Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are You Diving Into the New Year? . . or Are You Just Treading Water?

Happy New Year!

This is such a good time to evaluate the past year, enjoy the memories and learn from mistakes. It is the perfect time to dive into new goals and follow your vision and get new creative ideas flowing.

However, sometimes the New Year comes so quickly that you feel more overwhelmed than brimming with hope. Where is the surge of excitement and promise? If you are feeling like you are just surviving this season, there is hope. This article is for you:

TREADING WATER: It Can Save Your Life
by Denise Hyde

Learning to swim in college was a true leap into overcoming fear. My lack of knowledge and experience kept me trembling on the pool side, but it also fueled my determination to face my fears and accomplish this skill.

I found that while I was moving, learning the strokes and kicking, it was easy to stay afloat and have fun. But, oh, when it came time to learn to tread water, all the fun drained out of the pool. Every time I felt the water creep up my neck I panicked. It was all I could do to pass that test.

The other day I was talking with a friend on the phone about the struggles and difficulties of progressing in our daily Christian life, in our home-work, homeschooling, and being a leader. There are times it seems like life is only surviving, not thriving. The analogy of treading water came up as a description of feeling inadequate and unproductive. As I considered this, I remembered all the reasons my coach had taught me the skill of treading water and realized. . .

the rest of the story. . .


Many prayers and blessings for you this year,
Denise

Lots of Hope and Ideas in our New Release: One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members

http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

Monday, December 21, 2009

Character Training

In our life and homeschool, I put a high price on character and integrity. Our younger daughter was just making me smile talking about how when she tells the truth she only gets into a little trouble, but when she lies about it, she gets in BIG trouble. There have been many instances over the last week or so that have given us opportunity to teach and discuss the importance of honesty.

The first began as we were setting up a Facebook account for our oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, to communicate with her out-of-town family and a few choice friends. Then the surprise came--she must be 13.

Immediately she said to "just" add a couple of years to her age; that's what "everyone" does. I don't know if she had ever been so strongly tempted to lie. It was so easy. Is it lying when it is only a computer screen? O, she really wanted this! It became a great opportunity to explain how you do not compromise even to get what you really, really want or even when it seems everybody else is doing it. You stick to the truth even when it hurts. (We did learn about Kidswirl a couple days later. She loves it.)

This importance of integrity was additionally reinforced as we talked to my folks that same day. My father came to realize while looking at his long receipt from a home improvement store that they had charged him for only 1 of 4 same items he had bought. He took the receipt with all that he needed back and paid the balance of $38. That could hurt! I treasure that heritage of honesty and saw it register with my girls. "Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding." Proverbs 23:23

Character training can be incorporated into the leadership of your homeschool group and your group meetings as well in a few simple ways.

  1. Live a life of character. People will duplicate what they see.

  2. Use words of character as you speak to your group, with other leaders or to problematic people. "Thank you for being here faithfully." "I know you desire to be dependable, however, this got missed."

  3. Send emails or devotions involving character training. www.GlobalPriority.org has a free "TIP of the week" involving a character trait that is suitable for every type of group. They also have great materials on principle training for leadership teams.

  4. Add character quotes to each newsletter you send and put them on your website. A great resource for these quotes and so much more is character-training.com.

  5. Give character awards to highlight students in your group who show kindness, intiative, responsibility, creativity, etc. They will then value that character, too.

Character really brings us true success. Integrity is a prize worth more than millions of dollars. May your family and your homeschool group be blessed and exhibit this excellence of character.

To your success,

Denise

www.HomeschoolGroupLeader.com

For more on the character of Attentiveness, including 85 pages of Creative Ideas and Solid Truths, get One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nobody Else Like Nanno

A week ago today, my husband's grandmother passed away. We've been a little quiet here on the blog because, well, life happens. . . and death, too. This past week was time spent well with family and friends who loved this precious lady. And if I may, I'd like to share a little of her legacy borne over nearly a century of living with you here.

Beatrice Hawkins Fagala loved Jesus all her life and left her family a rich heritage of hospitality. We used to gather every Monday night at her house for dinner. When my kids were so little and times were tighter than tight, I always knew we'd eat well that night! :-D She always knew how to spread a feast fit for kings.

She also left us a rich heritage of faithfulness. Born in a covered wagon on the dusty trails of Texas, Nanno was the youngest of five and 10 years younger than her only sister, Ala Mae. Closer than any two people I've ever known, these strikingly beautiful sisters treated one another and others with great kindness and grace. Over the years, Nanno fell in love, married and had two children and, eventually, 6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

My prayer today is that every person has at least one "Nanno" in their life. My husband's grandmother was as sweet as the tea she was famous for and as delicate as the most beautiful prairie flower. I miss her deeply and am so thankful for the years we had to love one another.


As I reflect on Nanno's life accomplishments, I find myself reflecting on our past year here at Homeschool Group Leader. We have just completed a year's worth of Tuesday Tips and Friday's Answers! I can hardly believe that. We have had a blast doing those posts and we hope you have been blessed by it, too.

Life is full of transitions and for 2010, we are starting something fresh and new here on the blog that promises to be full of wisdom and help that we all need! Be watching for that in January, but for now, we are just going to enjoy sharing with you a fun post here and there through Christmastime.

To good memories and a bright future,
Kristen
P.S. You can find our popular, new e-book on motivating your members at http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Exhibit Love
Your leadership will be effective with whole families when you genuinely care for people. Homeschool expertise and group management skills are secondary to the power of love.

Learn more of being a servant-leader with our new e-book, One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Their Members.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

See it all--It's finally ready!

Exciting news!

The moment we've been working toward for two years is finally here!

One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members
can now be purchased and downloaded immediately. We stuffed it full of rich information that we know will bless you. And we added several great free bonuses. Read all about it here.

Congratulations to Beth of the Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association in North Carolina--the winner of our free e-book! It was very hard to decide on just one winner of this One By One Launch Contest, but we are pleased to send her a copy of our very first e-book, One by One!

Looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving praising our Lord, to scrumptious food and a lot of rest!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Denise & Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Happy Thanksgiving!
Look over your homeschool group in your mind's eye and choose five people who work behind the scenes or help in small ways who seldom receive recognition. Send each of them a special thank you today. You could say something as simple as, "This season of thanks brought you to my mind. I see and appreciate all the work that you do behind the scenes. I couldn't do [insert activity] without you." Remember to consider your teens, too. Their help sometimes goes under the radar, but their efforts are valuable.

