Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a friend, Teri Kuiper, about the Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina. I serve with Teri and some other hard-working homeschoolers on the board of HA-NC, and I am excited to see things come together after many months of working behind the scenes.
What is Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina, Inc., and who do they serve?
Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina, Inc. (HA-NC) is an inclusive statewide home school organization, which provides an avenue for homeschoolers across the state of North Carolina to find support, stay informed concerning home school news and legislative issues, discuss home school topics of interest and connect with needed resources and information.
What’s new at HA-NC?
HA-NC has a fresh new board of directors, who are committed to its success. The new board has been working quietly and consistently, planning for the development and growth of HA-NC. Some areas of development include:
- Becoming incorporated as a non profit in North Carolina
- Hosting the Third Annual statewide inclusive Love to Learn Home School Conference which offers a variety of speakers on a wide range of topics that are pertinent to home school families.
- Organizing and hosting the First Annual School’s Out Forever Getaway.
- A Liaison between the North Carolina Department of Non Public Education and statewide homeschoolers, for those homeschoolers not wanting to directly contact and discuss home school issues with the department.
- Providing a home school blog that lists home school news from across North Carolina, the country, and sometimes the world, allowing homeschoolers to stay up to date on current home school happenings.
- A comprehensive website, accessible to all.
- A list of home school events from around the state of North Carolina.
- A regularly updated list of home school support groups, sorted by county, with a registration page for support groups to add their information to our site.
We now have a comprehensive website, where one can find more detailed information about everything I just mentioned, at www.ha-nc.org
What are some benefits of joining HA-NC?
Benefits of membership include:
- An official HA-NC membership card
- Discount for the 2009 Love to Learn Conference
- Discount for the 2009 School’s Out Forever Getaway
- Access to conference speaker audio files
- Access to an e book entitled “Overcoming Obstacles While Homeschooling, 1st. ed.”
- Discount for subscription to NHELD, LLC
And, as time permits, we are seeking out additional member only benefits, with a focus on discounts for those services and items that home school families often use.
Can you tell us more about the conference?
HA-NC recognizes that there is great diversity among homeschooling families. Because we are committed to the empowerment of ALL registered NC homeschoolers, we wanted to create an event that met the needs of ALL homeschoolers, with something for everyone.
The Love to Learn Conference, in keeping with the mission statement and by-laws of HA-NC, is inclusive, and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy status, sex, age, marital status, disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, home school method or any characteristic protected by law. We don’t discriminate against children at the conference, either! We welcome them! After all, the children are the reason we home school. We even have space set aside just for the kids, with games, puzzles and other activities.
What is the “School’s Out Forever” Getaway?
Homeschoolers are no longer connected only by small local groups. HA-NC recognizes that the modern home school family knows other homeschoolers through conferences, yahoo groups and other e-lists, as well as blogs and other social network media.
The Getaway is called “School’s Out Forever,” and was loosely modeled after another successful state wide home school group that brings homeschoolers together via a twice yearly camp gathering. “School’s Out Forever” is much more “upscale” in that it is not camping. It was created to give families a chance to connect, meet, and renew friendships with other homeschoolers, in a more personal and relaxed environment, while providing family activities, in a value packed vacation package at an exciting location!
Where will it be held?
This year, it will be held in the stunningly beautiful Stone Mountain Park, in Georgia. Stone Mountain Park, listed in Frommer’s 500 Places to Visit with Your Kids before They Grow Up, is a 5 square mile green oasis where families and friends can enjoy the outdoors together. Activities include hiking, canoeing, ropes courses, cable car sky rides, museums and a spectacular evening laser light show! Indoor activities are still being organized at this time. Friends can also sit and relax either on their personal patio or in the front porch rocking chairs that face the magnificent Stone Mountain carving of the Confederate Memorial.
And when is it?
The Getaway will be October 8 through October 11, and limited space is still available.
Do you have a website where people can go to read more?
Absolutely! Homeschoolers can visit our website at www.schoolsoutforever.org to register and reserve accommodations. There is also a link on the site to the SOFG yahoo list, where we talk, plan, and add new information.
Where will the Getaway be in 2010?
Ah! I cannot reveal that just yet. We are looking at a few possibilities, and all of them would be exciting for different reasons. But, until we sign on the dotted line, I am afraid we have to keep it a secret!
What is the future of HA-NC and how does the organization support homeschoolers?
Future ideas include maximizing the use of the internet to bring homeschoolers together, via online virtual conferences and online used home school curriculum sales. These two together will help homeschoolers stay connected and find the support they need.
We also have plans in development to provide additional resources on our website such as a high school transcript planner, and diploma creator. And, as I mentioned earlier, we are continually seeking out discounts that would be useful for homeschooled families. We also welcome new and fresh ideas from our membership!
How can others get involved in HA-NC?
HA-NC is truly a grass roots effort, and we welcome all the help we can get! In fact, HA-NC is looking for energetic and committed homeschoolers to join our Board of Directors.
I would recommend first going to our website, and joining HA-NC, and then clicking on the link to join our yahoo group. The yahoo group is our primary method of communication, and a great source for discovering how to become more involved. It also provides yet another opportunity for finding support and friendship.
Our board of directors is excited about the progress we have made, about the events we are planning, and about all of our ideas for the growth of HA-NC. We want others to be excited too, and we are working hard to build HA-NC into an organization that will stand on its own, grow, and meet the varied needs of all homeschoolers in North Carolina.
I want to thank Teri for taking the time to talk to me today. There are many exciting things on the horizon for HA-NC.