Yvette Hampton: A listener asked, “I’d love recommendations on a good homeschool curriculum for my preschooler, age three.” And Aby, I’m going to let you answer this, but before you answer it, I’m going to say, we just recorded an whole episode all about preschool with Leslie Richards, from the Homegrown Preschooler. In this hour-long conversation with Leslie she dives deep into homeschooling preschoolers and how to keep order in your home when you are teaching multiple ages.
Aby Rinella: I hope I don’t answer it differently than her!
Yvette Hampton: It’s okay. I know you won’t because I just interviewed her and I know where you stand on this issue, because you stand where I stand.
Aby Rinella: Wonderful. So, what I’m not going to do is give you recommendations on a good homeschool curriculum for your preschooler because your three-year-old is three! We need to throw out curriculum because your three-year-old doesn’t need curriculum. Your three-year-old needs you to read to her, as much as you possibly can. Your three-year-old needs you to talk to her, play with Play-Doh with her, play games with her, take her on adventures. Read to her. I’m going to say that over and over.
I have my Elementary Ed degree and I got an emphasis in early childhood development. My husband always says I have my masters degree in “coloring and Play-Doh.” And there is really no evidence that says that if you use a formal academic curriculum in those early years – and I’m even talking about for kindergarten – there is no evidence that your kids are going to be any more academically “successful” than kids that didn’t. But there is an unbelievable amount of evidence that shows that if you read to your child, interact with your child through verbal communication, and play games with them, they will be far ahead of their peers.
So that’s, I’m not going to go too much further into this because there’s a whole podcast on it. But I would say, would you just take your three-year-old and snuggle that three-year-old on your lap, and just do life with them and not worry about the curriculum. That is my greatest advice.
Yvette Hampton: Yep.
Aby Rinella: And my guess is that this is this mom’s first three-year-old, because we all asked that with our first kid. And then we all realized that you don’t do that!
Yvette Hampton: Right. When Kirk Cameron was with us for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo someone asked him a question about curriculum and he said “parents are the best curriculum for their children.” YOU are the curriculum! We are their curriculum. They will watch us and learn from us.
Aby Rinella: Oh good. I mean, she’s literally written a book about preschoolers and it’s through play, it’s through exploration, it’s through interacting with your kids. That’s how they learn. Do not sit your three year old down at a table and expect them to copy letters and do worksheets because they can’t.
And here’s the thing, if you do, not only can they not, you are going to rob that child of the love of learning. You’re going to kill their love of learning before they’re ever even actually school age. And I’ve seen it happen time and time again, you get a first grader who hates school and that’s because they’ve been sat down for the last three years trying to do school when they never should have. So just right now, just instill in them a love of learning. Don’t kill that with worksheets and curriculum.
Yvette Hampton: Right. And I used to be a preschool teacher. And let me just tell you, we didn’t have a set curriculum. We literally read to the kids several times a day. We had our reading hour, they played dress up, they played with toys, they played outside, they just explored, they played with Play-Doh. We did not make them sit down, pull out flashcards and say “A says Ah” “B says Buh.”
Aby Rinella: At three they’re not even able to put that stuff together.
Parents, be encouraged. You will have plenty of time for academics. While your kids are in pre-school (and even in kindergarten) let them play, read to them, and love them!
One of the most important things you can do for your kids is let them play outside – a lot! Listen to Aby and Yvette discuss the importance of outdoor play here. Were created to be in the garden, and there are SO many benefits to the great outdoors, including dirt, sun, exercise, and especially, pointing our kids to their Creator through His creation!
It’s time for the next installment of our homeschool Q&A discussion with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella! Today’s conversation discusses what is important for your child’s reading development and offers some helpful resources for those who are trying to find age-appropriate material for their advanced reader.
Yvette Hampton: We are back, and we have a mom asking for advanced reading help. She says, “My now-second-grader is reading chapters and I want to continue to make sure she’s deciphering the words properly. She’s comprehending what she is reading, so I’m thankful for that.” You want to jump on this one, Aby?
Aby Rinella: As long as she’s comprehending what she reads, you’re good to go there. As far as deciphering words, let me just tell you a story. I mispronounced the word argue until two years ago because I only ever read it. In my mind, the G was silent. And nobody in my entire life was kind and loving enough to say, “The G is not silent.” Like, why would someone not tell you that?
Yvette Hampton: Oh, my goodness. [chuckle] Oh, I love it.
Aby Rinella: I don’t even understand why everyone was silent. It’s like, are we so afraid of offending people?
Yvette Hampton: Did you have a lot of arguments?
Aby Rinella: I “arue” a lot. And now I argue. Anyway.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, dear. But we need to just need to move on because that’s way too funny, Aby.
Resources for Advanced Readers
Aby Rinella: Okay, sorry, so she may stumble, but she’ll get it eventually. Additionally, I would say get audio books, she can listen and follow along as she reads. Also, have her read aloud to you, so you can actually hear. Reading out loud to her constantly would be helpful, too. Read-alouds are really great to help her get those words.
