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, here, here, and 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: 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.
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.
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.
It usually doesn’t take new homeschooling parents long to realize that homeschooling doesn’t – and shouldn’t – look like traditional school. It is one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling that we are able to integrate education, training, discipleship, and even academics into every aspect of life.
Yvette Hampton and Danielle Papageorgiou recently sat down to talk about the freedom and effectiveness of Lifeschooling. In this conversation for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette talks with Danielle about her passion for integrating education into every aspect of life, and about discovering our children’s gifts, so that they can thrive in the lives God has called them to.
This leads to an important discussion about the blessing of lifeschooling allowing us to continue to train our children even when we encounter unforeseen circumstances. Whether illness, a move to a new city, or a new baby in the home, lifeschooling allows us to continue to train our children while experiencing all aspects, challenges, changes, and blessings, of REAL LIFE.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have one of my favorite homeschool people in all the world on with me today. She has been on the podcast before, so you may have heard her in the past. If not, you are in for a treat. Her name is Danielle Papageorgiou. Isn’t that a fun name to say? That’s why I’m friends with you, Danielle, because your name is just fun to say. Papageorgiou.
Danielle Papageorgiou: In high school, every girl wanted to marry my husband because they just wanted his last name.
Yvette: Probably not the best reason to find a husband.
Danielle: Probably not. Yeah, probably not.
Yvette: But you lucked out. God blessed you and you ended up with a really good guy. And you have a really great family. We love you guys. So tell us really quickly about your family.
Danielle: Okay. I have my husband John. We’ve been married for 20 years now, which I can’t believe. My oldest is 18, Connor. And then I have a girl who is almost 16, and then a little boy who is just a crazy whirlwind and he is eight. So that’s us.
Yvette: Yeah. You’ve been homeschooling for how many years?
Danielle: Well, I say right from the beginning because I think birth is day one of homeschooling, because we’re always teaching our kids, you know?
Yvette: That’s right.
Danielle: Right from the womb. And before the… I can’t talk tonight. Before the womb, people read to their kids in their wombs. So, I mean, I say 18 years.
Yvette: Yes. Yep. Well, you’ve done a great job of it and it’s always fun to be able to talk to moms who are really committed to discipling the hearts of their children and just pouring into them. We met you a couple of years ago when we attended your Lifeschooling Conference, and that was a new term to us. It was something that we really had done as a family. We just didn’t actually have a name for what we were doing. And so, you’ve got this conference. It’s called the Lifeschooling Conference. And your home ministry really is about how we incorporate schooling into life and life into schooling.
And it’s all about bringing it together and making it just kind of one great big part of our family, because it’s not separate. It’s not like sending your kids to school.
Yvette: Talk to us about lifeschooling a little bit, and then I actually want to get into talking a little bit about some unforeseen circumstances that might come into our homeschool, because I know you’ve dealt with some of those things. We’ve dealt with some of those things. And so, that will bring some encouragement to families who maybe things just aren’t going smoothly and their whole world is getting shaken up and they’re not exactly sure what to do. So, first, let’s talk about the lifeschooling thing.
Danielle: Right. It’s funny that you say you just didn’t have that term for it, because I hear that a lot. People are like, “Oh, well, I guess we’ve been life schoolers.” That was really my heart, is just to, I guess, rebrand the idea of homeschooling because I feel like over the years, it’s really become more and more schooly. And certainly you’ve always had that element because we do what we know. And so, that’s all people have known. They grew up going to school and having the different grade levels and everything’s sort of segmented like that.
But it’s really not the best way, in my opinion. You really have to integrate all of education. I really think there’s a biblical basis for this because when you look at Deuteronomy, I think it’s Deuteronomy 6, and I always mix up if it’s 4 or 6. But anyway, you look at the verses there in that passage, which is very familiar to a lot of us as homeschoolers, and it talks about teaching our children as we walk, by the way, as we sit, and as we just go through life.
And so, if that’s good enough for spiritual things, then why not the academics as well? It just should be this life-integrated approach. So lifeschooling, the official definition is the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents that happen primarily within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions. And that’s all about our little tagline is emerging life with homeschooling. Because I really want moms to understand, and dads, that it’s okay when things don’t go the way you’ve planned because, typically, life doesn’t.
I mean, in all other areas, how often does life go the way we plan it? It just doesn’t. And that is because God wants to stretch us. He wants to test our faith and he wants us really to rely on him and not on our own plans. A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps, it says in Proverbs. And so, we need to be open to the Lord’s direction and His leading in our homeschooling. And so, that’s just really my heart, is to help parents just really relax and understand that all of these circumstances that happen are ordained by God and He uses them. And we just need to figure out how that learning can integrate with that, and how we can just make it all work.
Yvette: Yes. Yes. I love that you have a whole definition for it, which is really cool because you’ve really thought through this process. I know that you’ve really encouraged me along our homeschool journey over the past few years in that God really does have a purpose and a plan, and has gifted each one of our children in a specific way. I look at your family and your kids, you’re not one who sits down and “We’re going to do math from 7:00 to 7:30, and then we’re going to do science from 8:00 to 8:30, and then we’re going to do grammar. You don’t have your homeschool structured like that.
But knowing your family and knowing your kids, God has really developed in them some incredible gifts. They’re artistic. I mean, your daughter is quite possibly the most amazing artist I’ve ever known of in my life. I’m just stunned by the things that she is capable of doing. They’ve written books. They’ve made movies. They’ve done all of these things. And what’s so cool about your homeschool style and parenting style that I think ties in well with what we really try to do with our girls, is trying to direct our kids to using those gifts and talents and abilities in a way that glorifies their creator because God created them to be able to use those things for His glory, not for ours, but for His glory. And so, lifeschooling allows you to do that.
Then there’s just the practical side of lifeschooling as well. That’s just life. It’s grocery shopping. It’s doctor’s appointments. It’s house cleaning. It’s organization of our home and of our day and trying to just navigate through this life because it doesn’t really come… I mean, some things come easily, but not all of it does. And so, what a privilege we have as homeschool parents to be able to come alongside our kids and help them navigate through the murky waters of life, and at the same time be able to depend on the Lord to help them figure that out.
Danielle: Exactly. Well, and it’s funny because we could think all these things are going to just kind of come naturally to our kids, like how to clean the toilet or cooking and all of these things. But they don’t. I remember when I got to where I was about to graduate college and my mom’s like, “Okay, it’s time to learn how to cook.” And I’m like, “I can cook.” I always laugh because my poor husband, when we got married, I didn’t know how to cook. I mean, I made chicken and I’m thinking, “Well, if you just turn the heat up really high, it’ll get done faster.” So he cuts into this chicken that’s burned on the outside and it’s a raw in the middle.
Yvette: Oh no.
Danielle: And he’s like, “Next time just put it in the trash.” Oh, it was bad. It was bad. And so, all these things are very practical. They’re a part of life and they’re just as important. If not, I think sometimes more important than some of the academics that we think our kids have to know. Like they have to take physics and they have to take chemistry in high school. Well, maybe not. I mean, if that’s not their gifting, God put into them gifts and things that they’re passionate about. And so, we need to really let them do that.
And all the academics… I think of the verse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Oh, I mean, that’s a promise. And so, I just believe that as you’re seeking God’s kingdom and you’re teaching your kids to seek God’s kingdom and His glory, with the gifts that He has put in them, particularly for them, then all these things are going to be added, and all the academics come in so naturally.
Danielle: Studies have shown that when you learn things in this way, they stick much better through this real life, practical type of learning. And so, it’s just very practical. It just makes things a lot easier. Like I said before, when life doesn’t go according to the plan because we know that it doesn’t.
Yvette: Yeah, Nope. It almost never does.
We are talking about lifeschooling and how to integrate that into our homeschooling. And so, we were talking about God-given gifts and how we have the opportunity as homeschoolers and as life schoolers to be able to take notice of those things in our kids. I would love to know just how practically you have done that with your children. How have you recognized and discovered those gifts in them? And then, how have you gone about fostering those gifts in them in order for them to be able to use those for God’s glory?
Danielle: Well, it’s a funny thing because a lot of moms will say that to me, like, “How do I find my kid’s gifts?” Or, “I don’t know what they are.” They don’t seem to have any gifts or they just want to play computer games all day long. First of all, and this might be a bit of a tangent, but get rid of the computer games or at least cut them way back. You’ve got to have limits on that because it really stifles their imagination and it really prevents them from being creative and figuring out who it is God created them to be. But besides that, I think it’s really a funny thing because they will just sort of come to the surface. There’s no real magic formula as with anything in life really.
There’s no magic formula that, okay, step one, you do this. Step two. And again, that’s because it’s a faith walk and the Lord wants us to trust in Him. And so, you just have to pay attention to your kids. One of the things that I recently created, that I really love, I use it myself, is a Who Is This Child journal. And so, every day I can write down the little things that I notice, the questions that… Right now, it’s Corbin. He’s my youngest. My older two, they’ve kind of got their path and their direction. And I see gifts in my youngest one already, but it’s been really fun to write down the different questions he’ll ask during the day.
Then there’s another section for what I call sparks, so anything that I notice that really captures his attention. I’ll just write that down and that, this is something that maybe we need to explore a little more. So that’s been a lot of fun in that the bottom, I just have a place where you can write a prayer. So every day you just write out this prayer of just, I don’t know, just whatever comes to your heart as a mom and as you’re watching your child develop. And so, it’s just been a really fun resource for me to learn more about my son because I think a lot of it does go back to simple observation.
Sometimes we’re so caught up in the busy-ness of every day and checking off the boxes and doing all the things that we have to get done as moms and homeschooling moms and wives. And so, we can just forget to pay attention. And so, I just think it’s important to be intentional. And I know that’s a really popular word, but sometimes we really do have to just try to be more intentional about that. It is amazing. I remember my friend, Barbara, I don’t know, maybe four or five years ago was like, “I just don’t know what’s going to happen with my kids, what direction God’s really leading them, or how they’re going to use these guests, what He’s going to do with them.”
And I’m like, “Barbara, it’s amazing because the Lord will just bring people into your path, and he’ll just open these doors that you never would have expected. And then, here we are, and her son, Matthew just finished up a movie, a short film that my kids were involved with. My son’s actually the lead in it, and it was accepted into the Christian worldview film festival as a contestant. And so, it’s just so cool to see that. And then, how the Lord used her daughter’s gift of sewing, because she was like, “I don’t know how that’s going to be used.” And so, she sewed all the costumes for it.
When we just, again, just trust in Him and trust in the process, and don’t get so worried, because really, it’s not up to us. I think we carry that weight and it’s so needless because we’re not the homeschool teacher. God is. We’re just the teacher’s assistant. So we need to just trust that process and trust in Him because if we’re doing our best, how is He going to be unfaithful to that? He’s a faithful God and all He asks for is our best. And it’s usually very imperfect.
I will be the first to tell you, I am the world’s worst at scheduling. And it’s always been a struggle for me. But the Lord still works through that somehow. And so, it always amazes me to see that.
Yvette: Yeah. I love that. And I love that you do talk about being intentional. And like you said, that’s a word that we kind of throw around
Danielle: Kind of a buzzword.
Yvette: Yeah. But it really is an issue of being intentional with our kids, and also being flexible in that when they’re not fitting into our idea of what we think that they should be, or how we think they should act, or what career they want to pursue, whatever that is, it’s not up to us. It is, what has God called them to do, not what do we want them to do. And so, I think it’s one of the great blessings of being a homeschool parent, is that we know our kids better than anyone else knows them.
There are teachers all over the world who genuinely love their students. They really do. Most of them don’t teach because they make a ton of money. They teach because they love kids and they want to have some kind of influence in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have a really terrible influence, but there are many who have a fantastic influence and who genuinely love the kids. But when you’ve got a classroom full of 20, 30, 40 kids, you cannot individually take each one of those children under your wing and nurture their talents and their abilities and their gifts that God has blessed them with and help them develop those things.
And as homeschool parents and as lifeschooling parents, we have such a great opportunity to do that. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s incredibly inconvenient. When my daughter wants to take out the glue gun and cardboard boxes and fabric and paints and make a big mess, I’m looking at that I’m like, “Okay, what are you going to do here?” Then she comes up with something amazing and beautiful. My oldest is very artistic, and she loves to paint. She loves to draw. But she also likes to create things. And so, she got these boxes for Christmas. She made for her little sister, as a Christmas gift, she made these little kind of… It’s hard to explain, but she made dollhouses out of them.
Danielle: How cute.
Yvette: But they open and close, and so they can travel with them. It was so cool and it was just such a special gift that she gave to her sister. And she worked for days and days, weeks, actually, on these two portable dollhouses. What a privilege. And so, she would go into her little craft area and she would listen to an audio book and she would make these creations, and what a joy. How fun it was for her to be able to do that. Danielle, we are out of time for this part of the podcast, but let’s come back on Wednesday and let’s talk more, because I want to talk about just how to deal with some of those unforeseen circumstances. We talked about that in the very beginning, and I want to jump on that bandwagon and talk a little bit about that.
Danielle: Absolutely. Sounds great.
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you, guys, for listening. Join us again on Wednesday. And I forgot to say this at the beginning, but Danielle, she is a special part of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. And so, if you have not yet participated in that or signed up for that, you can watch it live, or you’ll be able to go back and watch replays of that. So she will be speaking about lifeschooling for that event. It’s going to be awesome. Thanks. We’ll see you guys back on Wednesday.
Yvette: I just said that and then I realized this is probably not going to air until after the expo.
Danielle: Oh, well, do you need to re-record a little snippet or…
Yvette: I’ll do it at the end.
Yvette: Okay. Where are we on time? All right. Let’s go another 20 minutes. You good?
Danielle: Yep. Let’s do it.
Yvette: I want to talk about something that not a lot of people really discuss in the homeschool world, but pretty much everybody that I know who homeschools deals with this in one way or another. And that’s how to deal with unforeseen circumstances. There are so many things. Danielle and I were talking about this earlier, and how there are so many things that disrupt our homeschooling.
It could be illness. It could be just a short stint of illnesses, the flu making its way through your family. It could be chronic illness that you have to deal with day in and day out. It could be a move. It could be having a new baby. It could be having a mother or father-in-law, or grandparent, or somebody move in with you that you now have to care for. There are so many things that can derail us. And so, I want to talk about how to handle some of those things.
Danielle, I would love for you to talk a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your family in the sense of this, because I know that there have been some really difficult things that your family has dealt with, but you and your husband, you’ve stayed the course. You have been faithful to what God has called you to do even through the really, really hard times, and you have trusted Him for the outcome. So talk with us a little bit about your story.
Danielle: Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to make the point, before I forget, that we have to always remember that at the heart of our homeschooling needs to be relationships. So, first of all, is the relationship that we have to the Lord, and that our children have to the Lord. And then, secondly, is our interpersonal family relationships. I think that if you really keep the main thing, the main thing, and focus on the fact that the relationships have to be the priority, everything else kind of falls into place.
We have dealt with chronic illness in our family for just about our entire marriage. My husband got sick with Lyme disease. It was about two years after we were married. And so, that’s always been a struggle in our family. I’m thankful that he works from home and works in IT, which is something he could do in his sleep. I don’t know how. But God’s just really gifted him in that area. And so, that’s been a blessing that he could be home.
And, of course, me being the homeschooling mom, it didn’t really affect our homeschooling all that much, really. It affected our family in the sense that we just really did not do a lot of family things. And still don’t. Going out to the grocery store is like a family event. If my husband goes and my daughter will be like, “Oh, I want to go.” And so, I think just cherishing those things too is important.
One thing we have always done is had family movie night, and that’s almost sacred to my children. We can’t do anything outside the home on family movie night because that just doesn’t happen. So it’s special time with our family that the kids really treasure. So I think it’s important to have those types of things. But recently, really it was a steady decline for both my children. But first we noticed in my daughter, she would complain about not sleeping very well. And this went on for a number of years. But sometimes you just don’t really know how to help your kids. It’s like, well, take more calcium and magnesium and do this and that.
It was just hard to figure out what was going on. And eventually, through series of circumstances, the Lord led me to do a little more research. She really had like a crash. I enrolled her in this camp and she’s like, “I just don’t think I can do it.” I’m like, “Well, just try to go for one day because we paid for it.” And by the end of the day, I literally almost had to carry her out to the car. She was just so exhausted, and I’m like, “Lord, what do I do?”
And so, we got home and He just really led me to, I don’t even know why, but to research adrenal fatigue. And it turned out she checked off all of the boxes for adrenal fatigue.
So she’s been struggling with this for probably going on a year now, that we knew about. But it’s been much longer. And just thinking, it’s just really, really hard for her right now. Reading, huge challenge, even audio books, but she does a ton of artwork. And you’ve seen her art.
Danielle: Just the things that the Lord is teaching her through this. And I just want to say something here too. It’s okay if your kids get behind, okay? Like maybe she won’t graduate on time, but what is that? That’s, that’s something that is imposed on us. And so, again, we just have to protect our children and if they can’t do something, we have to protect their health. If I force her to do things that she literally cannot do, the stress level goes up. The cortisol levels increase and it’s just this cycle. And she will literally have an adrenal burnout.
Again, this is her health we’re talking about. What is more important? We have to protect our children. So it’s okay if they get behind. There is no behind in homeschooling. I just want to stress that. She does the things that she can do, and we’re okay with that.
Yvette: And you’re also talking about a girl who she does well on her state testing.
Danielle: Right. Right.
Yvette: The girl has written a book. I mean, she literally-
Danielle: She wrote a book, yes.
Yvette: … authored a book.
Danielle: She started at age nine.
Yvette: Which is incredible.
Danielle: So if you think of it in that sense, she was ahead and now she’s not as ahead. And she’ll catch up, because that mental capacity, it’s still there. Once she heals, she is going to skyrocket ahead to where she was, and I truly believe that. And so, it does not stress me. We just can’t let it stress us. We have to protect our children and their health.
My son recently, you never expect to deal with these kinds of issues in your kids. But he’s sleeping more and more, and I’m thinking, “Well, he’s a teenage boy. He’s growing.” But then it was like all day long, he’s sleeping and he’s missing meals. So I’m like, “Something is wrong,” And praise the Lord, He led us to a wonderful natural doctor. He’s been helping both my kids now and my husband. But she did testing on him and his cells were not taking in nutrition. He’s really bad off.
He’s graduated. And so, we don’t have that pressure. But it’s hard for a young 18-year-old guy who really wants to just jump into his IT career and really start doing life to be slowed down. But, again, I just see the lessons that the Lord is teaching him through this, and that he has to be patient and wait on the Lord and just learn to trust in Him, because my son is a planner. He when he was young, I mean, you can imagine two people like me and my son. I’m total not planner at all, and my son is super scheduled.
So every night when I would tuck him in, from like three or four or five years old, he’s like, “Okay, what are we doing tomorrow? What’s the schedule?” And it used to drive me crazy. I’m like, “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out tomorrow.” And so, this has been good for him because he said, “I had learned to let go of all the details, but I still wanted God to give me this general direction of where I’m headed. And now, the Lord is just saying, “Nope, you’ve just got to trust me completely, and you don’t know what tomorrow brings, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel, and you just have to trust me.” Yeah. So it’s been an interesting journey for both of them.