We are thankful for each of you! We are also thankful for these five special ladies who have helped us greatly by reviewing our book, One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members-- Carol Topp (Ohio), Becky Preble (Texas), Eileen Blanco (Florida), Sheila Campbell (Texas), Heidi St. John (Washington).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How Much Is It Worth?

Laurie once asked a large number of homeschoolers, "What one piece of curriculum would you not live without?" Many responded. From those responses, I (Kristen) learned about Teaching Textbooks for the very first time. Now, I own a copy of the Algebra I and we love it.
There are some resources that have such value, they are worth every penny we pay for them and we wouldn't want to part with them. The initial value is in the power of the recommendation.

Just a sampling of what we're hearing about One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide To Motivating Your Members is:

"Fabulous"

"Studpendous"

"This is a much needed book," and much more.

We believe this will be a resource that you can pass along to the leaders who follow after you--right along with your bylaws and statement of faith.

For your loyalty to Homeschool Group Leader and for your valuable insights, we would like to give you $10 off during the first three days of the launch, along with an extra special EARLY RESPONDER bonus. More on that bonus to come. . .

Warmly,
Kristen & Denise
http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sneak Peek

We are very close to launch, but are waiting for a few critical things that still need to fall into place. And then we will announce the actual date of the launch of this 80+ page mega-motivational resource.

Take a Sneak Peek Inside One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members:

* Part I: Motivating Every Member
Three often-overlooked secrets every leader should know are revealed that will inspire your group members to willingly contribute to the life of your group.

* Part II: Engaging Every One
Practical Strategies for Relating to All Types of Members--From the shy mom to the occasional dad to the aloof teen to the experienced homeschool parent, and many others, we teach you proven ways to draw them each into your group, tap into their natural talents and watch them shine.

* Part III: Motivating Every Volunteer
Generate all the volunteer help you need by embracing and applying the principles shared in One By One that will lay a strong motivation foundation.

"I really cannot say enough about this book! Denise and Kristen have really captured the heart of leadership with One by One." ~Sheila C.

More to come,
Denise & Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday's Tip

Build Comraderie

Whether you are a new leader introducing yourself or an established leader desiring more connections, let the members know a little about yourself by announcing that you are giving an inexpensive gift (such as a pencil or an over-sized cookie) to every member who wears your favorite color to the next meeting. Compliment each one for their use of the color in their outfit. Not only will it draw everyone closer to you, but it will also make your meeting fun and foster a spirit of comraderie.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's Answer: Involved Members Vs. Burn Out

How do we help motivate members to get involved (and not get burned out as leaders)?

This question connects what many have observed--the correlating ratio of leader burn-out to member involvement. When a homeschool group leader does all the work with little help from others, they use up all their reserve and feel like they have nothing left with which to continue. Frustration and exhaustion can overcome their good intentions.

How do you, a leader, protect yourself from this weary end? How do you enlist members to help lighten your load? Homeschool group leaders have been asking these questions for decades. Your leader stress will be greatly alleviated by remembering these realities:

  1. Learn to delegate and ask others personally to help with specific jobs.
  2. If no one volunteers to help with a particular project, let it go and do not overdo it.
  3. Keep relationships at the forefront of your job description, not tasks or activities.
Very soon, within this month, our answer-packed e-book One by One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members will be available to answer these pertinent questions. Keep in touch so you don't miss out on the great money-saving deal for early orders. We will help by sending emails, facebook messages and blog posts with details to keep you connected. (You still have to time to post a comment for a chance for a free e-book, too.)

Thankful for servant-leaders like you,
Denise & Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com
deniseandkristen@homeschoolgroupleader.com
Great Resources in our Store

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tip


We are going to be on JoJo's radio show this Thursday!

Our friend, JoJo Tabares, owner of Art of Eloquence and host of the Communication Comedy Network, is going to interview us live on the topic of how homeschool group leaders can successfully motivate their members. It's going to be rich, rich, rich!

Join us for an hour packed with free tips and fun. Catch us on the podcast no matter where you live: 11 AM EST, 10 AM CST, 9 AM MST, 8 AM PST

Communication Comedy Network

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's Answer: Be the Expert

Every few months we are going to highlight certain resources that you, as a homeschool group leader, should have at your fingertips to answer your members' questions. In other words, information that will add to your important experience and raise you to the level of "expert."

This time we wish to show you the wonderful FREE items you can download from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. You could easily send each new member that joins your group a welcome letter with a link to each of these informative helps. What a great way to get them excited and give them tools to start homeschooling!

Homeschool Freebie Directory from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine E-Book: The New School Year

WeE-book: Homeschooling the Rebel, part 1 WeE-book: Homeschooling the Rebel, part 2

Are you a subscriber to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? They fill their pages with tons of ideas and support for you. You can be blessed with this quarterly magazine and then give it as a doorprize in your group's meetings--that is, if you can part with it! Here's the link to order the digital magazine where you can print copies of an article to share with five of your members:

Get Plugged in with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Digital Edition

And here's the link to order the packed printed version that will come straight to your door:



Please share expert resources with us that you keep handy in the comment box below.
Enjoy all the freebies!
Denise & Kristen
http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

P.S. Keep watching for One By One--it will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

We dare you to take the daily GeoBee
Challenge


Be careful, it is addictive!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oops!

We have discovered that it is necessary for us to extend the release date of One by One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members. This is due to some technical difficulties we are experiencing that are making things not go as smoothly as we had hoped.

We know that so many of you are looking forward to the release of One by One. And we are working diligently to ensure you have a flawless experience when purchasing the book.

This extension does buy us valuable time to polish everything so that the whole process works seamlessly for you and you walk away very happy. And that makes us happy.

Thank you to those of you who have posted your comments on the blog already for the contest! You are amazing and your comments are inspiring. We will extend this contest until just before the release date. This gives you plenty of time to post something for your chance to win the FREE copy of One by One.

We will also continue to send you tidbits of information leading up to the new release date sometime in November, so be watching for those!

Be talking to you soon!
Kristen & Denise
http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

Friday, October 30, 2009

Motivating Your Members Is As Easy As. . .

. . .1, 2, 3!

