Dr. James Dobson Said What?

It isn’t every day you get a letter from Dr. James Dobson, but by the grace of God, recently we received a really encouraging letter from him congratulating us on the release of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. You see, Dr. Dobson is a huge fan of home education and was very excited to see a powerful new tool to encourage parents to take back their children and train their hearts at home.

Schoolhouse Rocked is excellent and a wonderful testimony to the growing popularity of home schooling and the superior education that it provides young people.”

Dr. James C. Dobson

Here’s a short quote from the letter: “I’ve been concerned for decades with the effect the public education system is having on our nation’s youth. And it has only gotten worse in recent years. Our precious children (and grandchildren) are much too important to entrust to a system that seeks to indoctrinate them with the radical ideology of the Left. Schoolhouse Rocked is excellent and a wonderful testimony to the growing popularity of home schooling and the superior education that it provides young people.”

We couldn’t be more grateful for the encouragement and endorsement from Dr. Dobson, but in everything we want to turn all the attention and glory back to the one who actually deserves it. God has been good to allow us to make this movie and he has been good to use it to impact families around the world. Even more, God has been good to use people like Dr. Dobson and families like ours to serve him, to grow his kingdom, to demonstrate his goodness to the people he loves. To him be all glory and honor forever!

You can find excellent resources from Dr. Dobson here.

Schoolhouse Rocked DVDs are Here!

SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKED is available on DVD today! Join the revolution that’s transforming education outside of the classroom. The new feature-length documentary, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKED: The Homeschool Revolution, examines the incredible growth of homeschooling and looks at why millions of families across the country are choosing this path for their children’s education. This is a film you’ll want to see with your family, friends, and neighbors.

Here’s what some of our friends are saying about the film:

“Schoolhouse Rocked” will rock your educational world to the foundations and give you and your kids great hope for the future! Don’t miss this important film!” – Kirk Cameron

Incredibly, incredibly well done.” – Rick Green, Wallbuilders

“This phenomenal movie is a must-see for every parent and every American. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” – Alex Newman, Liberty Sentinel

“This is one of the most empowering tools I’ve seen for parents!” – Israel Wayne

SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKED was created by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers! The film follows host and homeschool mom, Yvette Hampton, as she travels the country with her family talking with education experts, curriculum developers, college and university faculty and administrators, and homeschooling families at every stage in the process.

So many families are curious about homeschooling, but don’t have any idea how they can make it work. This film encourages families that aren’t yet homeschooling to dive in by breaking down misconceptions and negative stereotypes. It also validates and equips families that have already chosen homeschooling to start strong and finish well. As viewers follow Yvette on this journey and share in her challenges and victories, they will gather the necessary tools and encouragement to homeschool their own children with excellence.

Don’t miss this important film. Get the DVD today!

What About “School Choice”

“School Choice” is usually intentionally conflated to mean “government money for private schools and (sometimes) homeschool families.”

Here’s my very quick take on REAL school choice. In all fifty states families already have school choice, meaning the ability to pull their kids out of their local public school and educate them at home or put them in a private school. While that choice inevitably creates different levels of financial burden for every family, that choice is not impeded by the “school choice” laws or programs in each state and locality. That said, there are serious consequences to consider when taking government funds for any type of education. This short post can only touch on a few, but here are the big ones.

1) Whatever the government funds the government tracks and controls (there are no exceptions to this rule).

2) Government funding and light control today are a Trojan horse for much heavier control, regulation, and even bans in the future. Legislators and bureaucrats know that once homeschool families get hooked on government money they are unlikely to give it up in the future, when the screws are tightened, and the existential purpose of government agencies is to ALWAYS take as much control as they can, by whatever means they can.

3) These programs require adherence to prescribed curriculum standards, attendance standards, and testing standards. These are the exact same standards that are considered a complete failure in public schools, but parents completely let down their guard when “they are the teacher”. Parents, not the state, are the ultimate authority over their children’s education – they should have 100% control in educational decisions.

