Are you a homeschool parent looking to unlock your child’s potential? Are you uncertain if you’re doing enough to reach that potential? Do you often find yourself asking “am I doing enough?”
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Jodi Mockabee faced this same challenge and discovered an accountability mindset that embraced the uncertainty while striving to make intentional decisions for her children. In this post, we’ll outline how she did it, and show you how you can do the same and gain the same peace of mind she did.
“That one voice, and we’ve talked about it earlier, of am I doing enough? That tends to stick around with homeschoolers almost on the daily. I discovered recently that that is not a bad thing to ask that.”
Jodi Mockabee is a photographer, writer, blogger, speaker, social media influencer, and homeschooling mother of five living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With a passion for health, wellness, parenting, and more, Jodi blogs her family’s journey and shares tips for a healthy and active lifestyle. She also writes curriculum for creative and artistic learning in a homeschool environment. With her thoughtful and relatable advice, Jodi has become a go-to source for homeschoolers looking for support and guidance.
Why is it important for homeschool parents to pursue accountability?
For homeschool parents, having accountability, both internal and external, is critical for providing a high-quality education and ensuring the success of their children. This accountability mindset is important because it motivates parents to create an organized and structured learning environment, which is essential for student success. Accountable parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. Additionally, an accountability mindset encourages parents to be actively involved in their child’s learning and to provide consistent feedback and guidance. This helps children to stay motivated and engaged, as well as to develop a strong sense of self-discipline and responsibility.
Having an accountability mindset is also beneficial for homeschool parents in the long-term. It helps to ensure that their children become independent learners and develop the confidence and capability to pursue their educational goals – and ultimately, to meet their God-given purpose. Additionally, an accountability mindset helps parents create a positive learning environment, which is essential for fostering a love of learning and creating an atmosphere of trust and respect. Ultimately, an accountability mindset is important for homeschool parents as it helps them to create an environment where their children can thrive and reach their full potential.
“What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and on track.
Recognize who you are ultimately responsible to.
As parents, it is easy to forget who we are ultimately responsible to. Sometimes it cans seem like we have a chorus of voices giving us advice and demanding answers – especially when it comes to the education of our children. “Do you think you’re qualified to teach?” “What about socialization?” “How will your kids get into college?” “What curriculum/teaching method/standardized tests are you using?”
The questions are endless, and while there are a few standards, they can differ for every parent. Here’s the good news! None of the people asking those questions are your ultimate authority.
Whether we realize it or acknowledge it, we are ultimately ONLY responsible to GOD for the decisions we make as parents – that is especially true in the area of education (discipleship).
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.” – Israel Wayne
“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 32:46
“Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.” – Israel Wayne
While we may feel a responsibility to meet state requirements, or meet the expectations of parents, family, or friends, these are secondary to the responsibility to carefully steward the lives and souls of the children God has entrusted to us. They are his first.
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
The first step is to recognize that the voice of accountability can be a positive thing and should be embraced. Jodi confessed, in her interview for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, that after struggling with self-doubt and the nagging question, “am I doing enough,” she discovered that asking herself if she was doing enough was actually a form of accountability and should not be seen as a source of shame or guilt. She encourages listeners to use it as a way to stay humble and accountable. Accountability can be a great tool in motivating us to make intentional decisions for our children and to strive to do our best. It can also be a reminder to stay humble and trust in God’s grace and love. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it as a positive tool, we can stay motivated and encouraged in our homeschooling journey.
“So I just want to encourage you, if you hear that voice, don’t look at it as shame or guilt or something to bring you down.”
Accountability can also be a great way to build a sense of community and accountability among homeschooling parents. While we are ultimately accountable to God, we also understand that every parent deals with these same feelings at times. This is a perfect opportunity to build each other up.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24,25
When we extend grace and accountability to one another, it helps to foster a sense of unity and mutual understanding. This can be especially beneficial for those who are new to homeschooling and may feel overwhelmed or uncertain. By being open to constructive criticism and offering advice and encouragement, we can provide a safe space for everyone to grow and learn.
Finally, embracing accountability in homeschooling can help to create and maintain a sense of balance and harmony within the family. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it to stay motivated and balanced, homeschooling families can create an atmosphere of learning and growth.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability.
Using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability is an important step for homeschoolers. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. This means acknowledging the voice in your head that questions if you are doing enough and embracing it instead of rejecting it. This does not mean that you need to strive for perfection, but rather strive for intentional decisions for your children. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable. Instead of looking at the voice as a source of guilt or shame, view it as a form of encouragement that you are striving to do your best. You will never be able to do enough because you are human and sinful, but striving to do your best and running the race is enough.
“Let it be an encouragement to you that you care and that you’re always striving to make intentional decisions for your kids.”
In addition to using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability, it is also important to be aware of the voice of discouragement. This voice can come from within or from outside sources, such as other homeschoolers, friends, or family members. This voice may tell you that you are not doing enough or that you are not capable of homeschooling. It is important to recognize this voice as a lie and will only serve to derail you in your important work as a homeschool parent. When faced with this voice of discouragement, take a moment to remember why you chose to homeschool in the first place. Remind yourself that you are doing what you are called to do.
Finally, it is important to remember that the voice of accountability and encouragement, as well as the voice of discouragement, can be a great source of motivation, both in homeschooling and in life. Recognizing this voice and using it to your advantage can be a great way to stay humble and stay accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. It can also be a great way to keep your homeschool journey upbeat and positive.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and stay accountable to God, your spouse, yourself, and your children.
To stay accountable to God first, your spouse, yourself, and your children, don’t reject the voice of accountability but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and be reminded of the high calling you have as a parent.
Setting boundaries and proper expectations. Then stay in your lane. You can only do what you can do, and you should only seek to do what you are called to do. “Stay in your lane” and “mind your own business.” In this case, these aren’t insults or reprimands. Rather, they are critical reminders to focus on the important things – and let the other things go.
As a parent, it is important to set expectations and boundaries not just for yourself, but also for your kids. This allows children understand what is expected of them, which in turn helps to create a sense of security and stability. It will do the same for you. Establishing expectations also helps to keep parents accountable for their actions and ensure that they are being consistent.
Finally, it is important to stay humble and accountable foster an environment of open communication. Talking to your kids about their feelings, experiences, and opinions helps to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. When conversations are open and honest, you can gain valuable insight into how your children are feeling, and you can also better understand their needs and goals. This can help to create a better relationship between you and your children, and it will also help to keep you accountable and humble.
Uncovering an accountability mindset is essential for homeschooling parents looking to unlock their child’s potential. When embracing the voice of accountability, parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. This accountability mindset helps to create an environment where children can thrive and reach their full potential. Remember, you don’t need to strive for perfection, but striving to do your best and staying humble is enough; you can achieve the same result!
I’d love to hear how you apply “The Voice of Accountability” to get accountability, intentionality, and humility.
Leave me a comment on how it has gone for you for you or drop any questions you want me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode!
It has long been asserted that the left believes that children don’t belong to their parents, but is there any proof of this claim? The answer is a resounding “yes.” In this post I will let prominent progressive leaders and educators speak for themselves.
However, I think it is necessary before we before we begin to remind you that to a certain extent the state DOES own your children – at least when you drop them off at a public school. This is why I caution every parent to understand the legal concept of “In Loco Parentis.” “In Loco Parentis” means “in place of the parent.” It is the legal responsibility of schools to act in place of parents when students are in their care.
It is also necessary to remember that whenever the government is using “their money” to provide a service or administer a program they are going to expect oversight, accountability, and results. This is exactly why, as homeschool parents, we should be extremely cautious of “school choice” programs, which offer government money to private schools and homeschools. While the allure of “free” money is enticing, privately funded, parent-directed homeschooling is currently the only way to ensure true parental rights and autonomy from government intervention in the most private and sacred aspects of your family.
If you are ready to take back your children but don’t know where to start, let me suggest the Free Homeschool Survival Kit. This 70+ page resource will give you the encouragement and tools you need to start strong and finish well.
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. ‘Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility.’ We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘these are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s we start making better investments.”
“My inbox began filling with hateful, personal attacks on Monday, apparently as a result of conservative reactions to a recent ‘Lean Forward’ advertisement now airing on msnbc, which you can view above. What I thought was an uncontroversial comment on my desire for Americans to see children as everyone’s responsibility has created a bit of a tempest in the right’s teapot. Allow me to double down.”
“One thing is for sure: I have no intention of apologizing for saying that our children, all of our children, are part of more than our households, they are part of our communities and deserve to have the care, attention, resources, respect and opportunities of those communities.”
“I believe wholeheartedly, and without apology, that we have a collective responsibility to the children of our communities even if we did not conceive and bear them.”
Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.”
“What will be the influence of communist society on the family?
It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.”
Hillary Clinton popularized the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” in the mid-1990s, but it was hardly a new idea. Clinton was citing a traditional African proverb, but Africans don’t have a lock on the idea of collective responsibility for the welfare of children, either. ‘Your children are not your children,’ wrote the Lebanese-born poet Khalil Gibran in 1923. ‘You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.'”
“Parents aren’t in charge of our public schools – and they shouldn’t be.
That’s not a problem; it’s a best practice, and one that has prevailed in this country for a hundred years. It also happens to be the law.
Maybe you don’t like that law. Maybe you believe that parents alone should dictate what goes on in the classrooms their children attend. If so, you’re in luck: Dozens of private and parochial schools are in frenzied competition for your tuition check. Almost certainly you can find one whose curriculum, library catalogue and hiring practices are compatible with your own political views, religious values and cultural preferences.
“If California is ever going to achieve true equity, the state must require parents to give away their children.
My solution is simple, and while we wait for the legislation to pass, we can act now: The rich should give their children to the poor, and the poor should give their children to the rich. Homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.
Now, I recognize that some naysayers, hopelessly attached to their privilege, will dismiss such a policy as ghastly, even totalitarian. But my proposal is quite modest, a fusion of traditional philosophy and today’s most common political obsessions.”
“’I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,’”’ [Virginia Governor (D),] Terry McAuliffe said. ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.’”
“’Parents and politicians are now weighing in on what books should be in our school libraries, and what their kids are being taught,’ Jones began. ‘Where’s the line, in your opinion, with how much of a say parents have when it comes to what their kids are learning in school? Is there a balance between, you know, “This book should be in the library, this book is under review … “
Before Jones finished the question, Jill Biden jumped in: ‘All books should be in the library. All books. This is America. We don’t ban books.’”
“A common complaint – voiced most vociferously by the newspapers that also glory in the good old cliche about the nanny state – is that the authorities do too little to protect desperately vulnerable children. I agree. Perhaps Ms Hodge’s critics forget that the constant defence of social workers who fail in their jobs is the claim that they did not want to intrude into family relationships.”
“’Great piece on parents’ rights and #publicschools,’ tweeted Randi Weingarten, who serves as president of the American Federation of Teachers. Her tweet on Monday came amid an uproar over the op-ed, which was published in The Washington Post.
“There are parents who think they made their children for themselves, and parents who think they made their children for the world; those who regard their children as belonging to them, as opposed to belonging to the world.
Now, I’m really not the back-to-the-earth, Paleo-Parent, ‘It Takes a Village’ type, but in this case, I’m of the latter persuasion. My daughter is the world’s child.
Don’t be sad when she gets on that bus for her first day of kindergarten, or walks into that classroom with her tiny hand in someone’s besides yours. That’s her job. That’s why she’s here. That’s why you had her. This is what you prepared her for. This is her first step to fulfilling her ultimate destiny; becoming one with the world, which is exactly where she belongs.”
“Parents aren’t in charge of our public schools – and they shouldn’t be.
That’s not a problem; it’s a best practice, and one that has prevailed in this country for a hundred years. It also happens to be the law.
…[M]y concern here is public schools, which Merriam-Webster defines as ‘free tax-supported schools controlled by a local governmental authority.’
See? Not a word there about moms, dads or legal guardians. Because public means everyone – or at least, every citizen eligible to vote in the election for whatever local government authority calls the shots in the school district they reside in.
…[T]hose with no children of their own are stakeholders, too – and they have every right to expect that the schools they subsidize with their tax dollars will prepare students to live and work in a democratic society that includes people with political and religious views different than their parents.
…[P]arents worried that any exposure to any perspective incompatible with their own views may prove noxious can opt out entirely by joining the ranks of home-schoolers,”
This is, by no means, an exhaustive compilation of examples of progressives intent on undermining the role and rights of parents. So, what should we think? Do children belong to their parents, to the village, to the schools, or to the state? God’s Word tells us “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3 ESV
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6,7
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8,9
Not surprisingly, the Bible also includes instruction for children on how they should respond to the instruction of their parents.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4
The Lord is calling parents to turn their hearts back to their children. Me must face down the enemy of our families and heed the Word of the Lord. “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:6
Yvette Hampton: Alex. Can you just offer some hope? Because this stuff is so heavy and it’s scary to look at our nation around us and know that we’ve got … We’ve all got young kids. You have them, Alex, Aby has them, I have them. And we look at the future of our nation. Offer some hope to …
Alex Newman: So no matter how bad it gets down here, no matter if everything comes crashing down, we know who wins in the end …
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
“anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.”
Alex Newman: … and that is God, and you want to be on that side, trust me.
Aby Rinella: Amen.
Alex Newman: I think that’s the most hopeful thing that we can know. And in the meantime, God has got us here for a reason. He’s given us plenty of assignments. I mean, anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Alex Newman: God will make a way. God is always faithful to His people. If the country goes down in flames … and it might. I’m not going to say that America’s going to see this great revival and we’re all going to be fine. It might not happen. But we just have to do what God told us to do, and that is to disciple our children, take good care of our families … If you don’t take good care of your family, you’re worse than an infidel, God said. So we’ve got to do those things that God has commanded us to do. And in the meantime, we have some great freedoms.
So moms, dads out there, let’s take advantage of these freedoms. Right now, we can yank our children out of schoolin all 50 states. We’ve got to fight to preserve these freedoms. I think there is an awakening going on in this country. There’s an awakening in the church, which is just … For me, this has just made my year. Just the sermon we had on Sunday. People are waking up to the lies of the enemy, to what the enemy is doing, and it’s so incredible to be even just a tiny little part of God’s plan. Even if all we do is raise up some children who raise up some children who go out and do something great for the kingdom, I’ll be so satisfied with that. That’s all I could ever ask for.
Alex Newman: So guys, take heart. God is so much more powerful than all of his enemies combined.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Alex Newman: I mean, He could just flick them away and that’s the end of it. So we’re on His team.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. Those of you listening, I hope this has been a great encouragement to you. The ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked exists to encourage you and to equip you to disciple the hearts of your children. We love you guys. We pray for you constantly as a family. I mean, Garritt and I and our two girls, we constantly pray for you and we pray that God would use us to impact God’s kingdom and your lives. And so thank you for just being with us today.
If you would like to support the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, please click here. We are really in need of support. I mean, everything that we do … The movie is in post-production right now and it’s going so well, you guys. It’s been so very exciting to see it all coming together. Garritt has been working really hard on just getting this movie done, and it has brought tears to my eyes more than once. And if you know me, you know I do not cry easily. But it’s so exciting to see the movie coming together, and then the podcast, and everything that we have going on. It all costs a lot of money to do these things, and so if the Lord puts it on your heart to help support the ministry financially, you can go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and there’s a link there. You can actually make a donation and help support the ministry that way.
Otherwise, thank you guys. You are an incredible encouragement to us. Thank you for those who continue to send letters in and just comments and stuff, and letting us know that this ministry is a blessing to you. We love you guys. Have a fantastic rest of your night, and we will see you guys back here soon. Buh-bye.
If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella continue their homeschool Q&A series with a discussion on homeschool parent mentors. Where can you find a mentor? What are the benefits of having one? Is the internet really enough, or could in-person interactions be even more valuable?
Yvette Hampton: This question says, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor that can walk me through and help me step by step.” Oh, I love this question.
Aby Rinella: Yes, you do. We all do.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, we do. And let me just say that is so much of the reason why we do what we do at Schoolhouse Rocked. Aby and I do not spend the time that we do, recording podcasts and videos, and doing all these things because we make a ton of money at it, or get tons of rewards for it. Our reward is knowing that we are doing what God has called us to do, and being a blessing to you. And so, we really want to help, virtually mentor you. And we have others who do that with us, because Aby and I are still going into our 10th year of homeschooling, but there are many who have gone ahead of me and graduated their kids.
Yvette Hampton: And so, I have people in my life, like Durenda Wilson, Rachael Carman, Ginger Hubbard, and Connie Albers and people like that who…, who have spent years pouring into their kids, and are now pouring into us younger moms. It’s the whole Titus 2 thing. The older women teaching the younger women how to do this parenting, and marriage, and life thing, and being keepers of our home. Because homeschooling falls under all of those categories, and so you do need a homeschooling mentor.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: I would say if you can find someone in your local church, or a local Christian homeschool support group or co-op, or something like that, seek them out. Because I think it’s part of our nature as humans to want to feel needed. It’s a blessing to those who are helping. I know when moms come to me and say, “Can you just help me with this, can you answer this question for me,” Or, “I was thinking about this, and I know you’ve been through this already, can you just walk me through this?” It is a huge blessing to me, and an honor, to be able to walk with them and help them to do that. And then, you know what? Later on, down the road, you get to be that to someone else.
