Using Audiobooks in Your Homeschool

Yvette Hampton:               Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton, welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I hope you are having a great day and enjoying this podcast. I sure am enjoying recording this for you. I have the great opportunity of getting to meet so many different people and having so many different guests, some of them are people that I know personally. Some of them are people that I have never met in person but have had the privilege of getting to know just through the homeschool community.

And, today is one of those guests. I’m really excited to have him on. His name is Jim Hodges, and he is an audio book reader. I guess that’s what your title would be, right Jim?

Jim Hodges:                          On my tax forms, I put Recording Artist.

Yvette:                                      Oh, Recording Artist, that’s even better.

Jim:                                             Yes, I mean-

Yvette:                                      I love it.

Jim:                                             It sounds so official.

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Yvette:                                      It really does, it really does. So, Jim welcome to the podcast.

Jim:                                             Thank you, thank you, good to be here.

Yvette:                                      Yes, yes, our Recording Artist, I love it.

Listen to Jim Hodges on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (Airs 3/25/2019)

Jim:                                             You’re a Recording Artist, too, you know.

Yvette:                                      I guess I would be a Recording Artist, as well.

Jim:                                             You are.

Yvette:                                      Since we’re both recording.

Jim:                                             There you go.

Yvette:                                      Tell us about you and your family.

Jim:                                             My wife and I have been married 39 years. We have three grown children. Luke, married with four children. Shannon, married with four children. Matthew, married with no children. All three of whom we homeschooled through high school. We began with Shannon in kindergarten. And, by … and we sent Luke, pardon me, Luke we homeschooled. He was in third grade and so, we started with him homeschooling, Shannon went to kindergarten for six months and then we pulled her out. And, Matthew was like two. And, we never. Well, we looked back once or twice, but we never went back.

And so, Matthew’s never known anything but homeschooling, Shannon, six months of kindergarten and Luke, you know, first or second grade.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Jim:                                             But, we homeschooled them all the way through high school and by all outward indications, we did a pretty good job with them and with their education.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, and so you actually started this back in the late ’80s, right? Was when you started homeschooling?

Jim:                                             1988, yeah.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             Yeah. It was pretty early in the homeschooling history basically. I think it was the ’70s, maybe mid, late-’70s that the movement really kinda got started. I was not interested quite frankly. Monica was very interested.

And, so we came to an agreement, look, oh, all right, let’s homeschool one child one year, then at the end of the year, we’ll take another look at this. And, as I said, it took four months, and we pulled Shannon out of kindergarten and decided, yeah, this is something that we can do and this is something that we want to do. I just wasn’t convinced that we could.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             And then, when we started, it was like, okay, yeah, we can figure this out. We can figure this out.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, and you were figuring it out back before we had all of the resources that we have today. Because, back then, you didn’t have that many, you maybe had Abeka and-

Backstage Pass Members can watch the video from this episode, which includes great bonus content. Jim Hodges does a live reading of Stuart Little!

Jim:                                             Right.

Yvette:                                      Maybe a few others.

Jim:                                             Konos. We used Konos, which I don’t know how many people have ever even heard of it today.

Yvette:                                      I’ve heard of it.

Jim:                                             It was a … I forget what the phrase is that they use, but it’s basically, here’s a basic subject, build on that, you know, everything is tangentially off of this. And, it was based on scripture. I think by the time we pulled Shannon out at Christmas, we’d gotten to like Genesis chapter one, verse four, you know because everything just went, as things grew, they just grew and grew and grew.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             And so, we were very slow getting through that. We had, we ended up with a pretty eclectic mix of resources that we used and lots of field trips and hands on activities and things like that. But, we … you know, it was a lot of work.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             It was a lot of work, there’s not question about it.

Yvette:                                      It still is.

Jim:                                             It was a huge commitment of time and energy and effort and money and … but it was something that we felt like this is what God wanted us to do. So, you know you just do it.

Yvette:                                      That’s right, that’s right. And, it turned out really well for your family.

Jim:                                             It did.

Yvette:                                      So, you were a 20 year Navy-

Jim:                                             Navy vet, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Yvette:                                      And, so did you travel? Did your family travel through your time in the Navy?

Jim:                                             We were stationed in a number of different places, yes.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             By the time I got into high school, I had moved like eight times.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             And so, when I … then I got out of high school and I went to college for a year and then I joined the Navy, and we moved every four years. Three or four years after that. So, we homeschooled actually in Pennsylvania, we were stationed outside of Philadelphia. And, they had a put together a portfolio system, have it assessed by a certified teacher, standardized testing and then they say, “Okay, third grade happened.” You know, [crosstalk 00:05:15]. New York was, “Tell us every book you’re going to use, give us your quarterly reports.” You know, just, they were just insane of oversight and provided absolutely no assistance, of course.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             You know, you just feed us information. And, from there we moved to Oklahoma, which is, the law there-

Yvette:                                      Big difference.

Jim:                                             Is, “You want to homeschool? Yeah, okay. Go ahead.”

Yvette:                                      Yes.

Jim:                                             Absolutely, no oversight whatsoever. So, we were very happy to leave New York and very happy to get to Oklahoma where we just didn’t have to worry about, but you know, we were responsible parents.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             We took that responsibility very seriously. And, you know the concern is legitimate if there’s no oversight, some people are going to let things slide. Well, of course they are. Public schools let things slide.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             I mean, everybody lets things slide that they can get away with and so it’s really up to the parents to be committed to it and responsible with homeschool.

Yvette:                                      How did your extended family react to you homeschooling in the beginning?

Jim:                                             Is that legal? Was the first, you know question. You know, why do you feel like you need to do this? And, for us, it was really because we’d become Christians and neither one of our families were Christians and we wanted to have our … we wanted to teach our kids our faith.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Transmit our faith to them. In the midst of their education. We had kind of a built in excuse by being in the military. You know, we just don’t want to take our kids and have them dropped into this school and then pulled out and then dropped into that school and then pulled out.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             They would just figure that since we know we’re going to be transferred every three or four years, we just figured we would homeschool and you know it’s legal and you know we’re responsible parents and they were like … they were a little bit, you know.

Yvette:                                      Apprehensive, sure.

Jim:                                             Curious about it and not very supportive but the real hammer kinda came down as far as their reaction to our homeschooling when our oldest son, being a typical first born, quite the achiever, very mature, entered high school and they said, “So, what are you going to do for high school?” We said, “Well, we’re going to keep homeschooling them.” And, they just kind of blew up like, “Oh, you’re going to ruin them.”

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             And, that high school first born son, also joined the Navy.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             And, the Navy found him to be smart enough and well-educated enough and a high enough caliber person that they paid for him to get his Harvard MBA.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             So, you know, I think we did okay with that high school. Yeah. Training, as far as preparing him for life. You know, he went on and to, got his four year degree and then the Navy said, you’re good enough, we want … “Apply to any one of the top ten colleges in the country for a Master’s in Business Administration, and we’ll pay for whichever one you want to go through.”

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             And, Harvard accepted him and so, he just graduated last spring, he graduated.

Yvette:                                      Okay, wow, that’s exciting.

Jim:                                             So, you know-

Yvette:                                      Yup.

Jim:                                             Homeschooling can work out for you.

Yvette:                                      It certainly can, it certainly can. So now, would you have ever thought at that time, you were in the military, homeschooling your kids, would you have seen yourself speaking at homeschool conventions as you’re doing now?

Jim:                                             No.

Yvette:                                      So, this is a new gig for you. You’re going to homeschool conventions around the country-

Jim:                                             Yeah.

Yvette:                                      Actually, around the world because you’re actually going into Canada.

Jim:                                             Going into Canada for the first time this year, yeah.

Yvette:                                      Talk about-

Jim:                                             And, I do, I mean, I’ve got customers in Canada, I’ve got customers in England, I’ve got customers in South Africa, I’ve got customers in Australia and New Zealand and Singapore and-

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             So, I am international even though I haven’t been to the majority of those places.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Jim:                                             My voice has.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             And, my product has. So, when I was in the Navy, no, I had no plans to start an audio book business. That was actually a prompting from my wife, Monica.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             We had finished probably 19 years of Navy and we were out on a weekly date night at a Cracker Barrel and she asked me, “So, you know you’re going to be retiring in a year, what are you going to do? You know, what are you going to do next?” And, I said, “Well, there’s this big base that right there at Tinker Air Force Base, I could get a job there, I’m sure, I’m retired military. Oklahoma City is the state capitol of Oklahoma, I’m sure I can get a job with, you know a state job as a military retiree, I’d do office administration, I’m really good at …”

And, she said, “Well, you know, forget all that. What if you didn’t have to worry about money? You could just pick any job you wanted and it would be sufficient income for you? Would that, then what?” I said, “Oh, I’d record books.”

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             Yeah. And, she said, “Okay, we’ve been married 18 years, I’ve know you 18-and-a-half, 19, you’ve never, ever, ever mentioned this before. Where did that idea come from?” And, I just kind of related the story, I’ve done theater and I would sing solos at church and narrate the cantata, I was a newscaster when I was aboard ship. They had a closed circuit TV so I said, “I’ll volunteer to do the news every night.” So, using my voice and reading out loud is something that I had always done. So, I thought, well, why not get paid for it for a change?

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             And so, I thought, recording books would be a great idea, and she said, three magic words. “Let’s try that.”

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Jim:                                             So, we did. Yeah.

Yvette:                                      And, it has turned out well for you. It has been a good thing.

Jim:                                             You know, I tell people I have never made a killing, but I’ve made a living. And, I absolutely love what I do. Love what I do.

Yvette:                                      Oh, that’s so fun.

Jim:                                             Yeah.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, well, there’s nothing greater than doing what God has called you and to do and made you to do and so-

Jim:                                             Gifted you to do. Right.

Yvette:                                      That’s right. Right.

Jim:                                             Exactly.

Yvette:                                      You are very gifted at reading audio books.

Jim:                                             Oh, thank you.

Yvette:                                      We, our family loves your audio books very much.

Jim:                                             That’s great.

Yvette:                                      We travel a lot-

Jim:                                             Yeah.

Yvette:                                      We are on the road and in the car a whole lot and so, oftentimes, that is our school. We listen to audio books all the time.

Jim:                                             Oh, my gosh.

Yvette:                                      And, so we’ve really enjoyed listening to your audio books.

Jim:                                             Great.

Yvette:                                      Which is why I’m really excited to have you on the podcast today.

Jim:                                             Great, great, great.

Yvette:                                      Talk about, well, you know what, let’s do this. Let’s take a quick break and then we’ll come back and I want to talk about the whole process of recording books, how you find the books and-

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      Record them and all that. So, let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

So, we’re back with Jim, talking about audio books. Tell us about your whole business of audio books, how you decide what book you’re going to read, just how this whole thing has unfolded for you.

Jim:                                             Okay. I’ve always loved history. I’ve always been an adventurous person, that’s why I joined the Navy, and fortunately for me, my wife is also an adventurous person who I met in the Navy.

Yvette:                                      Oh.

Jim:                                             So, she was on active duty, and we just happened to get stationed together and that’s a whole ‘nother, wonderful, wonderful story. But, when I first decided that I wanted to record books, I thought I would record the Horatio Alger books, which I had heard about and learned about when I was in elementary school-

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             Rags to riches stories, you know. There were hundreds of them, they were pretty much rote. But, they … so, I actually recorded one in a friend’s sound studio. He worked at a radio station. But, I felt like I had to leave certain things out. I wasn’t comfortable with some of the things that he had his characters do.

G.A. Henty

So, that got put aside. So, I asked all of my homeschool friends, “Hey, I’m looking for an author who I could feel comfortable recording his books, or their books,” because I didn’t know if it was going to be a male or female. Everybody said, “George Alfred Henty. George Alfred Henty, George Alfred Henty.” So, I said, “Okay, let me get a couple of those from Ruby Reeves,” a friend of ours, who was actually selling the books. And, I read a couple of them and they were like, this young man is just the most amazing, the hero character, the protagonist, just the most amazing young man you’d ever want to meet, almost perfect in every way, but not quite.

You know, just like a real human being.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Who is, industrious and respectful and reverent and active and deferential to authority and just all of these character qualities and he gets himself hooked up with famous people from history and he’s at all the famous battles and the marches and the events from history. And, he ends up you know getting the girl and he’s rich at the end of the book.

So, it’s kind of a pattern. But, I learned more history from this guy than I ever knew before and I very much wanted to record books that had good male, strong male role models. And so, I asked a little bit more I said, “Okay, are all of his books like this?” And, everybody said, “They’re all like that.” And, I said, “And, how many did he write?” They said, “A hundred and 22.”

Yvette:                                      Oh, wow, I didn’t realize he had written that many.

Jim:                                             Yeah.

Yvette:                                      Goodness.

Jim:                                             So, I thought, okay, they’re out off copyright, I don’t have the pay any royalties, they’re fantastic books, they’re history, they’re geography, they’re advanced use of the English language, the author was Cambridge educated, a newspaper reporter, a military guy, a real Renaissance man and in 1800s England. And so, these were just a great package and so I’ve now recorded, I do unabridged recordings. I read every single word that’s in the book. I’ve recorded 30 of them.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             So, I’ve got, you know, 92 to go, something like that. And, I’ll have them all done. But, the process to getting one done is actually pretty involved because of the advanced vocabulary, because of the breadth of locations, because of the numbers of people that he encounters, I spend a month before I turn the microphone on, researching the correct pronunciation of things.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             And, getting a mental map of where things are going because if you can see it in your head while you’re saying it, you can say it more clearly.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             I mark up the text, putting, you know an underline on a word that needs to be emphasized or a comma where there needs to be one for the sentence to make sense. So, there’s a whole lot of prep work figuring out what character voices to give each of the people, knowing where the story ends up from where it begins so you know how to present the character in the first place and how they develop over … So, there’s just a lot of, lot of prep work that goes into it.

And then, you turn the microphone on, and you know I record one hour a day, that’s it. Because, I can hear my voice quality degrading.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Especially, if I’m doing a lot of character voices, because, you know you do a little, old man, or a young girl, or you know and you do all of the different voices, you’re using all of these different parts of your vocal chords and wearing them out.

Yvette:                                      Yes.

Jim:                                             So, you have to be a little bit judicious with your use of that time. So, anyway, I recorded a couple of his books and contacted people that were distributing the books themselves and said, “Hey, I’ve done an unabridged recording of, With Lee in Virginia, or In Freedom’s Cause, would you like a copy, I think your customers might like them?”

And, virtually everybody that I sent a sample to ordered it.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             So, it was like, wow, okay, great. So, I just kept doing it.

Yvette:                                      That is awesome. So, when you do the character voices, because I was thinking about this the other day, do you play around with the different characters as you’re reading the book? And then, do you have, I mean, I think what would make sense in my mind would be that, you know, highlight the different characters in different colors or something like that. Like, how do you know what character you’re reading before you get to it to move into that character voice?

Jim:                                             I actually used to read right out of the book itself.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             And, I’ve discovered that I’m better if I have the text on half of my screen and then the recording software on the other half of the screen.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             So, what I do is, I actually have a file folder now on my computer with a couple hundred characters.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             And, my take on that character’s lines so that, I mean, I have to reuse some voices.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Like, all the time.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             In fact, the hero character has the exact same voice in every single … I mean, it’s the same you know, because I have a reasonable repertoire, I don’t have a vast repertoire.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             But, I try to do accents, and you know I do French accents and British accents and old and young and boys and girls and you know, and so, I can go back and record. Like, the first sentence of a character in the book, I’ve assigned a voice in my head and then I just read that guys’ first line. And then, I stop and I cut and past that and I create a file with the character’s name.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             Captain … and then I put that audio file in there. So, anytime he comes up again, if I forget what his voice sounded like, because he’s been gone for three chapters-

Yvette:                                      You can go back.

Jim:                                             I can go listen to him again.

Yvette:                                      Oh, okay.

Jim:                                             And then, when I run across … and, you know you make mistakes when you record.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             And, so you edit out your mistakes. What you guys hear is the 30 minute edition of an originally 45 or 50 minute recording because I’ve taken out you know repeated lines and mistakes and coughs and-

Yvette:                                      Sneezes.

Jim:                                             A plane flying over or you know whatever.

Yvette:                                      Yes.

Jim:                                             So, that, the recording phase take … the prep phase takes a month, the recording phase takes a month, the cleanup, mastering, designing the CD cover, and all of that is basically another month. So, each book, each really long book, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 hours books, takes at least three months to get finished.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             It’s a long process.

Yvette:                                      That is a long process.

Jim:                                             I just recorded my longest book ever-

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             Mark Twain-

Yvette:                                      Oh, wow, okay.

Jim:                                             Wrote Joan of Arc.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             Nobody knows Mark Twain wrote Joan of Arc.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, I didn’t know that.

Jim:                                             15 hours and 50 minutes long book, and I think it’s the best book I’ve ever recorded. I just fell in love with the book, with Twain’s style, I fell in love with Joan of Arc, I learned a whole lot about the history. Just an amazing book and it took a long time. Because, to end up with a almost 16 hour audio book is just a big, that’s a big project.

Yvette:                                      Sure, sure you know it’s funny because I think, when people, you know whether they’re listening to the podcast or they are watching a movie, we’ve been working on our documentary for two-and-a-half years now.

Jim:                                             Oh, my gosh.

Yvette:                                      Well, it’s going to be an hour-and-a-half long documentary. It doesn’t take an hour-and-a-half long to make an hour-and-a-half long documentary.

Jim:                                             No.

Yvette:                                      It takes a really long time and the same with you as you’re recording these books, you know, a 15 hour book, doesn’t take you 15 hours. You don’t sit down and do it all in one reading or even do 15 one hour segments.

Jim:                                             No.

Yvette:                                      It takes hours and hours of practicing, editing, re-doing, re-reading and so I love that put so much heart into these books.

Jim:                                             I love, it helps that I love what I do. And, I did theater, I did high school, college and community theater many years ago. And, I love to perform. But, I want somebody else’s words.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Don’t ask me to come up with something. Just give me the text and I can, I’ll do it and I just get into it. And, it’s just, it’s fun.

Yvette:                                      Well, it shows in your reading. Very much so.

Jim:                                             Good, glad to hear it.

Yvette:                                      You do an excellent job of it. So, as you travel to different conventions and you’re talking to different homeschool families and kids, who do you find are the families or kids who listen most to audio books? And, when do they do that? How do they tie that into their homeschool?

Jim:                                             The best, I mean, a lot of people will listen to them, obviously you know driving to soccer practice or violin lessons or doctors appointments or whatever.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             In the car is probably the number one place where people listen. But, the number two on the list is quiet time. In your room time. Family time in the evenings where they’re literally just gathering around the CD player and listening to an audio book. I very much encourage them to let their younger kids in particular, play with Legos or draw or color or something, because young hands that are busy can actually listen better than hands that are supposed to be in their laps.

I mean, no child is, very few children, let me put it that way.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Very few children can just and listen.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             But, I think the best counsel, advice, method that one family used that I’ve heard is they’ll get a new audio book of mine and the chapters are roughly 30 minutes, 30, 35, 40, some are shorter, some are longer. And, these are the Henty novels. They’re pretty much right around 30 minutes. Well, what they will do is, they’ll go to the kitchen at lunch, and say, “Okay, turn it on.” And then, everybody makes their lunch, everybody sits and eats their lunch, but they’re all listening.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             There’s no talking going on. They’re just listening to the story. And then, at the end of the half hour or whatever it is, they’ve had their lunch, Mom turns it off, she lets them listen to one chapter and then she talks about it. And then, they talk about the words and the definitions and who’s, how’s this person acting and how’s that person acting? And, making sure the younger ones are following along in the story line. And then, they’ll do that until they get through the whole book, and then once Mom’s been through it once with everybody, then it’s like, okay, who wants it?

And then, they will go off and listen to it on their own in their own time. But, I would say, primarily it’s car. But, you kinda need to have a half-an-hour in the car because otherwise you’re chopping up a chapter.

Yvette:                                      Right.

