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
One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is that it is generational. Homeschooling builds a LEGACY. Because of this simple fact, it is critical that we take seriously the motivation, direction, methods, and values of our homeschooling, because these will do so much to determine what that legacy is. Is our desire to train spelling bee champions, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, engineers, pastors, missionaries, mothers or fathers, leaders, or followers?
It is helpful to know WHY we are homeschooling in order to establish HOW we will homeschool. Once we have determined the “why” and “how” of homeschooling, the real challenge begins. It is at this point that we realize we must MODEL for our children what we want them to be, because we know that “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” – Luke 6:40 (NIV)
Barb and Rich Heki, of Grandparents of Homeschoolers, have seen the generational impact of homeschooling. As homeschool parents and grandparents themselves, they are committed to encouraging, inspiring and equipping grandparents to lovingly support, actively engage in and fully delight in the home-education adventure of their grandchildren – whether they live locally or long-distance. They also understand the importance of breaking down the resistance of grandparents who don’t understand homeschooling or support their children who homeschool or are considering homeschooling. As advocates of multi-generational family discipleship (because education IS discipleship), they are excited to be ministering to grandparents of homeschoolers, connecting the generations through home education.
Yvette Hampton recently had the privilege of interviewing Barb and Rich Heki for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. In this conversation they discussed the Biblical instruction for grandparents to disciple their grandchildren, which is given in Psalm 78, and they revealed the most effective way to break down the resistance of grandparents who oppose homeschooling – to get them involved!
Whether you are a parent or grandparent, child or grandchild, we hope you will be blessed by their discussion.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am thrilled that you’ve joined me today. I have two very special guests on with me today. Barb and Rich Heki. Some of you may have heard their names. They are also the founders of Grandparents of Homeschoolers. So today, we are going to talk about all things having to do with our own parents, and grandparents, and grandparents of your kids. Barb and Rich, welcome to the podcast.
Yvette Hampton: I am delighted to have you on. We actually had you both as part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. It was just such an amazing event, and so I’m glad to have you back on talking about being grandparents of homeschoolers. There’s so much to talk about with this topic. I was actually talking to my mom, and I’ll have you introduce yourselves in just a minute, but I wanted to say I was talking to my mom last night, and I was telling her how much I appreciated the fact that when we started homeschooling, we never got any kind of resistance from her.
Yvette Hampton: My mom in the beginning, and actually I was talking to her, but I was talking about all of our parents. My mom, and my dad, and my husband’s mom and dad. When we first went down this road, we had said we’d never homeschool, and then all of a sudden we go to this homeschool convention and we came back, and we were so excited, and we were like, “We’re going to homeschool, and we’re going to do this forever.” We were just so excited about it.
Yvette Hampton: None of our parents really understood it, but none of them gave us resistance about it. They just said, “Okay, if this is what you guys think is best.” I think part of that is we had been married quite a long time. By the time Brooklyn, my oldest, was going into kindergarten, we’d been married for 15 years, and so we were well-established in our adult life, and we were in our mid-30s. So I think they’ve trusted us. We had proven that, “Okay we can make logical and wise decisions for our family, and we had taken really good care of their grandchild so far.” So they trusted us to do that.
Yvette Hampton: I know that that’s not the case with all parents. I’m grateful for our parents and their support even though they didn’t totally get it. You guys have an amazing ministry, not just to grandparents though your ministry is to grandparents, but it’s also to parents who are trying to figure out what this homeschool thing is. So, tell us a little bit about your family and how you got started in this ministry.
Rich Heki: Well, we have four adult children. We homeschooled them all the way through, and they’re all walking with the Lord, and that’s one thing we are so grateful for. We have been blessed so far with three grandchildren. The only bad part about that is they don’t live right near us. They live over a thousand miles away. One of the components of Grandparents of Homeschoolers is we talk about how we communicate, stay in touch with our grandchildren when they are a distance away from us, so we can still stay engaged in their lives. We can talk about that more later. Anything else you want to know?
Barb Heki: Lots of long distance grand-parenting out there. The ministry actually got started when we were leaders in our state organization, and we went to a different state’s convention to just get ideas, and they were having a grandparent tea, and we weren’t grandparents then, but if we asked if we could go just to observe. We saw the grandparents just connecting with each other. The ones who came and just weren’t really sure about this homeschooling thing were sold by the grandparents who were so excited, and they were involved in different ways. We just saw that, and oh my goodness, that was the seed of this ministry.
