Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Best Tips from Around the Country!

Join the conversations at "I am a Homeschool Group Leader" on Facebook for some great advice, answers and encouragement. You must be a homeschool group leader to be allowed to join. But once on, the discussions are GREAT!

"Homeschool group leaders need support, too! This group was created to provide homeschool group leaders a safe place where they can be uplifted and connected with others who know just how they feel. Members are encouraged to ask questions and share their ideas and insights and advice in a relaxed and positive atmosphere."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Thankful for You

What a beautiful time of year! We get to uplift others and honor the Lord through the gorgeous virtue of gratefulness. Remembering the important role all others have had in building us up lets us see our lives through the joyfully rich colors of humility. This week let your faithful volunteers know how much they have given, how much they are appreciated.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945);
Pastor, Theologian, German Resistance Fighter In World War 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tip

people in the world

people in the United States

people estimated to be homeschoolers

people estimated average in local homeschool groups


Best leader tip of the day--Find ways to Learn and improve your people skills. With all the people in the world, you're going to need them! =)

"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer."  Proverbs 15:28 NKJV

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 NKJV

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Return of the Tuesday Tip

A Golden Hour

The best leaders have the best systems. I'm not talking about the most up-to-date electronics but the ways to get things done that really work. The simpler the system, the more effective it is.

One homeschool group leader's task that can naggingly overwhelm is the need to connect with members. The tendency is to either procrastinate or to be controlled by needs. Balance simply with a system of scheduling one hour a week to get as many phone calls done as possible. Make it an hour of power, per se, and let worry be a thing of the past.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great Webinar for Homeschool Group Leaders Tonight!

The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization
by Carol Topp, CPA and Homeschool Leader
Quite an important topic! In this webinar Carol will discuss
  • Homeschoolers and the IRS
  • What does 501(c)(3) mean?
  • Is it needed for my group?
  • The benefits of 501c3 tax exempt status
  • The disadvantages too!
  • Why your organization should consider becoming a nonprofit corporation
There will be plenty of time for questions (typed into the chat area) or by phone.
This webinar is free, so tell your friends and fellow homeschool leaders. Ask your board to listen in as well.
Topic: The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization
Date: Thursday , October 27, 2011
or call in to: Phone Number: (724) 444-7444. Enter this Call ID: 73712 when asked

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We Were Connected ~ A Tribute to Kristen

Today was the first day I stepped into the role as president of our local homeschool group. It was a smooth transition full of hope and future promise; it was a difficult transition without my friend and confidante there.

I will never forget the day we met. It was in the exact place I stood today where Kristen introduced herself to me over six years ago. As she told me the names of her children, she suddenly held out her spiral notebook, saying, "In case you are a visual learner . . . " and proceeded to draw stick figures of her children complete with the oldest being a girl with the triangular skirt all the way to her fourth, a baby boy with a diaper. I laughed delightedly, knowing that only a homeschooler would think like that. I think like that. We instantly liked each other. There was a connection.

Now, she always shook her head at me with a smile saying that's not really the first time we met, but that we had already talked on the phone and through email. She remembered how the leader of our homeschool group had contacted her after my first visit and asked her to call and email me before the next meeting. Kristen remembered doing that and then looking specifically for me at the meeting. Thank you, Shawna, for connecting us!

As our casual friendship grew at the monthly meetings, I recognized her vitality and strength. It was also obvious that Kristen truly cared for others and believed in homeschooling. First chance, I nominated her for the upcoming president's position. At the same time, I accepted the field trip coordinator position. Little did I know where this connection would lead.

As officers together, we began to bond closely. This was such a growing and stretching time. This was also a time of testing. As Kristen led the group that first year, there was such turmoil. Everything was questioned including whether the group was even a Christian group or should allow a prayer. Kristen felt strongly that Christ must be acknowledged and stood for Him in the fray. She researched the beginnings of our local group and stood on those. Even in the heat of personal attacks, she lived true to her name which is "Christ-bearer."

At the end of that first year, we were left with only three officers to do it all, but we had peace in our group again. The building began. It became important to put things in writing for the future of the homeschool group. We focused on the budding homeschool group and ministering to the families. Our work and support and stand for one another forged a life-long friendship of trust.

