About HEAV

We’ve been serving Virginia homeschool families since 1983

Who We Are and What We Do

HEAV—Serving the homeschoolers of Virginia through information, legislation, and resources for 35 years.

About HEAV

Home Educators Association of Virginia is a member-supported, statewide, 501(c)3 non-profit homeschool association. Since 1983, HEAV has successfully worked to promote and protect home education in Virginia by working with the Department of Education and legislators, having a presence during the General Assembly sessions, and providing up-to-date information to homeschooling families, the media, and officials. HEAV, coming from a biblical worldview, serves all homeschoolers—regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs. Membership is, and always has been, open to all. With a full-time office staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers, we’re ready to answer your questions, offer support, and serve your needs year-round—just give us a call (804-278-9200) or send us an e-mail.

Looking for information on homeschooling in Virginia? Need to know about the Virginia homeschool laws, or the Virginia homeschool testing requirements? Are you taking your child out of school to begin homeschooling? Or are you a veteran homeschooler needing some extra homeschool support?

Home Educators Association of Virginia has more than 2,000 web pages of Virginia homeschool information, resources, field-trip ideas, and more!

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call at 804-278-9200 or e-mail office@heav.org–we’re here to help! Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

HEAV has celebrated 35 years of serving homeschoolers through information, legislation, and resources.

Statement of Purpose

The purposes of HEAV, which shall operate within the context of a biblical worldview, shall include, but are not limited to the following:

Help and encourage parents to fulfill their God-given rights and responsibilities to educate their own children;

Provide information and advice to homeschooling parents regarding home education and family life;

Support and protect the rights of parents to teach their children at home through legislative initiatives and contact with representatives in the Virginia General Assembly and United States Congress;
Educate the general public, educators, and elected officials through personal contacts, the media, lectures, seminars, workshops, conventions, and newsletters concerning the benefits of home education and the Constitutional right of parents to educate their own children;

Provide information to home-educating parents, the general public, the media, and elected officials regarding the Virginia Code, pending legislation, and court cases as they relate to homeschooling;
Direct interested parents to local homeschool support groups for support and encouragement;

Assist homeschool support groups by providing information, resources, leadership workshops, and training seminars.

We Believe:

  • God gives parents the primary responsibility to educate their own children.
  • Parents have the right to educate their own children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions.
  • Parents have the right to freely choose schools, tutors, co-ops, or other means necessary to educate their own children in keeping with their convictions.
  • Parents as home educators can provide a high-quality education through individualized instruction.
  • Parental love and understanding, patience to teach until a child learns, and parental awareness of the needs of the whole child are more important than teacher-certification requirements.
  • Home education provides the family with excellent opportunities to strengthen spiritual values, grow in personal responsibility, and develop leadership qualities in their children.

History

In 1983, our “operational headquarters” was a card table set up in the General Assembly building by three homeschooling moms. Virginia homeschoolers responded enthusiastically to the idea of working together to lobby for a homeschool law in Virginia, and thus HEAV was born.

Over the years, the homeschooling movement has grown, and because of God’s grace and your continued support, generous contributions, and volunteer efforts, HEAV has grown along with it.

A major milestone was reached in March 1996 when HEAV was able—through the generous help of local support groups and donors—to move our “operations” into a real office. Previously, our “office” was located in living rooms, dens, and basements of dedicated home-educating parents. Today we have paid and volunteer staff who orchestrate the day-to-day administrative details and answer the many thousands of phone calls, mail and e-mail messages we receive each year.

Another milestone was reached in 1999 when we hired—again, through the incredibly generous support of homeschooling families and support groups—a full-time executive director. Our director oversees the numerous operations and events that are sponsored or conducted by HEAV, and has greatly contributed to the growth and development of the organization.

In 2003, after years of cramped quarters and shared desk spaces, we have moved into a larger and more convenient facility. No more moving boxes up and down stairs! Our new space includes a bookstore and a meeting room for workshops and seminars and has allowed us to serve you in new and creative ways.

From our humble beginnings on a card table in the General Assembly building, to our beautifully decorated and spacious office suite, HEAV has stayed committed to serving Virginia’s homeschooling families by providing timely information, excellent resources, and an unfailing presence in the legislative process. And while we have staff in several key positions, much of the work of HEAV is still being done by dedicated and enthusiastic families—like yours—who are willing to volunteer their time, talents, and resources to help other homeschool families succeed. Volunteers are the backbone of HEAV: we couldn’t do what we do without you.

