Celebrate Memorial Day with these FREE Virtual Military Museum Tours!

Memorial Day 2024 is on Monday, May 27, and as home educators we want to make sure our kids not only learn the history and significance of Memorial Day, but celebrate in a way that is enjoyable and helps them retain the knowledge they learn.

From Wikipedia:

Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. From 1868 to 1970, it was observed on May 30. Since 1971, it is observed on the last Monday of May.

This is a day to remember ALL veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation, from 1775 to today, and is incredibly important to pass on to future generations. Here are some engaging and fun ways to learn, celebrate, respect, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation:

For more American history make sure to check out A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to America’s Age of Entitlement!

Here are six FREE Virtual Museums you can visit with your kids to help them learn more about the battles and sacrifices of our armed forces:

Museum of the American Revolution Virtual Tour: This is an amazing 360 degree panoramic virtual tour of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, PA, the birthplace of liberty, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Learn about battles such as The Battle for New York and the aftermath of the war with a visit to the writing and ratification of the Constitution.

The American Civil War Museum: has several online exhibits including the 15th Amendment and right to vote, the Confederate Flag, the Richmond uprising and more!

National World War I Museum & Memorial: This museum has several different exhibits including a guided tour with retired Colonel R. Dudley!

National World War II Museum: There are all kinds of amazing virtual exhibits including virtual tours of Tokyo, Berlin, and the military equipment used to defend freedom and beat the Axis powers!

Vietnam War Pentagon Virtual Tour: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War the Department of Defense created an exhibit on the third floor of the Pentagon. There you learn the history of the United States’ involvement in the war through videos, photos, and more. Now with the virtual tour you can learn about various operations and events as you see what you would see if you were there in person!

National Museum of the Marine Corps: In this virtual museum of the USMC you can see how Marines are made, the history from the beginning through various wars, and a combat art gallery.

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day!

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Get Hundreds of FREE Audiobook Titles Just In Time for Summer!

As the school year winds down and summer approaches, us homeschooling families are gearing up for a season with a *bit* more relaxation, exploration, but also continued learning, even if at a slower pace. Whether you’ll be going on a long road trip or simply looking for ways to enrich your homeschooling curriculum, LibriVox is a treasure trove for those wanting great audio books without paying for places like Audible.

What is LibriVox?

LibriVox is a volunteer-driven initiative that offers free audiobooks of public domain works. LibriVox has a huge collection of audiobooks narrated by volunteers from around the world. Founded on the principle of making knowledge and literature accessible to all, LibriVox is a valuable resource for homeschooling families seeking to cultivate a love for reading and learning.

There are a TON of great titles on Librivox, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, The Adventures of Pinnochio, and SO may more.

There are several genres available on Librivox as well, from classic literature to children’s literature, history and biography, and even philosophy and religion.

You can head over to Librovox HERE to see all of the amazing works available for free!

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How To Keep Your Kids Learning All Summer Long!

The end of the school year approaching usually means less structure, lighter schedules, and lots more free time. At my house, we start wistfully watching the calendar around April, yearning for the glorious freedom of summer. For the first few weeks, we need to decompress and take it easy. But after some rest, I like to incorporate some of the principles and skills we’ve learned during the year into our days off. Here are some of the ways we continue learning over summer break, and great resources for you to do the same!


I’m a stickler about this one all year! Over summer vacation, I encourage the kids to read but I let them follow their own interests, rather than whatever their curriculum calls for. Some of our favorite titles can be found in these summer reading ideas for teens and elementary-aged kids.


I love documentaries and thinking through the questions they often provoke! My kids also really enjoy watching experiment videos on YouTube. Sometimes we try them ourselves and sometimes we just watch. More general science concepts are well represented on these YouTube channels as well, and we always discuss and dive deeper into subjects of particular interest.


Did I mention my love for documentaries? Well, it’s been successfully passed to my kids and historical documentaries are a fabulous way to learn important lessons from the past. The big streaming services have a variety to choose from, though I find many to be inappropriate for children, so I pick and choose carefully. But YouTube can be another good option here, with a healthy dose of parental monitoring. These are our favorite, kid-friendly history channels!


