Monday, August 24, 2015

My newest post can be found at Bee Line Consulting.  I was given the wonderful privilege and opportunity to write a guest post there.  If you're looking for new ways to engage your child with Practical Life activities, you don't want to miss this post filled with a ton of great ideas.  Click on the link below.  Enjoy!

Meeting Special Needs in a Montessori Classroom

This month I had the privilege of writing a guest post for Montessori Nature.  I am so thrilled with how it turned out.  If you have not read it yet, you are missing out.  This post is for any who are using Montessori with special needs children, or who may be considering the possibility of doing so.  Not only does the post give great tips but also shares some of our own personal experiences with Montessori and our own special needs kiddos.  Click the link below to read. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

12 Months of Family Service Projects

This post may contain affiliate links.

This school year, our family has set a goal to do one service project a month.  Since we homeschool year round, this means 12 projects.  Most planning, preparation, and execution will take place during Family Home Evenings.  Since Family Home Evenings are on Sunday nights this year, due to activities, we may need to purchase materials and supplies on Saturdays while running errands, but I'm hoping it will all work out.  When service projects require delivering items to destinations in our neighborhood, we'll set aside a special time to make that happen.

I am so excited about this new family goal.  Service is such a great way to stop thinking about one's self, circumstances, and challenges.  It's a great way to develop gratitude.  When children participate in service projects they start to become more aware of the needs of those around them.  They learn more about loving others and the importance of kindness.  For my special needs kiddos, it's a great way to help them get out of their own heads and spaces to socialize with others in positive ways. It's my hope that if I can teach them to serve others, they're more apt to be aware of the needs of others around them when they're older.  It will be just something we do, without effort.

Choosing service projects that would work for our family was quite a challenge. I enlisted the help of my fellow bloggers to come up with the perfect list.  Let me just say, it's fantastic!  We will be helping so many others this year in so many different ways.  Some of the projects will require us to enlist the help of friends, neighbors, and extended family, which I'm thrilled about.  I'm hoping others will be excited to join us in our effort to really make a difference.

Here's what we're going to attempt!
September

Our family will hand out flyers as we go for one of our afternoon walks.  Then on the selected date, we'll collect nonperishable goods.  I'm a little nervous about how many neighbors will participate, but I'm hoping our efforts will be successful.  We'll then deliver the food to a local food pantry.

October
Survival Kit for Police from Gifts You Can Make

Police officers are not looked upon in the most loving ways right now.  I thought it would be great for our family to show those who serve and protect us, just how grateful we are.  This is such a simple and adorable idea.  All of the items are candy, so what's not to like?

November
3.  Kids' Letters to Troops from Cutting Tiny Bites

In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought we'd write letters to soldiers.  I'm a bit nervous about this activity just because I know how much the kiddos dislike writing.  Hopefully they'll go along with it if presented well, especially if they can draw and color pictures.

December

This is not a new service project for us.  It's one we do every year.  The kiddos LOVE spending a week baking and then delivering yummy treats to all the neighbors and select community helpers.

January
5.  Birthday Boxes from I Can Teach My Child

The idea of birthday boxes is so brilliant and kid friendly.  I know my kiddos will LOVE putting the boxes together, personalizing each one.  It's the perfect project for the start of a new year.  We may invite others to participate in this project with us.

February

We may not use the exact smiley face figures used in this post, but the idea will be the same.  This project will work perfect around Valentine's Day, especially for those who are feeling a little unloved.

March

My kiddos love meal planning, grocery shopping, and anything that has to do with desserts.  Why not share their favorite things with others who need them?  I'm not sure how many dinner baskets we'll make, but no matter how many, it will still be a ton of fun!

April

Each day one of the kiddos has the chore of picking up litter in our front yard.  I'm always amazed by how much litter is out there.  In April, in honor of Earth Day, we'll expand beyond our front yard and see just how beautiful we can help our neighborhood become.

May

I LOVE the book Miss Rumphius!  When I saw this idea, I just knew we had to do it.  Who doesn't like to be surprised by a flower gently placed somewhere they're sure to see?  Though we won't see the smiles of those who find the flowers, I know that the service project will be successful.

June
Project Night Night

When I read about this service opportunity, I cried.  Tears would not stop streaming down my cheeks.  As a family who did foster care and respite for 4 years, we know first hand what those first nights away from home are like for little ones in care.  The same is true of those in shelters.

This project is a BIG undertaking.  We will most definitely be asking others to help, so that we can create as many bags as possible.  Even though it may cost a little more than other service projects we've selected, I know the kiddos will have so much fun putting the bags together, picking out books, blankets, and stuffed animals.  It's as kid friendly as it gets!
  
July

A year's worth of service projects wouldn't be complete without including service for animals.  We always seem to have an abundance of stained clothes that are too small. Why not recycle them and turn them into the perfect toy for dogs in local shelters?  I'm excited to teach the kiddos how to braid in the process.

August
12.  Give Back to the Neighbors with a Coke Stand in the Yard from Raising Lifelong Learners

This week has been EXTREMELY hot.  There have been so many times when an ice cold drink would be the perfect remedy.  We probably won't be handing out Coca Cola, but cans of ice cold lemonade will be perfect!  This service project is so simple, yet such a great idea in the summer heat!

I can't wait to get started on all of our service plans for the year!  It should be an amazing experience for our entire family that will be with us for years to come.  If it's as successful as I think it will be, I'm guessing we'll be doing this for years to come.

For more fabulous family service ideas, be sure to visit my Family Service Projects Pinterest Board!

 Service is a subject that is so near and dear to my heart!  I would love to hear about other ways your family has served others around you!
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