Yvette: Yeah, it has. I want to just put this disclaimer in there for you, in that you are one of the most healthy people I know, in regards to how you prepare food for your family. And so, you talked about his cells not being able to take in nutrients. It’s not because of lack of them. It’s not that you’re not providing those for him. It’s just that his body is going through something difficult right now and you’re helping to try to figure out how to help him overcome that.
Danielle: Yeah. Right, right. And it’s just a testament that no matter how healthy you try to be, we can’t do everything perfectly in this fallen world no matter how hard we try.
Yvette: Yeah, oh, sure. I mean-
Danielle: Better trust in the Lord.
Yvette: We all know people who eat donuts and drink Pepsi all day long and they’re like the healthiest people we know.
Danielle: I know, or seem to be anyway.
Yvette: We were talking about how to deal with unforeseen circumstances in our lives. And she’s talking about how her family has dealt with some just different chronic illnesses. And we often, as homeschool parents, come face to face with things that are just hard, whether it’s a move or the loss of a job or a new baby. So in this last half, Danielle, I would love for you to really just offer some encouragement to parents who are dealing with that, who are on that side of it and they’re just like, “I don’t know what to do. I’m ready to put my kids back in school.” Not because they think that’s the best option for them, but because they feel like their whole life is just unraveling and their foundation has been shaken up so badly that they don’t know what to do. They don’t know what to cling to. So can you offer some advice and just hope and encouragement for those parents?
Danielle: Yeah. Well, there’s so many things that you can do. Again, I think it’s more the way you look at things and your perspective. We have to, first of all, like I’ve been saying, we have to have that perspective really of an eternal perspective, and what is truly most important. When your kids graduate someday, who is it that you want them to be? Not necessarily what is it you want them to learn. That’s important, but who is it that you want them to be because character has to come first.
And so, how can you get them from point A to point B to be that person that you want them to be? I believe that God has equipped every parent to be the best person to instill that character and training into their child to help them develop into who God wants them to be. Then just, I would say, from a practical standpoint in this idea of learning to change your perspective, it’s great if… And this is another resource that I have is a lifeschooling vision planner. And one of the things in there that I really love is this backwards method of planning.
It’s going through your day after the fact and writing down in all the different subject areas and categories, what your child learned that day and what they did. Because it’s very surprising. When you start to document those things, there’s a lot of academics that happens just in your day-to-day routine and going about life. It’s always surprising to me when my children will throw out all these science facts and I’m like, “Where did you learn that?” “Oh, Jonathan Park.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with that series.
Yvette: Oh yes.
Danielle: But yeah, they grew up on that, and we have all of the CDs and they listened to those and absorbed it. And they recall that stuff later. And so, I think audio books are excellent because it stimulates the imagination. You can pop them in any time. If you’ve just had a baby, just give your kids audio books, give them lots of audio books and lots of real books too because they’re going to absorb all of that stuff and they don’t need you hovering over them all the time to instill the information into them.
We feel like we have to spoon feed our kids, and they’re natural learners. We just have to encourage that, encourage that natural learning and finding that spark and what excites them, and letting them run with it and learn all about that. Because, again, more academics come in to those different things they’re interested in. You’ll find that just all the different subject areas, how they naturally come in when they find something that they really love to do. So, from a practical standpoint, that’s one thing that we’ve really found beneficial.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah. And I think just, we’ve talked a lot about this already, is just trusting the Lord, allowing Him to lead you to lead your families. When we read James chapter 1, it talks about asking for wisdom and it says if you ask for wisdom, the Lord will give it to you. And I think oftentimes we forget that. We forget to ask, Lord, what do you want me to do with this? How do you want me to proceed? How do you want us to move forward with this child who maybe they’re struggling with an illness or, again, maybe we’ve just had a big move and my child is having a really, really difficult time adjusting.
In those times, it’s okay to step back and just say, “You know what? We just moved.” We have some good friends who are just going through a move right now and they’ve got six kids.
Danielle: Oh wow.
Yvette: That’s a huge, huge deal. And not all of their kids are going to handle it well. And so, you know what? It’s okay to just step back, take a break and just say, you know what? This is one of the reasons why we homeschool, because we have the freedom to be able to do what works best for our family. And in situations like that, they’re still learning. Like you said, they’re learning now how to organize a home. How do you move into a new home? How do you lay everything out? How do you put everything away and figure out where things are going to go in the kitchen, and in the bathroom, and you decorate the walls.
I mean, there are so many life lessons and that’s why I love so much of your ministry, Danielle, because it’s all about lifeschooling. I’ve said this on the podcast many times before. We are raising adults. We are not raising children. We are raising them to become functional, responsible, Jesus-loving adults. It’s not about the academics. The academics are fantastic. They’re important because those are what point them to Jesus, but we’re really raising our kids to be able to go out into the world and function and have some sort of an impact in God’s kingdom. That’s what it’s all about.
It’s not about, did they become valedictorian and get to give an amazing speech in front of 5,000 people at the end of the year? Who really cares about that staff? Honestly. When they come face to face with their savior, he’s not going to say, “Well, how was that speech you gave?” He’s going to say, “What did you do with the talents and abilities and gifts and the hardships that I put before you?” And we realize over and over again, we are so incapable of doing the things that God has called us to do without Him. And when we get to accomplish a thing, He gets all the glory for it. And so it ends up being-
Danielle: Exactly. Exactly.
Yvette: … such a beautiful thing.
Danielle: That’s one of the things that really has always bothered me because our culture does put such an emphasis on academics and intelligence and all of these things. And as Christians, that’s just not what we should be doing. It’s okay to learn a lot and to use those gifts if you’re academically inclined. I think that’s wonderful. But we have to be careful as parents that we don’t let that go to our heads and get prideful about valedictorian, all these things because really, in eternity, that’s not what really matters. God really doesn’t care about that. He cares about what we do with the gifts and the talents that he gives us and how we give glory to Him.
Yvette: Right. Right. And He wants us to do our best. We always tell our kids, “Work as unto the Lord. In everything we do, we should do for His glory.” And so, we should always do our best. You talked earlier actually about some kids are inclined to learn chemistry and physiology, but not every kid is. Some are created to be historians and some are created to be scientists. Some are created to be mathematicians. Some are created to be moms. Some are created to be pastors and truck drivers. I mean, there are a million business owners. There are a million different things that God can use us for. So, we have the opportunity to be able to foster that in our kids and encourage them in the way that God created them, even through the hardships and bumps that are thrown at us through life.
We are out of time for the podcast. But Danielle, I appreciate you so much. I love your heart for families. I love your heart for homeschooling. And I am so grateful that you took the time to sit and chat with me today. Thank you so much.
Danielle: Thanks, Yvette. I love you guys too. It’s always good to talk with you.
Yvette: Thank you. Yeah. Where can people find out a little bit more about you?
Join Kirk Cameron for Some Fun and Practical Family Encouragement
We are very excited to announce that the Schoolhouse Rocked team is working to put together another encouraging resource for homeschool families. The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo is a one-of-a-kind event. Live and fully interactive, the conference will feature some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face.
Kirk Cameron will be speaking on Marriage and Family, Wednesday, February 19th, at 12:00 p.m. (EST).
Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, are homeschool parents and advocates who met on the set of “Growing Pains” and have been married for over 27 years. Together they have six children. Kirk currently tours the country speaking live in 30 cities a year as part of the “Living Room Reset” marriage and parenting conference. We were blessed to hear Kirk speak at a Living Room Reset event last January and it was a blast. We know he will be a huge encouragement to you and your family.
Kirk is just one of the amazing speakers we already have lined up for this event. Please click here to check out some of the other speakers who have already confirmed. The event will feature several Schoolhouse Rocked cast members and Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast guests, and will bring practical advice, valuable resources, and heartfelt encouragement on several topics, including marriage, family, parenting, getting started and keeping on track in homeschooling, homeschooling methods and styles, and more. Each day will end with a roundtable Q&A session where you will be able to interact with the speakers.
Because we want to make this event available to as many families as possible, we have set a very low price of just $20 for lifetime access, but if you act quickly you can take advantage of early-bird pricing of just $15!
The conference will be held Monday, February 17th to Friday, February 21, 2020. Live workshops will be held between 12 PM and 7:30 PM EST (9 AM and 4:30 PM PST).
Please join us for this exciting event! The Homegrown Generation Family Expo is a ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked and proceeds from this event will go directly to help fund post-production on this important film.
Thank you for letting us walk with you through your homeschooling journey!
Kirk Cameron Bio:
Kirk Cameron has been a part of the national landscape since starring as “Mike Seaver” in the ABC hit sitcom, “Growing Pains.” That role turned him into a cultural icon in the 80’s, with his mullet hairstyle, cool sunglasses, and wisecracking comebacks. Since then, he’s appeared in numerous television and movie productions, including the “Left Behind” series, “Monumental,” and “Fireproof”- the marriage-centered film that became the #1 grossing inspirational movie of 2008. His newest film, Connect, offers “real help for parenting teens in a social media world.”
In the fall of 2016 and 2017, he hosted live Fathom theater events called “Revive Us” — a “national family meeting” urging the family of faith to return to the principles that will bring blessing and protection to America. The live events took place in over 750 theaters across the U.S. Kirk also currently released his new talk show, One on One with Kirk Cameron, on the Trinity Broadcast Network.
In this special roundtable discussion, Karen DeBeus, Aby Rinella, and Yvette Hampton talk about ‘Who’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ of Homeschooling.