Math is just a part of everyday life, so it’s actually really simple to incorporate discussion and learning if you put just a little thought into it. Here are my favorite ways to keep practicing math over a break!


Scripture memorization is a foundation of education for us, and I’ve used many methods over the years with varying levels of success. This Scripture memory system has been the most effective, and it’s not strictly regimented, making it a perfect summer-time supplement!

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Free Online Spelling Resources for Homeschoolers!

You may or may not be blessed with a knack for good spelling. My husband and I are naturally good spellers, making it challenging to have a child who is not. I approach it by simply correcting her as I grade her papers.  This year, she is getting formal spelling lessons. The best part is that the spelling lessons are free!

Here are some options for free spelling lessons:

Spelling City

Spelling City is an easy-to-navigate site filled with pre-made spelling lists. The lists are available to print or for use online.  The site also offers games and printable handwriting practice sheets.  While there is a paid version, the free version has a lot to offer.

Home Spelling Words

Home Spelling Words offers basic word lists & tests for grades K-7. You can also add your own lists. It also keeps tests scores and a grade report. This looks like it might work for kids who get distracted by lots of colors and flashing lights on the screen. It’s a basic, easy to use (with tutorials if you need them) program.

Splashes From The River

The Basic Cozy Spelling Course is offered for free from Splashes from the River. It is for ages 9 & up, as you will see if you check out the word lists. This is a course that is designed to go in a specific order, so if you pick and choose lessons, you might miss out on something. It has word lists and dictation sentences for applying context to the list words.

Garden Of Praise

Garden of Praise has Bible-based spelling lessons as well as some musical spelling lessons complete with MIDI files to accompany you. This really is a garden of resources for homeschool parents. Browse around and see if there is something else you might use.

Simply Charlotte Mason

If you are more inclined to skip the online lessons and get back to basics, try the Charlotte Mason style of learning spelling rules while doing copy work. SimplyCharlotteMason.com describes how to use living books, classics, or your normal textbooks to use “prepared dictation” to introduce spelling & vocabulary.

Discovery Education

You can use this Puzzle Maker page to create fun word game printables while using your own lists. For example, if you are doing a literature unit from Garden of Praise on the Boxcar Children Books, you can take the phonograms (rhyming word families) listed and make a puzzle out of them. Some kids won’t even know they are learning!

Master Spell (for Mac)

Master Spell administers spelling drills using over 3,600 included words and sentences spoken with a real voice and supplemental guidance using the Mac’s Text-to-Speech. Parents and teachers can record their own words and sentences too.

Big IQ Kids

Big IQ Kids has free spelling lists for grade levels 1-8. The student earns a coin for each lesson completed. The coins are good for spending in the game section. Some games are more than 1 coin, so kids have to choose between saving and spending. You can chose the option of having grade cards sent to you. This site also has free math fact practice, name the US states, and a virtual spelling bee with kids across the world, or in your own neighborhood! Overall, it seems that this site has some features for free (like grading & report cards) that other sites charge for. They do offer a paid version, but I think the free one is sufficient. (Please note that, for me, this website worked much better on FireFox than on Safari.)

I think there is something here for every kind of learner. Whether you want pencil-and-paper style, literature unit lists, or interactive online lessons, it’s here. Please comment if you have another one that has worked for you!

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Homemade, Allergy-friendly Playdough with Baking Soda!

My kids have always loved playing with playdough! We had just about every mold, model, and extruder we could find, and they filled many love hours with imaginative and creative play in their early years. And with summer around the corner the more fun, non-screen related activities we have for the kids to do the better, and what kid doesn’t love play dough?!

I prefer homemade dough because of its low cost and ingredients I could pronounce, but many of the homemade varieties aren’t ideal for those with food allergies due to their use of gluten and wheat flour. So this homemade recipe uses baking soda and cornstarch, making it gentle on the skin and allergy-friendly!