Aby Rinella: Those are really good; often with advanced readers, parents get into a place where the content that is advanced enough for their children is too mature. So even though they can read it, and even if they can comprehend it, if the content is beyond what you want them to be reading, that isn’t healthy. So with these resources that we gave you, you can feel safe knowing that all of those books are safe for your child to read.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And I want to say one more thing on this, don’t always assume that because a child is advanced now, that they’re always going to be advanced. Sometimes we get that in our minds thinking, “Well, she’s in second grade and she’s reading at a fifth-grade level. So, when she’s in third grade, she’s… ” I think that’s setting yourself and her up for disappointment. And it could be, she could soar and always be way ahead of her grade level, but that doesn’t always happen. She may just pause where she is for a while, and that’s perfectly fine; just let her go with it. She’ll grow naturally into her ability to read.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella continue their homeschool Q&A series with a discussion on homeschool parent mentors. Where can you find a mentor? What are the benefits of having one? Is the internet really enough, or could in-person interactions be even more valuable?
Yvette Hampton: This question says, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor that can walk me through and help me step by step.” Oh, I love this question.
Aby Rinella: Yes, you do. We all do.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, we do. And let me just say that is so much of the reason why we do what we do at Schoolhouse Rocked. Aby and I do not spend the time that we do, recording podcasts and videos, and doing all these things because we make a ton of money at it, or get tons of rewards for it. Our reward is knowing that we are doing what God has called us to do, and being a blessing to you. And so, we really want to help, virtually mentor you. And we have others who do that with us, because Aby and I are still going into our 10th year of homeschooling, but there are many who have gone ahead of me and graduated their kids.
Yvette Hampton: And so, I have people in my life, like Durenda Wilson, Rachael Carman, Ginger Hubbard, and Connie Albers and people like that who…, who have spent years pouring into their kids, and are now pouring into us younger moms. It’s the whole Titus 2 thing. The older women teaching the younger women how to do this parenting, and marriage, and life thing, and being keepers of our home. Because homeschooling falls under all of those categories, and so you do need a homeschooling mentor.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: I would say if you can find someone in your local church, or a local Christian homeschool support group or co-op, or something like that, seek them out. Because I think it’s part of our nature as humans to want to feel needed. It’s a blessing to those who are helping. I know when moms come to me and say, “Can you just help me with this, can you answer this question for me,” Or, “I was thinking about this, and I know you’ve been through this already, can you just walk me through this?” It is a huge blessing to me, and an honor, to be able to walk with them and help them to do that. And then, you know what? Later on, down the road, you get to be that to someone else.
Aby Rinella: Yes. And please, if you are at the end of this journey, when you graduate your last, don’t be done. It is so important that you stay in the game, because these new moms need you. And often, I think, without these great mentors, they may quit. So, stay in the game. There are a lot of mentorship things online where you can reach out to people, but I think nothing beats someone that’s walking it with you day-to-day, that can show up at your house and fold socks with you while you’re crying, and pray with you, and knows your kids, but… So, what was actually the question though? “How do I find one?”
Yvette Hampton: It’s more kind of a statement than a question.
Aby Rinella: Okay, okay.
Yvette Hampton: I think she’s just saying, “How do I find a homeschool mentor?”
Aby Rinella: So, one thing I would say is, “Ask.” Where I live, I tried to set up a homeschool mentorship program where we took some of the veteran moms and the younger moms. I remember the veteran moms saying several times, “These new young homeschool moms, they don’t act like they need us. They’re not asking. They have it all kind of figured out, and they’ve got their books and their online courses, and their this and their that.” So, don’t be afraid to go to that older woman in your area that has homeschooled, and say, “Hey, would you mentor me?” Don’t be afraid to ask. And older moms, please don’t be afraid to reach out to the younger moms. We need that.
Yvette Hampton: Right, yeah. And be honest and transparent with them. Don’t act like you have it all together, because none of us do, trust me.
Aby Rinella: Totally. We can see right through you.
Yvette Hampton: Just be honest with them and just say, “This is really what I’m struggling with.” And sometimes you may not have that person in your local community, but try to find that person somewhere.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. [chuckle] Part of me wants to say, “You know, even through social media, you can find that.” But you can also find a lot of really, really bad advice.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: And so, I would say, be careful of that too. Rarely do I ever go on homeschool social media pages, like on Facebook and stuff, because some of the advice out there is just so poor. Some people give really good, sound Biblical advice, but some don’t. So just be careful who you’re listening to.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: She’s saying, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor.” So, it sounds to me like she’s wanting someone who really is going to point her towards Christ.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, because a homeschool mentor is going to homeschool you in everything. Like you said, life, parenting, motherhood, marriage. So, you make sure your mentor lines up with God’s Word as they mentor you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. And check everything through scripture. Don’t just take it for what they say, but back things up with scripture.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Sadly, we are out of time for today. Again, if you have questions for us, please send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is our absolute privilege and joy and honor to be able to answer those for you. So, let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, thank you for joining me today, again. And you guys cannot see this right now, but Aby is wearing a Schoolhouse Rocked T-shirt. And it is so cute.
Aby Rinella: It is so awesome. There are Schoolhouse Rocked long sleeves, shorts, it’s endless. You could actually change out your entire wardrobe to Schoolhouse Rocked… And your husband’s, too, honestly!
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: If you go to the Schoolhouse Rocked website, click “Support Schoolhouse Rocked” and select “Store” in the drop-down menu (Or click HERE!)
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at email@example.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome back to the podcast.
Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.
Yvette Hampton: This is one of my favorite questions. I love being asked this question and getting to answer it, because I always have a ton of resources to offer. The question is
“What are your favorite homeschool books?”
We’ve actually done several podcast episodes with authors of various homeschool books. And that’s a broad question. Because we could talk about books that are related specifically to homeschooling, like how to homeschool, or books that relate to things that are related to homeschooling, or parenting, because that falls under the umbrella of homeschooling.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: Or…
Aby Rinella: Marriage.
Yvette Hampton: Marriage, or homeschool books could also be, “What kind of books do your homeschoolers read?”So, it’s a really broad question. So, I’m going to talk through some of my favorite homeschool books, meaning those that I think have been really helpful in teaching me how to homeschool, or at least given me some guidance. My… One of the new ones actually that I have, and we did a podcast with her recently, it’s by Aimee Smith, and it’s called The Restful Homeschool Resolution, and it’s a 21-day journey that she takes you on through scripture and through just thinking through like, “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How is God working in your homeschool and in your heart?” And it’s just fun.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a book/journal, and it’s very well written. You can listen to that conversation with Aimee if you want to know more about that book, but that one’s fantastic and it’s a brand new book. It just came out, I don’t know, some time in the last six months, I think. So, that’s a great one. Another one that we’ve talked about on the podcast that I really love is by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover, and we have had both of these homeschool moms on the podcast, and this one’s called Homeschool Basics. This is a fantastic book for any homeschool mom, even those of us who are seasoned in homeschooling, but it’s a great one for those who are just getting started.
Yvette Hampton: And it’s actually called, Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids. And I love that last part, “Bring out the best in your kids,” because it’s not just about checking the boxes and having the right curriculum and doing it all the right way. But it’s really like, how do you make that connection with your kids, how do you build that relationship with them? We talked with Kristi about these concepts on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and it was a great conversation.
Yvette Hampton: In our homeschooling. This one, I read this one a couple summers ago and loved it, it’s called Mere Motherhood, and it’s by Cindy Rollins. This one is not talked about a lot, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it, but it is such… It’s like one of those gems that if you have it and you’ve read it, it’s… I almost feel like I’m in this secret club of moms in the know who have read this book.
Aby Rinella: Ooh. I want to be in that club.
Yvette Hampton: It’s fantastic. So, it’s called Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification. So, it’s Cindy’s… It’s a story of her journey of getting started in homeschooling, homeschooling her kids, and her kids are all adults now and grown. So, it’s written by a veteran homeschool mom, and it’s not really a how-to book, but she gives so much… This book is just full of wisdom. And it is very well-written, it’s entertaining because she tells some really funny stories in the book, and then she has a ton of resources, but it’s interesting because the resources are interwoven through the book. And so, as I was reading it, I was highlighting like crazy, like, “Oh, I need to read that book. Oh, oh, I need to check this thing out, or check that thing out!”
Aby Rinella: I’m just sitting here putting things in my Amazon cart as we’re talking. This is an expensive episode. [chuckle]
Yvette Hampton: She’s just wired that way and gives some really, really practical advice on how you can organize your day. So those are my how-to-homeschool books that I love and recommend. Two others that I think every homeschool mom should own, or every homeschool dad, is, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And… That’s so good. And there’s also Honey for a Teen’s Heart. And it’s just a book about books. And it’s about the imaginative use of books in family life. It’s a book that will help you figure out what books you can read to your kids, what books your kids can read on their own, and she gives little descriptions of each of them and has them broken down by category and tells what age groups each book is good for. And they’re just… It’s just a fantastic resource to have, so that one’s more of a resource book. And she talks about reading. And then there’s also Books Children Love, and that’s basically the same thing, it’s a guide to the best children’s literature. So, as you’re looking for good books for your kids, because we know with homeschooling, one of the most important things is good books. Read to your kids, read to them. Every day.
Aby Rinella: Right. And we also know that you can no longer just browse the libraries like you used to.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Yes.
Aby Rinella: And let kids pick out books. And I know so many homeschool moms are asking what books we can or cannot read. So, what an incredible resource that you can just trust to go to.
Yvette Hampton: Yep. Yep. And both of these books were written many years ago, and so you’re not going to find books that have been written in the last, even 10 years. Let’s see, Books Children Love, the first printing of it was 1987.
Aby Rinella: Oh, wow.
Yvette Hampton: So, we’re talking about books that have been around for quite some time. And not just classics, but just really good children’s literature, fantastic books. And Honey for a Child’s Heart, this came out in 1969 originally, and then the copy that I have was… Is dated 1989. So, these are just great resources that, really, I think every homeschool family should have those. And I know I’m going fast here, but again, I’ll link to all these. My two absolute favorite books on parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp…
Yvette Hampton: Well, okay. This… I don’t know, I’m just bragging about this because I’m really excited, I just discovered for free… Well, I didn’t discover them for free. We had a book sale for our local homeschool support group. And I have wanted for years to get the McGuffey’s Readers, and someone put the entire box set on the free table for someone to just be blessed by them. And I felt like I had won the lottery, literally, because I got this whole boxed set, which I have wanted these… I’ve wanted this set for years and years and years.
Yvette Hampton: And these are the original McGuffey’s Readers. These were written in the 1800s. And the funny thing is, is we rarely watch TV, we don’t have cable to watch, but on Amazon, we will sometimes watch Little House on the Prairie, and these are what the kids read on Little House. And so, my daughter, she was so excited because she was like, “Those are the books that they read on Little House.” And literally, she’s reading them now and she’s loving them, and you know what’s so amazing is, guess what, they talk about God.
Aby Rinella: Oh, constantly.
Yvette Hampton: And they have Scripture.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they’re all about morals and values in the Bible. And these are the books that they actually used.
Aby Rinella: For school.
Yvette Hampton: To learn how to read. They used them for spelling, for everything. And so, anyway, so those are great. If you guys can get your hands on them, you should.
Aby Rinella: That’s exciting.
Yvette Hampton:McGuffey’s Readers, they’re amazing. So, that’s the end of my list. Aby, do you have anything left? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Well, do I have anything… That’s the question, do I have anything left? because you… She took that one first. No, it’s actually, I kid you not, of my whole entire list, I only have two left.
Aby Rinella: And that’s a fun one because it’s written from a dad’s point of view, and Todd Wilson is absolutely hilarious. And what’s really great about it is you read these things and you’re like, “I’m not the only one that believed that lie?” So, it debunks a lot of the lies that we as moms tell ourselves. So, that’s another really great one. So, that’s really… That’s really all I have on my list after you stole all of those from me.
Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,
What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?
And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.
Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options.
With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, here, here, and here.
Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!
Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.
FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM
Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.
Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that.
Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.
Aby Rinella: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.
Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.
Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
Aby Rinella: I love that name.
Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.
Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…
Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.
Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?
Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.
Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.
Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource.Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.”
Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.
Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized.
Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.
ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.
Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.
Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.
Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel.
Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!
Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.
Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are,
Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.
Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?
Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.
Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.
Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.
Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…
Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.
Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”
Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.
Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.
Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.
Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?
Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.
Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?
Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.
Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?
Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]
Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.
Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.
Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…
Aby Rinella: Totally.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.
Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: You have freedom.
Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.
Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.
Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…
Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.
Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.
Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.
Aby Rinella: Always.
Yvette Hampton: Every morning…
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…
Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Math, right.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.
Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.
As I read the newest announcement of back to school plans in light of the COVID-19 situation, I realized every one of these plans opens several cans of worms. Iowa has announced that the state will not require masks or social distancing when children return to the public schools in the fall. While this may or may not be welcome news to Iowa families, there are several very nuanced points that need to be considered in this announcement.
1) Any way you slice it, the COVID thing is going to have a big effect on homeschooling in the coming year. “Jill Pennington Swanson is considering home-schooling her children this fall if students and teachers are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom.
The Waukee mother of six said she is disappointed that Iowa is not taking more stringent safety precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus in schools.”
2) Iowa has 327 school districts and 119 additional accredited non-public schools?!?! REALLY? Iowa? “Instead, the state will leave those decisions in the hands of local school boards, which could lead to a variety of approaches across Iowa’s 327 school districts and 119 accredited nonpublic schools.”
3) This is going to lead to more CHAOS and arbitrariness, with every district deciding on its own requirements. “Officials at Des Moines Public Schools said this week that they would require students and teachers to wear face masks in buildings. Ankeny, on the other hand, will not require face masks or temperature checks when school resumes.” This will only lead to more parent, teacher, and student frustration – and ultimately, more people leaving the public schools.
4) Parents won’t actually know what to expect until just before kids are supposed to go back to school – and then, things will likely change when the predicted “next wave” comes. “The majority of Des Moines-area school district officials that spoke with the Register said those decisions are still being worked out and it could be weeks before parents know what will happen when school starts.” Again, this will lead to more frustration and confusion. “‘It would just be nice to know what they are thinking,’ Pennington Swanson said. “I know August is a ways off, but for planning it would be nice to know what direction they are leaning.”
Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Education released a statement saying further clarification of the guidelines is needed. It promised to ‘release additional information in the near future.'”
5) People have no concept of the difference between a guideline, an order, and a law – and consequently, too many people are living under unnecessary, arbitrar restrictions, which have endangered peoples health, undermined the economy, and trampled on the constitution and the God-given rights of the people. “Jean Hessburg, a spokeswoman for the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), the state’s teacher’s union, said the state’s plan doesn’t comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for public places.” A plan doesn’t have to “comply” with guidelines. It can meet them, exceed them, or ignore them. They are guidelines, not laws, and not orders (which are normally applied to agencies, not individuals).
6) The media repeats outright lies in their fearmongering effort. They don’t bother to fact check them if they fit with their agenda, even if they are completely illogical. “The recommendations come as states across the country grapple with how to reopen schools during the largest pandemic to hit the United States in a generation.” Sorry, not even close. Many flu seasons have had higher rates of infection and death in this generation.
7) Teacher’s Unions use bully tactics to promote their progressive agenda. “‘It is a gamble and obscene that the governor and the Department of Education are gambling on the health and safety of our students, our staff and school employees,’ Hessburg said. ‘This virus has demonstrated that it knows no bounds and students can bring the virus home to families and ravage a family.'” Note the attack on the governor and state Department of Education officials in their attempt to influence statewide health policy (hint: the union should be supporting teachers and students, and should confine their interests to educational matters, not health policy. Also, recognize the very subtle anthropomorphisation of the virus, “This virus knows has demonstrated that it knows no bounds…” – the union is casting the virus as a sentient enemy to reinforce the fear that we should all be feeling.
