Interest in Home Education Continues to Grow
More Than 10,000 to Gather from Across the State for Educational Convention
by Yvonne Bunn Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Home education may be “the fastest-growing form of education in the United States,”* with the number of homeschoolers in Virginia having grown to more than 30,000, a 37.6 percent increase since 2002.** Why are so many parents choosing this option?
“Reasons vary,” says Home Educators Association of Virginia’s president, Anne Miller. “Some homeschool for academic reasons, others for reasons of faith, and others for the benefits of individualized instruction. What remains a constant is that parents are concerned about preparing their children for the future and have found home education to be an effective option that allows their children to pursue their interests and to develop at their own pace."
The Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV), a non-profit, statewide homeschool organization, is hosting a convention June 10-12, 2010, to both support home educators and offer resources to families curious about this option. The convention, now in its 27th year, has grown along with the movement, from a few hundred back in 1984 to an event expecting more than 10,000 participants from around the state and beyond.
The theme of this three-day event, Home Education: For Their Future, captures the vision of the convention, which is to help parents lay a strong foundation for their children’s future.
“There are so many things in this culture pulling our children away from us as parents, and pulling us away from them,” says Convention Director Florence Feldman. “The future starts today—in how we raise our children, in what we teach them, [and] in what values we give them.”
More than 125 convention workshops will address not only homeschool-specific themes, but also such topics as learning styles, raising children of character, budgeting and home business, educating distractible children, home and time management, and workplace preparedness. A used curriculum sale and a 67,500-square-foot Exhibit Hall will offer parents an opportunity to examine educational curricula and resources from around the country, while a special “boot camp” seminar will prepare homeschooling parents for their child’s high school years and graduation. During the convention, 200 homeschooled students plan to walk the aisle in the state’s largest homeschool graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 12.
For those interested in learning more about home education, there will be four free how-to-begin-homeschooling sessions on Thursday afternoon. A free pass to the entire event is being offered to first-time parents of preschoolers*** and non-homeschooling grandparents.
For more information on the convention and home education itself, visit www.heav.org, or call 804-278-9200.
* Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., “Research Facts on Homeschooling,” National Home Education Research Institute, 8/10/2009, http://www.nheri.org/content/view/199/ (accessed May 24, 2010).
** Based on numbers given in Virginia Department of Education, “Home Instruction and Religious Exemptions, 2002-2003” (02/03/2003) and “Home-Schooled Students and Religious Exemptions, 2009-2010" (12/9/2009), http://www.doe.virginia.gov/statistics_reports/enrollment/home_school_religious_exempt/index.shtml (accessed May 24, 2010).
*** Some restrictions apply. See www.heav.org for details.
The Home Educators Association of Virginia strengthens and empowers the more than 30,000 homeschoolers throughout the Commonwealth. HEAV, a statewide, member-supported, non-profit association, has served Virginia homeschoolers through information, legislation, and resources for the past 27 years. Members of the media can learn more by visiting www.heav.org/media.
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