It's so hard to believe just one short week ago, Denise and I were having the time of our lives at the Leadership Training Conference, teaching homeschool group leaders just like yourself how to avoid being a statistic--that 80/20 statistic that says you are in the minority 20% that does all the work while the other 80% looks on.

As experts in teaching homeschool group leaders how to lead their groups successfully, we are asked a lot of questions. By far, the most common question is, "How do we motivate our members?"

Well, Denise and I say it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to motivate your members if you know the secrets. From the comfort of your own home, you can discover these little known secrets that have been hiding in plain sight!

In just 3 days, on Sunday, November 1 at 4 pm CST, you can get your hands on the e-guide that may very well change the way you lead. This 80-page e-guide will reveal tons of tips and simple strategies to help you motivate every member and increase your volunteers and to find more time in your day to enjoy the things you love most.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

But don't take our word for it. . . Listen to what our friend, Texas Home School Coalition Leader Liasion Sheila Campbell, has to say about One by One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members:

"I really cannot say enough about this book! Denise and Kristen have really captured the heart of leadership with One by One. All groups are made up of people--not mere members--and it is the process of connecting with those people that builds strong leadership and, more importantly, strong relationships."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

To celebrate the launch of our very first e-book, we are running a CONTEST through Saturday. One lucky winner will receive a copy of One by One as our special thank you for leaving a comment on our blog. Here's how the CONTEST works:

In 100 words or less, post a comment to our blog by midnight Saturday night telling us what this guide would mean to you as a homeschool group leader. Be sure to tell us what homeschool group you serve. Feel free to include a link to your group's website. Denise and I will be the final judges and we will announce the winner Sunday morning.

Happy posting and good luck!

Warmly,
Kristen & Denise
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Tip

Motivate

Inspiring motivation within your members and volunteers is doable! We have packed our new ebook, One By One, with the ways and ideas to do it.

Release date is November 1st.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday's Answer on Saturday!

We are having so much fun this weekend at the THSC Leadership Conference! Tim Lambert loaned us his lap top so we could tell you all about it! Our hotel room looks out on a lovely countryside prayer chapel. And beyond that, we can see a lake with a gazebo on several acres of rolling campgrounds. We are having so much fun that last night, Amberlyn, Kristen's 14 year old daughter, kept hushing us so she could go to sleep. :-)

We are hearing homeschool group leaders talk about how they love to come here to receive great encouragement and tons of hope. This is the annual Leadership Conference THSC hosts for homeschool group leaders in Texas. It is exciting to meet so many leaders, relax and fellowship with them, and glean amazing wisdom from them.

Norm Wakefield, the main speaker, challenges us every time to humility and repentence and revival in our hearts. His humble words renew our purpose as leaders.

We just came out of an amazing workshop where Doug and Patsy Arnold of Texas' Special Kids shared from their own experiences how homeschool group leaders can help families of children with special needs. It was so good, we can't wait to talk to them more about that.

Sheila Campbell also shared her touching story with us about what it's like for single moms who are homeschooling. She gave us insight on how to come alongside these special women. We believe you will be hearing more from her!

We also had the opportunity to conduct a workshop on the secrets to motivating your group members to get involved. One of our favorite parts was how people jumped in and shared inspiring ideas of what's worked for them. We were all encouraged! It was so much fun!!

The whole experience is one we are so grateful to be a part of!
Kristen & Denise
P.S. Be watching our web site--our new ebook is coming Nov. 1!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

50-10

To manage your time as a leader, think in blocks of time. Work 50 minutes, then take 10 minutes for yourself. Doing something special for yourself a few minutes every hour will help you feel like a million bucks at the end of the day instead of like a worn-out dollar bill!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday's Answer: Homeschool Leader, Do You Need Help?

We know that being a homeschool group leader is not an easy job. You have taken on extra responsibilities in addition to homeschooling your own children. But help is on the way! We are pleased to announce that HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, now has several ebooks and audios available on her website, HomeschoolCPA.com, to help homeschool leaders.

Carol graciously allowed us to use her ebook, Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization, as a free giveaway earlier this year. If you missed getting your free copy, Carol has it available for immediate download for the low price of $7.00. You will receive much more than $7.00 of her CPA knowledge when you buy this ebook.

Link: http://homeschoolcpa.com/bookstore/paying-workers-ebook/

She also has audios of what she has presented at homeschool conventions. Get your leadership team together and listen to "How to Manage a Homeschool Organization." Carol will even send you the handout of the slides, so it feels like you are in her workshop at a homeschool convention!

Click on this link for Carol's other products, all written specifically for homeschool leaders! http://homeschoolcpa.com/homeschool-leader-do-you-need-help/

Helping one another be successful,
Denise & Kristen
HGLeader Facebook fan page
I Am a Homeschool Group Leader

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

It's All in the Family

Let members and visitors to your group know beyond the shadow of a doubt that your support group is family-friendly. A simple introductory letter each year can reinforce that "this is not just your mama's group!" Let people know that men are invited and ENCOURAGED to attend all meetings and events. Family appeal will keep your group strong for long.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Answer: Progress on Our Book

"When is your first ebook going to be released?"

Exciting news! We are polishing our first ebook and sending it to the reviewers this weekend. We are so happy to see all our work and hours and ideas come together in an ebook we are proud of.

We have listened to your questions and found a majority of your needs were about how to motivate your members. The answers were too involved for a Friday's Answer causing this beneficial ebook to gradually develop:

One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members

We are happy to announce that the release date of this invaluable ebook will be by the end of this month--just a few short weeks away! Stay posted for the final release date.

We can't wait!

Denise & Kristen

P.S. Thanks for your top tips on what has worked for you in motivating your members! We are incorporating them into the ebook and including your name. We love them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rich Opportunities

Homeschool group leaders need times of refreshing, of understanding, of training, and of vision. There are two rich opportunities for leaders everywhere to find that time here in Texas this month.

One is a day of training for homeschool group leaders in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, October 17. SETHSA has put together a great schedule of topics taught by encouraging veteran leader Hank Tate. You still have time to register by October 10.

The other is a retreat at the THSC Leadership Training Conference in Waxahachie, Texas, on the weekend of October 23-25. Several wonderful speakers will be encouraging leaders' hearts, such as Norm Wakefield, Tim & Lindsay Lambert, and yours truly (We will be doing a one-hour workshop on motivating members!). You still have time to register by October 9.