Executive Director
  • Anne Miller
Office Staff
  • Ann Miranda | Office Manager
  • Linda Ferrell | Administrative Assistant
  • Angela Palomo | Transcript Editor
Finance Staff
  • Helen Wright | Finance Manager
  • Mary Musick | Finance Assistant
Publications
  • Maureen Bittner | Director of Publications & Marketing
Homeschool Support & Government Affairs
  • Yvonne Bunn | Director of Homeschool Support & Government Affairs
Convention
  • Lauren Bell | Convention Director
Events
  • Lisa Workman | Director of Outreach & Events

Lobbying & Legislative Activities

HEAV stays current with public policy issues affecting homeschool families, and disseminates information to the homeschool community via e-mail and printed materials.

HEAV sponsors Day at the Capitol each year and was responsible for the Governor’s declaration of the month of February as “Virginia Home Education Month in the Commonwealth.”

With our volunteers and paid lobbying staff, HEAV works with legislators during the year, and has a constant presence at the General Assembly when the legislature is in session.

By means of online monitoring we look for any surprise legislation that may affect our rights to home educate, and we track new bills introduced during the session.

HEAV works closely with the Virginia Department of Education, local school boards, and local school superintendents. We network with numerous state and national homeschool and pro-family organizations throughout the year.

When necessary, HEAV sends out e-mail alerts that provide parents with the information they need to help wisely shape public policy that will affect home-educating families.

  • It was because of HEAV that the homeschool law was passed in 1984.
  • Because of HEAV, the cut-off score for standardized achievement tests was changed from the 40th to the 23rd percentile so parents could teach children with learning difficulties.
  • HEAV successfully opposed mandatory five-year-old kindergarten and protected religious exemption from threats of change.
  • HEAV successfully opposed daytime curfews for homeschoolers and mandatory SOL testing, and endorsed a law that required school districts to notify and make available PSAT and AP  tests to homeschoolers.
  • HEAV also promoted parent-taught, behind-the-wheel driver instruction for homeschoolers.
  • Laws favorable to homeschooling in Virginia pass because of HEAV.

Conventions & Seminars

HEAV sponsors an Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention. We bring outstanding speakers and exhibitors together to support, encourage, and equip homeschool moms and dads. This event is planned for the veteran as well as the new home educator.

Convention normally includes more than 100 workshops, a 125,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a gigantic used-curriculum sale, a graduation ceremony, and lots more. We are expecting more than 12,000 attendees at our upcoming event. Many say it is the highlight of their home-educating year.

HEAV also sponsors various Homeschool Success Seminars throughout the year.

Communications

HEAV is a resource contact for a variety of media. We provide information, articles, spokesmen, and other materials.

We offer a number of informative publications including these:

  • The Virginia Home Educator, a FREE quarterly magazine that offers an in-depth look at such subjects as homeschooling and the military, support for home-educating parents, preparing for college, and extracurricular activities—all with a slant toward Virginia-specific information. To receive your free subscription, sign up now!
  • The HEAV Virginia Homeschool Update, a FREE e-mail newsletter that includes the latest news about contests, museum events, special homeschool offers, book fairs, and more. Each week our dedicated team of volunteers brings you helpful information and  resources from around the state and across the nation. Sign up today!
  • The Legislative Update, a FREE e-mail newsletter that provides timely information on legislative matters during the General Assembly session. Sign up today!
  • And, The Virginia Homeschool Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Education in Virginia. This manual covers how to begin, how to choose curriculum, different learning styles, socialization, gifted education at home, kindergarten, high school,  apprenticeships, college, and more. You’ll also find information and resources on homeschooling special-needs children, along with in-depth sections on “Virginia Law” and “Testing and Evaluations.” Find out more here.

Support Groups

We actively promote regional and local support groups through referrals and our online support-group directory.

We offer regional and local support groups the opportunity to publicize their events and news in the Virginia Home Educator and weekly HEAV Virginia Homeschool Update.

HEAV provides regional and local support groups with training, resources, information, intercommunication, and encouragement.

To help keep regional and support-group leaders informed, we send copies of the Virginia Homeschool Update, the Legislative Update, and theVirginia Home Educator magazine during the year. We also send e-mail alerts whenever necessary, and a periodic HEAV Leaders’ Letter.

HEAV also sponsors leadership training seminars to serve leaders so they can better serve home educators.

HEAV sends representatives who can speak on a wide variety of topics to visit local support groups. (Give us a call if you’d like someone to speak to your group!)

Education

We distribute tens of thousands of pieces of free information to parents around the state every year.

HEAV also continues to research and develop new resources for the equipping of home educators. These resources are available for sale through our office.

We offer an extensive selection of recordings on a wide variety of home-education subjects.

We offer extensive information on our website for parents who are interested in home education or who are just getting started.

We also publish the Virginia Homeschool Manual, which is on the shelves of libraries throughout the state.

HEAV works to educate the general public, the media, pastors, state and private educators, school boards, judges, attorneys, and state legislators about the benefits of home education and the constitutional right to home educate.

