Getting Started in Homeschooling, with Israel Wayne

Few subjects bring so much fear and uncertainty to parents as the thought of pulling their kids out of school and homeschooling them. While there are a wealth of fantastic resources available and a thriving homeschool movement across the country, until families take the leap into homeschooling there are always going to be unknowns and the nagging thoughts of “am I able”, “am I enough”, “will my kids get a good education”, “will my kids be able to get into college”, and the ever-present “what about socialization.”

Even if your kids haven’t started school yet and you are just considering homeschooling your preschooler or kindergartener, many of those same questions and doubts persist, and too many times this is compounded by the objections of friends and family members.

Here’s the good news. You can do this! Literally MILLIONS of students are being homeschooled right now. Not only have Millions been homeschooled since the rise of modern homeschooling, many more have been homeschooled throughout history, as “traditional school” has only been the standard for the past 150 years or so.

There’s even more good news. Not only can you do this, but it will be good for your children. Homeschooled students are thriving. Decades of research is now proving that homeschooled students are, on the whole, better prepared for college and life than their public and private schooled peers. Here are just a few links to back up these claims:

https://www.nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html

https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/sat/TotalGroup-2014.pdf

http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/colleges-welcome-growing-number-homeschooled-students-n520126

http://newsonrelevantscience.blogspot.com/2011/09/httpwwwonlinecollegeorg2011091315-key.html

If you, or someone you know, is considering homeschooling we encourage you to attend the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We have gathered an amazing group of speakers together for a week of homeschooling encouragement and practical advice. The online conference will be LIVE and INTERACTIVE from February 17th through the 21st and registration includes lifetime access to the videos, notes, and a virtual swag bag full of valuable resources. Lifetime registration is just $20 here.

Homegrown Generation Family Expo - Online Homeschool Conference

Homeschooling is good for students, good for families, and good for culture, so it is our mission to encourage and equip homeschooling families to start well and finish strong.

Yvette Hampton recently talked with author and speaker, Israel Wayne about how to start homeschooling – how to do it well – and how to make it to graduation and beyond! Israel Wayne is the author of Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, which answers many of the questions that people have when considering whether homeschooling is appropriate for their family. In this conversation, Israel and Yvette discuss why so many families choose to homeschool and how the alternatives (public school, and private school) are really doing. They also discuss whether homeschooling is appropriate for all types of families, or if it is best suited to certain groups.

They also discussed what steps a family should take when they want to start homeschooling and what really matters once they start, whether it’s curriculum choices, educational methods, scheduling, organization, life skills, relationships, or discipleship. Finally, Israel gives helpful insights for dads in leading their families in instruction and discipleship.

Enjoy their conversation

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have a return guest on with me today, and he is one of my absolute favorite homeschool people, one of my favorite guests that we’ve ever had on the podcast. As a matter of fact, Israel, I think that your podcast, I don’t think, I know that your podcast interview that I did with you quite some time ago is one of the most listened to that we’ve ever done. I am so excited to have you back on. Israel Wayne, welcome to the podcast again.

Israel Wayne:                Hey, it’s great to be back with you. Thank you so much.

Yvette Hampton:           Thank you. Thank you. You are such a blessing to us. We have really enjoyed getting to know you, Garritt and I. We’re excited, because you’re going to be part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo that we have coming up February 17th through the 21st. It’s so funny, because people keep looking at the list of speakers that we have at our speaker lineup and just going “Oh my goodness, this is amazing, you have the best of the best of the homeschool heroes.” And I don’t say that to puff you up. I say that because you have truly had a huge impact in not only my life, but I know the lives of thousands and thousands of families. We are very honored. It is only by the grace of God that we have the speakers that we have for this event, and you are one of them that from the very beginning we said, “We’ve got to get Israel as a speaker for this event.” So thank you for joining us for that in a few weeks, and thank you for being with me again on the podcast today.

Israel Wayne:                Absolutely.

Yvette Hampton:           Tell us very quickly about your family, because you’ve got a couple of kids and a wife who you really like.

Israel Wayne:                Yes, absolutely. Well, my homeschool journey actually started when I was a child. My family began homeschooling in 1978, which is like what, 42 years ago now? I’ve been in it my whole life, and was homeschooled all the way through high school, met my wife, who was homeschooled. Her family started homeschooling in 1983. Both of our families were pioneer homeschooling families. My mother founded and published the Home School Digest magazine since 1988, so I kind of grew up in the leadership side of homeschooling as well. So when my wife and I got married, being that we were homeschooled pretty much our whole way through, it was a foregone conclusion for us that we would homeschool our children. Lord has so far blessed us with 10 children. The oldest is 19, and the youngest has just turned a year. We have 10 children sandwiched in there between 19 and 10. Our oldest is working full-time. We have a daughter that just turned 18, a son that turned 16, I’m taking him to driver’s ed here later today.

Yvette Hampton:           Oh no! Wow!

Israel Wayne:                It’s one of those things. We actually have four teenagers living in our home right now, and then some little ones too. So we’re kind of hitting it on all cylinders, all sides of the parenting spectrum, we’re deeply entrenched in now, the parenting scene and the homeschooling world as well. Now, I speak at conferences and write books on homeschooling as well.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, that’s awesome, and you don’t write books just on homeschooling, you write books on family, on parenting and things like that as well. So, that is exciting. We’re doing a series right now on getting started homeschooling. This time of the year is that time where, as you know, because you’ve been in homeschooling for quite a long time, it’s that time of year where you kind of get into that slump. A lot of moms, they’re thinking through “Okay, why am I doing this? Am I going to do this again next year? What does our family look like?”, and reevaluating their decision to homeschool. Many of them are sold out on homeschooling and they wouldn’t do anything different, but they’re still having to think through what the rest of this year and next year is going to look like for them. Then you’ve got that kind of group of parents who are starting to think … There’s something about the holidays where we come into the new year and we start thinking “What are we going to do next year for our kids and for their education?”

Yvette Hampton:           We’ve got that group of parents too who are just saying “What are we going to do? How are we going to educate our kids next year? Are we going to send them to public school, private school, homeschool? What are the options here for me?” And those are always my favorite people to talk to. I love nothing more than being able to talk heart-to-heart with another mom and just explain to her why homeschooling is so beneficial to our families. I would love for you to be able to talk about “what are some of the benefits of school?”, “Why do this?”, “Why get started in this whole journey of homeschooling?” Because it’s not always easy. It’s a lot of work actually, but it’s so worth it, and anything worth doing is hard. Can you just talk to the heart of those parents who are maybe just kind of thinking through “Okay, where are we going with this? What are we going to do next?”

Israel Wayne:                Sure. Well, not all homeschoolers are religious, and not religious homeschoolers are of the same faith or religion. But for my wife and I, we’re Christians, and our Christian faith is very important to us. It’s a very defining aspect of our life and who we are. We want to be able to pass our faith onto our children, but I think for all parents, whether they’re religious or not, there’s a desire to pass their values onto their children and to teach them the things that are important to them. Then relationship. One of the things that I talk about in my books is the importance of influence, and if you want to have influence in your child’s life, you have to spend time with them. It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of children growing up in the United States, their parents are not the predominate influence in their life, simply because the parents have given away the number one factor or force in influence, which is time.

Israel Wayne:                So if you want to have influence in your child’s life you need to buy back time, and homeschooling is a wonderful way to do that, because you get to actually be present with your children, to be with them and to teach them your faith and values. In the process of that you will have more conflict, I’ll just be honest, if you do that, as with any relationship, because when you spend time around people you see your faults and you rub each other the wrong way. It’s kind of like marriage, right? The more that you spend time with somebody the more that they can irritate you? But I don’t know very many people who say “The more you spend time with somebody the more possibility there is for conflict or irritations, so don’t get married.”

