Fall 2019 / Diane Helfrich
When I was working at the registration booth for the 2019 Thrive Conference, one of my duties was to let people know about regional meetings with their liaisons. I discovered that many people didn’t know that they had a local area resource, and they were thrilled to know about it. So—what are regional liaisons, and what can they do for you?
NCHE has divided the state into nine regions. The board chooses an individual from each region whose job is to serve homeschoolers in the region’s counties. Liaisons are volunteers who serve the NCHE board as a connection from people in the area to the board. I am the liaison for region 8 in the Fayetteville/Lumberton area. It is my honor to share with you what an NCHE regional liaison does.
First, NCHE’s mission is to protect, equip, and connect homeschoolers in North Carolina to help them homeschool with confidence and joy. As officers of NCHE, liaisons have a huge role in that mission!
- Protect: A liaison is often the first contact for someone beginning to homeschool or moving into the state. We are aware of the homeschool laws, changes in the legislature that may affect homeschooling, homeschool trends, and what is happening in area groups. As questions or issues arise in our area, we give guidance to help everyone keep in compliance with the NC law. We may use a discussion on Facebook, an email, or a phone call. NCHE monitors legislative proceedings in Raleigh and lobbies to support and protect homeschooling in our state. Liaisons notify people in our areas when something may impact them and advise them how they may get involved, i.e., contacting their legislator.
- Equip: The NCHE liaisons are all experienced homeschoolers who are well-connected and who love mentoring others. The connections are important because if you have a question we can’t answer, we have an extended pool of experienced, knowledgeable people to ask to get you good information. We watch social media in our areas and help answer homeschool questions and give advice. On the NCHE social media outlets, we post information on everything from learning styles to how to take care of yourself as a parent. We also pass on notices of learning opportunities, activities, and field trips that may enhance your journey. Many of us are available to teach classes for a group. We assist homeschool leaders in Getting Started and with Homeschooling and High School Transcripts on request. We can assist leaders starting new groups to make sure the organization is set up to work smoothly. We all want to ensure that you have what you need for the very best homeschooling experience!
- Connect: One of the most important roles we serve as liaisons is to help you find a local group or co-op. As I connect people, most of them are interested in classes or connections for their children. However, don’t underestimate the power of the parent chat circles to mentor you as a homeschooler! I see belonging to a group as one of the most important thing you can do for yourself to facilitate a positive homeschool experience. There are many types of groups ranging from field trip groups to those with a few families schooling together. There are large organized co-ops with extensive classroom days and social offerings. There are Facebook groups, secular groups, and religious groups. There are groups focused on organized curriculum and groups of unschoolers. Finally, we are happy to establish a connection with you. We can be your support for a hard day, answer a new question, or offer a milestone-accomplished verbal high-five. You never have to be in a vacuum—we are here for you! (P.S. If you are a part of a group that isn’t listed on nche.com, please let us know!)
You can find a map showing your region and liaison contact information on nche.com under the community tab. This page also shows a list of the current liaisons by region. We hope to hear from you!
Diane Helfrich is a fourteen-year veteran homeschooler of two. Both of her children have successfully moved on to graduate schools. Her husband, David, serves the Department of the Army as an intelligence analyst. Diane serves on the NCHE board as the region 8 liaison and as secretary. She is currently beefing up writing and editing skills for her business as the write-edit advisor.