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 email@example.com. 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!)
“We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship.”
– Meeke Addison
Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to interview Meeke Addison for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast about the importance of preparing our children for the ongoing culture war. Meeke Addison is the Assistant Director of Special Initiatives at the American Family Association and co-host of Airing the Addisons on AFR. Her work with AFA began in 2007 as a stay-at-home mom in Louisiana. Since then she has primarily served on-air as a radio personality.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have such a great guest on today with me, and I’m so excited for you to get to meet her. Her name is Meeke Addison, and she was actually introduced to me by Israel Wayne. I know that many of you know Israel. He’s been on the podcast several times, and he said, “You need to meet this lady, Meeke Addison.” And I said, “Okay,” so we started checking into her, because this is what we do. We use the internet to spy on people. And so, Garritt actually started listening to your radio show, and just following you on Facebook. He’s been for months, and he said, “We have got to get this lady on the podcast. She is such an encouragement.” So, I’m really, really excited, Meeke, to have you on today. I would love it if you would introduce yourself to our audience.
Meeke Addison: Well, thank you. I’m so excited to be with you guys, and that means so much to know, because we have so many different outlets, people can listen to whatever they want. So, it’s an honor to me and for me that anybody would listen to anything that I have to say. I’m Wil Addison’s wife, and we’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m the mother of his five children, and we homeschool. That’s my full-time job. My part-time job is as a spokesperson for the American Family Association, and I picked that up from my good friend, Abraham Hamilton. He says that what we do out in the culture, that is part-time work, but that our full-time work is with our families.
Meeke Addison: And so, anyway, I do that, and I host a national radio show for an hour, Monday through Friday, where we talk about cultural issues. We talk about marriage, the family. We look at what’s going on with the church, and how we can hold the line. That’s what we’re constantly encouraging people to do, hold the line in 21st century America.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I love it. Well, you are doing amazing work. I love what you just said about Abraham Hamilton III, right?
Meeke Addison: That’s correct.
Yvette Hampton: He’s your pastor, I learned, and he’s another great advocate for Jesus and homeschooling and culture, and just this desperate revival that we are in need of. You said that being a mom is a full-time job, and the other stuff is your part-time job. And we just actually did a podcast about motherhood, the ministry of motherhood. I kind of gave my testimony of what the Lord’s been doing in my heart, and going from working full-time with Schoolhouse Rocked, and pouring my whole self into that and realizing that my first priority really needed to be my children. And so, the Lord has really been working in our family, and kind of allowing me to let go of some Schoolhouse Rocked stuff, except for the podcast, and allowing me to be more present with my family. And so, I love that that is your primary ministry as well.
Yvette Hampton: And you know, that podcast, it wasn’t at all to say we shouldn’t ever work, as wives and as moms, we should never, ever, ever work outside of taking care of our families. But there has to be balance in doing that. We need to know what our priorities are, and so I really appreciate you saying that.
Yvette Hampton: I know that the Lord has done many great things through you, and you and I got to talk on the phone the other day, and you got to share with me your story about how you started homeschooling. And so, I would love for you to tell that story, and then I want to talk about culture, and how homeschooling kind of ties into this whole culture war that we have going on. So, share with us your homeschool story.
Meeke Addison: We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship. You are making people who are followers. And so, we had our kids, the two oldest of the five were educated traditionally, outside of our home, and one of the things that we noticed was just these slow changes happening in them, where the things that they cared about and the things that grabbed their attention seemed to be more the things of the world.
Meeke Addison: And they had wonderful, Godly teachers. We live in a small community, and so they went down to First Baptist in our area, and the teachers are active in the community. But at the same time, I started to notice that those became my girls’ influence, that their teachers and that their peers were their influence. Add to that, I felt like I was spending 2-3 hours after they got home every day just kind of reteaching them, and Yvette, I just felt like, why am I doing this? I’m frustrated, and then also I’m adding time to my day to teach them the way I wanted them to be taught.
Meeke Addison: And after prayer, and just Will and I putting our heads together, we felt like the Lord was really directing us to homeschool them. I guess that was 2015, and we haven’t looked back. I was expecting baby number four. I keep track of life by the babies that I’m expecting. But I was expecting baby number four, and that’s when we made the decision that when the school year came to a close, we would homeschool.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I love that. In your radio show that you host, you talk a lot about culture, and this culture war that we are in. And I would love for you to talk about it from the perspective of a Christian homeschool mom. What do you see going on in the culture right now, and how can we as homeschool moms help this revival that is really needed to take place?
“The reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness.”
– Meeke Addison
Meeke Addison: I think one of the big mistakes that we make is that we think the culture is neutral. We think that the culture does not have a goal or an aim, or that it is not aggressive with that goal or that aim. And that’s one of the things that we try to sort of awake and stir the Christian community to see, in that the culture is making grabs all the time, and actually, it’s predominant, right? Our country has undergone a shift where it’s no longer the Christian culture that is predominant. We’ve heard people describe this as post-Christian America, and what does this look like?
Meeke Addison: But the reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness. So, you can’t just expect your kid to be out in this culture and be unaffected. Your kid doesn’t just go out into the world and arrive at a neutral position. Your kid going out into the world is going to arrive at the position that’s already established by the culture. And it is antithetical to the faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. It truly is, and we’re trusting that because we have them at home with us, when we have them at home with us if we have them out in the public, we’re teaching them Bible verses, and maybe they go to one, and they go to church on Sunday morning, and so we think oftentimes at Christian parents, well, that’s enough. They know we love Jesus. But then for 35 or 40 hours a week, we’re putting them under the influence of someone else, and someone else’s ideas, and someone else’s religion, really, because everybody believes in something, and there is religion being taught in public schools. And oftentimes even in private schools, there is false religion being taught in those schools, as well. And so, yes, I think it’s a very difficult thing to expect our kids to spend all of that time away from us, and then still come back with our own values and believes and morals. It’s a war. It’s a battle that we fight.
Meeke Addison: It is a war.
Yvette Hampton: What can we as parents who, some listening to this are homeschool parents, some are not. Some are trying to future out this homeschool thing and wondering is this for us, is this something that we want to pursue. How can we have a greater influence on our kids, and therefore in our culture?
Meeke Addison: The first thing I think we have to realize is that there is the need for greater influence. I think sometimes, we start talking about hey, here are some solutions you have to do, but I don’t know that Christian parents, or even nominal Christian parents, have even bought in to the idea that there’s really a war, that they really need to be aggressive in this. And so, one of the things that we try to do with our kids is, we try to parent them for the America that they live in now. Not the America that we knew. Not the America that our grandparents knew. But we try to parent our kids based on the America that we live in now and the unchanging message of the Gospel.
Meeke Addison: So, we still teach our kids that they are peculiar. We teach them that they will have, by default, a different approach to live, and we believe that we have to prepare them now so that when they go out into the world, they’re not shocked to discover that they’re not well-liked. They’re not shocked to discover that people don’t love their message. Because you know what, there was a time when we were all just pretty good. Christians were everywhere, and everybody kind of had the same values and the same morals.
Meeke Addison: But for those of us that are adhering to the word of God, we’re waking up to the reality that where the rubber meets the road is that a Bible-believing Christian will be called hateful, will be called a bigot, will be called narrow-minded. And you can believe in a Jesus who accepts everyone as they are and doesn’t require anything of us, and is just one path among many. But if you say what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, that he is the only way, he is the only way to God, he is the only one who forgives our sin, then you’re narrow-minded, and we don’t want that type of Christian to be in our circles. So, we prepare our kids, and this is going to sound weird, I know, but we prepare our kids to not be popular in the current culture that we live in.
Yvette Hampton: How do you do that? Practically speaking?
Meeke Addison: Okay, this is going to sound really weird, right? But one of the verses, and we may get into this a little bit later, but I really believe that a kid or a student who is fully trained, as the Bible teaches us, is going to be like their teacher, right?
Yvette Hampton: That’s right, Luke 6:40.
Meeke Addison: Exactly right. So, I try to ensure that Wil and I are the number one influences in our kids’ lives. And so, we model for them that we as your parents are not chasing after the latest fad. We’re not into everything that’s cool and popular. There are things that we filter, even as adults. We constantly tell our kids, the things that we say, no, you’re not going to participate in that, or we don’t watch that, we call it consumption, we’re not consuming those things, you know what I mean? We tell them, guess what, we subject ourselves to these same rules, because these rules aren’t arbitrary. It’s not, we do it because we’re adults and you can’t because you’re kids. We say, no, this is what we do as people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Meeke Addison: So, practically, what we try to do is make sure that we ourselves are not in the world to be loved by the world. That we’re not in the world to be liked. So, that means that we’re not ripping and running all the time. We’re not trying to keep up on the latest things. I cannot stress enough how parents influence their kids with their actions more than what they say. So, it means that the things that we value, we want to make sure that it’s Biblical, and then we want to communicate that it our kids so that these are also the things that they value, and it’s as natural to them as breathing. It’s the way that we live our lives.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love that so much. It’s a hard thing to do, especially because we have grown up in a culture where we want to be liked. We want to be popular. I definitely, thinking back to my high school years, it’s so funny, I was just talking to my daughter about this the other day, and I said, I remember high school and junior high like it was yesterday. I graduated in 1993, and that was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And I remember that deep desire to be popular. I wanted to be liked by everybody, and I wanted to be the cool girl.
Yvette Hampton: And that’s something that even as an adult, I find myself going into, I want people to like me. I don’t want people to dislike me. And it’s hard to not conform to the culture around us. But I mentioned this on last week’s podcast, where we talked about when my oldest was born, I had a very wise mom come along side me, and she said, you become the wife and mom that you want her to grow up to be.
Meeke Addison: Yes!
Yvette Hampton: And that’s it.
Meeke Addison: That’s wonderful.
Yvette Hampton: That’s who I want her to become. And I’m going to fail a million times, because I’m a simple human, but at least I can attempt and to my very best to be who God made me be. And then we get to teach our kids. I went on a walk with her this morning, actually, and we were talking about identity, and how her identity is found in Christ and being Christlike. It’s not found in the culture. It’s not found in what magazines say is the new fashion, and what things on TV say, and how you should talk, and what music you should listen to. And it’s hard to keep them from that.
Yvette Hampton: We’re very intentional about what our girls say. We’re not TV-watchers. We’re not really big movie-watchers, which is kind of ironic, since my husband is a filmmaker. But oftentimes, we sit down and we’re like, let’s see if we can watch a movie, and it seems almost impossible to find even a decent movie for us to watch as a family.
Meeke Addison: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: But that’s okay. Then we end up playing a game, which is what we do all the time anyway. But it is difficult. It’s difficult to be set apart. How do your children react to that? Has that just been something that they just know, because that’s how your family is? Or do they push against you on that ever?
Meeke Addison: No, I have to say, each of our kids has their own unique personality. I’ve noticed that there are objections, but those objections are raised differently. With our oldest, she tends to be, she was very strong-willed. From the age of three to seven, it was consistent and constant discipline and character-shaping. Oh my goodness, it was exhausting for me. But man, the spirit of God just really gave ne, I guess, the endurance to know that if I can get to this point and not just leave her on autopilot, it’s going to produce a reward, and I have seen that. She’s 13 years old now, and she is my second-in-command. We always had that ability, but it needed to be channeled.
Meeke Addison: I remember having a conversation with her, she was maybe about seven or eight, and it was almost the height of the rebellion, challenging everything. And I said to her, I said, listen, without consequence, let’s have a conversation. What do you want? What is going on? I said, you’re not going to be in trouble. I just need to know what it is. And my daughter said to me, she said, I want to be your boss. I want to be your boss.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, at least she knew.
Meeke Addison: This was a breakthrough for me, because I understood that what we’re doing here is now we’re battling for leadership. And so, I had an opportunity to teach her that the time is going to come where she is going to be able to be in her own family, and she will be the mom in the family. She will be in that position of leadership. And it was a wonderful moment, and it changed the course of our relationship. So now, she is actually very honest with me when she is tempted to rebel. When she feels like things are not going her way, we’ve built the kind of relationship where she will tell me.
Meeke Addison: Then, I have my second daughter, who is compliant outwardly, but inwardly, no. I disagree. I don’t understand the reasoning. I don’t understand why we have to do it that way. And I’ve noticed that in her, and so I’ve tried to encourage honesty and transparency. Do you sometimes think that my rules are arbitrary? Yes. Do you sometimes think that we don’t need to do it that way? Yes. Let me explain to you why we’re doing it this way, and let me explain to you that again, when you’re married, or if that’s not the Lord’s will for you, but when you’re on your own or however this all works out, after you leave this house, which that’s a whole other topic, we’re not pushing our kids out. But so, I have to deal with them each differently.
Meeke Addison: And then, I have another son who he doesn’t understand why the world is so wicked. He really just doesn’t understand why people are not better. He’s 10. He’s very philosophical in his thinking. He’s very scholarly, so he reads a lot. And he reads the Bible a lot on his own. He just loves the Word of God. And he goes, there’s nothing that the Bible doesn’t speak to, is what he says all the time, when he has an issue.
Meeke Addison: And to go back to another question that you asked, Yvette, one of the things that we have tried to do, as homeschooling parents, we still try to make sure that our kids do not see us as the final authority. We position the Word of God as the final authority, and when they ask us questions, we take them to the Scriptures, and we say to them all the time, this is the straight edge. This is the straight edge. And so, we try to take them back to the Word of God, and I feel like that’s helped them to process a lot of what our objections are, because they see them as Biblical objections and not just parental usurpation. I don’t know. I guess these little people, they want to be independent.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love it so much. And it’s true. Our girls are kind of flip-flopped from yours, in that my oldest is the more outwardly compliant, and my youngest is very strong-willed, and it’s so net to hear her, because we’ve really been working on her strong will. And it’s strong. I didn’t … I never really understood what a temper tantrum was until she came along. Then I was like, oh, that’s actually a thing. It’s different from a tantrum. A temper tantrum is something completely different.
Meeke Addison: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: But she prays now. Like yours, she has such a soft heart, and often, almost daily, she prays, Lord, help me to use my strong will in a way that honors You. Because God gave her that strong will, and I want her to use it in a way that honors Him. I don’t want to take it away from her. She just needs to use it in the right direction.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: She can do big things for His Kingdom if will learn to honor and obey Him. And what a beautiful thing.
Yvette Hampton: We were talking about how God is the final authority, and we were talking about parenting, and just teaching our kids that it’s not our rules that we are enforcing upon our children, but it’s really God’s authority, and just saying this is what God has for us. And I say this on the podcast all the time, so for those who listen, they know. One of the things we tell our girls constantly, and it has been said many times today. Today has been one of those days for us. But we tell them all the time that sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And the reason that we want them to obey is because we want them to have a life of blessings, and not a life of pain. And here’s the thing, life is painful. Obedience doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any pain in your life at all, because we live in a sinful, fallen world. But it’s a different kind of pain than the pain that you choose for yourself because of your own disobedience.
Yvette Hampton: And so, we are constantly trying to just pour God’s word over them, and it’s one of the greatest things about having them home with us, is because we get to be the ones … you and I were talking about the different character traits in our children, the strong-willed versus the one who is outwardly obedient but not so much inwardly obedient. And when we have them with us for the majority of the time, we get to work with them one-on-one and focus on who God created them to be, and what a wonderful and amazing privilege that we have. And not just a privilege, but a responsibility that we have as their parents to pour truth into their hearts, and help them to become who God created them to be.
Yvette Hampton: So, I would love for you, I know you’ve got some scripture that you share with your kids and your family, and I would love for you to share with us some scripture that you go back to for conviction, and for the encouragement and training of your children.
Meeke Addison: Yeah. One of them we kind of alluded to in the previous broadcast, which was the understanding that … and this is sort of like, whenever it’s taxing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, or whenever I feel like maybe I talk to a friend, and they’re like, we’re studying this and we’re doing this, and that temptation kind of rises up to compare yourself, and you think, wait a minute, should I also be doing that? I don’t know if I’m …
Meeke Addison: And I think about, what’s the purpose? Why am I doing what I’m doing? I’m not doing this so that my kids will be competitive in the world. That’s not the reason that I’m doing this. I am doing this because I really do believe that when a student is fully trained, he or she will be like their teacher. And so, I go back to that whenever I feel discouraged, whenever I feel like I’m overwhelmed, or even when the enemy tries to condemn me. These feelings that we battle with as moms, like am I meeting all of their goals? Are there going to be gaps? Are there things that I don’t know?
Meeke Addison: I remind myself of the reason that I’m doing this, and the reason that I’m doing this is so that I can pass the Gospel on to them intact. I want them to have the truth of the Gospel. Not some American version of the Gospel. Not some 21st century version of the Gospel. But I want them to have the faith as it has been handed down to us, and that’s why we do what we do.
Yvette Hampton: Yep. You talk about the American version of the Gospel, and I know that one of the things that you really focus on in your ministry is the church, and where the church is today. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing in church culture, and how we can be part of some change that needs to go on?
Meeke Addison: Yeah. I feel like there’s always been a battle in the church. I tell people all the time that the Gospel has never existed in safety. We have this idea where we think that back in this day, or in this time period, it was just easy to hold on to the Gospel. It’s never been easy to hold on to the Gospel. Through persecution, through loss of live, through insidious methods infiltrating the church, the Gospel has always been under attack.
Meeke Addison: But I think in the United States of America, it’s been different because we kind of think that that can’t happen in the United States of America, that the Gospel cannot be under attack because America, and my husband says this often, America and Christianity have grown up alongside one another. And so now, people think that Americanism is Christianity.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: But the two are distinct, and one is supposed to influence the other. It’s supposed to be Christianity that influences the culture, influences the nature. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is, we’ve seen Americanism influence Christianity, and that was never supposed to be. We see this represented in our churches, where our churches have growth models, like they’re businesses, right? Where how do we grow our church? Well, you do that by conversion. You do that because the Gospel bears fruit everywhere that it’s preached, and then the church grows.
Meeke Addison: If you read through Acts, we’ve been studying through the Book of Acts with our children, because we want them to understand that our faith is real, that it’s something that has passed down through generations, that it holds up under scrutiny. And so, when you go back to that, when you look at the Lord adding daily to the number of believers who are being saved, you look at the Gospel bearing fruit, one of the things I think that our church got into, our churches in America, was really just Americanism.
Meeke Addison: How do we create more popular youth groups? And I’m not anti-youth groups, but I just feel like if we have gotten to a place, and Yvette, I think we have, but if we’ve gotten to a place where we think it’s the youth pastor’s job to train my kid, if I think it’s the church’s job to equip my kid to stand against the onslaught of the culture, then I’m sorry, and not to be offensive, but we’re raising lazy Christians. And we ourselves are lazy believers. If we think that someone else is supposed to do that, it’s sort of like outsourcing discipleship. You know what I mean? Who can I get to do that for me, so that I don’t have to get my hands dirty? Well, you’re going to get your hands dirty.
Meeke Addison: My husband says all the time, he says, we glamorize being fishers of men, and yeah, but at some point when you catch the fish, you have to clean them. It doesn’t stop with catching them, and that’s the discipleship. That’s the dirty work, where you have to really get in there and shape character. Well, I’m doing that first and foremost with my kids. That’s where it starts, and then after that, I’m discipling women, because I believe the Lord has called us to that, that older women are to teach younger women.
Meeke Addison: And so, that’s important to me. But my work is first with my own kids. They’re right here. They’re closest to me in proximity. So, I don’t want to skip over them and then go to meet somebody else’s need, and my own kids are growing up like these wild weeds, you know?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love this conversation. I love what we’re talking about. I love talking about the church, and how America has really influenced the church, instead of the church influencing America. And that’s really what we’re seeing happen. And it’s not just in America, actually. It’s all over the world. We see that in European countries. I mean, it’s everywhere.
Yvette Hampton: And I think that Satan is very clever. I think that he wants people to believe that they’re Christians if they go to church and they say all the right things, and they serve in church, and they serve the homeless. And I’m not saying any of that stuff is bad by any means. Of course it’s not. But we tend to think that just playing the game is our ticket to heaven, instead of people having a really deep, sincere, longing relationship with and for the Lord.
Yvette Hampton: That is one of the things that we desperately work on teaching our girls, is we want them to thirst for the Lord. We want them to desperately want to know Him and have a relationship with Him, because it’s their relationship, it’s not ours. They don’t get to ride on our coattails into heaven.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And it’s a hard thing to do. But all we can do is what God has called us to do, and be diligent in doing that. You have such a passion for Christian parents, and I know that for women, as well. You talked about Titus 2:3-5, and that the older women are to teach the younger women. And you’ve talked about this a little bit already, you did this in the first part of the podcast, but I would love for you to give some very practical advice on how we can very practically teach our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: My first piece of advice would be, we have to live that out. That has to be true for us. We can’t desire something for our kids that isn’t fist true for us.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: So, that’s our first prayer point, that we as the Lord, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to give us a genuine love for Him, that we ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart, to renew our right spirit within us. If the things of this world have overtaken us, then we need to confess that. We need to bring that to the Lord. If we ourselves have been, I don’t know, captivated by Americanism, then again, we need to confess that and bring that to the Lord. So, that’s number one.
Meeke Addison: Number two, I approach training our kids like I approach discipling other people’s kids. We were missionaries for a number of years, and we trained university kids. And so, I look at my kids like an extension of that work that we did as missionaries. That means that I start with the Word of God as our authority and as our straight edge, and I talk to them like real people made in the image of God. I don’t disciple them, and this would be point number three.
Meeke Addison: I don’t disciple them for them to make me look good. Because our kids are not here to make us look good. In fact, our kids are going to embarrass us. Our kids are going to say things, they’re going to have these little road bumps along the way as they grow in their faith. And I’m reminded of my own walk with the Lord, where there were things that I didn’t know, I didn’t understand perfectly, and the Lord was patient with me. He didn’t cast me away because I embarrassed him. No, the Lord was patient and enduring and long-suffering. And so, I want to have that as a model with my kids. They say things on a regular basis that I’m going, and where was that in Scripture?
Meeke Addison: So, that’s number four. When they make claims about Christ … We’re going through the book of Acts, and so recently we’re on Acts chapter 17, where the Apostle Paul has moved on from Thessalonica, and he’s going to Berea, and the Bible says that the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians because they actually checked the Scriptures to see what the Apostles were saying was true. And so, I told our kids. And this is something that holds me, my feet to the fire. I tell them, if somebody makes a truth claim about the Lord, about His character, about His nature, your first question should be, where was that in Scripture? Where’d you get that? Where is that?
Meeke Addison: And my son doesn’t miss a beat. He’s like, yeah, that’s great. He goes, mom, I was wondering. He goes, you said that Barnabas and Luke … or John Mark. You said that Barnabas and John Mark were cousins. He goes, where is that in the Bible? And I said, you know what, JD, I read it. I need to get that reference for you, but that’s a great catch. If I’m going to make a claim that Paul and Barnabas split up because of this dispute with Mark, and Mark was Barnabas’s cousin, well, that’s sensational. And so, I need to be able to back that up.
Meeke Addison: So, I was talking to my husband, and I said, I remember reading somewhere about this, and he’s like, where is it? I said to my husband, where is it? And he goes, it’s in Colossians. And I go there and I did read it, but I’m thinking, these are the things that I need to subject myself to as well, right? I don’t pretend, and this would be number five. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. When I don’t know something, I say to my kids, I don’t know that answer, but I’m going to research it, and I’m going to get back to you, because that is a question worth digging in to.
Meeke Addison: I think it’s so important for us to not trip ourselves up in being super parents, and our kids see that we have a real faith. I let my kids know when I’m wrestling, when I have questions. Recently, my sister, I’m the second of five, so my older who was the oldest of the five died suddenly. There was no reason. We still don’t know. And this was February 20th. And so, I’ve been walking through this grief process, and I’ve had to say to my kids, listen, this is a really tough time for me. This was my first best friend. She was just a year older than I am.
Meeke Addison: And so, it’s been really tough, but I’m not going to hide that from them. I’m not going to only come out of my room once I’ve gotten it all together. I mean, they’ve seen me suddenly break down crying, and we were okay one minute. And I say to them, listen, the Bible teaches us that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, but guys, we do grieve, and I’m going to miss her. And so, these are opportunities for us to show our kids that our faith is real, we live in a world where there’s pain, where there is suffering, but we also serve the true and living God.
Meeke Addison: If I could summarize all of that for you, Yvette, what I would say is, I want my kids to know that my faith is real. That it’s not something that I just grew up in this, and this is just what people do, but that our hope is real. Everything that we’re passing on to them is something that we put our entire lives into.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Oh my goodness, that is amazing. I love that. I love everything you just said. I’m sitting here, I’m trying to write notes and still look at you at the same time. God’s word does not return void.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And when I was in high school, I think I’ve probably shared this before, but when I was in high school we went to a church that did many things that were anti-Biblical. And I really struggled with that, and I knew, there was just something in my spirit. I was a Christian at that time, and I knew that there was just something wrong with the things that were going on. And so, I went to a Christian school, and my Bible theology teacher, his name was Dean Spoelstra, and I would come to him and say, this happened at church this weekend, and what do you think?
Yvette Hampton: And he would always say to me, it doesn’t matter what I think. Let’s see what the Word of God says about it. And he would always direct me back to Scripture, and he was the first one ever, and this was my junior year in high school, I remember specifically. He was the first one ever who just always directed me back to Scripture, and just say, what does God say about it? It doesn’t matter what I say. What does God say about it?
Yvette Hampton: So, we really try to do that with our children, as well, because it doesn’t matter what we say. And teaching them Scripture as a whole, because it’s easy to take one verse and take it completely out of context, and say, well, this is what the Bible says. Okay, well, read everything around it. What’s the history around it? What does the Old Testament say that refers to that part of the New Testament? It’s one big story, and that’s why it’s so important to teach God’s Word as a whole. And so, yeah, I love that.
Yvette Hampton: Pointing back to Jesus, there’s no better way to disciple the hearts of our children, and we have, again, such an amazing opportunity with having our children home with us, to be able to do that on a daily basis. If our kids were away from us for 35, 40 hours a week, we would miss so many opportunities to be able to do that, and so what a privilege and a responsibility we have to teach and train up our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: That’s right. I don’t think I would recognize them, Yvette. I don’t think I would recognize these kids that God’s given to me if I were not able to be around them and have these times with them.
Yvette Hampton: Right, right. It is such a blessing. Well, we are unfortunately out of time. I feel like I could talk all day long with you. But again, you are going to be on the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We’re going to do a live session with you. I’m so excited about that. And so, we will continue to talk about all things culture and discipleship with you during that event. Thank you again, Meeke, for your time today, and where can people find out more about you?
Yvette Hampton: Okay, sounds great. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well, and thank you guys for listening. If you have not yet left a review for the podcast, we would love for you to do that. We really appreciate it. I know it’s kind of a hassle to do that. For some reason, iTunes does not make it easy to leave a review, but we appreciate those who take the time to figure it out, because it is a bit of a hassle. But we love you guys. We’re praying for you. Thank you for joining us today. Have a fantastic rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week. Bye!
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.
It usually doesn’t take new homeschooling parents long to realize that homeschooling doesn’t – and shouldn’t – look like traditional school. It is one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling that we are able to integrate education, training, discipleship, and even academics into every aspect of life.
Yvette Hampton and Danielle Papageorgiou recently sat down to talk about the freedom and effectiveness of Lifeschooling. In this conversation for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette talks with Danielle about her passion for integrating education into every aspect of life, and about discovering our children’s gifts, so that they can thrive in the lives God has called them to.
This leads to an important discussion about the blessing of lifeschooling allowing us to continue to train our children even when we encounter unforeseen circumstances. Whether illness, a move to a new city, or a new baby in the home, lifeschooling allows us to continue to train our children while experiencing all aspects, challenges, changes, and blessings, of REAL LIFE.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have one of my favorite homeschool people in all the world on with me today. She has been on the podcast before, so you may have heard her in the past. If not, you are in for a treat. Her name is Danielle Papageorgiou. Isn’t that a fun name to say? That’s why I’m friends with you, Danielle, because your name is just fun to say. Papageorgiou.
Danielle Papageorgiou: In high school, every girl wanted to marry my husband because they just wanted his last name.
Yvette: Probably not the best reason to find a husband.
Danielle: Probably not. Yeah, probably not.
Yvette: But you lucked out. God blessed you and you ended up with a really good guy. And you have a really great family. We love you guys. So tell us really quickly about your family.
Danielle: Okay. I have my husband John. We’ve been married for 20 years now, which I can’t believe. My oldest is 18, Connor. And then I have a girl who is almost 16, and then a little boy who is just a crazy whirlwind and he is eight. So that’s us.
Yvette: Yeah. You’ve been homeschooling for how many years?
Danielle: Well, I say right from the beginning because I think birth is day one of homeschooling, because we’re always teaching our kids, you know?
Yvette: That’s right.
Danielle: Right from the womb. And before the… I can’t talk tonight. Before the womb, people read to their kids in their wombs. So, I mean, I say 18 years.
Yvette: Yes. Yep. Well, you’ve done a great job of it and it’s always fun to be able to talk to moms who are really committed to discipling the hearts of their children and just pouring into them. We met you a couple of years ago when we attended your Lifeschooling Conference, and that was a new term to us. It was something that we really had done as a family. We just didn’t actually have a name for what we were doing. And so, you’ve got this conference. It’s called the Lifeschooling Conference. And your home ministry really is about how we incorporate schooling into life and life into schooling.
And it’s all about bringing it together and making it just kind of one great big part of our family, because it’s not separate. It’s not like sending your kids to school.
Yvette: Talk to us about lifeschooling a little bit, and then I actually want to get into talking a little bit about some unforeseen circumstances that might come into our homeschool, because I know you’ve dealt with some of those things. We’ve dealt with some of those things. And so, that will bring some encouragement to families who maybe things just aren’t going smoothly and their whole world is getting shaken up and they’re not exactly sure what to do. So, first, let’s talk about the lifeschooling thing.
Danielle: Right. It’s funny that you say you just didn’t have that term for it, because I hear that a lot. People are like, “Oh, well, I guess we’ve been life schoolers.” That was really my heart, is just to, I guess, rebrand the idea of homeschooling because I feel like over the years, it’s really become more and more schooly. And certainly you’ve always had that element because we do what we know. And so, that’s all people have known. They grew up going to school and having the different grade levels and everything’s sort of segmented like that.
But it’s really not the best way, in my opinion. You really have to integrate all of education. I really think there’s a biblical basis for this because when you look at Deuteronomy, I think it’s Deuteronomy 6, and I always mix up if it’s 4 or 6. But anyway, you look at the verses there in that passage, which is very familiar to a lot of us as homeschoolers, and it talks about teaching our children as we walk, by the way, as we sit, and as we just go through life.
And so, if that’s good enough for spiritual things, then why not the academics as well? It just should be this life-integrated approach. So lifeschooling, the official definition is the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents that happen primarily within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions. And that’s all about our little tagline is emerging life with homeschooling. Because I really want moms to understand, and dads, that it’s okay when things don’t go the way you’ve planned because, typically, life doesn’t.
I mean, in all other areas, how often does life go the way we plan it? It just doesn’t. And that is because God wants to stretch us. He wants to test our faith and he wants us really to rely on him and not on our own plans. A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps, it says in Proverbs. And so, we need to be open to the Lord’s direction and His leading in our homeschooling. And so, that’s just really my heart, is to help parents just really relax and understand that all of these circumstances that happen are ordained by God and He uses them. And we just need to figure out how that learning can integrate with that, and how we can just make it all work.
Yvette: Yes. Yes. I love that you have a whole definition for it, which is really cool because you’ve really thought through this process. I know that you’ve really encouraged me along our homeschool journey over the past few years in that God really does have a purpose and a plan, and has gifted each one of our children in a specific way. I look at your family and your kids, you’re not one who sits down and “We’re going to do math from 7:00 to 7:30, and then we’re going to do science from 8:00 to 8:30, and then we’re going to do grammar. You don’t have your homeschool structured like that.
But knowing your family and knowing your kids, God has really developed in them some incredible gifts. They’re artistic. I mean, your daughter is quite possibly the most amazing artist I’ve ever known of in my life. I’m just stunned by the things that she is capable of doing. They’ve written books. They’ve made movies. They’ve done all of these things. And what’s so cool about your homeschool style and parenting style that I think ties in well with what we really try to do with our girls, is trying to direct our kids to using those gifts and talents and abilities in a way that glorifies their creator because God created them to be able to use those things for His glory, not for ours, but for His glory. And so, lifeschooling allows you to do that.
Then there’s just the practical side of lifeschooling as well. That’s just life. It’s grocery shopping. It’s doctor’s appointments. It’s house cleaning. It’s organization of our home and of our day and trying to just navigate through this life because it doesn’t really come… I mean, some things come easily, but not all of it does. And so, what a privilege we have as homeschool parents to be able to come alongside our kids and help them navigate through the murky waters of life, and at the same time be able to depend on the Lord to help them figure that out.
Danielle: Exactly. Well, and it’s funny because we could think all these things are going to just kind of come naturally to our kids, like how to clean the toilet or cooking and all of these things. But they don’t. I remember when I got to where I was about to graduate college and my mom’s like, “Okay, it’s time to learn how to cook.” And I’m like, “I can cook.” I always laugh because my poor husband, when we got married, I didn’t know how to cook. I mean, I made chicken and I’m thinking, “Well, if you just turn the heat up really high, it’ll get done faster.” So he cuts into this chicken that’s burned on the outside and it’s a raw in the middle.
Yvette: Oh no.
Danielle: And he’s like, “Next time just put it in the trash.” Oh, it was bad. It was bad. And so, all these things are very practical. They’re a part of life and they’re just as important. If not, I think sometimes more important than some of the academics that we think our kids have to know. Like they have to take physics and they have to take chemistry in high school. Well, maybe not. I mean, if that’s not their gifting, God put into them gifts and things that they’re passionate about. And so, we need to really let them do that.
And all the academics… I think of the verse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Oh, I mean, that’s a promise. And so, I just believe that as you’re seeking God’s kingdom and you’re teaching your kids to seek God’s kingdom and His glory, with the gifts that He has put in them, particularly for them, then all these things are going to be added, and all the academics come in so naturally.
Danielle: Studies have shown that when you learn things in this way, they stick much better through this real life, practical type of learning. And so, it’s just very practical. It just makes things a lot easier. Like I said before, when life doesn’t go according to the plan because we know that it doesn’t.
Yvette: Yeah, Nope. It almost never does.
We are talking about lifeschooling and how to integrate that into our homeschooling. And so, we were talking about God-given gifts and how we have the opportunity as homeschoolers and as life schoolers to be able to take notice of those things in our kids. I would love to know just how practically you have done that with your children. How have you recognized and discovered those gifts in them? And then, how have you gone about fostering those gifts in them in order for them to be able to use those for God’s glory?
Danielle: Well, it’s a funny thing because a lot of moms will say that to me, like, “How do I find my kid’s gifts?” Or, “I don’t know what they are.” They don’t seem to have any gifts or they just want to play computer games all day long. First of all, and this might be a bit of a tangent, but get rid of the computer games or at least cut them way back. You’ve got to have limits on that because it really stifles their imagination and it really prevents them from being creative and figuring out who it is God created them to be. But besides that, I think it’s really a funny thing because they will just sort of come to the surface. There’s no real magic formula as with anything in life really.
There’s no magic formula that, okay, step one, you do this. Step two. And again, that’s because it’s a faith walk and the Lord wants us to trust in Him. And so, you just have to pay attention to your kids. One of the things that I recently created, that I really love, I use it myself, is a Who Is This Child journal. And so, every day I can write down the little things that I notice, the questions that… Right now, it’s Corbin. He’s my youngest. My older two, they’ve kind of got their path and their direction. And I see gifts in my youngest one already, but it’s been really fun to write down the different questions he’ll ask during the day.
Then there’s another section for what I call sparks, so anything that I notice that really captures his attention. I’ll just write that down and that, this is something that maybe we need to explore a little more. So that’s been a lot of fun in that the bottom, I just have a place where you can write a prayer. So every day you just write out this prayer of just, I don’t know, just whatever comes to your heart as a mom and as you’re watching your child develop. And so, it’s just been a really fun resource for me to learn more about my son because I think a lot of it does go back to simple observation.
Sometimes we’re so caught up in the busy-ness of every day and checking off the boxes and doing all the things that we have to get done as moms and homeschooling moms and wives. And so, we can just forget to pay attention. And so, I just think it’s important to be intentional. And I know that’s a really popular word, but sometimes we really do have to just try to be more intentional about that. It is amazing. I remember my friend, Barbara, I don’t know, maybe four or five years ago was like, “I just don’t know what’s going to happen with my kids, what direction God’s really leading them, or how they’re going to use these guests, what He’s going to do with them.”
And I’m like, “Barbara, it’s amazing because the Lord will just bring people into your path, and he’ll just open these doors that you never would have expected. And then, here we are, and her son, Matthew just finished up a movie, a short film that my kids were involved with. My son’s actually the lead in it, and it was accepted into the Christian worldview film festival as a contestant. And so, it’s just so cool to see that. And then, how the Lord used her daughter’s gift of sewing, because she was like, “I don’t know how that’s going to be used.” And so, she sewed all the costumes for it.
When we just, again, just trust in Him and trust in the process, and don’t get so worried, because really, it’s not up to us. I think we carry that weight and it’s so needless because we’re not the homeschool teacher. God is. We’re just the teacher’s assistant. So we need to just trust that process and trust in Him because if we’re doing our best, how is He going to be unfaithful to that? He’s a faithful God and all He asks for is our best. And it’s usually very imperfect.
I will be the first to tell you, I am the world’s worst at scheduling. And it’s always been a struggle for me. But the Lord still works through that somehow. And so, it always amazes me to see that.
Yvette: Yeah. I love that. And I love that you do talk about being intentional. And like you said, that’s a word that we kind of throw around
Danielle: Kind of a buzzword.
Yvette: Yeah. But it really is an issue of being intentional with our kids, and also being flexible in that when they’re not fitting into our idea of what we think that they should be, or how we think they should act, or what career they want to pursue, whatever that is, it’s not up to us. It is, what has God called them to do, not what do we want them to do. And so, I think it’s one of the great blessings of being a homeschool parent, is that we know our kids better than anyone else knows them.
There are teachers all over the world who genuinely love their students. They really do. Most of them don’t teach because they make a ton of money. They teach because they love kids and they want to have some kind of influence in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have a really terrible influence, but there are many who have a fantastic influence and who genuinely love the kids. But when you’ve got a classroom full of 20, 30, 40 kids, you cannot individually take each one of those children under your wing and nurture their talents and their abilities and their gifts that God has blessed them with and help them develop those things.
And as homeschool parents and as lifeschooling parents, we have such a great opportunity to do that. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s incredibly inconvenient. When my daughter wants to take out the glue gun and cardboard boxes and fabric and paints and make a big mess, I’m looking at that I’m like, “Okay, what are you going to do here?” Then she comes up with something amazing and beautiful. My oldest is very artistic, and she loves to paint. She loves to draw. But she also likes to create things. And so, she got these boxes for Christmas. She made for her little sister, as a Christmas gift, she made these little kind of… It’s hard to explain, but she made dollhouses out of them.
Danielle: How cute.
Yvette: But they open and close, and so they can travel with them. It was so cool and it was just such a special gift that she gave to her sister. And she worked for days and days, weeks, actually, on these two portable dollhouses. What a privilege. And so, she would go into her little craft area and she would listen to an audio book and she would make these creations, and what a joy. How fun it was for her to be able to do that. Danielle, we are out of time for this part of the podcast, but let’s come back on Wednesday and let’s talk more, because I want to talk about just how to deal with some of those unforeseen circumstances. We talked about that in the very beginning, and I want to jump on that bandwagon and talk a little bit about that.
Danielle: Absolutely. Sounds great.
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you, guys, for listening. Join us again on Wednesday. And I forgot to say this at the beginning, but Danielle, she is a special part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. And so, if you have not yet participated in that or signed up for that, you can watch it live, or you’ll be able to go back and watch replays of that. So she will be speaking about lifeschooling for that event. It’s going to be awesome. Thanks. We’ll see you guys back on Wednesday.
Yvette: I just said that and then I realized this is probably not going to air until after the expo.
Danielle: Oh, well, do you need to re-record a little snippet or…
Yvette: I’ll do it at the end.
Yvette: Okay. Where are we on time? All right. Let’s go another 20 minutes. You good?
Danielle: Yep. Let’s do it.
Yvette: I want to talk about something that not a lot of people really discuss in the homeschool world, but pretty much everybody that I know who homeschools deals with this in one way or another. And that’s how to deal with unforeseen circumstances. There are so many things. Danielle and I were talking about this earlier, and how there are so many things that disrupt our homeschooling.
It could be illness. It could be just a short stint of illnesses, the flu making its way through your family. It could be chronic illness that you have to deal with day in and day out. It could be a move. It could be having a new baby. It could be having a mother or father-in-law, or grandparent, or somebody move in with you that you now have to care for. There are so many things that can derail us. And so, I want to talk about how to handle some of those things.
Danielle, I would love for you to talk a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your family in the sense of this, because I know that there have been some really difficult things that your family has dealt with, but you and your husband, you’ve stayed the course. You have been faithful to what God has called you to do even through the really, really hard times, and you have trusted Him for the outcome. So talk with us a little bit about your story.
Danielle: Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to make the point, before I forget, that we have to always remember that at the heart of our homeschooling needs to be relationships. So, first of all, is the relationship that we have to the Lord, and that our children have to the Lord. And then, secondly, is our interpersonal family relationships. I think that if you really keep the main thing, the main thing, and focus on the fact that the relationships have to be the priority, everything else kind of falls into place.
We have dealt with chronic illness in our family for just about our entire marriage. My husband got sick with Lyme disease. It was about two years after we were married. And so, that’s always been a struggle in our family. I’m thankful that he works from home and works in IT, which is something he could do in his sleep. I don’t know how. But God’s just really gifted him in that area. And so, that’s been a blessing that he could be home.
And, of course, me being the homeschooling mom, it didn’t really affect our homeschooling all that much, really. It affected our family in the sense that we just really did not do a lot of family things. And still don’t. Going out to the grocery store is like a family event. If my husband goes and my daughter will be like, “Oh, I want to go.” And so, I think just cherishing those things too is important.
One thing we have always done is had family movie night, and that’s almost sacred to my children. We can’t do anything outside the home on family movie night because that just doesn’t happen. So it’s special time with our family that the kids really treasure. So I think it’s important to have those types of things. But recently, really it was a steady decline for both my children. But first we noticed in my daughter, she would complain about not sleeping very well. And this went on for a number of years. But sometimes you just don’t really know how to help your kids. It’s like, well, take more calcium and magnesium and do this and that.
It was just hard to figure out what was going on. And eventually, through series of circumstances, the Lord led me to do a little more research. She really had like a crash. I enrolled her in this camp and she’s like, “I just don’t think I can do it.” I’m like, “Well, just try to go for one day because we paid for it.” And by the end of the day, I literally almost had to carry her out to the car. She was just so exhausted, and I’m like, “Lord, what do I do?”
And so, we got home and He just really led me to, I don’t even know why, but to research adrenal fatigue. And it turned out she checked off all of the boxes for adrenal fatigue.
So she’s been struggling with this for probably going on a year now, that we knew about. But it’s been much longer. And just thinking, it’s just really, really hard for her right now. Reading, huge challenge, even audio books, but she does a ton of artwork. And you’ve seen her art.
Danielle: Just the things that the Lord is teaching her through this. And I just want to say something here too. It’s okay if your kids get behind, okay? Like maybe she won’t graduate on time, but what is that? That’s, that’s something that is imposed on us. And so, again, we just have to protect our children and if they can’t do something, we have to protect their health. If I force her to do things that she literally cannot do, the stress level goes up. The cortisol levels increase and it’s just this cycle. And she will literally have an adrenal burnout.
Again, this is her health we’re talking about. What is more important? We have to protect our children. So it’s okay if they get behind. There is no behind in homeschooling. I just want to stress that. She does the things that she can do, and we’re okay with that.
Yvette: And you’re also talking about a girl who she does well on her state testing.
Danielle: Right. Right.
Yvette: The girl has written a book. I mean, she literally-
Danielle: She wrote a book, yes.
Yvette: … authored a book.
Danielle: She started at age nine.
Yvette: Which is incredible.
Danielle: So if you think of it in that sense, she was ahead and now she’s not as ahead. And she’ll catch up, because that mental capacity, it’s still there. Once she heals, she is going to skyrocket ahead to where she was, and I truly believe that. And so, it does not stress me. We just can’t let it stress us. We have to protect our children and their health.
My son recently, you never expect to deal with these kinds of issues in your kids. But he’s sleeping more and more, and I’m thinking, “Well, he’s a teenage boy. He’s growing.” But then it was like all day long, he’s sleeping and he’s missing meals. So I’m like, “Something is wrong,” And praise the Lord, He led us to a wonderful natural doctor. He’s been helping both my kids now and my husband. But she did testing on him and his cells were not taking in nutrition. He’s really bad off.
He’s graduated. And so, we don’t have that pressure. But it’s hard for a young 18-year-old guy who really wants to just jump into his IT career and really start doing life to be slowed down. But, again, I just see the lessons that the Lord is teaching him through this, and that he has to be patient and wait on the Lord and just learn to trust in Him, because my son is a planner. He when he was young, I mean, you can imagine two people like me and my son. I’m total not planner at all, and my son is super scheduled.
So every night when I would tuck him in, from like three or four or five years old, he’s like, “Okay, what are we doing tomorrow? What’s the schedule?” And it used to drive me crazy. I’m like, “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out tomorrow.” And so, this has been good for him because he said, “I had learned to let go of all the details, but I still wanted God to give me this general direction of where I’m headed. And now, the Lord is just saying, “Nope, you’ve just got to trust me completely, and you don’t know what tomorrow brings, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel, and you just have to trust me.” Yeah. So it’s been an interesting journey for both of them.
Yvette: Yeah, it has. I want to just put this disclaimer in there for you, in that you are one of the most healthy people I know, in regards to how you prepare food for your family. And so, you talked about his cells not being able to take in nutrients. It’s not because of lack of them. It’s not that you’re not providing those for him. It’s just that his body is going through something difficult right now and you’re helping to try to figure out how to help him overcome that.
Danielle: Yeah. Right, right. And it’s just a testament that no matter how healthy you try to be, we can’t do everything perfectly in this fallen world no matter how hard we try.
Yvette: Yeah, oh, sure. I mean-
Danielle: Better trust in the Lord.
Yvette: We all know people who eat donuts and drink Pepsi all day long and they’re like the healthiest people we know.
Danielle: I know, or seem to be anyway.
Yvette: We were talking about how to deal with unforeseen circumstances in our lives. And she’s talking about how her family has dealt with some just different chronic illnesses. And we often, as homeschool parents, come face to face with things that are just hard, whether it’s a move or the loss of a job or a new baby. So in this last half, Danielle, I would love for you to really just offer some encouragement to parents who are dealing with that, who are on that side of it and they’re just like, “I don’t know what to do. I’m ready to put my kids back in school.” Not because they think that’s the best option for them, but because they feel like their whole life is just unraveling and their foundation has been shaken up so badly that they don’t know what to do. They don’t know what to cling to. So can you offer some advice and just hope and encouragement for those parents?
Danielle: Yeah. Well, there’s so many things that you can do. Again, I think it’s more the way you look at things and your perspective. We have to, first of all, like I’ve been saying, we have to have that perspective really of an eternal perspective, and what is truly most important. When your kids graduate someday, who is it that you want them to be? Not necessarily what is it you want them to learn. That’s important, but who is it that you want them to be because character has to come first.
And so, how can you get them from point A to point B to be that person that you want them to be? I believe that God has equipped every parent to be the best person to instill that character and training into their child to help them develop into who God wants them to be. Then just, I would say, from a practical standpoint in this idea of learning to change your perspective, it’s great if… And this is another resource that I have is a lifeschooling vision planner. And one of the things in there that I really love is this backwards method of planning.
It’s going through your day after the fact and writing down in all the different subject areas and categories, what your child learned that day and what they did. Because it’s very surprising. When you start to document those things, there’s a lot of academics that happens just in your day-to-day routine and going about life. It’s always surprising to me when my children will throw out all these science facts and I’m like, “Where did you learn that?” “Oh, Jonathan Park.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with that series.
Yvette: Oh yes.
Danielle: But yeah, they grew up on that, and we have all of the CDs and they listened to those and absorbed it. And they recall that stuff later. And so, I think audio books are excellent because it stimulates the imagination. You can pop them in any time. If you’ve just had a baby, just give your kids audio books, give them lots of audio books and lots of real books too because they’re going to absorb all of that stuff and they don’t need you hovering over them all the time to instill the information into them.
We feel like we have to spoon feed our kids, and they’re natural learners. We just have to encourage that, encourage that natural learning and finding that spark and what excites them, and letting them run with it and learn all about that. Because, again, more academics come in to those different things they’re interested in. You’ll find that just all the different subject areas, how they naturally come in when they find something that they really love to do. So, from a practical standpoint, that’s one thing that we’ve really found beneficial.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah. And I think just, we’ve talked a lot about this already, is just trusting the Lord, allowing Him to lead you to lead your families. When we read James chapter 1, it talks about asking for wisdom and it says if you ask for wisdom, the Lord will give it to you. And I think oftentimes we forget that. We forget to ask, Lord, what do you want me to do with this? How do you want me to proceed? How do you want us to move forward with this child who maybe they’re struggling with an illness or, again, maybe we’ve just had a big move and my child is having a really, really difficult time adjusting.
In those times, it’s okay to step back and just say, “You know what? We just moved.” We have some good friends who are just going through a move right now and they’ve got six kids.
Danielle: Oh wow.
Yvette: That’s a huge, huge deal. And not all of their kids are going to handle it well. And so, you know what? It’s okay to just step back, take a break and just say, you know what? This is one of the reasons why we homeschool, because we have the freedom to be able to do what works best for our family. And in situations like that, they’re still learning. Like you said, they’re learning now how to organize a home. How do you move into a new home? How do you lay everything out? How do you put everything away and figure out where things are going to go in the kitchen, and in the bathroom, and you decorate the walls.
I mean, there are so many life lessons and that’s why I love so much of your ministry, Danielle, because it’s all about lifeschooling. I’ve said this on the podcast many times before. We are raising adults. We are not raising children. We are raising them to become functional, responsible, Jesus-loving adults. It’s not about the academics. The academics are fantastic. They’re important because those are what point them to Jesus, but we’re really raising our kids to be able to go out into the world and function and have some sort of an impact in God’s kingdom. That’s what it’s all about.
It’s not about, did they become valedictorian and get to give an amazing speech in front of 5,000 people at the end of the year? Who really cares about that staff? Honestly. When they come face to face with their savior, he’s not going to say, “Well, how was that speech you gave?” He’s going to say, “What did you do with the talents and abilities and gifts and the hardships that I put before you?” And we realize over and over again, we are so incapable of doing the things that God has called us to do without Him. And when we get to accomplish a thing, He gets all the glory for it. And so it ends up being-
Danielle: Exactly. Exactly.
Yvette: … such a beautiful thing.
Danielle: That’s one of the things that really has always bothered me because our culture does put such an emphasis on academics and intelligence and all of these things. And as Christians, that’s just not what we should be doing. It’s okay to learn a lot and to use those gifts if you’re academically inclined. I think that’s wonderful. But we have to be careful as parents that we don’t let that go to our heads and get prideful about valedictorian, all these things because really, in eternity, that’s not what really matters. God really doesn’t care about that. He cares about what we do with the gifts and the talents that he gives us and how we give glory to Him.
Yvette: Right. Right. And He wants us to do our best. We always tell our kids, “Work as unto the Lord. In everything we do, we should do for His glory.” And so, we should always do our best. You talked earlier actually about some kids are inclined to learn chemistry and physiology, but not every kid is. Some are created to be historians and some are created to be scientists. Some are created to be mathematicians. Some are created to be moms. Some are created to be pastors and truck drivers. I mean, there are a million business owners. There are a million different things that God can use us for. So, we have the opportunity to be able to foster that in our kids and encourage them in the way that God created them, even through the hardships and bumps that are thrown at us through life.
We are out of time for the podcast. But Danielle, I appreciate you so much. I love your heart for families. I love your heart for homeschooling. And I am so grateful that you took the time to sit and chat with me today. Thank you so much.
Danielle: Thanks, Yvette. I love you guys too. It’s always good to talk with you.
Yvette: Thank you. Yeah. Where can people find out a little bit more about you?
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.
Join Kirk Cameron for Some Fun and Practical Family Encouragement
We are very excited to announce that the Schoolhouse Rocked team is working to put together another encouraging resource for homeschool families. The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo is a one-of-a-kind event. Live and fully interactive, the conference will feature some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face.
Kirk Cameron will be speaking on Marriage and Family, Wednesday, February 19th, at 12:00 p.m. (EST).
Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, are homeschool parents and advocates who met on the set of “Growing Pains” and have been married for over 27 years. Together they have six children. Kirk currently tours the country speaking live in 30 cities a year as part of the “Living Room Reset” marriage and parenting conference. We were blessed to hear Kirk speak at a Living Room Reset event last January and it was a blast. We know he will be a huge encouragement to you and your family.
Kirk is just one of the amazing speakers we already have lined up for this event. Please click here to check out some of the other speakers who have already confirmed. The event will feature several Schoolhouse Rocked cast members and Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast guests, and will bring practical advice, valuable resources, and heartfelt encouragement on several topics, including marriage, family, parenting, getting started and keeping on track in homeschooling, homeschooling methods and styles, and more. Each day will end with a roundtable Q&A session where you will be able to interact with the speakers.
Because we want to make this event available to as many families as possible, we have set a very low price of just $20 for lifetime access, but if you act quickly you can take advantage of early-bird pricing of just $15!
The conference will be held Monday, February 17th to Friday, February 21, 2020. Live workshops will be held between 12 PM and 7:30 PM EST (9 AM and 4:30 PM PST).
Please join us for this exciting event! The Homegrown Generation Family Expo is a ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked and proceeds from this event will go directly to help fund post-production on this important film.
Thank you for letting us walk with you through your homeschooling journey!
Kirk Cameron Bio:
Kirk Cameron has been a part of the national landscape since starring as “Mike Seaver” in the ABC hit sitcom, “Growing Pains.” That role turned him into a cultural icon in the 80’s, with his mullet hairstyle, cool sunglasses, and wisecracking comebacks. Since then, he’s appeared in numerous television and movie productions, including the “Left Behind” series, “Monumental,” and “Fireproof”- the marriage-centered film that became the #1 grossing inspirational movie of 2008. His newest film, Connect, offers “real help for parenting teens in a social media world.”
In the fall of 2016 and 2017, he hosted live Fathom theater events called “Revive Us” — a “national family meeting” urging the family of faith to return to the principles that will bring blessing and protection to America. The live events took place in over 750 theaters across the U.S. Kirk also currently released his new talk show, One on One with Kirk Cameron, on the Trinity Broadcast Network.
Coming Monday, February 17th to Friday, February 21, 2020, confirmed speakers for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo include Kirk Cameron, Heidi St. John, Sam Sorbo, Andrew Pudewa, Kathy Barnette, Israel Wayne, Ginger Hubbard, Todd Wilson, Leigh Bortins, Rachael Carman, Durenda Wilson, Pam Barnhill, Connie Albers, Jeannie Fulbright, Aby Rinella, Karen DeBeus, Ana Willis, and Danielle Papageorgiou, and many more!
All Homegrown Generation Homeschool Conference workshops will be available for live viewing and participation on a private Facebook Group and in the attendees area here. Every attendee will receive a Swag Bag featuring gifts and resources from our sponsors and speakers. Additionally, attendees will have access to a vendor’s hall, resource recommendations, and life-time access to the course materials and conference videos.
The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo is a ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, a feature-length documentary about homeschooling, currently in post-production. The proceeds from this event will go directly to help fund post-production on this important film.
The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo will be hosted by Yvette Hampton, host of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and will feature a workshop by Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast co-host, Aby Rinella.
Many people want to believe that if their children attend a public school they will receive a “neutral education.” Unfortunately, they fail to realize that education is NEVER neutral. All education is indoctrination. All education is discipleship. It’s just a matter of what worldview is being promoted, what values are being taught, who is discipling your children, and what they believe.
So I ask you, who is indoctrinating YOUR children?
In the past few days, three very stark examples of religious indoctrination in public schools have come to light, so I want to share them here. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking these same worldview aren’t being taught in your local schools, because they are.
Religion is prominent in schools, with one exception: Christianity.
As a side note, before I get to the examples of the past few days, I have to address “secular” education, because I constantly hear objections to Christian education and Christian Home Education from “secular homeschoolers”. One must realize that atheism, secularism, and secular humanism ARE religious worldviews. Secularism IS religion. Atheism IS religion. They just replace the God of the Bible or the gods of mens’ imaginations with SELF as god. Even agnosticism IS religion, but it replaces God with a self who is unconvinced. I am aware of the simplicity of these statements, but no further explanation or justification is required when a statement is self-evident.
Even secularists MUST be aware of the level of religious indoctrination occurring in public schools, and secularists MUST consider the consequences of a fully-implemented secular worldview. I strongly doubt that ANY secular parent would want all (if any) of the philosophies I have outlined below to be adopted by their children.
Story 1, MUSLIM INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Charles County Public Schools released a statement after the Supreme Court’s denial saying, ‘The decision reaffirms a favorable U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling earlier this year that the school did not ‘impermissibly endorse any religion and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.'”
“One Muslim scholar strongly disagrees. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said: ‘They made this the student recite the Islamic call to call of witness a prayer, which makes her a Muslim. That’s absurd.'” – Lauren Green, Fox News
Story 2, BUDDHIST INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“While the controversial program claims to be a “secularized” version of Buddhist practices that have traditionally been viewed as occult and dangerous by Christians, critics are nevertheless sounding the alarm. And despite claims of being “secular,” it does not take much digging beneath the surface to detect the obvious anti-Christian nature of the “mindfulness education” schemes.” Alex Newman, Freedom Project Media
Story 2, SATANIC INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
At Grant Lee school outside Richard’s Bay,in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, a parent is shocked and heartbroken to find a sprawling “art” display featuring torn up Bibles, paintings and sculptures of Satan and demons, paintings and drawings of Christ in compromised interactions with Satan, and paintings depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples as clowns. I urge you to watch the whole video and share this post, as it is so shocking, it is likely to even offend staunch secularists.
Grant Lee School Satanism – South Africa
While this is a school in South Africa, don’t be deceived. This is the true spirit of government schools being exposed. This same spirit governs the public schools in the United States and the rest of the world.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard parents say things like “I know that –insert evil practice or message here– is going on in some schools, but that’s not happening in my kids’ school.”, “We have a great school.”, “Our school is a blue ribbon school (or whatever other silly, made up award).”, or “My daughter’s teacher (or principal) is a Christian.” WAKE UP!!! THIS IS THE SPIRIT THAT GOVERNS YOUR KID’S SCHOOL. If your kids are in public school this is what they are being taught, whether or not they have a christian teacher or principal:
1) There is no God and everything, including you, came about by blind chance, therefore NOTHING has any ultimate value or meaning.
2) Homosexuality, transgenderism, gay marriage, and ANY other deviant sexual practice that makes you “happy” are valid and good and should be explored, with no restraint, whenever you feel “ready”. To say or believe anything else is HATRED and BIGOTRY and must be silenced, punished, and ultimately corrected, as those who espouse these hateful beliefs are forced to become “allies” who approve and endorse these behaviors themselves.
3) Socialism is fair and good.
4) America and her representative republican form of Government are evil and oppressive.
5) Capitalism, corporations, and “the rich” are evil.
6) Religion (specifically Christianity) should be stripped from every public place, practice, and institution, UNLESS that religion is Islam, which is a religion of peace and should be defended and taught as true and virtuous.
7) There are no absolutes. You determine what is right for you (and almost nothing is truly wrong), but your determination of right and wrong has no bearing on my values, unless you disapprove of something I do or think, in which case you are a hater and a bigot and must be silenced.
8) Race, gender (whether biological or imagined), sexual identity, and economic status matter much more than merit, knowledge, beliefs, values, or skills when determining EVERYTHING about your life. Anyone who disagrees is a racist/homophobe/misogynist/privileged white male/or some other acceptable scapegoat for personal responsibility and reasonable response.
9) The CLIMATE is the most important issue EVER, and WE MUST do whatever we can (including sterilizing and killing giant portions of the population, regulating childbearing, and demanding that people eat what the UN, “scientists”, and government deem to be the least impactful foods (namely NO MEAT).
10) Human lives have no value. It is a greater virtue to KILL a baby in the womb than to allow that baby to possibly face any suffering (including poverty, single parenthood, physical or mental problems, or being “unwanted”).
11) Some human lives have less value than others (even though none really have any value because they are all products of chance anyway).
12) Parents are not qualified to teach their children. Teachers must be educated and licensed, and instruction should only happen in age-segregated groups.
13) Parents are not able to feed their children. Children must have access to THREE school meals a day.
14) Parents are CERTAINLY not qualified to teach their kids about sex, reproduction, or “gender”, and these classes should be provided by and taught be the loving specialists at Planned Parenthood (under other creative names, of course).
15) Parents are not qualified to handle the health needs of their children. If a child notifies a teacher, administrator, school nurse of any of a plethora of “sensitive” health or psychological issues the school WILL perform the necessary treatment or refer the child to a “qualified” expert for treatment, without the approval or knowledge of the parent.
The list goes on…
Do you doubt any of the above examples? PLEASE do the research. I promise, all of these are true, going on in your district, and easily researched. Need some help getting started, just Google “Comprehensive Sex Ed” and take a trip down a very dark rabbit hole. Want to get closer to home, just add your state’s name to the search. I promise you, just this subject will be enough to convince you that the public schools IN YOUR DISTRICT have an agenda that is dangerous for students, for families, and for culture.
TAKE ACTION!!! PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN! Contrary to the beliefs of school administrators, teachers, Planned Parenthood, and government officials (and what you have likely been convinced of) THEY ARE YOUR CHILDREN. You have other options, and if your ONLY option truly is public school, you must spend considerable effort learning what your children are being taught and UNDOING THE DAMAGE at the end of every day. OPT OUT of comprehensive Sex Ed. DON’T CONSENT to any medical treatments without your approval – you will find this is impossible – so talk with your kids and tell them what to expect and who to talk to when they have issues.
Finally, spread the word. SHARE THIS POST and watch the news and social media for more posts like this. Share those too.
“That’s what we need right now. We need some continuity of faith, and I think the breakdown of faith has resulted in the breakdown of family, the breakdown of family relationships, the breakdown of our social systems, our social morality and so forth. So what we need more than anything else, as I see it, in our churches today and our families today, is a real vision for a family discipleship and family worship. The hearts of fathers and mothers turning to the kids, and the kids’ hearts turning towards their fathers and mothers, in this sort of family discipleship context.” – Kevin Swanson, Generations
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I hope you’re having a great homeschool day. This podcast is one that’s going to be a little bit different for you moms who might be listening, and if your husband is around and you are able to grab him, or if you want to just pause it and wait to listen to this later, this one is going to be for both moms and dads.
Yvette: We have a special guest on today. His name is Kevin Swanson. He’s the director of Generations. If you’re not familiar with Generations, it’s a ministry for strengthening homeschool families around the country. We’re going to talk to Kevin a little bit about dads, and about the heritage and Godly legacy that dads can leave for their children. And so, this is going to be a really exciting one, that you can listen to with your husband. So, Kevin, welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.
Kevin Swanson: Thank you, Yvette. It’s great to be with you today.
Yvette: Yeah. I’m very excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Kevin: Well, it’s me and Brenda, and we have five children, ages… I’m going to get this right… 18 through 27.
Kevin: So, we’ve graduated four of our older children. Abigail’s still left. She’s 18 years old, and she’s going to graduate this year from high school. We have four of our daughters that live with us. They have all kinds of projects going on, studying different subjects and things. My son is a software engineer in the Denver metro area. So, that’s where we are. I’ve been involved in the homeschooling movement now for 50 years.
Kevin: This is my 50th year. Because my mom started homeschooling me exactly 50 years ago in Portland, Oregon, if you can believe it.
Yvette: Was that in kindergarten, when she started with it?
Kevin: You know, it would have been… I think I would have been four years old.
Kevin: It was Portland, Oregon, and they were going to go into the mission field in Japan, and that’s one of the main reasons they homeschooled us. But in the 1960s, my folks were really focused on this idea of Christian schooling, but then they began to think about homeschooling. So, they really started to homeschool us, myself and my sister especially, in 1968, and I never attended a school until I was 10 years old, and spent one year at a Christian school in Oregon. But outside of that, I was homeschooled the whole distance.
Yvette: Wow. Wow. So you’ve really seen the evolution of homeschooling, and obviously what it used to be, back in the days when you had to keep your curtains closed during the day, and you couldn’t go to the grocery store in the middle of the week, because people would question you.
Kevin: As the old song goes, I was homeschooled when homeschooling wasn’t cool.
Yvette: Right. Oh, well, it’s so neat to have you now as part of the homeschooling movement and ministry. I know you have a great ministry to families and to homeschool families, but you really have a huge focus not only on fathers, but you really do have a great ministry to Christian men who are leading and discipling their own children, whether through homeschooling or not. And so, I want to talk a little bit about Generations. Talk about your ministry and what you do, and how you come alongside of families and men, to encourage and disciple them.
Kevin: Well, the main focus of Generations is passing on the faith. That’s our byline. You know, we’re living in a really tough time right now, because the millennial generation is more likely to be unchurched, de-churched. They have less spirituality and less faith than the previous generation. So what we want to do is, we want to see that there is something of a connection from generation to generation, and we think that comes primarily, of course, by the work of the Holy Spirit, but also by the God-ordained means of the hearts of the fathers turning to the children, and children to the fathers and mothers. And when those generational connections exist, there’s just a very much higher probability that there will be some continuity of faith.
“I think the first thing that’s happened is the massive secularization of education and pop culture. These are become the disciplers of the day. But the fact is, at one time, young kids were raised in families, and the pastors of churches and the parents had the most influence in the children’s lives. But since the 1800s we’ve had a massive social revolution, that has produced a massive culture revolution, and it happened when fathers left the home, and then eventually mothers left the home. And then you begin to get professionals that established large institutions. Those institutions become increasingly secularized.”
And that’s what we need right now. We need some continuity of faith, and I think the breakdown of faith has resulted in the breakdown of family, the breakdown of family relationships, the breakdown of our social systems, our social morality and so forth. So what we need more than anything else, as I see it, in our churches today and our families today, is a real vision for a family discipleship and family worship. The hearts of fathers and mothers turning to the kids, and the kids’ hearts turning towards their fathers and mothers, in this sort of family discipleship context.
So that’s the focus of the ministry, and I do believe that fathers are key. You know, the mothers, I think for the most part, have really been the impetus behind the modern homeschooling movement. There’s no question about that. But I do believe that when fathers get involved, you get a little bit more rebar in the concrete foundations of the home and the homeschool. Does that make sense?
Yvette: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The role of fathers is so very important, and I think so many of them don’t realize how desperately their wives need them to take that leadership in their family.
Kevin: Yeah. Yeah.
Yvette: You know. Spiritually, emotionally. I think a lot of dads think, “Well, you know. I go to work and I provide for my family, so that my wife can stay home.” Which is fantastic. That is such a wonderful blessing to the family, if mom is able to stay home. And even if mom isn’t able to stay home, or if mom has to work from home, there are… You know. You’ve got the Proverbs 31 woman who helped care for her family, and care for her home. But it’s not just bringing home a paycheck. Women need, moms need, wives need for their husbands to come alongside of them, and encourage them and their children spiritually and emotionally, in so many different ways.
I want to back up really quickly, because you were talking about how our generation today, people have just kind of fallen off of church and discipling their children and taking that spiritual leadership. A lot of families have done that, but a lot of men have done that. Why do you think that is?
Kevin: Well, I think the first thing that’s happened is the massive secularization of education and pop culture. These are become the disciplers of the day. But the fact is, at one time, young kids were raised in families, and the pastors of churches and the parents had the most influence in the children’s lives. But since the 1800s we’ve had a massive social revolution, that has produced a massive culture revolution, and it happened when fathers left the home, and then eventually mothers left the home. And then you begin to get professionals that established large institutions. Those institutions become increasingly secularized. Of course, they kicked prayers out of the schools, and the Ten Commandments, and the reading of the Word of God out of the schools in the 1960s.
