The Home School Court Report
No. 1

In This Issue

Due to space constraints, Doc’s Digest did not appear in the January/February 2010 issue. Doc’s Digest will resume publication on a new rotating schedule beginning in the March/April issue.

The Last Word Previous Page Next Page
by J. Michael Smith
- disclaimer -
Power Perfected in Weakness

Our cover story in this issue of the Court Report addresses how the recession affects homeschoolers. It is challenging enough for homeschoolers in good times because, unlike the general population, homeschooling families are usually supported by only one parent’s earnings. This challenge is especially difficult in a situation where a single parent has taken on the challenge of homeschooling and supporting the family.

One of the responsibilities I have assumed at HSLDA is to review requests for membership fee scholarships. Years ago, the Home School Foundation set up the Members Helping Members Fund to help families with limited resources to join HSLDA.

Many of our members have donated to that fund over the years-a fund that is especially critical today in light of the increased number of families who are now requesting help to pay for their memberships.

J. Michael Smith
J. Michael Smith, President
Home School Legal Defense Association

Our position at HSLDA is that we want to make it possible for any applying family facing a financial barrier to join. That’s our commitment to the homeschooling community and it has been for years.

I have two thoughts on homeschooling through hard times. The first relates to the Home School Foundation, a sister organization of HSLDA, which has the motto, “Helping families homeschool through hard times.” HSF has been helping families financially for 15 years now. Our first fund was the Widows Fund, through which we sought to follow the biblical mandate to help widows and orphans in their time of need. Since that time, we have established several other funds, including our general Compassion Fund, Children of Single Parents Fund, Special Needs Children’s Fund, and International Homeschooling Fund.

HSF has been able to help thousands of families because of the generosity of those who donate to the Foundation. HSF is especially meeting the needs of families experiencing financial difficulty because of this recession.

Marla O’Hern, a widow who received an HSF grant, wrote,

We found out about the Widows Fund through a friend at church. It came at an important juncture for us. We were struggling with our choices for education for this coming fall. When we applied for an HSF grant and were accepted, it seemed to me that the Lord had put His stamp of approval on homeschooling for us. The money we received purchased most of the books we needed for my youngest son. We are grateful for how the Lord uses His people again and again to reach out to us and fulfill His promise to be a “father to the fatherless.” God bless you.

Even in hard times when many homeschooling families are struggling, God is blessing other families who are willing to share that blessing through HSF. If your family is struggling financially, we would urge you to contact HSF through their website at or call to see if there is assistance available to help you.

My second thought is that hard times are probably in our best interest. Hard times give us the opportunity to see our faith strengthened as we have to become dependent upon God. This principle was demonstrated in the life of our recently departed co-laborer, HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka. As most of you know, Chris struggled with multiple sclerosis for 15 years before he finally passed away. In his last days, Chris was able to put many of his thoughts down, which will be placed in a book called, Power Perfected in Weakness: The Journal of Christopher J. Klicka (forthcoming).1 Chris, as a young Christian lawyer, had a burning call in his heart to serve God. He was able to exercise that call through HSLDA by helping thousands of families homeschool in freedom. Many times, Chris questioned why God would give him this tremendous burden of MS, especially because it made it very difficult to carry out his calling.

Chris was very talented and gifted, but as the MS progressively took over his life, he realized that he could not depend on his gifts and talents; he had to depend upon the Lord to sustain him. Although Chris was relegated to a scooter, and many of the bodily functions we take for granted became more difficult for him, he continued to work full time at HSLDA and travel to conferences to speak and encourage thousands of homeschoolers with a new message. That message came about as a result of his suffering with MS.

He was able to share with homeschooling moms and dads that all things are possible with God, and even in our extreme weakness, we can be powerful because of God's intervention. No matter how big the obstacle, God is bigger.

This is the message that we need to hear in difficult times. We cannot give up, especially in homeschooling our children, because of financial difficulties or other obstacles. If God has called us to this endeavor, He will enable us. It is through hard times that we recognize we really are not in control of our lives and no matter what our circumstances, through good times and bad, we need to continually recognize our dependence upon God and give Him the glory for what’s happening in our lives.

In these difficult times, let’s all commit to taking this opportunity to grow closer to the Lord, knowing that He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us and that all things will work together for the good of those who love God.


1 The book title is based on 2 Corinthians 12:9a (New King James Version): “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ ”