A Guide to Celebrating Advent

Christmas is just around the corner! How are you preparing your heart, and the hearts of your family, for this important season? Does the busyness of the Christmas season overwhelm you? Does your family end the season focused on its true meaning or does it end in a state of exhaustion and a missed opportunity to point everyone to their Savior?

Yvette Hampton spoke with Lara Molettiere from Everyday Graces Homeschool and author of A Gentle Advent about the joy of celebrating Advent. They discussed what Advent really is, how and why you should celebrate it with your family, and how to incorporate it into your homeschool. 

No Black Friday Here…

In this season of amazing deals and sometimes runaway consumerism, instead of Black Friday deals we are asking you to consider something else. If Schoolhouse Rocked has been a blessing to your family we would like to ask you to consider making a year-end donation to help us keep providing these resources to homeschooling families around the world. You donation is and will be used to continue production on the feature-length documentary (now in post-production) and to continue to publish The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Whether or not you can donate, we ask that EVERY listener support Schoolhouse Rocked by sharing articles, videos, and podcast episodes with your friends and family, by leaving a review on iTunes, and by praying for our team.

Watch Yvette’s full interview with Lara Molettiere on the Schoolhouse Rocked YouTube Channel.

Check out Lara’s Advent courses! Listen to part 3 of this interview to find the one that’s best for your family:

A Gentle Advent

A Gentle Advent: Jesse Tree

A Gentle Advent: Colonial Christmas

A Homespun Hallelujah

*Receive 15% OFF any of Lara’s Advent courses using Code: SHRADVENT

What is Advent? 

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Why Celebrate Advent?  

“For the Christian message is not merely that God is lovely, but that God is love; not merely that God is beautiful and is to be found in the pursuit of what is attractive and desirable in the world, but that God is transcendently and absolutely beautiful and is to be found even in what to the world’s eye is ugly and deformed and unworthy.” – Richard Viladesau, Theology and the Arts 

Why do some families choose Advent “school”? 

“One of the major obstacles impeding any positive future change in our lives is that we are too busy with our current work or activity. Levi quit his tax-work, Peter stopped fishing at lake, Paul ceased being a priest. They all left their jobs because they thought it was necessary.” -John Ruskin

ADVENT BY THE WEEK 

Week 1} HOPE – Isaiah 9:2 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

Week 2} PEACE – John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Week 3} JOY (the pink candle) – Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: ”My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”

Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Week 4} LOVE – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Recommended Resources:

Lara’s Blog

@LarasPlace

Everyday Graces Homeschool – Facebook

BibleStudyTools.com

It’s a Wonderful Life

Not Quite Black Friday…

Here’s an every day GREAT DEAL! We have lowered the price of LIFETIME REGISTRATION for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo to just $10!

Too rich for your blood? How does FREE sound?

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

It’s Time to Take Action!

Join the Revolution!

We all want to be part of something BIG. We want to make a difference in the world and impact the lives of others. That’s why we see masses of people linking arms to make their voices heard about the things they believe in – both good and bad. And YOU have an opportunity to be part of something big (and good), too!

Four years ago, our family set out to produce a documentary called Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution – a documentary that will show the world that homeschooling is good for families and vital to saving our great nation. It will debunk many of the misconceptions and negative stereotypes of homeschooling, as well as bring much-needed encouragement to the homeschool community.

We have worked tirelessly during this time and through much prayer and our commitment to serving the Lord, He has sustained us and built up the ministry greater than we ever could have imagined. The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast just aired episode 189, people continue to be engaged and encouraged through the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, our social media outlets and newsletters and, most importantly, the movie is ALMOST DONE! We cannot wait for you to see it! As you know, the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked is funded by donations from people like you, along with the help of a few faithful sponsors. But 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. Like so many of you, we have faced serious financial hardships this year and have been operating with a large budget deficit.

We are constantly asked, “When is the movie going to be done?” and though it’s very close to completion, there are still a few important steps to take and a good sum of money to raise {about $50k} in order to get it into your hands. The call to action at the end of the movie is “Join the Revolution!”  because as parents, we are in an all-out war for the hearts and minds of our children.

YOU can Join the Revolution and be part of something BIG! You can be part of opening the eyes of parents all across the world and helping them to see the blessing and importance of home education. It’s no secret that our nation, actually the whole world, is at a critical crossroads in the fight for morality and freedom, and that fight begins at home, through educating of our children with Biblical truth.

As you think about your end-of-year giving, please pray about and consider supporting the Schoolhouse Rocked ministry through a donation and help us finish this important and timely film.

Thank you to those of you who continue to reach out to us with words of encouragement and financial support. It’s truly humbling and incredible to see the hand of God at work in the Schoolhouse Rocked ministry. We were never meant to do this alone and we are grateful for you! 

Soli Deo gloria!

Photo by Kid Circus on Unsplash

Coronavirus and Common Core: The Future (and Past) of Public Education

2020 has been a year of critical changes in education. Will virtual school and social distancing be the new normal? Will the millions of students who have begun homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue as classroom learning returns to normal? Should they?

One of the major effects of millions of students doing public school at home is that the heart of public school education is being revealed to parents who are paying attention to their children’s Zoom lessons. At the same time, our culture has been in a state of upheaval, in near civil war, and the roots of this culture war have been nourished in the public schools. Now the truly radical nature of the indoctrination our public school students are receiving is coming to light.

Alex Newman recently talked with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella on The Schoolhouse Rocked about the true nature of what is being taught at public schools. Common Core, Marxism, statism, nihilism, atheism, evolution, the LGBT agenda: these are the philosophies that are central to public school indoctrination, and if we want to see our culture and our Constitutional Republic saved, we must reclaim the education of our children. Education is truly the key to saving our nation!

Alex, talk about the reality … and I’m not talking just about Common Core. Talk about the reality of the indoctrination that’s happening in the public school system right now. We have many friends back who are public school educators. These are people that we love, people that we’ve gone to church with, and they say, “No, our kids need to be salt and light in the public school. We need to have these Christian kids in there. They’re doing okay.” And for whatever reason, a lot of these parents are still not really seeing the full picture of the indoctrination that’s happening.

Can you talk about that and just bring it? I mean, I really want these parents to know the reality of what is happening to the minds of their children and why so many children … even if their children aren’t walking away from the faith … why it’s dangerous for kids, not just physically. I mean, of course we see that. My niece goes to a public school in Saugus, California and several months ago they had a school shooting. So physically, it’s not safe. But spiritually and emotionally, what is the damage that’s being done in these schools?

Alex Newman:              This is, I think, the most important question, and the data now is very clear. Dan Smithwick at the Nehemiah Institute has been studying this for quite some time, and what he’s found is that the overwhelming majority of Christian children from good Christian homes who spend 12 years in a government indoctrination center masquerading as a school are going to leave the faith. I mean, it’s up there in the 80% range. And that’s the kids who come from good Christian homes with two Christian parents whose parents take them to church. I mean, the data now is very clear. For my generation, millennials, a poll just came out late last year and 70% of millennials now describe themselves as socialists. This would have been unthinkable to earlier generations of Americans, that we would give up all our freedom, that we would give up our understanding of God and trade it in for this cheap fraud that is socialism, that always and everywhere results in death and misery and shortages and tyranny. I mean, it would have been unthinkable.

The reason this is happening is because of the indoctrination going on in the schools. Nowadays, it’s gotten so extreme, especially in California, but this is now a nationwide issue, in kindergarten, they’re telling children they might have been born in the wrong body and, “We won’t tell your parents if you want to wear a dress to school.” I mean, that’s the level we’re at. In California, now, they’ve got gender support plan and individual transition plan where they’ll start giving your kid hormones and puberty blockers to prepare them for genital mutilation. I mean, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, and yet this is the reality of what our children are going through now at the youngest possible ages in government schools. They’re being just saturated in this race mongering and the hatred of America and the hatred of Christianity.

Our kids are not safe in the public schools, folks. It’s that simple. We’ve got to get them out. And so, for people who really want the condensed version, we have produced a special issue of The New American all about education. You can get it in PDF for like 75 cents. If you want a physical copy, we have to mail you one. I think it costs like three bucks, and you can get 100 if you want to give it to your pastor and your neighbors. It’s an excellent tool, because we have Duke and Israel and great Americans who’ve worked on these things showing the problem and then the solution. So that’ll give you a really comprehensive overview of what’s happening and where this is going and how you can free yourself and protect your children.

“The idea that we would send our children into battle, alone, without us, where our enemy holds all the power, where the enemy holds all the commanding heights, and they’re the ones who are going to teach your children, I mean, it’s just unfathomable to me.”

Alex Newman

But I’ll just wrap it up by saying … People tell me all these different excuses. “Oh, I can’t afford to get my kids out.” You can’t afford not to get your kids out. When they come home, and they want to mutilate themselves and they’re suicidal and they’re taking heroin … I mean, I’ve seen this in my own family, in my own community. This is ubiquitous now. You can’t afford not to get your children out. And then the salt and light thing, “My kids are going to be salt and light.” Would you send your children into a war? Would you send your children off to go fight in Iraq or whatever? Of course, you wouldn’t. We know better than to send our children into armed conflict. And yet God tells us crystal clear … Go to Ephesians 6:12. We are in a spiritual war.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Alex Newman:              And if you don’t recognize that you’re in a spiritual war, you might be on the wrong side, so you probably better get up to speed. But we’re in a spiritual war right now. The idea that we would send our children into battle, alone, without us, where our enemy holds all the power, where the enemy holds all the commanding heights, and they’re the ones who are going to teach your children, I mean, it’s just unfathomable to me. I know a lot of Christians, they don’t want to think about it this way because, “Hey, we both have to work and we don’t have enough money.”

I tell people, “I would live in a cardboard box before I would send my children to a public school.” And I don’t mean that in a condescending way at all. Mom and Dad who you’ve got your kids in a public school, I’m not judging you. It’s just you don’t know these things because your pastor hasn’t told you and the fake media hasn’t told you. So now I’m telling you because I love you and because I love your kids and I don’t want them to be destroyed. I don’t want them to be brainwashed. I don’t want them to turn against you and turn against your church and turn against our country.

I think, frankly, the only solution … If you go with the title of this show … the only way we’re going to be able to save our freedoms, our nation, our families, our churches, absent just straight divine intervention and God just comes down and fixes it all for us, is going to be to get our children out of the public schools and to make sure they’re getting a good, godly, Christ-centered education either in our homeschools or in a good Christian school if for whatever reason you absolutely can’t homeschool. But parents, you have no higher responsibility to your children than to make sure they’re getting a good education in the things of God, and that’s on you, folks. That’s on you.

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

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

libertysentinel.org

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

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

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

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

Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

How Can We Homeschool and Show Hospitality?

God tells us in I Peter 4:9 to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  If you’re like me, you want to obey the Lord and practice hospitality, and we as homeschooling moms know how much we desperately need relationships with other moms.  We also know that our kids need healthy, strong friendships, and that all of these relationships are built through the practice of hospitality. We bless others and are blessed abundantly when we offer the gift of hospitality. 

But how can we open our days to more people when our homes are already always filled up with children? I tend to feel overwhelmed on a lot of days with completing school and keeping our household running, and it’s not easy for me to be willing to welcome more people into our days. Do you feel this way, too? 


One summer evening, my mom invited our family to her home for a gathering that she called Favorite Pie Party. On that night, she showed the love of Christ through simple hospitality, and it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate some of these practices in simple ways. 

I wrote all about that evening and what I learned about simple hospitality in my family’s upcoming book The Gathering Table (Revell, October 2020).  This is what I wrote: 

“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”

Watch Yvette Hampton’s conversation with Annie Boyd for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

After experiencing hospitality from my mom during the favorite pie party and thinking about what the Bible has to say about opening up our hearts to show love, I got to thinking about some practical ways we can bring hospitality into our already full lives. I’m often one to measure things in volume—food, budget, laundry—so I tend to think I have to do something huge to be hospitable. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be big. Guests are actually relieved when it’s quite simple, because it means they don’t have to do something big either. See how good this is for all of us? I take the pressure off you—you take the pressure off me!

There are many ideas you can easily incorporate into your life to offer this type of hospitality.

“I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.”

Keep It Simple

I was recently invited to a book club by a new friend. The hostess texted me the day of the gathering to say, “I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.” That text relieved my anxieties about going to a new group. My friend let me know that it was important I was coming and that she was more concerned about the true me than a perfect outfit. When I arrived, I was greeted with a warm hug and a “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” She proceeded to offer me a cup of coffee and a treat from a plate full of . . . Oreos!

Those Oreos and the fact that the other ladies were wearing favorite yoga pants and hanging out together on the couch made the evening comfortable and low-key. The relaxed atmosphere took the attention off of food, clothes, or home decor and instead helped us to focus on each other and some great conversation. This “come as you are and be yourself” attitude exhibited the love of Christ to me.

In what ways can you show hospitality in a similar, comfortable way?

●      Meet at a park and bring a picnic to share. When my kids were little, I invited friends to meet at a community center that had a play structure. We’d visit over a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on the kids. No one will feel any less “loved” because you aren’t meeting at your home.

●      Be spontaneous and casually invite people over. Last-minute often works better for some folks than weeks of planning. Intentionally focus more on the people rather than the food and preparations.

●      Host a “leisure club,” “informal book group,” or other gathering around a purpose and serve foods you can pick up at the grocery store. When your friends see that you didn’t stress, they’ll feel more at ease and open to conversation.

●      Like my friend did, text your guests before arriving to say, “I’m glad you’re coming. Just wear your comfiest clothes!” Your text might also say, “Don’t worry about childcare—come with your kids!” or “Come when you can!” Use texts as an encouraging way to show others you value them and their presence at your gathering.

●      Have some light, casual music playing in the background. Music sets the tone for the environment and helps guests (and hosts) feel more at ease. 

Most importantly, just ask the Lord for help and ideas to obey him in simple, doable ways. He knows you’re homeschooling, he sees your efforts everyday, and he wants to help you obey and show his love through hospitality. 

Author Bio:

Annie Boyd is  the wife of Shane, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother of five gregarious and adventurous children, whom she homeschools. She loves traveling, spending time outside, reading, and baking bread. Annie received her BA in elementary education and biblical studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She accepted Christ as a young girl and hopes to invite others to know about his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. 

The Gingham Apron – We are five women from one Iowa farm family who love to find new ways to celebrate everyday life together. Join us as we plan family gatherings, try new recipes, take care of our homes, and educate our kids. We cherish our beautiful family farm, our time spent with our family, and most of all- our faith in Jesus Christ. 

*****

Excerpt and pictures used with permission. 

How Long is a Homeschool Day?

“How long is a homeschool day supposed to be?”

Every few episodes, Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella answer listeners’ questions on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. For answers to your homeschooling questions, listen to the podcast or visit our Homeschool Answers YouTube playlist. You can even submit your own questions on the Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page.

Yvette Hampton:           A listener asks, “How long is a homeschool day supposed to be?” So Aby, how much time should a family spend homeschooling each day?

Aby Rinella:                  Okay, your homeschool day is as long as it needs to be for your family. The answer is not going to be “as long as a public school day.” I’ll tell you that.

Yvette Hampton:           Right. Now, explain that real quick, because you were a public school teacher, so I want you to unpack that a little bit.

Aby Rinella:                  Okay, so let’s say my class started at 8:00 and we got out at 2:30. It’s different at different schools, but that’s a long day. But let me tell you what that day was filled with; 23 kids getting their snow clothes on and off. It was filled with bathroom breaks and it was filled with helping one kid while the rest of the kids waited. It was filled with trying to walk in a line 58,000 times to get to music class. It was filled with all of these things that we, as parents at home, don’t have to think about or worry about. So your homeschool day is going to look different based on how long it takes your kid to accomplish whatever it is that you, as the parent, have set out for them to accomplish.

                                    That looks different at different ages and in different seasons of life, but if you are doing five hours of kindergarten, you need to stop it!

Yvette Hampton:           You’re doing too much.

Aby Rinella:                  You need to knock it off. So many parents ask this question. The thing that we fall into as parents is to think, “I’m not doing enough because this is only taking two hours” and I want to say, “It really shouldn’t take much more than that in those elementary years.” Honestly, it’s that you have been programmed to think that a school day is eight hours or seven hours and that is absolutely not the case with homeschool.

“I used to get so frustrated because we would get up and we would do our morning chores and we would do all this stuff that needed to be done in the morning and then by the time everybody was up and ready and moving, it was 11 or 12.”

Yvette Hampton:           Right. And it depends how you define homeschool day, because for our family, I used to get so frustrated because we would get up and we would do our morning chores and we would do all this stuff that needed to be done in the morning and then by the time everybody was up and ready and moving, it was 11 or 12! It’s typically 11 or 12 before we’re really into our schooling academics.

Aby Rinella:                  Your academic studies, yeah.

Yvette Hampton:           Until we’re actually doing math and science, but part of that morning time we’re doing morning basket and we’re reading together and sometimes we’re playing games. The other day we sat and played googly eyes for 45 minutes and we’ll play Yahtzee. That’s all just part of life. Sometimes we go grocery shopping. Last week, I got my girls up one day and I was like, “We’re going to go get donuts this morning!“ And it’s shocking how quickly they will get up and ready when you say the word donuts! Anyway, that’s a different topic. 

Life is part of homeschooling and so how are you defining your homeschool day really matters, because there are often days where we’re still doing history or science or math or any of those things until five o’clock in the evening, sometimes six o’clock in the evening, but we have done a whole lot of other stuff through the day. It’s not like they have been sitting at the table from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM doing schoolwork.

Aby Rinella:                  Exactly.

Yvette Hampton:           We’ve done it kind of sporadically, throughout the day because we’ve had interruptions and stuff, but that’s the beauty of homeschooling. That’s how our family works.

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah, and that’s really the beauty of homeschool freedom. And that’s what really is important, is the freedom that we have as parents to make those schedules and to be interrupted because really it’s not an interruption, it’s life. And so, every family’s homeschool day is going to look different, so try to get out the box of thinking your day should look like a typical school day. The worst thing you can do as a homeschool mom is make your home look like the public school.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Aby Rinella:                  That’s not what we’re trying to do.

Yvette Hampton:           Or make your homeschool look like your neighbor’s homeschool or your friend’s homeschool, because Aby, you and I are very different…

Aby Rinella:                  Very different.

Yvette Hampton:           In the way that we schedule our days. I mean, you kind of get up and get going with your kids and you guys are done earlier than us. You’re two hours behind us and you’re probably done before we are and that’s okay. It’s just how our family works.

Aby Rinella:                  And here’s the thing, it’s going to change. You might have teenagers who have a job to get to, so they need to do school at a different time of day. Look at your family and go to the Lord seek His wisdom on how your day should be scheduled.

Yvette Hampton:           Right, and do what works best so that you and your children are not constantly stressed out and on edge all day long.

Aby Rinella:                  Totally.

Yvette Hampton:           Like you said, it depends on the age of your kids. I have a high schooler now, so academics have gotten a whole lot more serious this year than they have been in the past and my youngest is in fourth grade and so she’s getting a little bit more serious about her academics as well. 

Aby Rinella:                  I think one of the greatest things we could do is throw away the clock and do school based on how long your kids’ attention span is. This may not always be possible, because we live in the real world, but we get bogged down by the clock.

Jesse and I lived off the grid for a while and we got rid of our clock for about a year. And you know what, we worked when the sun came up, we ate when we were hungry, we stopped when the day was done and the stress level went away.I know we can’t do that now, but if you could just hide the clock while you’re doing your school day, and as long as your kids are engaged, keep them there. When they’re done, quit. Don’t let the clock rule your homeschool day!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Homeschooling Uncooperative Boys (The Pre-Teen Years)

“How do I homeschool my son, age 11, who’s uncooperative? He fights me on everything and I’m feeling so defeated and overwhelmed.”

Every few episodes, Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella answer listeners’ questions on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. For answers to your homeschooling questions, listen to the podcast or visit our Homeschool Answers YouTube playlist. You can even submit your own questions on the Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page.

Yvette Hampton:           A listener asks, “How do I homeschool my son, age 11, who’s uncooperative? He fights me on everything and I’m feeling so defeated and overwhelmed.” Aby, Do you want to jump on this?

Aby Rinella:                  I read this and immediately two great resources came to my mind, because at age 11 I feel like everything changes. With adolescence comes a huge shift. 

I’m going to give you some great resources for dealing with this critical time in your child’s life. First, is an amazing book called No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace And Hopeby Hal Melanie Young. And this book really gave me insight. It’s not just boys. It’s also girls! There’s a lot going on in an 11-year-old. And you’re not alone, mama! I think that this is a common thing. So I would suggest that you get this book. It really helps navigate through some of those tumultuous years and the confusion that they’re feeling. And often that that comes out in what you called “uncooperative” behavior. They fight you on everything that is just kind of a result of where they’re at. This book gives you a lot of good tips and pointers.

The other one is called Mother And Son: The Respect Effect, by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs. And it talks about how around that age, 11 – you’ve babied your son. He’s been your baby. I have a son and it’s the same – They’re your little baby. And you hold them and you snuggle them. And they do whatever mama says because you’re mama. And then they hit this certain age where they’re starting to become men. And in their nature, they don’t want to be told what to do by you. And so there is this new dance that you’re going to have to learn, between being his authority and his teacher, but at the same time, understanding that he’s coming into manhood, and he is naturally learning to assert himself in a new way.

And your relationship with your son is very unlike that one your daughters… It’s very different with sons. Your relationship very much shifts at that season. 

We want you to know that we’re praying for you. You’re not alone. This is normal, but there are answers out there. So it’s just going to be a shift with a son to understand how you’re going to relate to him differently in this season and moving forward.

Yvette Hampton:           I am so glad you could answer that because I have a family of all girls. I come from a family of girls. I only have daughters and five nieces. And so it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around what it’s like to homeschool a son, because they really are different. God made them male and female!

Aby Rinella:                  Yes, he did.

Yvette Hampton:           Imagine that.

Aby Rinella:                  But I would say, too, for those with daughters, No Longer Little talks about daughters, too, because they go through a shift in 11, too.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes. Oh yes.

Aby Rinella:                  Oh, my goodness. Do they go through a shift.

Yvette Hampton:           Hormones. Oh, goodness.

Aby Rinella:                  Yep. So you know, it’s not just sons, but there is something different about sons. So I cannot recommend that book highly enough.

For more on this subject Listen to “Homeschooling Boys,” with Durenda Wilson on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

The Best Preschool Curriculum…

Every few episodes, Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella answer listeners’ questions on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. For answers to your homeschooling questions, listen to the podcast or visit our Homeschool Answers YouTube playlist. You can even submit your own questions on the Schoolhouse Rocked Facebook page.

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. 

Get your copy of The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live, by Lesli Richards.

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.

Watch Yvette’s interview with Lesli Richards, author of The Homegrown Preschooler.

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. 

And Leslie really does answer it the same way that you do!

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! 

Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton: Did you have a lot of arguments?

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

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

Resources for Advanced Readers

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

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

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

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

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

How Can I Find a Homeschooling Mentor?

Older and younger woman cooking together

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

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

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

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

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

Aby Rinella: Absolutely.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella: Okay, okay.

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

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

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

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

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

Aby Rinella: Right.

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

Aby Rinella: Right.

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

Aby Rinella: Exactly.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella: Yes.

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

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

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

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

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

17 Favorite Books for Homeschoolers

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 podcast@schoolhouserocked.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. 

Tricia Goyer recently wrote another one called The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members, and One Impossible Goal, which is also excellent.

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: I know, it is going to be an expensive episode. But, Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. The next one. This one’s by Heidi St. John, and it’s called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. And this one I read early in my homeschool journey, probably within my first one or two years of homeschooling, and it’s managing your days through the homeschool years, so talking about time management. [chuckle] Apparently, I need to read this one again. It’s been a while. Since we were just talking about time management. But, yeah, it’s The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, by Heidi St. John, and it’s a fantastic book. Just another must-have. Another one, we recently did another podcast on this one, and I’ll link back to all of these, so you can actually just hear from these women yourselves, but this one is called, MOM: Master Organizer of Mayhem, by Kristy Clover. Another new book that just came out. And you’ll want to listen to that podcast, because Kristi is the master of organization.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

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

Aby Rinella: Yes. You’re stealing all of mine.

Yvette Hampton: I’m sorry, Aby.

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: You’re going to have to make up some others. Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, and then Ginger Hubbard, who’s a very, very sweet, good friend of mine, she’s got two. I Can’t Believe You Just Said That! is her newest one and that’s been out for about two years.

Aby Rinella: And if you say Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, you have stolen almost my whole list.

Yvette Hampton: Okay, then, I won’t tell you my second, but from the same author, Ginger Hubbard.

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: You can. No, say it. Tell us. Tell us.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, it’s called Don’t Make Me Count to Three! .

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: This is how you know these are quality books because our lists look almost exactly alike.

Yvette Hampton: Are they? And we didn’t even talk about this beforehand.

Aby Rinella: I know. Isn’t that crazy?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Yeah, that is awesome. So, yeah, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, that’s a book I read early, early in my… When my oldest was probably one or two years old, and she’s now 14. So, that’s an absolute must read. That, and Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, those two, if you could pick any two books on parenting.

And Israel Wayne has a new parenting book that just came out as well, called Raising Them Up: Parenting for Christians is what it’s called.

Aby Rinella: And we just did a podcast with him.

Aby Rinella: That is another phenomenal parenting… Those were definitely my top two parenting books, Don’t Make Me Count to Three! and Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Alright, do you have more on your list or can I give the measly two I have left that you haven’t stolen from me?

[laughter]

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.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, no.

Aby Rinella: That means those are amazing books. One is Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, and it is… I read this book before the beginning of every single school year.

Yvette Hampton: Love it.

Aby Rinella: And I just keep re-reading it because it puts you back where you need to be when you start. 

And we have talked about about time management. So many homeschool moms, “Let’s talk about time management, let’s talk about curriculum, let’s talk about this,” but this book will put you back to where your heart needs to be before you even start looking into those things. And last but not least, the one I have on my list that you didn’t, but you’re going to go, “Oh yeah, that one too,” is by Todd Wilson, called Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, yeah. I haven’t read that.

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.

[chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: And I thought of one more.

Aby Rinella: Oh, you… Okay.

Yvette Hampton: Just one more. By Durenda Wilson, The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Aby Rinella: Oh, that is a…

Yvette Hampton: That’s another good one.

Aby Rinella: That was like the precedent to teaching for… Yeah, absolutely. The Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And that’s a short one too. That’s a super easy read.

Aby Rinella: Yes. I would say that one would be one that you read every single fall too, or in the summer. That’s a yearly and annual reader to get your heart back where you need to be.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: In fact, put that one almost to the top… I mean, put it to the top, Durenda Wilson’s Unhurried Homeschooler.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. So now, go out and buy all of these books and read them all before the next school year!

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: No pressure.

Yvette Hampton: You will be blessed. I promise. [chuckle] You may not…

Aby Rinella: Manage your time well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, manage your time well. You may not get to make dinner or do laundry or anything, but you will be well read, and you will know all you need to know about home homeschooling. 

Aby Rinella: You won’t have time to homeschool, but you’ll know all about it!

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