Jim:                                             Better to try to get through the end of the chapter or pick a book with shorter chapters or something like that. I don’t know. But, you know, car, quiet time, and evenings. I mean, I had a mom email me and say, “You have become part of our evening tradition-”

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             “In the wintertime, especially.” They put a fire in the fireplace, they do the dishes and then they all sit around and listen to me in front of the fireplace as a family in the evening and it’s just really gratifying to be-

Yvette:                                      Yeah. That’s exciting.

Jim:                                             That much a part of people’s lives, it’s really kind of neat.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that’s so cool, I can not tell you how many times we pull up to the front of our house, and we’re still listening and the kids are like, “No, don’t turn it off.” So, we just sit there and whatever. You know, five or 10 minutes because we have to hear what happened at the end of that chapter.

Jim:                                             You have to hear, right. Right. Right.

Yvette:                                      And, you just cannot, you can’t just turn the car off in the middle of it. A chapter or a sentence.

Jim:                                             Right.

Yvette:                                      So, I think our neighbors probably think we’re crazy because so often we sit there and we’re just sitting.

Jim:                                             How long are they going to sit there?

Yvette:                                      We look, we probably look like we’re crazy because we’re just sitting there listening to what seems like nothing to them. What subjects can use the help of audio books thinking through homeschooling, and obviously history because a lot of you read-

Jim:                                             Oh, gosh.

Yvette:                                      A lot of historical books.

Jim:                                             Yeah, the history is, since it’s my favorite subject, the history is obviously number one. Number two is language. Henty, in particular, Twain, these people were well educated people. They had vast vocabularies. They used long and complex sentences. So, you kinda, Andrew Pudewa makes frequent mention of its, whatever comes in is what’s going to come out when they’re writing-

Yvette:                                      That’s right.

Jim:                                             When they’re communicating. So, if you get good literature and good vocabulary and good use of the language coming in when it’s time for them to communicate with the world on whatever their subject is, that’s how it’s going to come back out. So, language for sure, geography, these books take place in Australia and the United States and all over Europe and the Middle East and Russia and you know just all over the place.

In fact, I will sometimes choose a title because the storyline takes place in a new location because I want there to be that breadth of understanding of the world geography in the next generation of kids, too. So, absolutely and the hero character is just an amazingly fine young man, so character training is just infused throughout these storylines and that’s, like I said, that was my primary motivation for choosing Henty to record.

The hero character is the kind of young man that we need. And so, sure, we can hang history and geography and language onto that.

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             Because, to me that, I think that was his primary motivation was to develop the next generation of you know proud Englishmen. And, I met a gentleman once who was a big, big Henty fan and it was his theory that Henty trained the World War I and the World War II British generation of young men.

Yvette:                                      Interesting.

Jim:                                             Because, he was in Downton Abbey Season Three, where they’re bringing the World War I wounded soldiers in to Downton Abbey as a recuperation center, they actually tell them, “We’ve got a whole slew of Henty’s on the shelf. You know, there’s plenty for you to read, help yourself.” And, that was how much a part of-

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             British culture he was. All of these men knew who Henty was, of course they knew who Henty was, they all read him growing up. And then, the World War II generation, as well. So, he’s had a … Louis L’Amour read Henty growing up. F. Scott Fitzgerald read Henty.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             Agatha Christie read Henty. Arthur Schlesinger Junior, two time winner of the Nobel Prize in History read Henty. I mean, some serious people, authors and historians and you know … read Henty growing up and was a formative part of their education. Anyway, he was an amazing guy.

Yvette:                                      That’s awesome. And so, you don’t obviously have just Henty books.

Jim:                                             No.

Yvette:                                      You have a whole lot more than that. Very quickly, because we’re almost of time-

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      Talk about the other, some of the other books that you offer. The other audio books that you offer.

Jim:                                             Got a lot of children stuff. Todd Wilson, I mentioned in our pre-show, he’s written a lot of Christ centered Christmas stories that I’ve recorded.

Yvette:                                      Okay.

Jim:                                             American history stories, stories of the pilgrims, I’ve read Treasure Island, I’ve read Frederick Douglass, I’ve read you know, classics, children’s, overtly Christian and Henty. I mean, I’ve got, I think we’re up to like 72 different titles to choose from.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             So, if you want to see what I’ve got, you can head on over, it’s a very curious and confusing web address. It’s called,

Yvette:                                      Yup, that’s right. Well, we’ll link back to that in the show notes, as well.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      For those listening, there are so many great opportunities and things that he offers on his website. So, definitely go and checks those out. Our family, I don’t know how many we own, I think 13 or 14 at this point.

Jim:                                             Okay, great.

Yvette:                                      And, we are so much enjoying listening to them. So, we know where people can find you. I would love for you just as we close this out, and then I actually want to continue on just for a few minutes for the backstage pass members and we’ll talk about that in just a second. But, I would love for you to give encouragement to homeschool dads.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      We have a lot of dads who listen to the podcast, which is really encouraging to us. I would love for you to talk to that homeschool dad, and just encourage him in any way that you can. You know, why he should continue homeschooling his kids and how he can maybe support his wife and his kids through this homeschool journey.

Jim:                                             Okay, do the dishes.

Yvette:                                      I love it. Three simple words.

Jim:                                             You know, it’s … one of the things that I struggled with when we were homeschooling was the disarray that I was presented with when I got home from a hard day at work, a stressful day at work. It just really bugged me. But, I got to tell you, the most important thing that happens when you’re homeschooling your kids is that you can develop a really good relationship with them. That was Monica’s primary focus. I did my best. I was a stressed out dad in a reasonably good job but there was major you know dentures, oh, not dentures, but braces and piano lessons and all of those expenses that come with homeschooling that you get for free with your taxes if you go to public school.

All of these, it’s a stressful thing for a dad. I would just say, “Hang in there, do what you can to help around the house. Do what you can to support your wife. In fact, this is a major one, date your kids, date your wife.” We had a date night with our kids. I would take one kid out, once a maybe, every week, then it would be Luke’s turn, next week was Shannon’s turn, the week after that was Matt’s turn. So, they would get it, you know, every three weeks or so. And, I would say, “What do you want to do?” We’d just go out for ice cream, go cruise the mall, go see a movie, go, you know whatever.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Jim:                                             It was just hang out time.

Yvette:                                      Yup.

Jim:                                             And then, Monica and I went out on dates every week. If we had to pay a babysitter, we paid a babysitter. If the kids got old enough, then you know Luke could watch them and we could leave them and we wouldn’t go out for very long. Sometimes, our dates were grocery shopping together.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Jim:                                             Because, you know-

Yvette:                                      Sure.

Jim:                                             It’s hard to fit those things in. But, my oldest son, the Navy paid for him to go to Harvard for his MBA. My youngest son, earned a full boat ride to any state school in the state of Oklahoma. Shannon went a different way. She became an au pair in France and learned French. She taught English in Korea, South Korea. She was more interested in language and travels. But, you know, she got her Associate’s Degree and then she got married and she and her husband went to China and taught English in China for a year.

Yvette:                                      Wow.

Jim:                                             So, the kids are going to go different ways and they’re going to do different things. But, it is absolutely worth it. Most things that are worth it in the long run are hard in the short run.

Yvette:                                      Yes.

Jim:                                             Homeschooling can be hard in the short run. But, the long run is worth it.

Yvette:                                      Yes, amen. Well, thank you for that. We are out of time for the podcast, but for those of you who are on the backstage pass membership site, we’re going to continue on. We’re going to talk about a couple of things. We’re going to talk about families with special needs and how audio books can play into their homeschooling and help them. We’re also going to talk … I want to ask you about tips that you can give parents for reading aloud.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      And, when we get to that, and I know that that’s a big thing for a lot of parents. It was something for me when I started reading aloud to my kids that was a little intimidating to me. And, so I want to get some of your advice on that.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      And then, I would love for you to do a short read for us.

Jim:                                             All right.

Yvette:                                      So, I think you’ve got a book there that you’re going to do that.

Jim:                                             Okay.

Yvette:                                      So, for those of you listening, thank you again for sticking with us today, listening to the podcast, you are a great blessing and encouragement to us. Have a great rest of your day and we will see you next week.

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A Homeschooling Legacy

Yvette Hampton:               Hey everyone, welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast, this is Yvette Hampton your host, and I am really glad that you’ve joined me today. I hope you are just having a great week and that God is doing great things in your life, and through your homeschooling if you’re homeschooling. If you’re not homeschooling, maybe you’re just thinking about it and you’re jumping on this podcast to figure out what this homeschooling thing is all about. I think today’s podcast is going to be a great encouragement to you. So I am really excited to introduce you to our guest today. Her name is Ruth, and she has a really amazing story. She actually was homeschooled growing up, and she is a homeschool mamma now, herself. So we’re going to talk to her today and just get a different perspective on the transition of homeschooling and where God has brought us today, and I think you’re going to be super encouraged by today. So Ruth, welcome to the podcast.

Ruth:                                          Thank you.

Yvette:                                      Tell us a little bit about you and your family and what you do.

Listen to Ruth Adams on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (Airing 3/18/2019)

Ruth:                                          Well, I am a homeschool graduate from the prehistoric pioneer vintage days of the movement. And now I’m a homeschooling mama to my seven children. My husband and I are raising them on a small hobby farm about an hour outside of Houston. We live there with Zebu cows, chickens, horses, bunny rabbits, cats and dogs so our lives are full, and we’re just enjoying this journey of home education but most important family discipleship. And my husband and I had a heart to encourage other homeschooling parents to focus on the discipleship aspect of their homeschool journey.

Yvette:                                      Oh, that’s awesome. So you were homeschooled back in the 80s and 90s. That was the time that I was growing up, so you and I are probably about the same age. I’m 44. Those are my childhood days as well, and back then, I think I only knew, gosh that I can remember off the top of my head, only one girl who was homeschooled. At that time in our town.

Ruth:                                          Yes.

Yvette:                                      I’m certain there were more, but there was only one that I can even recall at this point. So you were back in the day when it was not as well acknowledged and accepted as it is today. Talk a little bit about what your experience was growing up being homeschooled.

Ruth:                                          My parents began this journey with home education in 1979 when I was in kindergarten. And I actually started kindergarten in a private Christian school, but we were having to commute a ways. And my mom got tired of that really quickly and thought why am I doing this? I can bring these little Abeka booklets home and work with Ruth on her numbers and her letters at home, so we did. And then first grade rolled around and she thought this is getting more serious, so again she enrolled me in a private Christian school, and this time we were carpooling with another family from our church. So that worked out. We still had a commute but we were carpooling, and that helped and so I finished out first grade and started second grade in that private Christian school, but then my dad felt God’s call to move our family to the big city of Houston from a small east Texas little town to the big city of Houston to start a church. And so we landed in Houston in the middle of my second grade year. And so once again, my mom thought well why can’t we just take her textbooks and finish out this year?

But for third grade we heard about a Christian school in Houston, and I started there, and it was about this time that my mom heard James Dobson’s program with Dr. Raymond Moore about homeschooling, and it really kind of opened her eyes that this really would be a valid educational option for us long term. And because my parents were pouring their lives into trying to start this little church, and that took a lot of their time, and then I was involved in the Christian school and that was taking a lot of our time and every night I would come home with tons of homework. It was hard for us to have good quality family time, it just didn’t feel right for our family. And so when my mom heard that radio program about homeschooling, she started to think more seriously. Why don’t we just spend our days learning at home, and serving the Lord in ministry as a family, and so that’s what they decided to do.

I guess I was in third grade maybe a month or two of that school year, and then they brought me home, and they homeschooled me all the way through 12th grade.

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Listen to this historic radio broadcast. Dr. James Dobson talks with Dr. Raymond Moore, author of Better Late Than Early.

Yvette:                                      Okay, I love that program. Those listening, if you haven’t heard it yet, listen here. But the first recording that Dr. Dobson did with Dr. Raymond Moore. And Dr. Moore, he wrote the book Better Late Than Early, right? And it was kind of this new … I don’t want to say revelation but … this awakening that parents had that oh, you mean we can actually homeschool our own kids? We can bring them home and educate them ourselves, and they don’t have to go to preschool and they don’t have to go to kindergarten and they don’t have to go to first grade and be taught by someone else? I think, I could be wrong, but I think to this day, that airing of that episode of Dr. Dobson’s radio show was one of the most listened to ever. And really kind of, many people say that alone was what really kind of started the whole revolution of homeschooling. And opened a lot of people’s eyes up to the possibility of homeschooling, and what it could be and what it could look like for your family. So I love that. Did you have siblings growing up?

Ruth:                                          One brother.

Yvette:                                      One brother. Okay, was he older or younger than you?

Ruth:                                          Younger, so he never went to school at all. They were sort of experimenting with homeschooling with me for the first few years. Back and forth, and back and forth, but finally we got in our groove during third grade. I know that they had specific reasons, one being that we needed more family time together. But another thing is, even being in a Christian school, they realized that I was being influenced by other students, and the teachers and I remember specifically one day I went to school and my teacher was talking about something in a positive light, it wasn’t a big deal, and she was a sweet lady, and I like her, but she was talking about something in a positive light that my parents had a personal conviction against. And when I went home and talked to them about that, I think it really hit them hard.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members get exclusive access to the video from this episode, which includes 20 minutes of bonus content!

They realized that, well whoever Ruth spends the most time with is who’s going to shape her perspectives and her thoughts about life. And I don’t think world view was a huge term back then like it is now. But that’s basically what the Lord was showing them is like we want to take the responsibility to disciple our daughter. We want to be the ones who will guide her and shepherd her and disciple her so that she will think biblically. I’m so thankful they did that and I know that they also really wanted me to have a different vision then the typical vision of youth culture and the foolishness that so many get caught up in their youth. And they challenged me with 1 Timothy 4:12 that says let no man despise you because of your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech and love and conduct and faith and in purity.

And my parents always said Ruth, you can be a leader in righteousness. You don’t have to follow the crowd into foolishness. There’s so many teenagers throwing their lives away to foolishness. But you can serve the Lord in your youth, and you can do great things for God in your youth. They did a great job of bringing me on board with the ministering, and I saw them every day pulling their lives into the Kingdom of God, and the kingdom work into working with other people and discipling other people and they did a great job of saying you can be a part of this. So even from a young age they began giving me ministry opportunities. Whether that was making copies at the copy machine in my dad’s office in the back of our house, or when I got a little older helping in the nursery. I got a little older, it was teaching a class of children and then leading children’s choir and then playing piano for church. But they made me feel like I was needed. And gave me a vision for ministry. So I know that all of those things really were reasons they brought me home, and part of their vision for our family discipleship program. So I’m really thankful for that.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, and so you see those then as a blessing now looking back. At the time when you were being homeschooled, was it difficult for you because there were not very many other kids your age staying home with their parents, or did you actually enjoy that time?

Ruth:                                          Maybe a little bit of both. We didn’t have huge homeschool groups, but we were able to meet a few families and again, they just continued to encourage me in this vision of, you know, you don’t have to have a huge group of young people around you. You can serve the Lord with your time, and our family can be close and we can do this together and the Lord is building character in your life, even if you don’t have a ton of friends around you. And they encouraged me to have friends with people of all ages, so growing up some of my best friends were Godly adult ladies in the church who had children. And I would go to their houses, and I would help them, and then that was tied as two in action, because I was learning from them how to manage a house, and how to work with their children, and they would talk to me about things the Lord was teaching them as wives and as mothers. And then I worked so much with the little children in the church, that I loved them so much. And they were some of my best friends as well. So I learned to have friends of all ages. So that was a long term blessing for me.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, it’s one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling, I believe, is because your kids learn to interact with people of every age. And it’s such an amazing thing. Our eight year old, she’s very outgoing. And we’ve often times had adults say to us, it’s amazing how she can carry on a conversation with an adult. And that’s not to say that kids who go to traditional school can’t speak to adults. But when you’re in a classroom setting all day long with only people your age, and then you’re with adults for a little part of the rest of the week, you don’t have that opportunity to constantly interact with people your own age. And like you said, older or younger. And so it just, I think provides so many great opportunities for us to just expand our view of people. And learn from, like you said, those tied us to women in our lives. Come alongside those other women and learn from them. I think that’s such a blessing. You talked about how your parents taught you to be a leader in righteousness, and I see you doing that now.  You’ve actually come out with a book called Legacy: Reflections of a Homeschooled, Homeschooling Mama, because you were homeschooled yourself and now of course your homeschooling your own children. Tell us about your book.

Ruth:                                          My husband encouraged me to write this book, he thought that my perspective coming from a homeschooled student and now being a homeschool mama of seven would be helpful to new homeschoolers and maybe also to long time homeschoolers who just need encouragement in the journey. So the book really just tells my story over about four decades of involvement in homeschooling, and what the Lord has done through all of that, and what he’s teaching me now as a homeschooling mama. It’s a real encouragement to focus on family discipleship in our homeschooling, and some practical tips too about managing the home and just managing life as we try to juggle a lot. A lot of plates are spinning when we’re homeschooling our children. Yeah, it’s just my story and what God has done and what he’s teaching me now.

Yvette:                                      What are some of the things about homeschooling that the Lord is teaching you now?

Ruth:                                          One of those things is just to measure success with the right measuring stick. You don’t want to use the measuring stick of the world which often times is rooted in humanism and materialism and we want our children to grow up and have the American dream and these sorts of things. But I think the greater goal is that our children will grow up and love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, soul, mind and strength. We’re not just going for high academics, and them getting into a prestigious university so that they can make tons of money. We’re wanting generational faithfulness. We’re wanting them to take the torch of faith into the next generation. So I think, I love Psalm 1, that says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (KJV) And I meditate on that Psalm, it’s talking about us loving God’s word. About us delighting in his words so that we can prosper. That’s God’s definition of success. Is that we’re living according to his word. And that’s what brings true prosperity.

So when our families are mediating on the Word of God, dwelling on the Word of God, going to the Word of God all throughout the day, and living according to it. Applying it. That’s what’s going to bring true prosperity. And it also talks about His leaf shall not wither. As homeschooling mamas, I know that it’s very easy for us to grow weary, and to wither. And I am encouraged to remember that when we keep going back to the Word of God, that is what’s going to persevere us in this journey. That’s what’s going to keep us going and fuel us and renew our perspective so that we continue to have the vision in mind. Why are we doing this in the first place when we grow weary? He will keep us from withering. Also I think using the right measuring stick. We have to be careful in this online world of social media. We can go on social media and Pinterest and it lies to us all the time and tries to tell us that if our houses are not Pinterest worthy, we’re not good moms or if we’re not throwing our children elaborate birthday parties, we’re not measuring up as mothers, or we see our friend’s photos and their families look perfect. We get misconceptions by what we’re reading online and what we’re seeing online.

I think we just need to continue to counsel our hearts with God’s Word and what He says is the true measure of success and absolutely we want our children to have a good education. And we want to equip them for life. But we don’t want to idolize education. This is something that God has had to teach me, because starting out in the early years, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself by comparing myself with other moms, and feeling like there’s just this huge academic push. And at times I got caught up in that, and it distracted me from the more important areas of discipleship with my children early on in the journey. And so we have to not compare and then not use a short term vantage point but a long term vision of it’s not about how I’m feeling today. It’s not about how does my house look today, and I’m so frustrated because I can’t things organized or my children just aren’t cooperating with me today. We’re just failing, we’re just falling apart because things aren’t going well. Long term success is not based on my feelings today. But we want to say 10, 15, 20 years down the road, will our children be taking this generational faithfulness, will they be taking the gospel of Jesus into the next generation and teaching this to my grandchildren?

We’re not just raising children, we’re raising adults and we’re raising our grandchildren’s parents. And so sometimes it gets very discouraging when we’re feeling overwhelmed as homeschooling mamas, but if we can get our eyes off the immediate stresses, and look at what are we really aiming for? And it helps to ask ourselves that question. What’s really most important? What are our highest goals for this home education, home discipleship thing we’re trying to do? And keep our eyes on that.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, yeah. Oh, I love it so much. We were actually talking last night, or family about you know, you’ll hear people say oh, they eat sleep and breathe volleyball. Or they eat sleep and breathe gymnastics or whatever it is that is that passion of that person. We were talking about Deuteronomy 6, and how we need to eat sleep and breathe Jesus. And that’s what homeschooling allows us to do. I’ve said it a million times, I’ll say it again. Homeschooling is not the gospel. It does not save our children. But it gives such a great opportunity to raise our children in righteousness. And you were talking about Psalm 1, and just the Law of the Lord, and how that brings blessings, and we tell our girls all the time, and I say it on the podcast all the time. One of the things we tell them is that obedience brings blessings, but sin causes pain. And we want our children to understand that God’s Law is there to protect them. God gives us his laws because he cares about us, and what an amazing opportunity we have as homeschool parents to be able to just instill that truth and that grace into our children’s lives, because like you said, it’s not about just the academics. Those are important, as long as they’re pointing our kids towards Christ.

But it’s so much more about character, it’s so much about who they become as adults. Who they become as people, and how are they impacting the Kingdom of God? And everyone of us has a platform. No matter what it is that we’re doing, he has given every one of us a gift and an ability to impact his kingdom for goodness and for truth. And so, are we raising our kids to be able to do that effectively? And how are we doing that with them? I’d love to know with you, what are some of the ways that you do that practically with your kids? How do you raise them in righteousness? How do you raise them in truth?

Ruth:                                          Well I would say that the most important thing is just relying on the Lord and praying. Because I oftentimes say Lord, I don’t know what to do about this or that or the other. But allowing His strength to flow through, and then just, we keep trying to bring things back to the Word of God. It’s not just like there’s a subject of bible in our homeschool. But we want bible to be weaved through every subject. We want the gospel to be weaved through, integrated into every subject, so we just keep coming back to it over and over. And taking moments, as Deuteronomy, you were talking about that passage, says as you lie down, and as you rise up and as you walk along the way. And as I look back I see that that’s what my parents did with me. It was like a 24/7 discipleship center where if we were going to the grocery store, they were talking about the Lord, maybe they were talking about what they had read in their devotions, or they were talking about what the Lord was doing in the church and ministry. They were intentional, I guess having intentional conversations with me. So we try to do a lot of that.

Now we do have family bible time, and I do circle time with my children in the mornings, and that’s a time where I gather all of them, ages three to 17, and that’s an intentional time that I’ve set apart where I am trying to go over discipleship materials with them. It’s partially academic, sometimes we read our history lessons and things like that. But it’s heavily discipleship focused. It’s a time where we read books on Christian apologetics, and on world view, and on culture, do character lessons and make sure we’re reading straight from the Word of God. So there’s intentional times. But there’s many times just throughout the day where we’re just trying to converse. And talk to them about what God is doing and where we see the fingerprints of God in our lives throughout the day.

Yvette:                                      I love that. I love the fingerprints of God. It’s so amazing, because you can’t, if you’re looking for it, you can see Him everywhere. In just about everything. There’s always evidence of our great God all around us, and it’s such a beautiful thing. How have you seen the transition of homeschooling from what it was when you were back in the 80s and 90s to what it is today. We’re in 2019, how have you seen that paradigm shift of what it used to be to what it has become today?

Ruth:                                          I’ve seen so many changes. Just things like, there were only a few curriculums back when I was being homeschooled, and it was difficult to get your hands on homeschooling curriculum. We didn’t have the internet, we didn’t have homeschool mommy blogs. we didn’t have homeschool mommy podcasts. These pioneer parents back then were tenacious and brave and courageous, and they took the vision that God gave them. And they ran with it, even though they had very little resources to help them. And that’s one thing I like to share with people is that in the pioneering days, these parents took risks. Some of them were taken into court battles over homeschooling, and by God’s grace our family never faced that. And I’m really thankful for that, but some of them did get taken to court for homeschooling. And you just look and say why would parents take those kinds of risks and do something that seems so hard and so daunting and very little in the way of resources, they didn’t have big homeschool conventions. What were they thinking? Why would they do this? And I think for, not all of them, but I think for many of them, their reasons were really grounded in this desire to disciple their children.

They wanted to raise up young men and women of faith and virtue and character and wisdom and they felt that was what God was calling them to do.

Yvette:                                      They had a conviction about it.

Ruth:                                          Yes, yes. And now we’ve seen homeschooling explode, and I hope it continues to explode exponentially. I’m encouraged to see this. But I think that in our current homeschooling climate, I believe that many families are jumping onboard the homeschooling wagon for all kinds of reasons. And it’s not always discipleship reasons. I remember years ago we were at an ice skating rink and I met a mom and she told me that she was homeschooling, and she said her reasons were so that her child could skate all the time. And hoped to go far in skating. And there was nothing about discipling the daughter. And so I see people doing it for all kinds of reasons, I see a lot of people homeschooling out of fear, because they’re very scared of the school shootings and things like that. And so maybe running from the public school, and running out of fear rather than running to a vision for family discipleship. And if it’s running out of fear, I’m still glad that brings them to homeschooling, and then I guess my message is to say that’s great. Welcome. Now here’s a greater vision for discipling your children. And it’s not just about the academics, it’s not just about bring them home so they’ll be safe.

But there’s a vision, and realize what you can do in these years and with this extra time that God is allowing you with your children. So that’s one thing, I want homeschooling parents to have vision. I would say in the early days, there was more of a conservative [trench 00:25:48] to the homeschooling movement. There were a lot of families that were more conservative and with the growth and explosion of homeschooling, we see it becoming more mainstream. So in the early days of homeschooling I saw some families focus so much on wanting to raise mature and wise students that they focus a lot on the external behaviorism of their children, and had the best of parts. And yet sometimes they failed to reach the heart of their children through Christ.

And it was things like teaching good character, teaching good manners, teaching them to carry themselves in impressive ways. And yet sometimes there was so much of a focus on that external behavior, that I think some of those kids grew up confused. And maybe thinking that they were earning God’s favor by their mature impressive outward behaviors. And I try to be so balanced when I share this because I think those external behavior things are very important. I mean we all want our children to have good manners. We all want them to be mature and to walk with Godly character. And those things are important. But the thing is if those things are not coming out of a pure heart towards Christ, if it’s just taught as moralism or behaviorism, then I’ve seen many of those kids go off the rails when they grew up and gained independence.

And some of these young people, you would never ever think that they would go off the rails. It’s left me going what in the world, I would have never seen this coming. And I’ve seen this happen, I really think some of these kids never went from darkness to light. I think a lot of them never truly came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way. They just grew up, like well this is the way our family is. This is our family culture. These are the things we do and the things we don’t do, and God is pleased with me because of that. And so I think we have to be very careful about this. And I think we need to be, as parents explaining the why’s of the standards that we have with our children. Deuteronomy 6 verse 20 says, when your son asks you in time to come, what is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules the Lord our God has commanded you. Then you shall say to your son we were Pharaoh slaves in Egypt and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

So it’s just talking about when your sons and daughters have questions, that you take the time to explain, say the Lord has done this. Or this is where I’m getting this. I’m not, I think some of these kids might have thought mom and dad went to a homeschool conference, and they heard this guy and now they came home with 25 new rules for the family. Or mom and dad are just making up these rules because they’re weird, and they’re trying to ruin our lives. Things like that. And so we want to really give good biblical applications and explanations to our young people and lead them in loving humble sacrificial ways. We want to have heart relationship. And we want to be, our utmost goal to be that they know Christ because the bible says out of the goodness of the heart, when the heart is right, the behavior will overflow. So I think sometimes people like to stigmatize all homeschoolers as being this way or that way, but I think we can forget the question of what should homeschool culture look like, and say how can our families bring the most glory to Christ? What can we do to honor him and glorify him? So we want to be careful we’re not just creating little pharisees or little good rule followers.

Yvette:                                      Little robots.

Ruth:                                          But that we’re truly, truly seeing heart conversion.

Yvette:                                      Yes, oh I love that so much. That is a perfect way to end the podcast. We are unfortunately out of time for the podcast, but I actually want to continue this conversation for our backstage pass members. So for those listening to the podcast, thank you so much for joining us today. For those who don’t know, I think most of you do, but we have what’s called a backstage pass membership site, and you can go on there and for a few dollars a month, you can become a member and that actually helps to support production on Schoolhouse Rocked. But you get a ton of extra videos and footage from the movie, and all kinds of exciting things. So we’re going to continue this conversation, and the remainder of it will be on the backstage pass membership site. But, really quickly, where can people who are listening to the podcast, where can they find you?

Ruth:                                          I have a website, And I have a podcast, The Legacy Homeschool Reflections Podcast that can be found on iTunes or on that website. I can be found on Facebook at Ruth L. Adams. So I’m glad to connect with your listeners in any of those ways.

Yvette:                                      Awesome, and we will link to those in the show notes so people can find you. So Ruth, thank you so much for your time today, you are a blessing. We will continue this conversation for our backstage pass members, and thank you guys for listening. I hope you have a great day today.







Legacy: Reflections of a Homeschooled, Homeschooling Mama by Ruth Adams

Ordinary Homeschool Dad by Matthew Adams (Ruth’s Husband) –

Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education by Dr. Raymond S. Moore

Listen to Better Late Than Early – Dr. Dobson Talks with Dr. Raymond Moore –


Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Photo by Tom Jablonski on Unsplash

Photo by Jenna Beekhuis on Unsplash

Homeschooling in Russia!

“I grew up in this country where, in a socialist country, communist country, which really tried to teach us not to think with their own heads. The government wants to make decisions for us. The doctors made decisions for us. In a country like ours, basically everything; your body, your soul, belongs to the government. You were not supposed to be asking questions or think outside the box.” – Andre Furmanov

In this episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton speaks with Russian pastor and homeschool dad, Andre Furmanov, about how and why he and his wife began homeschooling and what homeschooling looks like in Russia.

Andre Furmanov came to Christ while still living in Communist Russia. He is a graduate of Leningrad State University, with an English philology, literature and translation major. Considers himself a pastor by default, since his ministry started after his high school class accepted Christ almost in its entirety through his witness as a teacher.

Andre is a graduate of the pastoral training center at the International Church of St. Petersburg and has been pastoring his flock for the past 29 years. Andre is a major advocate of Parenting ministry in Russia and the initiator of the Christian homeschooling movement in his hometown of Vyborg. He and his wife, Nadya, have been married for 21 years. They have three daughters – Emily (18), Erika (17) and Elsie (16), who they have been raising according biblical principles and homeschooled for the past 6 years.

You can support Andre and his family at Select “VCC- Andre Furmanov” in the designation drop-down list. (once in the list you can search, rather than scrolling).

Join us on the Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass membership site for the full unedited video of this interview. Save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass Membership by using the coupon code “Podcast10”.

Yvette Hampton:  Hey everyone, this is Yvette. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad that you’ve joined us again today. We have a really, really exciting guest on today. His name is Andre Furmanov and he is a Homeschool dad and pastor in Russia. You guys, Homeschooling is growing around the globe. It’s not just in America. He has a really exciting story about how Homeschooling is affecting his family and how they got into it. So let me introduce you to Andre. Andre, welcome to the podcast.

Andre Furmanov:  Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.

Yvette:  Yeah, I’m so glad to have you. We got to meet you at a conference about a year and a half ago. We got to hear you speak. Your story was so moving and inspiring. So I would love for you to introduce your family to our listeners and then tell us your story of Homeschooling, how you got started.

Andre:  I’m Andre Furmanov. I’m a pastor as already was mentioned. I became a Christian way back in the ’80s, still under communism. I always called myself a pastor by default because my church was started when I was still a school teacher, under communism is not being allowed to do that. I shared Christ with my 24 students who accepted the Lord. I ended up with the flock without even being trained to be a pastor, but somebody had to take care of these kids. So at this point, I’ve been a pastor for almost 30 years. It’s 29 this year. I’m a father of three daughters and a husband of one wife. My daughters are Emily, Erika and Elsie. At this point they are 18, 17 and 16. All are working with the Lord and excited about ministry. Our family is basically a team that does ministry together. We are very much, we believe in family discipleship and I just feel my wife and my daughters in the first place as my primary disciples. My wife is my coworker, a very faithful partner, and the love of my life. So this is my family.

Yvette:  I love that. I love it. Your family is so beautiful and so sweet.

Andre:  Thank you.

Yvette:  Very gifted as well. Your girls are incredibly gifted in so many areas. Tell us your story about how you got started Homeschooling.

Andre:  Well, that’s, how much time do we have? Anyway, we began Homeschooling only about six years ago. Prior to that, I grew up in this country where, in a socialist country, communist country, which really tried to teach us not to think with their own heads. The government wants to make decisions for us. The doctors made decisions for us. In a country like ours, basically everything; your body, your soul, belongs to the government. You were not supposed to be asking questions or think outside the box.

Andre:  But I just remember even when I was growing up, I had a lot of questions about a lot of things. I guess this is the good thing about the way I turned out to be. I like asking questions and I need answers for those questions. With my wife and I having three daughters, we decided to make a very, very serious step of faith and not send them to daycare. Everybody send their kids to daycare. Everybody’s supposed to work. Wives are supposed to work. Everybody talks about how important it is to make more money and stuff like that.

A working wife, a working mother is considered to be such a wonderful, wonderful thing. People forget that mothers work at home so much that if a man, a husband tries to do what a woman does at home, at the end of the day, he feels like, “Okay, I’d rather go to work than do what you’re doing.” A lot of men testify to that.

We didn’t send our kids to the daycare center. Many people thought we were crazy. Then there was a time for us to send our kids to school. Everybody does it. I’d never heard of anything like Homeschooling in my country. I heard that Americans did that. But in this country we kind of think that things come easy for Americans. It’s a bunch of baloney of course. But people have that view.

I remember I was taking my oldest daughter to school. I was walking behind her and she had these beautiful pony tails and I walked behind her carrying her bag and a bouquet of flowers. I was in tears. I think I was the only man in the face of this earth who was like bawling when he was taking his daughter to school. I felt I was doing something incredibly wrong. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know that there was something else that could be done.

So anyhow, she went to school and there was one less person at the breakfast table. Then the second daughter went to school and then the third one and my wife and I felt like empty nesters without our kids having grown up. I remember what happened to our kids, we always try to raise them in the Lord, but what happened to them, they just became different. They became distant and alienated from us. At some point I just realized that we only spent about 30 minutes a day with our girls because they went to school, they went to music school, they did all of their little routines, sports and everything.

By the time they were done, they were just dog tired and wanted to go to bed. They needed to make their home assignments and all that kind of stuff. I felt like, so why have a family if you can’t raise your children the way you know you should be raising them? I was a very strong believer in raising my girls or kids God’s way based on the biblical principles.

That was the time when God brought us to America. I’ve visited America at this point about 14 times and there was one of those times. Every time when God takes us to America, I know that he wants to tell us something. I didn’t know what he wanted to tell us at that time. So we came to visit our friends in Colorado and it was interesting when we came to see them they just said, “Oh, we mixed up the dates of your arrival and that’s why we’re going to go to Homeschooling conference tomorrow. You can take our car, drive around, and do whatever. We want to give you some money to have fun or you could join us at the Homeschooling conference.”

I’m the kind of person, I really would like to see things and experience things, especially things that are so different from what I’m used to. So I said, “Well, we’ll definitely go to the conference.” So we went to the conference and the first person we meet is a person that was going to Saint Petersburg, Russia, which is where we’re from, along with his entire family. Eight children, one of whom was, had just been born. I was like, “Whoa, that’s crazy. I’ve been traveling to Russia and why are you going there?” He said, “Well, I would like to teach Russian people about Homeschooling.” I was like, “Wow, you must believe in it very strongly.”

Anyway, I heard Kevin Swanson, I heard Ken Ham and I saw a lot of people there. What really struck me was the discovery that at some point a time Americans were actually put to jail for trying to Homeschool their children. I was like, “Oh, so things don’t come easy to Americans too. That’s interesting.” I thought, “Gosh, America’s a free country. Everybody can do whatever they think is right.” But it’s like, no. It wasn’t like that. People had to actually fight for their right. I was like, “Uh-huh (affirmative).”

Anyway, so I experienced three days of Homeschooling conference. A lot of great things, heard a lot of testimonies, talked to a lot of people. I was asking questions at the speed of light. Then three days later our friends took us to the famous park, the Garden of the Gods. I remember we drove up there and we stood there looking at the mountains and the beautiful rock formations and all that. It just struck me, dawned on me, I thought, goodness. I know from history that sometime not too long ago, people who were fathers, were taking their families west going across this wilderness with no beautiful roads that brought me here by car, with nothing, just wild animals. They just really needed to go west. They needed to explore and conquer that land there was wild.

I thought, what drove them so firmly and so strongly? Then I thought, just some kind of crazy dream that they were passionate about. I just realized, oh my goodness, that’s what actually made America great. That spirit of discovery, pioneering, and daring spirit not to be afraid to try something new that you think is right.

I felt so ashamed. I thought, if some people came from Europe and settled this land and they were just so brave. Here I am knowing that I need to Homeschool my daughters, that I need to raise them in the Lord and I’m losing them to the system. I’m afraid to do that because of what? I turned to my wife and said, “Nadya, we’re coming home and we’re starting to Homeschool.” I didn’t know how, I didn’t know what we need to do in our country in order to actually escape jail, but I’ll do that.

Then as we came home, I started to explore things. I realized that Homeschooling had been allowed since 1992. Since the very beginning. Since communism fell. But nobody really knew about it because we’re just too careless to figure it out. So, anyway, a long story short, we took our girls away from school, started to teach them at home. 15 families that attended the same school, families from my church said, “We’re going with you.” I was like, “Guys, I want to make sure that you’re not just following us, that you’re following the will of God, because it’s like, we might even be in trouble for that.” But they said, “You know what? We think we should do it.”

Then that family from Colorado came and shared their experience. I remember as they came to Russia with eight of their children, we were thinking, “Okay, now this is a family with eight children and they’re Homeschooling them all. This is a family that was not afraid to come to Russia to teach us about Homeschooling. Why are we afraid to Homeschool our three girls or two kids, whatever?” However many kids was in each family.

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So anyway, there was like a huge exodus from public school system. But I’m going to tell you, the whole point was just not leaving school but going somewhere we wanted to go. For me, my passion was to really raise my girls for the Lord because I always knew that I was never raising them for my pleasure. I knew that the kids were a gift from God and they didn’t belong to me. I was their daddy, but they already had a father. But I wasn’t able to really teach them how to fall in love with Jesus because I didn’t have time. The fact that we took them out of school and started to really explore how to involve God in every subject, it really changed our lives.

Our girls were just growing apart from us and all of a sudden we started to read the Bible. But for the whole year I spent every day just teaching them about Christ and their identity in Jesus. That changed their lives because they just realized that they didn’t need to … I mean, they almost became invincible. That they know that their identity is not in what they do and not the achievements they make, but in Christ already accepted them.

It’s amazing. We taught our girls not to live for acceptance so that others would accept them for their good grades or whatever, but from acceptance because they already know that the Lord loves them dearly and will never leave nor forsake them. They don’t need to really live for anyone’s pleasure. They just live out of the fullness of their lives.

We could see that they started to get involved in ministry. They started to read the Bible. They started to talk about God. We have these amazing family times when everybody shares their hearts. I can see that their knowledge about God became their knowledge of Him and also turned into practical steps of manifesting that amazing love. I can see that, when in Galatians 2, Paul says, “It’s not me who is living with the Lord who lives through me.” I can see that in my girls’ lives and I’m so grateful.

I know that it’s not the magic of Homeschooling, but this is freedom we got in order to do what is right. We also figured that, I remember I told you that our girls, children are not, they’re not a bucket to be filled, but they’re a gift to be unwrapped. I realized that our children already were designed by God a certain way and we allow them, in the context of Homeschooling, to explore who they truly were, how they were designed by God. I could mention that they’re extremely talented and I think every kid is, but we allowed the Lord to actually help them develop their special giftings.

With the Erika, my middle daughter, she’s so gifted in music. She plays the piano, she plays the harp, she plays the whistle, and she plays the Ukulele. Elsie plays violin. Emily plays guitar and the piano. But again, Erika decided that she wants to be a musician, but again, she doesn’t need to become someone. But she is a musician at heart, but she’s a child of God. That’s her primary identity. But she uses music to glorify Jesus.

I see Emily is excited about technical things. She’s reading a lot about business, but she would like to actually free herself up from having to go to a secular job so that she could do counseling. She really is passionate about that. Elsie is still searching what she wants to do, but she already knows who she is and that most important thing. So anyway, that’s in a nutshell. Maybe too long.

Yvette:  No, I love it. That is an amazing story.

Want to hear more about how homeschooling is growing around the world? Listen to Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Director of Global Outreach, on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

So you were talking about how there were about 15 families from your church who came along with you into Homeschooling when you got back. You went back and he said, “Okay family, okay girls, we’re going to do this Homeschool thing.” What was your, what was the response from your family to doing this? Were they excited and did having those 15 families make it easier for them?

Andre:  It was interesting. Everybody, there was not even one exception, everybody thought we were crazy. Grandparents were just upset with us. They thought we were destroying our children. Actually those 15 families came to us and they said they were leaving with us. But prior to that for about a week, they had thought we were crazy. We had to actually talk to a lot of people and give account of what we truly believed in.

There was really, for some time, there was no support. My wife’s sister and her husband actually became our best enemies. They really ostracize ourselves, I mean us, from their family. They just really were upset with us. Nadya’s mother came to us almost on a daily basis and called us all kinds of names and yelled at us for being so brutally horrible towards our children and depriving them of their rights that were constitutional for education. We had to actually … God really taught us a lot through that because, I kind of tended to get into all defensive mode and almost become just like those people that yelled at us.

But later on I’m like, “No, you can’t really change anybody through yelling. Think of Jesus and His example.” I learned a lot about what it means to give account in Godly way. So anyway, after about a week, those 15 families left school. It’s interesting that Nadya’s sister at this point is Homeschooling her children. My parents, they say this was the wisest decision we could ever make and they’re totally supporting that. Nadya’s mother is still undecided, but since her other daughter is doing the same thing, she had to quiet down.

But it was interesting because there was a lot of pressure and there was a lot of gossip spread around. You heard that story that one day the friend of my daughters comes to us and says, “Have you heard about this horrifying family that’s doing this horrible thing to their children. We heard that they not only had they left school but they also took a bunch of people with them.” It was really crazy. We said, “We are that family.”

You should have seen the look on her eyes in her eyes. It was really like a paradigm shift for people because people … it was interesting in our town, we were kind of well-known because I taught my girls English since they were babies. Even though I have an accent, they don’t have any accent. They speak totally like Americans. So we have been known in this town like the family that speaks English or something like that because my girls speak English to each other.

Anyway, so they kind of think we’re so smart and whatever. All of a sudden it’s like, “The smart people did this stupid thing.” But it was interesting because when this happens, when people ask you questions, when people … when that paradigm shift occurs, you have a lot of opportunities to share your faith and to give account of what you believe. So, it’s interesting because at this point people call me from time to time and people who are non-Christians and have different reasons for taking their kids out of school, but nobody’s happy with school system anymore for different reasons, like I said.

As a friend of mine, Chris Davis, you might have heard of them. I read his books. He’s an amazing Homeschooling dad. He’s in his seventies. He’s raised three sons and a daughter Homeschooling them. But anyway, he wrote a book in which he said that there’re pioneers and then there are followers. Then there are people that are kind of lagging behind. Pioneers are the ones that just go and make way and cut through the path.

Then there are followers who feel like, “ I’m afraid to become a pioneer but now that the road has been cleared, I can follow.” Then there are those who just rush from one side to another thinking like, “Okay, maybe I can Homeschool just in case so that I wouldn’t miss anything out.” Then when things get tough, they go back to the school system and stuff.

So anyway, I can see that a lot of non-Christians really don’t have the good foundation for why they’re doing what they’re doing, but nobody is really happy with the system anymore because the system is just killing creativity. To tell you the truth, in our country, it is becoming the tool of horrifying propaganda and nationalism. I just, I would never want my girls to be a part of that. I actually think it’s very unhealthy for any child to be there because it’s all about, we used to hail communism and hail Lenin, now we hail Putin. So it’s just the same old stuff. We’re just coming back with a very different, even more cruel and evil flavor.

So anyway, we don’t want to be a part of that. Funny as it is, or strange as it is, even non-Christians feel like something is wrong with that. So, people, parents sense that they’re losing their children. Some don’t. Some really are going along with the system. But there’re some that called me up and asked me lots of questions. In a way, I’m sort of viewed like some kind of Homeschooling guru, which I don’t really think I am because I have very little experience. Well, more than most people.

Yvette:  You have a whole lot more than most do.

Andre:  But anyway, it’s really exciting to be able to help them. This gives me an opportunity to talk about my faith, not only about school, but about the true reason why I’m doing that. It really opens the way for a lot of incredible conversations. So we’ll see. We will see what happens.

Yvette:  That’s amazing. How many families are there in your hometown about who are Homeschooling now?

Andre:  More than I know I bet. But I know at least 30.

Yvette:  Okay, so it’s growing still?

Andre:  Yeah. We have a very small town by Russian standards. People in Russia basically are very afraid of change. They are very fatalistic. So I mean, so people that are not are considered to be very crazy like myself.

Yvette:  So how, okay, of those 30 families and looking at those 15, 16 families, including yourself who started six years ago or so, how have you seen that change the culture of these families individually? Have you seen the kids change, the families changed as a result of Homeschooling?

Andre:  Well, it’s interesting. I realize that the problem that occurs a lot of times that people take their kids out of school, but they don’t take school out of their system which has been a problem. It was actually a problem for us the first year. It took me going to a conference, a Homeschooling conference and meeting some radically amazing people. Some of them are very well known in America. I’m not going to mention their names, but because some people think they’re great, others think they’re horrible.

But I just love people that are different. I don’t have to necessarily agree with all of them or about every little thing, but I just like people who think outside the box. Anyway those people help me see that under it, you’re still thinking like the system. So I repented of that and I said, “Okay, now I need to have a biblical worldview.” So anyway, those families who realize that, that they need to get the system out of their household, they really changed radically.

Because it seems like it’s really, it allowed parents to focus on God more in their personal walk. It allowed the children … I mean the children are really focused on what is true, what is right, and what is worthwhile. It’s interesting because those kids do not really strive for getting a degree, but they’re striving after pleasing the Lord. If a degree is something, is a step towards that, they would do it.

It’s amazing because a typical Russian person just goes through all these hoops. Just you’re born, you go to kindergarten, you go to school, you go to college, then you get a job and that’s that. Well, one of the conferences, one of the craziest and very controversial peers came to the conference, which was Rhea Perry. I mean, you meet this woman once you’re changed forever. It’s just amazing.

So when she came and she shared with us her philosophy in life, I just realized, oh my gosh, I still had that in me. That my girls are being raised and we’re doing all these Christian things. But then they grew up and they figure out a way to get a job. So you raise a kid to get a job and all of a sudden it’s like, “No, we need to raise them to be able to be free.” So I would say that those people that really got that, they are raising their kids differently.

We don’t live for today, we live for eternity. We live today but not for today, we live for eternity. They’re trying to make eternal difference. Then the methods they choose and the way, even they schedule their time is just so different from a typical Homeschooler that has not figured what it is truly about. Do I make sense?

Yvette:That makes absolute sense. I mean, it’s the same way here in America; in that most people when they start Homeschooling, they think they’re bringing the classroom into their home and they try to make it, they try to just replicate what the classroom looks like. Pretty quickly, I think most start to realize that you can’t do that. Now, certainly you can have structure and you can have your different subjects and all, but it’s not just about the academics. It’s about their character and about growing them as people.

I love that you talk about success and the idea of going to college and things. We’re certainly not anti-college, but we’re also not of the belief that every kid must go to college in order to be what some would consider successful. God has called everybody to do something different with the gifts he’s given them. So, no, I completely understand it and agree with that. I think that’s a very exciting thing. Really, a great thing.

Talk about your family and what you’re doing in ministry because I know that you have, you’re a pastor and you’ve got a ministry that your family is involved with. What do you do as a family for ministry?

Andre:  It’s amazing how much scope for Christian work there is for us as a family. Well, of course I’m a pastor and I do a lot of teaching, training, counseling and that kind of stuff. It’s amazing because as I trained my girls, they actually doing the same thing. Meaning teaching, training and counseling their peers. We’ve gone through a lot of amazing, well, one of the most amazing courses I’ve ever gone through and apply in my life is called Victorious Christian living.

Basically, I mean, it’s nothing but the Bible and it just shows to you how to solve any issue. Just going through, going to the Lord with it. I’ve taken my girls three times through this and they’re so eager to pass it on to others. They’ve been able, I mean the oldest two are just really walking in this freedom in the Lord and they’re really able to share it with others.

My girls do a lot of things. Like they would, they work a lot with children. They serve families. They can see that those young families, young couples that have children have babies, kind of fall away from everyday church life. One of my girls, Emily said, “I just really feel like I would like to make it my ministry and not a job, but a ministry. I would like to help those families.”

My girls would go and babysit for the families that would like to attend a small group or go to a ministry team meeting. It’s not just like, “Oh, I’d like to go to the store and go shopping.” No, my girls don’t do that. But it’s like, “Okay, if you want to attend the church, if you really need to go to a meeting in the church, or would like to have a getaway together to build the relationship between the husband and wife.” They would just be there like, “I’m willing to babysit.”

It’s amazing because in our church, because of people like my kids, there is never a lack for babysitters. When I, a lot of times I come to America and some of my friends go like, “We would like to go out, but we can’t because there’s nobody to babysit and we have eight kids. We don’t have enough money to hire a person.” I was like, “Well, I wish my girls were there.” Because they would totally tell us, “Well, every Wednesday I’m yours. Just invite me over I’ll take care of your children.”

So they do that. They do a lot of music work. My daughters, they all play musical instruments and Erika arranges different pieces for different groups of instruments. So they do a lot of stuff for Christmas, for Easter. They used to go, when we had this mission in a small village close to Vyborg, they used to go there and bring musical education to kids and adults in that really dark little village. We’re not allowed to go there anymore because it was … anyway, it’s the government involvement that actually prevents us from going there at this point.

But they do a lot of music work with children in my church and they prepare worship for children’s Sunday school. They do a lot of music for youth ministry, teenage ministry. It’s just amazing. It’s like they feel the music is not their goal, it’s a tool that they use to teach people how to worship and they do that.

They also do a lot of cooking for different projects like orphanage project that we have. My girls really love to take some tough assignments. For example, in an orphanage, the kids never have pancakes because it’s too complicated to make pancakes for so many children. So it’s like every time our team goes there and there is a need to make pancakes, because kids really love those, so they would just spend the whole evening baking, making pancakes, frying pancakes for those kids.

It’s like, every day there is something. There is always every opportunity to minister, every opportunity to share with kids the Bible, to lead a small group. I mean, my girls are doing, it’s just amazing. I feel like I would never be able to do the job that I’m doing without them there.

It’s like my wife, she does a lot of the first Christians Living Counseling with women. She also does a lot of children’s work. It’s just basically everything I do, they do. On a different scale but-

Yvette:  Yeah. You have more opportunity to do that because your Homeschooling them. You had said before that when they were in school, you felt like you only had about 30 minutes a day with your girls.

Andre:  Exactly. Right on.

Yvette:  Now that they’re home, you get to serve together as a family, which is incredible.

Andre:  Exactly. We just, we can cancel some of our plans and just say, “Okay, instead of that, this is the need.”

Yvette:  Yeah, that’s great. Really quickly, what is it like to Homeschool in Russia in regards to government laws and stuff? Do you, are you just free? Because you said as of 1992, I think that it has been legal. How does that work with the government there and the system? Do you have to report back to your public school system or do they have to do testing? I know that’s one of those questions that here it’s different in every state. So everyone is always wondering, well, how is it even possible for you to Homeschool there?

Andre:  It is important for us to have certain tests, to pass certain tests and ensure that the government get the results. After the ninth grade and the 11th grade, we have 11 grades here all together, we have to pass the governmental test. That’s what my youngest is doing right now. That’s what my second daughter is doing at the same time for the 11th grade.

But anyway, the thing is that it’s all doable. It’s possible. It’s all legal on paper. But depending upon where you live and depending upon who is running the school you’re sort of officially attached to, connected to, they can either make your life living hell or it can be a piece of cake.

So in our case, the principal of the school we’re connected with, she’s just in love with us and basically we as a family get green lights always. She was like, she actually goes like, “You know what? I know that you know you don’t even have to pass some of the tests that are offered.” She’s like, “You don’t have to pass that. Only the ones that the governments require.” She’s just so amazing to us. But it’s a very rare situation. The problem with Russia though is that Russians are trying to brainwash their people right now.

The relationship between Russia and America is getting worse. I think it’s as bad as it was during the Cold War. So in order to brainwash people and continue pouring kind of supporting and building up that attitude, negative attitude, to America, you have to have a system for doing that. The school system is doing it really well. So in a way, even though it’s legal, it looks like the government is really not happy with the fact that a lot of people walk away from that system and teach their kids differently.

For example, when the Crimea was conquered by Putin, I shared with my family biblical principles of why it was wrong. My girls were not ashamed to say it. We were called pro Americans, traiters of our country, people that need to be crucified, people that need to be cast out forever and that kind of stuff. We really are notorious for just thinking differently.

When I was raised in this country, I was lied to so much that I decided I’m never going to lie to my daughter. Even if that’s what people call a white lie, no. I want them to really know what’s going on. For us, the Bible is the guiding force, the guiding light, and it’s Jesus. So it’s I will share with them the biblical principles. So they think freely and they think biblically and that’s what the government is not happy about.

Yvette:Yeah. Well, it sounds like God is really showing you much favor where you are and giving you great opportunities and opening big doors for you to be able to impact the lives of many people in your area. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing. We’re about out of time, but I have one more question for you that I would love for you to answer. You’re in Russia. Talk to the American parent right now who’s listening to this. Obviously most of our listeners are American.

What message would you have for us Americans and about American culture? Why should we Homeschool? I know why you Homeschool and I understand. Obviously, you do it for the same reason that many of us do it. But looking at it culturally, why should Americans Homeschool? Looking on it from the outside.

Andre:  I used to come to America way back in the beginning of the 90s and every time I came to America I had this amazing experience every time without fail. Sort of like some load was lifted from my shoulders each time I landed in the states. That lasted until I guess 2011. For some reason during my visit in 2011, I just came there and I felt that oppression as much as I feel it here. I was like, “Where is my America that I love so much?” Spiritually, I just felt it was gone. I talked to my friends, I said, “Is it just me or maybe there is a reason for that?” They go like, “There is a reason for that.”

As I see what’s going on in America, it’s still my favorite country. I have to be honest, I still love it so much. But I can see that people there are losing the sight of why they live, how much they have, and how much they need to be appreciative of everything that the Lord gave them. Not proud, but grateful. When you’re proud, you just think you deserve it. When you’re grateful you go like, “Wow God, you gave me so much, I want to use it for others.” It seems the government in America is no better than ours really.

Andre:  I mean, and the schools there, basically are also a tool for teaching kids the way of thinking.

Yvette:  Indoctrination. That’s right.

Andre:  If you truly want to change this world, we really need to teach our kids to be free. Free, I don’t mean do whatever they want, but the truth will set you free. Honestly, how much time do American parents invest in their children? How much time to fathers invest in their children personally so that they would stand strong on the Bible? On the foundation of God’s and make it a part of who they are?

I talk to a lot of American kids and it really saddens my heart to see that a lot of kids that grew up in American family, when you ask them, “What is your passion?” They just go, “Graduate from college. Get a job.” I’m like, “Really? That’s all?” The thing is a lot of my friend’s daughters who are a little older than mine, have been getting married lately and I talk to their fiancés, “Well, what would you like to do in life?” They just giving me a bunch of stuff that’s not even worth living for.

I had my girls hear that, I said, “Girls, never marry a guy who leads you nowhere because that’s exactly where he’s going to lead you.” I feel like it’s us fathers in the context of home and family, and family discipleship that need to instill this passion for the truth, for Christ, and for the ministry in our sons’ and daughters’ hearts. I don’t think school will ever be able to do it. Even Christian school. I would say that.

Yvette:  I love it. Well, Andre, thank you so much for your time today. I love your story. I love what God is doing with you and through you and your family. You have such an incredible testimony. I’m so grateful for the way that He’s using you.

Andre:  Thank you.

Yvette:  Not just in Russia, but here. I know, we know many people who know you and who have met you. You are such an inspiration and encouragement to so many including our family.

Andre:  We might be back this summer.

Yvette:  Yeah. Come back. Come back for sure. We would love to see you again. But thank you for allowing the Lord to use you and blessings to you. How can people support you and your ministry there?

Andre:  Well, pray for us because every time we want to do something in this country, it’s always a struggle. It’s always a struggle. Actually something that I love in America still, even in America after 2011, in America you can do, you still have so much freedom. You have no idea. Unless you lose it, you’ll never understand how much. Just trust me that you have it. In Russia, the simplest things is a struggle, is a fight. We feel like anything we do, it’s like there’s a threat. There’s a physical threat and spiritual threat.

So please pray for us and any time you guys are able to come here and minister, bring us some fresh ideas about Homeschooling, about making business, about thinking freely, please do that. People like Rhea Perry came here and did that. It’s like she changed lives of many people just by being a testimony, by teaching us the right things. So if that’s what your question was about.

Yvette:  Yeah, no, that’s great. Is there a way that we can support you financially?

Andre:  Yes, I’m actually on staff with CRM Nodal Ministry. I can send you information about what we’re doing and our accounts with CRM that you could send finances to.

Yvette:  Okay. We’ll put those links in the show notes sent, so people know how to do that. But we will certainly be glad to pray for you, encourage you, and support you in any way that we can.

Andre:  Thank you.

Yvette:  So thank you so much for your time today, Andre. You are a huge blessing. Thank you for listening to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast today. If you want to know more about Schoolhouse Rocked, if you are trying to figure out what we are all about. We’re actually in production on a Homeschool documentary right now, called Schoolhouse Rocked.

Yvette:  Then of course we’ve got the podcast and all sorts of other things to encourage and equip you in your Homeschool journey. So, go to It’s R-O-C-K-E-D You can learn a whole lot more about what we’re doing. So thank you guys for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. Thank you Andre. Enjoy the rest of your day and please give hugs to all your girls for us.

Andre:  I will. Thank you so much.

Yvette:  All right. Thank you.






Photo by Tom Grimbert (@tomgrimbert) on Unsplash

Photo by Nikolay Vorobyev on Unsplash

Why Do I Homeschool?

“Why do I homeschool? Because today my children will be at home with me, learning about the catastrophic events that happened in New York. About the evil that happens when we deviate from God’s design. And about how we have a God that mourns because he loves his people. They will be home with me, praying for the preborn babies, rather than in a public school system that tells them they get to choose for themselves what is good and evil, rather than looking to God for truth.” Aby Rinella

What does the Bible say about training the hearts of our children?

In this interview, for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella discuss what the Bible calls us to as parents, especially concerning the day-to-day education of our children.

Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am loving my guest today. We have been sitting here chit chatting for a few minutes, and you are going to love getting to know her. Her name is Aby Rinella, and she is in Idaho right now where it is snowing, and I am in Georgia where it is not. So we’re talking about the difference in weather, but you are going to love her. She is a sweet, sweet friend of mine who strangely, we have never actually met in person.

Aby: That’s crazy.

Aby Rinella is, above all, a follower of Jesus. She is also the director of her local homeschool co-op, director of women’s ministry at her church, wife, mom and teacher to the Rinella children. She writes and speaks on homeschool, motherhood, parental rights, the culture war and more and has a passion for encouraging and inspiring women to live the life they were designed to live.
Aby and her husband also write for the outdoor industry about their adventures together, showing their kids the Creator by spending time in His creation.
You can find all of Aby’s published work at

Yvette: But we have talked a whole lot on the phone, and FaceTime, and just really gotten to know each other over the past couple of months and she has been an incredible blessing to me and my family and I know she’s going to be great blessing to you. So Aby, I am so excited to have you on. Welcome to the show.

Aby: Thanks Yvette, thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Yvette: Yeah, tell us about your family, the Rinella family.

Aby: I am the wife of Jesse Rinella, and we have three little ones. We have fifth grade, second grade, you know how homeschool is, what grade are we in, it depends. Do you wanna know math or language?

Yvette: Right.

Aby: So I have a 10, eight and four. Yeah, and we’ve been homeschooling from the very beginning.

Yvette: I love it, love it. And you’re a hunting family.

Aby: We are a hunting family.

Yvette: That’s a big part of who you are.

Aby: It is. It’s something that we love to do, it’s something we’ve always loved to do and we get our kids out with us and it’s really an awesome way to show a creator, through being in his creation to our kids and let them see just how awesome God is by being out in his creation.

Yvette: Oh, so great.

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: So, several months ago, it’s been quite some time now we got this email from you. And we get a lot of emails from different people who just reach out for various reasons, but yours was a little different in that you reached out to us and you just said, “I’m Aby, I’m a homeschool mom, I am in Idaho and how can I help?” And the ones where people just say, “How can I help and how can I pray?” Or, “I’m praying for you.” Are the most amazing messages we can get, especially from people that we don’t know because that just means that the Lord has laid that on your heart. And so you have been just a great encouragement to our family over the past many months as we continue on with production of Schoolhouse Rocked and you’ve connected us with the homeschool Idaho organization, and they’ve been great and encouraging. And you and I have had some really great conversations about homeschooling.

And I want to talk today about, “why homeschool?” And it’s a question that so many people ask, and oftentimes we say, “If you don’t know your why’s.” I talked with Leslie Nunnery from Teach Them Diligently about this the other day, and if people don’t know their why of homeschooling, it’s very likely that they’re going to give up.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: And they’re gonna just say, “This just isn’t for me.” And so, let’s talk about your why. I want to hear your story of why you chose to homeschool your kids, and then why you continue to do so.

Aby: Okay, and to expand on what you said, I think we need to know our why but at the same time, it needs to be the right why, because there’s a lot of reasons that people homeschool that don’t hold, that aren’t the foundation that’s going to hold strong when the winds come because they’re going to.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: The tough times are gonna come.

Yvette: They are.

Aby: And that big yellow bus is going to look so good. So I think it’s about having a why and also having the right why. So my story is, I was a public school teacher and I came from a line of public school teachers, and I loved teaching public school and then when I got pregnant with my first, it just was a no-brainer that I was going to stay home with my baby. It wasn’t even like something we really prayed about, it just was something we knew that that’s how God designed it. And my husband actually said to me, “God didn’t give us these kids to give to someone else to raise.” And when he said that, it just it was a no-brainer and through a lot of just seeing God’s hand and God’s miracle in our life, I was able to quit my teaching job and stay home and it was only by the hand of God.

So we made that decision and then it just was never a huge thought of homeschool. I never really thought of it and in fact, back in my early days when I was going to college to be an educator, I remember sitting in the living room with my mother in law, or in the dining room in the kitchen and arguing with her over how silly I thought homeschool was and actually how wrong I thought it was. But she is such a godly, gracious woman, she just beared with me and probably prayed that her husband would ditch me or son, I’m sorry, son. But anyway, she held on and my husband was homeschooled for a while so. God changed my heart. What it came down to is, again, God didn’t give me these kids to let someone else raise. So when it came time to schooling them, it was not a question, they were to be home with me.

And so my why, you asked my why, it started with a lot of why’s. It started with I was a teacher so why would I teach other people’s kids when I can teach my own, and then it went to how awesome of relationships we could have to have the kids at home and then it went through looking at the statistics that academically homeschool students do so much better. And really, all of those are awesome blessings of homeschool, they’re awesome results of homeschool, but they weren’t enough of a why. And for everything that my husband and I do, we go to the Word of God and we say, “What does God say.” Because our emotions can change. On good days we want to be home, on bad days we might not.

So we really just went to the Word of God and we said, “What does God say about this? What is the word of God tell us when it comes to where our children should be and what they should be taught, and who should be teaching them. So, in that, and we can discuss more what we discovered in looking to God’s word for that, but that ended up being our why. Our why became because this is how God designed it, because this is God’s best and this is what He wants us to do. And that why has held us through really hard days where academically we aren’t succeeding above the rest, and where it really isn’t that fun. And so that’s become a really important foundation for our family, is knowing that we’re doing the will of God.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can watch this interview, which includes 30 minutes of additional content!  Save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass Membership when you use the coupon code “Podcast10“!

Yvette: And there’s so much joy in knowing that God has given our children to us. Like you said, he didn’t give them to us to then hand them off to someone else. That’s one of my favorite parts of the interviews that we’ve done for the movie, is we interviewed Sam Sorbo, and she said, “What is it that society tells us once your kids turn five, I mean they’re your responsibility until they’re five and then all of a sudden it’s your job to hand them over to someone else and let someone else raise them.”

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And that is not.

Aby: No, and logically it doesn’t make sense. I think when we’re pregnant … I mean think how many books you read when you were pregnant. You made sure you took the folic acid, and you make sure you didn’t eat the raw fish, because we have this innate, as women, as parents we have this thing that’s in us that wants to protect our children.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: We want to protect our kids and we do it when we’re pregnant with them. We’re so careful when we’re pregnant with them to make sure that we’re eating right and taking the right things and going to our checkups. And then when they’re infants, and when they’re toddlers, “I got to make sure my car seat’s the right thing.” And they’re wearing the right helmets and we’re naturally protectors and we want to protect our kids. And then all a sudden, they turn five and we forget that we have an enemy that’s there to steal, kill and destroy our kids.

Yvette: That’s true, yeah.

Aby: And we’re to protect them from that, and I always think breaking their leg, they’re going to heal from that quicker than they’re going to heal from exposure to Satan’s attacks. And it is our responsibility and our job to protect our kids and that doesn’t end at five years old.

Yvette: Right. No, it doesn’t. And it is our responsibility to do that and it is a great blessing. I mean, the Bible tells us children are our heritage from the Lord. They are such a blessing and society tells us, “Oh, it’s so great, once they turn five you get to put them on a bus and ship them out to school.”

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: “And you could have all this free time and you’re going to be free.”

Aby: Right.

Yvette: I remember one of my neighbors once who lived right next door, she was I think probably eight at the time. And she said, “Why do you homeschool?” And I told her, “Because I love being with my girls. I love being able to teach them and spend the days with them.” And she goes, “But you know, if you didn’t homeschool and you sent them to school, you would have time to go to lunch with your friends.” This is like an eight year old girl. She goes, “You could go to the movies and go to lunch with your friends during the day.” And I was like, “That’s true.”

Aby: That is true.

Yvette: And some days that sounds really appealing. And some days I need that.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: Which again, that’s why we need community and that’s another whole topic.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: But I love being the one that gets to train the hearts of my children. Yesterday morning, as a matter of fact, my little one she had done something. She’s my super strong-willed one, and she really has very strong opinions about things. All the way to what kind of sock she’s wearing.

Aby: Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.

Yvette: And I forget what it was, but there was some kind of little debate with her and she wanted to do one thing and I said, “No, that’s not what you’re going to do, you’re going to do this.” And so she got upset and so we had this opportunity, and we sat and talked for probably 20 minutes, just the two of us. She’s eight years old, and I said, “God made you on purpose and for a purpose, and he has blessed you with this amazing and strong personality on purpose.”

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: “But it’s mommy’s job and daddy’s job to help you direct your strong will in a way that honors and pleases the Lord.”

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And we talked about it for a long time and she was crying and finally she just … I could see it in her eyes that it kind of clicked in her like, “Oh, yeah. I do have a purpose in this life.” And I was able at the end to say, “You know honey, if you were in school all day, I wouldn’t have this opportunity right now, today, to sit and talk to you about this.” Now that doesn’t mean that kids who are in school and separated from their parents, that their parents don’t have opportunities to direct them towards Christ.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: Certainly they do, but they don’t have the opportunity to do it day-in and day-out all day long. There’s so many missed opportunities.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And Deuteronomy six, six and seven is a verse obviously that constantly over and over again you hear homeschooling parents talk about, “And these words I command to you that they should be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” And when we leave that to someone else to do all day long, we give up that opportunity to be able to teach the ways of the Lord to our children.

Aby: Yes, and we do and in Matthew 18, six it says, “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, better to have a millstone hung around his neck and drowned.” And that’s not as quite as an uplifting one as the Deuteronomy.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: But I often think to send our kids into a place where at the very best, they have to stay silent about the existence of a God. I mean, I understand that not every school is teaching the transgender movement, and the abortion. I understand they’re not all doing that, but at the very best case scenario, they’re staying silent about a creator and they’re staying silent about a God. And they’re not able to tell kids, “You were created on purpose, for a purpose and God has a design for you.” And to me, the thought of my child, all day long, learning things void of God’s word Would be leading them to stumble. It really felt like I wasn’t protecting them the way that God required me to, because it would be leading them to stumble and then I’d be spending all my time unteaching.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: What they were being taught and having to reteach truth, and I didn’t want to spend all my time with my kids having to unteach. I wanted to, through our daily living, teach them and not even I wanted to, but God tells us to in these verses and I wanted to be obedient to God.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And, he says, “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training up in righteousness.” So that our kids are equipped for every good work and that verse is saying that we’re to use scripture in everything. In math, in language and that’s not being done if I send them out to where they have to stay silent about God. And so, to me those verses read this is my job, this isn’t just about what I want to do and that I’m wired this way, and that I enjoy teaching because I, it’s really just, this is God’s command to me and I know that when we’re obedient to God, there’s incredible blessing.

Yvette: Oh yeah. There are so many blessings. I’ve said it so many times on the podcast, because we say it to our girls all the time that, “Obedience brings blessings, but sin causes pain.”

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And when we do obey God and we take seriously the role that he’s given us as parents to train up our children in the way that they should go, we will reap the benefits and blessings of that. And not that we will, I should take our children will.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And again, it’s not that parents can’t teach their kids things, but like you said when they’re in a public school setting, and they’re being taught everything that’s contrary to God’s word.

Aby: Yes, yes.

Yvette: You talk about undoing it and we’ve talked a lot about that on the podcast. We talked with Brian Osborne from Answers in Genesis a few weeks ago, and he was a public school teacher for 13 years and he said the same thing, “You better be prepared to undo what your kids are being taught.” But I don’t know how possible and practical that is, because if you’re not in the classroom with them, you really don’t know everything that they’re being taught. You don’t know what they’re hearing on the playground.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: You don’t know what’s being said in the locker room, and not even the things that are said but things that are done. We’re from California, and I know everybody across the country kind of looks at California it’s like, “Oh, California. They have so many crazy laws and stuff.” And they do, but it’s not just in California. It is quickly spreading throughout all parts of the country, and I think oftentimes people will say, and people have said this to me, and I’m sure they’ve said it to you, “But the public schools in my area are really good.” Okay, well that means they’re just doing a better job of teaching your kids everything that’s contrary to the Word of God.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: And it’s a very scary thing for me to think about, because in California right now it’s not just the educational agenda that they have. It is a cultural agenda that they have. Kids in public schools right now in California, if a little girl decides that she wants to be a boy now any age, I mean it could be kindergarten through 12th grade, if she decides that she wants to be a boy for the day, they have to by law respect her wishes and her desire to be another gender, and they have to give her all the privileges of that gender. And the same obviously with a little boy. If a 14-year-old boy says, “I want to be a girl today.” They have to give him access to the girls bathroom and the girls locker room, and they can’t tell his parents. They are not allowed by law to tell his parents. Girls can go, and I say California only because I’m most familiar with it because that’s home.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: But they will take a little girl at 12, 13, 14, 15-year-old little girl, to have an abortion to murder her baby. And by law they are not allowed to tell her parents.

Aby: And if that’s not causing our little ones to stumble, I don’t know what is because that is leading them right into temptation. And even though we don’t believe that, and we’re not teaching that at home, if we’re sending them into a system every single day that sets that foundation, and I just I go back to Ephesians four that says, “Do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” And for me, not for me, for all of us, for Bible believing Christians we are called to set a foundation for our children in Christ.

And when we send to them more hours a day, or any hours a day actually, to a system that says it’s okay to murder babies, it’s okay to be something that you’re not, then you’re giving them that. Or even, there is no creator. This earth happened by chance, they’re building a foundation all day long. And then they come home and then you’re giving them a different foundation and essentially these young children who are so moldable, they’re building this up and then you’re taking the bricks down at home and putting new bricks in, and then they go back to school and they’re tearing the bricks down of what you’re teaching at home. And it’s just this vicious cycle, and we’re stunting our children’s spiritual growth, because they’re hearing two polar opposite things.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And to me, if I was a child, which I was in the public school, that led to exasperation.

Yvette: Sure.

Aby: And it says, “Do not. Do not exasperate your children.” And how can that not exasperate a child to have to go fill in a bubble on a test that says, “Yes, I believe that a boy can be a girl and the girl can be a boy. Or yes, I believe that there is no God and that this earth was created by chance, or that there is no creator.” And I would ask my children to say that during the day and then I’d come home and tell them to be bold and stand up for Christ and these little kids are getting such an incredibly mixed message. And then we end up with at the worst kids walking away, and at the very best they end up with a watered down Christianity because they’ve had two foundations being built.

Yvette: Right. It’s very confusing for them.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And they need to have that solid foundation. That’s again, exactly what Brian Osborne and I talked about is, they have to have that solid foundation set for them of knowing what they believe and why they believe what they believe.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And when you’re putting them in an institution with teachers who oftentimes really love these kids.

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: I mean, you have public school teacher, you loved kids I’m sure.

Aby: And I loved those kids. And you know why I was silenced, and I’m the personality and temperament, I couldn’t. I could not spend all day with those kids and not tell them the truth.

Yvette: Right, yeah. But not all teachers are like that. And not all teachers, obviously believe in the truth. And so when you’re sending your kids into that environment you’re telling them, “Your teacher is right. Believe what they say. Obviously believe in the history, believe in the science, believe in the math, believe in the English Lit. Believe in everything that they’re teaching you.” Just simply by sending them there.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: When we go to church, we go sit in church and we worship and we are taught by our pastor because we want to learn from them. We’re students, we’re disciples of them. Because we trust them.

Aby: And we trust what they’re telling us.

Yvette: That’s truth. That’s right. And when we send our kids to Sunday school or to youth group or anywhere where they’re receiving instruction, the simple fact of sending our kids there is saying, “We believe what this person is teaching you is true.”

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And so then for you to bring them home and say, “I’m just kidding, that part was-”

Aby: That’s actually a lie.

Yvette: This is true but that’s not true, but this is true but that’s not true.

Aby: Yup.

Yvette: That’s very confusing to kids.

Aby: Yes. And then to tell kids they’re lying to you every day, but you need to respect them. And then to tell them, “You need to stand up for what’s true, but you need to take the test and say what they want you to say rather than the truth.” That’s not protecting our children. And I think there is an innate fierceness in moms to protect our kids. That whole mama bear thing, that whole, anybody tries to mess with my kids, and I want to encourage moms not to lose that. Don’t lose that when it comes to their … We want to protect our kids from stranger danger, and we want to protect our kids if they’re walking in the middle of the road, we would put our life on the line to throw them out of the road and we would put our own life in danger.

And yet, why are we losing this when it comes to their spirits? When it comes to their minds and their hearts, when we know that there’s an enemy that’s after them. We need to have that same fierceness in protecting and defending our children’s innocence. The way that we do from the very beginning. It’s not optional, it’s commanded by God.

Yvette: Yeah. Amen. I agree completely.

So we’re talking about protection. I remember years ago, Garrett and I, I might have told this story before on the podcast, I can’t remember. But Garett and I were at a parenting conference, and our oldest was really, really little if she was even born yet. And he said, “If someone were to break into your house and your children were in danger, you would not as a parent go curl up in the closet and be like okay kids, good luck.”

Aby: Best of luck.

Yvette: Good luck with that. I’ll be in the closet hiding. I’ll pray for you.

Aby: Yes, yes.

Yvette: And when the intruder is gone I’ll tell you what you should have done.

We wouldn’t do that. I mean, our job is like you said, to protect our children, to protect their hearts. Not just to protect them physically and actually, and I’ve told this story for sure. When we first started homeschooling, it was a physical protection thing for us. The school that Brooklyn would’ve gone to, it would not have been physically safe for her to go.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And that was the whole reason why we started homeschooling. At that point it wasn’t because we had this great revelation from God and that it wasn’t the spiritual stuff. I don’t know, we were just very much against homeschooling, and you and I can talk about that in a minute. But we had so many misconceptions about it, and then it came down to the physical safety of our daughter. And we said, “Okay, we have no other choice. We have to homeschool her.”

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And I’m so thankful that we did. But we quickly recognized that it was not just a physical protection.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: It was a spiritual and emotional protection that we needed to cover her with as well.

Aby: And no one would question you if you said I’m physically protecting my child, and no one would question what a great decision that was. But when it comes to spiritually protecting our kids all of the sudden people think we’re crazy.

Yvette: Yes. Yeah, that’s right. So one of the reasons that we said we’d never homeschool was because we had so many misconceptions about homeschooling.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And there’s all the negative stereotypes and stuff. What have you come across with that? Because I know that you talk to a lot of homeschool moms.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: What are some of those misconceptions that you get from them and how do you help to debunk those?

Aby: There are a lot. It’s an interesting generation that we’re in, because when I talked to the homeschoolers that have gone ahead of us, a lot of them say, “Oh people would say we’d never want to homeschool.” And I actually feel like I’m hearing a lot of parents say, “Oh, we’d love to, but.” And I think that’s an interesting shift I don’t get.

Yvette: Yes.

Aby: I feel like I don’t get a lot of people go, “I can’t believe you do that, that’s so bad.” Actually, I more hear parents say, “I think that what you’re doing is great. I think it’s awesome for your kids. I just couldn’t.” And then they get out their list and, which is a step in the right direction. At least they’re feeling that pull. But I think probably the number one is maybe moms with careers that, “I couldn’t give up my career.” And probably the number one is finances. And that was the first panic that my husband and I had is well what about, well I had. He was like, “God provides I can’t even believe you’re thinking about this.”

But I just go back to when a mom says that first of all, we have to validate that. It is scary, but when we know that God has called us to do something, we also know that he’s going to give us everything we need to do it. And that just goes hand-in-hand. But I always think of Second Chronicles when King Judah was prepping for a war and he paid, the Bible says 100 talents and I looked that up, and that’s a lot of money. Like it’s debatable how much it was, but tons and tons, more than I’ll ever see in my life. But he paid 100 talents of silver for men that God would not have approved of him using. And when a wise man, a godly man came and said, “You need to get rid of these people.” He said, “But what about the money I paid, but what about my money, but what about the finances?”

And I think that’s what we tend to say. But what about the finances? I can’t afford to stay home and homeschool my kids. And in that story in Second Chronicles, the godly man replies, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” And God doesn’t just say things in the Bible and then forget about us in 2019. It’s the same message to us today. When we obey God he can give us so much more than we can do. I have a little quote on my wall that says, ‘God can do more with our obedience than we can do with our compromise.’ And so that’s probably the first one that people panic is, but what about the money?

