Let’s Send 2020 Out in Style (Kirk Cameron Style!)

Watch this conversation with Kirk Cameron here.

There is no question 2020 has been full of challenges, but it has also been another year where the sovereign God of the Universe was still at work. One of the greatest things he has done this year has been to bring millions of children home from school – many for good (read more here and here). While this has created a year of chaos for many and required many families to make tough decisions very quickly, this single event will have positive effects for many families that will last for generations.

Watch the second part of our interview with Kirk Cameron.

Through this tumultuous year, as so many new families have experienced the world of homeschooling, God has grown the ministry and impact of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. He has used the practical advice, heartfelt encouragement, and Biblical instruction of dozens of excellent guests to minister to families around the world. Just in 2020 we have seen listenership grow to from around 9,000 downloads January to almost 21,000 in August, with regular listeners in over 40 countries. We continued to be amazed at his goodness and continue to be blessed that he has allowed us to do this important and exciting work. 

As we close out the 2020 podcast season we really wanted to go out with a bang, so for the last week of the year we are bringing you a three-part conversation with Kirk Cameron, from his session for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

As we listened to this interview we were, once again, reminded that God LOVES families and the instructions he gives us in his Word are for our good and his GLORY! We are certain that this conversation will be an encouragement to you too. Please be sure to share this one with a friend…after you have a listen, of course!

Just because we are closing out the year in style doesn’t mean we won’t be back. We are SO excited to bring you more great guests in 2021. In fact, we’re kicking off the year with an excellent new interview with Heidi St. John!

For the fourth season of the podcast, we’ll be bringing in many new guests, as well as some of your favorite return guests, who are sure to bring you the encouragement you need to stay the course as you journey along this path of homeschooling and since the podcast exists to serve YOU, we want to hear from you! Please email us and let us know the following…

1} What GUESTS you’d like us to have on the podcast

2} What TOPICS you’d like us to discuss

3} How we can IMPROVE to better serve and encourage you {we promise not to get our feelings hurt…we really do want to know}. 

Also, if you haven’t left a review on iTunes for the podcast, we’d LOVE it if you would! 

Here’s a recent review from a listener: (5 Stars) “This show does not disappoint! Great, in depth interviews on homeschooling, discipleship, family relationships, and more. It has become a must-listen podcast for me.”

Praise God!

We pray that 2021 is a blessed year for you and that whatever the year brings you are able to see God’s good hand at work.


Soli Deo gloria!
The Hampton Family ~ Garritt, Yvette, Brooklyn, and Lacey

P.s. If you have started homeschooling in 2020 check out the following great resources.

Enjoy over 9 hours of free homeschooling videos from the Homegrown Generation Family Expo!
Get off to a great start. Watch 10 Steps to Homeschooling with Excellence, with Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella.

Still on the fence about bringing your children home from school? Read COVID-19 – Homeschooling during Coronavirus School Closures.

Top Online Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Aby and I are doing a multi-part series of question and answer features for you. We have already talked about time management and we talked about some of our favorite books for homeschoolers. We’re back for another listener question, so let’s jump into it.

Aby, it’s good to have you with me.

Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,

What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?

And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.

Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options. 

With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, herehereand here.

Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!

Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.

FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM

Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.

Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.

Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that. 

Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.

Aby Rinella: I agree.

Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.

Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.

Yvette Hampton: Right. And BJU is the same way.

Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.

Aby Rinella: I love that name.

Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?

Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.

Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…

Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.

Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.

Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?

Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.

Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.

Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource. Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.” 

Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.

Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized. 

And then, the last one is ApologiaApologia has some online classes as well, and we… Our family loves Apologia. As a matter of fact, we recently did another podcast interview with Rachael Carman, and Rachael and Davis Carman are the owners of Apologia, we know them well, solid Christian family. And the Apologia curriculum is a solid Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, they offer online classes as well. So, that’s the other one. So, Apologia.com is where you can find those.

Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. 

Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.

ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.

Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.

Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out  with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.

Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel. 

Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!

Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.

Free homeschool conference videos.

The videos features some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face. In addition to tons of encouraging video and audio, you also get a wealth of homeschool resources. There are Sessions by Kirk CameronHeidi St. JohnSam SorboKevin SorboKathy BarnetteAndrew PudewaIsrael WayneRick GreenGinger HubbardMeeke AddisonTodd WilsonLeigh BortinsYvette HamptonJames GottryRachael CarmanDavis CarmanPam BarnhillDurenda Wilson, Karen DeBeus, Jeannie Fullbright, Linda Lacour HobarAby Rinella, Ana Willis, Connie Albers, Barb & Rich Heki, Jamie Erickson, Colleen Kessler, Peggy Ployhar, Sharon Fisher, Misty Bailey, Kim Sorgius, Trish Corlew, Kristi Clover, Danielle Papageorgiou, Scott LaPierreand Caleb Schroeder!

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Time Management for Homeschoolers

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.

Yvette Hampton

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.

Aby Rinella: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are, 

TIME MANAGEMENT??”

Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.

Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?

Aby Rinella

Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.

Get more great homeschooling encouragement twice a week on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.

Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.

Thinking about homeschooling? Get a great start with our free resources for homeschoolers. We are giving away over 9 hours of videos from the Homegrown Generation Family Expo to help you get off to a great start!

Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…

Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.

Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”

Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.

Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.

Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.

Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.

Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?

Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.

Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?

Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.

Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?

[laughs]

Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]

Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.

Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.

Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…

Aby Rinella: Totally.

Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.

SCHEDULING MARGIN

Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah.

Aby Rinella: You have freedom.

Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?

Aby Rinella: Yeah.

Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.

Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.

Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…

LOOP SCHEDULING

Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.

Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.

Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”

Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.

Aby Rinella: Always.

Yvette Hampton: Every morning…

Aby Rinella: Yeah.

Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…

Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.

Yvette Hampton: Math, right.

Aby Rinella: Exactly.

Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.

Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Coronavirus “Back to School” Plans and a Can of Worms

As I read the newest announcement of back to school plans in light of the COVID-19 situation, I realized every one of these plans opens several cans of worms. Iowa has announced that the state will not require masks or social distancing when children return to the public schools in the fall. While this may or may not be welcome news to Iowa families, there are several very nuanced points that need to be considered in this announcement. 

1) Any way you slice it, the COVID thing is going to have a big effect on homeschooling in the coming year. “Jill Pennington Swanson is considering home-schooling her children this fall if students and teachers are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom.

The Waukee mother of six said she is disappointed that Iowa is not taking more stringent safety precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus in schools.”

2) Iowa has 327 school districts and 119 additional accredited non-public schools?!?! REALLY? Iowa? “Instead, the state will leave those decisions in the hands of local school boards, which could lead to a variety of approaches across Iowa’s 327 school districts and 119 accredited nonpublic schools.”

3) This is going to lead to more CHAOS and arbitrariness, with every district deciding on its own requirements. “Officials at Des Moines Public Schools said this week that they would require students and teachers to wear face masks in buildings. Ankeny, on the other hand, will not require face masks or temperature checks when school resumes.” This will only lead to more parent, teacher, and student frustration – and ultimately, more people leaving the public schools.

4) Parents won’t actually know what to expect until just before kids are supposed to go back to school – and then, things will likely change when the predicted “next wave” comes. “The majority of Des Moines-area school district officials that spoke with the Register said those decisions are still being worked out and it could be weeks before parents know what will happen when school starts.” Again, this will lead to more frustration and confusion. “‘It would just be nice to know what they are thinking,’ Pennington Swanson said. “I know August is a ways off, but for planning it would be nice to know what direction they are leaning.”

Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Education released a statement saying further clarification of the guidelines is needed. It promised to ‘release additional information in the near future.'”

5) People have no concept of the difference between a guideline, an order, and a law – and consequently, too many people are living under unnecessary, arbitrar restrictions, which have endangered peoples health, undermined the economy, and trampled on the constitution and the God-given rights of the people. “Jean Hessburg, a spokeswoman for the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), the state’s teacher’s union, said the state’s plan doesn’t comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for public places.” A plan doesn’t have to “comply” with guidelines. It can meet them, exceed them, or ignore them. They are guidelines, not laws, and not orders (which are normally applied to agencies, not individuals).

6) The media repeats outright lies in their fearmongering effort. They don’t bother to fact check them if they fit with their agenda, even if they are completely illogical. “The recommendations come as states across the country grapple with how to reopen schools during the largest pandemic to hit the United States in a generation.” Sorry, not even close. Many flu seasons have had higher rates of infection and death in this generation.

7) Teacher’s Unions use bully tactics to promote their progressive agenda. “‘It is a gamble and obscene that the governor and the Department of Education are gambling on the health and safety of our students, our staff and school employees,’ Hessburg said. ‘This virus has demonstrated that it knows no bounds and students can bring the virus home to families and ravage a family.'” Note the attack on the governor and state Department of Education officials in their attempt to influence statewide health policy (hint: the union should be supporting teachers and students, and should confine their interests to educational matters, not health policy. Also, recognize the very subtle anthropomorphisation of the virus, “This virus knows has demonstrated that it knows no bounds…” – the union is casting the virus as a sentient enemy to reinforce the fear that we should all be feeling.

