You know that feeling you get when you cook a healthy, delicious meal from scratch and your whole family loves it? Or when you choose the perfect gift for your mom – the thing she didn’t even know she wanted, but that brings a huge smile to her face? Or when you coordinate a fascinating field trip to complement your kids’ history lesson, and instead of bickering in the back seat, they talk all the way home about how much fun they had? That’s the feeling that you get when you do something from your heart, working hard and motivated by true caring, and your effort hits home and makes a real difference.
Sometimes, volunteering for The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers can give you that same feeling. This week, I had a couple of opportunities to experience that feeling. I’d love to share them with you.
Great Feeling #1
My first great moment began when a mom called VaHomeschoolers’ Homeschool Helpline because she needed assistance in resolving a difficulty with her local school division. Our Homeschool Helpline team of volunteers took the call initially and requested my services as Government Affairs Director and helpline volunteer. This mom had filed her Notice of Intent to homeschool for the coming year with her local school division and was told that her family’s status was probationary. The mom felt this probationary status was incorrect.
This family had been Virginia residents and homeschooled in the past, but moved out of state before the school year ended. The move happened suddenly, and the family did not think to provide the school division with a courtesy notification that they were leaving. Fast-forward a little more than a year, and the family is once again living in Virginia, in the same school division, filing their paperwork to homeschool for the upcoming school year. The school division stated that this family’s homeschooling status for the coming year would be probationary because the school division had never received proof of academic progress for the previous school year. Despite the fact that this decision would not prevent the family from homeschooling, the mom felt this decision was wrong, and not in line with the law. She contacted VaHomeschoolers, and we agreed with her.
VaHomeschoolers provided the parent with some advice and information to write her own letter to the school division. When the response was unfavorable, with the parent’s permission, we contacted the division on her behalf. After a series of emails, the problem was favorably resolved. The school division now has a clearer understanding of the law, the parent has relief and satisfaction, and we VaHomeschoolers volunteers who helped her received her grateful thanks, as well as a promise of membership. What a great feeling!
Great Feeling #2
The second great moment this week came when I was working with VaHomeschoolers volunteer Nicole Hoffman. Nicole helped me complete a postal mail effort to ensure that each of Virginia’s 132 school divisions are aware of the recent change in the curriculum description requirement, enacted by the 2012 General Assembly, and will provide them with information about VaHomeschoolers’ services and publications. As Nicole and I worked, she told me about her family’s plans to move out of Virginia – and of her intention to continue her VaHomeschoolers membership and volunteer work even when she lives in another state.
I was excited, and so pleased to hear how much Nicole values VaHomeschoolers – and I understood just how she feels. Nicole said she doesn’t want to leave VaHomeschoolers Voice behind, because she loves the magazine for its curriculum ideas and reviews, field trips, and more. She said she values VaHomeschoolers’ work as an inclusive homeschooling organization, and she wants to continue to support that. I shared Nicole’s comments with our Voice staff and my fellow Board of Directors members, and we all felt wonderful to know that Nicole sees the same great things in VaHomeschoolers that we see.
I’ll admit that there are days when this volunteer gig can be hard, and can seem like it’s taking up too much time, sapping a bit too much energy, or preventing me from pursuing other things I’d like to do. But weeks like this one put it all in perspective and restore all of that energy and enthusiasm, and then some. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s a lot like homeschooling! Oh, what a feeling!