Madison HEART Bylaws
NOTE (August 2019): HEART is in the process of transitioning to this platform. As a part of this transition, our Bylaws are in the process of being revised. The following information will be updated as soon as revised Bylaws are adopted.
HEART Mission Statement and Bylaws
Homeschoolers Exploring Activities and Resources Together
HEART seeks to foster an inclusive homeschooling support group to enhance our members' homeschooling experiences. We value all homeschoolers regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic status. As a group, we embrace this diversity and the opportunities for learning that it provides. We encourage, nurture, affirm and celebrate family centered learning in a welcoming and supportive community.
Members arrange activities to provide opportunities for our children to socialize, learn from others in the group, and further their interests. We also provide opportunities for members to ask questions and voice concerns regarding homeschooling.
To accomplish our purpose, HEART has the following resources:
Web page to inform non-members of our purpose, sign up new members, and renew continuing members
Yahoo group for sharing opportunities, questions, and thoughts
HEART planning meetings
Many activities arranged by HEART members
1) Are homeschoolers; that is, they have submitted, or plan to submit when children become of age, the form PI-1206, for at least one member of the household. Exception: families may remain on the email list for one year after they are done homeschooling.
2) Pay the $10.00 annual membership fee, currently due on October 15th. This covers events that are open to the entire HEART membership, such as open gyms, parties, etc. This fee may be waived for low income families at the discretion of the bookkeeper.
3) Participate in HEART planning meetings, either by attending meetings in person, or by keeping informed of decisions facing the group and involving themselves in the decision making process.
4) Volunteer within the group by arranging an activity or taking on a position in the group. Guidelines for organizing activities and volunteer positions are below.
We expect all members to honor the privacy of the group. Personal information such as names, ages, addresses, etc. must be kept within the group. Personal information must not be used in any commercial way, as a common courtesy to all members, especially where electronic communications are concerned.
Guidelines for Yahoo Group E-mails
We strive to maintain an open and supportive online community. Please remember that context, meaning, and emotion are often difficult to convey in e-mail format. Online communications should be respectful, kind, and thoughtful. Please give other members the benefit of the doubt.
Please keep in mind that HEART is an inclusive homeschooling group. Do not send e-mails to the Yahoo group expressing personal political or religious views. Any discussions that touch on religion or politics must be informative and relevant for homeschoolers of all religious or political views. When offering a topic on the Yahoo group that pertains to religion or politics, create a subject line that clearly states this, and explain in the e-mail why you felt this was important to share.
The Yahoo group is intended for the parents of homeschoolers, not the homeschoolers themselves. If a family chooses to have their children monitor HEART e-mails, they are responsible for that decision.
Advertisements for homeschooler owned businesses are welcome, though we encourage members to use "OT:" at the beginning of the subject line to indicate an off topic discussion.
Guidelines for Organizing HEART Activities
Every HEART member family is expected to arrange at least one HEART activity each homeschool year, unless they are filling a volunteer position for the year. Members are encouraged to organize activities that are appealing to their family’s children. In the past this has included book clubs, zoo visits, hiking outings, chess club, a Halloween party, and park meetups. New members often find this intimidating, but it can really be as simple as “we’ll be at the park this Weds afternoon; please come and join us!” We ask that members make use of the Yahoo group to publicize their HEART events in advance, and update the Yahoo group if the details change or the event is cancelled.
Unless there are age limitations, we ask that organized HEART activities be open to the entire group. When the activity is limited to a certain number of participants, we ask that it be on a first come, first serve basis.
We encourage the formation of small open support groups, such parents' groups and teen groups, and the formation of clubs for writing, reading, math, chess, drama, etc. When a commitment to a period of time is needed for the club to function, we encourage a period of "open enrollment" to be announced on the HEART list each year.
Guidelines for HEART Activities
At HEART activities, we come together as a community for parents and children to support each other and build friendships. As children are still learning to navigate social interactions, there will also occasionally be disagreements, arguments, and hurt feelings. We want everyone at HEART activities to feel comfortable and welcome, so we ask that children and their parents work to find resolutions that allow everyone to feel safe and respected. We know that this can be challenging, and as a community we deeply appreciate the efforts families make to resolve differences respectfully.
If there is a serious, unresolved conflict that is affecting the ability of a family to participate in HEART activities, we invite anyone affected to bring this to the attention of the current HEART volunteers. At their discretion, they may assist the members to find a solution or use HEART funds to hire a mediator to assist the members and the volunteers to find a solution.
Unless there are prior arrangements made by families, HEART events are not drop-off. Each family is responsible for monitoring their own children. Keeping that in mind, if you see behavior that you feel requires attention, please bring it to the attention of the supervising adult.
