Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Ah, Chocolat!

Chocolate is a great motivator. Host a chocolate dessert fellowship for your leadership to say "Thanks! You are a SWEET addition to our leadership team." Remember to tuck some attractive certificates of appreciation into your portable file folder to carry to the fellowship.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday's Answer: Keeping Teens Interested

Our homeschool group is centered around kid activities (field trips, events, etc) while still supporting the moms. How do you keep the teens interested in the homeschool group?

Many times a support group begins in response to the need of supporting moms or socializing young children. As the children grow, the group usually metamorphoses with them to offer more structured activites like field trips or classes. But as the children grow into their teen years, what's a group to do to meet the needs of this age group? Can the group add to it's already-full schedule to meet the teens' needs?

Yes, it is possible to keep the teens interested and take care of their needs. Here are a few simple ideas to kickstart your teen activities. We will have a ton more in our upcoming ebook!
  1. Watch and pray ~ It can be extremely helpful to have a leader specifically planning activities or classes for teens. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the right person to fill this need. He can lay the need and desire on their heart. He cares for the teens and has already laid it on your heart to pay attention to their needs.
  2. Ask and evaluate ~ Find out what the greatest needs or fears or desires are that the teens in the group have. What ways do they wish to socialize or serve or learn? Then you have a direction to move toward.
  3. Create and provide ~ Be creative in meeting their needs. If they fear the SAT's coming up, start a study group to prepare for it. If they need specialized subjects for college requirements, look for a teacher to provide a class for credit. If they desire to find out more about career paths, provide field trips for teens exploring their options.
  4. Be radical ~ If you have more teens than young children, it is possible your whole group needs to change its complete focus to meet the older group's needs. Park days may need to change to skating rink socials or hanging-out, game times at a home. Other children's activities may be need to be exchanged for debate teams, driver's ed classes or high school subject clubs. And don't forget--the moms are going to need different support than before, too.

It can be daunting to look at revamping your whole group, but it is well worth it to keep your teens interested. Not only does it keep them interested in the group, but having teen social activities and oportunities for answers to their future also keeps them excited about homeschooling in general. This wonderfully supports your group's families and helps them accomplish their goals of homeschooling through high school with a happy teen.

God bless,

Denise & Kristen

P.S. We are excited about our soon to come ebook that will be packed with ideas for making every type member of your group excited about being a part of it!


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Keep a Sense of Humor

A foolish sense of humor will harm you and others, but using a kind, humorous comment can break the ice, lift the mood or bring people together. If you will laugh later about a mistake, try to laugh now. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, " A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday's Answer: Set the Example

How do I help others interact positively in the group?
Probably the greatest thing you as a leader can do to help others interact positively in your group is to set the example.

Are you interacting positively with others in the group? Do your group members see you smiling and real (we honestly can't be "up" all the time)? Do you introduce yourself to new visitors and make sure they meet at least one other person? Do you look for those members sitting alone who you can sit and visit with and get to know a little better?

Or do you scuttle around only taking care of business, absorbed in the pressing tasks at hand. If you feel you have no time to build relationships, think again. You can delegate tasks. But relationships are the backbone of your group, so make sure you are purposefully interacting with your members, getting to know them better and letting them get to know you.

You'll both be the better for it!
Kristen & Denise


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Rain or Shine
Whether your group meets weekly, monthly or quarterly, try to meet in the same place and at the same time every time. It helps members to know that "rain or shine," this is where I can find my group.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bring On The Pink! It's A Girl

Congratulations, Kristen!

Beautiful Kathryn Elyse was born Friday night at 10:28 pm. She weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz and was 20 in. long. Her 5 siblings proudly welcomed her into their family.

We are so happy for you, Kristen and Paul! May God bless you and Kathryn with health and every blessing from heaven.

What a wonderful Resurrection weekend--celebrating the wonderful work of the Cross for our precious salvation and celebrating His wonderful workmanship in the birth of precious Kathryn. The Lord does all things well!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday's Answer: Top 10 Ways to Torture a Tired Leader

How do we deal with problem members?

There will always be problem people who do not consider the work and time that you as a homeschool group leader put into all you do. Sometimes it is a thankless job that gets compounded by those thoughtless members who make you sigh.

We at Homeschool Group Leader applaud your dedication, your service, and your sacrifice! In honor of your job well done, we are offering a little truthful humor written to the guilty ones to help brighten your day. We are not responsible if you hand this out to your members!

