Friday, May 29, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer: Are Building Fees Tax Deductible?

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 by the Homeschool CPA Carol Topp. Carol is also the author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

Carol has been an abundant blessing to us here at Homeschool Group Leader with her knowledge and eagerness to help, and we know she will be to you as well. ~Kristen and Denise

Our homeschool group is a 501c3 organization. We currently collect an annual membership fee and a building use fee that the church we operate in charges us. Are either of these fees tax deductible? If not, can our members donate money for us to use toward the building use fee?

Excellent question! Christian schools and other private schools deal with this type of question all the time. Your program and building fees are not tax deductible donations. They are payments for services.

Any amounts over and above the required fees is a tax deductible donation if no goods or services were received.

Here's more if you care to read about it...

Carol Topp, CPA

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Plan a Picture Day!
Look for a local photographer and plan a picture day for this coming September. Many times a new or part time photographer will not charge for coming; they will only sell packages to the families for reasonable prices. Sometimes they even offer student ID cards or add a free picture to each sale. This way you'll be supporting local talent and family homeschool memories!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday's Answer: Accepting Recognition

"God has given you a gift.
You have talents and abilities that He will use to get His job done.
You were made for a time such as this."

Is it hard for you to accept this praise from me?

So many of us leaders struggle to accept positive recognition from others. It was always so hard for me to deeply accept honest praise. Someone would say, "You're doing such a great job!" and I would let it just glance off of me, politely responding "Thank you," all the while thinking, "They are just saying that." I didn't let their praise minister to my heart and realize that a job well done will receive recognition.

I even felt guilty sometimes receiving recognition because I didn't want to steal any glory from God. I asked my husband about this recently. He responded, "God gave you your talents and abilities to use. You ARE giving God the glory by doing the job He gave you to do to the best of your ability."

The Proverbs back this up:

"Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor.” (Prov. 20:3)
“Esteem (wisdom) and she will exalt you. Embrace her and she will honor you.” (Prov. 4:8)
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!’” (Prov. 31:28-29)

This was very comforting to me to realize that I just need to allow the Lord to let me know that He is pleased with me in whatever way He chooses. And if that's through the praise and recognition of another, then I need to graciously and gracefully receive that.

How are you doing with accepting recognition?

Leader Store where we praise some great books and leader resources just for YOU.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Summer's Coming

Time to celebrate all the hard work of the year. Host the celebration poolside or simply with a variety of water games. When everyone is good and dry from the fun, pass out any awards you'd like to give to specially honor people in your group or in your leadership.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Answer: Starting a Homeschool Co-op

Is there a step-by-step check off list for starting a coop?

It can be difficult to know how to move forward from the idea of starting a co-op to actually getting one up and running successfully. Many homeschool groups forge ahead, take the risk and learn from their own experiences--whether good or bad.

Some groups start small with only a class or two at first to test the waters and gain success by methodically learning and repeating what works the next time around. Others are blessed to have communication with other groups that have been successful and gain valuable insight from their experience and repeat that.

We can suggest some helpful tools that can get you off to a great start to your successful homeschool co-op. There is a great book by our friend in Ohio, Carol Topp, called
Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out. Her wisdom will be a great help to anyone involved in leading a co-op.

A proven method to start a co-op within your local church is with the full support system and ideas of First Class Ministries. Heidi St. John has a heart to support homeschoolers and group leaders with an exciting arsenal of materials to make your co-op successful from the get-go.

Let's chat and share experiences and insight for starting a homeschool co-op on our Facebook page! We can learn so much from each other!

What would your best tip be for this homeschool group leader who wants to start a co-op? Write a quick response here as a comment (see below) or simply answer on our discussion page.

Have a wonderful day!
Denise & Kristen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Press On! Persistence Pays In The End.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts." ~Calvin Coolidge

Today, continue on with persistence and determination. Press on in prayer, in home schooling, in leading and in serving. It will be worth it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Answer: Tell A Story

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
—Ursula K. LeGuin

God has been teaching us here at Homeschool Group Leader a powerful truth this last week or so. And it is that stories are a great way to communicate.

