In the digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, connecting us with people from all corners of the world. But what are the consequences of this constant online presence? In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Aby Rinella engages joined me for an enlightening conversation on the impact of social media on our personal lives, particularly as homeschooling parents. This conversation, inspired by an article Aby wrote, titled The Original Influencer, provides practical encouragement for navigating the social media web with our families.
“We have to remember that the enemy of our souls is the master of deceit. He’s deceiving people into thinking that it’s a community. It’s not. It’s isolating people.”
The Disconnect Between Online and Real-Life Relationships:
Social media has birthed its own unique culture, often blurring the lines between the online and real world. Studies have shown that despite having more access to others than ever before, people are increasingly lonelier. Humans are built for community, but the online world has created a counterfeit that can trick us into believing that our need for human interaction is being met.
The Burden of Information Overload: “We see moms who are overwhelmed, and they’re depressed, and they feel hopeless, and it’s so overwhelming… And we carry that weight, and it causes depression, it causes anxiety, and we were never meant to know what’s going on all over, all the time, always.” — Aby Rinella
Recognizing the Lack of Authenticity:
Furthering the problem, the social pressure to create content that people will “like” and share has contributed to a pervasive lack of authenticity online, which can spill into our lives and personality. Worse, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that everyone else’s life is picture-perfect, when all we are seeing are their best moments and perfectly posed and photoshopped pictures.
The Power of Real-Life Relationships:
Amidst the virtual facade, real-life relationships remain the bedrock of social connection and personal growth. Aby emphasizes the messiness, effort, and humbling nature of these relationships, stressing that real-life connections require intentionality, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to find the good in others.
The Loneliness Epidemic: “The studies show that people are lonelier now than they’ve ever been ever. That there’s this epidemic, this pandemic, if you will, of loneliness that we’ve never seen before. And what’s interesting is we have more access to more people than we have ever had in history, and yet we are the loneliest.” — Aby Rinella
Finding Wisdom and Support in Community:
With the rise of social media influencers, there is a danger of relying solely on their curated content for guidance and information. Aby advocates for seeking wisdom and support from experienced individuals – Titus 2 women – within our churches, homeschool co-ops, families, and local communities, urging young moms to invest in real, tangible relationships rather than depending solely on online connections.
“It was these real women who knew me, and they knew my heart, and I knew them, and I knew their heart. And those were my influencers, and that was my community.” — Aby Rinella
Breaking Free from the Social Media Trap:
Recognizing the addictive nature of social media and its potential to distract homeschooling parents, Aby shares practical strategies to regain focus and presence in our daily lives. She recommends allocating specific time frames for social media use, fasting from it for a period, and investing in real-life experiences instead.
In a world dominated by social media, it’s essential for us to navigate its influence wisely. Aby’s insights shed light on the detrimental aspects of social media while offering a path towards authentic, real-life relationships and connections. Let us heed her wisdom and resist the trap of the online world, finding fulfillment and growth within genuine communities.
1. How has social media influenced your perception of what a “perfect family” looks like? Do you feel pressure to portray your own family in a certain way on social media?
2. How do you think social media culture has impacted our ability to form and maintain genuine, authentic relationships? Have you experienced any negative effects on your own relationships?
3. In what ways do you see social media as a tool for isolating individuals, rather than connecting them? Have you ever felt isolated or disconnected because of social media?
4. How do you navigate the balance between staying informed about global events and protecting your mental well-being from the constant stream of news on social media?
5. Do you think social media has had a positive or negative impact on the parenting community? How have you personally been influenced or affected as a parent by social media?
6. Have you ever felt the pressure to conform to certain homeschooling methods or philosophies because of what you’ve seen on social media? How do you strike a balance between seeking inspiration and staying true to your own homeschooling style?
7. How do you personally limit your social media use during homeschooling to stay focused and present with your children? What strategies have you found helpful in reducing distractions?
8. Do you agree with Aby’s suggestion of taking breaks from social media to regain perspective and break addictive habits? Have you ever tried a social media fast? If so, what was your experience like?
9. How do you distinguish between influencers who genuinely provide valuable content and insights, and those who simply craft curated and potentially misleading versions of their lives? What are some red flags to watch out for?
10. In what ways do you think social media has impacted society’s reliance on personal experience and wisdom for guidance? Do you believe influencers should be held to a certain standard of expertise before providing tutorials or advice?
Aby is a writer and speaker seeking to encourage and inspire women to live the life they were designed to live, to train up their children in God’s Word, and to stand on truth in a culture that has lost its foundation.
Aby and her husband, Jesse, speak and write on the benefits of pointing children to their Creator through spending time out in His creation. They are also passionate about encouraging men and women to prioritize the calling they have been given to raise their families the way they were designed. You can find them at CalledToTheTop.com or on Facebook at Aby Rinella-His Calling My Passion.
Yvette Hampton: A listener asks, “How do I homeschool my son, age 11, who’s uncooperative? He fights me on everything and I’m feeling so defeated and overwhelmed.” Aby, Do you want to jump on this?
Aby Rinella: I read this and immediately two great resources came to my mind, because at age 11 I feel like everything changes. With adolescence comes a huge shift.
I’m going to give you some great resources for dealing with this critical time in your child’s life. First, is an amazing book called No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace And Hope, by Hal Melanie Young. And this book really gave me insight. It’s not just boys. It’s also girls! There’s a lot going on in an 11-year-old. And you’re not alone, mama! I think that this is a common thing. So I would suggest that you get this book. It really helps navigate through some of those tumultuous years and the confusion that they’re feeling. And often that that comes out in what you called “uncooperative” behavior. They fight you on everything that is just kind of a result of where they’re at. This book gives you a lot of good tips and pointers.
The other one is called Mother And Son: The Respect Effect, by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs. And it talks about how around that age, 11 – you’ve babied your son. He’s been your baby. I have a son and it’s the same – They’re your little baby. And you hold them and you snuggle them. And they do whatever mama says because you’re mama. And then they hit this certain age where they’re starting to become men. And in their nature, they don’t want to be told what to do by you. And so there is this new dance that you’re going to have to learn, between being his authority and his teacher, but at the same time, understanding that he’s coming into manhood, and he is naturally learning to assert himself in a new way.
And your relationship with your son is very unlike that one your daughters… It’s very different with sons. Your relationship very much shifts at that season.
We want you to know that we’re praying for you. You’re not alone. This is normal, but there are answers out there. So it’s just going to be a shift with a son to understand how you’re going to relate to him differently in this season and moving forward.
Yvette Hampton: I am so glad you could answer that because I have a family of all girls. I come from a family of girls. I only have daughters and five nieces. And so it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around what it’s like to homeschool a son, because they really are different. God made them male and female!
Aby Rinella: Yes, he did.
Yvette Hampton: Imagine that.
Aby Rinella: But I would say, too, for those with daughters, No Longer Little talks about daughters, too, because they go through a shift in 11, too.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Oh yes.
Aby Rinella: Oh, my goodness. Do they go through a shift.
Yvette Hampton: Hormones. Oh, goodness.
Aby Rinella: Yep. So you know, it’s not just sons, but there is something different about sons. So I cannot recommend that book highly enough.
Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,
What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?
And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.
Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options.
With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, here, here, and here.
Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!
Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.
FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM
Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.
Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that.
Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.
Aby Rinella: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.
Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.
Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
Aby Rinella: I love that name.
Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.
Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…
Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.
Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?
Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.
Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.
Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource.Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.”
Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.
Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized.
Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.
ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.
Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.
Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.
Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel.
Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!
Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at email@example.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.
Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are,
Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.
Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?
Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.
Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.
Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.
Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…
Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.
Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”
Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.
Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.
Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.
Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?
Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.
Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?
Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.
Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?
Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]
Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.
Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.
Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…
Aby Rinella: Totally.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.
Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: You have freedom.
Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.
Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.
Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…
Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.
Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.
Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.
Aby Rinella: Always.
Yvette Hampton: Every morning…
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…
Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Math, right.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.
Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been strong proponents of marriage, family, and faith, in the shifting sands of Hollywood and the notoriously family-unfriendly movie industry. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared some of the keys to preserving and strengthening her family and living out her faith. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to part two of the podcast with Sam Sorbo. And we are having so much fun with her. I love talking to you, Sam. I love your heart for families, for culture, for homeschooling, and for your children. It is very evident that you have a deep passion for shifting the needle a little bit and the direction that our culture needs to be headed.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to talk a little bit about that. You actually have a new book, it’s just now released called True Faith. And you wrote that with your husband Kevin Sorbo.
Sam Sorbo: Yep.
Yvette Hampton: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Sam Sorbo: So right before we got married, Kevin suffered three strokes and nearly died. And it was a three year recovery. We got married anyway, it was a three year recovery. It was a very difficult recovery. He had myriad symptoms that were terribly debilitating. And he battled through, he is the strongest man in the world.
Yvette Hampton: He’s a real Hercules.
Sam Sorbo: And he was going through this while he was playing Hercules, exactly. And so I nagged him long and hard and he finally wrote the book about his recovery, because I saw it as a way to minister to people, who were also going through hardship. Any kind of overwhelming struggle, right? It’s always good to hear someone else’s story and say, “Oh well. My story’s not that bad”. Or “My story is just as bad, but different. But look how they overcame and there’s hope for me”. That kind of thing. And so this book is sort of the next step in that. So I have a little bit of a bigger role. And in this book we kind of went halves and we just tell the story of working together. A lot of people ask us what’s it like to be conservative in Hollywood? What’s it like to work as Christians in that industry?
Sam Sorbo: And so we just set out to answer some of those questions to give you a little bit of insight into our life together. And it’s very difficult for us to get pregnant. We talk about that journey. And that’s actually part of the reason that I eventually figured out that I needed to home educate my kids, because I was just sending them off to a stranger every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And I’ll tell you a quick story. When we moved for the schools, we moved to the really good schools, and my son went through first grade, and second grade. And the first grade teacher that he was assigned, I was not allowed to change. I had to accept what they gave him. I had no idea who the teachers were. Somebody said to me, “Oh, you’ve got a really good teacher. Oh, you got the good one, she’s awesome.” And I’m like, “Great”. Do you know why she’s awesome? Because she keeps a bowl of candy in her classroom.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, gosh.
Sam Sorbo: And so all the kids at every age level who know that come and hug her and get pieces of candy. And I didn’t realize that was sort of the modus operandi for her until halfway through second grade.
Sam Sorbo: When I saw it happen again and it was just this one time and I was like… It was the 10th time or whatever. But I was like, “Huh, that’s why”. Do you know what I mean?
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Sam Sorbo: And then you start discovering other things. And I’ll tell you something, if you just take a moment and say, “I’m just going to try it for a semester”, and the bond you’ll have with your child is improved by miles. Because what happens is when you drop your child off at the school house gates, you’re tacitly telling the child, “My authority stops here. You are now under the school’s authority”. When your child comes home and says, “Mommy, mommy, you have to sign this. The teacher says you have to sign this”. And you take it, “Okay, let me sign it”. You are under the teacher’s authority. So now anything that the teacher says that disagrees with you, whatever it might be, the teacher says, “Oh, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And your child says, “Mommy, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And you say, “Oh, that’s not really true, because whatever”, right?
Sam Sorbo: No. Now you… Now, here’s the problem with that, right? Either your authority prevails, in which case there’s a huge conflict of interest.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you were lying when you dropped them off at the school and said their authority prevails.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Right? There’s a huge conflict of interest in it. It can’t end well. It’s not in good scenario.
Sam Sorbo: So we talk a little bit about that. We talk about politics, how we became more political. You know what, I just, I love the truth. And the Bible tells me that I have to adhere to the truth as thou shall not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness. Right? And so we just started to hunker down into our values, and that’s what brought us out into the limelight, I suppose you would say, right? And it’s sad the number of people in this nation who are enamored by lies.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Well, it is sad. And you know, I want to go back really quick to where you were talking about giving up that parental authority, when we send our kids off to school. And it goes so much further and deeper than that, in that in public school… Most parents don’t realize this, but when you drop your child off at a public school, and actually I shouldn’t just say public, I believe private as well would fall under this, that school becomes their legal guardian (in loco parentis) during the time that your child is in that school. And that is the reason why in many States if your 13 year old daughter goes to their school nurse and says, “I just found out I’m pregnant”, that school can take that young innocent girl who doesn’t know anything about what she’s doing and they can take her to have an abortion and murder her baby without the parent’s consent or knowledge.
Yvette Hampton: In the state of California it is illegal for the school to inform the parents of what has gone on with their very own daughter, because the school has become their legal guardian during the school hours that we’ve dropped them off. (see In Loco Parentis)
Aby Rinella: But I would actually challenge that to say that you ARE giving them consent when you drop your kids off.
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Aby Rinella: But when I drop my kids off with someone else, I’m handing over my consent.
Yvette Hampton: Sure. Right.
Aby Rinella: So parents need to also take responsibility to say they didn’t do this without me knowing, because when you get handed your child over to them, that’s a little bit on you.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But guess what? The schools don’t actually bear the responsibility for educating the child. And there have been court cases where parents have sued the schools, because the children didn’t learn to read or what have you. And the judge always sides in favor of the school, that it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the child to read.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: It’s absurd. What kind of subcontractor do you have in your house, who leaves you homework?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Do you have somebody come clean your house, but she leaves dishes in the sink? Right? Why are we giving, why are these children coming home with homework? It just… And it was the salami tactic. It was just a little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit, and then… And pretty soon… I mean, when you’re a child, and you’re four years old or five years old, and you’re shipped off to kindergarten, and your parents are all, “Oh, you’re going to kindergarten. It’s going to be so good. And don’t cry and whatever”. And so you’re taught “No, no, be complacent. Do what you’re told and just go with the flow. Don’t raise a ruckus.”. Right?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And so now parents, they go, “Oh my gosh, the homework for my child is terrible”. And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not a problem for me”. They say, “I have to go into the school and meet with the teacher.” Yeah, I did that this morning in the mirror. It’s so much better.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And we talked earlier about this idea that people look at you like you think you’re better than they are.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And here’s the problem with that. Of course you think you’ve got the better solution.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Or else you wouldn’t be doing it.
Sam Sorbo: We don’t think we are a superior human being. No.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But of course you think that it’s a better solution because-
Aby Rinella: Why would you do it if it weren’t?
Sam Sorbo: So we have to get off of that sort of weird societal thing now that’s really just leftism run amuck, frankly.
Aby Rinella: Yeah.Totally. Because they’re offended because you’re doing something they’re not. And it’s the whole offended thing.
Sam Sorbo: Right. I actually, because I do a radio show every day called the Sam Sorbo Show, and I did a story on a young girl who had like a… Is it called a Norplant? It’s a-
Aby Rinella: Oh, yeah. The birth control.
Sam Sorbo: And it got infected, because it was improperly implanted.
Yvette Hampton: Oh.
Sam Sorbo: And so she had to have it surgically removed. And strangely enough, she needed her parental consent to have it surgically removed. They were not aware that she had gotten it done by the nurse facilitator person at the school, not even a nurse, like a non-nurse helper person at the school. These stories are crazy. I did a story the other day, a young girl in Colorado, 11th grade, given a poem… The whole class is given a poem that was at the time, it came out in the ’60s. I think there was even a court case about it, it’s a very controversial poem. And the publisher had seen fit to leave out all of the swear words, because it depicted very graphically, sexual violence of all kinds, as you might imagine. And so the publisher left out all the bad words, the F word, the C word, the other C-word, all of them.
Sam Sorbo: The teacher stood in front of the class and verbatim gave them each of the bad words to write into their version of the poem. And I had the girl on the radio, and we got to the point where she said, “I felt violated”, because because she did. Her parents tromped down to the school and said, “Hey, we need an apology, and you need to reconsider this curriculum because it is not acceptable”. They reconsidered the curriculum. The teacher wrote a “sorry, not sorry letter,” which did nothing.
Sam Sorbo: The school reconsidered the poem and said, “Nope, the poem’s fine. It’s part of teaching. And he wanted to make the point that some artwork can be offensive” or something. I don’t even know what. And so I had her at the end of the program. I had to modify the schedule to accommodate her school classes. I said, “So I understand that you’re back in school now?”. And she said, “Oh yes”. And her dad piped in with, “You know, we’re so proud of her because “salt and light” and she’s witnessing to an atheist girl who’s in her class”. And I said, “Okay. But do you understand that you going back into the same place where you were violated is actually sending the message that Christians don’t mind when they are violated?”.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And let’s get this straight. It was a sexual violation. Yes it was just words. But I’m sorry, that counts.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And she’s only in 11th grade.