As I look at the future of our local homeschool group, I wonder how in the world I can lead it without the love and prayers and creativity and cheering that Kristen always gave. Who will understand my heart to share the joys and excitements with? I will have to lean so heavily on the Lord. Maybe that is just what the Lord is wanting me to do during this time of sorrow--truthfully depend on Him completely, aware that He is my Comfort, my Strength and my Guide. My connection to my Lord is most important.

I will always remember my connection with my closest friend, and miss her terribly.

With the grief still fresh, I looked at the families gathered in the heat today at our homeschool group meeting and hoped that they, too, could be so blessed as to make such a wonderful connection in this life.

It is as Kristen wrote, "I believe that we each have a special and distinct purpose on this earth, and this blog is part of my effort to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I also believe that life is worth living well and that life is a precious gift to be shared joyfully with others. Thank you for letting me share my life with you. I pray it encourages you."

Through love and grace,
Denise Hyde
P.S. The first work that we ever wrote together is this free mini-course for you.
This blog came to be as a way to connect homeschool leaders together. Read about it here.
It's happening even now on our facebook group, I am a Homeschool Group Leader.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Unbelievable Void ~ We Will Miss You, Kristen

April 2, 1970 - July 16, 2011
Kristen, you are so dear to us. You and your wonderful smile will be missed more than words can express.

Prayers are needed and appreciated for her wonderful family and friends. This beautiful photo taken at Easter includes her husband Paul and their seven children, ages 15 to 5 months.
There will be a visitation from 5 pm until 8 pm on Tuesday. The funeral is at 10 am on Wednesday. Both will take place at the Navarre Funeral Home, 2444 Rollingbrook Dr., Baytown, TX
Kristen Lea Fagala

A Must-Read~
Kristen's own words of trusting God throughout our short life and through death.

Friends of Kristen may contribute to her Memorial Fund to help the family at http://www.lakewoodlight.org/. Click on the "eGive" link. You will need to set up a one-time account. It is fast and simple. Towards the end, there is a place to specify where you want the funds to go.

Well Wishes~
Feel free to write how Kristen touched your life or any kind words as a comment below.
It's extremely hard to put this on the blog that we have always done together. I hope to be able to write more soon--something to remember Kristen that is really worthy of life.
Until then, we will rest in the knowledge that she is with her Savior whom she loved first and foremost. She is joyous and in perfect peace.
With love,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Get People to Help, Part 2

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Then communicate some more.

In the last post, we revealed the value of connecting with your members, so that relationships are solidly formed and everyone feels needed and cared for. This will result in more contented and involved members.

The second part of how to get people to help is to communicate clearly.

A leader must communicate vision and purpose continually. You cannot get the purpose in front of the people enough. Remember that.

Whether you are casting the vision for your group's existence or sharing the purpose of an individual event, you cannot overdo communication.

Let's say your group is hosting a parent planning meeting to decide events and activities for the upcoming school year. Several months ahead, begin to let people know it's coming up. Mention it at every monthly meeting, in your newsletter, on your web site or Yahoo group calendar. A crafty graphics person in your group could design a flyer for members to share with their friends and neighbors who might be interested in homeschooling. Encourage them to invite.

Build excitement for the event by communicating details of interest. Will there be any door prizes? Any discounts offered to those who come? Do you need a volunteer for a specific table? Will there be arrangements for the children? Do you want dads there, too? FORSEE any questions your members may have and ANSWER them. You will have much more involvement if you communicate clearly the value of the event to the members and what you need from them.

Getting people to help is fun and easy when you concentrate your energy on connecting with each member in a personal way and making very clear the benefits of the events you all choose to do together.

Talk it Up!


For more on motivating volunteers, check this out.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Get People to Help

As homeschool group leaders, we all face it at one time or another. The temptation to fuss about how much is on us and how no one is helping.

I've fallen into that trap. Here's the way out.

Connect and communicate

This post will deal with the first of these two: connect. The truth is that, as leaders, we are in a servant position. We must remember that the group members are not there to serve us, we are there to serve them. Now, before you faint from the thought of all that could put on you, let me offer you a way through. . . connect with your members and they will be much more likely to serve alongside you.

