Some states require its students to fulfill a community service requirement before graduating from high school. Homeschoolers who follow the traditional high school sequence in those states may choose to do that, too.
Even if community service is not required, it isn’t a bad idea to consider adding volunteer hours to the high school portfolio and transcript. It’s good for the student and those it helps. Plus, colleges and scholarship committees expect grads to demonstrate a background in service and/or leadership anyway. Volunteerism is a way to meet both of these goals at once.
Where and how should homeschoolers volunteer? Again, the laws of your state will always prevail. But when given a choice, parents and teens may decide when and how to earn service hours.
Students who belong to service organizations usually have no difficulty finding volunteer opportunities. Working one weekend per month with a church group, community group, or other established service organization is an excellent way to learn about giving while easily knocking out hours at the same time.
Students may also volunteer independently, by seeking out people and programs that can use a little extra help. Hospitals, libraries, animal shelters, emergency-responder groups and a variety of others often welcome responsible youth ready to help make a difference. Even senior centers, community clubs and private individuals sometimes need volunteers, so it’s important to keep those folks in mind, as well.
Tracking volunteer hours is easy. A simple tracking sheet or record-keeping log is easy to create (or you can print ours for free HERE). If a certain number of hours is required, just enter a grand total at the end of each semester or academic year. Also remember to save any documentation, including authorized signatures from contact personnel, should verification of your child’s hours ever be needed down the road.
Community service is valuable on many levels and recommend for all graduates, not just those looking for recognition and scholarship awards. On the other hand, if your teen will be shopping for colleges (and college money!) down the road, why not do it right and treat volunteer hours as you would any other high school course? By tracking and keeping a paper-trail of the hours, you’ll be covered either way.
[Find our 4-year high school planner HERE.]