Biblical Parenting

Ginger Hubbard is an encouragement to me and thousands of other homeschool moms as she speaks at conventions all across the country on the topic of biblical parenting. She is the author of several books including Don’t Make Me Count to Three, Wise Words for Moms, and I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!

Yvette Hampton:           To some of you, she needs no introduction, but some of you, especially some of you younger mamas, may not have heard of Ginger Hubbard. Years ago, Ginger wrote a book that was a life-changer for me, called Don’t Make Me Count To Three! I started reading that book when my oldest daughter was a baby, and it was such a powerful book and had a huge impact in my life and in my parenting. So, ever since then, I’ve been kind of stalking Ginger. And God saw fit to introduce the two of us and we became fast friends. God has just been so faithful to develop this friendship. And I have loved getting to know Ginger and her family. Ginger, introduce yourself and your family to us.

Listen to Ginger Hubbard on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Ginger Hubbard:           Well, my claim to fame is, I’m married to Ronnie Hubbard, who is the absolute greatest guy in the world. We’ve been married for seven years, and got married on April 23rd, which was Easter weekend. And it was just such a sweet, sweet weekend. And Ronnie came as a package deal with two stepsons, Hudson and Jackson. And so, between the two of us, we have four kids.

Yvette:                         That’s awesome. And your kids are pretty amazing. And they’re now all adults, right?

Ginger:                         They are. They are. Wesley is 25, Alex is 22 and then my stepsons, Hudson is 21, and Jackson, our youngest, is 18. He just graduated high school.

Yvette:                         So, you’ve been around, you’ve done the parenting thing, you’re one who can actually speak from experience. It’s not just, “I’m testing this out and let’s see how it works.”

Ginger:                         Yeah, but I still would say I didn’t always get it right. And looking back, I can certainly share some of the mistakes I made to help those moms out there not make some of the same ones that I did.

Yvette:                         Sure. I love that. And one of the things I love about you is that you’re so transparent and so honest just about where you’ve been and about what God has done in your life through your desire to follow him through parenting and through marriage and through family. Like I said, you wrote Don’t Make Me Count to Three. You have Wise Words for Moms, that’s a pamphlet that I had up in my kitchen for many, many years. And we’ll link back to those things in the podcast notes. But we also are so excited about your new book that you have, it just came out in April, correct?

Ginger:                         Right.

Yvette:                         And this book is calledI Can’t Believe You Just Said That, Biblical Wisdom for Taming Your Child’s Tongue. And I love this book so, so much. God has given you a gift. He has given you the gift of wisdom and the gift of being able to just be that Titus 2 woman. And this is why I stalked you so many years, is, without you even knowing me, you were one of those Titus 2 women to me, where I just felt like God had just blessed you with the wisdom of training the heart of your child, because it’s not, and we’ll talk about this, but it’s not just about obedience. It’s not just about teaching your kids to do or say the right thing. It’s really about getting to the heart of your child.

 

So, tell me a little bit about your new book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, what led you to write that book? And give me kind of the premise of it.

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Ginger:                         Well, as a national speaker, Yvette, I have listened to parents all over the country express their heartache over their inability to tame the tongues of their children. And they’ve read the books, they’ve tried the advice, but they just still remained frustrated because nothing seemed to work. And so what I wanted to do with this new book, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, is I wanted to just expose some of those faulty child training methods which fail to reach the heart and equip parents with biblical principles, and then provide them with a toolbox full of illustrations and examples for implementing those principles in a very practical way.

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And, don’t get me wrong, you and I, before we started recording, we were talking about Shepherding A Child’s Heart, and there’s some really, really great parenting books out there. That was actually my personal favorite as well out of all the ones that I read, just so thankful for Tedd Tripp and the wisdom that he shares.

I’ve read lots of parenting books and plenty of books are out there that focus on what the Bible says about parenting. And that’s great, but … And they’re just full of scripture that are helpful for parenting. But what I found is that few offer the information that parents need most, which is how to actually practically apply those Scriptures to those tongue-related struggles that their children are facing in everyday life.

Yvette:                         I love that. And yes, you give such practical things for parents to do. One of the things that you talk about in Don’t Make Me Count To Three, and we have used this with our kids for their whole lives basically, is do-overs where maybe my daughter speaks to me disrespectfully, and instead of just saying, “Don’t talk to me like that,” I will say, “Honey, that is not the correct way to speak to me. How should you have spoken to me?” But before, I would even say, “How should you have spoken to me,” for the past 12 years, I’ve taught her, “When you respond to me, you need to respond this way.” And I teach her, “This is how you’re to respond.” And it’s with … I mean, it can be with anything. If your two-year-old is throwing a tantrum because their toy isn’t being put together the right way, you can take the time to say, “Okay, honey, let’s do this the right way. Let mommy show you how to put the toy together so that you don’t throw a tantrum.” And then the next time they throw a tantrum, you can say, “Okay, how did mommy teach you to do this last time? What is the correct response?”.

And teaching kids and training them to do things over the right way. Because I think, as parents, we assume that kids are going to just know the right way to do things. And I love that I learned that from you early on of don’t just assume that they know how to do it the right way, or that they know how to respond the right way the first time. You have to teach them first, and then train them by teaching them to do it over, and over, and over again until, hopefully, at some point they actually get it.

Ginger:                         Right. And that’s what I refer to as the practice principle. And imagine, Yvette, trying to teach your child how to tie his shoes without the practice principle. Just verbally walking him through that process, that’s not going to be enough. At some point, you would have to physically demonstrate how to do it, and then not only that, then require him to practice it on his own. And so, the way that I look at it is if the practice principal is vital for teaching such a morally neutral task as tying shoes, how much more important is it for training children in Christ-like character? Right?

Yvette:                         Right.

Ginger:                         That’s what we want to do. We always want to require them to practice that biblical alternative to the wrong behavior, because it is never enough to just verbally instruct our children in what not to do. We have to instruct them in what to do. We have to teach them how to replace wrong behavior with right behavior. And then, most important, we want to require them to actually go back and do it.

So, you brought up the thing about children speaking disrespectfully. That’s pretty much across the board with younger kids, and certainly as they grow a little older. And so many parents, when their children speak disrespectfully, they’ll say something like, “That was disrespectful. You shouldn’t speak to me like that. Now go to your room.” But you and I know that is ineffective child training, because that most important part is left out. We shouldn’t just rebuke and discipline the child who was speaking disrespectfully. We need to have him come back and practice the biblical alternative by communicating the right way, using the appropriate words, and the appropriate tone of voice, and for many kids, particularly mine as the grew into their teen years, the appropriate facial expressions.

Yvette:                         Oh, yes. Oh, the faces.

Ginger:                         The face, yes.

Yvette:                         The rolling of the eyes.

Ginger:                         Right. But when we train our children in what’s right and require them to practice what is right, we’re teaching them how to grow in wisdom. And we’re preparing them to govern their own actions in the future.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I love that. And as you think through Scripture, all throughout Scripture, God does that with us. He doesn’t just say to us, “Obey me,” he doesn’t just say, “Don’t sin,” he gives us very specific instructions on, “This is what I expect of you. This is how you will be wise. This is how you will have blessings in your life. And when you choose to obey me, you will have blessings.” And he doesn’t just expect us to know exactly. I mean, of course we have a God consciousness and we get that, but God is not void in his word of teaching us what he expects of us. It’s very clear in Scripture. And so I love, love that we get to do that, in turn, to our kids and show them, “This is what God expects of you.”

Ginger:                         Right. He has provided us with everything that we need for life and godliness. We just need to go to his word, and there it is. And that’s one thing that I would tell my kids is … You just said that it goes well with us when we obey God. Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be trials and tribulations. But certainly, when our children choose to obey us, ultimately, they are obeying God, because God has called children to obey their parents. And he says that when they do, that it will go well with them. It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to have trials, but it means that they are under that protective covering of being in the will of God when they obey their parents. And so it’s important that we help them understand that.

Yvette:                         Absolutely. Ephesians 6, it talks about that. And God is a faithful God. We tell our girls all the time, “Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings. Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.”.

Ginger:                         That’s right.

Yvette:                         We desperately want our girls to grow up and having a life of blessings. But like you said, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to not have pain in their life, but it is a different kind of pain. If you have pain in your life because you’ve made poor choices and you have not sought God’s wisdom, that’s a different kind of pain than the pain that just comes because we live in a sinful fallen world.

Ginger:                         Right. So, those are the things that we want to show them, that no matter … And even when we do blow it and there are consequences for our sin, there’s blessing in being able to go to God and ask for forgiveness, and repent, and turn away from that. And God can even use those times to show us new things that he’s doing in our life, and equip us to share those things with other people.

Yvette:                         In the book, in I Can’t Believe You Just Said That, your new book, each chapter talks about a different verbal offense. Walk me through a few of those. And you also, in there you offer a simple three-step plan for dealing with each one. Tell me a little bit about those verbal offenses, and then your plan to help parents learn how to deal with that.

Ginger:                         What I did in the book is I have broken just common tongue-related struggles down into chapters that all kids are going to struggle with at some time or another. And just some of those different chapters and topics are, like whining, and lying, and tattling, defying, manipulating, interrupting, complaining, blame shifting, teasing, aggravating, bragging, arguing, yelling, gossiping, bickering. It’s everything that I could think of as far as those tongue-related offenses. And certainly, you know, kids are not going to struggle with every one of those. But at some time or another, they may struggle with several. And so, what I wanted to do is to take each one of those tongue-related offenses and then break down each chapter into a three-step plan that would help parents deal with those issues from a heart-oriented biblical standpoint. Rather than just that outward behavior, really learning how to get to the heart of the matter. And then when we do that, we’re able to address it in biblical ways.

And so, each chapter opens with a very common relatable scenario in accordance with that particular struggle. I’ve had so many parents at my conferences and through emails come up and say, “Oh, that chapter that you did on wining, that opening scenario, you were totally in my house last week.” And so it’s just very relatable scenarios.

And then the three-step plan, step one is heart-probing questions. If you think about it, in all the stories in Scripture, when someone did something wrong, Jesus, what he did not do is wave his finger in their face and say, “This is what you did wrong. And this is what you should’ve done instead.” In all those stories, Jesus often used heart-probing questions. And in order for the people to answer those questions, they had to evaluate themselves, because Jesus knew how to ask those questions in such a way that the people would have to take their focus off of the circumstances and the situations around them, and onto that sin in their own heart.

So, for each verbal offense, I offer two or three very simple questions just to help parents get going in the right direction and help them to reach past that outward behavior and really pull out what is going on in the heart. Because we know if we can get to the heart, well, then the behavior is going to take care of itself.

So, that step-one is the heart-probing questions. And then step two and step three are based on the Ephesians verse that says that we are to put off our old self and put on our new self. And so, step two is what to put off, what God’s word says about that particular behavior, and what it can lead to if it is continued. And then step three is what to put on, how to replace what is wrong with what is right.

Yvette:                         Okay. So let’s take it one step further. Could I give you one of these situations, and can you walk me through what it would look like for a child who is struggling with this specific thing? As I’m looking through the chapters, interrupting keeps coming up, because, though my girls deal with some of these other things, I have a seven-year-old who loves to talk. God has given her the gift of gab, and she loves to be the center of attention. And she is super cute, and so people always think she’s cute and funny. But she is an interrupter. And we’ve really been trying to work on this with her.

So, you and I are having a conversation and she walks up, and she says to me, “Mommy, did you see blah, blah, blah?” Tell me then, what do I do?

Ginger:                         Well, first, we ourselves want to understand what is at the heart of that. Before we get into how to instruct them, we need to understand what is at the heart of it and help them understand too what’s at the heart. So we know that that children … first, let me just say, Yvette, that that was my pet peeve. You just really grabbed something with me, because that was my … we all have our things that get under our skin, and that with me was really the one that got under my skin is that when I would be talking to another adult and one of my kids would interrupt our conversation.

But if you think about it, children have a natural bent towards selfishness and pride because, like us, they are born sinners. And so, children automatically place a higher priority on themselves than on others. And so they look at what they have to say as being more important than respecting that conversation of others. And so, what happens is they all of a sudden have this thought, and then they have this sense of urgency that they want to express it immediately, which is the most important thing to them. And that leads to impatience, which leads to interrupting.

So, from the heart, it all boils down to really selfishly placing their wants and needs above the wants and needs of others. And so, say that they come up and … you and I are talking, and your daughter comes up and she interrupts. We want to ask some heart-probing questions. It could just be like, “Sweetheart, do you think it is kind or rude for you to interrupt while I’m talking to someone else?” And, “Are you thinking about others or yourself when you interrupt?”.

And then, as far as the biblical teaching there, we might say something from First Corinthians 13:4 or Philippians 2:3. And instead of just directly quoting Scripture, we can do that, but we could also talk about it just in a comfortable and conversational manner, and say something like, “Sweetheart, the Bible explains that love is patient, love is kind, love is not rude. And God instructs us to do things, not that are selfish, but instead, that we’re supposed to consider other people and their feelings as being more important than our own.” And so that’s the direction that we want to get them going.

And then, you and I talked about that we always need to provide our children with a means of escape. And we want our children to know that we value their thoughts and their feelings, and we want to hear what they have to say. So it’s going to exasperate a child just to tell them to never interrupt, because especially when two mommies are talking, it can seem like an eternity before there’s a pause in that conversation. We want to always provide them with a means of escape. And I think about First Corinthians 10:13 that says that when we, as God’s children, that when we are tempted, God always provides us a way out. He always gives us a means of escape. And that goes back also to not just teaching our children what is wrong, but also training them in what is right. So we want to provide that means of escape.

So what I did with my children when they would interrupt is I taught them to, when they wanted to say something to me and I’m engaged in a conversation with someone else, I taught them just to place their hand on my arm, and to wait silently for me to give them permission to speak. And as soon as there was a pause in that conversation, I would give them permission to speak. That way, usually when they would put their hand on me, they knew that what that communicates is, “Mom, I need to say something, but I don’t want to be rude.” And while I would be talking, I would put my hand on top of theirs to let them know that I’m acknowledging that they have something they want to say, and that I want to hear what they have to say, but we all want to do that in a way that shows respect for everyone.

So, as soon as there would be a pause in that conversation, then I would give them permission to speak. And so that’s not, it’s not a biblical mandate- that we have our children place their hand on our arm. It’s just a tool, it’s a way to prevent exasperation. It’s a way to show respect for them the same way that we’re wanting them to show respect for us.

Yvette:                         That’s so powerful, because I know you encourage that the Bible is the best instruction manual for parenting, but it doesn’t specifically address interrupting. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere, “Thou shalt not interrupt. These are the rules for children. Thou shalt not whine.” But, like you said, I mean, there’s always a root cause for those things. Whether it’s lack of self-control, or selfishness, or pride, or greed, whatever it is, there’s always something that’s causing them to react that way.

Ginger:                         Right. And that’s our job as parents. We need to understand that all behavior is linked to a particular attitude of the heart. So, as parents that want to train our children in what is right and use biblical wisdom from God’s word, we have to learn how to reach past that outward behavior and pull out what is going on in the heart. And then, you better believe God’s word addresses it, because God is concerned with the issues of the heart.

Yvette:                         Absolutely, he is. One of the things that you write in the book that I love is, you write about, why do they act like that? Our kids do something, and oftentimes parents will say, “Why? Why do they act like that? Why did they give me that look? Why did they just roll their eyes at me?” And you say, “That’s the wrong question to ask when our children misbehave.” What do you mean by that? Why is that the wrong question to ask?

Ginger:                         Well, I first, I can relate to that question, because when my kids were little, I used to be constantly shocked by some of the things that would come out of their mouths, whether it was whining, or lying, or talking back, or whatever. I would typically, like most parents, I would look at them and ask that question, “Why do you act like that?” But after a closer look at the word of God, I realized that I was asking the wrong question. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus explained, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” In other words, yeah, in other words, there’s merit to that old saying we’ve heard a million times, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”

And so, our sin does not begin with our mouth. It begins with our hearts. The sin that shows up in our words comes from inside us. And it starts sooner than we might think. King David proclaimed, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” So when parents really grasp the origin of sin and just the overall total depravity of the human race, we no longer question why our children sin.

I slowly began to learn that I was asking the wrong question. I slowly began to learn to stop asking, “Why does my child sin?” And instead, I began to ask myself, “When my child sins, how might I point him to the fact that he is a sinner, just like me, in need of a savior? How might I help him understand and live in the transformational power of Christ?”

Yvette:                         Yeah. I have a really good friend, she’s probably my longest childhood friend. We’ve been friends since kindergarten I think, or first grade, and have remained friends all our lives. And she has two daughters who are now, the grown one’s already in college, and then two little ones. But I remember when Brooklyn was probably around three years old maybe, we had gone to her house, and she was kind of in the tantrum phase, and I was trying to work through that and trying to just rein her in and trying to train her heart.

And my friend Robin said to me, she goes, “When you are talking with her and correcting her,” she said, “You need to pray with her.” And she said, “Say this,” tell her, “Dear God, please help me to obey, because I cannot obey without you.” And we still do that with both of our girls. Oftentimes when we pray with them, we just lead them in that prayer of, “God, I can’t do this without you. I am sinful, and I am incapable of making the right choice without your power and without you.” And so-

Ginger:                         That’s great. That is such a powerful, powerful prayer. And they need to see us praying the same thing.

Yvette:                         Oh, absolutely.

Ginger:                         That God would help us, you know? That we would obey him in training them in what is right. I can’t tell you how many times that I would go through ruts where I would just not be consistent in training my children the way that I should. I would find myself just ignoring things, letting things slide, or even just administering consequences instead of really taking the time to train them up.

And in some of those times, God would even use … when I would blow it in those times. So I would go weeks without being consistent, and then God would convict me, and I would sit down with my kids, and say, “You know what? I need to ask your forgiveness, because I have not been consistent in training you to obey and training you to do what’s right. And you know, honey, I just love you too much to allow you to disobey and to live foolishly. And so will you forgive me?”

And then we would go back over the standard, go back over what’s expected. And then we would just start following through, and I would step back up. But my kids … Instead of just doing that without helping them understand that I failed too, and that I have to go and I have to confess, and I have to ask God to help me and empower me to live in a way that is pleasing to him. Even in the times that we fail, Yvette, those could be powerful teaching opportunities for us to demonstrate our personal relationship with Christ. And what repentance, and turning from sin, and starting fresh looks like in our relationships with God.

Yvette:                         Yeah, I love it. So you homeschooled your kids, right? Did you homeschool all the way, kindergarten through 12th grade?

Ginger:                         I did.

Yvette:                         One of the things that I love about your books and about just your wisdom and parenting is that, through homeschooling, we have the opportunity to practice these things and to speak truth into the hearts of our children all day long. We don’t have to undo the damage that may have been done to them in school. If they’re in school and maybe being taught things that are contrary to God’s word, instead of spending time undoing those, we get to spend our time speaking into their hearts.

What did that look like for you in your homeschool environment with your kids? And how has that turned out? I often wonder, parents write books on parenting, or marriage, or something like that, especially parenting books when their kids are young. And then their kids grow up, and oftentimes I’m like, “Okay, did it work out for you? How are things going?”

Ginger:                         Right. Well, that is the great thing about homeschooling is that we really do get to grab all of those opportunities. Because we are with them all day long, and so, as sin creeps up, we are able to address it and to deal with it in that moment instead of having to wait until they get home from school or finding out what happened at school. That’s one of the most powerful things, that we have the opportunity to train our children in the context of the moment.

And that is when they really learn how to apply God’s word to daily life, because teaching them in the context of the moment, that’s when they’re really going to learn how to apply God’s word to daily life. And so, as we can grab those opportunities, it’s kind of like on-the-job-training, you know?

You learn better. You could learn from textbooks, but you really don’t learn something well until you’re actually doing it and putting it into practice. And so it’s sort of like on-the-job training all day long. And when they put that knowledge gained into practice at that very moment, it’s really going to stick better because they’re learning how it applies in that moment to their life in that particular situation.

So that is one of the great things about homeschooling is that we’re provided with those opportunities. But at the same time, we don’t really get a break. And so, we could become weary in having to train them all day, every day. And we can quickly view it as a burden or a trial. But we’re told to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that we may be but sure and complete, not lacking anything.

Yvette:                         Yes. I have often thought about how many opportunities I would miss out on with training my kids and just being able to spend time with them, if they were in a traditional school all day long. And like you said, it can get tiresome sometimes. And there are days when I’m like, “I need to go for a drive. I need to get out. I need to breathe. I need to just have some mommy time,” if that means just going for a walk around the park, or whatever that looks like. But, gosh, I’m so thankful for the time that I get.

And when they’re away from you, and this could be at church, or sporting events. Or whatever, when they’re away from us, we usually don’t know what’s going on. It’s not like they’re going to come home and say, “Hey mom, this is the sin I dealt with today. Can you please train my heart?” You know?

Yvette:                         We’re going to miss so many opportunities. And with being able to homeschool, I love that most of those opportunities are not missed. And we get to help them, first hand, experience truth and the love of God through our parenting.

Thank you so much, Ginger. I love you. I am so grateful for our friendship, and just for what God continues to do through you. We are excited we actually got to interview you for Schoolhouse Rocked. And so we’re super excited to have you as part of that. And I appreciate your support and encouragement with the movie and all that God is doing through the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, because you have been such a blessing to me. And you have very much helped shape me into the parent that I am. And I shouldn’t say just me, I do co-parent. I do have a husband, and he parents with me. But he’s always very good about, when I say, “You know, well, what about this? I read this in Ginger’s book. I read this in Scripture. And what do you think about this parenting method?”

And, like you said, ultimately, the Bible is the instruction manual for parenting. There is not a book on the planet that is more important than God’s word. But it certainly is helpful to have excellent books that God has provided us with that can help shape us and encourage us as parents. So thank you for your ministry and for all that you do.

Ginger:                         Oh, thank you Yvette. And I’ll tell you, I have such a tremendous respect for the ministry that you guys have and what you’re doing with Schoolhouse Rocked. And it’s just such a blessing and a huge privilege to get to be even just a tiny, small part of that. And I, too, am just so thankful for the friendship that God has given us. You were just one of those people that, I meet so many people, but you were just one of those people that I just immediately clicked with, and we were kindred spirits and just knew that we were destined to be friends. You’ve been such a blessing and encouragement in my life too. And I’m very thankful for that.

Yvette:                         Aw, thank you so much. So, all right, well, love you, friend. Thanks for talking with me today.

 

You can find Ginger online at www.GingerHubbard.com.

 

Read Ginger Hubbard’s Books:

I Can’t Believe You Just Said That!

Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline

Don’t Make Me Count to Three: Six-Week Study Guide

Wise Words for Moms

Ginger and Yvette also recommend Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp.

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast brings you the homeschooling conversations to encourage and equip you to start strong and finish well. On this weekly show, Yvette Hampton speaks with today’s homeschooling leaders – speakers, authors, activists, curriculum publishers – and homeschooling families just like yours. These conversations will build you up and give you important resources to help you homeschool your children with success – from pre-school to graduation!

We want to hear from you! Click here If you have a question for the host or would like to suggest a topic or guest for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Do you believe in homeschooling? Here’s your chance to help spread the word that homeschooling is good for students, good for families, good for culture!  Go to SchoolhouseRocked.com/support and join the movement to spread the word about homeschooling through movie theaters nationwide.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

7 Steps to Homeschool Success

 

“Early on, I started to recognize what was important in our homeschool day and how to keep it important and how to keep it the main thing and not lose sight of our goals. So that’s kind of where it kind of stemmed from. And so the book is very, very simple. It’s not a hard process or anything terribly complicated.” – Crystal Twibell

Listen to Crystal talk about her system for homeschooling success on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (8/6/2019 episode)

Yvette Hampton was recently joined in the studio by author, homeschool mom, and homeschool graduate, Crystal Twibell, for a live recording of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which they talked about how to have a purposeful and successful homeschool system.

Crystal Twibell is a homeschool mom of 8 and author of 7 P’s in a Pod: A Purposeful System for Home Schooling Success. She is the owner of a consulting business that specializes in event planning and organizational systems and has worked in the homeschooling community for over 30 years. She has enjoyed homeschooling her eight children for the last 23 years. Transplanted from city life, she and her husband, John, along with their four youngest children, live in rural Georgia and appreciate the quiet sounds of the woods, mixed with the shouts and laughs of her children. A cup of coffee on the front porch and twinkling fireflies at dusk are as much a part of life as the occasional clogged toilet and burned breakfast.

7 P’s in a Pod provides encouragement to homeschool parents through laying out a formatted outline with the tools you need to plan a full, meaningful year of school that allows you to focus on the needs of each individual child. 7 P’s in a Pod is not a cookie-cutter approach; it outlines basic guidelines that, if followed, can result in lasting success for the entire family. The simple text and customizable charts can assist you in purposefully planning your homeschool year.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. This is a really fun episode because I’m actually getting to do this live in the studio with my friend Crystal and she is a homeschool mama. She’s got eight kids, and you have been homeschooling for how long?

Crystal Twibell:             23 years.

Yvette:                         Okay. So you’ve been at this for a little while. It’s really fun to actually have someone with me side-by-side, because usually we have to do this from the computer through Zoom or something else, and so it’s fun to actually get to sit side-by-side with you and talk about homeschooling. Meet my friend Crystal. I’m excited for you to meet her and I know this is going to be a really encouraging episode.

Crystal:                         It’s good to be here.

Yvette:                         Yeah! Well, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to come and chat with me about homeschooling. So 23 years, you’ve got eight kids and a daughter-in-law.

Crystal:                         That’s right.

Yvette:                         Tell me about homeschooling and how you got started on this journey of homeschooling.

Crystal:                         Okay. When I was in the ninth grade my parents just felt the call to homeschool us, my sister and I, and it was during the mid ’80s so really the only people that homeschooled were the foreign missionaries, so it was very unusual. At the time there wasn’t a lot of curriculum and not a lot of help for homeschoolers, but they were determined that’s what they were supposed to do and I’m just so thankful they did. Because it was during that time those high school years that I had especially with my mom to develop a relationship with her that has just been… She became my best friend and of course academics were a part of it but there was so much relationship building and heart molding during that time that that really inspired me to… I wanted at that time to hopefully someday, do that with my children and we have been able to.

My husband, John, has been supportive since the beginning and been a very much a part of our homeschooling journey and so I’m just grateful to have had a good start from my own parents and to have the privilege of doing it all these years so.

Watch our full interview with Crystal Twibell on the Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass website.

Yvette:                         Now is this something that you guys talked about when you were dating? Did you talk about how you wanted to homeschool or was this kind of not something you-

Crystal:                         Well, we actually, I think we probably did. I know we did because he knew I was homeschooled in high school. So his mom, she’s such a wonderful woman and she taught in the school system for 33 years and I think at first I was wondering if she would be supportive. This was before we were married because we did discuss it and she was wholeheartedly for it because she’d been in the system so long and she’d seen so much and she hopes someday that her grandchildren wouldn’t have to experience some of the things that she’d actually had to deal with. So she too has been an amazing support through the years and helped us along. And some of our little special situations with some of our kids needed some extra training and education in different areas, especially in reading we had some dyslexia and things like that, and she just jumped in and helped me and supported us through those times. So John was always on board for it too. He really was so.

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Yvette:                         That’s cool. It seems very unusual, especially for back in those days and for the in-laws to be supportive of it. Because even today with homeschooling as big as and accepted as it is, there are so many in-laws who just are not accepting of it and family members, and simply it’s because they don’t understand what homeschooling is and the benefits and then once, I mean, it seems like every story across the board, grandma and Grandpa or aunts and uncles or friends will be unsupportive. They’re going to say, “No, you’re messing up your kids. This is a terrible idea.” And then they see the end result and they change their minds. It happens all the time. So that’s really, that’s a great thing.

Crystal:                         It is. And through the years I’ve seen how what a benefit it has been because we haven’t had to fight with parents or in-laws trying to keep our stance on it. They’ve been both sides very encouraging and loving and helpful so.

Yvette:                         Okay. So you started being homeschooled yourself in the ’80s and you’re still homeschooling, your kids range in age from 10 to 20?

Crystal:                         26.

Yvette:                         26. Okay. So you have a pretty big range there, but you’re still homeschooling them?

Crystal:                         I am.

Yvette:                         How have you seen the shift of homeschooling and the homeschool community from the ’80s until today?

Crystal:                         Oh, a major shift from the ’80s, like I said, there wasn’t a lot back then. We didn’t have access to the internet like we do now. We can search for things we can… I remember my mom when we first started homeschool, she called Bob Jones University Press and said, “I just need a biology book and a teacher’s manual.” And they said, “Why do you need one book? We can sell you 30 books and a teacher’s manual.” But she didn’t need 30, but they just didn’t break it up that it wasn’t done yet. And so she worked really hard to create curriculum for us. And so now you can an internet search and you have pages and pages of options for every age. So it’s great. On one hand, obviously it makes it much easier to make informed decisions. But on the other hand, it can be very overwhelming the amount of curriculum that’s out there and trying to decide what’s right for us. So, and then support, there’s lots of support groups now. There are lots of communities around that are connecting with one another so you’re not out there homeschooling alone.

