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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Wow.

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

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

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

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

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

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

libertysentinel.org

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

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

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

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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

Watch this conversation with Kirk Cameron here.

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

Watch the second part of our interview with Kirk Cameron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2} What TOPICS you’d like us to discuss

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

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

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

Praise God!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Newman

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

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

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

Recommended Resources:

Alex Newman – Rescuing our Children Video

Rescuing our Children Special Report

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

libertysentinel.org

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

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

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

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

Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

How Can We Homeschool and Show Hospitality?

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

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

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


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

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

“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”

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

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

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

Keep It Simple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Bio:

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

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

*****

Excerpt and pictures used with permission. 

How Long is a Homeschool Day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           You’re doing too much.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Your academic studies, yeah.

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Exactly.

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Very different.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Totally.

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

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

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

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

17 Favorite Books for Homeschoolers

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome back to the podcast.

Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Yvette Hampton: This is one of my favorite questions. I love being asked this question and getting to answer it, because I always have a ton of resources to offer. The question is 

“What are your favorite homeschool books?” 

We’ve actually done several podcast episodes with authors of various homeschool books. And that’s a broad question. Because we could talk about books that are related specifically to homeschooling, like how to homeschool, or books that relate to things that are related to homeschooling, or parenting, because that falls under the umbrella of homeschooling.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: Or…

Aby Rinella: Marriage.

Yvette Hampton: Marriage, or homeschool books could also be, “What kind of books do your homeschoolers read?”So, it’s a really broad question. So, I’m going to talk through some of my favorite homeschool books, meaning those that I think have been really helpful in teaching me how to homeschool, or at least given me some guidance. My… One of the new ones actually that I have, and we did a podcast with her recently, it’s by Aimee Smith, and it’s called The Restful Homeschool Resolution, and it’s a 21-day journey that she takes you on through scripture and through just thinking through like, “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing this? How is God working in your homeschool and in your heart?” And it’s just fun.

Yvette Hampton: It’s a book/journal, and it’s very well written. You can listen to that conversation with Aimee if you want to know more about that book, but that one’s fantastic and it’s a brand new book. It just came out, I don’t know, some time in the last six months, I think. So, that’s a great one. Another one that we’ve talked about on the podcast that I really love is by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover, and we have had both of these homeschool moms on the podcast, and this one’s called Homeschool Basics. This is a fantastic book for  any homeschool mom, even those of us who are seasoned in homeschooling, but it’s a great one for those who are just getting started.

Yvette Hampton: And it’s actually called, Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids. And I love that last part, “Bring out the best in your kids,” because it’s not just about checking the boxes and having the right curriculum and doing it all the right way. But it’s really like, how do you make that connection with your kids, how do you build that relationship with them? We talked with Kristi about these concepts on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and it was a great conversation. 

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

Yvette Hampton: In our homeschooling. This one, I read this one a couple summers ago and loved it, it’s called Mere Motherhood, and it’s by Cindy Rollins. This one is not talked about a lot, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it, but it is such… It’s like one of those gems that if you have it and you’ve read it, it’s… I almost feel like I’m in this secret club of moms in the know who have read this book.

Aby Rinella: Ooh. I want to be in that club.

Yvette Hampton: It’s fantastic. So, it’s called Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification. So, it’s Cindy’s… It’s a story of her journey of getting started in homeschooling, homeschooling her kids, and her kids are all adults now and grown. So, it’s written by a veteran homeschool mom, and it’s not really a how-to book, but she gives so much… This book is just full of wisdom. And it is very well-written, it’s entertaining because she tells some really funny stories in the book, and then she has a ton of resources, but it’s interesting because the resources are interwoven through the book. And so, as I was reading it, I was highlighting like crazy, like, “Oh, I need to read that book. Oh, oh, I need to check this thing out, or check that thing out!”

Aby Rinella: I’m just sitting here putting things in my Amazon cart as we’re talking. This is an expensive episode. [chuckle]

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

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: She’s just wired that way and gives some really, really practical advice on how you can organize your day. So those are my how-to-homeschool books that I love and recommend. Two others that I think every homeschool mom should own, or every homeschool dad, is, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And… That’s so good. And there’s also Honey for a Teen’s Heart. And it’s just a book about books. And it’s about the imaginative use of books in family life. It’s a book that will help you figure out what books you can read to your kids, what books your kids can read on their own, and she gives little descriptions of each of them and has them broken down by category and tells what age groups each book is good for. And they’re just… It’s just a fantastic resource to have, so that one’s more of a resource book. And she talks about reading. And then there’s also Books Children Love, and that’s basically the same thing, it’s a guide to the best children’s literature. So, as you’re looking for good books for your kids, because we know with homeschooling, one of the most important things is good books. Read to your kids, read to them. Every day.

Aby Rinella: Right. And we also know that you can no longer just browse the libraries like you used to.

Yvette Hampton: Right. Yes.

Aby Rinella: And let kids pick out books. And I know so many homeschool moms are asking what books we can or cannot read. So, what an incredible resource that you can just trust to go to.

Yvette Hampton: Yep. Yep. And both of these books were written many years ago, and so you’re not going to find books that have been written in the last, even 10 years. Let’s see, Books Children Love, the first printing of it was 1987.

Aby Rinella: Oh, wow.

Yvette Hampton: So, we’re talking about books that have been around for quite some time. And not just classics, but just really good children’s literature, fantastic books. And Honey for a Child’s Heart, this came out in 1969 originally, and then the copy that I have was… Is dated 1989. So, these are just great resources that, really, I think every homeschool family should have those. And I know I’m going fast here, but again, I’ll link to all these. My two absolute favorite books on parenting are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

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

Yvette Hampton: I’m sorry, Aby.

[laughter]

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

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

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

[laughter]

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

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

[laughter]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[laughter]

Yvette Hampton: Well, okay. This… I don’t know, I’m just bragging about this because I’m really excited, I just discovered for free… Well, I didn’t discover them for free. We had a book sale for our local homeschool support group. And I have wanted for years to get the McGuffey’s Readers, and someone put the entire box set on the free table for someone to just be blessed by them. And I felt like I had won the lottery, literally, because I got this whole boxed set, which I have wanted these… I’ve wanted this set for years and years and years.

Yvette Hampton: And these are the original McGuffey’s Readers. These were written in the 1800s. And the funny thing is, is we rarely watch TV, we don’t have cable to watch, but on Amazon, we will sometimes watch Little House on the Prairie, and these are what the kids read on Little House. And so, my daughter, she was so excited because she was like, “Those are the books that they read on Little House.” And literally, she’s reading them now and she’s loving them, and you know what’s so amazing is, guess what, they talk about God.

Aby Rinella: Oh, constantly.

Yvette Hampton: And they have Scripture.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, isn’t that amazing?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they’re all about morals and values in the Bible. And these are the books that they actually used.

Aby Rinella: For school.

Yvette Hampton: To learn how to read. They used them for spelling, for everything. And so, anyway, so those are great. If you guys can get your hands on them, you should.

Aby Rinella: That’s exciting.

Yvette Hampton: McGuffey’s Readers, they’re amazing. So, that’s the end of my list. Aby, do you have anything left? [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: Well, do I have anything… That’s the question, do I have anything left? because you… She took that one first. No, it’s actually, I kid you not, of my whole entire list, I only have two left.

Yvette Hampton: Oh, no.

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

Yvette Hampton: Love it.

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

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

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

Aby Rinella: And that’s a fun one because it’s written from a dad’s point of view, and Todd Wilson is absolutely hilarious. And what’s really great about it is you read these things and you’re like, “I’m not the only one that believed that lie?” So, it debunks a lot of the lies that we as moms tell ourselves. So, that’s another really great one. So, that’s really… That’s really all I have on my list after you stole all of those from me.

[chuckle]

Yvette Hampton: And I thought of one more.

Aby Rinella: Oh, you… Okay.

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

Aby Rinella: Oh, that is a…

Yvette Hampton: That’s another good one.

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

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

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

[laughter]

Aby Rinella: No pressure.

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

Aby Rinella: Manage your time well.

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

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

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Top Online Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Aby and I are doing a multi-part series of question and answer features for you. We have already talked about time management and we talked about some of our favorite books for homeschoolers. We’re back for another listener question, so let’s jump into it.

Aby, it’s good to have you with me.

Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,

What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?

And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.

Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options. 

With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, herehereand here.

Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!

Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.

FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM

Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.

Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.

Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that. 

Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.

Aby Rinella: I agree.

Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.

Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.

Yvette Hampton: Right. And BJU is the same way.

Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.

Aby Rinella: I love that name.

Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?

Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.

Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…

Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.

Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.

Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?

Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.

Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.

Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource. Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.” 

Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.

Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized. 

And then, the last one is ApologiaApologia has some online classes as well, and we… Our family loves Apologia. As a matter of fact, we recently did another podcast interview with Rachael Carman, and Rachael and Davis Carman are the owners of Apologia, we know them well, solid Christian family. And the Apologia curriculum is a solid Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, they offer online classes as well. So, that’s the other one. So, Apologia.com is where you can find those.

Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. 

Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.

ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.

Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.

Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out  with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.

Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel. 

Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!

Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.

Free homeschool conference videos.

The videos features some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face. In addition to tons of encouraging video and audio, you also get a wealth of homeschool resources. There are Sessions by Kirk CameronHeidi St. JohnSam SorboKevin SorboKathy BarnetteAndrew PudewaIsrael WayneRick GreenGinger HubbardMeeke AddisonTodd WilsonLeigh BortinsYvette HamptonJames GottryRachael CarmanDavis CarmanPam BarnhillDurenda Wilson, Karen DeBeus, Jeannie Fullbright, Linda Lacour HobarAby Rinella, Ana Willis, Connie Albers, Barb & Rich Heki, Jamie Erickson, Colleen Kessler, Peggy Ployhar, Sharon Fisher, Misty Bailey, Kim Sorgius, Trish Corlew, Kristi Clover, Danielle Papageorgiou, Scott LaPierreand Caleb Schroeder!

