School's out

By Mara Rockliff

School’s out . . . forever? That’s the forecast of Daniel Pink, former White House speechwriter and author of the controversial bestseller Free Agent Nation. “In the free agent future,” he says, “a host of changes will unschool American society. Mass compulsory schooling will give way to a variety of learning alternatives.”
For the 800 or so kids and parents Pink will address Saturday at the Statewide Homeschool Conference and Curriculum Fair, the future is already here. Sponsored by the Virginia Home Education Association, the Fair is a chance for homeschoolers and wannabes to meet, mingle, learn, share ideas, and just have fun. A sampling:
*The Society for Creative Anachronism will recreate medieval and Renaissance history with rapier fighting, “heavy weaponry,” tavern games, handicrafts, music, dancing. and more.
*Republican state delegate and second-generation homeschooling activist Rob Bell will discuss How and Why Homeschoolers Should be Involved in Local and State Politics.
*Award-winning storyteller Jim Weiss, star of a PBS show, will “entertain and intrigue” with his versions of classic myths, fables, and fairy tales. Also for kids: a puppet show and puppet-making workshop, a sing-along, an Irish music and dance performance, and a reading of Little House in the Highlands, from a series about the Scottish great-grandmother of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
*Teenagers can play the Stock Market Game, find out how to get their writing published, check out multimedia resources from NASA, put together a high school transcript, learn how to make and manage money, and fling beanbags around with local juggling guru Craig Green.
Veteran homeschooling parents will offer workshops on topics from Homeschooling a Large Family (from a couple with eight children) to Care and Treatment of Parental Panic Attacks.
Mary Griffith, nationally known author of The Homeschooling Handbook and The Unschooling Handbook, will give the keynote talk on Hidden Hazards of Homeschooling.
The Virginia Home Education Association is an all-volunteer group that helps homeschoolers and works for homeschool-friendly legislation. They are “fully inclusive”– no religious or political agenda. Whether you seek a support network, educational resources, or simply information about this increasingly popular alternative to traditional schooling, you’ll find it at the Fair.

The statewide Homeschool Conference and Curriculum Fair, sponsored by the Virginia Home Education Association, happens at Covenant Church of God, 1025 E. Rio Road, on Saturday, June 1,  8am-6pm. Adults $30 ($35 per couple), children $15, plus $10 per-family fee. Download the 12-page registration packet at and bring it with you to help speed your walk-in registration.