8) I wonder how many of the 50,000 Iowa Teacher’s Union members agree with the position of the union and its president. “ISEA President Mike Beranek released a statement Thursday urging school districts to create their own guidelines mandating face coverings, physical distancing and other safety protocols. The union represents more than 50,000 public school teachers and other education professionals.
‘I simply don’t understand why the state of Iowa is not taking a cue from what is happening in our country and implementing guidelines that are scientifically proven and recommended by our health specialists all throughout our country,’ he said. There they go again, with the “scientifically proven” stuff. I will save my rant on the religion of Scientism for another post, but just remember how inaccurate the projections, death counts, early test results, consensus on masks, and treatment protocols (eg. respirators causing more harm than good, and housing infected people in nursing homes) have been throughout this circus.
9) Finally, REALLY, 50,000 members!?! How many of you hear that number – 50,000 unionized teachers in IOWA alone – and get a cold chill as you realize just how big this behemoth of public education is, how much money is spent, and how much influence is bought by these unions (many times, with the money of unwilling members).
For more perspective on this important issue I highly recommend Standing Up to Goliath, by Rebecca Friedrichs. In this EXCELLENT and terrifying book, Rebecca Friedrichs discusses the incredible influence and dangerous agenda that the national and statewide teachers unions wield. She shares firsthand accounts of the abuses of students and teachers that were overlooked and covered up by unions in an effort to protect bad, tenured teachers and their own bottom lines, as massive money making machines. Finally, she recounts her historic court battle against the unions to stop them from coercing teachers and stealing dues from unwilling members (and non-members). This is a must-read if you care about education, labor, or or the founding principles of our nation.
We are very pleased to be a part of this community of like-minded Christian producers who podcast on areas of expertise and passion. Check out the community for excellent, “soul-feeding” programming that believers can find useful and focused on the Gospel of Christ, its truth, and its application.
There’s a Revolution Transforming Education and it’s NOT Happening in the Classroom!
“This is not an exaggeration to say, this is the movement that is needed to save this country.” – Rick Green, Wallbuilders
“We believe homeschooling is critically important if we are to save our republic and the Christian family and church.” – Kirk Cameron, Actor and Producer
Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, brings you encouragement and resources from home education experts and REAL families just like yours, to help you train your children well. The show allows you to grow with Yvette as she talks with today’s home education leaders – speakers, authors, activists, curriculum publishers, in conversations that will build you up and give you important resources to help you train up your children for eternal success – from pre-school to graduation – to start strong and finish well!
Schoolhouse Rocked will impact countless lives by…
• Encouraging families who aren’t yet homeschooling to dive in! • Bringing much needed encouragement and resources to current homeschool families so they will stay the course. • Breaking down the misconceptions and negative stereotypes that many people believe about homeschooling.
Join us in providing this great resource to families considering homeschooling for the first time, to moms struggling with feelings of inadequacy, parents working hard to balance family responsibilities and school time, and to students wondering if they are missing out by not attending public or private schools.
While we are asking you to donate, we really want to build a partnership with you in this important endeavor. As a donor, you will receive regular project updates, and we will call on you to spread the word about the film and podcast. We will work to finish the film with excellence, so that together we can fill theaters and share Schoolhouse Rocked in your community.
“The Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. There’s lots to say in the Scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage. Our forefathers understood that. They don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies.”
There are few people who are better encouragers than Kirk Cameron. In March, Kirk joined us for a live discussion on Biblical Principles for a Healthy Nation. As we have seen so many things change in our nation since then, we wanted to bring you that discussion. We hope that it will be a great encouragement to you in these uncertain times.
I want to talk about Monumental, not so much about the movie. I mean the movie is fantastic for those who have seen it, it’s just a fantastic movie, Kirk, where you kind of take us on this journey along with you as you kind of bring us back to the founding of our country. And eventually in the movie you end up at this monument called The Matrix of Liberty. And it’s funny because I’ve asked a few people who have not yet seen the movie. “Have you heard of The Matrix of Liberty.” And they are like, “The what, the matrix of what?” And people have not heard of this monument and it’s so important to our nation.
Yeah. They’re probably thinking it’s the sequel to the matrix and it’s some sort of freedom fighter who’s trying to figure out which world he’s in.
So the monument is actually referred to as The Matrix of Liberty. It’s sort of the recipe, the matrix, the code that unlocks freedom. But the official name for it is The National Monument to the Forefathers. And there’s actually quite a few monuments to the pilgrims throughout the country, but that’s the one that really impressed me and that’s why we made that the centerpiece hero of the documentary.
Yeah. How did you find out about it?
So I had never heard of it. I mean, has anybody ever heard of this thing before? I’ve talked with politicians, congressmen, congresswomen, I’ve talked with people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and others who you’d think would know about such a monument because of what it says, and most people have never heard of it.
In fact, if you try to find it you’ll have a hard time. I know people who live in Massachusetts and have never heard of it, even though it’s maybe a mile away from Plymouth Rock, and it is the largest solid granite monument in America. But the problem is it was built on top of a hill. So imagine if my head is a hill in your neighborhood and there’s a little monument that’s sitting on top. But the problem is there were trees that grew up all around it and are now taller than the monument. So you can’t see, especially if you’re down here below looking up and it’s concealed and hidden within this residential neighborhood.
