The Washington Times
December 24, 2007

Washington Times Op-ed—Widows Fund Aids Those in Need

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

It’s Christmas Eve. Maybe you’re going to a party, completing some last-minute shopping, preparing for guests, going to a church service or traveling, but whatever your plans, it’s likely to be very different from your normal routine.

It’s tempting, in all the busyness of the season, to forget the purpose of this holiday. It’s also relatively easy to forget that some people, through no fault of their own, have not only been knocked out of their daily routine, but also have been knocked out of their routine for life.

I’m talking about moms who have lost their husbands, and by extension, children who have lost their father.

For homeschooling families, this tragedy can be particularly difficult. Not only have children lost their father, but their individualized education at home may be terminated because of financial issues.

Parents who have experienced the blessings of a home education generally want to continue, but this can be a challenge for widows. The Home School Legal Defense Association started the Home School Foundation Widows Fund to address the needs of homeschooling widows.

Tomorrow marks the celebration of Christ’s entrance into this world, and the HSF takes the message of Christ seriously. Caring for widows and orphans is specifically mentioned as an expression of true religion.

As a charitable organization, HSF has many funds designed to help homeschoolers in need. One of these is a widows fund, which exists to enable widows to continue providing a home education. There are numerous examples of families that HSF has helped, but here is just one.

Teresa lost her husband to leukemia in 1998. She has five children. While sending her children to public school was an option, Teresa wanted to continue homeschooling. She recognized, however, that without support, the children would have to go to public school.

After receiving assistance from HSF she wrote: “If it were not for your support, I would have given up a long time ago.” Teresa also expressed the challenges apparent in the holiday season. “Holiday time is the hardest on families that have a missing parent. ... The memories return and with it the loss.”

We may never know the difficulty of this type of challenge, but we certainly can provide support.

HSF, due to the generous support of its donors, is able to make a difference in the lives of many homeschooling widows. While this time of year has mixed emotions for many, it is also a time to reflect on our blessings.

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, when we’re out of our routine, and so much is happening, but by providing a helping hand to those who need our help, we honor the meaning of Christmas.

As a people, we have been greatly blessed. We have a duty and responsibility to go the extra mile and not forget the families that need our help the most.

HSF is pleased to provide assistance and enable more people to continue experiencing the blessings of a home education.

May you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to media@hslda.org.

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