Israel Wayne:                Most people recognize that there’s a huge payoff in that, yeah, you have more opportunity for conflict, but you have more opportunity for a deep profound loving relationship as well. That’s true with our children, that the more that we spend time with them, them more we’re around them, those conflicts actually give us an opportunity to press into real relationship and a quality and a level of relationship that we would never have if we only saw them occasionally. The same thing with like a marriage relationship, you would just never have the opportunity to really get to know someone or grow into deep love with someone if you just see them occasionally. This opportunity that we have with these children to be the primary influence in their life, for me, as the credit card commercial says, that’s priceless.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. I love that. A few weeks ago I interviewed Durenda Wilson, and we were talking about sibling relationships. One of the things that really hit me during our conversation was we were talking about the opportunity that we have as parents to work with our children through their relationship with one another as siblings. Sometimes that can be a really, really hard thing. But what struck me about our conversation was I thought as parents we have a responsibility to teach our children how to handle relationships with other people, and if you can imagine, everyone working and really putting effort and being intentional about teaching our children to get along with one another and to be forgiving and to be loving and to be selfless, and all the of the things that you would expect in a marriage and that you want in a marriage, if we can teach that to our kids with their brothers and sisters, imagine how much better they are going to be prepared for a successful marriage, because you take those same characteristics into marriage and you’re going to have a pretty solid good marriage.

Yvette Hampton:           But when kids learn to be selfish and they’re not around each other and they’re not used to building those family relationship, it makes it hard going into a marriage to then know how to do that. The sibling relationships are so important in addition to the parent/child relationships.

Israel Wayne:                Yeah, for sure. And I’m seeing the fruit of my investment right now in my children, particularly with my oldest, because he works 40 hours a week, and then he volunteers for some things with our church. So he’s gone a lot. So we don’t have that same time that we used to have when he was here all the time and we were teaching him and so forth. But at 19 years old he’s a man now, and he does still live at home for now. But because he’s so busy and he’s working our relational dynamic has changed, and I am, and he is, we’re both best friends in way. My wife and I are best friends, but he’s one of my best friends in the whole world. So our dynamic has changed where it’s not so much parent/child as much as it is that we really are friends.

Israel Wayne:                I appreciate that I have influence in his life that if there ever is anything that I need to talk to him about, like decisions that he’s making or whatever, most of the time he’ll come to me and he’ll ask me for advice and he’ll look for input, or if there’s ever a time where I feel like I need to give him advice or council on a certain direction I try to be sparing with that. He’s open to it, and the reason is because, I look at it a little bit like, I didn’t invent this analogy, but like a relationship bank. Where you put deposits into the bank and you can make a withdrawal every once in a while, because there’s enough cash in there to float a withdrawal. If there’s something I need to talk to him about and say “You know what? I think this decision would be a good decision for you”, or “I think this would be a better decision for you.”

Israel Wayne:                I have some investment there that he will listen to that and he’ll take that onboard because he respects me. And he respects me because I put the time in. Our children have to know that we have their best interests at mind and at heart, and that the things that we’re doing for them, we really are doing for them. Not because it’s easiest for us. Not because it’s most convenient for us, but because we really believe that this is the best decision for them, and of course we’re parents, right? So we’re going to mess up sometimes.

Israel Wayne:                We won’t always call that right, but if your children really believe that you are for them, that you love them, you like them, that you have their best interests in mind and you have invested the best of yourself and your time and your energy in them, generally speaking, that comes back to you in terms of respect and relationship and influence later on in life. But when they know that they’ve been second fiddle, when they know that they’re way down on the priority list, maybe not even two or three, maybe like 8th, 9th, 10th … The average parent in America spends 19 minutes a day with their child.

Yvette Hampton:           Wow.

Israel Wayne:                19 minutes a day.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, why even have them?

Israel Wayne:                Yeah, and the average parent in America watches two and a half hours of TV or Netflix every night of their life. I think kids understand that they’re just not a priority to mom and dad in most cases. So when parents come back to them at 18 years old and they’re trying to tell them what they should do … I hear parents all the time, “I don’t know why my kid doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t like me, won’t pay attention, and ignores everything I say.” Well, they got ignored their whole childhood. So you didn’t put the time in, didn’t put the investment in. So for us, homeschooling is really just an extension of parenting and relationship. I call it Parenting With Academics. We’re not really doing anything radically different. It’s not school-at-home. It’s just the parenting and relationship process, adding academics to that mix.

Yvette Hampton:           Oh, that’s such a great answer. I love that. We were talking about just that relationship between parent and child, and I know when we’re talking about homeschooling and why parents should homeschool oftentimes we talk about it from the perspective of “Don’t put your child in public school.” And I’m going to ask you a question that I know is going to step on some toes, and I don’t ask this in order to do so. I ask this because I really want to think through this. I want parents listening to this to actually think through the process of this, and I want to talk about private Christian school, because oftentimes parents will say “Well, I wouldn’t put my kids in a public school because clearly what they’re being taught there is completely against everything that God’s word says, but if I put them in this really good Christian private school they’ll be fine.”

Yvette Hampton:           And let me just give a disclaimer here. I grew up in a really good Christian private school. I loved the school that I went to and I was discipled by my teachers that I had. I had great Christian, solid Christian, teachers who really helped guide my spiritual walk as a teenager. But that is certainly not always the case, and even now Garritt and I have really come to the conclusion for our family that we believe that homeschooling is best, even if there was a perfect … Well, I shouldn’t say perfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect school or a perfect homeschool. But even if there was an excellent Christian school, as you will, talk to the parent who’s maybe considering “Well, we have this opportunity to put him in a good Christian school or homeschool, because now I look at the relationship part of it and I think I would never want to give up that time with my child and me being the one to disciple them.” What would you say to that parent?

Israel Wayne:                Well, when you look in scripture there’s three different categories that we can evaluate this from. The first is what does God command, or what does God prescribe, and then the second would be what does God allow? Then the third is what does God forbid? Then we can take those three principles and we can apply them to education, and you’ll find that if you’re looking simply at what the scripture prescribes, what it commands, you find repeated commandments for parents to teach their children, instruct their children, disciple their children, discipline their children, train them in the way that they should go. You have multiple passages, dozens of passages in the Bible where God commands parents to teach their children. There are no other groups in the Bible, other people groups, or agencies, that are commanded by God to teach children except in a couple of places. Grandparents, where it says “Teach your sons and sons’ sons”, or “Your children and your children’s children.”

Israel Wayne:                You have just a couple of passages where grandparents are commanded by God to teach their grandchildren. But for the most part it’s parents. Interestingly, the government is never commanded to teach children. They’re told in 1 Peter 2:14 and then Romans 13 that they’re supposed to bear the sword to punish the evildoer, that’s their responsibility. You don’t bear a sword … Bearing the sword doesn’t have anything to do with raising children. Then the church, interestingly, and this’ll be hard for some people, but do your own study on it, there are no passages in the new testament where the church is ever commanded specifically to teach children as a separate entity or separate group, and there are no examples in the new testament early church where the new testament church ever did it. There are none. We have built this entire infrastructure within the church on the idea of the church being responsible for teaching children, and there’s not one verse anywhere in the new testament that supports that concept.

Israel Wayne:                Now, so then you ask “Well, then are you saying it’s forbidden?” Well, no. Things that are not specifically forbidden in scripture, in direct command or in principle, are allowable. So is it wrong for the church to teach children? No, it’s not, and certainly in the context of the body, or the context of the entire church you don’t want to disciple everyone in the church. That’s part of the thing. But a more fully Biblically orbed view of the church’s role in education is that they’re supposed to teach parents how to teach their children. They’re supposed to disciple parents to know how to disciple their own children, not to be replacement parents, not to be surrogate parents who do the work for them. I see very few churches that operate that way, very few churches that even have an understanding of that. I wrote a book called Education: Does God Have an Opinion? And in this book, I talk a lot about that whole concept of what does the Bible say about education and what are the parameters that we should have when we look at this issue?

Israel Wayne:                Finally, when we look at what does God forbid in education, you’ll find that anti-Christian teaching is forbidden. Very expressly, very clearly, in multiple places in scripture, as a Christian parent you cannot lie to your children, you cannot give them false narratives about who God is, about the reality of life and how God is ordained and orchestrated in life-to-work and gender identity and all of those kinds of things. It’s not optional for us to promote an educational system that lies to our children and teaches them things that false, and teaches them things that are anti-Christian. That’s not an option. So, back to Christian schools. Are they allowable? Biblically they’re allowable in that they’re not expressly forbidden in direct command or in principle, but I think when you look at Deuteronomy six and some other passages where Deuteronomy six, it talks about how you’re supposed to teach your children from the time that you wake up in the morning to the time that you go to sleep at night, and you’re supposed to teach them whether they’re inside your house or outside your house.

