The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Author Interview: Kristen Fagala & Denise Hyde

I'm so excited for this interview because the two ladies visiting today are near and dear to my heart. I first met them when my family lived in Baytown and we were part of the same homeschool group. These two ladies have experienced first hand the stress of leading a homeschool group, and they've written a book, One by One, to share their wisdom for strengthening and encouraging the families that make up a homeschool support group. The book isn't just great for this type of group though. Really, the insights given apply to dealing with people in any type of organization. It's a book about people skills, and genuine concern for others. So, allow me to introduce my friends, Kristen Fagala and Denise Hyde.

Ladies, please tell us about yourself.
We're two friends who got know each other through our local homeschool group. We then worked side by side as officers of the homeschool group--Kristen served as President and Denise as Field Trip Coordinator. Refined through the fire of leadership, a lifelong friendship was formed.

Together we wish to share hindsight wisdom gained from our experiences and the experiences of other veteran homeschool group leaders. Readers are invited to laugh and cry with us, witness the times we failed while doing it our way, and the times we succeeded doing it the Lord's way. We've learned so much and hope our input will shorten the leadership learning curve.

Tell us about your book, One by One.
Kristen: What I love about this book is its title, One by One: The Homeschool Group
Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members. We chose this title because we have
discovered that true success comes when leaders listen to, connect with, and reward their members--one person at a time, one family at a time. When we serve our members one by one, we lead them. We believe that the unforgettable stories, easy-to-implement tips from other leaders, and information-packed links that take you deeper will provide you many motivating and useful insights about:

*What motivates people to follow a great leader
*Practical suggestions of how to engage each type of member
*What truly inspires members to roll up their sleeves to ensure the success of the group with their involvement.

Christian communicator JoJo Tabares once said, “A leader isn’t a leader until someone believes in him.” It is our prayer that this e-guide provides the exact encouragement needed to be a leader who others follow.

Denise: What I love about this e-guide is how it speaks to your heart and gives purpose to your hands as a homeschool group leader. In each section, we clearly lay out the keys, reasons and ways to motivate your group members and volunteers. So many times we reveal secrets that leaders often overlook.

What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
Traditionally, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. We want to give leaders step-by-step helps in how to get people motivated and participating in their group to make it a richer a more rewarding experience for everyone. As Homeschool Group Leader, we wish to serve leaders
with hope and with meaningful answers as they lead. We are here to cheer leaders, especially through our writings.

What inspired you to write it?
It was pretty simple, really. What inspired us to write the book was the questions people were asking us. One of the biggest questions we always received was "How do I get people involved in my group?" So, we decided to answer that question.

Why did you decide to become work-at-home moms?
We are idea people and we wanted to do something creative, fun and helpful. And we wanted to stay home to do it.

You wouldn't believe the crazy ideas that crossed our minds! But we also knew that with homeschooling and raising our families, we couldn't do most of them.

Since we are good friends who complement each other well, we knew that we wanted to work and write together. So, in October of 2007, after a lot of prayer and planning and discussing with our husbands, we signed up for an e-course by Stephen Beck on how to write an e-book.

We learned so much, so fast! In just eight short weeks, we learned how to blog, publish articles on the internet, research our niche, conduct teleseminars, add affliates, and design a website from scratch.

Beck's video tutorials also made it possible for us to easily navigate complicated software programs that were needed to launch Homeschool Group Leader and then begin writing and eventually publishing our e-book.

We've conquered fears and we've made mistakes. We've overcome obstacles and we've begun to trust even more the direction God wants us to go. We know that Homeschool Group Leader needs to reflect who we are, what we've learned and what we can learn from other leaders. It has become a ministry.

Tell us about the writing and researching process?
In the fall of 2007, we began to dream of ways to reach and encourage homeschool group leaders. We began the writing process by writing our first blog and offering a free mini-course online. Learning as we took each new step was exciting and sometimes overwhelming. We continued growing through several teleseminars and interviews. The need for supporting the homeschool support leader became more real every day as each leader sent in an important question. The actual writing of the book took us 2 years of dedication and research. We wanted to answer the homeschool leader's heart questions with real, practical answers. We met and interviewed wonderful leaders with years of experience and success. Soon, what was going to be a chapter became an 84-page book.

