Yvette Hampton: Alex. Can you just offer some hope? Because this stuff is so heavy and it’s scary to look at our nation around us and know that we’ve got … We’ve all got young kids. You have them, Alex, Aby has them, I have them. And we look at the future of our nation. Offer some hope to …
Alex Newman: So no matter how bad it gets down here, no matter if everything comes crashing down, we know who wins in the end …
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
“anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.”
Alex Newman: … and that is God, and you want to be on that side, trust me.
Aby Rinella: Amen.
Alex Newman: I think that’s the most hopeful thing that we can know. And in the meantime, God has got us here for a reason. He’s given us plenty of assignments. I mean, anybody who says, “I don’t know what God would have me do,” just open your Bible. There’s so much stuff you could be doing, and it starts in your home. It starts with your children.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Alex Newman: God will make a way. God is always faithful to His people. If the country goes down in flames … and it might. I’m not going to say that America’s going to see this great revival and we’re all going to be fine. It might not happen. But we just have to do what God told us to do, and that is to disciple our children, take good care of our families … If you don’t take good care of your family, you’re worse than an infidel, God said. So we’ve got to do those things that God has commanded us to do. And in the meantime, we have some great freedoms.
So moms, dads out there, let’s take advantage of these freedoms. Right now, we can yank our children out of schoolin all 50 states. We’ve got to fight to preserve these freedoms. I think there is an awakening going on in this country. There’s an awakening in the church, which is just … For me, this has just made my year. Just the sermon we had on Sunday. People are waking up to the lies of the enemy, to what the enemy is doing, and it’s so incredible to be even just a tiny little part of God’s plan. Even if all we do is raise up some children who raise up some children who go out and do something great for the kingdom, I’ll be so satisfied with that. That’s all I could ever ask for.
Alex Newman: So guys, take heart. God is so much more powerful than all of his enemies combined.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Alex Newman: I mean, He could just flick them away and that’s the end of it. So we’re on His team.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. Those of you listening, I hope this has been a great encouragement to you. The ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked exists to encourage you and to equip you to disciple the hearts of your children. We love you guys. We pray for you constantly as a family. I mean, Garritt and I and our two girls, we constantly pray for you and we pray that God would use us to impact God’s kingdom and your lives. And so thank you for just being with us today.
If you would like to support the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, please click here. We are really in need of support. I mean, everything that we do … The movie is in post-production right now and it’s going so well, you guys. It’s been so very exciting to see it all coming together. Garritt has been working really hard on just getting this movie done, and it has brought tears to my eyes more than once. And if you know me, you know I do not cry easily. But it’s so exciting to see the movie coming together, and then the podcast, and everything that we have going on. It all costs a lot of money to do these things, and so if the Lord puts it on your heart to help support the ministry financially, you can go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and there’s a link there. You can actually make a tax-deductible donation and help support the ministry that way.
Otherwise, thank you guys. You are an incredible encouragement to us. Thank you for those who continue to send letters in and just comments and stuff, and letting us know that this ministry is a blessing to you. We love you guys. Have a fantastic rest of your night, and we will see you guys back here soon. Buh-bye.
If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.
“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.
Schoolhouse Rocked producer, Yvette Hampton, recently appeared on the Joy in the Journey Podcast to talk with host, Misty Bailey about overcoming the feelings of inadequacy that so many homeschool moms face.
Married for twenty-three years, and a homeschool mom for seven, Yvette has a heart for building up other homeschool moms. She has heard the stories of how unprepared many moms feel to handle the education of their children, in fact, she has shared (and shares) many of those same insecurities. Now, she has embraced the idea of slowing down, focusing on what is truly important, and enjoying the privilege of investing in her children every day.
Yvette and Misty also talked recently, about another important issue. In a recent episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast they talked about whether our kids have the responsibility of being “salt and light” in public schools. Are we missing an opportunity to evangelize when we remove our kids from public schools, and if they do not have the responsibility of being “salt and light” there, who does? Finally, they discussed how, when, and where our kids should be “salt and light”, and how we can prepare them.
What a year it has been! We have been blessed with some EXCELLENT guest posts on the Schoolhouse Rocked Blog, and homeschooling families have responded. In 2018, just our top 5 most popular blog posts were shared over 1000 times on Facebook alone! In case you missed them, here are the Top 5 posts of 2018.
“Now that we have graduated both our boys and they are now in college and doing extremely well. This is what I wish I knew early in our homeschool journey, that I know now…
… that some of the most important lessons learned were unplanned and unexpected and came through living life.
… that it would be so fascinating and exciting to give my children the freedom to explore their What I wish I knew early in our homeschool journey.personal interests and talents, especially during the middle and high school years. And then see them take flight and accomplish things I could never have imagined or knew existed.”
“If you’re considering homeschooling or you’ve only just begun, I want you to be encouraged.
These things that I wish I had known before we started on this incredible journey are hard. In our first couple of years, my visions of peaceful, joyful, perfect school days were often painfully replaced with reality. But now I have learned, and continue to learn, the truth about homeschooling.
The truth is, it’s the most exhausting, beautiful, stretching, and rewarding adventure that looks nothing like I thought it would but is actually so very much better. With a little bit of experience under my belt, it is time to pass along some wisdom I wish someone had passed along to me all those years ago, in hopes that you’ll be more prepared as you forge ahead on this beautiful calling.”
“As homeschoolers, we are fortunate to be raising our children in a flexible learning environment. While we do have to ensure accurate attendance, we don’t have to be burdened by the stress and pressure of a public or private school system’s attendance protocol. This is something that I will admit that I have had to get used to.
In times of crisis, focus on what you need to do rather that what you may want to do. The work will be there when it is a better time for you to pick it back up. And you know, some days that may involve just being present with your family. These are the times when you will be focusing more on teaching life and coping skills than math facts and that is okay.”
“When deciding to homeschool, only some parents make the decision to homeschool through highschool as early as 5 years old. A larger number of parents want to “see how it goes”. When we started out, we put that decision in the Lord’s hands and decided to see where we were at when the time came.
It turned out, we decided to homeschool through high school. And, it turned out to be the best decision we ever made. Below are 5 reasons we found to homeschool through the high school years:”
“Screech… my Pollyanna thoughts come to an abrupt halt as reality sets in. I remember long division! I remember perfectly planned group times that are met with children who are not interested in history or geography or anything and refuse to pay attention. I remember the tears and whining, not just from the kids. I know there have been unmet expectations in years past. I know from experience that when I try to manufacture a perfect year in my strength, I quickly get discouraged and tired.
