Home-schooling families gathered Aug. 30, for an ice cream social event at the Fairfax Village Community Center. The event, organized by the Belvoir Home Educators, was for those interested in learning about the group and its benefits and gave families a chance to meet each other and network. Belvoir Home Educators is a home-schooling support group for Belvoir families.

Interested parents were able to take on volunteer positions within the organization, and youth were able to find out about new clubs and activities hosted by BHE.

Lisa Sierra-Davidson, Belvoir Home Educators president, said the ice cream social is a kickoff for the school year, but also gives families looking for home-schooling support to find out what they are all about.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to come out and check us out and meet us,” she said, adding that, while the group has a presence online, the families might want to put a face to the name.

The group has about 150 families in Belvoir Home Educators, she said although there are many more families on post who are not part of the organization.

Samantha Callaghan, a military spouse, has been in the organization for a year. She has home-schooled her family for about two and a half years.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I’ve found that everyone’s been very favorable toward home-schooling and are very supportive.”

She joined because of the support the Belvoir Home Educators provided and the many activities for her children. “I like the freedom of scheduling, choices for curriculum and it helps our family become closer and spend more time together,” Callaghan said.

Because of how frequently they PCSed, Sierra-Davidson’s husband, Army Col. Paul Davidson, said the family got more interested in homeschooling.

“There was a period where we were PCSing every year and a half, every two years,” he said, adding that some families might PCS outside of the normal school system or the new school systems may have “varying degrees of abilities based on your child’s particular needs.”

Instead, with home-schooling, families can build their curriculum based on their children’s needs and without interrupting their schooling, Col. Davidson said.

Interruptions to children’s schooling means there may be educational gaps, as schools don’t share the same curriculum timeline, Lisa Sierra-Davidson said.

“I was able to meet my child’s needs in a consistent way, across the board,” she said.

Home-schooling families don’t have to go it alone, she added, emphasizing they are a support group focused on supporting the needs of home-schooled families.

“We are here. We are here to support them in any way if they decide to home-school. Because, when you’re part of our group … you can homeschool in the way that you want to home-school and just take what you need from our group, whether it’s field trips, P.E. classes, or even if it’s just the social part of it,” Lisa SierraDavidson said.

Home-schooling families with access to Belvoir interested in joining the Belvoir Home Educators, are asked to visit www.homeschool-life. com/va/bhe. Membership is $25.