Yvette:                         Yeah, which is really important. We talk a lot about community and the importance of coming together and finding other homeschool families. And I think oftentimes people will think, “Well, there’s not a community around me.” Well make one.

Crystal:                         You can start one.

Yvette:                         Start one, because I mean, if you’re homeschooling and you’re feeling alone, I’m certain that there are other families who are homeschooling and feeling the same way. And so it’s a great way to reach out to other families who are probably in need of that fellowship and community and support as well.

Crystal:                         Definitely.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So what has homeschooling looked like for your family and has it changed through the years? I mean, you’ve been doing this now for 23 years, has your philosophy and your way of homeschooling your kids changed through the years?

Crystal:                         I don’t think there’s been a lot of change fundamentally. Now every one of them has been very different. Every child is different. So what works for one doesn’t always work for another. I mean we all say that about our children. And so, and over time, better options have become available. So maybe what I used with our oldest for science in high school, I’m not going to use that. I’m going to use something that’s better for us now. So that has changed. But fundamentally what we’ve done, I’ve always been, I’m a big believer in routine and keeping things in order. And so that has been kind of the foundational building block there that we go from. And beyond that it looks different maybe every year a little different. Now some curriculums I’ve used forever because they work and I’m not going to try to recreate the wheel or whatever. So that’s probably the only change I’ve seen is just over time what’s better curriculum.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So, you’re really good at systems, and this is one of the things I love about homeschooling and I love about this podcast, because we’ve talked to a lot of different people and you’ve got the people like yourself who really enjoy having a system and enjoy having routine, and that’s what works great for your family, and then there are those who do more of the kind of lifeschooling/unschooling method and that works great for their family, and you’ve got those who do classical education and those who do Charlotte Mason and it’s such a beauty that we can do that. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to be able to do what works best with our family dynamics and our family’s personalities.

But I love that you have come up with some systems and you actually have a book for those who are watching this on video called 7 P’s in a Pod: A Purposeful System for Home Schooling Success. You wrote this book a couple of years ago, right? About two years ago?

Crystal:                         Yes.

Yvette:                         So, you wrote this actually from real experience. It wasn’t just this is what I’m going to try out and see if it works. You’ve actually written this because you’ve done it firsthand. Talk to us about your book and what’s in it.

Crystal:                         Okay. It’s just really a collection of my system that I’ve used for years and that’s worked for us through many, many different life changes and ages and different types of learning skills and levels. So it’s been a system that over the years, it was early on, I started to recognize what was important in our homeschool day and how to keep it important and how to keep it the main thing and not lose sight of our goals. So that’s kind of where it kind of stemmed from. And so the book is very, very simple. It’s not a hard process or anything terribly complicated. Personally, I feel like it can be used, any kind of homeschooling out there, if you’re super structured or if you’re an unschooler or if you’re a classical homeschooler, Charlotte Mason, all these that you mentioned, I use a lot of those ideas within that because I researched so much early on to find out what we wanted to do. And so the book just kind of outlines a system. Yes, it is a system and seven different steps to this system and can we go through those steps?

Yvette:                         Yes, let’s do that.

Crystal:                         Okay. The first one, I’ve called it 7 P’s in a Pod because each one starts with a P. And so the first one is to pray for wisdom. And that probably can go without being said. But that’s something where this is the place where we have to start is praying for wisdom as we endeavor to train the hearts of our children and train the minds of our children. And so first one is pray for wisdom and then the second one is to personalize with goals. And so from there I actually have a little goal sheet that I have used for years for every child and myself. And at the beginning of our school year or when I’m getting ready to prepare for the new school year, I’ll pull out a goal sheet, put their name at the top, and I go through five different areas that I would like to… Goals I have for them. And when they get to be middle school, teen or high school, we sit down with that goal sheet together. The goal sheet has spiritual goals, physical goals, relational goals, academic goals, and I’m going to have to look it up in my book. Off the top of my head is not coming to me real quick. But so for instance, I would do this even with my infant, so maybe I had a newborn and I was getting ready to go into the school year with newborn. What are the physical goals I have for my newborn? That would be, that she would nurse well, that she would learn how to nurse well, that that would be something that we’re successful at, that she would take two naps a day. Those are physical goals. And so maybe that she would learn to have mat time all by herself and lay on the mat and be content to play.

Those are things that we would work on. Maybe her spiritual goals for that infant would be, I want to be sure I’m turning on the scripture music at night so that she’s hearing the scripture being played. So this, I mean, it’s super simplified and it’s things I should be doing already. But for me it helps if I can get it on paper and then I’m more likely to remember it and do it. So, and then of course with like a teenager or something. If we go to physical goals, it might be which sports do you want to play and how are we going to incorporate those into our week? And maybe it’s a spiritual goal. Are you ready to start maybe leading a Bible study with some peers or someone younger, a group younger than you? So it’s just all the things that they may wish to do or that my husband and I think that would be worthy goals for our younger ones to do, that’s what we put on that sheet. And the academic goals would be I’d write down that year what I’d like for them to do, are they in math-4 then I want them in fourth-grade-ish and math is on there and grammar’s on there and writing and what history do I want to focus on this year and what science are we going to do, how we’re going to do it? So those academic goals are there each year. And so I take everybody and then myself as well, what are my goals for this year? And I write those in. And again, I mentioned speaking with my husband about it because I feel like he’s very much a part of that. So we share that together. And maybe you’re a single mom and you don’t have that luxury.

Well, whatever older, Godly man, God has put in your life, whether it’s a pastor or a father who can help direct you as well to get that input. That’s what I would encourage on that. So does that answer your questions about goals?

Yvette:                         Yeah. It does in the last one, is ministry goals.

Crystal:                         Ministry goals, there it is. Thank you. Thank you for looking. Yes, ministry goal. And that’s really a super important one. Because I think so often we want to think that ministry starts when we’re adults. The ministry can start much, much younger than that. And so to have our children aware that that is a topic in their goals that they need to be thinking about early on.

Yvette:                         Yes, yes. I think it’s one of the greatest things about homeschooling is that you can serve in ministry together as a family. And we’ve talked about this on the podcast before. I actually did a podcast a while back with Elizabeth Johnston and we talked about how as homeschool families, we have more time. And it’s not that other families who don’t homeschool don’t have the opportunity to do ministry together, but as homeschoolers we have more time with our kids because we’re with them and they’re not coming home and having to do homework and having to go to sports and stuff. And so we have this great privilege of being able to be involved in ministry together as a family.

And I love that dynamic of homeschooling. And I love with your goals that you don’t, you don’t have academics at the top. Academics are important of course. And we talk about that all the time. Our kids have to learn about the world around them so that they can better understand their creator, but academics are not the most important thing. Their walk with the Lord and their character is so much more important than the academics.

Crystal:                         Exactly. It’s certainly not the top of the list, but everything in balance.

Yvette:                         Yes, yes.

Crystal:                         But we do enjoy the ministry goals. We have been able to see through the years because of the time, we don’t have to devote seven hours a day to our schooling. So we can devote a good bit of time to other things ministry. Even now some of this stuff the girls are doing this year with their ‘ministry’, one of their ministry goals was, I call it connect. And so they have certain loved ones that they connect with through a letter or an email or a phone call every week. And some of them are every other week. It depends on, and with siblings now away from home, they have a chance to stay connected with them and their busy lives that way. So I think that’s been one of the sweetest things we’ve seen just because now our family is so split, we have half at home and half away living and doing their own things.

And so for our younger ones to still be able to connect up with those older ones and with grandparents living away and that sort of thing.

Yvette:                         That is so cool. I love that so much. Okay, so what’s next?

Crystal:                         Okay, the third one is to peruse curriculum. And that’s to start looking through all of the options out there through the lens of your goals. Will this particular curriculum fulfill some of these goals, will it actually fulfill some of these goals? Do they match, do they mesh? And so that’s why goals are really important to put out first because then you can choose according to what the needs are.

Yvette:                         Sure. What direction you’re going.

Crystal:                         What direction you’re going in. So that’s helpful because there is, like I said earlier, so much out there, it’s just overwhelming at times.

Yvette:                         Do you do Homeschool Conventions?

Crystal:                         I did for years. I really did. They’re excellent. And not that I’ve too good for it or outgrown it. I just think I have done it a long time now and I feel really good and secure about some of the things that I am using, all the things I need to. So at this point I just, I read still, but I’m not actually attending at this point. So, but they’re great. And I would encourage it.

Yvette:                         Yes. And yes, they’re great, but they can be completely overwhelming.

Crystal:                         Overwhelming.

Yvette:                         I mean we are definitely in favor of Homeschool Conventions, but I think that there are some things people need to know before attending a convention.

Crystal:                        Definitely.

Yvette:                         It can completely undo you if you go and you’re not prepared for what is there. And I remember before we started homeschooling, a friend of mine said, “Talk to several people, figure out what they use for their curriculum and then kind of focus on those things. When you go to the convention,” She said, “Do not stop at every single table and look at every single thing that’s out there.”

Crystal:                         That’s right.

Yvette:                         And so, it’s great because that’s exactly what I did. And so I knew specifically what I wanted to look for. And of course I saw all kinds of other things that were exciting and interesting, but it’s hard to not get caught up in the excitement and feel like, well-

Crystal:                         We should do that too.

Yvette:                         We should do that too.

Crystal:                         … And that, and that.

Yvette:                         Right exactly. And then you go home with 100 books and you’re like, “Okay kids, here we go.”

Crystal:                         Again, creating that goal list before you go to a convention. And matter of fact, when we used to go, I would create my goal list, I would look for curriculum online or in the magazines that came and I pretty much decided before I went so that I could just go touch it and deal it and verify that this is really what I thought it was from what I read. And it did help to kind of keep the focus and not have all of that in your face at one time. So, definitely a good plan on that.

Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s fantastic.

Crystal:                         So, the next thing, number four is to plug into a time schedule spreadsheet. And this may really annoy some people.

Yvette:                         It’s okay. Some people really need it.

Crystal:                         But it’s actually a habit available to… Once if you read the book or get the book or you want information, you can just email me about it and I’ll send a template. That’s basically all it is, it’s just your day sectioned off in 30 minutes sections and it’s super helpful for a large family I found because I could plug in when… I was going to sit down and nurse for 30 minutes. I needed to know what everybody else was going to be doing during that time. They needed to know what they were going to be doing during that time so they weren’t just doing nothing. And so that was a great value early on was to have, when I knew that I would not be available for a 30 minute segment or a 15 minute segment. They had instructions on what to do and what they would be aware of. Also it helped with all the little chores that are so good for our children to do if they knew what time of day or when they should be doing those and what they were.

That time chart was super helpful with that. Also when on that I would put who I was going to spend one on one time with during a certain time of day. So when the kids saw, okay, this is, and I collected it, so maybe it was lavender. “Okay, mom’s going to be with Millay during that time. So I’m not going to interrupt mom during, that’s their time and here’s my color down here, my time is coming. I can hold my questions until then and I know I’m going to get my time too.” So it helped them to know how to respect our time with one another and to also know my time’s coming. It gave a lot of security as boundaries tend to do. So that’s the value in that. The truth of the matter is, I don’t know if there’s ever been a day that we followed it to the minute it’s not really-

Yvette:                         I’m glad to hear you say that.

Crystal:                         … It’s not really meant for that, it’s really just meant for a guide.

Yvette:                         Sure. Some kind of structure to your day.

Crystal:                         A structure. So if I’m supposed to be sitting down at nine o’clock to do history in the morning, but the phone rings and it’s the doctor’s office and I have got to take this call and 45 minutes later I get off the phone and I think, “What do I do now?” Well without this, I may say, “Well this day is a wash. Everybody’s scattered. I don’t even know where to pick up.” So that just says, “Okay, I should have been finished with history by now and moving on to science. I think we’re going to skip science day because I feel like history is where we need to be, so I’m just going to move back into history and just follow along from there.” So just-

Yvette:                         Sure. So you’re flexible with it.

Crystal:                         Oh, very flexible with it. Very flexible with it. It’s not meant to be a ball and chain. It’s meant to free you. It’s not meant to bind you up and it does free. It really does or I found that that there’s freedom in it. I better move along. Let’s see, the number five is plan 180 perfect days and there’s a template for that as well. And I literally sit down in a weekend usually, or for years I did it a new weekend. My husband would give me some time away and literally away from the home, take all my stuff with me, my computer and everything, and just plan each person’s year, write it all out in this template and then print it off. And they had a checkbook or something they could check off every day. And again, it’s a guide. It’s 180 days. But there have been many years that those 180 days have turned into 220 days just because things came up.

But the point is, if I know when I’m supposed to do on Monday, these are all the things I’m supposed to do on Monday, but I’m sick on Monday. I can’t do school. I just can’t. Well I can’t skip Monday schoolwork, but I can’t on Tuesday do Mondays and I can just start shifting over. And I know that when I finished this checklist, that’s I don’t know, 36 pages long, is 36 weeks, then I’ve completed all of the things that I set out to do this year in school. So it may take more than 36 weeks. I’ve had some kids that have just been super motivated and they’ll finish earlier than that because it’s all listed out there. And if you want to push ahead, you can. So that’s the value in that. And there was a certain time in our life where I had to be gone a lot. We just had a lot going on and they were always just, the demand was, I had to be away from our home, so my mother-in-law would come in. She knew what to do.

Yvette:                         Yeah, because you had it all charted out.

Crystal:                         It was all there. It was kind of like a substitute teacher and she could see what was there and we didn’t lose time, so to speak. People were occupied still and purposeful and intentional about their lives. So that’s the benefit of that too, I think when we don’t know what’s coming and if we do have a plan out there, then dad can pick it up or grandma can pick it up.

Yvette:                         Or the older kids can pick it up.

Crystal:                         Or the older kids, older kids did a lot. And so that’s the value in that. So take some time ahead. But it just gives me such freedom because I am not wondering if I’m going to make sure I get it all in that year. Did I do enough? I trust that that’s what God led me to do. I’ve got it all down and now I’m going to go with it. I can run with it. And if something comes up and we want to go have some fun with a group of other kids, other homeschoolers, we don’t have to do school that day. We will do it, but we don’t do it that day.

