Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: service

group of kids with hands and feet in circle

Inspire Responsibility

Service projects for teens inspire compassion and civic responsibility. Many schools require them for high school graduation because of their lasting impact. In addition to enriching life experiences for teens, service projects also open college doors. When your student finds a meaningful one, the impact will stick with them long after the cap and gown are packed away.

Service projects teach our children the value of helping others without compensation. The experience is the reward. Our children become productive members of society with a sense of social responsibility and have the opportunity to impact the world with Christ’s love.

Young People “Do Something” Campaigns

DoSomething.org has terrific ideas on how to call teens to action. From collecting a million pairs of blue jeans for needy families to hosting a bake sale for the hungry, any teen can find a project to feel passionate about. And for those who take the time to cook with an elderly person, there is a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship.
Talk with your teens to find out what service niche is most appealing to them. Simple skills they might take for granted like loving animals or planting flowers can be the very things that boost them forward!

Here are some service project ideas to help get them started:

  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter or zoo.
  • Support U.S. troops with collecting, packing or sending items overseas. Write letters or cards or host a party and ask others to help donate to the packages.
  • Organize an environmental cleanup in local neighborhoods, beaches or running tails. Check your county website for where to help.
  • Help paint, clean up parks or plant flowers
  • Start a neighborhood garden and donate the produce to your local food pantry. http://www.dig-itmag.com/features/lifegarden_story/471_0_6_0_M/
  • Volunteer at a charity fundraiser walk by helping with registrations or passing out water bottles.
  • Be a tutor at a local school or library who offers after school homework help.
  • Be a summer camp counselor at a local Christian Camp or YMCA.
  • Offer people you know help with an elderly parent or special needs child.
  • Volunteer at a local nursing home. Use your talents to brighten someone’s day. Teach email skills to the elderly so they can stay connected with their loved ones. Walk or read an inspiring book to them! http://www.programsforelderly.com/how-to-help-elderly.php
  • Babysit for free for a family in need-check with your church for names.
  • Be a big brother or sister and teach your skills to someone by teaching sports, music, academics or games.
  • Organize a community needs day. Paint, clean, shop or whatever people in your community need. This can be a great church outreach!
  • Make homemade blankets for missions or a local hospital’s neonatal unit.
  • Plan a year-long monthly food drive with your local food bank-enlist friends and neighbors! http://createthegood.org/toolkit/organize-food-drive

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

For more ways to serve, read this related article on the “Ways to Serve Military Families“, for more information on volunteering.

And sign up for the Teach Them Diligently newsletter for more articles on discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and much more!

 

Rethink Home Education

To further your reading, we have a special ebook that we would like to send to you. It’s entitled “RETHINK EDUCATION, Turning Scary Questions About Home Education Into Exciting Possibilities.” It was written after countless conversations with moms who are either considering homeschooling or struggling with doubt. My heart in writing it is to offer hopeful answers to some of the questions moms tend to be asking… and you might be surprised at which ones didn’t make the list. I would love for it to become a resource you could share with your friends who are considering home education, or who are wondering if they’ll keep going. So, grab your copy today! – Leslie Nunnery

 

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We Don’t Even Know Her Name

She was a good mother. She was hospitable when it made no sense. She was a pagan who God used mightily, yet we aren’t even given her name. We simply know her as the Widow of Zarephath who opened her home and her meager pantry to a foreign prophet. (I Kings 17: 8-16)

As I was reading in I Kings this week, I was once again struck by this lady’s story. She isn’t a Jew. She doesn’t necessarily know Elijah, but she does know about his God. For some reason she notes that “the Lord [his] God lives…” I find that pretty interesting, but that is not what the Lord really spoke to me about this week.

We Don't Know Her Name. As #Moms, we can learn a lot of lessons from her, though!

This week, as I read her story, I couldn’t help but wonder how many things I do that I honestly don’t care if anyone ever sees or knows about. Sincerely. Am I, as a child of God, really willing to give my last bit of oil and meal to help a stranger in distress– trusting my God to sustain me even when I can’t imagine how?

How about a larger view? Am I as a mom content to serve in the shadows, pouring every last ounce of time and energy into shaping those amazing children God has given me even when it means that worldly applause will most likely pass me by? Does my heart cry out for recognition and the limelight, or do I remember that God sees those things done in secret? Am I willing to sacrifice my own ambitions– even when the limelight comes calling– for the good of those God has called me to serve?

As homeschool moms or moms of littles, we are with our kiddos all the time. There is very little time for extras during some of their more involved school years.  It is very tempting to cast it all off and go chasing my own dreams sometimes, losing sight of God’s call on my life. And I cannot help but wonder if this is a contributing factor to why some leave homeschooling all together. The world places a lot of value on applause and affirmation, but what is God’s position on that? God certainly does give us a lot of information about a pagan widow who gets to see God work in miraculous ways– even though we never know her name.