And honestly, most people don’t go see it. Since the documentary (Monumental), they’ve had more traffic, which I’m thankful for. But I think it’s the most important monument in the nation because of what it says. And it spells out the biblical worldview and the recipe that our fore-fathers and fore-mothers used to launch a nation that would later become the freest, the most prosperous, the strongest, healthiest and generous nation sending the Gospel out to more countries than any other. And it’s all wrapped up in this matrix of liberty, like you called it.
I happen to know that you have a replica of it sitting right next to you. So I would love for you to take it and just kind of take us for a tour of it.
Sure. I would love to. Before I show it to you let me just speak directly to some of our viewers who are watching right now. As you watch the news, as you’re having conversations with your kids or your spouse or your friends, you’re texting, you’re emailing, and you’re just wondering what in the world is going on in our country, even beyond the coronavirus. Just look at politics in the way that they’re being handled. It’s amazing. I mean, it seems like gone are the days where we’re able to have respectful disagreements with each other. If you’re on the right and your friends are on the left or if you’re a conservative or if you’re a liberal or you’re a libertarian or you’re an atheist or a Christian, it seems like fighting is the name of the game. And just smashing and crushing anyone who disagrees with you is sort of the way things work now. And with social media, all of that just sort of gets applauded and people are just trying to slam each other. And we look at our economy and we wonder what’s the right way to do that? We’re talking about “democratic socialism” with Bernie Sanders. We’re talking about more of a moderate type of socialism. Is that better? I mean, after all, shouldn’t the government be generous and helping the poor? And shouldn’t the government be taking care of education all the way through to college? Is there financial inequality that should not exist in the country? Or is capitalism a good thing or a bad thing? All of these things have to be answered somehow in the scriptures. And I believe that the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus came to solve the sin problem couples with the Word of God and the Law of God to help not just make healthy individuals and healthy marriages and families, but healthy nations. And the Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. And there’s lots to say in the scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage and all of that stuff.
Our forefathers understood that. And so what I love about this monument is that they don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies. So let’s jump in.
For those who are seeing this for the very first time, this might remind you a little bit of the Statue of Liberty, but it’s not, in fact, many people think that this was actually the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty because they were raising funds for this in France before the Statue of Liberty was built with little models of what it was going to be.
In fact, this was before the Civil War that this was made. And Abraham Lincoln was one of the very first financial contributors to the building of this monument. So here it is. It’s called The National Monument to the Forefathers.
It says, “The National Monument to the Forefathers erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.” So this is a monument that is all about liberty or freedom, but two kinds. It’s in remembrance of both civil and religious liberty. Civil liberty is a government liberty, right? This is our religious freedom. This is our freedom of speech. This is our freedom to assemble all these things.
And then there’s internal religious liberty. And that is the freedom to worship God, to be able to have the Word of God and to practice our faith without government interference. And this is what they were all about.
So first of all, this monument is the largest granite monument in America. It is 88 feet tall. It’s in Plymouth, Massachusetts. And this was established in 1889. It took them 50 years to build it because the project got interrupted by this little thing we like to call the Civil War. And it was going to be twice this height, but the budget got cut in half due to the war. And that’s why actually the reason why the “Faith” figure is twice as tall as any of these smaller statues.
So Faith was going to be as big as everything else, but it got cut in half. But it’s still, today, the largest granite monument in America. So it’s pretty important.
So let’s go through these. The tallest statue, her name is Faith. Below Faith are other figures. There are Morality, Law, Education, and finally Liberty. Each one of them have smaller reliefs on the sides, which are all really significant.
On the front is the names of the passengers of the Mayflower. And then you also have a quote from the governor of the pilgrims, Governor William Bradford.
You can see that faith is at the top, not morality, not education, not liberty. Faith is really the capstone. This is the key. This is the core that holds everything else together, faith. And if you notice she’s pointing to heaven. She’s got one finger pointed to heaven, and she has a star on her forehead and she’s holding a book in her hand, and the pages of that book are being blown open.
It’s not a closed book. It’s open. And she’s standing on this rock. And all those things are pretty significant. The book is the Bible. In fact, it’s not just any Bible, it’s the Geneva Bible. Now, the Geneva Bible was a very unique Bible. In fact, it was a hated by King James. It came out after the King James Bible. Now we all love the King James Bible. It’s a beautiful Bible, and it was the authorized Bible and it’s written so poetically and many, many people quote from the King James Bible. So King James made a great Bible, but he made a terrible King. He was like a tyrant on steroids. And so he hated the Geneva Bible because it was not authorized.
“So this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in faith’s hand says that, that parents are to train up their children in the way they should go.”
“So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.”
What made the Geneva Bible so unique was that it had study notes from theologians of the day, and inside the study notes of this Bible, they used phrases and words like tyrants. Now, tyrants referred to government authorities that were bad authorities. But see, King James considered himself to be practically God’s representative on earth. And so there was the mixture of the church and the government together, and he coined the phrase, “the divine right of Kings.” “In essence if God made me King, well, then I’m in charge of you. I’m God’s representative here and you need to do what I say.” Well, that’s a great recipe for becoming a really great tyrant. And so when they use the word tyrant in this Bible and that tyrants need to be opposed, well, of course that’s was against the King.