We take steps to present home education in the best possible light through personal contacts, media interviews, lectures, seminars, conventions, radio and television interviews, our printed materials, and by sponsoring the annual Day at the Capitol.

Operations

In 1983, our “operational headquarters” was a card table set up in the General Assembly building by a couple of homeschooling moms. Virginia homeschoolers responded enthusiastically to the idea of working together to lobby for a homeschool law in Virginia, and thus HEAV was born.

Over the years, the homeschooling movement has grown, and because of God’s grace and your continued support, generous contributions, and volunteer efforts, HEAV has grown right along with it.

A major milestone was reached in March 1996 when HEAV was able—through the generous help of local support groups and donors—to move our “operations” into a real office. Previously, our “office” was located in living rooms, dens, and basements of dedicated home-educating parents. Today we have paid and volunteer staff who orchestrate the day-to-day administrative details and answer the many thousands of phone calls, mail and e-mail messages we receive each year.

Another milestone was reached in 2000 when we hired—again, through the incredibly generous support of homeschooling families and support groups—a full-time executive director. Our director oversees the numerous operations and events that are sponsored or conducted by HEAV, and has greatly contributed to the growth and development of the organization.

In 2004, after years of cramped quarters and shared desk spaces, we have moved into a much larger and more convenient facility. No more moving boxes up and down stairs! Our new space includes room for a bookstore and a meeting room for workshops and seminars. We’re looking forward to being able to serve you in new and creative ways.

From our humble beginnings on a card table in the General Assembly building, to our beautifully decorated and spacious office suite, HEAV has stayed committed to serving Virginia’s homeschooling families by providing timely information, excellent resources, and an unfailing presence in the legislative process. And while we have staff in several key positions, much of the work of HEAV is still being done by dedicated and enthusiastic families—like yours—who are willing to volunteer their time, talents, and resources to help other homeschool families succeed. Volunteers are the backbone of HEAV: we couldn’t do what we do without you.

Board & Advisory Board

Our Board of Directors provides leadership, accountability, and direction for the Home Educators Association of Virginia. We are made up of home-educating parents, grandparents, and other dedicated individuals who volunteer their time, energy, talents, and resources to help promote and protect home education in Virginia.

 

Board of Directors

  • Anne Miller | President | Williamsburg
  • Pat Ryan | Vice President | Purcellville
  • Jennifer French | Treasurer | Williamsburg
  • Linda Linder | Secretary | Manassas
  • Cherrie Moore | Member | Virginia Beach
  • Stephanie Konicki | Member | Powhatan

Advisory Board

  • Lauren Bell | Virginia Beach
  • Yvonne Bunn | Williamsburg
  • Craig Konicki | Powhatan
  • Joseph & Tiffani Miller | Newport News
  • Sarah & Brad Touchet | Newport News

Child Protection Policy:

Information to Help Guard and Protect Our Children

As a statewide organization, Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) has had the privilege of serving thousands of wonderful homeschooling parents throughout the years—parents who love and care for their children and have made great sacrifices to teach and train their children in a positive, encouraging environment.

When parents fail to guard and protect their children, it is a painful reminder of the fallen world in which we live. All parents, as well as homeschooling parents and leaders, must be alert to abuse or neglect in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Our Purpose

HEAV provides encouragement and help for parents who choose to homeschool. We provide information, resources, and advice regarding home education and family life. Under no circumstances would HEAV want our homeschool freedoms to shield child abuse or domestic violence. However, we have no civil authority to act regarding allegations of child abuse or neglect.

What to Do

Laws that address child abuse and neglect, as well as domestic violence, are in place. First-hand information regarding child abuse or neglect should be reported immediately to the appropriate civil authorities.

If you believe a child is being sexually abused, call the police. If you believe a child is at risk of imminent harm, call 911.

It is with much appreciation that HEAV includes the following links provided by Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). These resources help identify child abuse and neglect and offer helpful information and hope.

Child Abuse

What is considered child abuse according to the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and how can you prevent it?

Sexual Abuse

How can you identify sexual abuse and what age-appropriate information should you share with your children?

Safety Principles

How can you pro-actively prevent sexual abuse?  How can you protect someone who has experienced abuse?

If You Suspect Child Abuse

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, how can you follow up on your concerns?

Additional Resources

Learn how to protect your child from abuse. What can you do if you find yourself, your child, or another family’s child in an abusive situation?

Definitions of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence in Virginia

Visit the following website for a description of child abuse and domestic violence with additional information on mandatory reporters, confidential records, and false reporting:

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family offers valuable resources for families in crisis. Visit Focus on the Family or call their Help Center counselors at 1-855-771-HELP (4357), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-10  p.m. Eastern Time.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and press 1 or visit Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline or Help for Kids. Although counselors do not report abuse, they can assist you with resources in your local area.