Israel Wayne:                Is there ever a time when you’re not inside your house or outside your house? Is there ever a time when you’re awake that it isn’t encompassed in that Deuteronomy six mandate? I think you’d have a really hard time doing that when you’re sending your children away from you for over 10000 hours between kindergarten and 12th grade. I don’t know how you fulfill the commands that you’re told to do in scripture when your children are being sent away from you. So there are situations that are less than ideal, and I think that we need to be sympathetic to those.

Israel Wayne:                But even those situations where you don’t have the ideal scenario, you have maybe one parent and that parents has to work and whatever, and other people have to come along and make up for the lack based on the condition, it still has to be in the fear of the lord, it still has to be based on the truth. It can’t be anti-Christian. So there’s a place I think for Christian education that doesn’t look like parents teaching within the home. I think there’s a place for that, but we wouldn’t consider that to be the normal prescribed approach or method in scripture.

Yvette Hampton:           Well said. I want to say, I’m not trying to put down anybody who has their children in school, because like you said, there are many situations where that is necessary. We have a friend, she has cancer right now, and she’s been struggling with her health for years now, and she had to put her children in school this year. It just broke her heart, because she really wants to be home with them, but she couldn’t physically be home with them. So they had to put their kids in school. And God is faithful, our kids belong to him. So I’m not trying to shame anybody who does. I just want to think through-

Israel Wayne:                Yeah, we welcome the church to come along in those moments and help us. One thing I want to say though too is that the average cost for private school right now is 8600 dollars per year per child.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes, it’s very expensive.

Israel Wayne:                Which is crazy-expensive, and parents do it thinking “These people are going to give my children a strong Biblical world view”, and I want to encourage parents to do two things, Google Search a couple of things. Number one, the Gen 2 Survey. G-E-N, the number two, and then Survey. They have a chart in that survey, the Gen 2 Survey, it’s the largest study on church millennials. They have a chart in there that shows how education impacts the outcome of people having faith in Christ, having good relationship with their parents, having satisfaction in life, having a life that reflects Christian values and Christian fruit I guess you would say. All of those things are very dramatically impacted by the education that they receive, and Christian schools, according to the Gen 2 Survey, are producing negative results in your children becoming a Christian, living like a Christian, having a Biblical worldview, having a close relationship with mom and dad and having satisfaction in life. Negative in every one of those categories on the whole.

Yvette Hampton:           Wow.

Israel Wayne:                Christian schools are actually negating against the Christian faith, not helping it, not improving it. Your child is less likely to be a Christian if they go to a Christian school than if they’re homeschooled, by far.

Yvette Hampton:           Wow.

Israel Wayne:                Another thing that I’ll point you to is NehemiahInstitute.com. If you go to NehemiahInstitue.com, on the very homepage there is a graphic that shows Biblical worldview assessment tests of students that are homeschooled, those that are in public school, and those that in Christian school, those that in public school and Christian school, a very low Biblical worldview and decreasing. It’s been decreasing since 1988. Whereas, homeschooling is significantly better and is slightly increasing. Both the Gen 2 Survey and the Nehemiah Institute show that Christian schools and public schools are both actually negative to faith outcomes, whereas homeschooling is positive. So we don’t base what we do on statistics, we base what we do on scripture, but the statistics seem to be bearing out what we find prescribed in scripture, parents taking responsibility for the discipleship of their children works, sending your children away from you to people, who in many cases you don’t even know, to teach your children things, you don’t know what they’re being taught. That approach is not working.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, I agree. You were talking earlier about the church and how oftentimes we expect the church to do the discipling of our children and to teach them spiritually and to grow them spiritually. Oftentimes I think parents do that with school as well. We expect them to not just educate them academically, but to educate them spiritually, and that’s a dangerous road to take, because Luke 6:40 says “A student will become like his master.” Well, do you know every one of their teachers, even if it’s a Christian school? Like I said, I went to a great Christian school, but this was almost 30 years ago, and I had great teachers but not all of them were believers. And that’s a touch place, but even when we do that, just like when we go to church, it’s still the parents’ responsibility. So when they’re coming home from school, whether it’s public or private, are we knowing what they’ve been taught and are we undoing anything that has been negatively taught to them according to God’s word, and are we still taking that role of discipleship with their hearts, because that still ultimately is the role of parents?

Israel Wayne:                One more thing on the Christian schools. Nehemiah Institute has a Biblical worldview assessment test, and the Christian school teachers as well as students, and one of the things that they show is that the majority of Christian school teachers actually have a worldview that is either secular, humanist, or socialist. And you think “Well, how could that be?” I was talking with Dan Smith with the guy that is the leader of Nehemiah Institute, and he said that one of the reasons for that is that schools, because they cost so much money, Christian schools, they are requiring these teachers to be certified. 30 years ago that wasn’t a requirement, but now the schools are requiring they have teacher certification.

Israel Wayne:                Well, where do they get that teacher certification? In most cases if you graduate from a teacher school you have gotten the most anti-Christian humanist socialist education on the planet, and you’ve been certified that you passed. So you bring these teachers in on the basis of their academic credentials and that they sign your statement of faith, but most schools never have any Biblical worldview assessment that they give before they hire to find out do they know how to think Biblically about social issues and about economics and science and so forth.

Yvette Hampton:           Right. I don’t remember who I heard this from for the first time, it was many years ago. But as I heard when my oldest was a baby I think, is that we’re not raising children, we are raising adults. And that’s very true. We’re raising adults, we’re raising these kids to be all that God has created them to be. In your book called Education: Does God Have an Opinion, in the appendix on that one you have a sectioned called A Christian Education Manifesto. I would love for you to kind of jump into that and talk about what that is.

Israel Wayne:                Sure. Well, I’ve often had people say to me that God doesn’t have an opinion on education, God doesn’t care how we educate our children, there’s no one-size-fits-all, what works for you may not work for me, there’s public school, private school, charter school, online school, homeschool, and people often say “You can’t say that God has one prescribed approach that’s the right fit for everybody.” That sounds really good, until you actually study the scripture on it, and my book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion, this book came out of a conversation that I had with my mother when I was a teenager, a young teenager, and I made that statement. I said “I don’t know whether I’ll homeschool my children or not. I guess I’ll just have to find out what my wife wants to do”, and I kind of liked being homeschooled myself. There were definite perks to it. I liked not having to get up till 9:00 in the morning and do school in my pajamas and not have to stand outside when it was cold and wait for the school bus.

Israel Wayne:                There were perks, there were things I thought were pretty good about homeschooling, but as a young teen I’d never really done a scriptural study on it. My mom encouraged me, she said “I would like you to write an essay and defend that viewpoint, that God doesn’t care about education, it doesn’t matter how you educate your children. Defend that viewpoint, but defend it from the Bible, not just your opinion, but find scripture that actually supports your view that any form of schooling is equal and valid.” So, I thought, “Well, this shouldn’t take too long.” I thought I’d be able to whip something together in a couple hours, and I started studying that topic and boy, 30 years later I’m still studying the topic. But I found I was definitively wrong, that God was not silent on education, that God wrote voluminously on the issue of education and the scripture, both old testament and new testament, is absolutely full of statements of how God wants his children to be educated. He’s not silent on the issue, he has spoken.

Israel Wayne:                So that appendix is mostly just scripture verses. This whole book has a lot of scripture in it all the way through it, but that appendix in the back is kind of a compilation where I just took a bunch of passages of scripture and applied it. One thing I’ll say about it is that when you see a universal principle that applied to everything, that universal principle that applies to everything applies to everything that it applies to. Everything it applies to is everything. So if you’re talking about everything, then you’re also talking about education, because education is a subset of everything. When you see something that God says that’s universally true for everything, then you have to say, “God has made this statement about education as well.” So just when you look through some of these passages, let me just grab a few of them, we sometimes don’t think about some of these passages as applying to education in particular, or schooling.

Israel Wayne:                Like take Psalm 1 for example, it says “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked.” Let’s just stop there. What kind of council are your children getting in the school that they’re in? Is it Godly council, or is it ungodly council? Is it wicked council? Is it teaching them the truth about their origins, or is it lying to them about who made them and where they came from? Is it teaching that God created everything in six days, or is it teaching them that they’re the result of a cosmic accident four billion years ago? Is it teaching them that God made them male and female, or is it teaching them that gender is a fluid concept? Is it teaching them that there are moral absolutes and there’s right and wrong that’s truly objective for all people and all places and all times, or is it teaching them relativism, that truth is in the eye of the beholder and what might be true for you is not true for me, we can decide our own truth, we can make our own path?