Aby Rinella: And what is the father telling his daughter?
Aby Rinella: Unbelievable.
Sam Sorbo: And he said to me… “Well, we allowed her to make the choice”. How ’bout you be a parent, how about that?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Yeah. Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you protect your your daughter and say, “Not on my watch”!
Aby Rinella: Which is what every little girl needs to hear from a dad is this isn’t okay and this will not happen again. And you don’t have a choice to have this happen again, because I’m going to be here to protect you.
Sam Sorbo: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: It’s shocking to me how often I hear from parents, “Well, my child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. My child wants to go to public school”. Okay.
Sam Sorbo: Oh. Oh.
Yvette Hampton: Foolishness! I mean, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: The child does not know what’s best for them. You don’t say, “Well, my four year old wants to go play out in the middle of the street with speeding cars, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. And so I’m going to let him go do that”. No.
Sam Sorbo: We’re living in the age where parents allow their five-year-old to determine that they are of a different gender.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s crazy. What gets me isn’t that as much as the parents that say, “Yeah, my daughter really wants me to homeschool her”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I get that a lot. I’ve heard that so much lately, “My kid would love to be homeschooled, but I”. And I said right there, “But I”. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you when you gave birth to that child. You know? And that’s the part that really gets me. I want to take those kids home with me.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is, and I’ve actually said this to somebody, and I say it sort of generically, because it’s really harsh. If your child wants to be homeschooled and you refuse, then you have to understand that that is you refusing your child, their desire. And either that paints you as too stupid or too uncaring. It’s a no win. You can’t win that one.
Aby Rinella: Well, they’re also crying out. I think those kids are crying out. And then parents are shocked when these girls start cutting, or all these things that they’re doing. And it’s like, but they cried out to you. They told you, “Get me out of this situation”. So don’t be surprised when they have to stand up and read these crazy poems.
Sam Sorbo: Exactly. Yeah, it’s frustrating.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: So I’m on a crusade to wake people up. We’re somnambulant, we’re just brainwashed.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: [Saying things like] “Who’s winning American idol?”
Aby Rinella: Well, we need more people on that crusade.
Sam Sorbo: And I want to get the message out, because homeschooling is the secret sauce. It’s the most amazing thing. I’ve produced two movies now. I never would’ve produced a movie if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: I’ve written several books. I never would have done that if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: It has empowered me, that’s why the subtitle of my book is an inspirational journey from self-doubt at a homeschool advocate. My job when I wrote this book, the way I saw it was I was going to empower parents to make that choice. And thank God, I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, “It was through your videos. It was through your book. Thank you lighting a fire under me or guiding me in this process. And thank you for encouraging me and telling me that I could do it”. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know anything. Because here’s the thing, how best can we teach our children by showing them what it means to learn.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: By showing them how learning is done! How do accomplish that? They have something to learn, first of all, right?
Aby Rinella: Right. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but I’m a former public school teacher [gasps] I know, but do you know what I’m doing with my kids? They never step one foot and one day in a public school. But so many people say, “Oh, you can homeschool because you were a teacher”. And that is probably the most offensive thing to me, because being a public school teacher was my greatest challenge in homeschooling. I had to unlearn all of the brainwashing I got, how to teach a kid, because I realized that’s not how you teach a kid. That’s how you teach a kid that lives in this box. But when you said it’s better to not know everything, I could not echo that more, because I went to four years of school on how to teach a kid and I didn’t have a clue how to teach a kid till I came home and learned what it meant to teach a kid.
Sam Sorbo: Well, and when I criticize the institution, I don’t criticize the teachers, right?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: So many of them really want to serve.
Yvette Hampton: Okay.
Sam Sorbo: A good thing. I mean, they really want to serve. They’ve got a heart for the kids and they want to do the best by them. So for Christian teachers especially who are now really more and more conflicted between their faith and values and what they need to do, so I encourage them to hang out a shingle and become a home educator for other people’s children, because there are plenty of people who… And I had a friend, actually, who had four kids, his wife refused, just steadfastly refused. And he had to work. And so he just hired retired school teachers for a half day every day, one per child. And that was cheaper than sending them to the local private school. And he wasn’t going to send them to the public schools there because that was a nonstarter. And his oldest daughter graduated Harvard. They’re doing great. Well, they had private tutors growing up. It’s a win-win! So If you’re a public school teacher and you’re getting fed up to here with everything, go into business for yourself. Be an entrepreneur.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s I want to put on the entrepreneurship back in education.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: We should be teaching self-sufficiency.
Yvette Hampton: Well, Sam, I so much appreciate your stance on family and on homeschooling. You and Kevin are a rarity in Hollywood. Garritt worked in the Hollywood movie industry for many, many years and we saw it firsthand just like you have. And I mean, it’s no secret that most marriages in Hollywood fail miserably. And it’s one of the things I respect so much about you. And one of the reasons that I love that you homeschool is because I forget exactly what your role is, but if Kevin’s going to be away for two weeks or more or something like that, then you guys go as a family, right?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. We’re never separated for more than two weeks. That was our rule.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. And I mean, that’s amazing. And with the career that he has and the career that both of you have had, that you are able to take homeschooling with you, and you’re able to be a family. When we went and filmed with you for Schoolhouse Rocked, we met up with you in St. Pete, Florida, where you and Kevin were both filming a movie there. And it was so much fun. Your kids were there with you. My daughter and your daughter had a great time. They spent the whole day together.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And I mean it was just so much fun to just see your family all the way, because at that time you were living in Los Angeles, but you were filming in Florida, so you were all the way on the other side of the country, but your family was together! And you have worked really hard to protect that family unity. And I respect that so much about you, that family is that important to you.
Sam Sorbo: You know what? I think I learned at a fairly young age to prioritize. Right now we say you can have it all. You can’t have it all!
Yvette Hampton: No.
Sam Sorbo: No. No. Sorry. That’s not part of the equation.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s pie in the sky. That doesn’t work. So, prioritize. And so we made it… We became dedicated. We said, “Okay, we’re prioritizing our marriage”. I said, “I’m prioritizing the children” when I realized that it was actually damaging for them to be in the environment of the public school. And what’s great is, when you understand, I’m going to use air quotes, “the sacrifice”, and you sacrifice for something, you imbue it with even more value. And what you get out is so precious.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: But if we don’t value things, if we’re just like, “Eh, a little bit of that, a little bit of that, a little bit…”, nothing has any value.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And we find ourselves lost at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the lifetime.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: So yeah, I mean that’s partly why, that feeds into true faith. We stepped out in faith. Marriage is an act of faith.
Aby Rinella: Yes. Amen.
Sam Sorbo: Marriage is an act of huge faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Sam Sorbo: Children are an act of faith. Home education’s an act of faith.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: Learn how to practice your face every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: And you’ll have a more fruitful, more fulfilling life.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that is a perfect way to end this podcast. Sam, you are such a blessing. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for your part in Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you for your part in the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We are so excited to have you as part of that event. Thank you.
Aby Rinella: So what day are you speaking and what topic are you speaking on?
Sam Sorbo: I think I’m the last. Am I the last speaker?
Yvette Hampton: You are. You are actually closing it out, as the last solo session, which will be on Friday, February 21st at 4:30 PM, Eastern time.
Aby Rinella: With me again!
Sam Sorbo: Great.
Aby Rinella: I’m going to hang out with you again.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. You’ll be a part of that last round table panel that we’ve got going on, so we’re so super excited, looking forward to having you as part of that. That last panel will be myself, Aby, you, Kristi Clover, who I know you’re a good friends with.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And James Gottry from the James Dobson Family Institute is going to be joining us as well.
Sam Sorbo: It’s going to be fun! And God bless you for doing that. I think it’s very cool and it’s a great way to reach people. And so I would encourage everybody who’s hearing this, please invite your friends.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: It’s an easy thing to do. You don’t have to go anywhere. You just sit at your computer, you can peak through everybody who’s speaking and learn a little bit. And maybe you’ll have the epiphany that you need to push you into the right direction with your kid.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and it is going to be very helpful in getting post-production funded on Schoolhouse Rocked, so that we can get this movie done and into people’s hands. So Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Aby, thank you for being with us again.
Aby Rinella: Thank you.
Yvette Hampton: You both are a blessing. Thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.
Sam Sorbo: Thank you so much for having me.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-
Sam Sorbo: Hi, Aby.
Aby Rinella: I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.
Sam Sorbo: Its fun. It’s just like us girls.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?
Aby Rinella: I know.
Yvette Hampton: We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.
Yvette Hampton: It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.
Yvette Hampton: I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”
Yvette Hampton: It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-
Sam Sorbo: Can I be perfectly Frank?
Yvette Hampton: … yes.
Sam Sorbo: I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.
Sam Sorbo: So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.
Yvette Hampton: There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.
Yvette Hampton: Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.
Sam Sorbo: And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.
Yvette Hampton: Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.
Aby Rinella: I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.
Yvette Hampton: And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.
Aby Rinella: Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.
Sam Sorbo: That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.
Sam Sorbo: And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.
Aby Rinella: You were in the trenches.
Sam Sorbo: So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.
Sam Sorbo: He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”
Sam Sorbo: And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.
Sam Sorbo: And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.
Yvette Hampton: Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.
Sam Sorbo: As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.
Aby Rinella: That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.
Yvette Hampton: Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?
Sam Sorbo: At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!
Yvette Hampton: When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.
Sam Sorbo: I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.
Yvette Hampton: All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited to have my guest, and I want to say kind of new cohost, on with me today. This is Aby. And many of you who have listened to the podcast know who she is. She has been a great friend, and just an incredible encouragement to my family and I over the past year or so, as we’ve been filming Schoolhouse Rocked and working on the podcast and doing all things Schoolhouse Rocked. And God has just done amazing things in our friendship.
Yvette: So, Aby, welcome back to the podcast. I’m excited to have you on. Because we’ve been talking a lot about just kind of the future of Schoolhouse Rocked and the podcast and what the Lord is doing with all of this stuff. And so you’re kind of jumping on board with me, right?
Aby Rinella: I am so excited to do so. Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: I love this. We got to do an interview together. It was me, you, and Karen DeBeus. And this was several months ago. And the three of us just had a great connection with one another, and then you and I have done several podcast interviews together. And we’ve just become good friends outside of the podcast. And we’re so like-minded. God has really brought us together clearly on purpose. And so I love your heart for homeschooling. I love your heart for family. I love the encouragement that you have given to me. I feel like you have just done an incredible job of standing beside my family and I as we’ve been on this crazy journey, which is what we’re going to talk a little bit about today, right?
Aby: And I am so excited to talk to you about this crazy journey and this incredible journey that you guys have been on. It is a story that needs to … Maybe there should be another movie of the making of the movie. It has been an amazing journey. And we connected about a year ago. And I was so captivated by you guys. And not only what God was doing through you guys but what you guys were willing to do for God. And it was just incredible. It’s incredible to see. The verse Matthew 4:19 just hits me when Jesus says, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
And he asked the men to drop their nets and walk away from everything that they knew, everything comfortable, everything that they kind of had figured out. And he said, “Let it all go. Leave it all behind, and follow me into the unknown. But know that I’m with you.” And I just feel like that is what I see with your family, is that’s exactly what you guys have done. And I feel super privileged to know the story. And I know that the podcast listeners have heard bits and pieces of it. But I’m just hoping that you will share with us from the moment Jesus said, “Come and follow me.”
Well, that was way before he called you to the movie. You followed him. But when he said, “I want you to leave behind everything you know and everything that’s comfortable and I want to do something incredible through you guys for my kingdom.” So will you share that journey with us?
Yvette: Sure. Yeah. It has been an incredible journey. As we’re recording this right now we are in California, which is where we’re from. This has been home to our family, to my husband and I and to our kids pretty much our whole lives. So we have lived in other places for a few short periods of time, but for 40-some years this was home and it was all we knew, and so I guess I can kind of start it a little bit at the beginning, for those who don’t know the whole story.
Garritt used to work in the Hollywood film industry and he did that for many years, and he was very good at what he did. He loves filmmaking. God has just gifted him in that area, and so many other areas as well. But he really felt like the Lord had called him to do this. But he didn’t want to do it in an industry that he didn’t believe in. And so he quit working in that industry, went on to work for our church and teach film in a Christian school for a year. And this was in 2015 through 2016 school year.
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So, he was teaching for that year and working for our church. And through that year we knew it was just a one-year commitment and we knew that at the end of that year it was going to be time for him to figure out what next. They wanted him to come back and teach. But he just didn’t feel like that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. I don’t know if I’ve actually told you this part of the story, but I vividly remember it was April of 2016 and we were sitting in church, and I can still picture it perfectly. We’re sitting in the middle of the service, and we have a great pastor, so usually I was really interested and engaged in what he was talking about.
And I don’t even remember if he had said something that triggered this idea in my mind, or if the Lord just put it on my heart. Either way it was certainly from the Lord. But I thought, “You know, we should …” We knew his job was ending and I thought, “We should just sell our house and sell all of ours stuff and go travel around the country.” And at that time we had felt like the Lord was leading us out of California, but we didn’t know where we would go. We had family in a couple of other states, but we just didn’t have any idea where we would end up.
And so, I wrote on our church bulletin, and I said, “I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff and get an RV and go travel the country.” And I passed it over to him, and he kind of looked at me like, “Are you crazy? That’s insane.” And so after church he just said, “We can’t do that. That’s insane.” So I just let it go, and I thought, “Okay, well whatever. Clearly if the Lord’s not going to put that big idea on his heart then it’s probably not the best idea.”
Well, fast forward several months and the school year ended and so his job was ending. And he had so many options for work at the time. The economy was really looking a lot better. And he’s a very talented man, very gifted in many areas. He has tons of experience. He’s got his marketing degree. So it would have been easy for him to go out and find a job. And there were so many people who were saying, “Weil, you should go and do this,” or, “You should do that. And I’ve heard about this job opening or that job opening.”
He also was in the Air Force, so he also has a background in aircraft. And none of it sat right with him. He just didn’t feel like that was the right thing for him to pursue. Like any of those things were right for him to pursue. And so we just prayed through that summer, “Lord, just show us where you want us to go. Show us what you want us to do.” And I don’t remember exactly what month it was, but it was probably somewhere around July, maybe the end of July or so.
And I remember him just kind of sitting on the edge of our bed and he just said, “I don’t know how to tell you this.” He said, “But, I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff, load up in an RV and go travel and see where the Lord takes us. And I think we need to film a documentary on homeschooling.” And instantly, without hesitation, I said, “Yes. Let’s do that.”
And it was just incredible that the Lord had put that on my heart many months before that. Because I think had he come to me and just said, “I think we should do all this, I have this crazy idea,” I would have followed if I knew that that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. But I don’t know how excited I would have been about that. But I didn’t just say yes. I was excited about it. And understand, California, like I said, was home. It was where our family is. It’s where our church is, all of our friends, our homeschool community. Our whole life was in California.
And so, the idea of just driving out aimlessly should have been a really scary thing for us. But it wasn’t. Because we knew the Lord was in it. So we just prayed, and we said, “Okay Lord. We’re going to trust you to just orchestrate this. And if this is really what you want us to do then we’ve got to sell the house first.” And we had a really nice five-bedroom house and had the minivan, because of course we’re a homeschool family. So every homeschool mom must have a minivan.
And so, we had our comfortable life. And we said, “If this is what you want for us then you’re going to have to just open the doors. And He did. I mean, we put our house up for sale. The very next day we had an almost full-price offer on it. We sold the house. All of our stuff sold. I mean, it was amazing. It was really cool, because we had friends and family who just came over to our house and they were like, “Okay, we’ll take this, this, this, this and this.”
And then we had a huge estate sale and pretty much sold everything that we didn’t absolutely need to keep. We got rid of all of our childhood trophies and camp pictures, and I mean everything we’d been toting around for 20-some years of marriage. And so the Lord gave us such peace about it. So we in December of 2016 … It took obviously a few months to pull all of this together. Actually, we started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked in August I think. So it was almost three years ago.
