Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Too Busy to be the Expert

Even during this busy Christmas season, homeschool group leaders are often contacted by prospective homeschooling families that are exploring the possibility of educating their children at home. It can be difficult to keep your family priorities in place, take care of current homeschool group commitments, AND help these people understand their next steps.

Keep it simple. Take down their name, phone number and email address. Tell them you will send them some great information by email to get them started. Then invite them to call you back when they have read these and have definitely made their decision to homeschool.

What can you send them? Here are some suggestions:
  1. This Mary Pride article is a great one to answer basic questions and start them on their way:

  2. A link to your state and local homeschool laws and regulations (usually found at your state homeschool group's website)

  3. A link to your homeschool group website or web page that explains what your local group is all about.

Send this email out to the family as quickly as possible. Don't think about it too hard or too long. Give yourself permission not to expend all your energy on someone who isn't homeschooling yet. You are there to get them information, not convince them.

Believe us, it is tempting and easy to soak up tons of time chatting with someone on the phone who's just gathering information. And then they never even show up to any of your events or meetings. Do yourself and your group a favor, and save the bulk of your energy for those who are already committed to the journey of homeschooling and to your local group.

Have wonderful Christmas season,
Denise & Kristen

Monday, November 22, 2010

Make it Personal

No one can do what you can like you can. Your life experiences give you an ability to relate to the homeschool families in your group like no else. That is what makes you a great homeschool group leader.

Your story--the way you overcame challenges, the why you made decisions, the learning-curve you went through, your personality and personal growth, your strengths, your weaknesses, your talents, and the things you love--all make you unique. These things make up your story. They make up you.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for your dedication to serve the homeschooling community. You are making a difference. Your sacrifice of time and energy is admirable. It is because of your leadership and support that many families can have the strength to continue in their calling.

Our heart here at Homeschool Group Leader is to applaud you today. You are amazing!

Here is an inspiring video to remind you of how influential your heart of service truly is. Today, embrace your story and inspire others with a personal touch.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!
Denise & Kristen

Homeschool Group Leader

P.S. Watch for a special discount on our book, One by One, coming up soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

7 Habits of Very Organized People

Just a few recent stints of de-cluttering my home makes me feel like I have been set free from mental bondage. LOL. Yes, I keep things way too long, always thinking that I am going to do something with them someday.

But the piles grow and become all-too-overwhelming after awhile. After so many times of writing it on my "to-do-list-that-never-gets-done," I begin to just ignore the ideas/piles and the pressure they bring. So, for today, I am being a realist and throwing out or giving away several things that I know I'll never get done.

In the process I found this printed ebook, "Tips to Get Organized and to Declutter Your Home." Skimming it quickly, I was reminded of an advertisement for a book I saw recently that claimed the secret to success. The premise was to just do what you already know to do! Ah, yes, that would work, wouldn't it!

Well, to summarize this whole ebooklet for you before I declutter it into the trash. . . just take every room or problem area that you fight and put this word in front of it--SIMPLIFY. Yep, that's it.

Simplify your routine.
Simplify your possessions.
Simplify your meals.
Simplify your cleaning.

Simplify, simplify, simplify. It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

The last page did have this interesting list, and I just have to pass it on. (I could not find the author listed anywhere.)

The 7 Habits of Very Organized People

  1. They have a place for everything. Every item has a consistent, assigned home.

  2. They put things back. Whenever an item has been removed from its assigned home, it is used and then immediately returned to its home. There are no temporary holding places.

  3. They write things down. Organized people make lists and notes, and keep these in one consistent place--such as a planner, notebook, computer or calendar. They don't try to remember things in their heads. They simply reference their lists and notes throughout the day.

  4. They don't allow papers to pile up. Papers are filed each day, not left to grow into mountains. Mail is opened over the trash bin, bills are tucked into a system until bill-paying day, and magazines are read within a week or two and then recycled.

  5. They don't procrastinate. When something has to be done, organized people schedule time to do it and then they keep that scheduled appointment. They know that the more they delay, the more likely opportunities will pass.

  6. They set goals and assign deadlines. Organized people know that if they want to get things done, they need to know exactly what they want the end result to be. . . and by what date. They review these goals often, and set aside time each day to work on achieving them. They review what they've accomplished and never forget to reward themselves for reaching their goal.

  7. They only keep what they use and/or enjoy. Organized people can't stand anything taking up space that doesn't have a useful or pleasurable purpose in their lives. They are big believers in simplicity. [italics mine]

Well, I'm relieved that I only have 7 things to work on to become a "very organized person." That's very encouraging. How about you?

Simply thankful,


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Reason for Homeschooling

These last couple of weeks I have been carving out time to de-clutter. Talk about a stress reliever! It seems to help me in so many ways, even helping me breathe easier.

Along the way I have come upon a few things that I would like to share. This poem is great for encouraging you or the homeschool families in your group. I identified with it because of my daughters. It always helps to remember the deeper reasons of why we homeschool, keeping the focus on what really matters.
Why do you homeschool?
Enjoy. Denise

My Reason for Homeschooling
by Anita Doran

I want to be the special potter,
Who molds and shapes my little daughter.
To keep her closely to my side,
To teach her why our Jesus died.

I think that she is doing great,
Especially since she's only eight.
She shops, she bakes, she mops the floor,
Has two cats she's responsible for.

She can read a product label
To see if it's fit for our table.
I teach her all about life, you see,
As she tags along with me.

And no matter where we roam,
We keep on learning, just like home.
We add a little mystery,
By learning the state's history.

Although she reads and writes and sings,
She's learning more important things.
Like love and kindness and God's word,
How to be humble, yet still be heard.

Sure it's hard and I have doubts,
"Am I doing this right?" "How will she turn out?"
And my house gets such a mess!
Too many papers strewn, I guess.

Sometimes frustration rears its head,
She didn't do what I said.
Yet, all in all, it is a charm,
To have my daughter on my arm.

If I ever have a doubt,
I get our big old Bible out.
In the book, I always see
That this is how it's meant to be.