Israel Wayne:                What is it teaching them about even sex before marriage, and so many of these things? But what is the school teaching them? Is it Godly council, or is it ungodly? Well, this tells us we’re supposed to avoid the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners. What’s the social environment of the school like? Is it a Godly social environment? We’re told in Proverbs 13:20 that “He who walks with wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed.” What’s the social environment like? Or in 1 Corinthians 15:33 we’re told “Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character.” So what kind of social environment are your children being exposed to? So many times people bring up the socialization quote, “Aren’t you concerned about socialization?”

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Israel Wayne:                “Well, yes. That’s why we’re homeschooling. We don’t want our children to be in the way of sinners.” Now you’re saying “Oh, so you’re saying that you want to isolate your children and never allow them to spend time with anyone who’s not a Christian?” Well, I talked about this in the first podcast and those that didn’t listen to it should go back and listen to it, but the number one factor in influence in someone’s life is time, and if you let your children spend significant time around other children, those children will influence your child. It will just happen. If you let them spend time around anybody! A video game console. An iPod.

Israel Wayne:                They’re going to be influenced by what they spend most time around. So the question is who do you want to be that influence, their peer group, or you as a parent? If you spend time around wise people you become wise, but around foolish people you will be destroyed. Well, what are foolish people? Well, in Proverbs 22:15 it says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” That’s one Biblical definition of a fool. The other Biblical definition of a fool that comes to mind is when the scripture says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” So what do we do as Christian parents?

Israel Wayne:                We think “I want my child to be well-rounded, and I want them to be successful in life, so I’m going to put them in a classroom with 30 to 40 children that the Bible says has foolishness bound up in their heart and have an atheist teacher who says there is no God, and if they’re not in that environment with this atheist teacher that the Bible calls a fool, and these students that God calls foolish, if they’re not just immersed in this pool of foolishness they won’t be able to grow up and be socially well-adjusted.” Well, where did we get that idea? We didn’t get that idea from scripture. Scripture doesn’t support that idea. Scripture never tells you “Make sure you socialize your children with lots of other children.” I challenge you, parents, get your Bible, get a concordance, look it up, do a passage search on this.

Yvette Hampton:           Do a 30 year essay.

Israel Wayne:                Yeah, do your essay. Find from scripture where it tells you “Make sure your children spend lots of time around other children so they can be socially well-rounded.” It doesn’t say that. In fact, it says the opposite. It says “Make sure they spend a lot of time around wise people.” Well, who are wise people? Wise people tend to be older, tend to have the fear of the lord, and it then it talks about not having them sitting in the seat of the scoffer. Well, what’s the social environment again? Is it one that mocks and scoffs at authority? Is it one that undermines parental authority? Well, if that’s the social environment they shouldn’t be in that environment. But then someone says, “So what’s the antidote?” But instead of all that, his delight should be in the law of the lord and on his law, God’s law, he should meditate day and night. How can you meditate day and night when God’s law is not even allowed in a government school?

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Israel Wayne:                We violate the thing that it tells us to do, create an educational context where you can meditate day and night on the law of the lord. We violate that. We violate all the things it tells us not to do, and then we somehow expect that it’s all going to turn out okay. That’s just one passage or scripture where the Bible has spoken really clearly to the issue of education, but people don’t think about it as an education passage because it doesn’t use the word school. So that’s what I do in this book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion, is I just go through dozens and dozens and dozens of passages just like that, and when you really are honest about it and study what the scripture says, it’s forceful that children need an explicitly, exclusively Christian education.

Yvette Hampton:           Yup, that’s right. I couldn’t agree more. Can you take us back a little bit to John Dewey, Horace Mann, those guys who really have kind of influenced what public school is today, because they had an agenda. Talk about that a little bit.

Israel Wayne:                Most people for some reason believe that public schools in America were started by Christians, that they were Christian, that basically they promoted Christian principles, Christian values, up until about maybe the late 1960s when they started to lose their way a little bit, and today they’re not ideal. That’s kind of where most Christians are on it, but most Christians have never really studied the history of government schools. If you go back and you study the Prussian school system, which is the one that our American system was founded on, you find that there was an intentional design on the part of the atheist God-haters to get children away from their parents so that they can indoctrinate them in anti-Christian worldview, and Horace Mann, who was in Massachusetts, he was a Unitarian God-hater, he started the compulsory attendance movement in Massachusetts in the 1850s.

Israel Wayne:                By the year 1900 basically every state in the United States had adopted compulsory attendance laws where you had to attend these government schools. And Dewey’s role was to make sure that there were virtually no options for parents, that they had to have their children in a government tax-funded school, and whatever the government funds it controls. So Dewey started out with some basic Bible reading and prayers being allowed within the classroom, but his goal was over time to slowly remove all of that and just create a kind of secular utopia where everyone would come together under the banner of moral goodness, because as a Unitarian he didn’t believe in a personal God, he denied the doctrine of the trinity. He believed that all people were good, morally good, and that they would all come together and create a utopian society if you just get religion out of the picture.

Israel Wayne:                And John Dewey, who was a teacher of teachers in the 1930s, he really revolutionized the schools, particularly in the 30s. He had gone to Russia, Vladimir Lenin’s wife had invited him there. He met Joseph Stalin’s wife, who was a big fan of his. They wanted him to come, he was the most famous teacher in American, the founder of the NEA, and they said “We want you to come here and teach us everything you know about pedagogy, about teaching method, and we want to teach you how to teach economic socialism in the classroom. In the 1930s they changed the textbooks where they pulled out three subjects that had been taught separately, history, civics, and geography, and replaced those with a Marxist curriculum called Social Studies, that had never been taught before. From the 1930s on there was a strong socialist push within the government school system.

Israel Wayne:                I talk about some of this in this book, Answers for Homeschooling, the Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, this is my latest homeschooling book, and a little bit also in this book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion? For people that don’t know the history of the government school system, you just need to do your homework and there’s other great books out there by Samuel Blumenfeld and John Taylor Gatto. Those two guys were two of the best education historians, they’ve both passed on now, but great resources. And the IndoctriNation film. IndoctriNation: Decline of Christianity in America. Those are all must reads.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great film. We watched that early in our homeschooling journey and it really had a great impact on our lives. And you were part of that documentary as well. Just like you’re a part of Schoolhouse Rocked.

Israel Wayne:                Ah, we’re looking forward to that.

Yvette Hampton:           Oh gosh, us too. Us too. All right. In the last few minutes that we have I want to talk about just some practical things for parents, because we’re kind of talking about the getting started, and this interview with you, we’re kind of talking about the why. Like why homeschool? Why does it even matter that we don’t have our kids in school? Isn’t education just education? Isn’t it all academics? Aren’t they all teaching kids math, writing, this and that? And you and I have talked about this before. As a matter of fact, I think we talked about this on the last podcast, but for those who maybe are new to listening to this podcast, the reason that Garritt and I have been so convicted about educating our kids at home and why it’s so different in teaching them from a Biblical worldview is because not everything … Sorry, I’ve got a notice popping up on my thing here.

Yvette Hampton:           Everything that we teach our kids should point them to Christ. Math can point them to Christ, because God is the God or order. He is the God of absolutes. So, when we see math laid out and we understand how all these numbers and formulas work together we understand the awesomeness of God. When we study science, we understand God as our creator. When we study history from a Biblical worldview, we understand God’s plan for mankind, and so on. So when we take God out of those things, which is precisely what the government schools have done, then we’re really doing a disservice to our children and to their hearts really, because math is not just math, science is not just science, history is not just history. So I really appreciate your take on that. So now that we’ve talked about all that I want to talk about just the practical part of getting started with homeschooling.

Yvette Hampton:           What does a parent do if they’ve got their child in school, especially in a public school? At a private school they’re not going to really question it, but maybe they’ve got their child in a public school, especially if it’s in the middle of the year, and they’re just feeling like the lord is calling them to homeschool. How do they go about doing that? How do we just say “Okay, we’re going to pull our kids out of school now, and golly, with all that’s happening right now in the public school system and all of the parental rights that are being taken away?” We’re seeing parents pulling their kids out left and right. So can you talk to that parent and offer some encouragement to them?

