Madison HEART Bylaws
*Please note that as of May 2022, our current mask policy is:
- Masks should always be welcome at any HEART event.
- At outdoor HEART events, organizers should not make masking requirements beyond those of the government.
- At indoor HEART events in a public or private location, organizers can request masks be worn or make masks optional, whatever works best for their family. Attendees should respect the organizers' requests.
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
Forums or email lists 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 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 Group Emails
We strive to maintain an open and supportive online community. Please remember that context, meaning, and emotion are often difficult to convey in email 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 emails to the 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 to the group that pertains to religion or politics, create a subject line that clearly states this, and explain in the email why you felt this was important to share.
The group emails are intended for the parents of homeschoolers, not the homeschoolers themselves. If a family chooses to have their children monitor HEART emails, 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, celebrations, 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 to publicize their HEART events in advance, and update the 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 served 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 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 served 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.
When decisions need to be made that will affect all HEART families, a description of proposals must be made available to every member family, and the decision will then be voted on. The Meeting Facilitator collects votes online with an option for families to email in their votes. 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 email.
Decisions that should be voted on include (but are not necessarily limited to) changes in the Bylaws, changing online platforms, and utilization of a large amount of HEART funds for a single event. In general, the Meeting Facilitator should use their judgment to determine when a decision is important enough to merit a vote.
Volunteer positions have one-year term limits so that a broader representation of the group can be experienced from year to year. The web manager is a long-term position due to the technical nature of the position.
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 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.
-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. Votes may be held by online polls, but members also need to have the option to email their vote to the facilitator.
-Manages the group email and forums to prevent spamming and scamming.
-Steps in to moderate conversations when HEART rules are being violated.
-Cleans out the databases and files, removing outdated files and files belonging to lapsed members.
New Member Contact
-Has online privileges to admit new members.
-Receives an email 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 online group.
-Sends a “Welcome New Member” message to introduce the new member to the group.
-Monitors the HEARTNewMemberContact@gmail.com address.
-Manages the HEART bank account.
-Keeps a financial ledger.
-Pays for web hosting service.
-Requests renewal forms and payment by October 15th each year. Cashes renewal checks and updates the Member Directory to reflect the current membership.
-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.
-Disburses funds on a first come, first served basis to members arranging activities that are open to the entire group.
-Monitors the email@example.com address.
Web Manager – MadisonHEART.com
-Updates any information as needed on the web page.
Find a place and date for activities centered around food. Often held monthly.
(The following two 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.
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
Revisions voted and approved April 2022