Side by side, day by day,
Teaching her the Godly way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Confronting Co-op Complaints

One experienced Homeschool Group Leader covers many complaints that homeschool families might have about co-ops and how their homeschool co-op overcomes these in a great article:

Caren Joye shares from her heart, the group's philosophy, and from real experiences. This article can help you formulate your co-op or overcome the complaints you might be confronting yourself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: A Leader of Influence

People today are desperate for leaders, someone they can trust . . . . If you want to become someone who can positively influence other people,
  • model consistency of character
  • employ honest communication
  • value transparency
  • exemplify humility
  • demonstrate your support of others
  • [and] fulfill your promises.

~John Maxwell in Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others

Dependability is important to every team's success. Everyone on the team knows upon whom they can and can't depend. Allow me to give you what I consider to be the essence of dependability:

  • pure motives
  • responsibility
  • sound thinking
  • [and] consistent contribution.

If you can't depend on teammates all the time, then you can't really depend on them any of the time. Consistency takes a depth of character that enables people to follow through no matter how tired, distracted, or overwhelmed they are.

~John Maxwell in The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants

Both you as a homeschool group leader and your team of volunteers in your homeschool group need great character to get every job done, every time. Emphasize character in your leader meetings; reward your dependable leaders and volunteers with lots of recognition; promote limits and consistency in group activities. Your group will grow with your encouraging expectations.

We have enjoyed these last few weeks of studying some of John Maxwell's works. His writings are full of wisdom and understanding. We highly recommend reading as many of his writings as you can. You will be a better person and a better leader because of his trustworthy influence.

Note: Share them, too. Maxwell's books would be a great addition for a homeschool group library or even as a base curriculum for a teen citizenship co-op class or a mom's book club. You can start your collection here.

May you be blessed with dependable volunteers this coming school year!

Denise & Kristen

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: John Maxwell

"John Maxwell is an international recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 13 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. John Maxwell is the founder of INJOY Stewardship Services and EQUIP. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National Football League. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, John Maxwell was one of 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of John Maxwell's books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies."

Today's leadership quote is to encourage you . . . knowing that your job as a homeschool group leader isn't always pretty or easy, but it is important. Serving hard-working homeschooling families is a worthy cause.

There is an old saying: Champions don't become champions in the ring--they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation.

President Theodore Roosevelt [said]: ". . . The credit belongs to the man whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the greatest enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause."

Thank you for volunteering for such a worthy cause,

Denise & Kristen

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Organize or Agonize

Recently I bought a John Maxwell Leadership Bible like the one that we discovered as described in last week's blog. I have so enjoyed it. In all of Maxwell's writings, as well as this one, he brings out the servant-leader heart. His humble approach to leadership and care for others speaks to my heart.

Within the Leadership Bible, Maxwell pulls out the practical applications throughout the pages and is able to show how to implement these truths in every day leadership life. For example, in this quote below, Maxwell gleans principles from the way Paul handled a tough situation and gives insight from the example that can be used by us as homeschool leaders.

Organization: Leaders Organize So They Don't Have to Agonize
1 Corinthians 14:1-40

Paul wrote to bring order to a church in chaos. The Corinthians were abusing their gifts and calling attention to themselves rather than to Christ. As a leader, Paul had to change this. In fact, 1 Corinthians 14:40 urges them to do everything "decently and in order." What can we learn about organization from this chapter?
  1. Identify and pursue your top priorities (v. 1).

  2. Seek to practice what will benefit the most people (vv. 2-12).

  3. Communicate clearly (vv. 7,8).

  4. See things through the eyes of the outsider (vv. 23-25).

  5. Order activities simply for the purpose of adding value to others (vv. 26-33).

  6. Make sure everything is done in an appropriate manner (v. 40).

Hope these amazing truths give you clarity today. If you are interested in checking out more of John Maxwell's writings, look here.


Homeschool Group Leader

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Developing the Leaders Around You

Last fall, Kristen and I were introduced to the materials of John C. Maxwell in an unusual way. We were at the Texas Home School Coalition Leadership Conference. On the beautiful campgrounds was a quaint prayer chapel drawing the spirit for some quiet times. The little white chapel with gazing windows and a steeple was nestled next to a pretty pond with gardens and a gazebo. Each of us got to spend some time there.

Within one of the corner rooms quietly lay a Maxwell Leadership Bible. We were both so excited to see the wealth of wisdom and knowledge in this green leather-bound book. We had just finished writing our book, One By One, and realized how Maxwell confirmed to us the viability of our experiences and writings. We then discovered Maxwell has so many resources for leaders and their success. Literally, there is a gold mine of truth within his books.

Today I would like to share a passage from one of Maxwell's books, Developing the Leaders Around You. We are asked at times how to help someone become a leader or take over a position, etc. This excerpt gives real-life steps to success in developing the leaders around you.

Easing people into delegation is important . . . if you want them to succeed.
Delegate according to the following steps:

  1. ask them to be fact finders only...
  2. ask them to make suggestions...
  3. ask them to implement one of their recommendations, but only after you give your approval...
  4. ask them to take action on their own, but to report the results immediately...
  5. give complete authority. This is the final step--what you've been working toward.

That little white chapel that weekend awakened a whole new appreciation within me and Kristen about what it means to lead homeschoolers every day and what an important job it is! You can find our recommendations to help you as a leader, including many John Maxwell books, available here.

May you have a lot of volunteers to develop into leaders,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be the Expert!

June has been an exceptionally busy month for me and my family. We've had a lot company throughout the month and have been out of town several days. Upon my return home this weekend, I was excited to see some new resources from The Old Schoolhouse. The value of these is that they can make a homeschool leader's job much easier. And they are FREE.

The TOS email said:

"Are you ready for the best homeschool year ever? Summer is often a time of reflection for all types of homeschoolers, whether they are new to homeschooling, veteran homeschoolers, or just beginning to consider the option.

Parents have questions--you can give them answers!

Some need reassurance that they can homeschool, others are seeking the best resources and support materials for the task, while still others are toying with the idea of beginning! We want to support others in preparation for the new homeschool year.

Are you a homeschool support group leader? Perhaps you are active in a homeschool co-op. Maybe you just know a bunch of homeschoolers through church or your blog. And maybe, just maybe, you have friends and family with questions about why you homeschool, what it means, and where you find resources to accomplish such a task!

It is even quite possible that you could use these resources yourself--that's why The Old Schoolhouse® is here for you!

By sharing our newest brochure and a few other resources, you can help others find what they need to boost their confidence and increase preparedness for their homeschools--and for yours! Feel free to share the links and printables below with your friends, support group members, family, blog readers, and more."

Here's the great brochures, articles and helps TOS is giving:

Are you considering homeschooling, or are you curious and simply want to know more? What if you were offered a commendable, complimentary class on homeschooling taught by experienced educators that included hands-on tools for your personal use? The course is called Homeschool 101 . . . Would you like a front-row seat?The Old Schoolhouse® is thrilled to share this FREE resource with you--a digital supplement to the Schoolhouse Expo . . . The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine's Homeschool 101 Supplement.

Are you looking for something shorter and convenient to hand out to curious friends and family? Our newest brochure examines public schooling vs. homeschooling. What About Public Schools? is ideal. Print it out and pass it around at your next group meeting or share it electronically among your members. Help fellow members better understand the advantages of homeschooling!

Could you or those you know use a little more confidence? Our Homeschooling With Confidence brochure answers ten of the most commonly asked homeschool-related questions. We trust it will be a blessing to the families in your area. Share it freely. It would be perfect as a handout at an orientation meeting!

We also have our fantastic "Escape the Homeschool Matrix" article available, which has been most popular!

Have a wonderful summer and be ready for all those questions about homeschooling with these great resources. You really are an expert. People want to hear your story and glean the wisdom from your experiences.
Many blessings,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: How To Plan and Publicize a Homeschool Open House

What Is A Homeschool Open House?

Simply put, it is an event for the community to promote your group and to provide information about the benefits, realities and styles of homeschooling.

Lawannah Sanders, president of The Baytown Homeschoolers, shared with Homeschool Group Leader her preparation strategies that she is using right now as she coordinates her group's annual Open House. "One of the biggest things I have learned is how important it is to plan ahead."

How To Plan Your Group's Homeschool Open House

  • Location--Pick something public, free or almost free, and easy to find. Examples are community centers, local mall, or library.

  • Time--Choose a time when people are most available to seek out information and most interested in looking to the new school year. We suggest May or August.
  • Delegate--Ask for volunteers and use them in the areas of their strengths. For example, one mom volunteered this year to set up a PowerPoint of some of our pictures from throughout the year to show as a backdrop during our Open House. Another parent might love to greet visitors at the Welcome Table and another might like to bake cookies to offer the guests or even compile a list of the internet resources.
  • Welcome Table--Greet Open House visitors in a warm and welcoming way with a table, big folding-style or bistro-style, where they can sign a guestbook and receive a brochure about your group that possibly has contact information for future meetings, ways to join your group, your group web site address, or a list of internet homeschooling resources, etc.
  • Family Tables--Showcase how real and successful homeschooling can be no matter what your style is by inviting member families to each have their own table where they can have samples of the curriculums they like and answer questions. They may include their tools for success with the gifted, disabled, or special needs children, too.

  • Teen Table--Many homeschoolers join groups specifically for the subgroups they offer, especially for teens. Have lots of pictures and visual interest at this table!

  • Displays--Show what makes your group unique with a variety of displays to strut your stuff. Activities, classes, field trips, fairs, competitions can get them excited about the possibilities of homeschooling and draw them instantly into your group. A tri-fold board, a slideshow of pictures on a laptop, or a scrapbook are examples of what can be on this table.
How To Publicize Your Homeschool Group's Open House

  • Start early!--Sanders said starting the planning early is essential to a successful Open House. "You can get more people from your group involved and meet deadlines with your local newspaper better if you allow at least two months for planning," she said.

  • Flyer--Prepare a flyer with all of the Open House Information for the members to distribute locally. Places where the flyer can be displayed are at the library, bookstores, coffeehouses, their churches, or community bulletin boards. Be sure to make your group's name and logo are clearly visible on the flyer.

  • Radio Spot-- Sanders found the information for contacting the radio station's public relations person by digging around on their web site, but was glad she took the time. She discovered that the radio station needs at least three weeks' notice of the event and she plans to build that into the timeline for next year's planning.
  • Press Release--Sanders said she grew the most from the experience of learning how to write and submit a press release for the local newspaper. Following examples online and seeking the counsel of a friend who had experience with press releases, she drafted a professional release and submitted it successfully to the paper.

Above all, enjoy yourself. A homeschool open house is a fun opportunity to share your vision for education with others in your community and with each other.

Have a great summer!

Kristen & Denise

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Time Management & Self-Control

Time can be an enemy with no mercy--that gives no second chances.

Time is particularly difficult for me to manage. I always have good intentions and plan to get important things done, but by the end of the day I feel like time defeated me again. So many things are left undone. Too many minutes went by without accomplishment.

This week I read an article written in 1967 called "The Tyranny of the Urgent" that spoke to my heart just as if it had been written today. Had the author seen the future and observed my life to write it? In it he gets straight to the heart of the struggle between the important and the urgent. It's good--really good.
"Tyranny of the Urgent"

Reading the article guided me to self-evaluate and to see the need for self-control. I am definitely better than I used to be, but I am still trying to defeat this giant every day. (We are more than conquerors through Christ our Lord.) I know that it will get better as I practice disciplines and establish winning habits.

"Control your time; control your destiny." You, as Homeschool Group Leaders, may need to drastically evaluate your time and learn to not let the urgent (for example, calls from members) steal all your time. Setting boundaries on your schedule for group duties will help you be successful in the important.

Here's a blog with a lot of practical ideas on implementing the truth in the article for you at home:
"Fighting the Tyranny of the Urgent at Home"

~Remember, take just enough time to read these where they are helpful to you, but not so much time where you are robbed of your day. ;-)

Learning to be wise in my time,
Leader Store

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: 10 Articles on Co-ops

Carolyn Morrison writes encouraging words on her Guilt-Free Homeschooling blog. This series of 10 articles she wrote from her experiences with co-ops have a lot of helpful wisdom.

Denise & Kristen
Leader Store

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Getting the Word Out

With summer just around the corner, many homeschoolers are finishing up the year's lessons and are planning toward family vacations or fun summer classes.

They are also likely making their next year's school plans. Homeschooling mom of three and wife to a former Marine, Kacey Johnson (seen in the picture above) is already making her plans for next year, visiting the local homeschool bookstore and organizing at home.

As a former homeschool group leader, Johnson knows the value of getting the word out about a homeschool group safely and in places that homeschoolers frequent. "If you are going to post flyers, you don't want to necessarily plaster them just anywhere and everywhere," she said. "Post them where homeschoolers go--like the grocery store, library, bookstores, or maybe even coffee shops."

Pointing out that people turn to the internet for much of the information they need, "it would be a shame not to use the internet to let people know we are out there," she said. "Our group mostly let people know we were out there through our web site. Most folks will 'google' anything, and we tried to make ourselves very accessible online through the search engines."

Finding success in making their homeschool group "super, super accessible on the web," Johnson encourages other leaders to market their groups differently than in the past. "You can control the information on your web site so that people can see who you are and get involved if they like what they see."

You can find other homeschool group leaders on the world wide web on Facebook (be sure to have your personal Facebook account already up when you click on this link).

See you there!
Kristen & Denise

Making plans to watch a lot of movies this summer? Do it safely with ClearPlay.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Be the Expert!

Homeschool Group Leaders are in the unique position to read the pulse of the homeschooling movement. They are able to sense the swelling tide of trends and changing needs of the families around them. It is important for leaders to pay attention to these currents and understand what is coming. Leaders need to be alert, prepared and visionary.

What trends are you seeing in your area? Your economic and demographic environment may likely effect your homeschool group. Shifts in local, state and even national government can send varying waves of homeschooling families your way. Surrounding colleges may have attitude changes that ripple through the community.

Here is an article discussing the "Top 10 Trends in Homeschooling" that have been observed by

Track local and national trends effecting homeschooling by reading articles, blogs, newspapers, state group updates, magazines, attending conferences and listening to families. Your compilation of knowledge will help you give good advice and lead the group wisely. You will be the expert!

May your confidence come through humility.
Denise & Kristen

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Branding Your Group

My family and I had just moved back to my hometown after nearly a decade away. With a homeschooling first grader and two toddlers, I was looking for some like-minded friends and a field trip or two.

To be honest, I didn't really have a clue what a support group could offer my family, but when the local librarian offered me the name and number of the homeschool group's president, it felt right to call.

Perching myself atop the bar between my dining room and living room, I dialed the number and rehearsed my list of questions quickly in my mind.

The mom who picked up the phone set me instantly at ease. Down to earth and passionate about homeschoolers, she explained the basics of what I needed to know about their support group. They were a Christian group open to all, met monthly at a local park and stayed in touch online through a Yahoo web site. I asked my questions, and she patiently answered. Then she did a very powerful thing.

She invited me to the next event. It happened to be an art class held in her garage that next Wednesday (don't ask me how I remember the day). I was delighted to be included so quickly and to be able to offer my kids something fun to do where they could meet some other kids their age.

That was the year my daughter learned how to draw roses and to shade objects. That was the year, I fell in love with homeschool support groups.

When someone contacts you with questions about your homeschool group, you can follow the lead of my friend and shed some light for them.

1. Purpose--Why do you get together? What is the biggest thing you plan to accomplish as a group? Is your purpose purely fellowship or is your group mission-minded?

2. Personality--Are you practical or carefree, structured or free-spirited, or a little of all of it?

3. People--Who are your people? Are they ranchers spread out over Timbuktoo or city slickers savvy to the ways of Fifth Avenue? What are their personal goals for being part of a support group?

Like my friend who laid it out plain and simple for me as a new homeschooler to the area, you can lead others plainly and simply, too, by making it clear upfront who you are as a group, what your greater purpose is and showing them how they can get to know you better.

As Confucius once said, "Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." If new homeschoolers like who you are and what you're doing, they will be along for the ride, just like I was!

Enjoying the ride!

Read More About It!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Should We Break Fellowship?

The weather here has been beautiful -- perfect for walks and open windows. The azaleas have been covered with bright blooms, and the wildflowers have put on a colorful show. We have enjoyed this spring. But the days are getting warmer and those flowers are now hanging down, spent, telling us that summer is around the corner.

Seasons change within a homeschool group, too. There will be times of great growth and energy as well as cycles of pruning and rest, each with their own challenges. In times of conflict, how do we know when and where to prune for the best results?

In last week's interview excerpt, Lyndsay Lambert of the Texas Home School Coalition {shown in the photo above with her family at her son's wedding} explained the right perspective to have in dealing with a conflicting member. Today's excerpt deals with gently restoring and the difficult issue of breaking fellowship.

May your season ahead be filled with hope and joy,
Denise & Kristen

HGL: What happens if a negotiation doesn't work? You are not able to come to an agreement or the other parties just do not want to work with you. What do you do then?

Lyndsay Lambert: (continued) The next step is to think about gently restoring. You still have a problem maker, you still have a problem in your support group: somebody who is still causing problems, who did not accept the negotiations and is not happy.

The first step is to think through the situation: Is this a fault? Is this a small thing that I can overlook? Is this really a big enough problem that I have to deal with this? How can I know?

The questions to ask are: Is this seriously dishonoring God? Has it permanently damaged a relationship? Is it seriously hurting other people? Or is it seriously hurting the offender himself? If the answer to all those questions is "no" then maybe you just need to say, "Ok, that's just who that person is."

One time I was in charge of a nursery at our church. A lady came in and took charge. She just took over and started doing stuff. It offended me because it was supposed to be my job. I went to her and said, "I just want to talk to you about this; it really bothers me." After I told her all that, she said, "Oh, I really didn't mean to do that. Please forgive me." The next week she did it again. I realized this is just who she is, and I determined that I was going to overlook it. I wasn't going to hold it against her.

If the answer to one of those questions is "yes" then you need to go and talk to that person. We are actually commanded to do this. Matthew 18:15 says, "Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go to him and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained a brother." Also, Matthew 5:23 says, "Therefore, when you bring your gift to the altar and remember that your brother had something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift."

In the first verse, it is talking about if your brother sins against you. In the second one, it is talking about if you realize your brother has something against you, meaning you offended him. In both cases, the person who realizes it is the one who needs to instigate getting together and working through the issues.

Then the Scripture goes on in Matthew 18, "If he will not hear, you take one or two with you. By the mouth of two or three witness every word may be established." If going to them personally and talking to them doesn't change things, perhaps a leadership board needs to get together.

As a leader, there is a little bit of difference in individual peacekeeping and peacemaking as a support group leader. Individually, you want to resolve and never give up on finding a biblical solution. As a support group leader, there is a point at which you have to protect the group.

This means there may come a time where you have to break fellowship. The verse in Matthew 18:17 says, "and if you refuse to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a tax collector."

div>As support groups, we are not a church. However, the principles, I think, hold true. At the point he's not going to confess, repent and behave, as a leader you are responsible to protect the people in your group.

This is where I think we need to understand what the role of a board is. The role of a board of an organization is to set policies, but also in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. If you have just one leader, there is the tendency for it to be all your fault. But the answer to those who get mad at the leader is, "Our board told us that this was policy, and this is what we're going to do." It takes the pressure off of us.

In the same way, the board needs to be together before you go to somebody and say, "I'm sorry. You just cannot be in our support group anymore." It needs to be a board decision for your sake and for your protection. It is also for the understanding of the other person--that they understand that this is not a personal vendetta that you have, but that you are accountable to the whole board.

{I'm going to throw a little thing in here. I think that it's really helpful at this point to have some men on the board. They are able to bring a balance and take a stand.}

Here's the deal. You have to understand that you can work through and do everything right, and you'll still have people who will be unhappy. You will still have people who will not submit themselves to the will of the group or the will of the board. You will have people who will talk badly about you. You are going to have conflicts.

But it's not going to happen in every situation. Sometimes the Lord will change their hearts. You do need to continue to pray for these people and continue to reach out to them as much as you possibly can.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: When Negotiation is NOT Working

It is always a delight to be with Lyndsay and Tim Lambert. Their sense of humor and love for life will keep you smiling and laughing. It doesn't take long to see their passion for homeschooling. They are hardworkers who make a difference as they stand boldly for freedom. They are real heroes. (My daughter is asking what superhero powers they have! lol)

Our interview with Lyndsay was rich as she shared with us the ways to work through conflict. Kristen and I are sharing excerpts from her interview here on our blog. In parts one and two, Lyndsay explained the strategies to negotiating a win. But what if negotiation isn't working? Every homeschool group will have a season where they will face opponents bent on crushing the group's unity or morale. There just seems to be no way to win. Lyndsay tells us how to move forward to first and second and third until we have made it safely to home base.


HGL: What happens if a negotiation doesn't work? You are not able to come to an agreement or the other parties just do not want to work with you. What do you do then?

Lyndsay: One of the things you can do is agree to disagree. For example, you might agree to have a prom, and the people who don't want to have a prom just don't participate. Years ago, we had a situation. We were going to have a Valentine's party, and we had some people who didn't believe in doing Valentines. They left the whole support group. It's ok. We didn't understand why they just did not come to the Valentine's party, but they apparently had a strong conviction about it, and that was the way they dealt with it. That's fine.

However, if you have people who continue to stay in the support group, but disagree and cause problems, then you are going to have to walk through some peace keeping principles that are based on Scripture. Honestly, these principles work when you are a support group leader or a church member, and they apply when you are having problems with your husband or different relationships.

Basically, you have to view conflict as an opportunity to grow--an opportunity to please God, for us to grow, for the other person to grow and for things to get better. I think we have a tendency to want to avoid conflict. Instead, if we can use it to glorify God and approach it from the standpoint of "How can I please and honor the Lord in the situation," it will help us keep our perspective right through the rest of the process.

Next, you really have to prayerfully consider what is going on and think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. I have a tendency to think, "Ok, I'm going to let the Lord just deal with this and I'm going to go into it on the sly." But we need to prayerfully consider all of these questions:

  1. Have I caused any of this conflict? We need to look at ourselves and "get the log out of our own eyes."

  2. Have I had a critical or negative attitude toward this person? Or have I communicated that to that person? Examine your own heart.

  3. Have I had sinful words or actions? We have the tendency to look at a conflict and say, "He did this. I didn't react very well, but he was really at fault here. It was 95% him, but I was only 5% wrong. He started it, and I didn't respond well." When it's in your eye, it seems little to you. But it is big to the other guy.

  4. The first person who notices that there's a problem needs to deal with it. If you reacted wrong, that is the thing you need to deal with. If you reacted in a sinful way, you do need to go to that person and say, "Look, I'm sorry. I reacted wrong that day." You don't say, "Because you did this, I had a bad response." That is not going to go over very well or help much. I like what has--the Seven A's of Confession.

The next step is to think about gently restoring. You still have a problem maker, you still have a problem in your support group: somebody who is still causing problems, did not accept the negotiations and is not happy.

An effort at reconciliation is crucial. So, how do we gently restore??

. . . find out next week . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Confronting Conflict

Homeschool leaders are sometimes caught in the middle of opposing sides. It can be difficult to umpire everyone through the difficult differences of opinion and pull them together to negotiate a solution. Sometimes homeschool leaders even have to negotiate with those opposing their own opinion. Who is going to win? How can everyone walk away feeling like they each hit a homerun and experienced a win-win situation?

For the best answers to our conflict resolution questions, we interviewed Lyndsay Lambert, a seasoned leader with wisdom gained from experiences locally and regionally.

Tim and Lyndsay Lambert have served Texas homeschoolers since 1990 as leaders of the Texas Home School Coalition. Their sacrifice, dedication and excellent example has blessed thousands here. We can credit their leadership with much of our continued freedom to homeschool in Texas.

Last week we began this series of excerpts from Lyndsay Lambert's words on confronting conflict. Today is the continuation.

Suit up to put this into practice because you just might take some hits at some point, and this will be good information to know. Be strong and stay in the game. There's a great reward in the end if you do.

Denise & Kristen

HGL: If the cause is a difference of opinions, how would you deal with those causing the conflict within the group?

Lyndsay Lambert: (continued) The "U" of the PAUSE Principle of Negotiation is to Understand their interests. You identify their concerns, their desires, needs, or limitations. Let's say, for example, that some people in the support group want to have a prom. That can be a pretty touchy situation--especially when you get people who don't believe in dancing or if you've got people who believe in courtship and guys and girls shouldn't touch each other. Then on the other side, you have people who want all of the benefits. They want to teach their kids how to do ballroom dancing and want to make sure their children don't resent homeschooling. They want to make sure that they get to have all of the different experiences.

