Hello and welcome to Vital Mercy!


I’m Dr. Brenda Murphy, and I’m so glad you clicked the Vital Mercy link. My team and I work with special children just like yours at our school in Kingston, TN as well as those from across the state and around the country. While homeschooling my five children (all boys), God called me to work, one-on-one and in small groups, with children who learn differently and often fall between the cracks in school. These exceptional children also present unique challenges for homeschool families. That’s why the Vital Mercy series of letters was created: to help calm the fears, answer the questions and steer parents on a path to successful teaching and learning with struggling learners–at home.

More than 20 years ago, I launched SailAway Learning & Academy to meet the pressings and complex needs faced by families with children who struggle to learn. I knew they needed the same answers I had found for my own children: the vital understanding about how a child learns and way to teach him/her individually. During those years, I’ve been blessed to work hand-in-hand with hundreds of loving parents and caring professionals as together we unravel the mysterious and complicated ways children are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Vital Mercy letters are the result of those partnerships.

In 2008 Cory Bennett, then president of the Smoky Mountain Home Education Association, approached me to create a series of letters that addresses the unique needs faced by families with children who struggle to learn. I accepted his challenge. Together with my staff, input from other experienced home educators, and fresh insights from my on-going doctoral studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, the series emerged with one goal: to give you hope for today and tomorrow.

Hope is a beautiful thing. It is beautiful for all of us, the child…the loving, caring parent… and the professional called to walk alongside. My hope is that you will learn from Vital Mercy the two things that make hope reality. The first is vital knowledge: the breadth, width, and depth of practical how-to, hands-on teaching and knowledge about how children, like yours, learn. The second is the heart, the heart that holds us all–you, me, and the children–as we find the way through the very complex issues we face. That is the heart of mercy. And so, Vital Mercy is the goal of this series.

My prayer is that these letters will bless, help, and encourage you. For as we become more merciful to those He has placed in our life, especially our children, we, too, will receive the vital mercy to carry on.

With expectant heart for your homeschool journey,

Dr. Brenda Murphy
Founder and President, SailAway Learning & Academy

BTW: If you have questions or comments as you read these letters, please let me know. I would love to hear from you. You can contact me personally at bmurphy@sailawaylearning.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/SailAwayLearning.