Don't miss out on these times of refreshing. If you are too far away to make either of these events, look for a leadership training in your state to attend. It is important to take the time to refresh your vision, be encouraged, and learn from veteran leaders. You won't regret it!

Hope to see you there!
Denise & Kristen

www.homeschoolgroupleader.com
Leader Treasures

Tuesday's Tip

Stay State Connected Series

Introducing your group to your state or province's homeschool organization provides a way for other homeschoolers to find you easily. It is important to keep your group's contact information up to date with your state group. The effort is worth it!

Tip #1--laws & finding a group
Tip #2--conferences & tools
Tip #3--staying informed

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday's Answer: Effective Example

How can I be an effective leader?

This past summer I had the opportunity to visit the Nimitz Museum of the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. I was intrigued as I learned about Admiral Nimitz for the first time. (My history-buff brother, Dan, knew all about him from studying World War II and couldn't believe I didn't know who Nimitz was. In my defense, we hadn't yet reached that era in our homeschooling. . . .)


As I studied the exhibits, quotes and tidbits of Admiral Nimitz' life it became obvious to me that he was an effective leader. I was so impressed by the character of this man. Those who worked with him and under him respected him and spoke well of him. Even President Roosevelt depended on Nimitz. Our victory in the Pacific theater is credited to his great leadership.

What made him such an effective leader? We can find the answers by studying his life and his example. As we glean from his wisdom, we can pattern after his success and be a more effective leader in our own community leadership roles. Here are some reasons for his effectiveness that really stood out as I wandered through the memories of his life:

  • He Credited Others -- When his hometown asked to build a museum for him, Admiral Nimitz asked that they build it for all those who served under him. They were the heros in his eyes. He wrote, "Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
  • He Credited God -- Nimitz asked "the Almighty to protect the nation's ships at sea." In his most famous prayer, he said, "God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless."
  • He Personified Courage -- Nimitz displayed courage numerous times and took risks when he felt it was needed. He never wavered or backed down in conflict whether he was facing a dangerous battle with the enemy or an intense meeting with doubters. His courage empowered him to send everything he had to Midway and win in the face of probable failure.
  • He Respected All -- Nimitz said, "Some of the best advice I've had comes from the junior officers and the enlisted men." Loyalty and unity were strong in his meetings because he listened to and acted on much of his subordinates' recommendations.
  • He Balanced Life -- At all times Nimitz remained calm, pleasant, easy-going and rarely lost his temper. "The advice of my grandfather returned to me: don't worry about things over which you have no control."
  • He Supported Staff -- Many times Nimitz went against popular opinion to promote or keep certain officers in important positions. Then he would trust their judgement, encourage them and not intervene. His discernment was well rewarded as these men rose to lead well. He said, "Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best."

It would be easy to go on and on about Admiral Nimitz' character, life, and quality of leadership, but since this is a blog and not a book, it would be better to let you discover more about him on your own. His life is an example of excellence and effective leadership. I hope that you are as intrigued and as happy as I was to have been introduced to his story.

To your success,
Denise


Homeschool Leader Resources

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Stay State Connected Series

It pays to be informed through your state or province's homeschool association. Be knowledgeable and prepared for the changing times by keeping up with their news. What happens to one homeschool family or homeschool group in your area can happen to you or your members. You won't be surprised or caught off guard without a procedure when you stay connected.

Tip #1--laws & finding a group
Tip #2--conferences & tools

Friday, September 25, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer: Friendly Feedback

This week we wish to highlight the opportunity to make friends with other homeschool group leaders from around the country and to enjoy insightful discussions together through Facebook. Here is one example of one helpful discussion that began in June when this question was asked:

Our group has grown to over 100 families and it is often difficult to get feedback from our members. When we have surveys we only get 1/3 to 1/2 to respond. If you have any suggestions on how your group has made strides in this area, please let me know.

Here's a sample of other leaders' shared experiences, wisdom and encouragement in response:

"Have a drawing for a prize from among the respondents....you could even up the ante by. . . ." (continue)

". . . in general surveyors find that only 10-20% of . . ." (continue)

"We had a drawing for a prizes when doing a survey among. . . ." (continue)

Join in. Chime in. And make homeschool group leader friends on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Stay State Connected Series

Your state or province's homeschool organization can support you with time-saving leadership tools. Often state groups provide helpful conferences, educational competitions and informative handbooks that are perfect to share with your members. Here's a list of this year's conferences: calendar. Scroll down on the calendar to see what's coming up the rest of the year.

Tip #1--laws & finding a group

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Answer: Workload??

How much everyday work is there involved in running a homeschool Co-op?

Now this is a question for our co-op leaders with experience! Please respond with your experiences by clicking the "Comments" link at the bottom of this post and writing it in the box given. Your knowledge is valuable and helpful.

Thanks!

Denise & Kristen

www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Books Available

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Stay State Connected Series

Networking with your state or province's homeschool association can benefit your group greatly. For one, their experience and knowledge of the laws of your area can save you time and the pain of misunderstanding what is expected of homeschoolers and homeschool groups. Here's a list to find a group: state/foreign groups. Here's a summary of state laws and list to find an association: state laws & organizations.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday's Answer: Instant Breather

We here at Homeschool Group Leader get a lot of questions about how to live a balanced life when serving so many roles as a mom, wife, daughter, teacher, leader, volunteer, etc.

Elizabeth Prentiss once said something worth remembering and applying to our busy leader lives:

"If you could once make up your mind in the fear of God never to undertake more
work of any sort than you can carry on calmly, quietly, without hurry or flurry, and the instant you feel yourself growing nervous and like one out of breath, would stop and take breath--you would find this simple, common-sense rule doing for you what no prayers or tears could ever accomplish."

I remember sitting around the house a lot after my sixth child, Kathryn Elyse, was born. I had just had a baby and my van was in the shop--the perfect "excuses" for doing NOTHING and going NOWHERE. It was delightful. I lounged and I played with my newborn for two full weeks. My other kids were calmer and more well behaved. My house stayed decluttered--pretty much. I had time to piddle on projects that had been screaming at me for months.

I kept saying to myself, "Why can't it always be like this? Why do I think I have to live at warp speed?" Thoughts of rebellion against the rat race surged through my mind.