Aby Rinella: Yes. And please, if you are at the end of this journey, when you graduate your last, don’t be done. It is so important that you stay in the game, because these new moms need you. And often, I think, without these great mentors, they may quit. So, stay in the game. There are a lot of mentorship things online where you can reach out to people, but I think nothing beats someone that’s walking it with you day-to-day, that can show up at your house and fold socks with you while you’re crying, and pray with you, and knows your kids, but… So, what was actually the question though? “How do I find one?”
Yvette Hampton: It’s more kind of a statement than a question.
Aby Rinella: Okay, okay.
Yvette Hampton: I think she’s just saying, “How do I find a homeschool mentor?”
Aby Rinella: So, one thing I would say is, “Ask.” Where I live, I tried to set up a homeschool mentorship program where we took some of the veteran moms and the younger moms. I remember the veteran moms saying several times, “These new young homeschool moms, they don’t act like they need us. They’re not asking. They have it all kind of figured out, and they’ve got their books and their online courses, and their this and their that.” So, don’t be afraid to go to that older woman in your area that has homeschooled, and say, “Hey, would you mentor me?” Don’t be afraid to ask. And older moms, please don’t be afraid to reach out to the younger moms. We need that.
Yvette Hampton: Right, yeah. And be honest and transparent with them. Don’t act like you have it all together, because none of us do, trust me.
Aby Rinella: Totally. We can see right through you.
Yvette Hampton: Just be honest with them and just say, “This is really what I’m struggling with.” And sometimes you may not have that person in your local community, but try to find that person somewhere.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. [chuckle] Part of me wants to say, “You know, even through social media, you can find that.” But you can also find a lot of really, really bad advice.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: And so, I would say, be careful of that too. Rarely do I ever go on homeschool social media pages, like on Facebook and stuff, because some of the advice out there is just so poor. Some people give really good, sound Biblical advice, but some don’t. So just be careful who you’re listening to.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: She’s saying, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor.” So, it sounds to me like she’s wanting someone who really is going to point her towards Christ.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, because a homeschool mentor is going to homeschool you in everything. Like you said, life, parenting, motherhood, marriage. So, you make sure your mentor lines up with God’s Word as they mentor you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. And check everything through scripture. Don’t just take it for what they say, but back things up with scripture.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Sadly, we are out of time for today. Again, if you have questions for us, please send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is our absolute privilege and joy and honor to be able to answer those for you. So, let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, thank you for joining me today, again. And you guys cannot see this right now, but Aby is wearing a Schoolhouse Rocked T-shirt. And it is so cute.
Aby Rinella: It is so awesome. There are Schoolhouse Rocked long sleeves, shorts, it’s endless. You could actually change out your entire wardrobe to Schoolhouse Rocked… And your husband’s, too, honestly!
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: If you go to the Schoolhouse Rocked website, click “Support Schoolhouse Rocked” and select “Store” in the drop-down menu (Or click HERE!)
I recently received a message from a family member in Michigan. Even though all of her kids are grown and out of school, she had noticed a growing trend of families leaving the public schools there. Knowing that we are big proponents of homeschooling, in an effort to understand some of what was driving this trend, she wrote me to find out why we had chosen to homeschool.
While I was happy to answer her questions, I was also excited at the opportunity to finally write down all of the things our family loves about homeschooling. While I know that every homeschool family has different motivations for choosing to home educate, I know that we never planned to do it, so over the years I have had to carefully consider what changed our minds and hearts. I also know that as the years have gone by (we are in our 9th year of formal homeschooling now) many of my convictions have grown. Where I was once loosely convicted that homeschooling was best for our family, at least for a time, I have now become firmly convinced that homeschooling is the gold standard for education through high school, and in many cases, even through college. In fact, while I was educated in public and private schools from kindergarten through junior college, I very happily completed a Bachelor’s degree at home, and would heartily recommend that graduating high school students take seriously the option of getting a college degree at home.
One quick note: While I normally would not shift between “I” and “we” pronouns so readily in a single article, in this case it is completely appropriate and even necessary. Homeschooling is a team sport! Homeschooling works best when mom, dad, and kids are all on board. While this isn’t always the case, it really helps. I know, as the husband, father, and spiritual leader in my home, my role is critical. I must support my wife, who is the primary teacher. We must be unified. I must encourage my children in their learning and they must be engaged in that process. We must be active in training the hearts and minds of my children, and I must take the lead in teaching them the Word of God.
So, after far too long, this is why we homeschool.
First, we love that we can integrate the Bible into every aspect of our girls’ education. While we know that every homeschooling family isn’t Christian or even religious, it should still strike everyone as a benefit that every aspect of your child’s education (every academic subject, religious discipleship, character training, professional training, etc.) can reflect the values, morals, and goals of the family. Our primary goal for our girls is that no matter what academic subjects they enjoy or excel at, in everything they would have a Biblical worldview and would develop a distinctly Christian character.
While we fully expect our girls to be well-educated and we work diligently to teach them fundamental skills and subjects like math, reading, writing, logic, language, history, and science, we know that both knowledge and wisdom begin with the fear of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) We also know that rather than worrying about what we (or our children) will eat or wear, where they will live, or what they will do, we are instructed to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and all of these other things will be added. Matthew 6:25-33
The next thing we love about homeschooling is the ability to customize the education that each of our daughters receives to their personal strengths, abilities, desires, goals, and preferences. We know that every person is specially made by God for an individual purpose. There is no standard person, so a standardized education is, at best, a compromise for every student. Even in our family, our girls are very different. Each excels at different things, struggles with different things, and enjoys different things. We believe that these gifts, strengths, and preferences give us some insight into what God is preparing these girls for in the future, for His glory, so we do our best to customize our girls’ training to best develop their strengths and allow them to work in the areas that interest them.
That said, we still want our girls to have a well-rounded education, so we make sure that they are getting instruction in many different subjects. Even though one of our girls doesn’t love math, that doesn’t mean she won’t need to know math to succeed in life, so we teach her math – in a way that best suits her learning style. Because of our ability to custom fit their education experience, we can pay special attention to both of our girls needs and struggles and give them the help they need where they struggle. In fact, because of the flexibility of homeschooling, the ability to repeat content that hasn’t been mastered, the ability to teach at the pace of the student, and the availability of excellent curriculum and resources (in our case, Teaching Textbooks was a LIFESAVER), our daughter is now doing great with math and has become confident in her skills.
Next, we love that homeschooling allows us to teach for MASTERY of subjects. In a traditional educational model, all of the students must move through the curriculum at roughly the same pace. The teacher tailors the curriculum and lessons for the middle of the class. Some students excel and are bored as they wait for their peers to catch up with them. Other students struggle to keep up and never really learn the material. Only a small percentage of the class gets the optimum amount of instruction, and those students will not be the same in each subject so, in every case, students are not trained at the optimum pace to truly master the subjects they study. Advanced students will always be hindered and slower students will always be left in the dust.
In homeschooling, we have the luxury of adjusting the pace of every course to perfectly meet the needs of our children. We don’t move on until they have mastered the material and we never make them needlessly repeat work they have already mastered, when they could be moving on to new material and subjects. While this means that our most homeschoolers don’t fit within their “grade level” in every subject – they may be “ahead” or “behind” – they have the opportunity to truly master the subjects they study. As an added benefit, we are under no compulsion to study six to eight subjects every day and move to the next classroom when a bell rings. If we want to take a full day, week, or month to dive deep into a subject we can. If we have a child who wants to do several math lessons every day, to move ahead, there is nothing stopping them.
We love the freedom that homeschooling provides our family. We have the freedom to set our schedule and modify it any time, depending on what is going on in life. We have the freedom to travel and to teach from everywhere and anywhere. You wouldn’t believe the amount of GREAT educational experiences we have had in our car, as guests at peoples’ homes and farms, at historical sites, at national parks, at the beach, and just about everywhere else. Not only do we have the freedom to travel, but we have freedom of location. We can live or work anywhere and we don’t have to worry about what school district we will be in or if we will be around at the beginning of the school year. Homeschooling allows us to pursue the things that are important to our family. We are able to work together, to minister together, and to experience every aspect of life together – joys and challenges.
On the topic of freedom, we love that homeschooling allows us to teach the foundations of freedom. While History, Social Studies, Government, Civics, Economics, and nearly every other subject taught in public schools have been corrupted by distinctly socialist, anti-American, anti-constitutional, and anti-family agendas, we have the freedom to teach these subject without the progressive bent.
We know that our children are OUR responsibility. Public schools are constantly pushing the boundaries of influence and control they exert over students (and even parents). Under the legal principle of In Loco Parentis, public schools take the place of the parent in matters of discipline, medical treatments (including the administration of birth control, abortions, and cross-sex hormone treatments), mental health evaluation and treatment, mandated vaccinations, and the authorization of instruction in sensitive and controversial subjects, regardless of the will of parents. While many parents believe they have the right to opt their children out of controversial lessons, in practice, this isn’t the case. Many parents are currently outraged about dangerous, anti-family Comprehensive Sex Ed (CSE) programs being implemented in schools across the country. In district after district, parents are shocked to find out what is being taught in these programs – after their ELEMENTARY SCHOOL students are already being taught – and they are wondering why they didn’t have the option to opt out. When parents drop their children off at school they turn over their authority to the school, in many cases, even when the student isn’t at school.
These parents are missing an important point. The “C” in CSE stands for “Comprehensive.” Pro-homosexual, pro-LGBT instruction, which promotes early sexual activity and deviant and dangerous sexual behavior, is being integrated into every subject. That’s what “Comprehensive” means. History classes have the accomplishments of prominent gay leaders added. Science and health classes get heavy doses of sexual instruction added under the guise of “preventing pregnancy” and “preventing HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.” The library has books on finding your “true” identity and defining “family.” English classes read “sexually suggestive” poems and students are instructed to write down the included vulgar terms for genitalia.
We understand that ALL education is indoctrination (the teaching of established doctrines – basic, deeply held principles) and ALL education is discipleship (the intimate training of the whole person – intellect, character, and values). We love that in homeschooling we get to direct every aspect of that indoctrination and discipleship. We know that no one, not even the best, most loving, most dedicated teacher, with the highest moral character, will love our children or care for their lives on earth or their eternal souls like we will. Therefore, we believe that we, their parents, are best suited to direct that indoctrination and discipleship.
While it isn’t the most important aspect of home education, it should be noted that there are a wealth of excellent resources available to homeschooling families. High quality curriculum and resources to cover EVERY subject can be easily found from multiple vendors. In fact, there are even completely free homeschool programs that cover every subject and every grade from pre-school to high school, and most colleges and universities offer their courses online as video and audio podcasts.
In addition to the wealth of curricular resources, there are support groups and co-ops that focus on every imaginable teaching method. Classical education has become very popular among homeschoolers in the past decade or so, and it is growing even in private schools. Homeschoolers are able to determine what methods or combination of methods work best for their family. Some of the popular styles or methods employed, in addition to classical education, are Charlotte Mason, eclectic, unit studies, lifeschooling, unschooling, Montessori, virtual school/online school/video instruction, and combinations of all of these. In our own home we have used a combination of Classical, lifeschooling, and eclectic methods, augmented by online and video programs for a few specific subjects.
Finally, because it is the most common objection to homeschooling, I will address the socialization question. Because homeschooling is legal in every state, and has been since the early 1990s, the stigma of having your kids out in public during the week just doesn’t exist any more. Homeschooling families have the freedom to go about life together in ways that they didn’t in the early days of the homeschooling revival in the early 1980s (it must be noted that homeschooling was the norm throughout history, and the “traditional” classroom model has only been common for around 160 years). In just about every state, county, and city, families have the opportunity to have their kids involved in sports, social clubs, church, AWANA, youth groups, service organizations, scouting organizations, and educational co-ops. Our girls have never lacked opportunities to be social. They have participated in gymnastics, AWANA, youth group, several homeschool co-ops, and an organized weekly classical homeschool program. To the contrary, we have often had to dial back the social activities to avoid being overwhelmed by them.
As our girls have grown they have also been able to work with us and serve others in important ways. We have enjoyed the distinct benefit of having our kids contribute in valuable ways to the family business and economy, and to the running of the household. This has not only benefitted our whole family, but they have become very competent homemakers and skilled “employees,” which will prove invaluable as they grow into wives, mothers, homemakers, leaders, and servants in their communities.
While we, and most homeschooling families, realize that homeschooling offers an unequalled opportunity to develop socially, it should be noted that “traditional” school offers a very unnatural and unhealthy social construct. It is one in which students are segregated by age and discouraged from “socializing” in class. Their personal wills are minimized and they are herded around in groups from task to task every time a bell rings. It is also one in which the dangers of peer pressure and violence are very real. In fact, the only other social constructs that closely resemble the social structure of schools (especially public schools) are prisons and asylums.
As you research this subject, I would like to recommend several resources we have produced, including podcast episodes on the “why” of homeschooling, how to homeschool, and the benefits of homeschooling.
If you are considering homeschooling yourself, I would like to invite you to register for ouronline homeschool conference, the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. There you will find over 35 hours of homeschooling instruction and encouragement and a wealth of homeschooling resources in the Digital Swag Bag. Registration includes lifetime access to every session and you can watch each session video online or download the audio to listen on the go.
Homeschooling in Your State (State Homeschooling Organizations) – Almost every state has a Christian state homeschool organization, made up of mostly volunteers, who are on the front lines fighting to keep YOUR freedom to homeschool and providing you with the information and resources you need to homeschool legally and successfully. These organizations are vital to the homeschool benefits we all enjoy and your involvement and support are critical.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) – HSLDA is a legal organization that works to protect and defend the rights of parents to educate their children. In addition to their legal support they also have support representatives who can give state-specific homeschooling guidance. Finally, they track and fight anti-family and anti-homeschooling legislation in the United States and around the world, even arguing in the Supreme Court at times.
Classical Conversations – This is the largest Christian homeschool program in the country. They have a ton of really good articles on their blog.
Teach Them Diligently – These guys put on large Christian homeschool conferences in several states. Homeschool conferences are a great place to preview curriculum and to get encouraged and equipped.
Few subjects bring so much fear and uncertainty to parents as the thought of pulling their kids out of school and homeschooling them. While there are a wealth of fantastic resources available and a thriving homeschool movement across the country, until families take the leap into homeschooling there are always going to be unknowns and the nagging thoughts of “am I able”, “am I enough”, “will my kids get a good education”, “will my kids be able to get into college”, and the ever-present “what about socialization.”
Even if your kids haven’t started school yet and you are just considering homeschooling your preschooler or kindergartener, many of those same questions and doubts persist, and too many times this is compounded by the objections of friends and family members.
Here’s the good news. You can do this! Literally MILLIONS of students are being homeschooled right now. Not only have Millions been homeschooled since the rise of modern homeschooling, many more have been homeschooled throughout history, as “traditional school” has only been the standard for the past 150 years or so.
There’s even more good news. Not only can you do this, but it will be good for your children. Homeschooled students are thriving. Decades of research is now proving that homeschooled students are, on the whole, better prepared for college and life than their public and private schooled peers. Here are just a few links to back up these claims:
If you, or someone you know, is considering homeschooling we encourage you to attend the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We have gathered an amazing group of speakers together for a week of homeschooling encouragement and practical advice. The online conference will be LIVE and INTERACTIVE from February 17th through the 21st and registration includes lifetime access to the videos, notes, and a virtual swag bag full of valuable resources. Lifetime registration is just $20 here.
Homeschooling is good for students, good for families, and good for culture, so it is our mission to encourage and equip homeschooling families to start well and finish strong.
Yvette Hampton recently talked with author and speaker, Israel Wayne about how to start homeschooling – how to do it well – and how to make it to graduation and beyond! Israel Wayne is the author of Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, which answers many of the questions that people have when considering whether homeschooling is appropriate for their family. In this conversation, Israel and Yvette discuss why so many families choose to homeschool and how the alternatives (public school, and private school) are really doing. They also discuss whether homeschooling is appropriate for all types of families, or if it is best suited to certain groups.
They also discussed what steps a family should take when they want to start homeschooling and what really matters once they start, whether it’s curriculum choices, educational methods, scheduling, organization, life skills, relationships, or discipleship. Finally, Israel gives helpful insights for dads in leading their families in instruction and discipleship.
Enjoy their conversation
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have a return guest on with me today, and he is one of my absolute favorite homeschool people, one of my favorite guests that we’ve ever had on the podcast. As a matter of fact, Israel, I think that your podcast, I don’t think, I know that your podcast interview that I did with you quite some time ago is one of the most listened to that we’ve ever done. I am so excited to have you back on. Israel Wayne, welcome to the podcast again.