Barb Heki: The convention thing that you talked about, yeah how excited you were, we encourage grandparents to go to conventions whether they’re online like the one you just had, or whether they’re on site, just go to all of them. Because that’s where they capture the vision, and they get ideas, and they get excited about what they can do.
Yvette Hampton: Right, because then they feel like they can be part of this whole homeschooling experience for their grandkids, which I think is exciting, because when you think about kids who go to traditional school, how often if grandparents are local, how often do grandparents go to the kids’ school play and their sports activities, and all the things that grandparents, their award ceremonies, things like that. I know my parents and my husband’s parents have really worked to do that with my nieces who are in traditional school.
Yvette Hampton: It’s great to be able to help them figure out how they can play a role of encouragement without playing the role of leadership in the education of their grandkids, because obviously there’s a big difference. You’ve got every so often we hear of those grandparents who really want to be controlling and tell their kids, “This is how you should raise your kids, and this is what you should do,” instead of just trusting that, “You know what, you did a good job raising your kids.” Trust that they’re doing the best job for their family as well.
Yvette Hampton: Wait, we’ve talked a lot in the movie about how education is discipleship. I am so blessed to hear that your four adult children are walking with the Lord, because that’s not always the case. Certainly, there are parents who love Jesus, and they’ve led their children to Jesus, and their children have chosen to walk away, but I’m encouraged to know that your kids are all walking the straight neuropath. Talk about as your children were growing up, as you were raising your kids, because you homeschooled all four of your kids all the way through, correct, from kindergarten through 12th grade?
Barb Heki: Yes, we did.
Yvette Hampton: So as you did that, and you guys were back in maybe not so much the early pioneer days of homeschooling, but maybe at the tail end of that, but back in the day where maybe it wasn’t as widely accepted as it is now. Did you homeschool because you were running from something, because of discipleship? What was your reason behind it?
Rich Heki: Let’s see if we can synthesize this. Because of where our oldest son fell in his age where his birthday was, we had the opportunity basically to decide to put him in school a later year. The suburb we lived in at the time, they had just opened a brand new preschool, and they got a bunch of new teachers in there, because the teachers were all excited to be in this new facility, and everybody’s really excited about it. Then they had an open house, so people that didn’t have children in the school could check it out. So we went and when we left the school we had absolutely no peace.
Rich Heki: But because of where Sonny, our oldest son’s birthday fell, we had a whole year to make a decision. We used that time to research, and my wife, we’ll probably come to know just researches everything. She was discussing lamenting about the situation with a friend of hers. We thought of sending him to the Christian school, but it was really not possible for us to afford to do that. So she was lamenting to her friend, “We don’t know what we’re going to do.” Her friend said, “Why don’t you homeschool?” Barb says, “Homeschool? What’s that?”
Rich Heki: So she explained what it was, and we started learning about that. At first, I was a little reluctant. I said, “Well, all right maybe we could try this, but we’ll give it like I don’t know, six months or maybe at the most a year, but let’s see how we do for six months.” I’ll tell you, within probably a few weeks after starting the homeschool, we were fully convinced this was the way to go. Then it got to the point where it’s like, “Wow, even if we had the option, I’m sending our children to the Christian school, we would choose homeschooling even over that.”
Barb Heki: Right. If we got a free ride for all 12 years, we’d turn it down. There is no way.
Yvette Hampton: Me too.
Rich Heki: So God really did a work in us. Once we really understood what homeschooling was about, and actually started getting involved and doing it ourselves, we were convinced this is the way that God wanted us to raise our children.
Barb Heki: What’s neat now that we see at conferences is we see these young married couples coming to homeschooling conferences, and registering for online conferences, and they don’t have any kids yet. They’re already researching homeschooling. We waited until our son turned five and panicked.
Rich Heki: Yeah, we waited till our back are against the wall basically.
Barb Heki: So, I love it. Just seeing the vision that they have, and they are bringing the grandparents along, and the grandparents are getting excited about it, and they’re looking at all this curriculum, and getting ideas, and it’s really neat.
Rich Heki: Yeah, it’s been a blessing.
Yvette Hampton: It’s such an exciting thing, because even with parenting, I started reading parenting books, and I started talking to people about parenting, and thinking through, “Okay, when we have children, how are we going to do this, this, and this?” Of course, I was one of those moms who thought, “Well, when we have kids, our kids will never throw tantrums in the grocery store.” I was the perfect parent, but it’s the same with homeschooling and that if you know that that’s the direction that you want your family to go, you can certainly start preparing for it.