4) When a critical mass of “homeschoolers” are accepting government money and control, legislators and bureaucrats see this as an opportunity to impose the same rules, regulations, and oversight on INDEPENDENT homeschool families.

The state-by-state fight for homeschool freedom in the United States took decades, and the right of families to homeschool (and truly the right of parents to PARENT their children) is constantly under attack. It is never a good idea to cede ground to the enemy after you have fought hard to gain it, yet this is exactly what homeschooling families do when they take government money.

Recommended Resources:

An Investment in Eternity

One of the greatest privileges of being a part of this ministry is getting to hear how God is using Schoolhouse Rocked to impact families. While it is always encouraging to hear about hearts being changed now, it is humbling to consider that the real impact of the ministry will reverberate for generations – and truly into eternity. You see, when parents are encouraged to take back the hearts of their children and train them in TRUTH, it doesn’t just yield immediate benefits, but many of those children will follow in their parents’ footsteps and raise their children to be set apart, warriors for the Gospel. This is the start of a generational cycle that is the only hope for regaining the spiritual, moral, and cultural ground that Christians families have lost to the enemy.

You see, when you look out at the crumbling culture, the slumbering church, and the faltering republic, you have to realize that we didn’t get here overnight. What we are seeing is the direct (and predictable) result of generations being indoctrinated in the godless philosophies of state schools. We understand that “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 (ESV) So, the only way to reverse this trend is to change WHO THE TEACHERS ARE! That’s why we are here.

The ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip parents to take back the hearts of their children – to train them in righteousness – and we can only do it with the support of families like yours. Every month, Schoolhouse Rocked is able to bring this eternally important message to thousands of families through the film, the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and free and low-cost resources like the Homeschool Survival Kit and the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, but it takes the donations of countless families to get it done. That’s why we are asking you to make a donation today, and to consider a monthly contribution, to continue this important work. 

What People are Saying

“Schoolhouse Rocked is the movie this confused, convicted, unconfident mother wishes had been available to watch from the first moment I considered homeschooling.  This film addresses most every area of doubt and insecurity that a Christian parent faces when tossing around the idea of exiting the public school system.  It lays those doubts to rest and I walked away feeling a renewed joy and confidence that homeschooling is the RIGHT choice and we CAN do this!” – Heather

“I wish I had seen this when my oldest daughter was starting school. It would have saved us 5 years of struggling with the public school system. All the issues addressed were the ones I expressed when my husband wanted to homeschool right away and I said no. Now I know I can.” – Carrie

My favorite podcast!
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“I look forward to new episodes weekly! It’s always the first I want to listen to! I’ve learned so much to help on our homeschool journey and it has helped me feel prepared for what’s ahead as well as helped guide friends who are starting their journey! It’s the first resource I recommend to everyone interested in homeschooling. The only “drawback” is that I now I have quite a big list of books I want to read from all the amazing resources suggested.  It has truly helped in my walk as a homeschool mom, a wife, and a believer of Christ.”

mnwheeler via Apple Podcasts

Empowered and Encouraged
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“As a homeschooler it is easy to fall victim to insecurities and doubt. Schoolhouse Rocked has encouraged me and reaffirmed my call from God to homeschool my children. I feel empowered and regularly challenged to improve as a mother, teacher, and more importantly Christian daughter of Christ. It is exciting to be part of a community of people who are taking the responsibility to train up the next generation. Thank you for your wonderful podcast!” 

RichlyBlessed4 via Apple Podcasts

In Loco Parentis

Parents, did you know that you forfeit your legal rights as parents when your children are in the “care” of their school. “In Loco Parentis” means “in place of the parent.” It is the legal responsibility of  schools to act in place of parents when students are in their care.

Do you really trust your child’s school to act on your behalf when making decisions for your child? Do you trust them in every case, knowing that they DO NOT have to inform you of their decisions or actions? Do you trust your child, under their authority to properly represent the standards and values of your family, and do you trust the school to respect those standards? How about in the areas of birth control, gender identity, or pregnancy? Wouldn’t you love to know that the child you love is dealing with these issues and help them deal with them appropriately? The schools WILL NOT inform you if your daughter comes to them first, and they WILL counsel them to take actions that most of your would strongly disagree with.