Yvette Hampton: I am so excited to be here with you today! I am the host of Schoolhouse Rocked: The homeschool Revolution, it is a feature length documentary that is currently in production, and I’m also the host of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am mom of two amazing daughters, and wife to my husband for 24 years now, and we are in our eighth year of homeschooling.
Karen DeBeus: Hi everybody, I’m Karen DeBeus from Simply Living for Him, and I am the host of the Simply Living for Himpodcast. I’m also the author of several homeschooling books, and the owner of SimplyLivingForHim.com, which is a ministry to encourage all people to live more simply; whether it’s in your home, school or in your life. I also have four children, we’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was entering kindergarten, and now she’s just getting ready to graduate.
Aby Rinella: And I’m Aby Rinella, from His Calling, Our Passion, and I write and speak for different homeschool organizations, and you can find me over at CalledToTheTop.com. I’m the mom of three awesome kids, we’ve been homeschooling from the beginning. Above all, I’m a follower of Jesus and the wife to Jesse Rinella.
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Yvette: We are so glad to be with you today. We have been praying about this session, and just really excited to come together and encourage you as homeschool parents, whether you’re a mom or a dad, and just talk about some of the reasons why we’ve chosen to homeschool. So we’re going to answer three questions today, we’re going to answer the ‘why’ of homeschooling, the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and the ‘how’ of homeschooling.
And so, I would love to talk with you, Karen, because you’ve been through it now for 12 years. Your oldest is graduating high school this year, and so I would love for you to tell kind of your story about how you began homeschooling, and why you have chosen to homeschool.
Karen: I was an unlikely homeschooler, an accidental homeschooler, I never intended to homeschool; but God had other plans. I really believe that he called us to this journey, so when my daughter was just turning five, and getting to that time to register her for kindergarten, I was absolutely 100%, never thought about anything else she would just go to school.
The school was right around the corner from our home at that time, and so it just seemed like that was the next natural step. And I walked into the school building to register her for kindergarten, and as soon as I walked in, something happened to me that I have yet to be able to really describe in words. But I sort of became overwhelmed, and panicked, and almost physically ill. And all I could think of was, “She’s not going here.”
And it was really confusing because I had no idea where that was coming from. And so I registered her, because I didn’t want to look weird and turn around and get off the line, but I really felt deep down, “She’s not going here.”
And so I left that day, and I was crying, and I had my other children with me, and I started to talk to some people about what was going on. And they were all saying, “It’s the first time jitters. Once you put her in school, you’re going to see how you’ll have so much time to yourself next year.”
: And I really felt that wasn’t it, it was not the first time jitters; there was this deep sense of, “She’s not going here.” However, the really interesting part of this story is, I had no idea what else I would do. I didn’t really know much about homeschooling back then, I really only knew the Duggars on TV; that was my perception of homeschooling.
And so that wasn’t an option to me, and I knew that private school would be way too expensive, and I didn’t know what it was. And there were many reasons why I felt like I didn’t want her to go there but, ultimately, God really called me.
I started to really pray about it, and a few people approached me and said, “Have you thought about homeschooling?” And I was like, “No, because that’s not something we’re going to do.” And so it really started, though, to chase me down; God started to chase me down. Because I think, deep down, I did sort of admire what I knew about homeschooling, but I just thought, “That’s not for us.”
And so, all of a sudden, it started to appear everywhere. I would run into someone in the grocery store and they’d be like, “Oh, hey how are you? What are you up to? Oh I started homeschooling.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” I’d open a magazine and there’d be an article on homeschooling, I’d see something on TV about homeschooling; it started to really just appear.
And so when I really started to research it, I thought it sounded a great option, but I still felt it wasn’t something for us. But I prayed about it, and here’s where the answer is ‘the who’, it’s who God calls. Because I really felt that when we prayed about it, my husband and I sought scripture, we prayed about it, that God was really calling us to do this.
And I know deep down, 100%, he was calling us; however, sometimes when he calls you to do something, you don’t want to do it. I really knew he was calling us to do it, but I didn’t want to at all. And so, the more I searched the scriptures, the more I knew that this was a calling.
However, we had one more obstacle, my parents, my mother in particular, has always worked in public schooling, and I knew she’d be very upset. And so when I went and finally let them know what we were doing, it was far worse than I ever dreamed. I mean, they almost disowned me, I feel like, over it; I mean, that’s a strong word.
But, in my mind, I thought that would happen; I mean, they were you like, “You will not do this, you will ruin our grandchildren.” And I was like, “I have to do what God’s calling me to do.” And that’s really hard, because I fought with God like, “I know I have to follow you, and I know it says in the scriptures follow you, and not man.”
But these are my parents, we want to please our parents, but I decided to take that leap of faith and do that for that one year when it seemed absolutely crazy, but God was definitely calling me. And I figured, we’ll do it for one year and get it out of my system, and I’ll answer God for one year.
And here we are 13 years later and those very same parents who are so against it, are now our biggest cheerleaders, they are 100% on board, God has completely changed their hearts; but it took about 10 years until they were accepting. And not only accepting, now they’re telling everybody, “My daughter homeschools.”
So I really feel that God called me to homeschool, it was never something about me and my decision, and I have seen how he has worked through this whole situation. I mean forget the schooling part, just in our family, and it’s showing me that when you really follow him, he’s got the whole thing under control.
Yvette: Yeah, I love that story so much. When we started homeschooling it’s so interesting, because our ‘why’ has changed so much; and, Aby, you and I have talked a whole lot about our ‘whys’. But when we very first started, it was because we were fearful of the public school that my daughter would have gone into, and it was more of a … We were fearful for her, physically, to go into this school.
It was not in a great neighborhood, and she just wouldn’t have been safe to go to this school, we felt. And so that was kind of our initial reason, and then we went to a homeschool convention that summer before she was four years old, and we went to this homeschool convention. And we were invited by some friends and we’re like, “Well let’s just check it out.” As matter of fact I remember saying, “You guys have a convention for homeschoolers?” That’s so weird.
Karen: That’s weird.
Yvette: Really weird. And we went, and that weekend alone, the scales just fell from our eyes. And I’m so thankful that the Lord opened our eyes up to what homeschooling is. And the reason that we had said we would never do it was because we had so many misconceptions about what homeschooling was. We believed all the negative stereotypes, I thought, “Well I hated school as a kid.” Saying, “Why would I want to do it more, and then why would I want to homeschool my kids?”
And, I mean, we just had so many good reasons that we thought were good reasons. And we’re so grateful that the Lord changed our hearts about it because now, eight year later, we look back over what God has done, over the past eight years, and our ‘why’ has really changed, like I said.
And now our ‘why’ has really become … Because there’s so much happening in our culture. I mean, I know we all see it, it’s all around us, you can’t ignore it even if you try; and we really believe that revival begins in the home.
And as Christian parents, we have such a great opportunity to be able to speak truth into the hearts of our children. You think of Deuteronomy 6:5-7, and you hear homeschoolers talk about this all the time but, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk with them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”
And, basically, what that’s saying is, all day long. All day long you get to do this, you get to speak truth into the heart to your kids, and you get to teach them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.
And so that is why we have continued to homeschool, because it gives us the opportunity to be able to be the ones to shepherd our kids, and disciple them, and train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them.
We’re not perfect, by any means, we screw up all the time, but the great thing about that is that it’s not us doing it, it’s the Lord doing his work through us because we’re simply willing to be obedient to what he’s called us to do; and so it’s good.
I was actually just talking with a friend of mine about this today, and we’re saying it’s great that we’re inadequate, that we feel so ill-equipped to homeschool our kids, because if we felt like we had it all figured out, we wouldn’t need God to come alongside of us and help us fill in all the gaps and help us figure out this homeschooling thing, and this parenting thing, and this marriage thing. God does his work through us, all we have to be willing to do is to just say, “Okay.” And be obedient. So that has become the reason not why we started, but why we continue on this journey of homeschooling. So Aby, how about you?
Aby: Well I actually came from a line of public school teachers, and I was a public school teacher myself. I went to college and was trained to teach in public school. And I taught in both private Christian school and public school for years, and then when I became pregnant with my first, the minute I held that little girl my hand, I realized, “This is my child, this isn’t anybody else’s child.”
And my husband said to me … I was working full time, and so the initial decision was do I come home? And it was a no brainer, he said, “God didn’t give us these kids for someone else to raise.” And so when our first turned five, that truth that he spoke didn’t change, all of a sudden, just because she’s give; it didn’t change that, “Well, now it’s someone else’s turn to raise.”
And it wasn’t that I had a bad experience in the public school, as a teacher, it’s just that I raised 26 other kids, every day, not their parents; and now God gave me my kids and it was my turn to raise my own children.
And so that’s how it started with us and then, like you said, it kind of morphed for you. I truly was passionate about being home with my kids, I know not everybody, it’s not their …. I don’t know how they’re wired, they don’t love it the way I love it, but I love being with my kids.
But then we had to go to God’s Word and say, “There’s got to be more, because I’m sure there’s going to be days where I don’t love changing diapers I’m sure that’s coming.” And so when we went to God’s Word just over, and over, and over it pointed us to, “This is God’s design, this is God’s design.”
Every time God talks about children, he’s talking to the parents, “Train up your children and the way they should go. Teach them when they lie down, and when they get up.” It’s all to the parents. Other than when he was speaking to the disciples, who were trying to keep the children from him, but when he’s talking to the parents he says, “Teach them, and train them.”
And so we just realized this is awesome, we love it, but it’s also God’s plan and his design. And so that’s what’s kept us through the harder times when it hasn’t been all joy, and wonderful, and laughter; but when we’re obedient to God, that’s where the blessings are.
So that’s kind of where we started and I have a story similar to Karen’s that my parents were both educators and when we said, “Homeschool.” They thought, “Weird.” And they just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They trusted us as parents, but they really had a hard time wrapping their heads around it. But eventually, they’re sold out, they tell everybody, I think [inaudible 00:13:12] sharing about homeschool, and how much they love it and how great it is. So that’s our journey, and that’s our ‘why’ is God’s Word. It’s pretty clear in there that this is what he’s called us to do, and so that’s how we do it.
And another struggle I had is for the ‘who’, who is called to homeschool? So many people say, “Oh, well, you have the college degree to do so,” And, “Oh you have the state certification to do so.” And, honestly, that was my greatest struggle; that was the greatest thing I had to overcome to be a homeschool mom.
Because I was bringing the system into my home, and I had a dear friend say to me one day, “You might as well ship your kids out, and go get a cup of coffee if you’re just going to bring that into your house.” So nowhere in God’s Word does it say that you need a certification, and nowhere does it say that you need to have a college degree to do this. It says that as parents, through him, we’re called to do. So that means everybody, that means every parent that has a child, God will equip to teach and train their children in righteousness.
Karen: And I appreciate you saying that, because I spoke at a homeschool group this week, in fact, and there was a woman there just thinking about homeschooling and she said to me, “But I don’t have a college degree.” That was the first thing she said to me.
Aby: And I say, “Praise the Lord.”
Karen: And I said, I haven’t been asked that question in a long time, but I remember in the early years getting that question a lot. Once in a while when people find out I homeschool they say, “Do you have a degree?” And I was always caught off guard, but I’m like, “But I’m their mom.”
And I remember thinking … And I said to this woman the other day, “Public school training or a trained teacher is completely different, it’s comparing apples and oranges; it’s completely different to what we’re doing at home.”
So we don’t need the college degree. I said, “Plus there’s so much resources, so many things available.” But, honestly, if somebody out there is new to homeschooling, or just thinking about it and they’re thinking, “Well, I can’t, I’m not the person cut out for this because I’m not a teacher.” So grateful you brought that up, 100% encourage them, “Absolutely, you can.”
When I first decided to homeschool, and told my mom, and she said, “You’re not organized enough, you’re not disciplined enough, you weren’t a teacher, you didn’t even like school.” Same thing and, “How are you going to do this?” And I was like, “You know what, let me introduce you to my God-
Because I cannot do this and you’re right, I’m not organized enough, I’m not disciplined enough, I wasn’t a trained teacher; you’re absolutely right, but God is calling me, and he will equip me.” And I have seen, and I feel I can finally say that we’re the end of the road, at least, for my first one instead of saying, “Oh we did it.” I’m like, “He did it.” “He did it, he is faithful, he did it.” So it’s such an exciting time. But I would say anybody out there who’s thinking that they don’t fit the ‘who’ is That they’re not! I mean, I remember thinking the same thing. But looking back over this journey, God is calling you, and he’ll use different circumstances to call each one of us. We’re all in different circumstances, or we all have different reasons but, ultimately, it’s because it’s a calling; I really believe that.
Aby: And like I said, I had to shed that degree. So parents ask me that all the time, or they say “It’s, it’s hard for me.”, or “You can do it, because you have the degree.”
And I say the only thing you need is a love for your kids…
Aby: And a Bible. Honestly, that’s all you need is God’s Word. And the years I have in training, I mean, four years in intensive training to be a teacher, I spent four years on how to fit kids into a box, and then I’d enter the classroom and go, “None of them fit in that box anyway.”
They’re all designed and gifted with different gifts and talents that God has given them, and no amount of training is going to give you the ability to teach that, it’s only going to be, Karen, like you said, by the hand of God, and a love for your own children; knowing and loving your own children.
And you might not be organized, and you might not love to lesson plan, but the reality is that’s the mom that God gave your kids, and those are the kids that God gave you. And so he perfectly meshes those things together, and there’s no piece of paper that any state can ever give you that qualifies you any more than the God who created both us and our children qualifies us; he’s the one that qualifies us.
Yvette: Yeah, and the truth is that there are, like you said Aby, you used to teach in the public school system, and you loved your students. And there are a lot of really good teachers out there in any school; private school, public school, there are some excellent teachers, excellent administrators who really love the Lord.
But nobody knows your kids the way that you do, and no one loves them as much as you do because they’re your kids, and you know them, you know their quirks, you know their gifts, you know their shortcomings, you know the things that they struggle with. And no matter how much a teacher might love them, that teacher cannot take time out of their day with 30 plus students in a classroom to focus on the character of your child; as much as they might want to they just can’t.
And so, as parents we have that great opportunity and privilege that we get to be the ones to train their character and to just care for them, and love them, and raise them up the way that God has created them to be.
And we tell our girls all the time God made them on purpose and for purpose, and God has a great purpose for each one of our children and for us, as well. And so, as parents, part of our purpose, whether you homeschool or don’t, part of our purpose is to train up our children. Well, are you leaving that to someone else to do, or do you get to take that responsibility and do it yourself?
Both of you have already talked about the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and I think that there are so many misconceptions, still, even though homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds, which is really exciting. There still is this misconception that only a certain group, or certain type of person can homeschool.
Maybe they have a certain look, or maybe they have a certain financial status, or whatever that ideal might be in your mind. And the fact of the matter is, God calls all of us to train up our children, and so we all are called to do this. And it’s something that God will give us the ability to do when we allow him.
Aby: And I think we have to say “Yes.”, because God often doesn’t show us how first. We have to show our obedience and our yes before he starts showing us how it’s going to happen.
Aby: Karen’s graduating her first, and I’m sure she didn’t have the whole plan.
Karen: Not at all.
Aby: But she said, “Yes.” And God gave her the steps and that’s how we’re at now is I don’t know the plan. We didn’t even know, financially, how I would come home, but we didn’t need to see God’s blueprint before we said, “Yes.” We said, “Yes” and trusted because he said he will do it. He said he will do it. And so I think I want to encourage parents to say … Don’t wait until you see the 10 year plan or the 18 year plan, and Karen’s great to have because she’s there, she’s at the end that we’re all going for. But she didn’t know the plan from the beginning, she just knew God’s plan and that she would just follow in obedience to that and trusted him.
Karen: And I-
Aby: And it worked, right?
Karen: Oh my goodness, he has blown the doors off our plans, you know what I mean? It was all right we’ll do this will do it maybe for one year and then try it again and again. Did I know that I would have a whole ministry birthed out of homeschooling, or that just our family’s journey? I can’t even wrap my brain around it, but had he told me all that back then, you don’t even really get a glimpse, it’s like, “Just do it.”
This homeschooling journey for us was one of the biggest times in my life, and in my walk with the Lord where I can say that I truly stepped out in obedience, not having a clue what was going on. And I often tell the story how a homeschooling mom had talked to me about homeschooling back then when I was sort of on the fence, I didn’t know anything about it.
And she had me over for lunch, and she kind of told me about homeschooling and then she gave me her kindergarten curriculum that she had hand-me-down from her daughter. And I thought, “Great God told me to do it and now I have a curriculum.”
And I often look back at that, and I laugh, and I wish I had that childlike faith, because I didn’t know there was anything else. I didn’t know there was any other curriculum, it’s just so funny that she gave me this and I was like, “Good we’re ready to go.”
I didn’t research, I didn’t compare online, I didn’t even go online, I didn’t know. There was no Facebook and all that stuff there, wasn’t conventions that I was aware of. And so, once I told somebody, “Oh, we’re using this curriculum because my friend gave it to me.” And she said, “Oh, you are? Did you know there’s others?” I was like, “No, I didn’t.” And then the Christian Book Distributor catalog came.
Yvette: Oh gosh.
Karen: And then the Internet exploded and then I started to… But I look back at that and I’m like … It was like you said, a Bible and God said so. Listen to God and do what he says, right? And that’s what it was, it was like I need to often remind myself over these years of that childlike faith I had. It’s an absolute step of obedience and you do not see the full picture; you’re not supposed to. And I never would have believed it if I seen a full picture.
Aby: Or done it maybe.
Karen: Right, I never would have believed it, I never would have imagined. So, and even as we’ve gotten to the end of these years, at least for my daughter, this year we were not knowing what was going to happen after this year. What happens after homeschooling? Is it college, is that a gap year, is it no college, is a community college? And it was that very same principle I went back to like, “Guess what? We don’t know but God does.”
Karen: And our job is to wait, and to keep seeking him, and he will have the plans unfold. So we often do not, at all, get the full picture. So if you’re out there, and you’re thinking about it, or you’re in the middle of it, and you’re ready to quit-
Karen: Just keep following God-
Aby: Yeah, and “Seek first the kingdom of God.”
Yvette: That’s right.
Karen: Yes, that’s our life verse.
Aby: “And all these things shall be added”
Karen: Yes, he will provide everything-
Karen: And more than you could ever imagine.
Aby: Yeah, for sure.
Yvette: So many great things there’s so much freedom and being willing to just follow what God has called us to do with so. So let’s talk about the ‘how’ of homeschool. And when I say the ‘how’, I don’t mean that let’s show you how to come up with a schedule, and you start at 7:00 in the morning, and you do math for 30 minutes, and then you take a little break.
Because the thing is that we’ve all recognized in our own families, and like you talked about Abby, is that homeschooling is not bringing the classroom into your home. And a lot of parents who are just coming into homeschooling, like we all did, think that that’s what it is.
We think we need to set up the desks, and we need to have our perfect schedule, and we need to make it look like school was as we knew it growing up; because it’s all we know, it’s what makes sense to us and it’s really hard to break out of that mold.
And, there certainly needs to be some sort of structure to your day, but it’s not the classroom in your home. It can’t be, there’s actually not a possible way to do that because life still happens all around schooling. You still have doctor’s appointments, and you have grocery shopping, and you have lunches and dinners to make, and you have sick kids, and there’s so many interruptions; and not bad interruptions, but things that just interrupt our day that we have to learn to work around.
But the great thing is that’s life, and so we’re teaching our kids, at the same time, that we’re educating them academically, we’re teaching them how to deal with life issues. I remember when I got married, I was young, we had just turned 20, and I felt very ill equipped for life; I didn’t quite know what to do.
I remember going to the grocery store and I was like, “I don’t know what kind of meat to buy. I actually don’t know how to purchase meat.” Because I don’t know what to do with it, because my parents always cooked.
And so it’s great, my 13 year old now she can cook a full meal, many of them. I can just say, “Honey, can you go make dinner?” And she won’t go into the kitchen and make a full meal for the whole family, and it’s fan- … I could never have done that at 13.
And so when we talk about the ‘how’ of homeschooling, what have you found with your families, what is your kind of … How does it roll with you?
Karen: I would say exactly what you just said, we’re not teaching for a test, we’re teaching for real life; and I always feel I just want my kids to be equipped for life. And we have done it all over the years from trying to schedule in 15 minute increments, trying to stay up with all that to, “Let’s have no schedule.”
And, in the end, it’s always been just what works for us is a happy medium. Having a outline of our day, but knowing … so important to know that life is part of the curriculum. Every year, especially at this time of the year, homeschooling families … Whenever I speak at this time of the year and I bring this up, they all start cracking up because they know it’s true.
Every year, this time of the year, every homeschool mom is like, “That’s it, this year is done, this year is over, it’s a wash, I’m dead, burned out. But next year is the year when we get it all together.”
And I’m like, “Guess what? Thirteen years haven’t got it all together, there has not been a perfect year yet.” Every year something has happened, whether it was job loss, or one year we had five deaths in those same amount of months; I mean it was a horrible year.
We’ve had great things happen, birth of babies, we’ve had family emergencies, we had so many things to deal with, but yet I feel like you said, our kids have seen how to live life by being immersed in life. People would say to me early on, “Well, how are your kids going to be prepared for the real world?” I’m like, “They’re in the real world every single day.” Right? It’s an immersion classroom.
When we moved, they learned about mortgages, and inspections. They knew more and they know more now, like you said, than I ever, ever did as a young adult or a teenager. And so, the curriculum is, I believe, so secondary, I believe God will work with whatever you choose as long as you’re following him.
And you have to choose a schedule, and a rhythm that works for your family; but, ultimately, it goes back to what we said before it’s all about following God. And not relying on curriculum, not relying on a style, not relying on a method of homeschooling to make your homeschool successful; it’s merely relying on God.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right.
Karen: And he will work no matter what you choose, no matter what style, what method. If I had used that little kindergarten curriculum that somebody gave me, the point is if we’re following God, we cannot go wrong.
Yvette: Yeah, right.
Karen: And that’s how to homeschool. Follow God. Do what he says.
Aby: And I think God already has a path laid out for kids. I mean his word says that he has a plan for them, a plan for good and not evil. And I think sometimes as moms, we carry that weight like, “I cannot miss fractions.” I just realized my daughter, the other day, I’m like, “You are not on top of fractions the way I thought you were.”
And it’s we carry that weight, they have to have every standardized … And I know new moms come in feeling like, “How am I going to do it all?” I think we give ourselves more credit than we should, it’s “God has a plan for my kids, and if I miss something that’s not going to derail God’s plan for my kids.”
He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” And as long as my kids are pointed to Christ, ff they never learned fractions under my home, and I’m not suggesting that, but if they don’t and God has a plan for them that includes fractions, he’s going to give them what they need. And I think sometimes our pride sneaks in to say, “Well I have to do this, and I can do this, and it’s up to me.”
And we carry that which leads to anxiety and that really is pride that says, “I can either make or break my kids.” And as long as we are obeying God’s Word, which really it doesn’t talk about math and language, it talks about his word and teaching and training in righteousness. As long as we’re doing that, he’s going to add all those other things into it.
Aby: So as you said, if we use the worst curriculum out there, God can still use that; he’s God for crying out loud, he’s God can use anything. And so it isn’t this debate of the different kinds of schooling, the different kinds of curriculum. As long as we’re focused on where we need to be focused on, and trust our children, and my husband always tells me, “As much as you love your kids, God loves them more, and he has a plan for them, and they’re going to succeed at whatever he has planned for them, which might be different than our thoughts, as long as they’re speaking him.” So that takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders as a mom too. To just be able to breathe and say, “Today we’re going to spend today together, we’re going to get done what we can get done, but we’re going to do life together and glorify God and, and there will be fruit in that.”
Yvette: Absolutely. Karen, I would love for you to talk on that because, I love everything Aby just said, and we’re talking about how, even if we had just God’s Word it would be enough. Talk about the year that you use the Bible as your core curriculum.
Karen: Yes, there was one year in our homeschool were, again, just the calling of homeschooling, I felt that God was calling me, for that year, to just put the curriculum aside and just study everything out of his word. And so we did language arts, science, history, everything except math, we did have separate math, I always have to say that because I don’t trust myself with the math. But we did everything from the Bible, so I put together a plan, which wasn’t comfortable for me, because I’m more of ‘write it down’ after we did it and then plan out the whole … But I did, I made a plan of how this would look. And I thought to myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? I can’t possibly ruin my children if we’re in the Bible six hours a day, and we’re basing all of our studies off of God’s Word. Because he’s the creator of history, he’s the creator of science.” And we even did supplement some math in there.
So we did that for one year, it was our most amazing year ever, and it was also the year that my husband lost his job, and now he’s self-employed. So it was, at the time, going from that, “Okay, now you’ve lost your job, and we’re going to take this leap of faith and start our own family business.”
And wouldn’t that God knew,. It’s so amazing when I look back at that, because God knew we would need to be in his word, as a family, more than ever; that was such a difficult year. And we started in September, he lost his job in October, and we didn’t make the decision for our family business till March.
So, in that time frame we were like, “We don’t know what we’re going to do.” But here we were in the Bible every single day and guess what? I didn’t spend any extra money on curriculum that year, God knew; he even provided financially. I hadn’t purchased all the stuff I wasn’t going to end up using and wasted any money on curriculum.
We merely used the Bible, we brought in other supplements from the library, and DVDs, and things that; but we did not use any other curriculum. So I do have a course coming up that I’m outlining that because, over the years, that is one thing that I have been asked so much about is how we did this.
And it was the most amazing year, we don’t do it anymore, we don’t have the Bible as our main textbook, we have since used curriculum; however, the Bible is always, always the foundation of everything that we do.
Yvette: Yeah, that is so fantastic. We often have talked about the academics of homeschooling, and we’ve told our girls, “It’s not about the academics, but you have to understand the things that you need to be taught.” Because math is one that people say, “Well, how can you tie that into math?” Well simple because God is a God of order, not chaos, and God created math. He made it to make sense.
Karen: I love that you see God in math because it’s absolute, right?
Yvette: You’re so right.
Karen: “because two plus two is always four.” I tell my kids. Just like God is always God, and His Word is always true.
Yvette: That’s right.
Karen: You can’t change it.
Yvette: He made it. The same with science, if you’re being taught science that is an opposition to God and his word, and you’re learning the lies of the world, it’s not pointing you towards Christ. And so with our kids, “Well, you have to learn the basics of science, you don’t have to be a scientist-
Yvette: But you have to learn the basics of science because science helps you to see the glorious creation of our great God.” I mean it’s just amazing, you cannot look at any part of science, whether it’s the universe, or the human body, or animals, or anything, you can’t look at that and just think, “Yeah, yeah, it all just came about by chance.”
And so, science points our kids to Christ, if you’re teaching them science, according to God’s Word. History is the same way, “In the beginning God created.” And that’s what I love about you having used the Bible as your core curriculum because you start in the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That was the beginning of time. And so when we teach history, you teach it from the beginning of time because, again, it helps to point our kids towards their Creator. And when kids understand who their Creator is, that they were made by their loving creator for a purpose, it changes everything.
We’ve been talking so much about what’s going on in the culture right now, and you think about all the things that are going on and you think about, the abortion Holocaust; that’s going on. And all the insanity of what people are believing to be true, and you think about those people, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose. And even the men and women who are making these decisions in our culture right now, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose.
And it’s because they haven’t been taught that, or maybe they have been taught and they have chosen to reject it, for some reason. But I think that homeschooling is such an integral part of the revival that is coming about in our nation, and that is needed in our nation and in our world.
Because, again, we talked about this at the beginning of this, is that revival begins in the home; it has to begin with parents. Whether you have your kids in school, or homeschool them, or whatever revival has to begin at home, you have to speak truth into the hearts of your kids; it’s just a whole lot easier to do it when you’re homeschooling.
Yvette: It’s almost impossible to do it when they’re in a setting that is teaching them everything that’s contrary to the Word of God, and then having to try to undo that at the end of the day. And there is a revival that’s going on, and it’s very exciting to see it happen. People are waking up, the scales are falling from people’s eyes, and homeschooling is part of that revival, for sure. I’m absolutely certain of it, you see it I see it, people around the globe are seeing it; and so, it’s a neat place to be, it’s a neat time to be homeschooling our kids.
Aby: And there’s going to be a change and a shift, and more people are staying, I think that’s why homeschooling is becoming a thing is we’re seeing it. And we were looking at our door the other day and there were some deer just right out on our street, and there never used to be deer here because we’ve gotten so much snow, historically, that they migrate out.
And the younger generations learn to migrate because the older generations, year after year, they teach them they have their new fawn, they migrate out. Well we had a few dry years where there wasn’t snow, and so these animals … The older generations did not, they didn’t migrate out so the younger generations never learned how to get out of this incredibly snowy place where they’re, starving, they’re being slaughtered by predators.
And as we were looking at this deer we thought it’s due to several generations of not teaching them and showing them the way to safety, and now they’re trapped, and they’re stuck, and they’re being slaughtered left and right in this valley because there’s there’s too much snow they can’t get out now; they’re they’re stuck and they’re trapped.
Karen: That’s an amazing picture.
Aby: And we we’re just thinking … And that’s God’s creation; there’s your science!
Aby: That’s your biology, that’s God’s creation. God designed the older generations of these deer to teach and train these younger ones to migrate out of danger, how to get out of danger in hunting season.
And because that hasn’t been happening, this is where we’re at and we thought with our kids, we’ve had several generations … I mean, it used to be in the schools you hear grandparents say, “Well, schools never were as bad as they are now.” And then the next generation, “Oh, they’re so horrible now they’re teaching transgenderism.” And if we’ve lost this generational hand-down of God’s truth and, at this point, in our generation we have, I believe, no other option but to bring our children home.
Because there is a disconnect between what’s being taught them, and they are being trapped and they’re being led to slaughter; if we don’t get them home and be the older generation that teaches and trains them, the way to safety. So, even that, there was our science lesson. God shows himself in his creation all around us all the time. So we are called to teach and train our kids, otherwise we’re allowing them to be led to a slaughterhouse, essentially.
Karen: That is a great picture!
Yvette: Yes, it is. I want to talk really quickly about husbands, because there may be some husbands who are watching this; I’m assuming if they are they’re watching it maybe with their wives. But I would love for the three of us to maybe talk about how our husbands have encouraged us in this homeschool journey, because that’s such an important part.
I think, oftentimes, husbands don’t realize how very, critically important their role is as homeschool dad; even if they’re not the ones who are in the day-to-day academic part of it. And so, can you guys talk a little bit about, for yourselves, how your husband’s have supported and encouraged you?
Karen: Well, I feel very blessed because Steve, right from the beginning, when I had this little idea he was totally on board and he knew as little as I did. But he was like, “Sure.” He’s very laid back, so he’s just like, “Sure, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll try it.” So he’s always been supportive, so I appreciate that because I know it’s not always the case.
But, I think, when he came home from a traditional work place, and we have our own business, he has been involved in the kid’s education so much; but not at all with the curriculum or the textbooks. Just with teaching them, spending time with them, teaching them life, and he’s a very hands on, we’re a very together family.
So I think just the building of relationships; so important, way beyond the academic stuff. And he’s been involved in all of that relationship building, and just teaching real life. We live out here on our little hobby farm, and teaching the boys the animals, and the garden, and they do everything together, and building things; and all of that is education.
That is not the typical homeschooling curriculum but, like I said, life is the curriculum. So he’s very involved and, like I said, I’m very grateful, because I know that’s not always the case. I’ll have families come to me and say, “Well my husband isn’t on board and that’s difficult.”
But if your husband, if they work outside the home, and their schedule is busy, they can still be teaching so much; like I said, the stuff that’s even more important generally. They can still be teaching just by building that relationship.
We do our family Bible time every evening together, and that’s so important to us because, as I have these teenagers, they’re the ones that say to us after dinner, “When are we doing Bible? When’s Bible?” It’s so ingrained in them that this is what we do at night. And so, it’s a training that takes place over a long period of time, but never underestimate the power of a father, and a father who loves the Lord.
Aby: My husband was homeschooled for part of his education, so he was onboard from the beginning. And a little bit like, “This is what we’re doing with our children, so figure it out.” So true, which is really a huge blessing.
So he’s 100% on board, which is helpful when we waver, and I’m sure I’m not the only mom that sometimes is like, “Ah.” But he’s there and he’s the rock, and that’s huge. It’s huge for my kids to see that their dad’s sold out on this, and that this is what he knows is best for his family and he leads us in that direction.
So I’m very grateful and blessed that we’re in it together. Different families look different, my husband doesn’t do the math, the language, that whole bit, he really trusts me. And then sometimes I’ll be like, “What do you think of these two curriculums?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you got this. [inaudible 00:42:40] I can pray for you, I will pray for you.”
But some families the dad’s do a lot of the … I have a friend and the dad does the math, and that’s just how they work, so it looks different; and that’s the beauty of homeschool is that it looks different.
My husband’s very all hands on deck very, very involved. But I do want to speak to the moms that don’t have that. I have a very dear friend and her husband is not a believer either, and it’s very discouraging for her because you already, somewhat, feel alone sometimes in what we do.
And so she feels even more alone and I constantly encourage her and say, “You have an opportunity to lean on God in such a different way than a lot of people. And he is the godly father for your children and he is your husband and supporting you of this.” And that’s not to say that because you don’t have a husband that’s on board, and one of the greatest things I tell her is, “He’s letting you do this. He’s okay with you doing this, and that’s huge, and praise God for that.” So I’m very grateful I’m very blessed that my husband loves the Lord, above all, and wants to teach and train our kids in his word; but I know that’s not the case with everyone and that does not mean that it’s not doable.
Yvette: Yeah, yeah. And there are many husbands who are not on-board with homeschooling, they don’t want their wives to do it, and as hard as it is to say this, I would say if that’s the case, then honor your husband.
Yvette: If your husband is not on board and he is non supportive, then be respectful of him, because he still is the head of your household. And so I would respect that.
Aby: And entrust your children to the Lord.
Yvette: That’s right.
Aby: Trust that God will protect your children.
Yvette: That’s right, that’s exactly right and he will if you’re faithful. And that doesn’t mean that you still won’t have opportunities to teach them the truth of God’s Word, and to instill Godly character traits into them; because there’s always opportunities to do that.
And then there may be some who don’t have a husband, they’re a single mom for whatever reason. And like you said, Aby, just allow God to fill that gap. Allow God to fill that that role of husband, and he will be the one, and find an older gentleman … maybe your pastor, or your dad, or another Godly man to come alongside of you, and pray for you, and pray with you, and encourage you in this endeavor to homeschool. And God will provide, he will be faithful in those things. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but he will be faithful in doing those things.
And yeah, and just like the both of you talked about, I’m grateful to have a husband who encourages me and we, from the beginning, we both together had said we would never homeschool. We used to joke about it, we’d say “We’d never, ever, ever do that to our kids or to ourselves.”
Karen: And now you’re making a movie.
Yvette: And now we’re making a move about it, directed by my husband; God has a sense of humor. But once, the Lord changed our hearts and, thankfully, he changed them together, I think it would have been really hard if my heart had been changed and not my husband’s, or the other way around.
But, thankfully, we went to that convention together that first year and God just said, “No, here you go, this is what you’re going to do.” And the same with you, Garret does not have a whole lot to do with the decisions about curriculum or anything that; he trusts me with that.
But he leads our family spiritually really well, I mean, every day we have our family Bible time, and he spends time teaching our kids the Word of God and praying with them; and it’s such a beautiful thing to see. And he’s committed to that, and I heard a pastor actually one of the gentlemen that we filmed for the movie, his name is Scott LaPierre, and he said, “Oftentimes, men will come to him to him and say, ‘I really don’t know a lot about the Bible, I don’t know how to lead my family spiritually’.”
And he says, “If you can read, you can read God’s Word. It doesn’t take more than that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to be able to lead your family spiritually, you have to be willing to just open it up and read it.” And for goodness sake, even if you can’t read, you can listen to an audio version! So God is faithful though. I want to talk about two more things, really quickly, before we end. I want you each to tell about what your very favorite thing is about homeschooling.
Karen: I would say the family time, and the fact that we have … Now that I said we’re graduating one, and we have these three teenagers, and then my 10 year old, there’s nothing that can replace the amount of time we’ve spent together. And the fact that we can take trips whenever we want, when I go speaking, and I bring them all with me.
And the time, and seeing their relationships, I crack up every night because they’re in our room till the latest hours of night, and I’m like, “Get out of my room.” My husband and I, we’re like “Get out.” And then I look at him and I’m like, “Do you understand she’s 18 and doesn’t want to leave our room?” I mean, when I was 18, the last place I wanted to be was in daddy’s room at 11:30 at night.
Karen: So it’s just that we have so much fun together, especially now that they’re older. Some moms a little ones out there, I promise you it gets better. But having these fun people, and seeing that, it’s because I believe the amount of time we’ve spent together … And not that it was always joyful, there was horrible times, good times, but because we did it together, and we relied on God, and when we messed up, we went back to God. And so, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Harvard, nothing academically, nothing at all could compare to having the relationships that we have built between and, like you said, we’re not perfect, we have our moments, we have our disputes. But when all is said and done, we are so close. it’s been a good thing; this is why we do it. So that these relationships, and so that we know that we have done our job to pass down our faith to the next generation, who then will pass that down to the next generation.
And not just those generations, but all those people they come in contact with; the effect is huge just teaching these four children. Because they’re going to teach the next generation, and the next generation, and everybody those people come into contact; it’s huge.
Yvette: Yeah, the ripple effect.
Karen: Yeah, there’s nothing that I would ever compare; that, to me, is the reason. It has nothing to do like, “Oh we learned this great lesson, or these academics.” It’s all about the relationships; that’s been my very favorite thing.
Aby: I would say, I mean, the very same thing relationships. And I’ve learned … You know that saying, “The days are long but the years are short when they’re really little.” And now that we’re further along in this, I’m realizing how fast it goes.
I mean, I’m going to blink and those kids will, Karen you see; they’re graduating. And I just think we have 18 years with them under our roof. I think how devastating to me to send them out for half of that, to cut that time in half, because I love spending time with my kids, I love getting to know them and who God made them, and they’re just everything about who God has designed them to be. And if I had to share those 18 years with somebody else, and send them out of my home for half that time, there’s no way I want to cut that time in half.
So, the relationships, the freedom of being able to … I mean, I love that when dad gets home early, we’re done. We go as a family, and just being able to do what God has called our family to do, and not be dependent upon another system’s schedules, and ideals of what we should be doing; I love that. And also too, I love being able to teach to who my kids are.
And that’s something that was really hard to do … Well was impossible to do as a public school teacher is I had to teach this and, hopefully, they fit in this. But I love how different God made my kids, and being able to teach them according to those things; that has been such a joy to do. And, again, pass down … I mean, big picture passed down who God it to my kids and know that they’re going to pass that down. So I think it’s kind of the same for all of us most likely.
Yvette: Yeah, well I’m going to piggyback on that from both of you and say it’s hands down, it’s the same thing. I told you Garrett and I said we would never, ever homeschool our kids and, one of the reasons that I, foolishly, thought that was because I used to think, “Why would I be around my kids all day every day?” I always thought that.
And the ironic thing about that is it took us almost 11 years to have our first daughter, and I desperately wanted to be a mom; I mean, all I ever wanted growing up was to be a wife and a mom. I got married young, and then it took 11 years to have our first, and I so desperately wanted this child.
And then I had her, and I remember she was maybe about three months old or so, and I remember one day just holding her and it was this moment where she locked eyes with me, and there was something about that moment where just my deep love for her was so real; like it almost hurt, that almost painful mom love where you’re just like, “I can’t even imagine loving another human being as much as I love this child.” That I waited for her so … Whether you waited or not, but this child that you hold in your arms and you just love them with such a deep love.
And then I would think, “But I don’t want to be around her all day every day, that would annoy me.” And then it came time to think about school, and that was one of the things that started leading us towards homeschooling is because I thought, “I genuinely love being with her.”
And I was recently talking to a mom who was saying, “It would drive me crazy to be around my kids all day every day.” And if you think about that, if you’re not around your kid all day, and they’re being raised by someone else, and they’re being instructed by someone else, they are not going to behave according to your standards, because they’re not with you, they’re with someone else most of the time. Most of their waking hours, they’re under the supervision and care of someone else, so they’re not going to be trained to the way that you’re going to train them.
Yeah. And so when we have them all the time, we get to train them. It doesn’t that mean it’s easy, I mean, we all deal with discipline, but we get to train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them, according to His Word. And so they become a delight, they’re fun, most of the time. I mean, you’ve got your moments…
Karen: Even at 11:30 at night.
Yvette: Even at 11:30 at night. But it’s such a delight. And I know for myself, if we have to take a trip apart from our girls, or even sometimes, honestly, if I’m gone for a few hours, I miss them. Because it’s almost like I feel like I’m missing a limb or something. And I truly enjoy being with my kids and the relationship that it allows me, because we homeschool them and we get to have them home with us; it is so much fun.
Karen: And it does take time, like you said, to cultivate that. If we’re sending them out, and it’s starting at six weeks that they’re outside of the home, and I’m living my life at my job, they’re at their daycare, and they’re at their school out, and we’re not cultivating that relationship. So then it does become difficult to build those bonds and, honestly, those bonds might not even be there. So it does feel like maybe you’re living with strangers, because you spend so much apart.
So that is a really good point. And so we do need to cultivate that by being together.
Yvette: Yeah, and even the sibling relationships that are formed between them. And, again, I mean there’s still going to be squabbles between siblings. It’s different, my girls have such a bond, they’re almost five years apart, and they have a bond with each other that is undeniable. And it’s really neat to see them because I never had a connection with my sister, I love my sister, but I never, ever had a connection or friendship with her like my girls have with one another. And so I love that they get to be each other’s best friends, I mean, and we told them early on, “You’d better learn to each other because you’re kind of all each other has.”
And they have other friends and stuff, but on a day-to-day basis, its them; and so, it’s such a blessing. So okay we have just, literally, a couple more minutes and I just want to end with an encouragement; and I want to encourage two different moms.
So first, let’s encourage the mom who’s maybe thinking about homeschooling, and she’s just not sure if this is the right thing for her. And then encourage the mom who’s in the middle of it, and she’s feeling discouraged, and just maybe ready to give up. So what would you say to those two different moms? Aby, let’s start this one with you.
Aby: Okay, the first mom that’s thinking about it, I say just do it; just hop in and do it. I think there’s a lot of moms that have three year olds, I’ve had three this week and their oldest is three and they say, “Can I meet to go over curriculum with you?” And I say, “Three? No, but you can meet and let’s talk, let’s pray, and let’s get our ‘why’ at least down. And let’s talk about what God’s plan is for you as a mom.”
And so I would say to them, “Don’t sweat the schooling, build the character, build the relationships, invest in the lives that God has given you to invest in. And above all, be obedient to God in what he’s called you, because I guarantee you when you’re obedient, he will give you all you need to do it, and you’ll be beyond blessed.”
And for the mom that’s in the midst of it, that’s tired, I’d say, “We’ve all been there, we’ve all been there, you’re not alone.” And probably the greatest encouragement I would say is, “Step back from the school.” Again, “Step back from this idea of school, and go enjoy your kids, go breathe life into your kids, go build those relationships, cultivate that unity and that bond. And pray that God would ignite the passion that started you there, and remember back.” It’s really fun for the three of us to tell our stories, I really enjoyed this because it reminds us where this all came from and what God put in us to do this. So go back and remember what God told you to do, and remember that he’ll do it through you, if you lay your life down.
Karen: I would say for the mom just starting out, just pray, pray, pray, and if God calls you to it, he will equip you. Echoing what everybody said, just do it, he will not fail you.
But you have to seek him. I would say, “Don’t listen to anybody else but him.” I say this when I speak, “Don’t listen to me, listen to God. This isn’t what Karen says to do. Hopefully, God will use me to encourage but, ultimately, this is between you and God.”
And so really try to drown out the other voices, which is so important, so that you can hear God’s voice. We live in a very noisy world, and everybody’s trying to say how to do it and what to do. So, this is between you and God, this is a personal decision, pray and Matthew 6:33 like we’ve been saying, “Seek mim first.” And then just do it.
I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I truly believe though that if God is calling somebody, you do need to just take that step of faith, and put the fear aside. Because if I had listened to fear, I cannot even imagine how different our life would be right now.
Because there was tons of fear, and then that would bring me to, if you’re in the middle of it, again, keep walking in that faith, don’t listen to that fear. And remember that homeschooling is a mission field, your children are your mission. And no missionary goes out on the mission field and it says like, “This is going to be so easy, and comfortable, and safe, and I can’t wait, it’s going to be so easy.”
Any missionary has difficulty and has to rely on God and sometimes it’s dangerous, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and it’s the same thing; nothing worth doing is going to be easy. So when it gets hard, does not mean it’s not working; in fact, that’s when God is working.
So if it’s hard, don’t throw in the towel and say this is too hard say, “Wow what does God want to do through this?” Because I can look back on all the years I did look at the school one year, the local private school the year that I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.”
And, thankfully, like you said before Aby, you look back and say, “Wait, God called me to this, he will equip me.” So really remembering what he’s done, but there’s been many times where I wanted to throw in the towel, and you always have to remember that it’s not going to be easy and, in fact, that is where the most work will happen.
Karen: And when you get through it on the other side, and you look back and you realize this was God’s plan; it’s amazing. So, I would say to the person starting out and the person in the middle, don’t rely on yourself; just fully rely on God.
Yvette: Yes, amen. And I agree completely, do it scared! I think that’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard is, “If you’re afraid to jump on this homeschooling train, jump on any way, do it scared.” And have people come alongside of you who can encourage you, there are lots of things.
Karen you have a podcast, I have a podcast, there are lots of great podcasts out there, there’s a lot of good … There’re YouTube videos, there are a ton of good books. Karen, I know you’ve written several books, and we’ll actually at the very end, again, repeat where people can find you.
There are so many great resources out there and, like you said, it can be noisy, and there’s a lot out there. But find somebody … hopefully someone who’s local who can actually come alongside of you physically and pray with you and help walk you through this.
And if you don’t have that, I mean, there are places in the country that don’t have that, I’m aware of that. Find people through podcasts, or books, or online. I say that with hesitation because you can get a lot of really bad advice on Facebook, believe it or not; not everything you hear on Facebook is true!
Karen: But if you are listening to God, you’re able to discern.
That’s what I always say. If you’re in the Word, and you have a good relationship with God, then you’re able to discern all those voices.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right, and seek out wisdom. Our family, right now, is reading through Psalms and we often read through Proverbs, and we’ve actually been reading Psalm 8 and it’s all about wisdom. And so go read Psalm 8, and go read the book of James and if we asked for wisdom, God will give it to us; and so do it scared.
And then, again, for that mom who’s in the midst of it, just keep on. If you need to take a break, take a break; it’s okay. It’s better to take a break, even if you have to take a break for the rest of the year.
Take a break, it’s better to do that than it is to give up completely and put them in a system that’s going to teach them everything that you don’t want them to learn. So those would be my two encouragements.
Karen where can people find you?
Karen: You can find me at SimplyLivingForHim.com, which where also you can find the podcast there, the podcast is available on all the podcast streaming apps, you can find my books there. In just a few weeks, we are releasing the Bible-based homeschooling e-Course.
You can actually find some resources for the Christian homeschooling family at biblebasedhomeschooling.com, that is my other website. But if you come to Simply Living for Him, or you can follow me over there on Instagram or Facebook page, I have a lot of interaction with my audience; I would love to see you there.