homeschool support

Time for Homeschool Support Group Review

November Is Support Group Review Time for Homeschool Leaders

Doesn’t it feel like it is time to be able to take a deep breath when November comes along? The rush of starting the year’s events is over and the adjustment period of the first two months is finally past. We might start thinking about next year, but the actual time-consuming planning won’t be for a few months.

What a perfect time to take a look at your support group. Review of your group’s policies and procedures. Below are some areas to check and some things to look for that may have been overlooked, not considered, or just need tweaking.

Your Formal Status: Do We Need to Change?

Many groups are, at their core, just a group of moms getting together for park days or a Facebook group for discussion and information. You may have never thought about formally organizing, and if nothing has changed, you can stay informal indefinitely.

When money comes into the picture, however, everything changes. Even if an individual simply collects field trip money and pays it directly out to the venue, they are still required to report that as personal income. It is time to consider formalizing your organization to protect your leaders and members.

If your group has organized and obtained an EIN but has not filed for 501(c)(3) status, this is a good time to look through your projected gross receipts. Once they reach more than $5,000 for the year, you will need to file formally for 401(c)(3) status and file the long IRS form.

Even if you are still small enough to remain informal, have you filed as a nonprofit corporation with the state? This step is not difficult and will provide limited liability for the board and all the members.

If you operate as a business, it could be time to evaluate how you formally organize and file taxes. If you have been operating as a sole proprietorship, you may wish to have a periodic support group review with a business attorney to determine when and if you need to incorporate instead.


Policies and Procedures Update

We can all do the best research we know how to come up with policies and procedures, and then WHAM! Something happens in your group or at your event that you never thought possible. While it may seem like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, it should still be considered for inclusion in your policies and procedures manual for the upcoming year.

Looking Towards the Future

Any leadership team, no matter how small, is only as good as its depth. If any job is getting to be more than one person can handle, it may be time to organize a committee or team for that area. One way to support our volunteers is to see when they need help and bring it to them.

When you think of leadership depth, you should also think of building your replacements. Ask every leader, board member, and teacher to constantly think and pray about who could replace them if they left or stepped into another role. No group should operate with the fear of the group dissolving if one person leaves; key people should always train their replacement. What else can you add to your support group review this season?

HSLDA’s Darren Jones has an excellent article to help you reflect on COVID concerns as well. You can find more information about health and safety policies.

Need more? Download HEAV’s Support Group Leader Manual here!

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