What is the best piece of advice you'd pass on to homeschool group leaders?
We will answer that with some points directly from our book, One By One:

Your leader stress will be greatly alleviated by remembering these realities:
*Learn to delegate and ask others personally to help with specific jobs.
*If no one volunteers to help with a particular project, let it go and do not overdo it.
*Keep relationships at the forefront of your job description, not tasks or activities.

What is Homeschool Group Leader's purpose?
Committed to the success of homeschool group leaders, Homeschool Group Leader purposes to provide practical leadership how-to's, to encourage the hearts of leaders, and to create a safe online community of wisdom, all to the glory of Christ.

Kristen, Denise, I have to say that the timing of this interview is really interesting. The homeschool group that I'm currently involved with is looking to implement some structure. For the first time in a number of years we've selected a board, and I plan to pass this book on to them. I'm actually quite excited to share this with a lot of people. I wish you guys the best, and hope to have you back. God bless!

For more about Kristen and Denise, and their book, One by One:


  1. Hi Kristin and Denise,
    What a worthwhile project! Now more than ever people are home schooling. Even though that wasn't done while my daughter was in school, I admire people who do it, and I know from watching several home schooled children grow up, they get a very education and life values. I do think you're right about the 80 - 20 percent scale in most groups. lol. I have to share that way back when, I wrote study guides for a home schooling program with Moody Publishers, when people first started home schooling. My assignment was to compare and contrast the book, Of Human Bondage, to the Scriptures. I had a friend who said I probably wasn't making 10 cents an hour, and she probably was right. Best of luck with your book and your home schooling.

  2. Such an interesting book! We have a fairly active homeschool group, but the members are all a bit mysterious here as they are loners.....this might help us....

  3. Sounds really interesting! Our family participates with a homeschool group, but it's a very informal group. We do one field trip a month and encourage one another when we can. It sound like your book would be good for anyone who is in leadership of a group that depends on volunteers!

  4. Our group here is informal too. Carie, I think a lot of what Denise and Kristen talk about is focused around keeping an informal setting, in the sense that the group be people oriented as opposed to activity oriented.

    I know a big difference I discovered with our group here, that made a HUGE difference in participation, was to include dads, and treat everything as a family activity. That way the homeschool group became something that added to family time, as opposed to something mom and kids do that takes the away from dad for several hours. Thayne's best guy friends are other dads in our group.

  5. Martha~ Many homeschoolers are loners and that does make it challenging for leaders at times to pull everyone together as a united group. Our desire is that this resource will give leaders the foundation for unity, plus solid tips and strategies for maintaining unity within their groups.

    One trend I am seeing is an influx of brand new, young homeschooling families who do want the interaction and support. This creates some fun opportunities for leaders!

  6. This is a great post! I'm a homeschooling mom of 2 (ages 4 and 6...oldest 18 and 19 are done!) who is also a public high school teacher. I am a former nurse (long story of why I left the beside) who feels that my children deserve so much more than what public school offers. I teach all my job and then at home in the evenings with my children. We don't belong to a group anymore (did with the older ones but it fell apart when everyone graduated) and I'm finding it hard to stay motivated! Thansk for your post!

  7. This sounds fantastic. My kids are 2 and 5, so I'm just starting this journey. We've joined 2 co-ops in the area and I'm excited about all the opportunities offered to our kids. Its funny how the one remark I think we all hear is about lack of "socialization". When I see all the opportunities for homeschoolers in our area, this argument makes me laugh. Thanks for a wonderful interview.

  8. Julia, I know. Everytime someone says, "What about socialization?" I have to suppress the urge to say, "Gee, never thought about that."
    But that's my snark side, and not the best approach for educating others on what homeschooling actually is.

    Julie J. WOW! You have my complete admiration.

    When I led our homeschool group I used to get phone calls from parents irate with the school system. One of the first things I'd tell them though was that homeschooling is a huge commitment, and while a negative reason might be the catalyst for one to consider it, they needed to find positive reasons to go through with it. That's what carries you through the burnout phases. And there will most certainly be some.


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