I turn to God’s Word. Jesus tells us so many times, “Do not fear.” He says to take my thoughts captive. An older, wiser woman taught me that taking thoughts captive doesn’t mean trying to turn them into positive thoughts. Instead, she told me to take each fearful thought and turn it into a prayer. That’s the best, most effective way she’s found to “taking her thoughts captive.” I love that there is an action I can take”
Can’t get enough? Keep reading with a bonus article from Jennifer Duncan.
I hope that you have been encouraged and equipped by the great articles by our guest bloggers this year. We look forward to much more excellent homeschooling content in the year to come. If you have post suggestions or questions, please drop us a note hereand we will try to address them in the blog or on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on the excellent articles in 2019.
“I can’t say that the past 14 years have been easy or smooth, but honestly, what parenting Unexpected homeschool journey is? As parents, we are raising our children to be able to take on challenges, learn from mistakes, and do whatever they can to make a difference.
Those are not things that come easily. Homeschooling encompasses all of this. I like to describe it as “parenting with academics thrown in.” Again, this does not come easily. It is, however, worth it in every way.”
Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
Just this week:
My kids had really runny noses. I became determined to get ALL that yucky stuff out of their systems, and I implemented nose blowing times at the top of each hour. With these determined efforts, nobody’s yucky nose turned into ear, throat or sinus infections. Victory! I counted this as a benefit of homeschooling because even with best intentions, a teacher wouldn’t have been able to give this much attention to my kiddos. Plus, I let them sleep in a bit to get over this little bug.
We met a group of homeschooling families at a park at 2:00 in the afternoon. This simple event was filled with so many blessings. First of all, we were able to go at a time when the park was deserted. Secondly, some of the kids were able to strike up a great game of basketball, which gave them fun exercise. Others brought out art books and drew whimsical pictures while lying on a quilt in the shade. Still others played a great imaginative game on the park equipment. Thirdly, we moms got to visit, laugh, and encourage one another in the middle of a week. Before we knew it, two hours had passed, and we reluctantly packed up to head home for supper preparations.
Yesterday, which was a Monday, some friends from our old home town visited. We were able to finish our schoolwork in the morning and then welcome them into our home and to a trip to our neighborhood pool. We had fun catching up, playing together, and then enjoying a fun meal that evening. My kids not only got to have a fun day on what would have ordinarily been a typical Monday, but they also got to learn about hospitality by helping to get the house ready and prepare some food. These experiences help them to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, especially his gifts of friendship and hospitality. They also teach them how to practically show God’s love by opening up our home and fostering friendships.
And then there are those tender, heartfelt benefits. The ability to say, “I love you so much, and God loves you even more than I do,” countless times during a difficult school subject is invaluable. The time that I’m afforded to sit down and really listen to my teenager tell me about her concerns in her social life is a gift that I will never be able to measure. Telling my son that I see how hard he is working and that I know he will continue to make progress is changing his life in ways that I will never know. These are truly immeasurable benefits that God has given to us.
I’m sure your week consisted of a cumulative series of events like these. I share these very ordinary snippets from my week because I am trying to see and count my blessings in the part of my life which is homeschooling. I find that looking for God’s faithfulness cultivates joy and rest in my soul. I already understand the academic and practical blessings. I know some of the statistics of ACT scores and I enjoy not packing lunches and not sitting in a pick-up line every day.
But lately I’ve been seeing some new positives that maybe I’ve overlooked in the past: the benefits of being able to rest and get back to good health more quickly, of enjoying the outdoors and sports with friends, and being able to host dear people on a Monday afternoon were just some of unassuming, everyday things that surprisingly bring so much joy to my family. And I’m especially treasuring the seemingly small benefits of encouragement and relationship building, which deep down I know are the biggest treasures of all.
What are some of the hidden blessings in your life that come from this lifestyle of homeschooling? I encourage you today to give it a little thought, write down a few recent joys, or maybe ask your family to contemplate this question tonight around the supper table. If you’re struggling to see, ask God to show you. He’s so faithful to us!
Psalm 34:8a Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
“The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.” – Garritt Hampton
Yvette Hampton: Welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I’m Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. On this podcast we bring you the very best from today’s homeschool leaders to help you start strong and finish well. This podcast is for you. If you have a guest or topic suggestion, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so excited to have you here. This is the first official episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and I have an amazing guest with me today. I can say hands down that my guest today is my absolute favorite guests that I have had on and that I will ever have on the podcast. My guest today is Garritt Hampton, director of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution and he also happens to be my wonderful, faithful, loving husband of 23 years, and the father of my two amazing, beautiful daughters.
Garritt Hampton: Proudly.
Yvette: Welcome to the podcast.
Garritt Hampton: Thank you. It’s exciting to be here. Yeah, I’m really excited about this podcast. We’ve been talking about doing this for over a year and kind of, it’s been kind of in the back of our planning process as we’ve been working on so many other different things. And you know, God’s just put us in a great position where over the past two years as we’ve been recording for the movie and filming, we have had a chance to meet so many amazing people and it just made sense to be able to reach out to those people again and say, Hey, will you be part of the podcast? And so, we’re excited to do that. I mean, do you want to tell them what the purpose of the podcast?
Garritt Hampton: Well, the purpose of the podcast is very much the same as the purpose of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie, which is to encourage and equip homeschool families. We set out when we, when we started production, when we started pre-production, one of the first things we did was write out our mission statement. And it’s very simple. The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so, everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So, we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.
Yvette: Yeah. So maybe we could give him a little bit of an idea of kind of where this podcast is going. We have actually, this is podcast number one, but we have actually recorded five already and we have several more already scheduled to record. So, I’m really, really excited about who, who we have. so far have recorded interviews with, Israel, Wayne, Ginger Hubbard, Connie Alberts, Carol Swain, and Scott Lob here.
Garritt: All of them. Excellent. I’ve, I’ve heard them also.
Yvette: all of them. Excellent. And all of them. Part of the cast. Right. And then we’ve got Pam Barnhill coming up. We’ve got Dr. Christopher Perrin, we have Andrew Kern and we have several others that were still actually just trying to work out dates with, but it’s actually not going to be all the expert types as people would know. It will also be regular just homeschool moms like me who are just in the thick of it right now who are working through this great thing that we call homeschooling. And um, and so we have several moms who just have different stories maybe. I know we’ve got one mom who’s going to be on, and she dealt with cancer a few years ago and so she’s got just a great testimony about her journey of dealing with cancer and homeschooling at the same time and how God brought her and her family through that. We’ve got calling Kessler. We’ll be on talking about kids who are twice exceptional and gifted. And we, we’ve got just a great lineup of people who will be on the podcast and just some great moms and dads who will come on and just share their experiences and wisdom so that we can encourage and equip people to be able to homeschool. So, we’re very excited about that.
Garritt: Now can I ask you a question about that? Sure. You say moms and Dads, and already we’ve recorded five episodes and two of them have been homeschooled dads. How does listening to homeschool dads build up encourage quip homeschool moms?
Yvette: Well, I actually, my hope and prayer is that with the podcast that it won’t be a podcast that just moms will listen to. I’m really hoping that with the dads who will be on that they will be able to encourage the other dads because dads have such a very important role in homeschooling. And we actually talk a lot about that in the movie. And we’ll talk about the movie in a few minutes. But in the movie, we talk a lot about the important role of dads to lead their families to encourage and support their wives and how they can do that. And so that if anyone ever asked me what my favorite part of the movie is done, hands down my, my absolute favorite part because I think many dads don’t realize how, just how important that is in their day to day family life and how much their wives need. That.
Garritt: It’s definitely been a fun part. Um, as we’ve interviewed just great Christian men who are leading their families well and going through this journey and being spiritual leaders, we’ve always taken a minute to step out of the homeschool part of the movie and just ask them what it’s like to be the spiritual leader in their home. How do they do that? What does it look like? What are they trying to get? Um, get into their kids and get out of the, out from their kids. And it’s always been a huge encouragement. We’ve had some great discussions and I will tell you there may be another movie in that. Um, we have not talked about this, but there’s so much good stuff there. You will see it on the backstage past site for sure. Um, but there may be something else in the works.
Yvette: Yeah, I think so too. Um, I want to back up a little bit and talk a little bit about Schoolhouse Rocked too because some people listening to this podcast may not know that Schoolhouse Rocked is actually a movie. It’s a full-length movie that we are currently in production on. And so, let’s, let’s tell them a little bit about the movie, kind of our story, what we’ve done and how we’ve come to this place of doing this podcast. Do you want to go?
Garritt: I think you’re wanting me to go there.
Well, I kind of want to start from the, not the very beginning of time, but um, start a little bit.
Garritt: God created the heavens and the air. Yes, he did. The earth was without form and void in the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the year 2016. That’s a big jump. And that is a big jam. K 2016. So, we’ll go back to the very inception of the movie. I was teaching film at a private school in Lancaster, California. And in that year, I got asked to help out with a student film. Um, the crew, the girl doing the film was a friend of a teacher that I was working with and it was a short film on homeschooling that really was the beginning of this project. And I saw the short film that she did and thought, wow, what a great opportunity to just build up homeschooling families to show that homeschooling is a great option for families and really to legitimize the movement. And so, but this film was short. It was seven minutes long, I think. And even in that seven minutes, it was really powerful. So, I actually asked her if she wanted to do a feature and she said no, she was done with that project. So, I said, you know, that would be an awesome movie. And we started thinking about it at that point. Um,
Yvette: and I think you should mention previous to that, you had worked in the Hollywood film industry for many years, right? That was part of your background and then you’d worked in the music industry before that.
Garritt: Right. My, my background is really entertainment. Um, and I’ve had a varied background, but the, the last 10 years I’ve really spent doing movies and prior to that I had done music. Um, and so it wasn’t like I was just jumping into this movie thing cause a man, it would be a hard thing to jump into. But I had taken a year where I was teaching film at a school really because the movie industry had just become such a crazy mass for our family. I was, there was a lot of travel, a lot of time away from the girls in it. It needed to slow down a little bit. So, I had an awesome opportunity to teach film to junior high and high school students for a year. And it was a great time. Um, but it was also only a year. And so, we knew something was coming after that year. We knew we’d have to make a decision about where we’d be because it was going to end.
Yvette: Can I interject here in, in, on, on my end of it I was the homeschool mom. I was the homeschool mom who said I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever homeschooled my kids. We said that for many years. We had been married for about 11 years before we had our first child. And so, for this whole 11 years, we were adamant about it. We said we would never homeschool. And the reason for that was because we had so many misconceptions about homeschooling and what it was and all the negative stereotypes of, you know, what, how we saw homeschooling as kids because it was very different when we were growing up in the eighties and nineties
Garritt: yeah. It was different and we just didn’t get it too.
Yvette: Right, right. It’s not, it wasn’t bad. We just didn’t get it. That’s exactly right. Yeah.
Garritt: Right. It has changed though. It’s ironic because even, even though it was different, we still just didn’t get it and it was still a great movement, but we just saw all the negative things that people from the outside see. So, we really, I mean, we were, we had so many discussions about this saying how we would never homeschool our kids and so we didn’t want them to be socially awkward. Yes. The obnoxious. How will you socialize your kids? Argument came out of our mouth as many times and we’re ashamed of it.
Yvette: Well, I wouldn’t say that we’re ashamed of it. I’m actually glad that we were on that side of the fence because I think it has given us, I mentioned better understanding of people now who are on that side of the fence that they just simply don’t get it, which is why we’re making this movie.
Garritt: Yeah, absolutely. We wanted to answer so many of those questions because we had all those questions and when, when it came time to decide what we were going to do with our daughter for school, we had to work through all those issues. And it was by God’s grace that he changed our hearts about homeschooling. Um, I’m sure we could get into that, but it might take the whole show. But God changed our hearts. But to do that, he had a breakdown, a lot of misconceptions in our minds. And so, part of the reason we’re making this movie is so that we can show what homeschooling really looks like and that so many of those things aren’t true. And homeschooling can be really, really good for your family.
Yvette: So, yeah. Yeah. I agree. Okay. So, so we started our, we, I guess you stopped at that you were teaching film at a private school. And this was in, this was into the summer of 2016 so two years ago,
Garritt: right. So, two years ago, I knew that my time at the school was going to end at the end of the school year, and we didn’t know quite what we were going to do. And yet we had felt God just prompting us to make this movie. And it was in little ways. He never spoke from heaven. We never heard the audible voice of God. I wish we would have. Right. Maybe it would have been, it would’ve been helpful, but we were also feeling that it was time to get out of California. Um, for many reasons. We Love California. Our family is, there are churches there, our friends are there. Um, but we were feeling like it may be time to leave. And so the, the break from the school job and the, and what I was doing was a good opportunity to determine if it was time to go which over the, over the months as I, as it lead up to the end of the school year, God just made it more and more clear that it was time to leave and that it was a good idea to do this film.
Um, and he would just confirm it in great ways. It’s funny, this weekend actually, we, we got to see some friends and it was great just seeing friends from California and getting that fellowship, but I was reminded of how God confirmed things for us. One day after church, we went out to lunch with some friends who we loved, some friends for our homes from our homeschool co-op and they had another friend with them who we didn’t know. And we were just at the point where we were ready to tell people we were going to do this crazy thing, which was make a movie. And we’re sitting at lunch and, and you know, somebody asked, so what are you guys going to do? And I said, well, we’re, we’re going to make a homeschool movie. We didn’t have a title for the, for it at this point.
We didn’t even really know what it was going to look like. But we said, we’re going to show homeschooling. Like it really is. We’re going to show that it’s a great option for families and we’re really excited about it. I think that’s about all we knew. Right. And the friend who we didn’t know at the table said, “Oh man, you’ve got to meet our friend Scott LaPierre.” And we said, okay, great. Tell us about Scott. And they, you know, told us about Scott, you’re going to get to meet Scott in an upcoming episode. We have already recorded his episode and it’s fantastic. But within a few weeks of that meeting, we were on a plane up to woodland Washington to meet Scott and Katie, his wife and to interview him and several people from his church. We actually ended up doing a day in Portland where we did street interviews and then all day at a church from, well just after lunch because we did go to church in the morning.
We had lunch with the congregation and then started recording interviews and we got done at like as like 10 or 11 o’clock at night. It was a long day, but we had great stuff in the movie, was off to a great start. So, God just kept confirming in such interesting ways and definitely made it clear that we were supposed to do that. So, we set off on this journey. Long Story Short we sold everything we had. We sold our house, we sold our cars, we sold our furniture, we sold everything and bought a travel trailer and a truck and headed off across the country to make this move knowing where we were going. Right. We
Yvette: literally go, we, we knew that we were just going to head to Georgia because we had family in Georgia. And so, we said, well, well we’ll head there because it was December. We left on December 16th. And we said, we just need to make it to Georgia by Christmas. Cause we had promised the girls that we would be with family on Christmas Day.
Garritt: And so, we drove away from California really not knowing what God had in store. And up until that point, we had recorded interviews on three different sub sessions, three different occasions. We had done the interviews in Washington and Oregon, which were great. We had done a day of interviewing at our Classical Conversations group, which was really fun. And then we had interviewed Andrew Poodle. Ah.
Yvette: Oh, that was, that was a neat story too. You want me to tell that one? Sure. Yeah. Okay. So that was really cool. We had kind of made our list of people that we are wanting to kind of start the movie with. And Andrew Pudewa was one at the very top of that list. And so, we, we worked for melting. We were doing IEW curriculum with our daughter and stuff. And so, I was very familiar with him and I thought, you know, he would just be great. He’s just got such a great personality and hang, there’d be a great one to start with. And so Garritt sent him an email I think, and just said, hey, we’re making this movie again. I don’t think at the time we even had a title yet for the movie. And we said, we’re filming this documentary on homeschooling.
We would love to have you be part of it. And our thought was, we’re going to be traveling across the country from west coast to east coast and we can just kind of hit, oh, we knew he was in Oklahoma. We can hit Oklahoma on the way if we need to and interview him. We would be willing to do that. And so, you sent him an email, Garritt, and he responded within like a few hours and he said, yes, I’d love to be part of this documentary. You know, how do we work out the details of it? And, and then anyway, long story short, it turned out that he was heading out to California. He was going to be just a couple of hours from where we, where we lived and he said, I’ll, I’ll be happy to come to you because he was going out there to visit his family and it was going to be a personal trip.
And I remember he said, if I go out there and we filmed this and it can turn my personal trip into a business trip and I can write it off, you’re like, you’re welcome. And he was so gracious. He actually drove I think about two hours to where we actually were. And he spent the day with us. We got to interview him, we got to take him out to dinner that night and just got to spend some great time getting to know him. And, and he said, you know, here’s all the, a list of people that you, you know, you should get in this movie and if you have any problems getting in touch with them, let me know, I’d be happy to help you. And he was just so gracious and his name alone really, really kind of brought, you know, credibility. Right. Credibility. That’s the word I’m thinking of to the movie because as soon as we said to so many people, oh, you know, we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa while they would say, Oh, we love Andrew, he’s wonderful and well if he’s in it, it must be a real movie. And um, and it was just so great. And so that got the whole thing rolling and God just opened up that great door and we were able to connect with so many people because of that. And that was nothing but God’s doing.
Garritt: Yeah. And that was how he worked and has worked since. Um, we had also done Master’s College too. Oh yes. We knew that we were, we were going to need the college perspective for the movie. And so, one day we got to drive down to master’s college and we had done some others at the house where we did Andrew put a while, but we didn’t have much of an idea still what we were doing and we headed out across the country. And how long have we filmed? I mean we, we filmed for about a year and a half.
Yvette: Well, it’s been almost two because I think our very, very first interviews that we did, we’re in August. Right. I want to say they were in August because it was when we were still on our house. Sure. The test was in August, right. August, September. So, but, but our first interviews that we did, official interviews were in December of 2016 so, right. So, it’s been little more than a year and a half since we filmed those first interviews.
Garritt: Yeah. And it’s been great. God has provided the, just the best people. Um, we, we go into every interview not really knowing what to expect and event has kind of some questions in line just to get things started and make sure the interview moves in a certain direction. But it always goes somewhere better. I think in every case. And we’ll be, we’ll be watching together as the interviews going on and thinking about how interviews will work together with others that we’ve done in the past. And it is just such a friend. Fun Process. We finished interviewing
Yvette: in Nashville, right. And Nashville, which was just a few months ago in March of 2018 and over the past year and a half or so we’ve traveled ally, we’ve been to, I think we’ve traveled to, I think we filmed in 20 states. Have we, something like that. Yeah, it’s been a lot. Um, or at least had that many states represented cause some people have come from other states and, but we’ve taught, we’ve, I think we have traveled to about 20 different states and it’s been so great just to get her perspective of homeschooling across the country. And part of it has been that people have just opened up their homes to, as we’ve traveled and said, hey, you know, come stay with us. We have made friends. I mean across the whole country; it has been the most amazing thing. You know, we were kind of part of our little bubble in California, which we love.
We love our California bubble; we love our friends and family there. And it was really hard to move out outside of that. But it has been such a blessing meeting people in all different parts of the country and getting to see all these different parts of the country and interviewing. So, it’s not like we just stayed in one place and got just, okay. Here’s perspective of people homeschooling in California. I mean we have people from New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, California, of course, Alabama, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio. I mean a lot. And it’s been a really exciting to see and it’s been neat to see the homeschool community just rally around us and come together and really people, people are people. And there is just a real great community of people in the homeschool movement who love each other and work together. And you know,
Garritt: and we found so many similarities too. You would think that things would be different, and they are different from community to community. But really the homeschool community is very similar. I’m very, very open, very family oriented of course, because it’s, it’s really a movement of families. Um, and we have been so blessed by getting to know them. I, I, yeah. It’s,
Yvette: and the struggles are all the same for everybody. You know, it seems like every mom we talk to has, you know, more or less the same fears about, you know, am I doing it right? Am I messing up my kids? Am I teaching them enough? Um, you know, am I making it fun? Am I doing this the right way? And so, it’s been neat to just be able to just come alongside those people and say, you’re the same as everyone else. We all are in that same boat. And then you have those older moms like Doretta Wilson and Heidi St John and Connie Alberts who have been through it. They’ve done it. They’ve graduated their kids and their kids are thriving as adults. And those are the moms and dads who are coming alongside Zane. You’re doing a great job. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Garritt: What a great encouragement they are to them.
Yvette: It really has been. It has been. Yeah.
Garritt: One of my favorite things we’ve done to, I don’t mean to keep going on this, but I was thinking about as you say, Heidi and Connie and these people is um, it’s been a blessing to be at homeschool conventions where these people speak because you see the homeschool community come together and there’s nothing more encouraging than being in a room with 4,000 homeschool families and all knowing that everyone is going through basically the same things and dealing with similar issues. But having these people on stage say, you’re okay. This is what you need to do to move forward. And it’s going to be all right. Your kids are going to be great. We have been blessed. We’ve been able to be at several conventions across the country. And to me, I always leave energized. I leave energized as a homeschool dad, as a husband, you know, encouraged to do my job.
I leave energized as a filmmaker because I know that that stuff is just so impactful and we’re going to be able to incorporate that into the film, but so much more highly selfishly encouraged. Um, it really is a blessing. The other thing that’s a blessing is seeing how many families are together at these things. Homeschooling. Um, it, it’s always encouraging to me to see the movement of families who are intentional about raising their kids up in the right way. Um, we believe that that right way is in the, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And you see so many families together walking hand in hand through these conventions who are all walking in the same direction. It really is. It’s encouraging.
Yvette: It is. And you know, as you were talking about conventions, one of the things that we have realized is that almost across the board, every curriculum company that’s out there, I won’t say every single one, but most of them were homeschooled families who saw a need and met that need and they created their curriculum, Classical Conversations, apology, a not cross history. Um, I just, I mean there are so, so many of them that are, we’re just, there are families that, you know, mom or dad saw a need and just said, hey, you know, let’s create this curriculum. Oftentimes it was for their own kids and then it just turned into something bigger. And so, most of the curriculum you see out there nowadays is created by homeschool families and often still being run by those families themselves. Right. Which is really exciting because actually in the movie we talk a lot about family business and entrepreneurship and things like that.
And so that plays perfectly into homeschooling. And how and why homeschooling is so powerful for families because it allows families to be together and work together and learn together and teaches kids work ethic. And you know, our girls work with us. That’s been a really exciting part of filming this movie is that we, you know, we went from gear up being gone pretty much all the time when he was working in, in the Hollywood film industry. He was just, I mean, he’d be gone for days at a time and it was really hard on our family and now we’re together 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, and we love it. And you know, sometimes we need to get out and breathe a little bit, but we really enjoy being together and, and it has brought such a different element to our family and to our girls lives that they get to be part of this amazing thing that God has called us to, of making this documentary.
Garritt: Yeah. So back to the podcast, we, we have been talking about this for a year and we’re, we try to keep them around 30 minutes. So, we’re at 26 minutes right now and I want to get back to what people can expect. But one of the reasons we did the podcast was because we had such a wealth of great stuff to share with people. When you make a movie like ours, you go out and you film a lot of stuff and it can’t all make it into the movie. And we didn’t want to just let it down and go into a hole and disappear. We wanted to really build up homeschool families. So, an outgrowth of that was the podcast because we had forged relationships with great people who just had so much good wisdom to share. So, we wanted to bring those to you. Um, another aspect of that though is that we went out to our news newsletter subscribers early on and said, what do you want to hear in the podcast? What can we answer for you? And we’ve already started answering some of those questions you’ve had, do you want to share some of those?
Yvette: That was so much fun. We, we didn’t know how many responses we would get from that. And we got well over 80 responses and they were such good suggestions for topics and guests to have on. I mean the interesting thing is so many people asked the same questions in different ways. A lot of people are, you know, just wanting to know how I balance my homeschool day or how do I balance my homeschool day with little ones. You know, I’ve got an infant and a two-year-old who are running around like crazy and I’m trying to homeschool my seven and nine-year-old or you know, whatever your family dynamics still look like. And so, we have Pam Barnhill is going to be on, she’s going to talk a little bit about some of that stuff and um, we’ve got some other guests actually that are coming on as well that will help address some of these questions.
We have people who’ve asked about children with learning disabilities and how you homeschooled those kids. And so, we’ve got people who are going to come on and talk about that. We’ve got a, one of the questions we were asked, which Scott Lob here does such a beautiful job of answering is what do, what do your moms do when their husbands are not on board with homeschooling? And so, I talked with Scott about that and he just, he addresses it so perfectly and biblically and I’m just gives a great answer to that question. And um, you know, how do I make homeschool fun? So, Trish Corlew from hip homeschool moms is going to come on and talk about how to make homeschool fun. She’s a fun one. She is really fun because it doesn’t have to it, you know, the thing that we’ve realized is that with homeschooling, so many moms think that when you homeschool, you have in your brain the school room as we know in, into your home.
And it’s really hard to replicate what school looks like at a traditional school. And that’s not what homeschooling is. And so, we can encouragement from moms again, you know like Durenda Wilson who’ve been through it and who, who have walked that road and can give encouragement of just relax, just relaxed and have fun with your kids. I’m gender hybrid, talks about parenting. We had some questions about parenting and how do you deal with discipline issues because obviously that’s part of homeschool and that’s part of raising our kids. So Ginger Hubbard addresses that beautifully and she talks about just training the hearts of your children. And so many of these questions are getting answered and then we had a whole list of guest suggestions and we’ve already been able to connect with some of those people and they’ve agreed to come on the show. And some of them we’ve actually already recorded podcast interviews with. So that’s been really exciting.
Garritt: I see a couple here that are really fun to me and they’re the one-word ones. We have one, somebody just said encouragement. And I would really honestly say that as the heart of what we do is encourage homeschool families. We want to equip you by giving you great resources and great, you know, pouring wisdom into you and instructing you. But really, we want to build you up and encourage you so that you can make it through. So, we will do that in spades. That is our highest goal. The other one is road schooling. And on our journey, we’ve gotten to try that out and we have now almost a year and a half, well actually a more than a year and a half of roadschooling under our belt. So, we’ll get to that. Um, maybe we can have on another guest who’s done it and talk about the joys of traveling.
It’s awesome that homeschooling allows you the freedom to get out and travel and you can still do school on the road. So, it’s fine. We get to say that our girls get to actually drive the map and said, I just look at it on a piece of paper. And so that’s been a big blasting. So, we’re almost to 30 minutes and I want to tie up this episode, but really quickly I want to talk about the two other things that we have that we can offer to people, which is the website and then our backstage pass membership site. Cause those are great resources as well. Um, the websites – go to SchoolhouseRocked.com. We have some guest bloggers who are just wonderful and they, they post such encouraging things and all kinds of different topics that you can find on there. So, you can find guest blog posts on there and we actually will have a whole lot of more guest posts coming up in the near future.
There’s already a wealth on there though. There’s stuff on special needs. Homeschooling was special needs or stuff on family business. Um, there’s just general encouragement for homeschooling. It’s a wealth of information. Then the backstage past membership. Um, the backstage pass site is where you get an inside look at the making of the movie and you get the value of all this video that we’ve done. We’re going to release basically everything over time. Um, in addition to the movie, you’re going to see the uncut interviews with our guests and you’ll find that at the backstage pass site there’s a free subscription that gets you access to clips that you can search by topic and, and they’re going to answer your questions and build you up quick. But if you really want to dig down deep, we have a paid membership and it’s the Co cost of a cup of coffee, coffee a month for four 99 a month you can get access to complete interviews and there’s already several hours up there. We have a Heidi St John, Sarah McKinsey and her, Andrew Kern, Connie Albers is up there. Josh Tolley. His is amazing. That was Brooklyn’s favorite. Do we have Sam up yet?
Garritt: Her whole interview isn’t up yet, but there’s a few minutes there and it’s great. And I want to just elaborate a little bit on what that is. So, as we’ve filmed interviews for the movie, each interview has been, I mean I would say the average time that it taken for an interview is probably close to an hour and we have a ton of them. I mean our cast list is, is massive. If you go on the website, you can actually see who several of our cast members are and then families as well. And so obviously, you know, we can’t put an hour of Heidi St John in the movie because that would take up, it would be a good movie, it would be fantastic. But we’ve got so much great content in, so, you know, we can’t, we want to do something with the remainder of the footage that’s not going to make it into the movie.
That’s just so powerful that we really want people to be encouraged by it. And so, well that’s what’s going to be on the backstage pass membership site is you’ll get some behind the scenes stuff and then you’ll also get the full exclusive interviews from the cast members and you get to see us record this podcast live in color.
Garritt: Just to go on that for just one more second. Our first big interview, like we said was Andrew Pudewa and his interview was almost two hours long and there’s not one minute that’s not excellent. I don’t know how I’m going to cut that interview. It was so good. We were sitting there just dying because it was two hours of great stuff. So that’s coming to the Backstage Pass site, and just so much more if you want to be built up, if you want to be encouraged and equipped check out Members.SchoolhouseRocked.com and it’s a great way to support the movie.
Yvette: All of the paid memberships that come in actually goes to support production out of Schoolhouse Rocked. And so that’s a great way to support the movie and get something for yourself in return. Yep, absolutely. Why support the movie? Well we, we actually, right now the plan is that the movie is going to be in theaters and early summer of 2019, but we have a huge budget that we still need to meet in order to get it in theaters by next year. Um, we’re working with fathom events, which some of you may be familiar with them. They’re the company that does a lot of Kirk Cameron’s documentaries and, and live events and stuff like that. And so as of now, the plan is that the movie will be in theaters across the country, probably 850 plus theaters. And we’re really excited about that, but that is going to take an army of people to get it done. We have to hire, and we’ve already had to have all these people in place, but we have to pay for a composer and a colorist and a second editor. And I mean there’s just an, a marketing angel in a marketing budget, right? The marketing budget is huge. And so, we need to raise the rest of our budget to get it in theaters. And it’s a whole lot of money. And so, every year
Garritt: thing that, you know, whenever people pay for the backstage pass membership, that goes to help support that, right? Yeah. Every, every membership goes straight to production on the movie. And you can also donate to support. If you believe in what we’re doing, come beside us and help make a movie. You will be doing a great thing. Um, and you will be building up the homeschool community just like you’ve been built up.
Thank you so much for listening today. We are very excited to be here with you. We hope that it’s been an encouragement to you and we really hope that this podcast will encourage and equip you in many, many ways on this homeschool journey for great homeschooling videos, articles, giveaways, and more. Check out Members.SchoolhouseRocked.com and use the coupon code “PODCAST10” to save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass membership backstage pass members get exclusive access to full interviews from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked and so much more. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and leave a review. Until next time. I’m Yvette Hampton. Wish she knew the joys of community and the wisdom to teach and learn.
Ever been to a homeschool group and overheard a mom share an award her child just earned? And you immediately felt a slight sinking feeling? Or, scrolled through social media and read about a homeschool family with three children winning first through third place in a competition? And, felt like maybe you weren’t doing enough so that your children won competitions too? It’s very easy, sometimes, to fall into the comparison trap and try to “keep up with the Joneses”, especially if we have recently faced challenges in our homeschool days. The grass seems to be greener as we try to remind ourselves “everyone has something they are dealing with that we don’t see”. But it can be hard to work on that proper perspective after days of tears from not understanding a new math concept, and I’m not just talking about those of your children. However, there are some things we can do and keep in mind to remember the next time we start to feel a longing for that grass that seems greener.
Make a Habit to Recognize your Child’s Unique Gifts
When things don’t seem to be going very smoothly in one area, complement your child (and even yourself) for remaining patient during a difficult learning process. A saying in our house when we have to work a little more or harder on something is “slow and steady wins the race!” This helps us focus on the fact that sometimes there are going to be challenges, but we can work through them a bit at a time and keep a steady and good outlook about it. We don’t feel the need to be the best or the fastest. We also explore with fun and excitement the areas that God has bestowed on us certain talents, skills, interests, or abilities. We are thankful for the specific unique qualities that we are given and able to use in this life.
We celebrate within our family individual accomplishments, successes, and achievements of each of our family members and are happy for one another’s moments. But, more than what the person “did”, we celebrate who they “are” as the most important part of them. On birthdays, we take the time to celebrate their lives and what their presence means to us.
Keep in Mind What You Don’t See
When we see a family of siblings winning competitions or awards, or posts on social media of extravagant projects, we may start to wonder if we aren’t doing enough in our own homeschools. What we need to keep in mind is what we don’t see.
What we don’t see is how much time and energy or effort is devoted to that activity for the competitions or the awards. And we don’t see all the time spent doing those projects. What we need to keep in mind is everybody does “homeschooling” differently and in their own way with their own priorities and what works for them. And that is the beauty of homeschooling. You may be spending more time and energy on other areas because that area is a priority for you and your family, while the competition or big project family may be spending less time on that area.
Everyone has their own interests, priorities, skills, and abilities the way God has made us. Keep on “being you.”
Take a Break from Social Media Once in a While
If you are going through a challenging time, find your inspiration and refreshment someplace else, other than scrolling through social media. It’s hard to not focus on something, sometimes, when it comes across your screen while you are trying to do something to relax.
Find something else to do with some free time other than looking to see what everyone else is sharing or doing. You might be surprised by the relief you may feel during that break and relaxing and spending your free time in another way. Going outdoors, reading, and even knitting (that’s the latest thing they recommend for relaxing and boosting your feel good chemicals) are known for bringing on the positive endorphins, besides exercise. But seriously, a healthy hobby or activity away from the internet or social media does benefit us.
Count your Blessings
You have probably heard this many times before – “count your blessings” and “be grateful”, or write in a “gratitude journal”. This may sound cliché, but these actually do work. Praise God for every blessing.
Look back at each day and write down three things that you are grateful for or that went well that day. The negative tends to stand out more strongly in our recent memories and affects our moods more than the positives. Sometimes it takes more positives to outweigh one negative.
If we make this a habit each day, we will notice that it becomes more natural to notice the positives; and the more positives we notice, the less the negative will affect us. No matter how small the accomplishment or success you celebrate for that day, it makes it easier to continue when you start again the next day. You will be approaching it from a winning point of view instead of one of frustration and defeat.
The more you make it a habit to notice the positives, the more you will notice the negatives don’t affect you like they were. We have control over how we want to look at things and the power to influence our thinking and perspective. Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves.
Celebrate the Success of Others
In practicing to celebrate the successes within our family, we are also practicing the ability to step outside ourselves and celebrate the successes of others outside our family. So, the next time we hear a mom talk about an accomplishment of one of her children, we can be one of the first to say how wonderful that is and share in her happiness.
When we focus on others, we also tend to forget a negative we may be experiencing. We also stop looking at the green grass of that other mother as though we are standing on something less attractive and apart from her. When we celebrate with her, we are standing alongside her patch of green grass and on our own patch of green grass. Sharing positive feelings with other people helps us to experience positive feelings as well. It’s also a celebration for the homeschooling community and another success story of what homeschooling can accomplish!
As we become more focused on the positives and thankful for our own God-given gifts and uniqueness and celebrate alongside others for their God-given gifts, we lose the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses.” And we become quite satisfied with our patch of green grass.
I was invited to speak at the Annual Home Educators’ Day at the Capitol. Following are three encouragements I passed along to homeschooling families…
Homeschooling Encouragement 1: The responsibility to teach and train children is on the parents’ shoulders.
It’s not on the shoulders of the government, public school, or even the church. Three verses to support this conclusion…
Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The “You” is parents, and this teaching is supposed to go on all the time, when you: ● Sit in your house… ● Walk by the way… ● Lie down… ● Rise up.
When I taught elementary school as soon as the bell rang I sent students home for the day, but as homeschooling parents educating is never done. God wants us teaching and discipling our children around the clock, every day, all day. When I was an officer in the Army they told us, “You always have to have a hip-pocket teaching available.” Our uniforms had large pockets on our hips, and the idea is we had to have a teaching we could pull out at any moment to share with the soldiers.
The same is true with our children. We should look for teachable moments throughout the day to disciple them on forgiveness, generosity, service, joy, appreciating God’s creation, etc. As our children encounter day-to-day situations, we want to regularly say:
What does the Bible say about this?
What does God’s Word tell us about this situation?
How should Scripture direct our thinking regarding this decision?
With our children growing up in Christian homes and churches they learn so much Scripture, but how does this benefit them if it isn’t affecting their day-to-day lives? If it isn’t affecting their relationships and decision-making?
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Is this addressing the public school system, the government, or even churches? It’s clearly speaking to parents.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
This verse is interesting because understandably with fathers working, mothers perform most of the teaching; therefore, how do we obey this verse? While mothers might deal with much of the day-to-day academics, it seems much of the [spiritual] training and admonition rests on the father’s shoulders. Fathers can never sit back and say:
Well, my wife has it under control.
Their mother will handle the teaching.
Whatever my kids need to learn, they can learn it from Mommy.
I’m too busy working to worry about teaching my children.
Whether fathers have to get up earlier or clear the table as soon as dinner is over we need to make sure we gather our families around the Word of God. Consider what God said about Abraham:
Genesis 18:19 [God said], “I have chosen him, that he may [direct] his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
This is exactly what God could say to every father: He has chosen [us] as fathers. He wants us to direct our children and our households that we may keep them in the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.
Homeschooling Encouragement 2: The amount of time we have with our children is limited and valuable.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics the average number of hours in a public school day is 6.64, and this doesn’t include the time spent walking, driving, or riding the bus to and from school. The average number of school days per year is 180, which adds up to a little under 1,200 hours per year. This means by the time public school students graduate high school they have spent over 15,500 hours away from their parents.
We have seven children. Our oldest is eleven and we’re recognizing just how little time we actually have with each of them. As parents, we should be selfish. We shouldn’t be willing to give up so much of this time to others. When we consider just how much time our children would be in school…
It’s a lot of time for them to be taught and trained by someone else when God has put that responsibility on parents’ shoulders. Some number of the teachers might not be Christians, might not have the same values we want our children to have, might teach academics that conflict with our teaching, etc.
It’s a lot of time for them to be surrounded by hundreds of students that could have a strong negative influence. Some number of those students aren’t Christians, don’t have the same values, exhibit behaviors or hold beliefs we wouldn’t want in our children.
Homeschooling Encouragement 3: Move beyond teaching academics and morality.
When I taught elementary school, I found the teachers I worked with to be hardworking, and genuinely concerned about their students. They taught their students important academics, and they’re moral people who also taught an amount of character. In classrooms across the nation students learn important subjects like math, reading, writing, science, etc. as well as important morals: do not lie, cheat, steal, be kind, etc.
So what homeschooling parents need to consider is if we don’t move beyond teaching our children academics and morality, we’re not moving beyond anything public schools teach. If we’re homeschooling we need to make sure – like Deuteronomy 6:7 and Ephesians 6:4 command – we’re teaching the Word of God, teaching the Gospel, teaching a biblical worldview, etc.
If we taught our children the academics that could get them into the most prestigious schools in the nation but they weren’t committed to using that education for Christ, what good have we actually accomplished? Why do we teach our children…
To read? So they can read Scripture.
To write? So they can write about the Lord.
Music? So they can worship the Lord and help others do the same.
Sciences? So they can better know the Creator of creation.
Art? So they can produce works that bring glory to God.
History? So they can learn about our Christian Heritage and the sacrifice many were willing to make to freely worship God, and learn from the mistakes of those who rejected that same God.
Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy, grew up to be a wonderful, godly young man. He was so impressive, even at a young age when Paul met him he wanted to bring him along (Acts 16:3). What made Timothy so exceptional? Paul gives the answer…
2 Timothy 3:15 From childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
From a young age Timothy knew the Scriptures, which did two things for him:
First, they [made him] wise; Scripture is where true wisdom comes from.
Second, they provided him with salvation; they taught him how to be saved through faith in Christ Jesus.
This is a great example of what we should desire for our children: that they know the Scriptures at a young age, that they’re wise for salvation, that they know to put their faith in Christ.
And where did Timothy receive this instruction? Did he receive it from his 4thgrade teacher, wonderful coach, the government, or even the church? He received it from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5). And this is where our children should receive the same wisdom and discipleship.
What has encouraged you in your homeschooling?
What would you pass along to other homeschooling families?
We didn’t purposely seek out homeschooling for our children. I was a teacher who left the classroom to become a trainer to other teachers throughout the Southeast. My husband was an administrator in public schools.
When we had our first son we put him in the local school, despite a calling I felt toward homeschooling. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t motivated for selfish reasons. After moving my son and putting him and my younger son in a Christian school, I still felt the call toward homeschooling.
That is when I was convinced this was what we were supposed to do. Thus, our homeschooling journey began.
Now that we have graduated both our boys and they are now in college and doing extremely well. This is what I wish I knew early in our homeschool journey, that I know now…
… that there is no “behind”, just a different timeline or sequence for personal best.
… that there is no “right” way or curriculum. What works best for the children and their parents is the “right” way.
…. that I didn’t need to stress about “covering certain things and not missing anything” during the elementary years. The elementary years introduce concepts and skills that will be repeated throughout middle and high school. Enjoying the exploration of “enjoying learning” is important during these years without stress.
… that some of the most important lessons learned were unplanned and unexpected and came through living life.
… that our family life, homeschooling lifestyle, and our Christian faith merged into one, and became indistinguishable.
… that homeschooling for us was best when it did not resemble “school at home”.
… that it would be so fascinating and exciting to give my children the freedom to explore their personal interests and talents, especially during the middle and high school years. And then see them take flight and accomplish things I could never have imagined or knew existed.
… that colleges would seek out and want to recruit homeschoolers because of their skill sets and diverse experiences because of homeschooling.
… that my children would grow so firmly into their Christian faith because of the integration of our family life and homeschooling lifestyle with our faith.
… that my son would tell me he wants to homeschool his own children when he’s married.
… And that I can now look back at those times I went on my knees during our homeschooling years, and I can see and feel God’s providence and grace in our lives, and feel so grateful for our homeschooling journey together.
Are you currently homeschooling? What did you wish you knew earlier in your homeschool journey?
Homeschooling is hard. Homeschooling during a crisis is even harder.
How do I know? Friend, I have been living it. I had to step away from blogging quite some time and let me tell you why. In the past year, we have experienced so much loss. My stepfather passed away suddenly — in fact as of this writing, we have had five deaths in the family. My husband fought and beat cancer again and two close friends of the family passed away.
Talk about being on auto-pilot.
Who’s had time to process, grieve, cry or anything else? Not me. It’s been a rough and emotionally exhausting few months. (My shining light — my eldest graduated from high school!) There were days where I was struggling big time. The overwhelm from all of the loss was/is enough to make anyone sit down and try to regroup. I’ve found myself frustrated, overwhelmed and utterly exhausted at times. A crisis will do that to you.
As a homeschooling mom, it’s been difficult because even though my children are very young, I know that they really like school. They also (on most days) like the structure that a schedule can bring. They know what to expect and tend to look forward to doing certain activities on certain days. And that is something that I have desperately missed giving to them. I want my children to have “normalcy.” I want them to be able to understand that things happen (whether good or bad) but to also appreciate routine. And who am I kidding? The recovering perfectionist in me loves routine, order and planning. Schedules make me smile.
Stop putting extra pressure on yourself.
As homeschoolers, we are fortunate to be raising our children in a flexible learning environment. While we do have to ensure accurate attendance, we don’t have to be burdened by the stress and pressure of a public or private school system’s attendance protocol. This is something that I will admit that I have had to get used to.
Break down units. Break down lessons. And then break them down some more.
Depending on your schooling style, you may follow a strict schedule with your curriculum. In times of crisis, this is the time where you REALLY need to give yourself some grace and allow the flexibility of the homeschool model to work for you. While you may want to keep moving forward with your lessons, remember that it is perfectly fine to not do all of the lesson.
In times of crisis, focus on what you need to do rather that what you may want to do. The work will be there when it is a better time for you to pick it back up. And you know, some days that may involve just being present with your family. These are the times when you will be focusing more on teaching life and coping skills than math facts and that is okay.
Embrace the flexibility of homeschooling and the community around you.
One thing that moms have to understand is that we have got to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME. I get it – this is hard. We are used to wearing our capes and making everything happen no matter what. It’s just what we do. But during the most stressful times, that type of attitude doesn’t help anyone. It will keep us mamas running on that endless treadmill and feeling exhausted.
It will leave our children confused and trying to make sense of what’s happening. We are irritable. The kids are frustrated. It’s not worth it. It’s ok to let another mom take the kids to co-op for a few days. Let another mom or two or three make dinner for you.
Moms have to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME.
There is no guilt in you needing to step back for a few days or weeks and saying to those around you that you need some help. For many, this is hard in itself. Please allow me to say this. If you find yourself in a season where you are struggling to do it all and the people around you know it, please let them help you. Allowing others to help does not mean that you are weak. It allows other families to step in and allow embrace what it means to be part of community. A community is strengthened during times of crisis. And community is what sets homeschooling apart. It truly is like no other.