Gluten-Free Baking Soda Play Dough

*This recipe is an adaption of the Arm & Hammer Play Clay recipe

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. The baking soda makes it fizz for a while before it starts to thicken, which is fun for kids to see! Once it starts to thicken, be vigilant because it goes really fast.
Take it off the heat as soon as it’s thick enough to stick together. Leave partially covered, off the heat until it’s cool enough to be handled.
Separate into equal balls and color with food coloring of your choice. Gel and liquid types both work well!

Food coloring typically comes in red, green, blue, and yellow, so have fun experimenting with different mixtures to get the colors you want. Your kids will love mixing red and yellow to get orange, and red and blue to make purple!

Extra fun options

You could also add ingredients like glitter for sparkly playdough! My personal favorite extra ingredients are essential oils, as I find their medicinal properties to be another great perk to this type of creative, unstructured play!

Simply add 2-3 drops of your favorite oils to your finished batch. For a variety of therapeutic benefits, include 1 drop to each ball after you’ve mixed the food coloring.
The possibilities are really endless here but some of my favorites that come pre-diluted for kids are:

Sleepyize – carefully blended with a variety of calming, quieting oils such as lavender and chamomile

Kidpower –  promotes feelings of positivity and confidence

Geneyus – for clarity, focus and, alertness, perfect for creative play

Find out where to get these great oil blends and learn everything you’ve ever wondered about essential oils by clicking right here!

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Should I Feel Guilty Sending my Toddler to Preschool so I can Homeschool My Older Kids?

Should I feel guilty sending my toddler to preschool so I can homeschool my older kids?

I saw a similar question online and thought it might be helpful to write my thoughts on homeschoolers utilizing preschool to help them focus on their older kids’ education with less interruption. I think most of us would agree that there is nothing morally wrong with sending your kid to preschool, but us mommas sometimes can’t help but have some feeling of guilt when we drop our kids off for someone else to take care of, even if it’s only for a few hours, a few times a week.

While I certainly can’t tell you how to feel, I think reflecting on the idea of preschool as a whole might be helpful in deciding if it’s right for you. Those who have started homeschooling AND have more than one kid have all been there – you’re trying to get through a lesson with your six year old and your two year old fell and hurt themselves or is screaming for food or just screaming for a reason that you don’t know why! Certainly the playpen only goes so far in taking care of the little ones – none of our four kids ever wanted to stay in that thing, so I can certainly relate to wanting some help when you’re trying to stay on task with schooling your older ones. Here are some things I think are important to consider when deciding if preschooling is right for you. 🙂

Is the cost of preschool worth it?

This is of course something we all have to think about. If you’re on a tight budget then preschool can be difficult to afford, and doing a cost benefit analysis on the financial side is super important. You just might find ways you hadn’t thought of to make avoiding preschool work when you look at the cost of some of these schools! Plus, homeschooling becomes far less free when you have to pay for preschool. 🙂

Is the time taking kids and picking them up from preschool worth it?

This might be the thing that tips the scales one way or the other for you more than anything. When you think about the time it takes to pack a lunch, get all of the kids ready, get in the car, drive there, drop them off, drive home, and do it all over again when preschool is over you may realize the time and effort to do this is not worth it. Or, you may think it is. A simple time analysis can help you figure it out:

1. Estimate the time it takes to prepare to leave (packing lunches, getting kids ready for school, getting everyone in the car, etc.)
2. Add that to the time it takes to drive there, drop them off, and drive home.
3. Double that number (minus lunches and some of getting kids ready) and you have your total time
4. Save that number 🙂
5. Now estimate the amount of time lost per day schooling your older kids by having to pacify and attend to the younger ones.
6. Compare those two numbers and you have a somewhat quantifiable comparison to help with your decision.

It just might be that the amount of time lost per day attending to your younger ones is far less than the time to get kids to school and back!

Do you trust the preschool you’re sending them to?

