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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!)
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at email@example.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome back to the podcast.
Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.
Yvette Hampton: This is one of my favorite questions. I love being asked this question and getting to answer it, because I always have a ton of resources to offer. The question is
“What are your favorite homeschool books?”
We’ve actually done several podcast episodes with authors of various homeschool books. And that’s a broad question. Because we could talk about books that are related specifically to homeschooling, like how to homeschool, or books that relate to things that are related to homeschooling, or parenting, because that falls under the umbrella of homeschooling.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: Or…
Aby Rinella: Marriage.
Yvette Hampton: Marriage, or homeschool books could also be, “What kind of books do your homeschoolers read?”So, it’s a really broad question. So, I’m going to talk through some of my favorite homeschool books, meaning those that I think have been really helpful in teaching me how to homeschool, or at least given me some guidance. My… One of the new ones actually that I have, and we did a podcast with her recently, it’s by Aimee Smith, and it’s called The Restful Homeschool Resolution, and it’s a 21-day journey that she takes you on through scripture and through just thinking through like, “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How is God working in your homeschool and in your heart?” And it’s just fun.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a book/journal, and it’s very well written. You can listen to that conversation with Aimee if you want to know more about that book, but that one’s fantastic and it’s a brand new book. It just came out, I don’t know, some time in the last six months, I think. So, that’s a great one. Another one that we’ve talked about on the podcast that I really love is by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover, and we have had both of these homeschool moms on the podcast, and this one’s called Homeschool Basics. This is a fantastic book for any homeschool mom, even those of us who are seasoned in homeschooling, but it’s a great one for those who are just getting started.
Yvette Hampton: And it’s actually called, Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids. And I love that last part, “Bring out the best in your kids,” because it’s not just about checking the boxes and having the right curriculum and doing it all the right way. But it’s really like, how do you make that connection with your kids, how do you build that relationship with them? We talked with Kristi about these concepts on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and it was a great conversation.
Yvette Hampton: In our homeschooling. This one, I read this one a couple summers ago and loved it, it’s called Mere Motherhood, and it’s by Cindy Rollins. This one is not talked about a lot, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it, but it is such… It’s like one of those gems that if you have it and you’ve read it, it’s… I almost feel like I’m in this secret club of moms in the know who have read this book.
Aby Rinella: Ooh. I want to be in that club.
Yvette Hampton: It’s fantastic. So, it’s called Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification. So, it’s Cindy’s… It’s a story of her journey of getting started in homeschooling, homeschooling her kids, and her kids are all adults now and grown. So, it’s written by a veteran homeschool mom, and it’s not really a how-to book, but she gives so much… This book is just full of wisdom. And it is very well-written, it’s entertaining because she tells some really funny stories in the book, and then she has a ton of resources, but it’s interesting because the resources are interwoven through the book. And so, as I was reading it, I was highlighting like crazy, like, “Oh, I need to read that book. Oh, oh, I need to check this thing out, or check that thing out!”
Aby Rinella: I’m just sitting here putting things in my Amazon cart as we’re talking. This is an expensive episode. [chuckle]
Yvette Hampton: She’s just wired that way and gives some really, really practical advice on how you can organize your day. So those are my how-to-homeschool books that I love and recommend. Two others that I think every homeschool mom should own, or every homeschool dad, is, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And… That’s so good. And there’s also Honey for a Teen’s Heart. And it’s just a book about books. And it’s about the imaginative use of books in family life. It’s a book that will help you figure out what books you can read to your kids, what books your kids can read on their own, and she gives little descriptions of each of them and has them broken down by category and tells what age groups each book is good for. And they’re just… It’s just a fantastic resource to have, so that one’s more of a resource book. And she talks about reading. And then there’s also Books Children Love, and that’s basically the same thing, it’s a guide to the best children’s literature. So, as you’re looking for good books for your kids, because we know with homeschooling, one of the most important things is good books. Read to your kids, read to them. Every day.
Aby Rinella: Right. And we also know that you can no longer just browse the libraries like you used to.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Yes.
Aby Rinella: And let kids pick out books. And I know so many homeschool moms are asking what books we can or cannot read. So, what an incredible resource that you can just trust to go to.
Yvette Hampton: Yep. Yep. And both of these books were written many years ago, and so you’re not going to find books that have been written in the last, even 10 years. Let’s see, Books Children Love, the first printing of it was 1987.
Aby Rinella: Oh, wow.
Yvette Hampton: So, we’re talking about books that have been around for quite some time. And not just classics, but just really good children’s literature, fantastic books. And Honey for a Child’s Heart, this came out in 1969 originally, and then the copy that I have was… Is dated 1989. So, these are just great resources that, really, I think every homeschool family should have those. And I know I’m going fast here, but again, I’ll link to all these. My two absolute favorite books on parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp…
Yvette Hampton: Well, okay. This… I don’t know, I’m just bragging about this because I’m really excited, I just discovered for free… Well, I didn’t discover them for free. We had a book sale for our local homeschool support group. And I have wanted for years to get the McGuffey’s Readers, and someone put the entire box set on the free table for someone to just be blessed by them. And I felt like I had won the lottery, literally, because I got this whole boxed set, which I have wanted these… I’ve wanted this set for years and years and years.
Yvette Hampton: And these are the original McGuffey’s Readers. These were written in the 1800s. And the funny thing is, is we rarely watch TV, we don’t have cable to watch, but on Amazon, we will sometimes watch Little House on the Prairie, and these are what the kids read on Little House. And so, my daughter, she was so excited because she was like, “Those are the books that they read on Little House.” And literally, she’s reading them now and she’s loving them, and you know what’s so amazing is, guess what, they talk about God.
Aby Rinella: Oh, constantly.
Yvette Hampton: And they have Scripture.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they’re all about morals and values in the Bible. And these are the books that they actually used.
Aby Rinella: For school.
Yvette Hampton: To learn how to read. They used them for spelling, for everything. And so, anyway, so those are great. If you guys can get your hands on them, you should.
Aby Rinella: That’s exciting.
Yvette Hampton:McGuffey’s Readers, they’re amazing. So, that’s the end of my list. Aby, do you have anything left? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Well, do I have anything… That’s the question, do I have anything left? because you… She took that one first. No, it’s actually, I kid you not, of my whole entire list, I only have two left.
Aby Rinella: And that’s a fun one because it’s written from a dad’s point of view, and Todd Wilson is absolutely hilarious. And what’s really great about it is you read these things and you’re like, “I’m not the only one that believed that lie?” So, it debunks a lot of the lies that we as moms tell ourselves. So, that’s another really great one. So, that’s really… That’s really all I have on my list after you stole all of those from me.
Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,
What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?
And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.
Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options.
With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, here, here, and here.
Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!
Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.
FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM
Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.
Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that.
Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.
Aby Rinella: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.
Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.
Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
Aby Rinella: I love that name.
Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.
Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…
Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.
Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?
Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.
Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.
Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource.Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.”
Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.
Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized.
Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.
ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.
Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.
Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.
Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel.
Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!
Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.
Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are,
Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.
Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?
Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.
Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.
Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.
Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…
Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.
Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”
Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.
Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.
Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.
Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?
Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.
Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?
Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.
Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?
Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]
Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.
Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.
Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…
Aby Rinella: Totally.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.
Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: You have freedom.
Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.
Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.
Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…
Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.
Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.
Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.
Aby Rinella: Always.
Yvette Hampton: Every morning…
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…
Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Math, right.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.
Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.
We are very pleased to be a part of this community of like-minded Christian producers who podcast on areas of expertise and passion. Check out the community for excellent, “soul-feeding” programming that believers can find useful and focused on the Gospel of Christ, its truth, and its application.
There’s a Revolution Transforming Education and it’s NOT Happening in the Classroom!
“This is not an exaggeration to say, this is the movement that is needed to save this country.” – Rick Green, Wallbuilders
“We believe homeschooling is critically important if we are to save our republic and the Christian family and church.” – Kirk Cameron, Actor and Producer
Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, brings you encouragement and resources from home education experts and REAL families just like yours, to help you train your children well. The show allows you to grow with Yvette as she talks with today’s home education leaders – speakers, authors, activists, curriculum publishers, in conversations that will build you up and give you important resources to help you train up your children for eternal success – from pre-school to graduation – to start strong and finish well!
Schoolhouse Rocked will impact countless lives by…
• Encouraging families who aren’t yet homeschooling to dive in! • Bringing much needed encouragement and resources to current homeschool families so they will stay the course. • Breaking down the misconceptions and negative stereotypes that many people believe about homeschooling.
Join us in providing this great resource to families considering homeschooling for the first time, to moms struggling with feelings of inadequacy, parents working hard to balance family responsibilities and school time, and to students wondering if they are missing out by not attending public or private schools.
While we are asking you to donate, we really want to build a partnership with you in this important endeavor. As a donor, you will receive regular project updates, and we will call on you to spread the word about the film and podcast. We will work to finish the film with excellence, so that together we can fill theaters and share Schoolhouse Rocked in your community.
I recently received a message from a family member in Michigan. Even though all of her kids are grown and out of school, she had noticed a growing trend of families leaving the public schools there. Knowing that we are big proponents of homeschooling, in an effort to understand some of what was driving this trend, she wrote me to find out why we had chosen to homeschool.
While I was happy to answer her questions, I was also excited at the opportunity to finally write down all of the things our family loves about homeschooling. While I know that every homeschool family has different motivations for choosing to home educate, I know that we never planned to do it, so over the years I have had to carefully consider what changed our minds and hearts. I also know that as the years have gone by (we are in our 9th year of formal homeschooling now) many of my convictions have grown. Where I was once loosely convicted that homeschooling was best for our family, at least for a time, I have now become firmly convinced that homeschooling is the gold standard for education through high school, and in many cases, even through college. In fact, while I was educated in public and private schools from kindergarten through junior college, I very happily completed a Bachelor’s degree at home, and would heartily recommend that graduating high school students take seriously the option of getting a college degree at home.
One quick note: While I normally would not shift between “I” and “we” pronouns so readily in a single article, in this case it is completely appropriate and even necessary. Homeschooling is a team sport! Homeschooling works best when mom, dad, and kids are all on board. While this isn’t always the case, it really helps. I know, as the husband, father, and spiritual leader in my home, my role is critical. I must support my wife, who is the primary teacher. We must be unified. I must encourage my children in their learning and they must be engaged in that process. We must be active in training the hearts and minds of my children, and I must take the lead in teaching them the Word of God.
So, after far too long, this is why we homeschool.
First, we love that we can integrate the Bible into every aspect of our girls’ education. While we know that every homeschooling family isn’t Christian or even religious, it should still strike everyone as a benefit that every aspect of your child’s education (every academic subject, religious discipleship, character training, professional training, etc.) can reflect the values, morals, and goals of the family. Our primary goal for our girls is that no matter what academic subjects they enjoy or excel at, in everything they would have a Biblical worldview and would develop a distinctly Christian character.
While we fully expect our girls to be well-educated and we work diligently to teach them fundamental skills and subjects like math, reading, writing, logic, language, history, and science, we know that both knowledge and wisdom begin with the fear of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) We also know that rather than worrying about what we (or our children) will eat or wear, where they will live, or what they will do, we are instructed to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and all of these other things will be added. Matthew 6:25-33
The next thing we love about homeschooling is the ability to customize the education that each of our daughters receives to their personal strengths, abilities, desires, goals, and preferences. We know that every person is specially made by God for an individual purpose. There is no standard person, so a standardized education is, at best, a compromise for every student. Even in our family, our girls are very different. Each excels at different things, struggles with different things, and enjoys different things. We believe that these gifts, strengths, and preferences give us some insight into what God is preparing these girls for in the future, for His glory, so we do our best to customize our girls’ training to best develop their strengths and allow them to work in the areas that interest them.
That said, we still want our girls to have a well-rounded education, so we make sure that they are getting instruction in many different subjects. Even though one of our girls doesn’t love math, that doesn’t mean she won’t need to know math to succeed in life, so we teach her math – in a way that best suits her learning style. Because of our ability to custom fit their education experience, we can pay special attention to both of our girls needs and struggles and give them the help they need where they struggle. In fact, because of the flexibility of homeschooling, the ability to repeat content that hasn’t been mastered, the ability to teach at the pace of the student, and the availability of excellent curriculum and resources (in our case, Teaching Textbooks was a LIFESAVER), our daughter is now doing great with math and has become confident in her skills.
Next, we love that homeschooling allows us to teach for MASTERY of subjects. In a traditional educational model, all of the students must move through the curriculum at roughly the same pace. The teacher tailors the curriculum and lessons for the middle of the class. Some students excel and are bored as they wait for their peers to catch up with them. Other students struggle to keep up and never really learn the material. Only a small percentage of the class gets the optimum amount of instruction, and those students will not be the same in each subject so, in every case, students are not trained at the optimum pace to truly master the subjects they study. Advanced students will always be hindered and slower students will always be left in the dust.
In homeschooling, we have the luxury of adjusting the pace of every course to perfectly meet the needs of our children. We don’t move on until they have mastered the material and we never make them needlessly repeat work they have already mastered, when they could be moving on to new material and subjects. While this means that our most homeschoolers don’t fit within their “grade level” in every subject – they may be “ahead” or “behind” – they have the opportunity to truly master the subjects they study. As an added benefit, we are under no compulsion to study six to eight subjects every day and move to the next classroom when a bell rings. If we want to take a full day, week, or month to dive deep into a subject we can. If we have a child who wants to do several math lessons every day, to move ahead, there is nothing stopping them.
We love the freedom that homeschooling provides our family. We have the freedom to set our schedule and modify it any time, depending on what is going on in life. We have the freedom to travel and to teach from everywhere and anywhere. You wouldn’t believe the amount of GREAT educational experiences we have had in our car, as guests at peoples’ homes and farms, at historical sites, at national parks, at the beach, and just about everywhere else. Not only do we have the freedom to travel, but we have freedom of location. We can live or work anywhere and we don’t have to worry about what school district we will be in or if we will be around at the beginning of the school year. Homeschooling allows us to pursue the things that are important to our family. We are able to work together, to minister together, and to experience every aspect of life together – joys and challenges.
On the topic of freedom, we love that homeschooling allows us to teach the foundations of freedom. While History, Social Studies, Government, Civics, Economics, and nearly every other subject taught in public schools have been corrupted by distinctly socialist, anti-American, anti-constitutional, and anti-family agendas, we have the freedom to teach these subject without the progressive bent.
We know that our children are OUR responsibility. Public schools are constantly pushing the boundaries of influence and control they exert over students (and even parents). Under the legal principle of In Loco Parentis, public schools take the place of the parent in matters of discipline, medical treatments (including the administration of birth control, abortions, and cross-sex hormone treatments), mental health evaluation and treatment, mandated vaccinations, and the authorization of instruction in sensitive and controversial subjects, regardless of the will of parents. While many parents believe they have the right to opt their children out of controversial lessons, in practice, this isn’t the case. Many parents are currently outraged about dangerous, anti-family Comprehensive Sex Ed (CSE) programs being implemented in schools across the country. In district after district, parents are shocked to find out what is being taught in these programs – after their ELEMENTARY SCHOOL students are already being taught – and they are wondering why they didn’t have the option to opt out. When parents drop their children off at school they turn over their authority to the school, in many cases, even when the student isn’t at school.
These parents are missing an important point. The “C” in CSE stands for “Comprehensive.” Pro-homosexual, pro-LGBT instruction, which promotes early sexual activity and deviant and dangerous sexual behavior, is being integrated into every subject. That’s what “Comprehensive” means. History classes have the accomplishments of prominent gay leaders added. Science and health classes get heavy doses of sexual instruction added under the guise of “preventing pregnancy” and “preventing HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.” The library has books on finding your “true” identity and defining “family.” English classes read “sexually suggestive” poems and students are instructed to write down the included vulgar terms for genitalia.
We understand that ALL education is indoctrination (the teaching of established doctrines – basic, deeply held principles) and ALL education is discipleship (the intimate training of the whole person – intellect, character, and values). We love that in homeschooling we get to direct every aspect of that indoctrination and discipleship. We know that no one, not even the best, most loving, most dedicated teacher, with the highest moral character, will love our children or care for their lives on earth or their eternal souls like we will. Therefore, we believe that we, their parents, are best suited to direct that indoctrination and discipleship.
While it isn’t the most important aspect of home education, it should be noted that there are a wealth of excellent resources available to homeschooling families. High quality curriculum and resources to cover EVERY subject can be easily found from multiple vendors. In fact, there are even completely free homeschool programs that cover every subject and every grade from pre-school to high school, and most colleges and universities offer their courses online as video and audio podcasts.
In addition to the wealth of curricular resources, there are support groups and co-ops that focus on every imaginable teaching method. Classical education has become very popular among homeschoolers in the past decade or so, and it is growing even in private schools. Homeschoolers are able to determine what methods or combination of methods work best for their family. Some of the popular styles or methods employed, in addition to classical education, are Charlotte Mason, eclectic, unit studies, lifeschooling, unschooling, Montessori, virtual school/online school/video instruction, and combinations of all of these. In our own home we have used a combination of Classical, lifeschooling, and eclectic methods, augmented by online and video programs for a few specific subjects.
Finally, because it is the most common objection to homeschooling, I will address the socialization question. Because homeschooling is legal in every state, and has been since the early 1990s, the stigma of having your kids out in public during the week just doesn’t exist any more. Homeschooling families have the freedom to go about life together in ways that they didn’t in the early days of the homeschooling revival in the early 1980s (it must be noted that homeschooling was the norm throughout history, and the “traditional” classroom model has only been common for around 160 years). In just about every state, county, and city, families have the opportunity to have their kids involved in sports, social clubs, church, AWANA, youth groups, service organizations, scouting organizations, and educational co-ops. Our girls have never lacked opportunities to be social. They have participated in gymnastics, AWANA, youth group, several homeschool co-ops, and an organized weekly classical homeschool program. To the contrary, we have often had to dial back the social activities to avoid being overwhelmed by them.
As our girls have grown they have also been able to work with us and serve others in important ways. We have enjoyed the distinct benefit of having our kids contribute in valuable ways to the family business and economy, and to the running of the household. This has not only benefitted our whole family, but they have become very competent homemakers and skilled “employees,” which will prove invaluable as they grow into wives, mothers, homemakers, leaders, and servants in their communities.
