Impacting God’s Kingdom Through Homeschooling
Seen regularly on Fox & Friends, Kathy Barnette is a conservative commentator, and proud mother and wife. Kathy Barnette is a veteran, a former adjunct Professor of Corporate Finance, a conference speaker, and a political commentator. In addition to Fox & Friends, Kathy can also be seen on Neil Cavuto, Martha MacCallum, Fox & Friends First and several local news stations around the Philadelphia area. She served her country proudly for ten years in the Armed Forces Reserves, where she was accepted into officer candidacy school. Her corporate career includes working with two major financial institutions and in corporate America. She also sat on the board of a pregnancy crisis center for five years. Kathy is not only a public advocate, but she advocates for her own family. Perhaps her most cherished opportunity to date, besides being a wife, is the ability to homeschool her two children. You can learn more about Kathy and watch some of her media appearances by going to KathyBarnette.com.
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Yvette Hampton: I have a really special guest on today, that I’m really excited about. Here name is Kathy Barnette. I am so excited to introduce you to her, because she is one of those people who, if we ever were to have an underachiever on the podcast, it would not be Kathy. She may be the over achiever. She is just a woman that God has used in big, big ways. Kathy, welcome to the podcast.
Kathy Barnette: Thank you for having me, Yvette. I’m so excited to be here with you and your listeners.
Yvette: Yes, me too. We first found out about you, actually from my father-in-law. He said, “Have you heard of this lady named Kathy Barnette? She’s on Fox and Friends and she’s a homeschool mom, and a political commentator.” And I was like, “No, I’ve not heard of this Kathy Barnette lady. Tell me more.” So of course, I started stalking you on Facebook as we all do with one another. I was just so blessed by who you are, what you stand for, your ministry and the platform that God has given you.
Tell us about what you do, and then I want to talk about just what God is doing in your life.
Kathy: What do I do? Oh my goodness, so much.
Yvette: Or what don’t you do? I should say.
Kathy: Yeah, I know it may be shorter if we go that route. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. First and foremost, I’m a homeschooling mommy. I’m a momma bear. I didn’t even know I was a momma bear, but I’m a momma bear, Kathy. By the grace of God, he opened up a door of opportunity about two years ago for me to go onto Fox and Friends, primarily, but Fox News up in New York, on the national television station, and to begin to speak to millions of people about truth. Truth is what is so in my heart. There’s so much information out there. How do you discern between what is truthful and what is just downright foolish? And so I’m very grateful to God for that door of opportunity.
Just a couple of days ago, I secured a book deal. I’m so excited. It is with one of the top five publishing houses in the world. And so, I’m just so amazed at how good God is. I often say, “From a pig farm, to the big apple.” Only God can do something like that. And so, I’m very excited.
Yvette: I love that. And you’re also a veteran, right?
Kathy: I’m a veteran. 10 years. I know so you can just keep going. Veteran, was in the Wall Street environment for about four years. I worked in corporate America adjunct professor of economics, in corporate finance. I used to charter buses, before I started doing television to take people to the state capital in Illinois, and show them how to walk and talk to their elected official. Because, believe it or not, these people work for us. Sometimes I think we forget that.
And so that was one of my grassroots … I didn’t even know what was grassroots, until many years later. Like, “Oh, that’s what I was doing?” But it just comes so natural that this is my world. My babies are going inherit this, and by the grace of God, it’s our job as parents, mothers, momma bears to get out there and to let our voices be heard.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right, and you’re doing a fantastic job of getting out there, and allowing the Lord to use you in that way. Talk to me about your homeschool journey, because I love that with all of your accomplishments, the one thing that you constantly say is, you are first and foremost a homeschool mom. You’re a child of God, daughter of the king and you are a homeschool momma and a wife. That’s your real gig. The other things are just your side gigs.
Kathy: And in fact, I lead with that. I led with that, when I started going to Fox. I will not be ashamed. I remember saying to myself. But, going to the beginning I had just moved from Texas to Illinois and I was pregnant with my second daughter, so this is back in 2008. I was very pregnant, as they say in the south. I was walking around in our cul-de-sac, rubbing my belly, just talking to the Lord. I heard God so clearly say to me, “You are going to homeschool.” And I stopped in the middle of that, and I said, “No, pick something else.” I know, so arrogant.
