While homeschooling her children, Mary Wilson heard that Will Shaw, a man she knew to be a strong and positive voice for homeschooling, needed help with VHEA. She volunteered to lend a hand for 15 years as a board member, secretary, and conference chair. She and her husband, Jack, began the publication of the organization’s newsletter in their home, taking it from its fledgling four-page length to 20.

Mary also wrote a popular column called Happy Trails in which she described many of the field trips her family took during their homeschooling adventure. Additionally, Mary was instrumental in helping the organization achieve its non-profit status. While her official roles were many, Mary is also well known for filling voids whenever a need arose—which has included rocking any baby in the vicinity. Mary and her husband homeschooled their three children and, like many others, she considers her “start of homeschooling date” as the day they each were born. When the kids reached school age, the Wilsons decided their children were “too much fun to put into an institution called ‘school’.” They developed a program centered on self-directed learning, volunteering, and mentoring. Their extra reward was witnessing their children grow into confident adults, capable of thinking “outside the box,” and having a sense of giving back to their community. The children have gone on to achieve success at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, Piedmont Virginia Community College, and at Virginia Tech’s School of Natural Resources.

In addition to her work with VaHomeschoolers, Mary is Vice President of Scientific Software Solutions, an international medical software business that started about the same time the family’s homeschooling journey began. This company (www.pedheart.com) provides teaching and cath lab materials relating to congenital heart disease to doctors, nurses, patients, parents and others. She also serves her community by volunteering with Meals on Wheels, and continues to enjoy gardening, her adult kids, and plenty of field trips with her husband.