The Trauma Assistance Program at NEXT Eduation helps homeschooling families during times of trauma, particularly the death of a very close loved one who passes in a traumatic way (an untimely death of a parent or sibling in the family, or the shocking kind of death that is covered by local news services).
The Trauma Assistance Program offers free tuition to families who are in trauma recovery, so children can attend NEXT Education. We can also assign a buddy child or buddy parent, in case of recent loss when families need assistance getting supplies or keeping track of homework details.
Our particular focus for this program is supporting homeschool teachers who experience a trauma in the middle of their career as homeschool teachers, or who pass away in the middle of their career. Trauma (in parents, or even in kids) has short term effects, such as crying and feeling spacey and disconnected. But, when it’s significant in size and duration, trauma also has long term effects such as being unable to think of words, having memory loss, being highly sensitive to danger or loss in the lives of others, and experiencing deep shifts in personality and motivation. Trauma leaves behind a person who is profoundly changed: for example, great faith in God, but less patience with triviality. Heightened creativity is unleashed after trauma recovery is complete, and yet some things that most people can do easily … can remain difficult for a trauma survivor for a surprising number of years.
For homeschool families who are experiencing trauma, particularly a trauma that impacts the primary homeschool teacher, there is a greater need for support. “Just putting the kids in school” isn’t the easy solution that some people suggest it would be. A homeschool teacher who is temporarily unable to teach, is also a parent who is needed more than ever to support kids through the trauma. Kids also have an increased need for parenting when the homeschool parent is now faced with being the only parent. Having the kids make a huge life transition into a five-day school setting at the same time that they need quality time with a parent … might not be the best way through the situation.
When kids attend NEXT Education two days a week, they are still with family for the other five, and they have structured homework assignments that simply life. On NEXT Education days, kids can get a break from the sad feelings that can sometimes be overwhelming to a family, and spend time with other kids … just being normal. Plus, with the education part of the homeschool life taken care of, family members are free to focus their limited time and energy in the place it is needed most: taking care of the spiritual and emotional lives of the people in the family. However, we love to have everyone participate in our learning community as recovery occurs. Volunteer work is a great way to stay connected to others through every life circumstance.
Rachel Conner, founder of NEXT Education, is a homeschooling mom since 2008, and also a trauma survivor since 2013. She founded NEXT Education in 2017 because of her passion for supporting families who want to homeschool but need a helping hand, for any reason.
The Trauma Assistance Program also provides assistance to teachers and peers on campus with a child in the program, so they can appropriately respect sensitive topics and help healing children (and parents) experience community and acceptance throughout their trauma recovery.
Prior involvement in NEXT Education classes is not necessary for consideration for the Trauma Assistance Program. Also, the Trauma Assistance Program is not a single-year solution for a family, but lasts for the lifetime of the trauma (for example, five years). At NEXT Education, we consider all homeschoolers to be our family, and we know trauma survivors will love being part of our family as they recover, and even as they begin to thrive again. We are proud to love and support our family members who are in need!