Last Tuesday night was the "new school year" kick-off for our homeschool support group. Our August parent meeting is always the best attended of the year - part reunion, part pep rally! We had about 120 moms and dads in attendance, as we unveiled our calendar of events for the coming year, shared information and encouragement, and got to know some of the leaders and coordinators in the group.
To start things off, I read a devotion on wisdom from the book One Hundred and One Devotions for Homeschool Moms by Jackie Wellwood. Then I introduced the Board members and some of the other leaders, and a couple of them spoke briefly about things like Mentor Groups, Clubs, and Graduation.
Mentor groups is something new we're starting this year, and we've gotten a great response so far! We've tried a variety of approaches to mentoring, such as having a list of mentors that new homeschoolers could call, to trying to match up new homeschoolers with a particular mentor for the year, to offering a couple of "book study groups", but nothing has been particularly effective so far. This time, we have a few volunteers who are hosting a "mentor group" in their home for 8 separate meetings. The group will be made up of 6-8 new homeschool moms and the mentor, and together they'll go through Vicki Bentley's Home Education 101 manual. My group will start this Saturday, and I'm looking forward to getting to know these ladies and sharing some of my homeschool experience with them. :-)
I put together a Power Point slide show for the meeting which included lots of photos, and which explained our vision, purpose, and expectations; our statement of faith; our activities for both parents and children; and our membership procedure. The church we met in had a large, pull-down screen, so everyone could see it well, and it gave a great visual picture of our support group and who we are.
After handing out some door prizes - charts from Doorposts and a copy of the devotional book - we broke into small groups of about 12-15 people for the rest of the meeting - what we call the "Getting to Know you" part. We split up based on ages of kids - all kids age 8 & under, oldest child 9-12 yrs old, all kids age 13 or older, kids range from elementary thru high school age; plus a small group just for dads. A couple of the groups split into 2 groups because there were so many. Another mom and I sat down with a few visitors who were there to find out more about homeschooling but hadn't really made a decision yet. This was a great way for everyone to get a chance to meet new people and talk and ask questions.
Afterwards we had refreshments and a chance for people to sign up to help coordinate activities this year. We also had sign ups for the Mentor groups and a few of the activities coming up soon, like the Family Picnic, a Lapbooking workshop, a field trip to the Police Station, and the Graduation Information meeting.
You know your meeting is successful when people linger and talk afterwards. We shooed the last couple of parents out the door at 11 pm. And then I stood and talked in the parking lot with one of my best buddies until about 1am! Our daughters were home talking to each other on Facebook, saying, "Hey, my mom isn't home from the meeting yet." "Really? Neither is my mom." "Ahhhh! That explains it."
Thanks for stopping by!