Henrico County VA

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

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


It’s Halloween! Ghosts and goblins are everywhere…especially at Dorey Park’s Monster Mash and the annual Pumpkin Festival at Gayton Crossing Shopping Center. But don’t let the fun stop on the 31st – the Latin Ballet of Virginia will present El Dia de los Muertos Family Festival on Nov. 1. And if you need a break from the candy, enjoy some classical music at the University of Richmond and the Weinstein JCC on Sunday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Brews and bites done right

Urban Tavern’s big, bold themes impress

The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.

Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.

On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar. > Read more.

A terrible, horrible movie. . . that’s actually pretty good

‘Alexander’ provides uncomplicated family fun
It’s not surprising in the least that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn’t much resemble the book it’s based upon.

Judith Viorst’s 1972 picture book isn’t exactly overflowing with movie-worthy material. Boy has bad day. Boy is informed that everyone has bad days sometimes. Then, the back cover.

In the film, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad-ness is blown up to more extreme size. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has a bum day every day, while the rest of his family (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey) exist in a constant bubble of perfection and cheery optimism – to the point that the family is so wrapped up in their own success that Alexander’s being ignored.

So on the eve of his 12th birthday, Alexander makes a wish: just once, he’d like his family to see things from his perspective; to experience the crushing disappointment of one of those no good, very bad days. Once he has blown out the candle on his pre-birthday ice cream sundae, his family’s fate is sealed: one full day of crippling disasters for all of them. > Read more.

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The Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE) will hold its monthly seminar and breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa at Short Pump, 12042 W. Broad… Full text

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