Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're Not The Same!

We were challenged, stretched and encouraged this past weekend at the THSC Leadership Conference. The beautiful campgrounds and great food were a perfect setting for the meetings, workshops and open forums. The fellowship was sweet as we met with some great Texas leaders.

It was so exciting to us to hear such great advice from these experienced homeschool group leaders that we wanted to share some of what they said with you here. (Our best advice is for you to make plans to be at next year's THSC Leadership Conference!) Here's just the tip of the iceberg of all the wealth of information we heard during interviews, meetings and workshops:

Doug & Patsy Arnold of Texas' Special Kids--"Don't ask what you can do about the [special needs] child. Ask what you can do for the child, how you can learn from the child, and how you can be blessed by this child."

Becky Ryan of REACH Garden Ridge--"Be as open as possible. Post your minutes. When you're upfront about everything, people trust you more and your decisions."

Arlene Alderman of REACH Garden Ridge--"Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! You can't repeat [your vision] too much."

Donna Harp of THSC Board of Directors--"Do a co-op that includes good citizenship. . . that includes the kids helping to get a gentleman that is homeschool-friendly elected. Then the kids have some ownership of who gets elected."

Paul Mills of THSC Board of Directors and HCCH--"To get men involved in leadership, limit the quantity of meetings they need to attend. Don't expect them to be at the one for choosing the Valentine's banquet decorations. They need to attend the meetings for vision and budgeting and bylaws."

Tonya Knowles of Touchstone Home Educators--"I chose the group's name from one of my favorite books as a child. The meaning of the word touchstone is an excellent example."

Martha Sides (no photo) of REACH Co-op--"As soon as you take a leadership position, begin to look for and mentor your replacement."

Norm Wakefield of Spirit of Elijah Ministries--"Vision provides security and peace. If you don't set the vision for your group, others in the group will."

Tim & Lyndsay Lambert of THSC--"Prepare for growth because it will come. Small groups can become large groups overnight."

As you can see, it was a powerful weekend. We hope to see you next year--we believe you will not leave the same either!

Denise & Kristen

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teleseminar You Don't Want to Miss!

It's only 24 hours away!

We are excited about all the great tips, ideas and secrets you are going to get when you join us for this info-packed hour.

Our topic: "15 Ways to Increase Attendance," will cover:

  • getting dads involved and feeling welcomed
  • getting teens involved and excited about your group
  • getting volunteers to come out of the woodwork. . . and coming back to help
  • getting more of your members attending meetings, field trips, etc.

The teleseminar will not be about:

  • advertising your group
  • increasing your membership numbers

But how to inspire those already a part of your group to become more committed and active!

Spaces for the call are limited, so call in 5 minutes early to reserve your spot on the call. Print out the call info and tape itby your phone. Here's more details and the info for the call:

Free Teleseminar Call Information

Till Tomorrow,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Should I Even Consider Leading a Group?

Honestly, it's a challenge to lead a homeschool group. A common saying in Texas is that leading homeschoolers is like trying to herd cats. Their independence and love for freedom can make them seem hard to pull together.

But there are huge benefits to being a leader of these wonderfully-unique homeschoolers. It's an opportunity to:

serve others
showcase your talents and gifts
bring the homeschool community together
increase community awareness of homeschooling
provide much-needed encouragement and support
allow for the exciting exchange of ideas
accomplish something that stretches you
keep you from getting bored
see the fruit of your vision
gain skills that can be used in other areas of your life
gain confidence
build lasting relationships
learn to conquer fears
force you to be more organized
help you set your priorities in order

and last but not least. . . Somebody's got to do it. ;-) Why not you??

You can do it!
Denise and Kristen

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nothing Like the Last Second!

We promised you some information about the exciting Texas Home School Leadership Conference coming up Oct. 24-26 in Waxahachie, TX. With everything going on in our lives the past few weeks, we just remembered that promise. . . today!

To be honest, we've both been thinking about the conference A LOT this week. The registration fee is due on Friday, and we've been brainstorming creative ways to come up with the money fast.
Earlier this week, I (Kristen) got so overwhelmed with the thought of raising $150 (hotel lodging for two nights, all food and gasoline) that I started shutting down in my head. I was giving up before I even started. It's impossible. What resources do you have? You can't do this. EBay items will take too long to see a return. These were some of the discouraging thoughts floating through my head.