You can see that in a situation like that you've got people on two totally different ends of the spectrum. What you have to do then is understand where everyone is trying to go. What is the goal here? What are you trying to accomplish? What are these people trying to accomplish who want to have the prom? Understand that they want their children to have a good feeling toward homeschooling and not to feel like they have missed a lot of stuff.

What you do is bring these two groups of people together and Search for creative solutions. That's the "S' of the PAUSE Principle. You have to bring them together and search for what would accomplish the goals of these two sets of people--without offending them or going against their standards.

Basically, you brainstorm and throw out all kinds of ideas and work toward something that could meet those objectives. For example, maybe one of the ideas would be to have a junior/senior banquet instead of a dance. They will still get to dress up, still get to go out with their friends, but there wouldn't be any dancing.

Lastly, the "E" of the PAUSE Principle is to Evaluate objectively and reasonably. The trick on this one is to evaluate--not to argue. What we've got to try to do is set aside our selfish desires in order to be able to come together and negotiate something that all the parties can live with.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Curveballs of Conflict

Life throws curveballs. These last couple days I have had surprising twists in my responsibilities that left me feeling like I was striking out. I have had to regroup and reprioritize to try to connect with all the things that need to be done and learn to hit all that life throws at me.

Leadership has curveballs, too. Just when you think you are in the zone and batting a thousand confidently, a twist of conflict can leave you feeling like you are striking out. You may not know how to deal with the new critical attitudes, attacks or misunderstandings that are speeding towards you. How do you as the leader deal with this menacing pitch and successfully knock it out of the ballpark?

Some time ago, Kristen and I interviewed Lyndsay Lambert of the Texas Home School Coalition asking her how to deal with various conflicts correctly. Lyndsay's years of leadership in local homeschool groups and at the state level have given her great insight to resolving conflict.

Today and each Wednesday for the next three weeks we will share an excerpt from this amazing interview. I know you will enjoy it.

To your success,

HGL: What are the main causes of conflict?

Lyndsay Lambert: I would say that the main causes are misunderstandings--differences in values and goals. Sometimes it is competition over resources. Then we have to admit it . . . it is sinful attitudes and desires. We are just sinful human beings sometimes.

HGL: If the cause is a difference of opinions, how would you deal with those causing the conflict within the group?

Lyndsay Lambert: I think that is a good question. Homeschoolers can be stong-willed and independent. I guess you wouldn't homeschool if you weren't. You will have differences of opinions because, let's say, different standards or different goals. Maybe your goal in homeschooling is not the same as somebody else's goal. Sometimes you can deal with that through negotiation. Get the parties together and talk about it and come to a point of agreement. A lot of my materials {to resolve conflict} come from They have a lot of good information on their website.

In their information, they talk about the PAUSE Principles of Negotiation.
In the PAUSE Principle, they first lay out the need to Prepare to begin a negotiation process. Prepare means to pray, get the facts, seek God and develop an opinion. The main thing you want to accomplish with negotiation is that you have got to get out of this is what I want. You need to get to the place where you are deliberately looking for solutions that are beneficial to everybody. The idea is to try to get everybody to cooperate.

The "A" of the PAUSE principle is that you Affirm relationships. This is showing general concern and respect for others. Let people know that you care about what they think, who they are. If they really understand that you're not just there just trying to beat them over the head with something and to get your way, but you really are concerned about them, you will get a lot further in your negotiation.

To be continued next week. . . .

Saturday, April 3, 2010

in the NewZone: The Beaches on Extreme Home Makeover

The Extreme Home Makeover team came to our neck of the woods recently, or shall we say more accurately, our stretch of the beach. You see, we live not far from the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston where a hurricane in 1900 devastated the coastline and took the lives of hundreds.

In 2008, Hurricane Ike barreled through our area and devastated so much of our land and homes. Countless many lost their lives that night, too.

But inside every storm cloud is a silver lining as the old saying goes, and one Texas family got the blessing of a lifetime. Be sure to watch or record the 2 hour special showing the family and their new huge home on television Sunday night!

See our leader article about the amazing build site here:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boot Camp for Bringing Up Boys

At this very moment I (Kristen) am at Denise's house gazing out her kitchen window listening to the raucous adventures of my four sons. The youngest is playing in the clubhouse, pretending he's steering a great ship. The next eldest is walking around the yard deep in thought, a huge golden retriever following closely at his side. The next eldest son is acting out elaborate imagination games with one of Denise's daughters down by the clubhouse. And the eldest son is our chef for the day, whipping up peppermint chocolate chip cookies with the other of Denise's daughters.

This week I read a book that has come just in the nick of time for this mama of boys and two girls who will one day marry boys. It is Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young, and by it, I've been greatly encouraged that I can raise mighty men of God within our culture of complacency.

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys

From puddles and puppy dog tales to college exams and career choices, Raising Real Men is like a boot camp on paper for bringing up boys. This book offers wisdom and strategies for parents who desire to parent purposefully and honor God with their effort.

There are several practical things I took away from this book (and have already implemented some of them :-)):

  • A Fist of Five (an easy-to-remember battle plan for overcoming temptation)

  • Fostering entrepreneurship

  • How to interview colleges

  • How to master public speaking

  • The effective army approach to correction
  • Carrying in the groceries joyfully and other ways to use their strength to help others
  • Hosting a Coming of Age celebration
  • and much, much more

    As a girl I fantasized about my knight in shining armor sweeping me off my feet and protecting me for the rest of my life. Now, I feel I have a valuable complement to my Heavenly Sword for guiding these four knights in training to become young men who take on the world for good.

    I highly recommend this book to homeschool group leaders for several reasons:
* We are first of all wives and mothers, and this is a down-to-earth resource for understanding the men in our lives better

* We are secondly leaders who can use the wisdom and insight gained from these pages to change how we interact with and provide resources for the young men in our groups

* It could be a convenient platform for creating a boys' class or moms' book discussion, each week covering a fresh topic brought out in the book: manners, money, love, education, responsibiliites, competition, and leadership, among others.

You could easily create an 18-week co-op class out of it by having an ice-breaker/vision-casting introduction, a holiday break week, a project class where the boys get their hands dirty applying what they've learned--creating a budget, starting a micro-business, cooking a meal, building something useful, spearheading a service project in the community-- and finally, a conclusion class. Make it festive and fun by hosting a BBQ celebration where the boys grill and the parents share a praise for one particular way they've witnessed their son grow in character or ability over the semester.

