A Park
- Write a Thank-You Note to Someone (mailman, trash collector, fire fighters, police officers, military, etc.)
- Collect Blankets from Friends to Pass Out to the Homeless
- Schedule a Playdate with Someone Who Would Appreciate A New Friend
- Hold a Door Open for Others
- Help Cook & Deliver a Meal to a New Mother
- Set Up a Lemonade Stand for Free or Donate the Profits
- Write Up & Give a Speech of Appreciation at your City Hall Meeting
- Buy Candy for the Cashier Helping You Check Out
- Collect Canned Goods to Donate to a Shelter
- Put Together a Fun Little School Package for Friends (rulers, pens, pencils, stickers, etc.) - "Hope You're Having a Great School Year!"
Each of these acts of service requires interaction skills and is great practice for children to become more social. The possibilities for service are endless and the value is much greater than we can imagine.
When simple acts of service become a regular occurrence in your child’s life, you are helping them learn the value of charity and service. You are raising people who care about others and enjoy making the world a better place. How’s that for socialization and higher learning? 😉