A reader recently wrote and asked me to consider writing on a topic that, as it turns out, had already been heavily on my mind recently – what would happen with the kids and their education if their homeschool mom were seriously injured or died.
Sadly, the reason it had been so heavy on my heart is that this just happened to a homeschool mom I know. She was only 41 years old and her death was completely unexpected. She left behind her husband and three children, ranging in age from 6-12.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a homeschool mom with whom I’m acquainted has passed away unexpectedly. Several years ago, a homeschool mom and dad and one of their three children were killed in a car accident.
So, how do you plan for the unexpected and unthinkable?
Acting on a suggestion I read somewhere several years ago, my husband and I changed our life insurance policy to cover the payoff of our home and two years of expenses if something should happen to him. That way, the kids and I would not have to make any rushed decisions regarding their education if something happened to their dad.
But, what if something happened to me?
I’ve always thought that the death of a homeschool mom was a double blow to the kids. Not only have they lost their mom, but their whole world, likely, is going to be turned upside down, without even the comfort of a familiar daytime routine to provide them with some sense of normalcy.
What are some things you should consider when planning for something that you hope never happens?
**Disclaimer: This is the part where I should point out that I haven’t taken my own advice, beyond brainstorming ideas.
Is there a close homeschool mom friend who might be willing to school your children? This would be one huge responsibility, commitment, and, in all honesty, burden to ask someone to undertake because it would involve a huge disruption to not only another family’s school day, but their lives as well since we all know that homeschooling is as much a lifestyle as it is an educational choice.
For that reason, to even consider asking this of another family is something that would require much prayer. Then, if it was decided to move forward, I would not accept their answer until they’d had some time to carefully pray over the decision.
Is there a close friend or relative who might be able to act as caregiver for your children? Kids who are a little older are often fairly independent with their schoolwork. In that case, it might be that they simply need someone to by physically responsible for and available to them during the day.
A grandparent might be able to take on the role of caregiver while Dad is working. There are a lot of computer or online programs, such as Switched-on-Schoolhouse, that would allow a child to work mostly on her own. Working with a Dad or a tutor in the evenings or on the weekend is a possibility, as well.
Could (or does) Dad work a non-traditional shift? If so, it could be that he could be available to the kids during the day and they could spend the night with grandparents or other relatives or a caregiver could spend the nights with them. Of course, Dad has to sleep sometime, too, so that would have to be taken into consideration.
Could (or does) Dad work from home? This could alleviate the caregiver issue. In this case, Dad might be able to help with schoolwork or even hire a tutor. A responsible college student might be a good option in a case like this, depending on your state’s homeschool laws.
Are you prepared for public/private school to be an option? Unfortunately, public or private school may be the only option in the event of the death or debilitating injury of a homeschool mom. This might be one of those times that standardized test records or portfolios are beneficial. These records of your child’s achievements and abilities might make the entrance to a more traditional form of education easier, from an administrative/placement standpoint.
It’s probably a good idea to discuss the options with your spouse. If there is a private school that you would prefer, finances may be a consideration, which may influence your decisions regarding your own life insurance coverage.
Nobody wants to think about such a tragedy occurring in your family, but I’d rather have a plan in place and never need it than have tragedy strike and find my family completely unprepared.
Have you ever considered what might happen in the event of your untimely death? Do you have any suggestions or considerations to add?