So anyway, it’s flexible even though there’s structure in it. So the next one is purge unnecessary stuff. And that is, I always try to do that in the summer between some people, school log a year and some people take off a week or two here or school for three weeks and off a week. Whatever you do, whenever you have that little bit of time where you’re not having to focus on school. I go through closets and I go through drawers and I go through school supplies and I-

Yvette:                         Just simplify.

Crystal:                         Just simplify. Get rid of stuff. I go through the kitchen, everything in our home I try to go through and just get rid of the fluff and it just weighs us down. And it’s a great way to start a homeschool year. Where you feel like you’ve kind of purged some things away because during school you just can’t do everything. You can’t get everything done all the time. You can’t always clean out all the drawers or you can’t always do these things. So it gives you a fresh kind of slate to start again on the new year. So there’s that. And then the last one there, number seven is, pick up where you left off. And I alluded that a minute ago, there was one year we had Christmas break and then we were starting back at school on our January 4th or something like that.

And we still had eight at home. So our oldest son got sick with the flu and then in just days everybody just started dropping. So of the 10 of us in our home, nine of us got the flu. And so it took a month, a full month, my husband was the only one that didn’t get the flu.

Yvette:                         Wow.

Crystal:                         And so, he apparently had gotten the strain earlier and so he was fine, and he cared for us for a month but there was no school to be done. I couldn’t get out of bed, they couldn’t function. We literally just had to lay around for months between everybody getting it and trying to get better. And so all I could do was close the books. And then when February 1st rolled around and everybody was alive again, we said, “Okay, well let’s just pick up where we left off. We really didn’t lose anything. We just start where we left off and if we have to go into June or whatever, that’s fine. It’s okay. We’re in control of this.”

So, that’s what that’s for. Because we did get derailed. It just happens. Life is that way. And so the value of having a system in place is you’re ready for that and you don’t have to scramble or fret or call it a year washed or anything. You can keep moving through it.

Yvette:                         I love that. I love that. Okay, so the book is called 7 P’s in a Pod: A Purposeful System for Home Schooling Success. And I love all of the things that you cover in this book and it’s a really short book. It’s an easy read. You mentioned that you have a couple of templates that you can email out. Do you want to give your email so that people can request those?

Crystal:                         Sure. If that’s fine. It’s 7-P 7P’s in a pod so. So 7-P-S-I-N-A-P-O-D@gmail.com.

Yvette:                         Okay, perfect. We’ll link to that in the show notes and then we’ll link to the book as well because you can get this book on Amazon actually. So we’ll link to both of those so people can do it. We’re almost out of time, but I want to ask you one more quick question. One of the things that we find across the board when talking to homeschool moms is that they almost never feel like they’re equipped, that they’re good enough, that they’re educated enough, that they’re ready to homeschool their kids. Did you feel that way or did you go into this feeling like, “Yep, I’ve got this, I can totally do this.”

“I’ve told my kids this for years and we’ve prayed for years and the Lord would fill in the gaps. There are so many gaps in our homeschooling. I look back and I think, “How did they learn anything?” It’s because the Lord was there.And therefore he gets the honor and the glory. I don’t get it. If I could do it all, then why would I need him?And he would not get any glory.”

Crystal:                         Did I feel that way? I do feel that way. I’ve never not felt that way, but I think that’s one of the most beautiful parts of the homeschooling is that it is not up to me.

Yvette:                         That’s right.

Crystal:                         And I’ve told my kids this for years and we’ve prayed for years and the Lord would fill in the gaps. There are so many gaps in our homeschooling. I look back and I think, “How did they learn anything?” It’s because the Lord was there. And therefore he gets the honor and the glory. I don’t get it. If I could do it all, then why would I need him? And he would not get any glory. It would be all about me and how good I’ve done and the things that my older kids are doing now that the Lord-

Yvette:                         I want to talk about that actually and not because I want you to brag about them as their mom, but because of what you just said, it’s all what God has done.

Crystal:                         It is.

Yvette:                         And it’s pretty amazing to look at your adult children. Talk a little bit about what they’re doing as adults right now.

Crystal:                         Okay. They are such a blessing. They’re so precious. The Lord has been extremely good to us in the many, many ways. And one of those is through the relationships we have with our children and having the four oldest children out of the home and what they’re doing. So our oldest is 26 and he is a Naval Flight Officer. So he’s lieutenant junior grade in the Navy. So he’s flying helicopters and he’s over in Milton, Florida. And I do believe I can say that he’s probably my husband’s best friend and that’s very, very sweet of the Lord to give us that.

And then our second son is married to the most precious woman in the world and he is in his first year of medical school. And that’s again, both of those are just the Lord just filling in so many gaps and I’m just thankful for that. And the way they applied themselves and were diligent and they sought to honor the Lord and oh yeah, they were normal and they made some big mistakes and we made some big mistakes and yeah, the Lord redeemed even those things. And then our third is a daughter. She’s a senior at Georgia Southern, so she’ll be a nurse very soon. And then our fourth is son and he’s at GSU as well in business economics, a junior.

So he’s doing that and our second son calls me every day and just keeps me a part of his life. Our daughter who’s away and our son as well. Just that relationship and that’s what we wanted to begin with was that relationship. And then to also see the beautiful blessing and benefit of how the Lord has filled in the gaps that we definitely had and that he’s been so gracious to feel. And so all glory goes to him.

Yvette:                         Yeah. I love that so very much. I mean that is how we feel about our homeschooling. We feel like there are just so many gaps and that’s our prayer, our constant prayer. Lord, you just fill it in. It is so neat just to see the hand of God move upon your family and what he’s done with it. And what he’s still doing. How he’s still unfolding this amazing work in you, and he’s doing the same with us and he’s doing it with homeschool families all across the world.

Really, it’s just been amazing as we have traveled and interviewed families across the country for Schoolhouse Rocked, it’s the one thing that we hear the most is that moms always feel inadequate. But if you just show up and trust that God is going to give you what you need, he will always come through. He will always provide what you need in order to accomplish what he’s called you to do as a mom and as a homeschool mom. Because you even think about just as a mom, take out the homeschooling. Just as mom, they put this baby in your arms and I remember I was 31 when Brooklyn was born and I had been around kids a lot. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. And I remember when I took her home I was like, “What do I do with her?”

Crystal:                         “Is this for real?”

Yvette:                         She’s not a baby doll and it’s not someone else’s child. Wow.

Crystal:                         “I’m not babysitting.”

Yvette:                         Right. This is a big responsibility and we serve a faithful God who does give us everything that we need. So, thank you so, so much for your time today. I loved talking with you. I love your family and we are very grateful. And again, I’ll link back to 7 P’s in a Pod, to the book in the show notes so people can find that. I’d highly recommend picking it up.

Crystal:                         Thank you.

Yvette:                         So, yeah.

Crystal:                         I enjoyed being here.

Yvette:                         Yes. And thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your day and go out and encourage a homeschool mom somewhere who is feeling inadequate and she just needs to know that God’s going to get her through this and that she is enough because God is enough.

Crystal:                         That’s right.

 

You can email Crystal for printable copies of her charts at 7psinapod@gmail.com.

 

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

The Fight for Homeschool Freedom

“We have got to educate people, as to what freedom and liberty is all about, what the constitution is all about, parental rights, and who our kids belong to. That’s very elementary. Socialism and Marxism would have us believe our kids belong to the government.” – Zan Tyler

While we were at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, in Vancouver, Washington to finish filming interviews for Schoolhouse Rocked, homeschool pioneer, Zan Tyler stopped by for a surprise visit. Zan was instrumental in the fight to make homeschooling legal in South Carolina, in the early 1980s. She was in Oregon to speak at the Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork) homeschool conference, in Albany, Oregon and wanted to visit Heidi St. John and get a tour of the homeschool resource center. Because her story of the legal battles and persecution that she endured to pave the way for homeschooling families in her state provided such important historical perspective and cautionary advice, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to interview her for the movie and for the podcast.

Zan Tyler (right), Heidi St. John (center, and Yvette Hampton at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center

Following her dramatic battle for the right to homeschool her children, Zan went on to teach them through graduation and all three of them attended college on a variety of scholarships. Gaining resolve during her battle, she went on to fight for other homeschooling families in South Carolina and across the United States, founding the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools in 1990, Speaking at homeschool conventions around the world, and writing several books, including Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential and the forward for Heidi St. John’s Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years. She has also worked to develop Bible-bases homeschool resources as the director of Apologia Press. Here is her story.

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone, this is Yvette, and we are back with the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. This is a really fun one, because we are actually on the set filming for Schoolhouse Rocked the movie. It’s so neat to see how the Lord provides just different guests and people for the movie and for the podcast as well.

You are going to love my guest today, her name is Zan Tyler. She is just a sweet, sweet homeschool mom whose kids are grown now. She has an amazing story and I know you are going to be so encouraged by what God has done in her family and through her family, for the homeschool world.

Listen to Zan Tyler on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (7-30-2019 episode)

So Zan, welcome. I am really excited to talk to you today!

Zan:                              Oh, thank you, Yvette. It’s great to be here.

Yvette:                         Thank you. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

Zan:                              Well, we have three grown kids, six grandchildren, and we homeschooled for 21 years, from 1984 to 2005, and homeschooled each of the kids from kindergarten through high school.

Yvette:                         So that was back in the day.

Zan:                              That was back in the day for sure.

Yvette:                         You are truly considered, in the homeschool world, one of the pioneers, who really got homeschooling kind of off the ground, and you are very instrumental in homeschooling becoming legal. Not just your state of South Carolina, but in many states, in addition to that. So, let’s talk about that, because there’s so much to tell in your story. Tell us, kind of from the beginning, how this whole story unfolded for you.

“When she said the word homeschool, I just felt like the walls of her little home at Columbia Bible College were closing in on me. I thought, ‘Lord, if you will just get me out of here, I never want to hear the word homeschool again.’ I just thought it was the strangest thing I had ever heard. Our family was extroverts, and I just couldn’t imagine.”

Zan:                              Well, it was 1984, which I just always think is so George Orwellian, and my oldest son was in kindergarten. He was very bright and gifted, but not reading. He was the only one in this little kindergarten of eight that wasn’t reading. So I was looking for answers, because I had no educational background. I wasn’t sure if it was a problem, or what he was going through.

A friend of mine recommended that we hold him back a year. That was normal for boys, they needed a little more time to mature. But another friend of mine, she and her husband were getting their masters degrees at Columbia Bible College, getting ready to go to the mission field said, “Zan, I taught in the public schools for many years before I had Nat and I’m going to homeschool, and I think you should homeschool Ty.”

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You know the scene from Star Wars, where the walls – it’s really a trash compactor – and they start closing in? When she said the word homeschool, I just felt like the walls of her little home at Columbia Bible College were closing in on me. I thought, “Lord, if you will just get me out of here, I never want to hear the word homeschool again.” I just thought it was the strangest thing I had ever heard. Our family was extroverts, and I just couldn’t imagine.

But she gave me a book, Homegrown Kids by Dr. Moore. I took home that book, and all the way home I’m telling the Lord, “Well, I’m never going to homeschool.” I get home and I start reading that book, more as a courtesy from my friend than anything else, and it was like the Holy Spirit was just wooing me, and softening my heart, and showing me what a glorious way to educate homeschooling really is.

Watch Zan Tyler’s full interview for Schoolhouse Rocked at our Backstage Pass members website.

The only problem was, this was 1984, and we didn’t know one person in the world who homeschooled. There were no organizations, no HSLDA. I think it had actually started on the West Coast, but we certainly didn’t know of them on the East Coast. No state organizations, no support groups, no, nobody. So I really had nobody to turn to.

I used to walk in the morning early and pray and listen to the Bible on my Walkman, and I really just felt like the Lord was saying, “Okay, I really want you to homeschool your boys.” I just remember saying, “No, I just can’t do this.” So I ran inside. We went to the public school district in our area, I showed them the testing that Ty should be held back a year, even though he was six, and they said, “Okay.” That was that, and I thought that was the end of the story.

Until others, people in the school district, were getting their orientation packets for kindergarten and I didn’t get one. I called the school superintendent, he said, “You can’t put your first grader in our kindergarten program. We’ve put him in first grade.” I said, “Well, private schools are filled at this point, I have no choice.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry, you cannot do this.”

So, I called my old high school principal, who is now associate superintendent of instruction in the district, and just asked him to write a note to hold Ty back. He said, “Well, Zan, I just can’t do that.” Which, they did those kinds of things all the time. I said, “Well, I guess I’m just going to have to homeschool Ty.” It was a threat, it was my trump card. He said, “Oh, the school district’s gotten so lenient with that kind of thing.”

Later I found out they had approved one person in the history of the district, and she was a certified teacher. I had been an economics major in college. I had planned to go to law school, until Joe proposed and we got married and had children instead. I mean, I did not have the educational background they were looking for. So we had to hire an attorney just to find out what the law was. The local school district, nor the State Department of Education, would give us the law. There’s no internet, no Google, no organizations, no other way to find it out.

So, we hired him, we submitted our application. It’s about, oh, I mean, it was about five inches thick, everything they wanted from me at that point, and they denied my application. So we had to call our attorney again. He said, “Oh, now you appeal to the state board. They will deny you, they will uphold whatever the local school board did.” I said, “What then?” He said, “You’ll end up in family court.” I said, “What then?” He said, “Well, I don’t know, honey.”

“He looked at me and he said, ‘Well, if you continue down this path, Zan, I’ll have you put in jail for truancy.’ So, that was sort of the watershed moment for me. I said, ‘Well, then you’ll just have to put me in jail.'”

Zan Tyler, a homeschooling pioneer

So, I’m telling the Lord, “I told you this was not a good idea.” So, in the middle of all of this, I had a thought. The State Superintendent of Education had actually observed my mother’s classroom. She was a fourth grade teacher when he was getting his PhD. I was in the fourth grade, so I saw him every day after school for several months. I called Dr. Williams, said, “Dr. Williams, this is Zan Tyler. I’m Sybil Peter’s daughter. I have a problem, can I come see you?”

So, I went up there, and just explained my predicament, all I wanted to do is hold Ty back a year. The school district said, yes, then they said no. Private schools were filled, and they denied my application to homeschool. What am I going to do? He looked at me and he said, “Well, if you continue down this path, Zan, I’ll have you put in jail for truancy.” So, that was sort of the watershed moment for me. I said, “Well, then you’ll just have to put me in jail.”

Yvette:                         Which at that point, I would say most parents would probably just say, “Okay.” They would throw their hands up, give up and say, “All right.”