My heart was challenged by this thought. I hope to pay closer attention to my motives going forward. I want to always live my life in view of the One I truly serve. I want to set all my priorities and wants according to His will. I want to serve humbly and faithfully, never looking for the limelight or the applause. I want to see my children succeed and love Him with all their hearts, souls and minds. At this stage of my life, that takes a lot of my time– and it is worth every single second… Even if no one ever knows my name.

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That's Why I'm Here- Proper Response To Our Busy Days and A Strategy For Serving Like Christ
Yesterday was a bad day for me. I was stressed. I was irritable. I felt like Chicken Little shouting “the sky is falling!” everywhere I went. Many things that absolutely shouldn’t have affected me at all made me very angry. I allowed myself to react completely out of control. It was awful.
Last night at prayer meeting, the Lord reminded me of a study I did some time ago. This passage was only mentioned in passing by one of the members of our church, but the Lord used it to really get my attention. The  account on my heart is found in Mark chapter 1 which relays the events of one of the busiest recorded days in Jesus’ life.  Jesus had cast out demons, taught, healed the sick, and traveled from place to place. Early the next morning, He arose and went out into a secluded place to pray.  It wasn’t long before the disciples came seeking him– “Master, everyone is looking for you!”  In my head, I can hear the panic that I often experience when I feel out of control. –>Jesus was an amazing teacher! Jesus could heal! Jesus could cast out demons! But they couldn’t– and there were people there waiting!  WHERE WAS JESUS WHEN WE NEED HIM??? Jesus’ response, though,– after that incredibly busy day when He had poured Himself out over and over on behalf of the people– was not “Give me a break! I served them ALL DAY yesterday! Do they have any idea what all I do for them?”  Instead, His words pierced my soul right in my chair, and I hope they changed the course of my life forever.  He said simply,
“”Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
That was WHY He was here– to meet needs, to heal, to teach, to lead people to His Father. THAT WAS WHY! Everything He did or said fell within that mission! It determined even His reactions.

Can you relate?

What does your busiest day look like?  Teaching, dishes, laundry, meals, plans, service, errands, lessons, ballgames, Church Activities… What is your reaction when the people God has called you to serve want just one more thing? How do you react when you’re just wanting to get something done, but your six-year old needs direction for what to do next?  Mine? Not like Jesus’ reaction most of the time.
Yesterday, I failed to be Christlike again. People I love asked me for help (can you imagine?) and I had a terrible attitude about it.  I could feel the frustration and the anxiety welling up within me as I overreacted to just about everything.  But, “that’s why I’m here!”  I am here to shepherd that little one who keeps patiently asking me time after time what to do next, and who just wants to be near me. I’m here to shepherd the hearts of those older ones, too, who seem to magically disappear so as to NOT be told what to do next. (Do yours ever do that, or is it exclusive to our family?)

Some of the things that make up our busiest days are part of God’s call on our lives– but, as God keeps pointing out to me, much of this busy-ness we put on ourselves, don’t we?

Some of the things that make up our busiest days are part of God's call on our lives-- but, as God keeps pointing out to me, much of this busy-ness we put on ourselves, don't we? Jesus tells us in Matthew “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (11:28-30)  God’s yoke is easy? His burden is light? Hmmm… if that’s the case, then why do so many of us feel so downtrodden? Why are we so frustrated?  That certainly begs the question of how much do we put on ourselves that aren’t ours to bear, either because we are always seeing needs and wanting to meet them or for other reasons such as discontent where we are or pride for wanting more? It is great to want to serve, and God has certainly called each of us TO serve, but Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Yet we tend to put difficult yokes and heavy burdens on ourselves– then blame the Lord when we cannot keep up!  A pastor friend of mine wrote a Facebook status once that absolutely rocked my world!  He said, “God has called us to be SOMEWHERE… God has not called us to be EVERYWHERE!” But dear friends, do you ever– like me– sacrifice the SOMEWHERE on the altar of the EVERYWHERE?  Raise your virtual hand if you do!

If we had a clearer sense of Why We are Here, perhaps that would allow us to make wiser decisions about the yokes and burdens we take on, don’t you think? Let’s take a look at this together.

As I was thinking about this sacrifice of the somewhere that I tend to make, the Lord brought to my mind homemade bread. (Bear with me here, there is a point to this!)  To make really good bread, the dough has to be kneaded just the right amount, right? The kneading process warms and stretches all those gluten strands, making springy and elastic dough.  If the dough isn’t kneaded enough, it doesn’t spring up enough; it looks flat and has a dense Breadtexture; it tends to tear when you try to cut it.  Over-kneaded dough is no better.  One bread-making site reads,  “Loaves made with over kneaded dough often end up with a rock hard crust and a dense, dry interior…”  Now, keeping with our “bread” analogy, I doubt many reading this are under-kneaded– I doubt too many of us have too little to do and just sit around idly, BUT Are you over-kneaded??  Does the way you are managing your life and your family leave you with “a rock hard crust and a dense, dry interior?” I have wasted far too many days that way! That is NOT the impression I want to give my children of what serving Christ does to a person!!  That is a product of my trying to be EVERYWHERE and sacrificing the SOMEWHERE!  But why? Why do I do that?