Then, I took the baby to church for the first time. Sigh. That's all she wrote. Before I knew it, all my concrete determinations to slow down came to a screeching halt. Soon, I was back in the rat race wishing for those bygone days of peace and quiet.

Leaders don't always have the luxury of sitting and lounging, but the instant we feel things getting too hectic, we can take notice and make some simple changes to slow things down a bit.

When you feel yourself getting out of breath, what's your favorite way to stop and take a breather?? Will you share some of your favorite ways that can inspire the rest of us? Do share!

Blessings for a breather or two,
Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Time Well Wasted

Today's tip is an incredible article written to ministers (leaders in their own right) about how to waste time well. I pray it blesses you as much as it did us in understanding the value of solitude.

Time Well Wasted

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday's Answer: Debt of the Mouth

How do I balance my new role as support group leader with my already busy roles of wife, mother, homeschool-teacher, etc?

As a new school year begins, the idea of balancing current responsibilities with new responsibilities can weigh heavy on a new leader's mind. We want you to remember a catchy phrase that will save you tons of stress and time:

Underpromise, overdeliver.

That's it. Simple isn't it. Or is it?

When you say yes to everything under the sun, you can quickly go into debt--debt of the mouth. And what if you can't "pay up?" What if your child ends up puking through the night or your husband is called away out of town with his job and he needs you to mow the lawn, get the car inspected and pay the taxes all while he's gone or you just realize that math hasn't been graded in, like, three months. . . ? We often make commitments, fully expecting to be able to follow through, and then. . .life happens and suddenly, we can't pay up.

It's like personal finances and debt. We make commitments to borrow money, fully expecting to be able to repay the debt in the allotted time, then life happens and suddenly we can't. It is better never to go into that debt in the first place!

So. . . spend your yes-es wisely. When you invest of yourself and your time, make it count for the most.

When you underpromise and overdeliver, you will be free to enjoy your time as a servant leader, investing in the hearts of homeschoolers, owing no one anything but a debt of love!

We promise!
Kristen & Denise
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Nametag Fun
With a new school year comes new families to your homeschool group. A fun twist on nametags is to ask each person to add a descriptive adjective to their first name. For example, nametags bearing "Joyous Jessica" or "Harley Davidson Hank" tell you a lot about each person's character or what they like.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer:

We were delighted to meet Martha Sides at the THSC Leadership Conference last October. She is a veteran leader with the unique wisdom of overseeing one group amiably become two groups.

Martha has homeschooled since 1992 and has been the Co-Coordinator for REACH Co-op near Houston, TX. REACH is a co-op that ministered to over 100 families this year. They offer classes, fellowship, ministry opportunities, formals and graduation. When their co-op had grown to over 150 families, their group planted a new group. Now both groups are full and thriving. "What a blessing to be able to serve so many families!" says Martha. ~Kristen & Denise


As a homeschool group leader, how do you make sure that the group will continue and not depend only on you?

Our group started as a small group of eight ladies. Somehow, I didn't volunteer for any other job, and I ended up being the co-head coordinator for the group. Our group has always prayed at our meetings, but we have started to depend more on God and found that when we let the need be known to our group and God, it would get filled.

It didn't take long for us to see that we needed to delegate. But when you do, things either don't get done right or not at all! I also have found that it helps to have an assistant to almost anything. The more people who are involved, the stronger your group.

I would recommend having a leader and an assistant in training, yes, to take your place someday. Some of you may be counting the days til you can get out of your office and others thrive on it! I have thrived on it, and there was a time that I couldn't imagine stepping down. I have happily stepped down this year because my co-leader is great and has brought in new ideas...not mine but great ideas that will help our group to grow. If the same people run it forever, it will die...

In bringing in assistants, don't look for a perfect match to the job, you weren't when you stepped into the job. I would recommend a younger/newer homeschool mom to work along beside you. You can mentor her in the job and in homeschooling/parenting.

My biggest piece of advice is to remember your first job is to your family, and your group should take second place...I realize that there will be times when you will need to put your group first, but be sure that they are short periods of time and not very often.

Being a leader can be so much fun and open so many doors to friendships, just be open to stepping aside someday to let someone else be a NEW blessing to the group!

Martha Sides
Blessed wife of Steve and nine wonderful children/adults: Joseph 24, Enoch 20, Mary 20, John 19, James 18, Crystal 15, Robert 14, Sara 12 and Matthew 8

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Vision

Do not worry! Tell the Lord that you need His vision for your homeschool group. Then thank Him for all He has done, being specific. Write down every idea that then comes to your mind over the next few days. Establishing the vision of your group is an important first step for its future success.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Answer: Overcoming Inadequacies

How do you start? How do you overcome taking the beginning steps of starting a group when you are not sure what you want it to be? . . .when you have to know things because it is a group for homeschoolers within a large church? . . . and if their name (and inherently Jesus' name) is on it, you want it to be done right? . . .when you are blinded by your own failings and weaknesses?

Establishing a vision is the first important step of starting a group. When you are not sure what you want the group to be, begin by jotting down a list of dreams or goals that you desire for the group.

Do some research on the internet looking up various groups and their mission statements. Copy down what you like from each and begin to pull together your vision through prayer.

Find a couple of other homeschool families to join together with you in planning and prayer. You can discuss the goals and needs of your families, bringing everyone's best ideas to the vision.

Be careful. It is easy to think through the process too long and agonize over every detail trying to be perfect. You need a balance between getting the work done and having it be excellent. Excellence is a wonderful goal, but becomes unhealthy when it overtakes you with fear. Fear can paralyze you by reminding you of your failings and inadequacies. Fears of not being perfect, of making a mistake, of dishonoring the Lord, of disappointing others, of the unknown, of not doing things right, of failing, or of being weak can hold you back from any acomplishment. Here's more on how to overcome fears, including those of your own inadequacies--Friday's Answer: Overcoming Crippling Fear.

The Bible says in Philippians not to worry. When we are tempted to worry, there is a simple solution. God wants us to forget the worry and tell Him what we NEED. If we follow that immediately with thanking Him for all He's done for us in the past, a wall of belief is built. This wall of belief blocks the worry and propels us forward in faith--faith that He will meet our newest need.

