Starting A Homeschool Group Part 3
by Lee Wirebaugh
I am sure you are thinking we have a group and a place to meet, we have planned activities for the parents and the children what else could there be? Well let me tell you all the not so fun parts of getting a group running and keeping it running. You will have to deal with issue for how to pay for group expenses and getting people involved and how to decide on what to do and who to do it. Remember this is just what we have found works for us, you may find something that works better for your group.
Money, no one wants to talk about it but everyone needs it, and so does your group. Some groups chose to have group dues. Our group does have dues but they go to the state chapter to help cover newsletters, website, conferences etc. So, our group decided to raise the money we need to get us through each year. We are having a Read-A-Thon. The children get pledges from family and friends and the read. We are having them keep track of each 15 minutes and then collect the pledges based on the time read. The children are receiving books as prizes and we are going to have a pizza party at the completion of the fund-raiser. If you choose not to have fundraiser and charge dues you should research other groups in your state and find out what they charge. Most groups I have been in contact with set their dues at $10 to $15 per family a year. Another thing you may consider is having it stated that if I family do not have the funds to pay the dues they should not be excluded.
Now that you have some money you need to do something with it. We have chosen a treasure. I suggest that you ask for people willing to do it first. If more than one person is interested then have an election that is anonymous. We use our egroup to do this as a poll that way no one knows who voted what and avoids bad feelings. Our group has not opened a separate account. We discussed this with several other groups and found that most of them had the treasure keep it in there own account.
Dealing with peoples differing opinions can be a challenge at times. We try to include as many families in the decision making process as possible. However, it is virtually impossible to have everyone together at the same time, especially as your group grows. So, I suggest just doing what needs to be done and letting those not there no what was planned. However if a decision is being made that will have a large impact on all the absent families you might consider waiting until the next meeting or posting a poll on egroups.
The last thing I would suggest to anyone starting a new group is to get everyone involved from the beginning. This is one mistake I made early on that I still have to deal with. I myself am willing to take on a majority of the group responsibility because I truly want to see this group take off. However, I am having trouble getting everyone to realize that I am only one person. Ask other people to help. Tell them that you can not do everything and if it is something they can do let them. I recently had a mother bring a wonderful book to our meeting that was full of day trips in our state. She told me that since I seem to be the person in charge she thought she would give to me to plan so trips. I flip through the book told her that I thought it was a great idea and asked her to be in charge of contacting some places her family would like to go and get the information to us at the next meeting. Guess what, that is all it took and now she is great at planning day trips for us!!!
I hope that I have been able to help anyone interested in starting a local homeschool group. Good luck and happy homeschooling!!!