The process of looking outside the box started at my husband's memorial service. My nine-year-old son stood tall and proud as he read the 23rd Psalm. Later, looking out our door to the sheep in our pasture, I knew where our homeschooling needed to begin. Our first 'text' was A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by Weldon Phillip Keller. He begins the book by asking, "But who is the Lord? What is His character? Does He have adequate credentials to be my Shepherd - my maker - my owner? And if He does - how do I come under His control? In what way do I become the object of His concern and diligent care?" Through Keller's eyes we experienced science, language arts, and reading comprehension, but most of all we learned that our Shepherd had adequate credentials to take our sad and broken family and begin piecing us back together again. Each day we focused on positive ways to deal with our grief and our new position, I realized that even though we were not stretching mathematical horizons, we were doing something far more important: something that would lay the foundation for learning to homeschool all over again. Without building on a firm foundation, homeschooling as a widow was rapidly going to become overwhelming. We could not change our new position in life so we were going to have to change our approach. That was not a speedy or painless process, but it paved the way for success when we returned to a more normalized homeschool routine.

Most homeschool families will not encounter the enormous obstacles that widows or widowers face in the process of continuing to homeschool their children. However at some time in their homeschool experience, most families will be faced with a crisis that will force them to pause for a time and focus on each individual's needs. It is important that we keep our priorities in view and not become so concerned with educational objectives that we miss the opportunity to help our children grow spiritually and emotionally in times of crisis.

Copyright, 2003. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Used with permission. I am Grace Hull, founder of FOYCWW. My husband Stephen was a pastor for 16 years and died in 1998. We have 6 children, and have homeschooled for the past 21 years.  Fellowship of Young Christian Widows-Widowers is an organization offering encouragement and hope to young widows/widowers seeking first to honor Christ and secondly to honor their spouse who has died. Fellowship of Young Christian Widows-Widowers, PO Box 438, El Dorado, CA 95623.