Many blessings as you start your group,
Denise & Kristen
http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/
Leader Store

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Free Online Workshops
When you have new homeschool families join your group, lead them through their beginnng steps at this acclaimed online resource www.educationalsupport.org/workshops. Hank Tate, known as the Grandfather of homeschooling in Houston, can answer so many of their questions through his workshops and give them the confidence they need to get started.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's Answer: We Want to Grow

We are a new group, 3 years old. We have 49 families. We would like to grow. What is the best way to advertise and promote the group to others in our city?


Congratulations on having a group to uplift homeschool families in your area and bless your community! We're glad that you're wanting to grow and continue to have an impact on your city.

There are several ways to get the word out to your community about your group. One of the simplest ideas to advertise is to let your 49 families spread the word personally. Make up an eye-catching flyer for each family to put up in their churches or places that they frequent.

Local librarians will often post your group's contact information and store flyers to hand out to homeschool-seeking families.

Local newspapers appreciate copy, so consider submitting your group's meeting and activity times for their community calendar. By keeping one of your meetings consistent in time and place, people will always know where and when to find you. This will also help the community calendar to stay the same and save you time not having to change the information each week.

Before a field trip or service project, call the local newspaper or local news broadcast and let them know what you'll be doing. Offer for them to come out and do a story on your group's activity.

These ideas work because they are an efficient use of your time. You give the information to one and they spread it to many for you. These also don't cost any more than the printing of the flyers.

Thanks for spreading the word about Homeschool Group Leader!

Denise & Kristen

www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
- General Colin Powell

You will be a successful leader by keeping your words of wisdom clear, concise and connecting. Pray for those timely wise words and confidently share them when needed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday's Answer: Premature Votes

In our group there are seven officers. Four votes needed to approve. My question is how do I deal with the frustration of a vote that I believe is taken prematurely before exploring all the pro's and con's and that does not appear to be well-thought out?


Members often feel confident when leaders are decisive, even if the decisions aren't perfect. It's the old adage, "Something is better than nothing." One of the benefits of coming to decisions quickly is that much is accomplished in a short amount of time and mistakes can be fixed as you go along.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

However, members often feel confident when leaders take time to think decisions through. It avoids the old adage, "Haste makes waste." One of the benefits of balancing the pros and cons of decisions is that fewer mistakes are made and the leader is more prepared for whatever comes. The members trust the decisions to be the best possible because every possible angle has been considered.

Abraham Lincoln used to say that he bounded thoughts on the north, bounded them on the south, bounded them on the west and bounded them on the east before he would let go of them.
He was said to "wear thoughts threadbare."

Both types of leadership have their value and are needful. Together, we bring balance to one another in our various approaches to life.

But when you have experienced negative consequences from hastily-made decisions, then this is what we recommend to avoid that in the future:

1. Set an agenda for the meeting--that simply means to have a plan for your meeting that keeps the leaders on track and thorough. Here's more.

2. Set rules for the agenda--for example, a member or officer may submit an idea, but it won't be voted on until at least the following meeting. That provides time to pray, consider and discuss it as much as needed before the vote. Here's more.

If all else fails and you are still frustrated, speak your mind in love and then purpose to work with the decision that is made for the benefit of the group members.

Kristen & Denise

www.hgleaderblog.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Don't Keep it a Secret!
Help homeschool families find your group by leaving flyers in the library. Colorful cardstock can be printed and cut into thirds for sturdy, simple and catchy hand-outs. Include vital information like the name of your group, your vision statement, a brief description and up-to-date contact information. This will spread the word about your group and draw like-minded people to your group.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer: Stop Interrupting, Please!

We're excited to bring you leadership wisdom from wonderful veteran leaders around the country in our "Guest Friday's Answer."

This month's guest post is written by Heidi St. John. Jay and Heidi St. John have been married for over 18 years and are the homeschooling parents of six children who range in age from sixteen to two. They founded First Class Homeschool Ministries to work with parents and pastors establishing an international network of homeschool cooperatives.

Here Heidi answers this homeschool group leader with understanding and wisdom that we are sure will encourage you today.
~Denise & Kristen

We have one mom who is your typical 'take over' mom. She is full of ideas for our group, yet she is extremely unreliable and is a poor example to others, especially our new members. Whatever she says she will plan for the group seems to fail.

When I'm leading our homeschool meetings she talks whenever there is a pause in conversation. She interrupts others as well (or talks in great lengths), and often I see the frustration others feel when she does this. She talks with a very slow voice, yet one that is commanding, so it is hard to interject and stop her.

I want to be polite, but inside I'm just thinking, "Why won't this woman stop talking so much and just listen to the wisdom of others!?!" She seems to constantly have to build herself up and is your typical 'know it all', yet her children are fairly young and she is not a seasoned homeschooler.

I have to remind myself that I not only am a Christian, but a leader, and I need to be a good example to others- especially those I lead. I seek to do His will and lead the group with true humility and wisdom, but this issue has me stumped. Please help!

Oh boy - I think everyone can relate to this on one level or another.

I've experienced that many times over nearly 10 years of leading homeschool co-ops. We have had serious splits in leadership and even in our co-op over personality differences too. I remember once when our very first First Class Co-op was young (in 2001) we had a mom who was always interrupting. It was a challenge for me not to throw my coffee at her at times! :0)

There is never an easy answer for things like this but I thought of a few things the Lord has taught me over the years that have helped me through similar situations:


  • Remember Colossians 3:13: "Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." We need to be about our Father's business. Women, Christian homeschooling is a target of the enemy!! He will target us and do his best to bring about disunity. We need to be on guard against it. So often, I see homeschool groups split over things that have little or no eternal significance and yet we give them a lot of attention and energy, and as a result, we get side-tracked from what God really wants us to do.

  • Be careful not to let yourself become easily offended. Now I'm not saying that this gal is not offensive :0) Ask yourself, "what is the underlying issue here?" Pray for God to show you. Is it insecurity? A need to feel needed or included? It could be that this mom needs affirmation and doesn't know how else to get it. Ask the Lord for His eyes and heart toward this mom. I believe that if we ask the Lord, He can and will give us a measure of grace. Your Christ-like character will prove itself over time, and God will reward your desire to become more like Him.

  • Walk in the light. This is what my dear friend Diana Waring is always telling me - and what she means is that everything we do needs to be able to stand up to the scrutiny of Scripture. Are we being patient? Longsuffering? Gentle? Bearing with one-another? Loving? Telling the truth? And speaking of the the truth...

