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

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday's Answer: Hold Your Tongue

We here at Homeschool Group Leader often get questions about how to handle conflict within a homeschool group. The conflict may be between members, between members and leaders, even between leaders. . . regardless of who's in conflict, conflict hurts!

We believe that there is one very effective way to handle conflict that not many people think about--and that is to hold your tongue.

But, but, . . . they are saying untrue things and slandering my name. . . but, their drama is causing stress among our group members. . . but, they are gossiping. Isn't holding my tongue a cop-out? Won't people think I'm weak and unable to lead?

Holding your tongue at a time when untruths and injustices are running rampant seems counterproductive, but consider that Christ held his tongue--often--when situations were chaotic. He was slandered. His disciples misunderstood the Great Plan. People gossiped around him and about him to the point they wanted to kill him. But he did not lash out every time he had the opportunity to rebuke.

Elisabeth Elliot said it well, "Never miss an opportunity to hold your tongue."

Never. Miss. An. Opportunity. . . hmm.

As a leader, you will have numerous opportunities to practice holding your tongue. And when you do, you will show strength and confidence that there is One who can truly set the records straight. God will always bring the truth to light. He will defend reputations. He will rebuke.

So, if you choose to speak anything--speak love and watch the healing begin.

Kristen & Denise

For more wonderful wisdom, grace your home and heart with Elizabeth Elliot's book, Keep a Quiet Heart

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Inspiring Cups Fundraiser
Inspirational Fundraising offers some thirst-quenchingly cool cups that your group can sell this summer to earn some cash. The hottest trend in fundraising, these sturdy cups boast 5 unique and beautiful designs: Americana, Angels, Apostles, Holiday and Nature. If you are a sports fan, SpiritCups offers these 18 oz. cups in holographic team designs that will surely hit a home run for your group this summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's Answer: Overcoming Crippling Fear

Where do I start?!

Overcoming fear has been a priority in my adult life. I remember being afraid to walk across the deep drainage grates in parking lots and forcing myself to step on them in triumph. In college, I took my first swimming lessons to conquer my fear of the water. I stood by the edge a long time with several false starts before I jumped in the deep end determinedly.

It seems that as soon as I think I'm fearless fear washes over me again in a new situation. One fear I constantly battle with is with what people will think of me. This can be an especially crippling fear for a leader if it wins control. Fear can hinder progress and cut off success before its even started. Good intentions and God-given desires can faint when facing the fear of failing before others.

You may be dealing with fear--Where do I start? What if I am inadequate? What if I fail? What if people don't agree with me? or like the way I do it? or get mad at me? I've learned that if we are to accomplish anything that we're supposed to do, we cannot base our decisions and actions on our fears. We have to learn from them, conquer them and determinedly start doing the right thing. Here's some simple tips that I can share about conquering fear:
  1. Glean ~ I always look for what I can learn from my fears. They can give me a healthy balance, warn me to stay alert and plan ahead, and remind me to consider other people's perspectives and feelings.
  2. Lean ~ Staying humble and leaning on the Lord for strength is the best antidote for fear. He gives us His Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Our weakness can give Him glory as He shows Himself strong.
  3. Fade ~ Make yourself a non-issue. When you are nervous and afraid, you cause others to focus more on you. Set yourself aside (including your fears) and focus on your purpose and other's needs.
  4. Remember ~ F.E.A.R. is an ancronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Don't let that false evidence hold you back. Stick to the truth!
  5. Compare ~ Think about what the possible results will be if you let fear stop you in your tracks. Will you do nothing at all? Will the situation get worse? Will no one be helped? Realize that the consequences of inaction outweigh the risk of starting and failing.
  6. Fail ~ Yes, it's going to happen sometimes. Accept the possibility of your failure; swallow your pride, and be ready to fall. We will all say something wrong, embarrass ourselves at some point, or lead in the wrong direction for a time. Forgive yourself, learn from it and look at the good that you did accomplish.
  7. Jump ~ Quickly make a purposeful decision and act on it with confidence. Hesitation can sometimes cause more fears to loom overhead. Act on the day you hear of a problem--don't let it fester. Set a date for the first meeting and post it. Invite that new member over for tea. Jump into action victoriously.

You can make a big difference in your community, in your homeschool group, in your family! Dream. Squash your fear and take action with what is in your heart. Even if your first step is more like a limp, it will soon lead to confident striding. Start now--you can do a great job!

To your triumphant success,



Our Leader Store offers some great resources.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Cool Off the Summer!

Offer refreshment at your next meeting that doesn't cost a lot. A pitcher of lemonade or a cooler of ice tea can make a meeting cool and inviting for all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday's Answer: Keeping the Experienced Coming Back

How do you keep experienced homeschoolers in your homeschool group when they do not feel they need the support anymore? When they leave, it leaves a group new homeschooler heavy. What to do? No sense in piling guilt and more to do on top of an already overburdened home educator!

Support groups and co-ops grow because homeschoolers have needs. They need to know they are not alone; they need encouragement and affirmation to keep going; they need help with a particular subject; they need like-minded friends for themselves and their children; they need to know how to homeschool. These needs drive them to join a group, to find their niche and pull their weight.

When experienced homeschoolers have several years under their belt, their needs change and actually lighten. They are now confident in their own style of homeschooling; they have already developed lasting friendships; they know their plans for the next subject; they are willing to stand alone; and they realize the need for being home. All of sudden you as a leader realize that they are not coming to the group anymore. If you are an experienced homeschooler yourself, you may even feel left alone.

Drawing these experienced homeschoolers back into the group takes time and patience and understanding. Consider these steps that can bring experienced members back into the group:
  1. Give them freedom ~ Do not nag them to be at every event. Realize they have learned the wisdom to choose events carefully for their family's time and best purposes.
  2. Give them space ~ Let them relax and have a good time without always expecting them to answer every question and take care of every need. Don't interrupt their conversations, wear them out, or give them a reason to avoid the group.
  3. Give them the support they need ~ Ask these important members what each one in their family needs now. Listen to what excites them and their family, what they would like to be involved in, what questions they are wondering, and where their focus is taking them. Take a few cues and create fresh, new support, new topics or new activities that will get them involved and bless them where they are.
  4. Give them a Smoother Way ~ One member of the group can teach the wonderful program of Smoothing the Way to all the newbies. This will free up the experienced members from having to answer the same questions over and over from the new members. Also, your newbies will grow experienced quickly from the wisdom of Mary James in this once-a-month support class. See this wonderful program here.

We know it's difficult to balance the needs of all the members in your group, but you can do this. Just relax, listen and be patiently consistent in supporting these wonderful, experienced homeschoolers. Watch for our new e-book on motivating your members that will be packed with even more advice on drawing and inspiring experienced homeschoolers.

May your day be smooth,

Denise and Kristen


See our recommended resources at our Leader Store.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Ask a Good Question

The best listeners are those who know how to ask a good question at just the right time. A question as simple as "How do you feel about. . . ?" can be just the thing to help a group member feel heard and important.