NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Homeschoolers Helping Homeschoolers

by Cherise Ryan   

    For a child with Downs Syndrome, Timmy continually amazes his homeschooling mother, Anna Cook*, with his mental capacities. Yet, finding an educational program that will help her six and a half year-old son is a constant concern and financial strain for Anna.

    When Anna heard about the Home School Foundation’s Special Needs Fund, she had renewed hope that she might be able to purchase the needed materials to further Timmy’s education. 

     Anna’s family is one of hundreds of homeschooling families that are being helped by the Home School Foundation.

HSF is a charitable offshoot from the Home School Legal Defense Association. HSLDA established it in 1992 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit charitable foundation to minister to homeschoolers in need.

    “We all know, from shared experiences, that one of the key components of homeschooling is acts of giving—giving time, energy, money, our very selves for the sake of others,” said Mike Smith, President of HSLDA and HSF.

“The Home School Foundation is a conduit between families in need and those members of a compassionate community who would love to reach out to them,” Smith said.

    The Foundation helps families through a wide variety of funds, including a: Widows’ Fund,  Special Needs Children’s Fund, Children of Single Parents Fund, and a general Compassion Fund. 

    “Each of [Huff’s funds] helps fulfill our mission in a unique way,” said HSF Executive Director Chuck Hurst.

 “Behind all this there is the idea of community—that we should take care of our own and that we are all stronger together. And the idea of compassion—that those who have should help those with less,” Hurst continued.

 In November of 1999, a father in Virginia learned of the death of a fellow homeschooling father.

     This father knew that life was going to be difficult enough for the man’s wife and children without the added worry of how to continue to afford homeschooling curriculum. Recognizing that other families were facing the same hard circumstances, this father decided to establish a fund to assist widows with the financial costs of homeschooling. In March 2000, HSF’s Widows’ Fund was born.

 When Elizabeth Turner heard about the Widows’ Fund, her first thoughts were, “God you are so good.”

     “When my husband passed away suddenly in 1998, we spent the whole year just in shock. But the Lord showed us that He is our foundation. It seemed that every time I opened the Bible, I would read how the Lord cares for widows and the fatherless,” Elizabeth remembers.

     HSF was able to step in and support Elizabeth’s commitment to train her children.

 “When [the Lord] says that He is a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows, He truly is,” said Elizabeth.

 Since the founding of its Widows’ Fund, HSF has received hundreds of calls from single parents, mostly abandoned moms, who also need financial assistance to homeschool. Another successful homeschooling business man, realizing that children from broken homes suffer financially through no fault of their own, gave a grant to start the Children of Single Parents Fund.

     “Our focus with this fund is on the children—children who are often innocent bystanders to the brokenness in their homes,” said Hurst.

Shelley Smith’s husband tried to take his own life in 2000, disabling himself.  In 2001, he divorced her, leaving her with many unpaid bills. He no longer sees the children.

     HSF helped Shelley in her financial difficulties and she continues to homeschool her children. 

 Shelley later told HSF that “in spite of anything the enemy has tried to do to us, God’s will has prevailed. Our home schooling was protected and sustained by Him.”

If you are a homeschooler in need of assistance, know someone in need of assistance, wish to donate, or simply desire more information about the Foundation, please visit our website,



*Names of families have been changed to protect their privacy.