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Time Management for Homeschoolers

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.

Yvette Hampton

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.

Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are, 

TIME MANAGEMENT??”

Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.

Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?

Aby Rinella

Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.

Get more great homeschooling encouragement twice a week on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.

Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.

Thinking about homeschooling? Get a great start with our free resources for homeschoolers. We are giving away over 9 hours of videos from the Homegrown Generation Family Expo to help you get off to a great start!

Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…

Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.

Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”

Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.

Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.

Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.

Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.

Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?

Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.

Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?

Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.

Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?

[laughs]

Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]

Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.

Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.

Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…

Aby Rinella: Totally.

Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.

SCHEDULING MARGIN

Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah.

Aby Rinella: You have freedom.

Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?

Aby Rinella: Yeah.

Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.

Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.

Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…

LOOP SCHEDULING

Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.

Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.

Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”

Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.

Aby Rinella: Always.

Yvette Hampton: Every morning…

Aby Rinella: Yeah.

Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…

Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.

Yvette Hampton: Math, right.

Aby Rinella: Exactly.

Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.

Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Has Joined the Christian Podcasters Community

We are very excited to announce that The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast has joined the Christian Podcast Community, a ministry of Striving For Eternity.

We are very pleased to be a part of this community of like-minded Christian producers who podcast on areas of expertise and passion. Check out the community for excellent, “soul-feeding” programming that believers can find useful and focused on the Gospel of Christ, its truth, and its application.

The Christian Podcast Community features shows Andrew Rappaport, Justin Peters, Coleen Sharp and Rachel Miller, Jamal Bandy, Eddie Roman, James Watkins and Daryl Updike, James White, Eric Luppold and Dillon Kenniston, Kristen Hamilton, Anthony Russo, Patrick Antonucci, and many more.

About the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

There’s a Revolution Transforming Education and it’s NOT Happening in the Classroom!

“This is not an exaggeration to say, this is the movement that is needed to save this country.”
– Rick Green, Wallbuilders

“We believe homeschooling is critically important if we are to save our republic and the Christian family and church.”
– Kirk Cameron, Actor and Producer

Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, brings you encouragement and resources from home education experts and REAL families just like yours, to help you train your children well. The show allows you to grow with Yvette as she talks with today’s home education leaders – speakers, authors, activists, curriculum publishers, in conversations that will build you up and give you important resources to help you train up your children for eternal success – from pre-school to graduation – to start strong and finish well!

Meet the hosts

Schoolhouse Rocked will impact countless lives by…

• Encouraging families who aren’t yet homeschooling to dive in!
• Bringing much needed encouragement and resources to current homeschool families so they will stay the course.
• Breaking down the misconceptions and negative stereotypes that many people believe about homeschooling.

PARTNER WITH US!

If you believe in homeschooling, please partner with us by making a tax-deductible donation to support Schoolhouse Rocked.

Join us in providing this great resource to families considering homeschooling for the first time, to moms struggling with feelings of inadequacy, parents working hard to balance family responsibilities and school time, and to students wondering if they are missing out by not attending public or private schools.

While we are asking you to donate, we really want to build a partnership with you in this important endeavor. As a donor, you will receive regular project updates, and we will call on you to spread the word about the film and podcast. We will work to finish the film with excellence, so that together we can fill theaters and share Schoolhouse Rocked in your community.

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast is a production of Bronze Oxen Films LLC.

The Homeschool Revolution on America Out Loud

Listen to Yvette Hampton on the Be The People podcast with Carol M. Swain, PhD

Yvette Hampton was recently on the Be The People podcast with Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Carol M. Swain, to talk about homeschooling and Schoolhouse Rocked.

“What knowledge and skills does it take to become a successful home-schooling parent? In this episode, I interview Yvette Hampton, a home-schooling parent and producer of the forthcoming film: School House Rocked: The Home-Schooling Revolution. Yvette updates us on the film and legal and educational resources available to parents contemplating their next steps.”

“Yvette and Garritt Hampton are the producers of a feature-length documentary on home schooling in America. The film, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, is in post-production. Yvette and I discuss the more than two-million families who now home school and the challenges they face. Join us for an informative session with a true believer who has interviewed education experts, curriculum developers, parents, and families across the nation.”

Dr. Carol Swain  has been a blessing to the Hampton family and to the Schoolhouse Rocked team. She can be seen in the official trailer for the movie and will be an important part of the film. She is the host of the ‘Be The People’ Podcast on America Out Loud, which brings Insightful interviews with movers and shakers. Be the People is about We the People joining forces to reclaim and reshape the best of our nation’s time treasured traditions.

Carol M. Swain, PhD is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University, and a lifetime member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University.

Please consider supporting Schoolhouse Rocked with a tax-deductible donation.

Watch and listen to more from Dr. Carol Swain:

Listen to Yvette Hampton discuss homeschooling with Dr. Carol Swain on the Common Sense Podcast.