While we, and most homeschooling families, realize that homeschooling offers an unequalled opportunity to develop socially, it should be noted that “traditional” school offers a very unnatural and unhealthy social construct. It is one in which students are segregated by age and discouraged from “socializing” in class. Their personal wills are minimized and they are herded around in groups from task to task every time a bell rings. It is also one in which the dangers of peer pressure and violence are very real. In fact, the only other social constructs that closely resemble the social structure of schools (especially public schools) are prisons and asylums.
As you research this subject, I would like to recommend several resources we have produced, including podcast episodes on the “why” of homeschooling, how to homeschool, and the benefits of homeschooling.
If you are considering homeschooling yourself, I would like to invite you to register for ouronline homeschool conference, the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. There you will find over 50 hours of homeschooling instruction and encouragement and a wealth of homeschooling resources in the Digital Swag Bag. Registration includes lifetime access to every session and you can watch each session video online or download the audio to listen on the go.
Homeschooling in Your State (State Homeschooling Organizations) – Almost every state has a Christian state homeschool organization, made up of mostly volunteers, who are on the front lines fighting to keep YOUR freedom to homeschool and providing you with the information and resources you need to homeschool legally and successfully. These organizations are vital to the homeschool benefits we all enjoy and your involvement and support are critical.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) – HSLDA is a legal organization that works to protect and defend the rights of parents to educate their children. In addition to their legal support they also have support representatives who can give state-specific homeschooling guidance. Finally, they track and fight anti-family and anti-homeschooling legislation in the United States and around the world, even arguing in the Supreme Court at times.
Classical Conversations – This is the largest Christian homeschool program in the country. They have a ton of really good articles on their blog.
Teach Them Diligently – These guys put on large Christian homeschool conferences in several states. Homeschool conferences are a great place to preview curriculum and to get encouraged and equipped.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been strong proponents of marriage, family, and faith, in the shifting sands of Hollywood and the notoriously family-unfriendly movie industry. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared some of the keys to preserving and strengthening her family and living out her faith. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to part two of the podcast with Sam Sorbo. And we are having so much fun with her. I love talking to you, Sam. I love your heart for families, for culture, for homeschooling, and for your children. It is very evident that you have a deep passion for shifting the needle a little bit and the direction that our culture needs to be headed.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to talk a little bit about that. You actually have a new book, it’s just now released called True Faith. And you wrote that with your husband Kevin Sorbo.
Sam Sorbo: Yep.
Yvette Hampton: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Sam Sorbo: So right before we got married, Kevin suffered three strokes and nearly died. And it was a three year recovery. We got married anyway, it was a three year recovery. It was a very difficult recovery. He had myriad symptoms that were terribly debilitating. And he battled through, he is the strongest man in the world.
Yvette Hampton: He’s a real Hercules.
Sam Sorbo: And he was going through this while he was playing Hercules, exactly. And so I nagged him long and hard and he finally wrote the book about his recovery, because I saw it as a way to minister to people, who were also going through hardship. Any kind of overwhelming struggle, right? It’s always good to hear someone else’s story and say, “Oh well. My story’s not that bad”. Or “My story is just as bad, but different. But look how they overcame and there’s hope for me”. That kind of thing. And so this book is sort of the next step in that. So I have a little bit of a bigger role. And in this book we kind of went halves and we just tell the story of working together. A lot of people ask us what’s it like to be conservative in Hollywood? What’s it like to work as Christians in that industry?
Sam Sorbo: And so we just set out to answer some of those questions to give you a little bit of insight into our life together. And it’s very difficult for us to get pregnant. We talk about that journey. And that’s actually part of the reason that I eventually figured out that I needed to home educate my kids, because I was just sending them off to a stranger every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And I’ll tell you a quick story. When we moved for the schools, we moved to the really good schools, and my son went through first grade, and second grade. And the first grade teacher that he was assigned, I was not allowed to change. I had to accept what they gave him. I had no idea who the teachers were. Somebody said to me, “Oh, you’ve got a really good teacher. Oh, you got the good one, she’s awesome.” And I’m like, “Great”. Do you know why she’s awesome? Because she keeps a bowl of candy in her classroom.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, gosh.
Sam Sorbo: And so all the kids at every age level who know that come and hug her and get pieces of candy. And I didn’t realize that was sort of the modus operandi for her until halfway through second grade.
Sam Sorbo: When I saw it happen again and it was just this one time and I was like… It was the 10th time or whatever. But I was like, “Huh, that’s why”. Do you know what I mean?
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Sam Sorbo: And then you start discovering other things. And I’ll tell you something, if you just take a moment and say, “I’m just going to try it for a semester”, and the bond you’ll have with your child is improved by miles. Because what happens is when you drop your child off at the school house gates, you’re tacitly telling the child, “My authority stops here. You are now under the school’s authority”. When your child comes home and says, “Mommy, mommy, you have to sign this. The teacher says you have to sign this”. And you take it, “Okay, let me sign it”. You are under the teacher’s authority. So now anything that the teacher says that disagrees with you, whatever it might be, the teacher says, “Oh, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And your child says, “Mommy, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And you say, “Oh, that’s not really true, because whatever”, right?
Sam Sorbo: No. Now you… Now, here’s the problem with that, right? Either your authority prevails, in which case there’s a huge conflict of interest.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you were lying when you dropped them off at the school and said their authority prevails.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Right? There’s a huge conflict of interest in it. It can’t end well. It’s not in good scenario.
Sam Sorbo: So we talk a little bit about that. We talk about politics, how we became more political. You know what, I just, I love the truth. And the Bible tells me that I have to adhere to the truth as thou shall not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness. Right? And so we just started to hunker down into our values, and that’s what brought us out into the limelight, I suppose you would say, right? And it’s sad the number of people in this nation who are enamored by lies.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Well, it is sad. And you know, I want to go back really quick to where you were talking about giving up that parental authority, when we send our kids off to school. And it goes so much further and deeper than that, in that in public school… Most parents don’t realize this, but when you drop your child off at a public school, and actually I shouldn’t just say public, I believe private as well would fall under this, that school becomes their legal guardian (in loco parentis) during the time that your child is in that school. And that is the reason why in many States if your 13 year old daughter goes to their school nurse and says, “I just found out I’m pregnant”, that school can take that young innocent girl who doesn’t know anything about what she’s doing and they can take her to have an abortion and murder her baby without the parent’s consent or knowledge.
Yvette Hampton: In the state of California it is illegal for the school to inform the parents of what has gone on with their very own daughter, because the school has become their legal guardian during the school hours that we’ve dropped them off. (see In Loco Parentis)
Aby Rinella: But I would actually challenge that to say that you ARE giving them consent when you drop your kids off.
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Aby Rinella: But when I drop my kids off with someone else, I’m handing over my consent.
Yvette Hampton: Sure. Right.
Aby Rinella: So parents need to also take responsibility to say they didn’t do this without me knowing, because when you get handed your child over to them, that’s a little bit on you.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But guess what? The schools don’t actually bear the responsibility for educating the child. And there have been court cases where parents have sued the schools, because the children didn’t learn to read or what have you. And the judge always sides in favor of the school, that it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the child to read.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: It’s absurd. What kind of subcontractor do you have in your house, who leaves you homework?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Do you have somebody come clean your house, but she leaves dishes in the sink? Right? Why are we giving, why are these children coming home with homework? It just… And it was the salami tactic. It was just a little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit, and then… And pretty soon… I mean, when you’re a child, and you’re four years old or five years old, and you’re shipped off to kindergarten, and your parents are all, “Oh, you’re going to kindergarten. It’s going to be so good. And don’t cry and whatever”. And so you’re taught “No, no, be complacent. Do what you’re told and just go with the flow. Don’t raise a ruckus.”. Right?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And so now parents, they go, “Oh my gosh, the homework for my child is terrible”. And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not a problem for me”. They say, “I have to go into the school and meet with the teacher.” Yeah, I did that this morning in the mirror. It’s so much better.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And we talked earlier about this idea that people look at you like you think you’re better than they are.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And here’s the problem with that. Of course you think you’ve got the better solution.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Or else you wouldn’t be doing it.
Sam Sorbo: We don’t think we are a superior human being. No.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But of course you think that it’s a better solution because-
Aby Rinella: Why would you do it if it weren’t?
Sam Sorbo: So we have to get off of that sort of weird societal thing now that’s really just leftism run amuck, frankly.
Aby Rinella: Yeah.Totally. Because they’re offended because you’re doing something they’re not. And it’s the whole offended thing.
Sam Sorbo: Right. I actually, because I do a radio show every day called the Sam Sorbo Show, and I did a story on a young girl who had like a… Is it called a Norplant? It’s a-
Aby Rinella: Oh, yeah. The birth control.
Sam Sorbo: And it got infected, because it was improperly implanted.
Yvette Hampton: Oh.
Sam Sorbo: And so she had to have it surgically removed. And strangely enough, she needed her parental consent to have it surgically removed. They were not aware that she had gotten it done by the nurse facilitator person at the school, not even a nurse, like a non-nurse helper person at the school. These stories are crazy. I did a story the other day, a young girl in Colorado, 11th grade, given a poem… The whole class is given a poem that was at the time, it came out in the ’60s. I think there was even a court case about it, it’s a very controversial poem. And the publisher had seen fit to leave out all of the swear words, because it depicted very graphically, sexual violence of all kinds, as you might imagine. And so the publisher left out all the bad words, the F word, the C word, the other C-word, all of them.
Sam Sorbo: The teacher stood in front of the class and verbatim gave them each of the bad words to write into their version of the poem. And I had the girl on the radio, and we got to the point where she said, “I felt violated”, because because she did. Her parents tromped down to the school and said, “Hey, we need an apology, and you need to reconsider this curriculum because it is not acceptable”. They reconsidered the curriculum. The teacher wrote a “sorry, not sorry letter,” which did nothing.
Sam Sorbo: The school reconsidered the poem and said, “Nope, the poem’s fine. It’s part of teaching. And he wanted to make the point that some artwork can be offensive” or something. I don’t even know what. And so I had her at the end of the program. I had to modify the schedule to accommodate her school classes. I said, “So I understand that you’re back in school now?”. And she said, “Oh yes”. And her dad piped in with, “You know, we’re so proud of her because “salt and light” and she’s witnessing to an atheist girl who’s in her class”. And I said, “Okay. But do you understand that you going back into the same place where you were violated is actually sending the message that Christians don’t mind when they are violated?”.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And let’s get this straight. It was a sexual violation. Yes it was just words. But I’m sorry, that counts.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And she’s only in 11th grade.
Aby Rinella: And what is the father telling his daughter?
Aby Rinella: Unbelievable.
Sam Sorbo: And he said to me… “Well, we allowed her to make the choice”. How ’bout you be a parent, how about that?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Yeah. Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you protect your your daughter and say, “Not on my watch”!
Aby Rinella: Which is what every little girl needs to hear from a dad is this isn’t okay and this will not happen again. And you don’t have a choice to have this happen again, because I’m going to be here to protect you.
Sam Sorbo: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: It’s shocking to me how often I hear from parents, “Well, my child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. My child wants to go to public school”. Okay.
Sam Sorbo: Oh. Oh.
Yvette Hampton: Foolishness! I mean, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: The child does not know what’s best for them. You don’t say, “Well, my four year old wants to go play out in the middle of the street with speeding cars, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. And so I’m going to let him go do that”. No.
Sam Sorbo: We’re living in the age where parents allow their five-year-old to determine that they are of a different gender.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s crazy. What gets me isn’t that as much as the parents that say, “Yeah, my daughter really wants me to homeschool her”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I get that a lot. I’ve heard that so much lately, “My kid would love to be homeschooled, but I”. And I said right there, “But I”. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you when you gave birth to that child. You know? And that’s the part that really gets me. I want to take those kids home with me.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is, and I’ve actually said this to somebody, and I say it sort of generically, because it’s really harsh. If your child wants to be homeschooled and you refuse, then you have to understand that that is you refusing your child, their desire. And either that paints you as too stupid or too uncaring. It’s a no win. You can’t win that one.
Aby Rinella: Well, they’re also crying out. I think those kids are crying out. And then parents are shocked when these girls start cutting, or all these things that they’re doing. And it’s like, but they cried out to you. They told you, “Get me out of this situation”. So don’t be surprised when they have to stand up and read these crazy poems.
Sam Sorbo: Exactly. Yeah, it’s frustrating.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: So I’m on a crusade to wake people up. We’re somnambulant, we’re just brainwashed.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: [Saying things like] “Who’s winning American idol?”
Aby Rinella: Well, we need more people on that crusade.
Sam Sorbo: And I want to get the message out, because homeschooling is the secret sauce. It’s the most amazing thing. I’ve produced two movies now. I never would’ve produced a movie if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: I’ve written several books. I never would have done that if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: It has empowered me, that’s why the subtitle of my book is an inspirational journey from self-doubt at a homeschool advocate. My job when I wrote this book, the way I saw it was I was going to empower parents to make that choice. And thank God, I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, “It was through your videos. It was through your book. Thank you lighting a fire under me or guiding me in this process. And thank you for encouraging me and telling me that I could do it”. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know anything. Because here’s the thing, how best can we teach our children by showing them what it means to learn.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: By showing them how learning is done! How do accomplish that? They have something to learn, first of all, right?
Aby Rinella: Right. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but I’m a former public school teacher [gasps] I know, but do you know what I’m doing with my kids? They never step one foot and one day in a public school. But so many people say, “Oh, you can homeschool because you were a teacher”. And that is probably the most offensive thing to me, because being a public school teacher was my greatest challenge in homeschooling. I had to unlearn all of the brainwashing I got, how to teach a kid, because I realized that’s not how you teach a kid. That’s how you teach a kid that lives in this box. But when you said it’s better to not know everything, I could not echo that more, because I went to four years of school on how to teach a kid and I didn’t have a clue how to teach a kid till I came home and learned what it meant to teach a kid.
Sam Sorbo: Well, and when I criticize the institution, I don’t criticize the teachers, right?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: So many of them really want to serve.
Yvette Hampton: Okay.
Sam Sorbo: A good thing. I mean, they really want to serve. They’ve got a heart for the kids and they want to do the best by them. So for Christian teachers especially who are now really more and more conflicted between their faith and values and what they need to do, so I encourage them to hang out a shingle and become a home educator for other people’s children, because there are plenty of people who… And I had a friend, actually, who had four kids, his wife refused, just steadfastly refused. And he had to work. And so he just hired retired school teachers for a half day every day, one per child. And that was cheaper than sending them to the local private school. And he wasn’t going to send them to the public schools there because that was a nonstarter. And his oldest daughter graduated Harvard. They’re doing great. Well, they had private tutors growing up. It’s a win-win! So If you’re a public school teacher and you’re getting fed up to here with everything, go into business for yourself. Be an entrepreneur.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s I want to put on the entrepreneurship back in education.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: We should be teaching self-sufficiency.
Yvette Hampton: Well, Sam, I so much appreciate your stance on family and on homeschooling. You and Kevin are a rarity in Hollywood. Garritt worked in the Hollywood movie industry for many, many years and we saw it firsthand just like you have. And I mean, it’s no secret that most marriages in Hollywood fail miserably. And it’s one of the things I respect so much about you. And one of the reasons that I love that you homeschool is because I forget exactly what your role is, but if Kevin’s going to be away for two weeks or more or something like that, then you guys go as a family, right?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. We’re never separated for more than two weeks. That was our rule.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. And I mean, that’s amazing. And with the career that he has and the career that both of you have had, that you are able to take homeschooling with you, and you’re able to be a family. When we went and filmed with you for Schoolhouse Rocked, we met up with you in St. Pete, Florida, where you and Kevin were both filming a movie there. And it was so much fun. Your kids were there with you. My daughter and your daughter had a great time. They spent the whole day together.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And I mean it was just so much fun to just see your family all the way, because at that time you were living in Los Angeles, but you were filming in Florida, so you were all the way on the other side of the country, but your family was together! And you have worked really hard to protect that family unity. And I respect that so much about you, that family is that important to you.
Sam Sorbo: You know what? I think I learned at a fairly young age to prioritize. Right now we say you can have it all. You can’t have it all!
Yvette Hampton: No.
Sam Sorbo: No. No. Sorry. That’s not part of the equation.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s pie in the sky. That doesn’t work. So, prioritize. And so we made it… We became dedicated. We said, “Okay, we’re prioritizing our marriage”. I said, “I’m prioritizing the children” when I realized that it was actually damaging for them to be in the environment of the public school. And what’s great is, when you understand, I’m going to use air quotes, “the sacrifice”, and you sacrifice for something, you imbue it with even more value. And what you get out is so precious.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: But if we don’t value things, if we’re just like, “Eh, a little bit of that, a little bit of that, a little bit…”, nothing has any value.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And we find ourselves lost at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the lifetime.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: So yeah, I mean that’s partly why, that feeds into true faith. We stepped out in faith. Marriage is an act of faith.
Aby Rinella: Yes. Amen.
Sam Sorbo: Marriage is an act of huge faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Sam Sorbo: Children are an act of faith. Home education’s an act of faith.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: Learn how to practice your face every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: And you’ll have a more fruitful, more fulfilling life.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that is a perfect way to end this podcast. Sam, you are such a blessing. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for your part in Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you for your part in the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We are so excited to have you as part of that event. Thank you.
Aby Rinella: So what day are you speaking and what topic are you speaking on?
Sam Sorbo: I think I’m the last. Am I the last speaker?
Yvette Hampton: You are. You are actually closing it out, as the last solo session, which will be on Friday, February 21st at 4:30 PM, Eastern time.
Aby Rinella: With me again!
Sam Sorbo: Great.
Aby Rinella: I’m going to hang out with you again.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. You’ll be a part of that last round table panel that we’ve got going on, so we’re so super excited, looking forward to having you as part of that. That last panel will be myself, Aby, you, Kristi Clover, who I know you’re a good friends with.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And James Gottry from the James Dobson Family Institute is going to be joining us as well.
Sam Sorbo: It’s going to be fun! And God bless you for doing that. I think it’s very cool and it’s a great way to reach people. And so I would encourage everybody who’s hearing this, please invite your friends.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: It’s an easy thing to do. You don’t have to go anywhere. You just sit at your computer, you can peak through everybody who’s speaking and learn a little bit. And maybe you’ll have the epiphany that you need to push you into the right direction with your kid.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and it is going to be very helpful in getting post-production funded on Schoolhouse Rocked, so that we can get this movie done and into people’s hands. So Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Aby, thank you for being with us again.
Aby Rinella: Thank you.
Yvette Hampton: You both are a blessing. Thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.
Sam Sorbo: Thank you so much for having me.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-
Sam Sorbo: Hi, Aby.
Aby Rinella: I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.
Sam Sorbo: Its fun. It’s just like us girls.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?
Aby Rinella: I know.
Yvette Hampton: We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.
Yvette Hampton: It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.
Yvette Hampton: I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”
Yvette Hampton: It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-
Sam Sorbo: Can I be perfectly Frank?
Yvette Hampton: … yes.
Sam Sorbo: I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.
Sam Sorbo: So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.
Yvette Hampton: There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.
Yvette Hampton: Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.
Sam Sorbo: And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.
Yvette Hampton: Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.
Aby Rinella: I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.
Yvette Hampton: And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.
Aby Rinella: Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.
Sam Sorbo: That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.
Sam Sorbo: And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.
Aby Rinella: You were in the trenches.
Sam Sorbo: So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.
Sam Sorbo: He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”
Sam Sorbo: And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.
Sam Sorbo: And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.
Yvette Hampton: Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.
Sam Sorbo: As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.
Aby Rinella: That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.
Yvette Hampton: Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?
Sam Sorbo: At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!
Yvette Hampton: When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.
Sam Sorbo: I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.
Yvette Hampton: All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.
In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.
Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!
Enjoy their conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.
Rachael Carman: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.
Rachael Carman: Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.
Yvette Hampton: Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…
Aby Rinella: Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.
Aby Rinella: So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?
Rachael Carman: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?
Rachael Carman: You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”
Rachael Carman: So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.
Rachael Carman: I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.
Rachael Carman: Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.
Aby Rinella: I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.
Rachael Carman: It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.
Rachael Carman: That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.
Rachael Carman: And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.
Yvette Hampton: Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.
Yvette Hampton: He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?
Rachael Carman: That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.
Rachael Carman: But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?
Rachael Carman: Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.
Rachael Carman: And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.
Rachael Carman: That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.
Rachael Carman: If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.
Rachael Carman: Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.
Rachael Carman: Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
Rachael Carman: Oh, that is awesome!
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: Only by the grace of God.
Rachael Carman: I understand.
Yvette Hampton: Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.
Yvette Hampton: And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.
Yvette Hampton: We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.
Rachael Carman: I love your honesty.
Yvette Hampton: So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?
Rachael Carman: Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.
Rachael Carman: It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”
Rachael Carman: But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?
Rachael Carman: I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.
Rachael Carman: So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.
Rachael Carman: But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.
Rachael Carman: So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-
Aby Rinella: Thank you very much.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They live in Moscow.
Aby Rinella: Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.
Aby Rinella: And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.
Aby Rinella: You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.
Aby Rinella: I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.
Aby Rinella: And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. That is-
Rachael Carman: We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.
Rachael Carman: So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.
Rachael Carman: That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?
Rachael Carman: Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.
Rachael Carman: He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.
Rachael Carman: Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.
Yvette Hampton: And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.
Yvette Hampton: So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?
Rachael Carman: My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.
Yvette Hampton: You’ve got that A in there.
Rachael Carman: I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.
Yvette Hampton: Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.
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For the first episode of the third season of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella sat down with Kristi Clover to talk discuss a subject that most of us consider at the start of every year, ORGANIZATION. Kristi is a master organizer and has just released a fabulous book on the subject, that is sure to be an encouragement and valuable resource to you, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.
Kristi offers 10 simple rules to help parents manage the chaos of their homes on a daily basis. From learning routines and habits to creating systems to stay organized, she dives into the most common areas moms struggle with in their homes.
In addition to Kristi being a home organization and efficiency expert, she’s also an author, a speaker, and the host of the Simply Joyful Podcast. Her passion is to encourage families to find simple ways to bring more joy into their home and life. She loves to share about her adventures in motherhood and home life through a variety of media that you can find at KristiClover.com. As a mom of five, she’s never short on opportunities to “practice what she preaches” in the realm of home organization and #momlife. Kristi lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve, and their five children. Be sure to connect with Kristi online for an extra dose of encouragement. She’s @KristiClover on most social media networks. Enjoy this transcript of their conversation.
Yvette: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always we have such an exciting guest on today. I also have my amazing cohost with me again today, Aby Rinella, We are talking to Kristi Clover, mom of moms, homeschool mom of homeschool moms, and part of the speaker line up for the upcoming, Homegrown Generation Family Expo. She is so much fun. You guys are going to love this episode with her. We are talking about her new book, M.O.M.is that what you actually call it Kristi? M.O.M?
Kristi Clover: Yeah, M-O-M – Master Organizer of Mayhem. There it is.
Yvette: M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem. I love that title. I love the cover of the book. It is so much fun. It’s so eye-catching when you first look at it. It’s got a bunch of Legos all over it. So, welcome. And this is a great time, because your book just came out and I’m excited about it and want to tell people all about it. And Aby, thanks for joining us again today.
Aby Rinella: I’m excited to be here. Organization is my Love Language, so I’m super excited to be on here.
Kristi: I love it. Let me speak love to you today.
Yvette: It’s the eighth Love Language, huh?
Aby: Oh, it is.
Kristi: Oh, yeah! No, totally. I laughed, because I was so stressed out at one point because, I shared with you guys before we started that we started this home renovation. My friends are like, “You cannot call it remodel. You’re down to studs.” I’m like, “Great.” At the same time, we’re doing book launch, so I just, I have moments where I’m like, “Oh, find a happy place. Find a happy place.”
Kristi: I started doing this deep declutter, and my husband was laughing. He’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I feel really happy right now.” He’s like, “I’m just going to walk away.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do that. I’m really happy right now.” I was in this delirious moment. He was like, “Okay.”
Yvette: Oh my gosh. It’s like nesting, right? Because, instead of birthing a child, you’re birthing a brand new home.
Kristi: Yes! And a book. This is not recommended. I’m like, “I brought this upon myself because I called it Master Organizer of Mayhem”, so the Lord was like, “Ha-ha-ha, let’s bring a little more mayhem into your life”. And school, and homeschooling.
Aby: Like when you pray for patience and you’re like “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”.
Kristi: Oh, I don’t do that anymore.
Yvette: So very quickly Kristi, tell us about your family, because you’ve got some kiddos, and a husband, and people you like.
Kristi: Oh yes. Just a few kiddos. I love it because the homeschool community, I can say this: We only have five kids. Here in San Diego, people are like “you have what! Are you crazy? Do you know how that works?”. And we’re like yeah. And I have a funny story about that in the book actually. Someone here in San Diego who asked that to me. I was in a very hormonal state. I was pregnant with our fifth and yeah I had a very snarky response.
Kristi: So, Steve and I have been married for 22 years. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We have five kids. Grant is the oldest, he’s 17. Then Blake is 16, Wade is 11, Ashlyn is 8, and Kaitlin is 6. So when I was pregnant with Kaitlin, it’s socially acceptable to continue to have more kids if you have all of one gender. So when I was pregnant with Ashlyn, everyone was like, “Aww, did you get your girl?”. And Mama Bear, mom of boys was like, “I did but I love my boys.” Leave me alone!
Kristi: When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, I had the gentleman who decided to hit me on a day when I was very tired and hormonal. And he looked at the three boys and Ashlyn and he’s like, “You do know how that works, right?”. I’m like, “Yeah and you know what they say, practice makes perfect.”
Kristi: So sorry I went a little rated-PG there. But yeah it was awesome. And he is like “Ahhh.” And the woman behind him was blushing. The woman at the cash register was laughing so hard. So, I’m trying to get the kids out of the store and all of my older kids were like, “What does that mean? What do you mean?” And I was like, “Nothing! Nothing, mommy shouldn’t have said that.” Don’t speak when you’re pregnant, I don’t know.
Yvette: Oh goodness. Well come to the South, where lots of people have lots of kids. And it is totally socially acceptable. And we’re the family that only has two kids. We don’t drive a mini van, and what else don’t we do, probably lots of homeschooling things.
Kristi: We don’t fit in a mini van anymore, because my teenagers are 6’2″! So they won’t fit in the car very well, and everyone is too scrunched for a mini van. So we’re literally at the stage where we have an SUV, but everyone is trying to talk us into a mega sprinter thing that fits 12 and ya know 10 bikes and a camper.
Aby: It’s got a camper in it. You can sleep in there.
Kristi: We’re just gonna drive a motor home.
Yvette: So much fun. So these multiple kids that you have, that you’ve practiced for, for many years. And you now have a perfect child. This has been, I’m sure one of the many things that has caused you to write this book, called “M.O.M.– Master Organizer of Mayhem”. I love the title of it. Tell us about your book and help us, moms who are trying to figure out. Because I know this is a difficult thing for any mom, not just homeschool mom. But homeschool mom when you add real life and then homeschooling, it can get really crazy and really chaotic and really stressful. So tell us about your book.
Kristi: he book is really fun because it started when I actually only had two kids. Way back, like you know go in that time machine, like flashback, whatever it’s called. The Wayback, so if we go back in time to when I just had two kids. I think Grant and Blake were only four and three at the time, I was asked to speak at our women’s event. So I was like okay what would you like me to talk on? “Can you please talk about home organization?” And I remember thinking, Okay, that’s weird, I know I’m a little, I love it and I thrive on it but I’m not perfect at it.