And so, over time, you find that the young generation, each successive generation is discipled out of the Christian faith, and there’s less and less influence of the Christian faith in their lives. And it’s very, very difficult to salvage a young person who’s receiving secular inputs. You know, the other worldview, through their iPods and their iPads, and through education and pop culture and such throughout the week. And then you’re trying to salvage it with a 20 minute Sunday school lesson on the Sunday morning in the church. You know, to be honest, the church just is not able to stand against this massive, massive flow of a counter worldview, this other form of discipleship.
So, I think it’s just that simple. I think it’s competing discipleship. And here’s one more factor that plays into it. At one time, pop culture was not as influential on the peer group as it is today. Think about the 1980s, when young children had access to the television set only in the family’s living room, where there was some oversight from mom and dad.
Kevin: Well, see, they couldn’t carry a 600-pound television set into their bedroom then, and set it under the covers, or take it into the bathroom. It was just too heavy.
Kevin: You can’t carry 600-pound television sets around. But today, with the iPod, iPad revolution, these kids have access to the popular culture and these other worldviews. They’re effectively hooked up by wires into the matrix, and they are being fed these other ideas. And so, you know. Even if your child is attending a Christian school, or attending a public school, their peer group is far more connected to a popular cultural system, that is not really receiving much oversight from parents. It’s a family disintegrated form of entertainment, that just predominates in these kids’ lives. And so, that becomes the peer group, and that peer group becomes much more influential. That popular culture, that peer group influence becomes much more influential, much more powerful in the life of a young person today, than it was, say in 1990.
So, you know. I would say that pop culture, peer culture, is probably 100 times more influential today than it was in the early 1990s, and those competing discipling influences are very hard to stand against, unless you homeschool. Unless you spend concerted time with your children, and you become the primary influence in their life.
Yvette: Yeah, I agree with that completely. You know, you look today at what… And maybe I’m completely off base on this, because I’m not in the homes of every person of every family, of course. But it seems to me that the majority of families, you know, dad comes home from work, sits down on the couch. Watches TV, watches the evening news or sitcoms or whatever it is. And while he might be engaged a little bit with his kids, it’s all about, “How can I just rest and be entertained myself, so then I can go off to bed, and my kids can do their homework, and they can take their baths and have dinner, and we all go to bed, just to get up and do it all over again tomorrow?” And I feel like there’s a big disconnect between a lot of fathers and their kids.
And one of the things over the past few years that has really frustrated me, and it kind of seems to be the new trend is the man cave. You know, dads are building these rooms in their houses. They’re taking up one of the rooms, and they build their man cave. It has their video games, and it has their TV, and it has their computer, all their stuff, so that they can escape their family, basically. And I’m not saying… I’m probably going to get some nasty emails about this, and that’s okay… I’m not saying that there’s never a time for a mom or a dad to want to be able to just get away. You know? I’m with my family pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there are times when I just say, “You know what? I need to just go take a drive. I need to go walk around the park. I need to go drive. I need to do something. I just need to get away for a little bit.” But I’m talking every like few months, maybe. You know.
And it’s okay to have a little bit of alone time, and to be able to breathe, and I get that. And especially for those who are maybe more introverted than I am. But to have an intentional room where you say, “This is my room. It’s off limits to the family. This is my man cave, and I’m going to go away, and be disengaged from my family,” is not discipling your kids. That’s not coming alongside of your children and teaching them the ways of the Lord, and being able to embrace them and build the family unity, because you can’t possibly do that. And parents being so distracted with sports and this and that. And I’m not saying that those things are bad or wrong at all, but I feel like culture has gotten so busy, and so overwhelmed with things that are outside of the family, that we’ve almost forgotten how important it is to just be a family. To read together, to play games together, to just talk together, to cook together, to do things together as a family. And so, anyway-
Kevin: After a while, you find you actually enjoy being together.
Yvette: For sure.
Kevin: But I think you have to begin to establish the habit first, before you discover that this is the life. This is a better life. This is the life of relationship. And I think there are two words that describe the zeitgeist of the day. Zeitgeist is the spirit of the age, basically the river of culture in which almost everybody participates. The zeitgeist is defined by diversion and isolation. That’s pretty much the modern world. And I think most sociologists would agree with me, actually, that isolation diversion makes up most of modern life. But it’s not healthy.
Kevin: It’s escapist, and it eventually sort of deprioritizes human relationship.
Kevin: And certainly, that’s the music form, that’s the cultural form. That’s the way in which we view the stars on the movie screen. You take somebody like James Bond, or 24 movie star, who plays the part of the lone protagonist, who is divorced, and he lives by himself, and he sort of lives the brave existentialist life of the individual who is isolated from family, and isolated from friendship and other things. That’s sort of the modern world. That’s the modern individual. And of course, pornography being the ultimate derelationalized form of sexuality, where it’s depersonalized.
There’s no second person. But this has now become almost the predominant form of sexuality amongst young men. Some 80% of young men are now hooked on this derelationalized form of sexuality. So, isolation, just isolating ourselves and consuming ourselves in diversions, is really escaping the real world. It’s escaping God’s world. It’s escaping God, and escaping a relationship with God, and escaping a relationship with God’s people, with the church, or escaping a relationship within a marriage or within a family. So, that’s the philosophy. That’s the spirit of the age. And we, as Christians, just need to say, “You know what? That’s not the life God wants for us. God wants a life in fellowship with others. God wants us to live a life in relationship.”
And you know, we need to come back to this as men especially, because I think it’s men who are the first ones to walk down the river, as the men did in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath. You know, the men were the ones to abandon camp. The men were the ones who abandoned relationship. The men were the ones to walk away from responsibility and the pressures of life. But you know, the life of faith is the life that wants to face the challenges before us believing God, trusting in God, and then establishing relationship and fulfilling those responsibilities that God has given us.
Because you know, Ephesians 6:4 does say, “Fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.” So that specifically is directed towards fathers, first and foremost. Obviously, mothers were intended there too, but fathers are the ones that are responsible and culpable before God, to really focus on a proper raising, a proper discipleship for their kids. So, this is just a ball we just simply cannot drop.
Yvette: Yeah, I agree. Kevin, you’ve got a conference coming up. It’s the Shepherd’s Conference. It’s November 5th through the 9th in Elizabeth, Colorado. Let’s talk about that. I remember last year, we met you at the Life Schooling Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and you talked about this conference, and I remember thinking, “Wow. This is a conference that every husband, every father on the planet should attend.” So, can you give us a 10-minute version of the Shepherd’s Conference, and what it is that you’re going to discuss there and talk about, and what this conference is?
Kevin: Well, Yvette, this is an opportunity for men to disciple and to be discipled. You know, we don’t get an opportunity like this very much, to get into a home, and for four to five days, really immerse in the Word of God, and immerse ourselves in prayer and in fellowship, and building one another up. I mean, it’s a four to five day, just go for it, you know, 14, 15 hours per day, being together and fellowshipping together, and going through good teaching, and confessing our sins and struggles in small groups, and praying for each other, lifting each other up. You know, we learn how to pray. We learn how to lead in the Word of God. We’re learning how to be disciplers and shepherds in our homes. So, this is kind of a radical idea.
Now, one of my strategies is kind of an immersive approach to discipleship. In other words, you sort of have to dive into the deep end, if you’re really going to grow. And especially in the age in which we live. You know, we’re so busy, as you said. To take four to five days off, and just immerse yourself in a Biblical approach to shepherding and relationship building and spiritual growth for yourself, I think is really helpful for men. Now, we open this up for dads and older sons. You know, they come together. By the way, we still have I think two or three or four slots open for this year’s Shepherd’s Conference, so if anybody’s interested in this, just go to our website, Generations.org, and click on Events, and you’ll go straight to it. But-
Yvette: Now, what would the age be of the sons?
Kevin: Well, you know, I’d say anywhere from 10 to 12 years up.
Kevin: It depends on whether they can sit and listen.
Kevin: And if they’re not wanting to do that, perhaps a little older.
Kevin: But yeah, the Shepherd’s Conference is a great opportunity to do that. The other thing I do is I open up my home for this, and my daughters make 1,000 meals for the guys. Three meals a day for about five days, and it’s… You know. It’s not just the formal time together as we’re studying God’s word, as we’re praying together and singing hymns together. It’s also getting together in fellowship around those meal times, and getting to know each other, and iron sharpening iron. Just building each other up for the week. I find this is probably the most successful thing we have done as a ministry.
Also, I think it’s important for people who know about us, and know about my ministry, to come into my home and watch the dynamics in my home. You know, a lot of leaders, a lot of spiritual leaders across the country, they wouldn’t do this kind of thing, but I think it’s important for leaders to be accessible to those who want to drop by, and just sort of enjoy some hospitality at our house. So, this has been an important aspect of my ministry over the years, and we have had literally thousands of people come through our home over the years.
Kevin: We always open up our home, so if anybody is ever coming through the Denver metro area here in Colorado and would like a little Christian fellowship along the way, we invite them to our home for that fellowship. I just think that’s the way Jesus would have done it, you know? Jesus was always accessible.
Kevin: He was always accessible. There might have been a line of 10 or 20, but He was there, you know? He was just walking around, and He was accessible. He didn’t drive into the conference center in a big limo, and then come into the stage from the back, and then leave from the back in His limo. Jesus didn’t do that, and that’s not how we shepherd. That’s not how we grow as the body. I think it’s important for us to be in the same house, the same home together, sitting up to the table together and fellowshipping, and finding ways in which we can edify each other and build each other up. So that’s the vision for the week, and that’s been really successful.
In terms of content, we’ll talk about some basic biblical doctrine. We’ll go through psalms, a couple psalms together. We’ll talk about practical issues in terms of marriage, in terms of raising our children, in terms of education. We’ll talk about family, church, and state, which are really the three basic spheres in which we interact. We interact with our families, we interact with brothers and sisters in the church, and we also have an obligation as those who are part of a wider community. And so, we’ll talk about those three aspects. We also get into spiritual warfare a little bit. We want it to be intensely practical. You know, because we all know what spiritual warfare is, so we want to be sure that we’re geared up for spiritual warfare.
And our goal is that we would grow, that we’d become mature, that we’d be able to stand in the day of trial and persecution, and prepare ourselves with the full armor of God, in order that we be prepared to stand in the evil day. So, we want men built up and strong in the faith, so we do that through the teaching. We do that through the singing of the hymns and psalms and spiritual songs, and of course lots and lots of prayer. We do spend time in prayer together. That is probably the most powerful part of the week.
Yvette: Wow. That’s great. And I imagine that a lot of these men who go to this conference get to know one another, because they probably come from different places.
Yvette: And so they build those relationships, and can then encourage and support each other.
Kevin: They do. They do. You know, it’s amazing how much can be accomplished in 45 to 55 hours together.
Kevin: You think about your average church. You come together for an hour every Sunday.
Kevin: That’s 52 hours a week. We knock that out in four days.
Yvette: Wow. Wow.
Kevin: You follow me?
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin: So, those relationships are lifetime relationships, and these guys stay in contact with each other for years and years.
Yvette: Wow. That’s great. One of the things I love about it is that you allow the younger men to come alongside of their fathers and learn. You know, we talk with our girls. I have two daughters. They’re almost eight… She’ll be eight in two weeks. Eight years old and 12 years old. And so, we already talk a whole lot about, you know, when you are getting to that age of marriage, what is it that you look for in a husband, and what does God’s best look like for you? And one of the things that we tell our girls is to look for a man who is being discipled by other Godly men, and then for a man who is discipling men younger than him. And I think that discipleship is so, so very important. And so, it doesn’t matter where you are in your Christian walk. You need to be accountable, and discipled by someone who is… You know. Whether older than you, or your same age or whatever. And women need that, too.
Yvette: But you need to know how to disciple younger men as well. And so, I think it goes on both ends, and I think this conference is such a beautiful way to teach these young men, to raise them up to be discipled, and to be able to disciple others as well.
Kevin: That’s some of the best advice you could give. In fact, I just did a presentation at our church on preparation for marriage, and the advice that I gave the young ladies and the young men was, be sure that you marry somebody who has been discipled, and has opened themselves up for discipleship, has sought out that discipleship.
Yvette: Yeah. Yes.
Kevin: And that’s I think so, so, so very key, especially in the day in which we live. That’s one reason we have been discipling young men, as part of our ministry, for about 14 years now.
Kevin: In fact, we’ve had young men living in this house here for nine years. Our family lives upstairs, and then these young men, who are part of our discipleship center, live downstairs. And that’s been a full time thing, pretty much for the last nine years. We have probably discipled, I don’t know, 14 to 16 young men over a period of nine years, and it has been generally very successful. These young men become future fathers, husbands. They get married oftentimes early, like 21 or 22 or 23 years of age.
Kevin: Not that that’s the end all and be all of maturity, but it’s been encouraging to see them now raising children. Some of them have three, four, five children. Some of them become deacons in churches. Some have become elders. One of them is becoming a pastor, in about three weeks from now. So, yeah. It’s been probably the absolute most powerful thing, and influential and important thing, that I have done in my ministry over the last 30 years. You know, bringing up these young men, and preparing them for their own ministry and their own home life. I personally encourage every single church in America to engage in this, because if we don’t disciple the young men, it will be bust. I have this little word. I call it Discipleship or Bust. Either we will disciple the young men, or our young women will have nobody to marry.
Kevin: We will not have churches. We will not have families in the years to come.
Kevin: It’s discipleship, discipleship, discipleship. The Apostle Paul, in Second Timothy 2:2 says, “You’ve got to disciple the young men, that they will be prepared to disciple others as well.”
That was his advice to Timothy. And of course he wants them to preach the word and such, but as far as what we are to be doing to be preparing the next generation, we have got to be focusing on discipleship, discipling the young men. Of course, we encourage the older women to disciple the younger women.
Kevin: But the young men have not been discipled, and they are wandering around. They’re not growing up. Newsweek magazine came out with a statistic a couple years ago that said 70% of young men are not grown up by 30 years of age, up from 30% in 1970. That means they don’t have jobs. They’re not getting married.
Those statistics are based on a couple different indexes. And so, 70% of young men not grown up by 30 years of age, up from 30% in 1970.
Kevin: They are living in guy-ville. They’re living in this Peter Pan man cave thing, yeah. And we’re just not seeing the maturity. We’re not seeing that young men are ready for life, and the end result of course is going to be the breakdown of entire social systems. It will be the breakdown of churches. It will be the breakdown of future families, and it will be the breakdown of an entire nation. I’m convinced of it.
Kevin: That this nation will break down. We are looking at the breakdown of character and the breakdown of maturity across this nation, because we have not invested in the discipleship of our young men and our young women.
Yvette: You know, if the Christian men today do not take that responsibility, to disciple the younger men who need that, the world is going to take over. And that’s exactly what’s happening, is the world is taking over, and they’re going the way of the world, and not the way of God. And like you said, it’s breaking down the family unit.
I want to take this a little bit back to homeschooling. That is one of the reasons why homeschooling is so very important, and so very powerful. Because it allows the Christian dad to disciple his Christian young son, or his daughter, who is going to marry a Christian man, hopefully, and show her, “This is what it looks like. This is what a Godly man looks like. This is what I want you to strive for to marry.” You know. And I agree. It’s so important for our culture.
Kevin: Yvette, even the secularists. I’m talking about non-Christian sociologists. They’re writing books like The War Against Boys, The End of Men, The Demise of Guys. You’ve heard all of these books.
Yvette: Oh, yes.
Kevin: They’re all over the place today. And it seems to me that Christians should establish something of a better standard. You know, shouldn’t we, above all people, take on ourselves the opportunities to give up of our selves? You know, sacrificially love our brothers and our sisters in Christ, and really invest that time and that energy into the discipleship of young men?
Now, I wouldn’t say that you have to bring them into your home, as I’ve done. There are some opportunities where perhaps you meet with a young teenage boy in the congregation, you know, once a month for lunch or something, and you just are there to invest in his life, or you might create some small Bible studies. We’ve got I think six Bible studies in our church, that are primarily attended by young men. There are prayer groups and there are Bible study groups. These guys will come once a week, and we’ll invest an hour or two hours a week with them. But, you know, 52 hours a year is a big deal for a young man. So, you know. I mean, I’m not just working with 14 guys. I’m probably meeting with anywhere between 30 to 40 young men every week, as part of our ministry.
Kevin: And then we’ve got the Shepherd’s Conference, where we do that full 52-hour deal in one four to five day spread. So, you know. I think the focal point for ministries at this point really needs to be discipleship.
Kevin: We need to come back to this vision, and that’s the thing we encourage with our families. As we talk about homeschooling, it’s not just about homeschooling. It’s also about discipling our kids as we sit in the house, as we walk by the ways. We rise up as we light up.
Yvette: That’s right.
Kevin: And this also needs to be the focal point of the wider body. We need to disciple young men. We need to disciple the young women. They resonate to it, you know? For the most part, these young men and young women, when they realize that you care about them, and you care about their future, and you want to invest in their lives… You really are buying in to their success in life. Their spiritual success, their economic success. You are buying in, man.
Yvette: Yeah. That’s right.
Kevin: You are going to be their cheerleader… They respond to that.
Yvette: Yeah. That’s right.
Kevin: And it is amazing what will happen in your homeschool group, in your church, in whatever relationships you’ve built as you pursue this discipleship vision.
Yvette: Yeah. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Kevin. Thank you for your time today. Thank you for your encouragement to families and to husbands. It has been such a pleasure having you on.We are very grateful for what you’re doing. And we’ll get word out about the Shepherd’s Conference this year, and if people are listening to this after it’s full, or after it’s over, I’m sure you’ll do it again next year, because I know you’ve done it many years in a row. So, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on. Thank you for your encouragement with homeschooling and to families. We appreciate it so much.
“Anxiety in teens is higher than it’s ever been. Because these kids are having to perform at a standard that is a generalized standard that they don’t necessarily fit into and it does make sense because when we remove God’s design and plan, we end up with these things like depression. Because the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. And so when I’m sent into a place every day where, well, God is there but where I’m not allowed to be taught about God or speak of God or see God or do things God’s way, then it’s not going to be a joy-filled place. When you remove the Lord from the school, you’re also removing joy and strength.”
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. In case you didn’t read the previous post, The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 1, make sure you go back and read that one. Aby Rinella is back with me today and we are talking about the benefits of homeschooling. We talked before about “The Why of Homeschooling” and today we’re building on some of those ideas. We recorded that episode several months ago, but this is the second part of that conversation about the many, many benefits of being able to keep our kids at home and disciple them.
The Bible passage that we have parked on for this episode is Matthew 6:31-33, but really focusing on verse 33. But it starts out, “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the Gentiles seek after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
“I think in the beginning, I would look at other kids who parents would talk about the struggles that they had with their children but also the blessings of it too. But I thought, well… Homeschooling’s going to be different in our house. It’s going to run smoothly. And as I had this fairytale in my mind of what it was going to look like, we were going to just have this perfectly scheduled-out day. My children were going to just sit so compliantly in their desks and they were going to just do the work that I asked them to do. And they were going to learn everything the first time and they were not going to argue with me. I mean, I had this idea of how it was going to unfold and then I started homeschooling!”
Aby Rinella: I love talking about what these things are that are going to be added when we’re obedient to God in raising our kids, and last week we talked about all the academic benefits, all the things that moms panic about. “Can we really do this academically?”, and how we’re seeing that academically, homeschooled kids are thriving. We talked about all the reasons why, so I’m excited to get into a lot of the other benefits and all the other things that are added on to us when we choose to obey God’s call to homeschool.
Yvette: Yes. We talked a whole lot about the principle, “obedience brings blessings.” God is a God of blessings. He loves to bless his children and he hears our prayers. And he loves to listen to us as we cry out to him on this journey of homeschooling and parenting and just trying to figure it out. I know for myself, it has been… You know, before you have kids, you think you know it all.
Aby: Everything, yes!
Yvette: You see other kids and you’re like, “My kid would never do that. My kid would never throw a tantrum in public. My kid would never say no to me.” And then you have kids and you’re like, “Oh, so, let me take back everything”-
Aby: It’s universal.
Yvette: Right. It’s universal. And the same goes with homeschooling. I think in the beginning, I would look at other kids who parents would talk about the struggles that they had with their children but also the blessings of it too. But I thought, well… Homeschooling’s going to be different in our house. It’s going to run smoothly. And as I had this fairytale in my mind of what it was going to look like, we were going to just have this perfectly scheduled-out day. My children were going to just sit so compliantly in their desks and they were going to just do the work that I asked them to do. And they were going to learn everything the first time and they were not going to argue with me. I mean, I had this idea of how it was going to unfold and then I started homeschooling!
Yvette: Reality hit. So there are things that are hard about it, but in looking back, I also didn’t get to see all of the blessings that would come from it. And so it’s been… We’re in our ninth year of homeschooling now. And it’s so amazing to just see how with Garritt and I having been obedient to the call that God has put upon us to homeschool our kids and to have them with us day in and day out and discipling their hearts and training them. He has just blessed that beyond belief and I love what it’s brought. You and I, in the last episode we talked, like you said, about many of those things. One of the greatest things we talked about was marriage and sibling relationships. And I’m so grateful for what the Lord has done in our family through those things. So, let’s keep on talking about this. What are some of the other benefits that you’ve seen through homeschooling?
Aby: Okay, we’ll keep going through the list. One that I have seen hugely and I never expected and now I’m so passionate about it is health. We are a family that’s really health-oriented and I never equated that homeschool would have anything to do with health and it’s kind of blown my mind. Which everybody knows and science has shown that too much sitting leads to all sorts of issues, increase of diabetes. It kind of slows your brain. They say it actually gives you lethargic thinking, increase of heart disease. Obesity has tripled since the ’70s as more people are going to computer-oriented jobs rather than more labor jobs. So, sitting causes a lot of health issues and so, when you have the kids in a classroom from the day that they’re four all the way forever and they’re sitting for endless hours, it is not good for their health. And I am seeing in classrooms now they’re trying to do all these creative things. Like, let’s say you want to bounce the ball or let’s say you want a swivel chair. But we’re still sitting and we’re just sitting on different things.
So, that’s a huge benefit with homeschool. We did an episode before on the benefits of getting outside. And we talked a lot about that, about how it’s important to get up and move our bodies and physically outside. So, that’s when everybody can go listen to hear the health effects of that. Aside from just kids being able to move more, which helps their brain, especially if you have a kinesthetic learner. But even non-kinesthetic learners, it helps our brains when we’re moving.
So, in addition to that, sleep. This is one that has hit me and I have seen that with health, like a lack of sleep brings on illness. They’ve said that, I mean, if you’re listening to this and you’re a homeschool mom, that means most likely you’ve had babies. And that means you know what it’s like to sleep, to not sleep for long periods of time.
Aby: And that does affect our health. It affects our attitudes. They say a lack of sleep can lead to depression, it leads to a lowered immune system. So with homeschool, we can let our kids sleep when they need to. And I’m not saying that if you want to get your kids up at 7:00 AM and start school, that’s fine but that’s your option. That’s your privilege, that’s your freedom to decide how much sleep your kids need. And so, we run by our own clock in our own home, not somebody else’s. So, just the beauty of not having to get my kids up, yelling and screaming at them to get dressed, hurry up, and shove food down them and get them out the door when they’re exhausted. That can take a toll on a child’s health.
The other thing that just is brand new to me and you’ll relate to this, is when kids hit that pre-puberty, their whole circadian rhythm changes, like all of the sudden, they’re staying up later and they’re sleeping in. And I didn’t see it coming. All of a sudden, I have a daughter that’s entering into that and she’s up later. And it’s not that she’s just trying to be up later like her body is, it’s just her whole rhythm is different. That’s a scientific thing that happens when you’re going through those pre-puberty. So, again, we can let our kids sleep when they need to sleep according to their body and their season and when they are. When kids aren’t tired, they learn better.
And that’s something I saw as a public school teacher. I would have kids that were so exhausted, little teeny tiny five-year-olds coming in so tired because they didn’t get a nap because now we’re doing full-day kindergarten in most states. These kids were so tired and then we expected them to learn. And that just doesn’t… That’s not healthy. So the beauty of homeschooling, one of the blessings is that physically, it’s so much healthier.
Yvette: Yeah. And not just kids but for mom too. You know, mom having to get up early to get her kids up and ready and out of the house and fulfill all those responsibilities. Then mom is tired, and we talked in the last episode about marriage when mom’s having to get up and she’s exhausted from the day. By the time her husband’s home and kids are in bed and now it’s finally time for you and your husband to spend time together.
Yvette: You’re exhausted and you want nothing to do but sleep. And that’s not healthy. That’s not healthy for your marriage. It’s not healthy for your kids. It’s not healthy for mom. And so, I mean, there are often days with us where Garritt or I or our girls will just say we just need a nap today. And it doesn’t happen often. But sometimes, I’ll just say, “I really need to sleep. I can’t even focus on what I need to do right now. I’m going to go just take a power nap.” I’m good at power-napping. I can take a 20-minute power nap and be refreshed for the rest of the day. Not all of my family members can do that but I love the benefit of being able to do that. And my girls, every once in a while they do that too. Lacey, my little one, we call her the Energizer bunny because she requires so little sleep. We don’t know how she does it but that girl, I feel like she could be one of those adults who can survive off of four hours of sleep at night. I don’t know.
Aby: She’ll handle newborns well.
Yvette: She will. I mean, from the time she was about, I think, a little older than two, she didn’t even nap anymore. Because if she did, she wouldn’t go to bed till 11 or 12 o’clock at night. She just does not require a lot of sleep but many do.
Aby: But many kids need a lot more than the average kid, too.
Yvette: They do, yep.
Aby: Again, when we try to fit all the kids in the same box, well, every kid has to be up at the same time to make the bus at the same time. And we’re doing this herd thing where I don’t care if you need more sleep or less sleep, you’re going to get the average amount of sleep that everybody gets because the bus hits it this time.
Also, when kids are sick, I saw so many times, moms bring kids to school sick because they couldn’t stay home from work. And then they would be sick week after week because they never got the rest they needed for their body to heal.
Yvette: Sure, they couldn’t fully recover.
Aby: They couldn’t. So again, when you can just rest, when you can just say, “You don’t have to do school today because you’re sick.” And our kids are healthier, they can heal faster. Their bodies can do what God designed their bodies to do.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s great.
Aby: And another physical health benefit is… Can you tell I’m passionate about when it comes to kids’ health?
Yvette: Yes, I love it.
Aby: Is food. I think, I look at an adult schedule, we all get hour lunch breaks. Well, those that work outside the home. I just can eat all day.
Aby: But most adults in settings an hour lunch break and we’re giving kids 20-minute lunches. The average lunch in an American school is a 20-minute lunch. And those kids are so amped to get up and out of there to the playground that most of them aren’t even eating their whole lunch because they want to get out the door. So they’re eating too fast. And again, when you look at the medical side of things, it is eating too fast, has been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems. And actually, not getting enough food that you actually need nutrient-wise because you’re just shoving it in and your body isn’t being able to balance what you’re eating. This is what we’re setting. We’re setting these habits in our kids at such a young age that are going to stick to them through a lifetime. And food choices too. Even just what the kids are eating when they’re rushed out the door and hurry up and grab.
So, there’s just so many health, just physical health benefits that are secondary reasons, secondary benefits to homeschool when we… Not the reason to homeschool, the reason to homeschool because God has called us to, but these are benefits that come with it.
Yvette: That’s right.
Aby: So, also physically, ADHD symptoms drop and that’s an incredible one. ADHD is through the roof now and it’s growing every single year. But you’re finding that, this is really interesting. Early childhood school enrollment is a primary culprit with the ADHD diagnosis epidemic. The earlier kids are registered for school or in schools, the younger the age, the higher rates of ADHD. And that’s really interesting. So, we now have all-day public kindergarten. You’re in kindergarten all day and now we’re taking it down to preschool. So right now, putting kids in at four years old.
Yvette: Oh, they’re just babies.
Aby: They’re babies and the rates of ADHD, which really, just a kid, a four-year-old can’t sit still all day, anyway. Just, their bodies aren’t made to do that.
Aby: So, the ADHD symptoms drop when kids can get outside, and we talked about that before, when we play outside. And so that’s a benefit. This is interesting, I’m just going to read this. A Harvard study found that in states with a September 1st enrollment age cutoff, children who entered school after just turning five were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children born later about to turn six.
Aby: So, that’s a 30% increase.
Yvette: That’s huge.
“I can’t stand to sit all day. It drives me crazy. I mean, I have to get up every now and then. If I’m sitting and working and doing stuff at the table, I have to get up every probably 30 minutes at least and just move my body. I need to grab a snack, go outside, and get some fresh air or something. And no one is made to sit all day, every day at a desk and have to focus on what it is that you’re supposed to focus on.”
Aby: With putting these little tiny ones in school. So, obviously we see with a lot of this, and I’m not negating ADHD. I’m saying that there are ways to help that and some of these studies show that immaturity is really the real factor, not pathology. So, that’s a huge benefit that we have. If our kids aren’t ready to sit all day, that’s okay. We don’t have to make them sit all day. We have the freedom to change that up.
Yvette: Sure. And it’s not just the preschool kids who aren’t ready to sit all day.
Aby: If you had a teenage boy, just look at them.
Yvette: It’s all kids, even me. And I’m not a super… I’m an outgoing person but I’m not a super crazy high-energy person. But I can’t stand to sit all day. It drives me crazy. I mean, I have to get up every now and then. If I’m sitting and working and doing stuff at the table, I have to get up every probably 30 minutes at least and just move my body. I need to grab a snack, go outside, and get some fresh air or something. And no one is made to sit all day, every day at a desk and have to focus on what it is that you’re supposed to focus on.
Aby: No, it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy. So, those are some of the physical benefits. And then, the mental benefits are absolutely incredible. So, adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicide declines during summer when they look at the statistics. So all those things go down in the summer. It’s different for adults and I’m not sure why but when they study adolescents, then they find that those things spike right at back-to-school time. So that seems pretty obvious. Suicide has more than doubled since 2007. Then we’re just… The more the testing, the more the requirements. But I just find it very interesting that all those symptoms go away in the summer and then they spike back up when it’s time to go to school. And that’s pretty obvious. So, a Boston college psychology professor that writes frequently about the problems with this other kind of schooling looked at the statistics and stated that the available evidence suggests quite strongly that school is bad for children’s health. That kind of blew my mind but psychologists are saying this isn’t a place where kids are going to mentally thrive in, in that health department.
Yvette: And when he says school, he’s talking about sitting in a classroom all day. He’s not talking about academics, of course.
Aby: Not academics. No, no, no, no, no. Although sometimes trying to teach subtraction makes me lose my mental health but that’s not what he was talking about.
Also, fear is eliminated. Because when kids are home with mama that loves them and they’re safe and they don’t have to fear the bullying that goes on. There’s, again, an epidemic of bullying going on in our schools. The programs, when I was just stepping out of the school, a huge part of our days were spent with an anti-bullying program that was being put in because bullying is such a problem. Safety, drugs, the temptations that are out there that kids have to battle every day. I was a public school high-schooler, and the temptations that I faced every day just caused severe depression in me. I stood for my faith. I was able to stand for my faith but it just was a pressure that I wasn’t mature enough to handle. And so, kids are dealing with that every day. Constantly having to perform for someone else’s standards. That is a lot of pressure on kids and that leads to depression and anxiety.
Anxiety in teens is higher than it’s ever been. Because these kids are having to perform at a standard that is a generalized standard that they don’t necessarily fit into and it does make sense because when we remove God’s design and plan, we end up with these things like depression. Because the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. And so when I’m sent into a place every day where, well, God is there but where I’m not allowed to be taught about God or speak of God or see God or do things God’s way, then it’s not going to be a joy-filled place. When you remove the Lord from the school, you’re also removing joy and strength.
Yvette: Sure. Sure, it’s a very dark place to be.
Aby: It’s a very dark, a very dark place. And I know because I was there. And the other thing that you just did an awesome podcast with Heidi St. John, which was amazing. You guys spoke about something that really hit me about how when we educate kids collectively as opposed to individually. And when we’re not able to educate the independent, individual child, which is the child that God created to be unique with a purpose and a plan, with unique interests, with unique strengths. When we have to educate kids as a collective, we’re kind of forcing them into this peer-pressure situation. And I got to thinking about that when I was listening to you and Heidi speak, where we’re kind of telling kids, “You have to be like everybody else. You need to have the same scores as everybody else. You need to learn the same thing as everybody else.”
And then, that carries over with kids too. “Okay, well then I need to dress like everybody else and act like everybody else and talk like everybody else and have the same gifts and talents as everybody else and the same hobbies.” We’re kind of shoving our kids into this state of peer pressure. And then, we’re acting confused as to why there’s all this peer pressure yet these kids that were trying to be a part of the collective that we’re forcing them into, they have a unique independence inside of them because God made them that way. Because whether they’re believers or not, they’re still created in God’s image.
So, then they have this battle of, “I want to be independent and I want to fight for my independence, but I need to be a part of this collective and fit in.” And you see these teens and it’s just like extreme mental anguish that they want to stand out and be unique. So they’re going to do these extreme things to be noticed. But then they want to be a part of the crowd and fit in. And it’s an unhealthy thing that you don’t really see elsewhere besides this setting. So they vacillate and that leads to depression and anxiety and bullying and a lot of these social issues that we see because we’re setting up this artificial setting for kids to try to be socialized in.
Yvette: Sure, sure. Which you can also see that sometimes in the church and in youth group and homeschool co-ops, things like that.
Aby: It’s part of our nature.
Yvette: It is part of our nature but at the same time, it’s different when they’re not faced with it all day, every day for 40 hours a week.
Aby: Yes. Yeah, that’s for sure. And the thing is, homeschool is not a savior and that’s not what we’re saying but God’s way is. Doing things God’s way will lead to a much better outcome. So, we want our kids to be able to embrace their uniqueness.
Yvette: Yep, that’s right.
Aby: The Bible, we’re told in Corinthians 12 that we’re a body created all different with different unique traits and different talents. Yet we are part of the body. So, we are created unique but we are all being part of this collective. But if you do that void of God, which is what’s happening, we end up with a terrible mess. Because anything we do, void of God, no matter how natural it is, it ends up being a mess because it’s void of the one that designed it.
Yvette: That’s right.
Aby: Anyway. And so I guess lastly, this is a big one. What’s the number one thing people ask you about homeschool? The big “S word”.
Yvette: Oh, socialization for sure.
Aby: Socialization. What about socialization?
Yvette: Awkward unsocialized homeschoolers.
Aby: Right? Totally. Which all you have to do is go hang out with them. So the definition of socialization, I love, it’s the process beginning during childhood by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of those they’re being socialized by. So that’s the habit, the values, and the attitudes. You can be socialized anywhere by anyone. You’re just getting the attitudes, the habits, and the values from those people.
So, my husband was in law enforcement previously and he always said, “The closest thing that we have in our society that looks like the school system as far as socialization goes is the prison system, incarceration.” And he worked in the prison system. We segregate these people in the prison system based on… They have parameters. They can eat when they’re told to eat, they can socialize when they’re told to socialize. But they can only socialize with a certain set of people that are in the same pod they are, right? And they have to move as a group where they’re allowed. So it’s interesting that that social setting is very similar to what we see in the schools.
And so a blessing with homeschool, one of the secondary advantage when we seek first God’s way is that our kids can be socialized anywhere and with all ages and it’s a more natural way because they’re interacting with people of different socioeconomic status, people of different ages, people of different class. It’s a much more natural way, which leads to kids having, we’re talking about health, a healthier way of socializing.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. One of my favorite answers when people ask about socialization and “Don’t they need to be in school so that they can socialize?” is, “Okay, well, tell me exactly which character trait you want my child to emulate of those kids who are in the public school system because pretty much none of them.” And I’m not saying there aren’t great kids in the public school system. There certainly are. And in private school as well, there are many, many great kids. But overall, I’ve seen those kids. You’ve seen those kids, you see them when you go in public anywhere. You go to the mall or Walmart or anywhere. Why would I want my child to emulate that? And you don’t see a lot of godliness going on, at least not a lot of godly examples happening in the public school system.
So, that is not where we want our children to be in order to be socialized. I will say on that point though, that even today, we have seen that there are homeschool parents who are so afraid of the world out there that they really still continue to keep their children isolated at home. And I don’t think that that’s healthy. Parents need to have their children out there. But one of the great benefits of homeschooling is, in a sense, we often get to choose our kids’ friends and at least we can better direct who they’re going to be spending their time with.
So if you’re part of a co-op or if you’re a part of your church youth group or their sports teams or whatever it is that they’re part of, you can really encourage them because you get to know their friends better and you’re around them more. And so you have a whole lot more control over it. Not full control, of course. And especially as they get older, they’re going to hang out with kids who maybe you don’t know as well. But I don’t think isolating our kids from other children is healthy for them.
Aby: No. And that’s not seeking. We’re going back to our whole point is seek first the kingdom of God. So, if you’re homeschooling because you’re afraid of what’s out there then you’re not seeking first the kingdom of God. And if you’re homeschooling because you don’t want your kids to be exposed to certain things, which granted we don’t. But if that’s your primary then that’s not seeking first the kingdom of God. So when we seek first the kingdom of God, we’re not afraid of those things. But just because I don’t fear it doesn’t mean I want that to be the primary influence in my child’s life.
So, we seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things. God will guide us and direct us. And, again, we’re not saying that kids in the public… I was a public school system child and I love God with all my heart and I had to overcome a lot of things. We’re not saying that homeschool is the save-all end-all. Because if we were saying that then we wouldn’t be seeking first the kingdom of God. We’d be seeking first homeschool. And that’s not the message that we or Schoolhouse Rocked or anyone that follows Jesus wants to send.
But we do know that when we seek first the kingdom of God that all these other things will be given to us and he gives us discernment and he gives us wisdom. He gives us clear instruction in his book as to how to do these things. So, it only makes sense that when we remove God from the way, from a huge chunk of our kids’ days that we are going to be seeing so many of these social issues, so many of these health issues, so many of these academic issues. Because we’re separating our children’s daily life and God. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Those two things are supposed to go together. So seek first the kingdom of God and then all these other things.
Yvette: And his righteousness.
Aby: And his righteousness and you can kind of chill out on the rest of the stuff. It’s just going to naturally happen.
Aby: That health will naturally come. You’re naturally going to let your kids sleep in if you’re a sane woman.
Yvette: Because you’re going to want to sleep in yourself.
Yvette: Yes. Oh, and there are so, so many other benefits to homeschooling and I would encourage those moms who are still… Maybe they need some encouragement. Maybe they haven’t started homeschooling yet and they’re thinking about it. Maybe there are those moms who are just exhausted. Find a seasoned homeschool mom and just ask her, “What are some of the benefits?” And ask, “What are some of the things that you would have done differently?” And that’s really one of the reasons why we have the podcast is because we want to bring on moms who will encourage the homeschool community and just say, “Just keep at it.” There’s so many benefits to having your kids at home and discipling their hearts and training them and working through the relationships, working through the academics, working through the character training, working through those life skills that we’re trying to instill into our children.
And find a mom who will walk alongside you. Don’t do it on Facebook. You and I talked about that. No, I should… There is some good encouragement on Facebook but I feel like the further we go with social media, the more detrimental it has become. And one of my favorite things is, well, I shouldn’t say my favorite things. One of the most annoying things to me is when you’ll pop onto one of the Facebook homeschool pages and it’ll say, oh, what did they say? Not homeschool related but, “Can you please tell about?” Well, shouldn’t there be another page for that? I feel like these homeschool pages should really be just that. They should be for encouraging homeschool families. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk about anything because, I guess, homeschool related is life. Homeschooling is life for those who do, are part of their life for those who do it. But anyway, it seems like everything, people talk about it.
Aby: Totally, and we can fall into that same trap even amongst homeschool moms of comparing our kids and forgetting that God made our kids individuals. So it’s going to look different in my home than it is in yours. And we need to guard ourselves because that’s our human nature. I mean, our human nature is our human nature, whether we’re in one setting versus another setting. So we just need to guard ourselves and keep going back to, “Am I seeking first what God wants from me as a wife, as a mom, as a woman, as a homeschool teacher?” And if I’m seeking first God then I don’t need to get hung up on, “Hey, all you other moms, how would you handle this?” I can seek God and then he will guide and direct me to women who are truly going to give me wisdom, not just opinions. Yes. That is good cautionary. Don’t just throw it all out there because it’s a little overwhelming when you get 50 responses and they’re all different. So, seek God first and then ask discernment and where to seek second.
Yvette: Sure. That’s right. That’s right. And there’s a lot of good encouragement on there, I should say. So, I’m not trying to devalue everything that’s said on social media. A lot of people have a good heart and they really want to help those. But I’m just saying, not everything that you see on there is worth taking to heart.
Aby: Yeah. Just be cautious and discerning.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right.
Aby: And remember that if God’s called you to do it, he’s going to equip you to do it. It doesn’t matter how anybody else is doing it. And it doesn’t matter how you feel on one day versus another. He will give you everything you need for what he’s called you to do. And you will see all the blessings flow from there.
Yvette: Yeah, that is right. Well, I feel like we could talk about this forever but we are out of time for the show. So, Aby, thank you again for coming on. You are such a huge blessing to me, to my family, and to our listeners. So thank you for your time and just for all the research that you put into this episode. I love listening to the things that the Lord has shown to you.
Aby: Well, thank you. Thank you. We’re in it together. We’re all in it together.
Yvette: That’s right. That’s right. The body of Christ working together.