Top 10 Ways to Torture a Tired Leader!
  1. Don’t Listen ~ Talk all during the announcements, the meeting discussions and while your leader shares important information.
  2. Be Clueless ~ Ask your leader repeated questions about the information that you didn’t just listen to. Send them one-line questions in individual emails spread out over time.
  3. Fill Other Members' E-mail In Boxes ~ Send your repeated questions and comments to everyone on the list, filling all in-boxes, instead of only the in-box of the leader to whom you're writing.
  4. Quit at the Last Second ~ Volunteer to help with, or better yet--lead--an activity, then back out at the very end, leaving it all for the leader to complete.
  5. Gossip ~ Discuss the leader’s clothes, kids, home life, homeschool, and leadership style --openly and with great fervor.
  6. Complain ~ Never be happy with the place, the decisions, the agenda, the trips, the teachers, or the way the leader looks at you.
  7. Show Up Late ~ Choose carefully the events that need to start at a specific time and strategically and systematically show up 15 or 30 minutes late.
  8. Never Help Clean Up ~ Don’t stay after any event and help clean up. After all, isn’t that what the leader is there for??
  9. Don’t Watch Your Kids ~ Let them run wild or talk while someone else is talking. Then get offended when someone asks them to be quiet or to sit down.
  10. Be Demanding ~ Always express your opinion as fact. Be sure you speak every time someone else does, making sure that your frustrations and wants are very clear each time.

P.S. For more help on dealing with problem members. . .

May you have a light-hearted, problem-free day today,

Denise & Kristen


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

Rest & Refresh
You can't expect to do your best if you're sick or tired. Fatigue will fog your decisions and hinder your responsibilities. You need plenty of rest. Take care of yourself by taking time to refresh your body and your mind. Avoid things that are unhealthy and take a good vitamin supplement. Being refreshed will give you the energy you need to lead.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday's Answer: There is Always Hope!

It's too late; I'm already burned out!!! Is there still hope? ;)

It grieves our hearts to hear the desperation in the voice of a homeschool group leader who is feeling used up and burned out. And we hear it a lot. To be honest, we've been there ourselves.

The truth is -- with Christ, there is ALWAYS hope!

The first step on the road to refreshing is to evaluate why you became a homeschool group leader in the first place.

Did you feel called by God to this position? Were you pressured by others? Did you jump in without thinking it completely through? Would no one else step up to the plate? Are you a natural leader? Do you secretly like the spotlight?

No matter what motivated us to become a leader, burnout is a real possibility for each of us.

The second step on the road to refreshing is to evaluate why you are burned out.

Are you trying to do it all yourself? Do you feel out of your element, like you have no clue what you are supposed to be doing? Have you been serving for a long time? Are you neglecting other areas of your life just to get the job done? Have you had to deal with conflict? Do you feel as if people aren't following your leadership? Have your life circumstances changed?

These very real reasons for burning out can leave us feeling exhausted, lost, done, and ready to hit-the-road-Jack. But a fire can always be relit when there is hope.

Where is the HOPE?

* There is hope in the fact that we don't have to be everything to every person--we CAN'T be; only Christ can be all things to all men.

* There is hope in the fact that God enables us to do the very thing He asks us to do.

* There is hope in the fact that Christ is OUR leader. The Holy Spirit prompts us in what is important. Let the rest go. Veteran leader, Denise G. of Arkansas, says to look to the heart, not the programs. Let others initiate and run the programs. It doesn't have to be all you.

* There is hope in the fact that the success of your group lies in Christ's hands, not yours. Being a second-born people-pleaser, I often worried whether or not people thought I was a great leader. This added a lot of stress to my life. The times that I asked myself whether God was pleased with my leadership left me much happier.

* There is hope in serving as a couple or as a family. Time and testimonies have shown that leaders who are not "pulled away" from their spouses or families lead longer and stronger. So, lead together with your spouse or family for maximum joy and mileage.

* There is hope in that Satan wants us to burn out. Ok, that's a strange one. Remember that homeschooling is a powerful and unique tool in God's arsenal that He is using to shape a new generation, ushering in a fresh and hopeful future focused on Him. Like a remnant of sorts. Satan COULDN'T want that plan to succeed. The hope comes in knowing that you're on the right track and that God wants you to succeed.

If you are feeling used up and burned out, pray for fresh vision and renewed vigor that can come only from our Source of strength. If you've been leaning too much on your own talents and abilities, repent. And then rest. He doesn't NEED us to get this job done; He CHOOSES to use us to get this job done. And what is that "job?"

Whether you are leading a support group or are coordinating a co-op, the "job" is the same ultimately--to know the hearts of the families you are serving and leading them in the direction that the Lord is leading YOU.
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