Do you feel like you are in over your head? Even after homeschooling for over seventeen years, I still have this experience. Sometimes I feel like my little boy sitting in this great big red chair. This homeschooling thing is so big, and I’m just me! I’m not as good at this as—my friend—my sister—that lady at park day—whoever it is that looks like they’ve got it down, while I’m struggling just to pick a math curriculum.

Maybe you felt like this at the conference, which is where I took the picture. You came to get some encouragement, meet other moms like you, and buy supplies for the school year. You walked into the vendor hall and felt like Dorothy set down in the middle of Oz. Just show me where the math books are, please. Uh, there are how many publishers to choose from? Maybe this homeschool business isn’t for me after all. I’m just not good enough to pull this off.

Wait a minute, Mama! You can do this. We’ve got a chair just your size. God made you perfectly designed for your unique family and your specific needs. You are unmatched, incomparable, so stop judging yourself by other people or by your circumstances. You just need to focus on what fits for you and your children.

Psalm 61:2 says, “When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” As you prepare for the school year ahead, your first step is time with the Lord. Take your Bible, a pen, and a notebook to a quiet place. Ask God to guide you as you consider what each child’s specific needs are now. Hint: they may not only be academic. Character and heart issues are more critical to a child’s success in life than writing an eloquent essay or scoring well on the SAT.

Think about how each child learns best. Do they need more hands-on activities: are workbooks and fill-in-the-blanks what motivates them? Will a more structured school day work best for your family or do you accomplish more with a laid-back, relaxed approach?

Now you can start putting together your plan for the year by fitting each need with the right tool by talking to friends, looking at curriculum styles, visiting a homeschool resource room or book store. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes in the water and work your way in slowly. Who says you must start the school year with everything all planned and do every subject right away? Borrow a history book, and try it out for a week. Move out in faith with what you’ve got and make changes along the way as God nudges you with new ideas.

Remember, God gave your children to you. Paul reminds Timothy in his second letter to him that if he is “diligent to present yourself approved to God” he “will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” Don’t try to meet the expectations of anyone else or match up with what you think others are doing. Sit in your own chair, the one the Master Carpenter designed especially for you. It is a perfect fit—for you!

Jessica Frierson is a second generation homeschooler now teaching her own ten children. She has experienced firsthand the explosion of homeschooling from the handful fighting for the opportunity, to the many thousands embracing that freedom today. She and her husband, Ernie, knew from the time their first child was born twenty-two years ago that home education would be their only choice. They moved back home to North Carolina in 2000 to take advantage of the less restrictive homeschool laws here. She joyfully serves the Lord through ministry to her family, serving in her local church, writing and encouraging others with the testimony of the treasure of love she has discovered in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jessica is NCHE’s region 2 liaison.