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,
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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
www. HomeschoolGroupLeader.com
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