And this Geneva Bible was also the first English translated Bible that had chapters and verses in the text. So the first time for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son was John 3:16 was in this Bible, the Geneva Bible. And it was translated and small enough for a family to have one in their house and study it for themselves, rather than having it locked up in a church in a language they couldn’t understand. They were able to read it for themselves rather than having it read to them and explained to them. And that really changed the game in the whole world. And you get to the effects of the reformation and everything else, which is really what launched the pilgrims out of England to the New World.
Isn’t it amazing to think of how we just take it for granted? Of course we have a Bible, we’ve got 20 of them. Which color would you like and or which version would you like? We’ve got so many in our homes and that we just take for granted what we have. We haven’t always had that.
You’re absolutely right. It’s amazing. One of the features of this Bible is you’ll see the pages are being blown open there. It’s not shut. And most that I have talked to, the historians in the area, people who understand that and knew who the architect was, say that that is blown open as if by the wind of the Holy Spirit. It’s being opened and God is opening the scriptures the way that Jesus would open the scriptures to his disciples.
Also on her forehead, you’ll see there is a little star and that star represented wisdom. Our forefathers believed that faith was not just this goosebumps feeling that you had, it wasn’t just this hopeful, trusting in God that you didn’t ask questions. They believed that wisdom was something that you received from God. They also knew we should worship him with our mind, not just with our heart and soul, and that they would reason from the scriptures to all areas of life. So these were thinkers. These were people who really reasoned from the scriptures.
And then of course, she’s pointing to the one true God of heaven. This is not just any deity. This isn’t just some random God that it was okay to have faith in. This was a Christian worldview. This wasn’t just a bunch of agnostics and deists or people of other faiths. It was the Christian faith that they believed was absolutely essential, because that was the true and living faith that could transform the heart of man. And without faith in God and faith in God’s word, none of these principles work.
Right, that is still true today.
And she’s got her foot on a rock, which is Plymouth rock. The real Plymouth Rock is just a short distance away from where this statute sits in Plymouth. So that’s faith. She’s the center and core and capstone of it all.
So we start with Faith. Where do we move from there?
So they would believe that faith would then be expressed through these four different aspects in your society. And first we can go to Morality and she’s seated on her chair. And if you look closely, you’ll see that Morality’s eyes are closed. Some of the other statues have their eyes open, but morality’s is closed. She’s looking inward. It’s suggesting that morality is an inner quality. Morality is not just an external standard that is forced on you by the government. It’s an internal virtue or set of virtues. And if you look in her hands, she’s holding the 10 Commandments in her left hand and the scroll of Revelation in her right hand. On the Ten Commandments, on that touchstone tablet, it says Exodus 20. These are the words that God spoke to Moses.
If you look below Morality, she’s got another little carving here and it says “Prophet.” and on the other side it says “Evangelist.” There’s an evangelist who’s actually preaching the Gospel to lost souls. How’s all that tied into morality? Well, they believe that morality must first start with a transformation of the heart, which is coming from the power of God when the Gospel is preached. So once the heart is transformed, you then begin to love what God loves and hate what God hates by the power of his Spirit. And now you need a standard, which was given to us by the prophet Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai with those Ten Commandments, those two tablets. And there she’s holding it as well as the scroll of Revelation indicating that our morality is founded on both the morality found in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
I look around in our culture today and our morality has shifted a little bit from this standard. Right?
It’s so interesting that she’s holding the 10 Commandments, which is also known as the moral law.
When we look at the moral law and how we as humans have broken God’s moral law, it has separated us from him.
That’s right. That’s how we know that we’ve sinned. When we look at the Ten Commandments it’s just like a mirror. In fact, Scripture calls God’s moral law a mirror. And if we look into it, we can see what we look like from God’s perfect perspective, and that we’re broken and dirty and that we need his healing and his cleansing.
So the reason that this morality is so important is that not only do we please God personally when we are moral people, but it allows us to make good laws in our nation. And that’s the next figure, “Law” and laws are morals.
Now, some people will say, “Well, you can’t legislate morality. You just can’t be imposing your morals on other people.” Well, if you think about it all laws are legislating somebody’s morality. I mean, if someone says, “Well, you need to go 55 miles an hour because you’re going to be endangering other people’s lives and you shouldn’t be doing that.” That’s legislating morals. That’s what laws are. They’re there to protect the people and to minimize evil. And that’s the government’s job. Government exists to restrain evil. So good laws are portrayed by the man of law who’s seated in his judge’s chair.
And he’s holding the Book of Law in his hand. His other hand is outstretched in mercy. And if you notice the book in his hand, of law, is directly beneath the book in Faith’s hand. And this is indicating that the laws of man must always line up under God’s laws. And so God’s laws are always superior. If they don’t line up and agree with God’s laws in the Bible, they’re not good laws. And those good laws are characterized on the right side by Justice.
Lady Justice is holding the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in her other hand. There’s an inference there that laws must be just, and that justice is always to be served and dealt out when laws are broken. That’s why the government does not bear the sword in vain.
On the other side is Mercy, and Mercy is there to balance out injustice. And that’s what we see in the scriptures. We see justice and mercy, justice and mercy. And the judge is able to either sentence someone to a just punishment or to extend mercy because he’s a man of morality and faith himself.
What a beautiful representation of God, our savior who is just, but he also is merciful at the same time. I mean, it’s hard to combine those two things. But wow, what a beautiful picture of our savior that is!
