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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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Eleone Dance Theatre will perform at 7 p.m. April 23 and at 10 a.m. April 24 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Rd. The company has… Full text

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