Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make your study of Virginia government and history come alive! Teach your children how our government works, and make a significant impact on the Virginia General Assembly. Join homeschoolers from all areas of the Commonwealth for HEAV’s Homeschool Day at the Capitol. This HEAV-sponsored event is open to ALL homeschoolers!

When is Day at the Capitol?

We have scheduled Homeschool Day at the Capitol on Thursday, January 28, 2016. This event will be held during the active 2016 General Assembly session. You will have the opportunity to visit your representatives, view committee hearings, and see actual debates and votes on the House or Senate floor.

Where should I go?

Come to the Library of Virginia in Richmond at the corner of 9th and Broad streets. Click here for a downtown area map and here for a list of garages and restaurants. Parking at the Library of Virginia is for library patrons only. Homeschool Day at the Capitol will begin with registration and a 45-minute presentation in the library amphitheater on the first floor. You will also pick up tour tickets, a schedule, and map for the day, as well as last-minute instructions at the Library.

When should I arrive?

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m., legislative introductory session. Tour tickets, maps, and a schedule will be available after you register.

Where can I park?

Parking garages are located nearby ($6-12/day). Arrive early to get a space and allow time to walk to the Library of Virginia. Remember, you will be arriving during morning rush hour; please allow extra time. Parking at the Library of Virginia is for library patrons only. Check here for a Parking and Restaurant Guide (294).

Who should come?

School-age children are best suited for Homeschool Day at the Capitol. We love babies, but this event is not appropriate for very young children. Since legislative business is often going on in the hallways, baby noises that echo can be a distraction.

Should I make an appointment with my legislator?

Yes! It’s a great time to briefly speak with your delegate and senator. Contact information can be found here. Call to make an appointment. If your representative is not available when you arrive, you can always speak with his legislative assistant who will convey your message and deliver any goodies you bring. Your short visit may help him or her put a face on homeschooling and may result in a positive vote on homeschool issues!

What’s the agenda for the day?

You will find the schedule posted on our website for your convenience. We will also give you a schedule for the entire day when you arrive at the Library of Virginia.

What should we wear?

Dress in business attire or your Sunday best. No jeans, please. Wear flat, comfortable walking shoes. Dress appropriately for weather conditions.

Can we bring a gift for our legislator?

Yes! Legislators and their staff enjoy home-baked goodies. Your gift of appreciation could include an apple pie, homemade cookies or brownies, or even chocolate fudge! Your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated. Be sure to include your name and address with the gift, as well as a thank-you note acknowledging his or her service.

Will we have to go through security?

Yes, metal detectors are now in place at the Capitol, General Assembly office buildings, and the Supreme Court. For Supreme Court tours, the staff suggests you arrive 15 to 20 minutes early in order to be processed through security. All bags and coats will be put through a scanner. To speed along the process at all security checks, carry as little as possible.

How do I register?

You may register by using the online registration form.

How much does it cost?

  • $30 for each HEAV member family, plus $5 for each child who is not a family member.
  • $35 for each homeschool family, plus $5 for each child who is not a family member.
  • Grandparents with a homeschool family are an additional $5 each.

Is there a limit on attendance?

Space is limited to the first 250 participants who preregister. Additional families will be put on a waiting list. If space becomes available, we will contact those on the list no later than Wednesday, January 27 at 4 p.m.

What about group reservations?

We may be able to accommodate a group if space allows. Please call the HEAV office (804-278-9200) with the number of students, their ages, and the type of group you would like to bring. If space is available, groups may register at the following rates:

Member Group
Leader and family: $30
Chaperone: $20/member (adult only);
Chaperone: $25/non-member (adult only)
Additional children: $5/child

Non-Member Group
Leader and family: $35
Chaperone: $20/member (adult only)
Chaperone: $25/non-member (adult only)
Additional children: $5/child

What will we do?

We have scheduled a variety of family-friendly learning opportunities from learning how a bill becomes a law to enjoying a fun scavenger hunt on the Capitol grounds. Here are the scheduled activities:

  • Pick up Capitol grounds maps, tour schedules, and restaurant locations.
  • Hear a review of homeschool legislation and 2016 homeschool issues from our HEAV lobbyist.
  • Listen to an invited legislator or government official discuss current issues–and ask him questions.
  • Make an appointment with your legislator and visit his/her staff.
  • Tour Virginia’s Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. The Capitol has been renovated and includes a visitor’s center with historical artifacts and Meriwether’s Capitol Café.
  • Enjoy a fun Capitol-grounds scavenger hunt with your children!
  • Tour the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • Go up to the FREE City Hall Observation Deck to see an unforgettable view of downtown Richmond. The deck is located on Broad Street across from the Capitol.
  • Drive a short distance to St. John’s Church to participate in the re-enactment of Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech presented by professional actors.

How do I schedule our tours?

HEAV has arranged the tours. HEAV members may schedule their tours online during the two-week, member-only registration period. After that, tickets will be dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Library of Virginia when you arriveTickets to some events, such as the Executive Mansion, are limited. Be sure to arrive early!

How will we get to the tours?

All tours on the Capitol grounds are within one block of the Capitol. In the afternoon you will drive a few miles to St. John’s Church.

Are the tours and events handicap accessible?

All government buildings are handicap accessible. Ramps and elevators are available to convey visitors with special needs to the original 1788 Capitol and 1906 wings. Please contact the HEAV office to make us aware of any special needs.

May I bring my camera?

Cameras and photography are permitted, but flash photography is not permitted during the General Assembly session. If you visit your legislator, be sure to take a photo. Send your digital pictures to so we can post them on our website. Or, upload your images to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtage #HEAVorg.

What about lunch?

You can choose from nearby restaurants or bring a bag lunch. View Parking and Restaurant Guide (294) here. For your convenience, Meriwether’s Capitol Café in the Visitor’s Center provides deli sandwiches. The Library of Virginia has a small deli, and there is a cafeteria on the sixth floor of the General Assembly building.

How can I prepare my students?

Visit the Virginia General Assembly site and select “Capitol Classroom” from the list on the left side of the home page. You’ll find many age-appropriate maps, games, and activities.

If the weather is bad, will you cancel?

Lord willing, Homeschool Day at the Capitol will go on as scheduled. If it rains, please bring an umbrella to walk between buildings. Most events are inside. Check our website at for special announcements. We will post any changes prior to 4 p.m. the day before the event.

Can I get a refund if I can’t attend?

The deadline for a refund  is Friday, January 22. There will be a $3 processing fee. Call our office at 804-278-9200 to cancel.

If you cannot attend, please let us know as quickly as possible so we can allow another wait-listed family to attend. Even if it is at the last minute, please let us know–we can still invite another family! If you have questions or need to cancel or change a reservation, please call the HEAV office at 804-278-9200. Do NOT try to cancel or change your reservation online.

What should I do if I’m on the waiting list?

If space becomes available, we will move you from the waiting list to the attendee list and notify you by e-mail as soon as possible. At the latest, we will contact you the day before the event, Wednesday, January 27 by 4 p.m.

Can I help?

Yes, we need two or three families with teens to help during registration! If you could volunteer for about an hour during registration, we would greatly appreciate it—your family attendance costs will be waived. You will not miss any of the events. Please contact Yvonne Bunn at for more information.

Will I get more details?

If you registered for Homeschool Day at the Capitol, check your inbox for your confirmation letter with the final details.

Questions? Cancellations? If you have questions or need to cancel or change a reservation, please call the HEAV office at 804-278-9200 or e-mail