Will Shaw co-founded VaHomeschoolers in 1993, along with his friend Jay Phaup, beginning under the name Virginia Home Education Association (VHEA). Initially the members were various homeschooling groups and organizations, and Will served as president, editor, and lobbyist. He and Jay began to see the need for an inclusive statewide organization for individuals and families—one that could not be stereotyped as religious or anti-religious, conservative or liberal, and could not be associated with any partisan political interests. They planned an organization whose only agenda was homeschooling, and which would be self-sustaining and run on a volunteer basis. “Homeschooling is an ideal way to inculcate values, but it is not a political party or tool thereof,” Will believes. “I have been angered by those who try to use homeschool organizations as instruments of political revolution, and in the process damage homeschool interests, the very interests they claim to protect. Such organizations have been impediments to progress, but we progress in spite of them.”
When asked about the benefits of homeschooling, Will joked that he had “more hands for more hours to help stack wood,” and added thoughtfully that he and his wife believe that their four children “had more time to be children, more time to play, to read, to explore, more time to interact with their siblings and with adults, with people of all ages, not just their K-12 age-mates for 13 years.” Will described the benefits of having been involved with VaHomeschoolers as “the honor and pleasure of working so closely for so long with the leaders and volunteers of VaHomeschoolers, people who use their brains and talents and energy selflessly for other homeschoolers. I will always cherish my association with these fine people.” Will and his wife Margaret reside in Louisa County and work in Charlottesville, and both maintain their strong commitment to VaHomeschoolers.