Homeschooling with Confidence: Israel Wayne on Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Home Education

“The goal of the parent should not be to try to force all these billions of bits of information into their child’s brain. It should be teaching your child how to learn rather than…cramming your child’s head full of information bits.”

Israel Wayne

Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for parents to tailor their child’s education to their individual needs and strengths. However, it is not without its challenges. Thankfully, long-time home education leader, author and speaker, Israel Wayne, an early homeschool graduate himself, lays out the key factors in avoiding the pitfalls of homeschooling.

Israel joined Yvette for a session of our 2023 Homegrown Generation Family Expo and shared a ton of practical advice for avoiding the most common traps that homeschooling families fall into. Let’s delve into some of the valuable takeaways from this important conversation.

Embracing Individuality:

Israel emphasizes the importance of recognizing and cultivating the uniqueness of each child. He emphasizes, “Comparing children to others can be detrimental to their growth…we need to encourage them to be the best version of themselves.” It is crucial for parents to understand that not every child is meant to excel in every subject or area. Each child possesses distinct gifts and talents that should be nurtured and celebrated.

Rather than striving for uniformity, homeschooling provides parents with a platform to customize education based on their children’s learning styles. Isreal suggests, “Understanding how your child learns best is essential…whatever their learning style, adjusting their education to suit their needs is vital.”

Avoiding Academic Pressure:

Homeschooling can sometimes fall prey to the pressure to excel academically in every subject. Israel shares a story of two boys with different strengths: one excelling academically and the other in athletics. He emphasizes the importance of encouraging each child in their respective areas of excellence. Israel states, “Teaching children to praise and encourage their siblings when they succeed is crucial in building an environment of support and collaboration.”

In addition to this, he identifies the need for parents to prioritize relationship-building over strict academic focus. “Academics are not the end goal; they are just a means to an end. When we prioritize relationship building, we create an environment for successful homeschooling.”

Avoiding the Replication Trap:

The conversation delved into the misconception that homeschooling should mimic the traditional classroom model. Israel shared his perspective that replicating public school practices is often not the best approach. Instead, homeschooling provides unparalleled flexibility and the ability to create a dynamic learning environment unique to each family.

Relationship over Academics:

Israel challenged the notion that standardized education and knowledge guarantee success in life. Instead, he advocated for placing the focus on teaching children how to learn rather than simply filling their minds with information. Prioritizing relationship and parental guidance in homeschooling is crucial for long-term success, with academics playing a supporting role.

Adapting to High School Challenges:

The transition to high school can pose unique challenges in homeschooling. Israel raises the question of how to challenge high school students without standardizing them. He suggests that focusing on teaching children how to learn – for life, rather than just cramming information into their heads, is key. This fosters critical thinking skills, preparing them for higher education and beyond.

The College Dilemma and Alternatives:

Israel Wayne expresses a bias against the traditional path of college for homeschooling families. While acknowledging that certain careers may necessitate college education, he highlights the current pitfalls and challenges associated with it. Rising costs, ideological influences, and the devaluation of traditional academic standards all contribute to reexamining the default assumption that every child must attend college.

He recommends reading the book Is College Worth It? by William J. Bennett for a comprehensive exploration of the college option. He suggests resetting parental assumptions and being prepared for alternative paths if college is not the right choice for their child.

Tune in to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast to access the full interview with Israel Wayne, delve further into these topics, and discover additional valuable insights into navigating the homeschooling journey.

📚📖 Ready to start homeschooling? Download your free Homeschool Survival Kit today!

Recommended Resources:

Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, by Israel Wayne 

Education: Does God Have an Opinion, Israel Wayne 

Demystifying Learning Styles – Tyler Hogan on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Is College Worth It, by William J. Bennett – https://amzn.to/48y0ntl

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

🍿🍿🍿 Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE today!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Are you in need of a fresh vision for your homeschool? Join us for 4 days of Homeschool Encouragement at the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Use the coupon code HG25 to save 25% on registration today! 

Connect with Israel Wayne:

Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker who has a passion for defending the Christian faith and promoting a Biblical worldview. He is the author of the books Questions God AsksQuestions Jesus AsksPitchin’ a Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out ParentingRaising Them Up – Parenting for Christians,Education: Does God Have an Opinion?Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, and Foundations in Faith. He has been a regular columnist for Home School DigestHome School Enrichment and The Old Schoolhouse magazines. He is the founder of Family Renewal, LLC and the site editor for ChristianWorldview.net.

Since 1995, Israel has traveled the nation speaking on family, homeschooling, revival, discipleship, and cultural issues. Aiming for both the head and the heart, Israel’s goal is to challenge audiences to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. In his words, “God’s Word applies to all areas of life. There is not one facet of our existence which does not fall under the direct claim of Lordship by Jesus Christ. This includes how we spend our money, what entertainment we consume, how we educate our children, how we use our time, etc. All of life must be understood from within a Biblical worldview.”

Israel and his wife Brook were joined in marriage in 1999 without dating and share their testimony of God’s faithfulness on an audiobook titled, What God Has Joined Together. Israel and Brook, both homeschool graduates themselves, are home educating their eleven children.

Watch Israel Wayne’s 2023 session, “Avoiding and Recovering from Homeschool Mistakes.”

Watch Israel Wayne’s 2020 session, “Family-Based Discipleship”.

Listen to Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Watch Israel Wayne in Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution.

Connect with Israel Wayne:

ChristianWorldview.net
Israel’s apologetics website

ChristianWorldview.net/blog
Israel’s blog

Facebook.com/FamilyRenewal
Family Renewal Facebook Page

Facebook.com/IsraelWayneAuthor
Israel’s Facebook Page

LinkedIn.com/in/israelwayne
Connect with Israel on LinkedIn

Twitter.com/israelwayne
Follow @israelwayne on Twitter

UltimateRadioShow.com/family-renewal
Israel & Brook Wayne’s Podcast

Discussion Questions:

1. How can parents avoid the pressure to make their homeschooled children excel in every subject?

2. Do you agree with Israel’s idea that not every child is meant to master every subject? Why or why not?

3. How can homeschooling parents avoid the trap of replicating the traditional classroom model?

4. What are some ways that homeschooling can be customized and flexible to meet the individual needs of children?

5. How do you feel about the speaker’s bias against college? Do you agree or disagree, and why?

6. How can parents prepare their homeschooled children for life beyond high school, even if they choose not to pursue college?

7. Do you think standardized education and standardized testing are necessary for success in life? Why or why not?

8. How can parents prioritize relationship and connection with their children over academics while still ensuring their education?

9. What are some practical strategies for individualizing education based on children’s different learning styles?

10. How do you think homeschooling can provide opportunities for children to explore and excel in their unique areas of strength and talent?

Read the full transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Israel. Welcome to the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Tell our listeners who you are. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

Israel Wayne:

Well, it’s great to be back with you. I am a homeschooled graduate and a homeschooling father. My family started homeschooling in 1978, which was about five years before the modern day homeschool movement began. I graduated from Homeschooling in 1991, which was a year before homeschooling became legal in the state in which I lived. So my entire experience being homeschooled was when it was against the law. So whole story there. My mom in 1988 started publishing a national homeschool magazine and it became one of the nation’s longest running Christian homeschool publications. So I grew up sort of in the leadership side of the homeschooling movement. My mom was an author and conference speaker and spoke at conferences back in the so on. And so because I was one of the first homeschool graduates in the United States, I actually started getting invited as a teenager to speak at conferences in the 1990s. I was keynoting homeschool conferences and wrote my first book on homeschooling in 2000. Actually. My wife is also a homeschool graduate. Her family started homeschooling in Arizona in 1983 and we’ve been married 24 years. We have eleven children, all of whom have been homeschooled from birth. So my professional career, I guess I started working for my mother’s homeschool publishing company in 1993 January, so I just finished 30 years.

Yvette Hampton:

Wow.

Israel Wayne:

Full time working in homeschool publishing as well as conference speaking and advocacy for home education. So it’s been quite a fun ride. My whole adult life has been professionally involved in promoting homeschooling, so something I’m very passionate about. And then also working as marketing director for the Homeschool magazine that we published for 20 years. My day job was interfacing with curriculum publishers and homeschool speakers, authors, vendors, that kind of thing. So I’m pretty familiar with all things homeschool from my experience being homeschool, working professionally in it, and then homeschooling our eleven children.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. So you are a professional homeschooler, really, is what you’re saying, through and through.

Israel Wayne:

Between chronically and terminally homeschooled.

Yvette Hampton:

I think that’s what it is. I love it. Well, you are so much fun to listen to. You and you are full of wisdom, advice and experience, all of those three things. And so when we were trying to figure out what session would be best for you to talk about, I saw this one avoiding and Recovering from Homeschool mistakes. And I was like, well, that’s Israel. Because if anyone could talk on this topic, it is you. I know that you’ve been in the world for such a long time and I think as a homeschool mom, that’s one of my fears. And I know all the other moms as well. One of our greatest fears is can we actually do this? Can we do it well? Are we going to screw up our kids? Are we going to mess up our family? And how do we get through this with the least amount of mistakes? My desire always is that when my kids leave my house, that I will have as few regrets as possible and I will have regrets. I mean, all of us are sinful people, so there’s always going to be things that we’re going to be like, oh, I wish I wouldn’t have done that. I wish I wouldn’t have said that. I wish we would have made a different decision. But if we have people to go before us who can help us navigate these sometimes really muddy waters, then that’s what I want. I need the wisdom from people like you who have gone before us and you’re just a little ahead of us, more ahead of us with your kids. Your kids. You have some who are a little older than my oldest, but because you’ve been doing this for so long. So share with us what the Lord has taught you over your 30 plus years of being in the homeschool world. And maybe I guess we’ll start however you want, but do we want to talk about avoiding some of the mistakes that we sometimes make and then we can talk about recovering from them once we’ve made them?

Israel Wayne:

Well, I think the first one that I’ll start with is one that probably any veteran homeschooler will recognize. But if you’re brand new to homeschooling, it’s not necessarily self evident. And the first mistake is assuming that homeschooling is synonymous with schooling at home.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Israel Wayne:

And I know that sounds like I’m playing semantics games, but literally the mentality that people bring to homeschooling often is they take their experience, which is fair enough, about what education is supposed to look like, which was largely them sitting in a brick and mortar school for twelve years at a desk in a classroom, looking at a chalkboard. And they try to bring that home and replicate that model within the home and that’s counterproductive. That is really not what we want to be going for in homeschooling. Homeschooling is not picking up your child’s desk, carrying it down the street, plonking it on your kitchen floor and saying, okay, now we’re going to just do everything that the public school does at home. And I know families I remembered, especially in the 1980s because homeschooling was so new and nobody had done it, and there was nobody to kind of go ahead of you and teach you or mentor you. You were figuring it out on your own. So almost all homeschooling families that I knew did this. I mean, they would literally have school desks in the house with a chalkboard and an American flag and pledge allegiance to the flag. And you’d have to raise your hand, ask a question, and you have to get permission to go use the restroom and recess. It was ridiculous. And eventually parents figured out that oh, this is not the best way to home school. So I would say that that’s really one of the first mistakes. And my perspective I have a little bit of a radical perspective on some things because I was homeschool. I didn’t grow up in an institutional government school. So I don’t have so many things to unlearn. So some things seem really obvious to me. But just on that point about avoiding the mistake of trying to replicate the public school in your home, if you say, well, how do I recover from that? Or how do I avoid that? My best advice to you would be to say, think about pretty much everything that the government school does and how they do it and why they do it, and then do the complete opposite of all of the and that’s going to give you the best chance of being successful as a homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, that’s a tough thing because I did grow up in school. I went to a Christian school most of my life and I had a good experience. But of course I came into homeschooling with that same idea that I don’t think we had desks ever, but I had my whiteboard, which we still have a whiteboard. I love having my whiteboard and there are benefits to some of that. But I definitely came into it with, okay, Brooklyn, here’s your worksheet, fill out all the blanks and then we’ll do the next worksheet. And we did the Pledge of Allegiance, we did all that. And not that any of that stuff is wrong. We’re not shaming any families who do that. For some people that works great, but it’s the pressure that is put on moms feeling like they have to, like you said, replicate what the classroom looks like and then you have to be a mom on top of all of that and you have to deal with life and that’s where it’s like, that’s just insanity. You can’t possibly do that. And then moms feel like they’re inadequate and they’re not doing it right, they’re doing it all wrong because it doesn’t look like what it looked like for most of us growing up, except for Israel, who never sat in a classroom.

Israel Wayne:

Right. I think part of that too is just even the definition of what we mean by homeschooling. So again, I think most people, when the homeschool, and they use that term, what they think of is we’re doing academics at home rather than learning academics at school, we’re learning academics at home. That’s not how I think about homeschooling at all. My paradigm is completely, totally different than that. So my definition of homeschooling is that homeschooling is parenting and relationship and that we use academics as one of the tools in the parenting toolbox to prepare our child for life. So this is, I think, another mistake that homeschooling parents sometimes make is that they focus so much on academics. And their definition of homeschooling is that I have to give my child this huge information download because there are a billion data bits out there in the universe that my child has to have downloaded into their little brain before they graduate high school. And of course, who determines what those billion data bits are? Some expert somewhere that we’ve never met. We don’t know their name, but somebody set a standard somewhere, government school committee, somebody somewhere said, these are the things you have to learn at this age and this grade, and these are the things that you have to know to be successful in life. The problem with that is that everybody’s life is different, right? So not all people actually need to know all the same information. Not everybody has to have a standardized education, which I’ll cycle back to because I think that’s a whole nother mistake that we make is the mistake of standardization. But the goal of the parent should not be to try to force all these billions of bits of information into their child’s brain. It should be teaching your child how to learn rather than because the thing is, you will forget almost everything you learned in school, even in home school. You just will. It’s the nature of it. The only things that we retain or that we remember from our formal schooling years is pretty much the things that we use on an ongoing basis and everything else we completely forget. That’s why it’s so hard. And parents feel like, oh, I don’t know that I can homeschool my child because I don’t know any of this information that I’m trying to teach my child. It’s like, well, you went through school. Why do you not know any of it? Well, it’s because most of it’s completely irrelevant to everyday life and you don’t use it. And so therefore, you don’t remember it because you, for the most part, don’t even need it. Rather than focusing on cramming your child’s head full of information bits, rather you should look at your goal as a parent is, how do I parent this child and guide them and lead them to prepare them for life and to prepare them for God’s call on their life and what God wants them to do? How do I do that effectively and successfully as a parent? And you’re going to need some academics for that.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure.

Israel Wayne:

And the academics have a place, for sure. But I think more importantly than focusing on the academics is to focus on relationship. And the relationship piece is one that a lot of people run away from. I hear it all the time. We just had a conversation a couple of days ago with a mom who said we were homeschooling, but my daughter and I didn’t get along, and so I put her in public school. And so the problem in my view with that scenario is we have a relationship conflict, and so we’re going to solve the relationship conflict by simply avoiding each other.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Israel Wayne:

And avoidance ends up being really a thing that kills the opportunity for influence and relationship. And so rather than running away from relationship, it’s kind of like saying, well, my husband and I or My wife and I are having a conflict. We’re not getting along. So what we need to do is just avoid each other as much as possible. Well, yeah, it makes the conflict go down, but it also almost completely removes the possibility of relationship. So God created this scenario or this paradigm that he talks about in Deuteronomy Six where he says we’re supposed to teach our children from the time we wake up in the morning till the time we go to bed. We’re supposed to teach them whether we’re sitting at home inside of our house or whether we’re walking outside of our house. He says, Teach your children diligently. Yeah, I mean, that’s a comprehensive, like, all day, every opportunity, every lesson you teach your children. And yeah, you’ll use academics. But academics are not an end goal. They’re just a means to an end. And most of the time, what I find is that the academics actually just brings out a lot of press and conflict and sometimes character flaws and sin in us, where our children are lazy, where they don’t want to do their studies, where they become rebellious, where they have attitudes and they push back against their parents. And then we’re trying to teach them. And then what do we do? We get attitudes and we push back, and we have sin problems and character problems. And the academics actually kind of just brings to the surface a lot of relationship issues that we have to deal with. And we have a choice in that moment, do we run away from that, or do we press into it? And my view, of course, is that God wants us to press into that. Prioritizing relationship over academics is essential because if the relationship doesn’t work, the homeschooling won’t work, and if the relationship part is working, you can figure out the academic.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, yeah, I think Christy Clover hit on this last night a little bit where we were talking about character over know, and that’s basically what, you’re know, the character of our child matters so much more than the curriculum, but the curriculum sometimes helps to bring out what character traits we need to work on. I appreciate that you talked about that not everything matters that they’re going to learn because they’re not going to remember a lot of it, and some of it just is irrelevant to their lives. But those things teach our kids how to learn, and they teach them how to expand their brain. So there is so much benefit to teaching the academics. So we’re not saying, like, don’t teach your kids academics at all. Just play all day long, which play is just as important as academics as well. We’ll talk about that. But yes, there’s definitely some, I think, burdens that need to be lifted from moms who feel like they have to do it all. They have to check every single box. And by the time their kids graduate school, they have had to pour all of these details, like you said, all of this information into their child’s brain, and their kid has to remember it all. Some kids are crazy smart, and they’re going to remember the things that they’re learning, but they’ll remember the things that the Lord wants them to learn, and God will equip them with what they need to know to be Jesus loving, successful adults. And that’s what matters. Yeah, I love that. Are you going to talk about because you talked about the system and living up to these standards, are you going to talk about being behind? I’m assuming you’re going to get to that, because I know that’s a big thing where moms are like, but my kids are behind, what do I do?

Israel Wayne:

Yeah, I hear that all the time. My child’s behind. And I’m like, behind who.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Israel Wayne:

Who are they racing? Right? Is this a race? And your child is not catching up to the child in front of them. And so I would say another one of the mistakes that parents make is the myth of the necessity of standardization. The government school is predicated on that. And there are reasons why the government school has to have standardization for them to be who they are, do what they do, and accomplish their purposes and their agenda. But for us as parents, this concept of standardization is very fallacious and not helpful. I have eleven children, and not one of my children so far is standardized. They are all completely unique, completely different from each other. They have different learning styles, they have different interests, different personalities, and so God didn’t make them all the same. And yet the government school says that you have a ten year old, and so they are in fifth grade, and so they need to learn these things at this age. It’s a very arbitrary type program. And then we test the of course, to make sure that all the children are standardized, and then we grade them on that. And the biggest problem that I have, like, with standardized testing, for example, is whether parents and educators mean to do this or not. It is the net result of it. But a child’s entire sense of self worth is predicated on their performance on the standardized test. If they score high on the test, then they are a valuable human being, and if they don’t, then they’re a failure and that they will never amount to anything in life. And even the issue of grades, fifth grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, I believe are completely arbitrary and really unnecessary. So, like the example I use for people who still have the public school mindset, they can’t get their mind around that idea is I have a son who is 13 years old. He’s doing like 11th grade math. He’s doing like 9th grade science. I think he’s doing fifth grade English, probably like 6th grade history. So what grade is he?

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

And of course, what people do immediately is they think, oh, he’s this age. Well, that corresponds to maybe 7th grade. Well, he’s not doing 7th grade anything, basically. So what grade is he in? So it’s really very arbitrary. And sometimes I’ll also say, let’s say that you and I got hired to work for a company and we’re computer programmers, and somebody says, okay, you need to take this class. What level should we start you in? I would be in the preschool level.

Yvette Hampton:

Me too.

Israel Wayne:

Computer programming. So we’re sitting here in preschool, kindergarten class, right. Does that make us preschoolers? Does that make us kindergartners? No, it just means we haven’t learned that yet. Right. So in one sense, the concept of levels kind of makes sense to me. Not so much grades, but levels. And some of the homeschool, curriculum publishers who actually create curriculum for homeschoolers, they don’t use the term grades. They actually do use levels because it builds sequentially as a knowledge base. So a year from now, if you and I work at this company, we might be in fourth grade programming, right? Yeah, but that doesn’t define who we are. We’re not fourth graders. We just don’t know the next material yet.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

So there can be value in us having levels. So we know what stage or what level we’re moving into. But in terms of this, you’re in 6th grade, almost no student learns that way, right? Almost no student is always at grade level in all of these subjects. Nor should they be.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Israel Wayne:

Because we’re all different and we learn differently. And then back to standardized testing. Standardized testing? Well, let me just say this. Testing a child can be helpful in that as parents, we want to know, did the learn the material? Did they comprehend it? Did they retain it? And do they have the ability and capacity to be able to repeat it or communicate it to somebody else?

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

And so testing can be helpful in that respect. So let’s say we’ve studied something on the Middle Ages, and we test them to find out, did you learn the material that you studied? Do you know the material? Can you communicate effectively what you learned? Testing can be helpful in that respect, but I think this concept of them measuring themselves among their peers and deriving their self worth from that or parents assigning or ascribing their self worth to the child based on that, I think is hugely detrimental. And the scripture even speaks to it, where the apostle Paul says, comparing ourselves among ourselves, we are unwise. And that’s really what standardized testing does, is it compares us among ourselves and then says, well, your worth or your value? Is this based on where you score and what percentage points you got and even taking tests? I use this illustration a lot when I talk to people about this. That Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill and C. S. Lewis and some of the most brilliant people of all time were horrible students. And some people said that, like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison had the inability to learn. They believed that teachers believed that they couldn’t be taught, and it wasn’t because they were stupid. It was because they were genius. And sometimes geniuses just don’t do well on tests.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Israel Wayne:

And the are other people who are great test takers, but practically, if you hired them, you would fire them because the can’t apply that to something productive in the real world. Yeah, the fact that somebody has good grades and somebody has bad grades doesn’t really even tell us a lot about intelligence. It doesn’t even really tell us a lot about whether somebody’s smart or not, capable or not. What it tells us what it teaches us is that some people are really good at taking tests and some people are not good at taking tests. And maybe that’s helpful information in the real world, but for the most part, it’s not. And I think as parents, we have to just, again, kind of deconstruct our government school paradigm and realize that education and schooling are completely and totally different from each other.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, let me take that one step further, though, and say we have this idea that kids need to ace everything, right? You see the bumper stickers, my kid is an honor student. And it’s always this competition of my kid got straight A’s. My kid has a 4.0 GPA. Well, not every child is made to master every subject. I mean, you look at a mathematician. A mathematician is probably not going to be a historian and a scientist as well. Their specialty, the way that God created them, is to be excellent at math. And a scientist is created by God to be excellent at science, and a historian is created by God to be excellent at history. And that’s the world. That’s how the body of Christ works together. That’s how we reveal his goodness, right? And his creativity is that he created us all so differently and so uniquely, and we all have different gifts and talents and abilities. And so why do we put so much pressure on our kids to have to ace everything? You have to be an expert at every single one of these subjects, and you have to be an athlete, and you have to be an artist, and you have to be able to play music, and you have to do all these things. And we put pressure on our kids even in the homeschool world. I’m not talking about just traditional schooled kids. I’m saying in the homeschool world, we do this same thing where we feel like we’re somehow messing it up if our kids are not experts at all of the things. And that’s such wrong thinking. We have to look at our kids through the lens of scripture and through the eyes of God, their Creator, and see how he created them. And that’s one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that we get to be students of our children and we don’t put them in this perfect box when they’re around peg trying to fit into this and going oh, they don’t fit. Why am I frustrated? Why is this homeschooling thing not working? Let’s put them back in school into a different box and it just doesn’t make any sense. And so I’m so grateful for the blessings and the benefits of homeschooling because we get to look at our kids, we get to study them and as they grow we get to see who God created them to be so that they can fit into the perfect box that God created them to fit into. I know for myself has taken so much weight off just realizing my kids are who they are. They’re going to do what God created them to do and I don’t have to put all that pressure on them or on myself.

Israel Wayne:

One of the first things that I remember as a child that kind of gave me this idea that you can be smart in different ways is one of my best friends when I was a kid. And I don’t know why we end up having the friends that we do when we’re children but we would ride bikes around the neighborhood. Just neighbor kid that I grew up with and he went to public school and his parents always had the bumper sticker my kid is on the honor roll at such and such elementary school and so forth. Always a top student, always top grades. And I was not a good academic student. I was homeschool but I struggled. I was dyslexic, I was ADHD. I actually didn’t learn how to read. I don’t like brag about this, but I didn’t learn how to read till I was like eleven. I struggled as a student and yet this kid was one of the smartest kids in his class and I could never figure that out because I knew him. We would go out and do stuff together and I was always thinking to myself, how could he be the top student in his class? He is as dumb as a bag of rocked. The one time when we were outside in the wintertime he decided to go stick his tongue to the flag in the wintertime just to see what would happen. Another time he peed on the electric fence to see what would happen. Not bright. And yet he did really good on tests and he got really good grades and here I was, this totally stupid kid from the world’s viewpoint, right? Because I couldn’t read and it wasn’t that I was stupid. I was just dyslexic and it didn’t get identified well early on because I was good at faking it. Anyway, long story there, but as you grow up, you start to see that there’s just different kinds of intelligences. And some people can be super smart in an area. I have a friend who is a PhD and that guy can’t find anything, just loses his keys constantly. He’ll walk out of a store and he doesn’t know where his car is. Brilliant in one area, but not in another. That’s why I’m saying this comparison that we have to have, like you were saying, know, our child has to be like other children. No, they don’t. They have to be the best version of themselves that they can be really quickly.

Yvette Hampton:

I know this is a little bit of a sidetrail, but I remember in the movie in Schoolhouse Rock, so Israel is part of our movie Schoolhouse Rock to the Homeschool Revolution. He’s one of our cast members and has a really important part in that film. And you talk in there about how your mom never even graduated high school and raised you as a single mom, and I find that to be remarkable.

Israel Wayne:

Yeah. Dropped out of high school in 9th grade homeschooled, six kids, started her own business. Pretty amazing story. But yeah, she was a hippie. It’s kind of interesting because there’s kind of a new awakened awareness of the hippie movement with this Jesus revolution. Jesus revolution, yeah. But my mom was a hippie and she didn’t become a Christian until I was twelve. So she homeschooled us initially, but not for religious reasons. And then when she became a Christian, then she was a Jesus freak. Right. And so that was a whole new experience for us. But yeah, my mom taught us. Let me just jump on that real quick. I remember when I was twelve years old, I was getting ready to start doing high school classes and she said, you probably wonder how it is that you’re going to be able to do high school with me as your teacher when I didn’t even go to high school.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Israel Wayne:

I said, yeah, that’s kind of a good question. How is that going to work? And she said, Well, I’ve made a few commitments to you and I just want to tell you what they are. She said, I’ve made a commitment to teach you how to read. And she said, that’s been really painful, but we’re making progress on that. I mean, by this time I’d been, I would say, kind of functionally reading for about a year, right when I’m twelve. And she said, So you’re starting to read? But she said, My view is I don’t have to teach you everything that there is to know in the universe because I don’t know it all and you’ll forget most of it anyway. But I’ve made a few commitments. I’m going to teach you how. To read. I’m going to teach you how to think. I’m going to teach you how to reason. I’m going to teach you how to study and how to learn. And she said, if you know how to read and you know how to reason and you know how to study, where to get the information that you need to get in life, you can teach yourself anything that you want to learn in life. And so I’m going to give you the tools of education that enable you to teach yourself, and you can learn anything you want to learn. And she said, and what you do with that is up to you. If you want to squander that and waste your time and waste your life and not apply yourself, that’s on you. Because all I can do is give you an opportunity. Opportunity. I can’t force you to learn. I can’t make you learn, but I can give you an opportunity. And I’ve done that, and I will do that. But she said, it’s ultimately going to be what you make of it. And it was kind of like the Chinese proverb of you can give a man a fish or you can teach him how to fish. My mom taught me how to think and how to learn and how to be a lifelong learner. And so if my single parent high school dropout mom can do that with a Dyslexic ADHD student, I think anybody can. Homeschool. You just have to teach your child how to learn, as opposed to, again, trying to cram their head full of all this information.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, let’s park there for just a second. Now we’re going off just a little bit. But talk to the mom who has a child who really has no interest in learning. They literally have no desire whatsoever. They just want to play video games all day, or they want to play outside all day, or they just want to curl up in bed all day. I mean, they just don’t care. And this mom is frustrated, and she’s pulling her hair out, and she’s like, I don’t know what to do with this kid. They’re lazy. They have no desire. How would you encourage that mom? What would you encourage her to do?

Israel Wayne:

Well, let me jump in real quick here with a plug for a book, if I can. This book is called Answers for Homeschooling the Top 25 Questions critic. And this book literally answers almost every conceivable question that’s ever been asked about homeschooling. And so I deal with so many of these things in this book. So you can find it at our website, familyrenewal.org, but look for Answers for Homeschooling Top 25 Questions. But on this particular one, I hit that stage when I was about nine years old, and my mom realized that I had really only one interest, and that was baseball. And so this was before I had ever heard of unit studies or anybody had ever used that term. I don’t even know if it was a coined term at the time, but my mom basically invented this concept of unit studies for me. I’m not saying she invented unit studies, but, I mean, that’s what it was. And she basically made my whole year, that year be all about baseball. So for math, for example, I learned how to do percentages by studying batting averages and earned run averages on baseball cards. I was learning history by studying about the history of baseball and then how it fit into the timeline of everything else that was happening. So we studied about Jackie Robinson and integration and how there had been segregated leagues, and so we learned about that, but we also learned about what happened during World War II and that Ted Williams was actually in the military and got drafted, all these different things. I think he volunteered, actually. But how there was all these other things that were going on in the world while still following the baseball track. Right. And one of the assignments that she gave me, which now seems kind of crazy for a nine year old, but she told me she wanted me to make a proposal to an imaginary city that I want to build a baseball stadium and to calculate, somehow had to research it. How much would this cost? So if it was going to cost $70 million to build the stadium, how long would it take me to recoup that money based on ticket sales? And so that was awesome to me because I knew so much about baseball. I could tell you every fact there was to know about baseball, but I knew that the Bleacher seats were this much and the mezzanine seats were this much, and the seats over the dugout were this much. And so I had to calculate how many seats the stadium had, how much potential if you filled all the seats, how much you could make per game. There’s 162 games a year, how much you’d make annually, but then you have player salaries. I was so obsessed with baseball at that time that I just wanted to learn. And so then she had me study, like, what makes a curveball curve. Physics and science was on learning about the physics of a curveball, and I was obsessed for the whole year and just couldn’t get enough of it. I’m sure it was really hard on my mom because there’s no written curriculum for this. Right. She’s just having to kind of use the library, and there’s no Internet. Right. But what an amazing opportunity for me to just hone in and do a deep dive on my interest for a whole year now, in one sense, that’s very difficult to sustain. I get that. And that may not be terribly practical if you’re trying to homeschool four children and you got this one child, but I think that’s what I’m trying to show with that is just that homeschooling can give you a completely different paradigm where you don’t have to do things like the public school. You can create your own path, you can make a completely different approach and hone in on your child’s one interest if that’s all they have. Another thing I would say there is if possible, and this isn’t always possible. In my case it wasn’t possible. But in those cases you often have to get dad involved as well. Because when mom’s trying to pull the whole cart up the hill by herself, it’s really unfair and unreasonable. But oftentimes dads can come along if they’re willing and if they are agreeable to it, they can come along and just be a humongous help in sometimes teaching it in a different way, spending a little time working with the homework, tutoring, whatever. And sometimes you’ll see that they can connect or communicate in a way that sometimes mom doesn’t. And the finally there are some things that we just have to do even though it’s not fun and we don’t like it.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Israel Wayne:

And so there’s a certain amount of just dedication because we all have in our jobs things that we like and things we don’t like and we have to do all of it. And so you can’t just say, oh, my child doesn’t like this, so we’re not going to do it.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

There is a point where you have to teach your child to be diligent as well.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure. And for mom and dad they have to be diligent too. It takes intentionality for us as moms to figure out what works best for our kids. And it would be nice if all of our kids fit perfectly into that box. They all learned the same, they all wanted to learn the same thing, had the same interests, had the same giftings, but it doesn’t work that way. Praise God, it doesn’t work that way. We’d live in a very boring world if we all thought and learned exactly the same way. But as parents, we have to be intentional in the way that we teach our kids, right? And it takes work for a mom to be able to do that. So we also can’t be lazy. I think sometimes moms come into homeschooling thinking know, I’ll just throw this curriculum at them and they’ll be fine. And there are lots of resources and we outsource lots of stuff. CTC, Math, BJU Press has amazing online courses. So some of our subjects for our girls during some of the years we’ve outsourced things. I’m not a math person. I cannot teach my kids math because remember, algebra doesn’t really matter for me, so I can’t teach that to my kids. But there are sources that I can use to teach those. And so you can outsource some of this stuff, but we still have to be intentional about teaching them and being flexible and able and willing to change things when they’re not working and realizing, like you said, every kid is so different and really honing in on their strengths. Some kids are super academic, some are not, but they have other strengths. And so helping our kids to realize what strengths they have is so.

Israel Wayne:

So I’d like to jump in on that too, real quick if I can. Yeah, I should say I did video high school, so I had traditional textbooks, but video classroom supplements at the same time. I know BJU offers that. That’s the kind of thing that I did in high school. And that was helpful because basically I had teachers who were able to teach me these classes even though I’m still at home. My mom would still do the grading and all of that because she had a teacher guide with an answer key. Right. But that was helpful for me. So at a time where she’s working with younger children that she’s having to give her one on one attention, it was a lot like sitting in class for me in high school because I’m watching the video, doing the text. It was a lot like a classroom experience, but that was helpful for me, and that still is an option for some people. So I wanted to mention that that worked very well for me in high school.

Yvette Hampton:

Absolutely. And co ops as well. Both of our girls do co ops this year and it’s fun. They love being able to learn from other people who we trust. They don’t learn everything from them, but they are learning how to cook and they’re learning creation science and different things. And it’s amazing. So many great resources out there for us. Moms, you don’t have to do it all alone. All right, what’s your next point? We have a few minutes, and again, if you guys have questions, please pop those in. We would love to answer them, but I’ll let you continue on with some.

Israel Wayne:

Of the the one is what I call the myth of the magic curriculum. And so I was at a home school conference, I was talking to a mom, and she came up to me at the booth, and after she’d heard me speak and she said, what math curriculum do you recommend? And I said, well, tell me about your situation. She said, Well, I have this daughter who’s eleven years old, and she said, we just have not found a math program that works for her. And I said, okay, so what have you used? And she went down through this whole list. I’ll just throw out some names, but I’m not endorsing or condemning anybody, I’m just throwing out names. But she said, well, we’ve tried teaching textbooks, we’ve tried Saxon, we’ve tried Matthew C, we’ve tried Abeka, we’ve tried, you know, she just goes through this whole list. Right. And so I’m going, wow. And she had bought like nine different math curriculum programs. And so what she says, we’re trying to find a good math program. And I didn’t mean to laugh, but I just did. And I said, well, can I just throw an idea at you? And she’s like, okay. And I said, I’m just going to suggest the problem is probably not that there’s something mortally wrong with any of those math programs, although they are different from each other, and some of them have different approaches and so forth. The problem is very likely that your daughter doesn’t like math. That’s a real possibility here. And that you could spend another $3,000 on math programs, and it may just be that she just doesn’t like math, and that’s how it works. Sometimes I don’t particularly like lima beans. People say, oh, you just haven’t had them. Right. I can fix them in a way that you’ll let well, probably not, actually. You can make the best lima beans on the planet.

Yvette Hampton:

What if you put bacon on them?

Israel Wayne:

Israel chef there is and I probably personally, I probably still are not really going to connect to those lima beans. And so there is a sense sometimes where I think parents often throw way too much money at curriculum thinking that the curriculum is the problem or that the curriculum Is going to solve the problem that their student is having. And oftentimes it’s just as very simple as your child does not like math, and they won’t. And it’s one of those things that they don’t necessarily have to enjoy it. They do need to learn it. And there’s probably not going to be a perfect magic curriculum that they just think is fun. And I think sometimes we do fall into too much of a trap of trying to make everything fun for our child. And I know I sound like I’m contradicting myself after what I said of a year of learning baseball. Right. So there’s a balance there. I think homeschooling does give you the capacity, if you can, to make something more enjoyable rather than less, and that’s always A desirable goal. If you can make something Less painful for your child, that’s great. But at the end of the day, you will always have a child who doesn’t like writing or doesn’t like english or doesn’t like history or whatever it is, and they’re all going to be different. But sometimes you just have to learn how to slog through some things, and we can’t always just blame it on the curriculum, and it’s not always wise. Sometimes it is. It’s not always wise to just throw money at curriculum and think, well, if I just spend A few more $1,000, then that’s going to fix the problem.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. Agreed. Do you have others to go through? I mean, I know there’s lots of mistakes that people can make with homeschooling. I think you’ve hit on the really important ones.

Israel Wayne:

Sure. I think another thing to consider is I mentioned this sometimes about when you buy a curriculum that’s made for a school classroom, and that was all that was available when I was growing up. And most of the curriculum that’s still out there that people buy for homeschooling was originally designed for a school classroom. One thing to keep in mind with that is the school. Even like a private Christian school, their school day is kind of patterned after the public school. So for the most part, they’re trying to keep those students there for an hour of class. So I remember when I was being home schooled in fifth grade, I was diagramming 42 sentences a day.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, good. Golly.

Israel Wayne:

In fifth grade, using a curriculum you would all know because they were basically just having to keep you busy for an hour in English class. And so it was really super painful, especially for me as a Dyslexic kid, and I just hated every minute of it. And so my mom finally started to wise up to the fact that homeschooling doesn’t mean we have to sit there for 7 hours a day. We’re not a classroom. We don’t have to do that. We’re not on the clock. Right?

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

So the idea is teach the concept, learn the concept, test the concept, drill the concept a little bit, and then move on to another concept and then eventually kind of cycle back to that concept later to make sure you still remember it. But this concept of I call it drill and Kill, where we’re just going to go through 42 sentences a day, diagramming what it does is it frustrates the student, and it makes them hate learning, and you don’t have to do that. So in a situation like that, either look for a curriculum that’s published specifically for homeschoolers that cuts out a lot of the busy work, or if you found a good quality textbook company that creates for the classroom. Just realize you don’t have to do every single drill or every single question on the test if it’s just repetitive drill information. So you can skip a lot of that. You can say, look, if there’s 42 of those, do five, and then let’s move on to the next thing.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, love that. We do that with our girls. Specifically with math, if you know how to do the problem, don’t waste your time for the mom who makes their child sit there and complete every single 42 sentences. And if it’s causing frustration for your student, that is breaking the relationship between you and your child because then they’re going to be frustrated actually probably more with you than they are with the actual parsing of the sentences. And so again, that goes back to the relationship part and build that relationship. And again, I mean, make them do things sometimes that they don’t want to do, but if it’s unnecessary, it’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

Israel Wayne:

Sure.

Yvette Hampton:

All right, let’s answer a couple of questions. So Leah asked this. She said, I have twin 14 year olds and I’ve homeschooled the since birth, but still struggle with how to individualize their education, and they struggle with comparison with each other.

Israel Wayne:

That’s where we have to, as parents, put the parenting hat on and make sure that our children recognize their identity is who they are in Christ and that they know that the are loved for who they are as individuals and that we do do what we can as parents to help them establish their own personhood in life. Right. And I think the more secure they become with that as a macro concept just in the relationship and parenting and family dynamic side. And then what 14 year old doesn’t feel awkward, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Israel Wayne:

I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but we were all 14 year olds, and that’s like, if you look up the definition of awkward in the dictionary, it says 14 year old.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Israel Wayne:

So I think there is a sense in which we’re all still trying to find our way at that point in our life. But I think as they begin to find those interests, feed into that and cultivate that and encourage that and be willing to press into them finding those little things that is their identity. Whenever I see my child, if my child shows a little bit of interest in music or shows a little bit of interest in outdoor stuff or whatever it is, I try to feed that, fuel it, finance it to get behind that. And sometimes it’s a fad. They’ll go through a few months of it and drop it. But sometimes those things really help you to figure out who you want to be in life. So, yeah, feed into that and support it when you see a spark of interest, feed into that.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. And I’ll say, too, as far as the comparison between the two of them, help teach them to praise their brother or sister. I don’t know if you have boys or girls, help teach them to praise their sibling when they succeed at something. We have a friend who has two boys. They’re not twins, but they’re very close in age. And one of them is just crazy smart academically, and the other one is very gifted athletically. And the one who’s gifted athletically is not gifted academically and vice versa. And so teaching them like, okay, when your brother hits that ball all the way across the field, praise him for it. You’re not as good at that as he is, but encourage him and praise him for it. And when your brother, the baseball player, sees his brother excelling at the academics, praise him for it. Hey, brother, I am so proud of you. You did such a good job on that test. And teach them to encourage one another that way, because that takes away the battle and the comparison that they have and praise them in front of each other, too, man, you did such a good job on that in that baseball game, or you did such a great job on that project that you were working on, whatever. And so that again goes back to you being intentional, but also helping them to individualize their education is knowing what their learning style is, because they’re both very different. I’m sure they have very different learning styles. And so you have to pinpoint what their learning style is. Maybe one of them is an auditory learner and one of them is a visual learner. And so if you haven’t figured that out yet, try to figure out how they learn. And then you might have to use different things for both of them. And that’s okay. You do what you have to do in order for them to learn. You do as much as you can together, use as much curriculum as you can with both of them together, but some things you might have to use different methods for teaching them. And so that really comes down to knowing what their learning style is. And we actually on the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast. We did a whole series on learning styles, and Kit was excellent. But study them and know what their learning style is. So let’s move to another question. This is also from Leah. She said, any encouragement for that as we move into high school years. Also, speaking of high school, if they want to go to college, how do you challenge them without standardizing them?

Israel Wayne:

Well, I mean, again, the whole system of college is predicated on standardization. So if you plan to have your child have a college track, then you kind of have to fit into the standardization mold, particularly in high school, because you are preparing them for the entrance exams and the classes and all that that they’re going to be taking. So it is difficult, I think honestly, in some ways it’s going to be more difficult as time goes forward in the future for homeschoolers to do well. This is my hunch on college entrance exams and things like that, because I just expect that increasingly the standards for getting into college are going to be increasingly woke. And if you haven’t taught to the test, if you haven’t taught their standards, your child may grow up and really may not do well on those tests because you haven’t trained them in revisionist history, you haven’t trained them in Cultural Marxism, you haven’t trained them in critical race theory. And so when they get to a lot of these tests that they’re supposed to be standardized in, your child probably won’t be standardized and may not do real well on those tests. And it doesn’t mean that your child isn’t smart, and it doesn’t mean that they’re not educated. It just means they were educated differently by different standards. And so there are concerns I actually have moving forward that I think college increasingly is just going to be a place that’s going to be harder for independent minded homeschool who weren’t raised in the lockstep system to get in. I think they’re going to have more of a challenge. They’ll probably have to kind of be educated and coached in. This is what they’re looking for, and these are the answers they want, so to speak. So anyway but, yeah, you basically have to kind of learn how to conform to their standards if you want to enter into that realm. It’s kind of the nature of it.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Wow. I actually never really thought about that before. Israel, that is a really good point. Demystifying learning styles with Tyler Hogan. That was the episode on the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast. Listen to that. Because if you haven’t figured out your kids learning styles, that episode is fantastic, and it will really help you to figure out how your child learns how your children learn best. Let’s take one last question. This is for Mary, and she says, I’m new to homeschooling and agree that kids don’t need to learn everything or be great test takers, but how do we make sure that they are able to apply for college? I’ll let you jump into that, too.

Israel Wayne:

Again, I have a whole chapter in here on high school. I have a chapter on college. How do you prepare for high school? How do you prepare for college? I’m biased against college. And you say, well, explain that. Well, I don’t have enough time to. That’s why I wrote a whole chapter about it in the book. I think that college should not be the assumed default for homeschooling, families, and their students. I believe college is absolutely necessary for some people to be able to pursue their career that God’s called them to. I want my surgeon to have a whole wall of degrees and not learn it on YouTube. Exactly. Yeah. So it’s not wrong to have some higher education, but increasingly, there’s a book that we sell on our website again, Familyrenewal.org Store, called Is College Worth It? If you really want an in depth look at that question of Is college worth It? Please read that book. It’s written by William J. Bennett. You may remember him, the Book of Virtues guy. I think he worked for Ronald Reagan as education secretary, if I remember correctly, and his book is phenomenal and that it just examines almost every facet and angle of considering the college option. And he basically landed the same place that I do. So I was rather surprised to see someone of his academic pedigree agreeing and saying, really, this should just not be the default for students. Now, we live in a very different world than we did 40 years ago, and there are people who are making a lot of money in the trades right now who didn’t need college for it. And fully three quarters of all people in the workforce in the United States right now are employed in a field completely unrelated to their college degree. Three quarters. So you have the cost of college. You have all of the woke ideology. You have the fact that they continue to dumb down the curriculum. You have the fact that what used to be a bachelor’s degree 40 years ago, now the equivalent is like, you have to get a master’s degree to get the same type of job. Everything’s changed. And I don’t have time to give you the whole thesis there, but you can find out more of my thoughts on that and answers for Homeschooling, but also grab a copy of William J. Bennett’s book, Is College Worth It? And I just think we need to reset from that and assume that our child doesn’t necessarily need college. And then when we find out that they do, then we do what we can to prepare them for that direction. But let me throw this out as well. That basically all Christian young people let me say this, all professing Christian young people who say going into college, I am a Christian, three quarters of them will say, I’m no longer a Christian and I do not believe in Christianity. At the end of their freshman year of one year at a secular college or university, three quarters in their freshman year at a secular college or university. That’s massive. And so as just I think we really need to reconsider yeah, or at.

Yvette Hampton:

Least really reconsider where your child is going to there. There are some really good ones. Bob Jones University I know that there are some colleges that are really excellent and still teaching a very strong biblical worldview to their students. But yeah, definitely be careful where you’re sending your kids. Don’t spend 13 years instructing them at home and giving them a biblical foundation and then think that when you put them into a secular school or a Christian school, that is as bad as a secular school that’s right. That can actually be more dangerous because then they think they’re getting a Christian education and they’re getting the complete opposite of that. So be very cautious of where you’re sending your kids. Israel, tell us again where people can find your books and find out more.

Israel Wayne:

About your ministry, familyrenewal.org. And we’d also love to have you connect with us on social media. Just look up Israel Wayne or familyrenewal, and we would love to connect with you there.

Yvette Hampton:

Sounds great. And they’ve got lots of great resources on there. And Israel, I know you’re speaking all over the place this season. It is now homeschool conference season and so Israel is going to be all over. I think you have a list, if I remember, on your website of where you’re going to be speaking, right?

Israel Wayne:

Yeah. So familyrenewal.org forward slash events. That gets you to quite a few of them. Not all of them, but also if you want to get on our email list, it’s familyrenewal.org subscribe and you’ll always get an email update when we’re in your area.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Awesome. Israel’s got some great books, not just on education, but on parenting as well. He can be a parenting expert. He’s got eleven kids.

Back to School 2023: Passionate Teaching and the Joy of Homeschooling

“I think ultimately what God wants is to refine us in this homeschooling process. It’s not like we’re the ones that have it together and we’re teaching these children to get it together. It’s that we’re all people that need refined, and we’re all people that need to depend on the Lord. And it’s just something we’re all working through together.”

Aby Rinella

This week on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton welcomed Aby Rinella back to share her enthusiasm for teaching and the joy of homeschooling – in our 2023 Back to School series. Aby Rinella is a former public school teacher and passionate homeschooling parent who believes in making education an a joy for her children. In this post we’ll dive into her favorite tips for keeping homeschooling fun and making the most of this important time and share a few important insights from Yvette too.

Immersive Teaching and Literature-Based American History:

“I love sitting with them because it’s about relationship building… It’s about understanding them as individuals and sitting with them where they’re at.”

Aby Rinella

Aby Rinella’s infectious love for teaching shines through as she explains her excitement for sitting with her children and diving into American history. She shares, “I love sitting with them because it’s about relationship building… It’s about understanding them as individuals and sitting with them where they’re at.” Aby’s approach ensures that her children feel valued and understood while they delve into the rich tapestry of American history.

Her preferred method to teach American history is through literature-based curricula. By using engaging stories and narratives, Aby sparks curiosity and fosters a deeper understanding of historical events. This approach allows her children to connect emotionally with the complexities of America’s past, leading to a more comprehensive learning experience.

Embracing Changes and Incorporating Audiobooks:

As a homeschooling parent, Aby embraces flexibility while managing multiple core subjects. To streamline her curriculum, Aby integrates audiobooks for appropriate subjects. She recognizes that this will provide her children the opportunity to listen and learn independently, fostering self-reliance while still immersing themselves in engaging content.

Nurturing Passionate Learning:

Aby Rinella shares her excitement about teaching anatomy and physiology, with a particular focus on natural medicine for her high school-aged daughter. The joy is palpable in her voice as she expresses the fulfillment and enjoyment she finds in teaching a subject her child is passionate about. By nurturing her daughter’s interests, Aby creates an environment that fuels curiosity and a love for learning.

Balancing Co-op and Family Time:

“I was a mess last year because I didn’t follow my own advice.”

Yvette Hampton

Addressing the balancing act that most homeschooling parents face when it comes managing teaching, co-ops, supplemental classes, and family time, Yvette Reflected on last year’s over-programmed hectic schedule. She shares, “I just signed my kids up for co-op without thinking it through – or praying about it – and it turned into this crazy, chaotic mess.” However, she learned big lessons from this experience and has made significant changes for the upcoming year. To make things more manageable, both of her girls will be attending the same co-op on Mondays and Wednesdays. This new arrangement allows for a more manageable schedule, providing focused time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for building relationships and completing academic tasks, and allowing Yvette to get important work done on Mondays and Wednesdays while the girls are in classes.

Watch or listen to part 3 here.

One of the most encouraging take-aways from this conversation is that even after many years of homeschooling, Aby and Yvette don’t have it all together – and that’s ok. They both understand the fear that so many moms feel as they set out on their homeschooling journey – and every year after – wondering if they will be able to teach their kids effectively. But every year, both Aby and Yvette are reminded that THEY really aren’t capable – but GOD! The same God who gave them their children and called them to train them up equips them with everything they need to teach (and parent) with love and grace. And he will do the same for you! Trust him. Rely on him. He is faithful.

As we dive in to the new school year, let us always remember that. He is faithful.

Then, step out. Commit to the work of parenting and homeschooling with excellence. It is a high and worthy calling. Learn and engage effective teaching methods, embrace necessary changes, and nurture you children’s passions. Build strong relationships with your children on this homeschooling adventure and remember, each year brings new lessons and opportunities for growth.

And when you fail – and you will – call on the one who called you. Cry out to Him for strength, help, and provision. Then regroup and get back to it, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and to use this opportunity to teach you kids to do the same.

Recommended Resources: 

📚📖 Ready to start homeschooling? Download your free Homeschool Survival Kit today!

🍿🍿🍿 Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE today!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Are you in need of a fresh vision for your homeschool? Join us for 4 days of Homeschool Encouragement at the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Use the coupon code PODCAST to save 25% on registration today! 

Resources recommended in the podcast:

Apologia Science Curriculum

The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning

Torchlighters Study Guides and DVDs

Foundation Worldview Bible Curriculum

Elizabeth Urbanowicz, of Foundation Worldview, on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

World History – Master Books

Foundations in Personal Finance – Dave Ramsey

Reading Roadmap – Center for Lit

Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

Corrie ten Boom Christian Heroes Devotion/Workbook 

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

George Müller Christian Heroes Then and Now Guided Devotional

She Dwells on James Tween Christian Devotional

She Dwells on Colossians Tween Christian Devotional

The Book with No Pictures, by BJ Novak 

Bible Project Book Overview videos 

How to Homeschool: A Step-by-Step Guide with Kristi Clover

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

Discussion Questions:

1. How do you feel about the speaker’s approach to teaching American history through literature? Do you think this method would be effective for your own children?

2. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by managing multiple cores or subjects? How did you handle it, and did you find any resources or strategies helpful?

3. What are your thoughts on incorporating natural medicine into the study of anatomy and physiology? Do you think it adds value to the curriculum? Why or why not?

4. Reflect on your own experiences of signing up for extracurricular activities or co-op classes without thinking it through. How did it impact your schedule and overall homeschooling experience?

5. How do you prioritize building relationships with your children in your homeschooling routine? Do you find it challenging to balance academics and fostering strong connections?

6. Have you ever had to switch or change curricula in the middle of the school year? How did it affect your homeschooling dynamic? Would you recommend the Foundation Worldview curriculum based on the speaker’s endorsement?

7. How do you approach math education in your homeschool? Do you prefer teaching directly or using computer-based programs like CTCMath? Share your reasons for your preferred method.

8. Discuss the importance of studying God’s Word in your homeschooling journey. How do you ensure that your children receive strong biblical teachings and have opportunities to explore their faith?

9. Share your experiences with field trips and how they have enriched your homeschooling. Have you discovered any hidden gems or unknown places in your local area?

10. Reflect on your own expectations as a homeschooling parent. How do you handle it when things don’t go according to plan? How can you shift your mindset and let go of control to foster a more positive homeschool experience for yourself and your children?

Questions Asked and Answered:

Yvette: “Tell me about your passion for teaching and what you’re most excited about this school year.”

Aby: “I just love sitting on the floor with my children and diving in. I love that moment when they start to understand something new, and their eyes light up.”

Yvette: “What subjects are you most excited to teach this year?”

Aby: “I’m really passionate about teaching American history. It’s literature-based, and we just dive into the stories. It’s so exciting.”

Yvette: “Managing multiple grades and subjects can be challenging. How do you plan to handle it?”

Aby: “I’m a little nervous about managing two different cores this year, especially with my high school daughter. So, we’ll probably rely on audiobooks and other resources to make it work.”

Yvette: “You mentioned teaching anatomy and physiology using the Apologia curriculum. Can you tell us more about that?”

Aby: “Yes! I’m so excited about teaching anatomy and physiology this year. We’ll be using the Apologia curriculum, and I love that it has a focus on natural medicine. My daughter is really interested in that, so it’s a win-win.”

Aby: “Last year, you mentioned you were a ‘mess’ due to poor planning. What changes have you made for this year?”

Yvette: “Last year, I didn’t follow my own advice and signed my kids up for co-op classes without really thinking it through. It ended up being so hectic. This year, both my children are attending the same co-op on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my older daughter will be able drive them soon. It’s going to be much more manageable.”

Aby: “How do you plan to schedule your work hours and make time for focused schooling with your children?”

Yvette: “I plan to schedule my work hours around co-op time so that I have more focused time with my children on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I’m really looking forward to having that dedicated time for building relationships and completing academic tasks without feeling rushed.”

Yvette: “You mentioned changing your curriculum this year. Can you give us a peek into what you’re using?”

Aby: “Absolutely! We’ve been using a Bible curriculum for our family devotions and individual devotions. Last year, we started using the Foundation Worldview curriculum, but had to pause it. This year, we’re going back to it, and I highly recommend it, especially for younger kids.”

Yvette: “Tell us about the changes you made in math education last year and what curriculum you’re using now.”

Aby: “Last year, I initially tried using teaching textbooks, but I felt disconnected from my kids’ progress. So, I went back to sitting with each kid and teaching math directly. We’re currently using Master Books for math, but there are other options like BJU that can work too.”

Yvette: “You mentioned using Apologia for biology and the Foundation Series for studying the Old Testament. Can you tell us more about those?”

Aby: “Absolutely! Apologia is a fantastic curriculum for biology, and I love that it’s biblically sound, solid, and well-written. And the Foundation Series is a great series that comes in a box and is suitable for children at different levels. We’re currently reading through the Old Testament together, starting with Genesis.”

Yvette: “You mentioned enjoying cooking together with your daughters. How does that play into your homeschooling?”

Aby: “I love that my daughters enjoy cooking together because it’s a great way to incorporate practical life skills into our homeschool. Plus, it’s a fun bonding activity!”

Aby: “What are your thoughts on field trips and exploring the world?”

Yvette: “Field trips are incredibly important! They allow kids to explore the world around them. We love going on family day adventures and randomly driving to discover new places. It’s refreshing and provides a change of scenery.”

Yvette: “You mentioned struggling with expectations in homeschooling. Can you share more about that?”

Aby: “I have this vision of how things should go in our homeschool, but often, it doesn’t align with reality. I get frustrated when my children don’t cooperate, and it’s discouraging. I need to give my expectations to God and stop getting upset when things don’t go as planned.”

Read the full transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back this week with Abinella and we are going to talk about the school year. It is a new school year and summer’s over. You guys are already into your school year and we’re going to talk about what this is going to look like. We’re going to discuss what’s ahead for us for this school year, what we’re excited about, just kind of a wrap up of what is going on. We’re going to talk about some of our struggles and fears and stuff because.

Aby Rinella:

We have lots of those.

Yvette Hampton:

And then we’re going to talk about in the last episode, making homeschool fun and some fun ideas for you that you can implement this year to make your homeschooling fun for your kids. Did you know that, Abby?

Aby Rinella:

I’ve never heard you say that. I know.

Yvette Hampton:

I don’t know why I wasn’t saying that before. But yes, that’s a big deal. It is a big deal. And it’s up to like twelve months. So you could use it for like a whole year and then say, you know what, this didn’t work for our family and they will refund all of your money.

Aby Rinella:

That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton:

They really stand behind their product and they’re great at teaching math. So if you guys need them, ctcmath.com. Well, Abinella, welcome to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Aby Rinella:

Thanks for having me.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, we’re talking about school and about homeschooling. It’s what we do here. It’s what we do here. How’s your summer been? I mean, it’s so funny. You and I have been so busy that we’ve cut each other like ships passing in the night.

Aby Rinella:

I know.

Yvette Hampton:

Pretty much this whole past summer, it’s been kind of crazy. So how was your summer?

Aby Rinella:

Summers fly. It’s like if all these you think it’s going to be forever. Our summer didn’t start till July because June was, well, actually okay. We were done with school at the beginning of May. Everybody take a big breath. So we had a really long summer, but May and June were really cold, which was amazing and we loved it. So I feel like we got a really good summer in. And so by the time this airs, we have been back to school for quite some time. So it was an awesome summer. It was relaxed, it was fun. I don’t feel like we just crammed so much in that it was a whirlwind. And then when it was time to go back, we were ready.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. What was your favorite thing that you did this summer?

Aby Rinella:

Went and visited family in Montana. It’s always our favorite thing because we have cousins and we play and it was hands down the highlight.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. We haven’t been to Montana yet. No, it’s one of our states that we have. Not yet.

Aby Rinella:

It’s actually where all my family’s from. I’m the first generation Idahoan, actually.

Yvette Hampton:

What are people in Montana called? Montana? oeans.

Aby Rinella:

What would they call the that’s a Idahoans? Montanans. Montanans.

Yvette Hampton:

Montana.

Aby Rinella:

I think you’re a montana. That’s a good question. I think you are a Montana. I’ve heard my family says you’re from Montana. What was your highlight of the summer?

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, man, our summer was good. It has been probably the best summer we’ve had in the past many years because we didn’t do any traveling. And here’s the thing, we love to travel. We love going to conferences and seeing people and meeting people and speaking and showing the movie and doing all that fun stuff. But at the end of last summer, my girls were like, and we’re done. We don’t want to travel next summer. And so we said, OK, so we haven’t. We did one really small conference in Oklahoma City, which was only about an hour and a half from us. And it was like a one night thing. Garrett and I went and we were part of a couple of panels and showed the movie and stuff. And that was really fun. But other than that, we didn’t do.

Aby Rinella:

So you had like a real summer?

Yvette Hampton:

We did.

Aby Rinella:

Not. A working summer.

Yvette Hampton:

No, it wasn’t a working summer. Except for podcasting, of course, which is always fun. That almost doesn’t feel like work to me.

Aby Rinella:

Right?

Yvette Hampton:

It doesn’t, actually. It’s just talking to people. So it has been good. Both of my girls went to camp, and that was their first time going to church camp, and that was really fun. They really had a great time going to summer camp. And so just building friendships, like, it has been a summer for all of us of meeting people and building new friendships and strengthening other friendships that we already had in the works.

Aby Rinella:

Right.

Yvette Hampton:

It was good. It was a good summer. Awesome. But it was exciting to jump into the school year, too, at the same time.

Aby Rinella:

And your last school year with your oldest, which kind of made it your last summer with your oldest. I mean, not last summer ever, but your last, like, going in between school year and summer.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Next summer I will not be school planning for her.

Aby Rinella:

No. And that’ll be probably her last summer off. Because once you get into the real world, you don’t get summers off.

Yvette Hampton:

Well, that’s been kind of funny. So she had a job. She got a job this summer. And so that’s been just kind of a new thing. She’s had a job before, but she’s working in the mall, at a T shirt store in the mall. So that’s been a different thing for our family.

Aby Rinella:

Right.

Yvette Hampton:

I’m trying to coordinate her work schedule with my recording schedule, and everything else that we have going on has been a little bit tricky. But yeah, it’s our last summer with her, not as an adult, because she’ll be 18 in December, and so next summer she’s going to be an adult. I mean, I fully expect her to still live at home next summer. But yeah. Abby it’s so weird getting here. I’m like, how in the world are we here already? And it’s been hard. So many can’t. It’s weird because I know that when we get to the end of the year, we have a graduation meeting in just a couple of weeks and so we’re already planning for her generation. We go to this big co op. There’s like 1200 kids from K through twelve and so I think there’s maybe like 30 seniors in her co op. Wow.

Aby Rinella:

In just the co op?

Yvette Hampton:

Just in the co op. And so they do a graduation for this co op for all the seniors, which is really great. But we’re already planning for that. I don’t know if this is a thing. This was not a thing when I was a kid. Seniors, of course, because we’re from La. So seniors, 30 years ago when I graduated, we all went to Disneyland. We went to grad night at Disneyland. Wow. And that was like the big thing. Everybody did that and it was really fun actually. You would dress up like there was a dress code and it was strict. The girls had to wear dresses, the guys had to wear a tie and like Disneyland and slacks at Disneyland. Yeah, you couldn’t wear jeans. And we were there. They would let seniors in. They had senior nights for a whole month, probably because there were thousands of schools that would go. And so for the whole night we would get to go. When Disneyland closed all through the middle of the night into the next morning when it opened up, had the whole park was full of seniors. It was really fun. Well, now, I thought that was a big deal. Now all these kids go on senior trips and I mean, like some of these kids I don’t know if this is like everywhere, if this is just like an Oklahoma thing, but they like, we’ll go to Europe and all these crazy things. I’m like, honey, we don’t have money for you to go to Europe.

Aby Rinella:

Wow.

Yvette Hampton:

So I don’t know what we’re going to do for her senior trip, but we’re thinking about it and to do it.

Aby Rinella:

Or are you just like, this isn’t what we do?

Yvette Hampton:

Well, here’s the thing. It’s peer pressure, abby you know how to stand against that. This is homeschool mama. Peer pressure. Like, all the other kids are doing senior trips and so what are we going to do?

Aby Rinella:

I’m like, just your senior goes. Just your senior?

Yvette Hampton:

Well, no, so sometimes it depends on the family. Like sometimes the whole family will go or sometimes like the senior and mom or senior and dad. Or sometimes like a group of seniors will go with a couple of adults. I don’t know. So now I feel like we have this crazy thing that we have to plan for, which will not be Europe unless I don’t know. Money starts growing on our tree or something, but I don’t know. So we’ll do something special for her, I’m sure. And we have several months to save.

Aby Rinella:

For a mission trip.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, well, we could do something like that. I know lots of people do stuff like that. I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re going to do. To be continued. We will let you know at the end of the year. What? Brooklyn.

Aby Rinella:

I knew a ton of kids that did the senior trips, but yeah, it was a big thing when I was in high school. Really? Yeah. But, I mean, I didn’t it was like, get a job.

Yvette Hampton:

What did you do? Did you do something special?

Aby Rinella:

I graduated high school. That’s pretty darn special, right? I feel like that aby.

Yvette Hampton:

Anybody can graduate high school. That was special.

Aby Rinella:

I guess I didn’t feel that. I guess maybe I grew up so much not going with that flow that it didn’t even faze me.

Yvette Hampton:

I don’t know.

Aby Rinella:

Or part of me, too, is like, my parents are paying for my college. They’re paying for I would not even want them to have to pay for something like that. I guess I never even expected it nor really thought about it. I did do several missions trips in which I raised my own money and did these amazing trips, and those were life changing, and I would suggest that for everyone because it was just, okay, I’m done with school now. How can I serve and see what’s going on in the world and just see the bigger picture of outside of my own little teenage drama bubble and what’s everybody doing, and what am I supposed to do? So I think that was probably my most life changing post high school experience.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. That’s amazing. Garrett and I met on a missions trip.

Aby Rinella:

Did you?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

I didn’t know that.

Yvette Hampton:

To Mexico?

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, I did a mission trip to Mexico my senior year. It was.

Yvette Hampton:

Did you?

Aby Rinella:

Life changing. So there you go. Send her on a missions trip to.

Yvette Hampton:

Mexico, and she’ll meet her future husband.

Aby Rinella:

And she’ll meet her future husband.

Yvette Hampton:

It’s amazing.

Aby Rinella:

Perfect.

Yvette Hampton:

So what are you looking forward to most this year as you’re just getting started out in the year and a whole nine months ahead of you?

Aby Rinella:

Well, we’re, like, at that season where I’m looking forward to everything. Do you know there’s that golden couple of weeks where right.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I look forward to the honeymoon phase.

Aby Rinella:

Yes. I’m in the honeymoon phase.

Yvette Hampton:

I’m looking the homeschool honeymoon phase, all of it. Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

I always look forward to settling in. I look forward to just the pace of home school, the routine in the mornings, the cozying into the house. That’s always what I most look forward to.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. What about you?

Aby Rinella:

Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:

This year I think I’m looking most forward to being more structured, as weird as that.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, you keep saying that. You’re going to be more structured this year.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, this summer, God’s been just really showing me some different things about I am such a scattered person. I try to do ten things all at one time and I know that it’s not good. Multitasking is one thing, but I will try to multimultimultitask. Right. And so I’m like trying to do laundry and clean the house at the same time as doing school with the girls.

Aby Rinella:

Right.

Yvette Hampton:

And you would think I had learned this many years ago, but you know, this isn’t working out so well for us. I really need to focus. So I’m taking after Abby and I’m actually blocking out, like for real, legitimately blocking out 4 hours to 5 hours a day, depending on what we have going on of just school, like phones away. And I’ve been preparing my girls for this. This is how it’s going to go down. And so I have to do that. And I’m looking forward to knowing that that is what our homeschool day is going to look like and it won’t be perfect. I’m not under any illusion that it’s going to play out perfectly every year.

Aby Rinella:

You’re going to get so much more done in such a shorter amount of time because you’re not going to be so distracted and you’re not going to have to constantly refocus the kids. Refocus the kids. I think you’re just all in and I bet you are going to find it takes way less time than you think when you do it that way.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, I think so. I’m sure. Yes, that’s going to happen.

Aby Rinella:

I think the biggest thing is if you said if you put your phones away. That was a game changer for me when during that school block I put my phone in another room so I couldn’t even look at it right. I think it cut my time in half.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Well, so this is what happened last year. At the end of last year, I was like I was such a mess last year because here’s what happened and I think I’ve explained this a little bit. We were traveling almost all of last summer and I had signed up for these co op classes. But honestly, it was like, do as I say, not as I do. I did not even follow our own advice on the podcast. It’s not that I didn’t pray at all about it, I just didn’t think through it. And to be honest, I probably didn’t pray about it nearly as much as I should have. I did not really commit all of that to the just. We were getting ready to leave for this big road trip at the beginning of summer last year and I had to sign the girls up for their co op classes before we left. So I just did it without really thinking it through. Well, then it ended up that they had co op on Mondays, brooklyn was Monday and wednesday, lacey was Thursday, and then I recorded on Tuesdays. Oh, that was so it was we were basically we it was weird. And then that gave us Fridays and Fridays we were trying to catch up on life and laundry and dishes and grocery shopping, all that stuff. And so it made it impossible to have just some really good solid time at home this year. Both of my girls are doing the same co op on Mondays and Wednesdays, and it’s not all day, but for the few hours that they’re going to be it’s, they have the same schedule. And then Brooklyn is driving now, so she’ll drive them for a good part of the year, which will be great. And the I’m only going to schedule my work hours to record and do Schoolhouse Rock stuff while they’re at co op. So basically that gives me Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to be able to be home with them. And I’m so excited to be able to have this time with them where I can really focus on just building that relationship with them and schooling and getting the academic stuff done that we need to get done without having the stress of like, oh, we don’t have time. And now I feel like I’m rushing and having to do all these other things at the same time.

Aby Rinella:

I try to do the same thing. We do like a one or two day out and then I try to schedule everything in chunks so that we have most days just at home without having to go somewhere. Because for us, if you have to go somewhere, say at ten, it’s not like you’re going to start school before I just feel like it’s a wash of a day.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

So I try to do everything all in one or two days and then we’re just home getting school done the rest of the days, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. So what are you doing for curriculum? Like, I would love to know what your curriculum is looking like this year. What are you using? I don’t need every detail, but what are some of the things that you’re using? Because we get asked this a lot all the time.

Aby Rinella:

People actually I’ve gotten it well, at this time of year especially, I’ve gotten so many private messages, what are you using? And like you and I always say, I hate to share that because I don’t want people to think that that’s what they should use.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

But I do just share, okay, this is what I’m using. It doesn’t mean it’s what you should use. But every year is different. Every year you learn like, oh, I didn’t like that, or I did like that. So I’ll just plow through. So for math, well, we’ve gone back and forth, but we’re back starting last year, we’re back to I sit with each kid and teach math. I feel like I loved teaching textbooks for a season, but I feel like I kind of lost track. I mean, I feel like I was disconnected with what was going on with the kids and they were passing lessons, but I don’t know how much they were getting. So I reeled it back in last year and I sit down with each kid and teach math. I won’t always do that, but just so I can really see where they’re at and then feel good if I need to let them go. Do like, A, teaching textbooks, and there’s lots of options for that. We just happen to be doing master books for that. But there’s BJU has a great but that’s one big difference that I switched up last year is I am sitting down and actually teaching math to the kids again like I did when they were little. Okay, I’m going to plow through so.

Yvette Hampton:

Wait, let me ask you a question on that. Okay. So when you get to those higher math levels, if you get to a point where you just don’t know how to teach that particular level of math, what do you do there?

Aby Rinella:

Well, I think I’m a math I love math. I love math. So I haven’t gotten there yet because I love it. And we’re in high school. I may end up getting there with my son because he’s pretty advanced, but I love math. So I did math. I mean, I chose to do extra math in college, but if I were to get to that point, the I probably would go back to A teaching textbooks or a CTC or something where someone else is teaching them and I can just sit with them and monitor. Um, right. So I’m a terrible person to ask that because I do love math, which is probably not the norm for most.

Yvette Hampton:

But lots of moms do. So I love that.

Aby Rinella:

I genuinely do.

Yvette Hampton:

And I take that and run with it.

Aby Rinella:

And I think that’s why I can also sit with them and teach them because I like it. Okay, so something I’m most excited about okay, also just for history and literature, we’re sunlight people, and we’re doing American History. My older kids are on their second year or their second go around, and my youngest is on her first. And I love American history. I mean, I love it, and it’s all literature based, so we get to read so many amazing books together. I’m a little nervous this year because there’s more with two I’m having two different cores going, so I’m going to have to figure out there’s going to be a lot of audiobooks, let’s just say that. But I’m super excited about American history. But what I’m most excited about is this year we’re doing anatomy and physiology, so I feel like I finally have it dialed. I love apologia. I love apologia’s. What is it? The young explorer series. So we’re using that as our spine. Even though I have elementary, middle school, high school, that’s going to be kind of the spine. And then for my older kids, I’ll dive deeper. So for my high school daughter, we’re doing a natural medicine class to go in line because she’s so into that. Last year, we talked about we did an ethnobotany where you learn about how your local plants can be used as food and medicine. And she loved it. So we’re taking it next level, and we’re doing, like, a natural medicine course to go with anatomy and physiology. And I think I’m most excited about that this year because it’s something new. It’s something finally when they get older, you’re like, this is what you love. This is what you’re passionate about. And so you get to just find all the things for that. And so I’m super excited. She is so excited. The first time I’ve seen her, so really excited about a subject matter.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

And then I haven’t used okay, this is the last thing I want to share the Fallacy Detective. We do a lot of this logic stuff, and I think that that’s important for lots of I think it’s important for homeschool, families to be doing is logic just to help with the world we live in. It’s not a logical world. People don’t logically debate things.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

And so we’re doing that. And then I want to show you this. Did you get this? I got this in the mail. You know the Torch lighters?

Yvette Hampton:

How did you get that in the mail?

Aby Rinella:

Do you know the Torchlighters videos? Right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, of course.

Aby Rinella:

So you get a DVD and it has, like, 16 of the stories of the different and they’re all missionary for people that don’t know they’re missionary stories or people that have impacted I mean, how would you describe it? I would say missionary stories.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

Then there’s this book. So you watch a movie and then there’s a whole chapter on studying that culture, studying that person, studying the biblical things in their lives. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it in. I have no idea. But it looks super cool.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s a great morning basket.

Aby Rinella:

That’s what we’re going to do it for is in the morning basket. And it’ll kind of go along. Maybe I’ll do, like, every other day when we’re doing our Bible or maybe once a week. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m just super excited about it.

Yvette Hampton:

So you said you got it in the mail. Like, did you not order it? And they just randomly sent it to you? Are they just randomly sending it to Americans all over the place?

Aby Rinella:

It’s a funny story. It came in the mail, and it’s a full book of curriculum and the full DVD set. So I was like, I don’t remember buying this. And then I thought maybe they mistakenly sent it to me and I didn’t pay it for it, so I called them because I’m like, either need to pay you for this or I need to send it back. And they’re like, oh, you must have forgotten. But like nine months ago, we did a promo and we were sending them out for free if you signed up for our newsletter. Well, I had totally forgotten, so apparently I did sign up to get it.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, that’s cool.

Aby Rinella:

I know, it was a super fun surprise. And it’s from Voice of the Martyrs.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, that is really cool.

Aby Rinella:

Voice of the martyrs. So I’m super excited about checking that out.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, we’ll link that in the show note. We’ll link all of these things in the show notes so that you guys have access to them. Okay, great. That’s a great lineup. I know.

Aby Rinella:

I think I’m most excited. History and science.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. So cool. It’s so funny. Every year it’s different, and sometimes I think, well, no, we’re just going to stick we really like this curriculum. We’re going to stick with this for the next five years. Right. And then the next year comes and I’m like, oh, this one looks like it’s going to be a better fit for this year. And sometimes we continue on with what we’ve done. But yeah, this year we’re kind of changing it up a lot on most things, which is really yeah, it’s exciting. So I’m excited about what we’ve got going on for both of my girls for Bible. So okay, you guys know, we always do our family devotions and then we do our individual devotions, like my girls do their Bible reading time. I do mine, Garritt does his. We do that separately. But I also like to have a Bible curriculum, which I don’t know, maybe that sounds like a lot because we also incorporate Bible into the different subjects. But I feel like you can’t get too much of God’s Word, right, and learning about the so last year we did an episode with Elizabeth Urbanowitz, and she talked about her foundation worldview curriculum, and we started that last year, but we were finishing up another Bible curriculum and I couldn’t do both. It was just too much. So we paused that one. And so we’re starting that one up again this year and doing the Foundation Worldview curriculum with Elizabeth Urbanowitz. So super excited, super solid. I mean, I cannot more highly recommend it. It’s actually geared more towards younger kids.

Aby Rinella:

Oh, really?

Yvette Hampton:

But I’m having Brooklyn do it with us anyway when she can because she’s got a much heavier load this year. So when she can do it with us, great. If she’s not available to do it, then I just do it with Lacey and that’s totally fine. And then oh, man, it’s so funny because my girls are really getting deep into the study of God’s Word this year. They are also with their co op, both doing a Bible class that’s taught by a local pastor, and Brooklyn’s doing one called New Testament Survey. And Lacey’s doing one called how to Study the Bible. And it’s kind of tricky sometimes, I think, trusting someone else to teach Bible to my kids because I want to make sure that they’re solid in their theology and all of that. So that’s not something that we take lightly. But this guy seems like he’s solid. So they’re both doing that. Brooklyn is doing biology through Apologia. They have just an amazing biology. I mean, you were talking about apologia on Monday, and I love apology of science. It is so just biblically sound and solid and it’s well written. It’s really fun. So she’s doing Apologia biology.

Aby Rinella:

And it is their middle school, high school. It is a rigorous science. I mean, it’s not fluff. It is very much going to prepare them for whatever they have coming up.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, I mean, they’re set to do it’s like college ready for sure. Science. So you did those what was the Early Explorers?

Aby Rinella:

The Early Explorers is the elementary and early middle school.

Yvette Hampton:

Right, which is fantastic. And then their high school one is pretty rigorous. But it’s so good and it’s so interesting, the videos that go along with it. Sherry Selikson, who’s actually been on the podcast, she does the biology videos and she’s amazing. And they’re just so well done. Like, they really have done a great job with Kit. So there’s those. And then for history, I don’t have all my curriculum in front of me, but for history, we’re doing Master Books. This is the first time we’re doing Master Books history. But this is their world history. And I’m actually doing this with Brooklyn this year. And I love it because Master Books has a really great middle school history, but it’s a three volume set and that’s what I’m going to use with Lacey next year. But this one is just a one volume set, so it’s more of a condensed world history. Like, these are the really important things you need to know about world history. And again, because it’s master Books, kit is a strong biblical worldview.

Aby Rinella:

I’ve heard of master books for years. I mean, you hear of everything, but you can’t do everything, right? But I just last year started digging in and started to do a few Master Books things and I really like it. Yeah, I mean, their math is so biblically. Like, I feel like my kids are getting a Bible lesson while they’re doing math.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, it’s pretty they’re great. So Master Books actually they publish I don’t want to say all because I’m sure it’s not all of it, but a good majority of the curriculum and books put out by answers in Genesis.

Aby Rinella:

Oh, really?

Yvette Hampton:

So ken Ham brian Osborne Dr georgia Purdum lots and lots. And they have a ton of authors in addition to them. Israel Wayne is with Master Books. They just have a lot of really good, solid Christian authors and publishers. Angela Odell wrote the middle school world. History curriculum. So, I mean, just people that I really trust. So master books, I mean, I feel like Apologia and Master books, BJU Press, like those are ones that you can’t go wrong with them, with teaching anything from a biblical world.

Aby Rinella:

Really just grab any it’s not a whole thing. Like you can just piece what you want from the it’s not like you’re buying everything like say a Becca. I mean, you can just pick and choose. And they’ve got some cool electives that they have this engineering I don’t know, I’ve been really impressed so far as I’ve some master book stuff.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, they’re great. And then for Lacey, she is doing this writing and grammar from BJU Press. She’s in 7th if you want to give her a grade name this year. But she’s actually doing 8th grade writing because she’s done writing classes last couple of years and that’s what she was ready for. So she’s excited about doing that. And then just as like supplements you were talking about your torch lighters.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, that’s supplementing our Bible curriculum. And the logic is like some supplemental.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. Yeah. Extras. So for our morning basket, two of the things that we’re doing this year are I actually have some friends from California who went to my church and they wrote this. It’s kind of a study guide on the heroes then and now Corey Ten Boom book. And then this is a study guide that goes within it’s on finding forgiveness, which I feel like every human needs to read. And for kids. Especially Corey Ten. Boom. I love this woman I’ve talked about on podcast all the time. She’s my hero.

Aby Rinella:

That’s fine too.

Yvette Hampton:

I love her. So we’re doing that book and it’s just a simple book study, but really brings out some great questions for the girls on what does forgiveness look like. And Corey Ten Boom was, you know, she’s a great example of that. And then they have another one. This one is George Mueller. And this one is the Power of Prayer.

Aby Rinella:

And so if you’ve read that man yes.

Yvette Hampton:

So this book too, one of my very favorites.

Aby Rinella:

Yep.

Yvette Hampton:

He’s amazing. And so we’re going to go through both of these and the Lacey is going to also my friends actually wrote this other little devotional on the Book of James and the Book of Colossians. And so I’ll link all of these in the show notes so that you have them. But these are just sweet Bible studies. I remember when I was in middle school doing just my own kind of individual Bible studies and they really impacted me right. Because it was just through my quiet time. And so these are perfect for Lacey’s age. She’s twelve. So I was wondering how old is she? And then the last thing is, I’m always looking for book lists. Always.

Aby Rinella:

Okay.

Yvette Hampton:

You use sunlight, so you get books.

Aby Rinella:

I go with sunlight. And I know people that don’t use sunlight, but they always get their book list. And then Sarah Mackenzie’s book lists read a lot of revival, those two book lists, I trust. 100%.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Yes. Well, this one is from center for lit. It’s reading Roadmaps. And we had Missy Andrews on the podcast.

Aby Rinella:

They spoke at our convention this year.

Yvette Hampton:

Did they?

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, that’s right. Yep. Center for that was there. And they are amazing.

Yvette Hampton:

Missy Andrews. They are great. They are fantastic. And so he’s actually coming on the podcast soon. Adam is. And this Reading Roadmaps is really cool because it goes by grade. So like, this one is 7th grade. It goes by grade and then gives a really great book list, and then it just gives a little description of the plot of each book. So that is a fantastic book list. It’s called the reading roadmaps.

Aby Rinella:

So are you using center for lit stuff or just their book list?

Yvette Hampton:

Just their book list.

Aby Rinella:

Okay.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. And that’s for K through twelve. And so you just look at whatever grade you’re looking for book lists for. I love this resource. I recently found this. Well, I found it because Missy told me about it. And I think it’s such a fantastic book list. So we’ll link all of those things. But that’s what we’ve got going on as far as curriculum. And it’s exciting.

Aby Rinella:

I have to share because I forgot, but for Bible, because I got excited about that torch lighters. But for our Bible, we started last year. So you guys know that I am like a not consumed junkie. I am all in with not consumed Kim.

Yvette Hampton:

Sorgis not consumed.

Aby Rinella:

I love that because all my kids can do it because she has things at different levels. But she started a new series called the Foundation Series, and it comes in a box and it’s a whole bunch of different ones. So we’re starting with the Old Testament. And what we’re doing is we are reading through the Old Testament together in kind of a funky way. Here’s how I do it. We start with the kids Bible and we read the book of the Bible. So we’ll start with Genesis and we read all the way through the kids Bible of Genesis. And mainly because that hits because with little still, you want to hit like just sitting and reading it, this actually hits the main stories in Genesis, like the key things that hold our attention. So you kind of get the big outline, the big picture. So we do the kids and then when we’re done with that book in the kids Bible, then we do the study of that book in the not consumed Old Testament. So then we’ll do the whole study of Kim. Sorges’s on the and they do it at each level because Kim has different levels. Then when that’s done, we do the and I’m not promoting this because I don’t know. Big picture. The website, it’s the Bible project. But what they do have is they have like an overview of the book and Kit is so cool. It is done so well. I don’t know any of their other stuff. But we do the overview then of the Book of Genesis.

Yvette Hampton:

You’re talking about the little animated videos that they do? Yeah, they’re fantastic.

Aby Rinella:

I love the incredible. So then when we’re done with the kids Bible and reading it, and then my kids will actually read it on their own in their actual Bibles, then we do the Kim swords, and then we do an overview so that before we move on from Genesis I feel like they have a really good big picture and diving in of that book. So we’re slowly working through the Old Testament and then it’s going to take us 100 years but eventually we’ll get through the New Testament too. But I’ve just kind of liked that pattern because it mixes it up. Yeah, but I love those overviews on the Bible.

Yvette Hampton:

Do you do the overview after you’ve studied the Bible?

Aby Rinella:

I do it after only because he talks so fast. If you listen to it without having known it, Kit wouldn’t make sense because he talks really fast and kind of assumes, you know, a little bit when he does it. It’s just a really fun way to sum up and kind of solidify everything we’ve just done.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, those videos are amazing.

Aby Rinella:

You could do it before and after, actually.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure. I mean, they’re short videos. They’re not like 30 minutes long. Hacked.

Aby Rinella:

Oh yeah. I bet they’re maybe eight minutes for the longest one. But it’s all visual and it’s fun and it holds the kids and he does a good job of just kind of outlining and putting it in time and I like him.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Yes. I always watch those as I’m reading through my Bible. I watch them when I get to the beginning of a new book. Oftentimes not always, but it’s just a map basically. Right.

Aby Rinella:

I like it. And you can print them. Did you know you can print the no. So the final picture that he draws, you can actually print them. So then you could actually have a whole little binder with all the books of the Bible so that you can kind of look back and be reminded.

Yvette Hampton:

I did not know that. That’s really Bible.

Aby Rinella:

We did it last year and we’re doing it this year and I like it.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so cool. We will put a link, of course in the show notes to that so you guys can get them because the Bible project videos are fantastic. I absolutely love them and they really are helpful in understanding God’s word. Let’s talk through just I just want to kind of get real with our audience because I think sometimes people think like we have it all together. We’ve got all our curriculum lined up, and we’ve got our co ops and we’ve got our schedules, and it’s all lined up. And I always fear and you and I recently did an episode on social media and how we often look at other people, and we get this false impression that they have it all figured out, and sometimes they don’t, and most.

Aby Rinella:

Oftentimes they all don’t because we’re all humans struggling through right?

Yvette Hampton:

And so the last thing I ever want to do on this podcast is make other moms feel like they are inadequate because somehow they’re not doing it the way we’re doing it, and we have it all figured out and all put together and that is absolutely not the truth. So Abby, as you’re in a new year, your kids are growing up fast, just like mine are. What are some of the things that you struggle with, some of the things maybe that you have struggled with the most that you’re working on? Where are you in this world of angst?

Aby Rinella:

Angst? Well, I don’t know if it’s angst, but something hit me this summer that I love to homeschool. I love it. It’s not something I mean, I’m called to do it, god commands us to do kit. But I also love it. It is also a passion of mine. And I love organizing. I love planning really fun days. I love teaching to my kids gifts and talents. The whole thing is my passion. And what I realized this summer because the we have a lot of days that are like fall apart days where days where kids aren’t cooperating and just hard days. And I’m like, I don’t understand why this day is hard. Because I’ve put in the time to prep. I have the mental. Like, I’m far enough to go, okay, I’m teaching to my kids gifts and talents. I know to put the books away when kids start crying. We talk about this stuff all the time. But what I realized is I have this vision in my brain of how it’s supposed to go. I have the way that I make the muffins, I do the fun things, I teach to their gifts and talents. And then somehow I’m faced with these, oh, I even do this. Like, I know that this child’s gift is this. So I know how to teach them according to their learning style, like all the things. And then I wake up in the morning and I’m like, oh, I’m a sinner and they’re sinners. And I think my struggle that I’ve realized I need to really work on is I just have this attitude of, like, if you guys would just follow along with what I have planned, follow along with what I’m doing, like get in the passenger seat. It’s going to be good. You’re going to find joy. You’re going to love it. I have so many amazing, exciting things, but instead I have real kids that grumble and complain. I have real me who wants them to and I think what I’ve learned about myself is I think I’m kind of expecting I’m expecting something from them and they’re not meeting it. I’m expecting for them to be just on my same page. Like, wake up excited. Wake up totally ready to just learn whatever I teach you. Don’t argue. Don’t buck me. And then when they do, this is my struggle right here. Then when they do, then when I’m faced with real kids and real sin and it’s not just all this in my head, it’s like real life boots to the ground, then I kind of crumble and I get upset and I’m like, why can’t you just be a part of my perfect, pretty picture, basically? And then the whole thing falls apart. So I feel like I need to an area I’m working on is I need to give my expectations to God and I need to stop having I still need to do all the great things, but I need to release the expectations, because when they don’t play the way I want them to play, then I get really discouraged and frustrated, and I feel like my whole world is just crashing down. And I don’t like that. And that’s just being really real and honest because I don’t have it mastered yet. And it’s something I know I need to work on because I can tell it’s not blessing anybody and it’s derailing everybody.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. That is very honest and real of you. And I would definitely say that that is a struggle that I have as well. And that’s kind of my life. Like, I always feel like I’m a dreamer.

Aby Rinella:

If everybody would just be perfect, this thing would be so incredible. Like, if you would all just be perfect. And if I would just be perfect, you know how amazing this homeschool would be? It’d be incredible, right? If only they just knew.

Yvette Hampton:

If only it is true. Because always, my whole life, and I’ve told you this, I am a super visual person. So I literally visualize everything. Therefore, I visualize my fantasies of what I want homeschooling to look like and how I want my kids to behave and how I want to behave myself. And everything’s just going to come together. I even picture myself making these amazing, healthy meals for my family. And the other day abby, I’m so bad in the kitchen. I don’t try to be, but I tried to make a pot roast the other day. How hard is it to make a pot roast right? It’s like the easiest thing in the whole world. Yeah, I can’t even make a pot roast right. I don’t know.

Aby Rinella:

Anyway, see, you had these expectations and this vision, and then real life didn’t work, right? And then I think the problem is then we let it derail because you could have just been like, pot roast didn’t work, but we can still have this amazing meal. But instead we then start to get really discouraged, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. Absolutely.

Aby Rinella:

And I think that’s my frustration is, why am I getting so discouraged? My kids are sinners. I know that.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

But I just have this like if everybody could just get their attitudes on board, this would be incredible.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Expectations are tough, especially when it comes to homeschooling. And life just gets in the way, but not in the way. I mean, homeschooling is life. It is, but we forget that life happens around us. If you’re potty training kids, there’s going to be an accident on the floor. If you have a kid who’s sick, you’re going to have to take him to the doctor. You have maybe a kid who just woke up on the wrong side of the bed or you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Aby Rinella:

Right.

Yvette Hampton:

That just can derail the whole day for the whole family, not just for one person. I mean, there are so many things that if our kids go to school and your kid wakes up sick, then you just keep them home and you keep them in bed. But you don’t have to worry about the responsibilities of schooling everybody else.

Aby Rinella:

Right?

Yvette Hampton:

Totally. You just call the school and say, hey, my kid’s not going to be there today. It’s different at home and it’s the.

Aby Rinella:

Teacher’S job to figure out how to deal with that part of things. Your job is just to keep them home, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. My greatest struggle definitely is time management, like I shared before, is just getting the things done that need to get done when they need to get done. But at the same time, not stressing out so much about what’s not getting done because the list is never going to be checked off. There’s always something. So just balancing my priorities with my family and my home and homeschooling is a struggle. It’s so hard. It’s hard to balance it all. Like, if I just had a husband and I didn’t have kids or homeschooling, I could give him all of my attention all the time. It would be great. Or if I just had kids but I didn’t have to worry about homeschooling them. Well, then I could give them all my attention while they were home and while they were at school, I could take care of my home and do those things that need to be done. Or if I just had a home to take care of and didn’t have all the other things to do.

Aby Rinella:

All the humans that live in it.

Yvette Hampton:

The humans that live in it and who are here to mess it up, including myself. But you put all of these things together and like I mentioned, I think it was on Monday. I’m just so scattered sometimes, like I’m going too many different directions at one time. And so I’m really working on that this year of just really focusing on what needs to be done and not stressing out about what’s not getting done. In the process.

Aby Rinella:

I think it’s interesting because that to me, when I listen to your struggle, is totally different than mine. I have everything totally organized, managed, totally. But then you enter in these people and then it gets in the way of that. Or you probably don’t struggle as much with what I do because and I think the ultimate thing is every homeschool mom has a struggle, and they’re all different. We all have different struggles, but we all have struggles. And I think ultimately what God wants is to refine us in this homeschooling process. It’s not like we’re the ones that have it together and we’re teaching these children to get it together. It’s that we’re all people that need refined, and we’re all people that need to depend on the Lord. And it’s just something we’re all working through together. Homeschooling is the most refining thing to a parent. And it’s just so interesting listening to every mom struggles because they’re all different, but they’re all there.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, absolutely. And just praying that the Lord will show us his way. Refining hurts, but at the same time, I’m like, Lord, I want you to grow me yes. In my relationship with you and my knowledge of you and my understanding of you and Your Word and my surrender.

Aby Rinella:

My ability to surrender to you.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, yeah. Yes. So much. And we can’t do that unless we’re willing to be worked on by Him. I mean, we are clay being molded.

Aby Rinella:

Molded and molded. I just thought, oh, it’d be all done being molded by now. And it’s like, nope, another year, another still molding.

Yvette Hampton:

We will forever be being molded by the Lord. And I’m so thankful for that. All right, Abby, talk today about some funness. Is that a word?

Aby Rinella:

Funness? Let’s make it a word.

Yvette Hampton:

Okay. Funnyosity.

Aby Rinella:

No, that’s definitely not a word.

Yvette Hampton:

No, that’s definitely not a word. Fun. What’s another way we can say it?

Aby Rinella:

I’m not sure we’re going to make oh, just homeschool fun.

Yvette Hampton:

Stick with I’m just trying to make it fancy.

Aby Rinella:

Root word. Did you read Fancy Nancy to your girls?

Yvette Hampton:

Maybe a couple of books.

Aby Rinella:

It was great for vocabulary because she’d always come up with these other words. I think you could check it off for vocab. Done. Vocab is done for the day.

Yvette Hampton:

Speaking of that, I was going to mention this. So we were talking about curriculum yesterday and some of our curriculum choices. One of the things that we are doing this year, which Nikki Trusdell talked about this on an episode I did with her a few months ago. She talked about copy. Yeah. And okay, this is so you know, you always hear about copy work when you get into the world of homeschooling.

Aby Rinella:

People are like, do copy in certain areas.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Yes. But she brought copywork to a whole nother level for me in that it teaches kids not just good penmanship, but it teaches them sentence structure and vocabulary and spelling and writing and reading. It does all of those things all in one. So copy work.

Aby Rinella:

We’re really are you guys doing copy?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, even Brooklyn. And so I’m having them copy like chapters out of different books, out of the Bible, just stuff that is well written, good literature.

Aby Rinella:

Right.

Yvette Hampton:

And so yeah, there you go. Why did I not do that? Put all of that in the same box together like six years ago. It would have been so much easier. I don’t know. Especially vocabulary because when you learn vocabulary words and you’re like, here’s the word and here’s the definition, that doesn’t help me. I need to know it in context. Right. So it helps with vocabulary. Totally.

Aby Rinella:

Do you ever notice that when you learn a new word that you’ve never heard before, now all of a sudden you hear it everywhere, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes.

Aby Rinella:

Isn’t that crazy?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. Because your brain I rarely use it.

Aby Rinella:

You don’t?

Yvette Hampton:

Unless I hear it again.

Aby Rinella:

So then you should force yourself to use it once you learn a new word, say, I have to use this twice today.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, right.

Aby Rinella:

So we’re going to talk about the funness.

Yvette Hampton:

Funness, if that’s a word, of homeschooling. So here are some things. Here are some ideas that we have that I think make homeschooling fun. Okay. And I actually did some research. I looked at a couple of websites too, because I thought, what am I missing? But I actually had pretty much all of them. So the first one I think, are read aloud. I love doing read alouds with my kids. There’s just something about snuggling up together, sitting on the couch together and reading a book together because then you’re building a relationship with them, but then you’re developing a memory totally.

Aby Rinella:

That you then can talk. Yes. And I love that connection. Like when you watch a movie, but only this is way richer. And then there’s something that it’s almost like an inside joke, but it’s an inside story. Read aloud are worked into our curriculum, so it’s pretty easy. But it’s one of my very favorite things because then we talk about things and only us knows about it.

Yvette Hampton:

Right? Yeah, because when I was growing up, I had to read books for school. We read Shakespeare and Scarlet Letter and lots of other books that I was forced to read, but I didn’t read them with anyone. I mean, our class would discuss them, right, but I didn’t read them with my family. And so there was a total disconnect there. And so it wasn’t as fun where I think it’s so much more fun. And not that our kids can’t read books alone, but I just think there’s something so unique and special about they’re totally read aloud with our family and they can be fun. Read aloud. They don’t all have to be serious, mean, read the book with no pictures. Have you read that book? No. You haven’t read the book with no pictures?

Aby Rinella:

No, I’m writing it down by BJ.

Yvette Hampton:

Novak.

Aby Rinella:

No.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh my word. It is one of the funniest books. I mean it’s for little kids, but even Lacey will still let me read it to her sometimes.

Aby Rinella:

Okay, I’m writing it.

Yvette Hampton:

It’s this is like know, early kids, even down to toddlers. But it is so stinking funny. But I like how you Lacey’s favorite.

Aby Rinella:

Book and you say even Lacey will let you read it to her. Now, I’ve noticed with read aloud, we do a lot of read aloud, but we also do and my kids are all a little bit older now. Like I have a high school and a middle schooler. We still do picture books and I think that makes homeschool fun because my big kids will come join with the picture books all day long and they’re so fun. And then we discuss if we like the pictures. If we don’t like know, it’s just super.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

So reading period makes homeschool fun.

Yvette Hampton:

I think it really, you know, it’s kind of sad because we’re getting to this phase with Lacey where she doesn’t want me to read her like the little kid books anymore because she’s going to be 13 and it’s okay, I get it.

Aby Rinella:

Not even picture book.

Yvette Hampton:

But I will sometimes beg her. I’m like, please just let me read you Green Eggs and Ham. I can read Green Eggs and Ham really fast. Like really fast. And Kit cracks her up anyway. Yeah, but yeah, audiobooks, that was another thing on my list.

Aby Rinella:

We do that every at lunchtime. So we gather for lunch and we listen to our audiobook. That’s just kind of our which leads me to one that I think to make homeschool fun is traditions. I think traditions and they don’t have to be what makes a tradition is they’re not everybody else’s tradition. But homeschool traditions I think is what makes and that’s what’s going to be what our kids look back on and remember. They’re not going to remember well, they might remember the math lessons, but really they’re going to look back and remember the traditions of what did you do on the first day of school? Or we have homemade muffins and tea every morning during a certain spot in our school.

Yvette Hampton:

Every day.

Aby Rinella:

We do it pretty much every day. So we gather together for our science and history and then when the kids go to do their independent work, I give them muffins and tea. And it’s so easy because you just make a bunch of muffins for the week. But those are the little traditions that the Winnie actually said. She’s like, I can’t wait to start school again for the muffins. And I’m like, wow, it’s also just necessary to feed them.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

But they see it as this fun little know, or another tradition we have is every morning they wake up to worship music playing and then we go outside, all of us together, and we stand and we turn our faces to the sun for, like, five minutes to get that first boost of the sun in the morning. And that’s just been a fun I just love traditions, period, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

What are some of yours that make school fun?

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, tradition, specifically.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:

Well, I mean, we have our first day of school tradition, of course, where we always go and get donuts, which is fine, and my girls always look forward to that. Usually what we’ve done the last couple of years is we’ll actually go to breakfast and go have a nice donuts, feed me a full meal. Well, there’s a place that has little tiny donuts here. I think it was last year or the year before. We actually went and got those after breakfast so that we still were keeping up with our donut tradition. Right. That was fun. We have, like, family traditions, but homeschool traditions. I don’t know that we have. Maybe I need to start making muffins so I can be just like, Abby, can you send me a recipe? What kind of muffins do you make?

Aby Rinella:

Oh, I make the different every time. I mean, I don’t know. Usually it’s like a sourdough muffin base, and I throw in whatever I have.

Yvette Hampton:

Sourdough muffins? I didn’t know that was a thing.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, I use everything sourdough, and then I’ll just throw in whatever’s in them. But you don’t even have to do muffins. You could just buy muffins or buy I mean, don’t feel like you have.

Yvette Hampton:

To make can I buy, like, the Little Debbie’s mustard?

Aby Rinella:

Done.

Yvette Hampton:

Are those good?

Aby Rinella:

Not good for you.

Yvette Hampton:

Ate those every day?

Aby Rinella:

No, that would be terrible.

Yvette Hampton:

The end of the year, we all weigh an extra 50 pounds.

Aby Rinella:

There’s your tradition. I mean, I know everybody has family traditions, but I really think homeschool traditions really make it fun. Every Friday we do this or every lunch, and it doesn’t have to be big. Like our tradition is. At lunchtime, we do a read aloud. It’s just a fun thing. I don’t know.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s fun. Our tradition is trying not to die.

Aby Rinella:

There you go. Trying to get through the day.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. All in one piece.

Aby Rinella:

I’m just kidding.

Yvette Hampton:

But yeah, our first day of school. I love donut tradition. It’s probably our best one, but we have more, like Christmas traditions, totally. Things like that. But we’re going to talk about that on another episode.

Aby Rinella:

Yes, we are.

Yvette Hampton:

So yeah. Games, though. That’s another thing.

Aby Rinella:

The you go games.

Yvette Hampton:

In our family, we play lots of games almost every day. We don’t have a specific time. Right. But even during the summertime, we pretty much always have a stack of uno cards sitting out, spotted sitting out. And then we often play other games, like Scattergories.

Aby Rinella:

That’s probably a good way to diffuse when kids start to struggle in certain you just diffuse it by playing.

Yvette Hampton:

A game. Totally.

Aby Rinella:

That’s a great idea to just have a game handy so when things start to go south, let’s play.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. And over the summer, we actually got a foosball table. Oh, fine. Yeah, so that’s been fun. So foosball goes on every day and there is lots of bragging rights in our family now. I actually don’t enjoy playing foosball, okay. So my girls will ask me, but that’s more of a Garrett thing. He plays with the girls every single day.

Aby Rinella:

They play foosball.

Yvette Hampton:

It’s totally fun.

Aby Rinella:

Oh, I love that. That makes homeschool fun. Okay, here’s one, because I don’t know how much time we have, but this started when the kids were little and they’d be reading a couple of different books. And rather than narrate because everybody’s into narration, which is really important because you’re learning how to communicate and it helps with comprehension and all that. But we did, and I don’t think I could get my older kids to do it now, but I can get when they’re younger and my younger will but they act out the book. So we all sit on the couch and then without talking, you have to tell us what happened in the chapter you read through acting. And we used to do that all the time. And I’m like, I want to bring it back. And my older two are like, that’s not happening. But I’m like, okay, fine, the little one’s going to this year. But that always made home school really fun. It made sharing your book rather than answering questions to mom or filling out a worksheet. Those are so boring. And we get to as homeschoolers, do it and take whatever concept and make it more fun. And so we always acted books out. I thought that was always fun.

Yvette Hampton:

That is fun. Yeah, we’ve done that with Bible stories.

Aby Rinella:

Oh, there you go.

Yvette Hampton:

And still even sometimes we’ll be reading a Bible story and it’s usually Lacey, she’ll jump up and say, okay, I’m going to act this one out dorky thing. And it’s really fun.

Aby Rinella:

It beats quizzes, it beats works. It beats all the lame things that you could be doing for reading comprehension. And it makes it just exciting and fun.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, the whole purpose is for them to remember what it is that they’re reading or what it is that they’re doing. Yeah, that’s super fun. I’m just acting things out. And it shows the different personalities of.

Aby Rinella:

Your totally, totally history. That’d be fun to actually have your kids act out the history lesson. We did.

Yvette Hampton:

End up with sheets and pillowcases on their head.

Aby Rinella:

Totally.

Yvette Hampton:

All kinds of random things. Yes, we’re going to talk in a future episode soon with Abby again about healthy homeschooling. And we’re going to talk a lot in that episode about outdoor time. But that is one of the things that I think is important in making homeschool fun. And this is something that our family struggles with so much, Abby, because we’re not like you, and we grew up as city, right. And so it does not come as naturally for us. And so we have to make ourselves get outside.

Aby Rinella:

But what if you just like, let’s go throw a blanket on the grass and read our read aloud on the grass? I mean, it doesn’t have to be crazy, just simple, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. But here’s the thing. We are all very easily distracted, and so if we go through a blanket, like, we live in a neighborhood, and there’s a walking path that goes right behind our house, okay. There’s people all day long walking on the walking path and walking their dogs and walking their babies, and I don’t know why I feel like or I don’t know, we’ll be sitting on the blanket and like, oh, my goodness, there’s a grasshopper. There’s screams and runs every time we’ve done that. It seems like there’s so many distractions outside. So, yes, in theory, it’s a great idea, and maybe we need to just discipline ourselves to not be distracted oh, that’s so funny. By all the crazy rent. Like, I hear homeschool moms who go to the park and do school. I’m like, we could never yeah.

Aby Rinella:

If there are people around that doesn’t work for us okay, then in between breaks, like on your breaks, right? Then you go outside. Oh, my gosh. Here’s a tradition. This one’s hilarious. On the first day of the, um well, it started out when Coulson was teeny. It was just in his diaper. He’d go run around the yard three times. Then as they get older, so they go with no shoes, no know, and they run around the yard three times. But you could even do that. Like, okay, we’re in between science and history. Go run around the yard three times. And just something to get them outside for those tiny little breaks. Yes. And then you can stay inside since you’re distracted for the actual learning stuff.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. And we have worked to get some things. Like, we got cornhole over the summer.

Aby Rinella:

There you go.

Yvette Hampton:

And I got that because I wanted to have a way to just go outside.

Aby Rinella:

Like, we have to have a reason to go outside. I mean, if you guys are game players, then you could take some of those. There’s a lot of different outdoor games. Yeah, we just played one called Spike Ball this weekend, and it’s super fun. And you could just go outside and be like, ten minutes of Spike Ball done.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Yes. That’s a good idea. I’ve heard of Spike Ball. I’ve not played it before.

Aby Rinella:

We just played it super fun.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. I’m going to have to look up a YouTube video or something.

Aby Rinella:

How about this for a tradition? Every year at the beginning of the school year, you buy an outside game. And so in a few years, you’re going to have so many outside games. And then you just do between each lesson, you go do ten minutes playing an outside game.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s a great idea. Sold. There’s a new I just need to back up Brooklyn. I need to rewind her a few years.

Aby Rinella:

What I’m feeling as they get older, I’m like, wait, running out of time. I have so many more ideas.

Yvette Hampton:

I know. Anyway, I love you talked about playing music. That was one of the things that I said. However, here’s the issue with our family. I don’t know if your family’s like this or if other families are. Our family almost never agrees on music. The girls kind of like the same kind of music. Garrett and I have completely different tastes in music for the most part. There are some things that we both really enjoy and the girls do not like the same kind of music that Garritt and I enjoy. I love country and bluegrass and then I love know I love my Shane and those, but my girls don’t enjoy listening to any of that. So it makes it hard to play music because someone will put something on and then everyone else like so they.

Aby Rinella:

Like the same kind of music. So you could play what they love to get them up and going.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, we could. Who was it? Oh, man. We had somebody on the podcast several months ago and she talked about how they start out their day, their home school day with a specific song. And that’s how her kids know it’s time to come to the living room. School is starting when they hear the music with that specific song every day. And I love that idea. So maybe I just need to find there you go.

Aby Rinella:

Find a song everyone likes. We start at the morning bar. That would make your kids rebel. Revolt. The first day of school of every year, we play the Veggie Tales. It’s the first day of first grade. Really love that song. That’s our first day of school song.

Yvette Hampton:

Maybe we could do the Veggie Tales where is my hairbrush song, because it seems like that is an on. You singing on two girls always, where’s my hairbrush?

Aby Rinella:

Maybe we should that would be it. And be like, when you hear the where is my hairbrush song, it’s time for breakfast.

Yvette Hampton:

Hairbrush.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, that’s a good idea. I have a specific song. That means it’s time to gather. Instead of my voice yelling, let’s go.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah.

Aby Rinella:

I’ve been calling you for five minutes. I like that idea.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes.

Aby Rinella:

And by the end how about this? And by the end of the song, they have to be seated so they actually have the song to get there to find their hairbrush and actually get seated.

Yvette Hampton:

Right. Okay.

Aby Rinella:

We’re making up new things as we podcast.

Yvette Hampton:

So there’s that. Cooking together. That’s another thing. I am so thankful that my girls enjoy being in the kitchen because again, I do not and they love brooklyn likes to cook meals. Lacey likes to bake. And so it’s perfect because they do those things. Perfect. Yeah. Another idea is, of course, field trips, which that’s kind of a given. Like, take as many field trips as you can that’s school, and that’s really important for kids to be out and exploring the world around them. But one of the things that we did when we were back in california years ago and it’s kind of funny, it’s almost kind of what launched us into traveling in the RV know, doing our whole travel thing that we did for a few years. We would call them family day adventures, and we would literally get in the car and drive. And most of the time we didn’t know where we were going. We would just take random roads and see where it would lead us to. I love that. And so that’s a fun thing for again, if you just need a break or you can do an audiobook in the car while you’re doing a family day adventure. You can listen to worship music, you can do all kinds of things. Just get in the car and just drive. You can do it during baby’s nap time, maybe if baby sleeps in the car. Just different things to get, just for a different atmosphere, different change of scenery. But it was fun. We would find the most random things. And we’re still newish in, but so we’re always discovering new things. I mean, we’ll go down a road and I’ll be like, I didn’t even know this road existed. I had no idea these stores were here, these restaurants. But even in California, I mean, we grew up in that town, and we would find the most random things that we know. Look at this super cool bridge that we didn’t even know existed, that’s been here my whole life, only ten minutes from my house. And so it’s really fun to do that. So family day adventures, I think, are super duper fun.

Aby Rinella:

I love that, just exploring. And I think that’s so important because sometimes the four walls of our house start to just kind of close in on us.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes.

Aby Rinella:

And I always tell new moms, like, just change the scenery. Just go do something, even if it’s going from one room to another. But there is something about just change the scenery. So that family day adventure, just exploring is such a fun.

Yvette Hampton:

Yep. So much fun.

Aby Rinella:

I like Kit.

Yvette Hampton:

And you can do you know, if you’re a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, you could do nature studies that way. I mean, totally. So many my kids used to like.

Aby Rinella:

It that I’d get in the car and then one kid was in charge and they’d say, Left, right, left. Oh, yeah, right. That would be super. And then I take whatever direction they say, and who knows where we end up. And then the next kid does it. I don’t know why that would be for them. It drives me nuts because I’m like, we’re in the same neighborhood every time.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, that would be super fun. There are so many things you could do to make that fun. Like, you can give the a math worksheet and say, okay, whoever can figure out this problem next or gets the next problem right.

Aby Rinella:

Or if you’re telling me what is even, we turn right. If the answer is odd, we turn left. I mean, there’s so many ideas to make homeschooling fun. In fact, when this episode posts on social media, everybody should drop their number one, how they make homeschooling fun in there. Because it’s fun to get ideas from other moms.

Yvette Hampton:

Totally.

Aby Rinella:

Sometimes they’re like, I don’t know, I’m just paralyzed with this. Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:

I mean, you could do tests that way. You could do a spelling test. You could do there’s so many things you can do to make or on.

Aby Rinella:

You could take bikes and do that with a little know, abby, you can’t.

Yvette Hampton:

Ride a bike with a clipboard.

Aby Rinella:

You totally can. You see the things you ride kind.

Yvette Hampton:

Of bikes do you have in Idaho?

Aby Rinella:

No, you just balance it. I guess maybe that’s not no, don’t listen to Abby.

Yvette Hampton:

No one listens to Abby. Can I ride a bike with a clipboard? I’m saying no to that.

Aby Rinella:

If you have a helmet on, it’s totally safe.

Yvette Hampton:

I reject that idea. Okay, fine. Get in your car, but don’t have a clipboard. And write while you’re driving either. That’s not safe.

Aby Rinella:

No, but your passenger can.

Yvette Hampton:

Your passenger can. Yeah, done.

Aby Rinella:

Sold.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, man. Okay, we’re almost out of time. So the last couple that I have and then Abby, I don’t know if you have any more to add to this. Join a local support group or a co op. Of course, if you haven’t done that this year and you have a local support group, a lot of places have support groups where they know kids get together for field trips and activities and sometimes field days and things like that. And you don’t have to be part of their co op. You just can be part of their support group. And it gives you the opportunity to meet other families and other mamas and kids and stuff. So those are great. Or, of course, co ops, watching videos. Of course you have to be particular about what you put in front of your kids. But videos and documentaries, those are great ways to just mix it up, teach a lesson. Maybe it’s a history thing. You’ve got to be careful with it.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, but your kids will learn so much more. I remember I would teach my kids for weeks something, and then they’d watch one episode of Wildcrats, and then they would learn everything. Or they’d tell somebody something. They’re like, Where’d you learn that? And I’m like, clearly, they’re going to say, mom, because I just spent a month teaching them, and they’re like, we saw a YouTube video on it.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Aby Rinella:

I don’t know. It sticks more with yes.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, that’s a great way to utilize totally. The Internet. Yes.

Aby Rinella:

Be careful.

Yvette Hampton:

Be careful with so art projects, which.

Aby Rinella:

I’m not great at this, but I.

Yvette Hampton:

Know we’ve got some mamas who are fantastic at doing art projects and the don’t mind the glitter and the glue and all that stuff.

Aby Rinella:

And you know what? It doesn’t have to be something you plan, because I was never that either. But then I learned if I just have them or give them a box of art stuff and the table, they’ll come up with their own art. Yeah. So I’ve learned, like, I don’t have to plan it. I don’t have to have these elaborate things, which is hard for me anyway, because then I’m like, you’re not doing it right. I wouldn’t use those two colors together. So I’ve learned I can’t do that because I’m too much of a control freak. I just had to give them the stuff and let them create whatever they want to create.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Brooklyn took a she was visiting a co op one day, and she went into the art class in that co op. This was many years ago. And the lady who was teaching art, she was like, OK, I want you to draw or paint this picture. And Brooklyn is very artistic, so she likes to be creative. Well, this mom who was teaching it, she was like, okay, no, I want you to paint this this color and this color. And Brooklyn came out that she was like, that lady’s a horrible teacher. She was telling me how I had to paint my picture. And she was so deeply offended that this woman was telling her how she had to paint her picture because Kit just was like, but that’s not how I want to do it.

Aby Rinella:

She’s a creative.

Yvette Hampton:

This lady was very kind, but she was a control freak, and she wanted to tell the kids how to do their art.

Aby Rinella:

And Brooklyn was sometimes it’s painful. You’re like, yeah, I don’t feel like those two colors. I have to walk away and be like, Be creative. Whatever you want to do.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes.

Aby Rinella:

I can’t watch.

Yvette Hampton:

And then the last one that I have, which I’m really trying this year and going to try to do, is taking photos and videos, which we’ve got 5 million photos and videos of our girls. But I just feel like when they were little, I used to do videos all the time because they were so cute and little, and they would do funny things. Right. But I really want to capture more of what they’re doing. And even school, like, this is our life, this is what we do. So just taking more pictures and videos just to hold those memories, because when you look back on them, when I look back on videos, I mean, so often, I don’t know if you do this. I look back, I’m like, I don’t even remember that.

Aby Rinella:

Right?

Yvette Hampton:

I have zero recollection of we watched a Christmas video not that long ago of our girls, and they were really little, and I think Brooklyn was maybe five, maybe six. And I had literally zero recollection of this particular Christmas, none at all. And I was like, I am so thankful we have this video. And I had my nieces in there, and they were all so little and so cute, and they were hilarious, and so I want to capture more of that instead of the posed pictures and planned out pictures, like, just more every candid. This is what our life is.

Aby Rinella:

Oh, I love that.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Do you have any more?

Aby Rinella:

Well, I think you hit most of them. I mean, I’m huge on traditions, but I say also, it’d be fun to mix it up once in a while and be like, put one kid in charge of the day. They need to cover the same things. Let them steer the day. How do you want to do the day? And I think you learn a lot from that to go. What things did they keep? What things did they throw out? Which things mattered? What order rocked for them? And it mixes it up. And I think when they are in charge, it also adds for them. So I think that would be a fun maybe once a month, each kid gets a day where they get to be in charge of the day. They get to pick the song you wake up to. They get to pick what time you do what and what order it goes and who sits where. And I think that’d be fun.

Yvette Hampton:

That is fun. I love that. I love it when kids get to take charge of things.

Aby Rinella:

It’s good for them.

Yvette Hampton:

It is. Which, by the way, this has nothing to do with this. I just was thinking about it as you were talking about that. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this. We finally figured out who does the dishes dilemma.

Aby Rinella:

Yeah, you told me. A month, right?

Yvette Hampton:

Or a week. They do two weeks.

Aby Rinella:

Two weeks.

Yvette Hampton:

Two weeks.

Aby Rinella:

And then they get to sit in the front seat of the car.

Yvette Hampton:

And they get to sit in the front whoever’s dishes week it is, or two weeks it is. If it’s your day to do dishes, you get to sit in the front seat of the car. And can I just tell you, it’s worth kit, why didn’t I do this years ago? It has eliminated so many fights. And my girls. It’s my turn. It’s my turn to sit in the front seat. I did the dishes last night. Or I did them yesterday. No.

Aby Rinella:

Isn’t it funny how you finally figure something out? You’re like, how did I not know this all those years ago?

Yvette Hampton:

I know.

Aby Rinella:

It’s ridiculous that’s such a good idea. That’s a good idea. So they have the one negative thing and the one positive thing I love.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes. Yeah. Garritt and I help the with dishes, but ultimately it’s their responsibility for the weekend when it’s their dishes week and it’s been magical.

Aby Rinella:

I love that idea.

Yvette Hampton:

And it makes home school more fun because then there’s not as much fighting.

Aby Rinella:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, dear.

Aby Rinella:

Eliminate as much drama as you can. And I’ve learned it usually starts with me. I’m allowing drama. I’m allowing them to bicker over the dishwasher rather than just be like, no, this is how it’s going to work. Yeah.

Embracing Your Purpose: Insights from A Working Homeschool Mom

I recently sat down for an insightful conversation with Katie Hornor, a working homeschool mom with a unique journey and inspiring perspective on finding God’s purpose in work. Hornor shares her experiences as a mom, wife, missionary, entrepreneur, and creator of a Spanish homeschool curriculum. Through her stories, she encourages mothers to trust in God’s timing, embrace their gifts, and find joy in the work they’ve been called to do.

Embracing God’s Unique Timing and Purpose:

“God had a specific purpose for our family in Mexico, but it wasn’t exactly what we had expected. He used our gifts and talents in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.”

Katie Hornor

One of the recurring themes in Hornor’s journey is the recognition of God’s unique timing and purpose. Hornor recounts how her family’s move to Mexico aligned with her own long-held desire to be a missionary overseas. She emphasizes, “God had a specific purpose for our family in Mexico, but it wasn’t exactly what we had expected. He used our gifts and talents in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.” This reminder of God’s sovereignty serves as a powerful encouragement to trust in His plans, even when they differ from our own expectations.

Discovering God-Given Gifts and Meeting Needs:

From her own experiences, Hornor believes that everyone has been given gifts and talents for a purpose. She encourages parents, especially moms seeking to work outside of motherhood, to take time to understand what they have been uniquely created for. Hornor explains, “Finding your calling is a combination of what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what people ask of you.” Drawing from her own journey, she shares how she discovered a need for Spanish homeschool curriculum and, with the blessing of an American company, developed her own literature-based curriculum for the Spanish-speaking community.

Finding Joy in Work:

“God created work even before sin entered the world. It is an expression of worship and an opportunity to glorify God.”

Hornor firmly believes that work, when aligned with one’s purpose and gifts, can be a source of joy and worship. She challenges the prevailing notion that work is something negative, emphasizing, “God created work even before sin entered the world. It is an expression of worship and an opportunity to glorify God.” Reflecting on her personal experience, she further explains, “Our work doesn’t have to be something big to matter. Even the small, behind-the-scenes work, such as serving our own families, is significant in God’s eyes.” This perspective shift encourages listeners to appreciate the work they do daily, whether big or small.

Flexible Homeschooling:

Working homeschool moms face unique challenges. Balancing the responsibilities of motherhood, homemaking, loving your husband, and teaching your children can seem like an impossible balancing act. To this point, Katie reminds us that homeschooling does not have to consume excessive amounts of time to be effective. In fact, many times simple and short is the best path to success! She recommends Durenda Wilson’s book, “The Four Hour School Day,” challenges the notion that homeschooling requires a rigid schedule and countless hours. The book encourages moms to prioritize relationships, simplicity, and efficiency in their homeschooling journey. By embracing a flexible approach, you can create a balance that allows for both work and education.

Involving Family and Supportive Spouses:

Hornor underscores the importance of involving one’s spouse and seeking their support, especially in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. She advises, “If your husband is not supportive, it’s essential to prioritize your marriage and honor your husband’s leadership.” She shares her personal experience of involving her husband in decision-making processes and highlights the positive impact it has had on their journey. To provide support for single moms or those without supportive spouses, Hornor suggests seeking guidance and accountability from godly friends. family members, or church members.

“When we align ourselves with God’s purpose and use the gifts He has given us, we can experience true joy and fulfillment in our work.”

Katie journey as a working homeschool mom reveals valuable insights into embracing God’s unique purpose, finding joy in work, and involving loved ones in our pursuits. We should be encouraged to trust in God’s timing, explore our gifts, and embrace the work we have been called to do. Whether it’s serving our families, starting a business, or pursuing a career, Hornor reminds us that every aspect of our lives can be an expression of worship and a way to make a positive impact on the world.

As she aptly puts it, “When we align ourselves with God’s purpose and use the gifts He has given us, we can experience true joy and fulfillment in our work.” So let us embark on this journey of discovering our God-given purpose and finding joy in the work that we’re called to do. For in it, we may find not only personal fulfillment, but also the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of others.

Recommended Resources: 

Flamingo Advantage “Finding Joy in the Journey” Christian Marketing Retreat – Save $10 with this link

Katie Hornor’s YouTube Channel

📚📖 Ready to start homeschooling? Download your free Homeschool Survival Kit today!

🍿🍿🍿 Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE today!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Are you in need of a fresh vision for your homeschool? Join us for 4 days of Homeschool Encouragement at the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Use the coupon code PODCAST to save 25% on registration today! 

How to Homeschool: A Step-by-Step Guide with Kristi Clover

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced a setback or unexpected change in your career or ministry? How did you handle it, and did it ultimately lead to new opportunities or growth?
  2. How do you personally view the concept of work? Do you see it as a means to an end, or do you find enjoyment and purpose in what you do?
  3. Do you believe that everyone has a unique purpose and set of gifts that they can use to meet needs and make a positive impact on the world? Why or why not?
  4. How have you navigated the tension between your responsibilities as a parent and your desire to pursue work or other interests outside of motherhood/fatherhood?
  5. Are there any particular skills or talents that you possess that you feel could be used to serve others and bring in extra income? How might you go about discovering and developing those gifts?
  6. What strategies or techniques have you found helpful for maintaining a positive attitude and finding joy in the everyday responsibilities and tasks of life, particularly in the context of motherhood/fatherhood?
  7. How do you personally define success in work and in life? Is it solely about achievements and accomplishments, or is there a deeper significance that you strive for?
  8. How do you involve your spouse in your career or business decisions? How important do you think their support and involvement is for your success and fulfillment?
  9. Have you experienced any cultural or societal messages that have discouraged you from embracing your uniqueness or pursuing your passions? How have you worked to overcome or challenge those messages?
  10. How do you pass on the idea of work as worship to your children or the younger generation? What strategies or approaches have you found effective in helping them develop a positive attitude towards work and finding purpose in what they do?

Read the full transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad you are with us this week. We are talking this week about a topic that we get asked about constantly. We have you guys write in about it, we have you talk to us about it at different events. And that question is how can moms work and homeschool at the same time? And I know many of us today need to do that because of just where we are in the world. Or maybe some of you have taken your kids out of public school or private school and you want to homeschool them but you have to work and you’re not exactly sure how to balance those things and it can be tricky. I work some from home. Of course I do the podcast. It doesn’t just happen by itself. Truth be told, my husband does the way majority of the work for the podcast. I get to just sit and have conversations with people. But I do work from home and it is a blessing to my family that I get to do that and I love working with my husband. But some of you need to work maybe full time from home, whatever that.

Katie Hornor:

Might look like for you.

Yvette Hampton:

Katie Hornor is with us this week. She’s a new guest and she is kind of the expert at this. She’s a homeschool mom. She works from home and she’s going to give some really good practical advice and pointers on how you can tie those two things together and help bring financial support to your family. Well, Katie Hornor, welcome to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. It is such a pleasure to meet you. Tell us a little bit about you and your ministry.

Katie Hornor:

Yvette, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here and share with your audience today. My husband Tap and I moved to Mexico 16 years ago to be in ministry full time. We never planned to work from home as you’re describing it, but that was to be in the Lord’s plans for us. And the first step was getting us to Mexico where we have lived for the last 16 years. And then the second step was for us to go through a series of different changes in ministry opportunities that left us in dire need of funds and what does a mama do when you need money is think how do I make this money? And so God started working in our hearts with this desire to start a business and we said but we don’t have business background. My husband went to school for electric and carpentry and was going to go to Mexico as a missionary and skipped the last year which was the business know and I grew up in an entrepreneurial family but Katie was never going to be in business so she didn’t get the training. Long story short, we did start the business because God said to, and we pioneered a homeschool curriculum. Then we took what we learned with that business and started a coaching business, which we’re still doing today under the Flamingo Advantage brand. And I know we’ll get into that and other things, but along the way, those five children still have to be educated. And it’s just been a fabulous journey of learning to blend all that we do into the life that God has given and be able to use it for his purposes.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Amen. Talk a little bit about your homeschooling in Mexico because I imagine that this is quite different in a lot of ways than what it looks like for us here in the States. What made you decide to homeschool, and what does that look like for you and your family?

Katie Hornor:

Well, depending on where you live in Mexico, you may have different things available to you. There are multiple thousands of homeschoolers in Mexico, and now way more than there were 16 years ago. However, depending on where you live, resources are different and things like that. But in Mexico right now, homeschooling is not protected by law. It’s also not prohibited by law. And so as a Mexican citizen, there are certain avenues that you would take. But as an expat living here, our children can also claim U. S. Citizenship, which gives us a little more freedom in that area. And so we pretty much can homeschool our children as if they were enrolled in a school in the United States. Under that, we can create a transcript for our homeschool just as if we lived in North Carolina or South Dakota or wherever, and then we can create our own sort of graduation certificate along those lines. Following those guidelines, if you’re in a Mexican family, the regulations are a little different, and they’re changing in the next few months. There’s actually a government meeting around. What are we going to do with this and how are we going to move forward as a country in regards to homeschooling? Because it has become so much more popular, especially post pandemic. But for us, we have a lot of liberty with what we get to do, and it’s been a fun journey.

Yvette Hampton:

Are there very many people in your area who homeschool in your neighborhood? Are you able to do like a homeschool co op or anything like that? What does that look like for you?

Katie Hornor:

We have a small group of families in our city, and in the next bigger city close to us, about an hour and a half away, there’s probably 30 or 40 families, not necessarily all faith based. It’s a mix. So there are activities there that we can participate in if we want to. And then this local group of three or four families that get together probably quarterly for an activity or a get together of some kind. So it’s not a lot of people where we are, but it’s a smaller city as well.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so cool. You talked about how it became necessary for your family to start bringing in some income. You were there as missionaries, which I’m assuming that since you began your journey in Mexico as a missionary, you had support from other people. But it sounds to me like you came to a point where you needed to actually bring in some extra income for your family. What did that look like? How did you get started? Because I know that so many moms and even dads sometimes stay at home dads. They’re looking for ways to bring in income, but they don’t even know where to start. I’ve even seen people post on social media, I need to make money from home. What do I do? How do I start? What did that look like for your family?

Katie Hornor:

Well, for us, we’d had a series of ministry changes, so the people who had pledged to support us financially in the one know may not have carried over to the next thing. And so and so and so we were at a point where it was either like, go back to the states, which we knew we weren’t called to do, or find a way to support ourselves. And we started looking like, what could we do? And it’s that question not I can’t do this or I can’t, whatever, but what would it look like if we could find a way to earn income here? And what’s the need? We were just starting to homeschool our oldest at that point, we had four under the age of seven, I think, around that time. A fifth one came a little bit later, but at that .4 little ones, just starting to homeschool ourselves, looking at the curriculum we were using, which was a literature based homeschool curriculum at the time, and thinking, what could we do? And I started researching, like, what’s available for spanish speakers? Who homeschool? And I realized that at that point in history, there was only two or three homeschool curriculums for them to choose from in the Spanish language, and out of those, you had to speak english to order two of them. Right? And so this is a big hurdle for somebody who wants to educate their children but doesn’t speak English, doesn’t know where to get the material, and there is no such thing in the Spanish world yet as a literature based curriculum, which we loved. Because I was a big children’s literature buff. I had a degree in elementary education and curriculum development. And so this was where we saw the need, we could do something, we could fix this, we could provide this, we could make this better. And I think seeing the need is part of knowing where to start and then researching and what would it look like and what’s the first step and what resources do we have, who do we know? And in our case, we were able to reach out to an american company that provided an English based, literature based education and say, hey, the Spanish world needs what you have. Would you let us help you translate your teacher’s guides and things and create one? Or would you be okay if we did it ourselves? Because we really feel strongly God is pushing us in this direction. And so those conversations went on for about a year and a half and eventually that company decided, we love what you’re doing, we don’t think we need to take on the Spanish at this point, so have our blessing, go and do what God is leading you to do. And so at that point we went ahead and started working on first kindergarten level and the a first grade level. Eventually we had preschool all the way through 6th grade of this literature based curriculum, where we were finding books that were already in print in Spanish, books about history, biographies, all the things, and then writing the teacher’s guide with which you could teach that grade level material from those actual books. A little bit Charlotte Mason, a little bit Montessori, a little bit literature based, but all hands on and discussion and proving what you’ve learned by being able to reteach it, and just a really fun curriculum based on literature. And so that’s what we did and we pioneered that then for about the next twelve years in the Spanish community.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. So what’s interesting is that you took basically what God had given you, right? The gifts and talents and abilities that he had given you. You figured out where there was a need that needed to be met and you said, let’s figure out how to meet this need. And it’s interesting that you say it took a year and a half for you to do that because I think oftentimes people think we have to do this right away, we need to do this and it needs to be in works by next week or by next month. And oftentimes God doesn’t work that way, right? The timing is always very unique and different to every situation. I’m thinking of Ephesians 210 and actually was reading this before we came on today, and it says, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. And so just seeing that God created you and your husband and your family for this specific work and that he took you to Mexico for a specific reason, but then he ended up using you in other ways as well to meet the needs of the homeschool community in Mexico. Well, and I would say probably around the world, because it’s a Spanish curriculum that can be used in all sorts of other know Latin countries as well. And so what a blessing that you have been obedient to use the gifts that God’s given you to steward them for his kingdom, right? I mean, you’ve used what he has blessed you with. So talk on that for a minute because oftentimes I think moms are like, I don’t know what my gift is, I don’t know what my passions are. Especially, I think when our kids are really young, we feel like all of us is going into our kids. All of us is going into preparing meals and grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments and changing diapers and trying to get our kids to learn how to read. And sometimes moms can get a little bit lost in that and trying to figure out what is it that I want to do? What is it that God created me for in addition to this? Obviously, he created you to take care of your family. But how can moms, especially those who are looking to work outside of motherhood and bring in some extra income, how can they really figure out what God has created them for?

Katie Hornor:

I think it’s a cross, yvette, between what you enjoy and what you’re good at, as well as what people ask of you. Right. Because as a mom of littles who are starting to go to school, we got asked all the time, where are they going to school? Well, we’re home educating. How are you doing that? What does that mean? What does that look like? How would I do that? And so if somebody asks you a question three times, that’s a pretty good indication that you have an answer people are looking for. Right? And so what is it that you get asked all the time? Or what is it that comes easy to you that other people are like, oh my goodness, I could never do that? Right. That’s a really good indication that there’s a skill there that is sellable or that there is a talent there to be developed. But I also think it has to light you up. I am not happier than when I am teaching or talking or presenting. I love to see the light bulb come on, whether I’m talking to a four year old or a 45 year old. Right. It just thrills my heart to see someone get something so that they can take it out and put it into practice. I love the conversations with our teenagers around at the lunch table where we’re throwing out questions and the things are clicking and they’re finally like, oh wow, that’s what that means. And so for us, it was a natural crossover between what we enjoyed, the questions we were already answering on a regular basis with our friends and acquaintances, and where we saw a need and it didn’t happen overnight. And I am one of those people that there’s no grass growing under my feet. If I’m going to do it, it’s going to be done. And it was an exercise in patience. But I think one of the things that we have to recognize about timing, even with God’s provision, with God’s leading, with God’s developing, desires of our hearts is that patience really is the act of agreeing with God about the timing of this situation. Right. I can’t stop and get frustrated with a slow child if I’m agreeing with God about the timing in which this child needs to do something right. I can’t get frustrated at slow service when I’m out and about if I’m agreeing with God about the timing he has for this circumstance. And then secondly, is asking God, what is my purpose in this circumstance? Right? And always saying, like, what’s my job here in this conversation, in this day? Yes, service is slow. What does this person need from me as we wait, right? Or yes, this child is not responding or not producing or not growing as quickly, but what’s my job right now? What do they need from me in this moment? And taking our eyes off of the me and putting it on, what God is doing helps us to have that patience that we need and the persistence to be able to see it through with a much more calm attitude, because now it’s about God, it’s not about me.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. Talk about work as worship. I was recently having a conversation with both of my girls, actually, and we were talking about the idea of work and how work is a good thing. I think we as a society tend to think, oh, work, and we even pass that on to our kids sometimes, like, oh, I don’t want to do my chores. I don’t want to have to do all the things that take effort. Right? I mean, really, I would say a good portion of humans, if we could, we would just sit on the couch and watch movies all day long or read a book all day long. We don’t necessarily want to have to get up and know, exert our bodies into doing physical work. But we were talking about Adam and Eve, and even in the garden, even before the fall of man, before sin came into the world, adam and Eve worked the garden God gave them. That was like a blessing to them to be able to work in this beautiful, incredible garden that God had given them. Now, they probably didn’t have the scorching sun beating down on them, giving them sunburns know, being tortured by the things that hurt us in nature now. But still, it was a good thing, and so work is a good thing. So talk about work as worship and what that looks like and how you even have been able to pass that on to your kids.

Katie Hornor:

Well, it’s funny that you mentioned the Garden of Eden and work being there before it was hard work, right? Before there was sweat and thorns and all of that. Ecclesiastes 222 says that there’s nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his work. And the day that I came across that strict scripture, it struck me across the face because I had never heard anyone talk about that before. What do you mean we’re supposed to find enjoyment in our work? You mean work is good? Right. And then when I started studying Sabbath and I realized that God created rest not because he needed it, but because he knew we needed it. Because he knew we would be so dedicated and so into our work that if he didn’t command a rest, we would never rest. Right? And so I think it comes with alignment. When your work is in alignment with your purpose, when your work is in alignment with how God created you and what he’s gifted you to do, then work becomes a joy. Work becomes something that you do find enjoyment in, that you do want to keep doing. Right. And it’s our secular society, I think, the enemy’s strategy to try to make us think that work is bad or that it’s something to be dreaded. But no, God says you will find enjoyment in your work, that that is good. There was good work before there was sin in the world, right? And so the key is walking with God. The key is knowing who my God is, what he wants for me. Because if he’s created me to do this, then doing this is the best way I can worship Him. Right? When you think about the illustration I use a lot is that of a toy maker, right? If the toy maker makes a wind up toy and this wind up toy doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, we say, oh, it’s broken, it’s a failure, it’s malfunctioning. Right. It looks bad on the toy maker because it’s not doing what it was supposed to do. But if that toy does exactly what it’s supposed to do, that is the best thing it could do, both for Him, both for the toy and for the toy makers. And so when we do what we were created to do, that is our best worship. Scripture tells us not everyone is going to be a pastor or a teacher. We need people with all these different kinds of gifts. And if you were created with this gift, then doing that gift is your best worship. That is the best way to glorify your God, is by doing what he created you to do.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think oftentimes too, we think that our work has to be something big in order for it to matter or count, right. We have to be doing something amazing that the whole world can see. And that’s not true at all. I mean, we could be doing something totally behind the scenes that nobody ever knows about and it could be serving our family only. I mean, that is work in itself. Motherhood is no joke. Being a wife is no joke. It takes a lot of work and a lot of intention and you cannot do it if you’re lazy homeschooling. Oh my goodness. That is not for the lazy. Right. It takes a lot of work and a lot of intention. And so whatever it is that God has called us to do in this world is totally worth it and he is worthy of us doing it with a great attitude. I remember years and years ago, I was at a Bible study and this lady was kind of confessing to our group. She said, I just have had such a bad attitude about home chores, doing dishes and doing laundry and doing cooking and all those things. And she said I really had to change my thinking pattern and realize that when I’m doing laundry I need to be grateful and say, Lord, thank you for giving us clothes, and when I’m cooking, say, Lord, thank you for giving us food. And when I’m doing dishes, Lord, thank you for giving us dishes that we can put our food on and that I have to wash. Because there are people in the world who don’t have these things and so, so much of it is changing our perspective. However, passing that on to our kids sometimes can be a bit of a challenge. So I want to talk about that. We were talking yesterday about work and about how work is worship and I love that idea. I think that’s something that is a little tricky to pass on to our kids and so I would love for you to talk about that for just a quick minute. Have you been successful? I find this difficult sometimes with my girls. My girls are not huge complainers, but I also don’t think that they’re like, yay work. And as we’re talking, I’m thinking to myself like, okay, we need to maybe work on that this year, maybe that character development. Have you been successful in figuring that out with your kids?

Katie Hornor:

Well, yvette, our kids are ages nine to 18 right now, so I think we’re at different points of success, who we’re talking about, and with all of us, right. It’s a daily choice to choose the attitude that we have towards the work that God has given us to do. And one of the things I remind our kids when it gets hard is that God has already promised to do what he’s called you to through you, right. One, thessalonians 524 faithful is he that calls you who also will do it. So if this is something God has called you to do for our children, obeying our parents, helping with family responsibilities as we get older, right. Your actual purpose and calling in life, your job, your career, your vocation, the way you’re going to impact people in the world, all of this he’s promised to do through us. So it’s not so much about us doing it as being willing and saying, yes, Lord, I’ll do this, help me, do it through me, because he’s promised to. And so with our kids. I think we’re at varying stages, very quick to say yes if they have specific instructions. We’re still working on the self motivated part of seeing what needs to be done. But it’s been a fun growing experience, especially now that most of the are in their teen years and developing their own opinions and conversations can be so much more enjoyable now.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think one of the greatest things as a parent is when your kids start taking the initiative to do things without being asked. And my youngest did that recently, and my girls sometimes do that. We’ve actually, at times, worked that into our daily schedule, where I will actually put on their schedule initiative every day. You need to take initiative, but that’s not really taking initiative. If I’m telling them that they have to take initiative, but I’m trying to train them. And recently, my youngest daughter, it is a habit. It is a habit. And my youngest daughter, recently, she did a bunch of things, and I didn’t ask her. Like, she cleaned up the living room and I can’t remember what else she did some other things, and I was like, you just did those on your own. Like, I didn’t even ask you to do that. She was like, yes, I did.

Katie Hornor:

One of the ways that we’re doing this is actually with our curriculum. My oldest just graduated, but the next two are going into their junior year together.

Yvette Hampton:

Okay.

Katie Hornor:

Because they’re pretty close in age, and we found it helps for them to be accountability partners. And so we actually develop our school year plan, develop our lesson plan or whatever and give it to them. And then it’s up to them when they’re going to do the work. Right. Some of them think better in the morning. Some of them think better in the afternoon. Some of them have differing responsibilities around the house or as they start to look for jobs in the community and things like that. And so it’s up to them. And we check in periodically, daily if necessary, but definitely weekly with them. Where are you on your schoolwork? Are you going to be done by the end of the semester with what you’ve been given? But in terms of actually doing the work, doing the lessons, reading the books, doing the reports, things like that, that’s on them when they’re going to do that and check it off. And in that, we are instilling in them this independence, right. And this autonomy of, like, I’m not going to be able to follow them around to college classes and say, did you do that yet? And starting to train them for adult work. And that’s been working pretty well for the last couple of years.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Well, let’s back up to working from home. And I want to take us back to that mom who is saying, all right, I really need to bring in some income. Our family is just not making it, or we’re just scraping by. And she wants to be a blessing to her family and to her husband, like the proverbs 31 woman and she wants to do something. Right. And so we talked about how okay this mom, the first thing might be, figure out what you’re passionate about. What are you good at? Because if you’re not good at it and God has not gifted you in this area, you’re going to be miserable doing it, probably. You’re not going to have the best attitude. Now, of course, there are some things we have to do that we don’t necessarily love to do. But when it comes to working and doing something from home, we really want to do what God’s gifted us in doing. So that mom, maybe she’s just said, okay, I’ve got to do something. Here are the things that I enjoy doing here’s where I feel like I’m gifted. What would you say to that mom? You’re talking to her face to face. What advice would you give her on here’s? How to get started and get the ball rolling to help bring in some extra income.

Katie Hornor:

A lot of times we way overthink this. And so if I was sitting across the table with you, I would just say, what’s the fastest path to cash? Right? What is the easiest thing? Maybe you might call it the low hanging fruit, right? What’s the fastest way for you to actually generate some income? Forget getting an LLC or a business license. Forget figuring out a name. Forget creating a website. If you need cash, what’s the fastest way to get that? Can you sell cookies? Can you make a cake? Can you babysit? Can you dog sit with your kids? Maybe you can sew and so you can do repairs to clothing or I saw someone just yesterday selling headpieces on Facebook, matching mom and daughter or something. What could you do with the skills that you have to be able to put it out there? All you need is a way to take payment. People still write checks. There’s PayPal, there’s Venmo, there’s all these cash apps now, right? It’s not that difficult. You just need to put it out there.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, that is a great starting point, and that’s such a good reminder of it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I think we try to overanalyze everything, right? Especially as moms and homeschool moms. We have to think through every single detail of every single thing to the point of where it paralyzes us and where we just don’t do anything at all because we’re so busy thinking about how to do it. There’s a local mom here in our town who she started out baking cookies in her kitchen, and it has turned into this huge business. She ended up bringing her husband home from work. He was working this job where he was working 60, 70 hours a week, and now they bake cookies. And cakes and all sorts of amazing things together. And they’re actually opening up a bakery now that’s going to have a kid area for them, for their kids. They’ve got five little girls, and so it’s going to have a little area for their kids to play and for other homeschool moms to go to or moms in general to go to and bring their kids. And it’s just amazing to see that it just started out with her literally baking cookies at home. And so God will do big things when it comes to trying to figure out how to do it. And prayer, I mean, I think that’s a huge part of it is just praying and seeking the Lord. Of course, that should be the number one thing, is, Lord, what is it that you want from me? How can I serve you? And it could be through baking cookies or baking bread, whatever, but how can I serve you? How can I serve Your kingdom and further whatever it is that You’ve called me to do? All right, Katie, let’s continue on with what are some other pointers that you have for moms who are looking to get started?

Katie Hornor:

I would say also, don’t limit yourself to what you know. Like we said, ask the Lord what you could do, right? Let him open that up. But think about things that other people in your area may or may not be doing. Are you good at writing Bible studies? Have you created amazing lesson plans for your homeschool kids that other people would love to pay to have and be able to use as well? You go shopping for your food once a week or more often. What if you were to shop for an elderly person at the same time, right? Just thinking outside the box, even asking your kids. You’d be amazed at what ideas kids have for like, hey, guys, if we had $20 today, what could we do with that $20 to turn it into 500 by next week, right? And just brainstorming and using that power of your kids, like lemonade stands are not out of reach, but your kids will have some really creative ideas, too. And maybe even maybe you’ve got skills in digital design or graphic design, and you could be someone’s virtual assistant. Maybe you know how to answer emails and send them for someone. There’s lots of people who need secretaries, and that can be done remotely. So don’t limit yourself to just what you know right now. Continue to ask those questions. How could we get other people involved in brainstorming and really seek the Lord for those things that come? And maybe your first idea is not the one, right? Maybe it’s going to take some time, but don’t quit with it either, because our God is faithful and he wants us to be faithful as well. If you seek Him, you will find Him. He has promised to provide what you need keep going after it.

Yvette Hampton:

What about failure? Because that’s a thing, right? I can see these moms who would try something and it just fails miserably, and that can be really discouraging. How would you encourage that, mom?

Katie Hornor:

I would say failure is perspective number one. Don’t look at it as failing. Look at it as a lesson to learn from, because now you’re not starting from nothing, you’re starting from experience. Right. I’d also say surround yourself with people who can support you. When we started in business and we made that very first offer, we were making an offer to maybe ten people on an email list, right. And nobody bought anything. And I thought I was a failure. Who do I think I am? I don’t know what I’m doing, all this other stuff. It wasn’t until I joined a community of other people who were regularly making offers that I got to learn what the statistics are. Do you know if you have a list of 100 people and two people say yes to your offer? That’s the average that’s normal in the digital marketing world. Right. And so surrounding yourself with people who know the business, understand the business, have up to date data to work with, can really help you with that perception of whether this was truly a failure or whether it’s just an indication that you need to keep going and try again.

Yvette Hampton:

What does it look like for your family? It’s a family business that you have. So your husband works with you. I’m assuming your kids do something, maybe with you, I’m not sure. What does your family dynamic look like?

Katie Hornor:

So I’m the face of the business with the flamingo advantage branding and the flower in my hair, and I do most of the teaching. Right. But my husband, we say he’s the president, so he’s behind all the decision making. He does a lot of behind the scenes logistics. I have a daughter who is a graphic design and video editor and has interned with people like Rachel Peterson and really upped her game even as a teenager and does a lot of work for us. Another one is an artist. My son is learning accounting, so he’s helping behind the scenes with some of those things on a regular basis. And we just work together and what needs to be done today and can you do this, or no, I’ll take that. Or who excels at what and being able to find the right way to do that and being able to compensate. Right. Like in your business. I’m not a CPA, so check with yours to get the specifics for your details and your state. But it’s my understanding, at least from my CPA, that we can pay our kids up to a certain amount of money per year through the business before it becomes taxable to them. And it’s things we would pay people to do anyway, so they may as well be learning those skills. It counts for school and educational experience. And they’re learning to manage their money and manage their workload and learn new skills, develop things that will be sellable later on. And so it’s really been a great blessing for us, but that’s how ours works is sort of a behind the scenes and in front of the scenes perspectives. And it’s just been a real blessing to be able to work together when we need to.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, being able to count school credit for our kids to be part of our business is such an important thing. Just before you and I actually got on to record, my daughter and I were going through her high school transcript and we were looking at, okay, what are we still needing? What holes do we still need to fill in? It’s her senior year this year, and so she has on there filmmaking for her freshman and sophomore year because we were making a film as a family, we were traveling and filming a documentary. And so actually, when I spoke with HSLDA and I went through her whole transcript with them and I said, she hasn’t taken a film class, but we made a movie. And they were like, absolutely. That is business. It’s a class for her. And it’s so great that we can put those on our kids transcripts because that’s real life learning, right? I mean, the whole point of giving our kids a textbook or teaching them something is so that they can take it into their adult life. Because our kids don’t walk around with a textbook through their adult life asking questions and trying to find the answers in a textbook. We teach them things so that they can go out into the world, into their adult life and be prepared to live the life that God has given to them. And so it is such an advantage and a blessing, not just to us, but to our kids, for them to be able to learn alongside of us as we’re building a business for the kingdom together with the Lord.

Katie Hornor:

Our littles have helped as well. When we do events, they’re behind the scenes, setting up the stage and helping. Some of them are making lunch for us while we’re for our quick breaks in between. My nine year old just did two commercial videos for our book that just came out and she did the voices for the little things and puppeted them and put the video together. It’s just amazing what they can do when you lean into that and give them an opportunity.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, it’s so funny. You talk about them setting up food. I remember when we were filming for the documentary with Sam Sorbo, and Sam was already there with us. We were just getting ready to start filming and Kevin Sorbo came in. We were at this house in Florida where Kevin was filming a movie, and so he walked in and Brooklyn, my oldest, was setting up our craft services, so we had brought snacks and drinks and stuff for them. So she was setting that up, and Kevin walks in, and Brooklyn was you know, it was just so you know, we’ve since gotten to know their family, and they’re amazing, but it was just so funny that here she is serving this family and walks Kevin Sorbo. And she still remembers that time, and it was a really fun and special time for her. And he was so kind. He came in and he started talking to her know, asking her about the movie and all sorts of things. And so she thought that was really neat. He’s a really nice guy. The sorbells are great. We love their family. I want to ask you first about the flower in your hair. Every picture I’ve seen of you, you’ve got a flower in your hair and some really cool bling going on. Talk a little bit about that. How did this flower come to be?

Katie Hornor:

Yeah, so a lot of people do think the flower is just a branding piece, but it’s actually a big part of our story. When we first started our online business, it was the curriculum business. Then we started coaching. And so in this coaching business, when I started teaching online classes, it was a hot day in the tropics of Mexico. I had littles running around. It was behind schedule, right? And I’ve got to be live on camera in like, two minutes. And so I grabbed my daughter’s headband with a flower and stuck it in my hair. I was like, That’ll have to do, right? Turn on the camera. And here we go. Everybody was like, oh, I love the flower in your hair. And I didn’t think anything about it until the next week when I showed up without the flower. Like, Where’s your flower? That was so cool, right? So I started wearing the flower headband more often, and as I did, it was like the Lord was revitalizing in me, the piece of me that I had shouldered for so long. Back in some of our early ministry. When we first got married, we were told that anything that drew attention to ourselves drew away from the mission, drew away from the gospel that we were trying to share. And so it was discouraged to wear headpieces or earrings or nail polish or anything that would draw attention to you was frowned on. And so I complied. But I didn’t realize that when I did that, I was squashing the things that made me me. And so wearing the flower brought out to me like, I feel pretty with a flower in my hair. And it was like God was saying, yes, that’s how I designed you to love fun and color. And so it became this lesson to me. It’s my daily reminder that I get to show up and be me today. And God loves that. I love the fun and the color in my life. And then as he brought the flamingos into our business, and that became a mascot and a teaching tool for us that also like, you are on the inside what you are on the outside, and one cannot be separated from the other. And so it’s just become my thing that reminds me that this is what I get to be today.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. Hold tight on the flamingo story because we’re going to talk about that the second half of this podcast. But before we get into talking about flamingos, talk about balance, talk about how can we balance working from home and homeschooling at the same time, how do you do that? What does your day look like?

Katie Hornor:

Well, first of all, I want to remind folks that God says, faithful is he that calls you who also will do it. And so if he’s called you to homeschool, he’s called you to do business, he’s called you to be a wife, he’s called you to all these roles. You don’t have to do it. He does it right. So there’s a calm down, mama moment right there. And just remember that God’s got this. Secondly, whatever he’s given you to do, he’s going to have time for. And so we don’t balance as much as we blend the things that we do and the roles that we have. And so blending for us some days means dedicated time just to business pursuits, like today, dedicated time for podcast. I’ve had three interviews back to back, right? This is a business time slot. But this evening when I walk out of my office and shut the door, it’s dedicated family time, where they know mama’s all on for them. And having those boundaries in your calendar and in your life and being able to honor the people that you’re present with in the moment is super important in learning to blend all of this together at the same time, even though this is a dedicated spot for business today. If one of my kids needed me, they know they can walk into my office because they’re more important, right? And so if there was an emergency, they’re absolutely welcome, and they know that. But if there’s not, they also know they need to wait because Mommy’s doing business. And they know that business benefits the family because we talk about it on a regular basis. It’s not just mom and Dad’s business. It’s what God’s doing for the family through the business. And so they feel like they have more of a part in it. The other thing that we do is my husband and I regularly have planning meetings. We try to get away, like not just at home, at the dining table or in the bedroom, but actually leave the house and go somewhere an overnight or at least a dinner or a bench in the park, somewhere that is neutral, somewhere that is more public so we can’t get angry with one another. Right. And that’s where we do our planning, at least on a quarterly basis so that we can have a day to get on the same page, what’s coming up, what goals do we have in our business, what goals do we have in our family, what trips or what activities are important right. And just being able to get on the same page with the planning and with the dreams and what God might be showing each of us so that we can come back and have a united front to the children. And to the business team and to the public audience that we serve of what is happening in the next, then every day we’re on the same page. Right. Every day there’s a check in that says, hey, what have you got today? Well, I’ve got three podcast interviews back to back. I’m going to need you to keep the kids quiet for that time. Right. Or, I’ve got to go do this errand, or my husband may need to run and help a neighbor fix something or he’s a baseball chaplain here in our city. Right. And so it’s just daily coordination as well with, remember, we’ve got this today, or we’ve got to braces appointment, or there’s that music lesson we got to get him to at 05:00. And just that daily communication that keeps us working as a team and being able to blend the responsibilities in a way that looks beautiful in the end instead of causing friction.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think that one of the other things is for moms maybe who their husband isn’t home, he’s not part of their business, he’s working his job, and now you’re home and you really need to figure out what to do. Making your husband not necessarily part of your business, not as your business partner, but talking with him through whatever it is that you’re trying to do and having him pray with you and for you and taking his advice to heart. And if he’s not supportive of something and if you’re married and your husband’s not supportive of you doing a specific business, I would say, don’t do it. It’s more important to honor your husband and protect your marriage than it is to run with something super important yeah. Than you think is, this is what I want to do, and I’m going to do it no matter what. That can be a really dangerous place to go in your marriage. But if you don’t have a husband, if you’re someone who’s maybe you’re a single mom and you’re having to find a way to bring in some income, find somebody, whether it’s a pastor or maybe the women’s director at your church or your dad or your mom or a neighbor. Somebody who you trust, who you can say, this is what I’m thinking about. Will you pray through this with me? Will you hold me accountable? Will you help me in some way? And have other people in your world who can help walk with you through this journey. Don’t do it alone, because Katie and I, we get to work full time in ministry with our husbands, and it is the greatest blessing. But that’s rare. I mean, most people don’t have that opportunity. And so we’re definitely not the norm, but definitely have someone that you can pray with. I had a mom not too long ago. A few months ago she called me and she was wanting to do a type of business, and it was actually a home school kind of business. And she said, what do you think about this? And I said, Well, I think it sounds great. What does your husband say about it? She said, he doesn’t want me to do it. And I said, and don’t do it. It’s absolutely not worth doing what your husband doesn’t want you to know. Protect your family first. But the other thing I would say is, if you’ve not yet read Dorinda Wilson’s book, the Four Hour School Day. That’s an excellent book. School doesn’t have to take as long as what we think it needs to take. And so school is only take a few hours a day. So block out 4 hours a day or 5 hours a day or however long you need to block out for your kids and be committed to doing that. And then plan your business on the other end of it. School can take place in the evenings or even on the weekends. It does not have to take place Monday through Friday between the hours of eight and three. You can be really flexible with that. So I think that’s important to keep in mind as well. I don’t know how many of you know this about me and about Garrett, my husband of 28, almost 29 years, but we actually met on a mission trip to Mexico. It was my freshman year, in his sophomore year in high school. And we went on a short mission trip. I mean, it was like maybe a week, I think it was during Christmas break. And we went to an orphanage in somewhere near Tijuana, I think, and we got to serve in this orphanage, and that was the first time we ever met each other. I actually remember him sitting in the van as we were getting ready to leave and thinking, oh, he’s really cute. And many years later, six years later, we started dating and then got married quickly thereafter. But it’s funny to think back through the times in Mexico because, of course, we’re from California, and so I’ve been to many, many times, been on many mission trips there from the time I was pretty young. My mom started taking me when I was probably eight or nine, was my first mission trip. And I remember there was a dump, and these people lived near this trash dump, and it was really sad, but just having our eyes open to how other people lived and learning compassion for other people. When you live in modern America, we have this idea that this is how everybody in the world lives. And then you go outside of it sometimes you’re like, oh, that’s not at all. So anyway, Katie, how did you and your family end up in Mexico? I mean, of all the places to go, there’s lots of places to serve the Lord and ways to serve the Lord. What was it about Mexico? How did you end up there?

Katie Hornor:

Well, my husband’s family moved to Mexico when he was in high school. His dad and mom became church planting missionaries on the west side of Mexico. And then he came back to the States to college, which is where we met at some point. I had wanted to be a missionary overseas since I was in 9th grade and was know Spanish was on hand. It was the easiest thing to learn. If God takes me somewhere else, it’ll be easier to learn another language if I learn Spanish, that whole deal. I was already going to go somewhere in college. I was looking at different countries and visiting mission fields and just really searching for where God wanted me to go. And so once we met and married and decided we were going back to Mexico, initially we came to work at a Bible college and were there about two years. And then God moved us to an orphanage ministry on the other side of Mexico, which is where we are now. And just like context, location wise, we are in the part of Mexico that would be like Florida compared to Tijuana under California, which would be like Washington State in the United States, right? So that’s the distance where we are. But then after the orphanage ministry ended, we were helping some church plants and getting some local ministries going here and we were starting a church out of our home and coffee shop ministry when COVID hit and the Lord shut that down. Mexico was shut down much longer than the States was. And my husband is the chaplain for the local baseball team, the Campaign Pirates, and we get to minister to them. And a lot of our ministry is done actually through our coaching clients now ministering to the people that we get to coach in business and in life. And we are still very involved in the Spanish Homeschool movement as well, speaking and consulting there. So our business, I think, has given us a lot more ministry than we ever dreamed possible. I’ll never forget when we ran ads to an online Christian Women’s Bible Summit, right? And the fact that we could spend $100 in Facebook ads at that point and gather 300 women online when we couldn’t even get 20 locally to come to a location and meet with us, it just blew my mind at the potential there is for ministry around the world. When there are no borders because of what we can do on the internet and what an amazing tool that can be for the gospel.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. Talk about the flamingo advantage. What exactly is that? You’ve mentioned it throughout the whole week. And I have your book. The Flamingo Advantage how to Leverage Unique, Stay Relevant and Change the World. Tell us about this ministry, because I know the book is Take off of the Ministry, but tell us about this ministry and how in the world did you come up with that name?

Katie Hornor:

Well, I always say the flamingos adopted was my family. And I decided to go see Flamingos in the Wild at one point several years ago, because there’s a place close to us here on the coast of Mexico where they migrate. And we thought, oh, well, that’ll make an amazing educational, field trip family experience. So we chartered a local fishing boat. It felt like a tin can on the water. And we took it out, our family and our guide, and went to go find these flamingos in the wild. And I don’t know what I was expecting, yvette, but when we rounded that bend in the river, all I could see was like the blue of the sky and the water and the jungle green on both sides of the river and in the middle, like pink fluffy clouds everywhere. It was such an amazing, unexpected sight. I will never get that picture out of my head. And I was in awe. I think my mouth literally dropped open. But as we got closer to them, I think I expected them to move away or to be scared or to fly off. They didn’t do any of that. The closer we got to them in this shallow river, they just stood there. They just continued to do what they were created to do. They weren’t scared about the tourists. They weren’t scared like we weren’t getting out of the boat because there was crocodiles in that river too, right. They weren’t scared by that either. And we got within several feet of them. And just to see how amazing and confident they were, just standing there doing what God made them to do today. And it was so impactful to me that I couldn’t get it out of my head. When we came home, I started researching flamingos, and the teacher in me was like, oh my goodness. And I could see all of these lessons that lined up for believers and for entrepreneurs especially, right? Like the Flamingo is pink all the way through. It’s colored by what it eats. The color from their food is what colors them. Well, the color from the diet we feed ourselves is what makes us look like we do on the outside, too, physically, emotionally, spiritually. What comes in is what goes out. Right? Feed negative, get negative. Feed positive, get positive. The Flamingo can’t separate himself from the pink. I can’t be who I am on the inside and not have it show on the outside. They can’t just wake up and say, I’m going to be blue today. Right? We can’t say, oh, I’m going to be a Christian this weekend, but not Monday when I go to work. It has to color everything we do. Flamingos don’t survive if they’re isolated. They thrive in community. They have to live in community for their own safety and for their health, right? And when we isolate ourselves from the people who can support us in our calling, we also find ourselves dying. We need to be surrounded by those that can love us and support us. So many of those lessons. So it eventually became a book, right? Because I’m an author too. And so faith, like flamingo, came out first. And that was a devotional book around all of these facts that I’d found out about flamingos and the lessons that it taught me about what it means to walk out your faith in bold color and the that took off. And suddenly clients are sending me flamingos and people are tagging me on social media saying, the flamingo made me think of you in your book. And I started using it more in my teaching and in my business trainings. And then I started thinking, okay, how do we apply this to business? How can we be a flamingo in business? How can we look like all the other people who are doing what we do in our niche and still have that unique voice that calls our people to us? Because flamingos can be just as pink as the next birds and hard for us to tell them apart, but they know each other because each one has a distinct voice, right? And so even if you look like 1000 other people in your niche, you doing what you do the way you do. It calls your people to you. And so that became the flamingo advantage. And the book and the lessons in the book then became the frameworks that we use to teach marketing and client experience to our people and really helping you hone in on that God given uniqueness that is yours. That was given to you to be able to change the world that you touch, to be able to call your people to you and have the impact God wants to make in their life through what he’s given you to do. And the rest is history.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Oh, that is such a great story. I love that. And I’m going to go look up more about flamingos. They stink, though. Was it smelly when you went to see them?

Katie Hornor:

Not in the wild, no.

Yvette Hampton:

Really?

Katie Hornor:

Not in the wild.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so funny. Every time I go to the zoo, I love seeing the flamingos in the zoo. But it’s like you can smell them as you’re walking up to them before you can even see them. You’re like, we’re near the flamingos. They stink, but they are so beautiful. So that is a great story. I absolutely love that talk. Very quickly, we have just a minute left about your coaching business. What is it that you coach people in and how can people find out more? I know you’ve given your website, but give it again. How can people reach you and find out more about you and what you’ve got going?

Katie Hornor:

Well, the thing that we love to do most is our three day training that we host a couple of times a year. That is the Christian marketing retreat. And so for your Christians in your audience, especially if you’re thinking of starting a business, you’ve got a business you want to grow. Consider joining us at one of those. It’s virtual, you can attend from anywhere, but it’s three days of inspiration, of learning to know who your God is and what that means for business and what it means for you and your uniqueness as you market this business to the people God’s bringing to you. We do practical strategies. There’s implementation times, there’s networking times. It’s really a great way to find your flamboyance, find your flock of other flamingos in your network and be able to lean into what God has for you and growing your business. Theflamingoadvantage.com has got all the info about those events, about our coaching program, our mastermind, the books, the podcast, it’s all there.

Yvette Hampton:

Okay, well, thank you so much. It has been so much fun chatting with you this week. Katie, thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for your encouragement this week. It’s been even an encouragement to me, and I know it has been to our guests as well. We are so grateful for you and appreciate all that you’ve done to grow your business, to serve the Lord and to help others do the same. So thank you for being with us.

Katie Hornor:

Thank you so much. It’s been an honor.

How to Homeschool: A Step-by-Step Guide with Kristi Clover

In a world where the “traditional” educational model has devolved to the point of abject danger and degeneracy, millions of families are seeking alternatives and homeschooling has reemerged as the gold-standard in education. In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, host Yvette Hampton sat down with homeschooling expert, author, and speaker Kristi Clover to delve into the ins and outs of homeschooling. With valuable insights and practical tips, Kristi empowers parents to embark on this impactful journey. Let’s explore some key takeaways from this illuminating conversation.

For more on this topic, make sure you download our free Homeschool Survival Kit. This 70+ page eBook walks you through every step, from just getting started to graduating your last child with confidence.

“The first thing you need to do is establish your purpose. Figure out why you’re homeschooling, what your goals are, and what you’re trying to accomplish.”

Kristi Clover

Establishing Purpose and Motivation:

Kristi emphasizes the importance of knowing the “why” behind homeschooling. She guides parents to solidify their purpose as the foundation for their homeschooling journey. As she explains, “The first thing you need to do is establish your purpose. Figure out why you’re homeschooling, what your goals are, and what you’re trying to accomplish.” This clarity enables parents to navigate challenges with determination and resilience – even when you experience the inevitable setbacks associated with parenting and teaching your kids at home.

Embracing Flexibility and Personalized Learning:

One of the primary advantages of homeschooling is the ability to tailor education to each child’s unique needs and interests. Kristi emphasizes the importance of incorporating children’s passions into the curriculum, stating, “Find out what subjects and activities really inspire your children… Let them dig deep into those interests.” By doing so, parents tap into their children’s natural curiosity, encouraging enthusiasm for learning and empowering them to become experts in their chosen fields.

Creating a Customized Homeschool Experience:

Homeschooling need not follow a rigid, conventional model. Kristi encourages parents to design their own homeschool experience, emphasizing that it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) replicate the public school system. She states, “You don’t have to re-create a mini public school in your home. You can really tailor it to your own family and your own goals.” This flexibility allows parents to develop a curriculum that aligns with their family’s values and creates an inspiring learning environment.

Prioritizing Discipleship:

For Kristi, homeschooling extends beyond academics. It is an opportunity for parents to disciple their children’s hearts and instill a Christian worldview. “Whoever spends the most time with the children is the one truly parenting and discipling them,” she asserts. Homeschooling allows parents to prioritize character development, Biblical values, and Christ-centered teaching while providing a high-quality education.

Seeking Support and Resources:

Homeschooling can be an enriching and rewarding journey, but it also comes with challenges. Kristi emphasizes the value of seeking support from the homeschool community and attending conventions to connect with like-minded individuals and gather valuable resources. She also recommends the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) as a crucial resource for legal support.

Adapting Curriculum to Suit Learning Styles:

Another crucial aspect of homeschooling is tailoring the curriculum to meet the unique needs and learning styles of children. Kristi encourages parents to evaluate themselves as teachers and create a curriculum that aligns with their children’s learning preferences. She remarks, “As I observed my children, I paid attention to their tactile and visual learning preferences, and adapted our curriculum accordingly.” Kristi shares her experience of initially using a hands-on curriculum for her two close-aged children and then transitioning to more video-based learning materials as her family grew.

Organizing with the Crate System:

One of the key highlights of the podcast is Kristi’s discussion on the crate system, an effective method she uses to organize homeschool materials. Kristi explains how this system promotes independence and provides a manageable view of the week’s workload for students. She shares, “The crate system allows you to put homeschooling on autopilot. It helps you navigate emergencies or personal situations with ease.” Kristi has expanded on the crate system and other helpful tips for homeschool organization in her book, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.

Finding Success in Homeschooling:

While homeschooling can feel overwhelming at times, Kristi encourages parents to remember that it is a calling and a journey of faith. She compares homeschooling to a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, where taking a step of faith leads to finding solid ground. Kristi advises, “Keep your faith in Christ at the center of your homeschooling journey. There may be hard days and challenges, but it is all worth it in the end.”

More on this subject: How to Homeschool: My Original Roadmap

Conclusion:

In this series, Kristi Clover provides parents with a wealth of insights and guidance on how to embark on a successful homeschooling journey. By uncovering the “why” behind homeschooling, embracing flexibility, and prioritizing discipleship, parents can empower themselves to create a tailor-made educational experience for their children. With determination, resourcefulness, and a supportive network, homeschooling families can embrace the incredible opportunity to shape their children’s hearts and minds.

“Teaching children to love the Lord with their whole being is challenging, but my hope is that my actions and life will have a stronger impact on their learning than any curriculum.” Homeschooling is not just about academics—it’s about creating an atmosphere of love, care, and growth within the family.

Recommended Resources: 

Free Homeschool Survival Kit 

“How to Homeschool” the original document that my friend, Holly Learner gave me as a roadmap for homeschooling.

Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids, by Kristi Clover

M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem, by Kristi Clover

More from Kristi Clover on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Education: The Key to Saving Our Nation – Alex Newman on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

🍿🍿🍿 Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE today!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Are you in need of a fresh vision for your homeschool? Join us for 4 days of Homeschool Encouragement at the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Use the coupon code PODCAST to save 25% on registration today! 

Discussion Questions:

1. In what ways can homeschooling provide flexibility and fewer restrictions, as compared to traditional schooling?

2. What are Kristi and Yvette’s primary goals for homeschooling and why are they important? How do they align with your goals?

3. How does Kristi approach the idea of children making their own choices regarding faith, and what is the role of the parent in this process?

4. What are some alternative teaching methods mentioned in the episode, and how can they be implemented in homeschooling?

5. What are some potential benefits and challenges of homeschooling, and how can parents address the challenges and maximize the benefits?

6. Have you ever tried organizing your homeschool materials using a crate system or any other system? What worked well for you and what challenges did you face?

7. How do you prioritize and choose curriculum materials for your homeschool? Do you follow a specific approach, such as Charlotte Mason or unit studies, or do you customize your curriculum based on your child’s needs?

8. What are some practical ways you incorporate character development into your homeschooling? Have you found any resources or methods particularly helpful in teaching character traits?

9. How do you handle the pressure to create a perfect homeschool image on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram? Have you ever felt overwhelmed or discouraged seeing other homeschooling families’ seemingly perfect setups?

10. Have you ever tried incorporating video-based learning materials, such as the ones recommended by the speaker? How has it impacted your teaching and your child’s learning experience?

11. How do you adapt your homeschooling approach as your family grows and the needs of your children change? Have you found any specific strategies or methods helpful in teaching different grade levels simultaneously?

12. How do you handle the challenges of teaching children who may have different learning styles or preferences? Do you customize their curriculum or adjust your teaching methods to accommodate their needs?

13. How do you find and evaluate homeschooling methods and curricula? Do you rely on recommendations from friends, online resources, or attending homeschooling conferences and seminars?

14. How do you balance the desire for academic achievement with the importance of character development in your homeschooling? How do you prioritize one over the other or find a balance between the two?

Read the full transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Hey everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad you are with us this week. We have an incredible guest on and she’s been on with us before. She was part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo that we did back in March. And we’ve had her on the podcast a few times. And so I’m so excited to have Kristi Clover back with us. We are going to talk this week about how to homeschool because so many people are asking that question, how do I homeschool? How do I do this thing? And so we are going to dig deep into this and I could think of no better person to do this than with Kristi Clover this week. I want to tell you kind of a little story about how this all came to be. So 13 years ago, my friend Holly Lerner, who is a good friend of mine, she kind of has been my homeschool mentor and mom mentor when I very first became a mom. And she’s been homeschooling for quite some time. And so she wrote this two page document for me on how to homeschool. It was literally titled how to Homeschool. And 13 years later, I still have this document. And I came across it the other day. I hadn’t seen it for quite some time and I thought, you know what? There are so many new people homeschooling. And though we talk about homeschooling all the time, I really wanted to do a how to episode. And so I was looking at that and thinking, oh, this would be great. We need to do an episode on this and kind of go off some of her points. And then I had Kristi Clover scheduled to come on today and we were going to talk about chores and how to teach our kids to do chores and teach them responsibility and all of that fun stuff. And so I went on her website to look at some things and the first thing that I clicked on, I don’t even know how I got to it, but the first thing I clicked on was Kristi’s how to homeschool. And I was huh, OK, perhaps this is what the Lord wants us to talk about today. So I called Kristi like 2 hours ago and I said, hey, what do you think about switching gears? Do you want to talk about how to homeschool? And she was like, sure, I’m up for anything. And so we’re talking about this because this is really, I feel like what the Lord put on our hearts to talk about today. And because we have so many new people homeschooling and they’re asking the question, they want to know what to do, how do they do this? So we are going to dig deep into this this week and I hope that you’re going to be encouraged. Kristi, tell our listeners for those who are not familiar with you introduce yourself and your family to us. Sure.

Kristi Clover:

Yeah. So I am a homeschool mom. I’m a veteran homeschool mom. We’ve been homeschooling for over two years now. We have graduated two of our five kids out of our home school. And we have a very unique experience when it comes to homeschooling from the standpoint of we had our kids in a private Christian preschool. We did public school. We pulled our kids out of public school to do homeschooling. So that’s kind of our home school background. Other than that, yeah, I have this whole online life where I love encouraging people. And that is the beauty of getting to do this online, is I feel like I can actually encourage so many families using these online platforms that are available to us. But I’ve written a few books. I have a free book called Sanity Savers for Moms, and that is available on my website for free. And then I also have a book, I’ll just plug it here called Mom Master Organizer of Mayhem. And that’s all about home organization, but with moms in mind because I want you to give yourself a lot of grace. And then I also have Homeschool Basics, which is why we’re talking today. It’s about how to get started, motivate your kids, and bring out the best in your kids.

Yvette Hampton:

Awesome. So many good resources. And we have done episodes with you on every one of those. So back in March, when we did the Homegrown Generation, we talked about sanity savers for Moms. So we’ll put a link to the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. So if you guys have not participated in that, it’s still available. You can still sign up for that. It’s $20. And you have access to the entire conference with Christie’s session as well as all the others, and access to the whole one that we did back in 2020. And that one had Heidi St. John and Kirk Cameron and a whole bunch of other people as well. So, yeah, you can sign up for that and hear that whole session. And then we did another one on your mom book and on Homeschool Basics. So we’ll put links to all those things in the show notes. But before we get into this, we are going to get into the logistics of how to homeschool because that’s why we’re here and that’s what we’re going to talk about this week. But before we do, I want to talk about just kind of setting the foundation for all of this because we can throw out all of the how to’s, right? We can give all the points. You start here, start here, do this next. Next. But really, when it all comes down to it, what really matters is what is your goal? What is your why? Why are you even homeschooling? And so we talk about this on the podcast all the time, but I want to talk through a couple of verses really quickly. And the first one is Ecclesiastes 1213. And this is probably my favorite verse in the whole Bible. If I could choose one that has to be my favorite, this is probably the one that I would choose. And it says, this the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man, you guys, that’s it. That’s the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments. And it says the very first few words is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Like, that’s it.

Kristi Clover:

This is what you do.

Yvette Hampton:

Exactly. I mean, I feel like we could just be like and done. That’s how you home school, just fear God and keep his commandments. Right. That really is all that matters is that we fear God and keep his commandments, and then that we teach that to our kids. And as we’re teaching that, of course, they think of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. And this is kind of the homeschool-y verse that you hear a lot of people say, and I think it’s kind of gotten, I want to say almost swept under the rug because people were like, yeah, Deuteronomy six, that’s the thing. But I’m going to read it again, because again, I think it’s so important for where we are today and for what it is that we’re doing in homeschooling our kids. And this is what it says. It says here, o Israel, the Lord our God. The Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk aby the way and when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And you guys, that’s it. That’s really what matters, the end of the matter. All of this, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, and then go and teach them to your kids, and teach them when you sit in your house, when you walk, by the way, when you lie down and when you rise. That’s what God’s commanded us to do. And so the very first thing when knowing how to homeschool is you got to know your why. And this is something that we as parents, we really have to take seriously, because this is the foundation of our parenting. This is the foundation of our homeschooling, and it is the most important thing. I know that was a long introduction to this how to homeschool. And people are like, just get to the nitty gritty. Give me my list. And they’ve got their pen and hopefully their Schoolhouse Rocked podcast notes. But Kristi, you speak all over the country on this specific topic and I want you to kind of dig in with us. What is kind of going off of what we started talking about? What is the first thing that parents need to focus on?

Kristi Clover:

Well, I do think, as you said, that understanding the why behind your homeschooling is so vital because that’s what’s going to help you during those hard days. And you’re like, what am I doing? You’re like that’s, right? So I always encourage people to write down your why and keep it posted somewhere so you can go back and look at it helps to have scripture. I love looking at those different scripture references you mentioned. But the other part of it that both my husband are really passionate about is that we really feel like as parents, we’re called to disciple our children. And Vodi Bakum has the most fun way of looking at that deuteronomy verse that you talked about. And he’s like, there’s no public school in the desert. So when Moses is giving these instructions to Israelites, it’s not like, okay, yeah, while they’re at a public school, they’ll do the public school thing. And then when we’re around them, yeah, that’s when we teach our kids. We’re called to train our kids up in the Lord. And I think it’s just so important and I think it’s easy to think when because what I hear a lot from people is, well, if I home school, it’s going to drive us all crazy. Like, I’m going to drive my kids crazy, my kids are going to drive me crazy. They’re going to drive each other crazy. And that’s a very common thing. And it happens. I will just tell you, yes, that’s going to happen. But really it comes back to parenting. It’s calling you to get on top of some different parenting issues that you probably have going on. And that’s really important because I think it’s easy to say, well, I’ll just have the school take care of it. And right now, what we know that’s happening in school, that’s the last place you really want your kids to be. What is happening is no longer a secret agenda. It’s now a very blatant agenda that is coming out into our school systems. And we’ve been fed a lie for a long time. And I think I’ve homeschooled long enough now because this is, I think, our 15th or so year homeschooling. And that you start recognizing this lie that we have been told is that trust us, trust the schools. You’re not equipped to teach your children. We are equipped to teach your children. And that’s a lie we’ve been fed for a long time. And so we’re supposed to put this trust in this government agency that right now is trying to push more politics than academics and so that’s the other part of the issue is you might feel like you’re not equipped. God is going to call you and equip you. If he is calling you to parent your child, he’s going to equip you in that. So that’s really important to understand that if you’re feeling unable to homeschool, you need to lean on in the Lord and find support. There’s so much out there to help you support. And so that I think is really, again, going back to discipleship is really being the heart of the issue and just knowing that God is going to help you, he’s going to give you discernment, he’ll help you find better curriculum. If the curriculum you’re using isn’t working for you, you have amazing resources. Like you guys have so many great resources, especially with the homegrown homeschooling program that you guys put on. It was so good to be a part of that and just to see all the different people that are there. But I always encourage people get to a homeschool convention, find your people. So that’s where you find your people. And then online you can do a Google search and find other homeschool communities as well because those are the people who are going to help you figure out how am I doing this whole homeschool thing when you really look again.

Yvette Hampton:

Big right? And so what you’re saying is homeschooling really is discipleship and discipleship is parenting and parenting is discipleship. And so our kids are being parented by someone, right? They’re either being parented by us or they’re being parented by the public school system or private school system, wherever you have your kids. So whoever has them for the most amount of time is the one who’s truly parenting and discipling their hearts for the majority of time. And so yeah, it is a high calling and it’s a lot of work. It is not for the faint of heart but it is for every parent who has a know. And I think you and I are on the same page. And I know we’ve talked with Heidi St. John about this as like we used to be in that boat where we were. Well, you know, homeschooling is for some but maybe not for everybody. Maybe God’s calling this person to it, but not that person. And we’re now in the boat of like he’s calling all parents to homeschool because he has called all parents to disciple the hearts of their children just as we’ve read in Ephesians or in Deuteronomy and in Ecclesiastes. I mean, that is what God has called us to do as parents. And so it is training up our children right in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. As Ephesians 6:4, it’s teaching them obedience, it’s teaching them to obey. Colossians 3:20 is children, obey your parents in all things. For this. Pleases the Lord. We want our kids to have blessings and so therefore we want them to obey the things that we’re teaching. There’s just so much scripture that backs up our responsibility as parents to teach them the word of God and to teach them all the things of the Lord. And so that is what we’re called to do. So yeah. So your first point, of course, is start with the end of mind and know why you’re doing this. Why are you homeschooling? What is your purpose in doing this? So what would be your next thing now once parents have figured out, okay, here’s our why, we know what we’re doing. We know that we’re called to disciple our kids and to teach them the ways of the Lord. But then they’re like, but what next? What do we do now?

Kristi Clover:

What next? Well, honestly, I mean, if you want to get practical, your next thing is to figure out what your state laws are. So if you have a child, because I’ll meet people that are like, I have a three year old, I want to home school. And it’s like, well, absolutely, teach your kid whatever you want, but pretty much every state does not require you to register a three year old, so you don’t have to officially homeschool. And in the state of California, I’m very familiar with our homeschool laws here, we’re not even required to start homeschooling until our child is age six as of September 1. So there’s some of those types of things. But knowing your state laws is really important, and that is as easy as going to HSLDA, which is Homeschool Legal Defense Association. So if you go to HSLDA, not just Christian some homeschoolees for you, but they have a list of all that you need as far as how to get homeschooling in your state. And so that’s probably the practically figure out your why, pray about it, and then contact HSLDA. And we’re lifetime members because we did the math. We started figuring out we’re yep, yep, might as well pay the lifetime membership. And we love supporting them as well, but they have all the information about how to get started. So in California, we homeschool under a private school affidavit. So we actually aren’t even part of any other kind of a school system. We’re part of the private school system, so a lot of people don’t know that. In fact, fun fact is that California is one of the easier states to homeschool in, which is shocking for everyone. And I think it’s because we’re under the umbrella of private schools. So it’s really saved us a lot of headache as they continue to make all of these fun changes in our public schools. I mean, some of the curriculum they have for the longest time, parents in my area were like, oh, that doesn’t come here. We’re such a conservative part of California. It’s everywhere. And even our church has gotten involved. We’re going to school board meetings and begging them to stop teaching sex education to kindergartners and the content that is in these are pornographic and it’s not healthy for any child. I mean, they’re sexualizing our children at such a young age. So again, it goes back to that why if I were just starting off, if I had a child getting ready to be in the school system, my why would look a lot different now than it did when I started. I think discipleship I want my kids to have a Christian worldview, that’s what’s most important to me is that they understand. I want them to love the Lord with all their heartful, mind and strength and develop a love for learning. And those are really our two goals. And really if they come out with nothing more than just to love the Lord and they hated every aspect of learning, they’re not going to love it anymore in public school. But you know what? That’s my job as a parent, is to introduce them all that I can. And the hardest part, now that I have two young adults again, you may not be thinking this if you’re just starting out or have kids under the age of 18, but your kids get to make their own decision on whether or not to follow the Lord. And it’s our job to present all that we can, to give them as much love and to shine for Jesus. And in fact, one thing I’d like to remind myself about that Deuteronomy verse, Deuteronomy 6 is that what it says is that we’re to put these in our own heart first.

Yvette Hampton:

Amen.

Kristi Clover:

And then we’re to impress them onto our kids. So you need to be loving the Lord and really learning what that looks like and teach your kids how to love the Lord. And that’s not always going to be because you found the perfect math curriculum or writing curriculum that’s important, but your kids hearts are more important. And what’s happening right now is our kids are being thrown into a Babylon. So that’s really the dynamic that we have and we probably have had that for a long time and we just haven’t seen it until COVID wasn’t as obvious. Oh, no. And now it’s crazy to see how revealing they are. I mean, Satanic groups are literally like, oh yeah, we’re out here, we’re for this. Oh yeah, right, exactly. So that’s what again, it comes down to the heart of your child. And I like to think about like when Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they were all taken like the Israelites were taken captive. And you have I don’t remember the number, but I believe it was millions of Israelite children were being taken away from their homeland and they were being thrown into Babylon, being taught all the cultural things, being educated in the Babylonian style of education, which was very it’s anti God. They believe in multiple gods and all kinds of crazy stuff. And yet at the end of the day. There were only four Israelite kids that we hear that stood up for the Lord. And so that’s what’s important is that we have to give our kids a firm foundation. And yes, the Lord will totally work. And yes, the Lord I was 15 and living in a dysfunctional Christian family when the Lord really gripped my heart, and he can do that for anyone. But I love that I can give my kids this foundation and that, I mean, the Lord’s still going to be at work, but I don’t want them in a Babylon environment. So that’s my little two cent on that is that I just think we are in a different day and age now. And I think if it takes every ounce of your energy, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to protect your children.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, absolutely. It’s our job to do that. To protect their hearts, protect their bodies, protect their minds, protect their souls. So we’re here to help you do that. You said you’ve been homeschooling for somewhere around 15 years, right?

Kristi Clover:

Kristi yeah, about 15 years. Graduated, two kids so far. So we’re doing it.

Yvette Hampton:

So cool. Yay.

Kristi Clover:

It’s working.

Yvette Hampton:

And they’re still functional adults, which is amazing.

Kristi Clover:

Full time jobs. My oldest is married. I didn’t even think I mentioned that on the Monday’s episode. Yeah. My oldest, I am a mother of I’ll tell you that’s. Busy adding that 6th child, that was the easiest thing ever. No morning sickness, just a really day and then voila, I have another addition to our family. It’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so cool. I love that. I look forward to getting to that point. We’re getting there quickly. Brooklyn’s going to be a senior this year. Oh, man. I know. It’s so fast. It is so fast. We will have a middle schooler and a high schooler. Who’s almost done with high school. Yeah, I know. I was looking at my calendar the other day and the co op that we’re doing this year with both my girls, they have a graduation planning meeting and I was like, I have to go to a meeting to plan her graduation. It’s just so surreal and it’s weird. Like, I remember when I was pregnant with her, this was probably about two weeks before she was born and just thinking like, how surreal it was. She’s almost here. She’s almost going to be on this earth, out of my body, and how bizarre that reality was. And so getting to this next phase of life, because it really is the next big phase. She’s going to adult now. Yeah, it’s bizarre. And I’m so thankful that the Lord’s given us all these years to home school and to be able to build a relationship with her and with my youngest daughter. I mean, I’m so very grateful for that. Which on a quick note, I’ve said this, I think before on the podcast, but I’m going to go back to something you talked about on Monday, you talked about how oftentimes parents will say, oh, just the thought of being with their kids all day and their kids being with them and them being with each other. And one of the things I’ve realized is that oftentimes parents who don’t home school, they think that they don’t want to be with their kids or can’t be with their kids because their kids will drive them crazy. The reason their kids drive them crazy is because they’re not the ones raising them. Someone else is raising them with their own morals, standards and values and beliefs. And not that your kids are going to be perfect if they’re in your home, but when you’re raising them your way, it’s a very different outcome usually than when someone else is raising them and you have them in the evenings and on the weekends and on spring break and in the summertime. And then you think, I don’t really like this kid. I don’t like the way they act. Take them in, take on that role of full time parenting, not part time parenting, and see how things change. I think people will be really surprised to see what the Lord does and how he can work through you and your kids lives you have on your website. It’s a home school webinar. It’s the how to home school webinar. It’s kind of a crash course. I want to go through that and I want to do like the crash crash course. The crash course of the crash course. We do the crash course.

Kristi Clover:

We can do the crash course of the crash course. Yes. If you need more help in the crash course, right.

Yvette Hampton:

If you need further explanation things, we will put a link to that from Christie’s website as well. But we talked about setting that foundation. We talked about HSLDA and knowing what your state laws are and really knowing the why of homeschooling. What would be the next thing that parents need to consider when know here’s.

Kristi Clover:

The thing is that I’m going to speak to the families, okay? So if you are pulling your kid out of school, so you already have kids in school and now you’re going to be homeschooling them at home. Honestly, one of the biggest recommendations I have. And it was something that was told to me when we first started homeschooling, because it was a kindergartner and a first grader out of school is you need to spend at least a good month, if not just your first year of time, just getting back to being a family and what that looks like, because you’re changing the dynamics. And so sometimes you don’t even need to home school with curriculum and that blows people’s mind. I mean, math is one of those things, like math and phonics, like learning to read and math are two things that are helpful to have some curriculum. But there’s so many ways to learn that’s kind of a little unschooling. So you might be if you’re one of those parents, you’re like, yeah, that’s all nice and pretty, Kristi, but I need curriculum. Then there is curriculum out there, but I just want people to know that you can homeschool and kind of do it the easy way. You can study science by looking out and seeing what the weather is. Track the weather, see what that looks like, compare the weather to your area, to other areas that’s learning science. Maybe go to the library, check out some books on weather. You can pick up a rock and see what’s underneath it and study that. We tend to kind of study what’s around us. So we have hummingbirds that are constantly building nests in our yard. So we did a whole little unit study on hummingbirds. And for those of you that I just dropped a word that is a home school ease word unit studies that’s simply taking a subject and building curriculum around that and not like official curriculum that you’re taking something like a hummingbird. And I’m going to find some books about hummingbirds, I’m going to learn science. Maybe there’s not so much history around hummingbirds, but sometimes there is. You’d be surprised. Like with cats, you can study the history of cats in Egypt, cats in other countries. So there’s so many fun ways to really learn how to learn. And that would be my encouragement to families is don’t feel bogged down by all of the choices that you have and sometimes that is just what you need. You need a gentle start. Open your Bible, maybe get there’s some great missionary books out there. YWAM has a whole series of missionary books that we really enjoy. One of my favorite books is about to blank on, oh, I need to go get it. It’s hero tales. That’s the name of it, hero Tales. And it’s just snippets of different missionary lives and they also have like a character study on there. So when you learn about missionaries, you can learn about the countries that they’re from. What are some of the unique things that are happening there? What are some cultures and customs of those things? Find them on a map. So there’s so many ways when you start homeschooling, you really learn how to make it a lifestyle. So that’s my encouragement to those who are pulling their kids out. If you’re pulling your kids out of high school or you’re pulling them out and starting into high school, you do need to be more deliberate. I would say like 2nd, 3rd grade down, you can totally be relaxed about your start for homeschooling. Just stick to the basics, have fun with it. But then if you’re homeschooling, like even junior high to high school, you can know because especially for high school, you’re building a transcript. And so that’s just as scary as it might sound. You are calling up HSLDA, looking on their website, finding.

Yvette Hampton:

Out.

Kristi Clover:

And again, HSLDA is Homeschool Legal Defense Association. There are lawyers in the homeschooling realm, and they’ll show you exactly what’s required in your state law to graduate your child, and it will blow your mind. It will blow your mind, because we got used. I was just sharing with this with someone today at coffee that when we go through high school, we think, oh, four years of English, four years of science, four years of math. And it’s shocking that in California at least, it’s like two to three years of English, two years of math, two years of science, and they graduate. I mean, it is crazy to see what’s required in your state, and so that’s all you’re paying attention to is what’s required and then have fun with it. And another important part of starting off is what are your kids interested in? And learn about that, and that is going to spark their interest. So when I first told the kids, because we were a few weeks into this school, and they’re having fun at recess and all that, and so my oldest was like, more time to read. Okay, let’s home school. I can read all day. And then my second at the time, he was like, but I just want to play soccer all day. Can I do that? And then I was like, well, no, we can’t do soccer all day. We can play more soccer than you can do at school. But he was so cute. I’m like, So what do you think? He’s like, can we do a volcano? And I was like, absolutely. We are going to build a volcano. So we ended up doing this cute little unit study on Hawaii. So we learned about Hawaiian culture. We happened to have a Hawaii vacation that we were tying it into. So we went to Hawaii. We took microscopes in Hawaii and learned about the sun and how intense it is. And I brought chocolate. And I learned this is like this cute little science project I read about. And I learned you should always bring extra chocolate for your children to eat, because as we were burning, I was showing how intense the sun is when it goes to the microscope, and it burned the chocolate. And they’re like, that’s cool, but can we eat it? I’m like.

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Kristi Clover:

Sorry. So bring extra chocolate. That’s my hack for you and for mom, too. And yes, that’s a must. So homeschooling and chocolate go very closely together. But no, just figure out what your kids are passionate about and what they’re interested in did. Because I had little boys at the start of our homeschool journey, so we did knights, and so we studied the medieval period, and we learned about all these crazy things. And we did Egypt, because Egypt’s a fun thing to learn about with boys. And so just find what they’re interested in. And as you’re building when you go into high school, what’s amazing is how it takes what is it like, however many thousands of hours to become an expert at something. We have that opportunity to do that in our home schools because our kids have more time. We’re not spending all of the changing class periods changing teacher time. We’re in there. We get it done. We’re usually done by lunch. My high schoolers go a little bit beyond lunch, typically, but my oldest has a passion for reading and for writing, and so I just let him go in that area. We centered a lot of his homeschooling around writing. He wrote two novels by the time he was 17. He didn’t publish them, but he wrote two novels, which is a huge undertaking. Then my second, who we graduated, he had a real passion and infinity and just an inspiration with photography. And so he was always writing. It rained. He was, like, out the door with his camera. He wanted to catch the dew drops and the raindrops falling off the flowers, and so we just were able to really get him involved in learning about that. Now he’s a professional photographer, and my oldest son is working, and he’s doing copy editing with his job. And so it’s just so cool to see how you can really look for these strengths. You can build up the weaknesses, but look for those strengths and pour into them and just let them flourish. And that’s something that you can’t do in other things. So I’m hoping that by saying all that, it will really encourage people that you have to take off these, like, well, what are they learning in public school? I need my home school to look like the public school. This is your school, and honestly, we can say that, so we’re blue in the face. It’ll take three years. This is honest to goodness three years of homeschooling before you, ah, I don’t care what the public schools are doing. This is my home school. And it’s like, just breathe a little, but just keep reminding yourself that Christine Yvette told you that this is your home school and you can design it the way you want to. It doesn’t need to look like the public school.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, I love the three years. That’s so funny. And I think you’re spot on because that’s about how long it took me to realize, oh, okay, so this is not going to look like my schedule. That looked like the public school schedule. And it was so frustrating because I always felt like I was failing my kids and I was failing myself, and I just was doing it all wrong. And so it took about that long, and so, yeah, learn it before you don’t do the three years. Just skip the three years of trying to replicate regular, traditional school and do it the way that works best for your families. Kristi, you’ve got five kids and you have a wide range, so your oldest is how old? And your youngest is how old?

Kristi Clover:

21. Down to nine, actually. Well, and by the time this airs, she’ll be ten. So that’ll give her some credit there. She’s going to be like, mom, I’m ten.

Yvette Hampton:

Right? Yeah. Not nine anymore where credit is due. Right.

Kristi Clover:

So we have eleven year gap.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, especially when you get into those double digits. I mean you got to give her the double digits.

Kristi Clover:

My baby is going to have double digits. Oh man, breathing through that.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, it’s okay. Deep breath, deep breath.

Kristi Clover:

I know.

Yvette Hampton:

So you’ve got an eleven year age gap with your kids. It’s the question of course, that everybody asks, how do you home school with all I mean, that’s a big range of ages and different grades and different levels for everything. So tell us what your typical homeschool day looks like.

Kristi Clover:

Well, my typical homeschool day now looks a little bit different because everyone is in our home school. So it’s a little easier with everyone homeschooling and everyone is a reader now. So I’ve kind of entered into that sweet spot where we have all readers because once you have readers, it actually does get a lot easier. So I always tell people that it’s when you have the pre readers, it’s a little more complicated. So the number one thing is to whether you because I’ve homeschooled through it all. So we started homeschooling with two kids in kindergarten and first grade, and I had a toddler, which is honestly one of the hardest parts of homeschooling is working around your toddlers. So babies, you can totally work around their schedule because their schedule is kind of what you put them on. But toddlers are like, why aren’t we playing? We’re supposed to be playing. So my number one recommendation if you are homeschooling with young kids alongside of your school age kids, is to have a game plan for those kids. Don’t just think, oh, I’m planning my curriculum. You need to plan your curriculum or plan what you’re doing for them, your school age kids, but then also have a game plan for fun. Let them be part of your home school around two and a half. They’re like, school is fun because you’re giving them coloring books. I would make copies of what I was doing with the older boys and they were just scribbling all over it and they’re like, yeah, we got this. That is my recommendation there. And I actually part of my how to homeschool webinar and part of my homeschool organization course. Both of those have a whole section just about how to juggle that how do you homeschool and you have big kids and little kids in the house because it’s really important. It is a juggling act and it is difficult, but it’s totally doable. I just want to encourage you that it’s totally doable. And so I have a lot of very specific tips for that. But my typical schedule now, as it kind of always is, is that I try to divide up their work between work that needs to be done with mom and work that they can do independently and sometimes that’s kind of a combo. So I might have to introduce a sheet so I might be talking through a grammar worksheet or a math page and kind of giving them some information about how they’re going to be doing this and then they can do the rest on their own. So penmanship is pretty much always on their own. So they save all of those for either when I’m working with another sibling or for later on in the day. And I say that because it helps with making kids focus. So by the time we hit lunch, if they have had a focus day and they need more help, yes, of course I help them, but they just know that the work that requires my help needs to be done before lunch. So morning time, I’m 100% there. I’m switching off between kids so I’m having them do some of the independent work while I work with another and then we switch off and kind of trying to figure it out. Most of my time is usually with my younger learners and my older kids all learn kind of they start learning how to organize themselves and how to structure their days. That’s just part of the rhythm that I try to teach them and it teaches them independence as well. But that’s really what I try to do because we’ll also have those kids who will just not get to their work and will find every excuse not to do their work. So it was helpful for me to say, well buddy, we need to make sure that we have this done earlier. So I’ll probably give them a little help in the afternoon. They’ll be like tomorrow. And I’ll give little reminders for that child. Sometimes the ones that tend to kind of put it off is like, okay, remember, mommy’s going to go run some errands later this afternoon. So if you need me and you need my help, then this is what we do. And my next bit of information between the mornings and the afternoons and dividing up what is the mom time stuff and the independent stuff. And again, that’s why high school sometimes will go later because they’re doing mostly independent at that time, sure, but also just helping them to kind of I don’t know if you’re this way, but I find that there’s some subjects I don’t get to and so I move those up front. So if I’m not getting to writing then guess what our very first subject is of the day is going to be writing. Because I’m fresh in the morning, my kids are fresh in the morning and that really helps us. And so I try to move the things that by the end of the day it’s the subjects. And it’s the things that I’m like, I’m tired. I’m the whining kid. I’m the one. I’m like, Are we done yet? The kids are like, no, mom. So I find that I need that extra motivation because we’re doing our read alouds up front, but really looking at how you can structure things. And you know what, one of the things we did when we had especially babies that weren’t sleeping well, I was trying to do sleep training and homeschooling and all the things. And my husband traveled for like 20 years of our marriage, so most of my homeschooling, of my older boys, he was on the road. So it was me and five kids. And so we had to juggle that. What I found is oftentimes when the babies are going to bed at like 738 o’clock, then I’m doing a read aloud or I’m doing our Bible time at that time. So there are some times in some seasons of our lives when I would just kind of pick some things to do in the evening because it was just easier to do it then. So that’s a few of my little tips for kind of routines. But you don’t need to have and I do say routines. I try to tell people, please don’t try to schedule your whole year into a teacher planner because you’re just going to have a mountain of eraser dust. And so that’s one of the things that I try to teach in my homeschool organization course, is really how to strip that from your mind. Because that’s the first thing I did when we started homeschooling. I bought a teacher planner because I’m like, well, that’s me too, at Target.

Yvette Hampton:

Which I’d never buy anything at Target now, but I did 13 years ago, right?

Kristi Clover:

And you just end up erasing. I don’t think I made it more than a week into it when I was erasing and drawing arrows and trying to figure out how to put tabs on it to know where in the world I was. And so I really try to teach people in my organization course how to take things by week, how to divide it out using the table of contents. So there’s lots of strategy to really simplify, and especially for you as the parent, because we can really drive ourselves insane when we’re trying to plan out. Some states require 180 days. We’re like, that’s 180 days of planning. Please get that off your brain. That is so much more complicated than looking at 36 weeks or 34, depending upon your state. So that’s really how I try to simplify things. And what I’ve learned later in life, and actually I’ve learned this about myself through homeschooling, is that I actually have add a little bit of ADHD hyperactive. My mind’s always going. So that’s my h. My brain makes me creative, makes me be able to do interviews like this on the fly. But I’m also easily distracted. What I’ve learned is, if things aren’t simple, my brain literally puts up a strike sign. They’re like my brain is just like, no, you think that you want to do that, but we’re not doing that. And I cannot get myself to do it unless I have figured out the simplest way. And then my brain’s like, okay, I can do this. So I think that’s what’s really unique is that I have really had to learn how to be efficient in all that.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, I’m exactly the same way, and it definitely works for me. I’m pretty sure we answered a question similar to this on a Q&A that we did recently with Aby. And we talked about planning. And one of the things that I said was, I learned this years ago, was to get a notebook, just a spiral bound notebook. And each day and you could do it by the week if you really wanted to, if that makes you feel better. But each day, just write down what the next thing is that your kids have to do. So each kid has their own spiral bound notebook. Write down their checklist. My girls like, checklists, and I like, checklists. It just makes me feel accomplished. And there’s that satisfaction in checking off the thing that you’ve done. And so, yeah, it’s so much easier to do it that way.

Kristi Clover:

But you do have to kind of.

Yvette Hampton:

Plan out here’s our course of action, what’s our goal? And I think it’s important to know what our goal is for the end of that year.

Yvette Hampton:

Kristi, we talked last time at the end of our episode a little bit about scheduling and what your schedule looked like with your kids. I want to talk a little bit more specifically about curriculum today because I know this is one of the questions that everyone’s favorite questions when they get started. We talked about kind of deschooling and starting slow for those younger years. But talk to the mom who maybe she’s pulling in her middle school kid or her high school kid or maybe even elementary school, and she’s just like, I want curriculum. But there’s so much there’s so much to choose from. And I think this is the most at least for myself, this is the most overwhelming part of homeschooling is knowing what curriculum to choose because it can get really expensive. And then how do I choose it? And then once I choose it, what do I do with it?

Kristi Clover:

How do I use yeah, so that’s a great question. And I think that it requires an honest evaluation of yourself as the teacher because your curriculum needs to be something that will work for your kids learning styles, and you’re probably just figuring that out. When you’re a new home school mom, you probably have observed certain things, like, are your kids very tactile? They tend to listen better. Do they tend to visually see things. And really, when you’re incorporating all of the senses, that’s when they’re learning best. But you also have to pay attention to your teaching style because I only have the capacity for so much. And so when we first started homeschooling, we had two kids in school and we had a toddler. I was able to do more hands on type of curriculum, curriculum where we were doing more things together because my oldest two are so close in age, they’re only 17 months apart. So I could kind of teach them together except for reading and math, which those are usually the two subjects where everybody’s kind of learning incrementally and they build upon each other. But in all the other subjects, I was teaching them together. And so that was a lot easier until I suddenly had high school and junior high and elementary and a baby and someone else in between, like a toddler. It’s hard when you have this big stretch. So that’s when I had to get real and be like, I can’t really set up all of the things that I thought I could. I needed more video based learning. And so our math curriculum is video based. Our writing curriculum is more video, in fact. Yeah. As much as I love IEW and I love all things fun and fabulous, such a great curriculum, I also know okay, I’m going to be very honest. Andrew, if you’re listening, don’t listen to this part. I have never completely finished the all things fun and fascinating. I’ve gotten at least halfway through with my kids, but I rely on andrew poudois to teach my children. So we have just gotten to a point where that’s what I do with my kids. They watch Andrew on the TV, and then they do their thing, and then I can kind of come in and help from.

Yvette Hampton:

So just for those of you who are like, what in the world is she talking about? And who’s andrew Poudawa is the founder president of IEW, which is the Institute for Excellence in Writing. They’re one of our sponsors on the podcast. And we’re not talking about them because they are it’s because we’ve used them. You’ve used them, and it’s fantastic writing curriculum. And so a lot of their curriculum is video based. I think almost everything they have, not all of it, but a lot of their main is video based. And so Andrew kind of like CTC math, teaches your kids how to do math online. Andrew Poudawa, who’s the founder, he does basically like the classroom lecture, but he’s mean, so engaging, and they’re fantastic videos. And so you can do the curriculum with your kids, but he teaches it to them for you so that you don’t have to teach. So that’s what she’s talking about. I wanted to just clarify that. So people are like, who is Andrew?

Kristi Clover:

Andrew, what is she talking about? Yes, I try not to do homeschoolees, and I did it, so I apologize. Institute for Excellence in Writing, IEW yeah, those were a few of those real moments. And what’s great is that here’s the other thing, is most curriculums do have a resource where you can call in and ask, and they do. And so I was like, I’m not getting to writing. I’ve tried doing it in the morning. I’ve got too many kids doing different levels of writing. And so I was like, okay, so they helped me figure out this would be good for these kids, this would be good for those kids. But I had to get very real with myself. So my Pollyanna, optimistic person of like, I can do it all. Yeah, that did not happen. That didn’t play out past the first week of homeschooling. So when you’re picking curriculum, I would encourage you to think how many age levels if you have kids clover together, then it’s going to be easier. I still combine history and science with at least two kids in my home school, if I can’t get them all kind of under that umbrella. So this year, for instance, my son who is doing 9th grade work, he did American history using sunlight, whereas the girls and I did American History using not grass. And we read that together. So he was able to do his work independently. We were able to do our work independently. So there’s a lot of different things like that. But you need to really pay attention to typically there’s multiple subjects that you’re teaching, so you want to see what is your capacity, do you have young kids in the house. When you have babies and toddlers in the house, I encourage people, especially if they have younger ages of school age kids, please just stick to the basics reading, writing, and arithmetic and incorporate science and history into those subjects so you’re not killing yourselves. Because what people do is they’ll break down language arts. Okay, I need a curriculum for vocabulary, writing, penmanship, grammar, whatever, other spelling. So you’ve got five language arts that you buy curriculum for those, and then you’re like, oh, history, geography, oh, I should do math work, which is I guess, geography. Then we’ll do math, we’ll do math concepts, we’ll do like, math theory, and then, oh, we need Bible, we need Bible theory, we need worldview. So you end up having like 20 things that you think you have to teach. And that’s one of the reasons why when here’s something straight from my course. So what I always encourage people to do is create a course of study. And so what that is, is you’re taking each subject you’re required to teach in that, like in our school, Bible is number one. So state doesn’t require but clover, we require that in our school. So I write those down and then I write down the curriculum that I’m going to be using or I’m thinking about using, and then I kind of take a look at it and say, oh, can I use this here? And so that helps me to see, do I have a gap? Am I hitting everything I need to hit? Wow. Because sometimes you can skip over. You’ll save so much money when you do it like that. And so really trying to see how you can spread things out, does it look like a lot on paper? Because it’s going to feel like a lot for your kids. And so that’s another thing, is please give your poor children a break. They don’t need to do everything all the time, so you can even split things up. I think that’s a common misconception because we look at the public school like we talked about earlier, and we look at the public school and say, okay, how do I teach all these subjects all at once? Because that’s what they do in school. And that’s not what you can seriously have like a month of doing science and a month of doing history and a month of however you want to do it. You just need to teach them little samples and you’ll figure it out. And the best advice I can give to families trying to figure out where to start with curriculum is just start with something. You can start at costco. You can honestly go to Costco and get the workbooks and just have your kids do some workbooks. Get some books from the library, pull out your Bible, and that can kind of be your simple starter. But you can change the if your child is hitting their head up against a wall because they’re just like, this is so hard, then you might not have a curriculum that works with how they’re learning. The other thing that’s really important to understand is that when your child’s getting frustrated, so when you feel the tension rising and they’re getting frustrated, oftentimes it’s because you’re going too hard too fast. So it’s time to hit the pause button. Who cares what you’ve had planned for people going through my course, I’m like, I don’t care what’s in the crate because I teach people a crate system. You’re going to stop right there and you’re going to give your kids a break and let’s make sure that they have some fundamentals. And I think all of my kids have gone through this with math in particular. There just comes a point where they’re learning learning and then they’re just frustrated. And what it usually comes down to is that they don’t have their fundamentals down. So we’ll take like up to a month sometimes, take a break from who cares, take a break from the curriculum, and we’re just going to do math drills. And so we’ll just focus on times tables or focus on addition or subtraction, just really get that so that they can answer those questions four times three and they’re like, twelve, they’ve got it down. And that is going to be what makes all of the harder like the upper division math so much easier when they really have those fundamentals. And so sometimes it’s not a learning. I think some parents like, oh no, my child is a learning. Oh no, this is a parenting issue. Sometimes it’s just you have the wrong curriculum or sometimes you need to hit the pause button and scale back. Same with phonics as well. Same with reading. It’s okay. I think in society people are just like, your child’s not reading by age five or six. Like what? I have a friend, I know, I have a girlfriend and she still to this day has not told me which of her children, but one of her sons did not read until he was twelve years old. And he went from not being able to read at twelve years old to reading like the Bible aloud to the family reading chapter books. Because sometimes you just have to wait for the brain to get it and then it just takes off and they catch up like that. So never be worried if you feel like your child is behind, your child is learning at their rate. And when the brain gets it, then it’s so amazing to watch. And for the record, that friend that has five kids, all of them have master’s degrees. So it’s not like, oh no, didn’t read until twelve. They were phenomenal. And honestly, I even hate saying that as some sort of a line because I don’t even believe that you have to. And this is probably shocking for everyone. I am so out of the box now of like, you have to do this and do this and do the formula. I don’t think you need the piece of paper. There’s a lot of things that you can do that don’t require that. And by piece of paper, I mean college degree.

Yvette Hampton:

That $150,000 of debt rocked onto it, right?

Kristi Clover:

No, I mean, we are totally thinking outside the box. My husband used to be in the financial industry because every time he mentioned we homeschool our kids and they’re like, well, what are you going to do about college? He’s like, well, actually, my kids can get into college easily. And our oldest is in college, almost done, but he’s doing online and he’s working full time and he’s married. Yeah, and he’s married and supporting his wife. And it’s just this beautiful thing that when you think outside of the box and you have to do that in homeschooling and what you’ll find is that it becomes a lifestyle. And again, it takes three years. I know it’s going to drive everybody crazy, but it’s going to take three years until you go, I think I got this down. I think I know what I’m doing. But it takes that long. So just give yourself grace. In both of my books, I’m like the name of the game is give yourself grace. It’s okay. Yeah, it’s going to be okay.

Yvette Hampton:

One thing I want to say, going back to curriculum is I think one of the greatest things we can do is find maybe three people whose kids are around the same ages as your kids or maybe a little bit older. Ask them what they use, and ask them, especially during the summertime, if you can borrow their curriculum just for like, two weeks, bring it home, look through it yourself, see if it’s something that would work for you, and then look at it with your kids. And see if it’s something that would work well for you and your kids. Or you can look at it online. A lot of companies, I think every one of our sponsors, has trial things that you can do for free. They have free lessons that you can try out, stuff like that. So try it out for free before buying it.

Kristi Clover:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton:

But ask your friends what they use and what they like about it. And not that you have to do what they do, but that’s going to really help you to narrow down what might work best for your family and maybe friends who do things a little bit differently. Maybe you’ve got a friend who does more Charlotte Mason style and one who’s more unit studies and one who’s more classical. So figure out what works best for your family, talk with your friends and see if that curriculum that they’re using might be a good fit for you. Okay, Kristi, because I want to get back into this really quickly. I want to talk about. You talked about a crate system and organization. I want to talk about organization. Like, how do we organize our homeschool day? Now, we have set the foundation. We know why we’re homeschooling. We know what our goal is. We know where we’re going with it, right? We know what the end goal is. We talked about what our day might look like. We talked about curriculum, what now? How do we put it all into practice? How do we organize it all and actually put it into play?

Kristi Clover:

All right, so how to organize your home. I love again, my brain works a little differently as far as I really was looking for ways to organize our homeschool. And that’s actually, when I started on YouTube was funny, is I did this little video of like, oh, here, let me show you a few of the different systems I use in my home school, and it exploded. So that video is one of my most popular videos. And I introduced people a little bit to my crate system there. And I had so many questions that I decided to create a homeschool organization course. So my homeschool organization course you can find that@homeschoolorganization.com so pretty easy to find. But I talk through not only how to plan and prep for your year, I also help people how to use different systems. And so one of my kind of featured systems is the crate system. And so we pretty much can train you how to put all of your kids, all of your curriculum, into one crate. So you have one crate that has all of the curriculum for the year in that crate divided by weeks. And that’s the key, is that I think it’s so natural for people to think because teacher planners are by day. So we talked about teacher planners earlier. Teacher planners are by day. And I really want you to get that until it is like, Monday. You’re not thinking about daily work. I want you to think by week. And so that’s what the crate system is designed to do. Now, what’s amazing with the crate system, because you planned out your entire home school by week. And again, you have one crate. You have all of your kids in that one crate. We color code our kids, and so they can pull it out, but it creates independence for my kids and also creates a bite sized look at the week. And so one of my friends who was using the system, she was like, Kristi, you’ve revolutionized how we homeschool because her daughter would feel so overwhelmed not knowing what was coming each day. And so she was able to stay. She’d pull out her crate or pull out her folder for the week, and she’s like, this is all I have to get done for the entire week. And so from there, there’s different systems I recommend. Sometimes I recommend some kids can handle just shoving your week’s worth in a clipboard and they are good to go. Like, they just know kind of naturally how to divide it up. That was my oldest son. He was fine. He could take the whole week, stick it in there, he’d do a few pages of math so he could handle that. Other kids need your help training them, how to put it into more of a daily binder or whatever system that you want to have with them. So that is kind of a little bit how the crate system works. And there’s all kinds of nuances that go along with it because it naturally happens. I always say it happens around week twelve. And every year I’m like, yes, week twelve. Week 13 is about the time that I’m like, I need to do adjusting here because we’ve slowed down, sped up. Like we’re pulling things from weeks ahead, we’re a couple of weeks behind and I’m shoving things into the next week. So it kind of just creates this one spot. Works great for military families, works great for missionaries. I’ve had a lot of families. I’ve had parents come up to me crying when they came and saw me one year to the next year. They’re like, I was ready to throw in the towel, was so overwhelmed. And so I really try to come at it practically because I knew what I needed as a homeschool mom, and I wanted to teach that to people. And so part of just the way that I show people again is to introduce all of these different systems and how they work together, how you can tweak it. And I have people that are so cute because they’re like, I love your creek system, but I kind of changed it a little and I’m like, awesome.

Yvette Hampton:

Do what works for you.

Kristi Clover:

And we change it up. Sometimes I’ll put my daughter’s readers in there and so the readers are actually in there. And I can’t do that when I have all five of my kids in one crate because it gets a little and sometimes I will have a second crate that’s okay, I have the space for it. So it depends on your space. It depends on all those things. And again, it’s always fluctuating. So my second oldest, so my second son, when he hit high school, it’s got one of those file boxes and that became his mini crate. And I created that a little differently. Because he needed to see not only his weekly work, but I needed a spot for him to be able to easily because he was working so independently. I needed a spot for him to move his work because we were realizing again, you just kind of have to figure out what’s working. But for him, it’s like, this is work that now mom needs to edit. So like any papers, math, anything that I needed to grade or edit, then we kind of developed a system where I’m pulling things and he’s pulling things. You just kind of work on things together. But really the key feature for the crate is that you have everything in one spot and you’re literally putting your school on autopilot. That is the key feature of the crate and how it works so beautifully. And it’s worked in times when I had to fly to Spain for an emergency situation with a family member who got hurt in Spain and I had to go out and be with them. And it helped when we had another emergency situation with another family. And it allowed me to be able to stay longer. It allowed me to be able to pick up and go. When I had to have surgery one time that was unexpected. My home school continued when I’ve had morning sickness. My kids could handle it when I was suddenly turning very green and couldn’t do it. And again, what I love about it is that again, homeschooling is life. I think that’s what people forget is that before I want, I’d rather my kids get B’s. Not that I grade, that’s a whole other topic about grading. But I’d rather my kids not be as academically strong, but be amazing men and women of God, amazing parents, amazing spouses. That is my goal. Not just to create these perfect kids that look great on the pedestal. I’m not about creating pedestal kids, no one is perfect. Your home school, let me just say this, your home school will not be perfect. Your home, your parenting, your kids, you. No one is perfect. And that should never be what we’re striving for. If you are keeping your eyes like your verse talked about, I’ve never heard that verse used, by the way, for homeschooling. And I love it. I have to sneak that and put that on my little verses.

Yvette Hampton:

You’re welcome. Ecclesiastes 1213.

Kristi Clover:

I know, and I’m blanking on the verse because we have another one that we use about how, like, a student will never be above his master. Is it Luke? It was Luke.

Yvette Hampton:

Yes, it’s Luke. 640.

Kristi Clover:

Yeah. So good because, yeah, when they’re fully trained, they should be like the teacher and I’m like, be like the master. And I’m like, I don’t want my kids to look like the public school, but I’ve totally lost my train of thought of where I was. But just to know that it’s not about creating perfect and I think in this day and age of pinterest and instagram and all these places, we want to put on the happy face, like, look at my happy family. You know what? That’s not what it’s all about. We are called to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And that is honestly, it is a hard thing to teach. But I also know that there’s not really a lot of curriculum that’s going to completely teach that to my kids. What there is, is my life and that’s going to speak a lot louder than anything else. So when my kids see me have to take a break and go and bless a family member and love on a family member, that’s going to be what happens is that they’re seeing that and learning that in the moment.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, that’s real life. It’s real life learning. Because school isn’t just about the academics. The academics are important, but it’s not the most important part. We talk about that all the time on the podcast. But it’s true. It is a part of homeschooling, but it is not the only part and it is not the most important part about homeschooling. Okay, this crate system sounds amazing. Is this part of your because I’m looking on your website, the Ultimate Homeschool Organization course.

Kristi Clover:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton:

You talk about the crate system in.

Kristi Clover:

There and how to organize organization. Yes. Homeschoolorganization.com, if you go there or Kristiclover.com will also get you there, but yeah, either this will send you straight to me. So the crate system and all of my systems are all housed in there. And again, I was very deliberate about how I pieced everything together and then I have bonus videos to make sure I explain all the little nuances. Because it’s easy to talk with a crate system like I just did and to show you how to plan it out, but then getting it to work with other systems because you said you like checklists. And I help people create the simplest checklist you can ever create. In fact, you can put together a teacher planner. It’s included, I’m like for free within the course. It’s included in the course. And how to put together your own teacher planner. And it’s like the simplest thing ever. And it’s using the weekly system. And I do want to say one thing because we’re talking about home school organization and we’re talking about how we love checklists. And some curriculum comes with checklists and they’re usually pretty darn overwhelming. And I want to introduce one wonderful tip that everyone will love, and that is the power of the X. And that is you do not have to do everything in the curriculum. Checking it off feels great, but you are the teacher. And if your kids are getting bogged down and feel like there is too much, you know what, for history, you’re probably going to cycle it through three or four times. They’re going to pick up new nuggets here and there. They don’t need to read this extra book. They don’t need to do all this extra work. So sometimes you as a parent can just decide, we’re going to skip this part. Harder to do with phonics and math. Those you just take a week off and just pick up where you left off. But don’t be afraid to just cross it out and just be done. Yeah, we’re not doing that this year.

Yvette Hampton:

Oh, man, I love that. Okay, so we’ll put links to that in the show notes. And then you have your book home school basics. Again, we’ve done a whole podcast episode on that, so we’ll put a link to that. And that book is fantastic, you guys. I highly recommend it because she gives more detail on all of these things in the book as well. So if you’re a reader and you enjoy reading, then that is a book for you. Kristi, do you have any last bit of encouragement that you can leave with our.

Kristi Clover:

You know, this is what I like to compare homeschooling choosing to homeschool. So number one, you can homeschool your kids. You can do it. It’s going to probably be way easier than you think it is because you are probably putting a ton of extra pressure on yourself. But with the new Indiana Jones movie coming out soon, and I don’t know what point this is releasing or when you’re listening to this, but that’s all the buzz right now. There’s a new Indiana Jones movie coming out and I would say that the best representation of what it feels like to homeschool is like in the best Indiana Jones movie, which is number three, which is moment. And it’s like, sorry, Harrison Ford, but that was the best. There’s this moment where he has to save his dad’s life and he has to step out and he has to take the step of faith. And so you see him put his foot out and it looks like he’s going to fall. Like there’s this huge chasm between him and the other side. And that’s what it feels like. It feels like, I am going to take this step in homeschool and I’m going to fall to my death. It is sometimes so terrifying. Like, this is going to be a hot mess. And sometimes it literally takes day one. We are homeschooling. Everyone else is back in school and my kids are in my house. What am I doing? So what I love about that moment in the movie is his foot goes out. You still think he’s going to fall and die. And he steps forward and there’s solid ground. And then the camera pans out and you have this new angle and you see the whole time there was this very straight and it’s a straight and narrow path, but it’s a solid path that he can get across the other side. And that’s exactly what it’s like to homeschool, is sometimes you have to take that step of faith. Just like Peter getting out of the boat, just like Indiana Jones at that chasm, there is firm foundation and that’s Christ. And as long as you keep your eyes on Christ, you will get through your homeschool season and you will never, ever regret it. Every hard day, every tear, blood, sweat, tears. Like whatever it is, there’s usually not blood involved. Unless you’re like me and you. Yeah, I’m always cutting myself. I’m like my. Kids are like, mom usually bruises. I’m like, I don’t. But it’s so worth it. And you just have to give yourself grace along the way, and that’s the most important thing. It’s not going to be perfect. So take away your perfect little like, there’s no trophy at the end of the day, but there is a crown of glory that you’re going to at the end of the day for working. And this is, I truly believe, a calling. As a mother, a calling as a father. We are called to finish strong. And it is hard, it’s really hard to parent your child. You are raising a human being, and it’s a mighty calling, but you can do it. And the Lord will see you through it. And he will bring people along your path, too, to encourage you. Don’t try to do it alone.

Unlocking the Power of Homeschooling: Research Insights from Dr. Brian Ray

“I don’t think there’s any way for anybody to make an argument that institutionalizing children in these places we call school, where most of us went, is improving their psychological health.” – Dr. Brian Ray

In a world where traditional schooling can sometimes leave children feeling lost in the crowd, many parents are turning to an alternative education option that provides a personalized and values-driven learning experience for their children – the homeschool revolution! In a recent interview on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, premier homeschooling researcher, and founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI.org), Dr. Brian Ray shared his groundbreaking research and powerful insights on the effectiveness and benefits of homeschooling.

The Blessing of Homeschooling:

According to Dr. Brian Ray, children are a blessing from God, and being actively involved in their education is a profound privilege. Drawing from Biblical principles, Dr. Ray notes, “The Bible is sufficient, and it gives us everything we need to know about how to live and educate our children.” He challenges the notion that the Bible does not address education, pointing out that it contains abundant wisdom on raising and educating children.

“The Bible is sufficient; it has everything we need to know about how to live and how to educate and disciple our children.”

Parent-Directed Home-Based Education Discipleship:

Dr. Ray advocates for “parent-directed, home-based education discipleship,” which he asserts is distinct from traditional homeschooling. This type of education places parents at the forefront, recognizing their duty and responsibility as the primary educators of their children, as outlined in the Bible. Dr. Ray believes that this model empowers parents to create a customized curriculum that aligns with their family’s values, ensuring an education that is truly comprehensive and tailored to meet the needs of each child.

In addition to his research career, as a former public school teacher-turned-homeschool-dad himself, Dr. Ray got to apply the principles he had learned and see the effects of homeschooling in his own family.

“Whether it was easier or harder, whatever, whether children were fussing with us or happy with us as parents, it was the philosophy and the theology and the desire to be together as a family that really drove us.”

Insights from Research:

Dr. Ray’s extensive research has consistently demonstrated the merits of homeschooling. His doctoral dissertation focused on examining the academic achievements of homeschool children in comparison to their public and private school counterparts. The study showcased the efficacy of parent-directed education. Dr. Ray explains, “Homeschooling aligns more with effective teaching and learning conditions, such as smaller groups, increased conversation with adults, and customized curriculum,” which all lead to positive outcomes for students.

One significant finding is that homeschool children exhibit greater engagement and interest in subjects like science. Dr. Ray shares, “The study showed that homeschool children were more engaged and interested in science than their counterparts in institutional schools.” This finding highlights the ability of homeschooling to cultivate a love for learning and curiosity in children, allowing them to explore subjects at their own pace and in a hands-on manner.

Addressing Misconceptions:

Dr. Ray addresses common misconceptions surrounding homeschooling, particularly concerns about child abuse and neglect. Although acknowledging heartbreaking cases within homeschooling families, he emphasizes that abuse and neglect occur in institutional schools as well. Dr. Ray explains that when specific research has compared child abuse and neglect rates between institutionally schooled children and homeschool children the results show much lower rates of abuse among homeschool families.

Watch the video.

He argues that homeschooling, when executed correctly, aligns more effectively with research on effective teaching and learning. Smaller class sizes, increased interaction with adults, personalized curriculum, and the absence of negative peer pressure contribute to a positive learning environment. Dr. Ray wonders, “If we know all this about effective teaching and learning, why would we expect homeschool kids not to perform better on average?”

“On average, homeschoolers perform well academically. They outperform the national average by 15 to 25 percentile points.”

The Impact of Homeschooling:

Dr. Ray’s research has not only debunked negative claims about homeschooling but also demonstrated the extensive outcomes. Quantitative data from adult participants raised in homeschooling families revealed that, in spite of factors such as parent education level and income, homeschooled students outperform their public schooled peers in nearly every measure.

According to Dr. Ray, studies indicate that home-educated individuals generally experience higher levels of achievement, exhibit fewer behavioral problems, and demonstrate lower rates of addiction and depression. While he acknowledges that not all home-educated individuals achieve success and happiness, the overall benefits of homeschooling as a collective group are significant.

Watch or listen here.

Beyond Academics:

Dr. Ray advocates for a holistic approach to education that goes beyond academic achievements. He urges parents to prioritize the well-being of their children by limiting screen time, engaging in outdoor activities, and fostering open communication. He highlights the detrimental impact of excessive screen time on mental health and urges parents to reclaim their role as primary influencers in their children’s lives.

Conclusion:

Dr. Brian Ray’s extensive research and insights shed light on the power of homeschooling as a viable and impactful educational option. By placing parents at the core of their children’s education and providing a Bible-centered, personalized, values-driven approach, homeschooling offers numerous advantages for academic achievement and overall well-being.

As the acceptance and celebration of homeschooling continue to grow, parents are becoming increasingly empowered to provide their children with an education that aligns with their family’s beliefs and values and can be assured that their children will not suffer as a result of “missing out” on traditional schooling. Additionally, Dr. Ray’s research not only indicates positive outcomes for individual students, but also demonstrates the homeschooling movement’s abilty to positively impact communities and nations.

To delve deeper into Dr. Brian Ray’s research and gain a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of homeschooling, Listen to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast or subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the full interview.

Recommended Resources:

The Gen2 Survey, by NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute) – This study examines adults who attended church growing up and seeks to understand the key influences which either encouraged or deterred them from believing and practicing the faith of their parents.

Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, by Israel Wayne

Education: Does God Have an Opinion?, by Israel Wayne

Israel Wayne, Christian Education: A Manifesto 

Education: The Key to Saving Our Nation – Alex Newman on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

Discussion Questions:

1. How does Dr. Brian Ray’s research challenge the perception that homeschooling is inferior to traditional schooling?

2. What are some key factors that contribute to the academic success of homeschooled children, according to Dr. Ray’s research?

3. How does Dr. Ray address concerns about child abuse and neglect in homeschooling families, and what data does he present to support his arguments?

4. How does Dr. Ray’s personal background and experiences influence his perspective on homeschooling?

5. What are some potential drawbacks or challenges of homeschooling that Dr. Ray acknowledges, and how does he address them?

6. How has the acceptance and perception of homeschooling changed over the years, according to Dr. Ray?

7. How does homeschooling impact the overall well-being and mental health of children, as discussed by Dr. Ray?

8. How does Dr. Ray argue that homeschooling can contribute to the improvement of local communities and nations?

9. What are some practical strategies and suggestions for parents to prioritize their children’s well-being in the midst of societal and technological challenges, according to Dr. Ray?

10. In your opinion, based on the information presented by Dr. Ray, what are the major advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling compared to traditional schooling?

Full Transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad that you are with me this week. I have a guest on this week that is truly an honor to have him with us. I cannot believe, actually, that it’s taken this long to have Dr. Brian Ray with us. We met years ago at a it was an HSLDA conference. And I’ve always been so just impressed with his work. I feel like I should have a stronger word than impressed, but that’s the word that comes to me right now. He has done so many things for the homeschool community, and if you are not yet familiar with him, you are going to be so encouraged this week. I know that many of you have probably heard him speak at homeschool conventions in the past, and he’s been in the homeschool world for a long, long time. And so I’m so grateful to have him on with us today. So we’re going to talk a lot about just the history of homeschooling and some research on what’s going on with homeschooling, what’s happened in the past, what the future might look like for homeschooling. We’re going to talk just a lot about his study of the homeschool world. Well, Dr. Brian Ray. Welcome to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad to have you with us. Introduce yourself to our audience. And when I say, like, you know, just tell us a little bit about yourself and what you and your family do. And I would really love for you to give a pretty good overview of NHERI, which is your organization, which we’ll talk about, but also your credentials, your qualifications, because that really matters in our talk this week and the things that we’re going to be discussing.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yep. Thank you so much, Yvette, for having me here. It’s great. Thank you for your work. I was just telling Yvette before we started talking how my wife said this morning, I’m so happy about all these young people who are doing the things we don’t even know about in the homeschool movement. And years ago, I don’t know, maybe ten years ago, we started hearing older people. Like I am saying, woe is us, woe is me. That we’re all the young people, the pioneers like we are. Well, you know what? God has raised you up. Here you are. He always has whomever he needs to do the things right. I mean, he’s just done it. And so I’m very thankful. I’m very thankful that there are younger folks who are so excited about God’s principles and raising children. But what happened was, okay, so I was institutionalized a vet, right? So I was raised in a Roman Catholic environment. Roman Catholic. Went to Roman Catholic schools. But from a very young age, god designs people a certain way. And I think a lot of us know early on what it might be. I’ve always loved animals I’ve always just wanted to watch them and play with them and study them and all those things. So I went after high school, went on to get a bachelor’s degree, bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Puget Sound. From there, I went off and traveled all over the United States with my brother before many people watching this were even born. I’m sure this is back during the bicentennial of America, United States of America 1976. Traveled all over the US. For 100 days and 15,000 miles, came back and I taught, ended up teaching. I got a carpentry job, and then I ended up teaching at an outdoor school, 6th grade, public school students. I’ve always liked being around children and teaching children. Even in high school, I went down to a local grade school and tutored children in that elementary school. So that was just something I did there. And from there then I went on and got a Master of science degree in zoology at Ohio University. And therefore my research. I studied pack rats neatoma Florida. So I was really into mammology and learned all the mammals of North America and all that kind of thing. Now I finished that and want to do I want to be in a lab all my life, or would I like to maybe get out a little more and be with people or something? So from there now, in all that, Betsy and I got married in graduate school. Graduate school is when I got saved, when the Lord got me and brought me into his kingdom. And right after that, Betsy and I got married, came back to Oregon, and she was finishing a degree in teaching. And I decided, hey, why not? So I got a teaching degree in Oregon. So I taught for a few years, middle school and high school. So now you can see kind of the science and then the education formally, right? So I did that. And after three years of that, I got kind of I’m tired of know, teaching the same class over and over and over, and I need a challenge. I need a real challenge. So I decided to go and work on a PhD in science education at Oregon State University. So while there, I was teaching in biology, and I became a teaching assistant for the dean of education and all kinds of things, all kinds of experiences while there, Yvette, we were starting to have babies. And while we were there, I was very interested in alternatives. And Betsy and I have always kind of been interested in alternatives. Maybe you could say we are right wing Christian hippies. So we were interested in organic farming, and we were interested in drip irrigation on gardens. And while at Oregon State, I met some people who wanted somebody to teach their children part time. It turns out they were basically kind of left wing hippie homeschoolers, but nobody called it that yet. And from there I started looking into homeschooling and almost no research was done. So I pulled together a paper all about homeschooling and research on homeschooling and presented it as actually it was an exam for my doctoral studies. It was not my dissertation. And all of a sudden after I wrote that paper, I was an expert on homeschooling. So one way to be an expert is do something almost nobody else is doing and then you’re an expert. That’s basically what happened. During all of that, Betsy and I heard about homeschooling and I started studying homeschooling and one thing led to another. I did home research on homeschooling and bingo, as soon as I got my PhD, the NBC Today show called me and flew me from Oregon to New York City, picked me up in a limousine and put me on the NBC Today show with the president of the National Education Association, the big teachers union. That was amazing. I’d never done anything like that in my life. That was my introduction to the media and interviews with the media. Just two years after that, some other guys and I started the nonprofit National Home Education Research Institute. NHERI. Nheri.org. So that’s kind of the preliminary before what happened, how we got there, god just led me from one thing to another. I went off to teach at Seattle Pacific well, I’ll just say a university in Seattle, and then started the Research Institute during that. And I went and taught at another college and kept the research institute going and about 25 years ago full time with the Research Institute.

Yvette Hampton:

That is an incredible story that you talked about before. And I don’t know that you would call it a story, but just your qualifications and what you did before even getting into the world of homeschooling. You are well educated. And the reason I wanted you to share all of that stuff is because I didn’t want people we’re going to talk a lot this week about your study of homeschooling. And I don’t want people to think that you’re just some guy off the street who maybe talked to ten different people. And now all of a sudden, you’re the expert on homeschooling. Your bio says that you are a leading international expert in research on homeschooling. And I would argue that you are the leading international expert in research on homeschooling. I don’t know anyone else who has done as much research as you in the past years. And we’re not just talking about the past ten years. We’re talking about you said, I think 33 years ago that you started researching homeschooling, is that right?

Dr. Brian Ray:

I said that the institute was started 33 years ago, but I actually started studying homeschooling more like 39 years ago. So before I left out a step event you got it right, though about the research. I left out that in 1985 I started the journal Home School Researcher. And keep in mind it was three words, home school research. So that tells you something that was before it evolved in America to a one word. We used to have discussions and debates about whether it should be one word or two.

Yvette Hampton:

Well, we’ve seen that debate as well, even as recently as when we chose the name for the movie schoolhouse Rocked the Homeschool Revolution. I remember us talking about that. Like, dude, we put home school or homeschool and we did our own little bit of research and we thought, okay, most people are saying it as one word, and so we’re going to just go with homeschooling instead of homeschooling. Yes, you have been in this world for such a long time, and you have really put your whole, I would say most of your adult life’s work into researching homeschooling and not just the history of it. I mean, you talk about the history of it, but really you have a really deep understanding. And so talk for a little bit about your research that you’ve done. And I would love for you to take us not through every step, but kind of what it was like from the beginning, 39 years ago when you started researching it. And I know this is a big question, this could take a long time. We have about, what, 1012 minutes here. So we can continue this on, if we need to on Wednesday. But talk about your research on homeschooling and where you’ve seen it go.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Okay. Way back in that time machine around 1989 ish, I can’t say the exact date, but I was already into it. I was already into it. In fact, I wanted to do a study on homeschooling for my doctoral dissertation. But it’s a story we won’t get into, and I can never prove it. But they did not want me studying and having a dissertation coming out of Oregon State University on homeschooling. So I did my work just on public school kids, but on my own. On the side, I was collecting data on private school children and homeschool children with the same questions as my doctoral dissertation. So as soon as they handed me the dissertation, boom, I went out and started publishing on homeschooling. And it was kind of an off thing that almost nobody would look into. It was called the Theory of Reason to Action, and it was comparing home school, public school, and private school students in terms of their interest in doing science, in their interest in doing studying science, and their interest in doing laboratory science, and then what would motivate them. And as it turns out, and this is going to start to sound like a broken record, the homeschool children were more engaged and more interested in science than most of the others. I mean, that’s what I found. That was way back in around, like I said, 1988. Now, around that same time, just after that, Mike Farris, who was one of the founders of the home school legal defense association was making a speech somewhere or writing an article or something. He said, you know what we’re not we need in the home school movement? We need parents with their children to go down to their state legislatures and visit with legislators and so that they can see their children, they’re real, they’re not weirdos, all that kind of stuff. And he said, number two, we need good, solid, sound, empirical research evidence. Well, HSLDA was the main sponsor of one of my first big studies, and it was a nationwide study of homeschooling. And we got into all kinds of things like parents demographics, their income level, their ethnicity, education level, children reasons for homeschooling, and standardized academic achievement tests. Though even though those test scores are not the most important thing in the world. And I know you know that, Yvette it is something that the public and the courts and the legislatures want to know about, right? A lot of parents want to know too. Can my child I’m not a government certified teacher, I don’t even have a college degree can my children possibly learn from me to do basic math and reading and writing? So it was a big study. It was a first of its kind, and it got a lot of publicity. We went into the news, we made booklets, we did all those kinds of things. And we found out that on average, homeschool children do very well academically. We mailed out thousands and thousands of paper envelopes with stuffed with a family survey, and then probably three copies of each child’s survey with self addressed stamped envelopes. And then those got mailed in from all over the country to our little place in Seattle, Washington. We lived up there for three years, and then we had to open all those and then we had to hand enter all of that into probably an excel oh my goodness spreadsheet. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of hand entries. That’s how it happened.

Yvette Hampton:

I can’t even imagine because you look at how easy it is. I mean, now you just can create a simple forum on Google, shoot it out, know thousands of people, and have answers within hours if you need them. I mean, it’s just amazing to see how technology has really helped in that way. I’m assuming this was back and I don’t remember when the date was, but this is probably around the same time that Dr. Dobson did his famous interview with Dr. Ray Moore, right where they started talking about homeschooling.

Dr. Brian Ray:

I would say that was more like probably closer to 1985. Ish around in there okay, maybe. Okay, yeah, close. So people started hearing about homeschooling from different angles, just alternative education discussions, ministries like focus on the Family, all that was bubbling and simmering and coming about at the same time. I met people who had never heard of homeschooling, and they started homeschooling they hadn’t heard about it on a radio nowhere. And they just said, God wanted us to do this. He did not want us to put them, especially in public schools. I met people all over the country who were doing that. Yes, it was around that time.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. That’s incredible. I know that there have been so many hands who God has used to bring homeschooling to where it is today. And we take it for granted. We forget about those homeschool pioneers like yourself who really did pave the way before us so that we have our homeschool freedoms and so that we have what we need to homeschool successfully so that we can have those. Test scores so that we can have all of the things that we can take to our legislators and say, hey, look, this is what’s going on with us. Oftentimes you will hear of kids who were homeschooled back in the even I would say that the early two thousand s. And they’ll say, oh, my mom didn’t do a good job of homeschooling. I didn’t have a good education. I was deprived of my education. And so people will look at those kids and they will say, oh well, look at those homeschoolers, none of them are educated. Well, look at the public schoolers, many of them aren’t educated. Look at the private schoolers, many of them aren’t educated either. Sometimes I think it really just depends on the parents and on the child. And so I love your research because you really do show and prove that home education really does work in most cases. Not in all cases, but in most cases academically, it really does work for students. And so I want to kind of hang on that right now and I want to pull that into Wednesday. I want to kind of kick off Wednesday’s episode with that and talk about why Homeschooling does work according to the research that you’ve done. Homeschooled kids, like we talked about on Monday, across the board, overall, homeschool kids do really well. So talk about what your research really has taught you, what it tells us as the world of homeschooling.

Dr. Brian Ray:

The first thing that happened in my research and I want to mention and I mentioned this event earlier that I’m going to talk a lot about my research, but there are a lot of other people studying homeschooling now. There was a time when there were very few of us and I knew all their names, basically. But now there are dozens, if not hundreds of people around the world studying homeschooling. So in the early days of the modern homeschool movement, put that in context because homeschooling is thousands of years old, people just wanted to know, well, who are they? What do they quote look like? What are their demographics? We were just asking questions like, well, how old are you parent? How many children do you have? What’s your ethnicity background? What’s your education level? What’s your family income, just all those basic statistics. Everybody kind of wants to know about a group of people so we can generalize and so we can pigeonhole you, so we can have a measure of central tendency. So that was the first phase of research. And way back in 25, 30 years ago, it looked pretty like in America, I’m talking about United States, okay? It looked pretty much, I call it overall middle classy, overall disproportionately, white, Anglo, overall, maybe just a little bit more education level the parents than the general public. Kind of like that. Now, remember, whenever we say generalizations, there’s always a variety. Because to get an average, you have to have one end and the other end. So people just always have to remember that. Okay, way back then, also, we wanted to know, well, all right, this is what they kind of quote, look like. But how is it possible that people who are not government certified teachers could possibly teach their children anything like academics? So we wanted to ask that question, how are they doing academically? And even though we can have all kinds of debates about achievement tests, let’s face it, people still use achievement tests in the public schools, in the private schools. And in some states, it’s actually by law, you’re supposed to do that. So we started looking at academic achievement test scores. And right from the very get go, we were finding that homeschool children on average were 15 to 25 percentile percentile points above the public school average, which is 50. And if you’re not familiar with test scores, go study it. But 50th percentile is the average. That doesn’t mean 50% correct on a test. It just means if you’re at the 50th, you did better than 50% of the kids and you did worse than 50% of the kids, roughly.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Dr. Brian Ray:

So that’s what we found. And others started finding the same thing. Now, as the research world kind of progressed, we wanted to have more sophisticated studies. But also then people asked, as you know, Yvette, everybody kind of knows the s question. What about socialization? Socialization? Everybody knows it. It’s a big inside joke in the home school world. What about that? Okay, for the last, whatever, 100. Now, 20 years, most kids have been institutionalized to be with same age peers, plus or minus eleven months their age. So what’s going to happen to them if they’re not doing that all day? So a lot of researchers, I did much less of that kind of research. So I might have asked quantitative things like, what are the activities your children are involved in? How many per week, whatever. I asked kind of quantitative approaches to that.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Others did other research like, well, what about self concepts, self esteem? What about actual behaviors acting out too aggressively or not assertively enough? And all these different studies. Fascinating studies. Fascinating studies. But when I did a review of research a few years back, 87% of the studies, peer reviewed studies, found that home school students were better in terms of social and emotional development than their institutional school peers. And if we have time, maybe you could ask me why. Okay, if we get to that, I.

Yvette Hampton:

Do want to know why. But my question also is, as you’re doing this research, obviously you’re researching homeschool families. Are you also at the same time researching public school, private school families with the exact same questions?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Okay, so the way most of this research works is if you do a standardized achievement test and you put that in your studies, already, you have the norm for public school students because that is the norm for that test. So the average is 50. So then you would just mainly collect data on home school kids. Now, a few researchers, this takes more time, and it usually takes more money if you could get fresh, brand new test data scores from both home school and institutional school at the same time. A few studies have done that, but that’s a lot more intensive. And like I said, it takes money to spend all the time getting all that together. Let’s say there’s an inventory, or most people call them a test. All right, let’s just call it a test. A test that deals with self concept, right? Well, already researchers have developed these tests, and they do what’s called studies of validity and reliability on these tests. So they exist out there. And already, mainly it’s being used on public school children. So you have the scores and the norming group for those children. So now you pull in, let’s say it’s been normed for nine to twelve year olds. So now some researcher goes and gets a bunch of nine to twelve year old homeschool kids and gives them the same inventory and compares them to that norm group. That’s one way. And the other way, just like an achievement, you could have live, brand new, fresh subjects in the study. It could be a group of 25 homeschool children and 25 public school children and watch them, see how they interact, behave, play, don’t play, fight, all those things. It’s kind of fun to be research because you get to do all of that. So it’s both preset scores from tests that have been developed already, and sometimes it’s fresh, brand new data comparing the two groups live on the spot.

Yvette Hampton:

Well, that’s really cool. So sometimes it’s not just a check a box kind of survey. You actually get to observe people in real life and how they’re responding to other people, how they’re responding to their peers, and maybe to their parents and to their teachers if they’re in school. Things like that.

Dr. Brian Ray:

One that I got to do was kind of fun. The Montana homeschool. So I’ve done several big nationwide studies, but I’ve done several state specific studies, and some homeschool leaders in Montana are very forward thinking. Many years ago, they asked me to do this study where I actually brought in because some people would say, well, these homeschool kids do well just because only the smart, brilliant parents or the parents who cheat would be in your study. So we got a group of students that were just sort of like a convenient sample, and then we had another group, and they were tested under a watchful eye, making sure nobody was doing anything unseemly or cheating and all that kind of stuff. And we found out they scored almost identically to one another. So that was kind of fun to have. A new group of data, new group of students, a new group of data. So studies come in all shapes and forms and sizes and approaches.

Yvette Hampton:

In your research, you have found that overall, homeschool kids do really well, and oftentimes they do better than their peers in public school or private school. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Brian Ray:

I think it’s one of the most fascinating things and it’s the hardest thing to answer in research. We could say what? We can have descriptive statistics. The question is why? Why does it come out that way? Because when you look back 35, 40 years ago, there were a lot of negative people toward homeschooling, a lot of skeptics.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure.

Dr. Brian Ray:

I mean, even some people start homeschooling were skeptical of themselves. But I kind of look at it this way. Many years ago, I started going into the body of research on what makes for effective teaching and learning in institutional schools. Okay? So it’s not necessarily going to be the same, but that’s all we had, right? For a long time, we mainly had institutional schools in America and especially during the era of research. And I just want to just say leave out the H word, leave out homeschooling and just say, ask any public school teacher, private school teacher, government certified teacher, principal of a school, superintendent of a school district, whatever. Just start asking a bunch of questions. When do children usually learn more? When they’re in a group of 28 or when they’re in a group of three or four or five. When do children usually learn more? When they have more turns of conversation between adult and student or less. They all know the answer. When do children usually learn more? When they can master a subject or a skill? Before they move on? Or when they have to move on. Just because it’s a new day or a new semester. It doesn’t matter whether they learned it or not. When do children usually learn more? When there are fewer distractions or more distractions in their environment. We all know the answer. When do children usually learn more? When the curriculum or the pedagogical approach is customized for that child’s learning style, strengths, weaknesses, dreams and desires or not customized? We all know the answer. When do children learn more? When they’re being bullied or they’re not being bullied. We all know the answer. When do children learn more? When they’re being psychologically stressed out by teachers in a school system or not? And we all know the answer. So when do children learn more? When they’re being pressured to get into drugs and alcohol or not? When do children usually learn more? When they’re being pressured to get into premarital sex or not? We all know the answer. So you just start going down through this whole list of questions and say, well, which side of those answers does institute schooling lie on more? And which one does parent led home based education lie on more? And systemically by its very nature, parent directed home based education fits the bill more. So really, Yvette, the question is, why would homeschool children not do better?

Yvette Hampton:

Right? That’s fantastic. And I would know as the big, pretty bow on the end of that, who learns more? The kid whose parent loves them more than anyone else and knows them better than anyone else? Yes. There are some excellent teachers out there. There really are. We have a lot of friends who are teachers. We have a lot of friends who are administrators, and they have such a heart for the children that are in their classrooms, but they cannot it’s impossible for them to love your child the way that you love them and to cater to their needs the way that you do as their parent. I’m glad you brought that up.

Dr. Brian Ray:

The list I went through is not an attack on certified teachers.

Yvette Hampton:

Sure.

Dr. Brian Ray:

It just shows us that no matter how hard we try in institutional schools, we cannot replicate what I just went through. I mean, I’ve been a classroom teacher. You can’t do it. You just can’t do it. It’s impossible. And if you tried to make the classrooms that small, then they’d have to raise your property taxes fivefold.

Yvette Hampton:

So let’s park there as a parent for a minute, because you were a homeschool parent, right? You have eight kids, is that correct?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton:

You homeschooled your eight children. What was it that kept you homeschooling? Was it all of your research? What kept you and Betsy in this world of home education? And talk a little bit about your experience as a homeschool dad, especially back in the day when it know, as mainstream as it is now?

Dr. Brian Ray:

There were, I would say, a few core things to answer your question. First, no, it was not my mean, Yvette, I’ve told so many people from the speaker’s podium over and over and over and over. High test scores are not the main reason for homeschooling. It’s not. I mean, I’m a Christian, so what’s driven Betsy and me has been theology and philosophy, really? And actually just enjoying our yeah, we want to be with our children. Okay. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

Yvette Hampton:

That’s why you had them.

Dr. Brian Ray:

They’re a blessing from God. They’re a blessing to be. Around. I don’t mean they’re always wonderful to be around, I just mean it’s a blessing to be with our children. Yeah, it’s good to be with them. So when I first got saved, when God brought me into his kingdom, I knew immediately that the Bible, the Word of God, is what is sufficient for everything we need to know and how to live and how to enjoy God and let Him change us and sanctify us. I knew that. So if you’re a Christian, there’s no choice. You must be a scripturalist. You have to go to God’s word to answer questions about everything in life. And so way back, I asked myself, what does the Word of God say about the education of children? And education is a very holistic, broad term that has to do with things like academics, reading, writing, arithmetic, math, whatever. And it has to do with values, morals, ways of thinking, how to do things, how to treat your neighbor. All of that is a part of education. And I will challenge any Christian who’s thinking, I don’t want to home school or I shouldn’t have to homeschool, or there’s nothing in the Bible about education. There’s a lot in the Bible about education all through the Proverbs, in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy, in the Psalms, in the New Testament. There’s a lot about the education of children. And over and over and over again I ask people, who does God say, has the let’s quit using the word right? Who has the duty and the responsibility responsibility to be the main educators of children? And I present this, and you’re going to have to say it’s the parents. And then you say in the Bible, does God give you the choice to just delegate it to anybody you want? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. So whether it was easier or harder, whatever, whether children were fussing with us or happy with us as parents, it was the philosophy and the theology and the desire to be together as a family that really drove us. And I like to call it parent directed home based education. Discipleship. Now, that’s just a clunky mouthful, but homeschooling, the word homeschooling does not capture it at all because it’s not institutional school at home.

Yvette Hampton:

Right? It’s not called home academics.

Dr. Brian Ray:

No.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, no, you’re right. One of my favorite lines in the movie is where Heidi says where she got to the point where she realized that homeschooling was discipleship. And I think that’s exactly what you’re talking about. And so many parents, and I’ve talked to many of them parents who will say, I don’t think I’m called to homeschool. And we’ll say, you are called to homeschool if you love and I don’t say that if you love Jesus and you don’t homeschool, clearly you’re not a Christian. I don’t mean it like that. I’m just saying if you are a professing Christian and you are committed to discipling the hearts of your children, it’s impossible to do that all of the time when they’re away from you, most of the time. And God really does give us the responsibility, like you said, and the duty to home educate, to disciple our kids, to teach them His Word day in and day out, when they walk, when they sit, when they wake up. Psalm One says to not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Yes, it is so important.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yeah, there’s a lot on this event. I used to teach a philosophy of education course at a Christian college for five years. And every year I got two sections of people who are planning to be teachers. So I got to kind of teach and indoctrinate ten groups of teachers. And when we would go through the Bible on education, on children, many, many of them, and they were raised in mostly Christian homes, and a lot of them went to Christian schools and we would just be reading the Bible and studying. And I would not mention homeschooling, but most of them by the end of it said, you’re just talking about homeschooling. I said, I never used the word. You just came to that conclusion on your own because you’re studying the word of God. And I’d like to challenge people gently but firmly. Parents who have, whether their oldest child is three years old or their oldest child is twelve year olds, they might say something like, well, I just don’t know. Why would home school I want to flip the question around. Why would you send your child away from home, away from you to be taught, trained and indoctrinated in a system that is not designed and never was designed to lift up the name of the King of the universe, Jesus Christ, and has never been and never will be designed to preach the gospel to your child? Why would you send your child away to know that’s really the question. And right now in that question, I’m leaving out Christian schools for now, because that’s a little more complicated conversation. But that’s the real question for parents who profess Christ, what does God say in the Bible? Not what does somebody else say? And why would you send your child away to be taught, trained and indoctrinated by mainly people who hate Jesus?

Yvette Hampton:

And we talked about why you and your wife Betsy chose to homeschool. And then we talked a little bit about the philosophy of home education. That’s kind of what we ended on yesterday, on Wednesday. Do you have any more to add to the philosophy of homeschool?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yes, I said something at the end that I wanted to flip the question around for parents, especially those who profess to be Christians, when they say, well, I’m not sure I should homeschool, or why would I home school? And I asked them, let’s flip it around and say, why would you send your child away from you and away from home for 6 hours per day, maybe more on a bus ride and all that to be taught, trained and indoctrinated by people who do not like the gospel. They do not like the good news of Jesus Christ. I even said something like hate Jesus. Well, remember Jesus said you’re either with me or you’re against me. Right? So I’m not making up stuff here. But I also wanted to say that it’s important for everybody I don’t care whether right now listening is a new Ager or a secular humanist or a pagan, or a Wiccan, or a Christian or a Muslim or a Mormon or a Jew, it doesn’t matter. All education, whether it’s being done at a thing we call public school or at a thing we call private school or by homeschooling, is the teaching, training and indoctrination of children. That is the truth. And I know it really bothers people when I use the word indoctrination, but all that means go look it up. There are different definitions of indoctrination. I’m not talking about under a bright white light. You haven’t been able to eat for 39 hours and they’re keeping 120 degrees in your cell, your isolation. So that’s not what there’s. Indoctrination just means putting in doctrine, putting in propositions, putting in concepts, putting in principles into a child’s heart and mind. We all know that’s what’s being done in private schools. We all know that’s what’s being done in public schools. We all know that’s what’s being done in homeschooling. So if you’re a professing Christian, you are supposed to be doing that the biblical worldview with your children. And regardless of whether you’re a Christian, I’m glad that you’re considering homeschooling. Because you see, parent directed home based education is a design by God. It’s not something that people in the last 35 years in America made up. It’s not just this fabricated idea. And actually a parent directed home based education improves our local communities. It doesn’t matter what your worldview is, it improves our nations all over the country. So I wanted to say that about it, that it is a good thing for communities and societies regardless of the test scores. I’m glad what you said about the test scores. Yvette, I mean, on average, statistically speaking, let’s say your child is below average on a test, he or she would do even worse probably if in public school. So just keep that in mind, right?

Yvette Hampton:

So you’re talking about indoctrination and you gave a fantastic definition of it. I want to actually read out of Webster’s Dictionary the definition of indoctrination is this it’s teaching a doctrine, principle or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view. And so you hit it right on the nail. I mean, that’s exactly what our kids are being indoctrinated by somebody. It doesn’t matter whether they’re being indoctrinated by the public school, private school, social media, or their parents. Every child is being indoctrinated somewhere by someone. And so as their parents. We have to take that role on and say, okay, this is where indoctrination is going to happen in our kids lives. It’s going to happen in our home under the umbrella of God’s Word, and we are going to indoctrinate our kids, and really, we’re just training them up right as God has called us to do so. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do this. I know it’s a scary thing. It’s scary for me. It’s scary for pretty much every homeschool mom I’ve ever met. But by God’s grace, we can continue doing this. All right, so we’ve talked about, again, the academic achievement. Let’s talk you touched just a little bit on this, but I want to dig into this a little more about the social and emotional development of homeschool kids. What have you found with your research on that?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Something you just said made me I was ready. You gave me a segue of it. You said it can be scary for parents to think about doing this homeschooling thing. I don’t think you meant this, but it could imply in people’s head, I’m doing it all alone. No, you’re not. You’re not doing it all alone. If you’re a human being, you are a social creature, right? And if you are a Christian, you’re engaged in what we call a local church. And when you home school and you don’t quit homeschooling, that means you never send them away to be indoctrinated by somebody else, or you decide to stop them being indoctrinated by somebody else, and you bring them back home. You have all kinds of possibilities. You have what everybody knows now we call home school co ops. And I don’t even know if people know what that means. Cooperative. That’s what it means. It’s a cooperative. So you do things together. You have colleagues, you collaborate, you have fun know, you help each other, cry on each other’s shoulders. You give each other ideas. You maybe say, I hate math, and I don’t even want to learn math, so I’m going to have Susie Q in my co op. She’s going to teach the math class in our group, and then you have fun doing it together. So that is my segue to the research on homeschooling. The implication by the negative critics and the naysayers from 39 years ago till now is homeschool people hide in Sellers in northern Idaho, and they never interact with anybody. It is so absolutely false. It’s a tiny, tiny minority of homeschoolers who might do something like that. I’m not saying there are none, but it’s a tiny minority. And even then, hey, look it go back 180 years in American history. There were people who lived basically alone, a mom and a dad and maybe 23456 children, and they maybe got look.

Yvette Hampton:

At the Ingalls family.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yeah. And they maybe got to see somebody once a week or once a month or whatever. They were law abiding. Citizens. They learned how to read. They knew how to work hard. They knew how to be more. What more do you want? I mean, what more do we get than that? Or do we even get that from half the graduates of public schools? Maybe not. Okay, so we have the fact that homeschooling interact with other people, and they have a mom and a dad. And I think a really key important thing for people to keep in mind here is that most of the time when children go to institutional schooling, they model much of the time after peers. So seven year olds are looking at seven year olds as their models. Twelve year olds are looking at twelve year olds as their models. But what would we all say? Do you want your child to model after a mature, kind, hardworking adult or after a seven year old? You want them to model after the adult. So we’re all kind of messed up in our heads about what this whole peer interaction thing is about. There’s no research. I’ve looked and looked and looked and looked. There’s no research anywhere that shows children need to be with 25 other kids plus or minus eleven months their age turn out to be how to read, knowing how to read, knowing how to do basic math, knowing how to be law abiding, knowing how to keep the golden rule. There’s no research like that. And now we have the opposite. We have almost 40 years of research saying that when you look at homeschool kids, they’re doing better in terms of social and emotional development. They model after adults. They know how to interact with adults, they know how to interact with babies. They’re respectful, they’re kind. I’m not saying they’re all perfect. Nobody’s saying that. But on average, they’re doing better.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, I agree. And I see that in a lot of ways. I’m going to kind of twist this question a little bit for you because I’m curious to know if you’ve done any research on this specifically. I feel like kids in general, and I may be opening up a huge can of worms here, and if I am, just say we’ll talk about that on another episode, and then we’ll have to come back. Kids today, I think as I’m watching my girls who are both in the teen ish years, one’s closer to being an adult, one’s just entering into her teen years. There are two things that I see that have really impacted them socially and emotionally. And I don’t this is not just home school related. This is kids related, is COVID and social media. Those two things, I think, have had a great impact on kids emotions and their social anxiety, ability to socialize with other kids. Have you done any research on that end at all? And if so, what are you seeing?

Dr. Brian Ray:

I’ve only reviewed research, not personally done research. But it’s fascinating to ask that I just read today another set of statistics from the CDC, the federal government. Not that I necessarily trust them, but anyway, depression rates are completely gone out of off the charts. It’s like at least 20 some percent of adults are depressed or more depressed. There’s research that’s very clear from the past year that researchers have been doing about teens. The suicidal ideation is up statistically in the last few years, and it was already going up, it looks like. I don’t think there’s any way for anybody to make an argument that institutionalizing children in these places we call school, where most of us went, is improving their psychological health. I don’t know where there’s an argument for that. When you look at the government lockdowns and mask mandates and injection mandates and all that, and scaring the children and adults half to death, that to even interact with people would make them sick. And I’m going to be careful here, too. But it has had a very negative effect and many research are now admitting that the same things that they once called conspiracy theory are true. And so it’s not good at all. There’s been a lot of that. And the social media Yvette, we know from research that there’s addiction, it’s not health, it’s negative to their social skills. So I really would pray that parents here’s the problem even parents who profess to be Christians and who homeschool their children have to admit that they have been slowly boiled in the water like that frog we all know about. And I’m guessing a large portion of people listening right now are way more on screen time and social media than they ever should be. They need to get off of it and get outside with their children, do things with their children. Not only we have all that. I mean, you’ve got me on a roll, NHERI Vet. Not only do we have that, we have skyrocketing obesity rates. The majority of American young adults cannot even get into the military now because they’re obese. All of this is tied together. It’s all tied together. And it’s also tied into the fact that many parents, including some watching, are more worried about what their children think than what they know is good for their children. So when they say, hey, Billy and Susie, get outside and you’re going to go play for 15 minutes, I don’t want you, then the parents buckle to that, but they’ve got to say you’re going out. And then even better would be if the parents would go outside with them. But you’ve got me on a topic and there’s a lot of negative impact, especially over the last few years from both government controls on those things we were just talking about and children and parents spending way too much time sitting and looking at the screen.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, and social media is you’re right on all of that. When I think about kids being in school, public or private, social media is one of the reasons now that we can add to the list of not having our kids in school because they are exposed to everything. There are no limits. Teachers can try to take phones away. Administration can try to put lockdowns on them, whatever. It’s never going to happen.

Dr. Brian Ray:

It doesn’t work.

Yvette Hampton:

As long as kids have phones in their pockets and in their backpacks, all it takes is sneaking into the bathroom and pulling up some websites, even if they’re not looking at anything inappropriate. It’s just the addiction of all the kids standing around on their phones all Ray long. And so all the kids feel like they have to do that because it’s what all their friends are doing. And you don’t want to be the odd, weird one out who’s not on your phone. And so, I mean, it just is so destructive. And so you talk about weird.

Dr. Brian Ray:

There’s research on it, home school research on it. It’s harming them. It’s harming them all the way through. So homeschoolers, you have the option to not do that. And mom and dad, you have the option to be disciplined yourself. So when you all get home at night and you say, hey, there’s the basket over there. And if your children do have cell phones and mom and dad, your cell phone goes in the basket for a couple of hours together as a family.

Yvette Hampton:

I want to talk about the success of the homeschooled kids now who are into their adulthood, because we’ve heard, of course, that there are adults who are like, oh, I hated being homeschooled. It was a terrible thing for me. And then you’ve got adults who are like, I was homeschooled my whole life, and it’s been amazing. And you have definitely both ends of the spectrum. And then, of course, as homeschooled parents today, we worry about whether or not our kids will make it into adulthood successfully and what that will look like. And when I say successfully, I know Dr. Ray’s heart is the same. I don’t mean being able to get the best education with the best job so that they can make the most money and have the biggest house and the best vacations. I mean, success according to what God has called them to do. So talk a little bit about success of the homeschool in adulthood now that.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Has been studied in many different ways. I’ve got to do a few of those studies, and some others have done it. And so they range all the way from, okay, now you’re an adult. How often are you depressed? Okay, how much are you into alcohol abuse? If you went to college, what’s your GPA? And did you finish college? Do you vote? Do you trust the government? I mean, there’s so many fascinating studies about adults, but here’s all of those together, when you put them all in one big pot, stirred up, get this 169 percent of peer reviewed studies on adults who are home educated show that they are doing better statistically than those who went to institutional schools. So in other words, the large majority of the studies say they’re doing better. So what about the other 31% of the studies? Most of those say, hey, no difference in what we measured. So in other words, they’re doing as well or better less addiction to drugs, less depression, less problems acting out toward other people doing better in college, if they go to college. So that’s just what we know so far. I mean, again, Yvette, everybody has to remember this does not mean all people who are homeschooled are rocket scientists who love life and never get depressed. It doesn’t mean that. But it does mean, as a group, there’s something about home education that is helping people more than other people. And you kind of mentioned something there for a minute about we have all these stories of, well, I was home educated. I hated it. Well, I was home educated. The best thing since sliced bread. Remember, those are just anecdotes and now this is my experience. I’m going to tell you my experience. Most of the ones who say it was bad, they were raised by Christian parents, and they themselves now, these adults are not Christians, okay? They’re making complaints about the philosophy under which they were raised. Remember all the schools we said, whether they’re public schooling, private school, or homeschooling, teach a philosophy to their children. And you know what? Home of them, when they get older, reject that philosophy. Some people who are raised in public schools who are taught a secular humanistic, evolutionistic status, Marxist LGBTQ philosophy, they reject that and they become Christians. Right?

Yvette Hampton:

Right.

Dr. Brian Ray:

So you have the same thing with homeschooling. But overall, if you look at it kind of from a research, quantitative, qualitative perspective, the home educated are doing better in adulthood.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s exciting news. It brings hope, I think. I know for myself as a homeschool mom, that gives me a lot of hope. Let’s talk really quickly about the changing demographics of the homeschool community because you have seen it change drastically in 39 years. I mean, we’ve seen the public school system change drastically, but homeschooling, I think, has really changed drastically. Talk about that for a minute.

Dr. Brian Ray:

At the beginning of the modern homeschool movement, there was a stereotype, and there’s always a little bit of truth to a stereotype.

Yvette Hampton:

Right?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Homeschoolers were either kind of like left wing, hippie wear birkenstocks, move to the country, blow up your TV, and raise a know that was one stereotype. Or they were more like right wing, white, Christian fundamentalist Bible thumpers. All right? So those stereotypes are not exactly true, but there was some truth to it. There was always the variety. But keep in mind, there was always the variety. So what we’ve seen over the last 35 to 40 years, the variety is there, and it’s just increasing, whereas maybe I’m just going to make up numbers here. Maybe 20 years ago, you would not have found online well, there wasn’t so much online, but anyway, you would not have found a Wiccan home school group, or you would not have found a Naturist home school group. Now you can find almost everything online. You can find almost everything online. In terms of philosophy. Why do I mention philosophy? Because the philosophy drives almost everything. Right. So philosophy drives what kind of curriculum you choose and how you sure.

Yvette Hampton:

It goes back to indoctrination.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Sure. And remember, we’ve had john Holtz was one of the first people promoting what we call homeschooling today, and he talked about unschooling. We’ve had that for 40 years. Right. I mean, that’s a big difference from structured school at home. So we’ve had all these varieties. Another significant change we’ve seen is that many more people from different ethnicities are homeschooling or different skin colors, whatever you want to call it. Way more of that than we saw before. Yes, it did look very white Anglo before, and now it does. Not anymore. I mean, homeschooling has grown tremendously, especially in the last five. Very diverse amongst black families. African Americans and Hispanics are coming. Most people don’t even talk about down. When you go to the Southwest and you speak at a homeschool conference in the Southwest, people don’t even specify Hispanic or not. They’re just NHERI. It’s interesting. That tells you something about our culture. But anyway, so we’ve seen changes in that. We’ve seen a big variety in what’s available to people online. So that kind of alters what people do and how they do it. There’s just a lot of changes. Many changes.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, many good changes. Some not so exciting, not so good. But I think overall the changes have been really good. And I think from personally, the change that I think is the most exciting is the acceptance of homeschooling is that people no longer look at homeschoolers and are like, what you’re doing? What you’re teaching your kids at home? I mean, I’m out with my kids all the time, and this is our 13th year of homeschooling, and we lived in Southern California. And always, I mean, since my girls were in kindergarten, we always have made our way out into the grocery store, into the library, wherever. We just have done life. And we’ve had a couple of people give us funny looks, oh, are you girls out of school today? And they’ll say, no, we’re homeschooling. Oh, okay. But not so much anymore. I mean, it is just so widely accepted, and not even just accepted, it’s celebrated. I think more and more parents, more and more people, I should say, are opening up their eyes to what’s happening in the public schools. And they’re going, oh. And almost always they say, oh, I have a neighborhood home schools, or my niece home school or my daughter home school. And it’s like they’re excited to know someone else who’s part of this club. So that’s really cool. All right, I want to end with one question. This is kind of a tough topic, and I don’t want to park too long NHERI. But I think that it needs to be addressed. And I think in your research, you have tackled this a little bit, and people will talk about child abuse and neglect in homeschool families, and of course, you’ll hear stories about these kids, which it’s so heartbreaking. They have been terribly abused, and the parents will state, oh, well, we homeschool them because people always ask the question, well, why weren’t they in school? Why didn’t anybody notice that these kids were being chained up or rocked up or neglected, malnourished, whatever? And they put that homeschool label on them. And of course, kids who are in institutional school, there’s lots of child abuse that goes on there too. Have you done specific research when it comes to the area of child abuse and neglect of institutionally schooled kids versus homeschool kids?

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yes, it’s a study that I had been thinking about doing for probably at least ten years of it. And finally okay, wow. A couple of years ago, we got on it, and people like people watching right now gave us money to support the study. Before I get into that, because I know we got to go fast. First of all yes. In public school families, home school families, and private school families, sometimes parents do evil things, and it’s evil and it’s bad. So let’s just get that off on the table and off the table. So no one’s excusing that ever, right?

Yvette Hampton:

No justification for it, ever.

Dr. Brian Ray:

Yeah. We wanted to know from a quantitative perspective and to help an honest discussion for policy and law. Okay, so is there any difference? Because we’ve had people, including professors, just throw out wild claims that homeschooling either disproportionately abuse their children or it’s a way to really hide it, that kind of thing. So we really want to know about so my colleague and I, Dr. Denise Shaquille, worked on this, and we started collecting data, and we finally got it done and published it in a peer reviewed journal last fall. You can find it, and it’s posted online, and it’s open access, which means anybody can read it, and you don’t have to pay $40 to read the article, which is wonderful. This is what we found, two big, major findings. Our subjects are adults, okay? And they’re looking back at growing up. There are a lot of reasons for doing it that way. It’s extremely difficult to query minors about this kind of thing. So we worked with adults and told us they told us what happened to them growing up. First major finding when you statistically put into the model demographics, like parent education level, family income, how many years children had been or not been in foster care, ethnicity. Race, all those things when you put those in like you should do in most any study, no significant difference between those who were institutionally schooled and those who were homeschool in terms of abuse and neglect growing up. No significant difference. Now we’ll come back to that second major finding for the no significantly different amount of abuse that had been perpetrated on those who were homeschooled. So remember, no significant difference home school versus schooled for those who were homeschooled, it was not being done the evil things by their parents in the home. It was being done to them outside the home at places like schools or museums or sports or those kinds of things. So that’s the second major of two major findings of the study. So what does that mean? People who wanted homeschooling to look good were a little disappointed and people who wanted institutional schooling to look good were kind of disappointed. No significant difference. And then for that which was happening to those who were homeschool, that was actually a positive finding that it was not happening at home, it was happening outside the home. So that’s really a big deal. It doesn’t sound like the end of the world kind of study, but it’s a big deal because it’s the opposite of what a lot of negative critics were claiming without, you know, first of know, we presume in America that people are innocent until they’re found guilty. And the biblical role of government is to punish evildoers. It’s not to try to catch somebody who might do something wrong. We just don’t work that way. So the people who want to control homeschooling thinking maybe it’ll do better for life, I mean, they’re wrong in terms of constitutional philosophy and they’re wrong in terms of biblical philosophy. Secondly, now we have concrete evidence that there’s no problem. There’s no problem to try to solve.

Discipline / Discipleship / Heart Training

I recently received an email from a parent asking if we had any podcast episodes on discipline. The answer is a complicated one, because so much of our content is focused on the nuts and bolts of training the hearts of our children – on discipling them to have a Biblical worldview and Christ-like character. But I don’t think we have ever focused on specific methods of discipline. Quite honestly, I don’t think we ever will.

Our objective is always to point you to God’s Word as the perfect standard for parenting, discipline, marriage, and every area of life. And God’s Word has a lot to say on the subject. But even more, we know that focusing on discipline methods misses the much of the point. If we aren’t laying a Biblical foundation of Godly thinking and behavior, we are treating the symptoms without curing the disease.

Further, when we focus on discipline methods, we open ourselves and our guests up to misinterpretation and misapplication, which can be extraordinarily harmful.

It is also important to remember that the discipline process often reveals areas in our own lives where we need to grow as parents. For this purposed, discipline, discipleship, heart training are a life-long endeavor that benefit our whole families, not just our children. May we endeavor to ALL follow Christ more closely and to grow together toward Christ-likeness.

That said, as I was searching the archives to answer this mother’s email, I found a wealth of excellent episodes that cover the core of discipline, which is heart training and discipleship, from a variety of helpful perspectives.

I pray these episodes are a blessing to your family, and even more, I pray that they result in ETERNAL fruit in your children! To God be all the glory!

Matthew McDill – From Discipline to Discipleship

Ginger Hubbard – Parenting for Eternity

Mindy Dunn – Using the Bible to Train our Children

Rachael Carman – Parenting “That Child”

Ginger Hubbard – Parenting Rebellious Teens

Matthew McDill – Sibling Relationships

Connie Albers – Getting to the Hearts of our Children

Connie Albers – Parenting Teenagers

Durenda Wilson – Nurturing Sibling Relationships

Israel Wayne – Raising Them Up: Biblical Parenting

Israel Wayne- Establishing a Biblical Home/Avoiding Common Parenting Mistakes

For more on this topic, please check out the full Family Series on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Finding Identity and Redemption in the Homeschooling Journey

“If you make homeschooling an ultimate thing instead of a subordinate thing in service of the truth of God and the love of God in Christ Jesus for sinners, that kind of truth and knowledge that homeschooling itself will be perverted.”

Missy Andrews

In a captivating and thought-provoking interview on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, host Yvette Hampton delves into a transformative conversation with homeschooling advocate and leader Missy Andrews. This interview explores Missy’s personal journey as a homeschool mom and delves into the deep significance of knowing one’s true identity in Christ. With years of experience in the homeschool community and a passion for discipleship, Missy Andrews shares her insights, struggles, and growth, offering a beacon of hope and grace for moms and dads walking the homeschooling path.

Exploring Identity and Searching for Love:

From the very start, Missy Andrews emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s identity and seeking validation from the right source. She poignantly remarks, “Whatever we look to besides God to define us is too small to meet our needs.” Missy describes how people often search for love and acceptance in the wrong places, such as success in jobs or marriages, only to find themselves unfulfilled and weary. This important lesson forms the foundation for her journey and perception of homeschooling.

The Homeschooling Journey:

Missy candidly reflects on her 26 years of homeschooling, acknowledging both its noble purpose and the challenges she encountered along the way. With heartfelt honesty, she confesses that she made the mistake of intertwining the virtue of homeschooling with her own personal virtue, leading to a skewed understanding of her own identity and struggles with sin. She recounts the pressure she felt to succeed as a homeschool mom and the heartbreaking recognition of unintentionally making her child a means to her own achievements.

Lessons Learned and Grace Discovered:

“Education can’t save you, but it can put you in the proper mindset to see that you need saving.”

Missy Andrews

Through hardship and self-reflection, Missy Andrews shares a beautiful transformation. She learned the importance of self-recognition and the acceptance of her own personal sin, leading her to the liberating understanding that true identity and grace come from God alone. Missy recounts the transformation her child experienced after wrestling with their own identity and ultimately finding value in Christ. She affirms, “Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as in the daily presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”

Quotes that Illuminate the Journey:

“Whatever we look to besides God to define us is too small to meet our needs.” – Missy Andrews

“Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as in the daily presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.” – Missy Andrews

Conclusion:

“Identity is received…from God, who created us as we are and who has a purpose for our life.”

Missy Andrews

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast episode featuring Missy Andrews is a powerful exploration of identity, redemption, and the homeschooling journey. Missy’s story serves as a reminder that even in the noble pursuit of homeschooling, it is imperative to recognize the temptation of idolizing our own achievements and instead find our worth and purpose in God’s love and grace. By openly embracing personal flaws and redirecting focus to God’s guiding hand, homeschooling becomes a delightful journey of learning, character development, and spiritual growth.

As Missy Andrews poignantly expresses, “Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” It is through the transformative power of Christ’s love and daily reliance on the Holy Spirit that we find true fulfillment and freedom. Whether you are a homeschooling parent or simply seeking wisdom and inspiration, this episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast offers a refreshing perspective that resonates deeply with all seekers of truth and purpose.

Recommended Resources:

My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey, by Missy Andrews

CenterForLit.com

Education: Does God Have an Opinion? by Israel Wayne

The Art of Learning – Missy Andrews, Part 1

The Art of Learning – Missy Andrews, Part 2

Avoiding the Pitfalls – Missy Andrews, Part 3

Discussion Questions:

Want to use this interview for a co-op meeting or small group? Here are a few discussion questions to keep the conversation moving in the right direction:

1. How has your understanding of your own identity been shaped by societal expectations and the search for validation in the wrong places?

2. In what ways have you observed parents, homeschooling or otherwise, conflate their own personal worth with the success or failure of their children’s education?

3. Have you ever experienced a situation where you unintentionally made someone, whether it be a child or someone else, a means to your own success? How did you reconcile and rectify that situation?

4. How can we create a safe and transparent environment with our children where they feel comfortable admitting their own flaws and mistakes?

5. How do you personally understand and navigate the tension between aiming for excellence in education and guarding against turning it into an idol?

6. Reflect on a time when you felt pressure to succeed in a particular area, and how that impacted your sense of self-worth. How were you able to find value in something beyond the pursuit of success?

7. Have there been moments in your own parenting or educational journey that served as a wake-up call or learning opportunity, revealing the truth about your own character or need for God’s grace?

8. How does the concept of recognizing our sins and repenting impact the way we approach our own personal growth and development as parents, educators, or mentors?

9. In what ways can our failures and mistakes as parents or educators actually become opportunities for growth and transformation, both for ourselves and for our children?

10. How does understanding the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inform and shape the way we approach our homeschooling or educational endeavors? How does it bring liberation and delight to the learning process?

Read the full interview transcript:

Continue reading “Finding Identity and Redemption in the Homeschooling Journey”

Embracing Distractions: Finding Purpose in Homeschooling

“God oftentimes uses distractions to challenge us in what we’re prioritizing.”

Katie Waalkes

In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton sits down with Katie Waalkes, a second-generation homeschooler and mother of multiple children with special needs. Together, they tackle the topic of distracted homeschooling and how to navigate the challenges it presents. As highly distracted homeschool moms themselves, Yvette and Katie share personal experiences and insights that will resonate with many parents who face similar circumstances.

Embracing Distractions:

In the interview, Katie underscores the importance of character over curriculum. She urges parents not to be overly focused on adhering strictly to a schedule, but rather to seize teachable moments and opportunities to build character in their children. Katie asserts, “Homeschooling is not just about academics; it’s about preparing our children for life.”

Katie also highlights a significant concern for parents who miss out on imparting valuable life lessons due to the physical separation that can occur when children spend prolonged periods away from them. She encourages moms and dads to remain open to identifying and seizing opportunities to teach and build character in their children. “We were put on this earth to serve others and serve God for His glory,” she emphasizes.

Anchoring the Day:

Both Yvette and Katie discuss the importance of anchoring the homeschool day with specific activities or times to refocus and overcome distractions. They suggest using meal times as anchors if no other routines are established. “Teaching children to refocus, pray, and confess mistakes can help them develop valuable skills in restarting and moving forward.”

Katie shares her practical approach to managing distractions, including the use of a whiteboard and the notes app on her iPhone. She prefers these methods to traditional pen and paper, as they help her stay organized and prevent her from misplacing important information.

The Blessings of Distractions:

While distractions in homeschooling can sometimes be challenging, Katie counters that they can also turn into blessings for children. She urges parents to focus on leading their children to Jesus, regardless of the day’s structure or organization. Distractions offer opportunities to guide children closer to Him.

Overcoming Challenges:

When discussing how to overcome distractions, both Yvette and Katie stress the importance of recognizing the problem, seeking God’s guidance, and subsequently experiencing a heart change. They highlight the need to protect specific hours for homeschooling and the benefits of blocking off “safety hours” to minimize interruptions and maintain focus.

Katie encourages highly distracted homeschooling moms to blend similar tasks together and avoid multitasking, as it often leads to unfinished projects. Additionally, she recommends creating a minimalist environment free from clutter and using noise-canceling headphones to reduce environmental distractions.

Conclusion:

By focusing on character development, anchoring the day, and embracing distractions, homeschooling can become a purpose-driven journey that leads children closer to Jesus.

As Katie wisely states, “The most important thing in parenting is leading children to Jesus.” With this perspective, distractions transform from obstacles to opportunities, reminding us that our ultimate goal is not merely academic success, but shaping the hearts and minds of our children for the glory of God.

So, if you find yourself easily distracted in your homeschooling journey, take heart and tune in to this inspiring podcast episode with Yvette Hampton and Katie Waalkes. By embracing distractions and seeking God’s guidance, you can discover a new sense of purpose and fulfillment in your homeschool experience.

Katie Waalkes is a wife of 14 years, mother to 6 kids, most of whom have special needs with a mixture of medical diagnosis & special learning needs.

She is passionate about encouraging parents in their biblical parenting and helping homeschool moms in their journey. Katie has a unique perspective on homeschooling as both she and her husband grew up homeschooled. As a second-generation homeschooler, she has been both the student and teacher and has much to offer on the topic. She hopes to be able to help you start making the most of the little moments in life as the mundane moments are often the most impactful.

Recommended Resources:

https://lifeinthemundane.com

https://www.youtube.com/lifeinthemundane

M.O.M. Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy into Your Home, by Kristi Clover

Organizing the Mayhem, with Kristi Clover on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Homeschool Planning: Step by Step with Pam Barnhill on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Discussion Questions:

Want to use this interview for a co-op meeting or small group? Here are a few discussion questions to keep the conversation moving in the right direction:

1. How does Katie define distracted homeschooling? Can you relate to her experiences as a highly distracted homeschool mom?

2. How does Katie emphasize the importance of character over curriculum? In what ways can we prioritize character-building in our homeschooling journey?

3. What are some teaching moments and opportunities that parents often miss out on when their children are separated from them for long periods? How can we be more intentional in seizing those opportunities?

4. What are some strategies that Katie shares for overcoming distractions and staying focused in homeschooling? How do you anchor your day and help your children develop refocusing skills?

5. How does Katie view distractions in the journey of parenting? How can distractions actually benefit our children’s growth and our own journey towards Jesus?

6. What are some challenges that Katie identifies in her homeschooling journey, such as changing curriculums and inconsistent expectations? How can we address these challenges and ensure a more consistent homeschooling experience?

7. Katie’s children have special needs. How does she adapt her homeschooling approach to cater to each child’s individual needs and abilities? How can we accommodate our children’s unique learning styles and challenges?

8. How does Katie view multitasking? Why is it important to block off specific hours for homeschooling and protect those hours from external distractions and appointments?

9. Katie suggests creating a minimalist environment and using noise-canceling headphones to reduce distractions. How can we create a homeschooling environment that promotes focus and minimizes distractions? 

10. In what ways can we seek a heart change and rely on God’s guidance to overcome the challenges of distracted homeschooling? How can prayer and seeking the Lord’s wisdom help us in our homeschooling journey?

Keep it FREE:

We have always wanted to make the barrier to entry for homeschooling as low as possible, so we have made all but one of our resources completely free (and we’re considering how we can make that one free too). READ MORE HERE.

We pray that the Schoolhouse Rocked Ministry is a blessing to you and your family. Here are a few ways to be involved in this important mission…

Read the full interview transcript below:

Yvette Hampton [00:00:00]:

Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Thank you for being with me today, this week, whatever it is that you’re doing. I am always so honored to know that you are on the other side of this camera, on the other side of this microphone, and taking the time to listen to the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast. You know, before I ever pushed the record button with any guest, we always pray. And it was no different with my guest this week. Her name is Katie Walcus. And we were just talking about the podcast and what we were going to discuss and just talking about life and stuff. And then I asked her, I said, do you have any questions? And she said, can we pray? And I said, absolutely. We always do that. And our prayer always is that you, our audience, would be encouraged by what we discuss and that the Lord would speak through us and that he would be honored in our conversation and that everything we do would point you and point your kids to Jesus. And so we really do pray that that is how you view this podcast and what you get out of it. That you walk away encouraged and equipped to be able to do this parenting thing, this homeschooling thing, this life thing, and that you would be able to do it the best that you can according to God’s word and according to biblical truth. So thank you again for being with us. I am excited about my guest this week. Like I said, her name is Katie Walcus. I totally botched her name when I asked her, because if you look at it the way it’s spelled, you might try to figure out how to say it, too. And so I’m glad that I asked before I completely butchered it on the podcast. But we are going to talk this week about the highly distracted homeschool mom, and I am so excited about this topic because this is me. I am a totally distracted homeschool mom. That might be surprising to some of you and those of you who know me, you’re going to be like, oh, yeah, that’s you, yvette. Well, Katie, welcome to the podcast. Like I said, we’re talking about the highly distracted homeschool mom. And it’s so funny. As soon as I saw that you talked on this topic, I was like, oh, you got to come on the podcast because I need your help. And I know so many others need help in this area as well. I think one of those things that as homeschool moms, those of us who are easily distracted, those type B’s like myself, it’s hard for us sometimes to think that we’re doing okay. As homeschool moms, we feel like we’re just screwing this all up, because I can’t even stay focused on a single thing, much less trying to teach all of my kids and keep everything rolling smoothly throughout the day. And so I think it can cause us to become very insecure about our ability to teach. And so I would love for you to first introduce your family and then I’m assuming I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t assume this, that you, maybe yourself, are a highly distracted homeschool mom as well. Let’s just talk about this this week, but first tell us who you are.

Katie Waalkes [00:02:52]:

Yeah, so my name is Katie, and I am a second generation homeschooler married to another second generation homeschooler. We’ve been married almost 15 years. It’ll be 15 years in August. And I have kids ranging from well, they’re getting ready to have birthdays. They’re going to be 1413, 1211, six and five. I have to get a running start, if you ask me, in the middle. I can’t tell you how old the middle child is without going up or down. But our family is very unique. We have a lot of kiddos with different special needs. And it was funny. It was actually through one of my kids going to therapy, like, to a counseling therapy session, that I actually discovered that I myself have ADHD. And it was so funny because the therapist, just very lovingly, like, with no malicious intent whatsoever, was telling my daughter who has ADHD, she’s like, you know, it’s okay. She was like, I have it too, and I’m pretty sure your mom does as well. And I was like, no, I don’t have ADHD. And she was like, oh, I’m so sorry. And as we started talking, I was like, so why? Why did you say that? Like, I’m just I’m curious, what made you think that? And so she started asking me, and I ended up getting screened for it. And I am 1000% ADHD, actually more so than my husband. I knew that he had it, but I am way more. So that was a really fun thing to find out as an adult and as a mom. So I am definitely the highly distracted home school mom. I have found that most moms feel like they actually fit in this category either because of natural tendencies or because of external circumstances. Because we live in that world that’s constantly yanking us in every direction. And our kids are in all the sports and they’re social media, and we’re balancing so many things at one time that I find that so many moms find themselves there, but there’s definitely ones who are more naturally that way and more that are, like, just end up in circumstances where they feel like that. So the things that we’re going to talk about today will help and apply to all of that, hopefully.

Yvette Hampton [00:05:03]:

Yeah, that’s a great story. And I may fall into that category and I just have never had myself tested, but I could easily see that probably since I was a kid, I can look back and I can see. Even through my academic years in school, I went to a private school my whole life, and I was always just I could not focus on anything, which is why it was hard for me to learn. And I still do that even when I read my Bible in the morning, I literally have to listen to it and read it with my eyes at the same time because otherwise, even then, I sometimes have to read the same thing over and over again because my mind just is everywhere. It’s all over the place. And are you a visual learner? I’m curious to know.

Katie Waalkes [00:05:51]:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton [00:05:51]:

So not only are you distracted, but you see everything as you’re distracted with it. It’s a double curse and a blessing, I think, at the same time. Let’s talk kind of through this. And as you’ve met homeschool moms and you yourself, what are some of the distractions that you think most homeschool moms face?

Katie Waalkes [00:06:12]:

Yeah, so like I said, they’re sort of the external distractions and the internal distractions. And I actually kind of asked several people on my I have a YouTube channel and asked them, what are the things that you guys feel like are the most distracting to you? And some of the answers I got were, of course, the kids, right. And all the needs they have, the laundry or chores, the things they’re trying to keep up with in their home, the calendar, like just managing everybody’s schedules, especially if you have any kids that do have therapies or playdates or sports or whatnot. Sickness can even be an external distraction. We’ve all run into that where you just have seasons, where you just feel like you can’t get to your schoolwork because you’re constantly dealing with sickness. Of course, our phones, I think that’s probably a really common one, and just having to do list, like feeling like we’re constantly needing to do the next thing is always a distraction. But as I was thinking about it more, I was like, there’s also internal distractions, at least for people like us.

Yvette Hampton [00:07:23]:

Right.

Katie Waalkes [00:07:24]:

Because my mind in and of itself is a huge distraction. It’s constantly going, it’s constantly thinking. And I think most moms do we’re like, okay, what are we going to have for breakfast the next morning? What are we going to have for dinner? Who do I need to get where? And it can be very overwhelming, and we can be present and not actually be present at all because our minds are everywhere else. But there and there’s the sin aspect of distractions, of feeling like we just selfishly, we don’t want to do what we’re supposed to do. So we allow ourselves to get distracted and sucked into things that are more interesting to us or that we want to hyper fixate on.

Yvette Hampton [00:08:09]:

Yeah. You say being present and not present. Do you have the wonderful ability that I have to read a book and have no idea what you’re reading because you’re thinking of something else? Yes. I don’t think everyone can do that. I don’t know if I call that a gift or a curse again, but I can read a book to my kids literally perfectly, every single word, and have no idea what I’m reading to them because I’m thinking of something completely different than what I’m reading. So hopefully they don’t ask me questions about those books. I mean, I can read a book and focus on the book, and mostly I do. But sometimes if I really have something heavy on my mind, my brain, I’ll just go off into la la land and thinking about all the things and then imagining all the things because I see everything in picture. I have, like, this constant movie going on in my head all the time, which I always thought that everyone did. I always just assumed that everybody saw everything. And then I learned years ago that that’s not the case. And I was like, what do you mean you don’t see everything? You don’t have a constant movie going on in your head all the time?

Katie Waalkes [00:09:15]:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton [00:09:16]:

Yeah, it can be a tough thing, but it can be kind of fun sometimes. The distractions can be overwhelming in every way.

Katie Waalkes [00:09:24]:

Yes. And a lot of times when you find yourself distracted somebody asked me when I started to talk on this topic, and it kind of threw me off guard because I just kind of assumed you knew if you were a distracted mom. But somebody asked me, how would I know if I’m a distracted mom? And I was like, oh, okay, I guess I can break this down a little bit. If you feel like you’re constantly wasting time, if you feel like.

Yvette Hampton [00:09:53]:

You can’t.

Katie Waalkes [00:09:54]:

Get to that, if you feel like a lot of the work you’re doing is not at its best and you kind of feel like you’re a little bit of everything to everybody and not really able to accomplish anything or to do anything. Well, if you’re feeling mentally exhausted and fatigued constantly. And I know as moms there’s an aspect of that, but I think that sometimes we blow past that really easily and we just assume that, well, moms are tired, so this is okay, and I just need to push through it. And there are physical tiredness that we feel, but when there’s this mental overload, there are things we can do to kind of shift that and to take off some of that extra mental weight. And I think that’s something that we oftentimes just don’t think about.

Yvette Hampton [00:10:40]:

Yeah, and I definitely want to talk about that and just give some practical advice on what can we do, how do we navigate through this. But let’s talk first about the problem as a home school mom, because we’re talking to homeschool moms specifically, and I feel like you’ve talked about some of it, but we could just go on forever about why this is a problem. But I want to bring hope to the situation because I think so oftentimes moms don’t homeschool or they want to give up on homeschooling because they think someone else they think that the teacher in the classroom has it all together and that she is going to be able to teach their kids in a more focused way than the mom can. And I feel this too sometimes. I never have the urge to put my kids in a classroom but oftentimes I’m like, man I’m such a mess. And it’s hard for me to sometimes teach my kids to be focused because we do get things done. I don’t want to sound like we just molly gag around the house all day every day. That wouldn’t work for anybody but monkey see, monkey do. I mean, my girls very much take after me in this aspect. I know it drives my husband crazy. I don’t do it on purpose, it’s just how my personality is and he loves me through it. But let’s talk about the problem of this for homeschool moms and then let’s try to give some practical ways to overcome it.

Katie Waalkes [00:12:13]:

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the big problems with it is that we can. For me, one of the ways this kind of showed up as a problem in my home school is I was a habitual curriculum hopper for the beginning of my home school years, whether it was mid year or whether it was at the end of the year, but constantly changing up different curriculums because it was like, OOH, something new and shiny and FOMO, it’s a real thing. And all the different things. And I was constantly switching things up. And so there were some gaps and inconsistencies there that fell into that. For my kids that I know that they suffered because of that. It was also hard for them because of my distractedness. I would oftentimes have different expectations for the day and so if I was feeling unmotivated then I would be like everything can slide. Either we’re not going to do home school or we’re going to do it but the standards are not going to be as high. And then the next day I would be very motivated and I would expect my kids to match my motivation which is really not fair to them whatsoever because they had no idea. And my kids learned really fast the system to things. They learned that if mom was tired and overwhelmed they could get away with not doing school or not doing as much. And if mom was really motivated they were probably going to have to do like two or three days worth of school in one day because then I’d be feeling this panic of being behind. But there is 1000% hope in this because God completely shifted things in my life. And some of these strategies that we’re going to share are ways that this happened. But there’s also part of it that was a heart change and I want to encourage that is the most practical thing you can do about this is to recognize the problem and take it to the Lord, because if he’s called you to this, he’s going to equip you for it. And we can so often be like, well, this is just the way I am. I’m kind of doomed to this. And that’s not at all the case. Yes, God has made you uniquely how you are, and there’s strength to being a highly distracted homeschool mom, and we can talk about that, but there is also sin that’s interwoven into these things and asking God to really confront that in your heart and to change those things, and he will be faithful to do it. And so I think that’s the biggest hope that I can give is that you can do the strategies, but until you have the heart change, you’re not going to see that impact.

Yvette Hampton [00:14:41]:

Talk about that transition for you then of going from realizing and did you realize it before your daughter’s therapist revealed to you? Yes. Did you realize like, oh man, I’m just distracted and kind of scattered all over the place, but you didn’t really know why?

Katie Waalkes [00:15:00]:

Yeah, I did not know why. I did discover that beforehand. I started to see as my kids got older, the consequences of my choices on them, and I started to notice them that they would get really frazzled or that they were feeling like they didn’t know what the expectations were going to be for the day. And at first I would get frustrated and then thanks, like, God gave me that insight to be able to see maybe this is a me problem, not a them problem. And so thankfully, I started working on that several years before. Like, I actually only found out I had ADHD, I think it was back in 2020. So it’s only been in the last three years.

Yvette Hampton [00:15:41]:

Oh, wow.

Katie Waalkes [00:15:42]:

Yeah, so it’s been a much more recent thing. And since then I’m like, okay, I can learn to find the strengths and the weaknesses and what I need to work on. But yeah, for many years I had no idea why. I just was like, something’s a little off here and I’m just constantly going all the different directions. But there are many benefits to it too.

Yvette Hampton [00:16:00]:

One of the things you said on Monday, which by the way, if you guys missed Monday’s episode, go back and listen to that. But one of the things you said was that there are actually some strengths to being highly distracted. And I was like, oh, this is good to know. I always want to know the good things. So let’s talk about that for a few minutes. What are some of the things that are strengths that we can derive from being highly distracted moms?

Katie Waalkes [00:16:25]:

I think one of the big ones is that as homeschool moms, we want our kids to have a love of learning. And some of the best ways to do that, in my experience, is to follow those rabbit trails and to be willing to take a second and take a break from the curriculum and just follow that thing that’s really interesting to them. And as highly distracted homeschool moms, oftentimes we are more willing to do that and to kind of go off the beaten path and I really do think that’s a strength. I have friends who are very type A and who very much wish they could. They were like but to us, that to do list is such the driving force that we have trouble taking the opportunity to dig into something. And so I found that to be a huge strength across the board. And not that we don’t ever struggle with doing that, and obviously we can’t do that 24/7, but, you know, being able to say, you know what, guys? That’s a great question. Let’s look more into that. Maybe we’re going to watch a documentary or listen to a podcast on that or read a book on that.

Yvette Hampton [00:17:23]:

Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes what I find myself doing and I totally agree with you because we will often do that too, but then we’ll go on YouTube to look at a video on something and then, oh, look at this video.

Katie Waalkes [00:17:37]:

2 hours later.

Yvette Hampton [00:17:38]:

Like, oh, wait a minute. We were supposed to be learning about pompeii or whatever it was that we were studying. And so it can lead to more distraction. However, that also can be a learning opportunity for our kids because you never know what the Lord is going to show you. Maybe something that you didn’t even know you needed to know about or talk to your kids about.

Katie Waalkes [00:18:02]:

Another one that I found has definitely been the ability to pivot life has a lot of things that just happen and pop up and the ability to take that opportunity to make shifts and adjustments fairly quickly is something oftentimes we can do. Now with every strength there is a weakness, every weakness there is a strength. So it’s always finding that balance there but there’s more of a willingness to stop and to do ministry, moments of ministry and to take the opportunity with our kids to be willing to take a break from things, to be able to pivot over to maybe a discipline issue, heart issue that needs to be addressed. And so it’s one of those things that I really do think is a strength because God gives us very specific things for a very specific reason. And another big one has definitely been with my kids having more understanding. Because whether kids have ADHD or don’t have ADHD, kids are highly distracted as a whole, as a general rule, and as parents, sometimes we can be so far removed from that and have so many strategies that we lose empathy or we forget that there’s actual strategy that has to be learned. And so we just assume our kids should be little adults. And so I feel like by having those struggles and even though some of them are not current struggles, some are still even though some of them are not current struggles, they’re recent enough that I remember what I had to do to learn how to pivot and how to grow in those areas. And I’m able to teach my kids better and equip them better because of that.

Yvette Hampton [00:19:43]:

Yeah, it’s called flexibility.

Katie Waalkes [00:19:45]:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton [00:19:46]:

And you’re right. I think for the Type A mom, it is very hard for her sometimes to be flexible. And again. I mean, I’m not putting down type A, Moms. I aspire to be that Type A mom. I really want to have it all together. I want to be able to organize my day and live by my schedule. It’s just not me. And like you said yesterday or in Monday’s episode, it’s not that we stay there. It’s not that we say, well, this is just how I am, so I’m just going to stay here and, well, too bad for my family, right? We should always be growing and learning. And I know we’re going to talk about some methods. I’m assuming one of them will be because I know it has been the top method for me is making a to do list.

Katie Waalkes [00:20:27]:

Yes.

Yvette Hampton [00:20:27]:

If I didn’t have a to do list in a calendar to live by, oh dear. I would not be able to function. So we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But for that Type A mom, there are so many benefits to being organized and structured and focused. But it’s really hard for that Type A mom to pivot, as you said, and to be flexible when your day doesn’t go exactly as planned. And so I think it’s hard to be really heavy on one side of the coin or really heavy on the other side of the coin because there are strengths and weaknesses to both.

Katie Waalkes [00:21:03]:

Yes, absolutely.

Yvette Hampton [00:21:05]:

So, yeah, it’s learning to balance all of the things and all of the personality traits that God’s given to us. As we’re talking about distractions, let’s kind of define what a distraction is. Obviously, we know what it looks like to be distracted, but let’s actually just really kind of hone in on that word and define it.

Katie Waalkes [00:21:25]:

Yeah, absolutely. I thought a lot about this as I’ve been studying this topic, and everybody kind of has different definitions and what they assume. But really, when you look up definitions in the dictionary and when you look at other reliable sources, you see that a distraction is really anything. And I think this part is key anything, good or bad, that takes us away from what we should be prioritizing at that moment. And this is a big difference than what we tend to think of, because we just assume that everything that we don’t want to be doing right now or everything that keeps us from doing what we want to do is a distraction versus everything that is keeping us from doing what should be the priority right in that moment.

Yvette Hampton [00:22:12]:

Yeah, that’s tough because I want to have my list and this is what thing I should be doing and never deviate from that. But that’s also not reality, right? I mean, sometimes it is. Sometimes we can stay focused, but especially, I mean, you’ve got six kids and as you mentioned before, you have special needs kids, so I have two kids, neither of them are special needs. And we still get distracted so easily when we’re trying to focus on one thing. So I imagined with six, yes, and having special needs in there, it would almost seem impossible to focus, not ever, but most of the time on the thing that you’re trying to focus on. So let’s talk about just some practical ways that we can do this. What do we do about this? If we know we’re distracted, we can recognize it, we can admit it to ourselves at least. What are some things we can do about it?

Katie Waalkes [00:23:12]:

One of the first things is reducing the amount of multitasking we do. We, as moms, love to multitask, but there’s been many studies shown that we’re not really multitasking. We’re shifting from one thing to another. And so really trying to block off time, especially when we’re talking about homeschooling, blocking off specific home school hours and really protecting those hours. So our school day, I have middle schoolers, and with having kids with special needs, our school day just takes longer. And so we actually typically go somewhere around eight to two. There’s breaks in there, there’s lunch. It’s not all working the whole time, but I’m working that whole time between eight and two. But I really protect between nine and twelve, and that is my safety hours. And for that I really try to not do scheduling any doctors appointments or therapies I try not to have any playdates or field trips we might do. That’s an exception to the rule, but in general we try to protect that nine to twelve. And it’s really helped us to be able to stay a little more focused, because as a distracted mom, I can bounce around within one task, but the second that I start to blend tasks and say, I can jump from math to language arts, no problem, but jumping from math to laundry? Then all of a sudden, I get on what my husband affectionately calls if you give a mouse the cookie days where I start everything and I finish nothing. And so I’m like, oh, we’re doing math, oh, we need to do laundry. But I forgot to switch to that laundry. I’ll go upstairs and get more and then I’m like, oh, I should make my bed. And then I need to call somebody about something. It just becomes this whole thing. So if we can kind of keep like minded tasks together and give our attention to that and then give our attention afterwards to those things. Maybe errands, or phone calls, contacting people and just grouping as many like tasks together is a huge, huge help when it comes to reducing distractions.

Yvette Hampton [00:25:14]:

Yeah. So when you’re talking about staying on those like minded tasks, how do you do that with six kids? Because you’ve got all of them different. I mean, you’ve got a pretty big range of ages with your kids and abilities. So how do you focus on that nine to twelve time frame where you try to really stay focused on them? What does that look like in your home?

Katie Waalkes [00:25:39]:

Well, part of it is I’ve had to learn what works for me and my personality. So something that’s very distracting to me is environmental clutter. I am a very messy person, but mess distracts me and that’s not always the best blend. So with that, a lot of people do their chores with their kids after school and I totally understand why it makes sense. But for us, I have to start the day out with a picked up house. It does not need to be super clean, but it needs to just be picked up. So I will opt for a later start time if it means that I can have a cleared space. And so I feel like that’s one of the big things is knowing and starting to track the distractions that you’re coming across. Because if you find yourself constantly cleaning during school hours, is it maybe that these things are really bothering you and having designated times? So sometimes work will become a task for me that distracts me. I’m like, oh, I need to send this email, I need to do this or that. And I find what helps me is to know that there is going to be a designated time for that later. And if I know that between two and four I’m going to have some work hours, then I can simply jot it on a list and I know I won’t forget it. And then during those work hours I can pick that up and take that task. So it’s all about prepping the time beforehand and knowing when you’re going to be able to do other things. Having that peace of mind really helps.

Yvette Hampton [00:27:11]:

Yeah. Let’s talk about lists. I love lists. I love checklists. Like I said, I would be a complete disaster. I would not be able to function, I could not do this podcast, I couldn’t do anything without my checklist because I think of the things that I need to. And of course I’m the one who I’ll wake up at like four in the morning and I’m like, oh, I got to put this on my checklist. Maybe I’m dreaming about it, I don’t even know. But if I don’t put it on my list, I completely forget about it. I do that with grocery. Shopping. It drives my husband crazy because he’ll say, we need this at the grocery store, and if it’s not on my shopping, it could be like the most important thing. We need milk and eggs. I go to the grocery store for milk and eggs, but if it’s not on my list, I will not get it. I have to have my list. I’ll get everything else but the milk and eggs. And I function that same way in my life. I could have the most important things to do, and if it’s not on my to do list, I just get so easily distracted and I find all the other things to do that take up my time. As you make your lists, do you use something specific? Like, do you use a pad and paper? Do you use your phone? Do you use a specific app? What does that look like for you?

Katie Waalkes [00:28:33]:

So it’s looked totally different in all different phases of life. I currently use the blend, so anything work related? I use a website called Notion. They have a totally free option. It’s kind of the next step up from Trello, if people are familiar with Trello. And so it allows me to do a little bit more than I can do with Trello. But then for the home, I find pen and paper to be my best bet. And so I actually do a couple of interesting things with my list. I brain dump everything that’s in my head the night before because I can’t sleep. All those thoughts, all those movies playing in your head, like, what you’re talking about keeps me from being able to sleep. And most highly distracted moms actually struggle with some form of insomnia because our brains just won’t turn off. And so with that, I find just dumping everything on a piece of paper and writing it all down, and then in the morning, I can look back at it. So that’s not my official to do list, but that is the beginning of.

Yvette Hampton [00:29:36]:

My to do list.

Katie Waalkes [00:29:37]:

So I’ll write anything down that I think is important, and then in the morning, I’ll look over it, and 95% of it is not important. It was just what was floating around my head. And I’ll pick those important tasks, but I make sure to pick three tasks for my day, and that’s been huge because I’m like, no, I have more than I have to do. And it’s like, but if you can only get three done, what are those three tasks you’re going to do? And it has made a whole world of a difference because now I’m getting the things done that are the most important and not necessarily the most interesting or the most urgent, but those things that actually needed to get done. And it’s made a huge difference for me, for sure.

Yvette Hampton [00:30:18]:

Yeah, I love using a whiteboard at home. Yes. I don’t know. There’s something about physically writing it down on the board. And I’ll tell you why I don’t use pen and paper. Because I lose it. Yes. And actually, it’s kind of weird. We have a pretty tidy house. I like my house to be in order, and for the most part it’s pretty clean. But for some reason, I will lose a pad of paper with my notes on it. So I like to use the whiteboard that we have in our spare room. And my phone, I use just the notes app on my iPhone. And I love that it has the little I don’t think it had this when it first started, but it has the little checkboxes now. And so as you list stuff on there, you can just check it off and it moves that item down to the bottom of the list. And it’s wonderful for me because there’s so much satisfaction in checking that box and watching it just move itself down to the bottom. But yeah, I couldn’t live without that. It can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes. But you know what? I love that. Katie pointed out that there actually are some benefits to being distracted as we walk through this journey with our kids. I think what it all comes back to is that we’re just people, right? I mean, we’re just humans. We’re not perfect in any way. We’re sinful human beings, and we’re doing the very best that we can. And really what it comes down to is what’s the most important thing we’re doing with our kids are we leading them to Jesus? And we could have the most perfectly structured day, and we can have all of our curriculum perfectly laid out, and we can get through all of our tasks in the day and check every box perfectly. But if you’re not pointing your kids to Christ in the process of doing that, then none of it matters. None of it at all. Because that’s the most important thing, is pointing them to Jesus. And so it’s okay if you’re distracted. Sometimes distractions come as a benefit to our life because it allows us opportunities to point our kids to Jesus. Katie, let’s talk about kids for a few minutes. Again, I think most of us, even those type A moms who have it all together, if she’s got more than one kid, it’s likely that she probably has a child who is highly distracted and who just has a hard time focusing. So what encouragement can you give for those moms?

Katie Waalkes [00:32:51]:

Well, the first thing is just to be patient with your kids and understand that it’s a process and that there are training things that need to happen. This is not something for most kids that come supernaturally. And then the big thing is really looking at those environmental distractions. I know we talked about that on Wednesday, but those environmental distractions for kids are huge. We as homeschool moms oftentimes look at all the pinterest boards of all the pretty home school rooms, and we want to have the charts on the walls and the fun colors and all the paintings and all the things. And in reality, typically, the highly distracted homeschooler children are going to get distracted by those things, and they actually do better, typically in a more minimal environment. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a minimalist or your whole home has to be minimal. But maybe that means that child needs to work in a different atmosphere than the rest of those places. Maybe if you have a home school room, they need to do better in the living room than working with everybody else. The other thing is noise, right? Our distracting kids noises can be very distracting. So noise canceling headphones have been a lifesaver in our home. You can get them from Walmart, Amazon. They’re like $10. You don’t have to buy super fancy ones. And having my kids be able to just kind of block out the external they can still hear me, right? They can still hear my voice, but it blocks out a lot of that white noise and helps a lot with being able to focus.

Yvette Hampton [00:34:20]:

Yeah, that is such a great point. And it’s so funny as you’re talking, and it’s like, Yep, that’s me. I cannot focus if it’s something that I need to focus on, yes. If I’m reading something that I really need to concentrate on, or if I’m writing something or studying something, if I’m preparing to speak anything like that, I have to have complete, absolute silence. And so I’ll put earplugs in. Sometimes I’ll go to the library and I’ll just put earplugs in. I cannot have any distractions around me because otherwise I just can’t focus on what I’m trying to do. But my husband is the complete opposite. He and my oldest daughter, actually both of my girls, to a point, they need to have something going on in their ears in order to be able to really focus and concentrate. It’s the most interesting thing. And when Garrett was going through college, he would listen to music loud as he was writing his papers. And I was like, how in the world? And he would say, I can’t write without listening to music.

Katie Waalkes [00:35:29]:

I have kids like that as well. And oftentimes it tends to hit around middle school, at least in our home, is when they start needing that music more. So we have boundaries around that. So if you have kids who love to listen to music, at least in our home, what we have found to work is we say you can have music, but it has to be without lyrics. Because the second there’s lyrics going, your mind’s kind of getting spent in two different places, right? And so in most homeschoolers minds, they probably envision classical music being played throughout the home. Mozart, Beethoven. Instead, in my home, I gave the parameters that it had to be without lyrics, and so we end up with a ton of techno music which just.

Yvette Hampton [00:36:15]:

Kind of like, oh, that’s funny, makes me crazy.

Katie Waalkes [00:36:18]:

But my boys are actually able to listen or to work so much better when they have that going. They also enjoy like the piano guys where they do all the fun music parodies and things like that. And so there are a lot of things that they just enjoy listening to and it really does help them focus. So you have to find what works for you and your child. And don’t assume just because something doesn’t work for one that it won’t work for the other. It’s worth trying and reducing the visual distractions. So I talked about the visual distractions on the walls, but for kids, sometimes making little barriers, taking those project boards that you can get from Walmart, like for science fairs or even some manila file folders and taping them together to give your child a little bit of a private workspace. We also are a family who we’re very picky about when we work altogether. So we come together for group subjects, but when they’re working individually, they kind of scatter throughout the house so they don’t get distracted by each other. So just thinking through what works for you and your children is a huge help in that area. And then of course, like what we were talking about the other day is teaching your kids how to make lists and the importance of lists.

Yvette Hampton [00:37:32]:

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that there is not a classroom in the world that I know of where a teacher can take each individual child and say, okay, here is your learning style and here are your learning abilities and oh, Johnny needs noise canceling headphones and Michael needs techno music playing in his ears. Okay, let me cater to each one of these child’s needs. You can’t do that with kids in a classroom. But as their mom, we get to focus on what their needs are, what their abilities are, what their capabilities are, and we can really help them to learn and to be able to focus on the task at hand. And it’s part of our job as their mom to teach them how to do those things right and in teaching them as their home school teacher. We have such an advantage over kids who are in a classroom, kids as we talk to moms. And still there are so many moms, especially those new homeschool moms, who think that when they sit down and read with their kids, their kids need to sit on their little carpet square with their legs crossed and their hands in their laps crisscross app sauce and be totally silent so that they can hear the book that you’re reading to them. And every seasoned homeschool mom that I know will tell all of the new homeschool moms no, your kids need to move. They need to do something with their hands. They need some kind of what a classroom teacher would think of as a distraction, right? Our kids need that. They need playdoh, they need to draw, they need to color. They need some kind of fidget in their hands. They need to be flipped upside down, standing on their head so that they can listen to what it is that you’re saying to them so that they can actually learn. And so what a classroom would see as a distraction, we get to see as homeschool moms as an advantage to teaching our kids in the home. And it is such a privilege. I love homeschooling. I love being able to know that my girls need to listen to music when they really need to concentrate on something and that’s what works for them. I’ve loved talking about this, that there’s some strange comfort in knowing I’m not the only one and I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy to be easily distracted. I think it was part one. You talk to a lot of moms who deal with this, and I do too. I mean, it’s a real thing. And sometimes you talked about how there can be strengths to it, but there can also be real blessings to distractions, right? Yeah, talk about that. How can distractions in our day sometimes turn into an actual blessing for our kids?

Katie Waalkes [00:40:17]:

Yeah, I think the big thing is like going back to that definition that we’re talking about, about how it could be something good or something bad that pulls us away from what we should be prioritizing. And we oftentimes think about those things that pull us away all the time from those things we want to accomplish. But I think God oftentimes uses distractions to challenge us in what we’re prioritizing. And that is such a big problem. I know for myself that whether it be the to do list or the chores or the homeschooling or even wanting to spend family time, how many times have we been like, we’re going to spend a quality family day together, we’re going to take a trip and we’re going to have fun, and all these things keep coming up and we get frustrated. And I feel like a lot of times it’s a reminder to be like, hey, this is actually the most important thing. Yes, your kids are fighting right now, but you get the opportunity to teach them conflict resolution skills and that opportunity to teach them that is going to impact them so much more than that trip to the park that you were hoping to take or that math lesson that you were going to teach. Having the opportunity to teach our kids that there are things that are worth setting aside, our to do list for, that when that mother is going to the hospital and she needs someone to come pick up her little kids because she’s got no one else, that is 100% worth putting this aside. And I think that’s what many of us who home school we want to teach our kids is we want to teach them to serve others. We want them to have right priorities, and we want them to learn. We want them to get the academics. But the academics are not the main thing, and this really allows us to teach them that in a really tangible way.

Yvette Hampton [00:42:05]:

Yeah. I love that. Rachel and Davis. Carmen Rachel is by far one of my greatest mentors. I love her. And one of the things that I’ve learned from them is character over curriculum and that it’s so much more important to build the character into our kids. And so, as you’re saying, as the day goes on and our kids are arguing with each other or there is an opportunity for them to maybe help the neighbor bring in her groceries, that math book is still going to be sitting on the table in 15 minutes. It’s okay if it doesn’t go perfectly by your schedule, let them go. Be a blessing to the neighbor or take the ten minutes or sometimes hour that it takes or however long it takes to teach our kids conflict resolution and being able to just pour into their character, because that’s part of life. It’s part of school. I mean, homeschooling, like you said, the academics are just the icing on the cake. We’re preparing our kids for life, and so we tend to just focus so much on the academics, and we’ve got to get this done. We’ve got to get these worksheets done. We’ve got to get this curriculum done. We’ve got to get to the end of the book. And we miss all of the things that are around us, all of the opportunities that we have to be able to teach our kids and point them to Jesus and build character in them and build their relationships with one another. And I think it’s unfortunate that we often miss out on those things because if we’re looking for them, we will see them and we will find them. But when our kids are separated from us for 40 some hours a week, we miss out on a lot of opportunities to build character, to build Godly character into them. So, yeah, that is a great advantage. I love that so much. What is one last bit of encouragement or advice that you can give to our audience?

Katie Waalkes [00:44:01]:

I think a big thing to focus on with your kids is to teach them how to come back from a distraction. And this goes for us and for our kids. So we know distractions are going to come. We can reduce them, but we can’t remove them because God didn’t create us to have our own perfect bubble for our glory.

Yvette Hampton [00:44:20]:

Right?

Katie Waalkes [00:44:21]:

It’s for his glory that we were put on this earth and to serve others and to serve Him. And so it’s one of those those distractions are going to come. So teaching our kids, those distractions are going to come. Recognizing ourselves, those distractions are going to come, and instead, really giving our kids and ourselves anchors in our day, where we can kind of refocus. So for every family, it’s different, your anchors. If you don’t have anchors in your day, you can just use meal times of, like, breakfast, lunch and dinner. So maybe the whole morning is a distracted mess and it’s overwhelming. And the phone kept ringing and the neighbors came to the door and the dog got out and the chickens were everywhere or whatever. We can go, okay, but now it’s lunchtime and we’re going to restart, and we’re going to like, this is the next part of the day, and kind of dividing your day up into those chunks. We’re so quick. Our kids, especially, are so quick to be like, It’s a bad day, and they just label it that way, and that’s just kind of how it stuck. And it’s like, no, this was a bad first quarter. We’re going to go into the second quarter stronger. And so really teaching them how to refocus, to take the opportunity to pray, to take the opportunity to confess sins, if we lost our temper, if we got upset because things didn’t go the way we wanted, take that opportunity to say, I’m sorry, will you forgive me? And be like, Guys, let’s start fresh. So I really encourage you to have those anchors in your day and to be able to refocus and restart and teach our kids that, because that’s probably one of the most valuable skills you’ll.

Yvette Hampton [00:45:54]:

Be able to teach your kids yeah. Going into adulthood. Yes. Awesome. Katie, thank you for your encouragement this week. It’s been so much fun chatting with you and just so refreshing. I feel like we need to have a club. We need to start some kind of focus club for the distracted homeschool mom. Yes. Though, of course, that would be just another distraction for us, so maybe we won’t do that. But thank you for your encouragement and just your wisdom. And thanks for being so transparent. Just about where you’ve been, where you are.

Navigating Social Media: a Guide for Homeschool Moms

In the digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, connecting us with people from all corners of the world. But what are the consequences of this constant online presence? In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Aby Rinella engages joined me for an enlightening conversation on the impact of social media on our personal lives, particularly as homeschooling parents. This conversation, inspired by an article Aby wrote, titled The Original Influencer, provides practical encouragement for navigating the social media web with our families.

“We have to remember that the enemy of our souls is the master of deceit. He’s deceiving people into thinking that it’s a community. It’s not. It’s isolating people.”

Aby Rinella

The Disconnect Between Online and Real-Life Relationships:

Social media has birthed its own unique culture, often blurring the lines between the online and real world. Studies have shown that despite having more access to others than ever before, people are increasingly lonelier. Humans are built for community, but the online world has created a counterfeit that can trick us into believing that our need for human interaction is being met.

The Burden of Information Overload: “We see moms who are overwhelmed, and they’re depressed, and they feel hopeless, and it’s so overwhelming… And we carry that weight, and it causes depression, it causes anxiety, and we were never meant to know what’s going on all over, all the time, always.” — Aby Rinella

Recognizing the Lack of Authenticity:

Furthering the problem, the social pressure to create content that people will “like” and share has contributed to a pervasive lack of authenticity online, which can spill into our lives and personality. Worse, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that everyone else’s life is picture-perfect, when all we are seeing are their best moments and perfectly posed and photoshopped pictures. 

The Power of Real-Life Relationships:

Amidst the virtual facade, real-life relationships remain the bedrock of social connection and personal growth. Aby emphasizes the messiness, effort, and humbling nature of these relationships, stressing that real-life connections require intentionality, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to find the good in others.

The Loneliness Epidemic: “The studies show that people are lonelier now than they’ve ever been ever. That there’s this epidemic, this pandemic, if you will, of loneliness that we’ve never seen before. And what’s interesting is we have more access to more people than we have ever had in history, and yet we are the loneliest.” — Aby Rinella

Finding Wisdom and Support in Community:

With the rise of social media influencers, there is a danger of relying solely on their curated content for guidance and information. Aby advocates for seeking wisdom and support from experienced individuals – Titus 2 women – within our churches, homeschool co-ops, families, and local communities, urging young moms to invest in real, tangible relationships rather than depending solely on online connections.

“It was these real women who  knew me, and they knew my heart, and I knew them, and I knew their heart. And those were my influencers, and that was my community.” — Aby Rinella

Breaking Free from the Social Media Trap:

Recognizing the addictive nature of social media and its potential to distract homeschooling parents, Aby shares practical strategies to regain focus and presence in our daily lives. She recommends allocating specific time frames for social media use, fasting from it for a period, and investing in real-life experiences instead.

In a world dominated by social media, it’s essential for us to navigate its influence wisely. Aby’s insights shed light on the detrimental aspects of social media while offering a path towards authentic, real-life relationships and connections. Let us heed her wisdom and resist the trap of the online world, finding fulfillment and growth within genuine communities.

Listen to more from Aby Rinella on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Watch Aby Rinella’s sessions from the 2020 and 2023 Homegrown Generation Family Expo

You can read more from Aby Rinella on her blog, CalledtotheTop.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. How has social media influenced your perception of what a “perfect family” looks like? Do you feel pressure to portray your own family in a certain way on social media?

2. How do you think social media culture has impacted our ability to form and maintain genuine, authentic relationships? Have you experienced any negative effects on your own relationships?

3. In what ways do you see social media as a tool for isolating individuals, rather than connecting them? Have you ever felt isolated or disconnected because of social media?

4. How do you navigate the balance between staying informed about global events and protecting your mental well-being from the constant stream of news on social media?

5. Do you think social media has had a positive or negative impact on the parenting community? How have you personally been influenced or affected as a parent by social media?

6. Have you ever felt the pressure to conform to certain homeschooling methods or philosophies because of what you’ve seen on social media? How do you strike a balance between seeking inspiration and staying true to your own homeschooling style?

7. How do you personally limit your social media use during homeschooling to stay focused and present with your children? What strategies have you found helpful in reducing distractions?

8. Do you agree with Aby’s suggestion of taking breaks from social media to regain perspective and break addictive habits? Have you ever tried a social media fast? If so, what was your experience like?

9. How do you distinguish between influencers who genuinely provide valuable content and insights, and those who simply craft curated and potentially misleading versions of their lives? What are some red flags to watch out for?

10. In what ways do you think social media has impacted society’s reliance on personal experience and wisdom for guidance? Do you believe influencers should be held to a certain standard of expertise before providing tutorials or advice?

Aby Rinella is a former public school teacher turned passionate homeschool mom.  
Aby resides in the mountains of the west with her college sweetheart and 3 awesome kids where they enjoy all things outdoors. 

Aby is a writer and speaker seeking to encourage and inspire women to live the life they were designed to live, to train up their children in God’s Word, and to stand on truth in a culture that has lost its foundation. 

Aby is co-host on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, director of her local homeschool support group and is a Homeschool Idaho board member. 

Aby and her husband, Jesse, speak and write on the benefits of pointing children to their Creator through spending time out in His creation. They are also passionate about encouraging men and women to prioritize the calling they have been given to raise their families the way they were designed.  You can find them at CalledToTheTop.com or on Facebook at Aby Rinella-His Calling My Passion.

Related posts:

Read the full transcript below:

Continue reading “Navigating Social Media: a Guide for Homeschool Moms”

Bringing Christ-Centered Homeschooling to Life: Insights from Amy Sloan

“Having Christ at the center of our homeschools means more than just isolated Bible lessons. It’s about integrating scripture into every aspect of our day and modeling a Christian life for our children.”

Amy Sloan

I recently sat down for a thought-provoking conversation with Amy Sloan, of Humility and Doxology, delving into the significance of making Christ the center of our homeschool. Offering a wealth of wisdom from her personal experiences, Amy shared valuable insights on nurturing faith, cultivating relationships, and embracing the unique journey of homeschooling. In this article, we will explore the key takeaways from this inspiring interview, highlighting a few powerful quotes from Amy that encapsulate the essence of her message.

“What I’m seeing even more clearly now is just what a gift it is to be able to bring the gospel to bear across everything we’re doing. This is our life, this is God’s world.”

A Comprehensive Christ-Centered Education:

Amy emphasizes the importance of nourishing our children’s hearts, minds, and souls in homeschooling. It goes beyond simply having isolated Bible lessons. Instead, integrating the teachings of Christ into every aspect of life lays a firm foundation for children to deeply understand and connect with their Creator and Savior. By making scripture a seamless part of their daily routines, homeschooling families have the opportunity to instill fundamental Christian values, build a sound Biblical worldview, and foster a genuine love for God’s Word in their children’s hearts.

“We need to prioritize Christ as our ultimate goal, rather than viewing homeschooling as an idol. It is a powerful tool, but not the end-all solution.”

Balancing Priorities and Embracing God’s Sovereignty:

Amy reminds us of the danger of placing too much focus on homeschooling, inadvertently turning it into an idol. While homeschooling undoubtedly offers numerous benefits, it is essential to remember that our ultimate goal is to glorify Christ. By prioritizing our relationship with Him, rather than being consumed by the pressure to achieve specific outcomes through homeschooling, we find peace and freedom from fear and anxiety. Trusting in God’s sovereignty, we can rest assured that He is at work in our children’s lives, even when the journey becomes challenging or veers off the expected path.

Homeschooling to Nurture Faith and Family Bonding:

Throughout our conversation, Amy shared her personal experiences as a homeschooling mom (and second-generation homeschooler herself). She and her husband made the decision to homeschool even before they got married, recognizing the immense value in personalized education and the opportunity to prioritize their faith within their home. By homeschooling, they have been able to spend quality time with their children, witness each of their educational milestones, foster deep sibling connections, and integrate their faith into every aspect of learning.

Navigating Challenges and Encouragement for Parents:

Amy compassionately acknowledged the challenges parents may face during difficult seasons with their children, irrespective of age. She encourages parents to create safe spaces for their children to express their emotions, actively listen to their concerns, and nurture understanding rather than always trying to fix their problems. Sharing her personal struggles, Amy underscored the significance of family worship and the non-negotiable daily practice of devotions as a means to seek God’s guidance and strength – but she also recognizes that, ultimately, the outcome of homeschooling and parenting isn’t up to her. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is the one who helps us understand and apply the Word of God. It is the Spirit who transforms hearts and enables obedience

Conclusion:

Hopefully, my conversation with Amy will serve as a guiding light for parents embarking on the homeschooling journey. With a resolute focus on Christ-centered education, Amy encourages parents to cultivate a holistic approach that seamlessly integrates scripture, family relationships, and individual faith growth into their homeschooling experiences. By embracing Christ as the ultimate goal, relinquishing control, and trusting in the work of the Holy Spirit, parents can navigate challenges, nurture their children’s hearts, and create an environment where their faith can flourish.

To listen to the full conversation with Amy Sloan, follow the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast on your favorite podcast app and embark on an empowering journey toward Christ-centered homeschooling. Also, please take a minute to share this article or Amy’s interview on social media. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways to support the Schoolhouse Rocked Ministry.

Recommended Resources: 

HumilityandDoxology.com

Homeschool Conversations With Humility and Doxology Podcast

Humility and Doxology on YouTube

Humility and Doxology on Instagram

Humility and Doxology on Facebook

Related Podcast Episodes: 

Teaching the Classical Method – Amy Sloan on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (Homeschool Surivival Series)

Discussion Questions:

1. How can we bring Christ to the center of our homeschooling in comprehensive ways beyond isolated Bible lessons?

2. What are some tangible ways we can integrate scripture into our daily routines and activities?

3. How can we model repentance and humility to our children, showing them the need for Jesus in our own lives?

4. Have you ever struggled with defining your relationship with your child by a challenging season? How can we avoid this tendency?

5. How can we consistently show unconditional love to our children, even in challenging moments?

6. What are some practical ways we can demonstrate love and affection to our children on a daily basis?

7. How can we ensure that we give equal attention and quality time to all of our children, even if some are easier to parent than others?

8. What are some benefits of homeschooling that you have personally experienced or observed?

9. How do you prioritize integrating your faith into your homeschooling, and how has it impacted your children’s understanding of God’s world?

10. How can we combat the misconception that the “right” curriculum or parenting model guarantees specific outcomes for our homeschooled children?

Read the Full Transcript:

Continue reading “Bringing Christ-Centered Homeschooling to Life: Insights from Amy Sloan”