Zan:                              You know, I think that was just when the Lord took over for me. There’s the verse in Acts that says, “Don’t fear when you’re brought before governors, because I’ll tell you what to say.” It was really an out of body experience, because I said, “Then Dr. Williams, you’ll have to put me in jail.” I’m thinking, “Who just said that?” It was really like an out of body experience. But I knew the Lord had been calling me, and in that moment he, I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but he confirmed that to me.

Yvette:                         It’s so neat to have just a piece of God when he asks us to do everything. We’ve talked a whole lot about this on the podcast, is that when God calls you to something, he’s going to provide everything that you need, and he is going to pave the way for you. Whether it’s homeschooling, or, you know, a new job, or a move across the country. Whatever it is, he’s going to provide the way, and he’s going to pave that road.

So I love that you were just obedient and you were willing to listen to what God was telling you, because you have, now since then, impacted so many families. So, continue on. Well, let me ask you this first. How did your husband, Joe, how did he respond to this whole idea of homeschooling? Was he all in favor of it? Was he a little resistant? What was his response?

Zan:                              Well, I’ll tell you now that Joe does a workshop called, You Want to What? Confessions of a Reluctant Homeschool Dad. So, we’ve always had a great marriage. Joe’s a great communicator, and so we could always talk. Basically what he said to me was, “I know how much you love the Lord, and I know how much you love the kids. So I totally trust you, but I think this is the craziest thing we’ve ever done.”

He finally said, “Well, if it’s numbers and colors, you can’t mess up a kid too much in kindergarten.” Then we laughed, because low and behold Ty was color blind, and we didn’t know it yet. I mean, he was very supportive of me, he just thought the idea of homeschooling was nuts.

Yvette:                         So what was his response when you started to get into a little bit of legal trouble?

Zan:                              You know, then we were just all in it together.

Yvette:                         Which is how it should be.

Zan:                              Yes, yes. So, he tons of pizza. I should say this, no man should have to eat as much pizza during those early years of homeschooling as Joe did.

Yvette:                         Yep. You are one busy mama.

Zan:                              Yeah.

Yvette:                         So, how did the rest of the story transpire from there?

Zan:                              Well, it was interesting, because being the brave noble person I was, we had decided not to tell either set of parents we were going to homeschool. Joe said, “You know, you’re going to have to tell them at some point, it’s kind of like being pregnant. People will recognize, at some point, that something is going on.” I said, “Well, when the time comes, I’ll talk about it.” I just had no more emotional bandwidth.

So, when I was threatened with jail, then that forced the conversation, because my parents were very involved in the whole fabric of Columbia. Not social life, but just community life. Dad was, in addition to his profession and being a lawyer, he was chairman of the board of the Baptist hospital system. I knew that the newspapers would not say, “P on homeschool mothers and Tyler goes to jail.” It would say, “John Peter’s daughter goes to jail.”

I knew I needed to tell them. So, I go by to tell them, and I hold it together, “Mom, dad, I’m going to homeschool Ty.” Of course, they don’t know what it is, I barely know what it is. “I’ve been threatened with jail, and my hearing is on Tuesday. I didn’t want you to read about it in the newspaper.” Then I just lost it. I was hysterical, and I left. My daddy, we’ve always been so close, he just went to be with the Lord. But he was just so mad I had been treated that way.

As God, in his very kind of providence would have it, he was speaking at a hospital function the next night with Nancy Thurman, who was the wife of Senator Strom Thurmond, who was a legend in South Carolina politics, served in the Senate for 50 or so years. I had worked for him when I was in high school. It was the first year of the 18 year old vote, and I was female to boot. So I did television commercials with him and toured the state with fundraisers with him and his team. So I knew him, and I had called his office and gotten no response.

Dad said to Mrs. Thurman that night, “Zan needs help from the Senator now.” So she called his chief of staff who said, “We’ll overnight a letter to Charlie Williams, the State Superintendent of Education, telling him to approve the program.” But the next day we got a call from his chief of staff saying that the Senator was actually going to fly down and meet personally with Charlie Williams, who was the State Superintendent of Education.

So, when Senator Thurmond, the legend, walks in and tells Dr. Williams, “Her program is legal, we’ve looked into it, you need to approve it.” Then everything changed. So, the threats of jail averted, and the State Board approved my program. We homeschooled that first year. It was still very tough, we had policemen riding up and down our streets of a very quiet neighborhood. We assumed to make sure that we were inside having school and at home, and we had threatening phone calls, and neighbors.

Yvette:                         From the school board?

Zan:                              Well, you know, at first, we didn’t know. This is before caller ID and cell phones and all of this. So BellSouth had just come out with this very expensive callback system, you could see who called you. I told Joe, I said, “I want to pay for this.” We had no money at this point, legal fees and all. He said, “Okay, you’re paranoid, but we’ll do it.” It was school districts, and it was not just my own. It was other school districts in the state calling me, wanting personal information, seeing if I answered the phone.

It was crazy. But that year, our goal was just to get Ty ready for first grade. But the things that we saw happening in our home, even with all the pressure, the legal pressure outside of the home, there was just this, not magic, that’s the wrong word, but this just incredible depth building in our home that we had never had before, even though I was a stay at home mother up until that point.

So, our vision for homeschooling began to grow a little bit, and legal threats were starting to pour in, and the State Department of Education was getting ready to promulgate very negative regulations. So, it just grew into an eight year struggle, really, or battle, where for eight years our family was, either in court or in the legislature, fighting for good homeschool laws in South Carolina.

Yvette:                         At that point you knew you weren’t just fighting for yourself; you were fighting for others who would come into homeschooling.

Zan:                              Yes, that’s right.

Yvette:                         Through that time, did you start to meet other families who were homeschooling?

Zan:                              Yes, yes. I remember we went to the first conference in Atlanta, and I think there were seven families from South Carolina there. Which I had no idea, we were delighted to see seven. But everybody was so nervous, nobody would give out their phone numbers or their last names, because we were so afraid that there was somebody from the government there. They were scary times.

But during that first year, Joe and I began to keep a database of people who were starting to call us then from all over the country, it was kind of strange. It was think tanks and attorneys, and people looking to move to South Carolina, who may have already started homeschooling in another state where there was no threat. So, we just started collecting names of people who had heard of homeschooling. We weren’t necessarily looking for homeschoolers, just people who had heard of it.

So we started growing this database, which came in handy then, in December of 1985, a year later, when we got the information that the State Department was getting ready to promulgate the regulations that would require teaching parents, and to have a college degree, and only use state-approved tax. So that gave us a little bit of list to begin building that grassroots movement with.

Yvette:                         So how did homeschooling change your family?

Zan:                              Oh, my goodness, I feel like Shakespeare, “let me count the ways.” It just, this closeness. We were close to begin with, I can’t explain it. Just a deeper intimacy. It made the kids closer. The most dramatic change for me is I began to notice my boys’ spiritual gifts. There was no time for that kind of observation before, but even though they were young, I believe that the Lord gave me insight into things that the boys were capable of spiritually, and the way they thought.

For instance, we had been praying, just for our neighbors, that we’d have a chance to witness. One day, during our first few weeks of homeschooling, they were out playing and I called them in, they were riding their bikes in the driveway, and he didn’t come. I said, “Ty, honey, you have to obey me the first time, or homeschooling is not going to work.” He said, “Well, mom, did you see that little boy on the bicycle?” He said, “We’ve been sharing Jesus. I’d never seen him in our neighborhood. I was afraid I’d never see him again, and I just needed to tell him about Jesus.”

Yvette:                         Wow.

Zan:                              It was through instances of being together so much, that I began to see his heart to really share the Gospel, even as a young little boy. Then my other son, who is now an attorney, was always very thoughtful. When Joe and I went to our first homeschool conference, in Atlanta. Conference, I use that word very lightly, there were maybe 60 people there from 10 states or five states or something. My sister took John and Ty up to Stone Mountain, and they were six and four. We’d been learning the children’s catechism, and they found this footprint that looked like a huge footprint in the mountain, and Ty said, “John, look at this. This is so big, it must be God’s.” Four year old little John says, “Ty, God is a spirit and have not a body like man.”

Oh, my goodness! So, I began to see their spiritual depth really blossom. That has always been one of the greatest parts of homeschooling to me, is that we can prepare our kids to take their place in the world, not just academically gifted and other gifts, but their spiritual gifts. The church just needs mature believers now, people who can speak truth.

Yvette:                         Yeah, that’s right. So, kind of take us down the road of what homeschooling looked like. You say you went to these conventions, and there were about 60 people there, you know, to what it is today. Because now you go and you’ve got 6,000, 7,000 people or more at some conventions. It has changed dramatically, obviously.

It’s really interesting, because we’re going into our ninth year of homeschooling, but when we came into homeschooling nine years ago, it was very similar to what it is now. It was a very acceptable culture, it’s not awkward for us to go to the grocery store in the middle of the day. When people say, you know, “Oh, are you off of school today?” My girls say, “No, we’re homeschooled.” Then typically people will respond with, “Oh, wow, that’s great. I wish I could homeschool, or, you know, my sister homeschools, or my daughter home schools.” I mean, everybody knows somebody who homeschools.

Zan:                              Yes, that’s right.

Yvette:                         But obviously, it wasn’t that way for you.

Zan:                              That’s right.

Yvette:                         So, take us through what it was like for you in those beginning years, and other families, to what homeschooling has become today.

Zan:                              I have such a vivid memory of having homeschooled for about six months, and being in tears one morning during my quiet time, just saying, “Lord, remember me, this person you made so extroverted? I now have no friends.” There were people in the neighborhood who would no longer speak to us, people in our church who were suspicious. I mean, this was 1984, and like I said, when I said we knew nobody when we started, we knew nobody when we started. So, there was just no support and nobody for the kids to share that experience with.

Now, as the year progressed and we went into the second year, then we found friends. I mean, it wasn’t unusual for us to drive to Greenville to see another homeschool family, which was 100 miles away, or Charleston. Then we began to develop a few friends and a little bit of a community. I will say this, that the community that developed was very, very close. Then when we were threatened in 1985, with those regulations from the State Department, we started pulling the group together and sending mailings out.

Then somebody gave us an organization that had already the 501(c)(3) status they weren’t using anymore. We took that over and then formed the first homeschooling organization in South Carolina. So, it was definitely hard. It was just hard. But we knew the Lord had called us, and then to watch it grow step by step. We had the first public hearing in South Carolina in 1986, and we actually had about 400 people show up for that, which was really amazing. We had no idea. We just sent out this blind list, this list we had been mailing, and we had all these people show up. It was pretty amazing. That was a ton of people.

Yvette:                         That is a lot, because that’s before the days of even email-

Zan:                              That’s right, oh, no, email, no. That was the days before fax. It was by phone or mail. So, it was very interesting. So, it was the Lord, and then eventually we started going to the National Leadership Conference. It was people from a lot of other states who had … everybody was going through their own set of circumstances. Some people were very free, like in Georgia or North Carolina, other people were like us in South Carolina, where we were very threatened, and it was very hard. But that was our peer group, and that sort of was what the Lord gave us, just to keep us going, and that fellowship we needed to keep going.

I can remember the first time Joe and I were asked to go to Japan to speak at a conference there, and it wasn’t for expats, it was for Japanese. I sat on the plane, and all of a sudden I just started crying, because I looked at Joe and I said, “You remember when we first started homeschooling? All people wanted to do was shut me up. You know, make her be quiet, stop talking about this, go away.” The fact that somebody was paying us to fly halfway across the world to talk to them about homeschooling, it was just overwhelming.

It’s one of those moments that will just always be emblazoned in my mind. But it was like a revival movement, the Lord just kept raising people up and up and up, and it got bigger and bigger, and it was this grassroots ground swell. That was one reason you know it’s really the Holy Spirit, because there’s no other explanation for it.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So, you’ve been through the whole process of helping to make it legal. Where do you see homeschooling going in the future? Do you see that our freedoms are in jeopardy at all? Or do you think that we will be able to continue on with our freedom? And how can people make sure that our freedom stays?

Zan:                              Joe always says, “It’s not that the grass is greener on the other side, it’s the grass is greenest where you water it and fertilize it.” So we shouldn’t ever take our marriages for granted, we should never take our freedom for granted. I know what it’s like to be an innocent person who was threatened legally. I will tell you that is not fun. I never want another mother to go through what we went through. It was horrible. Wandering at night if somebody was going to take my kids, if a neighbor was going to turn us in to the Department of Social Services for something. It was extremely stressful.

So, my love for freedom is very, not guarded, but it’s in the context of knowing we can lose it, and knowing what that feels like. Ronald Reagan said, “It only takes a generation to lose our freedom.” Then there’s the quote, “All we need to lose our freedom is … for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.” So I think it’s very easy to become complacent, when it seems so easy.

But we need to remember we have enemies, whether it’s the National Education Association or the School Administrators Association. There are people out there who think that the fact that we can homeschool our children is the worst thing that has ever happened to the culture. We think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the culture.

Yvette:                         Right, of course, but they want control over our children.

Zan:                              We were talking earlier today about this, I was speaking at a leadership forum sponsored by Clemson University in South Carolina, but this was the education segment, I was the homeschool spokesman. After it was over, this woman asked me, she said, “Don’t you feel guilty for homeschooling?” I said, “Well, I have felt a lot of emotions over homeschooling, but guilt is not one of them, why?” She said, “Because you’ve robbed the school district of all the money the state would have given them for your children, you’ve robbed the school district of kids who probably would have good test scores, because you’ve also robbed the school district of involved parents, all of these things which we need.”

So I got real quiet, and I said, “Well, who do you think my kids belong to?” Well, she had no answer. So I read her this, this shows what my life was like. I used to travel with this in my purse, I had no idea what I’m going to talk about at this day. So I read her this statement, I’m going to read it to you, just because this is where my life was.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize his children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state. Those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

So she looked at me like, “Where did you get that right wing Christian propaganda?” She said, “Where did you get that?” I said, “From the United States Supreme Court, Pierce vs Society of Sisters, 1925.” I remember thinking then here is the problem with our society, nobody knows anymore that children don’t belong to the state. When you have to tell an audience that the child is not the mere creature of the state, and that is news to them, we are in trouble as a culture.

So, we have got to educate people, as to what freedom and liberty is all about, what the constitution is all about, parental rights, and who our kids belong to. That’s very elementary. Socialism and Marxism would have us believe our kids belong to the government.

Yvette:                         That’s right, that’s right. We have a couple minutes left. In these last few minutes I would love for you to talk about, because I know you’ve been very involved in your state organization. How can people get involved in their own state organization, or in, you know, the United States as a whole, to keep the freedoms that we have for homeschooling? And why do these state organizations even exist?

“The state organizations have done the homeschooling community such a great service in watching each state, legislature by legislature, and knowing where the threats come up. So, I would invite and encourage every homeschooler to join their state group, and their state group will be the legislative watchdog. Then go to your state day at the capitol. Most states have that, some states don’t. Start one if you don’t. I would tell you to get to know your legislator and your state Senator, and that is not hard to do, they want to know you as a constituent.”

Zan:                              Well, the state organizations have done the homeschooling community such a great service in watching each state, legislature by legislature, and knowing where the threats come up. So, I would invite and encourage every homeschooler to join their state group, and their state group will be the legislative watchdog. Then go to your state day at the capitol. Most states have that, some states don’t. Start one if you don’t. I would tell you to get to know your legislator and your state Senator, and that is not hard to do, they want to know you as a constituent.

Homeschooled kids are the best thing we have going for us, because they’re polite and articulate, and well-educated. It’s like one representative said to me, “Zan, now that I see the artwork, I want to know the artist.” So, we need to do that, we need to take our kids with us to vote, we need to get them involved with pro-life, pro-family candidates. My boys started working campaigns with me when they were little, we would hold out signs in the rain. You know, politics is not glamorous, but it is really necessary.

Then, you know, during the presidential election, every presidential election, we would have a blank map of the states, and we would color a state red if it went to the Republican candidate, blue if it went to the Democrat, and we’d mark in the number of electoral votes. So, explain to your kids the electoral college, there’s a great movement afoot to get rid of it. It would destroy our Republican form of government. So I would just say be involved. If it’s uncomfortable, just decide you’re going to live out of your comfort zone.

Heidi’s podcast is a great podcast. She keeps us up politically with what’s going on, and your state organization will do that. Join HSLDA as well, they’ve been a great safeguard for homeschooling parents.

Yvette:                         Yeah, absolutely. Yes, you’re right. Heidi St. John, her podcast, the Heidi St. John Podcastis excellent. She often talks about just things that are going on in the culture. I get all my news from her.

Zan:                              Yeah, that’s fabulous.

Yvette:                         I listen to it every day. But, yes, people can actually go to the Schoolhouse Rockedwebsite,and there’s a dropdown that talks about state organizations, and people can easily find their own state organization on there. So you don’t even have to go anywhere else, you just go straight to the Schoolhouse Rocked website.

Zan, thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done, everything that you and your family have sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy today as homeschoolers. You are a homeschool legend, and I am so excited to be sitting here with you. So thank you for your time today.

Zan:                              It has been my privilege. Thank you so much.

You can find out more about Zan Tyler at ZanTyler.com.

Read Zan’s book, Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential

Read Heidi St. John’s book, Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years

Photo by vivek kumar on Unsplash

Photo by Garritt Hampton

 

 

The Importance of Reading Aloud to our Children

I, of course, have been preaching on this for 20 years. That if what you want is a person who is good at speaking and writing, the single most important thing to do every day is read out loud to them in huge quantity, all through childhood.

Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to talk with Andrew Pudewa, for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, about the importance of reading aloud to our children. They also discussed the ideas of mastery of subject matter and maximizing our homeschooling time by teaching integrating multiple subjects. Andrew Pudewa is the founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). He is a popular speaker and author, who has been talking to homeschool families around the world for 30 years. We were privileged to have been able to interview him for Schoolhouse Rocked and have been blessed by the support of IEW as a gold sponsor of the film.

Yvette Hampton:           As we’ve filmed for Schoolhouse Rocked and talked to so many people, including you about education and the educational system. One of the conclusions that I have come to is we seem to think that all of our kids need to master every single subject – straight A’s. That’s the thing. Every kid must get straight A’s.

Even colleges want these kids to get straight A’s. And you have talked about, basically, doing what the public school system does is they learn to the test. I mean they basically learn so they can pass the test so they can move on with their life. Whether it’s something that they’re interested in or not. And as I’ve looked at my own kids and I’ve looked at other kids and interviewed so many people, I’ve realized God has not created all of us with a bend to master every single subject.

You talked about science, your passion is music, I know, and English and language arts. It’s not science. And so why do we pressure these kids to have to ace every single thing? And I’m not saying that they don’t need to learn the basics of science and the basics of history and the basics of all these … writing and all these different things. But not every one of us is created to be a historian and a scientist and a writer and all these different things.

And I just feel like we pressure our kids so much to become something that God did not intend for them to be. And we’ve often told our kids, and I’ve said this on the podcast before, “You have to learn to read well so that you can read God’s word. And you have to learn to write well so that you can write about him. And you have to learn the basics of science so that you can understand the universe and the world that God created. And you have to learn the basics of history so that you can understand the history of God’s world.”

But I don’t feel that it’s necessary for them to master every single one of these subjects in order for them to have succeeded in school. What is your opinion of that as you’ve talked to parents and educators?

Andrew Pudewa:          Well, it’s always a balance between … There’s kind of your core knowledge, I think. There’s cultural literacy, there are things that everyone … To be an American citizen, a literate American citizen, things you should know. And so we do try to cover that. And I think when E.D. Hirsch wrote Cultural Literacy, and then that came into the Core Knowledge Foundation and that came into the What Every Third Grader Needs to Know series of books.

Listen to Andrew Pudewa on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (7/23/2019 episode)

Now, that was very helpful in reminding us that pretty much, we’re either natives or immigrants by birth. But what binds us together is this shared cultural literacy, knowledge of Western civilization, familiarity with some good and great books and all that. So there is that, but then there’s also the question of how much chemistry do you need to have some literacy?

The funny thing is, I think all of us who went to high school, if you said, “Well, okay, you spend a year in biology or chemistry or whatever, of that book, of everything you studied over that year, what percentage of it did you remember or still know one year after that class was over?” Well, I mean most people are saying like five percent, if you’re a genius. Two percent if you’re normal.

Yvette:                         Unless you are really interested in that and want to be a chemist.

Andrew:                       Right. And then you go and you study it more. That reactivates that. So how much do we need of a subject to say, “Yes, I’m familiar with that in a way that makes me able to get the jokes and understand and read.” I think a lot of it is we teach a whole lot of that stuff in high school so that people will retain a little bit into adulthood. Maybe that’s not the most efficient way to do it, however. Maybe there’s a way to say, “Well, maybe we could do less, and then less is more.”

One thing I’ve noticed about my kids, and we were talking about this a little bit, you and I before, is that so much of what they remember and took into adulthood wasn’t in the textbooks. It was in the storybooks. It was in historical fiction novels. It was in the books that involve various elements of science and government and literature and things. Literature, well, that is books.

I’m thinking, for example, of Swiss Family Robinson. That is an adventure story, but it’s also practically a primary natural history of Oceania and New Guinea. I mean there’s so much stuff about animals and geography in there. So the author of that, he understood to catch the imagination of kids, you tell them a good story. And while they’re listening, teach them stuff.

That’s what I think parents who discover that they can often find their kids learn so much more and remember it. See, that’s the trick. They carry it with them into the future, future years, from the read-alouds that they do at home. And choosing many good and great books that have historic illusions, geographical information, biographical information.

Like I said, sometimes natural sciences, government elements, they’re all often … A good book is a good book because people say, “Wow, I learned a lot from that. It was fun and I learned a lot.” That’s what made it good. How else would you define a good book? It was entertaining. But if you could have it’s just entertaining versus it was enjoyable and I learned a lot. Well, that’s kind of a no brainer. What would you choose?

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

Yvette:                         Yeah. And that perfect. I love that answer. One of the questions that we actually got from one of our listeners was, she asked how can read-alouds cross subject barriers and maximize our homeschooling hours, science, literature, theology, history, ethics, all in one? And that perfectly encompasses that. I mean, you can read a good book and it can encompass all of those things at one time instead of breaking them out into different subjects.

Andrew:                       Yeah. And I, of course, have been preaching on this for 20 years. That if what you want is a person who is good at speaking and writing, the single most important thing to do every day is read out loud to them in huge quantity, all through childhood. Because that more than anything is formative. It’s forms the vocabulary base, it forms the database of syntax and grammar patterns. It builds a stock of literary devices, schemes and tropes of rhetoric, and it will build in general knowledge.

It’s funny, I’ll meet kids who seem to just know so much. It’s like you say something and then they say something and you’re like, “Wow, how did you even know that?” And then I’ll talk to their mom, go, “What do you do?” “Well, we don’t really have … We’re not all that organized. We just read a lot.”

Yvette:                         Yeah. I love it. And I’ve actually heard you speak several times about the importance of not reading, because I think a lot of people think, “Well, we read a lot to our young kids who don’t yet know how to read.” But you’re talking about reading aloud to our kids who are even in high school, to our teenagers.

Andrew:                       Exactly.

Yvette:                         Talk a little bit about that, because I love this. And for those of you who have not heard your take on this, they need to hear it. Because this has literally changed our homeschooling, and I read to my girls all the time and they … Well, my eight year old is still becoming a strong reader, but my 12 year old, of course, can read. But she loves me reading to her and I love reading to her. And talk about that for a minute.

Andrew:                       Well, I think we do tend to kind of fall into the mistake of as soon as a kid can read on their own, it’s like, “Oh, great. You can read to yourself now. That’ll free me up to do Peng and The Beautiful Yangtze River here one more time with the four year old.” So we tend to favor the younger children. But my argument is that it’s when kids read on their own that they most need to be read to at a level above their own decoding skills.

They need to be read to the things they would not, or could not read on their own. Because if they just read what they can read, they’ll keep reading what they can read. That’s easy. But they won’t necessarily try to read something that has longer sentences or more obscure illusions or more complex vocabulary, because it’s harder. And so they’ll either skip stuff or they kind of say, “Well, I don’t like that.”

But if we read to them, if they get it auditorily, we not only don’t skip stuff, we read all the words, we read it in the right context with the right vocal nuances that help improve comprehension. That’s actually how you improve reading comprehension, is not by throwing books at kids and saying, “Here, read this and take a test to see if you understood it.” We create reading comprehension by reading out loud to them at above their own … at a level above their own reading level, and talking about that. That’s what creates the understanding of the vocabulary and the idioms and the more complex ideas.

So, a lot of kids in school, they read, read, read, read, read, read, read, but they kind of do lateral shifts. And then as adults, they don’t want to read a great book like Jane Eyre or Ben-Hur or something. It’s too hard. So if we want our kids to enjoy reading harder stuff, the absolute best way is to bring them into that world by starting reading it to them and talking about it, defining it, understanding it.

Yvette:                         Yeah. I want to actually encourage any moms or dads who are listening to this who might be intimidated by that. Because I’ll tell you, I did not … I know how to read, obviously, and obviously when I graduated high school, I knew how to read. But I was not a strong reader. I didn’t not grow up reading books. My parents never really read to me. I remember them reading Cinderella and Green Eggs and Ham. Those are the only two books I ever remember my parents reading to me over and over again.

And so when I got out of high school, I was not a super strong reader and I hated to read aloud. I was the kid that whenever the teacher was … we were reading Romeo and Juliet or whatever it was we were reading. And they would say, “Okay, so-and-so is going to read next.” And I mean, I would start … My palms would start sweating and I would start getting all shaky and nervous because I hated to stand in front of my class and read.

And right after I got married, I was 20 when Garritt and I got married. My very first job was … I was a preschool teacher and I remember sitting down and they were like, “Okay, go read to this group of four-year-olds.” And I mean, I was reading again, obviously, preschool books. They were Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, things like that. And I was terrified to read in front of these kids, not because I didn’t know how to read the books, but there was just something about it. There was something about standing in front of these little kids or sitting in front of them and reading out loud to them. Because I felt like I was going to fumble on the words and it was just terrifying to me.

And of course, over the years, I’ve become a much stronger reader. And now I read to my girls all the time. And so I want to give that encouragement to moms who, and dads, who maybe are just intimidated by the idea of reading aloud to their kids. Even if you have teenagers, just do it. I mean, the more you do it, of course, the better you get at it. I love to read now. I love to read aloud, but I also love to just read on my own. And it just opens up a whole new world of learning, not just for your kids, but for yourself.

But it can be scary, because we’re not all excellent readers and not everybody grew up knowing or learning how to read aloud in a really effective way. So anyway, I love it now. It took years for me to learn how to love reading a lot, but I love it-

Andrew:                       Are you familiar with Sarah Mackenzie’s Read-Aloud Revival?

Yvette:                         Oh, of course. Yeah. She’s one of our cast members on Schoolhouse Rocked. Absolutely. We’ve talked with her.

Andrew:                       We should get your listeners connected up with her if they are not already, because she’s so encouraging, particularly in that area of read aloud. I would also love to mention that a lot of what I’ve been teaching and speaking about for the past many years, I’ve written articles. And those articles are now all collected into one book, and it’s available. And did I give you a copy?

Yvette:                         You did. Yeah, I’ve got it.

Andrew:                       Okay. My book, However Imperfectly, Lessons From 30 Years of Teaching. So that’s available at our website, along with all of our product stuff, IEW.com. And you can also, of course, call us or text us or email us if you have any questions about teaching writing to your children or spelling or literature or early reading. We’ve got materials for all of that.

Yvette:                         Yeah. We’ll link back to all those things for sure. Let me ask you one more quick question, and I know Sarah Mackenzie, Read-Aloud Revival is her podcast. I’m sure many of our listeners have heard it. She has an excellent podcast, and I think you’ve been on her podcast a few times now, right?

Andrew:                       Well, Yvette, when I get envious of her big numbers, I just remember, I was her first.

Yvette:                         I know, I remember. I remember. It’s an excellent interview too. She’s so encouraging when she talks about the importance of read-alouds. And so one of the things that she has is a book list and she has an excellent book list. I love the way it’s categorized. It’s by age and it’s just a great book list. But do you also, is there an IEW book list somewhere or what do you use? When parents ask you, “Okay, I want to read aloud to my kids. How do I find great literature to read to them?” Where do you direct them?

Andrew:                       Yeah. Well, we have three. One is a free list, you can just get it off the downloads tab off our website, IEW.com. It’s called Books for Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather be Making Forrts All Day. And it is divided just into elementary, middle and high school reading levels. We also have, we sell a book by Adam Andrews whose website is centerforlit.com. His course is called Teaching the Classics, and he has a book called Reading Roadmaps, I believe.

