Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Serve the Church Challenge: Week 13 of the Organized Homeschool Challenge

It can be easy for homeschooling families to take service to the church to one of two extremes — either always being at church to the neglect of family and homeschooling or never being there. This week, we are going to take time to discuss and pray about how God is calling us to share our time, talents, and tithes with our faith family and the world.

#1 Review Your Current Church Service

If you don’t yet belong to a church, I encourage you to make that a priority this week. The Lord urges us to be in community with other believers to worship Him, to serve, and to be cared for.

If you do belong to a church and you are currently serving, write down what you are each doing. Consider these factors:

  • Does your service take an appropriate amount of time?
  • Does your service take advantage of your talents?
  • Does your service meet a need?

Spend time discussing how you each serve and praying about what, if any, changes the Lord would have you make.

#2 Consider Time Commitments of Potential Service Opportunities

If you or your family aren’t serving at church, this is the week to consider how you can do that. If the way you are serving isn’t working, this is also a time to consider a change.

Many homeschooling families find their time is best used serving together. I know some who make yearly participation in a church musical or outreach activities (like an Easter egg hunt) a family activity. My family and our homeschool friends prepared meals together for Feed My Starving Children this year and the time flew because we had so much fun.

Our church offers the chance to participate in mission trips during the year. This is a good time to determine if these opportunities work well with your family’s schedule.

Some acts of service can be fit around your regular schedule. I love Not Consumed’s idea of an Acts of Service jar. When it’s full, the family celebrates what they’ve done.

#3 Consider Your Talents and Interests When Considering Service Opportunities

The Homeschool Classroom offers great ideas for service opportunities for your family. Your church office may have some ideas, but even better, ask people you know who are in charge of various ministries. Ask your children what they would be most passionate about doing. The Pleasantest Thing shares service ideas that even toddlers can enjoy.

Some of the best ideas for serving come from your children themselves. My daughter has organized a lemonade stand to raise funds for malaria nets and a bake sale for African orphans. If the ideas fit with your child’s God-given talents and interests, you won’t have to beg them to serve.

#4 Consider Your Tithes

Have you shared with your children your commitment to giving to the church and to charity? If not, share with them the sacrifices you willingly make and the blessings of giving. Also share why you are passionate about the causes you support.

Give your children the opportunity to give their own money to church and other causes. Lead them in prayer about the amount and the distribution of the money they will give. If you leave the gift amount open-ended, you may be surprised by how generous they will be.

If you’re like me, you haven’t been the most organized with the church offering and tithing envelopes. This is the week to change that. You may want to get your children a Giving Bank, so they can clearly see their offerings. You can also use an app like Spend. I have 10% of my children’s incoming money automatically added to a tithing account. Now my children and I need to make sure the money makes it into their envelopes!

How do you and your family serve the church and the world?


Here is the March Organized Homeschool Calendar to print and a list of previous weeks’ challenges:

Organize your homeschool this spring with this free March printable calendar

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

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Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

parenting tips, christian homeschoolers, parenting challenge

Most of the interpersonal problems I have seen professionally and personally could have been avoided with good communication. This week we will focus on improving our parenting communication skills. Here’s how:

#1 Have the kids evaluate you

We are going to start with a task that most parents never do: ask their children to tell them how they’re doing. We may imagine that having our children evaluate us encourages them to be disrespectful. On the contrary, this kind of open communication promotes respect. Children who feel they have no voice in their relationship with you are most likely to rebel.

We may also fear hearing about our flaws. Yet, it’s better to be told now than to hear when our children are adults that they were unhappy with our parenting or teaching. With our humility comes the opportunity for God to change us and our families for the better.

I have created a form that your children can use to evaluate both parents. It may not be appropriate for younger students. Make sure your children know that you want their honest opinions and that you won’t be angry or sad if they give them.

Click to download or print the student evaluation form for homeschool parents/teachers.

parenting evaluation form for homeschooled students

#2 Have a parent-teacher conference

It seems like an oxymoron, but parent-teacher conferences are very important for married homeschooling families. We can be so busy that we don’t make time to discuss each of our children’s academic and personal progress as a couple. A child may continue to struggle unnecessarily because one parent isn’t aware of the need. When we don’t know what to do, our spouse may.

Schedule a time with your spouse for conferences (you may have to schedule one child at a time) and then complete these Homeschool Conference Evaluation Forms from FiveJs.com. The forms provide an opportunity for the primary teacher to evaluate students and for the students to evaluate themselves.

Using these forms and the parent evaluation forms, prayerfully discuss each child. Agree on when to meet with your child, what you want to praise each child for, and what you’d like the child to work on. Use this time to pray together about a personal goal in your parenting for the rest of the school year as well. Ask your spouse to help hold you accountable with regular progress updates.

#3 Have a conference with each child

When both parents meet with a child, he learns that he is valued. You could meet with him at home or take him somewhere special where you will have the opportunity to talk. Keep your conversation positive. Affirm your love for him and your confidence that he can keep growing. You may wish to present your child with a Scripture that you believe will help him understand your heart for him.

#4 Plan special time for each child

You don’t want to a conference to be the only special time you have with each child. Parents of many children will find daily time with individual kids a challenge. Doorposts sells a Family Time Circle that will help you remember who’s supposed to spend time with whom. Some families like to be less structured with individual time and choose to take the opportunities that present themselves (i.e., take one child to the grocery store, another on a different errand, and so on).

Come Together Kids shares a very clever idea for planning monthly special time. Although the idea is used as a valentine’s gift, these scratch-off cards would be well-received any time.

 Which of these tasks do you think will give you more confidence as a parent?

Next week’s challenge is the Extended Family Challenge.

These are the previous weeks’ challenges:

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

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Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

get organized homeschool challengeOne of the things that appealed to me about homeschooling was that I wouldn’t have to have a schedule. I relished the idea of getting up when I felt like it. I also tried doing laundry and dishes and teaching when I felt like it when I started homeschooling. The problem was I didn’t feel like it very often! Something needed to change or I felt I would have to send my kids to school.

Discovering Routines

What changed is that I came across some emails by a woman named Marla Cilley — aka FLYLady. She gave me an alternative to a rigid schedule in her morning and evening routines. It seems so obvious that life runs more smoothly when you have an organized pattern of activities, but it wasn’t to me. The impact of loading and running the dishwasher each evening was huge. So was scheduling errands and doctor’s appointments on the same day of the week. There were many other benefits.

But when it came to school work, I was very much influenced by Managers of Their Homes. I wished I could be as super organized as Teri Maxwell so I  initially created a packed schedule to manage my growing family. Then I was very frustrated that I never EVER followed it to a tee. I returned to a routine for schoolwork, but then managed to take the routine to an extreme, too. Today I use a fluid combination of a schedule and a routine, helped along by my children keeping me accountable. In other words, “Mom, are we going to start school?”

Your Challenge for This Week

#1 You and Older Children Track Your Routine or Schedule

The biggest mistake I have made where routines and schedules are concerned is trying to make too many changes at once. Rather than trying to plan the ideal routine, see what you’re doing right now. I really dislike time tracking in general, but an overview of what you’re actually doing is a very good idea. Older kids can definitely participate in this as time management is an increasingly important skill in our culture. Best not to let them record what you and others are “actually” doing in their opinions. 😉 You can track on paper listing the hours of the day on the left and your basic activities on the right. If you have subscribed to Psychowith6, you will have access to subscriber freebies that includes a form for tracking your routine this week.

#2 Keep Tracking and Choose One Schedule Change to Try

The book, The House That Cleans Itself, taught me to use what’s already happening to my advantage. Let me give you an example to clarify. Let’s say that you’d really like to do family devotions after dinner. But you see from tracking your schedule of actual activities that you tend to watch movies as a family instead. You could a) watch Christian or biblical films at that time, b) discuss secular movies from a biblical worldview, looking up verses, or c) you could choose a better time for family devotions. Trying to enforce more than one schedule change will likely frustrate your family and drain your energy. Pray about the change that would have the biggest impact. You have plenty of time to make more changes as this one becomes second nature.

#3 Keep Tracking and Plan a Time to Evaluate Your Schedule Change

You may not want to keep tracking (I get it!), but the days fluctuate and you may see some important patterns that have to be addressed. Implement your one change (older kids can choose an individual change also) and put a note on your calendar or use the reminder function of a smart phone to assess how well it’s working. This is the step so many of us leave out. Assessment keeps changes in the problem-solving realm, rather than the blaming realm. If it’s working, wonderful. Discussing it with the kids (if it impacts them) will teach them how to problem solve and manage time. If it’s not, it’s important to determine why not and brainstorm potential solutions. Don’t give up assuming that you’re just not organized.

#4 Keep Tracking and Choose a Schedule Format

Continue tracking today and through the weekend if you’d like. Save this information for next summer when we will be working on your homeschooling schedule in depth. Decide on how to keep your schedule or routine visible. I have my HomeRoutines app on my phone, a schedule in my homeschool planner and the kids’, and I have it posted in the kitchen and school room using magnetic frames. Are you getting the idea that I don’t want to forget? One change I plan to make is to acknowledge that the schedule/routine can be regularly updated. I have the file on Word. It doesn’t take much to update it and reprint.

I would love to know the one change you’re implementing this week!

Find all the challenges at the Organize Your Homeschool page and get all the free printables you need here or by clicking the graphic below.


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