  • Speak the truth - in love. (Eph. 4:15) Check your motives. If you decide that you do need to talk to this mom - then do it by yourself first --follow Matthew 18. Just last week I had the unpleasant job of "confronting" two women who were gossiping. I hated the thought that I had to confront anyone. I put it off for three weeks hoping the situation would "right itself." It didn't. Two weeks ago, the Lord reminded me gently that it's our enemy, satan, who wants us divided! My enemy is not these homeschool moms. It is satan himself! My job as a leader is to lead in a way that brings unity. My role was to remind these precious women of God's desire that we model unity, not only as Christians, but as Christian homeschoolers! Because of prayer, I was able to speak the words I needed to in humility and love, and in both cases, we were able to pray together and hug each other. :0) (I've had it go much worse, and I have made my share of mistakes over the years!)

  • Wear the mantle of authority God has given you as you lead this group. If God has called you to lead, do so with boldness, authority and humility! ( I know it's a tough combination.) It's okay to say to a mom who interrupts constantly, "Excuse me, please wait until Susan is finished and then you may speak, too." However, if you can, talk to this mom in private first.

I hope this helps you a little. I'll be praying for you and the families in your group.

Blessings!
-heidi st. john

http://www.firstclasshomeschool.org/
Connecting the Christian Homeschool Community
Building a Network of Independent Homeschool Cooperatives

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Learn To Give a Good Compliment Series


Tip #1--Make eye contact and smile!
Tip #2--Make it all about them
Tip #3--Say it from the heart

Tip #4--Never over-compliment. A gushing well of niceties can drown the very one you are trying to bless. Space your compliments out so that they are true treasures and carry maximum impact.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Answer: Kids Running Wild

"How do I inspire more structured time (like co-op art/ music/ etc.) classes - when so many people just want to let their kids run wild at the group meetings?"

This same question came up during a group leaders' meeting at a recent homeschool conference. Everyone had great ideas and encouragement for the leader:

  1. Have separate meetings for "free" time, mom's time, and class time
  2. Gather for a meeting to explain the problem and set rules and guidelines together
  3. Choose classes and activities that everyone is interested in
  4. Divide the meetings with half of the time being structured and half of the time given to free play
  5. Recognize that boys play more wildly and give them freedom to be boys

The leader graciously accepted these points and expressed that she had done all of them to no avail. She said that half the group wants rules and structure and the other half does not. None of these solutions had helped her group.

Hank Tate, a veteran leader since the eighties, began to get to the heart of the leader by asking if she had spoken to any family individually. She had not. There was a fear issue, especially with confrontation. He explained that she needed to choose one family with the most difficult problem and go to them directly (preferably with her husband or another leader) and be very firm in explaining the problem and expectations. Don't get worried if they threaten to leave. He said whether they get mad and leave or stay and change, you have solved your problem. Then deal with the next family, if needed. This isn't a fun or pretty part of leadership, but it is necessary sometimes.

To your fearlessness,

Denise & Kristen

http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

Leader Store

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Learn To Give a Good Compliment Series

Tip #1--Make eye contact and smile!
Tip #2--Make it all about them

Tip #3--Say it from the heart. A faker can be spotted a mile away. Whatever you choose to say--mean it! Compliments must be truthful and sincere to hit the mark.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday's Answer: Spouse Support

About a year ago, I was able to meet some wonderful homeschool group leaders at the Woodlands conference here in Texas. One couple I met has worked together in leadership with the wife being the primary leader of the homeschool group.

The husband stated that with his job, etc, he was not able to lead, but that he was able to support her. I was able to ask him how he serves his family and wife while she attends her meetings, talks on the phone and serves the group. This husband (who wished to remain anonymous) had some really great answers that I'll list here. (Disclaimer: We are not responsible if you use this list as a not-so-subtle hint for your spouse!)

9 Ways a Dad Supports His Group Leader Wife
  1. Cooks--frees up time for her to be on the phone with group members by cooking a meal for the family
  2. Bathtime--gives the kids their baths during the evening while she is on the computer answering emails
  3. Grocery Shops--does the grocery shopping while she is home reading with the kids
  4. Mr. Principal--is involved as the principal of their home school to keep the family on track
  5. Grades--grades the subjects of math and science for all the kids each evening lightening her load
  6. Labs--is responsible for the science labs with the family
  7. Watches--takes care of and watches the kids during leader meetings
  8. Encourages--lifts her up when down and encourages her to continue leading and keep going even on difficult days
  9. Freedom--tries not to ever put her on a guilt trip

It's such a team effort, isn't it?! Let's remember to appreciate our supporting spouses and recognize all the wonderful ways they serve, help, support, give, encourage, balance, pray, lead, and care for us and the success of our families and our work. They are amazing!

Hats off to our spouses,
Denise

http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/
Shop our Leader Store.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Learn To Give a Good Compliment Series
Tip #1-- Make eye contact and smile!

Tip #2-- Make it all about them. Never focus on what you think of them, rather on how what they did or said affected others in a positive way. OK compliment: "You did a great job coordinating the graduation breakfast." BETTER compliment: "The graduation breakfast turned out so well! The smiles on the teens faces were contagious. They clearly felt special and honored."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday's Answer: Motivating Your Kids

How do you get a child motivated to do their lessons?


We've all been there. Some kids are self-starters and you hardly have to do anything to motivate them and then some (even in the same family) need a lot of encouragement to stay on task. One thing I have found that works to motivate no matter what their learning style or your teaching style is to let kids have large doses of time to do what they LOVE. When the creative streak strikes, let them surrender to it. Set the books and schedule aside and let them LIVE. May we never forget why we homeschool--for the FUN of it! Allowing time for the fun of homeschooling is just one way to keep the balance in your life as a homeschool educator and leader.

One recent, beautiful summer evening, as my husband and daughter were headed to the Texas hill country for church camp and my baby girl and I were snuggling inside the house, my boys got a hankering to tinker. This is what I caught them up to.








Yeah for homeschooling! It's moments of discovery like this that make all the hard work and diligence of constantly encouraging and inspiring our kids to do their lessons worth it.

