“Help, I’m not a teacher! How can I homeschool my kids?”

Help. I'm not a teacher title

“We are new to homeschooling and I’m very excited, but also nervous because I’m not a trained teacher.”

Recently, Yvette Hampton sat down with Aby Rinella to do a homeschool Q&A session. Read on to learn how you can be equipped to teach without being a professional teacher and what the differences are between homeschooling and merely doing “regular school” at home.

Yvette Hampton:           This question says, “We are new to homeschooling and I’m very excited, but also nervous because I’m not a trained teacher. I’m struggling to understand what homeschool should look like for our family. I assumed it was recreating regular school at home, but now I’m figuring out that it doesn’t work that way. Please help.” I love this question so much. I’m going to let you answer this one first because you are a trained teacher, Aby.

Aby Rinella:                       Okay. I want to say you are blessed that you are not a trained teacher. Not being a trained teacher is going to make your homeschool that much better. I am a trained teacher and it has taken me years to shake that, to unlearn all of the things that don’t work in a home. So, I get so sad when I hear people say, “I’m not a trained teacher.” And I want to give them a high five and say, then you’re 10 steps ahead of me because your home should not look like a public school. That’s the whole reason you brought your kids home: the public school isn’t working. It’s not working for what we want for our children.

Aby Rinella:                       So, it says you’re recreating a public school at home. I would say that the worst thing you can do, as a homeschool mom, is to try to make your home look like a public school. Don’t do it! Throw that out, get rid of that. It’s really hard for some of us that were raised in public school because we’ve been programmed to think that way. But listen to this podcast, go back and listen to old ones because we talk about how it shouldn’t look like that. You were created to train and teach your children up in the Lord. And nowhere in the Bible does it say it takes a degree to do that. It says it takes a love for your child, and a reverence for God, and pointing your children to Him. You are fully equipped to do this job because God equipped you to do this job.

Aby Rinella:                       I remember I said this on another episode; when we bring a baby home from the hospital, and we’ve never had one, and the hospital hands us that blue nose sucker thing. And we’re like, “I’m not equipped to keep this baby alive. And you’re handing me a blue nose sucker and I’m supposed to …,” and we felt so ill-equipped, but we weren’t. God gave us what we need. And he’s going to give you what you need as a homeschool mom. Just don’t think that it needs to look like school. It doesn’t. It needs to look like your family teaching and training your children.

Listen to this whole conversation on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. During this conversation Aby and Yvette answer several more important questions about homeschooling.

Aby Rinella:                       So, I mean, it would take us hours to sit and talk about how exactly that would look. But the first step is to get rid of it. And I’ve heard people even say that you take a year, or a semester, or even a month just to decompress, and set up your home life again. And reconnect with one another, and dump the school system ideal that is not an ideal. And take some time to just come back home, and be with your kids, and then start into what school looks like. You need to get rid of the old before you can start the new.

Yvette Hampton:              Yeah, I agree completely. And everybody’s homeschool looks different. It depends on so many things. And kind of back to the last question, find people who can walk alongside you, who have done this before, who can mentor you, and help you figure out how it can work best for your family. The first year is going to be a mess. And the second year is going to be a mess, but it’ll be a little bit less of a mess. And the third year is going to be less of a mess than the second year. So, take baby steps here.

Yvette Hampton:              Let me just explain one thing, don’t start everything all at the same time. Don’t jump into day one, or week one, and try to do every single subject, and think you’re going to do it well. Do one thing at a time. I highly recommend starting with a morning basket. We’ve talked quite extensively about that. We did a podcast quite some time ago with Pam Barnhill. And, as a matter of fact, for Homegrown Generation, we talked about morning basket as well. So, you can go back. For only $10, you can have the entire 2020 Homegrown Generation family expo at your fingertips. But you can go and listen to Pam’s session on that.

Yvette Hampton:              And morning basket, basically, is we literally in our family have a basket, and we have just different books in there. We always have a book that we’re reading. Right now, we’re reading Anne of Green Gables. Have you read that before Aby?

Aby Rinella:                       Yes.

Yvette Hampton:              I have never ever in my whole life read Anne of Green Gables. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been living under a rock.

Aby Rinella:                       But you probably watched the movie they ruined.

Yvette Hampton:              No, I never have even watched the movie. But I am loving this book. And so, are my girls. I mean, we get to the end of a chapter, they’re like, “One more.” And we have the whole series, I’ve seriously had this series for probably six years.

Aby Rinella:                       Wow.

Yvette Hampton:              And I just now picked it. I mean, we have a lot of books, but for whatever reason. Anyway, rabbit trail. So, we always have a book that we’re reading. We have a Heroes: Then and Now biography. We just got a new one that we’re going to start reading. And we have our Classical Conversations timeline cards, and we read one or two timeline cards a day. We have maps in there, so my girls can trace maps while I’m reading to them. We have other little kinds of brain games and things like that that they can do while I’m reading. We do our sword drills, which we talked about in the first part of our Q&A episode on Monday. So, we do sword drills and Bible study.

