Love, Mercy, & Grace. We all need them. According to Webster’s Dictionary one definition of love is “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”, mercy is “compassionate treatment “, & grace is “the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful”.

This year has certainly been a roller coaster for many of us. And, not one that even the most adventurous among us would have gotten in line for willingly. The biggest change for many people has been having to decide how to educate their kids. Homeschooling has become an option for people that never thought they would choose or be able to choose it, and the current situation with the schools has given some parents the push they felt they needed to choose an option they’ve been considering for a while now. Whatever the reasons, homeschooling is growing.

Change can often bring uncertainty. Am I doing enough? Did I make the right decision? What curriculum do I choose? Do I have to have a curriculum? How will I handle being with my kids all day? Can I work and homeschool? Will my kid(s) fall behind? Will my kid(s) be able to go to college? And on and on the questions go, and they circle in the heads of new homeschoolers making them dizzy.

I hope I can help with some of those questions here today. Obviously, this is a general blogpost and may not pertain to everyone. I can not cover the laws of every state (yes, they differ – and not all states have laws on homeschooling) – for that, search the net (or FB) for a state homeschool group that can tell you your states laws or check with HSLDA. On FB, you can find groups for your state, city, curriculum, life philosophy, and more. HSLDA & your state group can point you to local groups as well. It is great to find other parents that are on the same journey you are on and that have gone before.

Honestly, there are many ways to homeschool. You can use a boxed curriculum that has every subject for the grade your child is in. You can use the internet and local public library to homeschool for free. You can gameschool. You can unschool. You can piece different curriculums together to best suit each child, their learning abilities & styles, your teaching style, the time you have to teach, and their grade levels ( your kids can be doing work from many grade levels at once).

Some homeschoolers complete their curriculum every year, some never complete a curriculum. Don’t stress over it, this happens in public and private schools as well. If you choose to purchase a curriculum, make use of the placement tests to make sure you are placing your child where they need to be and to make life less stressful for both of you. Don’t worry if they seem to place lower or higher than their public / private school grade level, curriculums have different standards so seem to be at different levels. You want to make sure you are teaching to where your child is. They may be able to skip lessons or levels and get back to where you feel they need to be. Remember you are teaching to an individual child and not a classroom of children, even if you are teaching 5 individuals 😉

I heard someone say recently, “the right decision is the one you made”. You made this decision based on love. You can’t second guess yourself constantly or you will stress yourself, your kids, & your spouse out. When we first started homeschooling, I was overwhelmed with all the choices. My husband once told my mom that he wished I was more confident in my decisions. He didn’t say that because he was tired of me asking his opinion about what curric we should use, how many days a week we should school, when we should take breaks, should I let our son fidget when I read aloud (the answer was yes, he retained the information when I let him fidget, if I didn’t let him fidget he was concentrating so hard on sitting still & being completely quiet that he couldn’t concentrate on what I was saying). Anyway, my husband wished I was more confident in my decisions b/c he could see that the lack of confidence and the indecision was wearing on me & the kids. You made the choice to homeschool, now own it and run with it!

Give yourself, your kid(s), & your spouse love, mercy, & grace. And take time to enjoy the journey!

~ Rachel

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