How start up homeschool groups pay people from the very beginning?

I think I have a better understanding about the logistics of starting a homeschool group after reading your books and watching your webinars, but where I am getting stuck is the development of a board.  It is just me and another homeschool mom who are the founders of our homeschool enrichment program, but we would like to be compensated for the work we are doing to run the group. From what I understand, we would need a board to hire us as employees in order to be compensated.

How do start up homeschool groups find board members that are outside family and friends? We just don’t have a pool of people to draw from at this point. I am sure once we are established and have families enrolled, we can get board members from our program participants. 

Any advice or guidance on how start up groups go about this at the very beginning?
Thank you!

Good question: “How do start up homeschool groups find board members that are outside family and friends?” That’s easy: From the participating families, as you already know. 🙂

The harder question is: “How start up groups go about this (paying two people) at the very beginning?”

Paying workers in the early years

Usually start up nonprofits don’t pay employees from the beginning (unless they get a large grant or donation, which is rare for homeschool groups). It typically takes 2-3 years before they can afford to pay part time staff. Most homeschool groups NEVER pay anyone. Everyone is a volunteer.

When I started consulting with homeschool groups 20 years ago(!), no one ever asked about getting paid. They simply formed all-volunteer organizations and everyone pitched in. Now I get questions like yours quite frequently.

So you won’t like my advice, but I would say if you are going into this as a way to get a salary, you need to be patient. It will probably be at least 2-3 years before the group will be large enough to hire and pay staff.

Becky Abrams of is the paid Executive Director(ED) of Arrows Christian Academy in Oregon. But she served as a volunteer ED for several years at the start. And even now, she is making only a small income that is compliant with her state’s minimum wage.

Finding Board Members

As for finding the initial board members (before you enroll students), have a few “informational meetings.” Announce that you need help and see if anyone shows interest. My co-op started that way. I remember going to the house of another homeschool mom where about 12 women came to learn about a new homeschool co-op being launched. It was clear from the start that anyone wanting to participate would also be volunteering in some capacity. And from that evening meeting, a board of 5 people became the initial leaders.

Start slow and steady. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

Grow slowly and work out the kinks with a smaller group.

Get everyone to pitch in so there is less burden on you and your co-founder.

Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out will give you ideas, inspiration, tips, wisdom and the tools you need to start a homeschool co-op, run it, and not burn out! Written specifically for homeschool groups.

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization covers paying workers as employees or independent contractors. There are also chapters on paying volunteers and board members. It includes sample forms, tips and advice to help you pay workers in accordance with the IRS laws to help your organization pay their workers correctly. Written specifically for homeschool organizations.