“I’m in my 10th year of homeschooling and we’re still taking kind of baby steps…”

Yvette Hampton

Yvette Hampton:              I mean, it can be anything you want it to be. But start with that. It just starts our day off on the right foot.

Aby Rinella:                       It brings you all together.

Yvette Hampton:              It does, and it’s not, “go to the table and let’s do math, and let’s do science and history.” Those things come into our day, of course, but it’s just such a refreshing way to start our time. And, I mean, I’m in my 10th year of homeschooling and we’re still taking kind of baby steps, and things. We’re just now next week going to start introducing some famous artists, and famous composers. And it doesn’t have to be a big study on it. We’re not going to make lap books about it. If you don’t know what a lap book is, just type it into Pinterest. I’ve never in my 10 years of homeschooling ever made a single lap book and we’ve survived all these years. But some people love lap books, and that’s great.

Trying to recreate the classroom in your home? Long-time public school teacher, Caleb Shroeder, shares the truth about the classroom and explains why he and his wife have chosen to homeschool.

Aby Rinella:                       And that’s the thing that sets you apart from what the school looks like. You do what works for you. In public school, you are trying to fit every kid into a box. In homeschool, you are teaching to your unique child that God gave you, which means you’re teaching at their pace. Not at the pace that’s in the box. You’re teaching to their gifts, to their talents, you’re teaching to their interests. You might have a kid who every year for the rest of his life bucks you on learning about a composer. And guess what? They don’t really have to. My guess is that child is not going to become a famous composer, and they’ll be just fine not learning about them.

Aby Rinella:                       So, just remember that you are not fitting your kid into a box like the public school. And that’s the difference; you’re teaching to a unique individual that God created on purpose for a purpose and gave to you. So, you’re already equipped.

Aby Rinella:                      There’s an amazing book that I get every new homeschool mom called Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. And every mom should read it every fall. It just puts you back in that mindset of “we don’t need to be frantic about this.” We don’t need to be stressed. We don’t need to be overwhelmed.

Yvette Hampton:              Yeah, Teaching from Rest. That’s a great book. My favorite is The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson, which is very similar. And it’s a small book, an easy read. These are not books that you need to sit and stew over for hours and days. You can read these in a couple of hours.

Aby Rinella:                       Both of them, yeah. That’s what’s amazing.

Yvette Hampton:              And Teaching from Rest, I actually have the audiobook. I don’t even have the book, I just have the audiobook. So, I’ve only ever listened to it. But yes, it’s fantastic. So, just get those books because it will encourage you to know that you don’t have to do it all. Take baby steps.

Need more encouragement for your homeschool journey?

Check out our Homeschool Answers playlist on YouTube for other homeschool Q&A discussions.

If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo. FULL ACCESS to the 2020 Convention is now just $10!

How Do I Make Sure my Advanced Reader is Really Learning?

It’s time for the next installment of our homeschool Q&A discussion with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella! Today’s conversation discusses what is important for your child’s reading development and offers some helpful resources for those who are trying to find age-appropriate material for their advanced reader.

Yvette Hampton: We are back, and we have a mom asking for advanced reading help. She says, “My now-second-grader is reading chapters and I want to continue to make sure she’s deciphering the words properly. She’s comprehending what she is reading, so I’m thankful for that.” You want to jump on this one, Aby?

Aby Rinella: As long as she’s comprehending what she reads, you’re good to go there. As far as deciphering words, let me just tell you a story. I mispronounced the word argue until two years ago because I only ever read it. In my mind, the G was silent. And nobody in my entire life was kind and loving enough to say, “The G is not silent.” Like, why would someone not tell you that?

Yvette Hampton: Oh, my goodness. [chuckle] Oh, I love it.

Aby Rinella: I don’t even understand why everyone was silent. It’s like, are we so afraid of offending people?

Yvette Hampton: Did you have a lot of arguments?

Aby Rinella: I “arue” a lot. And now I argue. Anyway.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, dear. But we need to just need to move on because that’s way too funny, Aby.

Resources for Advanced Readers

Aby Rinella: Okay, sorry, so she may stumble, but she’ll get it eventually. Additionally, I would say get audio books, she can listen and follow along as she reads. Also, have her read aloud to you, so you can actually hear. Reading out loud to her constantly would be helpful, too. Read-alouds are really great to help her get those words. 

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, love it. And if you’re looking for good books for her to read or to listen to, check out Honey For A Child’s Heart and Books Children Love.

Aby Rinella: Those are really good; often with advanced readers, parents get into a place where the content that is advanced enough for their children is too mature. So even though they can read it, and even if they can comprehend it, if the content is beyond what you want them to be reading, that isn’t healthy. So with these resources that we gave you, you can feel safe knowing that all of those books are safe for your child to read.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And I want to say one more thing on this, don’t always assume that because a child is advanced now, that they’re always going to be advanced. Sometimes we get that in our minds thinking, “Well, she’s in second grade and she’s reading at a fifth-grade level. So, when she’s in third grade, she’s… ” I think that’s setting yourself and her up for disappointment. And it could be, she could soar and always be way ahead of her grade level, but that doesn’t always happen. She may just pause where she is for a while, and that’s perfectly fine; just let her go with it. She’ll grow naturally into her ability to read.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

How Can I Find a Homeschooling Mentor?

