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

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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!

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