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


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
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 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

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

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.