Breaking it down for you,
Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

The Economides' book that gets you right on the money is NOW in our Leader Store! I personally own this book and have loaned it out to several friends--it's that good.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Learn to Give a Good Compliment Series
Tip #1--Make eye contact and smile! In a world where many avoid real intimacy, looking someone in the eye and smiling as you offer them a compliment gives weight to your words and helps the blessing of those words go straight to the heart.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday's Answer: What To Do When Together

What do you do at support group meetings?

The answer to this question depends on the purpose of your homeschool group. Are you meeting because homeschooling moms need like-minded friends? Are you meeting for children's socialization? Are you needing classes or educational opportunities? Maybe your families come together for all these reasons and more.

Here's some options that many homeschool support groups, including ours, do at our meetings:
  1. Fellowship ~ Sometimes we have found the best meetings were those that were laid back, relaxing and free-flowing. Every member of the family could come to the meeting stress-free and just enjoy being together with other like-minded families.
  2. Educational Stimulus ~ It's always fun to see the homeschool students rise to the occasion and share their science project, art piece, drama presentation or geography study in an educational fair. Not only do they shine and get recognition for their hard work, but they also get practice speaking in front of other people (an important skill).
  3. Parties ~ Children and teens love a special occasion party, and being together with friends makes it especially fun. Games, Graduations, Fourth of July barbeques, Valentines, candy and presents give meaning to "the more the merrier."
  4. Topic Discussions ~ Encouragement, how-to's, homeschooling testimonies and great ideas give your families inspiration for their home schools. As a group, plan discussion topics ahead of time or, as a leader, prepare materials to bring for them. For a list of super great topic ideas, see The Old Schoolhouse Archives of "The Homeschool Minute."
  5. Sports ~ Even casual team-sport games need players. Your support group meetings could supply fun memories for all with kickball, volleyball, softball, races, or a track and field day. These times of laughing and making friends are always winners with every age. Serious sports teams can be developed as well for skills and competitions.

We could go on and on with things to do during support group meetings, but the best thing to remember is know what your group families need and find your group's purpose. Then fulfill that purpose and have fun. Homeschooling is an adventure, and it is exciting journeying together!

Planning the next successful meeting,
Denise & Kristen
www.homeschoolgroupleader.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Do Your Homework

Showing a movie to the kids in your group any time soon? Do a quick check up on the movie's levels of violence, sex and profanity at sites like commonsense media and kids-in-mind. Then sit back and enjoy the family-friendly movie of your choice, knowing you've done your homework!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer: What Should the Men Do?

We're excited to bring you leadership wisdom from wonderful veteran leaders around the country in our "Guest Friday's Answer."

Paul Mills co-founded Hill Country Christian Homeschoolers and has served as its President for over ten years. He also serves on the board of the Texas Home School Coalition and on the Advisory Council for Homeschool Group Leader.

Paul is a delight to us here at Homeschool Group Leader and has helped many leaders and us with his insight, clarity, vision, prayers and wisdom. Denise & Kristen

What is the men's role on the leadership team?
Just as the strongest home schools have both the husband and wife actively involved, I believe that the strongest home school support groups have both men and women involved in leadership. I know from experience that the best way to attract (and keep) men in leadership is to clearly define their roles on the leadership team. Here are just a few of the responsibilities the men on our leadership team share in:

  • Vision Setter ~ Clearly this can and should be done by both men and women, but men do bring a unique prospective to the process. Even if your husband has no interest in running the day to day operations of a support group get them involved in setting the vision for it. This can also be a great lead-in to more involvement in the future.

  • Administrator ~ Our group has always had a male treasurer. This allowed a man to serve in an area he was comfortable with. I personally have always handled the business end of our support group including insurance and incorporation issues.

  • Communicator ~ On those rare occasions when our leadership needed to discuss a serious issue with a member family I took on the responsibility for communicating the message. My wife appreciated the fact that she could attend the next field trip with or pass that family in the grocery store without feeling quite so awkward.

  • Greeter ~ One of the most important roles for the men on our leadership team is to meet and greet the dads that come to our group activities. Many men are intimidated by homeschool group events thinking they are primarily for women and children. Our group has consistently kept a high number of dads at events by encouraging those that do come out that they are not alone.

  • Encourager ~ Our group has typically asked couples to serve on our board together. Not only do we get two-for-one this way but it also allows us a much better opportunity to encourage our wives when the stress of leadership gets too much, or to help her reprioritize if necessary.

Even if your group does not have men in formal positions of leadership encourage their active involvement as advisors. The benefits are worth it.

Paul Mills

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Preventing Problems

"One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency." ~ Arnold Glasow

Pay attention to small warning signs and take steps to remedy it. Waiting to confront a problem can allow it time to grow too big to handle. Be fearless, and take smart, preventative action to secure peace and smooth the way.

Monday, June 22, 2009

9 Days to Get Your Freebie!

Great news! Carol Topp of Homeschool CPA is giving our friends here at Homeschool Group Leader a free copy of her brand new, 17-page ebook titled Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization.

Carol is an expert on financial matters and is the author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out. She is a homeschooling mother and was treasurer of her homeschool co-op. She offers practical, helpful information to homeschool leaders on her website http://www.homeschoolcpa.com/ and in her ebooks, articles and workshops.

We have seen this ebook and it is an amazing resource, chock full of helpful information answering what group leaders are asking her the most.

Here's a blurb about Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization:
Homeschooling is growing and becoming more popular every year. As homeschooling grows, so do homeschool organizations, co-ops and groups. Some homeschool organizations get so large that they can no longer be run solely by volunteers. It is not uncommon to find a homeschool group hiring teachers to run a class or paying workers. This book discusses paying workers in a homeschool organization, the paperwork involved and the pitfalls to avoid.

All you have to do to get your free copy is two simple things by the end of June:
1. JOIN our Facebook group and POST a comment or an answer or ask your own question on it: I Am a Homeschool Group Leader
2. Then, BECOME a fan of our Facebook page, Homeschool Group Leader

When you do, we will email you your free copy of Carol's book within 48 hours. If you cannot open the link, make sure you are logged into your Facebook account first. If you do not have one, it's fast, fun, and free to set one up. If you are already a fan of Homeschool Group Leader and/or a member of the group, I Am a Homeschool Group Leader, then all you have to do is leave a comment, answer or question on the group page. You guys are the best!

See you on Facebook!
Kristen & Denise
http://www.homeschoolgroupleader.com/

See Carol's book about how to run co-ops in our Leader Store