Started in August and then it took until December for us to actually leave. But in December, on December 15th of 2106 we got in our RV, pulled by our Excursion, and even through the process of that there were so many answered prayers. We wanted a very specific travel trailer. That was the kind of RV we decided that we wanted. And the Lord provided exactly what we wanted. Even more so actually. And it was a mile down the road from us. We wanted a Ford Excursion. He provided the Excursion that came with the travel trailer. You know, they were already attached, and it was perfect.
And so just there were so many answered prayers through that time that we just saw the hand of God move. And so we set out to film this documentary and to really just explore and see where the Lord would take us. And we ended up going straight to Georgia, because we knew that we wanted to be with family for Christmas. And so half of our family is in California. The other half is in Georgia. And then we’ve got kind of other extended family scattered throughout the country.
So, we ended up in Georgia, and that was where we kind of parked ourselves for the past two and a half plus years. And through the process of just being obedient to God we have had to rely on him and depend on him for everything. Everything. It sounds crazy when we tell people that Garritt has not had a steady paycheck, as you will, for over three years.
Yvette: And the Lord has provided our daily bread. I mean, it’s been incredible to just see the hand of God move and provide for us because we’ve answered this call that he’s put upon us to film this documentary. And so-
Aby: Can I interject really quick?
Yvette: Please, yes.
Aby: It wasn’t, from my understanding, that you guys were not like on the homeschool speaking circuit, and you knew all these homeschool people to interview. And you didn’t have one foot in to the whole … You were just a normal guy, a normal mom, and normal kids. And so it wasn’t like we kind of have this figured out and the Lord-
Aby: It was totally into the unknown. And share a little bit about just God’s incredible hand on … I mean, you’ve interviewed … This movie has the top, the cream of the crop, the most inspirational, wisest, incredible cast. And that, share a little bit about how God put that all together.
Yvette: Sure. Yes. Well, as you say, we were just your typical homeschool family. I didn’t know anyone, and Garritt certainly didn’t know anyone in the homeschool world. We’d been to a couple of conventions and we’d heard some speakers that were really encouraging to us. But there were a couple of people whose names we knew. And Andrew Pudewa was one of them. And he was one that I said from the beginning … We had used IEW, which is his company, we’d use their curriculum. And I just really respected him, and I really liked his style of teaching. And I just knew he was very well respected in the homeschool community. And so I thought, “I want to interview him.”
And the Lord worked out the details of that. Before we left California we contacted him. He was the first homeschool expert that we contacted and we just said, “Hey, we’re making this movie.” At the time I don’t think we even had a title for the movie. We didn’t even know what we were going to call it. We just said, “We’re making this documentary on homeschooling.” We thought it was going to be kind of a small direct-to-DVD type documentary. And he said, “Oh, I’d love to be a part of that.”
And he lives in Oklahoma. He said, “But I’m coming to California in a few weeks. If you’re still in California I would love to just do the interview while I’m there.” And we said, “Well, that would be fantastic.” So that’s what we did. He actually drove out to us from … He was in Long Beach and we were way south of him. We were north of him actually. So he drove to where we were, and we got to interview him and just, I mean, we were blown away by his wisdom and his knowledge and his incredible interview.
And then he went on after the interview and he just said to us, “You know, I really believe in what you guys are doing.” He said, “Here are some suggestions of people that you may want to interview.” And he listed off a whole bunch of names. And it was really funny because he said, “All these people are great. I highly recommend trying to connect with these people. I’ll be more than happy to connect you with them, because I know all of them,” he said, “But if there’s any one person that you really need to get in this movie it’s Heidi St. John.”
And I was familiar of course with her. Interested read a couple of her books. But I had never actually heard her speak at that time. So I was like, “Okay. Well, yes, I know who she-
Aby: You really were in the dark, weren’t you?
Yvette: Yes. I was in the dark. And so we just prayed about it and I guess it was about a year and a half later or so the Lord opened the door for us to be able to interview Heidi. And so she’ll come in a little bit later in this story again, as you know. But having Andrew Pudewa in the movie, and having interviewed him, just opened up the door to all of these other people. Because we were able to contact these people and we would say, “We’re making this documentary. This is why we’re making it.” And it was we really want to encourage and equip the homeschool community. We want people to understand the great benefits and blessings of homeschooling and debunk all of the myths and misconceptions that people have of homeschooling. And we would say, “And we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa and several other people.”
And as soon as they would see his name they would say, “Oh, well, if Andrew’s in this movie then certainly it must be legit. And so we would love to do this.” And that’s how the Lord opened up the doors for us to interview so many of the cast members that we have since interviewed.
Aby: Obviously God’s movie.
Yvette: Obviously God’s movie, because it’s not anything we’ve done. I mean, we’re not these amazing people that anyone even knows. No one knows our name or anything. So we were able to go to a couple of homeschool conventions where they were speaking. So that spring we hit a few of them and we were able to interview a bunch of people all at one time. I mean, not together, but while we were at the conventions. And that was a great blessing that the Lord just allowed us to be able to do that.
When we started interviewing people for the movie, one of the people that we wanted to interview was Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis. So we called Answers in Genesis, and we said, “We would love to interview him for this movie.” And we were going to be in Cincinnati, which is near where the Creation Museum is. And we said, “We’re going to be there on these dates. Would he be available?” And they said, “He’s not going to be available,” but Bryan Osborne, who is one of their speakers and he is one of their curriculum developers, they said he would be available and he would be happy to be interviewed for the movie.
And we said, “Okay, great. We don’t know who this Bryan Osborne guy is. But yes. If this is the door the Lord is opening then let’s interview him.” So we got to go and interview Bryan. And he was just fantastic. He was a public school teacher for 13 years and just an incredible, wise, godly man. And so the Lord just kept orchestrating all of this and bringing people to us who we didn’t even know that we needed to interview. And God just would say, “Here you go. Interview this person.”
And again, through the course of this God kept providing for our family in just the most amazing and miraculous ways. We’ve had several families who have just come alongside us and just said, “We’ll support you monthly.” And some of them have been just a little bit per month. Some of them have been a couple hundred dollars per month. And the Lord has just put that on their hearts. And other people have supported us by donating large amounts at a time. We had one family who they donated $5,000 and just sent a really sweet note with it. And she said her husband had been homeschooled and his mom had passed away before she was able to see the fruits of her labor. And so they wanted to just bless this ministry that God had called us to.
And that has just happened over and over again where God has just put it on people’s hearts to support it. Because it’s really not our ministry, as you know. It’s the Lord’s ministry. And so, anyway, as we’ve been on this journey and seen God open the doors for us to pull this whole movie together, he brought us to a point about a year ago where we were almost done with filming but we needed just to finish the narrative of the movie. And when you have a documentary you can’t have just a bunch of interviews with a bunch of talking heads. You have to actually have a storyline through the movie.
And so, we got in contact with another production company and we were talking with them and working with them for several months. Actually it was about I think seven or eight months that we were working through trying to solidify a partnership with them. And the Lord closed the door on that, and there’s a whole story behind that that I won’t get into. And it was not anything … There was nothing wrong with them or with us. It’s just the Lord just said, “This is just not the direction that I want you to go.”
So, we actually walked away from that deal. But before we had a signed contract with them. And at that time, that was just in April, this past April, it had set us back several months because we had spent all that time working through that potential partnership. And so April came around and we were like, “Well, what do we do now? We still need to finish the movie.” We still need to have the narrative of the movie filmed, and then we were going to be all done with it. And the Lord over and over again kept putting Heidi St. John on our hearts and said, “She’s the one.” She’s the one that he wanted us to do it with.
So, I called Heidi. We had interviewed her before for the movie in Tennessee. And her interview was excellent. But it was just a regular interview. It wasn’t the storyline of the movie. So I called Heidi and I said, “Here’s the deal. We need to finish this movie and we need a storyline. And we would like to do that with you.” And it was going to by myself and another homeschool mom talking through our journey of homeschooling. And she just said, “I’m in. Let’s do this.” But as you know, Heidi lives in Washington. She lives in-
Aby: On the other side of the country.
Yvette: On the other side of the country. We were in Georgia. She’s in Washington state. So we just started to pray again and say, “Lord, we’re going to just trust you to get us there. It’s not like we have all this extra money to travel across the country. It’s very expensive, obviously, to do that.” And so we just prayed. And again the Lord provided for us to be able to do that. And you were an exciting part of that, Aby, because as we were traveling across the country, you are in Idaho, and you and I … You know, you talked in the beginning a little bit about how you had reached out to us over a year ago and just said, “Hey, I’m excited about what you’re doing. How can I pray for you? How can I help?”
So, the Lord has just formed a really good friendship between you and me. So when I realized that you were on the way we were able to stop by and meet you and your family and stay with you for a few days. And that was such a huge blessing. Clearly a friendship and relationship orchestrated by the Lord. So we got to spend time with you and then we went on to Washington. And we got to go spend time with Heidi and her family. We were there for about two and a half weeks. So that was towards the end of June.
So, we got to finish filming the movie with Heidi. And we filmed the narrative with her, and then we filmed also, she and her family about two years ago opened the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center. And this place is absolutely amazing. It is exactly what every homeschool mom would dream of having. It’s this huge warehouse. It’s set up with classrooms and a theater and an art studio and a science lab, and they’ve got music rooms, and they’ve got beekeeping, and they have a recording studio where Heidi records her podcasts. And they’ve got a computer lab. I mean, a coffee shop so the moms can go hang out while their kids are doing classes.
It’s just amazing what the Lord has done with their ministry. And so we were able to film there with a bunch of their families who are part of the Homeschool Resource Center as well. And it was just incredible to see how God, again, opened those doors, provided for us to get to Washington, film the rest of the movie with Heidi and with her family, and at the Homeschool Resource Center. And then bring us to the place where we are now.
So last month, we finished in July, so last month we finished filming the whole movie.
Aby: That’s amazing. That’s incredible.
Yvette: It was amazing. Yes. Yeah. It was an amazing day when we finished. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait till the movie comes out because there was this one part where we needed to kind of tie up the whole message of the movie. And Heidi and I were sitting in the coffee shop and Garritt’s filming, and we’re talking with one another. And Garritt is saying, because he’s directing the movie of course, and he says, “Here’s the message that we need in order to just bring it home.”
And I was trying to get it out. And I just couldn’t do it. I could not form the words together properly in order to get the message across that we were trying to get through in this movie. And so he looked at Heidi, he said, “Heidi, do you think you can do this.” And I’m like, “Of course Heidi can do it.” And ironically she wasn’t even feeling very good that day. She was just having one of those days where she was just feeling kind of crummy.
And so, she didn’t even know what she was going to say exactly or how this was all going to end. But we had prayed beforehand and Garritt just said, “Okay, Heidi. It’s you. It’s on you now. Bring it home.” And it was literally like the Holy Spirit just came down on her. And she just gave this amazing … And it was probably three minutes of just bringing the whole movie together in one beautiful kind of speech, if you will, to the point where we were all about in tears. Actually I think Garritt was in tears at the end of it. And it was so funny, as soon as he cut he was like, “Yes.” And he screamed really loud and kind of Heidi and I jumped and we were like, “What?”
And he said, “That was it. That’s the end of the movie.” And that was it. And it was done.
Aby: Three years wrapped up in three minutes.
Yvette: Three years wrapped up in three minutes. Exactly. It was absolutely incredible, and it was only-
Aby: And it’s incredible because God knew from the very beginning, from the moment you wrote that little note to him on the church pew. God knew that that powerful last three minutes of the movie was where it was going to be delivered, who was going to say it, in exactly the time and place that he had planned for it.
Yvette: Yes. Yeah. It was a beautiful thing. So that’s where we are right now with the movie. We are done filming. It has been really neat. As we’ve been here in California we’ve been able to meet with a lot of friends and family and just kind of share the journey of where God has taken us over the past few years. And I think three years ago had God laid out for us, “This is what your life is going to look like,” I don’t know that we would have been so quick to sign on the dotted line. Because it’s been a huge blessing. But it’s also been a really difficult three years, because for this whole time we haven’t really been settled anywhere. We’ve been traveling a lot. We have not had a real solid homeschool community. We’ve gone to church in Georgia when we’re there, but we travel so much that we haven’t had a solid steady church community.
It’s been difficult for our whole family. But there have been so many blessings that have come from it. And we know that we are exactly where God wants us to be.
Aby: And he knows exactly where you’re going. So the movie’s wrapped up, and if anybody has not seen the trailer to this film, it will … If that didn’t give you chills, what the story the Yvette just told, the trailer will. So we’ll link to that at the bottom of this, because you’ve got to go watch that trailer. And then it needs to be shared everywhere so that you can get just what’s behind this film. And just as a side-note, because you would never plug this, but I will. That trailer won an incredible award, right? Didn’t that trailer win some award?
Yvette: Yeah. It won best film trailer at the Christian Worldview Film Festival just back in March. So yes. That was really exciting.
Aby: Which just shows you what kind of film this is going to be. This is going to be a top-notch film. So tell me now, it’s August 17th. I know God knows the plan-
Yvette: When we’re recording this.
Aby: So, the plan… Oh, sorry, yes.
Yvette: This is not live.
Aby: Right. So what is it going to take for me to see this movie on the screen?
Yvette: Well, that’s a good question. It’s going to take the Lord, obviously. The hand of God continuing to move. As we have filmed, about a year ago we went and we got to stay with a couple who had invited us to stay in their home overnight. They knew that we were going to be traveling through their town and they said, “We’d love to just have you guys over,” which that’s actually one of the amazing things God has done over the past several years is that people have just opened up their homes to us. Hospitality has been amazing. And people have just loved on our family and randomly they’ll just invite us in, and it’s been incredible because we have friends now all over the place.
But we stayed with them overnight, and the morning that we were leaving the husband, he said, “I really, I just want to pray over your family.” And when he prayed for us he prayed … Do you remember the story of course of the Israelites and Moses is leading the Israelites into the promised land. And there’s the one part where they’re fighting the Amalekites. And the Israelites are winning as long as Moses is holding up his staff. And as soon as his arm gets tired and he starts to fall, then the Israelites start to lose.
And so, Aaron and Hur come alongside Moses and they hold up his arm, and the Israelites end up winning this battle. And so that was what he prayed over us. And he said, “Lord, just bring people around the Hampton family as they fight this battle and get this movie done. Bring people alongside them who will help hold up their arms and encourage them.” Because there’s been several times where we’ve just been weary. We’re tired. We are overwhelm. It has for the most part been I’ll say a four-man show, because we’ll include our girls in that. They’ve done a lot with this movie. And so it’s just been our family who has done most of this.
But the Lord has brought alongside us people who have supported us through prayer, through encouragement, through finances. And writing blogs for us. Just podcasting with me. I mean, so different things that people have done to encourage and support us. And it’s not anything that we’ve done on our own. We are, to be quite honest, we’re totally lame on our own. We are not capable of doing any of this without the grace and mercy and power of God. But the beautiful thing about that is that in the end, and we talk a lot about this as a family. Because it’s been such a difficult journey in many ways and a journey that we couldn’t do on our own, in the end all we’re going to be able to say is, “Look what God did.”
It’s not because we’re such amazing people and so gifted in a million different areas. It’s because God has equipped us to be able to accomplish what he’s called us to do in making this movie. And so he gets all the glory for it in the end.
Aby: Well, and I think too, it is a movie, but it is so much more than a movie. And I think that that’s maybe the message that also needs to get across, is this isn’t just a movie. I mean, look around our culture and see what’s going on. We are in a whole new set of times that we’ve ever been in, and we are raising children in, they’re not scary times because we know who’s in control and we know the end of the story. But they’re difficult times. And our culture is going down fast. And our families are being torn apart. And our children are having to fight things that we never thought they would.
And so, this isn’t just a movie. This is a message that God has placed on your guys’ hearts. But the reality is it’s a message that every one of us who has chosen to homeschool, and even those that haven’t, this is a message that’s on the hearts of the people. And this is a tool. This movie is a tool for all of us. I’ve said so many times, if I could just pay someone to answer all the ridiculous questions people ask me about homeschool, if I could just hand someone a movie and say, “Check this out,” that they would be as inspired and passionate about not just homeschool, but about the design that God made for parents to teach and train their children in his righteousness.
I mean, that sounds like a cop out for me, but I’d love to just hand someone something that they could watch. And that’s what this is. This isn’t just a movie. This is a message to God’s people and to people that wonder and question and aren’t sure. Because more now than ever this message needs to be heard.
Yvette: Yes. Oh, I could not agree more. It’s interesting, because we’ve talked a lot about this over the last even just couple months, in that since we started filming three years ago, the time has gone by so quickly but so much has happened in the last three years in culture. I mean, we have seen a drastic change in the way people are responding to God’s word, in the way that the church is responding, in the way that public schools are responding, and that the deeper their indoctrination is going and what they’re teaching these kids. It was bad three years ago. It’s worse today. And it’s gotten so out of control that parents, they need help, and they need hope. They need to know that there’s another way, another alternative to homeschooling, or I’m sorry, to public schooling or private schooling.
And so that’s why God’s called us to make this movie. But we can’t make it alone. I mean, we are the body of Christ and we are not meant to do this on our own. And we haven’t done it on our own. We’ve been kind of the daily hands and feet who the Lord has called to do this. But we certainly cannot do this without the help of people. I was reflecting recently on … I don’t know, I’m reading a lot of the Old Testament, as you can see. Our family’s actually reading through the New Testament, but in my quiet time I’m actually reading through Joshua right now.
And I love reading about the Israelites because it’s amazing to see what God has done with them. And I was thinking recently about, you know when God brought them out of Egypt and they’re standing at the edge of the Red Sea, and they’re standing in front of this huge sea, and they don’t know how they’re going to get through it. Because what are they going to do? If it had been a little stream or if it had been maybe even like a larger river there were enough of them that collectively they could have said, “You know what, if we just stack these rocks just right or if we lay these logs just so we can figure out a way to get across this stream or across this river.”
But God didn’t bring them to a stream or river. He brought them to the sea. And so they’re standing there and they could not at that point even have said, “Well, we’re just going to stand here and wait, and clearly God’s going to split the sea and we’re going to walk through on dry ground.” Because that had never been done before. And so all they could do was stand and wait. And they were scared. And now the enemy’s chasing them. And again, God just said, “Moses, you hold up your staff and watch what I do.” And he parts the sea. And they walk through on dry land. I mean, that’s an incredible story.
Aby: It’s incredible. Yes.
Yvette: And the same God who can split the sea for the Israelites to walk through is the same God who will provide everything that we need in order to get this movie done. Because again, it’s his movie. It’s not ours. And we, as far as budget-wise, I know you didn’t ask this, but I’ll just say anyway, just so people know where we are, as far as budget-wise it’s going to take close to about $500,000 to get the movie into theaters.
So now that we’re done filming, we’re done with production, we now are moving into postproduction. And post production is where we bring in a composer and a colorist, and probably a second editor, and all the other names that you see in the end credits of the movie who will make this movie excellent. But we have to hire all those people and then all the resources that we need in order to complete this. So post production is about, I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $198,000. So that’s what we need to finish, post-production on the movie.
And then another, well, whatever the difference is of that. So close to $500,000 total to get it actually into theaters. So the rest of that budget is for marketing the movie, which I know that sounds like a big number, but if no one knows about the movie then no one’s going to see it. So it’s not too big for God, though. You know, we realize that [crosstalk 00:38:29]-
Aby: It’s not. And I know a lot of people are probably thinking, “Okay, why would I get behind … There’s a million movies out there. There’s 100 movies out there. There’s lots of movie makers out there.” But what I want to say is getting behind this, we’re not getting behind a movie. We’re getting behind a message that needs to be heard, and God has a message that he wants heard in a culture that desperately needs to hear it. And you know, when we send missionaries out into a strange world where people aren’t following Christ to spread the gospel, missionaries don’t go without people sending them. And there are people sending the missionaries, there are people praying for the missionaries and encouraging and supporting them financially, and in many ways.
And that’s how I want people to see this, is this is a mission. This is a mission that has been put on your guys’ heart. And as parents who have already answered the call to homeschool, we need to get behind this mission. We need to have a heart for the lost. We need to have a heart for parents. They were once probably where we were, that said, “Yeah, I would like to but there’s no way I could.” And they have all the reasons as to why they don’t think they’re equipped. Or even maybe aren’t sure that it’s even the best, the right way to do it. So we need to spread this message. And the way to do that, because not everybody’s an eloquent speaker. Not everybody can make a movie. But God has placed those gifts in the speakers that you have in the movie, and in you and Garritt to make the movie. And so we need to get behind you, homeschool families.
I want to get behind you guys to do this because I look around my neighborhood and I cry for the children. And I cry for the families who they know that they don’t, they don’t want to send their kids out every day, but they don’t know another way. And so this is for those families. This is for our neighbors, this is for our church families, this is for ourselves to be encouraged and our parents and the naysayers, or the people that want to do it but just don’t know how.
So, getting behind this movie isn’t just funding a movie. Getting behind this movie is supporting missionaries who have answered the call to go out into a culture that rejects God and give hope and a message that just must be spread right now. So how can we do that? So now what? I’m on board. What can we do now?
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you for your encouragement with that. There are a couple of ways that people can help. The quickest way is to just go to schoolhouserocked.com. If people want to donate they can click right on the front page. There’s a blue button that says, I think it just says, “Donate now.” But then there are also several different ways that people can help. So I think on the front page there’s a button that says, “Support Schoolhouse Rocked.” I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s labeled. And they can go on there and they can see how they can partner with us. Homeschool friendly organizations can sponsor the movie. That’s a huge way that organizations can help and get on board with us.
People can donate. People can invest. We’re actually looking for bigger investors, and donors. Bigger donors as well. Though honestly, I mean $10 or $10,000, it doesn’t matter. It’s all God’s money and it’s all the same in his economy anyway. But that shows the different ways that people can be involved in helping the movie. And then also, obviously, just praying for us. Pray for us as we go about doing this. We have several people who are on our prayer team and they will send us regular text messages or phone calls or emails and just say, “Hey, how can we pray for you. How are things going.” And that means the world to us.
I think people don’t realize how much we need that encouragement and how much that keeps us going. And, I mean, Aby, you’ve been one who the Lord, I am certain he has placed you in our lives exactly at the right time because you … I think I shared this with you, but a couple weeks ago Garritt and I were out to dinner and just talking through, “Okay, what now? What are we going to do? How are we going to move forward with this? Which direction is the Lord leading us to get this movie done?” And you had sent an email, no, a text message to me that morning and just said, “I’m so excited. I can’t wait till the day that we get to actually see this movie completed, and I don’t care if it takes 10 years for it to get done. It will get done in God’s perfect time.”
And at the end of it you said, “Stay the course.” And as Garritt and I were talking he was sharing with me, he just said, “You know, I just, I know that this is what God’s called us to. There’s no doubt in my mind.” And I know it too. “Because we’ve seen his hand move in so many different ways.” But we need people to remind us of that. To just stay the course, just keep going, don’t give up, keep going, keep going. Have you ever seen Facing the Giants? That’s the Kendrick brothers’ movie.
The Death Crawl Scene from Facing the Giants
Yvette: Oh, you need to watch it. It’s so good. For those of you who have seen it, you may remember there’s this part in there where Alex Kendrick is a football coach. And you need to see this part because I don’t know that I can do it justice. But there’s this part where he’s got this football player and this big football player has another of this smaller football player guys on his back. And he’s getting him to crawl across the field. And he’s blindfolded, the one who’s crawling with the other one on his back, he’s blindfolded. And he’s trying so hard to get across the field, and he’s exhausted. I mean, he gets halfway across and he’s just so tired. And he’s like, “I can’t go one more step.”
And Alex Kendrick is on the football field on the ground with him. And he’s down on his hands and knees with him, and he’s like, “Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going.” And I often feel like people like you and our family members, you know our parents have been incredibly supportive of this and what God is doing here. There are so many people who are just on their hands and knees with us and just saying, “Keep going, keep going, stay the course, keep going.” And so when people leave reviews on the podcast, when they email us, when they text us or call us, that is a huge way that people can support and encourage us as well.
Aby: Awesome. Well, I cannot wait. I cannot wait. I keep thinking about sitting in a seat and watching it on the big screen, and hearing a message that is so important to be heard and bringing my friends and my family. And this is going to be wonderful. And there’s been another big movie that’s just been released that is just, it’s changed lives and it’s addressed things that are happening right now that are against God’s word in the culture. And it reached peoples’ hearts. And that’s what I can’t wait to see this movie do, is reach peoples’ hearts for the kingdom of God.
And I can’t wait. And I’m so blessed to be with you in this journey. And I just keep thinking, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And I think this movie is going to give parents the encouragement they need and the tools that they need to not hinder their children from coming to Christ. So I just, I’m so thankful for what you guys are doing. I want to encourage everybody listening to this to get behind this, to get behind this film. It’s for all of us. It’s for God, but it’s for all of us to share and to use. And then share it. It’s just, get on, if you’re on social media share the trailer, share the movie, and share the need that it’s going to take people getting behind this movie to see it in the theaters and to have it in our hands. So-
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you. And I want to just throw out there too, it’s not just the movie. Schoolhouse Rockedis a ministry that God has called us to. And we’re building this whole kind of ecosystem around the movie, which is why we have the podcast, it’s why we have the blog, it’s why we have the Facebook page. It’s not just here’s a movie, now leave and go figure out how to do it on your own. It’s the movie is the base of it, but then you’ve got all of these things that go along with it to help continue to encourage parents in their journey of homeschooling. And that’s really what we feel like the Lord has led us to do, is to build a ministry to homeschool families to help them to stay the course, to help them homeschool with excellence. Because anything we do for the Lord it should be done with excellence, including this movie, including the podcast, including everything that we do, we do it for the glory of God.
And so, it’s not just the movie, it’s the whole package. So when people support Schoolhouse Rockedthey are supporting everything that we’re doing with this ministry.
Aby: Yeah. A ministry to encourage parents and equip parents who homeschool. And for such a time as this. All we have to do is look around and this message is one that needs … And we all need the encouragement. I need to get on to Schoolhouse Rockedand get encouraged. So thank you for answering the call. Thank you for letting us all be a part of it.
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you, Aby. It’s so fun talking to you. And I appreciate you being on with me. This ended up being kind of a reverse podcast where I feel like you were interviewing me, but I love being able to share of God’s faithfulness, and again, it’s all for his glory.
Yvette: Only by his grace. So thank you, Aby, for loving our family, and loving us through this journey. And thank you guys for listening to the podcast today. I know we went way long today. But please pray for us, and please consider supporting us in any way you can, whether it’s through prayer or through a financial contribution or donation or investment, or whatever it is. Just pray about that, and we would love for you to just partner with us in this important ministry. So have a great day you guys, and we will be back next week.
“It is not our job to make sure our kids don’t get bored. Actually, boredom is the number one thing that breeds creativity. When you get rid of all that, and you send them outside in the rain, or the mud, and they have to find a stick, or a log, and they end up coming together and working as a team, and the worlds that my children create when they’re outside are absolutely incredible to me. And the stories that they live out when they’re out there, because you’ve taken everything away, and they have to use their creativity.”
Above all, Aby Rinella is a follower of Jesus, but she is also a lover of the outdoors. She writes and speaks on homeschooling, motherhood, parental rights, the culture war, and more, and she has a passion for encouraging and inspiring women to live the life they were designed to live.
Yvette Hampton: Aby’s first visit to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast to talk about “The Why of Homeschooling” has been, by far, one of the most popular episodes we’ve ever done. We have gotten such a great response from that episode, and letters that have come in from some listeners tell how God has worked through that episode and really encouraged their hearts as to why they are homeschooling, or why they are choosing to homeschool in the coming school year.
Today, we are going to be talking about something that we haven’t talked much about, A while back we had someone ask us to talk about the importance of outdoor play, and I thought, “this is the perfect one for Aby”, because the Rinellas are a huge outdoors kind of family.
Aby, tell us what that looks like for your family.
Aby Rinella: Well, my husband and I have three kids, in fifth grade, second grade, and soon to be kindergarten. We very outdoors oriented before we had kids. We loved to do anything and everything outdoors, and we happen to live in a mountain town. We loved to hike, backpack, fish and hunt, and that’s just kind of who we were and what we did.
So when we had kids, we really just didn’t believe that that part of our life needed to end. We believed that God had given us these kids, and we could work them into that. So from the day we first had our children, they have been out with us. You know, three days out of the hospital with one of my kids, we were out hunting with that child, and so it’s really been the way that my kids have been raised. But really, we spend, I would say, more time outdoors than anything else, and we have been taking our kids with us from the beginning and all throughout. It’s really important to our family, but more than that we really think it’s really beneficial to our kids as a whole.
Yvette: Yeah, you and I lead completely parallel lives in a lot of ways, and completely separate lives, in a lot of ways, and it’s so funny when I talk to you and we, you know, you talk about you guys being outside, because you live in Idaho, where it is stinking freezing cold. Now, I’m a southern California girl, and we’ve been in Georgia for a little while, but I’m in the part of the world where it’s hot. And even through the wintertime, it’s not unusual for us to wear shorts and a T-shirt, because it can still be hot. It gets cold too, but that’s unheard of in Idaho, you would… well, I don’t know, maybe you would wear shorts in the middle of winter. But typically, it’s really cold there.
And so, you, even through your homeschool time, you still find ways even in the snow and in the middle of winter, to get outside and experience just the beauty of God’s creation. And now we’re getting into summertime, and so people are finding different ways to spend time outside with their kids. How is summer break unique to homeschool families, and how can we make that fun for our kids?
Aby: I’ve given that a lot of thought. I think summer break is really unique to homeschool families, in that, with many families who send their kids to school all year, it takes them a while to acclimate to being home, and to being together. Those siblings haven’t been together a lot, and it takes mom a little bit of time to kind of get her footing when there’s kids under her feet all day, and that’s kind of new to them. Or kids come home in the summer, and they haven’t seen their toys in all year, they’ve been so busy, and so a lot of those kids are really content to sit inside and rediscover those things.
Homeschooling is unique in that we’ve been together all year, and we don’t need to re-acclimate when it’s break time. So summer break, I feel like, for everybody but especially for homeschoolers, is really an opportunity to get outside, do some of the things outside that we normally do together, because we’re still together, we’re still learning and growing all summer long. And I think summer’s also a great opportunity for those that historically don’t spend a lot of time outside, to get out. The weather’s a little nicer, it’s a little easier, honestly. So for homeschooling families, our kids don’t have the newness of being home in the summer, so it’s a great opportunity to really get out of the house and enjoy that time.
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Yvette: Yeah, it is. I’ve really had to work on that myself, with getting my kids outside, and being comfortable with it. When we were back in California several years ago, Brooklyn was pretty little, and we had bought a new house, and we had this beautiful backyard put in with a big playset, and grass and everything. But before that was put in, there was just dirt in the backyard. And she would go out there, and she would play for hours and hours in the dirt, and I really had a hard time with that, because I was not a kid who played in the dirt.
I wanted my hands always to be clean, I still am like that. I never gardened, or did anything, because I can’t stand the feeling of dirt on my hands. And so when she would do that, it would kind of freak me out, because I was like, “Her hands are dirty. I don’t know what to do with this!” And we had this backyard put in with the grass and everything. And I vividly remember, she was probably four years old when we had this done, and she went outside, and she looked at me, and she goes, “Mommy, where’s the dirt?”
And I was like, “We just spent all this money to make this beautiful, park-looking backyard, with a swing set, and grass.” And I thought it was the greatest thing ever, but she was disappointed, because she didn’t have dirt!
So she found a little area… I mean she did, of course, play in the grass and on the swing set, but she found this little area of our backyard where the grass didn’t grow very well, because it never really got sun, and that was her dirt area. And she would go out and she would find worms and enjoy the dirt. It took me quite a long time to actually get comfortable with her playing in the dirt.
Aby: Honestly for kids, I believe wholeheartedly… I mean, I know, Biblically, that’s how they’re designed. That’s how we’re created. We were created in the Garden, we were created… I mean, before sin crept in, the ideal setting for a human was outdoors in the Garden. We really didn’t even need shelter, because there were no storms, and all that we needed shelter from. So kids are, it’s in them, and the only way we get it out of them is by training it out of them, by pulling them inside, or giving them the perfect grass lawn. And then we kind of train that deep, that what’s inside of them, out of them, because there’s not a kid early on that doesn’t love to be outside and play.
And you know, we as a culture, we’re such a clean culture, we’re so, “Sanitize your hands,” but honestly the physical benefits of kids being in dirt, it’s shown scientifically to boost their immune systems, honestly. And it’s so good for them, and it breeds just so much creativity, too, like she was out there coming up with new games, right? And inventing things that were fun for her to do. So it’s in every kid, and it’s just our job as a parent to not train that out of them. And if you have older kids, you can get that back, because it’s in all of us, it just, we have to do it.
Yvette: So, what are some ways, practical ways, that you can do that? If you’re maybe a family who is not a big outdoorsy family, your kids don’t go play in the dirt, how can you encourage that in them? What are some things that you can do? Because I imagine, now my girls, they have kind of I think a balance of indoor play and outdoor play, but I’m always surprised at the things they can come up with when they’re outside. What are some practical ways that people can instill that in their kids, and help them to become creative? Though I know they don’t always need help being creative, but…
Aby: Right, they don’t. But we need to get them back to that state. I think the first thing a parent can do is just find the passion themselves. Like, eliminate… Like you said, it took you a while to get used to that. But I think one of the ways that parents can just fuel that in their kids, is themselves knowing how good it is for the kid. You know, in the last two decades, it’s unbelievable the changes that we’ve seen in kids. It’s now, the average child now spends 30 minutes a day with unstructured play outside, and seven hours a day… this statistic blows my mind every time I read it… in front of a screen.
It’s totally shifted in the last two decades, so we as parents need to un-train that in ourselves, and retrain what’s best for our kids, and just educate ourselves knowing that physically, outdoor play is so beneficial for our kids. It’s good for their health, it’s good for their mental health, there’s less depression and anxiety in kids that play outside. ADHD symptoms immediately drop when they’re outdoors, and that’s why after working in the public school a lot, kids are often on ADHD medications in the school to get them to be still. But parents take them off in the summer, and that’s because when they’re playing outside, it’s not just that they’re allowed to be free, but also it lowers those symptoms. Because it’s just a release for them to be out there, and they use their creativity, and they get fresh air, and vitamin D, and it’s just physically good for kids.
The academic benefits, also, when they study schools that have, like, environmental programs, or more recess, those kids are scoring higher on tests. They’re doing better in all across the board academically. So we as homeschool parents, we just have the freedom to do it anytime we want. We can, our kids can be outside any time they want, because it’s physically, emotionally and mentally good for our kids.
I think when parents get on board with that, then it’s going to be easier to facilitate ways of getting our kids out there. So I think that’s probably the first step, is knowing how good it is for our kids, and then how to actually do it, it really depends on where you live. I know not everybody lives like we do, not everybody’s going to go spend nine days in the back country with their kids. But it doesn’t have to be that, honestly, it can be a community garden, just having your hands in the dirt in a community garden.
Or if you have a child that loves to read, just send them outside to read. Find a stream, find a park, find somewhere outside and take them and do what they already love to do outside. So those are really good ways of just practically doing it. Go for walks, ride your bike, it really does come naturally once you start doing it, because you naturally feel better, and you see the benefits in your kids. So those are some practical ways, whether you’re living rurally, obviously if you live rurally it’s a lot easier, but there’s so many ways anywhere you live to be outside.
Yvette: Yeah, I think being intentional about it is a big thing for people. For moms especially, like myself, who it doesn’t come naturally to me. You know, my kids don’t… I mean they have very little screen time, but they also don’t go outside nearly as much as I think that they should be outside, and so it’s really, for myself, I have to be intentional about them going outside, and playing, and doing the things that they should be doing, and just being creative.
But one of the things that I find for myself, and this might sound really weird, to somebody like you. But one of the things I find for myself is that I become fearful of them getting ticks, or getting sunburned, or… There are all these fears, you know, that there’s going to be a snake outside, or something. And so I really have to check myself and just think, “Okay, God made the outdoors, it’s okay, and if something happens, well then we deal with it at the time.” But not living in fear all the time of something terrible happening to them. And I know that’s a strange fear.
Aby: For me, when I go to a place where it’s very congested with people, I feel that same fear that you fear. Like that, “Oh my goodness, people’s germs, and the disease,” and so I really believe that that kind of fear just comes from what you’re used to, what you’re familiar with. If you’re not familiar with the outdoors, but what an awesome opportunity then to go to the library and get books on what kind of organisms live where we live. What’s growing in our yard? What kind of animals? Let’s do a snake study, so that we can identify a rattlesnake versus a boa. Which animals live out there, and also, to really teach your kids that we do need to be aware. We live in an area where there are a lot of rattlesnakes, so my kids have identified rattlesnakes.
But to release that fear, and know, but also to speak to kind of probably more moms that are more like you, than me, it doesn’t have to be that you’re going out into the middle of nowhere. It can honestly just be that when your kid wants to do watercolor paints, you lay a blanket out in the yard, and let them watercolor out there, because they’re still getting the fresh air, they’re getting the sun. It doesn’t have to be extreme. We are probably more extreme than most, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The benefits of your kids being out, it doesn’t have to be extreme.
Go take them to a garden center, and pick out plants, and pots, and bring them home and let them plant. And even just that, there’s your biology. You’ve got so much you can learn in the outdoors as well, giving kids a hands-on approach rather than reading about it. So those are some ways that parents can work that into their kids’ lives.
Yvette: Yeah, even going out in the rain. You know, when I was a kid we didn’t go out in the rain. It’s so funny. My mom always thought, “Well if you go out in the rain, you’re going to catch a cold.” And we’ve since learned that that is not true. Not true. And so I remember years ago, we used to have an exchange student from China, she lived with us, this was about four years go. And she lived with us for the whole school year, and one day, she was at home with us one day, and it started raining, but it was summertime, and it was pretty unusual for it to rain in the middle of summer where we lived in California.
But this one day it started raining, and it was really warm outside, or it was maybe late spring, but it was really warm outside, and so it wasn’t freezing cold or anything. And the girls said, “Can we go outside and just play in the rain?” And I was like, my first instinct was, “Of course not, why would you do that? You stay inside when it rains.” And then I thought, “Why not? It’s not going to hurt them.” And so they went outside, and I mean they… It was pouring. It was a torrential downpour, and they got drenched, and they had, they still talk about that until this day.
And I remember our Chinese exchange student, she came outside, and she looked at them, she was like, “What are they doing?” I said, “They’re playing in the rain,” she said, “Oh, we would never do that in China. Our parents would never, ever, ever let us do something like that.” And so it’s a cultural thing, for people too, but it was just so fun. And they still, like you said, they still talk about that day where they go to go outside and just play in the rain, and get completely soaking wet. And it was just, it was a fun thing for them to do. And so often I have to ask myself, why not? Like, what’s wrong with them wanting to do this? Why can’t they do it?
Aby: Yep. Why do I feel the way that I feel about them going outside? Why do I fear the things I fear? Why can’t they go in the rain? And I think one of the most, one thing that I love about homeschooling so much is that because we’re not bound by anyone else’s schedule, we tend to school around the weather. Like if it’s a day that they want to go outside, then that’s when our spring break is. Then that’s when they go outside. And if it’s a day when… you know, it’s been raining here for 10 days, which is not super normal for us, but for the first few days they were outside playing in the rain, and they loved it, and they played… I mean, the creativity that comes out of a kid when you get rid of the craft closet, and you get rid of the iPads, and you get rid of all the things that we feel it’s our job to make sure our kids aren’t bored – It’s our job to make sure that our kids have structured play.
When you really look at that, and you say, “That was really never God’s design for a parent. It is not our job to make sure our kids don’t get bored.” Actually, boredom is the number one thing that breeds creativity. When you get rid of all that, and you send them outside in the rain, or the mud, and they have to find a stick, or a log, and they end up coming together and working as a team, and the worlds that my children create when they’re outside are absolutely incredible to me. And the stories that they live out when they’re out there, because you’ve taken everything away, and they have to use their creativity.
It’s so good for them. It’s so good for their minds, and their bodies, and honestly it really goes back, I mean everything we do, and everything we believe, we go back to the Bible and we say, “Well what does God say about this?” And over, and over, and over in scripture, it talks about our relationship with God’s creation. And even in Psalm 23, when it talks about, “I’ll lie down in green pastures, and he leads me beside still waters,” he uses the image of nature for peace. For peace, you know? And in so many places in scripture, and if we can link to these, but Job 12, and Romans one, and Genesis one, it just constantly talks about how we can see God’s character in nature.
How it tells that the birds rely on him, and the animals need nothing, because they’ve been provided with everything. And when you get your kids out there, and really see God’s creation, it shows you the character of their creator, and it shows you so much about who God is. And so, we have to shake what we’ve been trained, and realize this is who they were designed to be, this is how they were created to even relate to God through his creation. They were designed to relate to him through his creation. So we have to shake this new, our cultural idea that we need to provide all these activities for our kids, and provide all these things for our kids, and every moment of their day has to be filled. Because that’s really not what’s best for them.
Yvette: I think oftentimes, when we think about homeschooling, we think about the academic part of homeschooling, and them sitting. Like, I know in my mind, I think well, “Okay, when we do school, we’re going to sit down and do a math lesson, or read together, or spelling, or whatever.” But being outdoors is such an important part of their academic being and development as well. And so we need to, yeah, I mean there’s a reason why schools have recess, because kids need to get out, they need to play. And so I think as homeschool moms, giving ourselves permission that that is just as important as them sitting down and reading, or sitting down and doing math. They’ve got to be out moving.
And even the exercise that comes with it. I mean, you think about young kids, and they naturally run. They just do, everywhere they go, I don’t know why, but they just run. And they go outside, and the first thing they do is run. And Lacey will tell me all the time, she’s like, “Mom, I have to get outside. I’ve got to get my wiggles out.” She’ll tell me that, it’s so funny. And she just needs to move.
Aby: And they jump, and they climb, and it’s all a part of, and we’re constantly saying, you know, “Don’t jump on the furniture. Don’t climb on the table. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t.” And really, we have to stop and say, “This is how you’re designed.” And even developmentally, children, they need to be able to do that to develop their body, and their muscles, and their sense of equilibrium and their balance. All of that, even just walking, they’ve done studies on, kids need to walk on uneven ground for their own mental equilibrium. It helps their brains develop, and when they’re indoors all day, being told to be still, stop jumping, don’t run, don’t climb, it’s mentally not good for children. It stunts their development, honestly.
Yvette: Right, right. I recently started reading a book, we were in Franklin, Tennessee, back in March, staying with some sweet friends of ours, the White family. And they live on this farm, and this farm is amazing. They’ve got all kinds of animals, and they’ve got a fun tree house, and they kind of have this, a little bit of a wooded area, it’s so cute, the kids call it the deep, dark woods. And my kids have so much fun playing with their kids. And they’ll be out there for hours, and hours, and hours, building forts, climbing the trees, playing with the animals, gardening. I mean they do so many things, and it’s so good for them.
She recommended this book to me, I think it’s called Balanced and Barefoot, or Barefoot and Balanced, one or the other. I’ll link to it, actually, in the show notes, because I started reading it, and I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s such a good book. And it talks about exactly what you were talking about, how it’s just so very important for kids to be outside, and to have that outdoor play. And for their balance, and for their… I mean there are so many parts of a child’s development that plays into them being outdoors, and just expressing themselves physically, through active play, and not sitting, and being in front of a tablet, or in front of a screen.
So, let me ask you this question then, because obviously there are so many kids who they sit in front of the screen all day, they sit… Even kids who sit in front of a book all day, because I know there are a lot of homeschool kids who do that. They love to read, and praise God, that’s a great thing for them, there’s so much good literature out there that they can read. But they will literally just close themselves into this little bubble of their fantasy land book, and they won’t get out, and exercise, and play, and experience the outdoors.
So what do you do with that child who maybe mom says, and maybe it has not been a good practice for this family, but now mom’s listening to this, and she’s like, “Oh, okay, maybe my kids need to get outside more,” but her kids are so used to being indoors, and glued to a book, or glued to their tablets, or something. Talk to that mom who maybe is going to have that struggle, and that battle, with their kid, who their kid is going to say, “I don’t want to go outside. It’s hot,” or, “It’s humid,” or, “It’s cold,” or whatever. How can she fight that battle with them?
Aby: I would first say to her, get rid of the mom guilt. Most moms, their kids are indoors, in front of a screen, in front of something. So I would immediately say it’s not too late. It’s not too late, it doesn’t mean… You know, it’s easier when you start kids little, I mean to the new moms listening, it’s easier when you start them brand new outside, where that’s just their world. That will make your life easier. But it’s not too late. Teenagers need to be outside as much as little kids. Since we have been a generation that have brought teens in, and plugged them in, our depression rates have gone higher. Our bullying, violence, all these things, the rates of those things have gone up, as our outdoor time has gone down.
So, teens need to be outside. Adults need to be outside, just as much. I’d say to the mom whose kid is bucking it, it’s not really that different than when your kid bucks you to eat healthy, or when your kid bucks you for anything. You have to remember that you know what’s best for your kid, and you want to do what’s best for your kid. But some practical things are, I think what you’ll notice first is when they go outside, they’re going to grumble and complain, and grumble and complain. And this is boring, and this is hot, and it’s too cold, and there’s nothing to do.
And even my kids, who are, they live, eat and breathe outdoors, sometimes they’re like, “We’re bored.” And I always realize that if I said, “Okay, then come in, let’s do something else,” they have to work through the boredom, and then all of a sudden the creativity breaks loose. So let them be bored. Don’t get sucked into their grumbling and complaining. Let them be bored out there.
And you can give them things to do, too. For example, if you have a very techy kid, a kid that has been in front of a screen their whole lives, and now all of a sudden you want them outside, that is going to be a shock to their system. So I would say, for example, let’s take your phone outside, and let’s make videos outside. Or let’s take pictures, and then I want you to make a really cool slideshow, or video, or I don’t know, if your kid is on social media, do a whole Instagram story sequence of all the cool things that you found in nature, and make it appealing to them with what they already love to do.
So, you can take technology into the outdoors. I mean, we see it all the time now, where if you have a child that, like you said, “Just don’t get me out of a book, I mean, I want to read all day, don’t try to do this outdoors thing with me now, I’m 15 and I just want to be lost in my books,” then that’s okay. So take your book and go sit by a creek. It is just as beneficial to put your feet in a creek, sit on the dirt bank with the sun shining on you and reading your book. So you can take who your kids already are, and what they already have going on, and take that into the outdoors. It doesn’t, we’re not trying to recreate people into being this outdoors family, we’re trying to make the outdoors work for everybody. And it does, it will naturally.
I think one way to spark interest in younger kids, or even older kids, is through books. There are so many really neat books about nature. Even Swiss Family Robinson, when you read that to a kid, and then you send them outside, it is unbelievable how they reenact books in the outdoors. So if you want to work more of the outdoors into your kids’ indoor life, read books about adventure, and outdoor play. And there’s so many great picture books that get kids excited about being outside, and I have a list of ones that my kids love that we could link to. But that sparks kids’ interests in the outdoors, and then when they go outside, you’ll see them naturally reenact or explore what they’ve read about.
So those are really great ways to introduce the outdoors to kids that have not previously been out there.
Yvette: Oh, that is such great advice, and yes, we’ll link to the book list that you have, that would be great. Because it’s really hard to just go to the library and look for books on nature. Here’s your five million, here are your five million options!
Great Books about the Outdoors
Books for Parents
Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children ~ Angela J. Hanscom
Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! ~ Rachel Macy Stafford
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” ~ Psalm 23:1-2 (ESV)
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” ~ Job 12:7-10 (ESV)
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” ~ Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)
“God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” ~ Genesis 1:10 (ESV)
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” ~ Psalm 19:1-2 (ESV)
In this special roundtable discussion, Karen DeBeus, Aby Rinella, and Yvette Hampton talk about ‘Who’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ of Homeschooling.
Yvette Hampton: I am so excited to be here with you today! I am the host of Schoolhouse Rocked: The homeschool Revolution, it is a feature length documentary that is currently in production, and I’m also the host of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am mom of two amazing daughters, and wife to my husband for 24 years now, and we are in our eighth year of homeschooling.
Karen DeBeus: Hi everybody, I’m Karen DeBeus from Simply Living for Him, and I am the host of the Simply Living for Himpodcast. I’m also the author of several homeschooling books, and the owner of SimplyLivingForHim.com, which is a ministry to encourage all people to live more simply; whether it’s in your home, school or in your life. I also have four children, we’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was entering kindergarten, and now she’s just getting ready to graduate.
Aby Rinella: And I’m Aby Rinella, from His Calling, Our Passion, and I write and speak for different homeschool organizations, and you can find me over at CalledToTheTop.com. I’m the mom of three awesome kids, we’ve been homeschooling from the beginning. Above all, I’m a follower of Jesus and the wife to Jesse Rinella.
This transcript is provided by MakeCrate. MakeCrate provides your homeschooler with the STEM skills they need for the future! Fun, hands-on electronics kits paired with an online learning platform teach your middle or high schooler engineering and coding fundamentals right at home! No technical expertise is required. Order your MakeCrate today at MakeCrate.Club/SR.
Yvette: We are so glad to be with you today. We have been praying about this session, and just really excited to come together and encourage you as homeschool parents, whether you’re a mom or a dad, and just talk about some of the reasons why we’ve chosen to homeschool. So we’re going to answer three questions today, we’re going to answer the ‘why’ of homeschooling, the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and the ‘how’ of homeschooling.
And so, I would love to talk with you, Karen, because you’ve been through it now for 12 years. Your oldest is graduating high school this year, and so I would love for you to tell kind of your story about how you began homeschooling, and why you have chosen to homeschool.
Karen: I was an unlikely homeschooler, an accidental homeschooler, I never intended to homeschool; but God had other plans. I really believe that he called us to this journey, so when my daughter was just turning five, and getting to that time to register her for kindergarten, I was absolutely 100%, never thought about anything else she would just go to school.
The school was right around the corner from our home at that time, and so it just seemed like that was the next natural step. And I walked into the school building to register her for kindergarten, and as soon as I walked in, something happened to me that I have yet to be able to really describe in words. But I sort of became overwhelmed, and panicked, and almost physically ill. And all I could think of was, “She’s not going here.”
And it was really confusing because I had no idea where that was coming from. And so I registered her, because I didn’t want to look weird and turn around and get off the line, but I really felt deep down, “She’s not going here.”
And so I left that day, and I was crying, and I had my other children with me, and I started to talk to some people about what was going on. And they were all saying, “It’s the first time jitters. Once you put her in school, you’re going to see how you’ll have so much time to yourself next year.”
: And I really felt that wasn’t it, it was not the first time jitters; there was this deep sense of, “She’s not going here.” However, the really interesting part of this story is, I had no idea what else I would do. I didn’t really know much about homeschooling back then, I really only knew the Duggars on TV; that was my perception of homeschooling.
And so that wasn’t an option to me, and I knew that private school would be way too expensive, and I didn’t know what it was. And there were many reasons why I felt like I didn’t want her to go there but, ultimately, God really called me.
I started to really pray about it, and a few people approached me and said, “Have you thought about homeschooling?” And I was like, “No, because that’s not something we’re going to do.” And so it really started, though, to chase me down; God started to chase me down. Because I think, deep down, I did sort of admire what I knew about homeschooling, but I just thought, “That’s not for us.”
And so, all of a sudden, it started to appear everywhere. I would run into someone in the grocery store and they’d be like, “Oh, hey how are you? What are you up to? Oh I started homeschooling.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” I’d open a magazine and there’d be an article on homeschooling, I’d see something on TV about homeschooling; it started to really just appear.
And so when I really started to research it, I thought it sounded a great option, but I still felt it wasn’t something for us. But I prayed about it, and here’s where the answer is ‘the who’, it’s who God calls. Because I really felt that when we prayed about it, my husband and I sought scripture, we prayed about it, that God was really calling us to do this.
And I know deep down, 100%, he was calling us; however, sometimes when he calls you to do something, you don’t want to do it. I really knew he was calling us to do it, but I didn’t want to at all. And so, the more I searched the scriptures, the more I knew that this was a calling.
However, we had one more obstacle, my parents, my mother in particular, has always worked in public schooling, and I knew she’d be very upset. And so when I went and finally let them know what we were doing, it was far worse than I ever dreamed. I mean, they almost disowned me, I feel like, over it; I mean, that’s a strong word.
But, in my mind, I thought that would happen; I mean, they were you like, “You will not do this, you will ruin our grandchildren.” And I was like, “I have to do what God’s calling me to do.” And that’s really hard, because I fought with God like, “I know I have to follow you, and I know it says in the scriptures follow you, and not man.”
But these are my parents, we want to please our parents, but I decided to take that leap of faith and do that for that one year when it seemed absolutely crazy, but God was definitely calling me. And I figured, we’ll do it for one year and get it out of my system, and I’ll answer God for one year.
And here we are 13 years later and those very same parents who are so against it, are now our biggest cheerleaders, they are 100% on board, God has completely changed their hearts; but it took about 10 years until they were accepting. And not only accepting, now they’re telling everybody, “My daughter homeschools.”
So I really feel that God called me to homeschool, it was never something about me and my decision, and I have seen how he has worked through this whole situation. I mean forget the schooling part, just in our family, and it’s showing me that when you really follow him, he’s got the whole thing under control.
Yvette: Yeah, I love that story so much. When we started homeschooling it’s so interesting, because our ‘why’ has changed so much; and, Aby, you and I have talked a whole lot about our ‘whys’. But when we very first started, it was because we were fearful of the public school that my daughter would have gone into, and it was more of a … We were fearful for her, physically, to go into this school.
It was not in a great neighborhood, and she just wouldn’t have been safe to go to this school, we felt. And so that was kind of our initial reason, and then we went to a homeschool convention that summer before she was four years old, and we went to this homeschool convention. And we were invited by some friends and we’re like, “Well let’s just check it out.” As matter of fact I remember saying, “You guys have a convention for homeschoolers?” That’s so weird.
Karen: That’s weird.
Yvette: Really weird. And we went, and that weekend alone, the scales just fell from our eyes. And I’m so thankful that the Lord opened our eyes up to what homeschooling is. And the reason that we had said we would never do it was because we had so many misconceptions about what homeschooling was. We believed all the negative stereotypes, I thought, “Well I hated school as a kid.” Saying, “Why would I want to do it more, and then why would I want to homeschool my kids?”
And, I mean, we just had so many good reasons that we thought were good reasons. And we’re so grateful that the Lord changed our hearts about it because now, eight year later, we look back over what God has done, over the past eight years, and our ‘why’ has really changed, like I said.
And now our ‘why’ has really become … Because there’s so much happening in our culture. I mean, I know we all see it, it’s all around us, you can’t ignore it even if you try; and we really believe that revival begins in the home.
And as Christian parents, we have such a great opportunity to be able to speak truth into the hearts of our children. You think of Deuteronomy 6:5-7, and you hear homeschoolers talk about this all the time but, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk with them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”
And, basically, what that’s saying is, all day long. All day long you get to do this, you get to speak truth into the heart to your kids, and you get to teach them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.
And so that is why we have continued to homeschool, because it gives us the opportunity to be able to be the ones to shepherd our kids, and disciple them, and train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them.
We’re not perfect, by any means, we screw up all the time, but the great thing about that is that it’s not us doing it, it’s the Lord doing his work through us because we’re simply willing to be obedient to what he’s called us to do; and so it’s good.
I was actually just talking with a friend of mine about this today, and we’re saying it’s great that we’re inadequate, that we feel so ill-equipped to homeschool our kids, because if we felt like we had it all figured out, we wouldn’t need God to come alongside of us and help us fill in all the gaps and help us figure out this homeschooling thing, and this parenting thing, and this marriage thing. God does his work through us, all we have to be willing to do is to just say, “Okay.” And be obedient. So that has become the reason not why we started, but why we continue on this journey of homeschooling. So Aby, how about you?
Aby: Well I actually came from a line of public school teachers, and I was a public school teacher myself. I went to college and was trained to teach in public school. And I taught in both private Christian school and public school for years, and then when I became pregnant with my first, the minute I held that little girl my hand, I realized, “This is my child, this isn’t anybody else’s child.”
And my husband said to me … I was working full time, and so the initial decision was do I come home? And it was a no brainer, he said, “God didn’t give us these kids for someone else to raise.” And so when our first turned five, that truth that he spoke didn’t change, all of a sudden, just because she’s give; it didn’t change that, “Well, now it’s someone else’s turn to raise.”
And it wasn’t that I had a bad experience in the public school, as a teacher, it’s just that I raised 26 other kids, every day, not their parents; and now God gave me my kids and it was my turn to raise my own children.
And so that’s how it started with us and then, like you said, it kind of morphed for you. I truly was passionate about being home with my kids, I know not everybody, it’s not their …. I don’t know how they’re wired, they don’t love it the way I love it, but I love being with my kids.
But then we had to go to God’s Word and say, “There’s got to be more, because I’m sure there’s going to be days where I don’t love changing diapers I’m sure that’s coming.” And so when we went to God’s Word just over, and over, and over it pointed us to, “This is God’s design, this is God’s design.”
Every time God talks about children, he’s talking to the parents, “Train up your children and the way they should go. Teach them when they lie down, and when they get up.” It’s all to the parents. Other than when he was speaking to the disciples, who were trying to keep the children from him, but when he’s talking to the parents he says, “Teach them, and train them.”
And so we just realized this is awesome, we love it, but it’s also God’s plan and his design. And so that’s what’s kept us through the harder times when it hasn’t been all joy, and wonderful, and laughter; but when we’re obedient to God, that’s where the blessings are.
So that’s kind of where we started and I have a story similar to Karen’s that my parents were both educators and when we said, “Homeschool.” They thought, “Weird.” And they just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They trusted us as parents, but they really had a hard time wrapping their heads around it. But eventually, they’re sold out, they tell everybody, I think [inaudible 00:13:12] sharing about homeschool, and how much they love it and how great it is. So that’s our journey, and that’s our ‘why’ is God’s Word. It’s pretty clear in there that this is what he’s called us to do, and so that’s how we do it.
And another struggle I had is for the ‘who’, who is called to homeschool? So many people say, “Oh, well, you have the college degree to do so,” And, “Oh you have the state certification to do so.” And, honestly, that was my greatest struggle; that was the greatest thing I had to overcome to be a homeschool mom.
Because I was bringing the system into my home, and I had a dear friend say to me one day, “You might as well ship your kids out, and go get a cup of coffee if you’re just going to bring that into your house.” So nowhere in God’s Word does it say that you need a certification, and nowhere does it say that you need to have a college degree to do this. It says that as parents, through him, we’re called to do. So that means everybody, that means every parent that has a child, God will equip to teach and train their children in righteousness.
Karen: And I appreciate you saying that, because I spoke at a homeschool group this week, in fact, and there was a woman there just thinking about homeschooling and she said to me, “But I don’t have a college degree.” That was the first thing she said to me.
Aby: And I say, “Praise the Lord.”
Karen: And I said, I haven’t been asked that question in a long time, but I remember in the early years getting that question a lot. Once in a while when people find out I homeschool they say, “Do you have a degree?” And I was always caught off guard, but I’m like, “But I’m their mom.”
And I remember thinking … And I said to this woman the other day, “Public school training or a trained teacher is completely different, it’s comparing apples and oranges; it’s completely different to what we’re doing at home.”
So we don’t need the college degree. I said, “Plus there’s so much resources, so many things available.” But, honestly, if somebody out there is new to homeschooling, or just thinking about it and they’re thinking, “Well, I can’t, I’m not the person cut out for this because I’m not a teacher.” So grateful you brought that up, 100% encourage them, “Absolutely, you can.”
When I first decided to homeschool, and told my mom, and she said, “You’re not organized enough, you’re not disciplined enough, you weren’t a teacher, you didn’t even like school.” Same thing and, “How are you going to do this?” And I was like, “You know what, let me introduce you to my God-
Because I cannot do this and you’re right, I’m not organized enough, I’m not disciplined enough, I wasn’t a trained teacher; you’re absolutely right, but God is calling me, and he will equip me.” And I have seen, and I feel I can finally say that we’re the end of the road, at least, for my first one instead of saying, “Oh we did it.” I’m like, “He did it.” “He did it, he is faithful, he did it.” So it’s such an exciting time. But I would say anybody out there who’s thinking that they don’t fit the ‘who’ is That they’re not! I mean, I remember thinking the same thing. But looking back over this journey, God is calling you, and he’ll use different circumstances to call each one of us. We’re all in different circumstances, or we all have different reasons but, ultimately, it’s because it’s a calling; I really believe that.
Aby: And like I said, I had to shed that degree. So parents ask me that all the time, or they say “It’s, it’s hard for me.”, or “You can do it, because you have the degree.”
And I say the only thing you need is a love for your kids…
Aby: And a Bible. Honestly, that’s all you need is God’s Word. And the years I have in training, I mean, four years in intensive training to be a teacher, I spent four years on how to fit kids into a box, and then I’d enter the classroom and go, “None of them fit in that box anyway.”
They’re all designed and gifted with different gifts and talents that God has given them, and no amount of training is going to give you the ability to teach that, it’s only going to be, Karen, like you said, by the hand of God, and a love for your own children; knowing and loving your own children.
And you might not be organized, and you might not love to lesson plan, but the reality is that’s the mom that God gave your kids, and those are the kids that God gave you. And so he perfectly meshes those things together, and there’s no piece of paper that any state can ever give you that qualifies you any more than the God who created both us and our children qualifies us; he’s the one that qualifies us.
Yvette: Yeah, and the truth is that there are, like you said Aby, you used to teach in the public school system, and you loved your students. And there are a lot of really good teachers out there in any school; private school, public school, there are some excellent teachers, excellent administrators who really love the Lord.
But nobody knows your kids the way that you do, and no one loves them as much as you do because they’re your kids, and you know them, you know their quirks, you know their gifts, you know their shortcomings, you know the things that they struggle with. And no matter how much a teacher might love them, that teacher cannot take time out of their day with 30 plus students in a classroom to focus on the character of your child; as much as they might want to they just can’t.
And so, as parents we have that great opportunity and privilege that we get to be the ones to train their character and to just care for them, and love them, and raise them up the way that God has created them to be.
And we tell our girls all the time God made them on purpose and for purpose, and God has a great purpose for each one of our children and for us, as well. And so, as parents, part of our purpose, whether you homeschool or don’t, part of our purpose is to train up our children. Well, are you leaving that to someone else to do, or do you get to take that responsibility and do it yourself?
Both of you have already talked about the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and I think that there are so many misconceptions, still, even though homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds, which is really exciting. There still is this misconception that only a certain group, or certain type of person can homeschool.
Maybe they have a certain look, or maybe they have a certain financial status, or whatever that ideal might be in your mind. And the fact of the matter is, God calls all of us to train up our children, and so we all are called to do this. And it’s something that God will give us the ability to do when we allow him.
Aby: And I think we have to say “Yes.”, because God often doesn’t show us how first. We have to show our obedience and our yes before he starts showing us how it’s going to happen.
Aby: Karen’s graduating her first, and I’m sure she didn’t have the whole plan.
Karen: Not at all.
Aby: But she said, “Yes.” And God gave her the steps and that’s how we’re at now is I don’t know the plan. We didn’t even know, financially, how I would come home, but we didn’t need to see God’s blueprint before we said, “Yes.” We said, “Yes” and trusted because he said he will do it. He said he will do it. And so I think I want to encourage parents to say … Don’t wait until you see the 10 year plan or the 18 year plan, and Karen’s great to have because she’s there, she’s at the end that we’re all going for. But she didn’t know the plan from the beginning, she just knew God’s plan and that she would just follow in obedience to that and trusted him.