The one we published, which is the most extensive book list I’ve ever seen is called Timeline of Classics by a homeschool mom, Gail Ledbetter, and it can be got in ebook form or you can get a paper spiral bound from our website. And it’s got well over a thousand books listed. And they’re organized in time periods. So they were either written about or written in that time period. It goes from ancient all the way up to modern, tells the author and gives the approximate reading level. And that’s a resource that people probably use for their whole life.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Okay. That’s great. I’ll link back to all those. And then I know one that I’ve really enjoyed is Hunting for a Child’s Heart. That one has some great book recommendations and little blurbs on each book, which is awesome. So we will link back to all those things. But I feel like we could talk forever and ever. So we will definitely love to have you back on the podcast again at another time. And we can talk about more things homeschooling and how to encourage and equip parents who are on this journey of home educating their kids. But thank you so, so much, Andrew, for your time today. I know you are a busy man, so we appreciate you taking the time to talk.

 

You can find Andrew Pudewa and IEW online at IEW.com.

Andrew Pudewa recommends the following resources in his interview.

Homeschool Legal Defense Association: HSLDA

IEW: Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Build Forts All Day

IEW Recommended Book List (Books for Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day)

Read Aloud Revival with Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Sarah Mackenzie.

Book Recommendations:

However Imperfectly by Andrew Pudewa

IEW Book List: Timeline of Classics

Center for Lit: Reading Roadmaps

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch Jr.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Photo Credits:

Photos of the Bates family reading, by Yvette Hampton. ©2019, Bronze Oxen Films LLC. All Rights Reserved

Dad Reading to Baby Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

You Can Homeschool Bravely!

“In fact, my mother-in-law had asked me, a couple years before I even had kids, if I’d ever consider homeschooling, and I said absolutely not. And it wasn’t anything against homeschooling, I just thought I had the perfect gig as a mom, that my kids could come to school with me, we’d have the same vacation time, I’d be able to spend quality time at school with them. So on paper, everything looked like I would continue teaching and everything would be great. But God’s plans are so much different than our plans, and he began to just slowly sprinkle that idea in my thoughts that homeschooling might be a good path for us.”


Jamie is a Christian mother to five blissfully abnormal kids, and wife to her formerly homeschooled husband, Dain. She is a former school teacher who can now be found encouraging and equipping a growing tribe of mothers all across the globe on the Mom to Mom Podcast and through her blog, The Unlikely Homeschool. She speaks at national conferences. And in addition to writing and speaking, she loves talking faith and family over a cup of coffee, and hanging out with her family.

Yvette Hampton:           I am excited to have a return guest with me today. Jamie Erickson was on the 11thepisode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and we had such a great response to her episode, she was so encouraging. It’s one of the most listened to episodes that we’ve ever done, and so I’m excited to have her back, talking about her new book that she just released, and a new podcast that she is doing with a couple of other mamas.

Jamie Erickson:             Thank you for having me back.

Yvette:                         Yes. I am so glad to have you back. You are a homeschool mama who loves to encourage homeschool moms. It is one of the big passions that God has put on your heart and you do it well, so I am thrilled to have you again.

Jamie:                          Thank you.

Yvette:                         I want to talk about two things. I want to talk about your new podcast that you recently launched and about your new book that was just released. But let’s talk about the podcast first really quickly, because I really want to spend most of the time talking about your new book. So tell us about your podcast.

Jamie:                          Okay. It’s called the Mom to MomPodcastand I cohost it with Kate Battistelli, and September McCarthy. Kateis the author of Growing Great Kids-Partner with God to Cultivate His Purpose in Your Child’s Life and the The God Dare. She’s been married for 35 years and is mom to GRAMMY award-winning artist Francesca Battistelli and Mimi to her four children. September McCarthy is a mother of 10 and a homeschooling mom. We’ve all homeschooled at various places on the journey. And what I love about our podcast, and kind of why I initially wanted to take on a project, is we’re three moms, three different stages and seasons of motherhood, and we’ve really seen the gamut of motherhood, because Kate and September have grandchildren, and we’re all in different places. And we don’t always agree on everything, but we have the common thread of Jesus weaving all of our words together, and so we have the same goal, to see our children come to know the Lord and love him. And so it’s a really gospel-centered podcast that hopefully encourages moms in every place. It’s really a podcast, at least I hope, for every mom for every season.

Backstage Pass Members can watch the full video of this interview, which includes 30 minutes of bonus content, not included on the podcast.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So it’s not just about homeschooling, though you guys talk a little bit about homeschooling on there.

Jamie:                          A little bit, but it’s really just for any mom, we don’t necessarily focus on homeschooling. Obviously we all homeschooled, or homeschool currently, but we recognize that not every mom is called to that and not every listener will be a homeschool mom. So it’s really, hopefully, for every mom.

Yvette:                         Yeah, it’s excellent. I’ve listened to it a few times and it has definitely become one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. So thank you for doing that. I love listening to podcasts. Oftentimes, people will say, “When do you find time to do it?”, and I’m like, “I don’t have any more time than you have, trust me,” but that’s usually my, “when I’m in the shower and getting ready in the morning, putting on makeup or whatever”, I can get in a few minutes, 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s in spurts, but-

Jamie:                          Yeah. Well, and I love to read, but I don’t always have the time to sit down and read. A podcast is a really easy go-to, to listen to while I’m doing the dishes, folding laundry, and yeah.

Yvette:                         Yes. I’ve just really, for myself, jumped on the audio book bandwagon. We’ve done it with our girls for a really long time, but I’ve never really done audio books myself. And I found myself not reading as much, because like you said, I just don’t have time. By the time I fall into bed at night, I’m so tired, and I will pick up a book and try to read it, and then I’m closing my eyes, and before I know it I’m asleep and I’ve read maybe a page. But I can do audio books, and I love that. Those keep me a little bit more alert, and so I am enjoying audio books a little bit more. And I can play them on a little bit faster speed, so-

Jamie:                          Yeah. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah. I think it’s always good for moms to pour into themselves, because you can’t pour out from an empty cup, so if you’re in-taking some great information or even just reading to expand your own horizons, anything that you do that sort of maybe only looks like is adding to you really adds to your whole family, because you come ready to teach and to share, and you have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table.

Yvette:                         Yes. And I feel like there’s such a good balance between that, that we have to find as moms, because we don’t want it to be all about me, me, me, and how can I serve myself, and how can I make myself happy. We’re serving our families, but at the same time, like you said, if our cup is empty, I mean, we then have very little to give, and so we need to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves as well. Not in a selfish or idolatrous ways, but so that we have more to give to our families, that we’re resting and exercising and doing the things that we need to do so that we can care well for our families. So, yes. Well, okay, so that’s the podcast, the Mom to Mom Podcast, and that can be found on iTunes, Spotify-

Jamie:                          iTunes, Spotify, you could go to momtomompodcast.com and go directly to there, or we’re also on Instagram.

Listen to Jamie Erickson on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Yvette:                         Great. We’ll put links to that. Let’s talk about your new book though. I am super excited about this book and I actually love the title of the book. That was the first thing that really captured me. It’s called Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence. But I love the Homeschool Bravely part of it, because so many moms … We’ve spent the last two and a half years filming for Schoolhouse Rocked, and the number one thing that we hear from every single mom, it does not matter who the mom is, everything that we hear is mom doesn’t feel like she is adequate enough to home educate her children.

There has only been one mom, in all of our interviews, who said, “Yep. I totally felt like I was capable of doing this,” and she has her doctorate in education, and she did her dissertation on homeschooling, and so I would say, yes, she has every right to say that she felt like she was totally equipped to teach her kids. But for the most part, most of us do not feel like we are capable of doing that. And the reality is, we’re really not. That’s why we need the Lord to help us through this. But we also need to just take that step of bravery and just say, “You know what? This is what we feel is best for our kids, and so we’re just going to take this leap of faith, and we’re going to do it.” Talk a little bit about why you decided to write … Well, first, talk about why you chose to homeschool, yourself, and then talk about what led to writing the book.

Jamie:                          Well, I was a teacher for several years, even before having kids, and my husband, like you had mentioned, was homeschooled. And homeschooling was never in my radar. In fact, my mother-in-law had asked me, a couple years before I even had kids, if I’d ever consider homeschooling, and I said absolutely not. And it wasn’t anything against homeschooling, I just thought I had the perfect gig as a mom, that my kids could come to school with me, we’d have the same vacation time, I’d be able to spend quality time at school with them. So on paper, everything looked like I would continue teaching and everything would be great. But God’s plans are so much different than our plans, and he began to just slowly sprinkle that idea in my thoughts that homeschooling might be a good path for us.

“When I had my first daughter, I just honestly couldn’t envision myself handing her off to somebody for six to eight hours a day. Not that I didn’t trust anybody else, it’s just that I loved her so much and I didn’t want to miss out on those moments with her.”

And part of that, I would say that the real catalyst for that was that … It was kind of twofold. One, when I had my first daughter, I just honestly couldn’t envision myself handing her off to somebody for six to eight hours a day. Not that I didn’t trust anybody else, it’s just that I loved her so much and I didn’t want to miss out on those moments with her. Even when she was really little and she wasn’t even … school was just a few years down the road, and we weren’t even close to sending her off yet, I still had those painful thoughts of, “What am I going to do when she has to go to school?” So that was part of it. And I also think that, if I’m being really honest, part of my reason to want to homeschool was that, as a teacher, I had seen sort of the underbelly of what it was like for kids in school, and I think teaching sort of ruined me for anything but homeschooling.

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

Yvette:                         So then, was it hard for you, since you’d been in the classroom … In the classroom, whether it’s public school or private school, you have to kind of fit kids into a box, you’re forced to, there’s no other way to do it when you’ve got a classroom full of anywhere from 20 to 30 kids, or more. Was it hard for you, when you started homeschooling, to break out of that?

“Actually, because I do have a teaching degree, I can say that I came to homeschooling with sort of a burden on my back. I had all of these preconceived notions about what schooling was supposed to be, because I had been trained to teach the masses.”

Jamie:                          Yeah. I often hear from moms, in fact, I just wrote an article about this, about how helpful, or actually unhelpful, my teaching degree was when it came to homeschooling, because I think moms without that teaching degree, moms without that doctorate and dissertation, feel lesser than and feel like they are ill-equipped, but actually, because I do have a teaching degree, I can say that I came to homeschooling with sort of a burden on my back. I had all of these preconceived notions about what schooling was supposed to be, because I had been trained to teach the masses, and that looks so much differently, and has to. I mean, even the best of teachers, they have to maintain order and they have to teach sort of with this herd mentality. And when you bring that, you take that square peg and try to fit it in this round hole of homeschooling, it just doesn’t fit. And it really was a burden more than it was a blessing, for the first few years of homeschooling. And then I found my groove, and realized I could cast off the chains of the old guard down the street and do it my way. But right away, I think my degree wasn’t helpful.

Yvette:                         Yeah. But loving your children a whole lot was. So was there-

Jamie:                          Absolutely. And knowing them well helped a lot.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Right. So much. So you said, obviously, you loved her, you wanted to spend time with her, you wanted to be with her. Do you remember that kind of aha moment, of like, “Oh yeah. I actually do want to homeschool. I said I never would, but I think this is really a good idea”? Do you remember that moment or was it more of a process of time?

Jamie:                          I think it was a process for me, that God slowly started to show me, I’ve been teaching her all along, and that doesn’t have to necessarily stop just because she meets this magical age that the school district determines she has to then be taught by someone else. Who was it that taught her to walk, that taught her to talk, all … If you look at, statistically, child growth and development, 90% of what a person learns, they learn by the time they’re five. So in those first five formative years, I had already taught her 90% of what she needed to know. Why did I need to pass it off to somebody else?

Yvette:                         Yeah. I’m with you.

Jamie:                          But it was a process for me, I guess.

Yvette:                         Sure. Yeah. And I think it was for me too, a little bit. We’d said we’d never homeschool, and then I think it was kind of like you, at that moment when I held this baby in my arms, I had waited 11 years to be a mom, and I was like, “I really like her. I really genuinely like her, and I love spending time with her, I love being with her. I love watching her grow. I love getting to experience all her first things, her first steps, and her first word, and just the things that you would miss.” And the same with school, I love getting to watch her just figure out what her life is meant to be and how God designed her. And so it’s really exciting to be that mom who gets to come alongside of our kids and experience … I think it’s Israel Wayne, he talks about that kids are in school, if they go to school from kindergarten through 12th grade, it’s like 10,800 hours, somewhere around there. 10,800 hours-

Jamie:                          That you miss out and-

Yvette:                         I mean, think about that. That is a long time to miss out on your child’s life. And then, of course-

Jamie:                          And what-

Yvette:                         … they grow up, and move out of your house, and …

Jamie:                          Yeah. What you get on the back end of that, when they do come home at the end of that long day, is really the leftovers. You get the extras that are left over. They’re just tired and they don’t really have much else to give. I didn’t want the leftovers.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Yeah. Well, okay, so I’m sitting here recording with you and this is really funny, I emailed you last night and I said, “I haven’t gotten my copy of the book yet,” and so you sent me a little bit more information on it, because I’d been waiting for it to come, and my husband literally just walked in as we’re recording and he handed me my new copy of your new book.

Jamie:                          Here it is.

Yvette:                         So here it is, you guys. This is so exciting. So I’ve literally not even opened it. He just wants to-

Jamie:                          Does it have the new book smell?

Yvette:                         It does. I love the smell of books. I love the smell of libraries. They smell so good. They have a certain smell. And it doesn’t matter what library you go to, anywhere in the country, they all smell the same, California to Georgia.

Jamie:                          If only we could bottle that smell and wear it as a scent.

Yvette:                         Right? Yes. Maybe we can make candles and market those to homeschool moms, right?

Jamie:                          Yeah. That’s an idea.

Yvette:                         Homeschool Bravelyis your new book. Walk us through it a little bit. Tell us about some of the chapters that you’ve got in it. I mean, I’m looking at it right here, but walk us through the book a little bit.

Jamie:                          Okay. Well, it’s divided into three different parts. The first part really touches on the fears that homeschooling moms struggle with, because I think there’s some really prevalent universal fears. As moms, we naturally kind of have this lifelong relationship with self-doubt, all moms, I think. But then you go ahead and you add on the weight of your child’s education, and that’s a whole different ball game. That’s a whole mess bag of additional fears that you carry, because now the burden of proof is on you, for those 12 years of schooling. So the first part talks about fears.