That’s right. Our kids try to catch us on that, right? “You’re always going with justice, where’s the mercy? Give me mercy.”
All the time. My daughter asks for grace all the time. “Mom can you please do show me grace just this one time.”
So that’s law. You must have good laws in your nation, in your society, in your culture. I think it’s important to remember too, that this idea that government can solve our problems if we just elect the right person or we just have the right laws in place is incorrect. Our forefathers understood that a big powerful government that took care of everything was really a bad idea. That’s why they came out of England, right? I mean, King James, he did everything. He owned everything. He had all the power. You lived and died based on what the good King said was best for you. That wasn’t their idea of a good way to live.
So they understood that the first kind of law that needs to be adopted are personal laws. – that I’m going to love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and I’m going to love my neighbor as myself. So the government, in their mind started, with self-government, without self-government and people running around and taking advantage of each other you’re going to need to find a police officer. Now, you’re going to need to find somebody to help you protect yourself against all these thieves and people killing each other and doing all this stuff because they’re not self-governing under God’s laws.
But if you do self-govern, then you don’t need… Look, if kids would govern themselves, they wouldn’t need parents to discipline them, right? And if parents would govern themselves, we wouldn’t need police officers to come and take care of domestic problems. And if the police could take care of local problems, we wouldn’t need the national guard to show up in a city because locally we’re taking care of things and that’s what they understood. So personal self-government, obeying God’s laws on a personal level takes care of so much that there should not be much need for big authoritarian government from the top down.
Right. It’s interesting, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” And I would say it’s not just bound up in the heart of a child, it’s bound up in the heart of man. We, as humans, are foolish, rebellious people, which is why we need God’s law. We need God’s moral law to tell us how to live. It’s why we need God’s Word to direct us and guide us in the ways of the Lord.
So once you have some good laws in your nation and people are governing themselves with good morality, and that morality is built on a transformation of the heart by the Word of God, and you’re trusting in the true God of heaven, our provider, our protector. Then you can begin to do the… I want to say the finer things in life, but it’s not just the finer things. These are essential things in life. But if you’re constantly fighting and just trying to survive and protect against internal strife in your society, you’re not going to have the opportunity to teach your kids math and to teach them history and to teach them all these other things. But if you have good laws and good morality and trusting in the Lord, and you’re receiving his blessing, now you can teach your kids about architecture. You can teach them about warfare. You can teach them all about charity and all of the things that make life worth living.
So here we have Education and Education is a woman seated in a chair. This woman is representing a parent figure. And I know that the pilgrims did not see education as any less than a parent-led privilege and responsibility. They would never go along with the idea of a government funded, government run school. Why? Well, think of it. They just came out of England and if King James or queen Elizabeth was funding a school system, the first thing that would be out of the school, it’d be the Bible. And it would be, “Do whatever the King or the queen says.” And so this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in Faith’s hand says that parents are to “train up their children in the way they should go.” And so she’s holding the books of knowledge.
She has a wreath of victory around her head. She can do this this, this woman, this mom has gotten what is required for her to educate her children. On her right it says “youth” and there’s a picture of a mom training her child in the way they should go so that when they become old, and there’s an old man right here, his name is Wisdom and he’s holding a globe and he’s holding a Bible indicating that he has a Biblical worldview.
So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.
And that’s what we read in the very beginning for both civil and religious liberty. As we continue, we see liberty man. He’s strong. He’s ready to fight. He’s got a sword in his hand, he’s got a helmet on his head, and he has a breast plate. He’s got all of the things that he needs for battle.
In fact, you can see the entire armor of God that we see in Ephesians 6 represented right here, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of the Gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit.
The chains on his wrists and on his ankles are broken. He has been liberated and set free. He’s been set free internally from the power of sin by the Gospel. And he’s been set free externally from the power of tyrants. And if you look on his shoulder, you’ll see there’s a lion’s claw. There is a lion draped over his back. That lion represents tyranny. Tyranny has been overthrown, the lion represented England. And he Liberty has overthrown the tyrant.
And on his side is a picture of his wife and her name is Peace. She’s holding a basket full of gifts for her family and for her friends.
Liberty is ready to defend his faith. He’s ready to defend his morals, the laws of his country. And also the ability to educate his children in a biblical worldview. This is the liberty man. And this is the result of The Matrix of Liberty. You don’t start with that guy. You finish with that guy after you have Faith, Morality, Law, Education, and generations of those virtues produce men and women of liberty.
Yvette Hampton was recently on the Be The People podcast with Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Carol M. Swain, to talk about homeschooling and Schoolhouse Rocked.
“What knowledge and skills does it take to become a successful home-schooling parent? In this episode, I interview Yvette Hampton, a home-schooling parent and producer of the forthcoming film: School House Rocked: The Home-Schooling Revolution. Yvette updates us on the film and legal and educational resources available to parents contemplating their next steps.”
“Yvette and Garritt Hampton are the producers of a feature-length documentary on home schooling in America. The film, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, is in post-production. Yvette and I discuss the more than two-million families who now home school and the challenges they face. Join us for an informative session with a true believer who has interviewed education experts, curriculum developers, parents, and families across the nation.”
Carol M. Swain, PhD is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University, and a lifetime member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University.