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  1. #1

    Default Work that matters

    I came across this article tonight and wondered if this is/was a consideration in your homeschooling.

    It's an idea I have been kicking around a bit lately. My kids do a lot of volunteer work but there's a divide for the most part between their academic work and their volunteer work. I would love to bring those two things in line, or find other ways that help them do real work in the world. Does anyone have kids that are already on this path?

    I would argue, in fact, that the growing access to knowledge, information, people, and tools that our students are getting demands a shift in how we think about the work they do in school, one that moves them away from traditional, institutionally organized “assignments” and toward more student-organized projects that are centered on the intersection of their interests and the subject or standard at hand.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Enlightened panama10's Avatar
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    Feb 2013


    Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing. We aren't on this path necessarily. We do volunteer work. I guess we could do more school projects that'd go along with that.
    Lots to think about.
    Mother, engineer, jack of many trades.
    Girl (13 yrs old), Boy1 (9 yr old), Boy 2 (9 yr old)

  4. #3


    I believe strongly in this but don't really know how to get started.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Arrived ejsmom's Avatar
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    Nov 2011


    I think that is a great article, but I don't see most public schools moving in that direction, in fact, I see most school moving even further away from that.

    My son is all about hermit crabs. He has a large "crabitat" that he keeps at ideal conditions - humidity, temperature, etc. He makes sure to feed them organic, non-GMO food blends he creates for their needs. He likes to do crab "rescues" from the chain pet stores of crabs that are missing limbs or in toxic painted shells. He has learned to write letters to chain pet store corporations and bring to their attention stores that are not following their own care guidelines in their crab tanks. Not that hermit crabs aren't important, but I hope to see this translate into something even more meaningful as he grows up. He also likes to explore business ideas and marketing concepts - for things that would be safe, but helpful - like natural lawn care instead of chemicals or natural pest control, and even art/decor ideas using natural elements. I hope that when he is a bit more mature, we can guide him to find his own niche and merge it with his education.
    Mom to EJ, age 12

  6. #5


    That's exactly what my 10yo is craving. "Real challenges" she called it. "Not another math sheet and writing and stuff. Somehing real."

    Shewants to volunteer in school. (Ironic, I know.) I was thinking about letting her volunteer in a hospice one block from her. I always try to avoid letting them do work without purpose. I teach my girls how to sew and cook and bake. Penmanship is writing letters to people. They read aloud - to their younger sisters. The art project (mosaic) is for our back yard.
    Would love to do more of that and would love to hear other people's ideas.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Evolved Epiphany's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Very interesting. Social justice issues are a big deal in our family and in our church, and little man is starting to get a grasp of that. I have done some character education type stuff with him, and found a cool book at the library about service projects for kids. We read a lot of the book and he really likes the idea of putting together backpacks with school supplies for kids in schools who may not have them. In a brief survey of my public school teaching friends, it seems that there is an ongoing need for something like this. So, he and I are working on how we can get something like this going. I am sure that we will pitch it at church and go from there. He is only six, so I realize that a lot of this is gonna be mama work, but I want him to care about something, and to think of ways to solve problems that he sees. Something about kids without new crayons and pencils resonates with him.

  8. #7


    In higher ed, this is called service learning. It is when the course work and volunteer work are integrated together. While lessons are generally for college, if you do a google search, you might be able to find ideas for lessons. Maybe Google "service learning lesson plans"

    As an example, here is a link I found, with lessons for 2nd grade:

    Lesson Plan | Developing Kids with Character through Service Learning | Random Acts of Kindness
    Eclectic education for DS ('07)
    Global Village Whole Child, Healthy Planet curriculum
    Choosing Our Own Adventures

  9. #8


    Awesome article! I agree that kids need to be given some freedom in choosing what they study, how they study/learn, and making it have real life implications.
    Mama to Lizard (DD), 11, amazingly self directed and intelligent, and Destructoboy (DS), almost 7, on the spectrum and "a genius."

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