Karen: And I-
Aby: And it worked, right?
Karen: Oh my goodness, he has blown the doors off our plans, you know what I mean? It was all right we’ll do this will do it maybe for one year and then try it again and again. Did I know that I would have a whole ministry birthed out of homeschooling, or that just our family’s journey? I can’t even wrap my brain around it, but had he told me all that back then, you don’t even really get a glimpse, it’s like, “Just do it.”
This homeschooling journey for us was one of the biggest times in my life, and in my walk with the Lord where I can say that I truly stepped out in obedience, not having a clue what was going on. And I often tell the story how a homeschooling mom had talked to me about homeschooling back then when I was sort of on the fence, I didn’t know anything about it.
And she had me over for lunch, and she kind of told me about homeschooling and then she gave me her kindergarten curriculum that she had hand-me-down from her daughter. And I thought, “Great God told me to do it and now I have a curriculum.”
And I often look back at that, and I laugh, and I wish I had that childlike faith, because I didn’t know there was anything else. I didn’t know there was any other curriculum, it’s just so funny that she gave me this and I was like, “Good we’re ready to go.”
I didn’t research, I didn’t compare online, I didn’t even go online, I didn’t know. There was no Facebook and all that stuff there, wasn’t conventions that I was aware of. And so, once I told somebody, “Oh, we’re using this curriculum because my friend gave it to me.” And she said, “Oh, you are? Did you know there’s others?” I was like, “No, I didn’t.” And then the Christian Book Distributor catalog came.
Yvette: Oh gosh.
Karen: And then the Internet exploded and then I started to… But I look back at that and I’m like … It was like you said, a Bible and God said so. Listen to God and do what he says, right? And that’s what it was, it was like I need to often remind myself over these years of that childlike faith I had. It’s an absolute step of obedience and you do not see the full picture; you’re not supposed to. And I never would have believed it if I seen a full picture.
Aby: Or done it maybe.
Karen: Right, I never would have believed it, I never would have imagined. So, and even as we’ve gotten to the end of these years, at least for my daughter, this year we were not knowing what was going to happen after this year. What happens after homeschooling? Is it college, is that a gap year, is it no college, is a community college? And it was that very same principle I went back to like, “Guess what? We don’t know but God does.”
Karen: And our job is to wait, and to keep seeking him, and he will have the plans unfold. So we often do not, at all, get the full picture. So if you’re out there, and you’re thinking about it, or you’re in the middle of it, and you’re ready to quit-
Karen: Just keep following God-
Aby: Yeah, and “Seek first the kingdom of God.”
Yvette: That’s right.
Karen: Yes, that’s our life verse.
Aby: “And all these things shall be added”
Karen: Yes, he will provide everything-
Karen: And more than you could ever imagine.
Aby: Yeah, for sure.
Yvette: So many great things there’s so much freedom and being willing to just follow what God has called us to do with so. So let’s talk about the ‘how’ of homeschool. And when I say the ‘how’, I don’t mean that let’s show you how to come up with a schedule, and you start at 7:00 in the morning, and you do math for 30 minutes, and then you take a little break.
Because the thing is that we’ve all recognized in our own families, and like you talked about Abby, is that homeschooling is not bringing the classroom into your home. And a lot of parents who are just coming into homeschooling, like we all did, think that that’s what it is.
We think we need to set up the desks, and we need to have our perfect schedule, and we need to make it look like school was as we knew it growing up; because it’s all we know, it’s what makes sense to us and it’s really hard to break out of that mold.
And, there certainly needs to be some sort of structure to your day, but it’s not the classroom in your home. It can’t be, there’s actually not a possible way to do that because life still happens all around schooling. You still have doctor’s appointments, and you have grocery shopping, and you have lunches and dinners to make, and you have sick kids, and there’s so many interruptions; and not bad interruptions, but things that just interrupt our day that we have to learn to work around.
But the great thing is that’s life, and so we’re teaching our kids, at the same time, that we’re educating them academically, we’re teaching them how to deal with life issues. I remember when I got married, I was young, we had just turned 20, and I felt very ill equipped for life; I didn’t quite know what to do.
I remember going to the grocery store and I was like, “I don’t know what kind of meat to buy. I actually don’t know how to purchase meat.” Because I don’t know what to do with it, because my parents always cooked.
And so it’s great, my 13 year old now she can cook a full meal, many of them. I can just say, “Honey, can you go make dinner?” And she won’t go into the kitchen and make a full meal for the whole family, and it’s fan- … I could never have done that at 13.
And so when we talk about the ‘how’ of homeschooling, what have you found with your families, what is your kind of … How does it roll with you?
Karen: I would say exactly what you just said, we’re not teaching for a test, we’re teaching for real life; and I always feel I just want my kids to be equipped for life. And we have done it all over the years from trying to schedule in 15 minute increments, trying to stay up with all that to, “Let’s have no schedule.”
And, in the end, it’s always been just what works for us is a happy medium. Having a outline of our day, but knowing … so important to know that life is part of the curriculum. Every year, especially at this time of the year, homeschooling families … Whenever I speak at this time of the year and I bring this up, they all start cracking up because they know it’s true.
Every year, this time of the year, every homeschool mom is like, “That’s it, this year is done, this year is over, it’s a wash, I’m dead, burned out. But next year is the year when we get it all together.”
And I’m like, “Guess what? Thirteen years haven’t got it all together, there has not been a perfect year yet.” Every year something has happened, whether it was job loss, or one year we had five deaths in those same amount of months; I mean it was a horrible year.
We’ve had great things happen, birth of babies, we’ve had family emergencies, we had so many things to deal with, but yet I feel like you said, our kids have seen how to live life by being immersed in life. People would say to me early on, “Well, how are your kids going to be prepared for the real world?” I’m like, “They’re in the real world every single day.” Right? It’s an immersion classroom.
When we moved, they learned about mortgages, and inspections. They knew more and they know more now, like you said, than I ever, ever did as a young adult or a teenager. And so, the curriculum is, I believe, so secondary, I believe God will work with whatever you choose as long as you’re following him.
And you have to choose a schedule, and a rhythm that works for your family; but, ultimately, it goes back to what we said before it’s all about following God. And not relying on curriculum, not relying on a style, not relying on a method of homeschooling to make your homeschool successful; it’s merely relying on God.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right.
Karen: And he will work no matter what you choose, no matter what style, what method. If I had used that little kindergarten curriculum that somebody gave me, the point is if we’re following God, we cannot go wrong.
Yvette: Yeah, right.
Karen: And that’s how to homeschool. Follow God. Do what he says.
Aby: And I think God already has a path laid out for kids. I mean his word says that he has a plan for them, a plan for good and not evil. And I think sometimes as moms, we carry that weight like, “I cannot miss fractions.” I just realized my daughter, the other day, I’m like, “You are not on top of fractions the way I thought you were.”
And it’s we carry that weight, they have to have every standardized … And I know new moms come in feeling like, “How am I going to do it all?” I think we give ourselves more credit than we should, it’s “God has a plan for my kids, and if I miss something that’s not going to derail God’s plan for my kids.”
He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” And as long as my kids are pointed to Christ, ff they never learned fractions under my home, and I’m not suggesting that, but if they don’t and God has a plan for them that includes fractions, he’s going to give them what they need. And I think sometimes our pride sneaks in to say, “Well I have to do this, and I can do this, and it’s up to me.”
And we carry that which leads to anxiety and that really is pride that says, “I can either make or break my kids.” And as long as we are obeying God’s Word, which really it doesn’t talk about math and language, it talks about his word and teaching and training in righteousness. As long as we’re doing that, he’s going to add all those other things into it.
Aby: So as you said, if we use the worst curriculum out there, God can still use that; he’s God for crying out loud, he’s God can use anything. And so it isn’t this debate of the different kinds of schooling, the different kinds of curriculum. As long as we’re focused on where we need to be focused on, and trust our children, and my husband always tells me, “As much as you love your kids, God loves them more, and he has a plan for them, and they’re going to succeed at whatever he has planned for them, which might be different than our thoughts, as long as they’re speaking him.” So that takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders as a mom too. To just be able to breathe and say, “Today we’re going to spend today together, we’re going to get done what we can get done, but we’re going to do life together and glorify God and, and there will be fruit in that.”
Yvette: Absolutely. Karen, I would love for you to talk on that because, I love everything Aby just said, and we’re talking about how, even if we had just God’s Word it would be enough. Talk about the year that you use the Bible as your core curriculum.
Karen: Yes, there was one year in our homeschool were, again, just the calling of homeschooling, I felt that God was calling me, for that year, to just put the curriculum aside and just study everything out of his word. And so we did language arts, science, history, everything except math, we did have separate math, I always have to say that because I don’t trust myself with the math. But we did everything from the Bible, so I put together a plan, which wasn’t comfortable for me, because I’m more of ‘write it down’ after we did it and then plan out the whole … But I did, I made a plan of how this would look. And I thought to myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? I can’t possibly ruin my children if we’re in the Bible six hours a day, and we’re basing all of our studies off of God’s Word. Because he’s the creator of history, he’s the creator of science.” And we even did supplement some math in there.
So we did that for one year, it was our most amazing year ever, and it was also the year that my husband lost his job, and now he’s self-employed. So it was, at the time, going from that, “Okay, now you’ve lost your job, and we’re going to take this leap of faith and start our own family business.”
And wouldn’t that God knew,. It’s so amazing when I look back at that, because God knew we would need to be in his word, as a family, more than ever; that was such a difficult year. And we started in September, he lost his job in October, and we didn’t make the decision for our family business till March.
So, in that time frame we were like, “We don’t know what we’re going to do.” But here we were in the Bible every single day and guess what? I didn’t spend any extra money on curriculum that year, God knew; he even provided financially. I hadn’t purchased all the stuff I wasn’t going to end up using and wasted any money on curriculum.
We merely used the Bible, we brought in other supplements from the library, and DVDs, and things that; but we did not use any other curriculum. So I do have a course coming up that I’m outlining that because, over the years, that is one thing that I have been asked so much about is how we did this.
And it was the most amazing year, we don’t do it anymore, we don’t have the Bible as our main textbook, we have since used curriculum; however, the Bible is always, always the foundation of everything that we do.
Yvette: Yeah, that is so fantastic. We often have talked about the academics of homeschooling, and we’ve told our girls, “It’s not about the academics, but you have to understand the things that you need to be taught.” Because math is one that people say, “Well, how can you tie that into math?” Well simple because God is a God of order, not chaos, and God created math. He made it to make sense.
Karen: I love that you see God in math because it’s absolute, right?
Yvette: You’re so right.
Karen: “because two plus two is always four.” I tell my kids. Just like God is always God, and His Word is always true.
Yvette: That’s right.
Karen: You can’t change it.
Yvette: He made it. The same with science, if you’re being taught science that is an opposition to God and his word, and you’re learning the lies of the world, it’s not pointing you towards Christ. And so with our kids, “Well, you have to learn the basics of science, you don’t have to be a scientist-
Yvette: But you have to learn the basics of science because science helps you to see the glorious creation of our great God.” I mean it’s just amazing, you cannot look at any part of science, whether it’s the universe, or the human body, or animals, or anything, you can’t look at that and just think, “Yeah, yeah, it all just came about by chance.”
And so, science points our kids to Christ, if you’re teaching them science, according to God’s Word. History is the same way, “In the beginning God created.” And that’s what I love about you having used the Bible as your core curriculum because you start in the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That was the beginning of time. And so when we teach history, you teach it from the beginning of time because, again, it helps to point our kids towards their Creator. And when kids understand who their Creator is, that they were made by their loving creator for a purpose, it changes everything.
We’ve been talking so much about what’s going on in the culture right now, and you think about all the things that are going on and you think about, the abortion Holocaust; that’s going on. And all the insanity of what people are believing to be true, and you think about those people, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose. And even the men and women who are making these decisions in our culture right now, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose.
And it’s because they haven’t been taught that, or maybe they have been taught and they have chosen to reject it, for some reason. But I think that homeschooling is such an integral part of the revival that is coming about in our nation, and that is needed in our nation and in our world.
Because, again, we talked about this at the beginning of this, is that revival begins in the home; it has to begin with parents. Whether you have your kids in school, or homeschool them, or whatever revival has to begin at home, you have to speak truth into the hearts of your kids; it’s just a whole lot easier to do it when you’re homeschooling.
Yvette: It’s almost impossible to do it when they’re in a setting that is teaching them everything that’s contrary to the Word of God, and then having to try to undo that at the end of the day. And there is a revival that’s going on, and it’s very exciting to see it happen. People are waking up, the scales are falling from people’s eyes, and homeschooling is part of that revival, for sure. I’m absolutely certain of it, you see it I see it, people around the globe are seeing it; and so, it’s a neat place to be, it’s a neat time to be homeschooling our kids.
Aby: And there’s going to be a change and a shift, and more people are staying, I think that’s why homeschooling is becoming a thing is we’re seeing it. And we were looking at our door the other day and there were some deer just right out on our street, and there never used to be deer here because we’ve gotten so much snow, historically, that they migrate out.
And the younger generations learn to migrate because the older generations, year after year, they teach them they have their new fawn, they migrate out. Well we had a few dry years where there wasn’t snow, and so these animals … The older generations did not, they didn’t migrate out so the younger generations never learned how to get out of this incredibly snowy place where they’re, starving, they’re being slaughtered by predators.
And as we were looking at this deer we thought it’s due to several generations of not teaching them and showing them the way to safety, and now they’re trapped, and they’re stuck, and they’re being slaughtered left and right in this valley because there’s there’s too much snow they can’t get out now; they’re they’re stuck and they’re trapped.
Karen: That’s an amazing picture.
Aby: And we we’re just thinking … And that’s God’s creation; there’s your science!
Aby: That’s your biology, that’s God’s creation. God designed the older generations of these deer to teach and train these younger ones to migrate out of danger, how to get out of danger in hunting season.
And because that hasn’t been happening, this is where we’re at and we thought with our kids, we’ve had several generations … I mean, it used to be in the schools you hear grandparents say, “Well, schools never were as bad as they are now.” And then the next generation, “Oh, they’re so horrible now they’re teaching transgenderism.” And if we’ve lost this generational hand-down of God’s truth and, at this point, in our generation we have, I believe, no other option but to bring our children home.
Because there is a disconnect between what’s being taught them, and they are being trapped and they’re being led to slaughter; if we don’t get them home and be the older generation that teaches and trains them, the way to safety. So, even that, there was our science lesson. God shows himself in his creation all around us all the time. So we are called to teach and train our kids, otherwise we’re allowing them to be led to a slaughterhouse, essentially.
Karen: That is a great picture!
Yvette: Yes, it is. I want to talk really quickly about husbands, because there may be some husbands who are watching this; I’m assuming if they are they’re watching it maybe with their wives. But I would love for the three of us to maybe talk about how our husbands have encouraged us in this homeschool journey, because that’s such an important part.
I think, oftentimes, husbands don’t realize how very, critically important their role is as homeschool dad; even if they’re not the ones who are in the day-to-day academic part of it. And so, can you guys talk a little bit about, for yourselves, how your husband’s have supported and encouraged you?
Karen: Well, I feel very blessed because Steve, right from the beginning, when I had this little idea he was totally on board and he knew as little as I did. But he was like, “Sure.” He’s very laid back, so he’s just like, “Sure, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll try it.” So he’s always been supportive, so I appreciate that because I know it’s not always the case.
But, I think, when he came home from a traditional work place, and we have our own business, he has been involved in the kid’s education so much; but not at all with the curriculum or the textbooks. Just with teaching them, spending time with them, teaching them life, and he’s a very hands on, we’re a very together family.
So I think just the building of relationships; so important, way beyond the academic stuff. And he’s been involved in all of that relationship building, and just teaching real life. We live out here on our little hobby farm, and teaching the boys the animals, and the garden, and they do everything together, and building things; and all of that is education.
That is not the typical homeschooling curriculum but, like I said, life is the curriculum. So he’s very involved and, like I said, I’m very grateful, because I know that’s not always the case. I’ll have families come to me and say, “Well my husband isn’t on board and that’s difficult.”
