Service & Volunteering for Catholic Homeschoolers
Catholic homeschooling is about responding to our children in their whole person–body, mind, and soul. Our teens grow in faith and love through service to others. Among the academic goals of homeschooling, we should also be helping our children to grow to be good citizens and contributing members of their communities.
The Works of Mercy
When we meet others in distress or in need, we are encountering them as Christ in that person. The Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and are a real way to display true Christian charity and love of neighbor, as we respond to the spiritual and human bodily needs of another. Mercy is a virtue that displays and moves a person toward compassion for another person. We can receive God’s mercy and then extend that mercy through our own actions. Thus, our love for God inspires our love for our neighbor, leading to these manifestations and acts of love.
You may be asking, “How can I find the time to volunteer when I have so many obligations already?” Homeschoolers are well positioned to engage in the Works of Mercy. We often have time during the day available, and we have many hands to help others. But more than that, we don’t have to undertake any large or grand projects to participate in the Works of Mercy. These acts begin in the home first, within our Domestic Church. Taking good care of each other in a family is a daily practice of these Works of Mercy. And some, like instructing the ignorant, feeding the hungry, and bearing wrongs patiently are in abundance in a homeschooling family’s daily life.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visit the sick
- Visit those in prison
- Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Converting the sinner
- Instructing the ignorant
- Counseling the doubtful
- Comforting the sorrowful
- Bearing wrongs patiently
- Forgiving injuries
- Praying for the living and the dead
Look for opportunities to participate in the Works of Mercy and for volunteering for Catholic homeschoolers in your parish. Sign up to help serve at a fundraising pancake breakfast, participate in a clothing drive for the poor, attend a parishioner’s funeral Mass, volunteer to mow an elderly parishioner’s lawn, or donate to special fundraising campaigns for the poor and needy.
In the homeschooling community, you can serve other homeschooling families by teaching at a co-op, setting up a field trip, or organizing an All Souls visit to a cemetery to pray for the dead. Homeschooling families who have children with special needs would benefit from a friendly and helpful hand at homeschooling events. You can provide refreshments for a mom’s meeting or bring popsicles for the children at your next homeschool park day.
In the wider community, your family can volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month, entertain the elderly at a nursing home with singing or playing an instrument, participate in a fundraiser for a crisis pregnancy center, or do volunteer work for a local non-profit organization. There are lots of organizations that are worthy of your time, talent, and treasure. Check out this list of Catholic-friendly charities and non-profits. Some of these organizations are Catholic, while others are Christian or even non-sectarian, but all have been vetted to ensure they don’t present any conflicts of interest to faithful Catholics.
There are also ways that your homeschooled teen can practice volunteering and these Works of Mercy in more formal ways, either through actual work or through fundraising efforts. Explore the opportunities for volunteering for Catholic homeschoolers in your state: