You Can Homeschool Multiple Ages

“I feel like we have always homeschooled since we became parents because I believe that homeschooling starts at birth. I don’t think homeschooling begins with a formal curriculum. In that sense, we have always done it.”

Brittney Howard is a homeschooling mom of 5 children who range in age from toddlers to teenagers. She has been homeschooling for 17 years and loves Jesus, reading, coffee, and good conversations. She’s operates a successful home business and has been able to bless her family financially while also successfully homeschooling her kids. She lives with her husband and kids in a tiny town near Savannah, GA. She loves empowering others to reach their potential and is passionate about leadership.

Yvette Hampton:           My sweet friend Brittney is with me today and to talk today about homeschooling with little kids. She has multiple ages and is working from home while homeschooling. Whether you are homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling, wherever you are right now, I hope that this article will be a great blessing to you.

Yvette:                         Our readers can’t hear your voice, but podcast listeners may recognize your voice, because in our very first Schoolhouse Rocked movie trailer that came out about a year and a half ago, at the very beginning, it’s your voice that people hear. You say, “I felt like I was messing it all up.” Now you get to hear her on the podcast and be encouraged by her. Brittney, tell us about your family. You are married to your wonderful husband, Anthony. You guys have a great family. How long have you been homeschooling and how did you get started with homeschooling?

Brittney:                       I have five children. They range from toddlers all the way to teenagers and we have always homeschooled. I feel like we have always homeschooled since we became parents because I believe that homeschooling starts at birth. I don’t think homeschooling begins with a formal curriculum. In that sense, we have always done it. 17 years, my oldest just turned 17 yesterday.

As far as a formal curriculum, we started right away when he was in kindergarten and I have just always valued freedom. Freedom is a word that is super important to me and I wanted that freedom with my children’s education as well. I wanted to be free to choose what they were going to be learning. I wanted the freedom to choose what influences we’re going to be in their lives because when they’re not with you all the time, you really don’t have that freedom to choose what influences are going to come into their lives.

I wanted that freedom as well and just wanted the freedom to give them an individualized education, rather than the, “you’re eight years old, you learn this”, kind of in a box model. I wanted the freedom to encourage them to pursue whatever their talents, gifts and abilities that God had given them are. I also wanted freedom to be able to protect them from just worldly things and things like that.

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Yvette:                         Yeah. You have multiple ages. Like you said, your youngest one is just going into preschool and your oldest is finishing out his junior year this year. One of the questions that we get asked all the time is how do you homeschool with multiple ages and what do you do with those little ones when you’re trying to focus on homeschooling the older ones? How have you learned how to balance the different ages?

“Don’t feel like you have to be the one that teaches them everything. You do want to be a primary influence, but you’re not necessarily the one who has to teach them everything and they can learn a lot on their own. My children do not feel like they’re dependent on me to get all of their schoolwork done. They just know what their responsibilities are and they go and do it.”

Listen to Brittney Howard on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (7/9/2019 episode)

Brittney:                       Yeah, that’s a great question too. The struggle is real. Lots of things. I have lots of thoughts on this. It is definitely difficult when they are little, but I think implementing a few simple systems really help. When my littles were even smaller than they are now, I had like a toy rotation system.

I had four different bins of toys. They were labeled week one, week two, week three, week four and I would give them one box at a time for a week. That was the only time they can play with those toys from that box was that week. The other three boxes would go in the attic, out of sight, out of mind. Every week, they would feel like they were getting a new box of toys. I could have my littles playing with their new box of toys for a period of time while I was working with the older ones and that would keep them occupied and entertained. Another thing I would do was playpen time, just train those littles to play independently and not depend on someone else for their entertainment and something.

Another thing is having older ones work with the little ones while you are doing one-on-one instruction. I did a lot of that because I do have a broad range. I might have an eight year old work with a two year old while I’m working with the 10 year old, et cetera. I think another thing that’s really important is to delegate when you can because I do have five kids so there’s no way that I as one person can teach my five children everything they need to know about life, fate, health, everything they need to know.

I’ve learned to delegate well. I like to say that I’ve hired master tutors to teach my children two plus two and things like that. Things that I don’t necessarily feel like I have to be the only one who teaches them that. We do a lot of online learning, we do a lot of video lessons and things like that. That is delegating. I will teach them the things that I’m really passionate about. Then delegate everything else. I’ll delegate their Math, they’ll do BJU online or they’ve done teaching textbooks, they do Saxon online. There’s a lot of different things you can do. The options are endless at this point, but I will teach them things like Bible or just things like that that I feel like I do want to be the primary influence.

I will teach them the things like that. Another thing is train them to be independent learners. If you just teach your children how to learn, they can learn anything they want to learn and I will never forget the day my oldest son, he was probably 15 years old at the time, but I was cooking dinner and he walks in the kitchen. He’s like, “Hey mom, guess what? I’m on iTunes.” I was like, “Really? How did you do that?” He taught himself to play guitar. He taught himself to write music. He taught himself anything he wanted to know about performing, music, all of that. Now he writes songs. He’s a musician, he’s an artist and I have not taught him any of that. All I taught him was how to learn.

You just start there and don’t feel like you have to be the one that teaches them everything. You do want to be a primary influence, but you’re not necessarily the one who has to teach them everything and they can learn a lot on their own. My children do not feel like they’re dependent on me to get all of their schoolwork done. They just know what their responsibilities are and they go and do it. Then the last thing would be in a group. Anything that you can do in a group such as memory work or just grouping kids together that are similar in age or level, then you can get a lot more accomplished that way too.

“I have learned to ask good questions. Whenever my children come to me with a question, I will often do what Jesus did and answer with a question. I don’t really directly answer their questions a lot of times, I will just show them where to find the answer instead of answering. Even if I know the answer, I would say, ‘Oh, that’s a great question. Why don’t you go research that and then you come tell me what the answer to that is.’”

Yvette:                         Let me go back to teaching them how to learn because oftentimes we say that in the homeschool world, and especially for the mom who’s brand new at homeschooling or who’s just thinking about homeschooling. The big question is always, well how? How do you do that? How do you teach your kids how to learn? How have you gone about doing that with your kids?

Brittney:                       That is a great question too. I have learned to ask good questions. Whenever my children come to me with a question, I will often do what Jesus did and answer with a question. I don’t really directly answer their questions a lot of times, I will just show them where to find the answer instead of answering. Even if I know the answer, I would say, “Oh, that’s a great question. Why don’t you go research that and then you come tell me what the answer to that is.”

Yvette:                         That is a fantastic answer. Now let me as a mom, one of the things I think about in doing that is there’s so much on the internet that could be dangerous for kids. Do you have a way that if they’re going to go use the internet to research something that you can protect them from seeing something or stumbling upon something that you don’t want them to stumble upon?

Brittney:                       Yeah, absolutely. We have internet filters, we use Covenant Eyes. Anything that would be questionable would be blocked, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be internet-based. Books are also a great resource.

We have tons of books like you can see. We have lots and lots of books. If my kid has a question about volcanoes, then I’m going to point them in the direction of a book that would provide the answer.

Yvette:                         Right. We went to a thrift store, this was several months ago and I was with my youngest daughter and they had a bunch of Encyclopedia sets and I was like, “Oh, encyclopedias.” And she said, “What are encyclopedias?” I was like, “Oh no, where has our role to them that we don’t know what encyclopedias are anymore.” It was really fun. I got to open some of them up with her and actually show her like, “This is how we did it when I was a kid. We did not have the internet. We couldn’t just pull anything up on Wikipedia or ask Siri, tell us about volcanoes. You actually had to research it through a book.

You had to go to the library, you had to find resources to bring them into your home in order to actually learn about them.” That is a fantastic way of course to do that. I think it’s healthy for kids to take that extra step of just saying, “Not everything needs to be found on the internet because half the time it’s not true anyway when you research things online.” Of course, not that everything you find in the library is true either. But, I think finding other ways to research those things are fantastic and having great curriculum in your home that also provide answers. Whether it’s science or history or reading, reading good literature, things like that. You can find so many answers through those resources as well.

Brittney:                       Yes. One more thing you can do is asking an expert. Just ask them, “Who do you think we could ask to find out this answer?” Then they can start brainstorming of people they know who might be an expert on that. Then just that cultivates leadership skills, social skills and all of that good stuff.

Backstage Pass Members can watch the full video of this interview with Brittney Howard.

Yvette:                         That is fantastic. I love that answer because people are always excited and willing to help especially when it comes to kids and if you’re an expert in something, people always want to be that one that someone else comes to and says, “Hey, how do you do this?” Or, “Can you explain this to me?”

That’s always a blessing to the person who’s being asked as well so very, very exciting. I want to ask you because I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that it was your voice in the beginning of that interview that we did.

We interviewed you for Schoolhouse Rocked the movie and your interview is hands down one of our favorites and I love it because what we did with the movie was we interviewed several homeschool experts. We’ve got the Andrew Pudewa and Christopher Perrin and Sarah Mackenzie and Heidi St. John and Ken Ham, all those people and a whole lot more, but we didn’t just interview the homeschool convention speakers and writers and experts. We interviewed real families just like you and I who are in the thick of it right now who have just figured out this homeschooling thing with the help of other people. One of the things you said was you said, “I felt like I was messing it all up.” Like most homeschool moms, you felt like you are not well enough equipped in the beginning to teach your children at home. Why did you feel that way and then how have you overcome that feeling?

Brittney:                       Well, I just thought this could not be right. This cannot be normal for it to be this hard and also, I don’t know if I’ve shared with you a little bit of my background, but I was actually a teenage mother when I had my oldest child, I was only 17 and I had no idea how to raise a child.

I understood the statistics were stacked against us, but I was determined that I was not going to be a statistic and neither was my son. I got to work learning how do I raise children who are productive citizens who love the Lord and all of that. I’ve just started reading and learning a ton about just any parenting book from a biblical world view that I could find.

I just knew. I was humble enough to understand that I didn’t know it at all. The same thing when I decided to homeschool, I just started learning. Just any book I could find about homeschooling, I would read it. I did the same thing with building a business. I had no idea how to do any of that either. I just decided to learn.

I just, I believe when I say I teach my children how to learn, I do the same thing myself. I set that example for them that there’s anything that you want to know, you can learn it. We live in an information age. I overcame that feeling of I don’t know what I’m doing, just simply by learning and also at this point, my children are… I have two teenagers. I am beginning to see that fruit of the diligence that I put in when they were in their younger years and my younger children benefit from that because now I don’t have so much fear attached to the daily activities and wondering am I doing it right? Because when I see my smaller ones doing the same things my older ones did and now I look at my older ones and I’m like, “Okay, well, I didn’t ruin them. They’re okay. They’re actually doing really well.” Then that has just given me the confidence to not feel that way now.

Yvette:                         Did you have a mentor or mentors that came alongside of you? Because I know for myself, when I first got into this and into homeschooling and I felt like I have no clue what I’m doing, I really needed to have that community around me to just help me figure it out and help figure out what it would look like from my family because of course, it looks differently for every family. Did you have that in your life? Did you have those who came alongside of you and just encouraged you?

Brittney:                       When I first started homeschooling, no, I did not, but along the way, I met other people. It was something I had to be very intentional about. When I first started homeschooling, I had no idea that there were actually homeschool communities and somehow I heard about it maybe a year or two into it and I just showed up one day I found out where they were meeting and I was scared to death, but I pulled up and the parking lot was full of minivans.

I was like, “I must be in the right place.” Yeah, I met other homeschooling moms and that was extremely helpful as well, just learning from them, asking questions, good conversation and we … I felt like that is so important and needed as a homeschooling mom. You definitely need a community of people who can encourage you, especially the ones who have done it successfully. Yeah, definitely very encouraging.

Yvette:                         Brittney, you are one who… You work from home. You actually have a pretty neat family and I want to talk about two different things because you work from home and you’re able to bring in a pretty significant income and just help support your family financially, but your husband also works from home.

I would love for you to tell the story first about how your boys took a whole lot of time off of what someone would consider traditional school a few years ago and they helped your husband build the house that you live in which is a beautiful house. Tell me how that whole scenario unfolded and what impact that has had on your family.

Brittney:                       Well, thank you for the compliment on my house. I do love our home that my husband and my sons built for our family. Yeah, my husband is a carpenter. He actually would be considered a lot of different trades, but carpentry is something he’s really good at. He did endeavor in building our homes for us and they just took a summer to frame the whole thing.

My boys learned a lot of life skills and hands on practical skills. There were no casualties although there was one minor injury that’s kind of grounded, I won’t go into detail on it, but they learned so much. It brought them together as dad and sons and it’s skills that they will be able to take to their family and maybe just this few short years, who knows?

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s great. Talk about being a work at home mama. I was actually recently reading Proverbs 31 and you think about that Proverbs 31 wife and how she toils with her hand. She works and she helps to bring so much stability to her home, not just and caring for her home, but financially and oftentimes, moms need to do that especially if maybe a mom is working and she needs to … She wants to stop working so that she can homeschool her kids or if she’s already homeschooling in their one income family which of course is very typical for homeschool families and she needs to just bring in some extra income.

How do you go about working from home? You work in sales. How do you do that? How do you balance work and homeschool and family?

Brittney:                       Well, that’s a great question too. I love the Proverbs 31 woman too and a few years ago, I was just really studying that proverb and taking a close look and evaluating and I found some things that I was doing right, but one thing I felt like was missing was I wasn’t contributing financially.

The Proverbs 31 woman wore many business hats. She was a real estate investor. She made things and sold it. She was definitely industrious and I wanted to be her. I wanted to be just like her and we were a one income family and that sometimes that can be a stretch because it’s not that money is everything, but everything you want to do with your family, it costs money.

I did want to bless my family in that way. I was already homeschooling. I felt like I was doing, being a godly homemaker, but I did start looking for something that I could do that would allow me to keep what is the most important as the most important, but also contribute financially at the same time.

Balancing I would say … Again, it goes back to just implementing a few smart systems because you definitely need to manage your time well. I know in the beginning when my kids were smaller, especially there was a lot of getting up early and staying up late. There was a lot of working through nap time. There was a lot of, “Okay, you’ve got it.” While you’re doing your schoolwork independently, Mommy’s going to work on building this. Things like that. Does that answer your question?

Yvette:                         It does. Tell us maybe what a typical day would look like for you at home. You’re saying get up early, stay up late, but how do you do that to where you’re not? Because I work from home, I guess I could say now, we’re filming the documentary, I’m doing this podcast now.

Even for myself, I find that it’s often difficult to balance accomplishing what I need to accomplish. I’m sending emails and making phone calls and podcasting and doing all of these things during the day and then figuring out how do I bring my girls into that with me, what can I do with them?

Then not feeling like I’m ignoring them because sometimes I find myself doing that, not intentionally ignoring them, but just like, “Okay, I’ve got to get this email out. I’ve got to make this phone call. I have to get on this meeting that I have with a few other people.” Or whatever it is and feeling like I’m having to push them aside for a time.

I feel like even for myself, I’m still figuring out how to balance all of that. Like you said, independent work is excellent for the kids and they’re able to do that for … I mean, they’re doing that right now. They’re in the other room doing their schoolwork, but what would a typical day look like for you? How many hours typically do you work? Then do you bring your kids into your work with you? Do you involve them with that and how do you do it without feeling like you’re ignoring them?

Brittney:                       Yes, these are all great questions. Okay, the mom guilt first of all, let’s address that because that’s a very real thing and I think it’s important to understand that balance is not necessarily daily. It’s more like over a period of time.

If I were trying to achieve daily balance, I’d probably would lose my mind because when you are building a business or building something significant, there will be periods of long hours, but then there will be other periods where you have time off.

There will be a lot of times where you feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’m working way too much.” Then there will be other days where you feel like, “Oh my gosh, I should be working more, but I’m not.” I would say be present mentally and not just physically whenever you’re not working, be present.

That is a discipline that anybody can develop and it’s difficult, but that’s why it requires discipline. But just being present when you are with your children goes a long way. I think also it’s important to realize that you are teaching your children even when you’re not eyeball to eyeball with them, they’re learning from you.

They’re learning a work ethic, they’re learning what it takes to be successful. They’re learning what it takes to build something that’s going to impact a lot of people and they’re learning that through watching you. That should encourage you to keep going because you don’t have to be in the floor building blocks with your littles all day every day in order to teach them or build a relationship with them.

Sometimes, just understanding that the quality … You want quantity too. You do want quantity. Nobody wants their career or their business to consume them, but quality really does go a long way. As far as a typical day is concerned, I get up very early way before my kids do. Several hours before my kids do so that I can read because reading is very high on my priority list and I can work out and take care and have my coffee in silence that way I’m nice when everybody gets up.

I take care of those things before everybody wakes up and then I’ll wake my kids up and they will get started on their chores. They will get started and we’ll have breakfast together and then everybody just gets busy on their schoolwork or whatever it is, whatever task, everybody knows what they need to complete.

We have basically, we have a system in place that way everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time and they’re not all coming to me waiting for direction all day long. I don’t have to tell everybody what they need to … I mean, I do have to get them rolling, but once everybody’s rolling, they know what to do.

Everybody goes to do their schoolwork and I will start working. I don’t have any infants at this point. My day definitely looks a lot different now than it did when I first started. At this point, everyone is actually okay doing book work and stuff like that. We’ll all work sometimes independently, sometimes as a group, depending on what time of day and what subject.

We definitely have all of our meals together and everybody’s just pursuing usually whatever subject or interest they have going on at that moment.

Yvette:                         I find that with my girls. One of the things that I really try to do with them is if I’m in the middle of working and they come to me for anything, I try really hard to stop what I’m doing in that instant and look at them and give them my full attention.

Sometimes that’s hard because I’m in the middle of doing something, but I realize more and more that it speaks volumes to them because they need to know that they are actually the priority over everything else, but at the same time, I still have responsibilities to fulfill what God has called us to do.

Yeah, it’s fun and I love that we get to have our kids with us at home and we’re building a family business just like you are and getting to show them this is what it looks like to work diligently throughout the day and teaching them responsibility because that’s important for them to learn.

Brittney:                       Yes. Another thing I would add is delegating well. I mentioned this earlier, but I delegate most of the housework. My children are all trained as soon as they can walk, they are working like I want … I expect my children to have a work ethic and I think you can’t wait until they’re 18 to instill that in them.

As soon as they’re able to, “Hey, go help mommy by throwing this diaper in the trash.” Or like whatever they can do, I expect them to do it and we have a system for chores. We have a system for schoolwork. Systems help, but just knowing that you can’t do everything. If somebody can do something 80% as well as you can do it, then you should delegate it and you should do whatever the most important things God has called you to do it.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. I would love for you to give encouragement to the mom who’s listening right now who’s thinking about homeschooling because at this time of the year, there are many mamas who are thinking about what they’re going to do next year for their kids, and they’re trying to decide, “Is this homeschooling thing legit? Can I actually do this?” Can you encourage that mom who’s considering homeschooling? What would you say to her?

Brittney:                       I would say you should. It’s worth it. It’s not easy, but nothing that’s worth building is ever easy, but it is worth it. The resources that you have available to you now are unlimited. If you want to homeschool, you can homeschool successfully and you have every tool that you need to be successful at it and it’s worth it.

Yvette:                         Yes, I agree completely. Then I want you to do one more encouragement. Encourage the mom who is just tired, who is overwhelmed. She just doesn’t know she can continue on for another day. How would you encourage that mom?

Brittney:                       I would say cry it out – like legit cry – because research shows that tears, like stress tears, they actually do release stress hormones. Crying does make you feel better and then pray and sometimes pray and cry at the same time, but just know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s the daily consistent effort that’s going to produce big results overtime.

You don’t have to do a massive amount every single day. You just have to be consistent. If you’re overwhelmed, your expectations may be too high and that is very common when people start homeschooling. I think homeschooling veterans understand that they don’t need as much as what’s in those books in order to be educated. Scaling is important and just knowing that consistency really is the key.

Yvette:                         Yes. I agree. Slow down a little bit. Take a breath and get back to it. I love the constant encouragement we get and that God will equip you. He’ll give you everything you need to accomplish what he’s called you to.

You can find Brittney Howard online and learn more about her business at

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Family Business and Training Young Entrepreneurs

For those of you with older students, this story will be a huge encouragement to you, but It’s not just for those with older children. As we homeschool, our goal should always be to raise capable, successful adults, even when our children our young. Rhea Perry has some great encouragement in that area. Rhea educated her seven children at home, starting in 1987, and now trains homeschool families, around the world, to be successful entrepreneurs.

Mentorship is key, because we are not taught to think like entrepreneurs. We talk about America being an entrepreneurial country, but yet our government education system teaches us all to be employees. That’s all it does. There is no place in education, including the MBA, where you are ever taught to have a home business or think for yourself. If you’re going to do that, you’re going to have to learn it from somebody else. In fact, nowadays, our government education is teaching us to have a government job. Not just a job, but a government job.

Yvette Hampton:           I can’t wait for you to hear Rhea’s story. because it’s a great one. When her oldest son was 18, he started a business which replaced his dad’s income in just three years. Her second son owns and operates a successful commercial and industrial roofing company. Now a widow and award winning home business owner, Rhea helps families learn how to educate their kids to be leaders and to build home businesses. She hosts two annual live conferences and mentors families through her home business coaching program. Welcome Rhea!

Rhea Perry:                   Thank you so much for having me, Yvette. I love what you guys do and I’m so excited to be here.

Yvette:                         Oh, thank you. We got to meet you couple years ago at the Lifeschooling Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. You were one of the speakers there and you were just so encouraging. You talked a lot about home business and about just training children to be entrepreneurs, and then we went to your home business conference several months later and again we were just so overwhelmed and blown away, in a good way, by the message that you were sharing. You are a homeschool mom, who has been really successful in teaching your kids how to become entrepreneurs, and not just your own kids, but families all around the world. Tell us your story.

Listen to Rhea Perry on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (6/4/2019 episode)

Rhea:                            Well, I would love to, because basically it’s what God has done in our life. I never intended to homeschool our children. I have a degree in education from a major university and I just thought that we would live the normal life like everybody else lives. We would have our two children and everything would be fine. Right after we got married, my husband, who had almost two master’s degrees in education, said I would like for us to homeschool the children. I said forget that. I am not doing that. After 10 years of trying public school, Christian school, private school with our oldest two children, nothing was working the way that we wanted it to, and so we just decided to give it a shot for one year. I said okay, I’ll try it. You’ve been there. One year…

So, we bought some expensive curriculum that was secular. Used it for two weeks, threw it out, and then just kind of went to the library. Along the way, we met Bob and Tina Farewell and worked for them. They had a company called Lifetime Books & Gifts years ago. They carried five children across the country in a bus, six months out of the year, to take the most wonderful living books resources to homeschoolers all over the country. We went to work for them and they taught me how to homeschool our children in the second year, then we started homeschooling. People would come up to us all the time and they would say sure, Charlotte Mason is wonderful and this lifestyle of learning concept is really good, but what about high school? So, we were constantly trying to figure out what to do about high school. About that time, my oldest son had to take a standardized test, and I could tell by the way he took the test this was not going to go well and he was not going to be able to play the game you have to play to go to college. So, I told my husband we needed to start looking at something else. About that time, we started selling, with Lifetime Books & Gifts, Robert Kiyosaki’s books, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

I believed what he said and we started studying real estate and doing different things that he mentioned in his books because he was from an educator’s family, which I was too. We started selling of real estate. We moved to the country when Drew, my oldest son, was 14. I just gave him the outside and I said okay, figure out how to monetize this and I’ll keep all the children on the inside, educated and contained and happy. And I was pregnant all the time, so I was always sick and not doing very well. So, he started studying different ways to bring his dad home, and that’s what he did for his high school year, starting on when he was 14.

Watch the video of this interview, which includes almost 30 minutes of bonus content, on our Backstage Pass website.

He started off with farming, then he studied the stock market, studied eBay. Sold everything in my basement. Studied internet marketing. Studied lots of different topics. He bought and sold 70 houses during that time.

But, he bought a house he couldn’t get rid of, so we tried to sell it on eBay and created a system for selling houses on eBay, using eBay as the vehicle to sell the houses but then we offered owner financing. It worked out really well. He created a course. He would speak at the real estate investment club meetings when he was about, I don’t know, 17, 18, in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and he would make $30,000 in a night selling his course, to these old guys who didn’t know how to use the internet. I looked at that and I said okay, my son, who is not super educated, is making $30,000 in an hour like I had seen my internet marketing friends do. My super educated husband was making $35,000 in a year.

That’s when I said okay, I am seeing and I am living exactly what I have been told about the American dream. So, we started looking at things differently. Long story short, it took about three years for us to go through all that process and we brought my husband home from his job in corporate America and he was able to stay home with his dad, who lived in our guest house next door, for about three years. His dad died when he was here with us for that time, so that was really wonderful. My husband also got sick, and so right after that, he died. I was left with four of our seven children still at home when I was 55 years old. I didn’t want to have to go get a job and leave the home. I wanted to be able to stay home with my kids and continue homeschooling. I had started a little internet business. I had a little membership site called Educating for Success, where we just talked about how to homeschool your children for home business and specific home businesses.

We started that, ramped it up a little bit. Started a coaching program with it, which is still going after all these years. Started that in 2005. It took off and went, and then we started hosting conferences. The first one was in my house. The second one was in my house. The third one we had, we went to the university down the road, and then we started having them in hotels and now we’re in state parks, because state parks are more family friendly. We just kind of stumbled into something. I brought those internet marketers that I saw making millions of dollars and, in short periods of time, I brought those guys to the homeschool families who were trying to figure out how to make money from home, put those two groups together and they’ve ministered very well to each. So, we host a conference once a year, where we bring them in. Then, I got invited to go overseas, so I travel internationally now and talk to people wherever I’m invited to go. Talk to them about how they can teach their children to have home businesses. That’s pretty much what I do in a nutshell. Just your regular, average Joe.

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Yvette:                         One of the things I love about your conference is that it’s for families, because I know a lot of business conferences, obviously, are for adults, because they’re business conferences. You take an adult, typically I would say in their 20s or 30s, bring them into this business conference, teach them how to be business owners, entrepreneurs, and such. Oftentimes, those people are in a situation where they might have a family that they’re supporting or they might have a job already and they’re trying to figure out how to get out of that job and how to get into this lifestyle of owning their own business, but it’s hard to break out of that once you’re in that adult life. Many people will just take that leap of faith, but when you have a family, that can be a little bit intimidating to do.

Your conference, one of the things that was so impressive to me is that there were children, I mean young children, like I would say all the way down to four or five years old, who were in the conference, participating in it, and being able to hear the stories of all of these people and these leaders who you bring in and how they have been successful in owning businesses. It’s not like you brought in people who sell Pampered Chef and Plexus and all those. Now, there’s that aspect of home business as well, and I know a lot of people are very successful in doing that, but you had authors who would come in and talk about writing books and how they have been able to monetize that. And a podcaster, who was able to monetize his podcast. There are so many different ways. You talked about selling on eBay, and I know a lot of people sell on eBay and Amazon and things like that. There are so many different ways. Where do you find these people to come in and be able to educate and pass on their knowledge to the people who are at your conference?

Rhea:                            Well, Yvette, that’s a great question. I just feel so blessed that the Lord has put me in the middle of the internet millionaires. Guys who create things like home businesses that serve people online, like popups. I know nobody likes popups, but somebody had to create that kind of thing and monetized it. The guy that created popups and the entire concept of that was my mentor. I just have been blessed. Like, in 2003, it was just a magic year for me. The Lord put me in a bunch of different conferences during that time, where I met a lot of different people, and then I maintained those relationships through the years. When I find out that somebody is doing something that works really well, like Amazon, the peer leader of Amazon is one of my dear friends, and when it took off and just went crazy, I just contacted him and said hey, first of all, you need to have an event. So, I hosted his event for him for six years. Then, I said why don’t you come speak to our people about selling on Amazon? We also kind of keep our eye on what’s happening because sometimes doors shut. Different things that were working don’t work anymore. What happens is a window opens somewhere.

I always tell people you have to have multiple streams of income and you need to keep your eyes open because those streams can change. Streams that are, well, rivers, that are on the ground actually do change. They move. You have to pay attention to when things move. In Ecclesiastes 11:2, it says “divide your portions to seven, or even to eight, because you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.” Yet, our government education system says just go have one job. Well, if you have one job and the mom in the household stops her job, quits or doesn’t go to work or whatever, so that she can stay home and homeschool the children and you have one job in your house and something happens to that one job or to the person who has that one job, you have no income. Well, I think that Solomon, in all his wisdom, is saying look, if you have multiple streams of income, if you have seven different projects, like say five different rental houses, a job, and a network marketing company, that’s seven different streams of income, and something happens to one of those, you still have six more. I think that we should look at the Bible and follow the wisdom of Solomon rather than what we’ve been taught in our government education system.

The other thing I don’t really like is the median income in our country, and we’re talking about America here, is $52,000 a year. Yet, it takes $70,000 a year to be poor. There’s a book by Josh Tolley, Evangelpreneur. He did a study and he said how much does it cost to live? Because he was about to get married. He was a single young man. He said I want to know how much it costs to get married. So, he did a study. Turns out, to be poor, you have to have $70,000. Yet, everybody’s proud and aiming at $52,000 for a family of four. And then you have 7 children or 10 children or 15 children, like some of my friends do, and you’re going to live on $52,000 a year, well, I don’t think that’s going to work very well. You’ve got to do something different. One of the things that we encourage our families to do, and this is why I love having children at the events, is if you’re stuck in that standard family model that the government education system has taught us, a man can’t get out of it by himself because he’s usually working too many hours and he comes home and he’s just exhausted. He can’t do anything else. Or, he might even be working two jobs already.

Backstage Pass Members can watch our full interview with Josh Tolley, where he talks more about homeschooling and entrepreneurship.

If mom and the children can step in and say look, let’s do a project. Let’s get all of our school work done by 12:00, 1:00. Let’s work on projects in the afternoon and see if we can create some income so that we can encourage dad and also replace his income. If you’ve got a couple older children in the house, I’m talking 10, 12 years old, they are very capable, and a lot of the people that we hire are that age. They own their own businesses, they’re not employees. We hire them as contractors. They advise us and they do technical work for us, because young people these days are very smart. So, I just encourage these families to work together on bringing their dad home. Once the project money that they’re creating in the afternoons exceeds the money that dad is making, then he can quit his job and come home if he wants to. Sometimes they don’t want to. Sometimes they like what they’re doing. But, at least now, they have more money coming into the household.

It’s not about being rich and having a lot of stuff, but another concept I believe in is we are here on this earth to help others. We’re here to serve. That’s what we’re here for. We have products, we have services. We have skills, abilities, talents. We’re here to help other people. If all I do is make enough money for me to just barely get by, which is what I hear people say all the time, oh, I just want to barely get by, I don’t want to be selfish, then if you have a need and you call me and say hey, I need $10 and I say well, I’m sorry about that but I can’t help you because I don’t have any money because I just barely get by, I’m not able to help you. What happens if you need $1,000? I’m not able to help you. When we are living with an abundance mindset rather than a poverty mindset, we’re able to do what I think that the Lord has us to do, and that is to serve others.

Yvette:                         I want to talk about some of the success stories. You talk about how hard it is to just quit your job and jump into this whole life of being a business owner, an entrepreneur. We actually have a neat story of our family, and I think I’ve told this before on the podcast, but I don’t know how detailed I’ve gotten about it. About four years ago, I guess it was, my husband had been working in the Hollywood film industry, and he had been in that industry for many years. He loved what he did, but he didn’t really believe in the product that he was producing. We’re not big TV watchers, we’re not big movie watchers. I mean, we enjoy them every now and then, but that’s just not us. But, he was designed for filmmaking. He’s very good at it. He loved what he did, but he really wanted to do something that was going to really impact God’s kingdom. For years and years and years, he felt like he needed to get out of that industry, but he felt stuck because he thought well, I don’t have another job. And he worked so much that he didn’t have time to look for another job. It was just this crazy, vicious cycle that he was on for many years. Until one day, he literally just said I’m done.

Without having another job in the background, he just quit. He called me up one day, and the girls and I still talk about how we rejoiced. He said I just quit. I’m not doing this anymore. I’m coming home. We literally jumped up and down and rejoiced, and then we got on our knees and we prayed. We were like okay, Lord, You’ve got this. So, he quit cold turkey, and he went several months without having a job. But then, he went to work for our church and he went to teach film production at a Christian school for a year, and he really loved doing that but really felt like the Lord had put it on his heart for us to go out and make this documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked. So, we took a huge leap of faith. We just said Lord, we’re going to lay this fleece before you. We’re going to trust you, if this is really what you want us to do. We’re going to trust you to provide. So, we sold our house, we sold all of our stuff. We loaded up into an RV, and for the past two and a half years, we’ve been traveling and filming this documentary. And it has been an incredible journey for us. What’s been incredible about it is not our faith in taking that step, but being able to watch the hand of God provide for our family, because we serve an incredibly big God.

For those of you who are listening, and you don’t know that, let me just tell you, we serve a very, very big and very faithful God. What many people see as maybe foolish for him to leave a job where we had security and he had a pretty healthy paycheck coming in and we had a nice house, to give all of that up to follow what God was calling our family to do seems foolish. But, we didn’t do it carelessly, and we still don’t do it carelessly. We are very intentional about everything that we do. But, we also trust that the Lord is going to provide for us, and He has provided for us miraculously over the last couple of years. That’s our story. We’re still in the midst of our story. God is still writing this story for us, as I speak. It’s so neat to be part of what God has called us to do because we get to do something that is impacting culture and impacting God’s kingdom and people, and drawing people’s hearts towards homeschooling, because we strongly believe in homeschooling. We believe it’s the best way to disciple your children’s hearts. Anyway, that’s our story, but I would love for you to share some of the other success stories of people who you’ve worked with before.

Rhea:                            Sure. We have many, many success stories, but I don’t have permission to tell them because these people are very humble. So, I’ll tell you a few. Three or four years ago, a lady came to me at one of the homeschool conventions. I speak at 10 homeschool conventions in the summer on home business. I’m the only person that talks about the things that I talk about, like creating passive income and things like that, at the homeschool conventions. A lady came to me and she had this face. Oh my goodness, she was in such despair. She had two older boys, and I think she had two or three little kids at that time. She said we’re sinking. We’re not making it. I don’t know what to do. I sat down and I talked with her in my booth, because I set my booth up not like you do at a typical trade show, where there’s a table between you and the people, I turn it sideways and put chairs in a circle and make it like a living room and say come into my space. Let’s sit down and talk for three hours, and we do. I just asked her some questions about who she was and what she liked to do and what were her goals in life and her values and things like that.

I just asked her a couple questions about Amazon and shopping and selling and things. I helped her create a business, selling stuff on Amazon. I put her in touch with the person I thought was the best person to teach her how to do that, buy a little course to do that. And then, these two teenage boys walked up and they said hey mom, can we have the car keys? Or something. I looked at them and I was like are these your guys? She said yes. I said can they drive? She goes yes. I said cha-ching. Pay dirt. This is awesome. Teach these guys how to work with you and send them out to go do some shopping for you, and you can stay home with the little kids. This is going to work. Well, every time I saw her for the next two or three years, she got more and more excited.

We actually had her speak at our conference this past February, at our Home Education for Home Business Conference. In two years, she had replaced her husband’s income. He was a public school teacher. She tripled his income in two years. Had a baby, and got sick from the baby, from when she was pregnant. She had a bad pregnancy. Had the baby, recovered from that, and was still sick. Brought her husband home, and one of the boys, I think, graduated from school or something. They were helping her, but I think they’re actually both gone now. That was two years. They beat us. She actually says, now, that she last year made $175,000. Homeschool mom. She has given us permission to share that. She shared that at our last conference. I was super proud of her.

Another lady that was a vendor at the homeschool conventions years ago was working with her husband, and her husband was the one that was providing the service. It was technical IT stuff. I looked at him one day and I thought okay, this man looks very sick to me. I went up to her and talked to her at one of the shows and I said is he okay? She said no, he’s not okay. I said well, if anything happens, call me. Well, she called me a year or two later and she said he died. I said I’m so sorry. I totally know your pain. I know how this is. She goes I don’t know what I’m going to do. So, I taught her how to do a project. She had a six year old daughter still at home. Her children had all left home, but she had this one daughter left at home. She works with that daughter and they sell things online too. Now, the daughter has taken over. She loves it. She plays with the phone and she does videos of herself when they go out and buy things and puts them up online. They are making money and doing very well.

We host a summer home business contest every year, where the winner wins $1,000, and that year, they won it. Now, Joy was six years old when she did. You’re going to say well, a six year old is not old enough to win a contest. Well, what I teach these young people is when you don’t have what you need, you partner with somebody who has what you do need, which is old age. So, the mom entered the contest, even though Joy did a lot of the work, and they won. This last year, we had a girl in South Carolina who had actually had an automobile accident and was severely brain damaged.

She’s a horse whisperer, and she’s going through some recover, therapy and all, but during that time, she kept on training horses and she became very concerned that people who are going through trauma recovery phases bond really well with animals. So, she started training miniature horses to go serve people who have special needs of all kinds. She entered the contest this last year and she won. She was 14, so she entered with her mom. Because she was only 14, her mom had to enter. Her mom is a veterinarian who uses homeopathic oil to help animals and she is a Young Living distributor too. They are just doing very, very well in spite of having a very hard year, because all three, the mom and the two children, were all three in the car accident and it was just devastating to them.

We have a young man who was 11 when I hired him to be a teacher of a lady who had two children older than him that were in public high school, to teach her how to sell things on Amazon. He did that. He did 10 sessions with her and got paid. Then, we sent him to China with his dad to go learn how to buy and sell directly from the manufacturers in China. While he was there, he was actually at a training session, and he made a little video on his iPad while his training session was going on. He was 12 years old. He showed it to the host of the conference and the guy played it on the next session on a gigantic screen and he told all the people that were there, he said this is what you guys need to do if you’re going to be selling online. You have to have little videos and know how to put them out there online.

Then, he had the guy come up there on the stage and he goes now, can they hire you to put their videos together, for like 30 second videos? He goes yeah, sure. So, in two minutes, this young, 12 year old man made $1,200. He’s now helping his family sell online and they all work together. They’re working on bringing their mother home from her job as a doctor. So, we have lots of people all across the country. These are in South Carolina, Michigan. We have one in Georgia. A man went with me on a cruise and talked to one person at breakfast. Came home and changed one digit on his website and doubled his income. This year, I believe he’s about to triple it. And he sells cats online. That’s all he does. Lots of crazy stories. I mean, there’s all kinds of ways of making money out there. You just have to find what works for you.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. We’ve talked a lot about this on the podcast. God has given every single one of us a gift and a talent and an ability to do something. I know sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what that is and what your passion is and how God will use you to be able to do those things, but He will. If you just lay that at his feet and surrender to Him, He will help you through it. It’s very exciting. I was talking to a friend yesterday, Teresa Bowen, and she said something to me that was one of those things I said I’ve got to just remember this. She said walk with the wise and be wise. It’s such a true statement.

If we walk with people who are wise, we’re going to be wise. If we walk with fools, we’re going to be foolish. Becoming an entrepreneur and becoming, even with our kids, someone who is going to be successful at doing business, if we walk with people who have done it well before us, it doesn’t always mean we have to do it exactly the way that they’ve done it, but learn from them. Walk beside those people and just glean wisdom from them. I know you talk a lot about mentorship at your conference and through just your different platforms that you have. What have you seen mentorship be able to do for people who are trying to earn a living and earn an income from home?

Rhea:                            Mentorship is key, because we are not taught to think like entrepreneurs. We talk about America being an entrepreneurial country, but yet our government education system teaches us all to be employees. That’s all it does. There is no place in education, including the MBA, where you are ever taught to have a home business or think for yourself. If you’re going to do that, you’re going to have to learn it from somebody else. In fact, nowadays, our government education is teaching us to have a government job. Not just a job, but a government job. If you’re trained in that mindset for 12 or 14 or 16 or 18 or 20 years, it’s hard to break out of that, so you have to have somebody that comes along side of you and talks to you and teaches you how to think that is different. What I do by bringing these, a lot of them are millionaires. I like to have millionaires because they are qualified. You don’t want to learn how to make money from somebody who understands the scriptural principles or has some great ideas or philosophy or theory. You want to see that they know what they’re doing. So, I bring in people who are proven experts to talk to people.

They come in and they teach, just by the sessions that they do, they teach people. They challenge the way that they think and they help them to try to get over that mindset they’re being taught. What I realized from going to conferences with my children for years is that being indoctrinated in that mindset for so long is hard to overcome. When you take your young people, who are trusting and believing and who have not been exposed to that to a conference and somebody stands up and says you can if you think you can, and if you put your mind to it and learn how to turn that computer on, it’s actually an ATM. It’ll crank out money if you know how to use it. They believe that. Now, those of us who are skeptical and older, we go oh, no. My brother’s sister’s friend’s barber’s cousin told me that that wouldn’t work. We’re very skeptical and we don’t trust new things sometimes, and we don’t trust the internet. We just don’t understand the whole concept at all. But, these young people get it.

What I love is when a family comes together to our conference and they sit and they listen together, I don’t have childcare or another room for the kids to go off and play somewhere else. I want those kids sitting right there in that room, in that big ballroom with their parents, so that when they go home … Now, they’ll do a bunch of cool, fun stuff while they’re there because we have lots of things going on at night. We have English country dancing and cryptocurrency talks and lots of other things. But, when they go home, when they’re riding home, they’re going to talk about what they heard. The parents are going to have one perspective of it and the young people are going to have another perspective. Sometimes the older people don’t get it, but if there are seeds planted in those young people’s minds that they think that they can do something different, then they will step out and do something and try things that are new that the parents never would.

An example of that is Drew had a course on how to sell houses on eBay years ago. He turned it off, unfortunately, and somebody else bought it, so it is out there still for sale. He taught this course and there was a family in Texas that bought the course from him. They went home and the young man sent him a video about a month later. The boy was 14 years old. He said hey, Drew. Just want to let you know mom bought your course and gave it to me because we wanted to sell our house. We didn’t know if it would work or not, but I sold the house. Here’s the check. I just wanted to show you it works. Thanks. Appreciate it. The mom might’ve been a little apprehensive about trying to do something that was different, because back then nobody sold houses on eBay like we did, and this young person said hey, well, if Drew can do it, I can do it. That’s what they need to see. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. You just never know who is going to end up mentoring you. Some of the best ones come along in an informal situation.

My oldest son went to a auto mechanic two days a week when he was 12. My husband would just drop him off at work and then pick him up on the way back. All he did was just work at the auto mechanic’s shop all day long. He learned a tremendous amount of things about machines. Well now, he owns three dirt companies and he has a lot of tractors. He also flips tractors online, all kinds of machinery. He’ll bring a piece of machinery home. Buy it somewhere, fix it up, spray paint it Rust-Oleum yellow, pressure wash it, and then flip it the next day or two and make some money on it. He loves it. He’s a guy, they love tinkering with things like that. He learned how to do the mechanic work from a man who he just spent some time with, and then that man actually ended up homeschooling his youngest child. So, it works out so that it’s win-win for everybody.

Yvette:                         Yes. Oh, that’s so awesome. We are out of time for the podcast, but I want to continue this conversation for our Backstage Pass Members, because I have a few more questions I want to ask you. I would love for you to tell homeschool moms, give some very specific things … And, I should say dads. I always say homeschool moms, I think, because I’m a mom and so naturally I say homeschool moms, but we have several dads who listen to the podcast as well. Dads, I am sorry. I don’t ever mean to offend you by saying moms. For homeschool parents listening, let’s continue the conversation. Can you maybe give some very specific steps that they can take to helping their children to become entrepreneurs?

Rhea:                            Well, first of all, I think that entrepreneurial spirit is already inside of everybody, because God is an entrepreneur. We were made in the image of God. I think that everybody has an entrepreneurial spirit. I think what happens is our education system crushes that. People tell you all through your early life that won’t work, and so you crush those dreams down inside of you. What we do is we just speak life to them and say hey, what’s inside of you that you’ve always wanted to do? Don’t be afraid to trust God. Don’t tell your children no all the time. Don’t try to control everything that they do. Let them go. Because so many times, they’ll come to you with a crazy idea, like my boys did. Hey, let’s sell this house for a penny on eBay. One of them said a penny, one of them said $1. I’m like what? I was thinking to myself you can’t do that on eBay, but we don’t mock our children at this house!

Don’t say we can’t afford that. Say how can we afford that? If they come to you with a project, just say I don’t see it. How are you going to make that happen? Including, how are you going to finance it? How are you going to pay for this thing? Just give them the responsibility. Don’t think that you have to follow what the states says that we have to do to the letter of the law, because there’s a lot of leeway inside of our state regulations. A lot of times they say they want you to have four years of math. Well then, study bookkeeping and accounting and statistics and marketing and things like that to get credit for your math. Make sure that you’re including real things. Use real books, real projects, and real people. Keep your academics to the morning and do cool, fun stuff in the afternoons.

You can find Rhea Perry on Facebook at

Make plans now to join Rhea for her excellent Home Business Conferencetaking place August 8-10, 2019 at the Lodge at Lake Guntersville State Park in North Alabama!

Learn more about her online community of entrepreneurs at and get a FREE COPY of 10 Things Mama Rhea Taught Her Children about Home Business: Investing in my children’s education to enable them to leave home with the knowledge and skills necessary to live financially free.


Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash

Profit Partners in Homeschooling

In business, profit partners can be extremely valuable. The idea is to support each other’s business by referring new customers to one another in an effort to help each side thrive.

For example, let’s say you own a restaurant and become profit partners with a commercial cleaner.  You trust the cleaner enough that you recommend their services to others in your personal and professional network.  You are willing to support them and make an effort to help build their business.  In return, the cleaner promotes your restaurant with their clients and even hosts their annual staff party at your place.

This same concept can work in homeschooling as well.  For example, you determine that science is not a subject you feel confident in teaching your children.  A homeschool mom within your local network loves science, studied it in college and used to work in the lab of a chemical company.  The two of you decide that she will teach your kids along with hers the subject of science, including fun educational lab projects.  You love organizing educational field trips, so in return, you agree to include the other mom’s kids in your field trip planning.  As a result, both families benefit from the assistance and interests of each parent.

Both business and homeschooling can be overwhelming. We should never feel that we have to be an expert in all areas.  Take a look at your network and partner with those who have expertise in areas you do not. There is a ton of value in helping each other thrive.

As the legendary Zig Ziglar used to teach, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”  I encourage you to give it a try.

The Business and Entrepreneurship section of the Schoolhouse Rocked blog is brought to you by

Photos by rawpixel and Sharon McCutcheon,

All Roads Do Not Have to Lead to College

As parents and homeschoolers, we too fall victim to the assumption that we should teach and raise our children to get good grades, go to college and then get a good job.  However, none of us should automatically follow that path without intentional consideration and planning centered around the interests and personalities of our children.

Let’s look at a few key aspects about college. First, the statistics related to kids leaving their faith once entering college is stifling and should make any parent hesitate and reconsider.  According to Campus Renewal, their recent studies indicated that up to 70% of students leave their faith during the first year transitioning into college. Wow!  Now, your first thought might be that of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  A powerful reminder of our role as parents and full of truth.  However, should we consciously put our children in that environment knowing these statistics?

Two, college is not cheap and as a result, loan debt has become a BIG problem.  According to a recent article in Forbes, students graduating college in 2016 owed an average of $37,172 for school loans. That’s a difficult way to start life as a self-sustaining “grown up” looking to successfully contribute to their community.  Of the $21 trillion U.S. debt, over $1.4 trillion of it is related to school loan debt.

Third, a college degree does not automatically lead to a good paying job.  The average starting salary for new college grads has increased slightly to just under $50K a year.  However, as good as that may sound, once we understand the Practical Poverty Level taught by Josh Tolley in his powerful book, “Evangelpreneur,” we know that average starting salary is not encouraging news.

For more on this subject, listen to Episode 23 of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Isaac Morehouse is the founder of Praxis, a unique apprenticeship program for young high school and college graduates, which places students in real-world, paid internships in growing companies. This experience gives these young apprentices a head start in business and valuable work and entrepreneurship experience.

Rather than putting all the focus on traditional college, an alternative route to post high-school education that often gets overlooked is trade school.  Learning a skilled trade can offer opportunities in becoming an electrician, carpenter, plumber, welder, aircraft mechanic, HVAC tech, dental hygienist among a variety of other well-paying and fulfilling careers.  Many of these paths often surpass the starting salaries of jobs taken by those graduating with four-year degrees.

For homeschool families, these skilled trades can be explored at a young age and the process can be incorporated into your daily schooling routine.  Perhaps a family member, friend or local businessperson in your community would be willing to teach the skill or offer an apprenticeship to a young man or woman interested in learning their trade.

At the end of the day, as parents, we need to realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to higher education.  Just because the masses go down one road does not mean we all need to follow.  Understand your child’s personality and value their interests.  Allow them to explore different paths.  You just never know, it could lead to an amazing career.

For a deep dive on this subject, Backstage Pass Members get access to our full interview with Josh Tolley, of Purple Monkey Garage, where he talks about the importance of entrepreneurship training in our homeschools. Click here for Josh’s full Interview.

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Teaching Financial Freedom: Hint, Banks Aren’t The Only Option!

Are Banks the Only Option for Our Money?

We learn about the importance of money from a pretty young age.  Whether the lessons come from our parents when we’re young (“money doesn’t grow on trees!”) or when we get old enough to make purchase decisions and realize how much money it really takes to get things we need, want, and desire. As homeschoolers, it is our responsibility to transfer this wisdom to our kids, and while “money doesn’t grow on trees” is a start, raising financially literate, faithful stewards is the goal.

When it comes to business, money plays a vital role. Without it, just like in our personal lives, we are unable to purchase things we need to move our businesses forward.  The need for money can range from product inventory, office equipment, machines for manufacturing, or funds for a marketing campaign.

Most of the lessons we have been taught regarding money revolve around banks.  Banks were established in this country back in 1791 and are usually housed in large, robust buildings that exude a powerful mystique about them.  These institutions tend to make us feel confident that the banks will keep our money safe due to the fact they are FDIC insured, but did you know banks only have 1-2% in reserves to cover deposits? That means, if the banks really were to go under, they are roughly 98% short on covering the loss.  Is it just me or could that be a problem?

We are taught that our money grows when we utilize bank products.  Is that true? What is the current interest rate offered by a bank savings account these days?  Somewhere under 2% as of this writing.  So, with inflation being around 10% rather than the 3-4% we’re usually told, that means our money is losing between 4% and 8% of its value in this scenario – and the longer we save, the more we lose!  Even the magic of compounding interest can’t beat this sad reality. That just doesn’t sound like a good idea. Well, at least we can rely on banks for loans when we need to make a large purchase or to adjust cash flow in our business.  Unfortunately, that’s not a great option either as 50% of bank loan applications get denied.

Here’s the reality, once we deposit our money into a commercial bank, we no longer own that money.  Wait!  What? That’s right, at the moment we deposit our money into a commercial bank we become a creditor to the bank.  Our deposit turns into a short-term unsecured loan to the bank.  Then, because of fractional lending, every dollar deposited into a bank tends to get loaned out twelve times. What?  The only logical definition for that is making money out of nothing.

Before you completely come unglued, there is another option for storing your money where none of these challenges exist.  It’s an option that’s actually existed for many years, but has not been readily available.  It offers control over your money, avoids market volatility, provides a financial legacy for your family and allows you to earn interest on your money while you use it.

Just like education options for our children, we are trained to think within a particular box (traditional school) and it takes a great deal of effort to see what lies outside that box (homeschool).  Teaching our kids financial freedom and controlling our money falls into that same scenario.  We have been trained to fully rely on the banking system to store and grow our money. Once we learn there is another way, it opens up a world of new possibilities for our families and businesses.

To learn more, contact John Robinson at Purple Monkey Garage at 704-870-7318.

Get a copy of Evangelpreneur, by Schoolhouse Rocked Cast Member, Josh Tolley

Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

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What is a Brand and Why Does It Matter?

While homeschooling provides numerous tangible benefits, the opportunity to build a family business together and to teach business, management, entrepreneurship, work ethic, and good stewardship to our children provides immediate and long-lasting benefits that are hard to beat. After teaching our kids how to live in light of eternity and in relation to the God of creation, teaching them how to thrive (not just survive) in this world may be our most important job. Every subject should be taught in light of God’s word, with an eternal and a temporal perspective, and applied to real life. For example, when math is taught as a nebulous theory of numbers working together to make bigger or smaller numbers it is worthless. When math is taught as giving insight into an ordered universe, created by a God of order it becomes divine. When it is taught as the key to managing a household (basic math, algebra), to building and creating (geometry), to engineering (geometry, trigonometry, calculous), to managing a business (accounting), to teaching your own children, it becomes practical. Business, by it’s very nature is practical and divine. God has given a wealth of instruction on the subject in the Bible, and our failure to understand these principals directly affects our daily standard of living.

As we teach our children business and as we build our own businesses, one of our first considerations should be branding. Branding is integral to marketing and advertising (separate, but related fields), and even the most sound businesses are guaranteed failure if they do not master marketing and advertising. A business that fails to establish a brand fails! A quick side note: anyone who thinks that the unnamed fruit stand at farmer’s market, which has a hand-painted sign that says “fruit”, or the lemonade stand on the corner doesn’t have a brand doesn’t understand branding.

What do you think of when you hear the word brand or branding?  A company logo or a tagline of sorts?  How about this… what do you think of when you hear the word “apple?” Chances are good your first thought is not a piece of fruit but instead, you think of the tech company and maker of the iPhone.  Why is that? Truth be told, they have spent millions of dollars so that you would not think of the fruit.  What other worlds come to mind when you think of the company Apple? Maybe lattes, expensive, virus-free, cutting edge?

A brand is an expression of your company’s beliefs.  It is not a logo, tagline or slogan.  A brand captures the heart of what your company is about, what you represent.  Everything you do that’s connected to your company should run through your “brand filter.”  Everything from where and how you advertise, how you market the products or services within the brand and even what it is the brand offers.  Everything circles back to how it reflects on the brand.

For instance, if you pull up to a restaurant and see “reservations suggested” you automatically generate an expectation about that establishment and assume that the meal will cost more than $10.  At the same time, your expectations for the quality of food and service rise as well. It’s all a reflection of the brand for that restaurant.

Proper branding tends to be one of the most expensive elements of business and the importance of it is often overlooked by business owners and entrepreneurs.  When a company is sold, the contract will include a paragraph or two about the product or service.  However, when it comes to the brand, there may be two or three pages on how to protect the brand.

When done well, a brand can take on a life of its own.  For instance, if you have a cold and stuffy nose, you may ask for a “Kleenex.”  Everyone knows what you really need is a tissue, but the brand is so powerful, you call the item by a brand name.

If you cut your finger, you usually ask for a “Band-Aid.”  Technically, you need an adhesive bandage, but who says that?

In some regions of the country, usually the South, when you ask for a Coke the waiter/waitress will ask what kind since all soda is considered a Coke.  That’s a brand.

Another way to know when a company has done a good job on branding is when the public will spend their own money or make an effort to promote the brand for free.  How often to you see people wearing a hat with “YETI” or “Ford” or “Costa?”  How about decals on the back of their vehicle – “NASCAR,” “Glock,” or a favorite sports team?

A brand is what your business is, the product or service just happens to be what you do today to build that brand.  If you keep it that way, you can be fluid.  For instance, do not put what you do in the name of the company.  For example, if “Bob’s Plumbing” ever wanted to add roofing or pressure washing to his services as a result of a chance in the economy or personal desire, it will take more time, money and effort for him to adjust the brand image that has already been established.  It’s more challenging for Bob to pivot with “plumbing” in the name.  A better name to use would be “Bob’s Home Solutions.”  He would then have the flexibility to add additional services without completely changing the brand.

Think about Google.  That wasn’t even a word 20 years ago.  Now it’s used a verb.  Google is not only a search engine but they are now providing smart phones and other products with no pivoting issues.  If Apple wanted to start making smart cars next week, it would fit their brand since they did not go the route of Apple Computer Systems.

So, keep these concepts in mind when you are branding your business and when you are teaching branding to your kids, and remember, whether it be the name you choose for your homeschool, a co-op, a blog or even your personal brand, a brand is an expression of core beliefs.

Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

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Top 5 Social Media Tips for Family Businesses

Our society has changed dramatically in so many ways. One of the most obvious changes in recent years is the creation and use of social media. Just a few years ago, many words that are now common place either did not exist or had very different meanings. For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, posting, tweeting, content, engagement, chat, SEO, AdWords, followers, likes, links, etc. These terms and actions have allowed us to connect with individuals, groups, businesses and long-lost friends. We are connected in so many new ways, but has it all really made us more social? That’s an entirely different conversation…

Many homeschool families are taking advantage of the freedom that comes with homeschooling to create successful small businesses, and from a family business perspective, social media offers benefits that few other tools can claim. Social Media offers powerful new ways to get exposure for a brand, service, product, and the families and personalities behind those brands. It is very unique and something that when done well, offers a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, brands and small business owners. However, we need to be very careful not to use social media platforms as a crutch or an excuse to be lazy. The various platforms that we now have access to are not a quick fix or an excuse to stop marketing. While these channels help with customer retention and relationship building, they can sometimes disappoint when relied on to generate new business.
With that said, how can we use social media to our advantage in business? Here are our top 5 tips to help your family business get the most out of social media:

1) You Can’t Be Everywhere At Once – as you know, there are numerous platforms to consider – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+. You need to determine where your audience lives and which channels will benefit you and your business the most. If you try to master them all, you will drive yourself insane and you will not accomplish anything beneficial.

2) Provide Value – there are “rules” that tend to change every few months as to the best practices for each social platform. At the end of the day, you want to provide your audience great value and consider them when posting content. As an example, for your personal Facebook page, most of your friends and family want to read mostly about you, your family, and your personal activities. Keep business posts somewhat limited. Once or twice a week is sufficient. If you insist on pushing a product or service, you may see a decline in your followers. A personal Facebook page is not where that audience wants to be sold to. Consider starting a fan page or business page instead. With that said, you can offer content that shows you are an expert in specific areas. For instance, if you are a real estate broker, rather than posting your listings, post articles that you have written or links to those written by others on how to stage a home or 5 tips on home inspections.

3) Be Consistent – when followers, or potential new customers, visit your social channels, they need to see current content. Therefore, decide on a schedule that allows you to post regularly. There are analytics available that can show you ideal times for posting so you will generate the highest levels of engagement and “industry standards” for how many times a day you should post. Until you can offer solid and consistent content, do not get too caught up in those stats.

4) Use Video – To help get your content noticed and to obtain a higher level of engagement from your audience, video is a key. I’m not talking highly produced video and scripts. The camera on your smart phone will get the job done. The video needs to match your brand, product and personality. You can talk to your audience on camera or you can narrate off camera while shooting an event or describing a product. Get creative with it.

5) When it Really Matters, Use Paid Posts – By now, you have probably heard that the powers who control the various platforms constantly change the algorithms which effects how your audience sees your messages in their news feed. One way to be sure your posts are getting out there is to “boost” them or pay for them to reach people. It used to be that all your “normal” posts (known as “organic”) would reach all your followers, now it doesn’t work that way. One good thing about paid posts is you can pick specifically who sees the post. You can pick age, regions, states, gender, etc. Keep in mind, you have probably seen these posts from others in your own feed. How many of those posts have you clicked on? How many of those “promoted” products have you purchased? Have any of those posts annoyed you because you have no interest in being bothered by a “digital ad” rather than a normal message? I suggest you limit the use of your paid posts to very important and/or special content. You can’t afford to waste the money or have a negative impact on your audience.

So, there you go. Simple, right? Social media is a moving target. Do not expect to become an expert over night. Just remember to try it at some level, be consistent and offer value. Oh, and you’re allowed to have some fun with it, too!


Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

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One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that it allows families to work together and it allows students to learn valuable business and life skills in the process. In fact, Schoolhouse Rocked is very much the business of HOMESCHOOL FAMILIES. God is using these homeschool families to do great work in His name!

Because we know how many homeschool families run home businesses, farms, craft businesses, and even growing companies, we have partnered with Purple Monkey Garage to bring you excellent, practical business and entrepreneurship articles. Josh Tolley is a nationally syndicated radio host, author, and founder of Purple Monkey Garage, where their mechanics are busy “Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.”

Marketing Vs. Advertising – How Do They Differ, or Do They?

If you own a small business, one of the most important responsibilities you have is generating business. In an effort to do just that, you need to promote your product or service.

There are a variety of ways to promote a business. Some methods are more creative than others. Most can be categorized under two main headings: marketing and advertising. We’ve all heard those terms thousands of times, but do we really know what they mean? Are they the same or different? Does it really matter? Do they both produce the same results? Can we expect a return on investment from both?

Let’s take a quick pop-quiz… look at the items below and determine if they are marketing or advertising:

  • Billboard along the interstate
  • Facebook page, Twitter & Instagram posts
  • Bi-monthly ad in a local newspaper
  • Promoted Facebook posts
  • Digital banners on various websites

What do you think…are these examples of marketing or advertising? Well, before we get to the answer, let’s define what marketing and advertising are so we know for sure.

Marketing is the action of finding your target buyer and giving them the experience of your product or service.

How about advertising? What is advertising really? Advertising is exposing your brand. It’s really that simple.

So, now that we have defined the two, let’s take another look at the pop-quiz above. Do all these items allow the target buyer to experience the product or service? No, they do not. Therefore, all the items listed above are examples of advertising. They all expose the brand through different avenues but none of them actually allow a potential customer to experience the product or service directly.

Here are a few examples of ways a current and/or potential customer can experience your product or service:

  • A tire company hosts a driving event where dealers drive on the tires and compare them to competitive brands.
  • A drink brand offers free samples to shoppers in the grocery store.
  • A plumber hosts a demonstration at a home show where he shows attendees how to repair a small pipe leak. Attendees are challenged to try it themselves.
  • A local dentist speaks at a Rotary meeting where he explains the latest technology in teeth cleaning.

All of these examples offer customers a chance to experience a product or get to know the personality of the person offering a service. There is much more interaction with these examples than there are with the advertising examples. Remember, marketing is about the experience. Marketing also provides an opportunity to measure your return on investment more accurately than most advertising. It’s a challenge to determine how many sales are directly connected to a billboard along the interstate. However, you can measure how many drinks you sold at the store during the time you shared the free samples.

The reality is, anyone who has a business should spend 50% of their time and effort related to marketing. The administration, product development, invoicing, staff training, sales, etc. should not equal more than 50% of your time and energy so you can spend the additional 50% on marketing.

One last thing to think about when it comes to advertising. Times have changed in a very dramatic way as it relates to the effectiveness of advertising. Take the DVR for instance. Besides recording your favorite shows or games, what do we all love about the DVR? We can skip the commercials!

Are you familiar with Pandora music service? How do they make money? Your first assumption is probably advertising. That is only partially correct. Their main revenue is generated by memberships that allow the listener access to ad-free music.

We now live in a time where the public is willing to spend their hard-earned money to avoid your advertising. On many occasions, ads make us mad. Think about your initial reaction to online pop-up ads. Do you actually click on them and say, “Oh, that’s awesome! Even though you just completely interrupted me and invaded my space, I’ll buy your product now.” No, most of us get upset and now have a negative opinion of that company. Something to think about…

So, back to the original question in the headline. I hope you now have a clearer understanding of what marketing and advertising is and how they do indeed differ from each other.


Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

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Let’s Not Forget to Teach the Basics

In our current fast paced society, we make what seems to be very significant advances daily. Whether it’s the development of autonomous cars, the advancements in modern medicine or the redirection of buying habits from brick and mortar stores to online. It’s mind blowing what we can do with the talents God has given us.

On the flip side, we also see widespread evidence that the basic skills in life are getting lost within the massive world of advancement. The skills needed to run a household or a small business just don’t seem to be a priority these days. For example, a college student opens a checking account after leaving home and stumbles through their checkbook never really knowing how to balance it. A young entrepreneur has the opportunity to present her business concept to a room of investors. Since she never participated in speech class or learned to speak in front of large groups of people, she freezes with fear and peppers her presentation with a massive amount of “ums” and “has”. A neighbor’s yearly yard sale produces half the revenue hoped for because they didn’t have the confidence to negotiate the value of their family treasures. Or one we can all relate to, a cashier at the grocery store struggles to return the proper amount of change after the register malfunctions and doesn’t show the exact amount of change owed.

What do all these scenarios have in common? Our education system. Most public schools no longer teach the basic skills necessary to make life a little less stressful. Skills like how to handle personal finances, public speaking, negotiating, or counting change. Perhaps these skills are overlooked because our society has become so advanced. Reliant on electronics to assist us or to provide quick answers, we no longer need to think. The reality is, these basic skills are vital to succeeding in life and in business.

It’s eye opening when we hear stories like those mentioned above. Or worse, we hear that a college student must ask a friend where to place the stamp on an envelope or a professional athlete must take a class on how to sign his name because he was never taught cursive in school.

As homeschool parents, we have a great opportunity to change this trend. We can incorporate these basic life skills into our curriculum and daily routines. Learning these various lessons doesn’t have seem like a chore or end up being a dreadful experience for our kids. We have the flexibility to make it fun and have some of life’s basic skills become habit before our children realize it. Whether it’s through co-ops, board games or real-life experiences, let’s not forget to teach the basics. It will make a difference.

Written by John B. Robinson with Purple Monkey Garage… Fixing Businesses and Repairing Lives.

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