Convention season is rapidly drawing near and I am already looking forward to volunteering at the Home Educator’s Association of Virginia Convention in June.
Last year was the first year I volunteered during part of my time at the convention and I found it to be one of the most encouraging parts of the convention. I worked at the HEAV booth for most of Friday and probably spoke to about 100 people during that time. Some of them were nearly finished with their homeschooling journey, others were just beginning.
a grandfather on an electric scooter who was planning to pull his fifth or sixth grade grandson out of school and teach him because he felt like his grandson was getting into trouble because he was bored a school. This grandfather had no teaching experience, but he knew a couple of people who had been homeschooled and he wanted to do his best for his grandson.
a woman with a middle school son with some learning challenges who was trying to find some way to get her son to enjoy writing or at least do a decent job without fighting her constantly. We spoke for some time since I used to teach writing to that age group and it was so exciting to see how determined she was to both do her best for her son, and be sure that he was doing his best!
many young couples whose children weren’t even “old enough” for formal school but who were already thinking and educating themselves in order to teach their children as they grew.
I answered a lot of questions about where and when things were happening, looked at a lot of resources and enjoyed a great deal of people watching!
I listened to people, waxing enthusiastic about a workshop or curriculum, or asking for help with a problem in their schooling. Everyone I saw wanted to be at convention and if they were discouraged at the moment, most of them were far from giving up. I saw perfect strangers overhear each others questions and start talking about how they had addressed an issue or what resources they knew of in a particular location. It was amazing how frequently directions were suggested from others who had come to ask a question.
I worked one shift in the morning and one in the afternoon, choosing to spend that much time in one place as the convention overwhelms me easily and Jack was only four weeks old at the time. He spent most of the day sleeping in his stroller or my wrap and I was able to take short trips into the Exhibit Hall and then retreat!
Yes, there were some workshops I might have gone to if I hadn’t been volunteering but I went to the ones I really wanted and as a “Thank-you” I was given a set of mp3’s of the entire convention to listen to at my leisure!
Volunteering at convention is a bit of a “thank-you” gift for me too. HEAV has been representing my interests to the Virginia Legislature, school boards, and many others for 30 years. Six or so hours once a year to help make the convention as beneficial as possible to all the attendees seems like a small effort on my part! If you are planning to attend the convention this year, do consider volunteering even if all you can give is an hour. I trust that you too will find it a blessing and encouragement and I know the HEAV staff will be encouraged by your help.