How many times has a friend called on you for help and you ran to their aid? Now, how many times has that happened with a total stranger. The reality is that we help people we know more often than people we don't. The lesson for leaders is this: know your members.

Are you crazy, you say? Yes! Crazy about caring.

You may not be able to personally know each person in your group, but someone else can. Touches are simple--as simple as a welcome at the beginning of each gathering.

"Welcome to all our first time guests! We are so glad you are here. We hope you
find a home with us."
Then have a designated person or two who greets each visitor, and discovers two cool things about their family and introduces them to at least one other person. Your designated person reports to you what they found so you stay in the loop and you plan a second "touch." Maybe a very short personal invitation to your next group event. I've done this before. It works very well.

Connecting with your members is really very simple and there are lots of creative ways to do it. But the effort of knowing your members will really pay off in the long run in making everyone feel at home, including you!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Free Ebook from Homeschool CPA

Thank you, Carol Topp, for this great ebook offer! We are proud to share your letter here at Homeschool Group Leader. ~Denise & Kristen

Dear homeschool leaders,

I'm running an ebook giveaway in April.

If you hop over to my Facebook page and "like" me, you can download a copy of my ebook

Questions and Answers for Homeschool Leaders

    This 64 page ebook has questions from homeschool leaders like you on topics such as:

    • IRS issues

    • Nonprofit Incorporation

    • Boards

    • Conflict

    • Money Management

    • Fund Raising

    • Co-ops

    • Paying Workers

    • Volunteers

    • Insurance

    It's yours for free during the month of April just for liking my Facebook page!

    After you Like the page, you'll be able to clink on the Discussions pag (on the left column). It's there you will find the ebook.

    Go to Facebook now

    Carol Topp, CPA


    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Have You Hugged Your Support Group Leader Lately?

    Our state of Texas has a wonderful organization serving homeschoolers statewide. Our Texas Home School Coalition leaders, Tim and Lyndsay Lambert, have sacrificed for years to work and lobby for the good of homeschoolers. They know the value of encouragement and support for every homeschool group leader.

    Lyndsay wrote this article, "Have You Hugged Your Support Group Leader Lately?"

    We love the ideas of giving a gift or flowers or a word of encouragement as Lyndsay suggests.

    What ideas do you have? What creative or thoughtful thing have you done for your leaders?

    What is the nicest thing ever done for you as a leader?

    Does your state have a great way to honor the sacrifices of homeschool group leaders?

    Leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    To Lead or Not to Lead

    It's disappointing. No one is stepping up to lead your homeschool group. Everyone keeps returning huge "NO's" when you ask them to help lead. Who will step up and keep the homeschool group going forward? Your mind screams, "Enough of the excuses!" You have explained the need of the homeschool group, but it has not been enough to motivate individuals to take on the responsibility.

    You CAN overcome, and even prevent, objections like the following that normally paralyze many homeschoolers from accepting a leadership position.

    "It will take too much time. I'm too busy."

    "I don't want to look greedy for power or like I want to lead. After all, the first shall be last, and it doesn't seem humble to accept."

    "Someone else can do it better."

    "I don't have a clue what to do."

    "Would it mean that I have to speak in front of the group sometimes? I hate speaking in front of people."

    You can set their mind at ease and educate them with the truth. You might feel like you want to roll your eyes and tell them everyone else is busy as well, etc. But it is better to anticipate their objections and approach each potential homeschool leader with empathy and respect.

    Objection 1: It will take too much time. I'm busy. Be understanding of their time concerns. Be honest with them of the time it takes you to do the job or fulfill the position. Find out how many responsibilities they have and whether it would be good for them to add one more. Encourage them that you asked them because you know that busy people know how to organize their time and get things done.

    Objection 2: I don't want to look greedy for power. The truth is that this is a servant's position that is going to take a servant's heart. It may look like a "high position," but it is instead a foundational one that lives out serving others in love daily. Most people wish to make a difference in people's lives; point out that this opportunity to minister to homeschooling families can do just that. It is worth it when you encourage individuals and bless families following the will of God for their lives.

    Objection 3: I don't know what to do. Many times people overlook the personal growth that comes from volunteering in leadership. It is true that they may not know what to do . . . did any of us? Let them know that you will be there for them, you will explain things to them, not judge them, and give them freedom to learn and grow. (Learning keeps you young, you know!) Commonly God brings new experiences into our lives to stretch us beyond ourselves, to teach us to rely on Him and bring about more Christ-likeness in us.

    Objection 4: I'm afraid to speak in front of people or lead a group. Fear squeals its objections and keeps good people in bondage to the status quo. Be kind when dealing with the feelings of fear that threaten to overwhelm the person. Reassure them that the position fits their God-given talents and that others will be there to help. It's a team effort. Be excited that this gives them the opportunity to conquer fears, build faith and enjoy growth.

    You CAN inspire others to leap over their own objections and choose the many life-changing rewards of leading a homeschool group. Ultimately, you or they cannot do it all, but Christ through you CAN.

    Growing with you,
    Denise Hyde

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Welcome, Annalise Faith!

    Our newest angel is here and yes, she still smells just a little like heaven!

    Paul and Kristen Fagala
    proudly announce the arrival of
    Annalise Faith Fagala
    born February 2, 2011
    at 4:24 am
    7 lbs. 13 ounces
    20 inches long
    She is joyfully welcomed by her older sisters and brothers:
    Amberlyn, Joshua, Ashton, Luke, Chase and Kathryn

    Denise and her girls meet Annalise for the first time. I (Kristen) couldn't wait, so when Denise dropped by to pick up my older kids for a 4-H meeting, I bolted out to the car with the baby.

    We are amazed and honored with each addition to our family as the Lord shows us more and more about His perfect LOVE. You know, it only seems like yesterday that we were announcing the arrival of Kathryn Elyse here on the blog! Time flies when you are loving little ones, doesn't it? :-)

    It's a joy to share our joy with you!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Can Volunteers be Paid?

    As homeschool groups grow and change, leaders face new challenges and responsibilities. It is so important to gain the knowledge needed to make right decisions and fulfill legal requirements. Knowing where to go to find truly reliable information is critical.

    Carol Topp, CPA is just such an expert to go to gain the financial knowledge you need. She offers many ways to learn what is needed for homeschool groups and co-ops through books, private consultations, webinars, speaking engagements and her blog. One of Carol's recent blog posts answers an important question from a homeschool group leader about paying workers and volunteers within the co-op. The situation and Carol's wise answer can be found here:

    P.S. Tax time is upon us and Carol has tons of info on homeschool groups and co-ops filing with the IRS correctly, as well. It is all at HomeschoolCPA.com.

    Our e-book, One By One: The Homeschool Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members, is found at www.HomeschoolGroupLeader.com.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Free Leadership Webinar Tomorrow

    We heard amazing reports coming from the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) Leadership Seminar with Doug Bartsch. We are excited to pass on the news that THSC is offering a live webinar with Doug tomorrow for free. Here is the information for you:

    Would You Like to Improve Your Ability to Lead Others?

    Join THSC in this FREE Leadership Webinar with Doug Bartsch,
    THSC's 2011 Leadership Training Conference Keynote Speaker
    Online at 7 p.m.
    This Tuesday, January 18

    THSC was blessed beyond measure as Pastor Bartsch, a homeschool husband and father, shared with our Leadership Training Conference attendees' leadership skills and techniques he has learned from both his own experience as a minister and some exceptional mentors that God has brought into his life. A life-long learner with a passion for helping other leaders, Doug will bring practical insights that can transform your life and ministry.

    His workshops were so beneficial to our LTC attendees that many who missed this session, Positioned for Effective Leadership, asked to have it repeated, so . . .

    THSC is excited to once again welcome Doug Bartsch and
    provide leaders with this wonderful opportunity!

    In this informative workshop, Doug will use 2 Timothy 2:1-10 to help you discover your spiritual job description and teach you how to structure your ministry to fulfill God's plans.

    Leading effectively can be challenging, so don't miss out!

    Join us online tomorrow night; reserve your webinar seat now . . .