Since 1990, when Tim and I began working with the Texas Home School Coalition, we have had the opportunity to attend annual national meetings for state leaders. They have been very helpful to us, as we have been able to meet leaders from other states and share ideas and information. We think that home schoolers in Texas have benefited from our participation in these meetings, because we have been able to implement new programs and directions based on what we have learned from other people in similar positions.
One time a sponsor of one of the meetings mentioned that, while they aimed at having good speakers and helpful information, one of the main reasons to hold such meetings was to encourage the state leaders, to give them a much needed pat on the back. As we considered that statement, it dawned on us that, by and large, people are very supportive of us and the role that we have at the Coalition. The time that we really could have used that pat on the back was when we were support group leaders.
In my opinion, support group leadership is one of the most thankless jobs around. So often, people are quick to criticize and complain and very slow to recognize the sacrifice of time and effort that it takes to lead a group of home schoolers. My husband often describes leading home schoolers as like trying to herd cats. What a great visual picture! Actually, we love home schoolers (After all, we are home schoolers.), but you have to admit that most of us are opinionated and strong-willed, or we would not be willing to go against the flow and teach our children at home. Therefore, those in support group leadership have to deal with all of us “cats.”
Because of our gratitude toward home school support group leaders and our understanding of the sacrifices they make, the Texas Home School Coalition has developed several ways by which it seeks to recognize and encourage local home school support group leaders. The Coalition has instituted Home School Leader Appreciation Week during which we encourage support group members to take a little time out of their busy schedules to thank their leaders, who sacrifice to make their home schooling easier.
What can you do?
The following are just a few way that you might bless them:
Give them a special gift.
You could give your leaders bouquets of flowers or to offer to keep their children for an afternoon or, even better, for an evening while the couple goes to dinner using a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. While they are in leadership, this might be a rare and special treat!
Give your leaders one of THSC’s free Certificates of Appreciation.
These can be used to recognize these leaders and to affirm your gratitude. We will fill requests for certificates of appreciation in recognition of Leader Appreciation Week, although we will also provide certificates as requested throughout the year.
Nominate them for THSC’s Leader of the Year.
THSC’s Leader of the Year is chosen from those who have been nominated for this honor by the members of their groups. It takes at least three letters of recommendation to nominate, and more letters carry more weight in the choice. These letters should giving reasons why this leader(s) is the best and why the leader(s) should receive this special honor. Only one leader/couple may be nominated per group.