Don’t forget that part of the reason a lot of us homeschool is we do not trust the public institutions that want to “educate” our children. Make sure you know the people running it, and that it will be a safe place for your child spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Even if a church is offering a preschool, make sure you do your due diligence because the people in charge may or may not be someone you’re comfortable with influencing your kids. Make sure to prayerfully consider it and talk to the people in charge in person. And a recommendation from a trusted friend is always a great thing to have.

What is the educational quality of the preschool?

If you do end up choosing to preschool your younger kids, a preschool education has the possibility of helping your future homeschooling quite a bit if they are effective at teaching the basics such as reading, writing, spelling, and some math. Look up reviews from other parents and talk to people in your area that you may know about the preschool you’re looking at and ask them how the education impacted their child. If they found it effective you could be helping yourself as well as your child quite a bit if they already start their homeschooling with you with a lot of the basics down.

That’s all great but… should I feel guilty sending them to preschool?

What I would encourage any parent that’s asking about this first and foremost is to bring it to the Lord in prayer. Take your time, sit on it, talk to friends and those you trust about the decision, and give it time. As I mentioned in the beginning, I do not believe it is an issue of morality in most cases, but when it comes to who we allow to care for our children we want to be extremely careful and discerning, and seeking the Lord and wise counsel is the best way to know if preschool is something that would be good for your family.

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Homeschool Graduation: A Guide to Creating a Memorable and Meaningful Ceremony!

It’s that time of year when homeschoolers are planning for the upcoming graduation of their seniors. We know that there are endless possibilities for creating a special and meaningful event, and it can feel overwhelming at times. From intimate gatherings with close family and friends to larger celebrations with fellow homeschoolers, there are plenty of homeschool ceremony ideas to choose from that can truly honor and highlight the accomplishments of these graduates, and I hope this handy guide helps make your job a little easier.

Planning Your Homeschool Graduation Ceremony

Hosting your own graduation awards ceremony can serve as a platform to acknowledge the hard work and dedication by your student if that is their preference. If they prefer a larger event more like traditional school you can look up organizations in your area that hold graduation ceremonies so your homeschooler can experience a similar type graduation as students from other types of schooling. We are doing this with our kids and highly recommend it! Make sure to get your graduate’s cap and gown in time for whatever ceremony you choose.

And don’t forget to get your homeschooler their diploma as they will certainly want that for display and future proof of graduation. You can order a professionally made diploma or make your own. For homeschoolers attending college check out our post on how you can create your own high school transcript from home!

Homeschool Graduation Gift Ideas

When it comes to planning your homeschool graduation ceremony, personalization is key to making it a truly special event. Consider incorporating personalized graduation ideas such as custom photo displays, handmade decorations, or even a special tribute video. These touches will not only make the event more meaningful but also showcase the graduate’s journey and achievements in a heartfelt way.

Here are some of my favorite graduation gift ideas:

1. Gift Cards! – Gift cards are always welcome by graduates, especially cash cards and Amazon gift cards. 🙂

2. Get them an experience – Sometimes an experience if far more valuable than a gift. Find out somewhere your graduate wants to go or something they want to do and take them there, even if it’s pretty out of the ordinary!

3. Laptop Upgrade – These days everyone needs a laptop, so you may want to consider upgrading to a more recent laptop version. And a lot of them are actually more affordable than you may think!

4. Books – Why not encourage your graduate with some of those old-fashioned paper books or even an audible gift card or subscription to encourage them to let the joy of their learning journey continue! A great book for boy is 7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas and for girls 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness. Both of these gifts accompanied by an encouraging message to the graduate would be a really special gift!

5. Headphones – whether it’s for their laptop or phone, having a nice set of headphones is a great gift to help make their work and play more enjoyable.

The After Party

Make sure to have a fun and enjoyable after party for your graduate. You can do it at your home or at your HOA clubhouse or a restaurant to name a few places. Some light decorations and balloons are a nice touch to make it feel more personal.

Mom and dad can get up and say some nice things about the graduate as well as anyone else. This would be a great time for a time of prayer over your graduate as well to send them off to the next stage of their life!

