There is much to consider when organising an event for a community of home educating families – too much to document in just one article! That said, this article will present a basic time line for organising an event that is registered and insured with Home Education Australia (HEA).
It Starts with a Need
Most home education events start with a need. That need is usually felt by the home educator organising the event or another family known to them. From there, the organiser needs to determine two major resource needs for the event – the venue and any specialists that are needed to run the event. Booking a venue also places them in a situation where a time, or potential times will need to be tentatively booked.
The Nitty-gritty Stuff
The next phase is publicity. But wait! What about the nitty gritty stuff? Yes, before sending emails to every relevant home education mailing list someone will need to sit down and work out the nitty gritty details. This may include floating the concept on the list to get a feel for demand if there are minimum numbers for a booking. It will then involve establishing the date and time of the event, confirming a venue, securing specialists and registering the event with Home Education Australia.
Registering your Event with Home Education Australia
Home Education Australia (HEA) have a web page with all the specific details of registering an event so that you are insured. In a nutshell, there are three main considerations worth highlighting from the information provided by the association.
Firstly, you will want to register the event as soon as practicable so that insurance can be arranged. This allows sufficient time for a committee member to notify the insurer with enough time for them to get back to you if they require further information or cannot cover aspects of the event. It is also a requirement that you specifically include information that it is a ‘HEA event’ on all publicity materials.
You will also need to factor in an additional charge of 20% added to the cost for non-members of HEA, who do not elect to become members before attending the event, when determining pricing. This is a way to encourage families to join the HEA and create a fair funding arrangement for not just the work that is undertaken member or members organising the event but also those by the HEA committee and other members who arrange broader publicity and also liaise with policy makers within government agencies in respect to the specific needs of home education families amongst other administrative tasks.
The third thing to note is that HEA is a not-for-profit association and there is to be no profit derived for any home educator personally as a direct result of organising a HEA event. Within reason organisers can be provided with reasonable allowances for travel, phone calls, personal attendance of the event and like costs. Any proceeds from the event, including any HEA registration fees should be returned to the Home Education Association either directly through direct deposit or by applying the proceeds to funding a future HEA event.
Of course, there is a lot more information for you to consider for your event registration. So, please, check out the full details on the HEA web site.
Publicise, publicise, publicise!
Once you have registered your event and you are up to speed on all HEA requirements it is time to get your event known to the home education community. This can be done in a variety of manners including home education mailing lists and newsletters, local newspapers and shop poster displays for those amenable to the home education community. Be sure to also ask others to share it with the home educators they know as often there are overlaps in home education circles and word of mouth can be vital to getting your event information out there! Anther thing to remember is to send out reminders as the event draws closer too.
In the couple of weeks before the event you will need to brief any other organisers as well as any specialists on what the agenda is for the event, you will also need to put a call out for volunteers if your require them and brief them also. You will then need to undertake any pre-event administrative tasks. This will take some thought as to how you expect the event to proceed and you may wish to take sometime to time line all activities that need to be taken from the start of set up until everything is packed away and ensure that enough time has been allowed for the event.
The Event Itself
If you have done a lot of the hard work beforehand this should be the easy part! It will simply mean co-ordinating the setup for the event, enjoying the event with a little troubleshooting where necessary, packing up at the conclusion and maybe having some wind-down time with other organisers and volunteers at the conclusion. Then you can take a few days to rest but it’s not over yet!
After you have run your HEA event you will need to return copies of the HEA registration forms, event attendance forms and any other documentation to the HEA for their records. Any funds collected will also need to be banked or recorded for the HEA as a contribution towards a future event. Consideration should also be given to posting out thank you letters or cards to those contributing to the event as well as following up on any attendees who wished to get connected to other members or home education groups.
Once all the follow-up tasks are done and dusted then it is time to make a choice – put your feet up and relax (well, not really because home educators are always on the go) or organise another event. The choice is up to you!
Kristy A. Bennett [http://www.kristy.id.au/] is a homeschooling mother of three boys and co-ordinates her eclectic learning environment and the learning needs of her children in parallel with her business interests . She