Then Denise boldly suggested a "fire sale" of sorts, and we began to scratch out ideas of things we could do to earn money fast. No limits. No fear. By the end of the phone call, I had my assignment--to pull out my beading box and and spend the afternoon crafting earrings from whatever I had in there. I got excited about the opportunity to create something beautiful and set to work. I didn't worry about whether people would even like them or not. Within two hours, I'd created 8 pairs of earrings and had also decided that I was going to also sell pint-sized jars of homemade, organic chicken broth (a favorite staple in my own kitchen).

I created a page of photos and snazzy descriptions and emailed it to the girls from my church Dinner Club and my homeschool group. That's it. Do you know that the Lord has MORE than provided my registration fee--in 48 hours?!? With the sales that came in and a house I'm cleaning, it's done and orders are still pouring in. And that's a wonderful thing, because we also have baby #6 to pay for since I have yet to find an insurance company that will joyfully cover a home birth.

The point is. . .
God provides your very specific need, and nothing is impossible for Him.

Now, about the conference--I CAN'T WAIT!! The speaker lineup is power-packed with tons of experience and wisdom from Norm Wakefield of Spirit of Elijah Ministries and Tim and Lyndsay Lambert. I was going to try to hit some of the highlights for you here on the blog, but it's just too rich--you need to read it for yourself. Retreat Schedule

With all of the workshops, discussion panels and round table discussions planned, leaders will be so blessed. And I believe the fellowship times are going to be the icing on the cake.
So, if there's any way you can get there, get there. And if you see me, be sure to stop me and say "Howdy!"

P.S. THSC offers scholarships and less expensive lodging options for the conference. Check that out here on their Registration page. Of course, you may call them as well with any questions.

Blessings, y'all!

Not Everyone Likes Our Style...

We here at Homeschool Group Leader enjoy what we do and are constantly learning new things. We look upon our simple beginnings with gratefulness and look forward to an exciting future supporting you. We really want to fill a need in the leadership community and pass on hindsight wisdom that we've gained from our experiences and interviews to you.

Recently we received a comment as one person unsubscribed during the first sections of the FREE Mini-Course. We thought it might be helpful to you to see what our response was. The thoughts expressed were, "Too much praising God and not enough practical information."

We carefully considered their feedback and answered, "Thank you for your comment and input. We will take this into consideration and possibly revise to add more practical info in the future. The other points do add more information; however, this first one established whom to please to give clarity in actions as a leader. It is so easy to get tripped up trying to please people--and we can never please everyone. Remembering to look to Christ for our affirmation and direction gave us the stability we needed while leading. Thanks again!"

This served as a great reminder to us that as leaders we will never be able to please everyone--and that's ok. When you receive criticism for your work or efforts or faith, choose to wait before reacting--especially if you feel angry or hurt. Remember that we all have room for improvement. Prayerfully consider their opinion and ask God to show you any blindspots you may have through it. Use it as a catalyst to re-evaluate your vision and style and stand. Glean from it what you can, and let go of the rest. Then kindly, but firmly respond in humble strength and thoughtful confidence.

Your feedback is always important,
Denise & Kristen

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Has Money Got You Down?

Our friend, Carol Topp, Homeschool CPA, is a name you need in your Rolodex. Whenever you have a financial question for your group, she wants you to think of her as your own CPA.

Carol Topp combines her homeschooling and accounting experiences to especially assist homeschool group leaders. She offers practical advice on starting and running a homeschool organization, receiving tax-exempt 501c3 status with the IRS, forming a board and managing a group budget. Carol also offers money management advice for homeschool families, teens and small businesses.

We have found her website to be very clean and easy to navigate. The FAQ section and blog are particularly helpful. Her nuts and bolts approach to managing your money provides you with very thorough, knowledgeable and step-by-step information to start your family and homeschool group on the upward financial path.

As a published author, Carol shares her expertise and wisdom on many subjects through articles and books. Her newest insightful book for those involved with co-ops, Homeschooling Co-ops: Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out, can be purchased here.

Carol graciously offered a great article for you that we truly believe will be of help to you. You can read it directly online:

We have enjoyed introducing Carol Topp to you. Now you can get to know her and check out all she does by going to her website, http://www.homeschoolcpa.com/. We know she will be a blessing to you and your group's financial success.

Many blessings,
Kristen & Denise