Dear Diary

"And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full" (1 John 1:4).

As I sat reading my thoughts from my prayer journal, I realized just how much my life had changed from the year before. Our first year of homeschooling had stretched me to the limit, and God's Word had encouraged me time and again. Favorite Bible passages and verses were written in entries on difficult days, and the tear-stained pages reminded me of emotional and financial frustrations. However, also recorded were countless moments of joy and discovery in watching my children grow and learn. Looking back, I saw how God had kept His promises and faithfully led me through the exciting and difficult task of homeschooling. Although some prayers were yet to be answered, my written chronicle was an encouragement to continue trusting the Lord for the next school year.

Maintaining a written record of God's miracles and blessings is an important aspect of any Christian's faith. As you document particular times of growth and blessing, you begin to understand God's purpose and plan for your life. Like seeing the bigger picture on a big screen TV, you become more aware of the specific details and events God is using to shape your life. Not only that, but any homeschooling parent can also tell you the very act of writing down information aids in memory retention. Each time you write, God's spiritual lessons become cemented in your mind to increase and strengthen your personal faith.

With summer almost over and the new school year quickly approaching, why not try the best advice I ever received from a seasoned homeschooler? Purchase a personal diary for this year's homeschooling adventure and let your thoughts and reflections take you to a new appreciation for homeschooling and the wonderful Lord you serve! "He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD" (Psalm 102:17-18).

Heavenly Father, what a joy to read and remember Your faithful presence as You upheld and provided for all our homeschooling needs! How great and good You are! Please, show me how to lead my children to You, so they can learn the same incredible lessons You've taught me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(9 comments)

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PAMELA V 07/15/2009 14:19:32

Dear Daily Focus, This is way over due...I want to thank you for these daily inspirations and reflections that are so close to my heart. This one especially, I also review my journal to remind me how much I have grown and where the Lord has taken me this past year. The homeschooling journey is a daily (sometimes hour to hour) reminder of my personal faith. Thank you and God Bless! Pam V, Portsmouth, NH

ALEXANDRA C 07/15/2009 18:20:41

Hi my name is Alexandra and I live in Miami, Fl. My daughter is currently in a private school entering 3rd grade. However after that I plan to homschool her. I am looking for someone who can give me advice where to start to have her homeschooled. I want to get all the info on how to start and the process. I know every state has there own laws in homeschooling, but I want some info on how do I know if she is promoted to 5th grade, when she starts homeschooling. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much! May our Lord continue to Bless you & your family!!!

T C 07/15/2009 20:16:39

What a blessing and inspiration!

WILLIAM W 07/15/2011 04:52:54

To Alexandra C, I am just beginning the homeschooling process, this will be my second year, talk about being overwhelmed, I came across a "how to book". HOW TO HOME SCHOOL (A PRACTICAL APPROACH) by Gayle Graham. I found it to be very helpful. Hang in there!

JULIE J 07/15/2011 08:01:54

Alexandra, My advice would be to find a local support group if at all possible, and start attending meetings and such this year to prepare yourself for next year. Go to the library and check out all the resources they have about homeschooling. Start looking at homeschool curriculum catalogs and seeing what looks like it might work for your daughter. Go online and request catalogs from different suppliers (such as AOP, of course!) :) Talk to any homeschooling Mom that you know. Most are eager to share their experiences. Visit homeschool blogs and support forums. These are all the things I did while my son was in preschool and I started feeling the prompting of the Lord to homeschool him starting in kindergarten. I was more than \"pumped\" and ready to go after all this reseach and preparation!! God bless you in your endeavor!

JULIE J 07/15/2011 08:04:03

Alexandra, Sorry I forgot to mention also try to attend your state\'s curriculum fair too. This is something I have not done yet myself, due to health reasons that make it hard for me to be on my feet for extended periods of time. But everyone I\'ve every talked to who has been to one said it is SO enouraging and helpful.

CARIN M 07/15/2011 09:06:17

Hi Alexandra, I second the finding a group if you can. One that fits your beliefs and style. Google your state and home school laws and you should be able to find a site that leads to the laws for your state. For example, in my state we have to declare with our local school district at age 8, test once a year, and take one class if we don\'t have at least 90 college credits. Home School Legal Defense web-site also has home school laws on it for each state. When my oldest was 4 I read numerous books from the library and went to a home school convention (very helpful for seeing curriculum in person). I also talked to a neighbor who home schooled. My favorite book was Lisa Welchell\'s So You are Thinking About Home schooling. It can be found on Amazon, and maybe even in the library. You can do this. Having a curriculum helps a lot. Thank you for today\'s devotional and your transparency. I really thought I was the only one who had a difficult first year of home schooling. My first 1 1/2 years was challenging! As it became routine though it is the most rewarding work I have ever done in my life. Blessings.

CARIN M 07/15/2011 09:09:27

Hi again Alexandra, You asked about how to know when they go to the next grade. I think it depends on the child and the curriculum you use, or multiple curriculums. We use the grade level our children would be in if they attended school when we are asked. In school work though they range over 5 grades for their grade level, since they are 1 - 4 grades ahead in some subjects, and one grade behind in their challenge area. This will be different though I think in each home school home. Some may keep them all at grade level in each subject, then at the end of the year you move up.

KATHY S 07/15/2012 07:49:51

Hi Alexandra, The FIRST and MOST important thing that I feel to do is Hire HSLDA it\'s like $25 down and $10. a month. They sent me a form to withdraw my son from Public School properly. And are always available for advice re: anything legal. My friend who home schools her 7 children advised me to do this before anything else. Also, in Illinois, I called the \"Will county Regional Office of Education\", the employee there told me \"once you pull your child out, the govenmental schools/district has nothing more to do with you (YEAH!) we were on our own. (the goal). So, whatever county you\'re in, in Florida should have one of these offices. ( I got the # from out local school district) Next I went to a store called \"chalkboard\" they have a ton of books and resources to choose from, but it only goes until 8th grade. Nice place. What I couldn\'t get there, I ordered from AOP. We like to go to our Local library for school a few days a week. They have private cubicles that usually can be reserved and are mainly used after school hours, so if you go during the day, they are always free. Right next to the cubicles is the \"Homeschool section\" at our Library. When I first started, they had minimal resourses, so I inquired and complained and now the shelves are full. Huge books with maps, math resurce books ECT. You cannot check out alot of these books from the Library, but you can use them there. So if you have a Library close by, it\'s a great place for quiet, resources and change of scenery from home. My son has ADD and special needs, so we do only 1-2 subjects per day. For him it\'s easier, and by the end of the week we\'ve done the same amount of work that should be done, just in a different way. Whatever works for you and your child will be the best way. I\'ve only been doing this since last November, so this will be our 2nd year. I can tell you that it was the best decision we ever made. I\'m sure you and your child will love it too! God Bless and Good luck!

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