I’m so grateful to God, and his kindness, his grace and his mercy that he extols on us. But, in all my arrogance and wisdom, I thought I knew better, because I have so many degrees, I have so much experience. Surely, you’re going to use me to make a real impact in our world. And homeschooling just was not on my top 100 things that I could be doing with myself. So, I remember rushing, waddling into the house and I slammed the door, and I said to my husband, “Oh, my goodness. I think God is going to call me to homeschool. Why would he do that to me?” I kind of like children, but oh my goodness, really? Because at that time, I truly was one of those parents who looked forward to that little yellow bus pulling off, with her children every day, so I can get back to real work for the Lord, right? Real warrior-ing for the Lord, so I thought.
At that time I was sitting on the board of a pregnancy crisis venture, and saving babies lives. Just doing the most I thought. Several years later, several years later now, my baby was in my womb, is now six years old, getting ready to start Kindergarten. We are in a new state and I’ve enrolled her into school, because that’s what we do. We go to public school, so mommy can … And I was so excited my last child was going to be in school. That means I have what, eight hours a day to just do me. Within three months, my daughter was pulled out of that environment, because almost immediately I saw, going through her paperwork, that my daughter had a guidance counselor. I thought to myself, “Well, why does a kindergartner need a guidance counselor for?”
I mean, I had a guidance counselor when I was in high school. Discussed which college you want to go to. You want to take the ACT or the SAT, so I was very curious to know what this guidance counselor was guiding my six year old on. So, I emailed her and said, “Please send me your teaching objectives.” And it was 35 of the most ridiculous things. And essentially, guidance counselors go into your kindergartner’s classroom twice a week and they parent your child. They take the role of the parent. They talk to them about how to distinguish between a truth and a lie.
Number 35 was going to come home with a permission slip, because they were going to talk to my six year old about boys anatomies, girls anatomies, and how they work, right? Number 15 was the one that really cooked my goose, is that it was teaching … She was going to go into my six year old daughter’s classroom and teach her how to distinguish between different family’s configurations, and that is buzzword for homosexuality, same sex marriage. I scheduled a meeting, went in, and I asked the guidance counselor, “Show me what you’re going to take into my six year old daughter’s class to teach her how to distinguish between different family configurations.” It was the most beautifully colored, illustrated book about Billy going to his father’s house, and his father’s boyfriend, Henry was there. Or Sally with two moms, or some kid dealing with the divorce of their parents.
This woman, I can tell at any other given moment, I may be her … I could’ve been her friend. She seemed very nice.
Yvette: She seemed very well-intentioned?
Kathy: She seemed very well-intentioned. She was clueless of why a parent would disagree with this. And in fact, she said to me, she’d been doing this for eight years, and not one parent, during those eight years had ever said anything to her. So she was very taken aback that this would have been seen as inappropriate. She just had no idea. We talked, she seemed to realize this, that she would not … She would skip lesson number 15. And in fact, gave me all of her books to go through and to see what I found to be offensive.
I’m thinking, “This is what the Lord has called me to this state for.” Two days later, my third grader, he who’s eight years old, comes home and says, “Mom, what’s a stepmom?” And I’m like, “Why?” Because his teacher, who’s divorced was talking to the kids about his divorce, and his children’s new stepmom. When I talked to this teacher, he too had no idea of just how out of his pay grade he was operating. And I explained to him, “I send my child to you to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, thrown in some science, and send my babies back to me. They already have a parent. I don’t need you to parent my children. In fact, they have two parents, and we’re doing what we believe to be the best thing for our child.”
He had no idea, so within 45 minutes of that conversation, a light bulb went off, over my head that said, “Take your kids out of this.” That was on a Friday. Monday I took them out of the school system. Tuesday we’re all sitting around our kitchen table, and I’m like, “Okay, now what?” I have a very large social media following. I put it out there, “Help! I’m homeschooling. I have no idea what to do.” This is from a professor. I taught economics and corporate finance, and I felt so woefully ill equipped to teach my kindergartner and my third grader a simple subject.
By Tuesday night, so many people was giving me information. One lady, from Texas, grabbed me proverbially by the hand, technology wise, and led me to Classical Conversations, Set up a meeting for me. I met with them in my community on Thursday, and four years later, five years later I’m homeschooling, and I love it.
Yvette: That is so awesome. Such a great story. Why was it that you felt ill equipped? Because we hear this time and time again, and it doesn’t matter who the mom is, what her background is, what her education is. Pretty much every single mom we talk to, feels like she’s not enough. She feels like, “I can’t do this. I’m not well enough educated. I don’t have the patience. I don’t have what it takes to educate my children.” Why did you feel that way about yourself?
Kathy: Yeah, well I have multiple degrees. Like I said, veteran 10 years, Wall Street for four years, Corporate America taught. I was an adjunct professor of corporate finance and economics. So if anyone should have felt equipped from an education background, and an experience background, should’ve been me. The constant thought that ran through my head, initially was, “What if they turn out to be stupid? What if I make my children dumb? What if I don’t teach something that they should know? And it’ll be all my fault. I won’t be able to blame the public school system. It will be all my fault, if they turn out to be dumb or something.”
So irrational, but it was the constant thought on my mind, at the time. And then the other thing that constantly bugged me, I did not know, as a Christian woman, just how much of this feminist lie I had bought into. I am woman, hear me roar, look at me. Veteran, adjunct professor, corporate America, Wall Street. Look at all the things I’m doing, right?
And I did not know just how much of that was my identity, so when I started homeschooling, and people would get around to that question, “What do you do?” I’d be like … I felt embarrassed. I felt like I was less than. And then, as I’ve mentioned to you before, I remember so clearly a passage that came to my mind, and that is when Jesus was on the cross, he rejected the shame, because of the joy that was set in front of him. I remember thinking that. One day, I was at Fox and someone was asking me, “What do you do?” It was that, “Oh, I knew that question was coming. What do you say?” And I remember feeling the shame creep up in my throat, and I just said to myself, “I reject that shame. I’m going to push beyond that, because I see the joy that is set in front of me.” What a wonderful opportunity as homeschooling moms, we have to truly influence the world. When I was walking around so many years ago with my daughter in my belly, thinking about all the great things I was going to do, for the Lord and the world, how I was going to make an impact. There is no greater impact we can make then on the little lives that are in front of us. The world is going to need what my children will have, and my children will have those things in large part because we’re pouring those things into our children. The character, right?
We’re dealing with the society who are now telling our young children, you cannot trust your own two eyes. You’re looking at me, I look like a woman, I sound like a woman, but I may not be a woman. You need to wait until I tell you who I am. I look like a duck, quack like a duck, walk like a duck, but I may be a sheep. You don’t know, and somehow you’re wrong if you trust your own two eyes. Think about that for a moment. We have a society, a whole culture that is teaching formable little minds, you cannot trust your self. Those little minds, those little souls are going to become our future doctors, our future lawyers, bankers, our future accountants who will test the wind to see which way it’s blowing before they know what is right and wrong.
And, as a mom today, I fully understand that the joy that is set before me or the two little souls that God has allowed me the opportunity to kind of walk alongside and to make sure they have a firm understanding that truth really does exist. And, it’s not based upon how you feel in this moment, right? That’s my role. So yes, I’m on Fox. I get to talk to millions of people multiple times a week. I have a book deal by one of the largest publishing companies, and yet there is nothing more profound, more impactful in this culture that I can do than to raise up these two little ones who will understand there is such a thing as right and wrong.
Yvette: We’re talking about just the impact that we get to make in the lives of our children through having them at home with us. And how, in the midst of all of the other things that you’re doing, that we do, the most important thing is getting to speak into the hearts of our kids. How do you do that practically, on a day to day basis? Because I know you’re all over the place. I talked to you the other day and you were in your chauffeured car on the way back home from Fox, and I think you had your kids in the car with you actually that time. I think they had been on with you, and so I know you’re a mama who is just, you’ve got a lot going on, but how do you focus your attention on a regular basis on your children and really work to help guide their hearts and direct them to living a life that will have a great impact?
Kathy: Yeah. You know what, it’s a moment by moment. I heard someone say, we just celebrated the home going of my sweet aunt. She’s a giant in the faith and I heard one of the pastors say, my aunt did not go out witnessing, she was a witness. Her life was a witness. And, I vehemently agree with that and that is how I earnestly try to live my life. The way I talk, the way I walk, what I read, how I dress, how I eat, just everything about me.
