Court Report

Beauty from Ashes

Anne Bittner

HSLDA Compassion Senior Grant Administrator

The Snow family’s house went up in flames in an electrical fire on January 2, 2023. James and Deanna Snow and their children escaped without harm, but the family lost 85 percent of their belongings. The home was completely destroyed.

Most of their furniture, clothing, and personal items were consumed in the blaze or ruined by smoke and water. After homeschooling nine children over 25 years, replacing the accumulated books and educational materials would be no small task.

Damage to the Snow's home

Some of the damage to the Snows' home

Homeschooling had always provided the Snows with time together and a flexible schedule. Amid this sudden devastation, it would also give them the space to help their children process their grief and adjust to a new life.

Although the home was destroyed, their insurance company called it a remodel and gave an estimate far below what the Snows actually needed to fix it. In the end, the house had to be torn down and rebuilt. The long and stressful process was complicated when county building codes caused a six-month delay—just to clear the rubble.

While they waited, the Snows did their best to carry on and create a routine for their children.

James and Deanna rented a home and borrowed books from friends, so they were able to homeschool the basic subjects. But with four school-aged children in the house, they needed a wide range of curriculum, as well as a laptop and a printer.

Something to call their own

Deanna turned to HSLDA for help. The Snows had been members for years and had always called us to ask questions about state laws, but now Deanna wondered if we might have information on used curriculum. That’s when she learned about HSLDA’s Compassion Curriculum Grants and filled out an application.

The family was soon approved for a grant, and James and Deanna were able to purchase everything their kids needed for the school year. “When our materials arrived, the children excitedly opened boxes and boxes of curriculum,” Deanna said. “And we thanked God for the gift of HSLDA’s donors who made this possible for us.”

The family received free curriculum from the publisher My Father’s World, as well as discounts from other vendors who partner with HSLDA.

“It’s been so refreshing not to worry about having curriculum,” Deanna added. “We were able to move the children forward in their studies.”

These savings were especially meaningful for their youngest daughter, Ariella, who is 6 years old. She had always loved arts and crafts, but her supplies were destroyed in the fire. Now her bed and dresser were rented, and her toys and books were on loan.

With leftover grant funds made possible by the discounts from vendors, her parents purchased new art materials, as well as a used desk they found at a thrift store. That evening, Ariella sat at her desk brimming with excitement at her new supplies, grateful to have something she could call her own.

“Our emphasis has never been on ‘things,’” Deanna said. “But in a time when ‘things’ had been turned upside down, having materials to be creative again did her heart good.”

The Snows have spent the last several months looking for beauty in the ashes.

“Many times we have told others about the generosity of donors and vendors, and how our needs have been met through the Compassion Grant, and we will continue to share this,” Deanna said. “God’s people have been a light in a hard time, and we are eternally grateful.”

Homeschooling families who are experiencing a difficult time can learn about HSLDA’s Compassion Grants by calling 540-338-5600 or visiting

Anne Bittner

HSLDA Compassion Senior Grant Administrator

Anne is a veteran homeschool mom helping financially struggling families obtain grants for their homeschooling needs.