Israel Wayne: Hey, it’s great to be back with you. Thank you so much.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you. Thank you. You are such a blessing to us. We have really enjoyed getting to know you, Garritt and I. We’re excited, because you’re going to be part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo that we have coming up February 17th through the 21st. It’s so funny, because people keep looking at the list of speakers that we have at our speaker lineup and just going “Oh my goodness, this is amazing, you have the best of the best of the homeschool heroes.” And I don’t say that to puff you up. I say that because you have truly had a huge impact in not only my life, but I know the lives of thousands and thousands of families. We are very honored. It is only by the grace of God that we have the speakers that we have for this event, and you are one of them that from the very beginning we said, “We’ve got to get Israel as a speaker for this event.” So thank you for joining us for that in a few weeks, and thank you for being with me again on the podcast today.
Israel Wayne: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: Tell us very quickly about your family, because you’ve got a couple of kids and a wife who you really like.
Israel Wayne: Yes, absolutely. Well, my homeschool journey actually started when I was a child. My family began homeschooling in 1978, which is like what, 42 years ago now? I’ve been in it my whole life, and was homeschooled all the way through high school, met my wife, who was homeschooled. Her family started homeschooling in 1983. Both of our families were pioneer homeschooling families. My mother founded and published the Home School Digest magazine since 1988, so I kind of grew up in the leadership side of homeschooling as well. So when my wife and I got married, being that we were homeschooled pretty much our whole way through, it was a foregone conclusion for us that we would homeschool our children. Lord has so far blessed us with 10 children. The oldest is 19, and the youngest has just turned a year. We have 10 children sandwiched in there between 19 and 10. Our oldest is working full-time. We have a daughter that just turned 18, a son that turned 16, I’m taking him to driver’s ed here later today.
Yvette Hampton: Oh no! Wow!
Israel Wayne: It’s one of those things. We actually have four teenagers living in our home right now, and then some little ones too. So we’re kind of hitting it on all cylinders, all sides of the parenting spectrum, we’re deeply entrenched in now, the parenting scene and the homeschooling world as well. Now, I speak at conferences and write books on homeschooling as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s awesome, and you don’t write books just on homeschooling, you write books on family, on parenting and things like that as well. So, that is exciting. We’re doing a series right now on getting started homeschooling. This time of the year is that time where, as you know, because you’ve been in homeschooling for quite a long time, it’s that time of year where you kind of get into that slump. A lot of moms, they’re thinking through “Okay, why am I doing this? Am I going to do this again next year? What does our family look like?”, and reevaluating their decision to homeschool. Many of them are sold out on homeschooling and they wouldn’t do anything different, but they’re still having to think through what the rest of this year and next year is going to look like for them. Then you’ve got that kind of group of parents who are starting to think … There’s something about the holidays where we come into the new year and we start thinking “What are we going to do next year for our kids and for their education?”
Yvette Hampton: We’ve got that group of parents too who are just saying “What are we going to do? How are we going to educate our kids next year? Are we going to send them to public school, private school, homeschool? What are the options here for me?” And those are always my favorite people to talk to. I love nothing more than being able to talk heart-to-heart with another mom and just explain to her why homeschooling is so beneficial to our families. I would love for you to be able to talk about “what are some of the benefits of school?”, “Why do this?”, “Why get started in this whole journey of homeschooling?” Because it’s not always easy. It’s a lot of work actually, but it’s so worth it, and anything worth doing is hard. Can you just talk to the heart of those parents who are maybe just kind of thinking through “Okay, where are we going with this? What are we going to do next?”
Israel Wayne: Sure. Well, not all homeschoolers are religious, and not religious homeschoolers are of the same faith or religion. But for my wife and I, we’re Christians, and our Christian faith is very important to us. It’s a very defining aspect of our life and who we are. We want to be able to pass our faith onto our children, but I think for all parents, whether they’re religious or not, there’s a desire to pass their values onto their children and to teach them the things that are important to them. Then relationship. One of the things that I talk about in my books is the importance of influence, and if you want to have influence in your child’s life, you have to spend time with them. It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of children growing up in the United States, their parents are not the predominate influence in their life, simply because the parents have given away the number one factor or force in influence, which is time.
Israel Wayne: So if you want to have influence in your child’s life you need to buy back time, and homeschooling is a wonderful way to do that, because you get to actually be present with your children, to be with them and to teach them your faith and values. In the process of that you will have more conflict, I’ll just be honest, if you do that, as with any relationship, because when you spend time around people you see your faults and you rub each other the wrong way. It’s kind of like marriage, right? The more that you spend time with somebody the more that they can irritate you? But I don’t know very many people who say “The more you spend time with somebody the more possibility there is for conflict or irritations, so don’t get married.”
Israel Wayne: Most people recognize that there’s a huge payoff in that, yeah, you have more opportunity for conflict, but you have more opportunity for a deep profound loving relationship as well. That’s true with our children, that the more that we spend time with them, them more we’re around them, those conflicts actually give us an opportunity to press into real relationship and a quality and a level of relationship that we would never have if we only saw them occasionally. The same thing with like a marriage relationship, you would just never have the opportunity to really get to know someone or grow into deep love with someone if you just see them occasionally. This opportunity that we have with these children to be the primary influence in their life, for me, as the credit card commercial says, that’s priceless.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I love that. A few weeks ago I interviewed Durenda Wilson, and we were talking about sibling relationships. One of the things that really hit me during our conversation was we were talking about the opportunity that we have as parents to work with our children through their relationship with one another as siblings. Sometimes that can be a really, really hard thing. But what struck me about our conversation was I thought as parents we have a responsibility to teach our children how to handle relationships with other people, and if you can imagine, everyone working and really putting effort and being intentional about teaching our children to get along with one another and to be forgiving and to be loving and to be selfless, and all the of the things that you would expect in a marriage and that you want in a marriage, if we can teach that to our kids with their brothers and sisters, imagine how much better they are going to be prepared for a successful marriage, because you take those same characteristics into marriage and you’re going to have a pretty solid good marriage.
Yvette Hampton: But when kids learn to be selfish and they’re not around each other and they’re not used to building those family relationship, it makes it hard going into a marriage to then know how to do that. The sibling relationships are so important in addition to the parent/child relationships.
Israel Wayne: Yeah, for sure. And I’m seeing the fruit of my investment right now in my children, particularly with my oldest, because he works 40 hours a week, and then he volunteers for some things with our church. So he’s gone a lot. So we don’t have that same time that we used to have when he was here all the time and we were teaching him and so forth. But at 19 years old he’s a man now, and he does still live at home for now. But because he’s so busy and he’s working our relational dynamic has changed, and I am, and he is, we’re both best friends in way. My wife and I are best friends, but he’s one of my best friends in the whole world. So our dynamic has changed where it’s not so much parent/child as much as it is that we really are friends.
Israel Wayne: I appreciate that I have influence in his life that if there ever is anything that I need to talk to him about, like decisions that he’s making or whatever, most of the time he’ll come to me and he’ll ask me for advice and he’ll look for input, or if there’s ever a time where I feel like I need to give him advice or council on a certain direction I try to be sparing with that. He’s open to it, and the reason is because, I look at it a little bit like, I didn’t invent this analogy, but like a relationship bank. Where you put deposits into the bank and you can make a withdrawal every once in a while, because there’s enough cash in there to float a withdrawal. If there’s something I need to talk to him about and say “You know what? I think this decision would be a good decision for you”, or “I think this would be a better decision for you.”
Israel Wayne: I have some investment there that he will listen to that and he’ll take that onboard because he respects me. And he respects me because I put the time in. Our children have to know that we have their best interests at mind and at heart, and that the things that we’re doing for them, we really are doing for them. Not because it’s easiest for us. Not because it’s most convenient for us, but because we really believe that this is the best decision for them, and of course we’re parents, right? So we’re going to mess up sometimes.
Israel Wayne: We won’t always call that right, but if your children really believe that you are for them, that you love them, you like them, that you have their best interests in mind and you have invested the best of yourself and your time and your energy in them, generally speaking, that comes back to you in terms of respect and relationship and influence later on in life. But when they know that they’ve been second fiddle, when they know that they’re way down on the priority list, maybe not even two or three, maybe like 8th, 9th, 10th … The average parent in America spends 19 minutes a day with their child.
Yvette Hampton: Wow.
Israel Wayne: 19 minutes a day.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, why even have them?
Israel Wayne: Yeah, and the average parent in America watches two and a half hours of TV or Netflix every night of their life. I think kids understand that they’re just not a priority to mom and dad in most cases. So when parents come back to them at 18 years old and they’re trying to tell them what they should do … I hear parents all the time, “I don’t know why my kid doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t like me, won’t pay attention, and ignores everything I say.” Well, they got ignored their whole childhood. So you didn’t put the time in, didn’t put the investment in. So for us, homeschooling is really just an extension of parenting and relationship. I call it Parenting With Academics. We’re not really doing anything radically different. It’s not school-at-home. It’s just the parenting and relationship process, adding academics to that mix.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, that’s such a great answer. I love that. We were talking about just that relationship between parent and child, and I know when we’re talking about homeschooling and why parents should homeschool oftentimes we talk about it from the perspective of “Don’t put your child in public school.” And I’m going to ask you a question that I know is going to step on some toes, and I don’t ask this in order to do so. I ask this because I really want to think through this. I want parents listening to this to actually think through the process of this, and I want to talk about private Christian school, because oftentimes parents will say “Well, I wouldn’t put my kids in a public school because clearly what they’re being taught there is completely against everything that God’s word says, but if I put them in this really good Christian private school they’ll be fine.”
Yvette Hampton: And let me just give a disclaimer here. I grew up in a really good Christian private school. I loved the school that I went to and I was discipled by my teachers that I had. I had great Christian, solid Christian, teachers who really helped guide my spiritual walk as a teenager. But that is certainly not always the case, and even now Garritt and I have really come to the conclusion for our family that we believe that homeschooling is best, even if there was a perfect … Well, I shouldn’t say perfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect school or a perfect homeschool. But even if there was an excellent Christian school, as you will, talk to the parent who’s maybe considering “Well, we have this opportunity to put him in a good Christian school or homeschool, because now I look at the relationship part of it and I think I would never want to give up that time with my child and me being the one to disciple them.” What would you say to that parent?
Israel Wayne: Well, when you look in scripture there’s three different categories that we can evaluate this from. The first is what does God command, or what does God prescribe, and then the second would be what does God allow? Then the third is what does God forbid? Then we can take those three principles and we can apply them to education, and you’ll find that if you’re looking simply at what the scripture prescribes, what it commands, you find repeated commandments for parents to teach their children, instruct their children, disciple their children, discipline their children, train them in the way that they should go. You have multiple passages, dozens of passages in the Bible where God commands parents to teach their children. There are no other groups in the Bible, other people groups, or agencies, that are commanded by God to teach children except in a couple of places. Grandparents, where it says “Teach your sons and sons’ sons”, or “Your children and your children’s children.”
Israel Wayne: You have just a couple of passages where grandparents are commanded by God to teach their grandchildren. But for the most part it’s parents. Interestingly, the government is never commanded to teach children. They’re told in 1 Peter 2:14 and then Romans 13 that they’re supposed to bear the sword to punish the evildoer, that’s their responsibility. You don’t bear a sword … Bearing the sword doesn’t have anything to do with raising children. Then the church, interestingly, and this’ll be hard for some people, but do your own study on it, there are no passages in the new testament where the church is ever commanded specifically to teach children as a separate entity or separate group, and there are no examples in the new testament early church where the new testament church ever did it. There are none. We have built this entire infrastructure within the church on the idea of the church being responsible for teaching children, and there’s not one verse anywhere in the new testament that supports that concept.
Israel Wayne: Now, so then you ask “Well, then are you saying it’s forbidden?” Well, no. Things that are not specifically forbidden in scripture, in direct command or in principle, are allowable. So is it wrong for the church to teach children? No, it’s not, and certainly in the context of the body, or the context of the entire church you don’t want to disciple everyone in the church. That’s part of the thing. But a more fully Biblically orbed view of the church’s role in education is that they’re supposed to teach parents how to teach their children. They’re supposed to disciple parents to know how to disciple their own children, not to be replacement parents, not to be surrogate parents who do the work for them. I see very few churches that operate that way, very few churches that even have an understanding of that. I wrote a book called Education: Does God Have an Opinion? And in this book, I talk a lot about that whole concept of what does the Bible say about education and what are the parameters that we should have when we look at this issue?
Israel Wayne: Finally, when we look at what does God forbid in education, you’ll find that anti-Christian teaching is forbidden. Very expressly, very clearly, in multiple places in scripture, as a Christian parent you cannot lie to your children, you cannot give them false narratives about who God is, about the reality of life and how God is ordained and orchestrated in life-to-work and gender identity and all of those kinds of things. It’s not optional for us to promote an educational system that lies to our children and teaches them things that false, and teaches them things that are anti-Christian. That’s not an option. So, back to Christian schools. Are they allowable? Biblically they’re allowable in that they’re not expressly forbidden in direct command or in principle, but I think when you look at Deuteronomy six and some other passages where Deuteronomy six, it talks about how you’re supposed to teach your children from the time that you wake up in the morning to the time that you go to sleep at night, and you’re supposed to teach them whether they’re inside your house or outside your house.
Israel Wayne: Is there ever a time when you’re not inside your house or outside your house? Is there ever a time when you’re awake that it isn’t encompassed in that Deuteronomy six mandate? I think you’d have a really hard time doing that when you’re sending your children away from you for over 10000 hours between kindergarten and 12th grade. I don’t know how you fulfill the commands that you’re told to do in scripture when your children are being sent away from you. So there are situations that are less than ideal, and I think that we need to be sympathetic to those.
Israel Wayne: But even those situations where you don’t have the ideal scenario, you have maybe one parent and that parents has to work and whatever, and other people have to come along and make up for the lack based on the condition, it still has to be in the fear of the lord, it still has to be based on the truth. It can’t be anti-Christian. So there’s a place I think for Christian education that doesn’t look like parents teaching within the home. I think there’s a place for that, but we wouldn’t consider that to be the normal prescribed approach or method in scripture.
Yvette Hampton: Well said. I want to say, I’m not trying to put down anybody who has their children in school, because like you said, there are many situations where that is necessary. We have a friend, she has cancer right now, and she’s been struggling with her health for years now, and she had to put her children in school this year. It just broke her heart, because she really wants to be home with them, but she couldn’t physically be home with them. So they had to put their kids in school. And God is faithful, our kids belong to him. So I’m not trying to shame anybody who does. I just want to think through-
Israel Wayne: Yeah, we welcome the church to come along in those moments and help us. One thing I want to say though too is that the average cost for private school right now is 8600 dollars per year per child.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, it’s very expensive.
Israel Wayne: Which is crazy-expensive, and parents do it thinking “These people are going to give my children a strong Biblical world view”, and I want to encourage parents to do two things, Google Search a couple of things. Number one, the Gen 2 Survey. G-E-N, the number two, and then Survey. They have a chart in that survey, the Gen 2 Survey, it’s the largest study on church millennials. They have a chart in there that shows how education impacts the outcome of people having faith in Christ, having good relationship with their parents, having satisfaction in life, having a life that reflects Christian values and Christian fruit I guess you would say. All of those things are very dramatically impacted by the education that they receive, and Christian schools, according to the Gen 2 Survey, are producing negative results in your children becoming a Christian, living like a Christian, having a Biblical worldview, having a close relationship with mom and dad and having satisfaction in life. Negative in every one of those categories on the whole.
Yvette Hampton: Wow.
Israel Wayne: Christian schools are actually negating against the Christian faith, not helping it, not improving it. Your child is less likely to be a Christian if they go to a Christian school than if they’re homeschooled, by far.
Yvette Hampton: Wow.
Israel Wayne: Another thing that I’ll point you to is NehemiahInstitute.com. If you go to NehemiahInstitue.com, on the very homepage there is a graphic that shows Biblical worldview assessment tests of students that are homeschooled, those that are in public school, and those that in Christian school, those that in public school and Christian school, a very low Biblical worldview and decreasing. It’s been decreasing since 1988. Whereas, homeschooling is significantly better and is slightly increasing. Both the Gen 2 Survey and the Nehemiah Institute show that Christian schools and public schools are both actually negative to faith outcomes, whereas homeschooling is positive. So we don’t base what we do on statistics, we base what we do on scripture, but the statistics seem to be bearing out what we find prescribed in scripture, parents taking responsibility for the discipleship of their children works, sending your children away from you to people, who in many cases you don’t even know, to teach your children things, you don’t know what they’re being taught. That approach is not working.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I agree. You were talking earlier about the church and how oftentimes we expect the church to do the discipling of our children and to teach them spiritually and to grow them spiritually. Oftentimes I think parents do that with school as well. We expect them to not just educate them academically, but to educate them spiritually, and that’s a dangerous road to take, because Luke 6:40 says “A student will become like his master.” Well, do you know every one of their teachers, even if it’s a Christian school? Like I said, I went to a great Christian school, but this was almost 30 years ago, and I had great teachers but not all of them were believers. And that’s a touch place, but even when we do that, just like when we go to church, it’s still the parents’ responsibility. So when they’re coming home from school, whether it’s public or private, are we knowing what they’ve been taught and are we undoing anything that has been negatively taught to them according to God’s word, and are we still taking that role of discipleship with their hearts, because that still ultimately is the role of parents?
