A Peek into Our Homeschool: Time to Serve

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One of the goals that Ray and I had for our children was that they care about others and show it in concrete ways. Therefore we made sure that our children had time to serve.

All of our children taught children’s Bible classes at church. Though we deeply respected the youth minister and teachers who worked with the youth at our church, there were times when we didn’t think some of the teen activities and classes were the best places for our children. And yes, this was a difficult decision for the preacher’s family to make! We encouraged our children to teach children’s classes while those teen classes were meeting. I worked part-time for a few years coordinating the children’s classes at our church. Our daughters spent hours helping me prepare study materials for those classes. That volunteering helped prepare them for their later work in Notgrass History.

Two of our children taught people in other countries about Jesus through a program called World Bible School. They also spent time visiting in nursing homes. Mary Evelyn and a homeschool friend did puppet shows in a nursing home. Our son continued to visit a woman with MS in a nursing home for several years after he graduated from homeschool, eventually taking his wife to see her, too. 

Our daughter Bethany concentrated on volunteer work with children. At different times, she volunteered to help a special education teacher in her public school classroom and helped a young mother in the class she taught at a church’s Mother’s Day Out program.

Our church supported a missionary in an inner city neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. Bethany organized a huge effort for our church to purchase and wrap Christmas presents for him to give to the children his church was serving. Below is a photo of two of us grownups at a big gift wrapping event for this ministry organized by our teenage daughter.

The project dearest to Bethany’s heart was her work as librarian for our church’s children’s library. Both our daughters and I began the library after the untimely death of a man in our church who, along with his wife, taught a Bible class for young children. His widow encouraged and helped with this endeavor and people gave donations for Mr. Paul’s Children’s Library. We patterned the library after one created at our church in Illinois by our dear friend (and homeschooling mama emeritus), Olive Wagar.

Bethany became the librarian after we got the library going. She purchased books, cataloged books, checked books out after church services, decorated the library, and organized a summer reading program. She loved it. We are excited that the library is still continuing today after 31 years, long after Bethany married and moved away.


Again, let me say that I am not setting our family up as some grand example. We were dependent on many other people for our children to be able to do these acts of service. Christians began children’s Bible classes at our church. Mission-minded people created World Bible School. Caring people built nursing homes. Women at our church were willing to let Bethany volunteer in their classrooms. Our missionary friend was reaching out to people in Richmond’s inner city. Our friend Olive had already established two children’s libraries at churches, so we were able to learn from her.

I hope that these peeks into our homeschool will encourage you in your efforts to train your children’s hearts, souls, and minds. The key is to go ahead and count the most important things as “school” and not only count the traditional academics.

For you were called to freedom, brethren;
only do not turn your freedom
into an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13

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