And the second one I hear a lot is, “But my kid’s supposed to be salt and light.” And you just did an incredible podcast with Misty Bailey, so if anybody gets that, what about salt and light? Go back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and listen to that one, because that one is debunked very quickly through scripture, honestly.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: Which all these are. It’s all God’s word. What does God’s word tell us? It doesn’t matter what Yvette, or myself tells you.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: What is God saying in His Word? And he’s got all the answers there. I think a lot of it is fear, a lot of moms, one of the other big ones is fear. Just, “I’m not equipped.” I hear so often, “Well yeah Aby, you did it because you were a public school teacher. You were a teacher, you were trained to be a teacher.” And I honestly, that is probably my biggest challenge to overcome, is the fact that I was trained to be a teacher in the system.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: It took me years to overcome that. But you know God, He tells us in Isaiah 40 that He will gently lead those with young. He will lead, so if we follow Him then we are equipped.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: I wasn’t equipped when I got pregnant with my first daughter. I had no idea what I was going to do. Nothing. I remember looking at that blue nose sucker going, “What is this thing even for?” And I’m supposed to save her life with this thing? Talk about not equipped, and yet God gave her to me. And then He quipped me to raise her. And so He did the same thing with school, and He will do the same thing with every mom when we answer the call to teach and train our kids and His righteousness. He will equipped us, and that we’re to trust in the Lord, not our own understanding. I don’t understand half the math I teach my kids. But I trust in the Lord and they’re learning it.

Yvette: Yup.

Aby: And He tells us we can do all things through Him, and I think that’s the big one is we’ve got to stop thinking that we need to do it on our own.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And if we can’t do it on our own then we might as well send them to the experts. Because the reality is, is we are the experts in our own children’s lives. He made them for us, and He made us for them, and so we just became the expert the day that you conceived that child. He quipped you and you just became the expert.

Yvette: That’s right.

Aby: So you can do it, moms. You can. You can do it through Him. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in your weakness.

Yvette: Yep. Seek first the kingdom of God. We were just talking about that with Karen DeBeus, and He will give us everything we need. And it’s scary.

Aby: He does.

Yvette: One of the best things I have ever read about homeschooling is, do it scared.

Aby: Do it scared. That’s awesome, I love that.

Yvette: Do it scared. It’s okay to be scared to do something.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: ‘Cause anything worth doing is scary sometimes.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: Like you said, it’s scary when the doctor puts this baby in your arms and you’re like.

Aby: Yup. I’m supposed to do what?

Yvette: Yeah. Literally their whole life is in your hands.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: But let me rephrase that. They’re not in our hands, there in the Lord’s hands.

Aby: They are in the Lord’s hands. And He gave them to us because He knows that He can do it.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And He knows that our weakness is when we rely on Him and when we are terrified out of our mind, that’s when we go to Him.

Yvette: Right. But praise God that we get to lean on Him to help us do this.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: Because if we had to do it on our own, oh goodness I know for myself, I’d be an absolute disaster.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: If I had to rely on myself to figure out this parenting thing, and this homeschooling thing and this marriage thing. I would destroy it to pieces.

Aby: Yeah, absolutely. And I think about marriage and I think back to the why. I think if my husband, if you’d asked him why he married me, his answer would have been 20 years ago when we met, if it would have been like, “Well, I thought she was cute we had fun together.” He’d be singing probably a very different tune right now.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And it probably wouldn’t have sustained our marriage, but when you did ask him he would say, “Because I made a commitment to the Lord. I made a commitment to God, and God’s word says and describes marriage.” And that’s what gets you though the hard times is your why. If your why is we laugh together, then what about those days that you don’t.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: But if your why is, “Because God has ordained this marriage.” Then you get through it all, and it’s the same with homeschool. If your why is, “Because my kids are so fun to be with.” Well, for crying out loud I tell you, you better get a new why real quick. ‘Cause there’s gonna be days when they’re not.

Yvette: No, your kids aren’t fun every single day like mine?

Aby: No. 90% of the time but on the 10%. But if your why is, “Because God called me to do this.”

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: Then you can get through anything, and because He can get you through anything.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And one of the other ones I get a lot that cracks me up of, this one I probably hear more than any, “I love what you’re doing but I would never have the patience to do it.”

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: I get that one all the time. “I wouldn’t have the patience.” Or, “It’s not my thing.” You know, it’s not my thing. And I think, “Well, I don’t have the patience to do this either.”

Yvette: No.

Aby: But we’re doing it because … And it isn’t about being someone’s thing. It became your thing the day you brought that child home from the hospital.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: It became your thing, because He made you a mom, and He called you to be a mom and that child’s walk is … Not their walk is dependent on you, but what you teach them and train them now will forever affect what foundation they have in the future. So it might not be your thing, but it needs to become your thing because it’s His thing.

Yvette: Yeah. And it’s a great thing.

Aby: And it’s a great thing. It is so amazing, and if you don’t have the patience to do it there is nothing that will teach you patience faster. Oh, God will refine you in it. And honestly, it’s a blessing. It’s like you said that you tell your kids, I love that. I use that ever since I heard you say that I use that all the time. They’re like, “Yvette.” They say that. But with obedience comes blessing, and we could do a whole episode on the blessings of homeschool. It is truly, for me one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Yvette: Yeah, well hey. Let’s do this. We are out of time for the podcast. And so we need to close this up, I want you to just encourage those mamas at the end of this, but for Backstage Pass members, we are going to continue this conversation so let’s continue it. Let’s talk about the blessings of it. But thank you for being on the podcast.

Aby: Yes, thank you. And if you’re not a Backstage Pass member, guess what you can become one right now. (and you can save 10% on any paid membership by using the coupon code, “Podcast10“)

Yvette: And Aby’s one, right?

Aby: I am, so come hang out with me!

Yvette: Backstage pass membership is great. For those who don’t know what it is, if you might be listening to this for the first time, we have the Schoolhouse Rocked backstage pass membership site. And what that is we have all kinds of videos like the one that, Aby and I are doing right now. We extend a lot of our podcasts into an extra kind of bonus section and continue discussing what it was that we’re discussing. So those are up, but we also have, as we filmed for the movie Schoolhouse Rocked, we have a ton of footage from the movie. And so we obviously can’t get it all in an hour and a half long documentary, and so we’re taking all of those full interviews, uncut interviews and putting them up on the backstage pass membership site so you can get the entire interview instead of just the 15 minutes or 10 minutes of each person that’s going to make up the movie itself. And lots of bonus stuff. We are adding stuff to it weekly.

Yvette: So, it is a great resource. And it’s a great way to support Schoolhouse Rocked as we continue working through production stuff, every membership sign up that we get, that money goes directly to production on the movie. So you’re supporting the movie.

Aby: That’s awesome.

Yvette: You’re getting something great in return and Aby’s there so you can hang out with her. So, really quickly, I would love for you to just give an encouragement to those moms, the moms I want you to encourage today, are those who are in the thick of it right now, and they’re tired, and they just are ready to give up. And they’re just saying, “I can’t do this anymore. And I need to find something else besides this homeschool gig, because it’s not working for me.” How would you encourage that mom?

Aby: The first thing I would say is, “You’re not the first one to feel that and think that. Every veteran homeschool mom has felt that feeling.” So that does not mean that you’re not equipped, it doesn’t mean that they all have something that you don’t to be successful. We’ve all felt it, because that’s the enemy and the enemy wants to attack us when we’re doing God’s work.

The second thing I would say is what Second Peter tells us is that God gives us everything we need. If you try to do it on your own, it’s not gonna work. But God will give it to you. That’s a promise. That’s not a suggestion that’s not a, “Hey, try this.” That is a promise that God will. You were made for this. The day He gave you that child is the day He called you to raise that child in truth, and in righteousness, and so He’s going to stand by your side and He’s gonna fight the fight with you. And He will equipped you, He will, He will do that He promises.

And the last thing I would say is not just know your why, but you need to make God’s word your why. Because God’s word is our rock and we can stand on his word so on the days that all the other why’s aren’t enough, God’s word is always sufficient. So when His word and His command to us become our why, then there’s nothing that’s going to shake us. So that would be my encouragement, and get a  group of moms that feel … Community is huge. God gave us the church, God gave us community for a reason.

Yvette: Yeah, love it beautifully said. Really quickly, where can people find you?

Aby: People can find me.

Yvette: Besides in your living room.

Aby: I’m right here in my living room, and I’m usually in the mountains or sometimes I’m in the bathroom hiding. But no, people can find me at And that’s not really a blog, but it’s just where all of my husband and I published articles. We write for many different organizations, and all of our articles are just, that’s kind of their housing. So if you want to read any of the stuff that we’ve put out there, we write on family and the culture war, and family values, homeschool, and we also write a lot on hunting and outdoor industry.

Yvette: I love it so much. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Aby: Thank you so much.

Yvette: Aby, you are a huge blessing.

Aby: Thank you.

Yvette: And thank you for how you have encouraged and supported us as well.

Aby: Thanks so much.

Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Elizabeth Johnston, The Activist Mommy, on Making a difference through Homeschooling!

Yvette Hampton, host of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Johnston, The Activist Mommy, for the podcast. In this episode (airing February 18th) Yvette and Elizabeth discuss the importance of impacting our culture for Christ through the advantages we have as homeschoolers. They also discuss the upcoming Day of Mourning, a pro-life rally taking place in Albany, NY on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Elizabeth Johnston is known as The Activist Mommy. She is an activist vlogger, speaker, and author who educates and inspires the public on the burning social and moral issues of the day that are important to families. She and her husband Patrick, who is a medical doctor, author, and movie producer, have been pro-life ministry leaders for many years and home educate their 10 beautiful children. The growing threat to America’s children and the vicious attack on religious liberty is what dynamited Elizabeth out of her comfort zone to inspire a nation of belittled conservatives and Christians to “come out of their closets” and boldly take their country back. Elizabeth daily triggers the left by confronting the lies of abortion, feminism, Islam, and the homosexual agenda with wit and snark like only she can, and she regularly posts viral commentary videos which have netted over 70 million views. Elizabeth has been featured on many major media outlets, such as Fox & Friends, The New York Times, The Blaze and Christian Broadcasting Network, as she has become a thought leader on topics of importance to families. The pulse behind all her activism and cultural commentary is her love for her family and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Grab Elizabeth’s new book, Not On My Watch: How to Win the Fight for Family, Faith and Freedom, here.

–Interview Transcript–

[Yvette Hampton] – Elizabeth Johnston is The Activist Mommy. I know many of you are already familiar with her. If you’re not, you will be after this interview. I’ve actually had you on my list, and Garritt and I have talked a lot about bringing you on the podcast, and then last week, you came out with something called Day of Mourning, or last week was actually the first time I heard about it, and I said, we need to have her on now, because I want people to know about what you’re doing. Tell us a little bit about you and your family and then let’s talk about what it is that God is doing through you guys.

– Sure, we have, my husband and I, we have 10 children, 10 living children. We lost six through miscarriage, and my husband is a medical doctor. He is a family practitioner, sees all ages, and we really knew before we were married that we wanted to have a large family, and homeschool our children, so we were very blessed to already be in alignment with those things before we got married, and we have always been very active in pro-life work. My husband used to actually speak at homeschool conferences and kind of recently, in the last couple of years, pulled back from that a little bit, but he would speak a lot, actually, on the subject of vaccinations at homeschool conferences, warning about the vaccinations that are made from aborted fetal tissue.

Watch Elizabeth Johnston, The Activist Mommy on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members get exclusive access to great video clips, featuring helpful homeschooling tips and encouragement from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked. You will also get a free gift when you subscribe! Download 90 minutes of exclusive videos from Heidi St. John, Sam Sorbo, Andrew Kern, and Josh Tolley – yours to keep!

Download 4 free videos – over 90 minutes of great homeschool content – Yours to keep!


[Elizabeth] – And warning people that we have a moral obligation to avoid those and my husband has actually always been the speaker and I’ve been carrying the diaper bag, following him around to speaking engagements. A lot of people don’t realize that and he was the preacher and the speaker and I was busy having children. I’ve always been very adamant about, and really encouraged a lot of moms to say no, to a lot of outside things and focus on discipling and training your children. Especially during those younger years. Not getting yourself too stretched out in too many places, even when they’re ministry related, and great things, they can steal a lot of your time and a lot of the focus that needs to be on your children and your husband. And that’s what I did for 20-years. I really poured every ounce of myself into my kids and my husband and then something very organic happened to me. two years ago that I never dreamed, never planned on being a public figure and it’s just opened doors that I have been walking through, trusting God to use me along the way, and I know you’ll probably have more questions about that but that’s just kind of a background on our family, and my kids are amazing, super-supportive. We are homeschool parents, obviously, and they’re up there, hopefully doing a little bit of homeschool right now upstairs. I’m in the basement right now so that’s the great thing about this platform, is that most of what I do, I do right from my house. When I started filming videos from my van, or bus as people like to call it, my 15 passenger van, that was something that I could do from my home and everything is right here on my iPhone, and I’m able to still keep my commitment to my family, but also influence culture, so it’s really neat in the social media age that we live in.

Get Elizabeth’s new book, Not on My Watch today.
[Yvette] – Yeah, well you are certainly having a huge influence in culture. God has given you a platform that, like you said, you never planned to have. He literally just put you there, and you’ve run with it. And your family has run with it along side of you. I know that your family works with you and you guys are doing a lot of things. Let me say this real quick. One of the verses that just over and over again, and I’m certain with you, has just gone through my mind, time and time again over the past several years, but really over the past couple of weeks with this whole decision in New York, is 2 Chronicles 7:14 and it says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” And we are in a land who is desperately in need of healing right now. We are feeling the pains of our sin and the decisions that are being made by people and so God has put you in a position where he has given you a voice to speak loud because there are those who are speaking very loudly, and we need to speak louder, and so I’d love for you to talk about some of the things that you are doing, that is really impacting culture. I know one of them is you’ve got coming up in the next couple weeks what’s called the Day of Mourning. Will you talk about that first and give us a glimpse of what that’s going to look like?

[Elizabeth] – Sure. When the gruesome New York law was passed, of what was that, it’s been a whirlwind, it’s that a week and a half ago?

Two weeks ago. My inboxes were all just absolutely slammed. Something happened when that law was passed, that just incited such righteous anger in God’s people, and just everyday American citizens, and they were begging me, when are you going to New York, and what are we going to do about this? Is there a response being planned? And you know I am one mom who has 10 kids. I’ve got a bunch of kids here in my house to homeschool, and I’ve only got one child out of the house. And I do not have a staff. I am not well-funded. I make a little bit of money doing what I’m doing. I’m sitting around waiting for one of the big pro-life organizations to mount some organized response to this, or resistance to this and I just haven’t seen anything and so, I strategized with some pro-life leaders who are friends of mine and said, let’s get our heads together and let’s seek our heavenly Father and see what we come up with and we landed on a Day of Mourning because really, our solution here ultimately is not going to be a horizontal solution. It is going to be a vertical solution, with our Heavenly Father. It is going to be repentance and mourning over our sin. It is going to be God healing our land. It is going to be God granting us repentance and nationwide revival that will cause bars to empty and strip clubs to empty and abortion clinics to empty. This is something that only our Creator God, himself can cause to happen, and it has happened multiple times in our nation. People do not know their history. They do not know their revival history, and they don’t understand that, yes, it is dark right now, but there are ways in which our nation, it was in darker times, was in times morally that were even more disturbing than now, when mock bible-burning services were taking place, mock communion services, when you literally could not find one Christian on a campus like Princeton or Harvard, back in the 1800’s, when if you were a Christian, and you wanted to meet with fellow Christians, do you know, they were in hiding in these universities. They were meeting in secret. Now, that’s worse than it is today. And God swept through our nation through men like Charles Finney, and others, and brought a new Azusa Street revival, different revivals in our nation, that completely transformed our culture in such a powerful way that you and I now are still benefiting from the light of those revivals that took place in our land. That is what we need to see and it starts with repentance and prayer, and weeping and mourning over our sin. And so we landed on a Day of Mourning. We believe God has given us this vision, and He has powerfully and tangibly confirmed it over the last week to us. I was amazed to learn just two days ago that there is an event on February the 23rd happening in Orlando, Florida where 60,000 people are going to be gathered in a convention center in Orlando, part of praying for revival and repenting over this so, I mean I didn’t even know. We had already planned the Day of Mourning and I had no idea this was taking place. Another woman got a vision from God and called for a three-day fast that just ended yesterday. Do you know what she named it? A Time for Mourning.

[Yvette] – Wow.

[Elizabeth] – And ours is a Day of Mourning. God is speaking to his people. All across the world, and all across our nation, here in America, and the theme is, you better repent. You better mourn. And so, that is our response. We are calling for a nationwide time of mourning, whether you live in New York, or not. And the way you can participate is with four things: on that day, February 23rd, we are asking that everyone wear black. Do not shop. Close down your businesses, if you have a business of any type. If you cannot close down your business, we’re asking you to pray about taking your paycheck for that day and donate it to a pro-life ministry that you trust. And lastly, repent for the sin of abortion. Gather in a church. We’re asking pastors to open up your church doors, and have your church available for prayer, or call a special service on the 23rd for prayer, which is on a Saturday, and a special meeting of prayer. We have on our website, a place where you can donate, because we have expenses that are accruing fast. We have a place where you can print out the sign to place on your door, that explains why you are closed on the 23rd. But on top of the nationwide call, we are heading straight into the devil’s den, to where this law was passed in Albany, New York and would you believe that God has given us as a venue for our event, we are literally going to be in the convention center underneath where the state house is, where the legislation was signed and celebrated, and I’ll tell you, it’s as if God is saying, Satan thought he crushed you, but he didn’t understand you are seeds. We are going to be seeds underneath the ground, that although we have been crushed, and feel defeated by this legislation, and it feels like we’re moving backward, not forward, with the pro-life agenda, we are seeds underneath the ground that are, yes, crushed, but we’re gonna grow. We’re gonna rise out of this, and I believe we are gonna see finally, an end of abortion as a result of this very devastating law that was signed in New York.

[Yvette] – Yeah, I think so, too. Garritt and I have been talking a lot about how it’s just gone too far. And I think for those who are making these decisions, and making this legislation, they’ve taken it just one step too far, to where now, like you said, it’s not just Christians and conservatives who are saying, wait, enough is enough, but there are a whole lot of people who are taking notice of this and saying whoa, wait a minute, you’re talking about full-term babies here? I mean, there’s no question whether or not that is moral or immoral, and so I think they’ve taken it too far. I mean, it was already taken too far, obviously. Roe v. Wade and the murder of any baby at any stage, but now people are starting to wake up and they’re starting to open their eyes, and they’re starting to say, whoa, wait a minute, maybe it’s not just about women’s choice and it’s not about, this is my body and I can do whatever I want with it. There’s so much more to it than that. You know, you talk about revival and we often talk about revival, and our nation needs revival and I think we’re heading in that direction. I mean, it’s one of the reasons we’re filming this documentary. It’s called Schoolhouse Rocked-The Homeschool Revolution. That’s the full title of the movie, because we feel like homeschooling is so much a part of that revival. It’s not the only part of it and it’s not the only answer. Jesus is the answer, homeschooling is not. But homeschooling is certainly part of that because homeschooling gives us the opportunity to bring revival into our own families and then send our kids out to then impact the world that God has put them in, and he’s put them here for such a time as this. They are here for a reason, on purpose because God has a plan for their lives to impact his kingdom, and I think homeschooling provides just a beautiful way for us to do that with them.

– Absolutely.

[Yvette] – Another verse that continues to come to my mind, that I’ve been reading through, I’ve been reading through Ephesians, and Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good work, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” And, it is absolutely time for us to get on our knees and to pray, and to plead with God to have mercy on our country, and on those who are leading this country, and making these horrific decisions. How can we as homeschoolers go about, and obviously, people who are not homeschooling can have an impact and make a difference, as well. But I think, with homeschooling, it gives us a different opportunity because we’re with our kids all day, and we have more time as a family to do things, so how can we do that? How can we really impact culture for God’s truth, and come alongside of you, and help you with what you’re doing?

Want to hear more about the influence of public schools? Listen to Yvette discuss the “salt and light” argument with Misty Bailey on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.
[Elizabeth] – Well, first of all let me just say that I wholeheartedly agree that the homeschool movement is, in and of itself, part of the solution, and part of what will bring revival to our nation. Homeschooling is very counterculture, and it is very necessary in this day and age when children are trying to be good little cultural Marxists in school, and their minds are perverted by graphic sexual education, and things such as that, so no question, you have to get your kids out of the public school system. I mean, you have to ask God to help you find a way to get your kids out, and to provide, and meet your needs, and make sacrifices in order to protect your children from those who do not wish their best. I’m not talking about the teachers in the classroom, necessarily. They’re wonderful Godly teachers. There is an agenda that is so much bigger than the teachers, that the teachers cannot overcome. They’re not able to overcome. And that agenda is after each and every one of our kids, and wants to steal their faith, steal the faith that you have passed to them. And I just want to give a hearty amen to that, so there’s no question in my mind, in anyone’s mind that that’s where I stand. And then, as far as getting involved in the culture, that is something that is definitely lacking amongst the homeschool movement. I think that too often we feel as homeschool parents that we’re okay, and that our kids are okay, and safe, because we are properly protecting them from the negative forces outside, and so it’s easy to just focus on ourselves, our family, our homeschool friends, and leave it at that, because we are all busy, and we feel like we maybe can’t take on more, but it is very concerning if you think about, for instance, the fact that all of the millions of people who are not choosing to homeschool, and unfortunately they’re not going to, we’re gonna try to convince as many as we can, but there are going to be millions of people who don’t choose to homeschool. And for those individuals, they are tomorrow’s doctors, and leaders. They are tomorrow’s judges, tomorrow’s educators. Just think about that for a minute. Think about how that affects all of us. So if we completely pull away into a corner, and we’re not still influencing what’s taking place, even in the school systems, we are really dooming our culture. And so that is why, for instance, I have been so active as a homeschool mom, whose never had a child set a foot on a yellow school bus, never had a child set foot inside a public school, I have aggressively fought the graphic sexual education, and the LGBT sexual education in the schools, because I realize there’s no hiding from this, filtering down, and affecting all of us, ultimately. And so that is important. I want to say for our family, personally, a major part of how we’ve raised our children is to let them crash with the culture, let them crash heads, if you will, with the culture. We have from the very beginning, our kids’ infancy, taken them for instance, out to abortion clinics where we pray right there on the front lines as women are driving in to execute their babies, and pay to execute their babies. Our kids have been right there with us, outside on the front lines of these abortion clinics, watching Mommy and Daddy save babies, watching Mommy and Daddy love women, watching Mommy and Daddy throw baby showers for these women when they choose life. Watching Mommy and Daddy rebuke sin, and rebuke the men and women who are getting paid to kill these babies in cold-blooded murder. That has forever changed our children. That will always, never leave our children, and always affect who they are as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because they know that for Mommy and Daddy, this is not something that we do on Sunday, and then we don’t do anything else with it. This is something that we live everyday, and that is important enough for us to actually go out, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to others, and so, that is a great way that people can get involved. Get involved in your local crisis pregnancy center on this abortion issue. Take your kids out and pray in front of an abortion clinic. There is an abortion clinic 30 minutes to an hour from almost every person within the sound of my voice on this podcast right now, and you can make an effort even if it’s once a month. That is life-changing for your family.

[Yvette] – Yep, and that’s something you can do during the week, when other people are in school, learning everything contrary to what God has said is true.

[Elizabeth] – Yes.

[Yvette] – And what a beautiful opportunity to be able to show your kids, look at the impact we can make in God’s world.

[Elizabeth] – Our kids beg us.

[Yvette] – cause He’s given us the time

[Elizabeth] – They are disappointed when, just this last Saturday my husband has just been working some grueling hours, and then I’ve been really swamped with this event that we’re planning, Day of Mourning, and we did not go out when we normally go out on Saturday morning, and the kids are so disappointed. One of my teenagers headed out anyway, and she’ll grab a couple of the kids and go anyway, but it just becomes their passion. Instead of Xbox and Minecraft and the garbage that kids are addicted to now, our kids are kind of addicted to ministry. They’re kind of addicted to reaching out to others, because they know what it feels like to be used of God. Don’t you want your children to know what it feels like, to see a life saved, a life transformed. Once you feel that, and experience that, what is Minecraft?

[Yvette] – Yeah, cause they realize there is something bigger than them in this world, and there are things that are worth standing up for, and sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s scary, but do it scared.

[Elizabeth] – Yeah, courage requires some risks, and nothing that anybody’s done that was nation-shaking or brought about revival, was ever easy. Imagine being William Wilberforce, fighting slavery, not just for five years, not just for ten years, this man went at it for just the longest time, and had so many set-backs, and so discouraging and his own people turning against him, and he stayed the course, he was faithful, and he always came back and pushed again, and pushed again and he finally saw the end of slavery and we’ve got to catch a vision for seeing an end to this bloodshed. Our country is resting under the judgment of God right now, because we take our babies and we sacrifice them to a God called convenience. He may not be technically the god of Moab, but we are no better than the savage Mayans and Aztecs that your homeschoolers are reading about in their history. We are no different. We are just as guilty, and just as their cultures have been destroyed, God will destroy ours if we do not get serious about repenting and about being the salt and light of the world and the hands and feet of Jesus to our culture.

[Yvette] – That’s right. That’s absolutely right. I would love for you to talk really quickly about, you have a new book that’s coming out right now, as a matter of fact, I think when this airs, I think it’s going to air in February 18th, your book will have just come out, and it’s called “Not on my Watch: How to Win the Fight for Family, Faith and Freedom.” Talk real quickly about your book.

[Elizabeth] – I’m really proud of it. I really think it’s gonna inspire a whole lot of people. It’s written in story form, so you’re gonna hear a lot of background, and a lot of story, and a lot of things that I’ve done, that maybe people didn’t know we’ve done, like how we’ve shut down sex brothels, and really given Teen Vogue the black eye

[Yvette] – I love that story.

[Elizabeth] – And ways that I was involved with the Kim Davis situation, the lady that wouldn’t sign the homosexual marriage license in Kentucky. So many different stories, but we teach so many principles as we tell these stories, but I really believe it’s going to be inspirational. Mostly, just to let people see how somebody who’s just a simple homeschool mom, 70 million video views later, and just so many different things that we have done. Seriously, it’s not been because of money, and it’s not been because of anything, but just, I believe, stepping out in faith, and when you kill that lion and that bear, like David did, God will give you bigger things to slay, like Goliaths. And this is something that we can all do, and so I think that people will be encouraged that all the Little ‘Ole Mes out there, that are reading and watching, that God can use you mightily, too. People need inspiration right now. People are scared to speak up, and I think that they’ll find that inspiration in this book.

[Yvette] – Well, I appreciate that you have been obedient to the call that God has put upon you and your family, to be able to do that, because oftentimes He calls us to do something, and we’re scared, so we choose not to do it. And we serve in other ways, but we choose not to step out and do the hard thing. Because it’s hard.

[Elizabeth] – It is.

[Yvette] – And we want our life to be comfortable, and we want our kids to be comfortable and safe, and you’ve really put yourself out there. And I love that about you. I love, just your passion for life, for Jesus, and for impacting this world. So thank you so much for what you’re doing. I want you to share two things, then I actually want to read a quote. How can people find you, and then how can people support you financially in what you’re doing?

[Elizabeth] – has all of my blog articles, and my videos, and it has a place where you can donate and subscribe to get my emails. And then please though, more than anything, this is not about me. I want to take this opportunity to say please go to We have got to pray and repent. We’ve got to end abortion, and we have expenses on this rally. We need to raise 20,000 dollars to pull off this rally, and it needs to happen fast.

[Yvette] – Okay, well so for those of you who are wondering what you can do, and how you can impact lives, that is a great way to do that, right now. We will put the links in the show notes

[Elizabeth] – Thank you.

[Yvette] – For people to be able to do that, and to support you financially. I think people so often don’t realize, even if it’s a dollar, if you have no money, if you have a dollar, or five dollars, or ten dollars, that adds up so quickly. And so often people think, well, you know, I don’t have a hundred dollars, or fifty dollars, or a thousand dollars. It doesn’t matter. You support this with whatever God has blessed you with, and puts on your heart and he will multiply it, and then pray. So we’re just calling all of you in the homeschool community to pray. Step out in faith. Step out and do what God has called you to do, whether it’s through this ministry, or fighting abortion, human trafficking, whatever it is, whatever God’s put on your heart. Take a stand and do something, and do it with your kids. It is the beauty of homeschooling. We have time, and we have the ability to do that. Really quickly, I just want to read a quote, and I actually put this up on my Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and this is by my really, really good friend, Aby Rinella. This was when the whole legislation was signed in New York a few weeks ago, and she sent me this text and she said, “Why do I homeschool? Because today my children will be at home with me, learning about the catastrophic events that happened in New York. About the evil that happens when we deviate from God’s design. And about how we have a God that mourns because he loves his people. They will be home with me, praying for the preborn babies, rather than in a public school system that tells them they get to choose for themselves what is good and evil, rather than looking to God for truth.” And that is what we get to do with homeschooling. We get to speak truth into the hearts of our children. We may not perfectly teach them math, or English. They may never know how to parse a sentence. I’m pretty certain my girls will never learn how to diagram a sentence, because I really don’t want to teach them that. I don’t know how to do it myself. And that’s okay because when they come face to face with their creator, He is not going to ask them how well they could diagram a sentence. He’s gonna say, what did you do with your time on Earth, and I want him to welcome my girls into his glorious Heaven because they took a stand, and they surrendered their whole lives, and their whole hearts to Christ, and done something to impact His world. So thank you again, Elizabeth. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for what you’re doing. We will be praying for you.

[Elizabeth] – Thank you.

[Yvette] – Keep doing what you’re doing.

[Elizabeth] – That means the world to me. We really do need a canopy of prayer around us right now.

Find out more about Day of Mourning here.

Support Day of Mourning here.

Grab Elizabeth’s new book, Not On My Watch: How to Win the Fight for Family, Faith and Freedom, here.

Visit The Activist Mommy Website.

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Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy in your Homeschool – Yvette Hampton on the Joy in the Journey Podcast

Schoolhouse Rocked producer, Yvette Hampton, recently appeared on the Joy in the Journey Podcast to talk with host, Misty Bailey about overcoming the feelings of inadequacy that so many homeschool moms face.

Click here to listen to this encouraging episode of the Joy in the Journey Podcast.

Married for twenty-three years, and a homeschool mom for seven, Yvette has a heart for building up other homeschool moms. She has heard the stories of how unprepared many moms feel to handle the education of their children, in fact, she has shared (and shares) many of those same insecurities. Now, she has embraced the idea of slowing down, focusing on what is truly important, and enjoying the privilege of investing in her children every day.

I am sure you will be encouraged in your own homeschooling journey when you listen.

 “Salt and Light” in the Public Schools? 

Yvette and Misty also talked recently, about another important issue. In a recent episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast they talked about whether our kids have the responsibility of being “salt and light” in public schools. Are we missing an opportunity to evangelize when we remove our kids from public schools, and if they do not have the responsibility of being “salt and light” there, who does? Finally, they discussed how, when, and where our kids should be “salt and light”, and how we can prepare them.

You can find Misty at

For more on this subject, pic up a copy of the excellent book, Already Gone by Ken Ham, Britt Beamer, and Todd Hillard.

The Best Accident Ever! Listen the Heidi St. John Podcast, featuring Yvette Hampton of Schoolhouse Rocked

On Episode 656 of The Heidi St. John Podcast, Heidi had a great conversation with Schoolhouse Rocked producer, Yvette Hampton about being an “accidental homeschooler”, and how homeschooling was the best accident that ever happened to them. Don’t miss this encouraging show!

For those of you who can’t get enough of Heidi St. John, don’t miss her on next week’s episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. She will be appearing, Monday, September 10th in episode 11.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can see Heidi St. John’s full interview for Schoolhouse Rocked. Subscribe for free and get immediate access to great video clips, featuring helpful homeschooling tips and encouragement from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked. You will also get a free gift when you subscribe! Download 90 minutes of exclusive videos from Heidi St. John, Sam Sorbo, Andrew Kern, and Colleen Kessler – yours to keep!

What is Schoolhouse Rocked? An Interview with Director, Garritt Hampton

“The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.” – Garritt Hampton

Yvette Hampton:           Welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I’m Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. On this podcast we bring you the very best from today’s homeschool leaders to help you start strong and finish well. This podcast is for you. If you have a guest or topic suggestion, email

Listen to this episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

We are so excited to have you here. This is the first official episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and I have an amazing guest with me today. I can say hands down that my guest today is my absolute favorite guests that I have had on and that I will ever have on the podcast. My guest today is Garritt Hampton, director of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution and he also happens to be my wonderful, faithful, loving husband of 23 years, and the father of my two amazing, beautiful daughters.

Garritt Hampton:                        Proudly.

Yvette:                        Welcome to the podcast.

Garritt Hampton:                        Thank you. It’s exciting to be here. Yeah, I’m really excited about this podcast. We’ve been talking about doing this for over a year and kind of, it’s been kind of in the back of our planning process as we’ve been working on so many other different things. And you know, God’s just put us in a great position where over the past two years as we’ve been recording for the movie and filming, we have had a chance to meet so many amazing people and it just made sense to be able to reach out to those people again and say, Hey, will you be part of the podcast? And so, we’re excited to do that. I mean, do you want to tell them what the purpose of the podcast?

Garritt Hampton:          Well, the purpose of the podcast is very much the same as the purpose of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie, which is to encourage and equip homeschool families. We set out when we, when we started production, when we started pre-production, one of the first things we did was write out our mission statement. And it’s very simple. The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so, everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So, we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.

Yvette:             Yeah. So maybe we could give him a little bit of an idea of kind of where this podcast is going. We have actually, this is podcast number one, but we have actually recorded five already and we have several more already scheduled to record. So, I’m really, really excited about who, who we have. so far have recorded interviews with, Israel, Wayne, Ginger Hubbard, Connie Alberts, Carol Swain, and Scott Lob here.

Garritt:             All of them. Excellent. I’ve, I’ve heard them also.

Yvette:             all of them. Excellent. And all of them. Part of the cast. Right. And then we’ve got Pam Barnhill coming up. We’ve got Dr. Christopher Perrin, we have Andrew Kern and we have several others that were still actually just trying to work out dates with, but it’s actually not going to be all the expert types as people would know. It will also be regular just homeschool moms like me who are just in the thick of it right now who are working through this great thing that we call homeschooling. And um, and so we have several moms who just have different stories maybe. I know we’ve got one mom who’s going to be on, and she dealt with cancer a few years ago and so she’s got just a great testimony about her journey of dealing with cancer and homeschooling at the same time and how God brought her and her family through that. We’ve got calling Kessler. We’ll be on talking about kids who are twice exceptional and gifted. And we, we’ve got just a great lineup of people who will be on the podcast and just some great moms and dads who will come on and just share their experiences and wisdom so that we can encourage and equip people to be able to homeschool. So, we’re very excited about that.

Garritt:             Now can I ask you a question about that? Sure. You say moms and Dads, and already we’ve recorded five episodes and two of them have been homeschooled dads. How does listening to homeschool dads build up encourage quip homeschool moms?

Yvette:             Well, I actually, my hope and prayer is that with the podcast that it won’t be a podcast that just moms will listen to. I’m really hoping that with the dads who will be on that they will be able to encourage the other dads because dads have such a very important role in homeschooling. And we actually talk a lot about that in the movie. And we’ll talk about the movie in a few minutes. But in the movie, we talk a lot about the important role of dads to lead their families to encourage and support their wives and how they can do that. And so that if anyone ever asked me what my favorite part of the movie is done, hands down my, my absolute favorite part because I think many dads don’t realize how, just how important that is in their day to day family life and how much their wives need. That.

Garritt:             It’s definitely been a fun part. Um, as we’ve interviewed just great Christian men who are leading their families well and going through this journey and being spiritual leaders, we’ve always taken a minute to step out of the homeschool part of the movie and just ask them what it’s like to be the spiritual leader in their home. How do they do that? What does it look like? What are they trying to get? Um, get into their kids and get out of the, out from their kids. And it’s always been a huge encouragement. We’ve had some great discussions and I will tell you there may be another movie in that. Um, we have not talked about this, but there’s so much good stuff there. You will see it on the backstage past site for sure. Um, but there may be something else in the works.

Yvette:             Yeah, I think so too. Um, I want to back up a little bit and talk a little bit about Schoolhouse Rocked too because some people listening to this podcast may not know that Schoolhouse Rocked is actually a movie. It’s a full-length movie that we are currently in production on. And so, let’s, let’s tell them a little bit about the movie, kind of our story, what we’ve done and how we’ve come to this place of doing this podcast. Do you want to go?

Garritt:             I think you’re wanting me to go there.

Well, I kind of want to start from the, not the very beginning of time, but um, start a little bit.

Garritt:             God created the heavens and the air. Yes, he did. The earth was without form and void in the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the year 2016. That’s a big jump. And that is a big jam. K 2016. So, we’ll go back to the very inception of the movie. I was teaching film at a private school in Lancaster, California. And in that year, I got asked to help out with a student film. Um, the crew, the girl doing the film was a friend of a teacher that I was working with and it was a short film on homeschooling that really was the beginning of this project. And I saw the short film that she did and thought, wow, what a great opportunity to just build up homeschooling families to show that homeschooling is a great option for families and really to legitimize the movement. And so, but this film was short. It was seven minutes long, I think. And even in that seven minutes, it was really powerful. So, I actually asked her if she wanted to do a feature and she said no, she was done with that project. So, I said, you know, that would be an awesome movie. And we started thinking about it at that point. Um,

Yvette:             and I think you should mention previous to that, you had worked in the Hollywood film industry for many years, right? That was part of your background and then you’d worked in the music industry before that.

Garritt:             Right. My, my background is really entertainment. Um, and I’ve had a varied background, but the, the last 10 years I’ve really spent doing movies and prior to that I had done music. Um, and so it wasn’t like I was just jumping into this movie thing cause a man, it would be a hard thing to jump into. But I had taken a year where I was teaching film at a school really because the movie industry had just become such a crazy mass for our family. I was, there was a lot of travel, a lot of time away from the girls in it. It needed to slow down a little bit. So, I had an awesome opportunity to teach film to junior high and high school students for a year. And it was a great time. Um, but it was also only a year. And so, we knew something was coming after that year. We knew we’d have to make a decision about where we’d be because it was going to end.

Yvette:             Can I interject here in, in, on, on my end of it I was the homeschool mom. I was the homeschool mom who said I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever homeschooled my kids. We said that for many years. We had been married for about 11 years before we had our first child. And so, for this whole 11 years, we were adamant about it. We said we would never homeschool. And the reason for that was because we had so many misconceptions about homeschooling and what it was and all the negative stereotypes of, you know, what, how we saw homeschooling as kids because it was very different when we were growing up in the eighties and nineties

Garritt:             yeah. It was different and we just didn’t get it too.

Yvette:             Right, right. It’s not, it wasn’t bad. We just didn’t get it. That’s exactly right. Yeah.

Garritt:             Right. It has changed though. It’s ironic because even, even though it was different, we still just didn’t get it and it was still a great movement, but we just saw all the negative things that people from the outside see. So, we really, I mean, we were, we had so many discussions about this saying how we would never homeschool our kids and so we didn’t want them to be socially awkward. Yes. The obnoxious. How will you socialize your kids? Argument came out of our mouth as many times and we’re ashamed of it.

Yvette:             Well, I wouldn’t say that we’re ashamed of it. I’m actually glad that we were on that side of the fence because I think it has given us, I mentioned better understanding of people now who are on that side of the fence that they just simply don’t get it, which is why we’re making this movie.

Garritt:             Yeah, absolutely. We wanted to answer so many of those questions because we had all those questions and when, when it came time to decide what we were going to do with our daughter for school, we had to work through all those issues. And it was by God’s grace that he changed our hearts about homeschooling. Um, I’m sure we could get into that, but it might take the whole show. But God changed our hearts. But to do that, he had a breakdown, a lot of misconceptions in our minds. And so, part of the reason we’re making this movie is so that we can show what homeschooling really looks like and that so many of those things aren’t true. And homeschooling can be really, really good for your family.

