125 Episodes of Homeschooling Encouragement!

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

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

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

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

Podcast episodes mentioned throughout this conversation:

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

The Benefits of Homeschooling, with Aby Rinella

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

A Public School Teacher’s Perspective, with Caleb Schroeder

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

7 Steps to Homeschool Success – Crystal Twibell

Equipping the Next Generation to Transform Culture

“We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship.”

– Meeke Addison

Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to interview Meeke Addison for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast about the importance of preparing our children for the ongoing culture war. Meeke Addison is the Assistant Director of Special Initiatives at the American Family Association and co-host of Airing the Addisons on AFR. Her work with AFA began in 2007 as a stay-at-home mom in Louisiana. Since then she has primarily served on-air as a radio personality.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked PodcastI have such a great guest on today with me, and I’m so excited for you to get to meet her. Her name is Meeke Addison, and she was actually introduced to me by Israel Wayne. I know that many of you know Israel. He’s been on the podcast several times, and he said, “You need to meet this lady, Meeke Addison.” And I said, “Okay,” so we started checking into her, because this is what we do. We use the internet to spy on people. And so, Garritt actually started listening to your radio show, and just following you on Facebook. He’s been for months, and he said, “We have got to get this lady on the podcast. She is such an encouragement.” So, I’m really, really excited, Meeke, to have you on today. I would love it if you would introduce yourself to our audience.

Listen to Meeke Addison on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (3/30 and 4/2/2020 episodes)

Meeke Addison:            Well, thank you. I’m so excited to be with you guys, and that means so much to know, because we have so many different outlets, people can listen to whatever they want. So, it’s an honor to me and for me that anybody would listen to anything that I have to say. I’m Wil Addison’s wife, and we’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m the mother of his five children, and we homeschool. That’s my full-time job. My part-time job is as a spokesperson for the American Family Association, and I picked that up from my good friend, Abraham Hamilton. He says that what we do out in the culture, that is part-time work, but that our full-time work is with our families.

Meeke Addison:            And so, anyway, I do that, and I host a national radio show for an hour, Monday through Friday, where we talk about cultural issues. We talk about marriage, the family. We look at what’s going on with the church, and how we can hold the line. That’s what we’re constantly encouraging people to do, hold the line in 21st century America.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, I love it. Well, you are doing amazing work. I love what you just said about Abraham Hamilton III, right?

Meeke Addison:            That’s correct.

Yvette Hampton:           He’s your pastor, I learned, and he’s another great advocate for Jesus and homeschooling and culture, and just this desperate revival that we are in need of. You said that being a mom is a full-time job, and the other stuff is your part-time job. And we just actually did a podcast about motherhood, the ministry of motherhood. I kind of gave my testimony of what the Lord’s been doing in my heart, and going from working full-time with Schoolhouse Rocked, and pouring my whole self into that and realizing that my first priority really needed to be my children. And so, the Lord has really been working in our family, and kind of allowing me to let go of some Schoolhouse Rocked stuff, except for the podcast, and allowing me to be more present with my family. And so, I love that that is your primary ministry as well.

Yvette Hampton:           And you know, that podcast, it wasn’t at all to say we shouldn’t ever work, as wives and as moms, we should never, ever, ever work outside of taking care of our families. But there has to be balance in doing that. We need to know what our priorities are, and so I really appreciate you saying that.

Meeke is a speaker for the live, interactive, online 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Check out a FREE preview (7 sessions – over 9 hours of content) here!

Yvette Hampton:           I know that the Lord has done many great things through you, and you and I got to talk on the phone the other day, and you got to share with me your story about how you started homeschooling. And so, I would love for you to tell that story, and then I want to talk about culture, and how homeschooling kind of ties into this whole culture war that we have going on. So, share with us your homeschool story.

Meeke Addison:            We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship. You are making people who are followers. And so, we had our kids, the two oldest of the five were educated traditionally, outside of our home, and one of the things that we noticed was just these slow changes happening in them, where the things that they cared about and the things that grabbed their attention seemed to be more the things of the world.

Meeke Addison:            And they had wonderful, Godly teachers. We live in a small community, and so they went down to First Baptist in our area, and the teachers are active in the community. But at the same time, I started to notice that those became my girls’ influence, that their teachers and that their peers were their influence. Add to that, I felt like I was spending 2-3 hours after they got home every day just kind of reteaching them, and Yvette, I just felt like, why am I doing this? I’m frustrated, and then also I’m adding time to my day to teach them the way I wanted them to be taught.

Watch Meeke Addison’s live, interactive, online session for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo on the Homegrown Generation Family Expo Live Event Facebook group. Lifetime access to video replays and audio downloads is just $20 at HomegrownGeneration.com.

Meeke Addison:            And after prayer, and just Will and I putting our heads together, we felt like the Lord was really directing us to homeschool them. I guess that was 2015, and we haven’t looked back. I was expecting baby number four. I keep track of life by the babies that I’m expecting. But I was expecting baby number four, and that’s when we made the decision that when the school year came to a close, we would homeschool.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. I love that. In your radio show that you host, you talk a lot about culture, and this culture war that we are in. And I would love for you to talk about it from the perspective of a Christian homeschool mom. What do you see going on in the culture right now, and how can we as homeschool moms help this revival that is really needed to take place?

“The reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness.”

– Meeke Addison

Meeke Addison:            I think one of the big mistakes that we make is that we think the culture is neutral. We think that the culture does not have a goal or an aim, or that it is not aggressive with that goal or that aim. And that’s one of the things that we try to sort of awake and stir the Christian community to see, in that the culture is making grabs all the time, and actually, it’s predominant, right? Our country has undergone a shift where it’s no longer the Christian culture that is predominant. We’ve heard people describe this as post-Christian America, and what does this look like?

Meeke Addison:            But the reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness. So, you can’t just expect your kid to be out in this culture and be unaffected. Your kid doesn’t just go out into the world and arrive at a neutral position. Your kid going out into the world is going to arrive at the position that’s already established by the culture. And it is antithetical to the faith.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right. It truly is, and we’re trusting that because we have them at home with us, when we have them at home with us if we have them out in the public, we’re teaching them Bible verses, and maybe they go to one, and they go to church on Sunday morning, and so we think oftentimes at Christian parents, well, that’s enough. They know we love Jesus. But then for 35 or 40 hours a week, we’re putting them under the influence of someone else, and someone else’s ideas, and someone else’s religion, really, because everybody believes in something, and there is religion being taught in public schools. And oftentimes even in private schools, there is false religion being taught in those schools, as well. And so, yes, I think it’s a very difficult thing to expect our kids to spend all of that time away from us, and then still come back with our own values and believes and morals. It’s a war. It’s a battle that we fight.

Meeke Addison:            It is a war.

Yvette Hampton:           What can we as parents who, some listening to this are homeschool parents, some are not. Some are trying to future out this homeschool thing and wondering is this for us, is this something that we want to pursue. How can we have a greater influence on our kids, and therefore in our culture?

Meeke Addison:            The first thing I think we have to realize is that there is the need for greater influence. I think sometimes, we start talking about hey, here are some solutions you have to do, but I don’t know that Christian parents, or even nominal Christian parents, have even bought in to the idea that there’s really a war, that they really need to be aggressive in this. And so, one of the things that we try to do with our kids is, we try to parent them for the America that they live in now. Not the America that we knew. Not the America that our grandparents knew. But we try to parent our kids based on the America that we live in now and the unchanging message of the Gospel.

Meeke Addison:            So, we still teach our kids that they are peculiar. We teach them that they will have, by default, a different approach to live, and we believe that we have to prepare them now so that when they go out into the world, they’re not shocked to discover that they’re not well-liked. They’re not shocked to discover that people don’t love their message. Because you know what, there was a time when we were all just pretty good. Christians were everywhere, and everybody kind of had the same values and the same morals.

Meeke Addison:            But for those of us that are adhering to the word of God, we’re waking up to the reality that where the rubber meets the road is that a Bible-believing Christian will be called hateful, will be called a bigot, will be called narrow-minded. And you can believe in a Jesus who accepts everyone as they are and doesn’t require anything of us, and is just one path among many. But if you say what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, that he is the only way, he is the only way to God, he is the only one who forgives our sin, then you’re narrow-minded, and we don’t want that type of Christian to be in our circles. So, we prepare our kids, and this is going to sound weird, I know, but we prepare our kids to not be popular in the current culture that we live in.

Yvette Hampton:           How do you do that? Practically speaking?

Meeke Addison:            Okay, this is going to sound really weird, right? But one of the verses, and we may get into this a little bit later, but I really believe that a kid or a student who is fully trained, as the Bible teaches us, is going to be like their teacher, right?

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right, Luke 6:40.

Meeke Addison:            Exactly right. So, I try to ensure that Wil and I are the number one influences in our kids’ lives. And so, we model for them that we as your parents are not chasing after the latest fad. We’re not into everything that’s cool and popular. There are things that we filter, even as adults. We constantly tell our kids, the things that we say, no, you’re not going to participate in that, or we don’t watch that, we call it consumption, we’re not consuming those things, you know what I mean? We tell them, guess what, we subject ourselves to these same rules, because these rules aren’t arbitrary. It’s not, we do it because we’re adults and you can’t because you’re kids. We say, no, this is what we do as people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Meeke Addison:            So, practically, what we try to do is make sure that we ourselves are not in the world to be loved by the world. That we’re not in the world to be liked. So, that means that we’re not ripping and running all the time. We’re not trying to keep up on the latest things. I cannot stress enough how parents influence their kids with their actions more than what they say. So, it means that the things that we value, we want to make sure that it’s Biblical, and then we want to communicate that it our kids so that these are also the things that they value, and it’s as natural to them as breathing. It’s the way that we live our lives.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes, yes. I love that so much. It’s a hard thing to do, especially because we have grown up in a culture where we want to be liked. We want to be popular. I definitely, thinking back to my high school years, it’s so funny, I was just talking to my daughter about this the other day, and I said, I remember high school and junior high like it was yesterday. I graduated in 1993, and that was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And I remember that deep desire to be popular. I wanted to be liked by everybody, and I wanted to be the cool girl.

Yvette Hampton:           And that’s something that even as an adult, I find myself going into, I want people to like me. I don’t want people to dislike me. And it’s hard to not conform to the culture around us. But I mentioned this on last week’s podcast, where we talked about when my oldest was born, I had a very wise mom come along side me, and she said, you become the wife and mom that you want her to grow up to be.

Meeke Addison:            Yes!

Yvette Hampton:           And that’s it.

Meeke Addison:            That’s wonderful.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s who I want her to become. And I’m going to fail a million times, because I’m a simple human, but at least I can attempt and to my very best to be who God made me be. And then we get to teach our kids. I went on a walk with her this morning, actually, and we were talking about identity, and how her identity is found in Christ and being Christlike. It’s not found in the culture. It’s not found in what magazines say is the new fashion, and what things on TV say, and how you should talk, and what music you should listen to. And it’s hard to keep them from that.

Yvette Hampton:           We’re very intentional about what our girls say. We’re not TV-watchers. We’re not really big movie-watchers, which is kind of ironic, since my husband is a filmmaker. But oftentimes, we sit down and we’re like, let’s see if we can watch a movie, and it seems almost impossible to find even a decent movie for us to watch as a family.

Meeke Addison:            I agree.

Yvette Hampton:           But that’s okay. Then we end up playing a game, which is what we do all the time anyway. But it is difficult. It’s difficult to be set apart. How do your children react to that? Has that just been something that they just know, because that’s how your family is? Or do they push against you on that ever?

Meeke Addison:            No, I have to say, each of our kids has their own unique personality. I’ve noticed that there are objections, but those objections are raised differently. With our oldest, she tends to be, she was very strong-willed. From the age of three to seven, it was consistent and constant discipline and character-shaping. Oh my goodness, it was exhausting for me. But man, the spirit of God just really gave ne, I guess, the endurance to know that if I can get to this point and not just leave her on autopilot, it’s going to produce a reward, and I have seen that. She’s 13 years old now, and she is my second-in-command. We always had that ability, but it needed to be channeled.

Meeke Addison:            I remember having a conversation with her, she was maybe about seven or eight, and it was almost the height of the rebellion, challenging everything. And I said to her, I said, listen, without consequence, let’s have a conversation. What do you want? What is going on? I said, you’re not going to be in trouble. I just need to know what it is. And my daughter said to me, she said, I want to be your boss. I want to be your boss.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, at least she knew.

Meeke Addison:            This was a breakthrough for me, because I understood that what we’re doing here is now we’re battling for leadership. And so, I had an opportunity to teach her that the time is going to come where she is going to be able to be in her own family, and she will be the mom in the family. She will be in that position of leadership. And it was a wonderful moment, and it changed the course of our relationship. So now, she is actually very honest with me when she is tempted to rebel. When she feels like things are not going her way, we’ve built the kind of relationship where she will tell me.

Meeke Addison:            Then, I have my second daughter, who is compliant outwardly, but inwardly, no. I disagree. I don’t understand the reasoning. I don’t understand why we have to do it that way. And I’ve noticed that in her, and so I’ve tried to encourage honesty and transparency. Do you sometimes think that my rules are arbitrary? Yes. Do you sometimes think that we don’t need to do it that way? Yes. Let me explain to you why we’re doing it this way, and let me explain to you that again, when you’re married, or if that’s not the Lord’s will for you, but when you’re on your own or however this all works out, after you leave this house, which that’s a whole other topic, we’re not pushing our kids out. But so, I have to deal with them each differently.

Meeke Addison:            And then, I have another son who he doesn’t understand why the world is so wicked. He really just doesn’t understand why people are not better. He’s 10. He’s very philosophical in his thinking. He’s very scholarly, so he reads a lot. And he reads the Bible a lot on his own. He just loves the Word of God. And he goes, there’s nothing that the Bible doesn’t speak to, is what he says all the time, when he has an issue.

Meeke Addison:            And to go back to another question that you asked, Yvette, one of the things that we have tried to do, as homeschooling parents, we still try to make sure that our kids do not see us as the final authority. We position the Word of God as the final authority, and when they ask us questions, we take them to the Scriptures, and we say to them all the time, this is the straight edge. This is the straight edge. And so, we try to take them back to the Word of God, and I feel like that’s helped them to process a lot of what our objections are, because they see them as Biblical objections and not just parental usurpation. I don’t know. I guess these little people, they want to be independent.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes, yes. I love it so much. And it’s true. Our girls are kind of flip-flopped from yours, in that my oldest is the more outwardly compliant, and my youngest is very strong-willed, and it’s so net to hear her, because we’ve really been working on her strong will. And it’s strong. I didn’t … I never really understood what a temper tantrum was until she came along. Then I was like, oh, that’s actually a thing. It’s different from a tantrum. A temper tantrum is something completely different.

Meeke Addison:            Wow.

Yvette Hampton:           But she prays now. Like yours, she has such a soft heart, and often, almost daily, she prays, Lord, help me to use my strong will in a way that honors You. Because God gave her that strong will, and I want her to use it in a way that honors Him. I don’t want to take it away from her. She just needs to use it in the right direction.

Meeke Addison:            That’s right.

Yvette Hampton:           She can do big things for His Kingdom if will learn to honor and obey Him. And what a beautiful thing.

Yvette Hampton:           We were talking about how God is the final authority, and we were talking about parenting, and just teaching our kids that it’s not our rules that we are enforcing upon our children, but it’s really God’s authority, and just saying this is what God has for us. And I say this on the podcast all the time, so for those who listen, they know. One of the things we tell our girls constantly, and it has been said many times today. Today has been one of those days for us. But we tell them all the time that sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.

Meeke Addison:            Amen.

Yvette Hampton:           And the reason that we want them to obey is because we want them to have a life of blessings, and not a life of pain. And here’s the thing, life is painful. Obedience doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any pain in your life at all, because we live in a sinful, fallen world. But it’s a different kind of pain than the pain that you choose for yourself because of your own disobedience.

Yvette Hampton:           And so, we are constantly trying to just pour God’s word over them, and it’s one of the greatest things about having them home with us, is because we get to be the ones … you and I were talking about the different character traits in our children, the strong-willed versus the one who is outwardly obedient but not so much inwardly obedient. And when we have them with us for the majority of the time, we get to work with them one-on-one and focus on who God created them to be, and what a wonderful and amazing privilege that we have. And not just a privilege, but a responsibility that we have as their parents to pour truth into their hearts, and help them to become who God created them to be.

Yvette Hampton:           So, I would love for you, I know you’ve got some scripture that you share with your kids and your family, and I would love for you to share with us some scripture that you go back to for conviction, and for the encouragement and training of your children.

Meeke Addison:            Yeah. One of them we kind of alluded to in the previous broadcast, which was the understanding that … and this is sort of like, whenever it’s taxing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, or whenever I feel like maybe I talk to a friend, and they’re like, we’re studying this and we’re doing this, and that temptation kind of rises up to compare yourself, and you think, wait a minute, should I also be doing that? I don’t know if I’m …

Meeke Addison:            And I think about, what’s the purpose? Why am I doing what I’m doing? I’m not doing this so that my kids will be competitive in the world. That’s not the reason that I’m doing this. I am doing this because I really do believe that when a student is fully trained, he or she will be like their teacher. And so, I go back to that whenever I feel discouraged, whenever I feel like I’m overwhelmed, or even when the enemy tries to condemn me. These feelings that we battle with as moms, like am I meeting all of their goals? Are there going to be gaps? Are there things that I don’t know?

Meeke Addison:            I remind myself of the reason that I’m doing this, and the reason that I’m doing this is so that I can pass the Gospel on to them intact. I want them to have the truth of the Gospel. Not some American version of the Gospel. Not some 21st century version of the Gospel. But I want them to have the faith as it has been handed down to us, and that’s why we do what we do.

Yvette Hampton:           Yep. You talk about the American version of the Gospel, and I know that one of the things that you really focus on in your ministry is the church, and where the church is today. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing in church culture, and how we can be part of some change that needs to go on?

Meeke Addison:            Yeah. I feel like there’s always been a battle in the church. I tell people all the time that the Gospel has never existed in safety. We have this idea where we think that back in this day, or in this time period, it was just easy to hold on to the Gospel. It’s never been easy to hold on to the Gospel. Through persecution, through loss of live, through insidious methods infiltrating the church, the Gospel has always been under attack.

Meeke Addison:            But I think in the United States of America, it’s been different because we kind of think that that can’t happen in the United States of America, that the Gospel cannot be under attack because America, and my husband says this often, America and Christianity have grown up alongside one another. And so now, people think that Americanism is Christianity.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Meeke Addison:            But the two are distinct, and one is supposed to influence the other. It’s supposed to be Christianity that influences the culture, influences the nature. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is, we’ve seen Americanism influence Christianity, and that was never supposed to be. We see this represented in our churches, where our churches have growth models, like they’re businesses, right? Where how do we grow our church? Well, you do that by conversion. You do that because the Gospel bears fruit everywhere that it’s preached, and then the church grows.

Meeke Addison:            If you read through Acts, we’ve been studying through the Book of Acts with our children, because we want them to understand that our faith is real, that it’s something that has passed down through generations, that it holds up under scrutiny. And so, when you go back to that, when you look at the Lord adding daily to the number of believers who are being saved, you look at the Gospel bearing fruit, one of the things I think that our church got into, our churches in America, was really just Americanism.

Meeke Addison:            How do we create more popular youth groups? And I’m not anti-youth groups, but I just feel like if we have gotten to a place, and Yvette, I think we have, but if we’ve gotten to a place where we think it’s the youth pastor’s job to train my kid, if I think it’s the church’s job to equip my kid to stand against the onslaught of the culture, then I’m sorry, and not to be offensive, but we’re raising lazy Christians. And we ourselves are lazy believers. If we think that someone else is supposed to do that, it’s sort of like outsourcing discipleship. You know what I mean? Who can I get to do that for me, so that I don’t have to get my hands dirty? Well, you’re going to get your hands dirty.

Meeke Addison:            My husband says all the time, he says, we glamorize being fishers of men, and yeah, but at some point when you catch the fish, you have to clean them. It doesn’t stop with catching them, and that’s the discipleship. That’s the dirty work, where you have to really get in there and shape character. Well, I’m doing that first and foremost with my kids. That’s where it starts, and then after that, I’m discipling women, because I believe the Lord has called us to that, that older women are to teach younger women.

Meeke Addison:            And so, that’s important to me. But my work is first with my own kids. They’re right here. They’re closest to me in proximity. So, I don’t want to skip over them and then go to meet somebody else’s need, and my own kids are growing up like these wild weeds, you know?

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love this conversation. I love what we’re talking about. I love talking about the church, and how America has really influenced the church, instead of the church influencing America. And that’s really what we’re seeing happen. And it’s not just in America, actually. It’s all over the world. We see that in European countries. I mean, it’s everywhere.

Yvette Hampton:           And I think that Satan is very clever. I think that he wants people to believe that they’re Christians if they go to church and they say all the right things, and they serve in church, and they serve the homeless. And I’m not saying any of that stuff is bad by any means. Of course it’s not. But we tend to think that just playing the game is our ticket to heaven, instead of people having a really deep, sincere, longing relationship with and for the Lord.

Yvette Hampton:           That is one of the things that we desperately work on teaching our girls, is we want them to thirst for the Lord. We want them to desperately want to know Him and have a relationship with Him, because it’s their relationship, it’s not ours. They don’t get to ride on our coattails into heaven.

Meeke Addison:            That’s right.

Yvette Hampton:           And it’s a hard thing to do. But all we can do is what God has called us to do, and be diligent in doing that. You have such a passion for Christian parents, and I know that for women, as well. You talked about Titus 2:3-5, and that the older women are to teach the younger women. And you’ve talked about this a little bit already, you did this in the first part of the podcast, but I would love for you to give some very practical advice on how we can very practically teach our children to love Jesus.

Meeke Addison:            My first piece of advice would be, we have to live that out. That has to be true for us. We can’t desire something for our kids that isn’t fist true for us.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Meeke Addison:            So, that’s our first prayer point, that we as the Lord, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to give us a genuine love for Him, that we ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart, to renew our right spirit within us. If the things of this world have overtaken us, then we need to confess that. We need to bring that to the Lord. If we ourselves have been, I don’t know, captivated by Americanism, then again, we need to confess that and bring that to the Lord. So, that’s number one.

Meeke Addison:            Number two, I approach training our kids like I approach discipling other people’s kids. We were missionaries for a number of years, and we trained university kids. And so, I look at my kids like an extension of that work that we did as missionaries. That means that I start with the Word of God as our authority and as our straight edge, and I talk to them like real people made in the image of God. I don’t disciple them, and this would be point number three.

Meeke Addison:            I don’t disciple them for them to make me look good. Because our kids are not here to make us look good. In fact, our kids are going to embarrass us. Our kids are going to say things, they’re going to have these little road bumps along the way as they grow in their faith. And I’m reminded of my own walk with the Lord, where there were things that I didn’t know, I didn’t understand perfectly, and the Lord was patient with me. He didn’t cast me away because I embarrassed him. No, the Lord was patient and enduring and long-suffering. And so, I want to have that as a model with my kids. They say things on a regular basis that I’m going, and where was that in Scripture?

Meeke Addison:            So, that’s number four. When they make claims about Christ … We’re going through the book of Acts, and so recently we’re on Acts chapter 17, where the Apostle Paul has moved on from Thessalonica, and he’s going to Berea, and the Bible says that the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians because they actually checked the Scriptures to see what the Apostles were saying was true. And so, I told our kids. And this is something that holds me, my feet to the fire. I tell them, if somebody makes a truth claim about the Lord, about His character, about His nature, your first question should be, where was that in Scripture? Where’d you get that? Where is that?

Meeke Addison:            And my son doesn’t miss a beat. He’s like, yeah, that’s great. He goes, mom, I was wondering. He goes, you said that Barnabas and Luke … or John Mark. You said that Barnabas and John Mark were cousins. He goes, where is that in the Bible? And I said, you know what, JD, I read it. I need to get that reference for you, but that’s a great catch. If I’m going to make a claim that Paul and Barnabas split up because of this dispute with Mark, and Mark was Barnabas’s cousin, well, that’s sensational. And so, I need to be able to back that up.

Meeke Addison:            So, I was talking to my husband, and I said, I remember reading somewhere about this, and he’s like, where is it? I said to my husband, where is it? And he goes, it’s in Colossians. And I go there and I did read it, but I’m thinking, these are the things that I need to subject myself to as well, right? I don’t pretend, and this would be number five. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. When I don’t know something, I say to my kids, I don’t know that answer, but I’m going to research it, and I’m going to get back to you, because that is a question worth digging in to.

