Ready to join us as an HSC volunteer? We look forward to getting to know you and to working together to support and safeguard homeschooling in California. Get started by filling out the volunteer formor contact usby email. We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Mission: The HomeSchool Association of California honors the diversity of homeschoolers, supports and promotes the entire spectrum of homeschooling, provides information, monitors and influences legislation, and offers opportunities for families to get together, and empowers families to make the choices that respect the rights, needs, and aspirations of their children. The HomeSchool Association of California welcomes anyone with an interest in homeschooling.
As you can imagine, it takes tremendous work and dedication to fulfill HSC's mission statement. We're always looking for volunteers to help with the many aspects of our work. We have found that getting involved with the creative nitty-gritty of this volunteer work brings people deep satisfaction and allows them to discover personal skills they might not have found otherwise. By volunteering, many of us have developed valuable talents that carry over into other parts of our lives. Not only that, but we have also built up a network of friends and families from all over the state who share our passion and vision. If you're a member of HSC, please consider what you might have to offer toward helping us to spread helpful information and support.
We have quite a wide range of jobs that need to be done. Some of the projects are ongoing, whereas other jobs require very little time or effort. Many of these things can be done as just a one-time contribution of time, and even that one time would be greatly appreciated. If you see something that sounds interesting, please submit a volunteer form and you can contact the volunteer coordinator if you have any questions.
How many people does it take to carry out HSC's mission? A lot more than you might think. Check out the "HSC Hall of Fame" where we honor and thank all those who step up to contribute their part in HSC's work.
Members of the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers of the HomeSchool Association of California are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct in the performance of their responsibilities for the organization.
By pledging to accept this code as a minimum guideline for ethical conduct, board members, staff, and volunteers demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, and responsibility.
As a member of the HSC team, I will:
1. Listen carefully to my teammates.
2. Show respect for the opinions of my fellow teammates.
3. Attempt to find outcomes and solutions that achieve consensus whenever possible.
4. Respect and support majority decisions of the Board.
5. Work with as much transparency and openness as possible.
6. Understand and support the HSC Mission Statement.
7. Keep well informed of developments in the homeschooling community.
8. Participate actively and enthusiastically in relevant meetings and activities.
9. Bring to the attention of the Board any issues that I think may adversely affect our organization or those we serve.
10. Attempt to interpret the needs of those we serve to the organization and interpret the actions of the organization to those we serve.
11. Refer complaints to the proper level in the chain of command.
12. Consider myself a ďstewardĒ of this organization and do my best to ensure that it is well-managed, maintained, financially secure, growing, and always operating in the best interest of those we serve.
13. Always work to learn how to do my job better.
14. Declare any conflicts of interest between my personal life and my position in the organization and abstain from voting when appropriate.
15. Report HSC-related actions in a timely and thorough way.
Additionally, if I am a member of the HSC Board of Directors, I:
1. Will not criticize fellow board members in or out of the boardroom.
2. Will not use my membership on the Board for my personal advantage
or that of my friends or relatives.
3. Will not discuss confidential proceedings of the Board outside the boardroom.
4. Will ensure, to the best of my abilities, that all board members, staff, and volunteers have the requisite skills and information to adequately perform their duties.
5. Will work to ensure that HSC is fair and inclusive in its dealings with board members, staff, volunteers, and members at large.
6. Will provide comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all other interested parties and will be responsive to reasonable requests for more information.
At the moment that I am writing this, I have just gone through one of the most exhausting and stressful three months of my life. The briefs in the LA abuse/homeschooling case have been given to the clerk. Although the lawyers who have worked on the issue wonít know if the judges will actually agree to read them for some days yet, we know that we have done everything we can possibly do. No new legislation has been introduced. The media is under control and increasingly favorable toward homeschooling. But the work put in by many, many people to get to this point of relative calm has been unfathomably huge.
As this crisis unfolded, a number of people asked how they could help. These people fell into two general categories. The first is people who had already been working on homeschooling issues for some years, and the second was people who saw a need and wanted to contribute. Now, I havenít gone and read any books about crisis management, but I bet what Iím about to say is in them. Itís the people in the first group who could make a meaningful contribution.
Some of the people who were sucked into the firestorm are people who have been involved in homeschooling for years: Ann Zeise, Diane Flynn Keith, Lillian Jones, Mary Nix of Home Education Magazine, Mary Griffith, Wes Beach, Stephen Greenberg and the women who have been leaders of CHEA and CHN. Some are people who have been active for HSC: Leslie Buchanan, Kathy Smith, Tammy Takahashi, Corin Goodwin. It was an enormous comfort to open my email inbox and see messages from these names, since I knew that they already had knowledge and experience I could draw from, that they were taking meaningful actions that made a big difference. I had worked with them before and knew them and their temperaments, and, most importantly, knew that I could trust them.
So whatís my point? The best way to help in a crisis is to have started volunteering in times of peace. A crisis is no time to start. Crises arenít handed to the Boss, who then organizes a team. In a crisis, a giant mess might fall from the sky on everyone, but things start happening because of people who, whether through some understanding of a chain of command or just through a sense that theyíre in a position to act effectively, start actually trying to face the issues raging at them from many directions at once. They arenít blowing you off if you offer to help and never hear from them. Theyíre getting 200 emails an hour, facing calls from all sides, fighting for their lives. They are going to turn to the people who already know something about the legal, political, cultural landscape, who have a sense of whom to call about this and how to manage that. They canít train a new volunteer.