Keep in mind that HEART is open to all kinds of homeschooling. We ask that members respect each individual and family learning style, especially where families are split between homeschooled and institutional school situations within a single family.
Please respect the facilities that HEART is allowed to use, and do your best to help clean up and leave them in better condition than when we arrived.
Guidelines for Using HEART Funds
HEART funds are available on a first come, first serve basis, with the restriction that funds be used only for events that are open to the entire HEART group. HEART funds will not be made available for events that are age or ability restricted.
Volunteer positions have one year term limits so that a broader representation of the group can be experienced from year to year. The two Yahoo moderators are staggered two year positions, so that the technical knowledge can be passed along. The web page manager is a permanent position because of the payment requirements.
It is highly preferable that volunteers have been a member of HEART for at least one homeschool year. The members volunteering for these positions can have their membership fee waived for the year, as it is a significant time commitment. If more than one person has volunteered for a position, a name will be drawn out of a hat.
-Sets and facilitates HEART meetings in September, January, and May.
-Solicits agenda items, creates and emails agenda to the Yahoo group.
-Ensures that meeting minutes are taken and emails them to the group.
-Solicits new volunteers before the May Meeting; announces the new volunteers to the group; and maintains a list of the current volunteers in the Yahoo files.
-Refills any volunteer positions when there is a vacancy or if there is consensus among the volunteers that a volunteer is not performing the duties of their position.
-Holds votes for the whole HEART group on issues that arise at the meetings. Votes may be held by Yahoo polls, but members also need to have the option to e-mail their vote to the facilitator.
Yahoo Group Moderator
-Manages the Yahoo group to prevent spamming and scamming.
-Steps in to moderate conversations when HEART rules or the Yahoo Community Guidelines are being violated.
-Receives a list of paying members from the bookkeeper in October. E-mails non-renewing members to let them know they will be removed from the group if they do not renew. Two weeks later, removes all members who have not renewed their membership.
-Cleans out the databases and files, removing out of date files and files belonging to lapsed members.
-Regularly updates the monthly e-mail.
New Member Contact
-Is also a Yahoo Moderator with limited privileges.
-Receives an e-mail from the Bookkeeper when a new member has paid.
-Contacts the new member to provide them information about HEART, including these Bylaws, and to see if they have questions or would like to speak on the phone.
-Admits the new member to the Yahoo group.
-Sends a “Welcome New Member” e-mail to introduce the new member to the Yahoo group.
-Monitors the HEARTNewMemberContact@gmail.com address.
-Manages the HEART bank account and PayPal account.
-Keeps financial ledger.
-Requests renewal forms and payment by October 15th each year. Cashes renewal checks and updates the Member Directory to reflect the current membership. E-mails out the new Member Directory.
-Alerts the New Member Contact when a new member has paid.
-Provides the current financial information either in person at the HEART meetings or ahead of time to the Meeting Facilitator.
-Maintains an Excel database of members, payment status, and Yahoo IDs.
-Disburses funds on a first come, first serve basis to members arranging activities that are open to the entire group.
Web Page Manager – MadisonHEART.com
-Pays webs.com every year for our hosting service with a personal credit card, and is reimbursed by the bookkeeper.
-Updates any information as needed on the web page.
-Updates the forms submission e-mail address to the new bookkeeper each August.
-Especially in the fall, makes sure that all of the “join” submissions are getting through to the bookkeeper; this can be glitchy sometimes.
-Locates and trains a replacement when ready to move on from the position.
-Tracks passwords for accounts (gmail, paypal) to maintain continuity.
Find a place and date for activities centered around food. Often held monthly.
(The following positions are wonderful to have filled if we have people who are interested and willing, but are not essential to the functioning of HEART.)
Homeschooling Resources Directory Editor
Maintains listing of homeschooling resources in HEART as well as in Madison at large. Clubs, classes, shows, other homeschooling groups, etc.
Children’s Theater of Madison and/or Overture On-Stage Ticket Sales Coordinator
Arrange to purchase tickets as a group through CTM and/or Overture. Take orders and payment from HEART members.
A description of proposals presented for decision by the group must be made available to every member family. Votes are collected by the Meeting Facilitator. A simple "Yes" or "No" vote is accepted; if no ballot is received from a household and the group facilitator has made a good faith effort to collect the ballot, the vote will be counted as abstained. Decisions are announced by the Facilitator at meetings and by e-mail.
Revised August 27, 2004 at HEART planning meeting
Revisions voted and approved August 2005.
Revisions voted and approved January 2006
Revisions voted and approved May 2006
Revisions voted and approved May 2008
Revisions voted and approved May 2009
Revised September 23, 2009
Revisions voted and approved January 2014
Revisions voted and approved May 2017