It’s time to take our children back! They are your children, not the schools’.

Do you have questions about the legalities of homeschooling? We recommend EVERY homeschool family become members of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association).

Read more on In Loco Parentis –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_loco_parentis

Here is an example of the dangers of In Loco Parentis.

https://www.abc15.com/news/national/teen-given-birth-control-implant-at-school-without-parents-permission

Why “Opting Out” of CSE Isn’t an Option

As a natural people-pleaser, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Consequently, I am always disappointed when I have to share stories about radical comprehensive sex ed (CSE) programs being pushed in school districts and states that you would never expect, transgender teachers demanding to use the restrooms of their elementary students of the opposite sex, and other, similarly infuriating and dangerous news items. But because I am dedicated to sharing the very real dangers of public schools, and I am deeply involved in this cultural and spiritual battle, I share them regularly.

While I am never surprised that these posts get a very strong response from homeschooling parents and from parents with kids in public schools, I am regularly shocked certain specific responses. Today I encountered a relatively common response, that I felt I had to address… with more bad news.

This morning, on the Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page, I posted a letter that was sent to the parents of fourth grade students at Bridgeport Elementary school in Tualatin, Oregon. The letter informed parents that the fourth grade students would be participating in a series of lessons questioning the definition of “family,” considering the question “What Is Culture,” and examining “Perspective and Stereotypes” and how “understanding stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination.” At first glance, these topics may seem relatively innocuous, but for those of you who have been paying attention, you will recognize that this letter represents a week of indoctrination in the finer points of “alternative family structures” and a heavy dose of pro-LGBT propaganda. To top it off, the parents who received this letter were simply being informed of the upcoming instruction and were not being given the opportunity to opt out.

This prompted a very common and innocent response from a concerned reader, which must be examined more closely here. Keep in mind, the intent of the commenter was appropriate: namely to protect the safety of students and the rights of parents, but her response indicates a common misunderstanding of the roles of schools, teachers, administrators, and parents, which is shared among the VAST majority of parents in this country – whether they send their children to public or private schools, or choose to homeschool them. In fact, this comment came from a “top fan” on our facebook page, which leads me to believe that she is likely very “plugged in” and well-informed.

My simple post read, “Sorry, no opting out. Parents wake up and WALK AWAY!”, to which she responded, “This makes me so mad! The government does not have the right to force these things on children, and take away the parents rights to say ‘no!'”

Here’s the bad news…

Actually, the government has the legal right to force anything they want on the children who are dropped off by their parents, at government funded, government run schools. Under the legal principal of “In Loco Parentis” these government schools become the legal guardians of their students while they are in their “care”. Parents who don’t want the government to determine how their children will be raised, trained, indoctrinated, and discipled (let alone, what type of medical treatments or birth control methods they will receive) must understand that the only way they have any say is if they keep them home.

Schools are not taking away any rights from parents, especially the right to say “no”. Parents forfeit their rights, their parental authority, and far too much of their influence the day they enroll their precious young sons and daughters in kindergarten.

It is quite presumptuous for parents to turn their children over to “more qualified” people to teach them and develop their character, then to complain about how they are being taught and trained. It is especially silly to expect schools that openly espouse anti-Christian and anti-family philosophies, such as evolution, secular humanism, multiculturalism, the LGBT agenda, and socialism to do anything other than raise anti-family, secular humanists who embrace multiculturalism, the LGBT agenda, and socialism. It is no surprise that this is exactly what we are seeing in culture, and the consequences are devastating. This is why the only option for “opting out” that has any effect is to take your children home!

Learn more about homeschooling here.

If you are considering homeschooling, but have no idea where to start, I encourage you to visit HomegrownGeneration.com, where you will find over 35 hours of homeschool encouragement and instruction and hundreds of dollars of homeschooling resources for just $20.

“Nope” graffiti – Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

Red hand – Photo by Giulia May on Unsplash

“No” red sign – Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Hope Starts at Home

“No matter how bad it gets down here, no matter if everything comes crashing down, we know who wins in the end…”

Alex Newman

Alex Newman recently joined Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and even in the face of all of the challenges of 2020 he was able to bring a message of hope. In this short excerpt Alex Reminds us that God is sovereign and Christian Parents have an important role in raising up leaders for revival.

Yvette Hampton:           Alex. Can you just offer some hope? Because this stuff is so heavy and it’s scary to look at our nation around us and know that we’ve got … We’ve all got young kids. You have them, Alex, Aby has them, I have them. And we look at the future of our nation. Offer some hope to …

Aby Rinella:                  Me.

Yvette Hampton:           … parents out there and to grandparents, to Aby. What can you say to just give us some hope?

Alex Newman:              Well, I think the most hopeful thing to know is that … You can read the end of the Book. We know where this is going.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              So no matter how bad it gets down here, no matter if everything comes crashing down, we know who wins in the end …

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

“anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.”

Alex Newman:              … and that is God, and you want to be on that side, trust me.

Aby Rinella:                  Amen.

Alex Newman:              I think that’s the most hopeful thing that we can know. And in the meantime, God has got us here for a reason. He’s given us plenty of assignments. I mean, anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.

Read or watch more from Alex Newman

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              God will make a way. God is always faithful to His people. If the country goes down in flames … and it might. I’m not going to say that America’s going to see this great revival and we’re all going to be fine. It might not happen. But we just have to do what God told us to do, and that is to disciple our children, take good care of our families … If you don’t take good care of your family, you’re worse than an infidel, God said. So we’ve got to do those things that God has commanded us to do. And in the meantime, we have some great freedoms.

So moms, dads out there, let’s take advantage of these freedoms. Right now, we can yank our children out of school in all 50 states. We’ve got to fight to preserve these freedoms. I think there is an awakening going on in this country. There’s an awakening in the church, which is just … For me, this has just made my year. Just the sermon we had on Sunday. People are waking up to the lies of the enemy, to what the enemy is doing, and it’s so incredible to be even just a tiny little part of God’s plan. Even if all we do is raise up some children who raise up some children who go out and do something great for the kingdom, I’ll be so satisfied with that. That’s all I could ever ask for.

Equipping the Next Generation to Transform Culture, with Meeke Addison

Alex Newman:              So guys, take heart. God is so much more powerful than all of his enemies combined.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              I mean, He could just flick them away and that’s the end of it. So we’re on His team.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right. Those of you listening, I hope this has been a great encouragement to you. The ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked exists to encourage you and to equip you to disciple the hearts of your children. We love you guys. We pray for you constantly as a family. I mean, Garritt and I and our two girls, we constantly pray for you and we pray that God would use us to impact God’s kingdom and your lives. And so thank you for just being with us today.

If you would like to support the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, please click here. We are really in need of support. I mean, everything that we do … The movie is in post-production right now and it’s going so well, you guys. It’s been so very exciting to see it all coming together. Garritt has been working really hard on just getting this movie done, and it has brought tears to my eyes more than once. And if you know me, you know I do not cry easily. But it’s so exciting to see the movie coming together, and then the podcast, and everything that we have going on. It all costs a lot of money to do these things, and so if the Lord puts it on your heart to help support the ministry financially, you can go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and there’s a link there. You can actually make a donation and help support the ministry that way.

Otherwise, thank you guys. You are an incredible encouragement to us. Thank you for those who continue to send letters in and just comments and stuff, and letting us know that this ministry is a blessing to you. We love you guys. Have a fantastic rest of your night, and we will see you guys back here soon. Buh-bye.

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

https://www.theepochtimes.com/author-alex-newman

libertysentinel.org

Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children, by Samuel L. Blumenfeld and Alex Newman

Why Johnny Still Can’t Read: A New Look at the Scandal of Our Schools, by Rudolf Franz Flesch 

If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Not homeschooling yet, but considering it? Read about why we homeschool here.

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

Help. I'm not a teacher title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                       Yes.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                       Wow.

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

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

Yvette Hampton

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

Aby Rinella:                       It brings you all together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need more encouragement for your homeschool journey?

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

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

Phonics or Sight Words: What is the Best Method for Teaching Reading?

Recently, Alex Newman, was a guest on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, to address the current state of education in our nation. During that conversation Alex covered the very important topic of teaching reading through phonics or sight words (also called “look say,” “see say,” whole-word, or whole-language method).

Yvette Hampton:           I want to go back to something that you talked about just a little while ago. You were talking about phonics versus other methods of teaching reading. Talk about that a little bit, because I know that’s something that you’ve studied, and I understand the difference between the two, but I’ve never actually heard anyone explain how has that played into what’s happening today in education?

Alex Newman:              I’ll try to condense it into as quick a time as possible. It’s such a huge subject, but it’s such an important subject. I had the chance to work with Sam Blumenfeldwho was banging the drums on this for 60 years, so I’m so glad you asked me that because I know there’s a lot of homeschool moms out there right now who are thinking about this exact thing. And I know how hard it is because my wife and I — me knowing all this — we tried to go out and find phonics books for our children and we’d order one and we’d open it up and the first page would say, “Here’s the list of sight words your children are going to remember.” Oh my goodness. Kick me in the face, please. Really?!?

Alex Newman:              I’ll try to boil it down quick. There are two basic ways today of teaching reading, and then there are some variations on those, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it two. There’s the phonics method, which has been used from the time we had our written alphabet, going back clear to the Phoenicians. It was an incredible development in human ingenuity. Instead of having symbols represent words or ideas, we had symbols that represented sounds. And so a P makes a “puh” sound and an O makes a “ah” sound, and a P is a “puh” sound, and so that spells, “pop.” That’s very, very simple. That’s phonics. Each symbol represents one or more sounds. You blend those together and then you can decipher any word that you might come across. I mean, it could just be any combination of symbols, and you can sound that out and understand what it’s supposed to mean, assuming it has meaning.

Alex Newman:              The other basic way of teaching reading, which is used all over the United States today, is the whole-word method. It’s got such a bad smell, they started coming up with new disguises for it. They call it the “sight word” method and the “look say” method and now they’ve got “whole-language”. They introduced some caveats and stuff to try to conceal the craziness. But the heart of this one is, you treat the words as symbols themselves. And of course, words are not symbols. Words are collections of symbols that you can sound out to determine what that word means. So the history of this is really instructive.

Alex Newman:              I mean, I don’t want to give any bad feelings toward the people who developed this. They were actually good Christians who had the best of intentions. The guy was called Reverend Gallaudet. He was running an asylum for … they called it the deaf and the dumb back then … in Connecticut, and what he said was, “Well, we can’t teach a deaf child how to sound out a word because you can’t teach a deaf child what the symbol corresponds with in terms of sounds. So, what if …” And he got this idea from some French monastery where they had been trying this out on deaf and mute children. “So, what if we teach the children to memorize entire words as if the word itself were a symbol?” So, take the word “cat” as an example. If you were teaching it phonetically, you would say a C is a “cuh,” an A is a “aah, and a T is a “tuh,” and so the child could then read that by deciphering what each of those symbols stands for.

Alex Newman:              Gallaudet’s method – he actually created a primer for this in early America – was, “Let’s teach the children how to decipher ‘cat’ just from the symbol.” So, C-A-T, you don’t decipher that as a C, an A, and a T. When you see the squiggly lines like that, that means “cat,” and you can memorize those. And what he figured out was really smart kids could memorize hundreds, and really, really smart kids could maybe even memorize thousands of words that way. And so, if you’re a deaf child and you’ve never been able to access the written word because you can’t hear sounds, that is an enormous leap forward in terms of being able to communicate with the world. It was a great development.

Alex Newman:              But then Horace Mann said, “Hey, why don’t we try this in the public schools that I’ve created in Boston?” And they did, and it only took a few years for the quackery to be exposed. I’ve actually got a book behind me right here, The New Illiterates, by Dr. Sam Blumenfeld in 1973, and he has got a treasury in there. In the appendix, he republished the letter that the schoolmasters from all the public schools in Boston wrote to Horace Mann about this quackery that he had put into the schools, teaching non-deaf children to read using the whole-word method. It’s beautiful, it’s eloquent. It’s not written like it would be today. “You’re a poo poo head and we don’t like you, so you should be quiet.” It’s just a beautiful, eloquent explanation of why the whole-word method is not a proper way for teaching reading when you have a phonetic … In China, that’s how they do because that’s the writing system they have. For them, a symbol actually represents a word, so you actually have to memorize tens of thousands of symbols. Our writing system is not like that.

Alex Newman:              So they took it apart, they dismantled it, and in this beautiful essay they said, “Sorry, Mr. Mann. We tried it. It didn’t work.” They actually explained that the children were getting symptoms of what we would today call dyslexia. They said they couldn’t read. They would read words backwards

We didn’t hear about it again until our good friend John Dewey came along and said, “Hey, let’s resurrect that whole-word method.” And he tried it out in that experimental school that the Rockefellers funded. Actually, the kids graduated illiterate. They couldn’t read properly. And John Dewey thought, “Hey, this will be perfect. Let’s create some reading primers.” And he did. He created the Dick and Jane series, which a lot of our parents and our grandparents used. “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.” This is just teaching the children to memorize the whole word.

Alex Newman:              Now, this is ubiquitous in America. Now, there are still a lot of rogue teachers who will defy the Common Core standards and who will use only phonics, but if the administration figures it out, if the school board figures it out, if the state superintendent figures it out, there’s going to be a big problem. Now, a lot of parents now have figured this out, so they teach their children to read using phonics before they send them to school. And after you know how to read using phonics, all the sight words in the world are not going to hurt you. But it’s such a tragedy and it’s so unnecessary. America was the most literate society on the planet before this innovation came. If you look at the literacy data we have from the early 1800s it is very clear. Dupont de Nemours did a study of literacy in the United States in 1812. He said “not more than 4 in 1,000 young people were unable to read and write even legibly,” he said.

Aby Rinella:                  Wow.

Alex Newman:              If you look at the reading statistics from the government today, they will tell you that most of our children today are below basic proficiency. We have tens of millions … maybe a hundred million, maybe more … who are functionally illiterate. Some parts of Washington DC, half the population is functionally illiterate, and the reason why is very simple. They were taught to memorize words rather than to sound out the words.

Alex Newman:              So, what they do under Common Core now, they say, “Well, first we’re going to do the sight words, then we’ll sprinkle in a little bit of phonics,” after you’ve already built that faulty reflex in your brain. And so that really does enormous, devastating damage to the children, and that’s why so many children today can’t read

I think Satan probably just thought this was brilliant. “Hey, if they can’t read, they can’t read the Bible.”

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              “And they can’t go to the library, they can’t educate themselves, they won’t know their history, they won’t be able to read their Constitution.”

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              “This is positively brilliant.” And that brings us to today.

Thankfully, the solution to this problem is clear. There is an effective method for teaching reading to our children. Phonics works.

For more on this subject, listen to our interview with Andrew Pudewa, entitled “The Importance of Reading Aloud.” In this lively conversation, Andrew Pudewa, founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), explains the importance of reading to our children to establish a firm foundation as they become great readers, writers, and communicators. 

Alex Newman is an award-winning international journalist, educator, author, speaker, investor, and consultant who seeks to glorify God in everything he does. In addition to serving as president of Liberty Sentinel Media, Inc, he has written for a wide array of publications in the United States and abroad including the Epoch TimesThe New American, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Brief, WND (World Net Daily)FreedomProject Media, and many more. He also serves as executive director for Public School Exit, a ministry to rescue children from government schools. One of his major works was an exposé of government schools with internationally renowned Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld called Crimes of the Educators published by WND Books, endorsed by conservative leaders ranging from Phyllis Schlafly to Ron Paul. Last year, he travelled across the United States for the “Rescuing Our Children” speaking tour urging parents to get their children out of public school. Alex has appeared on hundreds of TV shows including Newsmax, One America News, the Dove Network, the Christian Television Network, the SonLife Broadcasting Network, and many more. In addition, he serves on several advisory boards for education-focused organizations, including U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE), the Nehemiah Institute, and the Samuel L. Blumenfeld Foundation for Literacy. For the last seven years, Alex has also been teaching advanced economics to some of America’s brightest high-school seniors through FreedomProject Academy, an accredited K-12 Christian school offering a classical education to students worldwide. Alex and his wife homeschool their 4 children. 

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

https://www.theepochtimes.com/author-alex-newman

libertysentinel.org

Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children, by Samuel L. Blumenfeld and Alex Newman

Why Johnny Still Can’t Read: A New Look at the Scandal of Our Schools, by Rudolf Franz Flesch 

If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Let’s Send 2020 Out in Style (Kirk Cameron Style!)

There is no question 2020 has been full of challenges, but it has also been another year where the sovereign God of the Universe was still at work. One of the greatest things he has done this year has been to bring millions of children home from school – many for good (read more here and here). While this has created a year of chaos for many and required many families to make tough decisions very quickly, this single event will have positive effects for many families that will last for generations.

Watch the second part of our interview with Kirk Cameron.

Through this tumultuous year, as so many new families have experienced the world of homeschooling, God has grown the ministry and impact of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. He has used the practical advice, heartfelt encouragement, and Biblical instruction of dozens of excellent guests to minister to families around the world. Just in 2020 we have seen listenership grow to from around 9,000 downloads January to almost 21,000 in August, with regular listeners in over 40 countries. We continued to be amazed at his goodness and continue to be blessed that he has allowed us to do this important and exciting work. 

As we close out the 2020 podcast season we really wanted to go out with a bang, so for the last week of the year we are bringing you a three-part conversation with Kirk Cameron, from his session for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

As we listened to this interview we were, once again, reminded that God LOVES families and the instructions he gives us in his Word are for our good and his GLORY! We are certain that this conversation will be an encouragement to you too. Please be sure to share this one with a friend…after you have a listen, of course!

Just because we are closing out the year in style doesn’t mean we won’t be back. We are SO excited to bring you more great guests in 2021. In fact, we’re kicking off the year with an excellent new interview with Heidi St. John!

For the fourth season of the podcast, we’ll be bringing in many new guests, as well as some of your favorite return guests, who are sure to bring you the encouragement you need to stay the course as you journey along this path of homeschooling and since the podcast exists to serve YOU, we want to hear from you! Please email us and let us know the following…

1} What GUESTS you’d like us to have on the podcast

2} What TOPICS you’d like us to discuss

3} How we can IMPROVE to better serve and encourage you {we promise not to get our feelings hurt…we really do want to know}. 

Also, if you haven’t left a review on iTunes for the podcast, we’d LOVE it if you would! 

Here’s a recent review from a listener: (5 Stars) “This show does not disappoint! Great, in depth interviews on homeschooling, discipleship, family relationships, and more. It has become a must-listen podcast for me.”

Praise God!

We pray that 2021 is a blessed year for you and that whatever the year brings you are able to see God’s good hand at work.


Soli Deo gloria!
The Hampton Family ~ Garritt, Yvette, Brooklyn, and Lacey

P.s. If you have started homeschooling in 2020 check out the following great resources.

Enjoy over 9 hours of free homeschooling videos from the Homegrown Generation Family Expo!
Get off to a great start. Watch 10 Steps to Homeschooling with Excellence, with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella.

Still on the fence about bringing your children home from school? Read COVID-19 – Homeschooling during Coronavirus School Closures.