Israel Wayne: One more thing on the Christian schools. Nehemiah Institute has a Biblical worldview assessment test, and the Christian school teachers as well as students, and one of the things that they show is that the majority of Christian school teachers actually have a worldview that is either secular, humanist, or socialist. And you think “Well, how could that be?” I was talking with Dan Smith with the guy that is the leader of Nehemiah Institute, and he said that one of the reasons for that is that schools, because they cost so much money, Christian schools, they are requiring these teachers to be certified. 30 years ago that wasn’t a requirement, but now the schools are requiring they have teacher certification.
Israel Wayne: Well, where do they get that teacher certification? In most cases if you graduate from a teacher school you have gotten the most anti-Christian humanist socialist education on the planet, and you’ve been certified that you passed. So you bring these teachers in on the basis of their academic credentials and that they sign your statement of faith, but most schools never have any Biblical worldview assessment that they give before they hire to find out do they know how to think Biblically about social issues and about economics and science and so forth.
Yvette Hampton: Right. I don’t remember who I heard this from for the first time, it was many years ago. But as I heard when my oldest was a baby I think, is that we’re not raising children, we are raising adults. And that’s very true. We’re raising adults, we’re raising these kids to be all that God has created them to be. In your book called Education: Does God Have an Opinion, in the appendix on that one you have a sectioned called A Christian Education Manifesto. I would love for you to kind of jump into that and talk about what that is.
Israel Wayne: Sure. Well, I’ve often had people say to me that God doesn’t have an opinion on education, God doesn’t care how we educate our children, there’s no one-size-fits-all, what works for you may not work for me, there’s public school, private school, charter school, online school, homeschool, and people often say “You can’t say that God has one prescribed approach that’s the right fit for everybody.” That sounds really good, until you actually study the scripture on it, and my book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion, this book came out of a conversation that I had with my mother when I was a teenager, a young teenager, and I made that statement. I said “I don’t know whether I’ll homeschool my children or not. I guess I’ll just have to find out what my wife wants to do”, and I kind of liked being homeschooled myself. There were definite perks to it. I liked not having to get up till 9:00 in the morning and do school in my pajamas and not have to stand outside when it was cold and wait for the school bus.
Israel Wayne: There were perks, there were things I thought were pretty good about homeschooling, but as a young teen I’d never really done a scriptural study on it. My mom encouraged me, she said “I would like you to write an essay and defend that viewpoint, that God doesn’t care about education, it doesn’t matter how you educate your children. Defend that viewpoint, but defend it from the Bible, not just your opinion, but find scripture that actually supports your view that any form of schooling is equal and valid.” So, I thought, “Well, this shouldn’t take too long.” I thought I’d be able to whip something together in a couple hours, and I started studying that topic and boy, 30 years later I’m still studying the topic. But I found I was definitively wrong, that God was not silent on education, that God wrote voluminously on the issue of education and the scripture, both old testament and new testament, is absolutely full of statements of how God wants his children to be educated. He’s not silent on the issue, he has spoken.
Israel Wayne: So that appendix is mostly just scripture verses. This whole book has a lot of scripture in it all the way through it, but that appendix in the back is kind of a compilation where I just took a bunch of passages of scripture and applied it. One thing I’ll say about it is that when you see a universal principle that applied to everything, that universal principle that applies to everything applies to everything that it applies to. Everything it applies to is everything. So if you’re talking about everything, then you’re also talking about education, because education is a subset of everything. When you see something that God says that’s universally true for everything, then you have to say, “God has made this statement about education as well.” So just when you look through some of these passages, let me just grab a few of them, we sometimes don’t think about some of these passages as applying to education in particular, or schooling.
Israel Wayne: Like take Psalm 1 for example, it says “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked.” Let’s just stop there. What kind of council are your children getting in the school that they’re in? Is it Godly council, or is it ungodly council? Is it wicked council? Is it teaching them the truth about their origins, or is it lying to them about who made them and where they came from? Is it teaching that God created everything in six days, or is it teaching them that they’re the result of a cosmic accident four billion years ago? Is it teaching them that God made them male and female, or is it teaching them that gender is a fluid concept? Is it teaching them that there are moral absolutes and there’s right and wrong that’s truly objective for all people and all places and all times, or is it teaching them relativism, that truth is in the eye of the beholder and what might be true for you is not true for me, we can decide our own truth, we can make our own path?
Israel Wayne: What is it teaching them about even sex before marriage, and so many of these things? But what is the school teaching them? Is it Godly council, or is it ungodly? Well, this tells us we’re supposed to avoid the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners. What’s the social environment of the school like? Is it a Godly social environment? We’re told in Proverbs 13:20 that “He who walks with wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed.” What’s the social environment like? Or in 1 Corinthians 15:33 we’re told “Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character.” So what kind of social environment are your children being exposed to? So many times people bring up the socialization quote, “Aren’t you concerned about socialization?”
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Israel Wayne: “Well, yes. That’s why we’re homeschooling. We don’t want our children to be in the way of sinners.” Now you’re saying “Oh, so you’re saying that you want to isolate your children and never allow them to spend time with anyone who’s not a Christian?” Well, I talked about this in the first podcast and those that didn’t listen to it should go back and listen to it, but the number one factor in influence in someone’s life is time, and if you let your children spend significant time around other children, those children will influence your child. It will just happen. If you let them spend time around anybody! A video game console. An iPod.
Israel Wayne: They’re going to be influenced by what they spend most time around. So the question is who do you want to be that influence, their peer group, or you as a parent? If you spend time around wise people you become wise, but around foolish people you will be destroyed. Well, what are foolish people? Well, in Proverbs 22:15 it says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” That’s one Biblical definition of a fool. The other Biblical definition of a fool that comes to mind is when the scripture says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” So what do we do as Christian parents?
Israel Wayne: We think “I want my child to be well-rounded, and I want them to be successful in life, so I’m going to put them in a classroom with 30 to 40 children that the Bible says has foolishness bound up in their heart and have an atheist teacher who says there is no God, and if they’re not in that environment with this atheist teacher that the Bible calls a fool, and these students that God calls foolish, if they’re not just immersed in this pool of foolishness they won’t be able to grow up and be socially well-adjusted.” Well, where did we get that idea? We didn’t get that idea from scripture. Scripture doesn’t support that idea. Scripture never tells you “Make sure you socialize your children with lots of other children.” I challenge you, parents, get your Bible, get a concordance, look it up, do a passage search on this.
Yvette Hampton: Do a 30 year essay.
Israel Wayne: Yeah, do your essay. Find from scripture where it tells you “Make sure your children spend lots of time around other children so they can be socially well-rounded.” It doesn’t say that. In fact, it says the opposite. It says “Make sure they spend a lot of time around wise people.” Well, who are wise people? Wise people tend to be older, tend to have the fear of the lord, and it then it talks about not having them sitting in the seat of the scoffer. Well, what’s the social environment again? Is it one that mocks and scoffs at authority? Is it one that undermines parental authority? Well, if that’s the social environment they shouldn’t be in that environment. But then someone says, “So what’s the antidote?” But instead of all that, his delight should be in the law of the lord and on his law, God’s law, he should meditate day and night. How can you meditate day and night when God’s law is not even allowed in a government school?
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Israel Wayne: We violate the thing that it tells us to do, create an educational context where you can meditate day and night on the law of the lord. We violate that. We violate all the things it tells us not to do, and then we somehow expect that it’s all going to turn out okay. That’s just one passage or scripture where the Bible has spoken really clearly to the issue of education, but people don’t think about it as an education passage because it doesn’t use the word school. So that’s what I do in this book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion, is I just go through dozens and dozens and dozens of passages just like that, and when you really are honest about it and study what the scripture says, it’s forceful that children need an explicitly, exclusively Christian education.
Yvette Hampton: Yup, that’s right. I couldn’t agree more. Can you take us back a little bit to John Dewey, Horace Mann, those guys who really have kind of influenced what public school is today, because they had an agenda. Talk about that a little bit.
Israel Wayne: Most people for some reason believe that public schools in America were started by Christians, that they were Christian, that basically they promoted Christian principles, Christian values, up until about maybe the late 1960s when they started to lose their way a little bit, and today they’re not ideal. That’s kind of where most Christians are on it, but most Christians have never really studied the history of government schools. If you go back and you study the Prussian school system, which is the one that our American system was founded on, you find that there was an intentional design on the part of the atheist God-haters to get children away from their parents so that they can indoctrinate them in anti-Christian worldview, and Horace Mann, who was in Massachusetts, he was a Unitarian God-hater, he started the compulsory attendance movement in Massachusetts in the 1850s.
Israel Wayne: By the year 1900 basically every state in the United States had adopted compulsory attendance laws where you had to attend these government schools. And Dewey’s role was to make sure that there were virtually no options for parents, that they had to have their children in a government tax-funded school, and whatever the government funds it controls. So Dewey started out with some basic Bible reading and prayers being allowed within the classroom, but his goal was over time to slowly remove all of that and just create a kind of secular utopia where everyone would come together under the banner of moral goodness, because as a Unitarian he didn’t believe in a personal God, he denied the doctrine of the trinity. He believed that all people were good, morally good, and that they would all come together and create a utopian society if you just get religion out of the picture.
Israel Wayne: And John Dewey, who was a teacher of teachers in the 1930s, he really revolutionized the schools, particularly in the 30s. He had gone to Russia, Vladimir Lenin’s wife had invited him there. He met Joseph Stalin’s wife, who was a big fan of his. They wanted him to come, he was the most famous teacher in American, the founder of the NEA, and they said “We want you to come here and teach us everything you know about pedagogy, about teaching method, and we want to teach you how to teach economic socialism in the classroom. In the 1930s they changed the textbooks where they pulled out three subjects that had been taught separately, history, civics, and geography, and replaced those with a Marxist curriculum called Social Studies, that had never been taught before. From the 1930s on there was a strong socialist push within the government school system.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great film. We watched that early in our homeschooling journey and it really had a great impact on our lives. And you were part of that documentary as well. Just like you’re a part of Schoolhouse Rocked.
Israel Wayne: Ah, we’re looking forward to that.
Yvette Hampton: Oh gosh, us too. Us too. All right. In the last few minutes that we have I want to talk about just some practical things for parents, because we’re kind of talking about the getting started, and this interview with you, we’re kind of talking about the why. Like why homeschool? Why does it even matter that we don’t have our kids in school? Isn’t education just education? Isn’t it all academics? Aren’t they all teaching kids math, writing, this and that? And you and I have talked about this before. As a matter of fact, I think we talked about this on the last podcast, but for those who maybe are new to listening to this podcast, the reason that Garritt and I have been so convicted about educating our kids at home and why it’s so different in teaching them from a Biblical worldview is because not everything … Sorry, I’ve got a notice popping up on my thing here.
Yvette Hampton: Everything that we teach our kids should point them to Christ. Math can point them to Christ, because God is the God or order. He is the God of absolutes. So, when we see math laid out and we understand how all these numbers and formulas work together we understand the awesomeness of God. When we study science, we understand God as our creator. When we study history from a Biblical worldview, we understand God’s plan for mankind, and so on. So when we take God out of those things, which is precisely what the government schools have done, then we’re really doing a disservice to our children and to their hearts really, because math is not just math, science is not just science, history is not just history. So I really appreciate your take on that. So now that we’ve talked about all that I want to talk about just the practical part of getting started with homeschooling.
Yvette Hampton: What does a parent do if they’ve got their child in school, especially in a public school? At a private school they’re not going to really question it, but maybe they’ve got their child in a public school, especially if it’s in the middle of the year, and they’re just feeling like the lord is calling them to homeschool. How do they go about doing that? How do we just say “Okay, we’re going to pull our kids out of school now, and golly, with all that’s happening right now in the public school system and all of the parental rights that are being taken away?” We’re seeing parents pulling their kids out left and right. So can you talk to that parent and offer some encouragement to them?
Israel Wayne: Absolutely. Well, the first thing is, again, this book, Answers for Homeschooling, the Top 25 Questions That Critics Ask, I literally answer almost every question you can imagine about homeschooling. How to get started. How to choose a curriculum. Is it legal? What about socialization? Shouldn’t I have my kids in school to be salt and light? What about different learning styles, different learning teaching methods? I cover all that in this book, Answers for Homeschooling. So you definitely want to get that book, because Mike Smith of HSLDA said something like “This is the Walmart and Costco of homeschool books. It’s everything you need to know about homeschooling in one source.”
Yvette Hampton: I agree.
Israel Wayne: But what I would recommend, mentioning Mike Smith, that you become a member of HSLDA, go to their website, hslda.org, because they will provide support for you, make sure that you’re protected legally. They have a host of information on their website. You can get connected to state organizations. You should always be connected with the Christian State Homeschooling Association in your state. There’s a list of those on the HSLDA website. Also there’s a website called homeschoolfreedom.com, and there are state organizations that are mentioned there as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, we actually have a link to that on the Schoolhouse Rocked website. If you go to SchoolhouseRocked.com right on the front page there’s a button that says “Homeschooling in your state”, that will take you straight to Homeschool Freedom.
Israel Wayne: Then from those state associations, when you finally find your state association, almost all the state associations have a homeschool conference, the larger states do at least. You will want to attend a homeschool conference in your state. They have wonderful teaching, lots of great speakers, workshops on almost every possible topic, vendors that take curriculum. You can go and look at the curriculum and see what’s available and ask questions. There are homeschool experts there. There’s community, and from those state associations you can get plugged into local homeschool support groups, local co-ops in your area, so that you’re not just homeschooling in isolation, but you can homeschool with the community around you. I would also recommend going to nheri.org, National Home Education Research Institute. They area research group with Dr. Brian Ray. They have all kinds of statistics.
Israel Wayne: I have a lot of that in the Answers for Homeschooling book, because you’re going to have skeptics, right? You’re going to have in-laws, you’re going to have people say “Well, is this a good choice?” And “How are your children going to turn out academically?” I’ve consolidated a lot of the highlights into that book, but there are maybe specific question that people ask you and Dr. Ray has done fabulous research on all that. So having facts is really important, because you’re going to meet people who have opinions, and you’re going to be able to trump their opinions with fact. So that’s part of what I’m doing with the Answers book is trying to give you fact to refute the opinion. But definitely, member of HSLDA, become a member of your state homeschool association, get plugged into a local support group, and check out Answers for Homeschooling, I think it’s a great way to get going. Then there are lots of Facebook discussion groups.
Yvette Hampton: Which some can be a little dangerous.
Israel Wayne: Some can be a little bit dangerous, yeah. Again, a lot of the state homeschool associations now are starting their own, and those have some guidance from people that actually know what they’re talking about. So if you find your state association ask them if they have a discussion group, because they’ll kind of make sure that things don’t derail. It’s amazing how many people are maybe not factual, but boy, they have strongly held views. I’m in Michigan and we had somebody recently that said “I’m new to homeschooling. I’m just looking into this. How do I get started? What are the laws about homeschooling in Michigan?” And somebody said “Oh, there are no laws on homeschooling in Michigan.” I’m the vice president of our state homeschool association, so I had to get on there and say “Well, actually there are, and know what they are, because it’s really relevant to your life.” So it’s just amazing how people are really free to share what they think they know, but you really do want to find people that know what they’re talking about, and the state homeschool associations are a great place to do that.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, they really are. We love state organizations and HSLDA both, because you all have worked so beautifully together. HSLDA, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, this is not a commercial for them. They’re not paying us to say this. This is just something that we strongly believe in. But HSLDA and the state organizations are two groups of people that really work hand-in-hand together in order to keep … They’ve worked to make homeschooling legal, because it has not always been legal. They’ve worked to keep homeschooling legal, and then they work to really provide the resources and encouragement that families need in their own individual states. And like you said, knowing what the laws are, knowing what their rights are as parents. So like you said, on our website we’ve got the link to homeschooling in your state, and people can go straight there. They can look at their own state organization, contact them directly and say “Hey, what do we need to do?” HSLDA is the same way.
Yvette Hampton: They’ve got tons of consultants that will actually walk you through what you need to do for your state. HSLDA has representatives for every state and they will help you figure out what you need to do to legally homeschool in your state, because every state is different. Literally, every state is different. We homeschooled in California, and I was just talking to someone today, I was saying “Ironically, homeschooling in California’s one of the easiest things to do.” It will not always be this way, I’m 100% certain with the direction that California’s going. That’s a different topic, but homeschooling is very easy in California. You don’t really have to do a whole lot of anything. You have to keep attendance and file an affidavit, but other than that it’s much easier than some states that require a lot of … They have all kinds of rules and laws. So, anyway. But yes, that’s a great thing, and your book, we have it and it’s fantastic. I want to talk really quickly. We’re just going to over on this, and I’m not going to worry about it.
Yvette Hampton: I’m trying so hard to keep these podcasts short, but there’s so much good information here. Really quickly, I want to talk about the last thing, and we’ve touched on this already in this conversation, but what really matters? When parents are thinking of homeschooling, or they’re thinking about continuing to homeschool, is it curriculum that matters, is it keeping the perfect schedule, is it keeping our house clean? What is it that really matters? What is the heart of homeschooling our kids? And we talked about relationships, or course, but I would love for you to talk about this as a homeschool dad, and from the perspective of a dad. How have you gone about discipling the hearts of your children, because obviously discipleship is really what matters. It’s not curriculum. It’s not the perfect pretty schedule. It’s pointing our kids towards Christ. So can you very quickly talk to moms and especially to dads right now, and talk to them about as a dad what really matters and how do you disciple your kids?