Could it be that I feel like the SOMEWHERE in which I live is not important–like it is not making a big enough difference in the world?

Never Lose Sight of the kingdom significant

So, Why am I here? Where has God called me, and what has He called me to do?  We have to figure those things out, so we can then weigh every opportunity, every need, every turn in light of that.  We’re going to look very briefly at some roles I am called to play as are most of you– there is not nearly enough space to fully develop these thoughts or to jump in and look at what scripture has to say about each role, but I urge you to think through your own list and take time to really evaluate those roles for yourself!  We all need to weigh the Somewhere tasks versus the Everywhere opportunities.

First of all, I am a child of the King.

I have a video of my older daughter, who received Christ as her Savior when she was 4. I asked her what she had done, and she told me she was now a princess– she was a child of the King! I have never forgotten her sweet little voice saying those words, and I am so thankful that even as a 4 year old, she knew she was a child of the King! Everything I do and say should be to do the work of my Father. If any of you reading this don’t know that you, too, are a child of the King of Kings, I would love to talk to you about that!  Becoming a princess like my 4 year old did, will forever change the course of your life as you discover there is One Who is much more worthy to live for than yourself.

In addition to being a child of the King, I am called to be David’s wife.

I was called to be David’s wife well before I was called to be the mom of the four amazing children God has given us.  Even at the various stages of our life when the children demand a LOT of attention, I am still called to be his wife– oh how many marriages are destroyed when we forget that! Don’t allow yourself to sacrifice the somewhere of your marriage on the altar of the everywhere your children want to be, go, experience, do, etc.  That makes for a tired, stressed and broken wife at the end of the day. I want to be a delight to him. I want to be a helper to him. I don’t want to affect him with my “rock hard crust” that I get from taking on too much.  I have found that my attitude about my work, about the children, and about everything else directly affects my husband. It took me years to see that because he loves me so much, he wants to make everything right for me. When I am out of kilter, he goes into overdrive to make things right– no matter what. So, my attitude about what God has called me to do– and my reaction to the “just one mores” can affect the rest of my household very quickly when I become like a dripping faucet around my husband.  Again, that is NOT the picture I want to present of what serving God looks like or of what a Christian Marriage should look like.  Ladies, I encourage you to remember your marriages!! Flirt with your husbands, spend time with them. Remember, it’s because of your love for him that you became a Mommy in the first place!! I need to be willing to set aside my own pride, exhaustion, and well, even my own will sometimes, to serve him– for as his wife “that’s why I’m here!”

I am also called to be mom to my four Children.

That means that in varying ways throughout their lives, I am privileged to take care of them, to disciple them, to Teach Them Diligently and point their hearts toward their Creator, Savior and King.  That takes a lot of time and preparation, but OH the payoff!!  At whatever stage of life you are in, whether you have babies and you are so sleep deprived that you can hardly form two sentences that seem coherent or whether you have young children that are so active that you feel like you can hardly keep up with them. Some of us have teens that we’re now wanting to hold onto tightly or older ones that have already left our nests. Through each phase, we must seek the way to shepherd and disciple our children in that stage and be willing to spend the time– in that SOMEWHERE to which we are called– to work on it. I have a great relationship with my 15 year old son, but that was born out of hours upon hours spent together when he was younger- reading, talking, laughing, singing, playing together. Those younger days when your activities seem so mundane are critical for building a foundation for the teen years. Never ever lose sight that you are doing Kingdom significant work each and every day in your home. We cannot let Satan tear apart our families and make our homes a battleground because as moms we sacrifice the precious SOMEWHERE on the altar of the EVERYWHERE!!

Finally, I am called to serve others.

This looks different for everyone and varies greatly with what stage of life you are currently in. God has been preparing each of us for the exact mission He has for us right now! You, busy mom, who sometimes feels like you are totally “on the shelf” so to speak, since your life is almost constantly within the four walls of your home– You are uniquely equipped to reach the people God brings across your path. These people may or may not be within the reach of your pastor or any other person. God has planted individuals who need you to serve them in different ways– all around you– in your neighborhood, at your grocery store, at your co-op.  Can you see them?  I am so concerned, friends,  that I become so busy with the EVERYWHERE that I miss the people God has put all around my SOMEWHERE.  My heart is crying out, Father, forgive me!
My call, my somewhere– looks very different than yours.  God has equipped me and prepared me for my call. He has promised never to give me a burden that I am unable to bear– and He makes that same promise to you. How often, though, does our discontent, our pride of wanting to do more, cause us to look beyond what God has given us to do and to heap upon ourselves burdens that are too heavy and difficult for us?  How often do we look at the seemingly common-ness of our daily lives and desire– even seek out– more to do, be, etc.?
 
Let us remember that there are no common tasks to God!! God has KING-SIZED plans for us Mommies!!  Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for the difference we can make in the lives of our children is earth-changing! Oh, may we not sacrifice this beautiful SOMEWHERE on the altar of EVERYWHERE! May we always remember That’s Why We’re Here!
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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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