(Part 4 of 4)
As I mentioned here in step four, I was terrified to tell anyone about my idea to start a hybrid homeschool group. Terrified! I needed the courage to say something! Was I a public school sell out? Were my kids going to be weird, unsocialized homeschool kids? Maybe I was just trying to be a private school yuppie?
(Please, no offense to any of these groups, but these were the honest, stereotypical ideas running around my head!)
In my heart, I am none of these things.
I have the utmost respect for the public school system. Public schools work great for many students. I have worked with and for some amazing educators in the public school system. These people are heroes working on the front lines of children’s lives, making the world a better place.
Homeschool families are amazing. So many are shaping their family’s hearts and minds in a way no large, standardized education system could. Homeschool parents are working two full-time jobs as both parent and educator. I have only glimpsed the strength and perseverance of these families and I am in awe.
I have worked at and visited so many inspirational private schools that serve a specific need in the educational gamut. Religious schools, special needs schools, arts schools, and many more are learning environments that meet so many student’s needs.
But I had an idea. I wanted to try something different. I just had to have the courage to say something.
In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time thinking through what I would say. Most of the time when I started talking to people about my idea for a hybrid, I became a very excited, rambling idiot. REALLY. It was bad.
My advice: spend some time writing and practicing what you will say. You need an elevator pitch!
From Google, an elevator pitch is “a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.”
My struggle is being brief. I want to tell you ALL. THE. THINGS.
When I first sat down to write my pitch, I started around 2 minutes of material. I took some time to hone it down, slowly working my way down to the target time limit. Here are some guidelines and what I came up with.
How to Craft an Elevator Pitch
- Who Are You?
- I have been working with a few other parents to develop a different kind of school. It’s called A One-Room Schoolhouse.
- This is a hybrid of traditional education (like a private or public school) and a homeschool experience.
- Provide Context
- We are flexible, rigorous and individualized. We honor a child’s need for play, time in nature, and socialization. All of this is done in a family-centered Christian environment.
- Connect and Ask (This will vary greatly depending on who you are talking to.)
- Sam is just finishing up his preschool years at Hickory Christian Preschool. Have you considered something other than the public school for his education?
- You have been a homeschool family for a few years now. Have you found a support group that meets your needs?
- You have said in the past that you were not happy with your local public school, but that homeschooling seems overwhelming. What would you think about enrolling in a hybrid of both homeschool and traditional school?
- Here is my card. Check out our website and I will email you some more information.
Look for my upcoming post all about different pitches for A One-Room Schoolhouse. I will post in the next few weeks. Until then, I would love to hear your pitch in the comments below!
The first person I talked to about my hybrid school idea was my husband. This was long before I had a pitch and this conversation lasted for hours over many days. But, after all of our talking, he was as excited as I was about my idea.
After my husband was on board, I talked to a few family members for support and brainstorming. My mother was an amazing sounding board as I talked about my ideas and dreams. Find someone that can be your sounding board.
Next, I needed to get outside the safety of my family and start talking to other people. First, I started talking to a few close friends. I remember each of these conversations very clearly. One friend, I cornered while paddling together in a canoe (REALLY!), another in her playroom, and another in her backyard. And guess what? They were all very kind and listened! Really listened!
One of these conversations developed into true interest. Bryan and Stephanie Duford joined with my husband and me, becoming part of our founding board. It is so important to find your core people.
Some people I talked to were in no way interested in actively being part of a hybrid. They were happy with the educational choice they had made for their children. That was fine. What many of these wonderful friends became where my cheerleaders.
These cheerleaders asked me how the hybrid was developing. They encouraged me as I worked my idea. Some cheerleaders even offered me their wisdom in marketing, blogging, and legal advice. Find your cheerleaders…they will be such a support to you!
Your Say Something Checklist
- Have an idea
- Craft an elevator pitch
- Brainstorm with your sounding board
- Talk to your core people
- Get support from your cheerleaders
What is your idea? Who are your people? What is your elevator pitch? Drop a comment below and tell me what you are working on. Be bold! Have the courage to say something, right here, right now! I can’t wait to hear your ideas.