My children are always with me. They’re at Fox almost every time I go on. So, they’re in New York. If I have a speaking event, my babies are usually in the background somewhere. They’re always with me because that’s a part of homeschooling and they watch everything. My daughter watches her mommy interact with other men. Right? The way in which I do that. I’m witnessing. My son sees me on those quiet moments, right? What I’m watching on television, right, in my home. Everything about our lives. It’s not just setting aside 20 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day to speak truth into our children’s lives. It’s every single moment of my life.
I remember when my babies were very, very little and I used to love watching Bachelor. I know. And, when my babies will walk into the room, I will pause it because the stuff that they’re … I mean, it wasn’t even nearly as bad as Bachelor is today. This was six years ago, eight years ago. So, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it is today, but it was still bad enough for me to pause it when they walked into the room. And my son, who was then about four years old said, “Mommy, if I shouldn’t watch it, you shouldn’t watch it.” And, that was so-
Kathy: … so true. I stopped watching Bachelor, the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, eight years ago when my four year old witnessed to me that if I shouldn’t watch it, Mommy, you shouldn’t watch it. Right? So, it’s recognizing that those little eyes are forever open. They’re little sponges. We know that. Right? And so, that’s one of the things that I do is that I am a witness.
Also, just making the Bible practical. I was telling my son the other day that before the foundation of the world, he’s 12 now, before the foundation of the world, God saw you. He called you. He pre-destined you. He created a purpose for your life. And then, in 2006, he put that purpose in a body and we named him Carl. And I said, “So, I’m sure when God was coming up with your purpose, spending four hours on Xbox wasn’t a part of that purpose.” So, it’s using scripture in a very practical way of helping them to see that you’re going to have to give account of that purpose, of that time that he … you want to have so much time in the world to make an impact. Spending four hours a day, quote unquote, probably wasn’t what God had in mind before the foundation of the world when he was designing your purpose.
And so, therefore letting my children see that Mommy don’t spend four hours on Facebook any longer scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Mommy doesn’t spend four hours watching TV, scrolling, just watching, flipping through channels. So, that’s probably not what God had in mind when he designed me as well. So, our whole lives have to become a witness to our children.
Yvette: Oh, I love that answer so much because we talk about this all the time on the podcast, and sometimes I feel like people are going to be like, yeah, yeah, yeah. You say that all the time. School is not sitting and doing worksheets all day long. That’s not what it is. That is part of schooling our children, and they need to know those basics of academics. But, life is school. Everything that we do from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, the things that we’re teaching them through our lives and through the things that we allow them to get involved in and the ways that we are serving together as a family, that is what’s the most important.
And, God is not going to ask our children when they come face to face with him, how well they did in math or science or English. How well can you diagram a sentence? He’s going to say, what did you do with what I gave you? Because he has created all of us on purpose and for a purpose. And so, I love that you take your kids along with you on this journey of life and you’re just teaching them in a very practical way what that looks like.
Are you able to talk about your book? Because I know you just signed this book deal, and I’ve been around enough authors to know that there’s always kind of the secrets that cannot be told. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re doing and with what the premise of the book is?
Kathy: The premise of the book, yes, I’m kind of beholden to some of those right now, so I can’t really talk about the name of the book and all of that. And, I’m new to all of this. So, I’ve been learning. I’m walking and learning as I go. But, the premise of the book, it talks about my own life, growing up on a pig farm in a very small rural area. It talks about my genesis. I am the product of a rape, and yet, how God has used my family, my own life, the life of my mother, the life of my father’s side of the family because they all knew each other at the time and just what God has done.
Just the workings of God, right? How he’s able to take ashes and make something beautiful out of it. And, just trusting him. He has plans and purposes we have no idea about. And, just learning to trust him. Learning to say, not my will, but your will. I had a completely different thought in mind about my life, and what I would be doing with my life and everything that I have planned and yet, but God has something completely different. And, I guess that’s what I would love to just encourage your listeners is to trust God.
There used to be that shame in the back of my throat when I had to tell someone, oh I homeschool because I didn’t know how much of the lie of the world I had swallowed in that in order to be important, you have to be doing something important. And, staying at home and raising your children and homeschooling them just doesn’t really qualify as meaningful. Especially when you’re surrounded by a lot of elites like you often are at these various news stations. And yet, rejecting the world’s idea of who I am. According to the world, my pedigree is nothing to be proud of, and most definitely, is it something you want to write a book about? Yeah, God. And so, I love that.