8) I wonder how many of the 50,000 Iowa Teacher’s Union members agree with the position of the union and its president. “ISEA President Mike Beranek released a statement Thursday urging school districts to create their own guidelines mandating face coverings, physical distancing and other safety protocols. The union represents more than 50,000 public school teachers and other education professionals.

‘I simply don’t understand why the state of Iowa is not taking a cue from what is happening in our country and implementing guidelines that are scientifically proven and recommended by our health specialists all throughout our country,’ he said. There they go again, with the “scientifically proven” stuff. I will save my rant on the religion of Scientism for another post, but just remember how inaccurate the projections, death counts, early test results, consensus on masks, and treatment protocols (eg. respirators causing more harm than good, and housing infected people in nursing homes) have been throughout this circus.

9) Finally, REALLY, 50,000 members!?! How many of you hear that number – 50,000 unionized teachers in IOWA alone – and get a cold chill as you realize just how big this behemoth of public education is, how much money is spent, and how much influence is bought by these unions (many times, with the money of unwilling members). 

For more perspective on this important issue I highly recommend Standing Up to Goliath, by Rebecca Friedrichs. In this EXCELLENT and terrifying book, Rebecca Friedrichs discusses the incredible influence and dangerous agenda that the national and statewide teachers unions wield. She shares firsthand accounts of the abuses of students and teachers that were overlooked and covered up by unions in an effort to protect bad, tenured teachers and their own bottom lines, as massive money making machines. Finally, she recounts her historic court battle against the unions to stop them from coercing teachers and stealing dues from unwilling members (and non-members). This is a must-read if you care about education, labor, or or the founding principles of our nation.

There is a better way! Bring your kids home! If you are considering homeschooling in the coming year, please read COVID-19 – Homeschooling during Coronavirus School Closures to get started. We have a ton of free resources available at SchoolhouseRocked.com, on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and at HomegrownGeneration.com, where we host a live, interactive, online homeschool conference.

You can do this!

Free homeschooling course to help you get started. Over 9 hours of free videos to help you learn to educate your children at home!

Photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash – Worms

Photo by Miikka Luotio on Unsplash – Child in mask on a bus

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash – Child in mask

Join Yvette Hampton on the Family Renewal Podcast with Israel Wayne

Listen to Yvette Hampton on the Family Renewal Podcast with Israel Wayne

Join Yvette Hampton as she tells Israel Wayne the story of how she and Garritt began homeschooling their daughters and why they went out to make Schoolhouse Rocked. In this episode Israel also discusses the rise of public education and home education and contrasts the story of Schoolhouse Rocked and Indoctrination, which he was also involved with. Israel is a great friend of the Schoolhouse Rocked team and has been an important part of the movie, the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and the Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Yvette and Garritt Hampton were also on the Family Renewal Podcast back in July of 2018. You can listen to that episode here.

Want more from Israel Wayne? He has been a regular guest on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and was a speaker for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Raising Them Up – Biblical Parenting, Part 1 – Israel Wayne

Getting Started in Homeschooling, Part 1 – With Israel Wayne

Answers for Homeschool Critics, Why Homeschool – Israel Wayne

125 Episodes of Homeschooling Encouragement!

WE’VE MADE IT TO EPISODE 125! All by the grace of our good God.

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast is turning 125! THANK YOU for being part of this amazing ministry. Please join Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella for some fun homeschool trivia, a LIVE Q&A, a discussion about what’s happened and what’s coming with Schoolhouse Rocked, and more fun homeschooling encouragement. Can’t wait to see you there! Listen to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast at Podcast.SchoolhouseRocked.com

If you believe in homeschooling, please consider partnering with us. Visit SchoolhouseRocked.com/Support to make a tax-deductible donation.

We would like to thank all the past and present sponsors who have helped us bring this encouragement to you. Thank you all!

Podcast episodes mentioned throughout this conversation:

Listen to this episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (airing 10/1/2019)

The Benefits of Homeschooling, with Aby Rinella

The Who, Why, and How of Homeschooling, with Aby Rinella, Karen DeBeus, and Yvette

A Public School Teacher’s Perspective, with Caleb Schroeder

“Salt and Light” in the Public Schools? – Misty Bailey

7 Steps to Homeschool Success – Crystal Twibell