Yvette:             So, yeah. Yeah. I agree. Okay. So, so we started our, we, I guess you stopped at that you were teaching film at a private school. And this was in, this was into the summer of 2016 so two years ago,

Garritt:             right. So, two years ago, I knew that my time at the school was going to end at the end of the school year, and we didn’t know quite what we were going to do. And yet we had felt God just prompting us to make this movie. And it was in little ways. He never spoke from heaven. We never heard the audible voice of God. I wish we would have. Right. Maybe it would have been, it would’ve been helpful, but we were also feeling that it was time to get out of California. Um, for many reasons. We Love California. Our family is, there are churches there, our friends are there. Um, but we were feeling like it may be time to leave. And so the, the break from the school job and the, and what I was doing was a good opportunity to determine if it was time to go which over the, over the months as I, as it lead up to the end of the school year, God just made it more and more clear that it was time to leave and that it was a good idea to do this film.

Um, and he would just confirm it in great ways. It’s funny, this weekend actually, we, we got to see some friends and it was great just seeing friends from California and getting that fellowship, but I was reminded of how God confirmed things for us. One day after church, we went out to lunch with some friends who we loved, some friends for our homes from our homeschool co-op and they had another friend with them who we didn’t know. And we were just at the point where we were ready to tell people we were going to do this crazy thing, which was make a movie. And we’re sitting at lunch and, and you know, somebody asked, so what are you guys going to do? And I said, well, we’re, we’re going to make a homeschool movie. We didn’t have a title for the, for it at this point.

We didn’t even really know what it was going to look like. But we said, we’re going to show homeschooling. Like it really is. We’re going to show that it’s a great option for families and we’re really excited about it. I think that’s about all we knew. Right. And the friend who we didn’t know at the table said, “Oh man, you’ve got to meet our friend Scott LaPierre.” And we said, okay, great. Tell us about Scott. And they, you know, told us about Scott, you’re going to get to meet Scott in an upcoming episode. We have already recorded his episode and it’s fantastic. But within a few weeks of that meeting, we were on a plane up to woodland Washington to meet Scott and Katie, his wife and to interview him and several people from his church. We actually ended up doing a day in Portland where we did street interviews and then all day at a church from, well just after lunch because we did go to church in the morning.

We had lunch with the congregation and then started recording interviews and we got done at like as like 10 or 11 o’clock at night. It was a long day, but we had great stuff in the movie, was off to a great start. So, God just kept confirming in such interesting ways and definitely made it clear that we were supposed to do that. So, we set off on this journey. Long Story Short we sold everything we had. We sold our house, we sold our cars, we sold our furniture, we sold everything and bought a travel trailer and a truck and headed off across the country to make this move knowing where we were going. Right. We

Yvette:             literally go, we, we knew that we were just going to head to Georgia because we had family in Georgia. And so, we said, well, well we’ll head there because it was December. We left on December 16th. And we said, we just need to make it to Georgia by Christmas. Cause we had promised the girls that we would be with family on Christmas Day.

Garritt:             And so, we drove away from California really not knowing what God had in store. And up until that point, we had recorded interviews on three different sub sessions, three different occasions. We had done the interviews in Washington and Oregon, which were great. We had done a day of interviewing at our Classical Conversations group, which was really fun. And then we had interviewed Andrew Poodle. Ah.

Yvette:             Oh, that was, that was a neat story too. You want me to tell that one? Sure. Yeah. Okay. So that was really cool. We had kind of made our list of people that we are wanting to kind of start the movie with. And Andrew Pudewa was one at the very top of that list. And so, we, we worked for melting. We were doing IEW curriculum with our daughter and stuff. And so, I was very familiar with him and I thought, you know, he would just be great. He’s just got such a great personality and hang, there’d be a great one to start with. And so Garritt sent him an email I think, and just said, hey, we’re making this movie again. I don’t think at the time we even had a title yet for the movie. And we said, we’re filming this documentary on homeschooling.

We would love to have you be part of it. And our thought was, we’re going to be traveling across the country from west coast to east coast and we can just kind of hit, oh, we knew he was in Oklahoma. We can hit Oklahoma on the way if we need to and interview him. We would be willing to do that. And so, you sent him an email, Garritt, and he responded within like a few hours and he said, yes, I’d love to be part of this documentary. You know, how do we work out the details of it? And, and then anyway, long story short, it turned out that he was heading out to California. He was going to be just a couple of hours from where we, where we lived and he said, I’ll, I’ll be happy to come to you because he was going out there to visit his family and it was going to be a personal trip.

And I remember he said, if I go out there and we filmed this and it can turn my personal trip into a business trip and I can write it off, you’re like, you’re welcome. And he was so gracious. He actually drove I think about two hours to where we actually were. And he spent the day with us. We got to interview him, we got to take him out to dinner that night and just got to spend some great time getting to know him. And, and he said, you know, here’s all the, a list of people that you, you know, you should get in this movie and if you have any problems getting in touch with them, let me know, I’d be happy to help you. And he was just so gracious and his name alone really, really kind of brought, you know, credibility. Right. Credibility. That’s the word I’m thinking of to the movie because as soon as we said to so many people, oh, you know, we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa while they would say, Oh, we love Andrew, he’s wonderful and well if he’s in it, it must be a real movie. And um, and it was just so great. And so that got the whole thing rolling and God just opened up that great door and we were able to connect with so many people because of that. And that was nothing but God’s doing.

Garritt:             Yeah. And that was how he worked and has worked since. Um, we had also done Master’s College too. Oh yes. We knew that we were, we were going to need the college perspective for the movie. And so, one day we got to drive down to master’s college and we had done some others at the house where we did Andrew put a while, but we didn’t have much of an idea still what we were doing and we headed out across the country. And how long have we filmed? I mean we, we filmed for about a year and a half.

Yvette:             Well, it’s been almost two because I think our very, very first interviews that we did, we’re in August. Right. I want to say they were in August because it was when we were still on our house. Sure. The test was in August, right. August, September. So, but, but our first interviews that we did, official interviews were in December of 2016 so, right. So, it’s been little more than a year and a half since we filmed those first interviews.

Garritt:             Yeah. And it’s been great. God has provided the, just the best people. Um, we, we go into every interview not really knowing what to expect and event has kind of some questions in line just to get things started and make sure the interview moves in a certain direction. But it always goes somewhere better. I think in every case. And we’ll be, we’ll be watching together as the interviews going on and thinking about how interviews will work together with others that we’ve done in the past. And it is just such a friend. Fun Process. We finished interviewing

Yvette:             in Nashville, right. And Nashville, which was just a few months ago in March of 2018 and over the past year and a half or so we’ve traveled ally, we’ve been to, I think we’ve traveled to, I think we filmed in 20 states. Have we, something like that. Yeah, it’s been a lot. Um, or at least had that many states represented cause some people have come from other states and, but we’ve taught, we’ve, I think we have traveled to about 20 different states and it’s been so great just to get her perspective of homeschooling across the country. And part of it has been that people have just opened up their homes to, as we’ve traveled and said, hey, you know, come stay with us. We have made friends. I mean across the whole country; it has been the most amazing thing. You know, we were kind of part of our little bubble in California, which we love.

We love our California bubble; we love our friends and family there. And it was really hard to move out outside of that. But it has been such a blessing meeting people in all different parts of the country and getting to see all these different parts of the country and interviewing. So, it’s not like we just stayed in one place and got just, okay. Here’s perspective of people homeschooling in California. I mean we have people from New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, California, of course, Alabama, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio. I mean a lot. And it’s been a really exciting to see and it’s been neat to see the homeschool community just rally around us and come together and really people, people are people. And there is just a real great community of people in the homeschool movement who love each other and work together. And you know,

Garritt:             and we found so many similarities too. You would think that things would be different, and they are different from community to community. But really the homeschool community is very similar. I’m very, very open, very family oriented of course, because it’s, it’s really a movement of families. Um, and we have been so blessed by getting to know them. I, I, yeah. It’s,

Yvette:             and the struggles are all the same for everybody. You know, it seems like every mom we talk to has, you know, more or less the same fears about, you know, am I doing it right? Am I messing up my kids? Am I teaching them enough? Um, you know, am I making it fun? Am I doing this the right way? And so, it’s been neat to just be able to just come alongside those people and say, you’re the same as everyone else. We all are in that same boat. And then you have those older moms like Doretta Wilson and Heidi St John and Connie Alberts who have been through it. They’ve done it. They’ve graduated their kids and their kids are thriving as adults. And those are the moms and dads who are coming alongside Zane. You’re doing a great job. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Garritt:             What a great encouragement they are to them.

Yvette:             It really has been. It has been. Yeah.

Garritt:             One of my favorite things we’ve done to, I don’t mean to keep going on this, but I was thinking about as you say, Heidi and Connie and these people is um, it’s been a blessing to be at homeschool conventions where these people speak because you see the homeschool community come together and there’s nothing more encouraging than being in a room with 4,000 homeschool families and all knowing that everyone is going through basically the same things and dealing with similar issues. But having these people on stage say, you’re okay. This is what you need to do to move forward. And it’s going to be all right. Your kids are going to be great. We have been blessed. We’ve been able to be at several conventions across the country. And to me, I always leave energized. I leave energized as a homeschool dad, as a husband, you know, encouraged to do my job.

I leave energized as a filmmaker because I know that that stuff is just so impactful and we’re going to be able to incorporate that into the film, but so much more highly selfishly encouraged. Um, it really is a blessing. The other thing that’s a blessing is seeing how many families are together at these things. Homeschooling. Um, it, it’s always encouraging to me to see the movement of families who are intentional about raising their kids up in the right way. Um, we believe that that right way is in the, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And you see so many families together walking hand in hand through these conventions who are all walking in the same direction. It really is. It’s encouraging.

Yvette:             It is. And you know, as you were talking about conventions, one of the things that we have realized is that almost across the board, every curriculum company that’s out there, I won’t say every single one, but most of them were homeschooled families who saw a need and met that need and they created their curriculum, Classical Conversations, apology, a not cross history. Um, I just, I mean there are so, so many of them that are, we’re just, there are families that, you know, mom or dad saw a need and just said, hey, you know, let’s create this curriculum. Oftentimes it was for their own kids and then it just turned into something bigger. And so, most of the curriculum you see out there nowadays is created by homeschool families and often still being run by those families themselves. Right. Which is really exciting because actually in the movie we talk a lot about family business and entrepreneurship and things like that.

And so that plays perfectly into homeschooling. And how and why homeschooling is so powerful for families because it allows families to be together and work together and learn together and teaches kids work ethic. And you know, our girls work with us. That’s been a really exciting part of filming this movie is that we, you know, we went from gear up being gone pretty much all the time when he was working in, in the Hollywood film industry. He was just, I mean, he’d be gone for days at a time and it was really hard on our family and now we’re together 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, and we love it. And you know, sometimes we need to get out and breathe a little bit, but we really enjoy being together and, and it has brought such a different element to our family and to our girls lives that they get to be part of this amazing thing that God has called us to, of making this documentary.

Garritt:             Yeah. So back to the podcast, we, we have been talking about this for a year and we’re, we try to keep them around 30 minutes. So, we’re at 26 minutes right now and I want to get back to what people can expect. But one of the reasons we did the podcast was because we had such a wealth of great stuff to share with people. When you make a movie like ours, you go out and you film a lot of stuff and it can’t all make it into the movie. And we didn’t want to just let it down and go into a hole and disappear. We wanted to really build up homeschool families. So, an outgrowth of that was the podcast because we had forged relationships with great people who just had so much good wisdom to share. So, we wanted to bring those to you. Um, another aspect of that though is that we went out to our news newsletter subscribers early on and said, what do you want to hear in the podcast? What can we answer for you? And we’ve already started answering some of those questions you’ve had, do you want to share some of those?

Yvette:             That was so much fun. We, we didn’t know how many responses we would get from that. And we got well over 80 responses and they were such good suggestions for topics and guests to have on. I mean the interesting thing is so many people asked the same questions in different ways. A lot of people are, you know, just wanting to know how I balance my homeschool day or how do I balance my homeschool day with little ones. You know, I’ve got an infant and a two-year-old who are running around like crazy and I’m trying to homeschool my seven and nine-year-old or you know, whatever your family dynamics still look like. And so, we have Pam Barnhill is going to be on, she’s going to talk a little bit about some of that stuff and um, we’ve got some other guests actually that are coming on as well that will help address some of these questions.

We have people who’ve asked about children with learning disabilities and how you homeschooled those kids. And so, we’ve got people who are going to come on and talk about that. We’ve got a, one of the questions we were asked, which Scott Lob here does such a beautiful job of answering is what do, what do your moms do when their husbands are not on board with homeschooling? And so, I talked with Scott about that and he just, he addresses it so perfectly and biblically and I’m just gives a great answer to that question. And um, you know, how do I make homeschool fun? So, Trish Corlew from hip homeschool moms is going to come on and talk about how to make homeschool fun. She’s a fun one. She is really fun because it doesn’t have to it, you know, the thing that we’ve realized is that with homeschooling, so many moms think that when you homeschool, you have in your brain the school room as we know in, into your home.

And it’s really hard to replicate what school looks like at a traditional school. And that’s not what homeschooling is. And so, we can encouragement from moms again, you know like Durenda Wilson who’ve been through it and who, who have walked that road and can give encouragement of just relax, just relaxed and have fun with your kids. I’m gender hybrid, talks about parenting. We had some questions about parenting and how do you deal with discipline issues because obviously that’s part of homeschool and that’s part of raising our kids. So Ginger Hubbard addresses that beautifully and she talks about just training the hearts of your children. And so many of these questions are getting answered and then we had a whole list of guest suggestions and we’ve already been able to connect with some of those people and they’ve agreed to come on the show. And some of them we’ve actually already recorded podcast interviews with. So that’s been really exciting.

Garritt:             I see a couple here that are really fun to me and they’re the one-word ones. We have one, somebody just said encouragement. And I would really honestly say that as the heart of what we do is encourage homeschool families. We want to equip you by giving you great resources and great, you know, pouring wisdom into you and instructing you. But really, we want to build you up and encourage you so that you can make it through. So, we will do that in spades. That is our highest goal. The other one is road schooling. And on our journey, we’ve gotten to try that out and we have now almost a year and a half, well actually a more than a year and a half of roadschooling under our belt. So, we’ll get to that. Um, maybe we can have on another guest who’s done it and talk about the joys of traveling.

It’s awesome that homeschooling allows you the freedom to get out and travel and you can still do school on the road. So, it’s fine. We get to say that our girls get to actually drive the map and said, I just look at it on a piece of paper. And so that’s been a big blasting. So, we’re almost to 30 minutes and I want to tie up this episode, but really quickly I want to talk about the two other things that we have that we can offer to people, which is the website and then our backstage pass membership site. Cause those are great resources as well. Um, the websites – go to We have some guest bloggers who are just wonderful and they, they post such encouraging things and all kinds of different topics that you can find on there. So, you can find guest blog posts on there and we actually will have a whole lot of more guest posts coming up in the near future.

There’s already a wealth on there though. There’s stuff on special needs. Homeschooling was special needs or stuff on family business. Um, there’s just general encouragement for homeschooling. It’s a wealth of information. Then the backstage past membership. Um, the backstage pass site is where you get an inside look at the making of the movie and you get the value of all this video that we’ve done. We’re going to release basically everything over time. Um, in addition to the movie, you’re going to see the uncut interviews with our guests and you’ll find that at the backstage pass site there’s a free subscription that gets you access to clips that you can search by topic and, and they’re going to answer your questions and build you up quick. But if you really want to dig down deep, we have a paid membership and it’s the Co cost of a cup of coffee, coffee a month for four 99 a month you can get access to complete interviews and there’s already several hours up there. We have a Heidi St John, Sarah McKinsey and her, Andrew Kern, Connie Albers is up there. Josh Tolley. His is amazing. That was Brooklyn’s favorite. Do we have Sam up yet?

Garritt:     Her whole interview isn’t up yet, but there’s a few minutes there and it’s great. And I want to just elaborate a little bit on what that is. So, as we’ve filmed interviews for the movie, each interview has been, I mean I would say the average time that it taken for an interview is probably close to an hour and we have a ton of them. I mean our cast list is, is massive. If you go on the website, you can actually see who several of our cast members are and then families as well. And so obviously, you know, we can’t put an hour of Heidi St John in the movie because that would take up, it would be a good movie, it would be fantastic. But we’ve got so much great content in, so, you know, we can’t, we want to do something with the remainder of the footage that’s not going to make it into the movie.

That’s just so powerful that we really want people to be encouraged by it. And so, well that’s what’s going to be on the backstage pass membership site is you’ll get some behind the scenes stuff and then you’ll also get the full exclusive interviews from the cast members and you get to see us record this podcast live in color.

Garritt:             Just to go on that for just one more second. Our first big interview, like we said was Andrew Pudewa and his interview was almost two hours long and there’s not one minute that’s not excellent. I don’t know how I’m going to cut that interview. It was so good. We were sitting there just dying because it was two hours of great stuff. So that’s coming to the Backstage Pass site, and just so much more if you want to be built up, if you want to be encouraged and equipped check out and it’s a great way to support the movie.

Yvette:             All of the paid memberships that come in actually goes to support production out of Schoolhouse Rocked. And so that’s a great way to support the movie and get something for yourself in return. Yep, absolutely. Why support the movie? Well we, we actually, right now the plan is that the movie is going to be in theaters and early summer of 2019, but we have a huge budget that we still need to meet in order to get it in theaters by next year. Um, we’re working with fathom events, which some of you may be familiar with them. They’re the company that does a lot of Kirk Cameron’s documentaries and, and live events and stuff like that. And so as of now, the plan is that the movie will be in theaters across the country, probably 850 plus theaters. And we’re really excited about that, but that is going to take an army of people to get it done. We have to hire, and we’ve already had to have all these people in place, but we have to pay for a composer and a colorist and a second editor. And I mean there’s just an, a marketing angel in a marketing budget, right? The marketing budget is huge. And so, we need to raise the rest of our budget to get it in theaters. And it’s a whole lot of money. And so, every year

Garritt:             thing that, you know, whenever people pay for the backstage pass membership, that goes to help support that, right? Yeah. Every, every membership goes straight to production on the movie. And you can also donate to support. If you believe in what we’re doing, come beside us and help make a movie. You will be doing a great thing. Um, and you will be building up the homeschool community just like you’ve been built up.

Thank you so much for listening today. We are very excited to be here with you. We hope that it’s been an encouragement to you and we really hope that this podcast will encourage and equip you in many, many ways on this homeschool journey for great homeschooling videos, articles, giveaways, and more. Check out and use the coupon code “PODCAST10” to save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass membership backstage pass members get exclusive access to full interviews from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked and so much more. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and leave a review. Until next time. I’m Yvette Hampton. Wish she knew the joys of community and the wisdom to teach and learn.




Garritt and Yvette on Israel Wayne’s Family Renewal Podcast

Garritt and Yvette Hampton, director and producer/host of Schoolhouse Rocked were recent guests on Israel Wayne’s excellent Family Renewal podcast, where they got to talk about homeschooling and the production of this important homeschooling documentary. Listen to the show here.

On the monthly Family Renewal Podcast Israel Wayne discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is a national speaker and the author of several books including Education: Does God Have an Opinion? and his newest book, Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask. Israel appeared in the excellent documentary, Indoctrination, and we were very excited to interview him for Schoolhouse Rocked. The Family Renewal Podcast is featured on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.

We are giving away a two copies of Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, by Israel Wayne. Listen to Episode 4 of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, where we interview Israel about Godly parenting and the blessings that homeschooling brings. This special hour-long episode is a filled with practical advice and wisdom from the original “homeschool guy”!


Yvette Hampton Discusses Homeschooling on the Common Sense Podcast with Dr. Carol M. Swain

Yvette Hampton recently appeared on the Common Sense Conversations podcast with Professor Carol M. Swain, Ph.D. to talk about homeschooling. Dr. Swain is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Before joining Vanderbilt in 1999, Dr. Swain was a tenured associate professor of politics and public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her new podcast features conversations with thought leaders from around the country about the issues we face, and how we can use common sense to solve them.

We met Dr. Swain on our recent trip to Nashville. We were privileged to spend many hours getting to know her, then we were able to interview her for Schoolhouse Rocked. You will be blessed by her wisdom.