Kristi: So I sat down and I really tried to think through. What gives people the perception that I’m so organized? I started asking friends too, why do people think… Because anytime I asked a girlfriend, what are some descriptions of me, what do you feel are some of my strengths? Organization always came up. And I’m like you guys have been to my house, it is messy sometimes. I feel like when I’m overwhelmed, I do, I let things go. And that’s okay. And what I’ve learned is that is absolutely the right thing to do, because if you really truly need a break. Unless you’re really crazy like me and need to get in there and get a project done, and that’s wonderful.
Kristi: What I discovered is, it’s my systems. So I would have people over for a play date one day and the house would be torn apart with all the little kids. And the next day, I would be hosting an event and people would be like, “What happened here? Were you up all night cleaning?” I’m like, “No, I just put things away and I just have this little system for doing this.” And they’re like, “Explain that.”
Kristi: And on top of all of that my husband has been traveling for 20 years of our marriage. I think when people were trying to figure out how I did things. That was kinda where it started. So long story short, I sat down and I wrote out this talk “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem”, and I came up with 10 rules. And they’re kind of like this foundation for things that I’ve noticed have to be in place for me to feel most organized. It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything going on at the same time. But they are key components to how to be organized.
Kristi: Decluttering is one and asking for help. So there’s a lot of these core foundational things that I put in the book. And what’s fun is, that from 12-13 years ago when I first gave this talk, the rules are exactly the same. I changed the order, but the rules are exactly the same. So it’s been neat to see how when continuing to apply them as my family has grown they have continued to work.
Kristi: And the second phase of the book is actually a lot. I share some systems that I put in place as well.
Yvette: I definitely want to talk about the 10 foundational rules that you have set. But you also talk in there about setting a good foundation first. How do we do that as moms?
Kristi: Well, a big key part is, a good foundation is really looking at all the 10 rules and looking through it. But the key is, I feel like we need to start be redefining organization. Because unlike 12 years ago, we have so much being thrown at us daily. We have an onslaught from TV shows. HGTV has wonderful shows, that I personally love watching. But you know when you look at a house that Joanna Gains or the Property Brothers, or whoever it is that is doing the space, they’ve completely cleaned it out, remodeled it and made it look perfect.
Kristi: We’ve got Instagram that is so focused on these beautiful rooms. There’s Facebook, Pinterest, all these things that we didn’t use to have. I mean Martha Stewart was my only person breathing down my neck, “Be perfect like me!”.
Kristi: That’s what we feel like. So often people associate organization with perfection. That’s not it at all. Organization to me is creating more efficiency in your home life, so you can maximize your time with your family. As well as for other priorities. So I like to help people figure out what their priorities are, so that it gives you that motivation, because everyone need to know their Why.
Kristi: If you’re totally happy in your mess and chaos, the God bless you! You be happy in your mess and chaos. If it’s not effecting you or anyone else in your family, and you have your systems down. Then that’s working! But if you are feeling stressed and people in your home… I have had some moms come up to me like I need this! My husband and I are fine with it but, they might have a special needs child who needs structure. So they have had to learn to get organized. Much like I had to learn to get organized.
Yvette: Let me ask you a question about that, though because I have often to friend’s houses and I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. You know, those whose houses are always neat and tidy and they have systems in place. They have an order of their life and typically those are the people who like to purge. Of course, I’m sure that’s one of your 10 rules.
Kristi: No, it’s not my gifting, decluttering is. I have friends that are very gifted at it.
Yvette: I’ve gotten really good at decluttering. We just simply don’t have space. That’s a whole different topic.
Yvette: But I have friends that who have just very organized, clean homes, and I have other friends who their house is always just a mess, all the time. I feel like, both of those friends, but typically those friends whose houses are typically messy. As soon as you walk through the door, they might say that they are comfortable with it, saying we’re okay, we’re okay living like this. But as soon as you walk through that door, they apologize for the mess in their house, almost always. “I’m sorry my house is a mess.” And I’m like look, I did not come to see your house, I came to see you. I really don’t care if your house is a mess. But I know because of their response that it is something that is stressful to them.
Yvette: And a lot of people simply don’t know how to declutter, how to organize, how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. Let’s go through some of the 10 foundational rules. Aby what are you thinking?
Aby: I’m thinking before we get into that, what I love that you said is going back to, we’re all homeschool moms here. And I love how you said it’s not a one size fits all. It really is what works best for your family. What are your husband’s needs. I might be okay with one thing. I just love how you’re saying it. We’re all created uniquely and differently, and so what’s chaos for you might not be chaos for me. That’s what I’m really liking about the direction your book goes, it is not a “you have to do this the way the Clover household does this in order to be the exact mom and wife Kristi is”. But its really just some basic fundamental concepts that really can work in anybody’s home.
Aby: That’s like there’s not one sized box curriculum for every single homeschool family. It’s something unique for each of us. So I’m super excited about that then because this book is for everyone.
Kristi: It is, and that’s why my first rule is glean and tweak. Because we can learn from other people and learn from Pinterest and learn from other books out there, you can learn from this book. But unless you tweak it for the season that you’re in, and your personal family… I have friends that, if I cleaned and organized my house and you walked into my house and said “Wow this is perfect!”. I still have friends that would walk in and be like “This is stressing me out”. There’s people who can’t handle anything on the counter. I’m all about let’s put a knickknack here, not to an extreme, I’ve seen them where it’s a little extreme. I have friends that, they just need that. But I don’t have to live according to that.
Kristi: My husband likes clean counters, but he just doesn’t want all the Kristi piles there. That is what it is. And now my children have learned how to have their own piles and it’s not good.
Yvette: You’ve talked about your first rule, because you have 10 foundational rules that can help moms figure out how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. And the first one you’ve mentioned is glean and tweak, let’s talk about some of the others.
Kristi: Okay so it can be anything and 10 rules makes about 2/3 of the book. So the 10 rules are glean and tweak, figuring out your top priorities. In that chapter what I think is important is that I go at it from two different angles. I want you to figure out personally, what is your schedule look like? What are your priorities as a family? Prioritize based on that, schedule your life around that. Because the problem is, if you don’t have cushion in your life and you’re saying yes to everything, you won’t have time to get organized. It’s going to continue to sit at the back as a back burner thing.
Kristi: I try to talk people into giving themselves some margin, not making their family “go-go-go”. I feel like as parents, especially homeschool parents, we are horrible at this. We feel like we have to give our kids everything in the maybe 18 years, 17-18-19 years we will have them in our house, in our schools. So we feel like oh we need to give them every experience possible. Oh my goodness, I think about my own personal life and I have learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. And not to knock my education, which by the way was public school. They will continue to learn and grow, we don’t have to put it all in the first few years of their lives, so it’s okay to say no to a lot of things.
Kristi: So I try to talk people into saying no to as many things as possible, saying yes to things that are going to help your family thrive the most. And then, looking at it from the standpoint of what are your house priorities. So what’s driving you crazy in your house. If you’re married talk to your spouse, what is driving him crazy.
Aby: It’s all my son’s room.
Kristi: Everyone of us would say it’s my son’s room.
Aby: Just had to throw that in there.
Kristi: You do it, and you know my advice is, close the door.
Aby: Oh I love that! Really? Until the smell starts to waif out. Then the smell comes out. I like that, just shut the door. That is freeing Kristi. I feel like you just freed me and every other mom like me.
Kristi: Well, I mean you do have to get in there from time to time. It’s truly something that is an eyesore, close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. When you have time, make time make that your [inaudible 00:16:36]
Kristi: One of the other rules is tackle your worst project. And if that’s honestly what’s driving everyone crazy in your house. Then you have to go through and help him declutter. And the key with kids is you have to teach them the systems. You have to teach them where to put things. I always laugh because moms will go through and they’ll organize the whole house but they’re like “Oh my kids leave it messy!”. And I’m like do they know where toys go though? “No I have to help them”. I’m like teach them where the toys go, or you don’t have a system.
Kristi: You don’t create systems for other people based on how you process things. You have to create systems for the people in your house that work for them. So that’s the crazy thing, you can be the most logical person in the house, in the world, and if it doesn’t work for them. Everyone’s different, I have a very neat child. I can trust that his room is, in fact if we have too much pounding and grinding and whatever they’re doing down below me happening in the house, I go to his room to do any kind of video or audio, because I always know that its always going to be perfect. And that is just him, that’s the way that he is wired. He thrives in that situation. He knows how to take care of it. Then I have other children. They don’t quite get it.
Aby: And I think that’s where the master organizer comes in, because you’re the master of finding what works for each kid. What are the systems that work for them, not just what is the system that works for me. I appreciate that, because my system is obviously the best system in the house. But each of my kids have a different system, so I like how you said that we need to find what systems work for them and then implement that into their space.
Kristi: Yeah, and I literally just ran into that in our own home, because I have a chore system that totally works for me. I know visually, like that is what they’re supposed to do, but for my little kids, it’s just too complicated for them.
Yvette: You talked about teaching our kids how to do this alongside of us, because we’ve talked about this with Ginger Hubbard, and we talked about coming alongside a child and training them on how to do things. Because often times as moms and dads, we just assume when we tell our child to go clean their room that they know how to do it, because we know how to do it so it should make sense to them. When we say go load the dishwasher or do the laundry we just assume that because we know it they understand it. And I think that’s oftentimes what causes so much frustration between us and our children is that we are saying go do this and they’re like No. Then they don’t do it and then they get reprimanded for it because they’re not obeying. In reality its sometimes maybe because they’re lazy, often times I think it’s because they simply really have not been taught how to do it.
Yvette: And I mean it may be with some kids, you know you said you have your son, he’s just wired that way. He is, just by nature, an organizer and he’s very clean. And I have one of those. I have my oldest, she loves to organize things and she does it for fun. And my youngest, not so much. She’s not uncontrollable but we have to come alongside them and say let me show you how to fold your clothes and how to put them in your drawer. Let me show you how to hang your shirts. And then practice it with them, don’t just show them one time. We can often, take it off the hanger, okay put it back on the hanger now. You can even make it into a game. Let’s fold the clothes again, now let’s throw them all over the floor and let’s refold them and put them back in the drawer. You know two or three times so you know that they understand what it is you’re asking them to do.
Yvette: And then if they do it right then you really know, okay you really understand this. And then if they don’t obey then that’s a different topic.
Aby: I think that’s what’s great about homeschool moms too, we have all day to do this. They’re not showing up at the front door after school and sports at 5 o’clock and we’re trying to get dinner. So, we’re very blessed that we can bring them alongside of us as we are cleaning the kitchen, as we’re cleaning up the toys and they get to do it with us. What are some of the things that you outsource to your children, that you delegate to your kids to do in your home?
Kristi: Oh you’re going to love this, this one is my secret one, no kids at the door, when my kids read this someday they’re going to be like “What!”. My number one tip is work yourself out of a job that you hate. So my kids learned how to do the dishes and the trash, because I don’t like dishes and trash. They also learned how to do laundry. Because number one, dishes and laundry those are crazy things that continue to repeat and repeat, so it made sense for them to learn that. Those are my three least favorite things to do. I am fine, I’m weird, we have a little floor vac that we use on the floors not just on our carpet but on our actual hard floors. It’s a little therapeutic for me, I kind of like it. Counters, I like cleaning them, I don’t mind those jobs. And of course, because I’m finding such joy in them my kids are like “Can I do it too!?” And I’m like no, go do the dishes first.
Kristi: We all have those little things and it really depends on number one, what do you need to have done around the house? What do you need help with? And I wrote, I think it’s just a blog post, but we happened to use a hashtag that said chore systems. And I laughed because I had two people, I think it might be the same person with two handles on Instagram, we’re like “That is child labor, you should not be making your children do the work that you should be doing.” And I didn’t respond, because that’s where my snark thing just comes in.
Yvette: You should have responded with “Practice makes perfect!”
Aby: That should be your hashtag.
Kristi: They live here so they have to.
Yvette: It’s a life skill.
Kristi: It is. My daughter cleans the bathrooms and she earned that, because she told me, “Mom, I feel like the bathroom could be cleaned more often.” And there was a little corner that I missed, and I haven’t cleaned the bathroom since she said that, ever. That became her job, and blessedly she’s a little OCD so I have to clean this bathroom in town.
Yvette: Oh I love that.
Kristi: I also think you cue in, you’re like if that’s bothering you, to your child, that is a job that you can take over in the household. And if you can’t find your socks, you just became the sock folder.
Kristi: I laugh because I don’t lose socks. I’ve never totally understood that lost sock thing, until having kids. It wasn’t even the two older boys, it was when it just got crazy and one of my kiddos, he is, we call him “Mr. Fun” because he is all about fun. And he does not intentionally disobey, it’s just that if something fun and shiny is happening, then he needs to be a part of it. So, it’s like we have to make sure we are helping him to narrow his vision, no wait finish this and then move on to the next thing.
Kristi: So it’s really hard. So yeah, I don’t remember what the original question was at some point. Help them to find what needs to be done and what do you want to work yourself out of a job on. And I loved your point too Aby, is you know seeing what they naturally have a tendency toward or what they are bothered by.
Yvette: Since you were just talking about laundry, I know you have a few systems for laundry in your home. Share those with us, because I know that for homeschool moms, especially if you have multiple kids, that can just be a drag. I mean it really can consume so much of your time
Aby: Because when it’s done it starts again.
Aby: I’m so excited.
Yvette: Okay ready?
Aby: Yeah, I got my pen, I got my paper, I’m ready.
Kristi: Well I have an entire chapter on my hacks, but I will say this, that with laundry you do have to figure out what works best for you. I have heard so many different ways. There’s so many ways to do laundry as far as some people say, do a little bit everyday, that would drive me bonkers. I want to have a break from doing laundry. I cannot do it every day, then it really would pile up because if you get behind or life throws you any kind of a curve ball, your laundry is going to be missed.
Kristi: So what works for our family, especially since we have 7 people, is that everyone gets a day of the week, and my husband and I have one day together. I still do both of our laundry together, because he was traveling so much. Now, he’s not traveling. He’ll do the laundry sometimes, but even then I’m like oh wait I’ll just do it. I know what doesn’t go in the dryer and I know that this is how this is going to work.
Kristi: So, backing up a little, each person has their own day. What’s beautiful about that it creates a natural accountability, because if you don’t do your laundry and get it out of the washer, dryer and get it into your room to at least start the folding process. Someone else is coming behind you and your laundry is going to get moved, because they are ready to come and do it. So that has worked really well for us.
Yvette: That is brilliant.
Kristi: Because of that natural accountability. My other thing that is key, if you are doing that kind of laundry.
Kristi: So I can even talk through, I have a SMART, SMART is one of my little acronyms for five laundry hacks. So the M in SMART is mesh bag, they should be your best friend. Because if anything needs to go from the washer to like being hung up, you put it in a mesh bag. So that if somebody is moving your clothes from the washer to the dryer, the rule in the house is mesh bags do not go in the dryer. I do that with my husband and I too, so that if he is doing a load, he knows that doesn’t go in the dryer. So it’s not just for delicates.
Aby: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this. So for example, say Joey has a Tuesday day, as soon as he dries, he folds, he puts away his own clothes, he’s not doing like everybody’s clothes on Tuesday right? It’s his own clothes on Tuesday?
Kristi: It’s his own clothes on Tuesday.
Aby: So then, if on Friday he fails to do that special shirt, you say hey sorry you wait until Tuesday?
Kristi: No. Well…
Aby: Like you can cut in? You can share if you need?
Yvette: It’s called Laundry Grace.
Kristi: Laundry Grace, that’s right. And we aren’t sticklers on the day, all the time. So like if we just got back from Hawaii, we got back on a Sunday, you gotta be flexible. There’s days when suddenly we have three people that need to get their laundry done, because life has been crazy, we were out all day and didn’t have a chance to get laundry going. Then you know, we’re going to have to double up.
Aby: How young do you start this? Is your six year old doing it?
Kristi: My six year old is doing her laundry. She still needs help with the folding and putting away. She can do it but she doesn’t do it all the time, because she gets flustered, it takes her awhile. And Everyone’s different. My oldest, he does it all.
Kristi: One of my other things is, I truly believe in small loads. The larger the load, the more apt you are to let it sit there and not get it done. So it’s really important to have smaller loads. Which is why, again, having a day, that means everyone should be doing their clothes weekly. So my oldest, he was getting in the habit of doing huge loads, because of course his clothes are big too. He’s not in itty bitty little clothes anymore. So he was in the habit of waiting two weeks to do his if he just got busy. What was happening is, his clothes just weren’t getting as clean. And I had to explain to him again, small loads, clothes get cleaner. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to get my laundry done all in one day. But I’m like washer, dryer, fold really quick, washer, dryer, fold really quick. And then I pile it in order, so I’m literally just putting it into the drawer.
Aby: If you’re doing everyone has a day, you’re just doing it once a week. So it’s not stacking up, because you know that it’s just a once a week. That’s brilliant. Whats another, okay one more laundry hack before we have to move in.
Kristi: One more laundry hack, okay. So this is my rule breaker laundry hack for kids, have them wash everything on cold. I don’t buy a lot of white, if they have anything that’s white, they throw it in my whites divider. And I say white because people normally do, whites, brights and darks, but we actually do cold, warm and hot as our divider. So it’s kinda two laundry hacks. Divide by temperature and have all your kids wash their clothes on cold. If they have items that need to be washed more thoroughly, then you just do a separate wash with that, or throw them in one more time. Because quite frankly, I need to make sure they know what they are doing and if I have them, who knows if that black sock is going to sneak in with those white tank tops or whatever it is. I just don’t deal with that so everything gets washed on cold in our house, not my clothes but the little kids. I mean my oldest, sorry I mean my second oldest. he does do two loads, because he does have enough white clothes that he’s separating those.
Yvette: Let’s talk about a few more of the rules that you talk about in the book. So we’ve talked about laundry, we’ve talked about glean and tweak, we’ve talked about priorities.
Kristi: Well here’s a big one. The buzz is always on decluttering and everyone’s talking about KonMari method, and you know Marie Kondo. Her little spark joy, which I think is fun, if you hate something then why are you keeping it. But I don’t love, I mean my plunger does not spark joy for me but it is a necessity. I wrote that somewhere and I had someone, I have interesting people who follow me on social media, because this person was just like, “but my plunger sparks joy when I need it.” I’m like, no even when I need it I’m like, blah.
Aby: Yeah, the whole situation, there’s no joy in any of that situation.
Kristi: I don’t understand that, but it’s all good. My approach with the decluttering process, I call it a Four Leaf Method, because we have four categories, mostly. It’s the traditional what are you going to keep, so what’s gonna go back into your home. That’s when you want to make sure you’re categorizing to organize those things that you are keeping and keeping like things together. Your toss pile, things that just need to go in the trash. Whether it is just trash or toys that are broken that really don’t need to go anywhere other than in the trash can. Then also, we have a sell pile, so if there’s big items that need to be sold, those are going to be that sell pile.
Kristi: ut the key pile for us is, the blessings pile. The blessing pile is the traditional donation pile. But what’s helped us, it’s like some mental road block that changed for everyone in the house. That if this item is not useful or a blessing to us, then maybe it can bless someone else. It helps when you have that thing that you’re like, “But I spent money on that! I should keep it.” Why? If you spent money on that and it’s in great condition, see if a friend want it. And if they don’t want it, give it to Salvation Army.
Kristi: Because I’ve heard stories, in fact it was Kathi Lipp, she’s another organizer. She’s written a lot of books on organization and decluttering, and has another book coming out, I think in February on the topic. And I heard her speak recently, and she talked about how when she was really going through a hard time, she went into a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and her son really needed a new pair of shes and he was really bummed because he wanted this one kind of shoe. And they happened to find, in Salvation Army, the right size of the exact shoe. She was like it was God’s blessing on us. I think, that if that person hadn’t taken the time to donate that. You’re kinda giving God room to be like, “I can use your stuff.”
Kristi: If you don’t need your stuff, get rid of it. So if it’s not doing me any good in our house. Then let the lord use it somewhere else. And who knows, if it’s in horrible condition, maybe Salvation Army is just going to throw it away. But still, I just think it’s important, and it helps my kids to realize if we’re not playing with it, we can bless somebody else. It’s just neat to see how just changing that mentality of, this can bless someone else. So like when we got rid of a ton of our baby clothes, I literally sent an email out to all of my friends and we made this mountain, it was taller than most of my kids, of baby clothes. And my friends came over, and we had all of these babies that were being born, and so people were just coming over and grabbing them. It was great and it was fun and it was crazy, at church I see everybody in my kids’ clothes, and I’m like oh that’s so sweet. It was just fun to see them being reused.
Aby: I love that. I think it’s good for kids too because, like with my son, we talked to him. Well, he’s a boy so he’s hard on things. And we talk to him a lot too, when you’re done with things, we want to be stewards of the things that God has given us. Because when you’re done with it… We don’t want to give anyone else our junk, but if we’re stewards with our things. Then when you’re done with that, it’s in really great condition to bless somebody else. So it also, just inspires us and encourages us to take care of the things God has given us. Even if we don’t see them long term for our family. Then they can bless another family.
Yvette: And I love what that teaches kids, because we want to teach our kids that they can be content no matter what. And I think often times, especially in our society, we feel like our kids need more and more, we have to get them the newest, and the best and the biggest thing that’s out. That’s why Black Friday, that’s why people stand at in line for 24 hours before the big sale or even longer sometimes, even days, a week! It’s crazy to me. Why are we teaching our kids that? Be content in all things. And when we show them that the things that they have, that they are no longer using can be a blessing to someone else, I think that’s huge. And we have done that with our kids as well, since they were really little. What friend do you have that this might be a blessing to, or often just donating it, because it’s stuff we don’t use.
Yvette: I know moms, not that I’ve never done this, I have done this before, but I know moms that will sneak things out. But then I think you’re missing that opportunity to teach your kids to be a blessing to others. And not just to be a blessing to others, but to realize that they don’t need to have all these things to make them happy and to have joy in their lives.
Aby: Say, I’m storing up our treasures in Heaven.
Yvette: Yes. We have a few minutes left, so lets run through just a few others and then what we don’t get through, of course people just need to get the book.
Kristi: You need to get the book, because it’s so fun. Oh thank you. It was so much fun to write. It was fun to tell all my stories. I tried to make it playful and fun and just like we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee. That’s kind of my approach to writing, I try to make every book I write feel like that.
Kristi: Okay, so a few other rules. So this is, a big one, especially for moms, especially for homeschool moms. One of the stories I share in the book on this rule has everything to do with a homeschool moment, and that is ask for help. I think so many moms try to be super heroes and do everything in their own strength, or even if they’re leaning on the Lord, he will give you strength but there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So I like to encourage people to ask for help, and when people offer help you have to say yes.
Kristi: So one of the stories I share in the book is all about when we just had our 4th, and I had a bunch of friends who had mommy’s helpers coming in. And I’m like no I can handle this. And Steve was traveling like crazy and we were homeschooling, it was just so much, and I was just kind of at my wits end. I was trying to get Ashlyn, my 4th to sleep and she just wasn’t sleeping well. I just have a technique that use with the kids to, sleep training, to get them to [inaudible 00:38:01] to sleep, and it is hard on me the first several nights, trying to get them to kind of recreate that sleep cycle. I think she had just gone through a teething thing or something, but I was exhausted.
Kristi: So I decided to do what so many of us do is, ask for prayer. “Please pray for me. I have a definite need but I’m not going to say it. I’m just going to ask for prayer.” So at the end, I had a girlfriend say, “Kristi, I have a daughter who is trying to earn money for ballet camp, she would love to come over. Where do you live?” We lived three minutes apart and had no clue. It was the biggest blessing. Her daughter would come over and what was so funny is that so often when we are getting, my friends are like, “I have the mommy’s helper come over and play with the kids while I go run errands.” Well that’s fine if I really need the time alone to just get out of the house. But I did that from time to time, but I would often have my mommy’s helpers come over and help with the things I didn’t want to do, so that I could play with my kids.
Kristi: You can use help however you want to. And I’m always really upfront too, we have cleaners. I love my cleaners, I help them when they get here, and I help them when they leave. And they come every other week, and the day they come, man by that evening you can’t tell they were here. Unless you’re looking deep, because sometimes it’s just that whole Murphy’s Law of when I have a clean floor someone’s going to spill something. It works no matter if you have cleaners or not, if you clean the floor, your child will spill milk everywhere. It helps because it means, all at one time my house is clean.
Kristi: We had a season where we were hosting two different events. I was hosting our Co-Op and I was hosting our Bible study, and my husband was adamant, “I know you. You are going to want the house to be tidy, and you’re going to want it to be clean. We need to have the cleaners come on the off week.” We didn’t have the budget for it, it wasn’t so much a budget, we didn’t want to spend for another cleaning. I just asked them, for this much money will you do the kitchen, the bathrooms, just like the key things I knew I needed done, because I knew that’s where people were going to be. And they were like, “Oh yeah we can do that.” And they were already in our neighborhood.
Kristi: So again, ask! If you’re not asking, you’ll never have the solutions. I just think it’s so important for people to see where they could use help and get it.
Yvette: Yeah, I think so too. We sadly are out of time, but I would love to continue on and do this for the next two hours, but just tell me to get to work.
Kristi: Yes, we have lives. And I have to go get my grays covered. We were joking about that beforehand, I have to go get my hair done because I have spray paint on my grays now.
Yvette: Is it like a spray paint you go and get at Lowe’s? You just go to Lowe’s and get some brown spray paint that matches your hair color.
Kristi: I laugh because I had a girlfriend tell me about it, and I was like “Are you kidding me?” And she’s like, “No it’s a real thing.” It’s like L’Oreal or something like that, I get it off of Amazon, so yeah. I’ll share the link with you, I’m telling you, you got to do what you have to do. I’m telling you 40 takes over and you got to roll with it.
Yvette: I haven’t hit the grays yet, but I have hit the eyesight. I now have to wear reading glasses, which I didn’t have to wear before and I look at small print things like “I can’t see!”. So in order to read your book, I had to put my reading glasses on, but it was well worth it.
Yvette: So you guys, get this book.
Aby: Where can we get it Kristi?
Yvette: It’s fantastic.
Kristi: Thank you. You can get it anywhere books are sold. If your physical bookstore doesn’t have it, you can ask them and they will get it in. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere. It really is.
Yvette: We of course will put links in the show notes to it. It is called, “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem” by Kristi Clover. And Kristi, thank you. You have written a few other books, I know I would definitely love to have you on the podcast again to talk about some of your other stuff you have going on. You have got all kinds of great encouragements, so I love it. So maybe it won’t take us a year to have you back on, right?
Kristi: Life is a little, we’ve been told two more weeks and the house is done.
Aby: How long have they been telling you two more weeks?
Kristi: They’ve been great. They are keeping right within their timeline, so we’re very happy.
Yvette: You are a blessing, thank you for using what God has taught you and shown you to encourage me as a mom and Aby and to encourage all of our listeners. Because you really do have a gift for organization but not just for doing it for yourself but helping others to learn how to do it as well. And it is doable, so for those listening who just feel overwhelmed, truly, honestly get this book because it really will help you. Because it helped me to see things that I just couldn’t see them inside of my little box. So I would read a chapter and go well I can do that. And it really did change my perspective and my habits of doing things around our home. So this is a book that does the same thing as that. So thank you Kristi, you are a blessing.