Israel Wayne:                Absolutely. Well, the first thing is, again, this book, Answers for Homeschooling, the Top 25 Questions That Critics Ask, I literally answer almost every question you can imagine about homeschooling. How to get started. How to choose a curriculum. Is it legal? What about socialization? Shouldn’t I have my kids in school to be salt and light? What about different learning styles, different learning teaching methods? I cover all that in this book, Answers for Homeschooling. So you definitely want to get that book, because Mike Smith of HSLDA said something like “This is the Walmart and Costco of homeschool books. It’s everything you need to know about homeschooling in one source.”

Yvette Hampton:           I agree.

Israel Wayne:                But what I would recommend, mentioning Mike Smith, that you become a member of HSLDA, go to their website, hslda.org, because they will provide support for you, make sure that you’re protected legally. They have a host of information on their website. You can get connected to state organizations. You should always be connected with the Christian State Homeschooling Association in your state. There’s a list of those on the HSLDA website. Also there’s a website called homeschoolfreedom.com, and there are state organizations that are mentioned there as well.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, we actually have a link to that on the Schoolhouse Rocked website. If you go to SchoolhouseRocked.com right on the front page there’s a button that says “Homeschooling in your state”, that will take you straight to Homeschool Freedom.

Israel Wayne:                Then from those state associations, when you finally find your state association, almost all the state associations have a homeschool conference, the larger states do at least. You will want to attend a homeschool conference in your state. They have wonderful teaching, lots of great speakers, workshops on almost every possible topic, vendors that take curriculum. You can go and look at the curriculum and see what’s available and ask questions. There are homeschool experts there. There’s community, and from those state associations you can get plugged into local homeschool support groups, local co-ops in your area, so that you’re not just homeschooling in isolation, but you can homeschool with the community around you. I would also recommend going to nheri.orgNational Home Education Research Institute. They area research group with Dr. Brian Ray. They have all kinds of statistics.

Israel Wayne:                I have a lot of that in the Answers for Homeschooling book, because you’re going to have skeptics, right? You’re going to have in-laws, you’re going to have people say “Well, is this a good choice?” And “How are your children going to turn out academically?” I’ve consolidated a lot of the highlights into that book, but there are maybe specific question that people ask you and Dr. Ray has done fabulous research on all that. So having facts is really important, because you’re going to meet people who have opinions, and you’re going to be able to trump their opinions with fact. So that’s part of what I’m doing with the Answers book is trying to give you fact to refute the opinion. But definitely, member of HSLDA, become a member of your state homeschool association, get plugged into a local support group, and check out Answers for Homeschooling, I think it’s a great way to get going. Then there are lots of Facebook discussion groups.

Yvette Hampton:           Which some can be a little dangerous.

Israel Wayne:                Some can be a little bit dangerous, yeah. Again, a lot of the state homeschool associations now are starting their own, and those have some guidance from people that actually know what they’re talking about. So if you find your state association ask them if they have a discussion group, because they’ll kind of make sure that things don’t derail. It’s amazing how many people are maybe not factual, but boy, they have strongly held views. I’m in Michigan and we had somebody recently that said “I’m new to homeschooling. I’m just looking into this. How do I get started? What are the laws about homeschooling in Michigan?” And somebody said “Oh, there are no laws on homeschooling in Michigan.” I’m the vice president of our state homeschool association, so I had to get on there and say “Well, actually there are, and know what they are, because it’s really relevant to your life.” So it’s just amazing how people are really free to share what they think they know, but you really do want to find people that know what they’re talking about, and the state homeschool associations are a great place to do that.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, they really are. We love state organizations and HSLDA both, because you all have worked so beautifully together. HSLDA, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, this is not a commercial for them. They’re not paying us to say this. This is just something that we strongly believe in. But HSLDA and the state organizations are two groups of people that really work hand-in-hand together in order to keep … They’ve worked to make homeschooling legal, because it has not always been legal. They’ve worked to keep homeschooling legal, and then they work to really provide the resources and encouragement that families need in their own individual states. And like you said, knowing what the laws are, knowing what their rights are as parents. So like you said, on our website we’ve got the link to homeschooling in your state, and people can go straight there. They can look at their own state organization, contact them directly and say “Hey, what do we need to do?” HSLDA is the same way.

Yvette Hampton:           They’ve got tons of consultants that will actually walk you through what you need to do for your state. HSLDA has representatives for every state and they will help you figure out what you need to do to legally homeschool in your state, because every state is different. Literally, every state is different. We homeschooled in California, and I was just talking to someone today, I was saying “Ironically, homeschooling in California’s one of the easiest things to do.” It will not always be this way, I’m 100% certain with the direction that California’s going. That’s a different topic, but homeschooling is very easy in California. You don’t really have to do a whole lot of anything. You have to keep attendance and file an affidavit, but other than that it’s much easier than some states that require a lot of … They have all kinds of rules and laws. So, anyway. But yes, that’s a great thing, and your book, we have it and it’s fantastic. I want to talk really quickly. We’re just going to over on this, and I’m not going to worry about it.

Yvette Hampton:           I’m trying so hard to keep these podcasts short, but there’s so much good information here. Really quickly, I want to talk about the last thing, and we’ve touched on this already in this conversation, but what really matters? When parents are thinking of homeschooling, or they’re thinking about continuing to homeschool, is it curriculum that matters, is it keeping the perfect schedule, is it keeping our house clean? What is it that really matters? What is the heart of homeschooling our kids? And we talked about relationships, or course, but I would love for you to talk about this as a homeschool dad, and from the perspective of a dad. How have you gone about discipling the hearts of your children, because obviously discipleship is really what matters. It’s not curriculum. It’s not the perfect pretty schedule. It’s pointing our kids towards Christ. So can you very quickly talk to moms and especially to dads right now, and talk to them about as a dad what really matters and how do you disciple your kids?

Israel Wayne:                I, a lot of times, think of children in our home as sort of the thermometer of the spiritual and relational temperature of our family, and when we see all kinds of bad attitudes and relational conflicts and stress and strife and lack of respect and all of that, we don’t like that, right? We look at it and go “Wow, it’s frigid in here, emotionally, relationally, spiritually.” We don’t like the temperature. But what we don’t think about sometimes is that we as the parents, we’re the thermostat, and if we want to see the temperature in our house, our relationships change, we change that by changing us. I get letters from people all day every day asking me “How can I change my child? How can I change my child? How can I change my child?” Well, the bad news is that the way that God has orchestrated things, usually the path to our child’s heart is through our heart.

Israel Wayne:                You see this in Deuteronomy in chapter six where it says “This law which I give you this day shall be on your heart. Then you teach it diligently to your children.” So, God wants our heart first, and as dads in particular, I think even more than moms, we’re the thermostat for the family. Man, I notice if I come home grumpy and I have brought work home and stress home, and I’ve allowed my day to impact my mood and I bring that into my home and I externalize that on my wife, what happens to my wife? She gets grumpy. And it’s easy to do, but I can’t take it out on my boss. I work for myself, but we’ve all had those scenarios where there’re certain scenarios you just can’t externalize how you really feel there. So there’re certain times that I can’t take it out. So if I bring that home and I’m just negative and I externalize that on my wife, what happens? She feels that stress, she gets negative, and then who does she externalize it to? She externalizes it to the children.

Israel Wayne:                Then who do they externalize it? Well, the younger children, or to each other. Then what do we do? We tell them “Stop acting like that or you get disciplined.” Well, right, well, who did that? We did it, right? We set the temperature. We set the tone. So in terms of the big picture, what we’re going for, is we’re really going for God to conquer all of our hearts, and being home in an environment where we’re together, we’re working together for a common goal, a common purpose, we’re a team, we learn things in that process of teamwork of you have to have leaders, you have to have followers, just like any team, but we learn things in that process that make us more like Christ, cause us to press through the difficult things into the deeper relationships.

Israel Wayne:                And if we avoid that, if just avoid each other, yeah, we’re avoiding conflict, but we’re also avoiding relationship. So, I just think that God created this concept called family and in America we’ve done everything that we can to get away from it. We just try to avoid each other, because we think that that’ll lessen conflict. And it does, it lessens conflict, but it also ruins relationship. So, I really believe that God is a relational God, he wants us to know him, he wants us to be in a relationship with him, but he also wants us to enter into and take the risk of relationship with each other. When the family works, homeschooling works. When the family’s not working, homeschooling’s chaos.

Israel Wayne:                So you can change curriculum, you can find a better math program, you can fix the academics, that’s not hard. That’s really, really doable. The relationships are where you have to focus, and if the relationships are in order and everything’s working, you’re going to find the homeschooling process goes relatively easy. It’s not easy, but relatively easy if the family’s working. But, man, when you got people that hate each other or they’re at each other’s throats, it’s grueling. So you’ve got to fix that, and that’s why our ministry’s called Family Renewal, and we encourage you visit our website at FamilyRenewal.org, because that’s what we’re about, we’re about family discipleship and about those relationships.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, I love it. You’ve got a great ministry, and you will be speaking, we mentioned this in part one, you’re going to be speaking for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo that’s coming up February 17th through the 21st, and you’re going to be speaking specifically on this topic of family relationships. The day, the 19th, that you’ll be speaking, that whole day is going to be about family relationships. We’re opening it up that day with Kirk Cameron, and he’s going to be talking about marriage. It’s going to be followed by Ginger Hubbard talking about discipling the heart of your child, or Reaching the Heart of Your Child I think is actually the title of her session, and then Durenda Wilson is going to be talking about sibling relationships. And you’re going to kind of tie it all together that day, as well as on the panel.

Yvette Hampton:           We’ve got a panel at the end of that day with all three of you just to answer some questions from those who will be part of the event. So if you guys have not yet signed up for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, please do so. It’s only $20. You get the live event, it’ll be streamed live through Facebook and through the Homegrown Generation website. Then you’ll have lifetime access to be able to watch any of the sessions that you would like to watch at any time, and lots of free stuff. So we’ve got free virtual swag bags and lots of contest giveaways and things like that. It’s going to be a really fun event, but we are really excited to have you as part of that, and really just encouraged by your message, Israel, and the ministry that God had put on your heart. So, we’re excited to bring you back into the Expo to talk more about that with people, and then be able to interact with the people who are watching live.

Israel Wayne:                Yeah, it’ll be fun.

Yvette Hampton:           It’s going to be a lot of fun. So HomegrownGeneration.com. You can register on there. Israel, thank you again for your time. Thank you for your wisdom, and just for all you do for the homeschool community and for families. You are a huge blessing.

Israel Wayne:                Well, we appreciate you guys and we’re excited about your ministry.

Yvette Hampton:           Thank you.

Israel Wayne:                We look forward to the conference. So again, everybody make sure you register and join the fun.

Check out Israel’s Books:

Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, by Israel Wayne

Education: Does God Have an Opinion?, by Israel Wayne

Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting, by Israel and Brook Wayne

Recommended Resources:

Israel Wayne, Christian Education: A Manifesto 

The Gen2 Survey, by NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute) – This study examines adults who attended church growing up and seeks to understand the key influences which either encouraged or deterred them from believing and practicing the faith of their parents.

HSLDA – Home School Legal Defense Association

NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute)

State Homeschool Organizations 

Nehemiah Institute 

Scripture References:

Psalm 1

Proverbs 13:20

Proverbs 22:15

1 Corinthians 15:33

1 Peter 2:14

Getting Started – Understanding State Homeschool Organizations

“In the early days, the Attorney General of Texas said he didn’t believe parents were qualified to raise their kids, much less teach them at home, and we had a class action suit in Texas where we sued the state. We won, the state appealed that decision. So it was almost a 10 year legal battle in the courts. And of course, during that time, homeschoolers were prosecuted in Texas under the compulsory attendance statute. We eventually won that class action suit, but I realize, and I tell people I am slow, but I’m not stupid. Eventually, someplace along the line, I realized that we lived in a culture that did not respect parents and that if we didn’t get involved to participate in the public policy process, that people like Jim Maddox, who said he didn’t believe parents were qualified to raise their kids, would be making policy and law that would directly impact what I believed God was calling me to do, whether or not that was acceptable by the state.” – Tim Lambert, THSC

Yvette Hampton:               Tim Lambert is the President of the Texas Home School Coalition, a huge organization of homeschool leaders who come together to support homeschooling in Texas.

Over the past several months, we have become very excited about and very aware of what the different state homeschool organizations are doing around the country. It’s been a blessing to meet many of these leaders and learn about the ministries that they have, serving homeschool families in each state. In this interview, I talk with Tim Lambert about what he and his organization are doing to protect the rights of homeschoolers in Texas and to promote homeschooling in general.

Hi Tim, It’s good to talk with you. Could you introduce us to your family and tell us how many kids you have and how long you’ve been in this homeschool world.

Tim Lambert:                       Sure. My wife and I have been married for about 42 years and we have four children, two boys and two girls. They’re in their 40’s to 30’s and we have seven grandkids and they all are homeschooled. We’re very excited about where the Lord has us and we’re kind of laying the foundation for the next generation. So we’re happy to be where you are.

Yvette:                                      Yes, well it is great to have you where you are because you’ve been in this for quite some time. You started homeschooling back in the ’80’s, right?

Tim:                                            That is correct. Yeah, we homeschool dads always say, “We homeschool,” but we all know that our wives do the heavy lifting, but it’s still a cooperative effort.

Yvette:                                      It absolutely is, and actually later on in the show I would love for you to talk to some of the dads, those homeschool dads who need encouragement as much as the moms do. Tell us why you got into homeschooling in the first place.

Tim:                                            You know, my story’s a little bit different. A lot of the stories that I hear from dads is mom usually gets the vision and she’s the one that goes to dad, and her husband says, “I really think we ought to do this.” But I was in sales and traveling a lot and I heard a Focus on the Family program with James Dobson about homeschooling and I came home and said, “Honey, this is a great thing. We really should homeschool.” And she looked at me and she said, “We?”

Listen to Tim Lambert on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (5/6/2019 episode)

So we began to look at that option. Our oldest son has a November birthday, so he was one of those kids that we struggled with. We were told, “You shouldn’t put him in a younger-” So he was academically progressed so we had a wonderful Christian woman who had taught in the public schools for 30 years and private Christian schools for 10, and a friend of ours at church got a small group, so he was in a little group of four or five kids for his kindergarten and first grade year, and so by that time he was first grade age and was doing second grade work.

So the Lord kind of backed us in because all the Christian schools basically that you either repeated the coursework with your age group or you went ahead. So because of that circumstance, I think we were open to exploring homeschooling and we began to do that and we said, “You know, we’ll just do this for a year,” and we did it for another year, and before long it was a lifestyle, and helped start our local support group back in 1984, and got associated with the state organization in 1986. I became the executive director in 1990. So it’s been a long, fun road.

Yvette:                                      Yeah. So there already was a state organization in place when you started.

Tim:                                            Yes, that is correct. So the state organization was established by a couple who are both attorneys and they were kind of the grand masters of homeschooling and they fought. In the early days in Texas, the Attorney General said homeschooling was illegal and people would be prosecuted, so it was a very negative environment. They led the organization in those formative years and I came in in 1990 and became the executive director. We started with a Mac computer and a phone line and our kids were our staff. We’ve grown from there.

Yvette:                                      Nice. Did you ever get into any kind of legal trouble? How did you handle that with your family?

Tim:                                            We were prepared. We spent almost all of our group meetings in the beginning, we talked about what the law was and how to avoid these problems. There were a lot of people in those days who didn’t let their kids go out in the yard until after 3:00. But I’ve always been kind of an assertive person so we always had a plan. Our plan in those days was if somebody came to the door, then Lindsey was to not answer the door, and after they left, she would get in the car and head to New Mexico, and when she got there, 100 miles away, she would call me. That was, of course, before cell phones and that kind of stuff.

This transcript is provided by MakeCrate. MakeCrate provides your homeschooler with the STEM skills they need for the future! Fun, hands-on electronics kits paired with an online learning platform teach your middle or high schooler engineering and coding fundamentals right at home! No technical expertise is required. Order your MakeCrate today at MakeCrate.Club/SR.  

So we were prepared for that and I kind of led locally and talked to the local superintendent and those sorts of things. Later, as I became the executive director, we took that leadership to the state level.

Yvette:                                      I can’t even imagine, being in the time that we’re in today with homeschooling and the freedom that we have, and not just the legal freedom that we have, but the way that it’s accepted in society, it’s hard for me to imagine living in a time like that, which was not that long ago. I mean, that was when I was a child. I’m 44 years old and so that was my childhood. We knew just a couple people homeschooling at that time, but today, I take my kids out all the time, and not only do we not get in trouble for it, I cannot believe how many times people will say, “Oh, did you have the day off of school today?” And my girls will say, “No, we’re homeschooled.” And they’ll say, “Oh, you’re so lucky.”

That is almost always the response that we get is that people say, “Wow, that’s great. If I could have homeschooled my kids, I would have,” or, “I would homeschool my kids but I don’t have the patience for it,” and that’s a whole different topic. Because then I want to say, “Oh, well, I don’t either, but God gives it to me.” But it’s amazing to think back that it was just not that long ago that it was a really different time.

Bonus – Watch this video on the Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass site and learn how you can activate a FREE 3-month membership!

Tim:                                            Yes, and part of our mission is to help homeschoolers remember that history. One of the homeschool pioneers in Texas just passed away recently and so she’s been commemorated, but we recognize that we have a 501c3 education organization and a 501c3 for our advocacy organization and a political action committee, so we work in the political arena and the legislature because we have to protect our freedom, but we also try to help the homeschool community know our history. Because if we’re not vigilant and proactive, we could lose that freedom.

Yvette:                                      That’s right.

Tim:                                            There’s a lot of opposition today across the country, and so that’s part of our mission is to help cast the vision, not only for the freedom that we do have, but help people understand how we got here.

Yvette:                                      Right. So, okay, then let’s talk to those parents who don’t know all of the history. I mean, you gave a brief explanation of it, but who don’t know all of the history and what dangers might be lurking ahead for homeschoolers today.

Tim:                                            In the early days, the Attorney General of Texas said he didn’t believe parents were qualified to raise their kids, much less teach them at home, and we had a class action suit in Texas where we sued the state. We won, the state appealed that decision. So it was almost a 10 year legal battle in the courts. And of course, during that time, homeschoolers were prosecuted in Texas under the compulsory attendance statute. We eventually won that class action suit, but I realize, and I tell people I am slow, but I’m not stupid. Eventually, someplace along the line, I realized that we lived in a culture that did not respect parents and that if we didn’t get involved to participate in the public policy process, that people like Jim Maddox, who said he didn’t believe parents were qualified to raise their kids, would be making policy and law that would directly impact what I believed God was calling me to do, whether or not that was acceptable by the state.

So we talk to new homeschoolers like you do and the mom’s eyes are glazed over and she just wants to talk about learning styles and how you choose curriculum and how do you organize your day and those sort of things, and I like to talk to the dads and basically say, “It’s our responsibility as husbands and fathers to know what the law is, be prepared.” We’ve pretty much won the battle with the school districts and the truancy officers, but CPS is a real problem for us today.

Of course, as you probably, I’m sure, are aware, there’s been a real national movement over the last year and a half of groups that are highlighting news stories of families that abuse their kids or whatever and say, “This is why we need to regulate homeschoolers.” And I’ve been blogging about that for a year and pushing back to let some of the major newspapers in Texas last spring call for the state to regulate homeschooling, saying that we had too much freedom. I’m happy to say our legislature’s in session and nobody filed that kind of bill.

But our focus today, legislatively, is to reform CPS and protect parents. We have probably as many as two dozen families a year that are members of our association that are contacted by CPS and investigated. We have legal counsel on staff to handle those situations.

So we celebrate our freedom. God gave us a great victory and he’s given us freedom, but we recognize that we have responsibility to maintain that freedom, and that means we need to be informed, we need to know what the law is as individual families so we know how to react. If CPS comes to the door, we field lots and lots of questions that people have every year, and then to participate in electing godly leaders that will help us protect that freedom at the legislative level.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that’s right. Then talk to parents and tell them how can they help to support what you’re doing? Because I think oftentimes, and this was the case with myself, I didn’t really understand. We’re from California and so CHEA, the Christian Home Educators Association, they were kind of our state covering, and I didn’t even understand when we started homeschooling, I mean, several years into it, who they were, what they did, why they existed, and why they were important to me personally as a homeschool parent. So can you talk to the parent who’s listening to this who maybe just doesn’t understand what state organizations are and how they can get involved in protecting their own freedom to homeschool?

Tim:                                            Sure. So every state, we go to some national meets every year, mostly Christian homeschool leaders, and every state has an organization and we all developed back in the 80’s. In those early days, we didn’t just have legal problems, but curriculum providers wouldn’t sell to us. So you had a problem of finding resources and that sort of thing, and so every state has an organization that was established, and in the early days we did conferences and it was a place to get information, to share information, to get resources. Also, we acted as a clearinghouse for information, so we, in our state as in most states, our organization acts as kind of the liaison with the state government.

Whether that is the education agency or the state Department of Education or the Child Protective Services or college admission or whoever it might be, we are the organization that has contacts. We know what the law is, we have people that help us. So it’s great for people to connect with their state organizations. We probably have close to 75,000 families on our mailing list in Texas and we have, obviously, blogs and YouTube channels and all that sort of thing. We try to connect people and give them information.

Then, of course, our legislature meets every other year, so we have a team of interns and staff in Austin. For the first five months of this year we’ve been following bills and testifying against bills, issuing calls to action when we’ve got bills that need to be killed. And then at the same time, we do a couple of conferences, one in the Dallas area and one in the Houston area, every summer. That’s kind of like every homeschool mom’s inspiration time. We have a children’s program and a teen program, so it’s a great time for the whole family to come and have a great time of inspiration and encouragement, and buy your curriculum for a year. It’s kind of like an in-service for public schoolteachers, but it’s also a great time for the kids.

Our mission is protection. It’s also inspiration and education and, of course, to be there when homeschoolers have issue. We have a customer relations team so we field probably 1,000 to 1,500 emails and phone calls a month and probably 60 to 70% are those of non-members. They’re people just trying to get started and they want information or questions. We kind of run the gamut.

Yvette:                                      We were talking about conventions and just the different ways that your organization, the Texas Home School Coalition, can support Texas, those who are in your state. Of course, you’re in Texas. There’s same organizations exist in pretty much every state. Talk a little bit about your conventions because I know you’ve got conventions that are coming up pretty quickly here.

Tim:                                            Sure. Yeah, we have two conventions in May. One is Mother’s Day weekend in Dallas and the other one is the last weekend of May in the Houston area in the Woodlands. These events all grew out of a way for the homeschool community to be connected with exhibitors and vendors, people who have great resources, people who are great speakers who inspire. That’s a great time annually for us as an organization. We try to help. This is something for the whole family. We’ll have a children’s program and a teen program. People develop relationships there that go on for years and it’s a great time of inspiration for mom and dad. We have a lot of dads that attend that. People always look for curriculum.

They come together, they get inspired, the get educated, they find out … and then of course we do workshops for leaders. We have different tracks, so we’ll have one for single parents, we’ll have one for special needs folks. We try to provide things across the gamut of the homeschool community. It’s a wonderful time. It’s very exhausting. It’s like Thursday through Saturday, but it’s a great time of encouragement. People, it’s kind of the end of school and get ready for the new year before the summer starts.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, it’s a great time of year to have it because oftentimes this is the time of year that moms are really trying to think through what they’re going to do for next year. They’re a little overwhelmed, maybe. They’re getting to the end of the school year and they’re counting down the days faster than their kids are.

Tim:                                            Exactly.

Yvette:                                      They just need that boost of encouragement. They need to maybe explore some different options. Maybe the curriculum that they’re using this year isn’t working so well. It’s interesting to hear you talk about how, back in the day, curriculum companies wouldn’t sell curriculum to you. Now, the options-

Tim:                                            Yeah, now we’re a major market.

Yvette:                                      Right. The options are overwhelming and endless, but in a good way. There’s so much to choose from and so many great resources out there for families today, and praise God for that, because every child learns differently. Every mom and dad teaches differently, and so it’s great to have those resources. But it can be overwhelming to go to those things.

I remember, I think it was Janice Campbell was talking about how she remembers going to her first homeschool convention back in the ’80s and she said it was at a church and there were 100 people there and they had a few six foot tables set up with some books on them, and she was just elated. That was like a big convention for them and now you look at where they’ve gone.

I want to speak on behalf of some of the vendors that go to these conventions-

Tim:                                            Please, please.

Yvette:                                      … and I’m not one of them, so I’m going to just speak for them and to encourage those who go to conventions. One of the things, as a matter of fact, Jamie Erickson just read a really great article, I’ll link to it in the show notes, about this. These vendors, and again, this is something I didn’t realize until we were well into homeschooling. Most of the curriculum vendors that you see at these conventions are nothing more than moms and dads who saw a need, created a curriculum to go with whatever their need was, and developed this stuff to serve the homeschool community. They go to these conventions. It’s very expensive. You have to pay for travel and hotel and your booth and everything that goes along with it in hopes of being able to encourage the homeschool community through the sales of their different products that they have.

What a lot of people are doing today is they go and look at the products, they touch it, they feel it, they open it, and then they go find it online somewhere for $5 less or $10 less. I think I can safely say that if people don’t start taking care of the vendors and those who are coming out with these different products and serving the homeschool community this way, we’re going to lose them. Vendors will not continue to come if no one is supporting them and everyone’s just buying used curriculum and buying it form other places where it’s a whole lot less expensive.

Tim:                                            Yvette, I couldn’t agree more, and in a lot of states, the smaller states, these conventions are dying and that is exactly the reason, folks. I understand everybody needs to do what is best for their family, but we’ve worked really closely with our vendors this year and trying to help them with some marketing ideas, do some online specials so they can order and do some of those kind of things. But the reality is you’re exactly right. If the exhibitors who essentially pay for these conventions are not supported, in other words, you don’t buy there, and eventually those conventions go away, and now you’re looking at having to travel further away to a conference or not even have a conference.

We recognize, we value our exhibitors and our vendors. They are the reason we do these conferences, and so thank you for bringing that up. I just want to put an exclamation point on that to encourage people. It’s a great time to come. It’s not uncommon for us to hear about the buy America. Buy in America. We like to say, “Buy at the convention.” We want to support those folks that are supporting us.

Yvette:                                      That’s right, and if you think about the whole cycle of how this whole thing works, I fully understand we have to be the best stewards of what God has entrusted to us financially, as most homeschool families are … we are typically a single income family on a tight budget because most homeschool families are single income on tight budgets, so they need to be good stewards of their finances.

However, think of it this way: You’re really supporting yourself by purchasing at the conventions, because as people purchase curriculum and products and such at conventions, then those vendors will be able to continue going to conventions, which then support the state organizations, and those state organizations use those conventions to help support their organization that then supports the homeschool families.

Tim:                                            That’s exactly right.

Yvette:                                      It’s very, very much needed. It’s critical. It’s critical that we support our different state organizations. By spending an extra $5 or $10 to purchase products at the conventions, you’re really supporting your own freedom to homeschool in your state. Does that make sense?

Tim:                                            That’s exactly right, exactly right, and I would go further than that and say these state organizations are the watchdogs in your state that are watching the legislature or what happens with the litigation or all those sorts of things. If we lose the state organization, now you not only don’t have a conference anymore, but you don’t have a guard dog watching for your freedom.

Yvette:                                      Right, that’s absolutely right, and so for those listening, it is critical. Support your state organizations.

I would love to talk a little bit about your role as a father, as a Christian leader of your home. I think that so many people don’t realize it, and oftentimes dads don’t realize how very important their role is as the leader of their home. Especially when it comes to homeschooling, they think, “Well, my wife is the one who does all of the schooling, I go to work and provide so that she can do that,” which, praise God for that. I am so grateful for dads who support their wives in doing that.

But what would you say to the dad who, maybe he’s not sure about this homeschooling thing. He’s heard about it but he doesn’t think his wife is capable, he doesn’t think she’s organized enough. What would you say to that dad? How can you encourage him?

Tim:                                            As a Christian, if you go back to Deuteronomy chapter 6 and you look at the exhortations there that God through Moses is laying out to the nation of Israel, there’s a very clear exhortation to the father to teach things to your children, when you rise up and when you sit down and when you walk in the way. As Christians, that’s discipleship. We are not moms, but dads are exhorted by the Lord to raise up our children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.

When we started homeschooling, Yvette, it was because we wanted to pass our faith on to our children in the course of giving them an academic education. As the years rolled on and we began to enjoy the blessings and the fruit of homeschooling, I have come now, at the end of where most people are in their homeschool journey, to say the greatest benefit of homeschooling for our family was not academic. It was the relationships that we have with each other. It was the ability for us to spend time in knowing our children and raising them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.

As a father, what I say to homeschool dads is one day we are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and we’re going to give an account of how we handled the responsibility that God gave us as husbands and fathers. Part of that, for me, is enabling my wife to homeschool. Most of us dads don’t do much of the teaching, but I used to say, “We’re the superintendent.” We have a little plaque in our house that says, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

I think it’s the husbands who God has given us the responsibility and really the ability to help our wives homeschool. I know I tell dads that moms will generally not homeschool for the long-term if they don’t have the active and assertive support of their husbands because moms get overwhelmed. They have a hard time prioritizing and they need us as husbands to say, “Honey, you can’t do everything. You’ve got to cross some things off the list here,” or to encourage them and spend time talking about our kids and what are decisions, what curriculum we need to make, all those sort of things.

I just tell dads when I talk to them that usually homeschooling is the mom’s choice, but if we do it well, it is a dad’s legacy to raise up a godly family that can carry on that family.

Yvette:                                      I love that, and I love that you say, “You can’t do everything,” because I think oftentimes dads expect that, well, mom’s home all day and so she should be able to do it all. She should be able to keep the house clean and have dinner on the table and homeschool the kids and have all the grocery shopping done and the doctor’s appointments gone to. It’s not possible to do everything and I think that’s definitely one of the main concerns that dads often have, is what’s going to fall apart, and they’re afraid of that. It scares them that something in their family is going to fall apart.

But instead of saying, “What’s going to fall apart,” looking at how is this going to benefit our family and how is this going to benefit the eternal security of our … I mean, not that homeschooling is the gospel. We say that all the time. Homeschooling does not save our children by any means. Jesus is the gospel.

Tim:                                            Amen.

Yvette:                                      But allowing your wife some grace and not expecting her to have everything in order all the time, because it’s never going to happen.

Tim:                                            Sure, well, Yvette, I think dads who have those fears, many dads see homeschooling as some academic alternative. When they begin to see that this is a spiritual decision that will help me disciple my child into maturity and a godly Christian, then they begin to say, “Okay, that’s important. So now I prioritize that and how do we have to work around all these other things? How do we do the… ” When our kids were older, they had to clean the house. You make adjustments because this is a priority, because it’s not just about academics. It’s about discipling my children and laying a foundation for them for the future and for eternity.

Yvette:                                      Yes, yes, that’s right. That’s absolutely right. I would say, too, any of the dads who are listening right now, encourage your wives. Come home and ask her, “What can I do to encourage you? How can I serve you right now?” Whether it’s dishes or laundry or getting the kids bathed and ready for bed, or my favorite, take the kids and let your wife go out and have coffee with a friend or go walk around the mall or the park or something. Mommies need breaks, too, and so I think dads who do that are … they’re my heroes. My husband does that. He’s fantastic. He’s great at serving our family, though we’re together all the time.

Tim:                                            Yvette, one of the things I recommend dads to do is read the book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Chapman. That just revolutionizes, because when you talk about what you can do for your wife, we need to prioritize that, and if her love language, most of the time it is different than yours, and you’re loving her in your love language and it’s not connecting. That book was really revolutionary for me to help me understand how to love my wife in a way that she felt loved. It’s just great, a great book.

Yvette:                                      Yes, that is a fantastic book, and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. We are out of time, unfortunately, for the podcast, but tell people where they can find you. Where can they learn more about Texas Home School Coalition and your conventions that you have coming up?

Tim:                                            Well, it’s THSC.org, so you can find us on the web. You can find a YouTube. We have a YouTube channel and a Facebook group, so we’re everywhere, so please join us and we’re glad to help you.

Yvette:                                      Okay, and what do you have on your YouTube channel? I didn’t know that you had a YouTube channel.

Tim:                                            We have a YouTube channel. We have all sorts of videos. We actually did a … years ago we did a documentary with some of the pioneers of homeschooling in Texas, so it’s kind of a history of homeschooling. Then we have YouTube videos of the work we’re doing in Austin at the legislative sessions, different animated videos about the history of homeschooling in Texas, so just a plethora of different videos.

Yvette:                                      Okay, that’s great. We will link back to that for sure, as well. Thank you so much, Tim, for your time. Thank you for what you do to support homeschooling. I know that you primarily work in Texas, but I know that your work is spread. It ripples throughout the rest of the country and you are a great blessing to all of the people that you’re serving in the homeschool community.

LINKS

Book recommended by Tim: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

Article on homeschool conventionsby Jamie Erickson

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Photo by Enrique Macias on Unsplash

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash