Hooray for Homeschool Day!

Posted on Apr 7 2009 in General by

Below is a short story of the Hayes’ experience at HEAV’s 2009 Homeschool Day at the Capitol. It was published in the Franklin Tidewater News, and is reprinted with permission.

Did you attend Day at the Capitol? Please leave a comment sharing your story!

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) delivered the fantastic 14th annual Homeschool Day at the Capitol in Richmond. The educationally rich program offered a wide array of activities for every child.

The morning began at the Library of Virginia with a warm welcome from HEAV members. Opening with a word of prayer, Yvonne Bunn, HEAV Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs, acknowledged the God of our founding fathers and asked for His protection of all participants as each went about the day. Mrs. Bunn was followed by Oscar Walker, registered lobbyist on behalf of HEAV; Lydia Shanks, homeschool graduate, representing TEENpact; Maggie Massey, representing the Page Program; and Senator Steve Martin, who spoke on behalf of Senator Ken Cuccinelli, also a home educator. Once the speakers concluded their messages, homeschool students, led by parents, were off to the Capitol grounds!

Though there was insufficient time to take all tours, tickets were available for the following tours: Capitol, Executive Mansion, Virginia Supreme Court, Museum of the Confederacy, and the White House of the Confederacy, as well as for a Chamber Presentation. Our family chose to attend a Chamber Presentation and tour the Capitol, Museum of the Confederacy, and the White House of the Confederacy.

Following our welcome at the library, we dashed to the Capitol for the Chamber Presentation.


There was a choice of House or Senate presentations. We chose the House of Delegates. The information presented was exceptional. Mr. Jay Pearson, Jr., Legislative Education and Development Project Manager, taught home educators and students how a bill becomes a law from the very seats in which bills and laws are passed! After about forty-five minutes of interactive instruction, student volunteers chose roles of delegates, Clerk of the House, and Speaker of the House.


Franklin’s own Kristen Hayes was selected for Clerk of the House. All seated students and parents were delegates. “Mock” House Bill No. 1, offered by one of the delegates, was a bill to amend the Code of Virginia by allowing students to participate in local public school extracurricular activities including, but not limited to, sports and band. Once the bill was presented and questions and concerns of other delegates answered, the votes were cast in real-time. And the outcome was an overwhelming, “Yea!”


The Capitol tour was next on our agenda. Ms. Martha Snelling led the group through the Capitol rooms with a very detailed presentation. We visited the Old House Chambers. From inside the very rooms where America evolved into an independent nation, she told who each bust and statue depicted, and told of his contribution to Virginia and our nation’s history. Ms. Snelling also taught about each piece of art as well as the significance of the details of the architecture of the Capitol. The architect? Why, Thomas Jefferson, of course!


At the Museum of the Confederacy, the students were first instructed on the medical practices of the Civil War. Students learned that various types of building structures were used as hospitals in the Civil War. From farm houses to tents, make-shift hospitals were set up as needed approximately a mile from heavy battle areas. Tents proved to be the best environment for the field hospital, as patients had better air available. Mrs. Kelly Hancock explained the types of medical equipment a field surgeon would carry, including the medicines and their uses. The presentation was followed by another exciting volunteer-based “re-enactment” of what the students learned. Glenna Hayes, homeschool student from Franklin, was to apply a tourniquet to a young soldier who had been “shot in the leg.”


Next was the tour of the White House of the Confederacy, formerly the home of President Jefferson Davis and his family. Though this tour was definitely not hands-on, the students were thrilled to see the contents and furnishings of the entire mansion! Many of the furnishings are the very furnishings used by President Davis and his family when they lived there. Donated items are from the same time period and significantly benefit the exhibit. The many inquiries of the students were proficiently answered by Mrs. Hancock, our tour guide.

Last was the tour of Museum of the Confederacy. The audio tour was delivered by personal, handheld wands which allowed us to select to learn about the museum items on display that were of personal interest. Showcases housed weapons and equipment as well as the uniforms worn by several leaders of the Civil War. Some of the uniforms bore the very blood that was shed for the freedoms we still enjoy today!


Every member of mankind is a perpetual student. We must take the opportunity to learn of our country’s historical makeup so we can continue to develop model citizens and continue this great nation. “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Did you attend DATC? We’d love to hear your story! Share your experience with others using the comment box below.

We hope to see you all at the 2010 Homeschool Day at the Capitol!

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