But if your husband, if they work outside the home, and their schedule is busy, they can still be teaching so much; like I said, the stuff that’s even more important generally. They can still be teaching just by building that relationship.
We do our family Bible time every evening together, and that’s so important to us because, as I have these teenagers, they’re the ones that say to us after dinner, “When are we doing Bible? When’s Bible?” It’s so ingrained in them that this is what we do at night. And so, it’s a training that takes place over a long period of time, but never underestimate the power of a father, and a father who loves the Lord.
Aby: My husband was homeschooled for part of his education, so he was onboard from the beginning. And a little bit like, “This is what we’re doing with our children, so figure it out.” So true, which is really a huge blessing.
So he’s 100% on board, which is helpful when we waver, and I’m sure I’m not the only mom that sometimes is like, “Ah.” But he’s there and he’s the rock, and that’s huge. It’s huge for my kids to see that their dad’s sold out on this, and that this is what he knows is best for his family and he leads us in that direction.
So I’m very grateful and blessed that we’re in it together. Different families look different, my husband doesn’t do the math, the language, that whole bit, he really trusts me. And then sometimes I’ll be like, “What do you think of these two curriculums?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you got this. [inaudible 00:42:40] I can pray for you, I will pray for you.”
But some families the dad’s do a lot of the … I have a friend and the dad does the math, and that’s just how they work, so it looks different; and that’s the beauty of homeschool is that it looks different.
My husband’s very all hands on deck very, very involved. But I do want to speak to the moms that don’t have that. I have a very dear friend and her husband is not a believer either, and it’s very discouraging for her because you already, somewhat, feel alone sometimes in what we do.
And so she feels even more alone and I constantly encourage her and say, “You have an opportunity to lean on God in such a different way than a lot of people. And he is the godly father for your children and he is your husband and supporting you of this.” And that’s not to say that because you don’t have a husband that’s on board, and one of the greatest things I tell her is, “He’s letting you do this. He’s okay with you doing this, and that’s huge, and praise God for that.” So I’m very grateful I’m very blessed that my husband loves the Lord, above all, and wants to teach and train our kids in his word; but I know that’s not the case with everyone and that does not mean that it’s not doable.
Yvette: Yeah, yeah. And there are many husbands who are not on-board with homeschooling, they don’t want their wives to do it, and as hard as it is to say this, I would say if that’s the case, then honor your husband.
Yvette: If your husband is not on board and he is non supportive, then be respectful of him, because he still is the head of your household. And so I would respect that.
Aby: And entrust your children to the Lord.
Yvette: That’s right.
Aby: Trust that God will protect your children.
Yvette: That’s right, that’s exactly right and he will if you’re faithful. And that doesn’t mean that you still won’t have opportunities to teach them the truth of God’s Word, and to instill Godly character traits into them; because there’s always opportunities to do that.
And then there may be some who don’t have a husband, they’re a single mom for whatever reason. And like you said, Aby, just allow God to fill that gap. Allow God to fill that that role of husband, and he will be the one, and find an older gentleman … maybe your pastor, or your dad, or another Godly man to come alongside of you, and pray for you, and pray with you, and encourage you in this endeavor to homeschool. And God will provide, he will be faithful in those things. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but he will be faithful in doing those things.
And yeah, and just like the both of you talked about, I’m grateful to have a husband who encourages me and we, from the beginning, we both together had said we would never homeschool. We used to joke about it, we’d say “We’d never, ever, ever do that to our kids or to ourselves.”
Karen: And now you’re making a movie.
Yvette: And now we’re making a move about it, directed by my husband; God has a sense of humor. But once, the Lord changed our hearts and, thankfully, he changed them together, I think it would have been really hard if my heart had been changed and not my husband’s, or the other way around.
But, thankfully, we went to that convention together that first year and God just said, “No, here you go, this is what you’re going to do.” And the same with you, Garret does not have a whole lot to do with the decisions about curriculum or anything that; he trusts me with that.
But he leads our family spiritually really well, I mean, every day we have our family Bible time, and he spends time teaching our kids the Word of God and praying with them; and it’s such a beautiful thing to see. And he’s committed to that, and I heard a pastor actually one of the gentlemen that we filmed for the movie, his name is Scott LaPierre, and he said, “Oftentimes, men will come to him to him and say, ‘I really don’t know a lot about the Bible, I don’t know how to lead my family spiritually’.”
And he says, “If you can read, you can read God’s Word. It doesn’t take more than that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to be able to lead your family spiritually, you have to be willing to just open it up and read it.” And for goodness sake, even if you can’t read, you can listen to an audio version! So God is faithful though. I want to talk about two more things, really quickly, before we end. I want you each to tell about what your very favorite thing is about homeschooling.
Karen: I would say the family time, and the fact that we have … Now that I said we’re graduating one, and we have these three teenagers, and then my 10 year old, there’s nothing that can replace the amount of time we’ve spent together. And the fact that we can take trips whenever we want, when I go speaking, and I bring them all with me.
And the time, and seeing their relationships, I crack up every night because they’re in our room till the latest hours of night, and I’m like, “Get out of my room.” My husband and I, we’re like “Get out.” And then I look at him and I’m like, “Do you understand she’s 18 and doesn’t want to leave our room?” I mean, when I was 18, the last place I wanted to be was in daddy’s room at 11:30 at night.
Karen: So it’s just that we have so much fun together, especially now that they’re older. Some moms a little ones out there, I promise you it gets better. But having these fun people, and seeing that, it’s because I believe the amount of time we’ve spent together … And not that it was always joyful, there was horrible times, good times, but because we did it together, and we relied on God, and when we messed up, we went back to God. And so, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Harvard, nothing academically, nothing at all could compare to having the relationships that we have built between and, like you said, we’re not perfect, we have our moments, we have our disputes. But when all is said and done, we are so close. it’s been a good thing; this is why we do it. So that these relationships, and so that we know that we have done our job to pass down our faith to the next generation, who then will pass that down to the next generation.
And not just those generations, but all those people they come in contact with; the effect is huge just teaching these four children. Because they’re going to teach the next generation, and the next generation, and everybody those people come into contact; it’s huge.
Yvette: Yeah, the ripple effect.
Karen: Yeah, there’s nothing that I would ever compare; that, to me, is the reason. It has nothing to do like, “Oh we learned this great lesson, or these academics.” It’s all about the relationships; that’s been my very favorite thing.
Aby: I would say, I mean, the very same thing relationships. And I’ve learned … You know that saying, “The days are long but the years are short when they’re really little.” And now that we’re further along in this, I’m realizing how fast it goes.
I mean, I’m going to blink and those kids will, Karen you see; they’re graduating. And I just think we have 18 years with them under our roof. I think how devastating to me to send them out for half of that, to cut that time in half, because I love spending time with my kids, I love getting to know them and who God made them, and they’re just everything about who God has designed them to be. And if I had to share those 18 years with somebody else, and send them out of my home for half that time, there’s no way I want to cut that time in half.
So, the relationships, the freedom of being able to … I mean, I love that when dad gets home early, we’re done. We go as a family, and just being able to do what God has called our family to do, and not be dependent upon another system’s schedules, and ideals of what we should be doing; I love that. And also too, I love being able to teach to who my kids are.
And that’s something that was really hard to do … Well was impossible to do as a public school teacher is I had to teach this and, hopefully, they fit in this. But I love how different God made my kids, and being able to teach them according to those things; that has been such a joy to do. And, again, pass down … I mean, big picture passed down who God it to my kids and know that they’re going to pass that down. So I think it’s kind of the same for all of us most likely.
Yvette: Yeah, well I’m going to piggyback on that from both of you and say it’s hands down, it’s the same thing. I told you Garrett and I said we would never, ever homeschool our kids and, one of the reasons that I, foolishly, thought that was because I used to think, “Why would I be around my kids all day every day?” I always thought that.
And the ironic thing about that is it took us almost 11 years to have our first daughter, and I desperately wanted to be a mom; I mean, all I ever wanted growing up was to be a wife and a mom. I got married young, and then it took 11 years to have our first, and I so desperately wanted this child.
And then I had her, and I remember she was maybe about three months old or so, and I remember one day just holding her and it was this moment where she locked eyes with me, and there was something about that moment where just my deep love for her was so real; like it almost hurt, that almost painful mom love where you’re just like, “I can’t even imagine loving another human being as much as I love this child.” That I waited for her so … Whether you waited or not, but this child that you hold in your arms and you just love them with such a deep love.
And then I would think, “But I don’t want to be around her all day every day, that would annoy me.” And then it came time to think about school, and that was one of the things that started leading us towards homeschooling is because I thought, “I genuinely love being with her.”
And I was recently talking to a mom who was saying, “It would drive me crazy to be around my kids all day every day.” And if you think about that, if you’re not around your kid all day, and they’re being raised by someone else, and they’re being instructed by someone else, they are not going to behave according to your standards, because they’re not with you, they’re with someone else most of the time. Most of their waking hours, they’re under the supervision and care of someone else, so they’re not going to be trained to the way that you’re going to train them.
Yeah. And so when we have them all the time, we get to train them. It doesn’t that mean it’s easy, I mean, we all deal with discipline, but we get to train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them, according to His Word. And so they become a delight, they’re fun, most of the time. I mean, you’ve got your moments…
Karen: Even at 11:30 at night.
Yvette: Even at 11:30 at night. But it’s such a delight. And I know for myself, if we have to take a trip apart from our girls, or even sometimes, honestly, if I’m gone for a few hours, I miss them. Because it’s almost like I feel like I’m missing a limb or something. And I truly enjoy being with my kids and the relationship that it allows me, because we homeschool them and we get to have them home with us; it is so much fun.
Karen: And it does take time, like you said, to cultivate that. If we’re sending them out, and it’s starting at six weeks that they’re outside of the home, and I’m living my life at my job, they’re at their daycare, and they’re at their school out, and we’re not cultivating that relationship. So then it does become difficult to build those bonds and, honestly, those bonds might not even be there. So it does feel like maybe you’re living with strangers, because you spend so much apart.
So that is a really good point. And so we do need to cultivate that by being together.
Yvette: Yeah, and even the sibling relationships that are formed between them. And, again, I mean there’s still going to be squabbles between siblings. It’s different, my girls have such a bond, they’re almost five years apart, and they have a bond with each other that is undeniable. And it’s really neat to see them because I never had a connection with my sister, I love my sister, but I never, ever had a connection or friendship with her like my girls have with one another. And so I love that they get to be each other’s best friends, I mean, and we told them early on, “You’d better learn to each other because you’re kind of all each other has.”
And they have other friends and stuff, but on a day-to-day basis, its them; and so, it’s such a blessing. So okay we have just, literally, a couple more minutes and I just want to end with an encouragement; and I want to encourage two different moms.
So first, let’s encourage the mom who’s maybe thinking about homeschooling, and she’s just not sure if this is the right thing for her. And then encourage the mom who’s in the middle of it, and she’s feeling discouraged, and just maybe ready to give up. So what would you say to those two different moms? Aby, let’s start this one with you.
Aby: Okay, the first mom that’s thinking about it, I say just do it; just hop in and do it. I think there’s a lot of moms that have three year olds, I’ve had three this week and their oldest is three and they say, “Can I meet to go over curriculum with you?” And I say, “Three? No, but you can meet and let’s talk, let’s pray, and let’s get our ‘why’ at least down. And let’s talk about what God’s plan is for you as a mom.”
And so I would say to them, “Don’t sweat the schooling, build the character, build the relationships, invest in the lives that God has given you to invest in. And above all, be obedient to God in what he’s called you, because I guarantee you when you’re obedient, he will give you all you need to do it, and you’ll be beyond blessed.”
And for the mom that’s in the midst of it, that’s tired, I’d say, “We’ve all been there, we’ve all been there, you’re not alone.” And probably the greatest encouragement I would say is, “Step back from the school.” Again, “Step back from this idea of school, and go enjoy your kids, go breathe life into your kids, go build those relationships, cultivate that unity and that bond. And pray that God would ignite the passion that started you there, and remember back.” It’s really fun for the three of us to tell our stories, I really enjoyed this because it reminds us where this all came from and what God put in us to do this. So go back and remember what God told you to do, and remember that he’ll do it through you, if you lay your life down.
Karen: I would say for the mom just starting out, just pray, pray, pray, and if God calls you to it, he will equip you. Echoing what everybody said, just do it, he will not fail you.
But you have to seek him. I would say, “Don’t listen to anybody else but him.” I say this when I speak, “Don’t listen to me, listen to God. This isn’t what Karen says to do. Hopefully, God will use me to encourage but, ultimately, this is between you and God.”
And so really try to drown out the other voices, which is so important, so that you can hear God’s voice. We live in a very noisy world, and everybody’s trying to say how to do it and what to do. So, this is between you and God, this is a personal decision, pray and Matthew 6:33 like we’ve been saying, “Seek mim first.” And then just do it.
I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I truly believe though that if God is calling somebody, you do need to just take that step of faith, and put the fear aside. Because if I had listened to fear, I cannot even imagine how different our life would be right now.
Because there was tons of fear, and then that would bring me to, if you’re in the middle of it, again, keep walking in that faith, don’t listen to that fear. And remember that homeschooling is a mission field, your children are your mission. And no missionary goes out on the mission field and it says like, “This is going to be so easy, and comfortable, and safe, and I can’t wait, it’s going to be so easy.”
Any missionary has difficulty and has to rely on God and sometimes it’s dangerous, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and it’s the same thing; nothing worth doing is going to be easy. So when it gets hard, does not mean it’s not working; in fact, that’s when God is working.
So if it’s hard, don’t throw in the towel and say this is too hard say, “Wow what does God want to do through this?” Because I can look back on all the years I did look at the school one year, the local private school the year that I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.”
And, thankfully, like you said before Aby, you look back and say, “Wait, God called me to this, he will equip me.” So really remembering what he’s done, but there’s been many times where I wanted to throw in the towel, and you always have to remember that it’s not going to be easy and, in fact, that is where the most work will happen.
Karen: And when you get through it on the other side, and you look back and you realize this was God’s plan; it’s amazing. So, I would say to the person starting out and the person in the middle, don’t rely on yourself; just fully rely on God.
Yvette: Yes, amen. And I agree completely, do it scared! I think that’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard is, “If you’re afraid to jump on this homeschooling train, jump on any way, do it scared.” And have people come alongside of you who can encourage you, there are lots of things.
Karen you have a podcast, I have a podcast, there are lots of great podcasts out there, there’s a lot of good … There’re YouTube videos, there are a ton of good books. Karen, I know you’ve written several books, and we’ll actually at the very end, again, repeat where people can find you.
There are so many great resources out there and, like you said, it can be noisy, and there’s a lot out there. But find somebody … hopefully someone who’s local who can actually come alongside of you physically and pray with you and help walk you through this.
And if you don’t have that, I mean, there are places in the country that don’t have that, I’m aware of that. Find people through podcasts, or books, or online. I say that with hesitation because you can get a lot of really bad advice on Facebook, believe it or not; not everything you hear on Facebook is true!
Karen: But if you are listening to God, you’re able to discern.
That’s what I always say. If you’re in the Word, and you have a good relationship with God, then you’re able to discern all those voices.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right, and seek out wisdom. Our family, right now, is reading through Psalms and we often read through Proverbs, and we’ve actually been reading Psalm 8 and it’s all about wisdom. And so go read Psalm 8, and go read the book of James and if we asked for wisdom, God will give it to us; and so do it scared.
And then, again, for that mom who’s in the midst of it, just keep on. If you need to take a break, take a break; it’s okay. It’s better to take a break, even if you have to take a break for the rest of the year.
Take a break, it’s better to do that than it is to give up completely and put them in a system that’s going to teach them everything that you don’t want them to learn. So those would be my two encouragements.
Karen where can people find you?
Karen: You can find me at SimplyLivingForHim.com, which where also you can find the podcast there, the podcast is available on all the podcast streaming apps, you can find my books there. In just a few weeks, we are releasing the Bible-based homeschooling e-Course.
You can actually find some resources for the Christian homeschooling family at biblebasedhomeschooling.com, that is my other website. But if you come to Simply Living for Him, or you can follow me over there on Instagram or Facebook page, I have a lot of interaction with my audience; I would love to see you there.