Homeschool Veterans: Pay it Forward!

It is time — past time, really — for me to pay it forward in the homeschool community. I have always liked to help people, but I mostly do it on a one-on-one basis — quietly. However, the past couple of year I have been challenged to step up and share the knowledge I have been blessed with in ways that stretch me outside my comfort zone. As a second-generation homeschooler, I know things about homeschooling that I don’t even realize I know. I didn’t really consider the fact that others might be anxious about some of the things I take for granted because of my experience, and how important it is that I share my “nextgen” point of view. Mostly, this involves assuring others that if God has called you to homeschool, He will lead you through it.  Even when you feel like you are failing or your children are struggling, someday you will look back on those times and see how much you all grew through the difficult times. Last year I took two big steps out of my comfort zone: I did a national TV interview about homeschooling laws in Oklahoma, and I taught a beginner’s homeschooling workshop at a local Mardel’s store. This year I decided to join the Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation (OCHEC) Tulsa Convention Committee. At first I was anxious about joining the group and what their expectations might be: I wasn’t sure where I would fit in with these more experienced homeschooling parents. But I know I’m ready — ready to pay it forward. The first Tulsa Convention Committee meeting I attended was in October 2014. About fifteen people attended — many of them had been organizing this convention for years, and several also helped organize the Oklahoma City Convention (which is larger than Tulsa’s). The new OCHEC president, Paul Rose, is also the Convention Chairman, although he would like to turn that over to someone else. That was the topic of the evening. Mr. Rose had organized the Tulsa Convention Committee into five different subcommittees (Speakers, Vendors, Activities, Promotional, and Attendees) and was looking to place leaders on each, in addition to a new leader over the whole event! We also discussed the news that the convention would be held in a new venue this year. In previous years it had been held at the Spirit Event Center, but that venue was no longer available. A new venue had been procured: The Renaissance Hotel Convention Center. We were all excited about the possibilities of the new venue. The Renaissance is more upscale and luxurious, carpeted, and quieter. We could  form a theme around the venue — a getaway atmosphere. By the end of the meeting, I was sure I was where I was supposed to be in terms of practical help, but I was still unsure of my place on the committee. It seemed important that I fill one of these open leadership positions, but I didn’t really feel qualified to lead any of them. So I went home and prayed about it, and then realized once again where my talents lie and how they could be most helpful. I am an organizer, a “keep track of the details” girl, an information disperser. So I asked if I could be the secretary and take on the responsibility of collecting, typing, and sharing committee information. I will be providing secretarial support wherever I can. However, there are still many leadership roles that need to be filled: Volunteers are needed. The convention is a big event to plan and pull off, and the current committee works hard and pulls it off well every year. However, many hands make light work, and with the number of homeschoolers in Northeast Oklahoma, I think this convention could really be a much bigger deal with more input from our homeschooling community. Would you like to pay it forward and help the homeschool community?  Get involved in OCHEC (or your state homeschool association).  For more information about OCHEC check out their website at www.ochec.com or contact me here, I would love to help you.

My take on Groups in the area

This post is purely my opinion.  I think that for as many homeschool families as we have in this area there seems to be a real dearth of well organized, active support groups.  When my girls were younger and we were just beginning our homeschool journey we were part of a laid back, loosely knit group that was kind of a branch off of another group that went defunct.  We were part of that group for several years but families slowly moved off and changed priorities.  Last year I thought I would try again now that my boys were starting school.  I joined a group with a co op.  The co op was well organized but we never really felt like part of the group, maybe it was because our life was busy, maybe it was because many of the members of the group also went to church together.  For whatever reason we didn’t choose to be part of that group again this year.  And that is OK.  Do not feel like you need to stay with a group that you and your kids are not comfortable in.  We attend another co op this year and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  So keep trying and if you can’t find a group that meets your needs think about starting one.  Finding a support group is one of my most asked questions.

Victory Home Educators – Support Group

  • Victory Home Educators, organized in 1999, serves the homeschooling families of Victory Christian Church and the surrounding community. We offer a co-op, field trips, monthly chapel, craft and holiday parties, senior graduation and more. Fees are $35 per family with a signed statement of faith. South Tulsa. For additional information please email us: info@victoryhomeschool.org.

We were part of this co op for a year.  They have a well organized co op.  They do accept non-Victory attending families but you can tell the Victory people all know and are comfortable with each other.