Older and younger woman cooking together

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella continue their homeschool Q&A series with a discussion on homeschool parent mentors. Where can you find a mentor? What are the benefits of having one? Is the internet really enough, or could in-person interactions be even more valuable?

Yvette Hampton: This question says, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor that can walk me through and help me step by step.” Oh, I love this question.

Aby Rinella: Yes, you do. We all do.

Yvette Hampton: Yes, we do. And let me just say that is so much of the reason why we do what we do at Schoolhouse Rocked. Aby and I do not spend the time that we do, recording podcasts and videos, and doing all these things because we make a ton of money at it, or get tons of rewards for it. Our reward is knowing that we are doing what God has called us to do, and being a blessing to you. And so, we really want to help, virtually mentor you. And we have others who do that with us, because Aby and I are still going into our 10th year of homeschooling, but there are many who have gone ahead of me and graduated their kids.

Yvette Hampton: And so, I have people in my life, like Durenda Wilson, Rachael Carman, Ginger Hubbard, and Connie Albers and people like that who…, who have spent years pouring into their kids, and are now pouring into us younger moms. It’s the whole Titus 2 thing. The older women teaching the younger women how to do this parenting, and marriage, and life thing, and being keepers of our home. Because homeschooling falls under all of those categories, and so you do need a homeschooling mentor.

Aby Rinella: Absolutely.

Yvette Hampton: I would say if you can find someone in your local church, or a local Christian homeschool support group or co-op, or something like that, seek them out. Because I think it’s part of our nature as humans to want to feel needed. It’s a blessing to those who are helping. I know when moms come to me and say, “Can you just help me with this, can you answer this question for me,” Or, “I was thinking about this, and I know you’ve been through this already, can you just walk me through this?” It is a huge blessing to me, and an honor, to be able to walk with them and help them to do that. And then, you know what? Later on, down the road, you get to be that to someone else.

Aby Rinella: Yes. And please, if you are at the end of this journey, when you graduate your last, don’t be done. It is so important that you stay in the game, because these new moms need you. And often, I think, without these great mentors, they may quit. So, stay in the game. There are a lot of mentorship things online where you can reach out to people, but I think nothing beats someone that’s walking it with you day-to-day, that can show up at your house and fold socks with you while you’re crying, and pray with you, and knows your kids, but… So, what was actually the question though? “How do I find one?”

Yvette Hampton: It’s more kind of a statement than a question.

Aby Rinella: Okay, okay.

Yvette Hampton: I think she’s just saying, “How do I find a homeschool mentor?”

Aby Rinella: So, one thing I would say is, “Ask.” Where I live, I tried to set up a homeschool mentorship program where we took some of the veteran moms and the younger moms. I remember the veteran moms saying several times, “These new young homeschool moms, they don’t act like they need us. They’re not asking. They have it all kind of figured out, and they’ve got their books and their online courses, and their this and their that.” So, don’t be afraid to go to that older woman in your area that has homeschooled, and say, “Hey, would you mentor me?” Don’t be afraid to ask. And older moms, please don’t be afraid to reach out to the younger moms. We need that.

Yvette Hampton: Right, yeah. And be honest and transparent with them. Don’t act like you have it all together, because none of us do, trust me.

Aby Rinella: Totally. We can see right through you.

Yvette Hampton: Just be honest with them and just say, “This is really what I’m struggling with.” And sometimes you may not have that person in your local community, but try to find that person somewhere.

Aby Rinella: Right.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. [chuckle] Part of me wants to say, “You know, even through social media, you can find that.” But you can also find a lot of really, really bad advice.

Aby Rinella: Right.

Yvette Hampton: And so, I would say, be careful of that too. Rarely do I ever go on homeschool social media pages, like on Facebook and stuff, because some of the advice out there is just so poor. Some people give really good, sound Biblical advice, but some don’t. So just be careful who you’re listening to.

Aby Rinella: Exactly.

Yvette Hampton: She’s saying, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor.” So, it sounds to me like she’s wanting someone who really is going to point her towards Christ.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, because a homeschool mentor is going to homeschool you in everything. Like you said, life, parenting, motherhood, marriage. So, you make sure your mentor lines up with God’s Word as they mentor you.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. And check everything through scripture. Don’t just take it for what they say, but back things up with scripture.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: Sadly, we are out of time for today. Again, if you have questions for us, please send them in to podcast@schoolhouserocked.com. It is our absolute privilege and joy and honor to be able to answer those for you. So, let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, thank you for joining me today, again. And you guys cannot see this right now, but Aby is wearing a Schoolhouse Rocked T-shirt. And it is so cute.

Aby Rinella: It is so awesome. There are Schoolhouse Rocked long sleeves, shorts, it’s endless. You could actually change out your entire wardrobe to Schoolhouse Rocked… And your husband’s, too, honestly!

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: If you go to the Schoolhouse Rocked website, click “Support Schoolhouse Rocked” and select “Store” in the drop-down menu (Or click HERE!)

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.