I know the Board includes really sweet messages from time to time about how FUN volunteering is, all the friends youíll make. Every word of that is true, and Iíll talk more about that later, but Iím not sure thatís an effective way to draw people in. Iíll come at it from a different angle that has proven very effective across many cultures: guilt. I donít know what possessed me nine years ago to check the box at the bottom of some HSC form that said ďInterested in volunteering? Check here and indicate where you think you could helpĒ, but it started me on a very long, very interesting and very rewarding path. It was probably that same Midwestern sense of guilt, the Protestant work ethic, that has driven me all my life. I had a skill (law) and I thought HSC could use it. They did.
I know that so many people put in loads of time with their park day groups, their co-ops, their 4-H programs. They feel like theyíre giving all they can. But thereís a continuous need for new leadership at the statewide level, and in our particular field, itís only going to come from other parents who also have dirty dishes and kids who havenít finished their math. Every leader HSC has is an overcommitted parent who really, honestly, doesnít have time, but somehow makes it. My kids havenít done a whole lot of formal homeschooling since March 2, but theyíve gotten one heck of an education about activism, dealing with the media, dedication to a cause.
In a crisis, your park day group canít do much other than find people who can talk to the media or help disseminate accurate information. Itís the statewide organizations that protect homeschoolingís backside, that keep Sacramentoís itchy fingers off of us. Sure, they put on great campouts and terrific conferences, but thatís not all of it. These statewide groups are the ones watching, monitoring. And theyíre the ones that pop up in a Google search when someone wants to talk to leaders of homeschooling. Theyíre the ones that get the phone calls from legislative aides who are exploring ideas, the ones that get weird calls from newspapers. And theyíre the ones who are expected to deal with it when you know what hits the fan, as it did this Spring.
Thereís no training for working at the statewide level other than doing it. Sure, I had a professional skill, but Iíve used that skill only a small part of the time. Most of the time, what has been needed is a willingness to spend time, to listen, to learn, to lead. The only requirements for the job are an interest in protecting this amazing opportunity we have of helping our children develop in safe, nurturing environments.
HSC needs people to help at every level. The conference doesnít run itself, the newsletter needs writers, campouts need organizing. But it particularly needs people who are willing to serve on the Board, on the legal team, and on the legislative team. These are the heart and soul of what keep homeschooling available as a choice. Kathy Smith and Leslie Buchanan, my main Board contacts during this whole affair, started out by volunteering in other areas, but then took the next step. You should all be grateful they did, but you should express your gratitude by thinking about how YOU can help and whether you could take that next step. Do it now. The Board is ALWAYS looking for new people. The legal team is ALWAYS happy to hear from parents with law degrees who want to contribute. The legislative team is ALWAYS delighted when someone says that legislation interests them and they want to get involved. But if no one does, then we might not be so lucky in the next crisis.
Back to the fun part. I have known, by reputation or prior work, all of the homeschooling veterans I mentioned earlier. But I know them a lot better now. I sort of wish we could all be placed on a beach together somewhere with a tub of cold drinks and a lot of chairs, so that we could talk, and laugh, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes from standing shoulder to shoulder and facing down the monsters. I understand much better now why my dad, who was in combat, still goes to reunions 35 years later with his war time buddies.
If Iíve helped any small little twinges start in you about how you should give back to an organization dedicated to keeping your family free, and if those twinges make you think that maybe you should send an inquiring email through the contact page at the website to the board, or the legal team, or the legislative team, then Iíve accomplished what I set out to do. Donít compound the twinges by not acting on it. Make them go away BY acting on it. Now.
The Board of Directors is a group of volunteer parents committed to homeschooling and to the HSC mission statement. The Board acts as the caretaker of the organization by taking responsibility for its good health, charting its course, and planning for its future. We look for board members who work well in a group setting, exhibit tolerance for others different from themselves, communicate well, open themselves to the great learning opportunities that come from serving on a board, and share our commitment to HSC and homeschooling.
HSC board members expect to serve a three-year term. During that period of time, as representatives of HSC, they are expected to support HSC Mission Statement, Bylaws, and procedures as established by the Board. All HSC board members, as well as all other volunteers, are expected to regularly review and agree to the HSC Code of Ethics.
HSC board members communicate electronically with each other regularly and conduct much of their work via email; therefore, board members must own a computer and have a basic understanding of electronic communication. Board members are expected to check their email a minimum of three or four times a week, although most board members usually check their email daily.
The HSC board meets in person for a weekend each quarter, and board members are expected to attend a minimum of three board meetings a year. In order to give members throughout the state a chance to attend our meetings and to share the burden of travel time and expense, we schedule meetings in various locations throughout the state. Board member travel expenses may be reimbursed upon request.
The HSC board is a working all-volunteer board. Each board member accepts responsibility not only for one area of the organization, but also for supporting the volunteers related to that area.
All Board members are expected to have volunteered for HSC in a position of responsibility for a minimum of one year prior to joining the Board, and they are expected to be HSC members in good standing.
As the HSC Board of Directors, our intention is to have a group of individuals that reflects the diversity of our membership. We want individuals who come from various locations throughout the state, who represent the various philosophies of homeschooling, who come from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and political backgrounds, and who bring with them experiences and qualifications that add to and complement the skills and talents of current board members. Thus, members of the board are chosen for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, those mentioned above. Sometimes sitting board members or other volunteers notice an active volunteer has skills and abilities that would be very useful on the board, and they encourage that person to submit a Letter of Interest. Sometimes volunteers decide for themselves that becoming a board member is a step they feel ready to pursue. If you feel that you are ready to expand your volunteer efforts on behalf of HSC by becoming a Board member, we encourage you to submit a Letter of Interest to the board.
For more information about what to include in your Letter of Interest, please contact the board.