I hope this guide helps make your graduate’s day more special. Your graduate has worked hard to get to this point, so make sure to make it as meaningful and joyful as possible for your graduate!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Create Your Own High School Transcript From Home!

This question comes up a lot in homeschool circles and groups: what do I do about a high-school transcript? It seems official and formal and scary! But it doesn’t have to be. It’s super helpful to know what requirements your state has for graduation/ college entry, so definitely check out the Homeschool Requirements in Your State to get started.

There are several ways to produce homeschool transcripts for your student, including availability from various organizations and online planner services, but creating your own isn’t as scary as it sounds.

A transcript really only needs the following information

  1. a list of the high school courses that your child has taken,
  2. the grade earned for each course
  3. the credits earned for each course
  4. GPA’s: one for each year and a final, overall GPA
  5. a graduation date/ projected graduation date (for seniors who haven’t yet finished)
  6. Student and school information (student name, birthdate, and/or social security number; school name & address)
  7. your signature

Any additional information is optional (unnecessary) so there’s no need to clutter up a spreadsheet with extra-curricular accomplishments or awards. And their SAT/ACT scores are entered on the actual college application, so there’s no need to include them on the transcript. This is just the academic record. You want it to be as clean and uncluttered as possible. A quick search will pull up hundreds, even thousands of examples to follow.

Check out this incredibly informative post over and Annie and Everything, where she lays it all out for you.

You can download this free transcript template here!

Giving Credit

There are several different ways students may acquire credits. Your state’s requirements will guide you through determining how many credits your student needs in each subject., but oftentimes homeschool moms have questions about what constitutes one high school credit.

To help you make those determinations, here are some examples of how students may acquire credits via subjects or electives:
  • The completion of a high school level textbook
  • Completing a semester-long course at a college
  • Taking a high school or college level online course
  • Completing a year-long unit study (or 2-semester long unit studies)
  • Participate in homeschool sports teams
  • Take private lessons and participate in competitions (Martial Arts, Dance, Swim, Theater, etc.)

General high school credit guidelines are that a 1-year course = one credit; and a semester course = one half credit

What if the course type isn’t so clearly defined? Chess and swim teams don’t exactly measure accomplishments this way, right? In that case, as a general rule, you can calculate credits this way: 120-180 hours of work = one credit. 60-90 hours = one-half credit

Missing Credits

In general, students in a well-planned homeschool won’t be missing credits because the homeschool sets the requirements. As home educators, we are aware of the workload facing our students in their college years and we work diligently to prepare them for success.  That said, it’s wise to contact colleges your student is considering attending and ask them what requirements they look for students to complete.  Don’t be surprised if they expect all state requirements to be met.

The Perfect Transcript

Don’t be afraid to take the time to make a great first impression, but don’t fear the transcript process! You can do this! Ask veteran homeschool parents who have graduated a homeschool student to share a sample with you.

And when you’re all done, congratulate your student on a job well done. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back a little either.

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Five FREE Ways to Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus During Passion Week!

Passion Week (the week starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter/Resurrection Sunday) is an amazing time to focus on the Resurrection of Jesus while incorporating intellectual and spiritual activities to teach our children to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are five free activities that you can incorporate into your homeschooling curriculum to make this special time even more meaningful:

1. **Bible Study** Dive deep into the story of Easter by reading and discussing the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in the Gospels. Encourage your children to ask questions, share their thoughts, and reflect on the significance of Christ’s Resurrection. This lap book is a fun and educational activity for the kids to give them hands on learning about the resurrection!

2. **Art & Crafts Projects** Get creative with Easter-themed crafts like making resurrection eggs, creating cross collages, or painting scenes from the Easter story. These hands-on activities are a great place to start and help children engage with the resurrection story in a fun and interactive way.

3. **Nature Walk** Take a nature walk with your children and use it as an opportunity to talk about new life and growth symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection. Look for signs of spring such as blooming flowers, chirping birds, or budding trees to connect with the theme of renewal.

4. **Easter Egg Hunt** Organize an Easter egg hunt in your backyard or living room for some festive fun. Hide eggs filled with small prizes or meaningful messages related to the resurrection story to add a spiritual element to this traditional activity. Feel free to throw in some scriptures such as John 11:26-27 in some of the eggs!

5. **Family Devotional Time** Set aside dedicated time each day during Passion Week for family devotions focused on Jesus’ journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Use resources like devotionals, videos, or music to guide your discussions and prayers as you prepare your hearts for Easter. This guide here can help you get started on family devotions. REMEMBER: don’t stress or worry about “getting through” everything you want to get to during a family devotion. Sometimes just getting together, even if you don’t get to the Bible lesson, is enough. 🙂

BONUS: The Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel is a great way to introduce your kids to the historic case for Christ’s Resurrection and a wonderful thing to read during Passion Week! (or any time)

By incorporating these free activities into your homeschooling routine, you can create lasting memories and deepen your family’s understanding of the true meaning behind the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection during Passion Week.

How do I Convince my Parents to Homeschool Me?

How do I Convince my Parents to Homeschool me?

I saw this question posted online a few days ago and it broke my heart knowing that there are kids out there who so badly want to be homeschooled they feel the need to turn to online public forums for help. If you’re a child who happens to find this post who would like to be homeschooled but your parents need a little convincing, I hope this article will help prepare you for broaching and honestly discussing the topic with your parents. 🙂

Always remember that convincing your parents to homeschool you is a decision that requires both careful consideration and effective, calm communication. Your parents are much more likely to listen when you approach the subject with understanding, respect, and a clear plan in mind. You will need to do your research, but my goal with this post is to help point you in the right direction.

First, take the time to research and gather information about homeschooling. Understand the benefits it can offer such as personalized learning, flexibility, and a tailored curriculum. Present these advantages to your parents in a calm and confident manner. Make sure to show them how long the homeschooling day actually can be, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of time they may think they’d have to spend homeschooling.

Next, address any concerns or doubts they may have. Show them how homeschooling can provide a well-rounded education through various resources like full-curriculum online courses, co-op programs, and extracurricular activities. Make sure to ease any concerns about placement tests, and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws of your state so they can rest assured they are not violating any laws. Assure them that you will still have opportunities for socialization by joining homeschool groups or participating in community activities.

Additionally, emphasize your commitment to taking responsibility for your own education. Explain how homeschooling will allow you to focus on areas of interest or pursue specialized subjects that traditional schooling may not offer. If, for example, you have a passion for playing piano, something they typically do not teach at traditional school, a shorter school day will allow for a much greater block of time to practice compared to traditional education. This is true for any other extracurricular activities or even core subjects such as the sciences that you may be passionate about and want to spend extra time on every day.

One of homeschooling’s greatest advantages is tailoring the school day to fit the needs and desires of each individual child as opposed to placing everyone on the same, rigid educational schedule. Make sure your parents understand that you are not asking to be homeschooled to get a shorter school day, but an education that teaches you everything that traditional schooling teaches in far less time, giving you more time to pursue those educational areas that you are most passionate about after the regular homeschool day is over.

Lastly, propose a structured plan detailing how you will manage your time effectively, set goals for each subject, and ensure accountability. Show them that you are willing to put in the effort required for successful homeschooling. You want to help them understand that it is not all on them to homeschool you: while they are ultimately in charge and guide the school day, you have already put in the work and have a homeschooling plan in place you are committed to sticking to.

Remember to approach the conversation with your parents with honor, respect, patience, and kindness. Being impatient or demanding will not help convince your parents to homeschool you; in fact, it will do the opposite, because that type of behavior will make them worried that they will have to deal with a bad attitude all day every day!

Rather, make sure to listen to their concerns patiently and calmly and be prepared to address them thoughtfully. With clear communication and a genuine enthusiasm for learning, you can help inspire your parents’ confidence in your desire to be homeschooled.

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

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