Meeke Addison:            I think it’s so important for us to not trip ourselves up in being super parents, and our kids see that we have a real faith. I let my kids know when I’m wrestling, when I have questions. Recently, my sister, I’m the second of five, so my older who was the oldest of the five died suddenly. There was no reason. We still don’t know. And this was February 20th. And so, I’ve been walking through this grief process, and I’ve had to say to my kids, listen, this is a really tough time for me. This was my first best friend. She was just a year older than I am.

Meeke Addison:            And so, it’s been really tough, but I’m not going to hide that from them. I’m not going to only come out of my room once I’ve gotten it all together. I mean, they’ve seen me suddenly break down crying, and we were okay one minute. And I say to them, listen, the Bible teaches us that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, but guys, we do grieve, and I’m going to miss her. And so, these are opportunities for us to show our kids that our faith is real, we live in a world where there’s pain, where there is suffering, but we also serve the true and living God.

Meeke Addison:            If I could summarize all of that for you, Yvette, what I would say is, I want my kids to know that my faith is real. That it’s not something that I just grew up in this, and this is just what people do, but that our hope is real. Everything that we’re passing on to them is something that we put our entire lives into.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Oh my goodness, that is amazing. I love that. I love everything you just said. I’m sitting here, I’m trying to write notes and still look at you at the same time. God’s word does not return void.

Meeke Addison:            Amen.

Yvette Hampton:           And when I was in high school, I think I’ve probably shared this before, but when I was in high school we went to a church that did many things that were anti-Biblical. And I really struggled with that, and I knew, there was just something in my spirit. I was a Christian at that time, and I knew that there was just something wrong with the things that were going on. And so, I went to a Christian school, and my Bible theology teacher, his name was Dean Spoelstra, and I would come to him and say, this happened at church this weekend, and what do you think?

Yvette Hampton:           And he would always say to me, it doesn’t matter what I think. Let’s see what the Word of God says about it. And he would always direct me back to Scripture, and he was the first one ever, and this was my junior year in high school, I remember specifically. He was the first one ever who just always directed me back to Scripture, and just say, what does God say about it? It doesn’t matter what I say. What does God say about it?

Yvette Hampton:           So, we really try to do that with our children, as well, because it doesn’t matter what we say. And teaching them Scripture as a whole, because it’s easy to take one verse and take it completely out of context, and say, well, this is what the Bible says. Okay, well, read everything around it. What’s the history around it? What does the Old Testament say that refers to that part of the New Testament? It’s one big story, and that’s why it’s so important to teach God’s Word as a whole. And so, yeah, I love that.

Yvette Hampton:           Pointing back to Jesus, there’s no better way to disciple the hearts of our children, and we have, again, such an amazing opportunity with having our children home with us, to be able to do that on a daily basis. If our kids were away from us for 35, 40 hours a week, we would miss so many opportunities to be able to do that, and so what a privilege and a responsibility we have to teach and train up our children to love Jesus.

Meeke Addison:            That’s right. I don’t think I would recognize them, Yvette. I don’t think I would recognize these kids that God’s given to me if I were not able to be around them and have these times with them.

Yvette Hampton:           Right, right. It is such a blessing. Well, we are unfortunately out of time. I feel like I could talk all day long with you. But again, you are going to be on the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We’re going to do a live session with you. I’m so excited about that. And so, we will continue to talk about all things culture and discipleship with you during that event. Thank you again, Meeke, for your time today, and where can people find out more about you?

Meeke Addison:            People can go to AFA.net and connect with us there. Search for the Airing the Addisons podcast. And they can also look us up on Facebook if they look for the page Airing the Addisons.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay, sounds great. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well, and thank you guys for listening. If you have not yet left a review for the podcast, we would love for you to do that. We really appreciate it. I know it’s kind of a hassle to do that. For some reason, iTunes does not make it easy to leave a review, but we appreciate those who take the time to figure it out, because it is a bit of a hassle. But we love you guys. We’re praying for you. Thank you for joining us today. Have a fantastic rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week. Bye!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Making Math Fun – The Secret to Homeschool Math Mastery!

Math doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but there are some secrets to making it REALLY fun and for helping our homeschool students master it. We had the privilege of talking with Nadim El-Rahi, of CTCMath, for a recent episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked. In this interview, Nadim shared his passion for helping students (even the ones who don’t love math) understand it, master it, and even enjoy it.

Do you find teaching math to be a struggle for you or your child? If so, you will be encouraged by Nadim as he and Yvette discuss some of the big mistakes we make while teaching math, the number one roadblock many students face when learning math, how we can make math more fun, and spiral vs. mastery math. 

Nadim El-rahi, looks after all things CTCMath and has been working with the team for 7+ years. He has a degree in Math and Economics. He and his wife, Tamara, have been married for 4 years and have 2 children, Emma (3 years) and Chloe (1 year). Nadim’s children are not yet school age, but he has an enormous passion for homeschooling and great admiration for homeschool parents.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always, we have a great guest on today. And this is going to be a fun episode, because we’re going to talk about math. And you might think, “Uh, we’re not going to talk about math. That’s going to be boring.”

Listen to Nadim on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (10/10 and 10/12/2020 episodes)

                                    But it’s not, actually, because I am learning that math is fun and if you’re anything like me, you might have grown up as a student who hated math. And when I say hated, I mean despised math. I didn’t want anything to do with it. It was the class that I dreaded most, probably from about middle school on. I just did not understand math. I mean I understood basic concepts, but as it started to get a little bit harder, I just really struggled with it and my brain just doesn’t function that way.

                                    But, believe it or not, there are people in this world who actually love math. And we are talking to one of them today. His name is Nadim El-Rahi and he is from CTCMath. And I know that you’ve probably heard a lot about CTCMath, and so we’re actually going to talk about math, we’re not going to talk so much about CTCMath today. But we’re going to talk about how to make math fun, and how to just engage your kids in and teach them effectively.

                                    So Nadim, welcome to the show.

Nadim El-Rahi:              Thank you. Thank you for having me, I’m so excited to be here. As you can see, I’m in my office. Ignore everything behind me, just focus on me.

We are very grateful to have CTCMath as a sponsor of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Are you looking for a new Math Curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way! 
 
The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test.” Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). Using a multi-sensory approach, CTCMath works by combining effective graphics and animation, synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher, together with practical assessment. 
 
This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results! And ones who were doing OK before are now doing brilliantly. Visit CTCMath today to start your free trial. 

Yvette:                         It’s okay. While you are in your office coming to us from Australia, which, I think you told me you’re about 16 hours ahead of my timezone, which is Eastern Standard Time, is that correct?

Nadim:                         Correct, yes.

Yvette:                         Okay, so it’s seven o’clock here, so 11 o’clock in the morning your time?

Nadim:                         That’s it. You’re pretty good at math.

Yvette:                         Yeah, right? Well, and you’re tomorrow, you’re into our tomorrow. As you and I were talking earlier, you could tell us everything about what happens tomorrow. Winning lottery numbers… If the Super Bowl was on you could tell us who won the Super Bowl. It would be great.

                                    Well, welcome, Nadim, to the show. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

Nadim:                         Sure. So I’m married to my beautiful wife, Tamara. Been married for four years now. We have two children, Emma and Chloe. Emma is three and a half, Chloe is one and a half. So I’m just loving the journey. Every day’s something new, something different, and it’s really fun. Parenting’s awesome.

Yvette:                         It is awesome. I could not agree with you more. I love being a parent, I love being a mom. It is the joy of my life, and as a homeschool mom, I get to experience it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I used to think that I would not enjoy that, I used to think, “Why would I want to be with my kids all day, every day?”

                                    But as it turns out, I actually really like my kids, and so I really do enjoy being with them most of the time. But in addition to thinking that I would not enjoy being with my kids, I also used to think that teaching them certain subjects would be really difficult, and math was at the top of that list. Math and science were the two things that I thought, “Man, if we ever homeschool, I don’t know how I would do that.”

                                    And I was pretty terrified of that in the beginning because, like I said at the beginning of the podcast, I did not enjoy math growing up, it was very difficult for me. And I love people, I love nature, I love things like that. But math was just one of the things I struggled with.

CTCMath is a Premier Event Sponsor of the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Don’t miss this Live, Interactive, Online Homeschool Conference. Lifetime Registration is just $20.

                                    And so coming into homeschooling I thought, “I can handle the elementary school years.” But getting into middle school and definitely into high school, I just thought, “I don’t know how in the world we’re going to manage this.” But I trusted that the Lord had a plan. And as He would have it, He has provided programs like CTCMath to come alongside us moms, who, whether we love math or struggle with math, can help us with teaching math to our kids.

                                    So I want to talk a little bit about math.

Nadim:                         Sure.

Yvette:                         And first I would love to ask you, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see homeschool moms making in teaching math to their kids?

Nadim:                         Yes, and math is an incredibly difficult subject to teach and particularly in these old grade levels. But I think there’s a few things that we can just try to ensure that we don’t do during our homeschool day. One of the big things is the long, drawn out explanation. If you take too much time, or over-complicate the explanation, students will often get lost. So we try to keep it short. Try to keep the younger grades three to four minutes, higher grades six to eight minutes.

Watch the full video of this interview on the Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass website.

                                    Another mistake that can sort of happen that’s linked with that is giving too many diverse methods, or too many methods to attack a problem. Now, every child is unique. So if your child loves math, and they want to explore different ways to answer a problem, by all means. You want to expand on their strengths. But what we find is sometimes parents will over-complicate it. So it’s important to keep it short and not go into too many methods. Find the method that works best for your child.

                                    Another mistake that’s often made is getting caught up in the hype of discovery learning, and we’re seeing this more and more often now. Don’t get me wrong, discovery learning has its place, and it is important, but let me give you a bit of an analogy. If you give a student a Rubik’s Cube, and you ask the student, “Hey, try to work this Rubik’s Cube out,” with no instruction, they’ll play with it, they’ll fiddle it, they’ll get it. Sure maybe one, two percent might get it, and that’s fantastic. But the majority, the vast majority, will get frustrated, annoyed, and put it down. And not want to go back.

Yvette:                         That’s me.

Nadim:                         But if I was to sit down with that same student, and show him a small algorithm, a small technique, a quick technique on how to solve that Rubik’s Cube, then they’ll be able to solve it. They’ll get excited, they’ll be passionate, they’ll want a bigger one. And then you can maybe go down that path of discovery learning with the bigger one, with the bigger Rubik’s Cube and whatnot. But throwing them in the deep end to begin with can often beat up their confidence.

                                    And again, each child is unique. That sort of leads to learning your times tables. We believe it’s really important to nail down those facts and have those facts at a young age. It’s proven, there’s many studies that if students have a solid understanding of their times tables, math is far easier in those older grade levels, and they can build on that.

                                    I know I’ve talked a lot about mistakes, but this is the biggest one, and this is the easiest one to commit. I want to start by saying this is not a criticism or anything, it’s just a self-awareness. And I think sometimes, and I’m certainly guilty of this, is getting frustrated when teaching. If the child senses any bit of frustration, you can throw things out completely, and you can lose them. So if you’re sensing the frustration, it’s important to get those levels down.

                                    A consequence of this can be that the student is scared or turned off coming to you, and this could be problematic in the future when they’re coming to you with far more difficult problems as they grow up, much bigger than math. So I think trying to avoid any frustration, it is difficult, but.

Yvette:                         You were just talking about the importance of not getting too frustrated with our kids when we’re teaching them math. And we talk so much on the podcast about how one of the most important things in homeschooling is to build that relationship with our kids. Because it’s all about relationship, and the purpose of raising children in general is to prepare them for adulthood. And so we need to build that relationship with them, and like you said, if it’s something that’s causing a real rift in our relationship with our kids, then they’re not going to all of a sudden think, “All of a sudden I just love math, and I love it when my mom gets frustrated with me.”

                                    That’s never going to be the case. And so, if I you can maybe give some suggestions of, when a child is really struggling with math, is it best to just put it aside for maybe six months or a year? Or back up and take it a little bit slower? Or maybe get a math tutor? I know a lot of homeschool families do that. What do you suggest, in order to protect that relationship that we have with our kids, what do you suggest is a good way to do that?

Nadim:                         Well certainly, I think if you are struggling, and it is a continual problem, I think you do need to maybe look at other resources and maybe outsourcing the teaching component of it. And you then become, maybe, the tutor, or they get to the bulk of their learning done, whether it be online, a personal tutor. What works best for you and your family. And then they come to you with a few problems.

                                    But in that moment of frustration, I think it’s very important to remove yourself from that moment. I think it’s very important to take a step back and say, “Can we move on to a different subject? Or is there something else we can do today?” This is what I love about homeschooling. The freedom, the complete freedom, to sort of make the decision of what your day comprises of, and what you’re going to set out to do.

                                    I think it’s important to maybe look at if there’s another method, using different methodology that you could try to explain the problem, or explain the question. Or if you don’t want to switch to another permanent resource, just finding a source for that particular concept that they might not be fully understanding.

                                    It might be that, because you know, math is a building block, and it’s important to build on concepts. It might be the fact that an earlier concept was missed. So you might need to do some revision from the previous year’s work. And that’s really important. So just self-evaluate, have a look at the situation, have a good think about it, and trust in different things.

Yvette:                         So how do you go back? Because math obviously is a subject that builds on itself. And if our kids get to a point where they’re just really struggling, and they just can’t get it, how do you back up? Because we’ve had that happen a couple of times, where I’m like, “Man, I just don’t know what you’re missing, here.”

                                    And partly because I’m not a math geek, I don’t know what it is that they’re missing. So is there a good system in place? Is there a good way to try to figure out like, “Oh, that’s the one piece of the puzzle that fell under the table, which is causing you to not be able to put this whole puzzle together at this point.” Is there a good way to do that?

Nadim:                         Yes and no. It comes down to the resource that you’re using, really, I think. Because math is structured in such a way, and some curriculums do this better than others, but if you look at the lessons, they’re incorporated within a topic. But within topics, it’s actually a stream of math, so it might be the stream of measurement. Or the stream of algebra, or the stream of numbers, depending on the grade level and whatnot.

                                    But there are particular streams, and there might be only three or four streams within a grade level that needs to be covered. So if a student is having trouble… Simple example. If a student is having troubles with grade four fractions, well maybe something was missing from grade three fractions. So if your curriculum is ordered in such a way that the streams flow through from grade level to grade level, and topics flow through from grade level to grade level, then you can easily identify the building blocks that happened prior.

                                    But, as we know as well, sometimes math draws on, particularly in the older grade levels, draws on other concepts from different concepts, and other grade levels, and if you’re not entirely sure, I would suggest that you… At CTCMath, we would encourage parents to reach out, send us an email saying, “Hey, my child’s having troubles with this.” And we’d refer it on to one of our math teachers, they would have a look at it, and make some suggestions.

                                    So it does require a bit of in depth knowledge.

Yvette:                         Detective work.

Nadim:                         Detective work and in depth knowledge of understanding the curriculum and how it’s structured.

Yvette:                         Sure.

Nadim:                         I don’t know if that answers your question, I hope it did.

Yvette:                         Yeah, it does.

Nadim:                         Email me, I’ll help.

Yvette:                         Yes, it does. And I’m just going to give everyone your phone number and say, “Call Nadim, he’ll help you.”

Nadim:                         I’m going to give you my email [crosstalk 00:13:45]

Yvette:                         I won’t do that. So let me ask you this, because I remember, several years ago, for the first time I’d heard … Now remember, I’m not a math person. And I’m sure math was taught one of two ways when I was growing up. But I remember hearing the term “spiral math” and “mastery math”. And I was like, “What in the world? What does that even mean?” Can you explain the difference between the two, and is there a better way to teach math? Or does it depend on the child and their learning style?

Nadim:                         Sure. I think everything depends on the child. When I make comments, I make them about their generalizations, and the majority of students. So I think everything does depend on child. But I do make recommendations all the time. And they’re based on what we see with the majority of students.

                                    So, quick definition. So mastery approach is when you focus on one concept at a time in math. Okay? As we know, math involves building blocks, but if you just focus on one concept and one particular thing.

                                    Spiral incorporates revision, so incorporates learning with a buildup of concepts, which both naturally overlap. Okay? So what’s important? I believe, both. I believe both are important. But in separate parts of the day. So separate parts of the math lesson, I should say, not the day.

                                    So when it comes to teaching the content, I believe mastery is the best approach. Focus on the one concept. And that way, if you focus on the one concept, and master that concept, you can build on it. Practice problems should be related specifically on that lesson that was just taught.

                                    So if you have a look at your homeschooling day, and I said keep the explanations to three to four minutes. So if we take a math lesson and we say it’s 30 minutes. Three to four minute explanation, 20 minutes or 15 minutes practice problems, where it’s just focusing on that concept. Now, depending on the concept, there will be some spiral learning there, there will be some earlier concepts covered.

                                    But then the last five, 10 minutes, spiral. Revision. Going back earlier concepts, mix-up of problems, what you just learned, what you learned last week, what you learned last month. Change it up. So when it comes to the teaching and the delivery, mastery approach. But incorporate spiral revision towards the end of a lesson. Does that make sense?

Yvette:                         Yeah, so basically it sounds like mastery is when they’re learning the concept for the first time. They master that concept. And then they practice it through the spiral method, right? Spiraling, to me, sounds just like practice. So you just go back, and you just keep practicing it so that you don’t forget it.

Nadim:                         Correct, but with the practice problems, I would focus solely on that concept that was just taught. It might be… Let’s take a really simple example. Multiplication, and we’re looking at four times tables. Okay? So questions we’ll just, four times certain numbers. Four times two, four times six, four times 12, and so on and so forth. Focus on that. And then, maybe in the last five, 10 minutes, include earlier multiplication that you’ve learned. So mix it up. Have fours, threes, and twos.

                                    And that would ensure that some revision, the mind thinking, and a spiral approach, a more wholesome approach to the actual… Because when you sit down and you attempt practice problems, you’re not just focusing… A test, for instance. It’s not just one concept, it’s a whole range of concepts.

Yvette:                         Okay. So in talking about multiplication tables, times tables, have you found that there’s a best way to teach that to kids, or? Again, I’m assuming it’s depending on the child.

                                    But here’s the thing. When you’ve got, as many homeschool families do, when you’ve got six kids, you can’t have six different ways to teach multiplication. So have you found, because you’re a math whiz, I know this about you. Have you found the most effective way that works best for a family in general? Like, “try this with all your kids.” And then you might have the one kid who doesn’t learn that way and then maybe you can try a different approach with them. But does there seem to be a best way to teach multiplication?

Nadim:                         Rote learning. Sit down, write it out, keep working through it, keep revising it, keep practicing it, keep learning it. Bounce it off siblings, if you do have those six children. Get them to test each other, quiz each other. At the dinner table, throw a few problems there. Rote learning.

Yvette:                         Okay. Just over and over and over again.

Nadim:                         Over and over.

Yvette:                         I remember, we used to do Classical Conversations years ago, and we don’t now because we travel so much. But when we were in a community, that was always a fun thing with rote memorization, is that we would do fun things like toss a ball back and forth, or do jumping jacks. Or, you know, whatever. Just fun things that would get kids to remember those different facts. And so yes, I agree. Rote memory is definitely, for times tables, the best way to get kids to memorize them.

                                    Now, do you suggest doing them where it’s like, do all the twos times tables first. Then all the threes, and all the fours. Do you stack them like that? Or does it make sense to just try and kind of learn them all at the same time?

Nadim:                         I would learn twos, learn threes, learn fours. Now, you might want to, once you get to the fours, you might want to introduce some other math concept, because they might be sick of times tables, and then go back and do five, and six, and seven, and whatnot.

Yvette:                         It’s kind of funny, because we’ve covered a lot of topics on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, but math is not something that we have talked about, yet. I mean, we kind of interspersed it into different podcast episodes, but we have not actually done an entire episode focused on math. And as I have been homeschooling my kids, and as we have gotten deeper and deeper into math, one of the things that I have really noticed and that we’ve become really aware of in our family, and I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. But it’s that math, everything that we teach our kids, we want to use those things to point our kids towards their creator, towards Christ.

                                    So one might think, “Well how in the world do I do that with math? How do I teach math and Jesus at the same time?” Well, math is so perfect, because math is absolute. It is in perfect order, and it shows that we have a God, we have a creator who is a perfect God of perfect order, and he is a God of absolutes. And so just like two plus two will always equal four, it has always equaled four, it’s never going to change, it can never be revised by anybody because they decide that they want two plus two to equal five. They can’t do that.

                                    And in that same way, we don’t get to change the order of God’s creation. And so math is just one of those things, that again, points us towards just an incredible, awesome creator. He made up math, we didn’t make it up.

                                    And it’s amazing to me how when you look back into history, you can see how mankind, how humans have been able to develop their minds when it comes to understanding math. And they’ll have these big huge problems, that, in a movie or something, you’ll see them writing a big, some kind of math problem up on the board, and it seems like the impossible problem and then they get to the end and they’re like, “Oh. Well there’s the answer.” And there’s only one answer, you can’t have more than one.

                                    And so I love that about math, because it’s not a subject that I enjoyed growing up, but I do enjoy that I get to point my kids to their creator by teaching it. So I would love to talk about how to make math fun. And I know you’ve got some suggestions on that. So talk to us a little bit about this. Talk to the mom like myself, who does not love math, who struggled with math growing up, and who really wants my kids to grow up not dreading math, but being engaged and excited about learning it.

Nadim:                         Yeah, for sure, for sure. I think the first thing is to tap into your child’s interests. I think to work out what your child’s interests are, and then try to relate that back to math. An example. Me, growing up, I loved cars. I loved the model of cars, I loved the various types of cars. So one thing I would have loved and enjoyed as a kid was surveying the models of cars on long road trips, just outside my home. And then tabling that, and creating graphs and charts.

                                    So I think it’s important to tap into your child’s interests. So if they like cooking, well cooking is a fantastic example. There’s a lot of fractions involved in measuring. What I really like with cooking is, when you find a recipe for four people, but you’re cooking for six, and just multiplying the quantities, that always makes math fun. You know? It’ll add a really practical element to it.

                                    Another example are board games. And these might be better suited to those students who really, really don’t enjoy math, who really don’t like math. So let’s draw out some fun in board games. My little three year-old, Emma, she loves order, and she loves helping out. So what we get her to do is set the table. And we get her to count out how many people are going to have dinner, so then she’s got to count out the plates, and count out the forks, and count out the knives. Because she wouldn’t have an extra fork, or a knife, or one short plate. She’s a bit of a perfectionist and Tamara and I laugh about it.

                                    So really tapping into your child’s interests, and going with it, my brother loves bargains. So our best buys, when we go to the shops, he’s great at picking out the best buys and the best value for money.

Yvette:                         Yeah, you know, math is one of those things that is fun to kind of incorporate into just life skills. Because the whole purpose, of course, of raising our kids is not to raise kids, but it’s to raise adults. And so we get to take these things that kids learn in a classroom in a workbook, or in an online program like CTCMath, and they get to use them in the real world.

                                    And you talk about your brother, he enjoys bargain shopping. Well, it’s great to be able to go into a grocery store and look at several different items. You know, you look at sour cream, and see, “Okay, how many different items are there? What is the size? How much do they cost? What’s the better deal?” And just trying to figure out that way. And of course, weighing bananas, if you’ve got bananas and they’re 85 cents a pound and you need three pounds of them, weigh them with your kids and think, “How much is this going to cost if we have three pounds?” And just doing that logical math with them. Because that is really what prepares them for adult life, for life in general.

                                    And so it’s a fantastic… Gas is one of those things, too. You know, when you’re pumping gas, and you think, “Okay, gas is so much per gallon, and we’ve got to put 30 gallons in the car, how much is it going to cost us if we’re on empty?” Those are the things that really will allow kids, like you said, to have fun and to start realizing that, “Oh, math is not just something I do on a worksheet, but this is part of my everyday life as an adult. I have to understand these things.”

                                    You mentioned board games. Do you have specific board games? The first game that comes to my mind is Yahtzee. Our family loves Yahtzee, we play that all the time. That, and Rummikub, those are my two favorite games. I like Rummikub because I almost always win. And I like to win. Are there board games that you recommend that are great for teaching math?

Nadim:                         I’m super competitive as well. I’m super competitive. Look, any games… I tend to lean towards the games that involve a bit of money transaction. So I always liked Monopoly. I think it gets you thinking about a different side of math. More probably the counting side of things, but Monopoly, any game of strategy really incorporates math, because you’re breaking down a problem. You’re breaking down, “What’s the best way?” So it might not involve numbers, but if it involves some sort of strategy, then certainly you’re using your math brain.

Yvette:                         Yeah, for sure. Playing games, often times, is really good for engaging kids’ brains with numbers and with math and even with accounting. Are there other activities… Well, first of all, are there any other games you would recommend? And I’ll actually, if I have time, I will do my best before this airs, I’ll try to see if I can find some good math games. Because I know that there are lots of homeschool moms out there who actually, they love games. They love playing games.

                                    And again, that goes back to the relationship with our kids. I mean, how much fun is it to play a game with your kid? And I will say, if you have a child who’s super crazy competitive, and they cry when they lose, that is such a great opportunity to reach the heart of your child.

                                    I remember my oldest, when she was real little, we would play games and she would get upset when she would lose. And that’s natural for most kids. I think most kids do that. And it was fun, well it wasn’t fun for her to cry, but I remember just thinking, “What a great opportunity this is to teach her how to lose at a game, and how to be a gracious loser.” She’s not a loser, she’s wonderful. And so I taught her, when she was really little, I would teach her to say, if someone else won… And I would not let her win. I would never let her win a game. But I would teach her to say, “Congratulations, Mommy, I’m so happy for you that you won.” And it was so funny because she was so little and she would lose, and she would first start to get emotional about it, and then she would say, “Congratulations, Mommy, I’m so happy that you won.”

                                    And over time, it really did teach her that if you play your best, you always want to do your very best…

Nadim:                         Yes.

Yvette:                         But it’s okay if someone else wins. And when they do, we get to celebrate with them. And so, that’s a little bit of a rabbit trail, but are there any other games that, in thinking through it, that you think, “Man, these are just great games for teaching math”?

Nadim:                         Yeah, and just quickly on that, I think that’s a fantastic opportunity, really taking the opportunity to teach a little lesson there and teaching our kids to be a little kind, you know? Teaching kindness.

                                    There’s many… Connect 4, is another game of strategy. Again, you’re sort of thinking ahead, and thinking on how to break down the problem, or how to best achieve the desired outcome of getting those four in a row. And again, I’ll reiterate, it doesn’t have to be numbers. So chess, or anything like that.

Yvette:                         Yeah. And strategy games, like you said, those are fantastic.

Nadim:                         Strategy games, yep. There’s a card game that I liked to play that I don’t know if you would have heard of. It’s called 400. You’ve basically got to get cards to… I’ll send you the rules, how about that?

Yvette:                         Okay. Oh, fine.

Nadim:                         It’s a counting game.

Yvette:                         Oh, yeah, that does sound fun. I would love to hear that. Our family loves Farkle. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that game.

Nadim:                         No.

Yvette:                         But it’s a really fun math game. You have to count the dice and stuff, and it has a terrible name. I hate the name of it. But it’s a really fun game.

                                    So what else? What are some other ways of making math fun with our kids?

Nadim:                         Yeah, I think if you’ve got a lot of leaves outside, I think it would be pretty cool to go out and sweep them up and think, “Okay, how many bags are we going to fill up?” Play a bit of a guessing game where you sort of estimate how many leaves you’re going to fill up. That’s another situation of making math fun.

                                    And bringing it out in nature, that sort of stems to nature. Everything follows growth patterns. Even if it’s just researching, just jumping on the internet and researching models of growth of trees, of all sorts of things. Growth and decay.

Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s fine. And you talk about estimating leaves and things. That’s something that you could even do with pasta, or M&Ms, or something like that. Put a bunch in a jar. I know that’s always a fun thing. Sometimes, we go to the library and they’ll have some sort of goofy jar with candy in it or something and, you know, “Guess how many M&Ms are in this jar, and the winner wins the whole jar.” And things like that. Yeah, those are great for kids, great for them to just learn how to logically think through that kind of stuff.

                                    We have a few more minutes left, so what is the number one roadblock that you see that students face when learning math?

Nadim:                         I think the number one roadblock by far, it’s a great question, is confidence. They’re a bit down on confidence. That once that confidence is beaten, that once it’s down, a shield goes up and nothing sort of… It’s difficult to get through to them or make any headway.

                                    So confidence. We’ve got to really rebuild that confidence. It’s just brilliant when they see things in a different way or an explanation from a different angle that really gets to them, and then you see the “a-ha” moment. The light bulbs go off. And the “a-ha” moment, and the change of expression on their face. So finding confidence is a big one.

Yvette:                         Yeah. I totally agree. I’ve experienced that many times with both of my girls, where they’re just struggling through a concept and then they just get it, and they’re like “Ah, I get it! I get it!” And they get so excited about it, and you’re like, “Yes, yes, you get it!”

                                    And it is hard to not become frustrated when you’ve explained it to them so many times, over and over, but then there’s just that, it’s like a switch that just, “Oh, yeah, I get it!” And you know, that happens with many things, whether it’s spelling or math or, I don’t know, just a variety of different subjects. But math seems to be the one that…

Nadim:                         It’s a big one.

Yvette:                         That concept just clicking over, and just encouraging our kids along the way. And it’s one the great things about homeschooling is that we have our grade levels for everything, but as homeschool families, and as homeschool students, they don’t have to adhere to a specific grade level of anything. They don’t have to be in third grade math, or eighth grade math. We can cater to how God created them and what their bend is towards math.

                                    I have one daughter who does not like math, and I have one who really likes math, and she really gets it. But my daughter who doesn’t like math, she enjoys other things much more than her sister does. And so it’s great to be able to just see how God has created each one of them with their specific gifts and abilities.

                                    So one last thing that doesn’t actually have to do with math.

Nadim:                         Sure.

Yvette:                         You’re in Australia.

Nadim:                         Yeah.

Yvette:                         I would love to know, what is the homeschool climate like in Australia? Is it growing? Is it even existent? I know you and I have talked before and you’ve said you thought about maybe homeschooling when your kids are of school age. What does it look like there?

Nadim:                         For sure. It is growing. That’s the great thing about it, it is growing, and it is getting bigger, which is fantastic. It’s not as big, of course, as it is in the US. I think the difference here is that there’s a lot more options available to parents with just the way government funding works. Every school receives government funding, so there’s actually a lot of parents who go off and start their own schools. A lot of people get together and start off their own schools.

                                    There are more options in that. But I think as things change, and I think when our government, if they start to regulate curriculums and what is taught, I think you’ll see homeschooling just absolutely take off here in Australia. We have very close friends of ours who homeschool their six children. It’s fantastic to see. I can see that they actually tap into a lot of the US resources, which is awesome. With my involvement with CTCMath, I’m getting in touch with more and more Aussie homeschoolers as well, which is great.

Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s fantastic. Is it something that, if there’s a family who’s homeschooling, do others kind of look at them like they’re crazy? Like, “What in the world are you doing?” Or, because I know here in America, it’s not everywhere. But the majority of this country, I mean I never hesitate to go out in public with my kids during a school day. And never, literally I don’t think there’s been one time where anyone has just said, “Oh, you guys are homeschooled? That’s terrible, you should be in school, you should be in public school or private school.”

                                    People may think that, but no one’s ever actually said that to me. And more often than not, people will actually say, “Oh wow, you’re homeschooled? That’s great. I have a sister who homeschools, or a niece who homeschools.” Or something like that. And it’s very widely accepted here, overall. Is it widely accepted there as well? Or are people still kind of sitting back wondering what this homeschool is?

Nadim:                         I think it is widely accepted. I think the issue that might sort of play on people’s minds, which is really unfortunately still the stigma of the sort of social ramifications. Which of course, we all know, is not true, and is completely wrong. But just sort of educating people, I suppose. Explaining it out to people.

Yvette:                         That is one of the big, big reasons behind Schoolhouse Rocked. Why we’re making the movie, why we’ve got our blog and our social media outlets, all of those things are to help people open their eyes up to the just great blessings and benefits of homeschooling. And so hopefully we can help do that down under as well.

Nadim:                         For sure.

Yvette:                         Nadim, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate your math encouragement, and we appreciate you guys. We appreciate CTCMath. You guys have been very supportive of what we’re doing and so we are very grateful for you. And people can find out more about you at CTCMath.com, is that correct?

Nadim:                         Correct, yes.

Yvette:                         Okay, perfect. We will link to that in the show notes, of course. I’ll try to find some fun math games, in addition to the ones that you have recommended, and I’ll put those in the show notes as well. And you guys, thank you for listening. Nadim, have a great week, and listeners, you have a great week, too. We pray for you guys all the time and we are so grateful for your support and your encouragement. And we will see you guys back here again next week. Bye.

Nadim:                         Bye.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash – E=MC^2

Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash – Rubik’s Cube

Photo by Ryan Quintal on Unsplash – Dominoes

Photo by Robert Coelho on Unsplash – Dice and Board Game

True Faith and Strong Families – with Sam Sorbo

Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been strong proponents of marriage, family, and faith, in the shifting sands of Hollywood and the notoriously family-unfriendly movie industry. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared some of the keys to preserving and strengthening her family and living out her faith. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.

Sam Sorbo studied biomedical engineering at Duke University before pursuing a career in entertainment. An award-winning actress, author, radio host, international model, and home-schooling mom to three children with Kevin Sorbo, Sam Sorbo seeks to inspire parents to home educate. Her books, They’re YOUR Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate  (Reveille Press) and Teach from Love: A School Year Devotional for Families  (Broadstreet Publishing), are available at SamSorbo.com. Sam co-wrote, produced, and co-starred in the 2017 feature film Let There Be Light(executive producer, Sean Hannity; director, Kevin Sorbo.) To correspond with the film, Sam and Kevin wrote their devotional, Share the Light. Their newest film, Miracle in East Texas, due in theaters in 2020. Sam and Kevin have teamed up on a new book, True Faith: Embracing Adversity to Walk in God’s Light, due out early 2020.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to part two of the podcast with Sam Sorbo. And we are having so much fun with her. I love talking to you, Sam. I love your heart for families, for culture, for homeschooling, and for your children. It is very evident that you have a deep passion for shifting the needle a little bit and the direction that our culture needs to be headed.

Sam Sorbo:                   Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:           And so I want to talk a little bit about that. You actually have a new book, it’s just now released called True Faith. And you wrote that with your husband Kevin Sorbo.

Sam Sorbo:                   Yep.

Yvette Hampton:           Tell us a little bit about your book.

Listen to Sam Sorbo on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (2/3/2020 and 2/5/2020 episodes)

Sam Sorbo:                   So right before we got married, Kevin suffered three strokes and nearly died. And it was a three year recovery. We got married anyway, it was a three year recovery. It was a very difficult recovery. He had myriad symptoms that were terribly debilitating. And he battled through, he is the strongest man in the world.

Yvette Hampton:           He’s a real Hercules.

Sam Sorbo:                   And he was going through this while he was playing Hercules, exactly. And so I nagged him long and hard and he finally wrote the book about his recovery, because I saw it as a way to minister to people, who were also going through hardship. Any kind of overwhelming struggle, right? It’s always good to hear someone else’s story and say, “Oh well. My story’s not that bad”. Or “My story is just as bad, but different. But look how they overcame and there’s hope for me”. That kind of thing. And so this book is sort of the next step in that. So I have a little bit of a bigger role. And in this book we kind of went halves and we just tell the story of working together. A lot of people ask us what’s it like to be conservative in Hollywood? What’s it like to work as Christians in that industry?

Sam Sorbo:                   And so we just set out to answer some of those questions to give you a little bit of insight into our life together. And it’s very difficult for us to get pregnant. We talk about that journey. And that’s actually part of the reason that I eventually figured out that I needed to home educate my kids, because I was just sending them off to a stranger every day.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

You can watch the full video of this interview on the Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass Website.

Sam Sorbo:                   And I’ll tell you a quick story. When we moved for the schools, we moved to the really good schools, and my son went through first grade, and second grade. And the first grade teacher that he was assigned, I was not allowed to change. I had to accept what they gave him. I had no idea who the teachers were. Somebody said to me, “Oh, you’ve got a really good teacher. Oh, you got the good one, she’s awesome.” And I’m like, “Great”. Do you know why she’s awesome? Because she keeps a bowl of candy in her classroom.

Yvette Hampton:           Oh, gosh.

Sam Sorbo:                   And so all the kids at every age level who know that come and hug her and get pieces of candy. And I didn’t realize that was sort of the modus operandi for her until halfway through second grade.

Sam Sorbo:                   When I saw it happen again and it was just this one time and I was like… It was the 10th time or whatever. But I was like, “Huh, that’s why”. Do you know what I mean?

Yvette Hampton:           Sure.

Sam Sorbo:                   And then you start discovering other things. And I’ll tell you something, if you just take a moment and say, “I’m just going to try it for a semester”, and the bond you’ll have with your child is improved by miles. Because what happens is when you drop your child off at the school house gates, you’re tacitly telling the child, “My authority stops here. You are now under the school’s authority”. When your child comes home and says, “Mommy, mommy, you have to sign this. The teacher says you have to sign this”. And you take it, “Okay, let me sign it”. You are under the teacher’s authority. So now anything that the teacher says that disagrees with you, whatever it might be, the teacher says, “Oh, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And your child says, “Mommy, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And you say, “Oh, that’s not really true, because whatever”, right?

Sam Sorbo is a cast member on the upcoming documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. Enjoy this live interview from the set of the film. This video was shot at the end of a long day, in which Sam had flown in from speaking at a homeschool convention in another state, then interviewed with Yvette, having just met her. Sam’s interview will be a highlight of the film, and has already been featured in a few trailers for the film.

Sam Sorbo:                   No. Now you… Now, here’s the problem with that, right? Either your authority prevails, in which case there’s a huge conflict of interest.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   And you were lying when you dropped them off at the school and said their authority prevails.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   Right? There’s a huge conflict of interest in it. It can’t end well. It’s not in good scenario.

Sam Sorbo:                   So we talk a little bit about that. We talk about politics, how we became more political. You know what, I just, I love the truth. And the Bible tells me that I have to adhere to the truth as thou shall not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness. Right? And so we just started to hunker down into our values, and that’s what brought us out into the limelight, I suppose you would say, right? And it’s sad the number of people in this nation who are enamored by lies.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Well, it is sad. And you know, I want to go back really quick to where you were talking about giving up that parental authority, when we send our kids off to school. And it goes so much further and deeper than that, in that in public school… Most parents don’t realize this, but when you drop your child off at a public school, and actually I shouldn’t just say public, I believe private as well would fall under this, that school becomes their legal guardian (in loco parentis) during the time that your child is in that school. And that is the reason why in many States if your 13 year old daughter goes to their school nurse and says, “I just found out I’m pregnant”, that school can take that young innocent girl who doesn’t know anything about what she’s doing and they can take her to have an abortion and murder her baby without the parent’s consent or knowledge.

Sam Sorbo opens this trailer for Schoolhouse Rocked with a powerful reminder for parents, “You are perfectly capable”. Parents are able to successfully educate their own children!

Yvette Hampton:           In the state of California it is illegal for the school to inform the parents of what has gone on with their very own daughter, because the school has become their legal guardian during the school hours that we’ve dropped them off. (see In Loco Parentis)

Aby Rinella:                  But I would actually challenge that to say that you ARE giving them consent when you drop your kids off.

Yvette Hampton:           Sure.

Aby Rinella:                  But when I drop my kids off with someone else, I’m handing over my consent.

Yvette Hampton:           Sure. Right.

Aby Rinella:                  So parents need to also take responsibility to say they didn’t do this without me knowing, because when you get handed your child over to them, that’s a little bit on you.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   But guess what? The schools don’t actually bear the responsibility for educating the child. And there have been court cases where parents have sued the schools, because the children didn’t learn to read or what have you. And the judge always sides in favor of the school, that it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the child to read.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   It’s absurd. What kind of subcontractor do you have in your house, who leaves you homework?

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   Do you have somebody come clean your house, but she leaves dishes in the sink? Right? Why are we giving, why are these children coming home with homework? It just… And it was the salami tactic. It was just a little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit, and then… And pretty soon… I mean, when you’re a child, and you’re four years old or five years old, and you’re shipped off to kindergarten, and your parents are all, “Oh, you’re going to kindergarten. It’s going to be so good. And don’t cry and whatever”. And so you’re taught “No, no, be complacent. Do what you’re told and just go with the flow. Don’t raise a ruckus.”. Right?

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   And so now parents, they go, “Oh my gosh, the homework for my child is terrible”. And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not a problem for me”. They say, “I have to go into the school and meet with the teacher.” Yeah, I did that this morning in the mirror. It’s so much better.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   And we talked earlier about this idea that people look at you like you think you’re better than they are.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   And here’s the problem with that. Of course you think you’ve got the better solution.

Yvette Hampton:           Right. Or else you wouldn’t be doing it.

Sam Sorbo:                   We don’t think we are a superior human being. No.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   But of course you think that it’s a better solution because-

Aby Rinella:                  Why would you do it if it weren’t?

Sam Sorbo:                   So we have to get off of that sort of weird societal thing now that’s really just leftism run amuck, frankly.

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah.Totally. Because they’re offended because you’re doing something they’re not. And it’s the whole offended thing.

Sam Sorbo:                   Right. I actually, because I do a radio show every day called the Sam Sorbo Show, and I did a story on a young girl who had like a… Is it called a Norplant? It’s a-

Aby Rinella:                  Oh, yeah. The birth control.

Sam Sorbo:                   And it got infected, because it was improperly implanted.

Yvette Hampton:           Oh.

Sam Sorbo:                   And so she had to have it surgically removed. And strangely enough, she needed her parental consent to have it surgically removed. They were not aware that she had gotten it done by the nurse facilitator person at the school, not even a nurse, like a non-nurse helper person at the school. These stories are crazy. I did a story the other day, a young girl in Colorado, 11th grade, given a poem… The whole class is given a poem that was at the time, it came out in the ’60s. I think there was even a court case about it, it’s a very controversial poem. And the publisher had seen fit to leave out all of the swear words, because it depicted very graphically, sexual violence of all kinds, as you might imagine. And so the publisher left out all the bad words, the F word, the C word, the other C-word, all of them.

Sam Sorbo:                   The teacher stood in front of the class and verbatim gave them each of the bad words to write into their version of the poem. And I had the girl on the radio, and we got to the point where she said, “I felt violated”, because because she did. Her parents tromped down to the school and said, “Hey, we need an apology, and you need to reconsider this curriculum because it is not acceptable”. They reconsidered the curriculum. The teacher wrote a “sorry, not sorry letter,” which did nothing.

Sam Sorbo:                   The school reconsidered the poem and said, “Nope, the poem’s fine. It’s part of teaching. And he wanted to make the point that some artwork can be offensive” or something. I don’t even know what. And so I had her at the end of the program. I had to modify the schedule to accommodate her school classes. I said, “So I understand that you’re back in school now?”. And she said, “Oh yes”. And her dad piped in with, “You know, we’re so proud of her because “salt and light” and she’s witnessing to an atheist girl who’s in her class”. And I said, “Okay. But do you understand that you going back into the same place where you were violated is actually sending the message that Christians don’t mind when they are violated?”.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   And let’s get this straight. It was a sexual violation. Yes it was just words. But I’m sorry, that counts.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   And she’s only in 11th grade.

Aby Rinella:                  And what is the father telling his daughter?

Aby Rinella:                  Unbelievable.

Sam Sorbo:                   And he said to me… “Well, we allowed her to make the choice”. How ’bout you be a parent, how about that?

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah. Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   And you protect your your daughter and say, “Not on my watch”!

Aby Rinella:                  Which is what every little girl needs to hear from a dad is this isn’t okay and this will not happen again. And you don’t have a choice to have this happen again, because I’m going to be here to protect you.

Sam Sorbo:                   That’s right.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  Wow.

Yvette Hampton:           It’s shocking to me how often I hear from parents, “Well, my child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. My child wants to go to public school”. Okay.

Sam Sorbo:                   Oh. Oh.

Yvette Hampton:           Foolishness! I mean, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:           The child does not know what’s best for them. You don’t say, “Well, my four year old wants to go play out in the middle of the street with speeding cars, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. And so I’m going to let him go do that”. No.

Sam Sorbo:                   We’re living in the age where parents allow their five-year-old to determine that they are of a different gender.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   That’s crazy. What gets me isn’t that as much as the parents that say, “Yeah, my daughter really wants me to homeschool her”.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah, I get that a lot. I’ve heard that so much lately, “My kid would love to be homeschooled, but I”. And I said right there, “But I”. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you when you gave birth to that child. You know? And that’s the part that really gets me. I want to take those kids home with me.

Sam Sorbo:                   What’s worse is, and I’ve actually said this to somebody, and I say it sort of generically, because it’s really harsh. If your child wants to be homeschooled and you refuse, then you have to understand that that is you refusing your child, their desire. And either that paints you as too stupid or too uncaring. It’s a no win. You can’t win that one.

Aby Rinella:                  Well, they’re also crying out. I think those kids are crying out. And then parents are shocked when these girls start cutting, or all these things that they’re doing. And it’s like, but they cried out to you. They told you, “Get me out of this situation”. So don’t be surprised when they have to stand up and read these crazy poems.

Sam Sorbo:                   Exactly. Yeah, it’s frustrating.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   So I’m on a crusade to wake people up. We’re somnambulant, we’re just brainwashed.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   [Saying things like] “Who’s winning American idol?”

Aby Rinella:                  Well, we need more people on that crusade.

Sam Sorbo:                   And I want to get the message out, because homeschooling is the secret sauce. It’s the most amazing thing. I’ve produced two movies now. I never would’ve produced a movie if I hadn’t started home educating my children.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   I’ve written several books. I never would have done that if I hadn’t started home educating my children.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   It has empowered me, that’s why the subtitle of my book is an inspirational journey from self-doubt at a homeschool advocate. My job when I wrote this book, the way I saw it was I was going to empower parents to make that choice. And thank God, I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, “It was through your videos. It was through your book. Thank you lighting a fire under me or guiding me in this process. And thank you for encouraging me and telling me that I could do it”. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know anything. Because here’s the thing, how best can we teach our children by showing them what it means to learn.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Sam Sorbo:                   By showing them how learning is done! How do accomplish that? They have something to learn, first of all, right?

Aby Rinella:                  Right. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but I’m a former public school teacher [gasps] I know, but do you know what I’m doing with my kids? They never step one foot and one day in a public school. But so many people say, “Oh, you can homeschool because you were a teacher”. And that is probably the most offensive thing to me, because being a public school teacher was my greatest challenge in homeschooling. I had to unlearn all of the brainwashing I got, how to teach a kid, because I realized that’s not how you teach a kid. That’s how you teach a kid that lives in this box. But when you said it’s better to not know everything, I could not echo that more, because I went to four years of school on how to teach a kid and I didn’t have a clue how to teach a kid till I came home and learned what it meant to teach a kid.

Sam Sorbo:                   Well, and when I criticize the institution, I don’t criticize the teachers, right?

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   So many of them really want to serve.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay.

Sam Sorbo:                   A good thing. I mean, they really want to serve. They’ve got a heart for the kids and they want to do the best by them. So for Christian teachers especially who are now really more and more conflicted between their faith and values and what they need to do, so I encourage them to hang out a shingle and become a home educator for other people’s children, because there are plenty of people who… And I had a friend, actually, who had four kids, his wife refused, just steadfastly refused. And he had to work. And so he just hired retired school teachers for a half day every day, one per child. And that was cheaper than sending them to the local private school. And he wasn’t going to send them to the public schools there because that was a nonstarter. And his oldest daughter graduated Harvard. They’re doing great. Well, they had private tutors growing up. It’s a win-win! So If you’re a public school teacher and you’re getting fed up to here with everything, go into business for yourself. Be an entrepreneur.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, that’s right.

Sam Sorbo:                   That’s I want to put on the entrepreneurship back in education.

Aby Rinella:                  Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   We should be teaching self-sufficiency.

Yvette Hampton:           Well, Sam, I so much appreciate your stance on family and on homeschooling. You and Kevin are a rarity in Hollywood. Garritt worked in the Hollywood movie industry for many, many years and we saw it firsthand just like you have. And I mean, it’s no secret that most marriages in Hollywood fail miserably. And it’s one of the things I respect so much about you. And one of the reasons that I love that you homeschool is because I forget exactly what your role is, but if Kevin’s going to be away for two weeks or more or something like that, then you guys go as a family, right?

Sam Sorbo:                   Yeah. We’re never separated for more than two weeks. That was our rule.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. And I mean, that’s amazing. And with the career that he has and the career that both of you have had, that you are able to take homeschooling with you, and you’re able to be a family. When we went and filmed with you for Schoolhouse Rocked, we met up with you in St. Pete, Florida, where you and Kevin were both filming a movie there. And it was so much fun. Your kids were there with you. My daughter and your daughter had a great time. They spent the whole day together.

Sam Sorbo:                   Yeah. That’s right.

Yvette Hampton:           And I mean it was just so much fun to just see your family all the way, because at that time you were living in Los Angeles, but you were filming in Florida, so you were all the way on the other side of the country, but your family was together! And you have worked really hard to protect that family unity. And I respect that so much about you, that family is that important to you.

Sam Sorbo:                   You know what? I think I learned at a fairly young age to prioritize. Right now we say you can have it all. You can’t have it all!

Yvette Hampton:           No.

Sam Sorbo:                   No. No. Sorry. That’s not part of the equation.

Yvette Hampton:           Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   That’s pie in the sky. That doesn’t work. So, prioritize. And so we made it… We became dedicated. We said, “Okay, we’re prioritizing our marriage”. I said, “I’m prioritizing the children” when I realized that it was actually damaging for them to be in the environment of the public school. And what’s great is, when you understand, I’m going to use air quotes, “the sacrifice”, and you sacrifice for something, you imbue it with even more value. And what you get out is so precious.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   But if we don’t value things, if we’re just like, “Eh, a little bit of that, a little bit of that, a little bit…”, nothing has any value.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Sam Sorbo:                   And we find ourselves lost at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the lifetime.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   So yeah, I mean that’s partly why, that feeds into true faith. We stepped out in faith. Marriage is an act of faith.

Aby Rinella:                  Yes. Amen.

Sam Sorbo:                   Marriage is an act of huge faith.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Sam Sorbo:                   Children are an act of faith. Home education’s an act of faith.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   Learn how to practice your face every day.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   And you’ll have a more fruitful, more fulfilling life.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, that’s right.

Aby Rinella:                  Absolutely.

Yvette Hampton:           Well, that is a perfect way to end this podcast. Sam, you are such a blessing. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for your part in Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you for your part in the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We are so excited to have you as part of that event. Thank you.

Aby Rinella:                  So what day are you speaking and what topic are you speaking on?

Sam Sorbo:                   I think I’m the last. Am I the last speaker?

Yvette Hampton:           You are. You are actually closing it out, as the last solo session, which will be on Friday, February 21st at 4:30 PM, Eastern time.

Aby Rinella:                  With me again!

Sam Sorbo:                   Great.

Aby Rinella:                  I’m going to hang out with you again.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. You’ll be a part of that last round table panel that we’ve got going on, so we’re so super excited, looking forward to having you as part of that. That last panel will be myself, Aby, you, Kristi Clover, who I know you’re a good friends with.

Sam Sorbo:                   Yeah.

Yvette Hampton:           And James Gottry from the James Dobson Family Institute is going to be joining us as well.

Sam Sorbo:                   It’s going to be fun! And God bless you for doing that. I think it’s very cool and it’s a great way to reach people. And so I would encourage everybody who’s hearing this, please invite your friends.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   It’s an easy thing to do. You don’t have to go anywhere. You just sit at your computer, you can peak through everybody who’s speaking and learn a little bit. And maybe you’ll have the epiphany that you need to push you into the right direction with your kid.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and it is going to be very helpful in getting post-production funded on Schoolhouse Rocked, so that we can get this movie done and into people’s hands. So Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Aby, thank you for being with us again.

Aby Rinella:                  Thank you.

Yvette Hampton:           You both are a blessing. Thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week.

Take Back Your Kids! Interview with Sam Sorbo

Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.

Sam Sorbo studied biomedical engineering at Duke University before pursuing a career in entertainment. An award-winning actress, author, radio host, international model, and home-schooling mom to three children with Kevin Sorbo, Sam Sorbo seeks to inspire parents to home educate. Her books, They’re YOUR Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate  (Reveille Press) and Teach from Love: A School Year Devotional for Families  (Broadstreet Publishing), are available at SamSorbo.com. Sam co-wrote, produced, and co-starred in the 2017 feature film Let There Be Light(executive producer, Sean Hannity; director, Kevin Sorbo.) To correspond with the film, Sam and Kevin wrote their devotional, Share the Light. Their newest film, Miracle in East Texas, due in theaters in 2020. Sam and Kevin have teamed up on a new book, True Faith: Embracing Adversity to Walk in God’s Light, due out early 2020.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.

Sam Sorbo:                   Thank you so much for having me.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-

Sam Sorbo:                   Hi, Aby.

Aby Rinella:                  I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.

Sam Sorbo:                   Its fun. It’s just like us girls.

Aby Rinella:                  Yes.

Yvette Hampton:           Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?

Aby Rinella:                  I know.

Yvette Hampton:           We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.

Yvette Hampton:           It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.

Listen to Sam Sorbo on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (2/3/2020 and 2/5/2020 episodes)

Yvette Hampton:           I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”

Yvette Hampton:           It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-

Sam Sorbo:                   Can I be perfectly Frank?

Yvette Hampton:           … yes.

Sam Sorbo:                   I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.

Sam Sorbo:                   So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.

Yvette Hampton:           There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.

Sam Sorbo:                   Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.

Yvette Hampton:           Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.

Sam Sorbo:                   And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.

Yvette Hampton:           Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?

Aby Rinella:                  Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.

Aby Rinella:                  I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.

Yvette Hampton:           And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.

Aby Rinella:                  Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.

Sam Sorbo:                   That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.

Sam Sorbo:                   And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.

Aby Rinella:                  You were in the trenches.

Sam Sorbo:                   So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.

Sam Sorbo:                   He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”

Sam Sorbo:                   Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”

Sam Sorbo:                   And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.

Sam Sorbo is a cast member in the upcoming documentary, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution.

Sam Sorbo:                   And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.

Yvette Hampton:           Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.

Yvette Hampton:           Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.

Sam Sorbo:                   What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.

Sam Sorbo:                   As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.

Aby Rinella:                  That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.

Yvette Hampton:           Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?

Sam Sorbo:                   At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!

Yvette Hampton:           When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.

Sam Sorbo:                   I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.

Yvette Hampton:           All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.

Connect with Sam Sorbo:

SamSorbo.com

Facebook.com/SamSorbo

Twitter.com/TheSamSorboShow

Watch the TED Talk by Ken Robinson, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Marriage Matters – Building Strong Marriages and Families, with Rachael Carman

In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.

Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.

You can find Rachael online at www.RachaelCarman.com.

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!

Enjoy their conversation.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.

Rachael Carman:           Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.

Yvette Hampton:           Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.

Rachael Carman:           Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.

Backstage Pass members can watch the video of our full interview with Rachael Carman, which includes over 20 minutes of bonus content. Bonus – Lifetime Backstage Pass members also get lifetime access to the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.

Yvette Hampton:           Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…

Aby Rinella:                  Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.

Aby Rinella:                  So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?

Rachael Carman:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?

Rachael Carman:           You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”

Rachael Carman:           So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.

Rachael Carman:           I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.

Rachael Carman:           Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.

Aby Rinella:                  I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.

Rachael Carman:           It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.

Rachael Carman:           That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.

Rachael Carman:           And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Yvette Hampton:           I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.

Yvette Hampton:           Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.

Yvette Hampton:           He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?

Rachael Carman:           That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.

Rachael Carman:           But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?

Rachael Carman:           Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.

Rachael Carman:           And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.

Rachael Carman:           That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.

Rachael Carman:           If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.

Rachael Carman:           Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.

Rachael Carman:           Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

Rachael Carman:           Oh, that is awesome!

Aby Rinella:                  That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton:           Only by the grace of God.

Rachael Carman:           I understand.

Yvette Hampton:           Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.

Yvette Hampton:           And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.

Yvette Hampton:           We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.

Yvette Hampton:           And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.

Rachael Carman:           I love your honesty.

Yvette Hampton:           So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?

Rachael Carman:           Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.

Rachael Carman:           It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”

Rachael Carman:           But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?

Rachael Carman:           I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.

Rachael Carman:           So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.

Rachael Carman:           But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.

Rachael Carman:           So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-

Aby Rinella:                  Thank you very much.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. They live in Moscow.

Aby Rinella:                  Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.

Aby Rinella:                  And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.

Aby Rinella:                  You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.

Aby Rinella:                  I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.

Aby Rinella:                  And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. That is-

Rachael Carman:           We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.

Rachael Carman:           So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.

Rachael Carman:           That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

Rachael Carman:           So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.

Rachael Carman:           He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.

Rachael Carman:           Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.

Yvette Hampton:           And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.

Yvette Hampton:           So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?

Rachael Carman:           Okay. So I do have a website, RachaelCarman.com.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay.

Rachael Carman:           My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.

Yvette Hampton:           You’ve got that A in there.

Rachael Carman:           I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.

Yvette Hampton:           Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.

Excellent books on marriage:

Excellent movies that will encourage you in your marriage:

Do you believe in homeschooling?

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Organizing the Mayhem – Homeschool Organization, with Kristi Clover

For the first episode of the third season of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella sat down with Kristi Clover to talk discuss a subject that most of us consider at the start of every year, ORGANIZATION. Kristi is a master organizer and has just released a fabulous book on the subject, that is sure to be an encouragement and valuable resource to you, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.

Kristi offers 10 simple rules to help parents manage the chaos of their homes on a daily basis. From learning routines and habits to creating systems to stay organized, she dives into the most common areas moms struggle with in their homes.

In addition to Kristi being a home organization and efficiency expert, she’s also an author, a speaker, and the host of the Simply Joyful Podcast. Her passion is to encourage families to find simple ways to bring more joy into their home and life. She loves to share about her adventures in motherhood and home life through a variety of media that you can find at KristiClover.com. As a mom of five, she’s never short on opportunities to “practice what she preaches” in the realm of home organization and #momlife. Kristi lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve, and their five children. Be sure to connect with Kristi online for an extra dose of encouragement. She’s @KristiClover on most social media networks. Enjoy this transcript of their conversation.

Yvette:                 Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always we have such an exciting guest on today. I also have my amazing cohost with me again today, Aby Rinella, We are talking to Kristi Clover, mom of moms, homeschool mom of homeschool moms, and part of the speaker line up for the upcoming, Homegrown Generation Family Expo. She is so much fun. You guys are going to love this episode with her. We are talking about her new book, M.O.M.is that what you actually call it Kristi? M.O.M?

Listen to Kristi Clover on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Kristi Clover:                 Yeah, M-O-M – Master Organizer of Mayhem. There it is.

Yvette:                         M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem. I love that title. I love the cover of the book. It is so much fun. It’s so eye-catching when you first look at it. It’s got a bunch of Legos all over it. So, welcome. And this is a great time, because your book just came out and I’m excited about it and want to tell people all about it. And Aby, thanks for joining us again today.

Aby Rinella:                  I’m excited to be here. Organization is my Love Language, so I’m super excited to be on here.

Kristi:                           I love it. Let me speak love to you today.

Yvette:                         It’s the eighth Love Language, huh?

Aby:                             Oh, it is.

Kristi:                           Oh, yeah! No, totally. I laughed, because I was so stressed out at one point because, I shared with you guys before we started that we started this home renovation. My friends are like, “You cannot call it remodel. You’re down to studs.” I’m like, “Great.” At the same time, we’re doing book launch, so I just, I have moments where I’m like, “Oh, find a happy place. Find a happy place.”

Kristi:                           I started doing this deep declutter, and my husband was laughing. He’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I feel really happy right now.” He’s like, “I’m just going to walk away.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do that. I’m really happy right now.” I was in this delirious moment. He was like, “Okay.”

Yvette:                         Oh my gosh. It’s like nesting, right? Because, instead of birthing a child, you’re birthing a brand new home.

Backstage Pass members can watch the full video of this interview – over 40 minutes!

Kristi:                           Yes! And a book. This is not recommended. I’m like, “I brought this upon myself because I called it Master Organizer of Mayhem”, so the Lord was like, “Ha-ha-ha, let’s bring a little more mayhem into your life”. And school, and homeschooling.

Aby:                             Like when you pray for patience and you’re like “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”.

Kristi:                           Oh, I don’t do that anymore.

Yvette:                         So very quickly Kristi, tell us about your family, because you’ve got some kiddos, and a husband, and people you like.

Kristi:                           Oh yes. Just a few kiddos. I love it because the homeschool community, I can say this: We only have five kids. Here in San Diego, people are like “you have what! Are you crazy? Do you know how that works?”. And we’re like yeah. And I have a funny story about that in the book actually. Someone here in San Diego who asked that to me. I was in a very hormonal state. I was pregnant with our fifth and yeah I had a very snarky response.

Kristi:                           So, Steve and I have been married for 22 years. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We have five kids. Grant is the oldest, he’s 17. Then Blake is 16, Wade is 11, Ashlyn is 8, and Kaitlin is 6. So when I was pregnant with Kaitlin, it’s socially acceptable to continue to have more kids if you have all of one gender. So when I was pregnant with Ashlyn, everyone was like, “Aww, did you get your girl?”. And Mama Bear, mom of boys was like, “I did but I love my boys.” Leave me alone!

Kristi:                           When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, I had the gentleman who decided to hit me on a day when I was very tired and hormonal. And he looked at the three boys and Ashlyn and he’s like, “You do know how that works, right?”. I’m like, “Yeah and you know what they say, practice makes perfect.”

Kristi:                           So sorry I went a little rated-PG there. But yeah it was awesome. And he is like “Ahhh.” And the woman behind him was blushing. The woman at the cash register was laughing so hard. So, I’m trying to get the kids out of the store and all of my older kids were like, “What does that mean? What do you mean?” And I was like, “Nothing! Nothing, mommy shouldn’t have said that.” Don’t speak when you’re pregnant, I don’t know.

Check out Kristi’s other excellent books:
Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids

Sanity Savers for Moms: Simple Solutions for a More Joy-filled Life

The Scoop on Scope: Periscope Pointers for Bloggers, Beginners, and Beyond 

During the interview, Kristi also mentions Kathi Lipp’s books on organization:

Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space

Clutter Free – What Jesus Has to Say About Your Stuff

Yvette:                         Oh goodness. Well come to the South, where lots of people have lots of kids. And it is totally socially acceptable. And we’re the family that only has two kids. We don’t drive a mini van, and what else don’t we do, probably lots of homeschooling things.

Kristi:                           We don’t fit in a mini van anymore, because my teenagers are 6’2″! So they won’t fit in the car very well, and everyone is too scrunched for a mini van. So we’re literally at the stage where we have an SUV, but everyone is trying to talk us into a mega sprinter thing that fits 12 and ya know 10 bikes and a camper.

Aby:                             It’s got a camper in it. You can sleep in there.

Kristi:                           We’re just gonna drive a motor home.

Don’t miss Kristi Clover at the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo. You can enjoy this live, interactive, online conference from the comfort of your home. Coming February 17-21, Lifetime Registration for the Expo is just $20.

Yvette:                         So much fun. So these multiple kids that you have, that you’ve practiced for, for many years. And you now have a perfect child. This has been, I’m sure one of the many things that has caused you to write this book, called “M.O.M.– Master Organizer of Mayhem”. I love the title of it. Tell us about your book and help us, moms who are trying to figure out. Because I know this is a difficult thing for any mom, not just homeschool mom. But homeschool mom when you add real life and then homeschooling, it can get really crazy and really chaotic and really stressful. So tell us about your book.

Kristi:                           he book is really fun because it started when I actually only had two kids. Way back, like you know go in that time machine, like flashback, whatever it’s called. The Wayback, so if we go back in time to when I just had two kids. I think Grant and Blake were only four and three at the time, I was asked to speak at our women’s event. So I was like okay what would you like me to talk on? “Can you please talk about home organization?” And I remember thinking, Okay, that’s weird, I know I’m a little, I love it and I thrive on it but I’m not perfect at it.

Kristi:                           So I sat down and I really tried to think through. What gives people the perception that I’m so organized? I started asking friends too, why do people think… Because anytime I asked a girlfriend, what are some descriptions of me, what do you feel are some of my strengths? Organization always came up. And I’m like you guys have been to my house, it is messy sometimes. I feel like when I’m overwhelmed, I do, I let things go. And that’s okay. And what I’ve learned is that is absolutely the right thing to do, because if you really truly need a break. Unless you’re really crazy like me and need to get in there and get a project done, and that’s wonderful.

Kristi:                           What I discovered is, it’s my systems. So I would have people over for a play date one day and the house would be torn apart with all the little kids. And the next day, I would be hosting an event and people would be like, “What happened here? Were you up all night cleaning?” I’m like, “No, I just put things away and I just have this little system for doing this.” And they’re like, “Explain that.”

Kristi:                           And on top of all of that my husband has been traveling for 20 years of our marriage. I think when people were trying to figure out how I did things. That was kinda where it started. So long story short, I sat down and I wrote out this talk “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem”, and I came up with 10 rules. And they’re kind of like this foundation for things that I’ve noticed have to be in place for me to feel most organized. It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything going on at the same time. But they are key components to how to be organized.

Kristi:                           Decluttering is one and asking for help. So there’s a lot of these core foundational things that I put in the book. And what’s fun is, that from 12-13 years ago when I first gave this talk, the rules are exactly the same. I changed the order, but the rules are exactly the same. So it’s been neat to see how when continuing to apply them as my family has grown they have continued to work.

Kristi:                           And the second phase of the book is actually a lot. I share some systems that I put in place as well.

Yvette:                         I definitely want to talk about the 10 foundational rules that you have set. But you also talk in there about setting a good foundation first. How do we do that as moms?

Kristi:                           Well, a big key part is, a good foundation is really looking at all the 10 rules and looking through it. But the key is, I feel like we need to start be redefining organization. Because unlike 12 years ago, we have so much being thrown at us daily. We have an onslaught from TV shows. HGTV has wonderful shows, that I personally love watching. But you know when you look at a house that Joanna Gains or the Property Brothers, or whoever it is that is doing the space, they’ve completely cleaned it out, remodeled it and made it look perfect.

Kristi:                           We’ve got Instagram that is so focused on these beautiful rooms. There’s Facebook, Pinterest, all these things that we didn’t use to have. I mean Martha Stewart was my only person breathing down my neck, “Be perfect like me!”.

Kristi:                           That’s what we feel like. So often people associate organization with perfection. That’s not it at all. Organization to me is creating more efficiency in your home life, so you can maximize your time with your family. As well as for other priorities. So I like to help people figure out what their priorities are, so that it gives you that motivation, because everyone need to know their Why.

Kristi:                           If you’re totally happy in your mess and chaos, the God bless you! You be happy in your mess and chaos. If it’s not effecting you or anyone else in your family, and you have your systems down. Then that’s working! But if you are feeling stressed and people in your home… I have had some moms come up to me like I need this! My husband and I are fine with it but, they might have a special needs child who needs structure. So they have had to learn to get organized. Much like I had to learn to get organized.

Yvette:                         Let me ask you a question about that, though because I have often to friend’s houses and I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. You know, those whose houses are always neat and tidy and they have systems in place. They have an order of their life and typically those are the people who like to purge. Of course, I’m sure that’s one of your 10 rules.

Kristi:                           No, it’s not my gifting, decluttering is. I have friends that are very gifted at it.

Yvette:                         I’ve gotten really good at decluttering. We just simply don’t have space. That’s a whole different topic.

Yvette:                         But I have friends that who have just very organized, clean homes, and I have other friends who their house is always just a mess, all the time. I feel like, both of those friends, but typically those friends whose houses are typically messy. As soon as you walk through the door, they might say that they are comfortable with it, saying we’re okay, we’re okay living like this. But as soon as you walk through that door, they apologize for the mess in their house, almost always. “I’m sorry my house is a mess.” And I’m like look, I did not come to see your house, I came to see you. I really don’t care if your house is a mess. But I know because of their response that it is something that is stressful to them.

Yvette:                         And a lot of people simply don’t know how to declutter, how to organize, how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. Let’s go through some of the 10 foundational rules. Aby what are you thinking?

Aby:                             I’m thinking before we get into that, what I love that you said is going back to, we’re all homeschool moms here. And I love how you said it’s not a one size fits all. It really is what works best for your family. What are your husband’s needs. I might be okay with one thing. I just love how you’re saying it. We’re all created uniquely and differently, and so what’s chaos for you might not be chaos for me. That’s what I’m really liking about the direction your book goes, it is not a “you have to do this the way the Clover household does this in order to be the exact mom and wife Kristi is”. But its really just some basic fundamental concepts that really can work in anybody’s home.

Aby:                             That’s like there’s not one sized box curriculum for every single homeschool family. It’s something unique for each of us. So I’m super excited about that then because this book is for everyone.

Kristi:                           It is, and that’s why my first rule is glean and tweak. Because we can learn from other people and learn from Pinterest and learn from other books out there, you can learn from this book. But unless you tweak it for the season that you’re in, and your personal family… I have friends that, if I cleaned and organized my house and you walked into my house and said “Wow this is perfect!”. I still have friends that would walk in and be like “This is stressing me out”. There’s people who can’t handle anything on the counter. I’m all about let’s put a knickknack here, not to an extreme, I’ve seen them where it’s a little extreme. I have friends that, they just need that. But I don’t have to live according to that.

Kristi:                           My husband likes clean counters, but he just doesn’t want all the Kristi piles there. That is what it is. And now my children have learned how to have their own piles and it’s not good.

Yvette:                         You’ve talked about your first rule, because you have 10 foundational rules that can help moms figure out how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. And the first one you’ve mentioned is glean and tweak, let’s talk about some of the others.

Kristi:                           Okay so it can be anything and 10 rules makes about 2/3 of the book. So the 10 rules are glean and tweak, figuring out your top priorities. In that chapter what I think is important is that I go at it from two different angles. I want you to figure out personally, what is your schedule look like? What are your priorities as a family? Prioritize based on that, schedule your life around that. Because the problem is, if you don’t have cushion in your life and you’re saying yes to everything, you won’t have time to get organized. It’s going to continue to sit at the back as a back burner thing.

Kristi:                           I try to talk people into giving themselves some margin, not making their family “go-go-go”. I feel like as parents, especially homeschool parents, we are horrible at this. We feel like we have to give our kids everything in the maybe 18 years, 17-18-19 years we will have them in our house, in our schools. So we feel like oh we need to give them every experience possible. Oh my goodness, I think about my own personal life and I have learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. And not to knock my education, which by the way was public school. They will continue to learn and grow, we don’t have to put it all in the first few years of their lives, so it’s okay to say no to a lot of things.

Kristi:                           So I try to talk people into saying no to as many things as possible, saying yes to things that are going to help your family thrive the most. And then, looking at it from the standpoint of what are your house priorities. So what’s driving you crazy in your house. If you’re married talk to your spouse, what is driving him crazy.

Aby:                             It’s all my son’s room.

Kristi:                           Everyone of us would say it’s my son’s room.

Aby:                             Just had to throw that in there.

Kristi:                           You do it, and you know my advice is, close the door.

Aby:                             Oh I love that! Really? Until the smell starts to waif out. Then the smell comes out. I like that, just shut the door. That is freeing Kristi. I feel like you just freed me and every other mom like me.

Kristi:                           Well, I mean you do have to get in there from time to time. It’s truly something that is an eyesore, close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. When you have time, make time make that your [inaudible 00:16:36]

Kristi:                           One of the other rules is tackle your worst project. And if that’s honestly what’s driving everyone crazy in your house. Then you have to go through and help him declutter. And the key with kids is you have to teach them the systems. You have to teach them where to put things. I always laugh because moms will go through and they’ll organize the whole house but they’re like “Oh my kids leave it messy!”. And I’m like do they know where toys go though? “No I have to help them”. I’m like teach them where the toys go, or you don’t have a system.

Kristi:                           You don’t create systems for other people based on how you process things. You have to create systems for the people in your house that work for them. So that’s the crazy thing, you can be the most logical person in the house, in the world, and if it doesn’t work for them. Everyone’s different, I have a very neat child. I can trust that his room is, in fact if we have too much pounding and grinding and whatever they’re doing down below me happening in the house, I go to his room to do any kind of video or audio, because I always know that its always going to be perfect. And that is just him, that’s the way that he is wired. He thrives in that situation. He knows how to take care of it. Then I have other children. They don’t quite get it.

Aby:                             And I think that’s where the master organizer comes in, because you’re the master of finding what works for each kid. What are the systems that work for them, not just what is the system that works for me. I appreciate that, because my system is obviously the best system in the house. But each of my kids have a different system, so I like how you said that we need to find what systems work for them and then implement that into their space.

Kristi:                           Yeah, and I literally just ran into that in our own home, because I have a chore system that totally works for me. I know visually, like that is what they’re supposed to do, but for my little kids, it’s just too complicated for them.

Yvette:                         You talked about teaching our kids how to do this alongside of us, because we’ve talked about this with Ginger Hubbard, and we talked about coming alongside a child and training them on how to do things. Because often times as moms and dads, we just assume when we tell our child to go clean their room that they know how to do it, because we know how to do it so it should make sense to them. When we say go load the dishwasher or do the laundry we just assume that because we know it they understand it. And I think that’s oftentimes what causes so much frustration between us and our children is that we are saying go do this and they’re like No. Then they don’t do it and then they get reprimanded for it because they’re not obeying. In reality its sometimes maybe because they’re lazy, often times I think it’s because they simply really have not been taught how to do it.

Yvette:                         And I mean it may be with some kids, you know you said you have your son, he’s just wired that way. He is, just by nature, an organizer and he’s very clean. And I have one of those. I have my oldest, she loves to organize things and she does it for fun. And my youngest, not so much. She’s not uncontrollable but we have to come alongside them and say let me show you how to fold your clothes and how to put them in your drawer. Let me show you how to hang your shirts. And then practice it with them, don’t just show them one time. We can often, take it off the hanger, okay put it back on the hanger now. You can even make it into a game. Let’s fold the clothes again, now let’s throw them all over the floor and let’s refold them and put them back in the drawer. You know two or three times so you know that they understand what it is you’re asking them to do.

Yvette:                         And then if they do it right then you really know, okay you really understand this. And then if they don’t obey then that’s a different topic.

Aby:                             I think that’s what’s great about homeschool moms too, we have all day to do this. They’re not showing up at the front door after school and sports at 5 o’clock and we’re trying to get dinner. So, we’re very blessed that we can bring them alongside of us as we are cleaning the kitchen, as we’re cleaning up the toys and they get to do it with us. What are some of the things that you outsource to your children, that you delegate to your kids to do in your home?

Kristi:                           Oh you’re going to love this, this one is my secret one, no kids at the door, when my kids read this someday they’re going to be like “What!”. My number one tip is work yourself out of a job that you hate. So my kids learned how to do the dishes and the trash, because I don’t like dishes and trash. They also learned how to do laundry. Because number one, dishes and laundry those are crazy things that continue to repeat and repeat, so it made sense for them to learn that. Those are my three least favorite things to do. I am fine, I’m weird, we have a little floor vac that we use on the floors not just on our carpet but on our actual hard floors. It’s a little therapeutic for me, I kind of like it. Counters, I like cleaning them, I don’t mind those jobs. And of course, because I’m finding such joy in them my kids are like “Can I do it too!?” And I’m like no, go do the dishes first.

Kristi:                           We all have those little things and it really depends on number one, what do you need to have done around the house? What do you need help with? And I wrote, I think it’s just a blog post, but we happened to use a hashtag that said chore systems. And I laughed because I had two people, I think it might be the same person with two handles on Instagram, we’re like “That is child labor, you should not be making your children do the work that you should be doing.” And I didn’t respond, because that’s where my snark thing just comes in.

Yvette:                         You should have responded with “Practice makes perfect!”

Aby:                             That should be your hashtag.

Kristi:                           They live here so they have to.

Yvette:                         It’s a life skill.

Kristi:                           It is. My daughter cleans the bathrooms and she earned that, because she told me, “Mom, I feel like the bathroom could be cleaned more often.” And there was a little corner that I missed, and I haven’t cleaned the bathroom since she said that, ever. That became her job, and blessedly she’s a little OCD so I have to clean this bathroom in town.

Yvette:                         Oh I love that.

Kristi:                           I also think you cue in, you’re like if that’s bothering you, to your child, that is a job that you can take over in the household. And if you can’t find your socks, you just became the sock folder.

Kristi:                           I laugh because I don’t lose socks. I’ve never totally understood that lost sock thing, until having kids. It wasn’t even the two older boys, it was when it just got crazy and one of my kiddos, he is, we call him “Mr. Fun” because he is all about fun. And he does not intentionally disobey, it’s just that if something fun and shiny is happening, then he needs to be a part of it. So, it’s like we have to make sure we are helping him to narrow his vision, no wait finish this and then move on to the next thing.

Kristi:                           So it’s really hard. So yeah, I don’t remember what the original question was at some point. Help them to find what needs to be done and what do you want to work yourself out of a job on. And I loved your point too Aby, is you know seeing what they naturally have a tendency toward or what they are bothered by.

Yvette:                         Since you were just talking about laundry, I know you have a few systems for laundry in your home. Share those with us, because I know that for homeschool moms, especially if you have multiple kids, that can just be a drag. I mean it really can consume so much of your time

Aby:                             Because when it’s done it starts again.

Yvette:                         Yes.

Kristi:                           Right.

Aby:                             I’m so excited.

Yvette:                         Okay ready?

Aby:                             Yeah, I got my pen, I got my paper, I’m ready.

Kristi:                           Well I have an entire chapter on my hacks, but I will say this, that with laundry you do have to figure out what works best for you. I have heard so many different ways. There’s so many ways to do laundry as far as some people say, do a little bit everyday, that would drive me bonkers. I want to have a break from doing laundry. I cannot do it every day, then it really would pile up because if you get behind or life throws you any kind of a curve ball, your laundry is going to be missed.

Kristi:                           So what works for our family, especially since we have 7 people, is that everyone gets a day of the week, and my husband and I have one day together. I still do both of our laundry together, because he was traveling so much. Now, he’s not traveling. He’ll do the laundry sometimes, but even then I’m like oh wait I’ll just do it. I know what doesn’t go in the dryer and I know that this is how this is going to work.

Kristi:                           So, backing up a little, each person has their own day. What’s beautiful about that it creates a natural accountability, because if you don’t do your laundry and get it out of the washer, dryer and get it into your room to at least start the folding process. Someone else is coming behind you and your laundry is going to get moved, because they are ready to come and do it. So that has worked really well for us.

Yvette:                         That is brilliant.

Kristi:                           Because of that natural accountability. My other thing that is key, if you are doing that kind of laundry.

Kristi:                           So I can even talk through, I have a SMART, SMART is one of my little acronyms for five laundry hacks. So the M in SMART is mesh bag, they should be your best friend. Because if anything needs to go from the washer to like being hung up, you put it in a mesh bag. So that if somebody is moving your clothes from the washer to the dryer, the rule in the house is mesh bags do not go in the dryer. I do that with my husband and I too, so that if he is doing a load, he knows that doesn’t go in the dryer. So it’s not just for delicates.

Aby:                             Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this. So for example, say Joey has a Tuesday day, as soon as he dries, he folds, he puts away his own clothes, he’s not doing like everybody’s clothes on Tuesday right? It’s his own clothes on Tuesday?

Kristi:                           It’s his own clothes on Tuesday.

Aby:                             So then, if on Friday he fails to do that special shirt, you say hey sorry you wait until Tuesday?

Kristi:                           No. Well…

Aby:                             Like you can cut in? You can share if you need?

Yvette:                         It’s called Laundry Grace.

Kristi:                           Laundry Grace, that’s right. And we aren’t sticklers on the day, all the time. So like if we just got back from Hawaii, we got back on a Sunday, you gotta be flexible. There’s days when suddenly we have three people that need to get their laundry done, because life has been crazy, we were out all day and didn’t have a chance to get laundry going. Then you know, we’re going to have to double up.

Aby:                             How young do you start this? Is your six year old doing it?

Kristi:                           My six year old is doing her laundry. She still needs help with the folding and putting away. She can do it but she doesn’t do it all the time, because she gets flustered, it takes her awhile. And Everyone’s different. My oldest, he does it all.

Kristi:                           One of my other things is, I truly believe in small loads. The larger the load, the more apt you are to let it sit there and not get it done. So it’s really important to have smaller loads. Which is why, again, having a day, that means everyone should be doing their clothes weekly. So my oldest, he was getting in the habit of doing huge loads, because of course his clothes are big too. He’s not in itty bitty little clothes anymore. So he was in the habit of waiting two weeks to do his if he just got busy. What was happening is, his clothes just weren’t getting as clean. And I had to explain to him again, small loads, clothes get cleaner. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to get my laundry done all in one day. But I’m like washer, dryer, fold really quick, washer, dryer, fold really quick. And then I pile it in order, so I’m literally just putting it into the drawer.

Aby:                             If you’re doing everyone has a day, you’re just doing it once a week. So it’s not stacking up, because you know that it’s just a once a week. That’s brilliant. Whats another, okay one more laundry hack before we have to move in.

Kristi:                           One more laundry hack, okay. So this is my rule breaker laundry hack for kids, have them wash everything on cold. I don’t buy a lot of white, if they have anything that’s white, they throw it in my whites divider. And I say white because people normally do, whites, brights and darks, but we actually do cold, warm and hot as our divider. So it’s kinda two laundry hacks. Divide by temperature and have all your kids wash their clothes on cold. If they have items that need to be washed more thoroughly, then you just do a separate wash with that, or throw them in one more time. Because quite frankly, I need to make sure they know what they are doing and if I have them, who knows if that black sock is going to sneak in with those white tank tops or whatever it is. I just don’t deal with that so everything gets washed on cold in our house, not my clothes but the little kids. I mean my oldest, sorry I mean my second oldest. he does do two loads, because he does have enough white clothes that he’s separating those.

Yvette:                         Let’s talk about a few more of the rules that you talk about in the book. So we’ve talked about laundry, we’ve talked about glean and tweak, we’ve talked about priorities.

Kristi:                           Well here’s a big one. The buzz is always on decluttering and everyone’s talking about KonMari method, and you know Marie Kondo. Her little spark joy, which I think is fun, if you hate something then why are you keeping it. But I don’t love, I mean my plunger does not spark joy for me but it is a necessity. I wrote that somewhere and I had someone, I have interesting people who follow me on social media, because this person was just like, “but my plunger sparks joy when I need it.” I’m like, no even when I need it I’m like, blah.

Aby:                             Yeah, the whole situation, there’s no joy in any of that situation.

Kristi:                           I don’t understand that, but it’s all good. My approach with the decluttering process, I call it a Four Leaf Method, because we have four categories, mostly. It’s the traditional what are you going to keep, so what’s gonna go back into your home. That’s when you want to make sure you’re categorizing to organize those things that you are keeping and keeping like things together. Your toss pile, things that just need to go in the trash. Whether it is just trash or toys that are broken that really don’t need to go anywhere other than in the trash can. Then also, we have a sell pile, so if there’s big items that need to be sold, those are going to be that sell pile.

Kristi:                           ut the key pile for us is, the blessings pile. The blessing pile is the traditional donation pile. But what’s helped us, it’s like some mental road block that changed for everyone in the house. That if this item is not useful or a blessing to us, then maybe it can bless someone else. It helps when you have that thing that you’re like, “But I spent money on that! I should keep it.” Why? If you spent money on that and it’s in great condition, see if a friend want it. And if they don’t want it, give it to Salvation Army.

Kristi:                           Because I’ve heard stories, in fact it was Kathi Lipp, she’s another organizer. She’s written a lot of books on organization and decluttering, and has another book coming out, I think in February on the topic. And I heard her speak recently, and she talked about how when she was really going through a hard time, she went into a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and her son really needed a new pair of shes and he was really bummed because he wanted this one kind of shoe. And they happened to find, in Salvation Army, the right size of the exact shoe. She was like it was God’s blessing on us. I think, that if that person hadn’t taken the time to donate that. You’re kinda giving God room to be like, “I can use your stuff.”

Kristi:                           If you don’t need your stuff, get rid of it. So if it’s not doing me any good in our house. Then let the lord use it somewhere else. And who knows, if it’s in horrible condition, maybe Salvation Army is just going to throw it away. But still, I just think it’s important, and it helps my kids to realize if we’re not playing with it, we can bless somebody else. It’s just neat to see how just changing that mentality of, this can bless someone else. So like when we got rid of a ton of our baby clothes, I literally sent an email out to all of my friends and we made this mountain, it was taller than most of my kids, of baby clothes. And my friends came over, and we had all of these babies that were being born, and so people were just coming over and grabbing them. It was great and it was fun and it was crazy, at church I see everybody in my kids’ clothes, and I’m like oh that’s so sweet. It was just fun to see them being reused.

Aby:                             I love that. I think it’s good for kids too because, like with my son, we talked to him. Well, he’s a boy so he’s hard on things. And we talk to him a lot too, when you’re done with things, we want to be stewards of the things that God has given us. Because when you’re done with it… We don’t want to give anyone else our junk, but if we’re stewards with our things. Then when you’re done with that, it’s in really great condition to bless somebody else. So it also, just inspires us and encourages us to take care of the things God has given us. Even if we don’t see them long term for our family. Then they can bless another family.

Yvette:                         And I love what that teaches kids, because we want to teach our kids that they can be content no matter what. And I think often times, especially in our society, we feel like our kids need more and more, we have to get them the newest, and the best and the biggest thing that’s out. That’s why Black Friday, that’s why people stand at in line for 24 hours before the big sale or even longer sometimes, even days, a week! It’s crazy to me. Why are we teaching our kids that? Be content in all things. And when we show them that the things that they have, that they are no longer using can be a blessing to someone else, I think that’s huge. And we have done that with our kids as well, since they were really little. What friend do you have that this might be a blessing to, or often just donating it, because it’s stuff we don’t use.

Yvette:                         I know moms, not that I’ve never done this, I have done this before, but I know moms that will sneak things out. But then I think you’re missing that opportunity to teach your kids to be a blessing to others. And not just to be a blessing to others, but to realize that they don’t need to have all these things to make them happy and to have joy in their lives.

Aby:                             Say, I’m storing up our treasures in Heaven.

Yvette:                         Yes. We have a few minutes left, so lets run through just a few others and then what we don’t get through, of course people just need to get the book.

Kristi:                           You need to get the book, because it’s so fun. Oh thank you. It was so much fun to write. It was fun to tell all my stories. I tried to make it playful and fun and just like we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee. That’s kind of my approach to writing, I try to make every book I write feel like that.

Kristi:                           Okay, so a few other rules. So this is, a big one, especially for moms, especially for homeschool moms. One of the stories I share in the book on this rule has everything to do with a homeschool moment, and that is ask for help. I think so many moms try to be super heroes and do everything in their own strength, or even if they’re leaning on the Lord, he will give you strength but there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So I like to encourage people to ask for help, and when people offer help you have to say yes.

Kristi:                           So one of the stories I share in the book is all about when we just had our 4th, and I had a bunch of friends who had mommy’s helpers coming in. And I’m like no I can handle this. And Steve was traveling like crazy and we were homeschooling, it was just so much, and I was just kind of at my wits end. I was trying to get Ashlyn, my 4th to sleep and she just wasn’t sleeping well. I just have a technique that use with the kids to, sleep training, to get them to [inaudible 00:38:01] to sleep, and it is hard on me the first several nights, trying to get them to kind of recreate that sleep cycle. I think she had just gone through a teething thing or something, but I was exhausted.

Kristi:                           So I decided to do what so many of us do is, ask for prayer. “Please pray for me. I have a definite need but I’m not going to say it. I’m just going to ask for prayer.” So at the end, I had a girlfriend say, “Kristi, I have a daughter who is trying to earn money for ballet camp, she would love to come over. Where do you live?” We lived three minutes apart and had no clue. It was the biggest blessing. Her daughter would come over and what was so funny is that so often when we are getting, my friends are like, “I have the mommy’s helper come over and play with the kids while I go run errands.” Well that’s fine if I really need the time alone to just get out of the house. But I did that from time to time, but I would often have my mommy’s helpers come over and help with the things I didn’t want to do, so that I could play with my kids.

Kristi:                           You can use help however you want to. And I’m always really upfront too, we have cleaners. I love my cleaners, I help them when they get here, and I help them when they leave. And they come every other week, and the day they come, man by that evening you can’t tell they were here. Unless you’re looking deep, because sometimes it’s just that whole Murphy’s Law of when I have a clean floor someone’s going to spill something. It works no matter if you have cleaners or not, if you clean the floor, your child will spill milk everywhere. It helps because it means, all at one time my house is clean.

Kristi:                           We had a season where we were hosting two different events. I was hosting our Co-Op and I was hosting our Bible study, and my husband was adamant, “I know you. You are going to want the house to be tidy, and you’re going to want it to be clean. We need to have the cleaners come on the off week.” We didn’t have the budget for it, it wasn’t so much a budget, we didn’t want to spend for another cleaning. I just asked them, for this much money will you do the kitchen, the bathrooms, just like the key things I knew I needed done, because I knew that’s where people were going to be. And they were like, “Oh yeah we can do that.” And they were already in our neighborhood.

Kristi:                           So again, ask! If you’re not asking, you’ll never have the solutions. I just think it’s so important for people to see where they could use help and get it.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I think so too. We sadly are out of time, but I would love to continue on and do this for the next two hours, but just tell me to get to work.

Kristi:                           Yes, we have lives. And I have to go get my grays covered. We were joking about that beforehand, I have to go get my hair done because I have spray paint on my grays now.

Yvette:                         Is it like a spray paint you go and get at Lowe’s? You just go to Lowe’s and get some brown spray paint that matches your hair color.

Kristi:                           I laugh because I had a girlfriend tell me about it, and I was like “Are you kidding me?” And she’s like, “No it’s a real thing.” It’s like L’Oreal or something like that, I get it off of Amazon, so yeah. I’ll share the link with you, I’m telling you, you got to do what you have to do. I’m telling you 40 takes over and you got to roll with it.

Yvette:                         I haven’t hit the grays yet, but I have hit the eyesight. I now have to wear reading glasses, which I didn’t have to wear before and I look at small print things like “I can’t see!”. So in order to read your book, I had to put my reading glasses on, but it was well worth it.

Yvette:                         So you guys, get this book.

Aby:                             Where can we get it Kristi?

Yvette:                         It’s fantastic.

Kristi:                           Thank you. You can get it anywhere books are sold. If your physical bookstore doesn’t have it, you can ask them and they will get it in. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere. It really is.

Yvette:                         We of course will put links in the show notes to it. It is called, “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem” by Kristi Clover. And Kristi, thank you. You have written a few other books, I know I would definitely love to have you on the podcast again to talk about some of your other stuff you have going on. You have got all kinds of great encouragements, so I love it. So maybe it won’t take us a year to have you back on, right?

Kristi:                           Life is a little, we’ve been told two more weeks and the house is done.

Aby:                             How long have they been telling you two more weeks?

Kristi:                           They’ve been great. They are keeping right within their timeline, so we’re very happy.

Yvette:                         You are a blessing, thank you for using what God has taught you and shown you to encourage me as a mom and Aby and to encourage all of our listeners. Because you really do have a gift for organization but not just for doing it for yourself but helping others to learn how to do it as well. And it is doable, so for those listening who just feel overwhelmed, truly, honestly get this book because it really will help you. Because it helped me to see things that I just couldn’t see them inside of my little box. So I would read a chapter and go well I can do that. And it really did change my perspective and my habits of doing things around our home. So this is a book that does the same thing as that. So thank you Kristi, you are a blessing.

True Education Reform, The Homeschool Revolution!

“I’ve taught at seven different universities now and I’ve always had one colleague in every English department who looks forward to teaching homeschool kids. One, because they were smart and two, because they saw it as their mission, as one put, to kick the Jesus out of them. So the universities recognize that these kids are smart and they want them because these are kids that don’t drop class, they don’t swear or cut classes. They turn their homework and they say, “yes ma’am,” “no sir.” They like that. But then they want to socially engineer these kids. And so they’ll take them. The universities want them, but a lot of the professors want them for very different reasons.” – Dr. Duke Pesta

Dr. Duke Pesta is the Director of FreedomProject Academy, host of the Dr. Duke Show, and a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. His experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, and high school teacher, uniquely qualify him to address the current state of education in our country. He speaks across the nation on topics including the necessity of homeschooling, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public schools, and the myriad of ways that colleges and universities indoctrinate students.

Listen to Dr. Duke Pesta on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (11/11/2019 Episode)

Dr. Duke is one of America’s foremost authorities on the dangers of Common Core and the federal takeover of education. He hosts A weekly program about education—The Dr. Duke Show—which covers educational issues from preschool through graduate school.

Yvette Hampton, host of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, had the privilege of talking with Dr. Duke about the influence that culture and churches have had on today’s youth, and how we, as parents, can best prepare our children for the secular worldview ideology that they are being exposed to on a daily basis. They also discussed how most homeschooled students fare in a university setting.

Yvette Hampton:           We were visiting Heidi St. John this past summer, filming for Schoolhouse Rocked and actually, while we were at her house was when your episode on her show aired. She had talked about you and she’s just so impressed with who you are and the knowledge that you have of the public education system and all things going on in culture, having to do with education. Of course, you know a whole lot about many, many other things, not just education. So, I heard you on her podcast after she had spoken of you and I thought, man, we’ve got to get this guy on the podcast.

Talk about what you do because, I like that you’re labeled kind of the educational reformer and that’s really what Schoolhouse Rocked is. The full title of the movie is Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution! And it really is a revolution because we need to reform education not just in our country, but worldwide. Why are we in need of a reformation right now when it comes to education?

Backstage Pass members can watch the full video of this interview. Not a member yet? Watch the first half for free, then use the coupon code “PODCAST10” to save 10% on any paid membership.

Dr. Duke Pesta:             Well, I mean, anybody who’s involved with education who is not trying to reform it as part of the problem. We have an educational system that is getting worse and worse. I mean, because you asked me in one word, one sentence to explain the major problem. It is the following. That our progressive educrats, it’s the progressive left who’s been in charge of our public schools, our colleges who are going on 50, 60 years now. And what they have succeeded in doing now over the last 25 years in particular is transforming the way we educate our kids, whether it’s public schools from kindergarten through high school, whether it’s our universities, to educate them primarily first for left-wing ideological purposes. What you and I would call the social justice movement.

Dr. Duke:                      We have relegated academic achievement, merit, hard work, we have relegated real serious study to all of these political objectives of the left, which is why our kids know less and less and less the farther they go along but are much more politicized. So you’ve got these kids on college campuses who can’t tell you who their senator is, who don’t know the three branches of government, can tell you nothing about the constitution. Yet they know America’s a racist, sexist, evil place and that capitalism and free markets have to go. What we’ve seen happen is a hijacking of the schools by ideology and leftist politics at the expense of real learning. And it’s really starting to transform this country into something very different than what it was meant to be.

Yvette:                         Yeah. It’s all about indoctrination and no longer about education. And that’s a scary place to be. And you talk about being involved in and reformation on the end of education. And we just got back from a camping trip, actually, yesterday and I was talking to one of the dads there and we had such an interesting conversation because we were talking about as homeschoolers, sometimes, we feel like, well, our kids are protected and so we’re good. We can just close that door. We don’t worry about the education of our kids because we’ve taken it into our own hands, which obviously is what we stand on as a family. It’s why we’re making a movie about it. It’s why we do a podcast, and a blog, and all that stuff because we feel like it’s important for parents to take that role of educating our children.

Yvette:                         However, it can’t stop there. It needs to continue on. And we were talking about our tax dollars are going to pay, they’re paying for all of these other children to be indoctrinated, and these children are the ones who are the future of our country, our future political leaders, our future doctors, lawyers. And we’re seeing this crazy shift. I mean, sometimes, I feel, and I know you feel this way too, I’m sure, like I’m in the Twilight zone. I hear the things that are happening in universities and in the schools, private schools, public schools, public schools K through 12. We’re from California and I, I literally cannot wrap my mind around the things that are being taught to these children. How did we get here? How did we get to this point where people are having the freedom, because it really has become a freedom for them, to be able to indoctrinate our kids with these horrible, horrific, wicked ideas and have turned so far away from the truth of God? How did we get to this place? And what do we do? How do we get back to where we came from?

“How we got here is really kind of basic, it seems to me. Our churches have stopped fighting this battle. The churches have … I argue that the institutional Christianity, church Christianity is on life support in this country because they don’t want to lose that 501(c)(3), I have had pastors who haveve told me, yeah, gee, Dr. Pesta, we’d love to have you speak here, but I’ve got four public school teachers in my faculty. I can’t upset them.”

Dr. Duke:                      Well, start with the first part of your question. It was very clear that Christ in the Gospels wants us to be in the world but not of the world. On one hand, we have to protect our kids, our families, our communities in a Christian way. On the other hand, we have to turn outward to a corrupt culture. We can’t ignore it or it’s going to swallow us up. We have to prioritize protecting the faith but we also have to reach out into the world. And so many homeschool moms and dads, I think you’re right, they think that their kids are safe, that by pulling out of the schools, they fix the problem. They really haven’t because not only are we paying for it with our taxpayer dollars, but we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction because as these kids become more common, still many more, like 9.5 out of every 10 school kids are public school kids.

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Dr. Duke:                      And so, as they become more indoctrinated, more secular, they’re convinced now that God was never meant to be a part of the culture, that our constitution somehow banishes God from public spaces. These are the lies our kids are being told. And as they get older and older, and the generation that leaves college becomes the millennials, they’re … 54% of millennials believe in some kind of cult behavior, right? They believe in tarot cards, they believe in astrology, 54% of them believe in sort of a cult spirituality and less than 50% actually believe in God. And that’s going to come back to bite us. You and me can homeschool our kids, but will your kids be able to homeschool theirs We’ve already seen California, the state you ran away from, wisely got out of, California’s trying to put the screws to homeschoolers. They’re trying to force state agents into homeschool families to kind of watch and see what’s going on, and this is beginning to spread. So that’s the first part of your question, I think.

Dr. Duke:                      And how we got here is really kind of basic, it seems to me. Our churches have stopped fighting this battle. The churches have … I argue that the institutional Christianity, church Christianity is on life support in this country because they don’t want to lose that 501(c)(3), I have had pastors who haveve told me, yeah, gee, Dr. Pesta, we’d love to have you speak here, but I’ve got four public school teachers in my faculty. I can’t upset them. And so all of this temerity on the refusal of our Christian pastors to actually wade into this, to take a side … because if they were doing that, if our Christian pastors were doing it, they would ultimately be telling the moms and dads, you got to get your kid out of these schools, you’re not going to be able to fix them. Sorry for being long winded, but the answer to your question is you got to get them out. If we’re going to fix any of this, many, many more American kids have to be educated outside of that system and it’s happening but not fast enough.

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Yvette:                         Yes, I agree with you completely. We often have people ask us, we’re trying to fundraise for this movie just to get through post-production. And we have had many, many people ask us, well, you know, have you gone to churches? And we’ve said, we’ve talked to pastors before and churches will not touch this movie because it is a movie about homeschooling. And it’s the same exact thing is that they don’t want to offend people because they’ve got people on their leadership board or, elders, deacons, whatever, some pastors who are part of their church who have their kids in public school and they don’t want to ruffle their feathers. They don’t want to. And even people in the congregation as well, they don’t want to upset people. And I don’t understand that because I’m thinking, well, if you’re standing up and you’re teaching the truth of God’s word, we often talk about Luke 6:40. It says, “The student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Yvette:                         Well, who’s teaching our kids and are we the ones who are coming alongside and teaching them and discipling their hearts? Again, Deuteronomy six, we talk about that all the time. You know, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and teach this to your children when they rise and when they sleep, and when they walk about their day.” We can’t do these things if … we can’t teach our children the way that they need to be taught if they’re not with us. And when we’re sending them to a public institution, a government school for 40 hours a week, they’re being taught by someone else who is not their parent and who doesn’t have their best interest in mind.

Yvette:                         Now, there are teachers, of course, you and I both know, I mean you’ve taught in the public school system. There are teachers who love kids, genuinely love their students, but their hands are tied and there’s nothing that they can do about it. What are you seeing? Because obviously, California, I know a whole lot about what’s going on in California because that’s home for us. What are you seeing as far as what’s happening in the California and kind of whole Left Coast part of the world? How is that infiltrating into the rest of the nation and what changes are you seeing even in these so-called conservative states and towns?

“They do not like freedom and liberty. They don’t like the constitution. They don’t like American history and values. And Christianity is at the core of what they don’t like. They see Christianity in 250 years of American history, 2000 years of Western culture as the root of all evil in terms of repression and backwardness.”

Dr. Duke:                      Yeah, to start with where you started, it always amazes me when I read the Gospels. Christ spoke to the power, he spoke to the churches, basically, spoke to the synagogues, told them the truth, it made them uncomfortable and then you had the great divide. And here we are, the heirs of Christ, and we won’t speak to the culture. We won’t speak to the moms and dads in our parish, our constituency, because, hey, they got kids in the wrong place. And if priests and ministers, if pastors can’t tell their parents, you’re sending your kids to not just a godless place but an anti-God place because you fear your 501(c)(3), that shows you the state we’re in, right? That our biggest ally should be biblical Christians, should be Bible-believing Christians. And when the ministers who lead those congregations will not stand up for the truth, then we really can’t be surprised where we are.

Dr. Duke:                      But you mentioned California and California, because there is so little opposition, what few Republicans remained in the state have been more or less completely elected out of office. It’s been a landslide for far-leftist politicians and this is of course fueled by a huge base of illegal immigrants, many of whom are finding ways to vote. And what’s happening is that there’s no balance here. There really are no longer any checks and balances in California because they got basically supermajorities to pass any radical agenda item they want to, they’re doing it. Then we have places like New York City where they pass these radical abortion laws where you’re allowed to abort babies while they’re in the process of being born. And so the left has run away and then we know what the progressive left is. They’re atheist or secularist. They are very sympathetic to communism.

Dr. Duke:                      They do not like freedom and liberty. They don’t like the constitution. They don’t like American history and values. And Christianity is at the core of what they don’t like. They see Christianity in 250 years of American history, 2000 years of Western culture as the root of all evil in terms of repression and backwardness. So we’re seeing this problem. And the problem with California is that there are a lot of states in the union that aren’t as progressive, that still have more of a balance and legislature who are using California as an excuse to do it themselves. And the places like Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and New York, and Chicago, the district of Chicago. So these big liberal cities are incorporating this stuff and using their power, the big cities and liberal states, to transform how state business has done as well. So this is spreading. It’s a virus. And what you see in California today, you’re going to see in Nebraska, you’re going to see in North Carolina tomorrow unless somebody turns this around.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. As far as kids being in the public school system, we hear all the time, and we were just talking about this the other day, my husband and I. People will often say, well, our kids’ school is different. We live in a small town. We live in a conservative state. My child’s teacher is a Christian. Are there any kids who are safe anywhere in this country from being taught and indoctrinated with these godless ideas that they’re being indoctrinated with? Are they safe anywhere?

“It’s not terribly intellectual. They’re slipping in sexuality education into all the different classrooms. They’re using math, and science, and social studies, even physical education classes as a way of reinforcing a certain set of liberal, progressive values.”

Dr. Duke:                      I wouldn’t call them safe anywhere. I would say that some schools have gone farther down the rabbit hole than others. And of course, with this new Common Core scheme and the federalization of education, that starting first in the major cities in every state. So in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is gone. If you’ve got a big city in Wisconsin, the kids in Wisconsin are all getting the same diet of ideology. But in smaller towns, it hasn’t quite got there yet or hasn’t quite got there fully. But even still, even if your kids are in a relatively safe place, and it’s a small school, and there is still some oversight, the fundamental nature of the pedagogy, how they’re being taught, even non-religious subjects is really very screwy. It’s not terribly intellectual. They’re slipping in sexuality education into all the different classrooms. They’re using math, and science, and social studies, even physical education classes as a way of reinforcing a certain set of liberal, progressive values.

Dr. Duke:                      So, at the best, your kids are being pushed very hard left. At the worst, they’re being downright indoctrinated. So there is really no place. And what’s bad now is going to get worse. There’s no place where your kids can hide from this and that doesn’t even mention the data gathered how the feds are using your kids’ public schools to gather all sorts of private data, how they’re using your kids’ schools, your kids. Something called social emotional learning, SEL, social emotional learning, which is big all across the country where there are actually unqualified elementary school teachers are making psychological evaluations of your kids. That’s happening even in the safest of schools now and it’s dangerous.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Yeah. It really is. We have a friend who is just a wonderful Christian lady. She’s been teaching in the public school system in Northern California for probably 30 years, a very long time. Loves teaching. I believe she teaches kindergarten or first grade and she was telling me that last year, they had brought in so many books on the LGBT movement into the school library. And so though she is finding ways to not teach that in her classroom, the kids have access to those books. And so she did something that I thought was very clever and she said, I just checked out those books because as a teacher, she can check them out for the school year to quote-unquote use for her classroom. So she just checked out all of the books that she could find to get them out of the library. She obviously didn’t teach them in her classroom, but she was trying to do something so that the children, the kindergartners and, elementary school kids didn’t have access to those books.

Yvette:                         But like you said, I know these things are being taught and they’re being weaved into all of the curriculum. It’s not like they are just doing it, you know, here’s the sex ed class and you can opt out of it. It’s in everything. It’s in science, it’s in literature, it’s in grammar. I mean, they’re literally weaving it into everything that these kids are being taught. They’re very clever and intentional about it and it’s a scary place to be. How can parents prepare their kids? And I’m not talking just about homeschool parents, I’m talking about parents, homeschool parents, public school, private school parents. How can we prepare our kids for this culture war that we are in right now, not even entering, but we’re in a war right now. How can we prepare our kids as they’re growing into young adults and the future of our country? How can we help them?

Dr. Duke:                      Well, I mean, think about what you just said. I want to reiterate it. You have a well-meaning and incredibly brave young teacher in California who is evading the system to some degree. The entire library has been stocked with books that are harmful to these kids’ development and she’s checked them out. And that’s the best you’re going to get. She hasn’t protected her kids from that. In her classrooms, they don’t get it. But in other classrooms, they will. So even the best-case scenario, you see how dangerous it is. And so the way to prepare them, I say, I think I go back to what I said before. Number one is you’re praying with them two or three every night before they go to bed, if you take them to church on Wednesday and Sundays or you spend an hour every night doing Bible study, that pales in comparison to what they’re getting eight hours a day, nine months of the year. It is relentless.

Dr. Duke:                      So, the answer is our kids need an education. But they need an education that is our education. It is Christian based. It is Biblically-based. It is knowledge-based. They need to be able, these kids, and unfortunately because we’re attacking kids at younger and younger ages, in the public schools, they start this when they’re six and seven years old. We need to prepare our kids to answer those things. It’s not enough just as you teach the kids that God loves them and to teach them the moral values. That’s important. We’ve got to give them a reason to believe intellectually. So many of our kids, we homeschool them and they know the Bible, and they know their prayers, and they believe in their country, and they believe in God. And then they get to the university if you’ve homeschooled until high school. And then they meet really smart professors with PhDs after their name who don’t engage them on a biblical level, don’t engage them on a moral level.

Dr. Duke:                      That’s a battle they won’t win. Instead, they engage them on a rational level. All right, you know, prove to me your God exists. And they started hitting them with those kinds of questions. Our kids have to be able to rebut secular arguments. It’s not enough simply to be able to cite the Bible. And that’s an education they used to get. They used to get it before we corrupted the schools, they would get a sound logical education and then that would be reinforced by their faith. Now they’re getting an education that is hostile and absolutely the opposite of what their faith teaches them. And when they say that they’re not allowed to use the Bible, they can’t use scripture to prove their point. So every tool we give them is rendered moot by the professors. And so they dutifully line up.

Dr. Duke:                      Either they drop out or they fight and get lower grades. We’ve got to do a better job of, when I say giving them a Christian education, we’re handling the Bible stuff well. We’re not handling culture well. Why should you? Why is chastity better than libertinism? Why is humility in this culture, where it’s a total narcissistic self-esteem culture when it comes to education, why is humility perhaps the primary virtue Christ witnesses to us? Why is humility better than pride? Why is my self-esteem less important than making somebody else feel better about their lives? They don’t get that anymore. And we as Christian parents aren’t giving it to them. And again, our pastors aren’t giving them. We don’t talk about … everything is the prosperity gospel. Sin is judgmental. Many of our pastors actually believe talking about sin is prejudicial. It’s one-sided. So without that kinds stuff, it’s a bleak landscape unless we as parents decide to give them those things.

Yvette:                         Yeah, well, it hurts people’s feelings when you tell them that they’re sinful and we don’t want to do that. And you’re exactly right. It’s all about apologetics. Teaching our kids to understand what they believe, ask the questions, and then understand why they believe what they believe. Because if they don’t understand why they believe what they believe, they’re never going to be able to defend it. We’ve watched this happen time and time again with kids and it happens to kids in public school, private school, homeschool where they think, well, we’re good. And the parents think they’re good because we’re Christians and they go to church, like you said, a couple times a week and they can play their cards right, and they can say all the right things. But if they don’t really own their relationship with the Lord, then they have no solid foundation to stand on. I’m curious to know because you’re a university professor, what is your viewpoint of Christian universities today? How are you seeing those kind of shake up culture?

Dr. Duke:                      The vast majority of them are worse than the public schools. You take schools, the obvious Catholic ones like Notre Dame or Georgetown, and these Christian schools, and the Protestant ones do it as well, in the name of plurality, in the name of open-mindedness, the Christian universities all hire non-Christian faculty. They don’t want to be seen as discriminating like the pastors. They want to invite secular teachers in because our Christian kids need to hear both sides and immediately when they get to campus, these non-Christian faculty members who are now 70% and 80% of the faculty now. That number of Christians keeps shrinking, and they’re demanding LGTBQ, and they’re demanding socialism, and they’re demanding an end to borders. They’re turning around and accusing the Christian theology that governs the school of being exclusionary and there’s nobody to stop it. But I’ve said this many times. I would much rather my kid lose his faith from a public school teacher or a public university professor because you expect it.

Dr. Duke:                      You expect them when they go into a non-Christian classroom to have their face challenged. It is really dangerous when our kids go to so-called Christian schools and they encounter in Christian environments really anti-Christian ideas. they begin to think that Christianity is either evil by definition if all these Christian professors don’t like it or their Christianity becomes really social justice pretending to be Christianity. And many of our kids are working again, many of our Christian kids think that Christianity now means radical left-wing politics. And so it’s undermining faith. I’d rather have my kids in a secular school than in a Christian school that’s lost its way. And there are very, very, very few Christian schools that are faithful to their heritage and their mission.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I agree with you completely. And it’s so deceptive because they think they’re getting a Christian education and these parents think that they’re sending their children to a good, solid Christian school. It’s got all of these awards, and accreditations, and blah blah blah. Okay. But are they really teaching the truth of God’s word? And I know that there are some out there that really are, but I appreciate you saying that because we’ve talked a whole lot about that and that’s a scary place to be as a parent.

Yvette:                         We’re looking at, our daughter is going into high school next year and starting to just think through, okay, what direction is she going to head? And we were talking to a pastor several months ago and he was saying the same thing. And I said, “Would you ever consider sending your kids to a public university?” He said, “Most of them are better than private universities today.” And he goes, “And at least they know that they’re getting a secular education.” And hopefully my children will have been trained and have a very solid foundation and be able, again, back to apologetics, they know what they believe and why they believe it. And so they know that going into it.

Dr. Duke:                      Well, one piece of advice I give your parents, I can give you, even. When you go to a Christian school, Christian college to find out what it’s really like, don’t ignore the administration. They’re going to give you some student is going to give you a tour of a Christian campus and talk about how faith-friendly it is. That’s all propaganda. Go to the cafeteria, sit down with a couple of strange kids and say, hey, my daughter is going to be coming here. Can we buy you lunch and talk to you? Sit down with the kids. The kids are much more honest. Ask them, is there regular church service? Are the faculty really open to Christian values? You’ll find out quick from the kids whether or not. They’re a much better gauge of what’s going on than the school’s trying to get, they want your money. They want you there.

Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s a fantastic idea. We have a few more minutes left. Let’s talk about FreedomProject Academy. Tell us what that is.

Dr. Duke:                      It’s one more way to try to help homeschool moms and dads. There a lot of homes. There are a lot of moms I’ve encountered across the country, oftentimes, secular moms or Christian moms who are overwhelmed by what’s happening in the public schools, but they got to work two jobs. The husband and wife have to work. Sometimes it’s single mothers. These are families that desperately want out of public school, but they can’t afford the costs of private Christian schools and they don’t have time or they feel like they’re not qualified to teach the kids the way they have to. So what we do at FreedomProject is we have real live teachers teaching over the computer just like you and I are watching each other right now. And they teach in real-time and they come right into your living room. We can do everything from kindergarten through high school. We can do one or two classes or an entire range of classes.

Dr. Duke:                      We are accredited. So kids who come with us can get a high school diploma. And our kids are getting into colleges all over the place. So we’re a Christian school, we teach Christian values, we teach biblical principles, we give a high-quality classical education. And so for moms and dads who use us, we’re not for everybody. I mean, it’s a lot of screen time but we do give a really good education in a Christian vein for families who want to homeschool but don’t think they can quite do it themselves. We can either help them or do it for them.

Yvette:                         And can they choose from specific classes or you just sign up and you get everything?

Dr. Duke:                      No. We have moms and dads who are great at homeschooling, the only thing they can’t teach their kid is chemistry at junior year of high school. So they’ll just take our chemistry class or we’ve got moms and dads and keep the kids in the public school, but they don’t like the fact that American history is so bad. So they’ll send their kids to public school all day and then in the evening, they’ll do one of our courses on American history so they get to see the other side of the story. We have other parents for whom we do five classes a semester from kindergarten through high school and we give them a diploma. So it depends on what you need, what you want. We’re very flexible that way.

Yvette:                         Okay. I know you started classes at the beginning of this semester. Will you start new classes mid-year? And can people sign up for it mid-year or do they have to wait until next school year?

Dr. Duke:                      Rolling admissions is too difficult because, especially because, and this is a fact across the board when kids come to us from the public schools, they are at a minimum two years behind where they should be. So it’s very hard in the middle of the semester to try to place that. So unfortunately, we need to wait until the following August, September. But we can do it then. And we’re very serious about that. The nice thing about this online course stuff is if your kid comes to us and she’s a fourth grader and she does fourth grade English, she’s doing good, but her math grade is second grade, we can keep her in all the other classes at her age and then put her back into math classes a little earlier and then catch her up. So this is something that public schools can’t do. It’s not something we do.

Yvette:                         Okay. And do you assess the children before you assign them to a class?

Dr. Duke:                      Anybody who applies to FreedomProject and you could do it for, even if you want to find out where your kids are, we’ll do placement exams in math and English for you. Even if you have no intention of coming to us, it won’t cost you anything. And then we’ll tell you where your kids are. Vis-a-vis where they should be. It’s not that complicated. If you want your kids to be able to read at a high level and you want them to be able to do at least precalculus by the time they graduate high school, then at every grade you have to get them a certain place. And so every parent that comes to us, we give the two exams, we let them know. And even moms and dads who don’t come with us, we tell them where their kids are so they know, they have a sense of where their kids should be and where they are.

Yvette:                         Okay. That’s fantastic. We’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. One last question. As a university professor, I don’t know how many homeschool kids you get in your classroom, but are you seeing that homeschooled students going into college and universities, are they well prepared? Are they better prepared? Are they less prepared? What are you seeing?

Dr. Duke:                      It’s undeniably true that the homeschool kids we get at college are better because … it takes us full circle back to the beginning of the interview. We’re not educating anymore kids to be good readers, to be good mathematicians and scientists, we’re educating them to be woke, socially aware, progressive. So when they get to college, most of the public school kids shouldn’t be there. I estimate about four out of 10 of my kids in every class, every one, shouldn’t even be in college. They don’t have enough knowledge or they’re unwilling to work at it. But when I get homeschool kids, they’re fine. I mean, they’re solid. They’re literate. They have a basic foundation that the public school kids don’t have. So then even if they’re not completely ready, you can catch them up quickly.

Dr. Duke:                      It’s the public school kids. And even many of the Christian educated kids who get a solid Christian education, they’re more or less ready. But certainly, the public school kids aren’t. And then the sad thing is, the tragic thing is that the universities too are catering to the progressive kid who doesn’t know anything rather than the Christian kid who could succeed. So we’re lowering our standards. We’re bringing kids to college, not on the basis of achievement, but on the basis of how woke they are and how malleable they are to progressive arguments. So universities, to the surprise of nobody, universities are worse even than the public schools in terms of turning kids into good little progressives.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Yeah. It’s encouraging to know that universities are seeking out homeschooled kids. We’ve talked to a few university professors and that’s one of the fears, of course, that parents often have of homeschooling is my kid’s not going to be able to get into college. And so we talk about that in the movie and say, yes, they will be able to getting to college. Not only that, but there are actual universities now, many of them and more and more each year who are seeking out homeschooled kids because they really are better prepared.

Dr. Duke:                      Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, at every university, I’ve taught at seven different universities now and I’ve always had one colleague in every English department who looks forward to teaching homeschool kids. One, because they were smart and two, because they saw it as their mission, as one put, to kick the Jesus out of them. So the universities recognize that these kids are smart and they want them because these are kids that don’t drop class, they don’t swear or cut classes. They turn their homework and they say, “yes ma’am,” “no sir.” They like that. But then they want to socially engineer these kids. And so they’ll take them. The universities want them, but a lot of the professors want them for very different reasons.

Yvette:                         Interesting. That’s really interesting. What is one last bit of encouragement that you can give to the moms and dads who are listening to this podcast? How would you encourage them in regards to either bringing their kids home from public school, why should they do that, or just homeschooling in general?

Dr. Duke:                      Well, I think rather than give them some platitude, I would simply cite your story. because I’ve heard your story tens of thousands of times. Concerned parents who are Christian, who watched their kids’ education, who see what’s happening around them, who hear the horror stories, who understand what’s happening, who never thought, and you and I’ve talked about this before, I mean, you never thought in a million years you would homeschool your kids. You’re a good Christian, but you thought that those homeschool kids were a little socially maladjusted. And now that you’ve taken the leap, I love the phrase you said, it’s St. Paul on the road to Damascus. The scales fell from your eyes and now you wouldn’t trade your homeschooling for anything.

Dr. Duke:                      I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, I’ve been to 48 States, I’ve given over a thousand talks on this stuff, I have never met a single homeschool mom and dad who regrets doing it. Not one. And that tells you something that if you take that commit, that you make that leap in God’s name to give your kids a godly education, God is going to allow you to do it. God will give you all the tools you need. Every financial, every sociological, every family obstacle that the devil has thrown in your way will fall away. You just got to take that leap of faith and as Christians, we all we do every day. Do it. You’ll be happy.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. Well, you guys heard it from Dr. Duke Pesta and he knows his stuff. So where can people find out more about you and FreedomProject Academy?

Dr. Duke:                      Well, you can go to our freedom project website. It’s FreedomProject Education, fpeusa.org, and there’s all sorts of stuff there about the school. One thing I would urge you to do maybe is if you like podcasts like this one you’re watching now, ours too, the Dr. Duke Show. It’s four times a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and it’s absolutely free. You can get it anywhere you get podcasts and you’re going to you, at the very least, you will be a very, very informed person as to what is actually happening in the schools.

Yvette:                         Yes. Well, I appreciate it so much. I listen to your podcast. I have been since I heard you on Heidi’s podcast, and you and Katie are a riot.

Dr. Duke:                      It’s such a sad, depressing story. We try to make it as fun as possible. And that’s the Dr. Duke show.

Yvette:                         Well, you do a good job of it. It’s hard to talk about the issues of today sometimes and it’s not entertaining where you sit and laugh all the time, but you have made me think about a lot of things and really opened my eyes up to a whole lot of things going on in our culture. And so I get a lot of my information from you, so thank you for what you’re doing. You are a blessing.

Find out more about Dr. Duke’s FreedomProject Academy, an online homeschool curriculum that offers a fully accredited, Classical education for Kindergarten through High School.

Listen to Dr. Duke at DrDukeShow.com.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 2

“Anxiety in teens is higher than it’s ever been. Because these kids are having to perform at a standard that is a generalized standard that they don’t necessarily fit into and it does make sense because when we remove God’s design and plan, we end up with these things like depression. Because the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. And so when I’m sent into a place every day where, well, God is there but where I’m not allowed to be taught about God or speak of God or see God or do things God’s way, then it’s not going to be a joy-filled place. When you remove the Lord from the school, you’re also removing joy and strength.”

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone. In case you didn’t read the previous post, The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 1, make sure you go back and read that one.  Aby Rinella is back with me today and we are talking about the benefits of homeschooling. We talked before about “The Why of Homeschooling” and today we’re building on some of those ideas. We recorded that episode several months ago, but this is the second part of that conversation about the many, many benefits of being able to keep our kids at home and disciple them.

The Bible passage that we have parked on for this episode is Matthew 6:31-33, but really focusing on verse 33. But it starts out, “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the Gentiles seek after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

“I think in the beginning, I would look at other kids who parents would talk about the struggles that they had with their children but also the blessings of it too. But I thought, well… Homeschooling’s going to be different in our house. It’s going to run smoothly. And as I had this fairytale in my mind of what it was going to look like, we were going to just have this perfectly scheduled-out day. My children were going to just sit so compliantly in their desks and they were going to just do the work that I asked them to do. And they were going to learn everything the first time and they were not going to argue with me. I mean, I had this idea of how it was going to unfold and then I started homeschooling!”

Aby Rinella:      I love talking about what these things are that are going to be added when we’re obedient to God in raising our kids, and last week we talked about all the academic benefits, all the things that moms panic about. “Can we really do this academically?”, and how we’re seeing that academically, homeschooled kids are thriving. We talked about all the reasons why, so I’m excited to get into a lot of the other benefits and all the other things that are added on to us when we choose to obey God’s call to homeschool.

Listen to this conversation on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (10/8/2019 episode)

Yvette:             Yes. We talked a whole lot about the principle, “obedience brings blessings.” God is a God of blessings. He loves to bless his children and he hears our prayers. And he loves to listen to us as we cry out to him on this journey of homeschooling and parenting and just trying to figure it out. I know for myself, it has been… You know, before you have kids, you think you know it all.

Aby:                 Everything, yes!

Yvette:             You see other kids and you’re like, “My kid would never do that. My kid would never throw a tantrum in public. My kid would never say no to me.” And then you have kids and you’re like, “Oh, so, let me take back everything”-

Aby:                 It’s universal.

Yvette:             Right. It’s universal. And the same goes with homeschooling. I think in the beginning, I would look at other kids who parents would talk about the struggles that they had with their children but also the blessings of it too. But I thought, well… Homeschooling’s going to be different in our house. It’s going to run smoothly. And as I had this fairytale in my mind of what it was going to look like, we were going to just have this perfectly scheduled-out day. My children were going to just sit so compliantly in their desks and they were going to just do the work that I asked them to do. And they were going to learn everything the first time and they were not going to argue with me. I mean, I had this idea of how it was going to unfold and then I started homeschooling!

Aby:                 Reality.

Yvette:             Reality hit. So there are things that are hard about it, but in looking back, I also didn’t get to see all of the blessings that would come from it. And so it’s been… We’re in our ninth year of homeschooling now. And it’s so amazing to just see how with Garritt and I having been obedient to the call that God has put upon us to homeschool our kids and to have them with us day in and day out and discipling their hearts and training them. He has just blessed that beyond belief and I love what it’s brought. You and I, in the last episode we talked, like you said, about many of those things. One of the greatest things we talked about was marriage and sibling relationships. And I’m so grateful for what the Lord has done in our family through those things. So, let’s keep on talking about this. What are some of the other benefits that you’ve seen through homeschooling?

Aby:                 Okay, we’ll keep going through the list. One that I have seen hugely and I never expected and now I’m so passionate about it is health. We are a family that’s really health-oriented and I never equated that homeschool would have anything to do with health and it’s kind of blown my mind. Which everybody knows and science has shown that too much sitting leads to all sorts of issues, increase of diabetes. It kind of slows your brain. They say it actually gives you lethargic thinking, increase of heart disease. Obesity has tripled since the ’70s as more people are going to computer-oriented jobs rather than more labor jobs. So, sitting causes a lot of health issues and so, when you have the kids in a classroom from the day that they’re four all the way forever and they’re sitting for endless hours, it is not good for their health. And I am seeing in classrooms now they’re trying to do all these creative things. Like, let’s say you want to bounce the ball or let’s say you want a swivel chair. But we’re still sitting and we’re just sitting on different things.

So, that’s a huge benefit with homeschool. We did an episode before on the benefits of getting outside. And we talked a lot about that, about how it’s important to get up and move our bodies and physically outside. So, that’s when everybody can go listen to hear the health effects of that. Aside from just kids being able to move more, which helps their brain, especially if you have a kinesthetic learner. But even non-kinesthetic learners, it helps our brains when we’re moving.

So, in addition to that, sleep. This is one that has hit me and I have seen that with health, like a lack of sleep brings on illness. They’ve said that, I mean, if you’re listening to this and you’re a homeschool mom, that means most likely you’ve had babies. And that means you know what it’s like to sleep, to not sleep for long periods of time.

Yvette:             Right?

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can watch the video of this full interview.

Aby:                 And that does affect our health. It affects our attitudes. They say a lack of sleep can lead to depression, it leads to a lowered immune system. So with homeschool, we can let our kids sleep when they need to. And I’m not saying that if you want to get your kids up at 7:00 AM and start school, that’s fine but that’s your option. That’s your privilege, that’s your freedom to decide how much sleep your kids need. And so, we run by our own clock in our own home, not somebody else’s. So, just the beauty of not having to get my kids up, yelling and screaming at them to get dressed, hurry up, and shove food down them and get them out the door when they’re exhausted. That can take a toll on a child’s health.

The other thing that just is brand new to me and you’ll relate to this, is when kids hit that pre-puberty, their whole circadian rhythm changes, like all of the sudden, they’re staying up later and they’re sleeping in. And I didn’t see it coming. All of a sudden, I have a daughter that’s entering into that and she’s up later. And it’s not that she’s just trying to be up later like her body is, it’s just her whole rhythm is different. That’s a scientific thing that happens when you’re going through those pre-puberty. So, again, we can let our kids sleep when they need to sleep according to their body and their season and when they are. When kids aren’t tired, they learn better.

And that’s something I saw as a public school teacher. I would have kids that were so exhausted, little teeny tiny five-year-olds coming in so tired because they didn’t get a nap because now we’re doing full-day kindergarten in most states. These kids were so tired and then we expected them to learn. And that just doesn’t… That’s not healthy. So the beauty of homeschooling, one of the blessings is that physically, it’s so much healthier.

Yvette:             Yeah. And not just kids but for mom too. You know, mom having to get up early to get her kids up and ready and out of the house and fulfill all those responsibilities. Then mom is tired, and we talked in the last episode about marriage when mom’s having to get up and she’s exhausted from the day. By the time her husband’s home and kids are in bed and now it’s finally time for you and your husband to spend time together.

Aby:                 Yes.

Yvette:             You’re exhausted and you want nothing to do but sleep. And that’s not healthy. That’s not healthy for your marriage. It’s not healthy for your kids. It’s not healthy for mom. And so, I mean, there are often days with us where Garritt or I or our girls will just say we just need a nap today. And it doesn’t happen often. But sometimes, I’ll just say, “I really need to sleep. I can’t even focus on what I need to do right now. I’m going to go just take a power nap.” I’m good at power-napping. I can take a 20-minute power nap and be refreshed for the rest of the day. Not all of my family members can do that but I love the benefit of being able to do that. And my girls, every once in a while they do that too. Lacey, my little one, we call her the Energizer bunny because she requires so little sleep. We don’t know how she does it but that girl, I feel like she could be one of those adults who can survive off of four hours of sleep at night. I don’t know.

Aby:                 She’ll handle newborns well.

Yvette:             She will. I mean, from the time she was about, I think, a little older than two, she didn’t even nap anymore. Because if she did, she wouldn’t go to bed till 11 or 12 o’clock at night. She just does not require a lot of sleep but many do.

Aby:                 But many kids need a lot more than the average kid, too.

Yvette:             They do, yep.

Aby:                 Again, when we try to fit all the kids in the same box, well, every kid has to be up at the same time to make the bus at the same time. And we’re doing this herd thing where I don’t care if you need more sleep or less sleep, you’re going to get the average amount of sleep that everybody gets because the bus hits it this time.

Also, when kids are sick, I saw so many times, moms bring kids to school sick because they couldn’t stay home from work. And then they would be sick week after week because they never got the rest they needed for their body to heal.

Yvette:             Sure, they couldn’t fully recover.

Aby:                 They couldn’t. So again, when you can just rest, when you can just say, “You don’t have to do school today because you’re sick.” And our kids are healthier, they can heal faster. Their bodies can do what God designed their bodies to do.

Yvette:             Yeah, that’s great.

Aby:                 And another physical health benefit is… Can you tell I’m passionate about when it comes to kids’ health?

Yvette:             Yes, I love it.

Aby:                 Is food. I think, I look at an adult schedule, we all get hour lunch breaks. Well, those that work outside the home. I just can eat all day.

Yvette:             Right.

Aby:                 But most adults in settings an hour lunch break and we’re giving kids 20-minute lunches. The average lunch in an American school is a 20-minute lunch. And those kids are so amped to get up and out of there to the playground that most of them aren’t even eating their whole lunch because they want to get out the door. So they’re eating too fast. And again, when you look at the medical side of things, it is eating too fast, has been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems. And actually, not getting enough food that you actually need nutrient-wise because you’re just shoving it in and your body isn’t being able to balance what you’re eating. This is what we’re setting. We’re setting these habits in our kids at such a young age that are going to stick to them through a lifetime. And food choices too. Even just what the kids are eating when they’re rushed out the door and hurry up and grab.

So, there’s just so many health, just physical health benefits that are secondary reasons, secondary benefits to homeschool when we… Not the reason to homeschool, the reason to homeschool because God has called us to, but these are benefits that come with it.

Yvette:             That’s right.

Aby:                 So, also physically, ADHD symptoms drop and that’s an incredible one. ADHD is through the roof now and it’s growing every single year. But you’re finding that, this is really interesting. Early childhood school enrollment is a primary culprit with the ADHD diagnosis epidemic. The earlier kids are registered for school or in schools, the younger the age, the higher rates of ADHD. And that’s really interesting. So, we now have all-day public kindergarten. You’re in kindergarten all day and now we’re taking it down to preschool. So right now, putting kids in at four years old.

Yvette:             Oh, they’re just babies.

Aby:                 They’re babies and the rates of ADHD, which really, just a kid, a four-year-old can’t sit still all day, anyway. Just, their bodies aren’t made to do that.

Yvette:             No.

Aby:                 So, the ADHD symptoms drop when kids can get outside, and we talked about that before, when we play outside. And so that’s a benefit. This is interesting, I’m just going to read this. A Harvard study found that in states with a September 1st enrollment age cutoff, children who entered school after just turning five were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children born later about to turn six.

Yvette:             Wow.

Aby:                 So, that’s a 30% increase.

Yvette:             That’s huge.

“I can’t stand to sit all day. It drives me crazy. I mean, I have to get up every now and then. If I’m sitting and working and doing stuff at the table, I have to get up every probably 30 minutes at least and just move my body. I need to grab a snack, go outside, and get some fresh air or something. And no one is made to sit all day, every day at a desk and have to focus on what it is that you’re supposed to focus on.”

Aby:                 With putting these little tiny ones in school. So, obviously we see with a lot of this, and I’m not negating ADHD. I’m saying that there are ways to help that and some of these studies show that immaturity is really the real factor, not pathology. So, that’s a huge benefit that we have. If our kids aren’t ready to sit all day, that’s okay. We don’t have to make them sit all day. We have the freedom to change that up.

Yvette:             Sure. And it’s not just the preschool kids who aren’t ready to sit all day.

Aby:                 If you had a teenage boy, just look at them.

Yvette:             It’s all kids, even me. And I’m not a super… I’m an outgoing person but I’m not a super crazy high-energy person. But I can’t stand to sit all day. It drives me crazy. I mean, I have to get up every now and then. If I’m sitting and working and doing stuff at the table, I have to get up every probably 30 minutes at least and just move my body. I need to grab a snack, go outside, and get some fresh air or something. And no one is made to sit all day, every day at a desk and have to focus on what it is that you’re supposed to focus on.

Aby:                 No, it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy. So, those are some of the physical benefits. And then, the mental benefits are absolutely incredible. So, adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicide declines during summer when they look at the statistics. So all those things go down in the summer. It’s different for adults and I’m not sure why but when they study adolescents, then they find that those things spike right at back-to-school time. So that seems pretty obvious. Suicide has more than doubled since 2007. Then we’re just… The more the testing, the more the requirements. But I just find it very interesting that all those symptoms go away in the summer and then they spike back up when it’s time to go to school. And that’s pretty obvious. So, a Boston college psychology professor that writes frequently about the problems with this other kind of schooling looked at the statistics and stated that the available evidence suggests quite strongly that school is bad for children’s health. That kind of blew my mind but psychologists are saying this isn’t a place where kids are going to mentally thrive in, in that health department.

Yvette:             And when he says school, he’s talking about sitting in a classroom all day. He’s not talking about academics, of course.

Aby:                 Not academics. No, no, no, no, no. Although sometimes trying to teach subtraction makes me lose my mental health but that’s not what he was talking about.

Also, fear is eliminated. Because when kids are home with mama that loves them and they’re safe and they don’t have to fear the bullying that goes on. There’s, again, an epidemic of bullying going on in our schools. The programs, when I was just stepping out of the school, a huge part of our days were spent with an anti-bullying program that was being put in because bullying is such a problem. Safety, drugs, the temptations that are out there that kids have to battle every day. I was a public school high-schooler, and the temptations that I faced every day just caused severe depression in me. I stood for my faith. I was able to stand for my faith but it just was a pressure that I wasn’t mature enough to handle. And so, kids are dealing with that every day. Constantly having to perform for someone else’s standards. That is a lot of pressure on kids and that leads to depression and anxiety.

Anxiety in teens is higher than it’s ever been. Because these kids are having to perform at a standard that is a generalized standard that they don’t necessarily fit into and it does make sense because when we remove God’s design and plan, we end up with these things like depression. Because the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. And so when I’m sent into a place every day where, well, God is there but where I’m not allowed to be taught about God or speak of God or see God or do things God’s way, then it’s not going to be a joy-filled place. When you remove the Lord from the school, you’re also removing joy and strength.

Yvette:             Sure. Sure, it’s a very dark place to be.

Aby:                 It’s a very dark, a very dark place. And I know because I was there. And the other thing that you just did an awesome podcast with Heidi St. John, which was amazing. You guys spoke about something that really hit me about how when we educate kids collectively as opposed to individually. And when we’re not able to educate the independent, individual child, which is the child that God created to be unique with a purpose and a plan, with unique interests, with unique strengths. When we have to educate kids as a collective, we’re kind of forcing them into this peer-pressure situation. And I got to thinking about that when I was listening to you and Heidi speak, where we’re kind of telling kids, “You have to be like everybody else. You need to have the same scores as everybody else. You need to learn the same thing as everybody else.”

And then, that carries over with kids too. “Okay, well then I need to dress like everybody else and act like everybody else and talk like everybody else and have the same gifts and talents as everybody else and the same hobbies.” We’re kind of shoving our kids into this state of peer pressure. And then, we’re acting confused as to why there’s all this peer pressure yet these kids that were trying to be a part of the collective that we’re forcing them into, they have a unique independence inside of them because God made them that way. Because whether they’re believers or not, they’re still created in God’s image.

So, then they have this battle of, “I want to be independent and I want to fight for my independence, but I need to be a part of this collective and fit in.” And you see these teens and it’s just like extreme mental anguish that they want to stand out and be unique. So they’re going to do these extreme things to be noticed. But then they want to be a part of the crowd and fit in. And it’s an unhealthy thing that you don’t really see elsewhere besides this setting. So they vacillate and that leads to depression and anxiety and bullying and a lot of these social issues that we see because we’re setting up this artificial setting for kids to try to be socialized in.

Yvette:             Sure, sure. Which you can also see that sometimes in the church and in youth group and homeschool co-ops, things like that.

Aby:                 It’s part of our nature.

Yvette:             It is part of our nature but at the same time, it’s different when they’re not faced with it all day, every day for 40 hours a week.

Aby:                 Yes. Yeah, that’s for sure. And the thing is, homeschool is not a savior and that’s not what we’re saying but God’s way is. Doing things God’s way will lead to a much better outcome. So, we want our kids to be able to embrace their uniqueness.

Yvette:             Yep, that’s right.

Aby:                 The Bible, we’re told in Corinthians 12 that we’re a body created all different with different unique traits and different talents. Yet we are part of the body. So, we are created unique but we are all being part of this collective. But if you do that void of God, which is what’s happening, we end up with a terrible mess. Because anything we do, void of God, no matter how natural it is, it ends up being a mess because it’s void of the one that designed it.

Yvette:             That’s right.

Aby:                 Anyway. And so I guess lastly, this is a big one. What’s the number one thing people ask you about homeschool? The big “S word”.

Yvette:             Oh, socialization for sure.

Aby:                 Socialization. What about socialization?

Yvette:             Awkward unsocialized homeschoolers.

Aby:                 Right? Totally. Which all you have to do is go hang out with them. So the definition of socialization, I love, it’s the process beginning during childhood by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of those they’re being socialized by. So that’s the habit, the values, and the attitudes. You can be socialized anywhere by anyone. You’re just getting the attitudes, the habits, and the values from those people.

So, my husband was in law enforcement previously and he always said, “The closest thing that we have in our society that looks like the school system as far as socialization goes is the prison system, incarceration.” And he worked in the prison system. We segregate these people in the prison system based on… They have parameters. They can eat when they’re told to eat, they can socialize when they’re told to socialize. But they can only socialize with a certain set of people that are in the same pod they are, right? And they have to move as a group where they’re allowed. So it’s interesting that that social setting is very similar to what we see in the schools.

And so a blessing with homeschool, one of the secondary advantage when we seek first God’s way is that our kids can be socialized anywhere and with all ages and it’s a more natural way because they’re interacting with people of different socioeconomic status, people of different ages, people of different class. It’s a much more natural way, which leads to kids having, we’re talking about health, a healthier way of socializing.

Yvette:             Yeah, that’s right. One of my favorite answers when people ask about socialization and “Don’t they need to be in school so that they can socialize?” is, “Okay, well, tell me exactly which character trait you want my child to emulate of those kids who are in the public school system because pretty much none of them.” And I’m not saying there aren’t great kids in the public school system. There certainly are. And in private school as well, there are many, many great kids. But overall, I’ve seen those kids. You’ve seen those kids, you see them when you go in public anywhere. You go to the mall or Walmart or anywhere. Why would I want my child to emulate that? And you don’t see a lot of godliness going on, at least not a lot of godly examples happening in the public school system.

So, that is not where we want our children to be in order to be socialized. I will say on that point though, that even today, we have seen that there are homeschool parents who are so afraid of the world out there that they really still continue to keep their children isolated at home. And I don’t think that that’s healthy. Parents need to have their children out there. But one of the great benefits of homeschooling is, in a sense, we often get to choose our kids’ friends and at least we can better direct who they’re going to be spending their time with.

So if you’re part of a co-op or if you’re a part of your church youth group or their sports teams or whatever it is that they’re part of, you can really encourage them because you get to know their friends better and you’re around them more. And so you have a whole lot more control over it. Not full control, of course. And especially as they get older, they’re going to hang out with kids who maybe you don’t know as well. But I don’t think isolating our kids from other children is healthy for them.

Aby:                 No. And that’s not seeking. We’re going back to our whole point is seek first the kingdom of God. So, if you’re homeschooling because you’re afraid of what’s out there then you’re not seeking first the kingdom of God. And if you’re homeschooling because you don’t want your kids to be exposed to certain things, which granted we don’t. But if that’s your primary then that’s not seeking first the kingdom of God. So when we seek first the kingdom of God, we’re not afraid of those things. But just because I don’t fear it doesn’t mean I want that to be the primary influence in my child’s life.

So, we seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things. God will guide us and direct us. And, again, we’re not saying that kids in the public… I was a public school system child and I love God with all my heart and I had to overcome a lot of things. We’re not saying that homeschool is the save-all end-all. Because if we were saying that then we wouldn’t be seeking first the kingdom of God. We’d be seeking first homeschool. And that’s not the message that we or Schoolhouse Rocked or anyone that follows Jesus wants to send.

But we do know that when we seek first the kingdom of God that all these other things will be given to us and he gives us discernment and he gives us wisdom. He gives us clear instruction in his book as to how to do these things. So, it only makes sense that when we remove God from the way, from a huge chunk of our kids’ days that we are going to be seeing so many of these social issues, so many of these health issues, so many of these academic issues. Because we’re separating our children’s daily life and God. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Those two things are supposed to go together. So seek first the kingdom of God and then all these other things.

Yvette:             And his righteousness.

Aby:                 And his righteousness and you can kind of chill out on the rest of the stuff. It’s just going to naturally happen.

Yvette:             Yes.

Aby:                 That health will naturally come. You’re naturally going to let your kids sleep in if you’re a sane woman.

Yvette:             Because you’re going to want to sleep in yourself.

Aby:                 Exactly.

Yvette:             Yes. Oh, and there are so, so many other benefits to homeschooling and I would encourage those moms who are still… Maybe they need some encouragement. Maybe they haven’t started homeschooling yet and they’re thinking about it. Maybe there are those moms who are just exhausted. Find a seasoned homeschool mom and just ask her, “What are some of the benefits?” And ask, “What are some of the things that you would have done differently?” And that’s really one of the reasons why we have the podcast is because we want to bring on moms who will encourage the homeschool community and just say, “Just keep at it.” There’s so many benefits to having your kids at home and discipling their hearts and training them and working through the relationships, working through the academics, working through the character training, working through those life skills that we’re trying to instill into our children.

And find a mom who will walk alongside you. Don’t do it on Facebook. You and I talked about that. No, I should… There is some good encouragement on Facebook but I feel like the further we go with social media, the more detrimental it has become. And one of my favorite things is, well, I shouldn’t say my favorite things. One of the most annoying things to me is when you’ll pop onto one of the Facebook homeschool pages and it’ll say, oh, what did they say? Not homeschool related but, “Can you please tell about?” Well, shouldn’t there be another page for that? I feel like these homeschool pages should really be just that. They should be for encouraging homeschool families. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk about anything because, I guess, homeschool related is life. Homeschooling is life for those who do, are part of their life for those who do it. But anyway, it seems like everything, people talk about it.

Aby:                 Totally, and we can fall into that same trap even amongst homeschool moms of comparing our kids and forgetting that God made our kids individuals. So it’s going to look different in my home than it is in yours. And we need to guard ourselves because that’s our human nature. I mean, our human nature is our human nature, whether we’re in one setting versus another setting. So we just need to guard ourselves and keep going back to, “Am I seeking first what God wants from me as a wife, as a mom, as a woman, as a homeschool teacher?” And if I’m seeking first God then I don’t need to get hung up on, “Hey, all you other moms, how would you handle this?” I can seek God and then he will guide and direct me to women who are truly going to give me wisdom, not just opinions. Yes. That is good cautionary. Don’t just throw it all out there because it’s a little overwhelming when you get 50 responses and they’re all different. So, seek God first and then ask discernment and where to seek second.

Yvette:             Sure. That’s right. That’s right. And there’s a lot of good encouragement on there, I should say. So, I’m not trying to devalue everything that’s said on social media. A lot of people have a good heart and they really want to help those. But I’m just saying, not everything that you see on there is worth taking to heart.

Aby:                 Yeah. Just be cautious and discerning.

Yvette:             Yeah, that’s right.

Aby:                 And remember that if God’s called you to do it, he’s going to equip you to do it. It doesn’t matter how anybody else is doing it. And it doesn’t matter how you feel on one day versus another. He will give you everything you need for what he’s called you to do. And you will see all the blessings flow from there.

Yvette:             Yeah, that is right. Well, I feel like we could talk about this forever but we are out of time for the show. So, Aby, thank you again for coming on. You are such a huge blessing to me, to my family, and to our listeners. So thank you for your time and just for all the research that you put into this episode. I love listening to the things that the Lord has shown to you.

Aby:                 Well, thank you. Thank you. We’re in it together. We’re all in it together.

Yvette:             That’s right. That’s right. The body of Christ working together.

Read more from Aby Rinella at CalledToTheTop.com and on the Schoolhouse Rocked blog.

Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 1

“God’s way is best. God has a best design. When God designed us to be parents and he laid out in his word as to what it means to be parents, he gave us directions to go with that, that would guide us to be the best parents we can be. He does that with everything. How can you best manage money? How can you best be married? How can you best even run a business and a government? It’s everything that we need for life and godliness is in his word. And so with that is also how can we best raise our children? And the Bible is very clear that to best raise our children to serve and honor and worship him is to do it according to his word in everything that we do all day long.” – Aby Rinella

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton and I am so excited to be back with you again today, and I’m super excited to have my friend Aby Rinella on with me again. As most of you know, if you’ve listened to the podcast for any length of time, Aby has become just a regular guest on the show but also has really kind of filled the role of being a cohost with me. We are having a lot of fun together getting to talk with homeschool leaders and just regular moms and dads who are in the thick of this homeschooling journey with us and being able to bring encouragement to you. I am thrilled to have her back on the show with me again today.

Several months ago, we had a great conversation and we did an episode in which we talked about the why of homeschooling and it’s possibly our most popular episode, but for sure it’s been one of our most popular episodes. And so we talked about all the reasons of why we homeschool. Aby and I also did another one with Karen DeBeus. Together the three of us talked about the why, who and how of homeschooling.

On this one we want to take that a little bit further and we want to talk about the blessings and the benefits of homeschooling. So once people know and understand what their why is, we want to talk about the great joy and blessings that come from it. And the verse that Aby and I have been talking about a lot is Matthew 6:33, and for our family this has become a verse that has been very instrumental to us in this amazing journey that God has had us on with filming the documentary, and even just with life, with homeschooling, with trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. And so I’m going to read this verse to you again. Many of you already know it, but we’re going to start out with it.

It’s Matthew 6, it’s actually verses 31 through 33 is what I’m going to read, but we’re going to focus today on verse 33, specifically. Matthew 6 starting in verse 31 says, “Therefore, do not be anxious saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear, for the Gentiles seek after all these things and your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Thank you for being with us today. Aby, welcome back to the show again and I’m thrilled to be talking about the blessings of homeschooling with you.

Listen to this conversation on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (10/1/2019 episode)

Aby Rinella:                  Thanks Yvette. I’m excited to be here. I always love to be here and share with you as we share our hearts with other homeschool moms. And this is one of my very favorites. Well, my very favorite was the why, the reason that we homeschool, and that episode is available because that is the foundation of everything that we do is why we homeschool. We don’t do it because we want smarter kids, or that they go to a better college, or that they make more money or that they’re more successful, and I think when you look at that verse, if we flip flop it, we seek all of those things and then we’d fit God into that. And that’s not what God says. As homeschool moms, I think we do worry about the academics and are we going to do okay with academics.

Even though we know that’s not the primary thing that we should focus on, it is something we look at or met many other things that we’re going to talk about today. But, but really we homeschool out of obedience to God. We don’t do it for the blessings. We do it for a reverence for God and knowing that his way is always the best. We do it because we’re called to do it, regardless of the outcome. But, and like we said, we don’t obey God to get the blessings, but what’s really awesome is when we obey God, there are blessings. That’s just the truth. What’s neat is it’s almost like a trickle-down effect. When we obey God, the blessings fall into so many areas and I think of it almost like marriage.

The reason behind marriage, the reason God calls us for marriage, is it’s like a relationship. It shows us the earthly relationship between Christ and the church. God created marriage is one man, one woman forever. But the neat thing is there are trickle-down benefits, there are trickle-down benefits that is so good for our culture, it’s so good for our families and our kids. It’s someone to grow old with and have fun with and help carry life’s burdens. But those aren’t the reasons we get married. We don’t get married because we want to have fun with someone, we get married because God has ordained marriage and then the blessings come.

And it’s a lot like that with homeschool, we homeschool because God calls us to, and that the things that we’re going to talk about today and in the next one is … These aren’t the reasons or the drive or the motive, but they’re really exciting blessings and I’m really excited with you to share. Leviticus 26: 3 through 10 show tells us, “If you follow my decrees and you’re careful to obey my commands. I will send you rain in its season and the ground will yield its crops and the trees, their fruit.”

And then Luke 11:28 says, “Jesus said, blessed rather are those that hear the word of God and obey it.” So when we hear God’s word that says we’re to teach and train our children in righteousness and that we are to be their primary educators, and that we are to teach them his ways when we rise and when we walk. When we answer that call, when we’re obedient, then all these other things that we’re going to talk about are added.

That’s really exciting, but we just want to encourage the moms, don’t get it backwards. Always seek first God and then things will be added.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can watch the full video of this interview.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. For those of you who are listening to this, if you have not yet listened to that episode that we did on the why of homeschooling, we’ll link that, of course, in the show notes so you can go back and I would maybe even pause this one for a few minutes, go and listen to that one, know what your why is, and then come back and listen to this one.

Let’s talk about this. You talk about the blessings that obedience brings. And we often, we’ve talked about this a lot on the podcast, you and I have talked about this, and that we tell our girls all the time, “Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings,” and when we are obedient to what God has called us to, there will be blessings in that. That does not mean that things will always be easy and that it’s just going to be smooth sailing, because we know we live in a fallen sinful world and things are hard. I mean, this is a pretty difficult world that we live in.

But it’s a different kind of hard. It’s different than the difficulties that come because of our sin, and the difficulties that come just because we live in a world that’s full of sin. I want to clarify, I’m not saying it, and I know you’re not saying that any person who has their child in school and doesn’t homeschool you’re sinning. That is not for us to judge. That is not our heart behind Schoolhouse Rocked. Our heart behind Schoolhouse Rocked – the podcast, the movie the blog – everything that we do is to encourage and equip people to be able to homeschool and to do it with excellence.

Because if God’s called you to do it, he’s going to equip you to be able to do that. And so we want to come alongside you and be able to do that. I just wanted to clarify that. But we talk about being called. And I know sometimes I struggle with that because it not being called, but it’s that Christianese lingo that we use, “God called us to do this.”

Really quickly, can you clarify when you say, “God called you to homeschool,” or, “God has called us to homeschool,” what do you mean by that?

Aby:                             I would say it’s God’s way is best. God has a best design. When God designed us to be parents and he laid out in his word as to what it means to be parents, he gave us directions to go with that, that would guide us to be the best parents we can be. He does that with everything. How can you best manage money? How can you best be married? How can you best even run a business and a government? It’s everything that we need for life and godliness is in his word. And so with that is also how can we best raise our children? And the Bible is very clear that to best raise our children to serve and honor and worship him is to do it according to his word in everything that we do all day long.

Answering the call really, that is Christianese to just to say, “I’m going to choose to do things God’s best way. I’m going to choose to follow his word and his examples as to how to do this thing, how to raise my kids.” That’s what I would say that would be. Any time you answer a call, there are going to be sacrifices that are made. I mean, I have yet to answer any call in my life that there aren’t sacrifices. Again, with this whole homeschool thing, there will be sacrifices. But the really neat thing is, is there are so many blessings that come with it that make those sacrifices … you almost don’t even notice them anymore.

Yvette:                         Right, right. That’s right. Let’s jump on that right now. Let’s talk about some of the blessings of homeschooling because there are so many, and again, sometimes homeschooling is really hard, and sometimes the process of educating our kids, and parenting our kids and discipling them is really a hard thing to do. But again, anything worth doing is often hard. And so let’s talk about some of the blessings that you’ve seen, that we’ve seen, that as we’ve interviewed people for the movie that they’ve seen through homeschooling.

“It’s not because we’re drilling our kids with academics, it’s because when we seek God first then I can chill out on the academics, I don’t have to be stressed. I say this because I started this out completely backwards as a teacher. I said, ‘Okay, I need to academics first, and then I’m going to consult God on the rest,’ and it was a disaster. When I stopped doing that and I sought God first, naturally, academically, my kids thrived.”

Aby:                             Okay. I would say what’s really neat is sometimes we get, what do they say? The cart before the horse, and when we answer the call to homeschool, then … I’m guilty, so I know this from personal. Then I realize, “Okay, I’ve got to get all this academic stuff figured out, I’ve got to get all this …” And it goes back to that verse, is we worry about all the other things, the peripheral things, the academics, all of those things. But really God says, “Seek me first.”

What’s so neat and what we’re going to talk about, is those things come naturally academically, homeschool children thrive. Not because we’re pounding academics into our kids, but because we are seeking first God. When we do that, the rest of that comes. It’s really neat because it was talking about in that verse that the Gentiles were seeking all these things. But God said, “Hey, wait a minute. Seek me and then I’ll give you these things. And look around in the world, it’s like academics is such a big thing. It’s such a big thing that our kids test well, and that they all follow all the same protocol, they all get into a great college, and that seems to be the focal point. But God says, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Seek me first and watch what I’m going to do with the academics.” And so just to encourage moms who say, “Yeah, well show me that because I’m still panicking.”

I think what’s really neat is even the world around us, they cannot deny that when you do things God’s way it works better. So it’s neat. Business insider, this is to quote them, they said, “Homeschooling could be the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century.” They are seeing the academic results of what we do, because even achievement, when we look at achievement, there’s huge nationwide studies that show that homeschool students are typically scoring between 15 and 30 points higher on average than non-homeschooled kids.

It’s not because we’re drilling our kids with academics, it’s because when we seek God first then I can chill out on the academics, I don’t have to be stressed. I say this because I started this out completely backwards as a teacher. I said, “Okay, I need to academics first, and then I’m going to consult God on the rest,” and it was a disaster. When I stopped doing that and I sought God first, naturally, academically, my kids thrived. Some of the reasons for that is, and you can jump in here too, but the curriculum options, we can customize our curriculum for our kids and we can customize how we teach them to who they are. That, right there, is naturally going to make them academically thrive.

Yvette:                         Let’s park on that for just a second, because oftentimes when kids are in a classroom – and you’ve been a teacher, so you know this to be true – when they’re in a classroom, you try to fit all of them into a box and you can’t do that because every kid is different. A couple of kids will fit into that box, but I mean, everyone who has kids, their kids are different. No one has two kids or more, and both of those kids are exactly the same, and so you can’t make them fit into this perfect little box. And so it does give us the opportunity to be able to alter and cater their education to who God made them to be and how he made them to learn.

“Time is definitely on our side with homeschooling, because our kids get to learn at their pace and they have so much opportunity to learn the things that God wants them to learn. So, time definitely is a big thing. We have the time for them to have individualized learning. We have the time to teach them according to who God created them. But the other really neat thing is it doesn’t take as much time to homeschool. You can accomplish more in a shorter period of time. I was just reading that the average public school student has 6.2 hours of homework every week, and I thought, ‘that’s another day, that’s an additional day of school!'”

Aby:                             Yup. And I think that does go back to God’s word, because when we understand God’s divine, that every single life was created on purpose, for a purpose, unique and we’re individuals, then it only makes sense that this, I like to call it the heard education, that that doesn’t work because God designed us uniquely and individually. He designed every life for a purpose on a purpose, so to be able to teach to that independent child, the individual child that God gave us, obviously when we’re seeking that, obviously it’s going to work. It’s just going to work. It doesn’t take a lot of …

I mean, homeschooling does take effort, but it doesn’t take as much effort as we think it does if we’re seeking God. Sometimes I think when it gets really, really hard and we feel like we’re hitting our head against a wall and we’re getting nowhere, it’s because we’re getting backwards. It’s because we have stopped seeking God. We’ve stopped looking at the why and we started looking at the how. We can’t do that. We have to look at the why first.

So, the personalized learning and, again, I’m just fascinated how the secular world is seeing the benefits of homeschool, which isn’t a surprise because when God says to do something, he has a reason because it’s wonderful and it works. But even Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, not that I support either of those men or agree with either of them, but the reality is they were businessmen that succeeded according to the world’s standards in a business capacity. They knew how to run a business, and both of them talked about, spoke out and use the terms, “Personalized learning,” and how that is so important that when we personalize learning. I just think it’s really interesting how God isn’t separate from the world, how God created things to work in the world.

And it’s really neat that people are seeing this, that the academic success. It’s a lot from the self-directed education. As we’re talking about blessings, academically self-directed education without the top down learning, that that doesn’t work as well. When there’s from the top to down learning. It’s a self-directed when kids are learning and that that flows over into colleges. They’re saying kids know how to learn. When you teach a kid how to learn, there’s nothing they can’t learn, and so that’s a huge academic benefit is that we have the ability as homeschool moms to let our kids have self-directed learning. And the time, we have the time to do it.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. Time is definitely on our side with homeschooling, because our kids get to learn at their pace and they have so much opportunity to learn the things that God wants them to learn. So, time definitely is a big thing. We have the time for them to have individualized learning. We have the time to teach them according to who God created them. But the other really neat thing is it doesn’t take as much time to homeschool. You can accomplish more in a shorter period of time. I was just reading that the average public school student has 6.2 hours of homework every week, and I thought, “that’s another day, that’s an additional day of school!” And they’re doing that with homeschool.

It’s interesting. Then you look at that and you’re looking at the studies of the statistics of the outcome of that, and it really isn’t warranting the extra time. They have a lot of extra time, but the scores aren’t showing. I think a benefit of a homeschool mom is all that extra time. We get to build relationships with them. We get to use to be together as a family. We get to use to get to know our kids and point them to Jesus. So time is a big one, like you mentioned.

Yvette:                         Sure, yeah, and they have the time to learn to do life. I mean, there’s so much importance. It’s so important to just learn the logistics of life. And I think sometimes we take for granted that, while our kids are obviously going to know how to do dishes, and do laundry, and take care of a house, and deal with doctor’s appointments, and deal with going to the DMV and all of the things that encompass adult life. And really as we’re homeschooling, we’re raising our children to become adults. And so they need to know how to deal with those things and how many kids come out of high school, jump into college or some kind of trade, and they really don’t know how to function in life.

Many do, but when you’re weighed down with being in school for 35 to 40 hours a week and then coming home with six plus hours’ worth of homework a week, you don’t have time. They don’t have time to be able to just learn the everyday workings of the adult life, and how to take care of themselves and take care of their families. That is another just great benefit that we’ve seen in our own family of having our girls at home with us.

Aby:                             Yeah. And that time, like you said, to do life and discover kind of who they are and what they want to do and what they love. I find that this new phenomenon of this gap year really interesting. When I was a kid, I mean when you graduated high school, there was no gap year. I’d never even knew what that was. But it seems like now kids are taking a gap year to learn how to do life, to learn how to do the things that really they should have been learning all along, or to figure out what they want to do, and who they are, and what they love and what they’re geared for. A blessing with homeschool is we can start that right off the bat and grow that in all their 12 years. So there isn’t that need of, “Oh now I need to figure out what this whole life thing is about in a year before I move on.”

You were talking about doing life. There’s so many incredible opportunities also that come, like apprenticeship. What we can do with this time these kids, they can do an apprenticeship. There’s entrepreneurship opportunities. I know that your girls are doing a family business with you. It’s incredible. I love listening to the ads where Brooklyn is on there, and the incredible things she’s learning and she’s part of that. She wouldn’t be there to do that with you and Garritt if it weren’t for this

There are ministry opportunities, which is huge. It’s not, “Okay, now that I’m done with school, I can get into ministry.” It’s part of life. Volunteering. If the kid is in school all day and then afterschool activities, where are they going to volunteer? Where are they going to learn to serve? So just this time that we get with our kids, there’s so many opportunities. And again, back to when we’re seeking God first we don’t have to come up with that time. It’s given to us. When we were seeking God first, we don’t have to pound the academics. We’re not saying don’t do it. Academics are important, but they’re going to come. It naturally is going to happen. The statistics show it. The outcome, if you look around, it happens because you’re seeking God first. He promises us that.

Yvette:                         Right. Right. And we’re not saying, “Go out and do everything else but academics and expect them to learn everything they need to learn.” It’s just that that doesn’t have to be the primary focus day in and day out of life. It’s not the traditional school day that we all grew up with, that most of us grew up with of sitting in a classroom for six or seven hours a day. I mean there’s certainly a schoolwork that needs to be done and we do those things.

But again, we talked a lot about this in the episode we did on the why of homeschooling. When looking at academics, the important part of that is using everything that they do to point them to Christ. Everything you teach them, even math should point them to Christ. Math is amazing when you think about God being a God of order, and he is a God of absolutes. Two plus two is always going to equal four. We cannot decide one day that two plus two is going to equal 17. It’s never going to happen. It’s always going to be four. Always has been. Always will be.

Aby:                             Yup. It does not get to identify with 17. It will be four.

Yvette:                         That’s right. And God is a God of absolutes and he is a God of order, and so being able to do math and helping our kids to see, you know what? Just like two plus two is always four, the absolute certainty of God’s word will always stand firm. God is the same yesterday, today and forever because he is God and he is unchanging. And so just like math doesn’t change, God doesn’t change, and his word does not change, and the culture is telling our kids something completely different than that. They’re telling them, “Well, you know, in …”

Sadly, I mean, we won’t off on this, but sadly, so many, even churches today are saying, “Well, this part of the Bible is irrelevant today,” or, “This part of the Bible is irrelevant.” Nope, it’s not. God gave us his word for a purpose. And so when we teach them at home, we get to be able to point them to Christ in everything that they learn.

Aby:                             Right. And then again, and I keep saying this, but it is so neat to see that when we do that, when we are obedient in that naturally, I mean I just love looking at the homeschool statistics of the kids. They are scoring higher, they just are. And when you go around and talk to homeschool moms, it is not because we are making our kids do nine hours a day and sleep on top of their textbooks and memorize. It truly is because God’s way works. It just works. And there is proof, and I know I needed to hear that. I, for some reason, I like to know. Show me that it works. And it’s like God’s way does work, and it’s not going to, I mean, you’re going to see it. And so when you seek first the Kingdom, speak first, pointing to your kids, pointing to God in math and in language and in science and in history, the academics will happen.

A couple of other before we have to wrap up. A couple of other awesome benefits of homeschool, again, not the focal point, not our drive but things that trickle-down from being obedient to God. We’ve talked about family relationships, but I think just marriage. I see that marriages tend to be stronger. I can’t imagine if there were five of us going in five different directions all day long, and then we could come together for only two hours in the evening. Then I’m divided my time between my kids and my husband, and it strengthens marriages, homeschool does.

I mean, there is a lot of pressure on a marriage too when you homeschool, but when you’re seeking God first and not your lesson planning at eight o’clock at night, when you’re seeking God first, then it naturally is going to bless your marriage. But again moms, you have to be seeking God first. Don’t seek your lesson plan book, don’t seek what your yearly annual goals are. Seek God and it happens.

“When I started homeschooling, homeschooling became my ‘number one.’ I’d get my Bible study done in the morning, and then I wanted to be the best homeschool mom I could be. And so that, in my mind, was ‘plan, organize, coordinate,’ and I forgot to seek God first.”

Yvette:                         Yes. Let’s talk a little bit about that, because and we’re actually going to do a podcast episode pretty soon on marriage, and I’m super-excited about that one. But about maybe if you can give some personal things on your end, in your marriage, and how you have seen your marriage strengthened because of homeschooling.

Aby:                             Okay. Well, I can first tell you how I saw it being destroyed because of homeschooling.

Yvette:                         Okay, yeah.

Aby:                             And I know I’m not alone in that, but when I started homeschooling, homeschooling became my “number one.” I’d get my Bible study done in the morning, and then I wanted to be the best homeschool mom I could be. And so that, in my mind, was “plan, organize, coordinate”, and I forgot to seek God first. And if I was seeking God first, I would know that my marriage would be a priority over my homeschool.

When we do that and we’re burning the midnight oil and ignoring our husbands because we’re planning, and ignoring our husbands because we have our giant to do list, you can destroy your marriage that way. And again, that’s because you’re not seeking God first. Then when I turned the ship around and I realized, “You know what? When my husband’s home, the books are away.” It was amazing how God honored that time. I could miraculously plan twice as much in half the time, because I was seeking God first, because I wasn’t staying up till midnight planning. Meanwhile, my husband is being completely ignored.

The first ingredient is, “get the priorities right.” Seek first God. Know what your primary ministry is. Homeschooling should never take precedence over any relationship in your family, ever. But then when we seek first God, and we do get those things right, and we do make our marriage more important than our homeschool, it will naturally bless your marriage. It just does. It blesses your relationship with your husband and your kids, and your kids’ relationship with your husband, and allows your husband to have time with your kids. You’re not just managing and running and shuffling.

When daddy gets home, we get to be together. We get to be together. I’m not juggling homework assignments. I’m not shuffling my kids every which way, and that brings a peace in our home. I also think I have helpers at home. I have helpers to help run the household, which just makes everything runs smooth. So that’s a blessing for the marriage as well. But whenever you’re seeking God it blesses every relation.

Yvette:                         Yup, absolutely. And we’re, you know, it’s interesting because we are in a different situation than you where Garritt is home all the time. He works from home. We’re making this movie where we are together all the time. Literally, for the most part, our family is together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we love that. He came from a job working the Hollywood film industry where he was gone all the time, and the Lord brought him out of that and we’re so thankful for that. But now we’re together always.

But we have to make an effort to get away, and not just Garritt and I. Oftentimes, we’ll say, “We need to just go on a dinner date, or a lunch date or something when we can.” Sometimes it’s spontaneous, but we recognize that we need to have husband and wife time alone apart from our girls where we can just talk and we can just fellowship with one another We’ll get to the point where we’ve missed that. You feel like, “I’m sitting next to you all day, but I miss you.”

But we also do that with our girls too. So oftentimes, where I’ll take one of my girls out for a date, or Garritt will take one of them out for a date, because we start to see that we just need some one-on-one time with each other, since we are together all the time. It’s just a different dynamic. Every family is different in that way.

Aby:                             And not that this is a marriage podcast, but I do also want to encourage moms. The word tells us that we are to be the wife of his youth and he is to love the wife of his youth. And he didn’t marry you because you were an incredible homeschooling teacher. That’s probably not why you married you. Just remember to be his wife first, so when you do get to go do those date nights, you don’t need to fill your time talking about curriculum. Love your husband and don’t let homeschool all consume you. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and those other things will be added unto you. We can get off the marriage thing because then we want everybody to come listen to the marriage podcast.

But the last thing, the last incredible blessing is the sibling relationship with homeschool. I want to debunk another myth. That does not mean that siblings are going to get along all the time and be best friends every day and never fight. I’ve heard that so many places where, “We homeschool and so our kids get along,” and I thought, “What am I doing wrong?” Then I sought first God’s word and I realized, you know what? There is going to be conflict. There’s conflict with children, there’s conflict with adults, there’s conflict in churches. I have the opportunity to teach and train my children how to deal with conflict biblically, and that’s the difference with the sibling. That’s a blessing with raising siblings in a home, and we get to work through conflict together. Not that there isn’t conflict, and I can promise you those relationships will be deeper, just they will naturally be deeper.

But what a blessing to be able to point our kids to God’s word when working through conflict, as opposed to maybe on a playground where you can just walk away and go find another friend, or you can go to the corner, or you can bully, or those things aren’t allowed in a home. You get to teach and train your children how God gives us direction on how to deal with conflicts. That’s an incredible blessing. It helps siblings with that.

Yvette:                         Yeah. And I think really, we’ve talked our girls a lot about this, and that helping them to learn to deal with one another in conflict with each other is helping them learn to deal with conflict with their future husband or their … Typically they’re not going to have a lot of conflict with their friends, but that’s actually one thing I tell my girls all the time, “Treat each other as you would treat your best friend,” but they need to learn to work through conflict. It’s okay to have differences and things, because you are going to have differences with your husband, or with your wife, or the other people that God brings into your life, maybe your boss. And so teaching them to deal with conflict with each other prepares them, again, for adulthood, and it’s such a beautiful thing.

Aby:                             It has to be taught because that’s not something … I mean, that has to be taught, because we naturally, our human flesh wants to either fight or flight, you know?

Yvette:                         That’s it, yup.

Aby:                             And in the school I remember thinking, “Oh, those two kids won’t be in the same classroom next year, so we won’t have to deal with this.” It has to be taught, and God has asked us to teach it according to his words. It’s a beautiful blessing that we get the privilege of doing that when we homeschool.

Yvette:                         Yes, yes. Oh, I love it so much. We are out of time for this podcast episode, but we will be back again next week. We’re going to finish this conversation talking about the benefits of homeschooling, so listen again next week.

And Aby, thank you for coming on again today. You are such a blessing and I’m so thankful that you get to be part of this ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, that God has put on our hearts, and thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your willingness to share your heart with us.

Aby:                             Thank you.

Read the second half of this interview here.

Read more from Aby Rinella at CalledToTheTop.com and on the Schoolhouse Rocked blog.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash