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 years I have been challenged as a homeschool veteran 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 managed the flood of feedback — positive and negative), 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 homeschool veterans. 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.
There are still many leadership roles that need to be filled: Many 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 homeschool veterans in Northeast Oklahoma, I think this convention could really be a much bigger deal with more input from our homeschooling community.
Are you a homeschool veteran with encouragement to share? Would you like to pay it forward and help support and inspire the homeschooling community? Get involved in OCHEC or your own state homeschool association. For more information about OCHEC, visit www.ochec.com or comment below. I would love to help you!