Israel Wayne: I, a lot of times, think of children in our home as sort of the thermometer of the spiritual and relational temperature of our family, and when we see all kinds of bad attitudes and relational conflicts and stress and strife and lack of respect and all of that, we don’t like that, right? We look at it and go “Wow, it’s frigid in here, emotionally, relationally, spiritually.” We don’t like the temperature. But what we don’t think about sometimes is that we as the parents, we’re the thermostat, and if we want to see the temperature in our house, our relationships change, we change that by changing us. I get letters from people all day every day asking me “How can I change my child? How can I change my child? How can I change my child?” Well, the bad news is that the way that God has orchestrated things, usually the path to our child’s heart is through our heart.
Israel Wayne: You see this in Deuteronomy in chapter six where it says “This law which I give you this day shall be on your heart. Then you teach it diligently to your children.” So, God wants our heart first, and as dads in particular, I think even more than moms, we’re the thermostat for the family. Man, I notice if I come home grumpy and I have brought work home and stress home, and I’ve allowed my day to impact my mood and I bring that into my home and I externalize that on my wife, what happens to my wife? She gets grumpy. And it’s easy to do, but I can’t take it out on my boss. I work for myself, but we’ve all had those scenarios where there’re certain scenarios you just can’t externalize how you really feel there. So there’re certain times that I can’t take it out. So if I bring that home and I’m just negative and I externalize that on my wife, what happens? She feels that stress, she gets negative, and then who does she externalize it to? She externalizes it to the children.
Israel Wayne: Then who do they externalize it? Well, the younger children, or to each other. Then what do we do? We tell them “Stop acting like that or you get disciplined.” Well, right, well, who did that? We did it, right? We set the temperature. We set the tone. So in terms of the big picture, what we’re going for, is we’re really going for God to conquer all of our hearts, and being home in an environment where we’re together, we’re working together for a common goal, a common purpose, we’re a team, we learn things in that process of teamwork of you have to have leaders, you have to have followers, just like any team, but we learn things in that process that make us more like Christ, cause us to press through the difficult things into the deeper relationships.
Israel Wayne: And if we avoid that, if just avoid each other, yeah, we’re avoiding conflict, but we’re also avoiding relationship. So, I just think that God created this concept called family and in America we’ve done everything that we can to get away from it. We just try to avoid each other, because we think that that’ll lessen conflict. And it does, it lessens conflict, but it also ruins relationship. So, I really believe that God is a relational God, he wants us to know him, he wants us to be in a relationship with him, but he also wants us to enter into and take the risk of relationship with each other. When the family works, homeschooling works. When the family’s not working, homeschooling’s chaos.
Israel Wayne: So you can change curriculum, you can find a better math program, you can fix the academics, that’s not hard. That’s really, really doable. The relationships are where you have to focus, and if the relationships are in order and everything’s working, you’re going to find the homeschooling process goes relatively easy. It’s not easy, but relatively easy if the family’s working. But, man, when you got people that hate each other or they’re at each other’s throats, it’s grueling. So you’ve got to fix that, and that’s why our ministry’s called Family Renewal, and we encourage you visit our website at FamilyRenewal.org, because that’s what we’re about, we’re about family discipleship and about those relationships.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I love it. You’ve got a great ministry, and you will be speaking, we mentioned this in part one, you’re going to be speaking for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo that’s coming up February 17th through the 21st, and you’re going to be speaking specifically on this topic of family relationships. The day, the 19th, that you’ll be speaking, that whole day is going to be about family relationships. We’re opening it up that day with Kirk Cameron, and he’s going to be talking about marriage. It’s going to be followed by Ginger Hubbard talking about discipling the heart of your child, or Reaching the Heart of Your Child I think is actually the title of her session, and then Durenda Wilson is going to be talking about sibling relationships. And you’re going to kind of tie it all together that day, as well as on the panel.
Yvette Hampton: We’ve got a panel at the end of that day with all three of you just to answer some questions from those who will be part of the event. So if you guys have not yet signed up for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, please do so. It’s only $20. You get the live event, it’ll be streamed live through Facebook and through the Homegrown Generation website. Then you’ll have lifetime access to be able to watch any of the sessions that you would like to watch at any time, and lots of free stuff. So we’ve got free virtual swag bags and lots of contest giveaways and things like that. It’s going to be a really fun event, but we are really excited to have you as part of that, and really just encouraged by your message, Israel, and the ministry that God had put on your heart. So, we’re excited to bring you back into the Expo to talk more about that with people, and then be able to interact with the people who are watching live.
Israel Wayne: Yeah, it’ll be fun.
Yvette Hampton: It’s going to be a lot of fun. So HomegrownGeneration.com. You can register on there. Israel, thank you again for your time. Thank you for your wisdom, and just for all you do for the homeschool community and for families. You are a huge blessing.
Israel Wayne: Well, we appreciate you guys and we’re excited about your ministry.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you.
Israel Wayne: We look forward to the conference. So again, everybody make sure you register and join the fun.
In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.
Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!
Enjoy their conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.
Rachael Carman: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.
Rachael Carman: Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.
Yvette Hampton: Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…
Aby Rinella: Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.
Aby Rinella: So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?
Rachael Carman: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?
Rachael Carman: You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”
Rachael Carman: So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.
Rachael Carman: I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.
Rachael Carman: Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.
Aby Rinella: I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.
Rachael Carman: It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.
Rachael Carman: That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.
Rachael Carman: And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.
Yvette Hampton: Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.
Yvette Hampton: He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?
Rachael Carman: That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.
Rachael Carman: But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?
Rachael Carman: Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.
Rachael Carman: And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.
Rachael Carman: That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.
Rachael Carman: If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.
Rachael Carman: Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.
Rachael Carman: Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
Rachael Carman: Oh, that is awesome!
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: Only by the grace of God.
Rachael Carman: I understand.
Yvette Hampton: Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.
Yvette Hampton: And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.
Yvette Hampton: We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.
Rachael Carman: I love your honesty.
Yvette Hampton: So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?
Rachael Carman: Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.
Rachael Carman: It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”
Rachael Carman: But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?
Rachael Carman: I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.
Rachael Carman: So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.
Rachael Carman: But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.
Rachael Carman: So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-
Aby Rinella: Thank you very much.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They live in Moscow.
Aby Rinella: Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.
Aby Rinella: And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.
Aby Rinella: You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.
Aby Rinella: I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.
Aby Rinella: And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. That is-
Rachael Carman: We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.
Rachael Carman: So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.
Rachael Carman: That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?
Rachael Carman: Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.
Rachael Carman: He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.
Rachael Carman: Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.
Yvette Hampton: And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.
Yvette Hampton: So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?
Rachael Carman: My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.
Yvette Hampton: You’ve got that A in there.
Rachael Carman: I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.
Yvette Hampton: Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.
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Yvette Hampton: To some of you, she needs no introduction, but some of you, especially some of you younger mamas, may not have heard of Ginger Hubbard. Years ago, Ginger wrote a book that was a life-changer for me, called Don’t Make Me Count To Three! I started reading that book when my oldest daughter was a baby, and it was such a powerful book and had a huge impact in my life and in my parenting. So, ever since then, I’ve been kind of stalking Ginger. And God saw fit to introduce the two of us and we became fast friends. God has just been so faithful to develop this friendship. And I have loved getting to know Ginger and her family. Ginger, introduce yourself and your family to us.
Ginger Hubbard: Well, my claim to fame is, I’m married to Ronnie Hubbard, who is the absolute greatest guy in the world. We’ve been married for seven years, and got married on April 23rd, which was Easter weekend. And it was just such a sweet, sweet weekend. And Ronnie came as a package deal with two stepsons, Hudson and Jackson. And so, between the two of us, we have four kids.
Yvette: That’s awesome. And your kids are pretty amazing. And they’re now all adults, right?
Ginger: They are. They are. Wesley is 25, Alex is 22 and then my stepsons, Hudson is 21, and Jackson, our youngest, is 18. He just graduated high school.
Yvette: So, you’ve been around, you’ve done the parenting thing, you’re one who can actually speak from experience. It’s not just, “I’m testing this out and let’s see how it works.”
Ginger: Yeah, but I still would say I didn’t always get it right. And looking back, I can certainly share some of the mistakes I made to help those moms out there not make some of the same ones that I did.
Yvette: Sure. I love that. And one of the things I love about you is that you’re so transparent and so honest just about where you’ve been and about what God has done in your life through your desire to follow him through parenting and through marriage and through family. Like I said, you wrote Don’t Make Me Count to Three. You have Wise Words for Moms, that’s a pamphlet that I had up in my kitchen for many, many years. And we’ll link back to those things in the podcast notes. But we also are so excited about your new book that you have, it just came out in April, correct?
Yvette: And this book is calledI Can’t Believe You Just Said That, Biblical Wisdom for Taming Your Child’s Tongue. And I love this book so, so much. God has given you a gift. He has given you the gift of wisdom and the gift of being able to just be that Titus 2 woman. And this is why I stalked you so many years, is, without you even knowing me, you were one of those Titus 2 women to me, where I just felt like God had just blessed you with the wisdom of training the heart of your child, because it’s not, and we’ll talk about this, but it’s not just about obedience. It’s not just about teaching your kids to do or say the right thing. It’s really about getting to the heart of your child.
So, tell me a little bit about your new book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, what led you to write that book? And give me kind of the premise of it.
Ginger: Well, as a national speaker, Yvette, I have listened to parents all over the country express their heartache over their inability to tame the tongues of their children. And they’ve read the books, they’ve tried the advice, but they just still remained frustrated because nothing seemed to work. And so what I wanted to do with this new book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, is I wanted to just expose some of those faulty child training methods which fail to reach the heart and equip parents with biblical principles, and then provide them with a toolbox full of illustrations and examples for implementing those principles in a very practical way.
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And, don’t get me wrong, you and I, before we started recording, we were talking about Shepherding A Child’s Heart, and there’s some really, really great parenting books out there. That was actually my personal favorite as well out of all the ones that I read, just so thankful for Tedd Tripp and the wisdom that he shares.
I’ve read lots of parenting books and plenty of books are out there that focus on what the Bible says about parenting. And that’s great, but … And they’re just full of scripture that are helpful for parenting. But what I found is that few offer the information that parents need most, which is how to actually practically apply those Scriptures to those tongue-related struggles that their children are facing in everyday life.
Yvette: I love that. And yes, you give such practical things for parents to do. One of the things that you talk about in Don’t Make Me Count To Three, and we have used this with our kids for their whole lives basically, is do-overs where maybe my daughter speaks to me disrespectfully, and instead of just saying, “Don’t talk to me like that,” I will say, “Honey, that is not the correct way to speak to me. How should you have spoken to me?” But before, I would even say, “How should you have spoken to me,” for the past 12 years, I’ve taught her, “When you respond to me, you need to respond this way.” And I teach her, “This is how you’re to respond.” And it’s with … I mean, it can be with anything. If your two-year-old is throwing a tantrum because their toy isn’t being put together the right way, you can take the time to say, “Okay, honey, let’s do this the right way. Let mommy show you how to put the toy together so that you don’t throw a tantrum.” And then the next time they throw a tantrum, you can say, “Okay, how did mommy teach you to do this last time? What is the correct response?”.
And teaching kids and training them to do things over the right way. Because I think, as parents, we assume that kids are going to just know the right way to do things. And I love that I learned that from you early on of don’t just assume that they know how to do it the right way, or that they know how to respond the right way the first time. You have to teach them first, and then train them by teaching them to do it over, and over, and over again until, hopefully, at some point they actually get it.
Ginger: Right. And that’s what I refer to as the practice principle. And imagine, Yvette, trying to teach your child how to tie his shoes without the practice principle. Just verbally walking him through that process, that’s not going to be enough. At some point, you would have to physically demonstrate how to do it, and then not only that, then require him to practice it on his own. And so, the way that I look at it is if the practice principal is vital for teaching such a morally neutral task as tying shoes, how much more important is it for training children in Christ-like character? Right?
Ginger: That’s what we want to do. We always want to require them to practice that biblical alternative to the wrong behavior, because it is never enough to just verbally instruct our children in what not to do. We have to instruct them in what to do. We have to teach them how to replace wrong behavior with right behavior. And then, most important, we want to require them to actually go back and do it.
So, you brought up the thing about children speaking disrespectfully. That’s pretty much across the board with younger kids, and certainly as they grow a little older. And so many parents, when their children speak disrespectfully, they’ll say something like, “That was disrespectful. You shouldn’t speak to me like that. Now go to your room.” But you and I know that is ineffective child training, because that most important part is left out. We shouldn’t just rebuke and discipline the child who was speaking disrespectfully. We need to have him come back and practice the biblical alternative by communicating the right way, using the appropriate words, and the appropriate tone of voice, and for many kids, particularly mine as the grew into their teen years, the appropriate facial expressions.
Yvette: Oh, yes. Oh, the faces.
Ginger: The face, yes.
Yvette: The rolling of the eyes.
Ginger: Right. But when we train our children in what’s right and require them to practice what is right, we’re teaching them how to grow in wisdom. And we’re preparing them to govern their own actions in the future.
Yvette: Yeah, I love that. And as you think through Scripture, all throughout Scripture, God does that with us. He doesn’t just say to us, “Obey me,” he doesn’t just say, “Don’t sin,” he gives us very specific instructions on, “This is what I expect of you. This is how you will be wise. This is how you will have blessings in your life. And when you choose to obey me, you will have blessings.” And he doesn’t just expect us to know exactly. I mean, of course we have a God consciousness and we get that, but God is not void in his word of teaching us what he expects of us. It’s very clear in Scripture. And so I love, love that we get to do that, in turn, to our kids and show them, “This is what God expects of you.”
Ginger: Right. He has provided us with everything that we need for life and godliness. We just need to go to his word, and there it is. And that’s one thing that I would tell my kids is … You just said that it goes well with us when we obey God. Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be trials and tribulations. But certainly, when our children choose to obey us, ultimately, they are obeying God, because God has called children to obey their parents. And he says that when they do, that it will go well with them. It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to have trials, but it means that they are under that protective covering of being in the will of God when they obey their parents. And so it’s important that we help them understand that.
Yvette: Absolutely. Ephesians 6, it talks about that. And God is a faithful God. We tell our girls all the time, “Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings. Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.”.
Ginger: That’s right.
Yvette: We desperately want our girls to grow up and having a life of blessings. But like you said, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to not have pain in their life, but it is a different kind of pain. If you have pain in your life because you’ve made poor choices and you have not sought God’s wisdom, that’s a different kind of pain than the pain that just comes because we live in a sinful fallen world.
Ginger: Right. So, those are the things that we want to show them, that no matter … And even when we do blow it and there are consequences for our sin, there’s blessing in being able to go to God and ask for forgiveness, and repent, and turn away from that. And God can even use those times to show us new things that he’s doing in our life, and equip us to share those things with other people.
Yvette: In the book, in I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, your new book, each chapter talks about a different verbal offense. Walk me through a few of those. And you also, in there you offer a simple three-step plan for dealing with each one. Tell me a little bit about those verbal offenses, and then your plan to help parents learn how to deal with that.
Ginger: What I did in the book is I have broken just common tongue-related struggles down into chapters that all kids are going to struggle with at some time or another. And just some of those different chapters and topics are, like whining, and lying, and tattling, defying, manipulating, interrupting, complaining, blame shifting, teasing, aggravating, bragging, arguing, yelling, gossiping, bickering. It’s everything that I could think of as far as those tongue-related offenses. And certainly, you know, kids are not going to struggle with every one of those. But at some time or another, they may struggle with several. And so, what I wanted to do is to take each one of those tongue-related offenses and then break down each chapter into a three-step plan that would help parents deal with those issues from a heart-oriented biblical standpoint. Rather than just that outward behavior, really learning how to get to the heart of the matter. And then when we do that, we’re able to address it in biblical ways.
And so, each chapter opens with a very common relatable scenario in accordance with that particular struggle. I’ve had so many parents at my conferences and through emails come up and say, “Oh, that chapter that you did on wining, that opening scenario, you were totally in my house last week.” And so it’s just very relatable scenarios.
And then the three-step plan, step one is heart-probing questions. If you think about it, in all the stories in Scripture, when someone did something wrong, Jesus, what he did not do is wave his finger in their face and say, “This is what you did wrong. And this is what you should’ve done instead.” In all those stories, Jesus often used heart-probing questions. And in order for the people to answer those questions, they had to evaluate themselves, because Jesus knew how to ask those questions in such a way that the people would have to take their focus off of the circumstances and the situations around them, and onto that sin in their own heart.
So, for each verbal offense, I offer two or three very simple questions just to help parents get going in the right direction and help them to reach past that outward behavior and really pull out what is going on in the heart. Because we know if we can get to the heart, well, then the behavior is going to take care of itself.
So, that step-one is the heart-probing questions. And then step two and step three are based on the Ephesians verse that says that we are to put off our old self and put on our new self. And so, step two is what to put off, what God’s word says about that particular behavior, and what it can lead to if it is continued. And then step three is what to put on, how to replace what is wrong with what is right.
Yvette: Okay. So let’s take it one step further. Could I give you one of these situations, and can you walk me through what it would look like for a child who is struggling with this specific thing? As I’m looking through the chapters, interrupting keeps coming up, because, though my girls deal with some of these other things, I have a seven-year-old who loves to talk. God has given her the gift of gab, and she loves to be the center of attention. And she is super cute, and so people always think she’s cute and funny. But she is an interrupter. And we’ve really been trying to work on this with her.
So, you and I are having a conversation and she walks up, and she says to me, “Mommy, did you see blah, blah, blah?” Tell me then, what do I do?
Ginger: Well, first, we ourselves want to understand what is at the heart of that. Before we get into how to instruct them, we need to understand what is at the heart of it and help them understand too what’s at the heart. So we know that that children … first, let me just say, Yvette, that that was my pet peeve. You just really grabbed something with me, because that was my … we all have our things that get under our skin, and that with me was really the one that got under my skin is that when I would be talking to another adult and one of my kids would interrupt our conversation.
But if you think about it, children have a natural bent towards selfishness and pride because, like us, they are born sinners. And so, children automatically place a higher priority on themselves than on others. And so they look at what they have to say as being more important than respecting that conversation of others. And so, what happens is they all of a sudden have this thought, and then they have this sense of urgency that they want to express it immediately, which is the most important thing to them. And that leads to impatience, which leads to interrupting.
So, from the heart, it all boils down to really selfishly placing their wants and needs above the wants and needs of others. And so, say that they come up and … you and I are talking, and your daughter comes up and she interrupts. We want to ask some heart-probing questions. It could just be like, “Sweetheart, do you think it is kind or rude for you to interrupt while I’m talking to someone else?” And, “Are you thinking about others or yourself when you interrupt?”.
And then, as far as the biblical teaching there, we might say something from First Corinthians 13:4 or Philippians 2:3. And instead of just directly quoting Scripture, we can do that, but we could also talk about it just in a comfortable and conversational manner, and say something like, “Sweetheart, the Bible explains that love is patient, love is kind, love is not rude. And God instructs us to do things, not that are selfish, but instead, that we’re supposed to consider other people and their feelings as being more important than our own.” And so that’s the direction that we want to get them going.
And then, you and I talked about that we always need to provide our children with a means of escape. And we want our children to know that we value their thoughts and their feelings, and we want to hear what they have to say. So it’s going to exasperate a child just to tell them to never interrupt, because especially when two mommies are talking, it can seem like an eternity before there’s a pause in that conversation. We want to always provide them with a means of escape. And I think about First Corinthians 10:13 that says that when we, as God’s children, that when we are tempted, God always provides us a way out. He always gives us a means of escape. And that goes back also to not just teaching our children what is wrong, but also training them in what is right. So we want to provide that means of escape.
So what I did with my children when they would interrupt is I taught them to, when they wanted to say something to me and I’m engaged in a conversation with someone else, I taught them just to place their hand on my arm, and to wait silently for me to give them permission to speak. And as soon as there was a pause in that conversation, I would give them permission to speak. That way, usually when they would put their hand on me, they knew that what that communicates is, “Mom, I need to say something, but I don’t want to be rude.” And while I would be talking, I would put my hand on top of theirs to let them know that I’m acknowledging that they have something they want to say, and that I want to hear what they have to say, but we all want to do that in a way that shows respect for everyone.
So, as soon as there would be a pause in that conversation, then I would give them permission to speak. And so that’s not, it’s not a biblical mandate- that we have our children place their hand on our arm. It’s just a tool, it’s a way to prevent exasperation. It’s a way to show respect for them the same way that we’re wanting them to show respect for us.
Yvette: That’s so powerful, because I know you encourage that the Bible is the best instruction manual for parenting, but it doesn’t specifically address interrupting. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere, “Thou shalt not interrupt. These are the rules for children. Thou shalt not whine.” But, like you said, I mean, there’s always a root cause for those things. Whether it’s lack of self-control, or selfishness, or pride, or greed, whatever it is, there’s always something that’s causing them to react that way.
Ginger: Right. And that’s our job as parents. We need to understand that all behavior is linked to a particular attitude of the heart. So, as parents that want to train our children in what is right and use biblical wisdom from God’s word, we have to learn how to reach past that outward behavior and pull out what is going on in the heart. And then, you better believe God’s word addresses it, because God is concerned with the issues of the heart.
Yvette: Absolutely, he is. One of the things that you write in the book that I love is, you write about, why do they act like that? Our kids do something, and oftentimes parents will say, “Why? Why do they act like that? Why did they give me that look? Why did they just roll their eyes at me?” And you say, “That’s the wrong question to ask when our children misbehave.” What do you mean by that? Why is that the wrong question to ask?
Ginger: Well, I first, I can relate to that question, because when my kids were little, I used to be constantly shocked by some of the things that would come out of their mouths, whether it was whining, or lying, or talking back, or whatever. I would typically, like most parents, I would look at them and ask that question, “Why do you act like that?” But after a closer look at the word of God, I realized that I was asking the wrong question. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus explained, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” In other words, yeah, in other words, there’s merit to that old saying we’ve heard a million times, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”
And so, our sin does not begin with our mouth. It begins with our hearts. The sin that shows up in our words comes from inside us. And it starts sooner than we might think. King David proclaimed, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” So when parents really grasp the origin of sin and just the overall total depravity of the human race, we no longer question why our children sin.
I slowly began to learn that I was asking the wrong question. I slowly began to learn to stop asking, “Why does my child sin?” And instead, I began to ask myself, “When my child sins, how might I point him to the fact that he is a sinner, just like me, in need of a savior? How might I help him understand and live in the transformational power of Christ?”
Yvette: Yeah. I have a really good friend, she’s probably my longest childhood friend. We’ve been friends since kindergarten I think, or first grade, and have remained friends all our lives. And she has two daughters who are now, the grown one’s already in college, and then two little ones. But I remember when Brooklyn was probably around three years old maybe, we had gone to her house, and she was kind of in the tantrum phase, and I was trying to work through that and trying to just rein her in and trying to train her heart.
And my friend Robin said to me, she goes, “When you are talking with her and correcting her,” she said, “You need to pray with her.” And she said, “Say this,” tell her, “Dear God, please help me to obey, because I cannot obey without you.” And we still do that with both of our girls. Oftentimes when we pray with them, we just lead them in that prayer of, “God, I can’t do this without you. I am sinful, and I am incapable of making the right choice without your power and without you.” And so-
Ginger: That’s great. That is such a powerful, powerful prayer. And they need to see us praying the same thing.
Yvette: Oh, absolutely.
Ginger: That God would help us, you know? That we would obey him in training them in what is right. I can’t tell you how many times that I would go through ruts where I would just not be consistent in training my children the way that I should. I would find myself just ignoring things, letting things slide, or even just administering consequences instead of really taking the time to train them up.
And in some of those times, God would even use … when I would blow it in those times. So I would go weeks without being consistent, and then God would convict me, and I would sit down with my kids, and say, “You know what? I need to ask your forgiveness, because I have not been consistent in training you to obey and training you to do what’s right. And you know, honey, I just love you too much to allow you to disobey and to live foolishly. And so will you forgive me?”
And then we would go back over the standard, go back over what’s expected. And then we would just start following through, and I would step back up. But my kids … Instead of just doing that without helping them understand that I failed too, and that I have to go and I have to confess, and I have to ask God to help me and empower me to live in a way that is pleasing to him. Even in the times that we fail, Yvette, those could be powerful teaching opportunities for us to demonstrate our personal relationship with Christ. And what repentance, and turning from sin, and starting fresh looks like in our relationships with God.
Yvette: Yeah, I love it. So you homeschooled your kids, right? Did you homeschool all the way, kindergarten through 12th grade?
Ginger: I did.
Yvette: One of the things that I love about your books and about just your wisdom and parenting is that, through homeschooling, we have the opportunity to practice these things and to speak truth into the hearts of our children all day long. We don’t have to undo the damage that may have been done to them in school. If they’re in school and maybe being taught things that are contrary to God’s word, instead of spending time undoing those, we get to spend our time speaking into their hearts.
What did that look like for you in your homeschool environment with your kids? And how has that turned out? I often wonder, parents write books on parenting, or marriage, or something like that, especially parenting books when their kids are young. And then their kids grow up, and oftentimes I’m like, “Okay, did it work out for you? How are things going?”
Ginger: Right. Well, that is the great thing about homeschooling is that we really do get to grab all of those opportunities. Because we are with them all day long, and so, as sin creeps up, we are able to address it and to deal with it in that moment instead of having to wait until they get home from school or finding out what happened at school. That’s one of the most powerful things, that we have the opportunity to train our children in the context of the moment.
And that is when they really learn how to apply God’s word to daily life, because teaching them in the context of the moment, that’s when they’re really going to learn how to apply God’s word to daily life. And so, as we can grab those opportunities, it’s kind of like on-the-job-training, you know?
You learn better. You could learn from textbooks, but you really don’t learn something well until you’re actually doing it and putting it into practice. And so it’s sort of like on-the-job training all day long. And when they put that knowledge gained into practice at that very moment, it’s really going to stick better because they’re learning how it applies in that moment to their life in that particular situation.
So that is one of the great things about homeschooling is that we’re provided with those opportunities. But at the same time, we don’t really get a break. And so, we could become weary in having to train them all day, every day. And we can quickly view it as a burden or a trial. But we’re told to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that we may be but sure and complete, not lacking anything.
Yvette: Yes. I have often thought about how many opportunities I would miss out on with training my kids and just being able to spend time with them, if they were in a traditional school all day long. And like you said, it can get tiresome sometimes. And there are days when I’m like, “I need to go for a drive. I need to get out. I need to breathe. I need to just have some mommy time,” if that means just going for a walk around the park, or whatever that looks like. But, gosh, I’m so thankful for the time that I get.
And when they’re away from you, and this could be at church, or sporting events. Or whatever, when they’re away from us, we usually don’t know what’s going on. It’s not like they’re going to come home and say, “Hey mom, this is the sin I dealt with today. Can you please train my heart?” You know?
Yvette: We’re going to miss so many opportunities. And with being able to homeschool, I love that most of those opportunities are not missed. And we get to help them, first hand, experience truth and the love of God through our parenting.
Thank you so much, Ginger. I love you. I am so grateful for our friendship, and just for what God continues to do through you. We are excited we actually got to interview you for Schoolhouse Rocked. And so we’re super excited to have you as part of that. And I appreciate your support and encouragement with the movie and all that God is doing through the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, because you have been such a blessing to me. And you have very much helped shape me into the parent that I am. And I shouldn’t say just me, I do co-parent. I do have a husband, and he parents with me. But he’s always very good about, when I say, “You know, well, what about this? I read this in Ginger’s book. I read this in Scripture. And what do you think about this parenting method?”
And, like you said, ultimately, the Bible is the instruction manual for parenting. There is not a book on the planet that is more important than God’s word. But it certainly is helpful to have excellent books that God has provided us with that can help shape us and encourage us as parents. So thank you for your ministry and for all that you do.
Ginger: Oh, thank you Yvette. And I’ll tell you, I have such a tremendous respect for the ministry that you guys have and what you’re doing with Schoolhouse Rocked. And it’s just such a blessing and a huge privilege to get to be even just a tiny, small part of that. And I, too, am just so thankful for the friendship that God has given us. You were just one of those people that, I meet so many people, but you were just one of those people that I just immediately clicked with, and we were kindred spirits and just knew that we were destined to be friends. You’ve been such a blessing and encouragement in my life too. And I’m very thankful for that.
Yvette: Aw, thank you so much. So, all right, well, love you, friend. Thanks for talking with me today.
The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast brings you the homeschooling conversations to encourage and equip you to start strong and finish well. On this weekly show, Yvette Hampton speaks with today’s homeschooling leaders – speakers, authors, activists, curriculum publishers – and homeschooling families just like yours. These conversations will build you up and give you important resources to help you homeschool your children with success – from pre-school to graduation!
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“my job is that general contractor role where I have to know what’s going on in the family. I have to know my children by heart. I have to know where their weak points are, where their strengths are. I have to be able to identify when one of them is not doing well spiritually, when one of them is failing academically in some way. I need to have those conversations with my wife because she’s on the frontline, right? So, she sees … every day and have those conversations; “How are the kids doing? How are you doing? What do you need?”
Yvette Hampton: Today I am with Israel Wayne. I know so many of you are familiar with his name because you have seen him maybe on Facebook or you have heard him speak at a convention or you have read one of his books. Sometimes, Israel, I think you’re known as the Homeschool Guy, right?
Israel Wayne: Yeah, that’s kind of my moniker, the Homeschool Guy. I’ve got to trademark it.
Yvette: Right. I think you should. Tell us a little bit, Israel, about your family. And then, I’m really excited to have you on, today, and for you to just share about you and what God is doing in your life through homeschooling and having been homeschooled and all of that.
Israel: Sure. Well, my story goes back a little ways. My family started homeschooling in 1978 when I was just a little tyke. I had an older sister who had started into kindergarten in the public school system, and things didn’t go so well for her. She was very academically advanced when she entered kindergarten, but her teachers told my mother that they thought she had a learning disability and that she wouldn’t be able to learn. And, my mother knew that wasn’t correct and my sister hated going to school and she always complained about having stomach pain, and the other children made fun of her. She was kind of a quiet child and fairly studious, and she just didn’t fit into the kind of wild rambunctious type of activities and play that they did in the school, and so she really wanted to stay home with my mom.
After a few months of that, my mother actually took her out and began teaching her at home as she had done before sending her off to school, but unfortunately, we didn’t realize that, in those days, because of compulsory attendance laws, that was against the law, that you weren’t allowed to do that because your child had to be in school. And so, we ended up in court facing … possibly even having my sister removed from our home, having my parents lose their parental rights and having my sister put in foster care and then never seeing her again. That’s actually what homeschooling was like when we were being homeschooled.
The judge thankfully threw that case out of court. We ended up being in court several other times, but homeschooling didn’t actually become legal in the state in which I lived until the year after I graduated. I graduated in 1991 and it didn’t become legal until 1992 in that state, so it’s interesting how homeschooling has grown from 1978 when my family started with just a few hundred families back then, all disconnected. None of us knew each other. There was no network of homeschooling to what it is now with about two-and-a-half million students being home educated.
So, I was homeschooled. In 1988, my mother started a national homeschooling magazine. And so, when your mom publishes the national homeschool magazine, you’re kind of homeschooled. So, my wife, [Brooke 00:03:03], her mom started homeschooling in 1983. Her mom had heard Dr. Raymond Moore on Focus on the Family, on that very famous broadcast that kind of launched the homeschooling movement and started home educating, and her mom was part of the founding of the Arizona State Homeschool association, so we both grew up not only being homeschooled, but being homeschooled kind of in the national state leadership levels.
And then, in January of ’93, I started working as marketing director for Homeschool Digest Magazine, the publication my mother published and did that for 20 years and wrote my first book on homeschooling in 2000 giving my perspective as a homeschooled graduate, started speaking at homeschool conferences, keynoting homeschool conferences in 1995, and have just been doing this, now, for over 25 years full-time, serving the Christian homeschooling community and love what I get to do.
Five years ago, I started a ministry called Family Renewal with my wife and my sister, my older sister who was the one who kind of launched our homeschooling experience, and my children, so, for the last five years, I’ve done nothing but just travel around the country speaking at conferences and writing books, so, yeah, I’m somewhere between chronically and terminally homeschooled, I think, so that’s probably where that Homeschool Guy terminology comes in.
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Yvette: Yeah, it is literally in your blood. You win the prize. You are the homeschool guy. I don’t know that I know anyone who has actually been homeschooled as long as you. I know that there are people who have, but, yeah, you’ve been through it in … gosh, going through the whole process of it becoming legalized in your state and all of that, that’s pretty big. That’s quite something to experience, because we take it for granted that, “Oh, well, of course we get to homeschool,” and, I think oftentimes we forget that it hasn’t always been this easy. Tell us about your family. You have a couple of kids.
Israel: Yeah, we have nine, so far. The Lord’s blessed us with nine.
Israel: Our oldest is 18, and he’s just started two part-time jobs and he just got an offer for a third, so he’s just kind of jumped right out of high school into the real world, and he’s getting some good life experience. We’re pretty happy about that. We have … our children are about two years apart, so our youngest is two years old, and so we have nine children ages 18 down to two. We have four boys and five girls, and we have always homeschooled them and, by God’s grace, always will.
We got married because we had both been homeschooled. We just knew that there was nothing else that we would consider because for us, our experience is quite different, I think, than most people. Most people, when they close their eyes and think of the word education, they think of a big brick school building and a football field and they go in the building and there’s locker rooms and there’s a classroom and a blackboard. That wasn’t our experience. We just didn’t grow up that way. We didn’t go to government school, so for us, homeschooling was the natural conclusion. It’s like eating and breathing.