Yvette Hampton: I love hearing from moms, and I have a couple of friends who listen to the podcast who don’t have kids yet, and they listen to this podcast, which is primarily about homeschooling. It’s such a blessing to me, because it’s so much fun to think, I love that they’re preparing their hearts in order to prepare the hearts of their children, and for a life that is honoring to the Lord.
Yvette Hampton: We are talking about discipleship and about the importance of parents discipling their children. I want to talk about grandparents, because this is your ministry. I know you talk about how, and Psalm 78, the Bible actually exhorts grandparents to disciple the hearts of their children and grandchildren. Talk about that, about how that would work. How can grandparents come alongside their grandchildren and help disciple them?
Rich Heki: Since you brought that verse up, would it be all right if I read that?
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Rich Heki: So, Psalm 78:1-8, it reminds us this, “My people, hear my teaching. Listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable. I will utter hidden things, things from of all, things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants, we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Rich Heki: Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
Barb Heki: It’s a worldview change or a change in mindset to try and get grandparents who maybe solid Christians, but they have always viewed school or they view homeschooling now as education, and parents view it as discipleship, because that’s what it is. So that’s the vision we’re trying to get grandparents to grasp is it’s not a separate thing. They disciple the grandkids through everything they’re doing with them. Every moment is 24/7, it’s not 9:00 to 3:00 on weekdays, and to be proactive as they’re doing things, whether they’re teaching a skill to their grandkids, or whether they’re going for a walk in the park, to just be always thinking in terms of look at what God made.
Barb Heki: Just bringing discipleship into everything they do with them. Because the one thing about education is it consumes a child’s life for basically from birth or at least preschool all the way through college sometimes, high school and college. If grandparents aren’t involved in the education of their grandkids, they are missing so many discipleship opportunities, because it’s just all their time.
Yvette Hampton: Yup, I love that passage and just what it teaches to grandparents and exhorts them to take that role seriously. Because they’re leaving a legacy for their kids, and for their grandchildren, and for their grandchildren’s grandchildren and for generations to come. Garritt and I were talking about this actually the other day about what kind of legacy do we want to leave for our kids and for our grandkids. I think that as parents, we need to be intentional about that, because if we don’t have a goal in mind, if we have no idea what direction we’re heading then we’re going to lose our way.
Yvette Hampton: We have to know what our goal is, and we have to know what direction we’re going with our kids, because we hope that they’re going to take that same direction with their kids. Our family has been studying the book of Revelation, and yeah you talked about it. It’s such just a powerful book. Garritt is doing such a great job of leading us through it, and he’s the first to say how intimidating it is to try to teach through a book that is so hard to grasp. As we’re thinking through that book, as we’re studying it, and as we’re looking at the culture around us, and we’re looking at all of the things that are happening, we’re sent back going, “Well, the end times, they might be here, and the tribulation may come in our lifetime.” I don’t know, may come in our girl’s lifetime, we don’t know, but our job is to teach our kids truth, and to teach them to stand firm, and put on the full armor of God. Because if we don’t teach it to them, then they’re not going to be very effective in teaching it to their kids.
Yvette Hampton: No, they could be, of course, but it’s our job to do that with them. So I love that you’re so intentional about just leaving that legacy for your kids. I know one of the things that you talk about is how grandparents can make or break homeschooling. I have interviewed well, many times actually on the podcast, and she’s been part of a lot of things we’ve done is Karen Debeus. She talks about how when she very first started homeschooling, her parents were adamant about her not doing it.
Yvette Hampton: Just like almost to the point of disowning her. They of course now, I mean, the Lord has done a great work in their hearts, but it can undo someone just where you’re just thinking of my parents. I want to still, as an adult, I’m 45 years old, and I still want to please my parents. If I made a decision about my family that my parents were just adamantly against, it would be really hard. I would love for you to talk to the two separate parts of parties in this situation.
Rich Heki: There are actually three.
Yvette Hampton: Okay. So then talk to the three parties in this situation, and how to deal with that.
Rich Heki: So we’ve talked a little bit about the first one, which is having the grandparents onboard. They hear about and they go, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” Now, maybe they homeschooled you, and so they’re automatically going to be pro homeschooling. They will be onboard, and they’ll probably do whatever you ask them to do, and then some, just to spend time with the grandkids. That’s the easy, because they’re already there.
Rich Heki: Then you’re going to find that there’s some that are support of, but they’re a hands off approach. They just say, “We raised you, whatever you want to do is fine.” They’re okay with it, but they’re also not really engaged. I guess with that, the problem with that is there’s so many opportunities where they could do something with the grandkids, and that there’s going to be missed opportunities if they don’t get involved.
Rich Heki: What we want to see is that middle group where it’s like, “Yeah, do whatever you want to do.” That’s great, but we want to see the grandparents ramp it up and actually get involved, so that they can have some of the enjoyment that we’ve had discipling our kids, that they can share in that too, because they have so much to offer probably way more than they realize, because they have all this life of experience that they can bring to the table.
Rich Heki: Then there’s of course the third group is the oppositional one. Those are the ones we have to work on, because a lot of times it’s like they may have had a really good experience in their particular growing up and their history with public school or whatever. They think, “Well, it was good enough for me, so why is it good enough for my grandchildren?” Then if they know nothing about homeschooling, it’s like, “What are you doing with my grandchildren?” Because they know nothing about it, and maybe they’ve heard some negative stories about it or whatever.
Rich Heki: We got a bigger education process just to them to try to explain why are we doing this? Why is this really the best road for teaching our children, but this is going to be the very best education they can have.
Barb Heki: One of the things on the pro side is we have talked to lots of grandparents who actually have moved to the city that their grandkids are in so they can help homeschool them. We’ve talked to families who have moved and say the grandparents are in. So the grandparents can be involved. That deepening of the relationship and the discipleship opportunities are just wonderful. It takes the stress off of parents. You’re not doing it a hundred percent yourself. You’ve got help, and you’ve got support. You’ve got encouragement. You’ve got prayer, and it’s a really neat thing.
Barb Heki: On the other side, we had some friends for the oppositional grandparents. We always also tell grandparents and parents that, “Now, we as grandparents had a chance to raise our kids the way that we felt God was leading us to raise them.” Now, it’s our kids’ turn. It’s not our decision. They’re the directors and we’re the supporters. Grandparents, you now need to remember that. Then parents need to remember to ask them for some of the wisdom that they have from all those years of experience.
Barb Heki: We had some friends at a church that we went to, that they watched us homeschooling our kids, and they came up to us once and said, “We really want to homeschool our kids. We like what we see among the homeschoolers. We know, and we want to homeschool our kids, but our parents are really against it.” As it turned out, one of the parents offered them a free ride through Christian school for all, I think they had four kids, all four of their kids for 12 years if they would promise not to homeschool.
Barb Heki: They buckled too. They didn’t want to have trouble with the grandparents, and wanted to keep the relationship good. So they took them up on that offer, and I was just so sad, because God had given them this vision and this excitement to homeschool, and then the parents just shut it down. The grandparents are really key in how a family operates, because it can be wonderful and joyful, or it can be totally miserable. Sometimes relationships just completely broken off as well.
Yvette Hampton: Sure. I’m certain that those grandparents meant well. They wanted what was best for their grandchildren.
Barb Heki: Yes. That’s a key to remember too in the relationship aspect is that they’re really on the same side, because they both want the best for the kids, but they just have different ideas of what is best, so it’s a matter of bringing them together.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that is a difficult thing for them.
Rich Heki: I was just going to add to that. We try to impress on the parents as well as grandchildren that our parents did the very best they could with the tools they had at the time. Back in the day, homeschooling wasn’t even on the radar, modern homeschooling wasn’t even on the radar at that time. The thought probably never even occurred to them that that could be done, but back in the founding of this country, all the founding fathers were homeschooled. I think all the presidents I believe on Mount Rushmore were homeschooled.
Rich Heki: There’s a rich heritage in homeschooling, but now that we have these tools, and in many ways it’s getting more and more easy to homeschool because of the internet and through all the resources that are now available is making the job of the parents that much more organized and easier to do for homeschooling. It’s a little bit easier now in some ways to convince the parents that, but there’s still those opposition out there, and we still have to do a lot of education on that.
Barb Heki: There’s two things that I think are key too in dealing with that. One is what is the missing element in all of this, especially for Christian grandparents? The missing element is Jesus Christ, because what educational situation is going to glorify Christ, teach the kids to love and honor Jesus Christ, his Lord and savior. It’s not going to be a public school, it’s not going to happen there. So, to be looking at that.
Barb Heki: The other thing is the most effective way to get really oppositional grandparents to come onboard in homeschooling is to get them involved, because it’s hard to oppose something that you are involved in. If you can have them teach a skill they know, that’s pretty easy. Maybe mom and dad don’t want to ask them grandparents to do that, maybe the grandkids can say, “Grandma and grandpa, will you teach me X, X, X?”
Barb Heki: Then after that is done, then mom and dad put it in under the proper academic category in their records and stuff and say, “Thanks grandma and grandpa for helping teach science.” We put that in our official records. You help teach them science today. So anyway, that’s a big help.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I think that’s fantastic. I think one of the greatest things that any grandparent, whether grandmother or grandfather can do if they’re local is to just offer your presence, especially if you have a child … if your child has multiple children that they’re trying to homeschool, or if they’re only trying to homeschool one, and maybe they’ve got a baby underfoot, or a toddler or something like that.
Yvette Hampton: So just having grandma come over, grandpa come over maybe once a week or twice a week or something, just for a few hours, and hold the baby, feed the baby, fold laundry, help with some dishes, just help in some way. I think that most grandparents don’t understand the desperate need that most moms feel for that support and just for someone else to come alongside them and just say, “Okay, how can I help you? What can I do? Can I just silently fold laundry? Can I just play with the baby for a little bit?” Just to give mom a little bit of a break, and to give her the opportunity to maybe catch up on lesson plans if she wants to do that, or to just sit and read with her child, or to take her older one to the park, or to get ice cream or something like that just so that mom could be more effective in her role as mom, and as homeschool mom, and all the things that she has lined up.
Yvette Hampton: I shouldn’t even just say grandparents, and that I wish that there were more retired, if you will, homeschool moms who would seek out younger homeschool moms in their churches, in their communities, in their neighborhoods and just say, “Hey, can I come over and just help you? What can I do? How can I be a blessing to you?” Most moms would eat that at. You’ve got the introverted mom who maybe wouldn’t want that so much, but I think that it’s probably not the norm.
Yvette Hampton: What are some ways? You had mentioned earlier about how grandparents can be involved from a distance. So if grandma and grandpa like you guys, you live a thousand miles from your grandchildren, how can you be involved? How do you find yourselves being able to do that?
Barb Heki: A lot of stuff over Skype you can do things. I mean, not Skype, but just online chats, video chats. We’ve written books or short stories together. We’ve done books too like picture books, but we’ll just start out and our granddaughter will maybe write a sentence or two, and then we’ll write a sentence or two, and we just keep writing the story together, or you encourage them in writing the story. You ask questions, “What happened next?” If they’re too young to write, you take down what they say, and type down what they say.
Barb Heki: If they’re a teenager, they can go on and type on their own, but just help them with the story writing. A lot of things that they can do online is you can do I mean, just about anything really. We’ve looked at pictures on the internet and studied animals, different things like that. The Fibonacci numbers are really fun, because anything that you can do sitting beside each other on a couch, you can also do in a video chat. You can have a copy of the same book that they have, and you can read it back and forth to each other.
Barb Heki: For older kids and teenagers too, that is really reading aloud, and going through a book.
Rich Heki: Yeah, possibly they’re learning some Bible verses either through one or just through their folks, but grandparents, it’d be a great way for the children to be learning their verses if they could recite it to grandma and grandma. Then they could coach them and help them out with that.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s so fun.
Barb Heki: About half of grandparents live long distance from their grandchildren. So you’ve got half of them doing long distance things, but the other statistic we ran into is that 90% of grandchildren say that their grandparents had a tremendous influence on their values and their behavior. What is that? That’s discipleship, because their values come from being discipled, and the behavior is played out from their values. So grandparents who live long distance should be really encouraged, because they have a huge influence, and they need to take as many opportunities as they can to do things by distance with the grandkids.
Barb Heki: Then when they go there, you can do so many more things and continue that. We always bring art projects or science projects in our suitcase and stuff. Now, our granddaughter asks so every time we come, “Grandma and grandpa, do you have something for us in your suitcase?” It’s a neat tradition and a neat memory too.
Yvette Hampton: I love the idea of grandparents being involved through just activities like reading. How easy would it be for with the technology we have today, it’s so easy and amazing even though you’re not there in person.
Yvette Hampton: To open up a book, and flip it around, and show them the pictures, and be able to just have them see your faces and get to know you without having to be physically present, it’s the next best thing truly.
Rich Heki: Right.
Barb Heki: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: What a blessing it is that in our day and age, we have the ability to do that. I know we’ve talked about so many times the whole issue of socialization and how that’s the big thing. I know that with a lot of grandparents, because they don’t quite understand homeschooling. That is the number one reason why grandparents are not supportive of homeschooling, because they simply don’t understand it. That is one of the main reasons why we re making this documentary Schoolhouse Rocked, because we really want to open up people’s eyes to, “This is what homeschooling looks like. This is why it’s beneficial. These are the great blessings of homeschooling.”
Yvette Hampton: Talk about if you were talking to a grandparent. Let’s role play for a minute and say you come face to face with another set of grandparents who were saying to you, “My child wants to homeschool my grandkids and I’m really not comfortable with it, because I think they’re going to be unsocialized.” How do you answer that question?
Barb Heki: I answer it with questions. I ask them first, who is it that does the socializing in whatever environment they’re in, whether it’s the home, a public school or whatever. Then what is the content of that socialization. They need to think about what socialization in a different environment really is. Is that what they really want? Does it glorify Jesus Christ? They need to hone down to what they think socialization is. Basically, in a traditional school, it’s going to be the teachers there and their peers, and probably about 10% teachers and 90% peers.
Barb Heki: The teacher has a lot of influence too, because Jesus said that the goal of education is to become like your teacher. Do we want the grandkids to become like their parents, or do we want them to become like some random teacher who was assigned to them in a classroom, and students who just happened to sit next to them at a desk? Just to get them to think through that, because they really don’t think through it.
Rich Heki: Yeah, and another thing with socialization, most children that I’ve seen that have been homeschooled very readily can communicate with adults, and have a conversation with them. Think about it in a minute, how natural is it to be in a class of 30 children all the same age, not even a variance in the ages. They’re just all with the same age. Then you look at society, where is that replicated in the society? It’s not. It’s just that one particular situation.
Rich Heki: We see it as being, people like to throw around the word diversity. It’s a lot more diverse to be in a homeschool setting where you’re interacting with all sorts of different ages, and you’re interacting with parents and a lot of times as homeschoolers, we’ll go on field trips with our children. They get to interact with adults. They get to learn about maybe another occupation and what they do. They’re being exposed to a whole lot more of life than in a closed classroom.
Barb Heki: There are going to be kids that are shy and withdrawn in the homeschool environment and in the public school environment. The opposite is true as well. It’s just that people are different. One of the things I did, like he mentioned, I like to research. So when I was first looking in the homeschooling, I had this list of I don’t know, probably 30 questions I asked. I asked the one friend we knew who’s homeschooling for names of other homeschoolers. So I called them all.
Barb Heki: When I went through the list of all my questions, and then I asked them for names of people they knew, and so I called all of these people. After about the first three people, I crossed the socialization questions off my list. It wasn’t even an issue.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Nope, it’s not an issue at all. We’ve learned that and it’s funny. I always chuckle inside when people actually bring that up. I always just want to say, “Look at most kids, not all, but look at most kids coming out of the public school and tell me which one of those characteristics you would like my children to emulate.”
Barb Heki: I know.
Yvette Hampton: Not many of them. Not that every public school child is a terrible example, but many of them are. We know a lot of them. Yeah, and so and not that every homeschool kid is perfect, they’re not. We know a lot of them too, but overall, I certainly would want our kids to have Christlike character and to spend their time with other kids whose parents have the same goals in mind that we do and who are heading down the same path as us. So that’s important. Let’s talk about family tree.
Barb Heki: Okay. Family tree is a really fun thing that grandparents can do with their grandkids, whether they’re locally or long distance. Because they’ve got some of the personal memories too that go back further than the parents. The one thing that we tell grandparents to do is to do a twist on the family tree. So don’t just record the names and the dates. You need that to have your framework, but look at character. Talk about what that person was like. Were they a Christian? Were they not? What was their character like? How did that impact their life and what happened to them?
Barb Heki: You can get in this stuff, all kinds of discussions on what just the impact of a good character and bad character. That also leads into the goal that we want to get in the lots of discussions with, with grandparents and grandchildren is salvation. Because that’s the key difference. In a family tree, people don’t think about salvation, they’re just, “Who beget who?”
Barb Heki: What happened to these people based on their faith or lack thereof, and then that leaves right into a gospel message and a deep conversation with the grandkids about where they stand in their salvation and their faith, that sort of thing.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I love the idea of family trees and going back to figuring out where we came from. Because all of the grandparents have played a role in some way that has led their grandchildren to be where they are in life. Unfortunately, we are out of time for the podcast. I would love to continue going on and on, but I’m so grateful for you. I’m grateful for your ministry to grandparents and to parents alike. Where can people find out more about you?
Barb Heki: If they go to our website, it’s just grandparentsofhomeschoolers.org. If they can click on “join,” it’s free. They just fill in the information and then they will get resources and things that we send out. We’re going to be launching some things in the first quarter, new resources for grandparents, and they’ll get messages as to how they can get a hold of this and free resources, so yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Okay. Fantastic. Am I correct that you actually speak at some conventions?
Rich Heki: Yes, we do.
Yvette Hampton: Across the country, right?
Barb Heki: Yeah, and internationally as well.
Yvette Hampton: Oh wow. Okay. Do you know yet where you’re going to be or are you not exactly sure of the schedule?
Barb Heki: We don’t have this everything tied down this one yet, but if they’re in an area where there’s a homeschool convention, or an online convention, they can look for us and just Google us. Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Okay. We’ll put a link to your website in there, grandparentsofhomeschoolers.org. Thank you both for your ministry. Thank you for the heart that you have for homeschool families and just for what the Lord is doing through you. You are a great blessing, and it’s been fun having you on the podcast. So, thank you so much.
Both: Thank you.
Barb Heki: Thank you for what you’re doing. It’s great.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you so much. All right you guys, thank you for listening. We will see you back here again next week. Have a great day.
I was invited to speak at the Annual Home Educators’ Day at the Capitol. Following are three encouragements I passed along to homeschooling families…
Homeschooling Encouragement 1: The responsibility to teach and train children is on the parents’ shoulders.
It’s not on the shoulders of the government, public school, or even the church. Three verses to support this conclusion…
Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The “You” is parents, and this teaching is supposed to go on all the time, when you: ● Sit in your house… ● Walk by the way… ● Lie down… ● Rise up.
When I taught elementary school as soon as the bell rang I sent students home for the day, but as homeschooling parents educating is never done. God wants us teaching and discipling our children around the clock, every day, all day. When I was an officer in the Army they told us, “You always have to have a hip-pocket teaching available.” Our uniforms had large pockets on our hips, and the idea is we had to have a teaching we could pull out at any moment to share with the soldiers.
The same is true with our children. We should look for teachable moments throughout the day to disciple them on forgiveness, generosity, service, joy, appreciating God’s creation, etc. As our children encounter day-to-day situations, we want to regularly say:
What does the Bible say about this?
What does God’s Word tell us about this situation?
How should Scripture direct our thinking regarding this decision?
With our children growing up in Christian homes and churches they learn so much Scripture, but how does this benefit them if it isn’t affecting their day-to-day lives? If it isn’t affecting their relationships and decision-making?
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Is this addressing the public school system, the government, or even churches? It’s clearly speaking to parents.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
This verse is interesting because understandably with fathers working, mothers perform most of the teaching; therefore, how do we obey this verse? While mothers might deal with much of the day-to-day academics, it seems much of the [spiritual] training and admonition rests on the father’s shoulders. Fathers can never sit back and say:
Well, my wife has it under control.
Their mother will handle the teaching.
Whatever my kids need to learn, they can learn it from Mommy.
I’m too busy working to worry about teaching my children.
Whether fathers have to get up earlier or clear the table as soon as dinner is over we need to make sure we gather our families around the Word of God. Consider what God said about Abraham:
Genesis 18:19 [God said], “I have chosen him, that he may [direct] his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
This is exactly what God could say to every father: He has chosen [us] as fathers. He wants us to direct our children and our households that we may keep them in the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.
Homeschooling Encouragement 2: The amount of time we have with our children is limited and valuable.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average number of hours in a public school day is 6.64, and this doesn’t include the time spent walking, driving, or riding the bus to and from school. The average number of school days per year is 180, which adds up to a little under 1,200 hours per year. This means by the time public school students graduate high school they have spent over 15,500 hours away from their parents.
We have seven children. Our oldest is eleven and we’re recognizing just how little time we actually have with each of them. As parents, we should be selfish. We shouldn’t be willing to give up so much of this time to others. When we consider just how much time our children would be in school…
It’s a lot of time for them to be taught and trained by someone else when God has put that responsibility on parents’ shoulders. Some number of the teachers might not be Christians, might not have the same values we want our children to have, might teach academics that conflict with our teaching, etc.
It’s a lot of time for them to be surrounded by hundreds of students that could have a strong negative influence. Some number of those students aren’t Christians, don’t have the same values, exhibit behaviors or hold beliefs we wouldn’t want in our children.
Homeschooling Encouragement 3: Move beyond teaching academics and morality.
When I taught elementary school, I found the teachers I worked with to be hardworking, and genuinely concerned about their students. They taught their students important academics, and they’re moral people who also taught an amount of character. In classrooms across the nation students learn important subjects like math, reading, writing, science, etc. as well as important morals: do not lie, cheat, steal, be kind, etc.
So what homeschooling parents need to consider is if we don’t move beyond teaching our children academics and morality, we’re not moving beyond anything public schools teach. If we’re homeschooling we need to make sure – like Deuteronomy 6:7 and Ephesians 6:4 command – we’re teaching the Word of God, teaching the Gospel, teaching a biblical worldview, etc.
If we taught our children the academics that could get them into the most prestigious schools in the nation but they weren’t committed to using that education for Christ, what good have we actually accomplished? Why do we teach our children…
To read? So they can read Scripture.
To write? So they can write about the Lord.
Music? So they can worship the Lord and help others do the same.
Sciences? So they can better know the Creator of creation.
Art? So they can produce works that bring glory to God.
History? So they can learn about our Christian Heritage and the sacrifice many were willing to make to freely worship God, and learn from the mistakes of those who rejected that same God.
Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy, grew up to be a wonderful, godly young man. He was so impressive, even at a young age when Paul met him he wanted to bring him along (Acts 16:3). What made Timothy so exceptional? Paul gives the answer…
2 Timothy 3:15 From childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
From a young age Timothy knew the Scriptures, which did two things for him:
First, they [made him] wise; Scripture is where true wisdom comes from.
Second, they provided him with salvation; they taught him how to be saved through faith in Christ Jesus.
This is a great example of what we should desire for our children: that they know the Scriptures at a young age, that they’re wise for salvation, that they know to put their faith in Christ.
And where did Timothy receive this instruction? Did he receive it from his 4thgrade teacher, wonderful coach, the government, or even the church? He received it from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5). And this is where our children should receive the same wisdom and discipleship.
What has encouraged you in your homeschooling?
What would you pass along to other homeschooling families?
In the wide world of homeschool articles, books, blogs, and videos you will see so many wonderful bits of information on how to do XYZ. Of course, no two are ever the same.
There are planners, methods, curriculum, and mission statements. Everything points to things you can do, checkboxes you can mark, and the goal is “productivity”. Though the result is often just more comparison.
But homeschooling isn’t a to-do list. It isn’t books, or Latin, or co-ops. It isn’t poetry tea time or map tracing.
While these things are good, full of beauty and truth, they aren’t the core of homeschool.
Homeschooling is an opportunity. A chance to make connections in your relationships with your children, to truly disciple them in the day to day living and teach them in the way they should go.
Homeschooling is a process of sanctification. A way for the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the things you say, think, and pray for your own children. The day to day teaching, correcting, and sharing of education with your children requires you to take time to be still, to quiet your heart and trust so that you can call upon the Lord’s strength to get through the hard moments with grace.
Homeschool is the creation of a family culture. Through your choice of materials, you line the hallways and bookshelves of your home creating an atmosphere of learning while these same items subtly share your ideals, priorities, and dreams with your children and all who enter your home. Your schedules and rituals set the tempo for your family, you have control over how rushed or calm the days are.
Homeschool is a choice to prioritize the creation of home as a safe place full of ideas, deepconversations, shared meals, and time together. There is grace, gratitude, and a deep appreciation for the small moments, small accomplishments, and daily victories that happens so much more freely in a home where being present together is a choice that has been made.
There is a sweetness and delight found in homeschooling, even through the hard seasons, that the time we are given with our children is short and that through choosing to homeschool we are making the most of those precious years.
Homeschooling is celebrating Ebenezer moments and teaching our children that hard times bring forth fruit.
Homeschool is not something you do, but rather a way of living that builds up your children, that strengthens your faith, and that lays a foundation of solid family culture for future generations.
In the process, you get to checkmark that your kids get a wonderful individualized education. That’s why homeschooling is awesome.
Written by Lara Molettiere with Everyday Graces . . .Cultivating Learning, Love & Life