I feel incredibly blessed to homeschool our son. It is one of the best decisions we ever made for our family. He is able to learn and grow at his own pace and explore his own interests. But I realize this would not be possible if it weren’t for the pioneers of the homeschool movement.
These pioneers stepped out in faith to do something no one was doing. They risked persecution and prosecution to follow their beliefs. Because of them, my son can finish his schoolwork while sitting at the dining room table and I don’t have to worry about a police officer or a social worker showing up at our front door.
Although homeschooling is now legal and more socially accepted, we can't rest on our laurels. We must be diligent about protecting our freedoms. Every year there are new threats to the rights of homeschooling. In Georgia, local counties frequently overstep their boundaries with the annual Intent to Homeschool forms. It can make filing these required forms more than a little nervewracking.
That’s why groups like the Georgia Home Educators Association (GHEA) are important. My husband and I have been doing some volunteer work for GHEA. But I am afraid there message isn’t getting out there. So I have agreed to help with their social media efforts.
Here is a snippet of what GHEA does…
GHEA is a 501(c)(3), non-profit Christian organization that provides information and resources to all families involved in home-based, parent-directed, privately-funded education in Georgia. They are committed to the advancement of home education and to protecting every family’s right to home educate their children and considers it part of its mission to help families across Georgia involved in this alternative education choice.
Basically that means GHEA is dedicated to helping homeschool families in Georgia and the surrounding region. They provide families with information about homeschooling…including the legal requirements, curriculum options, and where to find local support groups/classes. They also work behind the scenes with state officials protecting the freedoms of homeschool parents.
One of their biggest outreach events is coming up in just a few weeks…the GHEA Conference & Curriculum Fair, May 3rd - 5th. This year's theme, Celebrate Freedom, will be featured throughout the 3 days of great teaching by nationally recognized speakers with topics ranging from about the nuts & bolts of homeschooling to teaching methods to parenting encouragement & discipleship. There is even a children’s program and a teen track.
Along with the great sessions, there is a huge vendor hall filled with a wide range of homeschool curriculum and supplies. I almost love the vendor hall more than the sessions…at least that’s what my wallet says. But I also love the used book sale on Friday. What’s not to love about a book sale? That’s two of my favorite things combined.
So what can you do?
1. Become a member. Your $25 membership fee will help GHEA help homeschool families. In return, you will receive their quarterly magazine and a discount for the annual conference. You will also be eligible for a $15 discount to join HSLDA, which is another great organization that helps homeschoolers.
2. Attend the conference. For $50 your whole family can enjoy the conference. You must register by April 25th to get this special rate. Otherwise, you'll have to wait and register at the door for an extra $5. While I highly recommend the children & teen tracks, there is plenty more there for the kids to do. My son loves seeing all the cool things the vendors are selling. And there’s always a game of chess being played.
3. Volunteer at the conference. It takes a lot of people to make a conference run smoothly. In return, you will get a voucher for a free CD for every 3 hours you work. Plus you'll get early access to the Used Book Sale…which is totally worth it.
4. Tell your friends. GHEA almost solely advertises via word of mouth. Tell your friends about them…about their mission and their conference. They also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Follow them there & share with your friends. The more, the merrier!
5. Join us for a Twitter party. Kathy @ Kathy's Cluttered Mind and I will be hosting a Twitter party on Monday, April 23rd at 8:00 EST. The hashtag is #gheaconf. We'll be celebrating our freedom to homeschool and giving away some fun prizes from the vendors.
As GHEA is stronger, homeschooling in Georgia is stronger. It takes all of us working together to provide a safe environment for our children to learn and grow at their own pace free from government interference. By doing so, we can protect the freedom of future generations making sure they also have the opportunity to educate their children at home.
I hope you'll also take a few minutes to visit these great bloggers who are also featuring GHEA today:
Tricia @ HodgePodge, Continuing Education at Your State Homeschool Convention
Lara @ The Glam Mom's Guide, Georgia Home Education Conference Speaker – Rachel Carman
Disclosure: GHEA is giving me a free conference pass in exchange for my post. But the opinions stated within the post are my own. I really do LOVE GHEA and the work they are doing.