Think about it. When Jesus wanted to get an important point across, what did he do? He told a story.

There are so many advantages of stories: People remember the details better. People receive difficult or challenging information easier when couched in a story. Stories help people feel connected to the one the story is about, as well as to the storyteller. And sharing stories is just plain fun.

So, don't be afraid to share your story with another this week. To get the ball rolling, we'll share part of ours. . . .

Building a great homeschool group leader society one story at a time,
Kristen & Denise

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Host a Newbie Night

Throw a welcome party and show a simple video or slideshow of the different activities your group does. A cruise theme of “Welcome Aboard!” could build anticipation for the coming year’s home schooling adventure. Circulate or post group event sign up sheets to give your guests an opportunity to volunteer.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

ALERT for Homeschool Group Leaders

We were made aware of this new alert post and thought it was important to pass on to you. ~ Denise & Kristen

Dear Group Leaders,

We want to bring your attention to a situation that occurred recently so you can be on your alert for any suspicious calls. Yesterday, the Home School Foundation (the charitable branch of HSLDA) received a call from an HSLDA member family who had received a suspicious call from a"Dr. Carey."

Dr. Carey claimed to be a homeschooling mother of 12 gathering information for research work on behalf of the Home School Foundation. She told the family, in this case, the leader of a local homeschool group, that their group had been nominated by members in their group for a compassion grant from HSF.

To qualify for the grant, Dr. Carey explained she needed to ask some questions. These questions started with general queries about homeschooling and quickly led to questions concerning the family's disciplinary techniques. The family then called HSF and confirmed that there isn't a Dr. Carey on the payroll with either HSF or HSLDA.

While the Home School Foundation does offer compassion grants to homeschooling families in need, neither HSLDA nor the Home School Foundation would ever call their members and question them on the discipline of their children.

Also, if you have caller ID, all calls from HSLDA read: (540) 338-5600 while all HSF calls read: (540) 338-8688. This caller showed up as a restricted or blocked number. HSLDA does not block our number from your phone.

If any families in your group receive any calls from someone claiming to be from HSLDA or HSF and the caller's number is either blocked or doesn't match either of the numbers above, please gather as much information as possible and let us know. And let's pray that this person will not be successful in deceiving any HSLDA members or other homeschooling families.

Please contact Abigail Dunlap at DiscountGroups@ ...if you have any further questions or need to report a suspicious call.

Abigail Dunlap
Discount Group Program Administrator
Home School Legal Defense Association (540) 338-5600

Friday, May 1, 2009

Guest Friday's Answer: Being THERE for the Group

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

Our first guest post is by Sheila Campbell, the Leader Liasion for the Texas Home School Coalition. She co-founded Integrity Home Educators with her husband in 1994 in Plainview and faithfully led it for over a decade, recently stepping down as the youngest of her children is graduating.

She is a gifted writer and you can read one of her encouraging articles about extraordinary leadership from ordinary leaders here.

Sheila has been an abundant blessing to us at Homeschool Group Leader and we know she will be to you as well. ~Kristen and Denise

I'm not sure I can be THERE for the group. I have 4 grades (again) this year, and my oldest is in Grade 12 - he really requires a lot of work this year. BUT, I'm the only one motivated to do anything at all, as well as having the history behind my homeschooling and the area. How do I do something for the group without being overwhelmed?

Veteran leaders are always needed in leadership, but they do not have to be the primary leader. Find a venue, such as moms’ night out, where you can share your expertise and knowledge of the group’s history and make that your primary focus of leadership.

Make it clear at the beginning of the year that this will be the only activity/event that you will be responsible for and then be careful not to add any thing else to your duties. If no one steps up to the plate and takes responsibility for leadership in other areas of your group, then let those activities go.

One of the biggest and most important aspects of a good leader is the ability to pass the baton. If you want to see the group continue to grow and thrive after you’re gone, then you must not only pass down the responsibilities, but also the vision behind them.
Sheila Campbell