It’s like asking ourselves, “Will we feed and clothe our children?” It’s like, “Well, of course we’ll feed our children. What else would we do? Of course we’ll educate our children. What else would we do?” So, for us, we haven’t had this big paradigm shift that a lot of other people have. We haven’t had so much to try to unlearn, and homeschooling for us has never been … the plumb line for that has never been the school system. We’ve never thought about, “How do we try to do what we do the same way the school system does?” or, “How do we stay on the calendar of the school system or how do we teach the way the school system does?” Those questions are just completely outside of the scope of our experience.
So, I think homeschooling for us is a little bit different than it is for other people, but because of my day job, that I speak at conferences and I meet in person about 20,000 homeschooling families a year out on the road at conventions and so forth, I get to rub shoulders weekly with those families that are new to this process and hear their struggles and hear their questions. So, it helps us to remain relevant and be able to remember how difficult it is for them to try to come into this new world that, for them, it’s like visiting an alien planet or something. It’s this really strange other thing.
Yvette: Yeah, isn’t that fun, too? I love … it is literally one of my favorite things to meet a mom or a dad — but, typically, it’s the mom — who is just starting to think about homeschooling, and they’re like, “I keep hearing about this homeschooling thing, but I’m not so sure. I don’t know what it’s really all about,” and then you get that opportunity to just tell them, “Well, let me tell you what it’s all about,” and it’s so much fun, which is so much of the reason why we are filming this documentary on homeschooling is because we really want people to see the real picture of what homeschooling looks like, and we don’t make it all daisies and roses. It’s not always easy, but it sure is a blessing. I love it, and I love it when that light comes on and those scales fall from their eyes and they’re like, “Oh, homeschooling is amazing and your kids are not socially awkward and they can be well educated,” and there’s just so many benefits and it’s so fun. I love, love, love talking to new homeschoolers or those who just don’t know yet that they are new homeschoolers. That’s always fun.
Israel: Yeah, everybody homeschools until they stop, right? So, everyone homeschools their children, I think, threw the most difficult stages of teaching them how to be potty trained and how to feed themselves with a fork and how to tie their shoes and these really epic difficult things that we think … really, you need a PhD in engineering to teach a kid how to tie his shoes, in my opinion. Potty training? That’s psychology and sociology and anthropology. It’s all kinds of stuff.
Yvette: Physical science.
Israel: Yeah, exactly. It’s terrible, and it’s like we get through all that and then we’re like, “Oh, colors and numbers and shapes, I don’t think I can do that. I’m just a parent. I’m not an expert,” and it’s just so sad that, the fact that 6,000 years of human history, people have always taught their children. Now, all of a sudden, we’ve been crippled into thinking, “Oh, we couldn’t possibly do what people have done for thousands and thousands of years,” because in the last 160 years, we have a different paradigm. It’s really an odd perspective. The institutional school system is really the new kid on the block. It’s the untried, untested method.
Yvette: Oh, yeah, absolutely, yes, yes. So, you also had another kind of twist to your childhood in that your mom, for part of your childhood, was a single mom and homeschooled you as a single mom.
Israel: Yeah, that’s right. About the time that I was hitting high school, my mom became a single parent and I had had an abusive stepfather, unfortunately. My parents divorced when I was six and she remarried and so, really, he was more of a detriment than anything, but, eventually, he ended up leaving, and so then it was like we had to learn how to build some stability into our family. So, I had these younger sisters that, she was homeschooling full-time, so when I hit high school … my mom had dropped out of school in ninth grade, so she didn’t even go to high school, so, here she was, had these two high school students, and at that time, she got us Abeka video school, and that worked out great for me because all she had to do was basically create a lesson plan, and I knew how to follow the lesson plan by that time, and I ended up doing all four years of Abeka Video School in two years. So, it was kind of accelerated distance education before that was even a thing.
And so, I graduated a few days before I turned 16, got a really good academic education at home, but I remember before I entered high school, my mother said, “I have these younger girls that I have to teach. I have a business that I’m running. I don’t have time to hold your hand all day, so, basically, I’ve taught you how to read. I’ve taught you how to think. I’ve taught you how to study. I’ve taught you how to learn, and so, this is going to be what you make of it. If you want to learn, you’re going to have an opportunity. If you don’t want to learn, I can’t make you. I can’t force you. Nobody can. Even if you were in a school, they can’t force you. They can’t make you learn. They can incarcerate you and make you sit there, but they can’t make you learn.”
So, she said, “It’s really up to you. If you want to learn, you’re going to have an opportunity,” and she said, “You have all the tools you need,” so teach yourself,” and that’s what I ended up doing through high school. So, people who feel like, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly homeschool,” my mom homeschooled six kids as a high school dropout, a single parent, and when she became a Christian when I turned 12, one thing she told us is she said, “We’re going to go off government assistance and we’re not going to get food stamps anymore. We’re just going to trust God and God’s going to provide.” And, I thought two things. I thought, first of all, number one, you’re crazy. Number two, we’re all going to starve. And, God blessed her business and it prospered and she was able to provide for us and homeschool, just a real testimony to her willingness to follow the Lord, that … I believe God doesn’t call you to something and then fail to equip you.
Yvette: Sure, oh, absolutely. I agree completely, and that’s been our experience with homeschooling for sure. I think you and I have talked about this and stuff, that we said we would never, ever high school, and part of the reason for that was that … I mean, there were many reasons we said that, but part of it was that I hated school, and so did Garritt. We were not good students. We did not enjoy school at all, and the kind of ironic thing is: we actually hated going to school and so we thought, “Well, why would we ever homeschool our kids. We’ll send them to school.”
Oh gosh, anyway, but I thought because I hated school so much, “Why would I want to homeschool my kids,” and I thought that I was not equipped enough to be able to do that, and God has proven that, like you said. He has given us everything that we’ve needed, and our schooling looks incredibly different than a whole lot of other people’s. We travel a lot. We’re filming this documentary. We just have a very different lifestyle right now, but, God is working. My girls are learning and, quite honestly, they’re learning the necessary things, but quite honestly, if all they ever learned was to love the lord and love the word of God, then I’m okay with that.
Israel: That’s interesting. Could I jump on that real quick?
Yvette: Yeah, of course.
Israel: You know, in Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you,” and the other things he was talking about there were material provisions. He was talking about our clothes and needing food to eat and daily provision and that kind of thing, and he said, “These are the things you worry about; are they going to be able to make a living? Are they going to be able?” all that kind of stuff that people worry about, and they think, “Well, if I homeschool, they’re going to be deprived. They won’t be able to take care of themselves in life.”
But, Jesus has already promised that that will be a given if we seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and he also said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the entire world and forfeits his own soul,” and so, in terms of our priorities, I think some people think that we’re saying, “Well, we’re going to focus on godly character to the exclusion of academics,” as though somehow these two things are enemies. What was fascinating to the researchers 30 years ago when the first homeschool research came out from Dr. Brian Ray, when they started testing homeschoolers, was these homeschooling students whose parents had a high school diploma or less were scoring 30 percentile higher on the standardized achievement tests than students in government schools whose parents were PhDs or had teaching certificates and so on.
The academic schooling of the parent didn’t really factor in. What factored in was parental involvement, and so these moms and dads who had high school diplomas and less that just loved their kids and tried to instill their values in their kids, their kids actually did better academically, as well, and it’s that Matthew 6:33 principle. It’s not that the academics aren’t important, but they’re not our primary focus. They’re not our primary objective, so, I didn’t mean to preach, there. It just came out, so-
Yvette: No, I love that, and you’re absolutely right. And, you know, we’ve told our girls, “I don’t really care about them knowing science or history or math or English for any other reason but because it points them back to Jesus.” They have to know how to write so that they can write about God. They have to know how to read so that they can read his word. They have to understand basic science because God is the creator of it all and they need to understand their creator and the awesomeness of his creator. They need to understand basic history because, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and they need to understand the history of God’s creation and God’s world and what he has done with it and his perfect plan as it has unfolded throughout history.
But, if they’re being taught those things apart from the word of God and apart from a biblical worldview, then they’re not really being taught those things properly at all and who cares that they’re learning them at all. And so, while academics are certainly not the most important thing, the Bible is, but I love that as a homeschool family, we get to use all of those things to just point them back to their savior and creator, and it’s so much fun to be able to be the one to do that with them.
Israel: Yeah, and teaching them how to love God with all their heart. Those things bring out the wonder in all of who he is. The second factor of loving your neighbor as yourself is that if you’re truly going to love your neighbor, some academics actually help in that, because if you sloughed off during the anatomy class and you’re a surgeon and you got extra parts leftover that you don’t know where they go at the end of the surgery, that’s not a blessing for your neighbor, or you’re an airplane pilot and you just didn’t think that those physics classes were all that interesting and you’ve got 240 people screaming in the final minutes of their life; that’s not a blessing to your neighbor when you’re … so, in loving God and loving our neighbor, academics help us to love God more and they help us to learn how to love our neighbors as well.
Yvette: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Let me back up really quickly because I want to talk about something that you kind of just breezed through it, but I know the lights went off in my brain and I know that there’s others listening to this who go, “But how?” You said your mom came to you when you were in high school and she said, “I’ve taught you to read. I’ve taught you to think. I’ve taught you to study. I’ve taught you to learn. Now go do it. I can’t spend time holding your hand to do this.” How does one do that?
And, I think I’m even in that season right now with my girls. I’ve got a seven-year-old and a 12-year-old where I’m trying to teach them. They both can … well, my seven-year-old is still learning how to read a little bit. She’s getting much better at it, but I’m teaching them how to think and we’re trying to teach them how to study and how to learn so that they can go out and do that, and because, once they’re out of our home, I don’t want the learning to stop. I was one who, like I said, I didn’t enjoy school at all, and I remember, oh man, I could not wait until my high school graduation because I was never going to have to go back to another classroom again and sit in a class and have a lecture. That was just torture to me.
And so, I just thought, “Well, my learning is done,” and I crossed that off my list and I was like, “Okay, I’m ready to get married and have kids and move on with my life,” and, for my girls, I don’t want that for them. I mean, I want them to move on with life and get married and have kids, but I want them to have a life of learning and knowing how to study and knowing how to study the word of God and study whatever God has bent them towards in their interests. How did your mom teach you to do that and how are you teaching your kids to read and think and study and learn so that they can continue to do that?
Israel: Oh, there’s so many things. My mom was good at asking questions. Very rarely would she give me an answer to something. She would ask questions. She would ask questions that would lead me to figure it out on my own. She would encourage me to go study it on my own. There were times where I was … I remember when I was 15 telling her, “God doesn’t have an opinion on education. It doesn’t matter how you educate your children,” and she said, “I would like for you to write an article or write an essay on that and try to support your view from scripture.” So, she gave me an assignment on it.
Interestingly, that became a book that came out a couple years ago called Education: Does God Have an Opinion? And so, throwing it back at me was one way. Reading real books I think, is an important thing we do. We do that a lot with our children, having them read firsthand historical accounts, having them read real history as opposed to just novels. Having them read a lot of biographies gives them a broad perspective of the world. It opens their mind to thoughts and ideas, real life experience that’s outside of just a textbook and the academic at-a-desk learning, but a lot of asking questions, teaching them how to think through something, teaching them how to communicate through … I mean, my mom would say, “If you know what you believe, you know why your beliefs are true and you can communicate effectively through written and spoken communication, you’ll get to be a leader.”
Well, I was a nobody kid. I was an ADHD dyslexic kid that nobody thought could learn, and I’ve made a pretty successful living as a national conference speaker and author as a kid who didn’t learn how to read until he was 11. How does that happen? It happened because I had a context, first of all, where my love of learning didn’t get killed, and that’s what happens in institutional schools. They just systematically kill the love of learning for most students. And, thankfully, that didn’t happen to me. And so, I was a late bloomer, if you will, but just being just given the opportunity to learn the way that I learned and learn on my own time schedule, learn at my own pace, and just that constant unlocking of this world of discovery and inquiry rather than trying to fill my head full of facts and data and information, just unlocking doors to help me go explore. I think that’s way more effective in the long-run than trying to force your kid to remember information they’re never going to remember anyway.
Yvette: Sure, and I love asking questions. Garritt, my husband, he’s really good at that with our girls. Every day, we have our family devotion time and we always usually … we either memorize scripture or we read through a book of the bible, and so any time we’re reading through a passage of scripture, he always quizzes them at the end. “Okay, what did this talk about? What does this mean?” And, it’s so amazing to realize how well they understand what it is that they’re hearing.
And, when we first started doing that, it was a little bit of a struggle for them and they kind of go, “I don’t know. I don’t know what that meant,” and as we’ve done it over the years, of course, they get it. They understand, and if they don’t understand, then he’ll say, “What do you think it means,” and they’ll give their answer and then he’ll say, “Well, not really. This is what it actually means,” and, oh, it’s such a fantastic way for kids to understand the word of God and what it is that they’re hearing and learning, so-
Israel: One of the books that I wrote is a book called Questions God Asks, and it was based on a study I was doing through the Old Testament. I started noticing repeatedly that God asked questions of people, and so I started to write down any time I saw a question that God asked a person, and I asked myself, “What’s the purpose of this question? What’s the topic? What is it that God wants these people to think about?” And so, I ended up writing a book on that of 19 questions in the Old Testament that God asked people, and then I wrote a sequel to it called Questions Jesus Asks: 20 Questions in the New Testament that Jesus asked his disciples and the Pharisees and other people, and it just struck me as I wrote both of those books how God teaches and how Jesus taught through the art of asking questions, not nearly through didactic prose or some sort of teaching where you’re standing up telling everybody what to believe, but through drawing them out and saying, “Who do men say that I am? Who do you say that I am? Why do you call me good?” and so on. So, I’ve learned a lot from just even studying the questions God asked and the questions Jesus asked in the Bible about how to be a better question asker for myself as a parent.
Yvette: I love that. I think you’re familiar with Ginger Hubbard, right? You know who she is, so we recently did a podcast episode with her as well, and she literally … we talked about that exact same thing, and she said that’s one of the most important things, because, you know, when we’re teaching our kids to obey, it’s not just about their actions. It’s about their heart, and so one of the ways you get to their heart is by asking heart probing questions, you know, “Why did you make that decision?” just asking questions about the choices that they’re making that make them really think about what it is that they’re doing, so that is awesome.
Okay, so you’ve … let’s shift gears a little bit. I want to talk a little bit about a couple of the books that you’ve written. You mentioned one already. Well, actually, I think you’ve mentioned two of them. What books have you written? And, we’ll actually link to these in the show notes so that people can have an idea of what they are. They don’t have to write them down.
Israel: Sure. The books that are still available in print are Questions God Asks and Questions Jesus Asks. And then, on homeschooling, I’ve written Education: Does God Have an Opinion? And that, I believe, is really, probably the most comprehensive book written to date on what a biblical philosophy of education looks like, and I actually go through each of the major academic subjects and teach how this subject will be taught either from a humanistic worldview or from a biblical worldview, and how most Christian homeschoolers who are teaching their children at home using a Christian curriculum are actually giving their child a humanistic view of geography or science or math or language arts or history rather than a biblical worldview because they don’t have the right paradigm. They don’t know how to think biblically about that topic.
And so, I actually walk them through each of those academic subjects and teach them, “How do you teach these subjects from a distinctly biblical philosophy?” I don’t know of any other books out there that are quite like Education: Does God Have an Opinion. And then the latest one … well, and then, there’s a parenting book that my wife and I wrote called Pitching a Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed Out Parenting. That’s probably our best seller, actually. Most parents have children, and with children come stress, so it’s kind of a universally relevant book.
But then, I wrote one called Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, and that’s really the big picture of: how do we disciple our kids and how do we get their hearts and keep their hearts. And then, my latest book that just came out this year is called Answers For Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, and this was one that, after I’d written Education: Does God Have an Opinion, I thought, “Man, I’ve covered everything. I’ve addressed this whole biblical philosophy of education,” and Master Books, my publisher came to me and said, “You know, the thing is, this book is really comprehensive, but there are a lot of the basic fundamental questions that people still here and they still get asked or they wonder themselves, ‘How can I teach my children on a single income?’ Or, ‘What if I’m a single parent?’ Or, ‘What about sports?’ Or, ‘How do I keep a transcript?’ Or, ‘What about college?'” and just all these questions that people had.
“What about salt and light? Should my children be in the schools to be salt and light, and maybe we should send them as missionaries,” and all those kinds of things. They still get asked, and so, I wanted to take the top 25 objections that people have to homeschooling and reasons that they say, “Homeschooling’s a bad idea because …” and then, I wanted to systematically dismantle those objections in a way that would give someone confidence if they’re looking at this and saying, “I’m thinking of going into homeschooling.” I wanted them to have all their questions answered in one resource. But then, also, there are people that are already homeschooling, and they’re sold on it. They don’t need convinced to homeschool, but they have a skeptic in their life whether a parent, an in-law, a neighbor, unfortunately even sometimes church leaders, you know, just people that say, “Oh, well, how do you know you’re not going to ruin them?” or whatever.
And so, I wanted to give them a book that would help them to defend their position and give them solid answers just like in Christian apologetics. You read an apologetics book to learn how to defend your Christian faith so when somebody says, “Well, how do you know the Bible is the word of God?” Or, “How do you know that people didn’t just make up the Bible and wrote it 500 years ago?” all that kind of stuff, how are you going to give your answer? What’s your apologetic. This is kind of an apologetic for homeschooling, a defense for homeschooling.
Yvette: Yeah, that is great. What I love about this book is that it’s written by a dad. Because, oftentimes … and, I know you hear this and I’m certain that you talk to men all over the country. Oftentimes, it’s the wife who wants to homeschool, and Dad is saying, “I don’t know about that,” or, “No, that’s not a good idea. We need to put the kids in school,” and so, many homeschool books are written by moms, which are great. I mean, there are so many great books out there, but I love that this is written by a dad because it can be for anybody, but I think this is an excellent book to give to dads or to grandparents. That’s another huge group of people that are from a different generation, and so, oftentimes, grandparents will say, “You want to do what? You want to homeschool our grandkids? Why would you do such a thing?” and this is a great book to be able to hand to people.
Again, that’s partly why we’re making Schoolhouse Rocked is because we want to give people a tool that they can hand to their husband or to their parents or two their friends or siblings and say, “Here’s why we’re doing this. Just read this book or watch this movie and you’ll understand why it is that we’ve made this decision for our family, or why I want to make this decision for our family.”
Okay, you said … you have been to how many conventions, this year?
Israel: Oh, goodness, this year, I don’t know for sure, but I know I’ve spoken at 245 events in the last five years. I calculated that the other day.
Yvette: Oh wow, that’s a lot of speaking. And, all of those, are they all homeschool related or are those-
Israel: Now, some of those are family camps. I do a lot of parenting seminars. I speak in churches sometimes. I just did an apologetics weekend where I was actually teaching Christian apologetics in England at a church there, and so I do a lot of different kinds of things, but I would say probably three quarters of what I do is homeschool and family discipleship related.
Yvette: Okay, now you’ve got top 25 questions critics ask in this book. If you had to narrow it down to maybe the top five concerns that people have for homeschooling, could you narrow it down to that?
Israel: Yeah, I think I would say the top five would be socialization. “What about sports? What about college? Am I qualified to do this?” And then, what comes to my mind is the fifth is just a myriad of excuses why they don’t want to. That’s probably not an answer, but that’s what came to my mind because sometimes you realize at the end of the day, these objections are actually not real objections. I wrote an article one time and I called it The Dog Ate My Lesson Planner, because it’s like eventually you kind of realize that some people just don’t want to, and, fair enough, you don’t want to, you don’t want to.
And, people who don’t want to won’t, but my view is: if you really want to, you may not be able to get where you want to go in one easy step. You may not be able to get from point A, where you are now, to point B, where you want to be financially and your situation and work-related issues and all of that, but, I believe if it’s your desire that you want to disciple your own children at home, God will make a path for you, and you give it time and you give it prayer and develop a strategy, develop a game plan, and I believe God will allow you to realize that, because I think it really is his heart for parents to take responsibility for teaching and leading and disciplining their own children.
So, if you want to do it, I believe there’s a path. That’s why you’re doing this video. That’s why I’m doing this book because we believe you can and we just want to help remove the barriers. People that don’t want to, at the end of the day, it’s just, “Well, then, don’t,” right? It’s kind of as simple as that. So, sometimes, I think we just kind of have to be honest. I remember reading a survey that was done by a major Christian organization and they asked a question, “If you didn’t have to pay for it, would you give your child a Christian education,” and 77% of the respondents said, “Yes, I would homeschool or put my children in a Christian school if I didn’t have to pay for it with my own money.” And so, to me, that really kind of shows a big priority issue with a lot of people that that’s really the hiccup for them. They don’t actually believe the public school system is the best thing for their child. They don’t want to foot the bill for it or feel they can’t right now, and so I think that’s a huge issue, is the money.
Yvette: Yeah, and I think so many of these things really point back to misconceptions. People, they have misconceptions about what homeschooling is and what it’s going to look like for their family. I know we were in that same boat where we thought all the same silly things. “Our kids aren’t going to be socialized and they’re going to be weird and they’re not going to have a good education and they’re not going to get into college and they’re not going to be able to go to prom and go to football games,” or whatever it is that society has told us are the important things. And, as we have come into homeschooling, of course, you know, the Lord has completely changed our hearts about it and I’m so thankful for that.
But, again, like you said, part of the reason why we’re filming Schoolhouse Rocked is because we want to debunk all of those misconceptions and negative stereotypes that people have, and, surprisingly enough, we have had so much fun. One of my favorite parts of filming has been doing street interviews and just walking up to random people on the street and just saying, “Hey, can we ask you some questions and interview you about education?” Some people are like, “Oh, no, we’ve got lunch plans in two minutes,” and they’ll walk away and then other people are like, “Sure,” and we thought, going out, that more people would say, “Well, homeschooled kids are socially awkward and they’re not well-educated and they’re this and they’re that,” and we’re not finding that. It has been so fascinating.
We, I think, have only had a couple people say that, but, overall, I think our society is starting to shift for sure and say, “No, homeschooling …” we’re seeing it. We’re seeing that homeschooling is a good thing, and most people are saying, “Well, I’ve got a cousin who homeschools or a niece who homeschools or something like that, and, you know, their kids aren’t weird and their kids are really smart,” and so, people, I think their eyes are being opened to answering these questions without them even realizing it.
Israel: It takes a while. Yeah, I posted on Facebook a while back, “1982: ‘Don’t tell anyone you don’t go to school.’ -My grandmother. 2012, 30 years later: ‘Everyone should homeschool.’ -My grandmother.”
Yvette: Yeah, oh, that’s awesome.
Israel: It just takes time because people have biases, and sometimes they just have to see that the myths are really that; they’re just myths.
You know, I think that nine times out of ten, the best rule in parenting is: go with your gut. You almost never regret it. When you have a strong sense, an inkling that something’s not right or that something needs to be changed or that you need to be doing something with your child, we usually talk ourselves out of doing the thing that we know we ought to do.
Yvette: Exactly, that that is all that they are, and we’re desperately hoping to be able to show that homeschooling is not what people think that it is. And, so many people are at a loss right now as to what to do with their kids with school. They can’t afford private school or don’t want their kids to go to private school, and they’re not so sure anymore about public school because, “Is there going to be a lockdown? Is my kid going to be safe? What are they being taught in the classroom?” And so, I think a lot of people are coming into homeschooling scared. Talk to those parents who are coming in and they’re hesitant, but they feel like, “I know I’m supposed to do this, and I’m in. I’m buying into this, but I’m really, really scared.” What do you say to those parents?
Israel: You know, I think that nine times out of ten, the best rule in parenting is: go with your gut. You almost never regret it. When you have a strong sense, an inkling that something’s not right or that something needs to be changed or that you need to be doing something with your child, we usually talk ourselves out of doing the thing that we know we ought to do. That’s just a bad idea and we allow other people to talk us out of what we know is the right thing to do for our child. Nobody knows your child better than you do. No one loves your child better than you do? God didn’t give your child to somebody else. God gave your child to you. He gave that child to you because he believes that you, more and better than anyone else in the entire universe, are qualified and capable to make the decisions that are best for their future.
You have to trust that. Do you believe God makes mistakes? Do you think God is inept and incompetent and incapable and that’s why he gave that child to you? No, that’s not true. God doesn’t make mistakes. God gave that child to you because he believes you are the best person in the universe to make the right decisions for that child, so do it. Make the right decisions for that child and never apologize to anyone for being a good parent. And so, I just say: when you feel that pit in your stomach that just says, “I just don’t feel like this is right. I don’t think this is good. I don’t think we’re doing the right thing by our child here,” you need to listen to that because, a lot of times, that’s the leading of the holy spirit.
Yvette: Yeah, oh, absolutely, absolutely. I want to talk a little bit with you about your role as dad and leader of your home. You mentioned this briefly a few minutes ago, too, about leading your home spiritually. What does that look like in your home? I’m hoping that dads are listening to this, too, but I know it will mostly be moms, probably, but, how can you encourage dads to take that role? Because, with homeschooling, typically, it’s mom who does the educating part. Though, you know, homeschooling is life. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not just, “it down at a desk from 8:00 to 2:00 and do your worksheets,” but … okay, let me ask this a couple different ways. One, how can a dad encourage and support his wife and his kids through homeschooling? And then, my second question is: how can a dad lead his family well spiritually?
Israel: Great questions. I have a chapter in the New Answers For Homeschooling book specifically for dads where I address: what’s a dad to do? What’s the dad’s role in all this? And, the metaphor that I use with a lot of men just because I know it connects with them or they’ll at least understand the concept, is I say, “Suppose that you are a general contractor in construction and a homeowner hires you to build a house for them and you are supposed to oversee every facet of this construction project and you’ve been given this responsibility. You may subcontract out pieces and parts of that so that you have a drywall guy, an electrician, a plumber. You may not actually be physically doing all of the labor. You may do some of it, but you might not do all of the physical labor on the project. But, if something goes wrong in that process, you have to be aware of it. You have to be involved on a daily basis so that your workers have the tools that they need; they’re equipped to be able to do the job right so that … they’re provided for adequately to be able to accomplish what you’ve given them to do. But, ultimately, the responsibility is with you. If there’s a problem with the house, the homeowner’s not going to talk to the plumbing guy or the electrician? They’re going to come talk to you because you’re the general contractor.”
And so, we look in scripture. We see in Ephesians 6:4 … out of many, many passages that I could pick, I’ll just grab that one where Paul says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” And, in the Greek, that word admonition is the Greek word paideia. And, it’s interesting: if you look that up in, say, Encyclopedia Britannica and you look at the description that’s given there, in the Greek culture that Paul was writing to, that word was so pervasive, it was so universal that every single academic subject or discipline that could be taught was contained in the word paideia.
So, Encyclopedia Britannica, for example, says: gymnastics, history, literature, logic, philosophy, all of the subjects, all of the academic disciplines; they’re all contained within the word paideia, and so Paul says something super powerful there. He says, “Fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but train them up in the paideia of the Lord,” not the paideia of the world, but the paideia of the Lord. And so, what does that look like? Now, the Greeks, they knew what the paideia of the world looked like. They had the Socratic schools and they had that whole pagan academic educational institution system. They knew what that looked like, but what was the paideia of the Lord? That’s what Paul was calling fathers to be responsible for, and it literally is fathers, there.
And so, it’s interesting that, unfortunately, in our Christian evangelical subculture, men have been more or less convinced, somehow … and, it’s been at least allowed within the church culture, this notion that as long as you go to work and you bring home a paycheck, that’s all you have to do. It’s your wife’s job to raise the children, discipline the children, feed the children, educate the children. Well, usually, it’s the government’s job to educate the children. It’s your wife’s job to raise the children. Scripture just doesn’t say that. It’s not what scripture says.
So, being a dad who has, at times … like I said, for 20 years, I had a day job, and so I would go to work and come home and so I was like all these other dads where I didn’t have the ability to be as involved on the academic day-in-day-out side of things as I would have wanted. I looked at it as: my job is that general contractor role where I have to know what’s going on in the family. I have to know my children by heart. I have to know where their weak points are, where their strengths are. I have to be able to identify when one of them is not doing well spiritually, when one of them is failing academically in some way. I need to have those conversations with my wife because she’s on the frontline, right? So, she sees … every day and have those conversations; “How are the kids doing? How are you doing? What do you need?”
And, another thing … again, I don’t know if any guys are going to listen to this, but, wives, make sure your husband hears this and play it back for him and make him think it’s his idea, but, guys, seriously, we spend money on what’s important to us, and I know guys that spend money on boats and on guns and their hobbies and golf or whatever it is that they do that’s important to them, video games, whatever, and yet, when their wife wants to get curriculum to teach their children, they get all put out of sorts about it and they’re like, “Well, we don’t have the budget for that.” Are you kidding me? Are you serious? You don’t have the budget for that? Better find a way to make the budget for that because these are your children. These are eternal souls that are in your home that God has given to you, and I just would say to the men, “You will never ever regret any money that you put into helping your wife become more effective as a woman of God, more effective as a mom, more effective as a wife,” even if that’s time away for her to just regroup or whatever.
You will never regret money that you invest in your wife and that you invest in your kids. Your boat, your hobbies, that sport scar, whatever, those things are going to rust, but these eternal souls and these relationships we have that are … hopefully these children are going to embrace our faith and are going to follow us into eternity. These are not something you want to go cheap on, and so I just would say any money you put in that direction is money well spent. Go to the homeschool conferences with your wife and support her. Go together. Talk about these things. Have date nights that are strategy planning sessions, and, as much as you can, teach the subjects yourself if they’re subjects that you like, that you’re good at. Whether it’s history or math or whatever, be involved as well on the academic side. And, just quickly … I went on a soapbox with that.
Yvette: Yeah, no, I love it.
Israel: But, I read an article where they asked kids in public schools, “What’s the most important academic subject that you could learn?” And, I was surprised to find that of all these thousands of students across America that they polled, every single student gave the same exact answer which academic subject was most important. You know what it is?
Yvette: What was it? Not a clue.
Israel: I wouldn’t have a clue, either, but it was in Scientific American or some magazine, Popular Mechanics, something like that. Turns out that it’s whatever subject Dad helps them with in homework.
Israel: Because, apparently, kids realize Dad has limited time, and so, if Dad is taking his precious time to help me with math, then math must be the most important thing. Or, if he’s helping me with science, then science must be the most important subject. Kids just automatically made that connection. So, one of the things that I think is super important — you asked about the spiritual side — that I do as a dad, the two most important things I do as a dad is homeschooling my children, and then secondly — you mentioned this about Garritt — doing daily Bible time with my children. I lead them through the scripture verse by verse all the way through the Bible, and I’ve done that since they were born. And, that wasn’t something I grew up with.
Yvette: Yeah, it wasn’t something I grew up with, either.
Israel: It wasn’t something I had modeled for me, but it’s the most important thing that I do apart from homeschooling, and I would strongly encourage: dads, if you haven’t done that, to make that a priority. And, there’s not necessarily a right way. You don’t have to do it like I do it. You don’t have to do it like Garritt does it. You can do you. You do you. If you just-
Yvette: Right, right. Yeah, and I think some dads feel like, “Well, I’m not a pastor. I’m not a church leader. I don’t know enough about the Bible.” Simply open it up and read. If you can read, then you can lead your family spiritually, and it is such a sweet time. I love that time with our family and it’s all our girls know. If we come to … we usually do ours in the morning time, but sometimes, you know, if we have to be somewhere early and we don’t get it done before bed, our girls will say, “We haven’t done family Bible time yet,” because it’s almost … you feel like you haven’t put on your seatbelt when you get in the car like you’re just missing something, and, you know, it’s just so, so, important.
And, I think, also, our kids seeing us spending time in God’s word is so incredibly powerful. A lot of husbands don’t take that step of leading their family spiritually, and that’s where I would tell the moms, “Pray, just pray, and ask that the Lord would convict them of that, and that doesn’t mean that their husbands don’t love the Lord, but, you know, pray that God would give them that conviction of leading their family spiritually, but, for the moms, too, goodness gracious, especially if your husband is not leading your family in family devotions each day, let your kids watch you, and not to do it like the Pharisees and have it be a show, you know, “Look at me reading my Bible, kids,” but, let them see you in the word of God. Let them see you on your knees praying. Let them see you digging in and trying to learn because like Heidi St. John says all the time, “You can’t give your kids what you don’t have. You can’t teach them what you don’t know.”
If we don’t know the word of God, we can’t teach it to our kids, but, you know, we can take the time to learn it on our own. So, wow: so much good stuff. You are so encouraging. I feel like I could talk with you for hours and hours and I’m so encouraged by what God is doing through you and through your ministry and through your family. I appreciate that you take your time to go and talk at homeschool conventions. Conventions were huge for us, for Garritt and I when we first started thinking about homeschooling. And, the reason that we decided to homeschool was because we really didn’t have a choice. We’re from Los Angeles County. The schools in our area were terrible and we thought, “Well, we don’t have any other options so I guess we’ll homeschool even though we said we would never ever, ever homeschool,” and, when we decided … and, we started talking about it. We had some friends invite us to CHEA, which is the California homeschool convention, and so we went there our first year, and, literally, in one weekend, our hearts were turned around and God just opened our yes up and we said, “Homeschooling is not what we thought it was, first of all. And, second of all, this is going to be amazing and it’s going to be hard at times, but it’s going to be the best thing for our family.”
And we’re so thankful for speakers like you. God has given you that platform to go out and to encourage families face-to-face and through books and through your ministry and your podcast and your Facebook page and all of that, so thank you for all that you do. Thank you, Israel, so much, for your time and for your ministry and just for how you’ve blessed our family and how you continue to bless others. And, thank you for being part of Schoolhouse Rocked. We are super excited to have you as part of the cast, very exciting.
Israel: Well, I’m excited about it, as well, and thank you guys for what you do. I believe God’s going to do big things for this film.
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.
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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.