Homeschooling Through Loss

Our family homeschooled for seven years before Rob died, and we joyfully watched our children grow into intellectually curious students and voracious readers. More than that, our family became its own little tribe, deeply committed to each other.

Homeschooling became even more precious the last three years of Rob’s life when he transitioned to working from home. Over breakfast, Rob would discuss geology with one. Over his lunch break, he’d sweat out a workout with two. And every night, we’d pile onto the couch beside him to read aloud, exploring ancient worlds and journeying to fantastical places together. Relationship building became the core of our homeschool intentions.

Each year, we’ve schooled a little differently. This year, all of our children have begun schooling outside our home in some way. Our oldest two attend university-model classes; our youngest two attend school part-time. Still, our Fridays are spent together at home just like they’ve always been. In all of the change we’ve experienced, Fridays still feel familiar. We’re still the tribe where each cares for the other. The younger one learns to read with her brother. The older sister reviews her Spanish vocabulary words with the younger ones. And the dog finds companionship with anyone schooling on the floor.

When I worry about how my children will carry Rob’s death for the rest of their lives, I often read about resilience. (I’ve got Harvard’s study bookmarked on my phone.) Research indeed has shown that the trauma of a parent’s death can disrupt a child’s development in deep and long-lasting ways. Yet, these same studies also say that children can develop resilience in the face of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The single most important indicator of resilience — deep relationships. Our family has that in spades.

Homeschooling isn’t the only way to develop deep relationships, just like it’s not the only way to school. But for our family, these years have created a beautiful scaffolding that now is holding us up as we grieve and live forward together.

Published by Clarissa Moll

Discovering grace in grief

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