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,

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

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. 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

  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,


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,
P.S. You can find our popular, new e-book on motivating your members at

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.