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Homeschooling conference draws national speakers

In many ways, says Hilary Sharpe, the questions and challenges of homeschoolers are the same as those for parents with children in traditional school settings.

"Are my children being challenged enough?" parents may ask. "Do I allow enough time for my children to follow their own interests? Is this the year to start Latin and to focus on a sport they’re best suited for?"

But homeschoolers have other considerations as well, says Sharpe, chair of the upcoming Virginia Homeschoolers Conference and Resource Fair.

"Should we do math at home?" a homeschooling parent might ask. "Or look into the community college with dual enrollment instead?

"Am I adequately setting up an environment for my child to learn in the way that’s best for him or her?"

On March 25-26 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, homeschoolers will have a chance to get expert advice regarding those questions as speakers from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Colorado join Richmond-area parents at the annual conference.

Designed to meet the needs of prospective, new and long-term homeschoolers, the conference will feature keynote speaker Joy Hakim, author of the series A History of US and The Story of Science.

Hakim, who will discuss history and science and the interplay between them, "reminds us that [parents, educators and children] are living in the greatest scientific era ever," says Sharpe. "We’re missing out if we don’t understand it."

Among the local speakers will be Terri Collins, who will present on the topic of math without tears; Deb Pegram, who will discuss academic evaluations for the homeschooled child; Scott Duncan, who will examine role-playing games in the classroom; and Ann Duncan, who will speak on the topic of keeping an organized home and homeschool.

Connie Lapallo will advise on teaching literary styles and writing techniques through book discussions, and Janice Campbell will address the process of building a high school transcript.

Other speakers will focus on beginning homeschooling; homeschooling in the tween and teen years; choosing curriculum materials; techniques for nature education; and homeschool socialization. Conference activities will also include a musical jam session, a magic show, amazing animals, a Mad Science performance, Friday night talent show, ice cream social, and book fair.

On March 25 from 4:30 pm.- 5:30 pm., VaHomeschoolers will offer a free Beginning Homeschooling session, covering all issues that beginning or prospective homeschoolers might encounter. A representative from The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers will answer questions about Virginia homeschooling laws, filing requirements and general information for finding support and homeschooling activities throughout the state.

Established in 1993, the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers) promotes and protects the interests of Virginia homeschoolers through legislative work, assistance to individual homeschoolers, and by providing information, speakers, events and resources.

Homeschoolers from across the state, says Sharpe, look forward to the conference each March as a chance to compare notes with friends and mentors and to share their experiences with the rewards and challenges of being parent-educators.

For details and a schedule, visit http://vahomeschoolers.org/conference .
– Patty Kruszewski contributed to this article
Community

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

Cultural Arts Center announces 2014 fall class schedule

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.

The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.

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