The point is, the Youngs have successfully re-awakened me to the priceless value of being the "mother of heroes" and the eternal significance of my mission . . . and theirs.

Raising Real Men for a Better Tomorrow,


Monday, March 29, 2010

intheNewZone: Surprise in April . . . and More

Surprise in April

We are grateful to the Lord for bringing Homeschool Group Leader as far as He has over the last two years. We appreciate all of you who have let us know how you are being helped through the bi-weekly blog posts, articles, Facebook connections and original resources we have here. There are several brand new resources under construction right now that we are so excited about making available to group leaders soon.

Denise and I are both wives to great men and homeschooling mothers to great kids, so know that though we desire to write each one of you personally, we realistically cannot. But we do take your questions very seriously and pray for you, even if we are unable to personally write you back. We are listening!

You can connect with us here on the blog by leaving a comment or chatting on the facebook group, "I Am A Homeschool Group Leader." And of course, we'd love for you to be a Facebook fan of Homeschool Group Leader. We can chat there, too!

Now here's the great news: there is something very special coming in April that you are not going to want to miss! It's going to be a one-stop shop of sorts just for homeschool group leaders and will make your life a whole lot easier, and ours a whole lot of fun. Be watching!

Helpful Video to Show Your Support Group

And for your viewing pleasure, we've just discovered this nifty little video that you can share with your group members to educate them on the value of respecting intellectual property. Thank you to the Bluedorns of Trivium Pursuit for this helpful and informative video.

June is Homeschool Copyright Ethics Awareness Month. You are free to use this video on your web site or show it at your support group meeting or convention as long as it is used in its entirety.

God bless,
Leader Store

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Leading at Home

Recently, we had a nice conversation with one of our favorite leading couples, Hal and Melanie Young, authors of Raising Real Men, on the topic of homeschool group leaders finding the balance in their responsibilities and leading well at home with their own families.

We have loved every part of the interview with this dedicated and visionary couple, but this segment hit home. This one got personal. Leading and teaching leadership at home impacts every family, including ours.

{If you've missed the other parts of this amazing interview, you can read them here: Leading at the State Level and Leading at the Local Level}

HGL: Hal, we’ve heard you say that:
Leadership looks like a lot of glory from the outside, but behind the scenes, it’s not nearly as pretty. Self-sacrifice, hard work and difficult decisions can lead to burnout if you aren’t prepared for the fight. History shows that often victory’s just a little push more, a little longer endurance.

That’s an amazing quote. What is your top tip for keeping life balanced and not burning out as a homeschool group leader?

Hal: Balance is the real key. And it’s like doing anything in life--if you have one area overwhelming others, then things start to fall through the cracks. So, one thing that I’ve found very helpful is just keeping a good running log of what I am doing and staying on top of communication. Remember relationships are very important--not just within the homeschool organization, but also keeping the family relationships going.

Melanie: That’s what is probably my top tip--is that you can’t neglect your own children and teach other people how to take care of theirs. Scripture tells us that in the leadership of the church, a man should have his own house in order before he leads the church of God. That’s a pretty good practice that we need, to make sure that our own homes are in order.

It’s too easy to neglect the mundane duties of life: our own schools, our own laundry, our own relationships with our children, for the demands--the time-sensitive demands--of leadership.

You’ve got to keep your eyes on God’s priority or you will burn out.

Well said!
Our kids are calling. Gotta run!
Denise & Kristen

Sunday, March 21, 2010

intheNewZone: New Look!

We are so excited because on our brand new Homeschool Group Leader web site, launching in April, we will have the tools you need to succeed in one convenient place. At the click of a button, you can find fresh ideas, answers to the questions leaders ask, fabulous resources and new friendships with those who understand the joys and challenges of leadership. You can find our current site and first e-book here. We will keep you posted as the new site gets closer to launch.

Know this: the launch will be with the MONUMENTAL birthday of one of us. In celebration, we are going to offer our biggest discount ever on One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members, so spread the word!

In the meantime, be sure to check out:

* the Facebook group

* the Leader Store

* the new Wednesday's Wisdom interviews

Our desire at Homeschool Group Leader is to support you as you support so many great homeschooling families. Thank you for all you do.

Exciting times are ahead!
Denise & Kristen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Leading at the Local Level

You've heard it said. . . If you want something done, ask a busy person. Well, Hal and Melanie Young are just some of those people. Called to many things and humbly excelling in them all, the Youngs not only daily serve their 8 children, but also serve homeschoolers on the state and local levels and homeschoolers worldwide through their web site,

In our ongoing series with this popular writing and speaking couple, HGL explores with the Youngs the joys and challenges of leading homeschoolers in a local support group. Sit back, enjoy and learn at their feet!

HGL: Kristen and I each have each served homeschoolers in our area. It is definitely a lot of hard work that will stretch you to your limits at times, but the truth is that there is a lot of joy in the serving, too, isn’t there? What was one of your greatest joys as homeschool group leaders?

Melanie: I’ve got to say that, no doubt, it is having someone come up and tell you at Wal-Mart, years later what a difference you made in their lives. I don’t know if you knew--Hal has Stage 4 cancer, and our twelve month old has a heart condition--and we have just been overwhelmed. Well, someone secretly suggested that folks send us Valentines of Encouragement recently, and wow!

I remember one card in which someone had written, "You encouraged us seven years ago by your workshops and talking with us that we really could homeschool our children, and it’s been such a blessing to us." And when we read that, that was without a doubt, one of the greatest joys of being a leader.

HGL: Homeschoolers can be very diverse and independent, or they may even be brand new to homeschooling and have a lot of understandable needs. What would you say is the biggest secret to finding joy every day in leading all these wonderfully different homeschoolers?

Hal: I think the secret is to see this as a ministry. To realize that in its own way, it’s as important as the ministries in your church or other community service organizations because you’re having an impact on people’s family lives. Homeschooling is not just an educational choice. It’s a lifestyle that people adopt and that impacts everything in their household. If you can help them make that transition and support them in that decision as the years go by, then you are really building into the lives of people around you.

HGL: Conflict creates a challenge when you're leading a homeschool group. How can leaders deal with the challenges of conflict?

Hal: Keep your own sense of perspective. It’s very easy when you’re in a controversy of one sort or another to really feel oppressed--to feel like the whole world is down on you right then. If you step back and are objective, often times it’s only one or two people who are causing all the friction that you’re experiencing at that point. And you can look out across the rest of the group and say, “You know, I’ve got a personal problem right now, but we’re only dealing with one or two people, and the rest of the group is stable. The rest of the group is supportive.” You can be encouraged by that.

HGL: What kind of local group have you lead?

Melanie: We’ve been involved in all different types of groups over the years as we moved around. The group we are in now actually started out as a 4-H Club that grew into a support group. Right now, the group has about 270 members, and it’s pretty full service. We do everything in the world. . . there’s contact football in our area; we have band, art club, history clubs, everything.

And it’s a lot of work. That’s probably something a lot of homeschool leaders struggle with--is making sure there are enough people in leadership so that nobody gets burned out and developing those new leaders. Sometimes younger moms who have younger children have more free time. They’re not all wrapped up with getting their children into college, say. They can take the time to take on some tasks.

I know a young mom in our group started a group called Early Homeschoolers within our group. She eventually moved it within our group, and it’s been a blessing to have that focus on the younger children.

Next week, we will discuss with the Youngs the importance of leading your own children at home as you busily lead other homeschooling families. Become a follower of this blog to catch wisdom in your inbox every Wednesday from experienced and successful homeschool group leaders. It is our pleasure to make this available to you!

Kristen & Denise

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Hal & Melanie Young

Homeschool leaders and married authors Hal and Melanie Young speak it like it is . . . and they speak it straight from the heart.

Serving in state and local leadership for a combined 16 years, the Youngs love to encourage and challenge homeschool leaders to be bold for the cause we all believe in--the freedom to educate our children at home.

We recently caught up with the Youngs of Raising Real Men to ask them a few questions about leading at the state level, local level and at home. We will be bringing portions of this vision-packed interview to you over the coming weeks.

HGL: What drew you two to lead at the state level?

Hal: We had been leaders in a local support group before we moved to North Carolina. One of the first homeschooling families in North Carolina we got to know turned out to be members of the Board of Directors of North Carolina for Home Education. There was an opening that year, and they nominated us for the position of Secretary for the state organization, and we accepted. To our surprise, we were elected to that.

Melanie: The truth is that we really didn't know what we were getting into. We had no idea what all was involved and how much hard work it was going to be. But we found out that we really enjoyed it and that the rewards and blessings were worth it. The reason we stayed involved at the state level was because we wanted our children to be able to homeschool their children. Listen, we've got to preserve their freedoms and we've got to keep the movement strong. That's what kept us involved all those years. It's been twelve years that we've been involved in state leadership.

HGL: It seems that a lot of people in homeschool group leadership do not realize how much of what is accomplished at the state level trickles down and affects every single one of us in our homeschooling and in our groups. A lot of the success we enjoy on the local level comes from relationships built at the state level where the laws are made. How important is it for every homeschool group leader to be connected to a state group?

Melanie: It's very important for local leaders to be involved with the state group and to stay in touch with them, because there's a lot the state group can do that the local group can't. It's all a local group can do sometimes to take care of what they've got to take care of. It's too hard to keep an eye on the legislature, try to deal with public relations disasters and things. The state groups can put on a great big conference, bringing in top speakers from around the country. (What the state group does) is like pulling all of our strengths together to do things that are too hard for each individual group to do by themselves.

Great food for thought,
Kristen & Denise

Saturday, March 6, 2010

in the NewZone: FREE Leadership Seminar

This is the BIG NEWS this coming week. . . the Free Homeschool Leadership Seminar we are hosting online with our friend, JoJo Tabares of Art of Eloquence on Wednesday, March 10.

We invite you to join us if you've ever wondered how to motivate a teenager or how to avoid burnout or how to communicate in a way that gets positive results every time. If so, then this seminar has your name written on it.

These topics and many, many more will be explored this Wednesday during this info-and inspiration-packed hour with Kristen, Denise and JoJo.

We love leaders and what they do to serve the homeschool community each and every day, and this seminar is one way we want to give back to you!

Won't you join us?

Wednesday, March 10th
3:30pm EST/12:30pm PST
Here’s how to join in the call:

Listen via your computer:
Or call in via phone: (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 19736

Or you can sign up for a free TalkShoe account so you can join the chatroom while you listen in!

Do mark your calendars to attend because space is limited and this session will NOT be available to the general public as an audio afterward!

See you soon!
Kristen & Denise

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: Budgets Bring Relief

Homeschool CPA Carol Topp delighted us with a wisdom-packed interview for Homeschool Group Leaders. We have given you glimpses into this interview by posting small portions over the past month. Soon the complete interview will be available for you to order. Here are the series posts in case you missed one blog:

This series wrap-up as Part 4 contains Carol fearlessly tackling the important and difficult subject of money and budgets.

HGL: Carol, what is the final top tip you would like to share today to help leaders love leading for a long time?

Carol Topp: You may laugh--it has to do with money. It is called a budget. A lot of leaders think, "What?! I hate dealing with the numbers. I am a people person."

But what those numbers on a budget do is help you plan, sit down and look to the future. That can do a lot to reduce stress. If you make a plan and know what might be coming, it will help you set priorities. What is important to us in our group? Is it important that we keep the cost extremely low? That is going to be a very different budget than saying our priority is top quality. It helps you focus, plan and set your group's priorities. So, believe it or not--having a budget might sound like it is a limiting thing, and some people don't like budgets. But instead a budget can bring great freedom and relief from a lot of stress.

HGL: Haven't you also written a resource for leaders on creating a budget for homeschool groups?

Carol Topp: Yes, of course. I am a CPA! I have one called Money Management for Homeschool Organizations. It is not really a very long book at all. It is only about 40 pages. I talk about money management in a very small homeschool group or in a medium size group (meaning more than 5 families, but fewer than 20) or a large group (more than 20 families). I discuss the different things you need to do in each stage. Obviously, if you are small and have 5 families, there is not much needed. You can operate just on cash. By the time you are medium and large, you need a checking account. I have a lot of information in this book. You can find it here. It is an e-book that you get the day you order it.

To successful stewardship and stress relief,
Denise & Kristen