So, there’s an element of how I grew up, the circumstances surrounding my birth, being black and yet not being a Democrat, and how I walked out of that environment. And, just how as Americans not allowing ourselves to be defined by others. Not allowing others, using my own life, my own personal story, using the story of the African American community to kind of put a spotlight on all of us as Americans in this journey we’re walking. And, not allowing people to stereotype us and tell us, you’re a woman, vote for a woman. You have ovaries, so clearly you should vote for Hillary. You’re black, vote for a Democrat. You’re gay, Democrat. You’re this, Republican. I mean, you grow up in the south, okay, you must be a Republican. Just not allowing people to box us in and learn our true identity and to walk in that.
Yvette: Yeah. Oh, so beautifully said. I love what God is doing with you and the way that he’s using you. You have done such a great job of just encouraging us and just showing that God can still do great things with you as a homeschool mom, and he can use you in very, very big ways. So, really quickly, I would love for you to just give one last encouragement to the moms, and I want to ask you, sometimes I ask for encouragement for one set of moms and sometimes for another, but I would love for you to encourage both sets of moms, and here’s the two that I want you to encourage.
One, the mom who’s thinking about homeschooling and she was in that same state that you were in, where you’re like, who me? What? You want me to homeschool? I have other things or better things to do. I would love for you to encourage that mom. And then, the second one is if you could encourage the mom who is in the thick of it right now and she’s overwhelmed and tired and just encourage her to keep going. So, if you could give those last two words of encouragement and then let’s tell people where they can find you, that would be awesome.
Kathy: Awesome. I think it’s the same bit of encouragement I would offer to both sets of parents and that is to trust God. I know. So simple, right? Because we want things to be much more sophisticated. And yet, we serve a God who has made salvation so simple, so much so that he said it confounds the wise. They just can’t get their mind around how simple the gospel message is of salvation, right? And so, that’s my word to you, is to trust God. To trust God. Be silent. Be still. And, just trust him. What was the last thing he said to you? Trust him in that.
Yvette: Yeah. Oh, I love it. I love that you say be silent. I think I shared this with you a few weeks ago when we were talking in that God just has us on this crazy journey of making this movie and doing the podcast and just getting Schoolhouse Rocked up enrolling. And, it’s been a really exciting, but really hard journey for our family and a lot of unknowns. And, we’re kind of in limbo on a lot of things. And so, a few months ago I felt like the Lord kept just bringing Psalm 46:10 back to my mind, be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God, over and over again. I mean, literally he kept speaking that to my heart and then we drove by a church, this one week specifically, we drove by a church and there was a big marquee sign out front. And, of course, we drove by and as soon as we drove by, it popped up, be still and know that I am God. And, then we went to a coffee shop the next day and there was a big sign on the coffee shop wall that said, be still and know that I am God. And so, over and over again, he continues to remind me. Just be still. And, that doesn’t mean don’t do anything. That doesn’t mean sit on your couch and watch TV all day long-
Kathy: Watch TV all day.
Yvette: … and wait for God to just fill in all the gaps. But, trust in him, like you said. He is a faithful God. And, if he has called you to homeschooling and he’s called you to disciple the hearts of your children, he’s going to equip us with everything that we need in order to accomplish that. So, thank you for that encouragement. Where can people find you?
Kathy: I’m all over the place. You can go to kathybarnette.com. That’s Kathy with a K. I’m trusting you have links out there for that.
Yvette: I do. Yeah, we’ll put links on the show notes.
Kathy: Kathybarnette.com. You can also see me on Facebook, Kathy Barnett 4 Truth, or Twitter handle is Kathy4Truth. I’m also on Instagram, YouTube, all out there. I would love to connect with your listeners.
Yvette: I would love that. And then, how often, I know it’s kind of sporadic, but how often are you on Fox and Friends, and how can people see you on there? Do you have some kind of schedule?
Kathy: Yeah, I’m on maybe about two to three times a week. It just depends on what’s going on, and so I’m on there two to three times a week, on Fox and Friends. Neil Cavuto, Martha MacCallum, and a variety of other places. But again, you can go to kathybarnette.com. The overwhelming majority of my hits are out there under the media page or on Facebook.
Yvette: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you for your time today. You are an absolute blessing and I am so glad to call you friend, Kathy.
Kathy: Thank you.