And the second part is really referencing some of the struggles that we have as homeschool moms. I think there’s some key ones, when you’re trying to homeschool, when you have lots of little ones under foot, and trying to live in the tension of being mom, but also being teacher. There’s the struggle of teaching a struggling learner, or somebody who just regular academics doesn’t come easy or click with. Then there’s the struggle of teaching sort of that child, one of those wild ones that doesn’t want to color within the lines, and who always has the crossed arms. What do you do on the days where all you see is just chins raised in the air, and defiance, and, “I don’t want to do this”? So hopefully I speak to that in that particular section. And then just the struggle of the crazy chaotic days of just combining home and school. Even if you don’t have a struggling learner or you don’t have toddlers, anytime you try to mesh together a bunch of imperfect people in the world, you’re going to have struggles, because Jesus told you would, in this world you will have struggles.

So that’s the second part of the book. And then the last part is the solutions. Where do we go when we need bravery and it’s just not coming? What is the source, the hope that we have? Where do we look to, to squash all those fears?

Yvette:                         Yeah. I love the solutions. We always need those. I mean, we can work through all of the problems, and talk about them, and be frustrated about them, and even pray about them, but it’s so great to have actual solutions. And in reality, God’s going to give us what we need. But I love that in this book you offer actual practical ways to deal with those things.

Jamie:                          Yeah. Hopefully there’s lots of take-aways. And it’s not a homeschooling how-to book, because I think there’s plenty of those on the market. Some really great women have already written them and have done a much better job than I could. But there’s plenty of practical tips and take-aways, I hope, within the pages.

Yvette:                         Yeah. So why this book? What made you want to write this book? Because there are, as you mentioned, there’s a lot of different homeschool books out there, many really excellent ones. And I’m sure this is definitely in line with all of those. So with all of those out there, what made you want to write this?

Jamie:                          I think this is a little bit of a different book in that it’s not a homeschool how-to book. So a mom who’s been homeschooling for 20 years could hopefully pick up this book and really glean some truth from it, as well as the mom who’s just starting out, because it really speaks to the pain points that we have and the fear that we have. It’s a book of encouragement that really sets your gaze back on your very source of bravery, and that’s God. And so the reason I wrote this book is because there are lots of homeschooling how-to books out there to sort of give you marching orders, and your 12-step programs, and your checklists, and those are very helpful, but at the end of the day, you can’t tack a pretty system onto soul work. And so I hope that my book really helps a mom sort of quiet the voices of not good enough.

Yvette:                         In the book, I know one of the things that you mentioned is about how one third of all new homeschool moms quit after the first year. Why do you think this is?

Jamie:                          That’s a staggering number, isn’t it?

Yvette:                         It is.

Jamie:                          That’s 33%-

Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s huge.

Jamie:                          … of mothers who start end up quitting. I think there’s a couple of different reasons. I don’t think you can peg it on any one thing, but I think some of the biggest contributing factors are, one, homeschooling can be a very lonely road, and very isolating if you do not surround yourself with a community of other moms sort of circling the wagons and showing you the way. But I realize that there are a lot of moms who are in very isolating communities. And what do you do with that? I mean, you can’t just go dig up friends that aren’t there. So I think isolation is one of the factors. I-

Yvette:                         So really quickly, on that point, do you talk about, in the solutions part, how to go about finding community?

Jamie:                          Absolutely. There’s a whole chapter about it, and also how to sort of speak to the naysayers, because I think that’s another reason that a lot of homeschool moms, maybe not the reason they give up, but definitely something that adds to their fears and leads them to giving up, is the naysayers. We talk about how to answer the naysayers, because anytime you choose a different path, homeschooling or otherwise, there are always going to be people, other folks, shouting from the curb, telling you you’re doing it wrong, while you’re actually down in the trenches doing the work. So you have to be able to have some real practical, tangible things, hold them in your hand to know, “When those naysayers come, how am I going to respond? And actually, as a Christian, what is the biblical response when people question your decision to home school?”

I think those are a couple of the reasons. I also think that the fear, the fear of the unknown, you don’t always see the immediate fruit. This is a life work, just like motherhood is, and you’re not going to see the fruit of it tomorrow. In fact, sorry to say, you might not see the fruit of it for years and years and years to come. And we’re such a quick-fix society, that if we don’t see the fruit tomorrow, or by the end of that first school year, we want to give up, because we think we failed, we think we did something wrong. Our life doesn’t look like the curriculum catalog cover, with the smiling children and the mom who doesn’t have any gray hairs. So I think we sit in the weight of this failure-centric thought or mentality. And if there’s nobody to come alongside us, and to cheer us on, and to help us carry that banner, then it’s easy to give up.

Yvette:                         Yeah. It is. I can say that there have been many times, not where I’ve wanted to give up on homeschooling, but where that fear sets in, and like you said, because oftentimes, we can’t see the results right in front of us. And so my oldest is in seventh grade this year, and I’m like, “Oh, she’s getting ready to go into high school, and I hope we’re doing okay, hope we’re filling in all the blanks.” And it is a little bit terrifying. We were in Nashville recently, at the Teach Them Diligently convention, and I was talking to Rhea Perry. She is a former homeschool mom. She’s a grandma now, but she has a home business company, and she’s fantastic. And she just sat down with me and she said, “How’s homeschooling going?”, and I didn’t break down, but I just was like, “Oh, Rhea, I don’t even know how to answer that.” I said, “I just feel like we’re not always doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Now, understand, we’ve been recording … or filming for this movie for two and a half years, and I have had multiple moms sit in front of me and say, “Just take it easy. Take a breath. Let God have control of this. Allow him to fill in all of the gaps, and your kids are going to be fine. You do what God’s called you to do, and your kids are going to turn out fine.” And I still have that anxiety of like, “Oh, I hope I’m not messing it up. I hope I’m doing all right.” And she just sat me down and she said, “You’re doing a great job.” She said, “God has you guys exactly where he wants you to be. He is going to fill in all the gaps. It’s going to be great. Your kids are going to be so much better off for having been homeschooled,” and it was just great. I needed an older mom to come alongside of me and just remind me once again, because I feel like I need to be reminded of that over and over and over and over again.

Jamie:                          Well, and I think that’s the enemy’s biggest trick when it comes to homeschooling moms, is to, one, make us think that we even can do it in and of our own strength, like God will only give us what we can handle. But that’s just not true. Of course, he’s going to give us some things that we can’t handle. Otherwise, if we could handle it, what would be the need of Jesus? So he wants us to first think we can get it all done, if we just pull up our big girl pants, we can do it. And then when we don’t, when at the first little tripping or stumbling, we feel like a failure, we’re face down in the muck, and we want to throw in the towel, that’s all a part of his scheme.

Yvette:                         It really is. It really is. So, and going back to community, that’s so much part of why we need community, because we need other moms to come alongside of us, and we need to encourage one another, because there might be a day where I’m feeling really low, and discouraged, and frustrated, and I have a friend who’s like, “No. You’ve got this,” and then another day she may be feeling that way and I can come alongside of her and say, “No. You’ve got this. Let’s keep doing this. Let’s link arms and let’s do this together.” So community is so important.

We have a few more minutes left, so I want to talk about a few more things. Let’s talk about the feeling of being overwhelmed. I know I find myself here, oftentimes, I’m sure you do, I’m sure pretty much every mom does, where we feel like we’re trying to just juggle life, all of these things, being a wife, being a mom, being a teacher, and being a taxi driver, or being whatever it is that we’re doing with our families. Maybe oftentimes we’re involved with ministry, or we’re helping to lead a co-op, or there’s just so many things. How do you encourage that mom who is just dealing with feeling overwhelmed?

Jamie:                          Well, I guess I would say that, “Remember, anything worth doing is going to be hard. Think about marriage, parenting, any of the eternal things that have eternal value, they’re going to be difficult, and it’s going to require digging in and doing the hard work. Don’t be afraid by that and don’t be surprised by that.” I think it’s very easy for a homeschool mom to be overwhelmed. And I also think that no one else around you, but other homeschool moms, are going to truly understand right where you’re sitting, and will truly understand the overwhelm. It’s easy to look at a homeschool mom who’s at home all day and just think, “Well, she must sit around in her jammies eating bonbons. And if I need a babysitter, I’ll call that homeschool mom, because what else is she doing all day?” They just don’t understand.

I think it’s really important, like you said, with the community, to have other women who recognize, and see you, and see your struggles. And then I think, too, I find it very helpful … and this is a boots on the ground, practical tip that seems to work, at least for me, I find it very helpful to really set … I don’t want you to think of homeschooling as a job, but in some ways you kind of have to, you have to be able to say, “This fits in this timeframe of my day, and I’m not going to let it commandeer and strong-arm the whole day.”

We start homeschooling around 9:30, in theory, on good days, and then at 3 o’clock … I’m teaching five, so they’re not always doing school from 9:30 to 3:00, but I am, because I’m one person and there’s five of them. But at 3 o’clock, I have a hard and fast rule that I’m done, because then I need to go on and do other things. I work from home, so I’ve got to juggle that. Like you said, there’s ministry things that need to be done. And plus I’m also a wife and I want to love my husband well, and I want to love my children as a mother.

I think sometimes you just have to give homeschooling the right weight and importance in the day. And I think too often, especially at first, homeschool moms, because of just the weight of a child’s education, we give homeschooling way more control of our lives, and make it harder than it’s supposed to be, and make it bigger than it’s supposed to be. Yes, academics, education, absolutely important, but your life is worth more than a textbook, or the next test, or that next worksheet. So I think it’s really important to put homeschooling in the proper perspective.

Yvette:                         Yeah. Yes. I love that. Unfortunately, we are out of time for the podcast, but I would love to stay on with you and continue talking, because I want to talk about a few more things. I want to talk about moms who don’t feel called to homeschool, because some feel like they need to homeschool because maybe their child’s being bullied, or maybe they don’t feel comfortable with the public school but they can’t afford the private school, and they just feel like it’s their only option, but they don’t necessarily feel like God is prompting them to homeschool, so I want to talk to those moms.

I want to talk about community. We touched on this a little bit earlier, but I want to give some practical advice that you give in your book. But I want to, for those who have ordered the book and maybe they haven’t received it yet, talk about how they can go about finding community, because for those introverts it might not be as easy. And then I want to talk about the naysayers. We talked about that as well a little bit, but I want to give some practical advice on how people can respond to those naysayers in their lives.

Yvette:                         So we are going to close out the podcast right now, but for the backstage pass members we’re going to stay on, and they can listen to the rest of our conversation. For those of you who are not yet familiar with the backstage pass membership, Schoolhouse Rocked is a film that we are in production on right now, looking to release in summer of 2020, but we have a backstage pass membership site, and with the membership site we have a ton of resources on there, mostly videos. So a lot of them are the full length videos, video interviews of people that we’ve had in the movie, like Heidi St. John. Oh my goodness, there’s so many. I should have the list in front of me right now. Israel Wayne, Sam Sorbo, there’s a bunch of people that we’ve got, so we’ll have their full interviews on there. Many of them are already on there.

And then for our podcast, oftentimes like this, I just have more that I want to talk about, so we will continue the discussion and people can view that discussion on video on the backstage pass membership site. So if you’re not familiar, go to schoolhouserocked.com, click on backstage pass, and you can find out more about that. And it’s a great way to support what we’re doing with the podcast, and with the film, and all that we have going on with Schoolhouse Rocked, so we would love it if you would check that out. Jamie, tell us where people can find you.

Jamie:                          Well, you can find me at theunlikelyhomeschool.com, and Facebook and Instagram, and then over at momtomompodcast.com.

Yvette:                         Okay. Great. We will link those in the show notes. And then, again, the name of your book is Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence. And that is already out on Amazon,probably through your website, right, and you can pretty much find it anywhere.

Jamie:                          Yep. Barnes & Noble, christianbook.com, all of the places. And actually, if you want to know more about the book, you can go to homeschoolbravely.com.

Yvette:                         Great. Thank you so much, Jamie, for joining me today.

Don’t miss the rest of this discussion. Backstage Pass members can watch this full interview, which includes 30 minutes of additional content!

Jamie Erickson first appeared on episode 11 of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Listen to “Letting Go of ‘School’ to Homeschool with Excellence”, which aired September 10th, 2018.

Get Jamie’s New Book…

Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child With Confidence

Other Links…

The Unlikely Homeschool Blog

Homeschool Bravely

The Unlikely Homeschool on Facebook

The Unlikely Homeschool on Instagram

The Mom to Mom Podcast

Mom to Mom on Instagram

 

Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

The Who, Why, and How of Homeschooling

In this special roundtable discussion, Karen DeBeus, Aby Rinella, and Yvette Hampton talk about ‘Who’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’ of Homeschooling.

Yvette Hampton:               I am so excited to be here with you today! I am the host of Schoolhouse Rocked: The homeschool Revolution, it is a feature length documentary that is currently in production, and I’m also the host of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am mom of two amazing daughters, and wife to my husband for 24 years now, and we are in our eighth year of homeschooling.

Karen DeBeus:                    Hi everybody, I’m Karen DeBeus from Simply Living for Him, and I am the host of the Simply Living for Himpodcast. I’m also the author of several homeschooling books, and the owner of SimplyLivingForHim.com, which is a ministry to encourage all people to live more simply; whether it’s in your home, school or in your life. I also have four children, we’ve been homeschooling since my oldest was entering kindergarten, and now she’s just getting ready to graduate.

Aby Rinella:                           And I’m Aby Rinella, from His Calling, Our Passion, and I write and speak for different homeschool organizations, and you can find me over at CalledToTheTop.com. I’m the mom of three awesome kids, we’ve been homeschooling from the beginning. Above all, I’m a follower of Jesus and the wife to Jesse Rinella.

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

Yvette:                                      We are so glad to be with you today. We have been praying about this session, and just really excited to come together and encourage you as homeschool parents, whether you’re a mom or a dad, and just talk about some of the reasons why we’ve chosen to homeschool. So we’re going to answer three questions today, we’re going to answer the ‘why’ of homeschooling, the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and the ‘how’ of homeschooling.

And so, I would love to talk with you, Karen, because you’ve been through it now for 12 years. Your oldest is graduating high school this year, and so I would love for you to tell kind of your story about how you began homeschooling, and why you have chosen to homeschool.

Listen to Yvette, Aby, and Karen on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in a special two-part interview. (5/23 and 5/30/2019 episodes)

Karen:                                       I was an unlikely homeschooler, an accidental homeschooler, I never intended to homeschool; but God had other plans. I really believe that he called us to this journey, so when my daughter was just turning five, and getting to that time to register her for kindergarten, I was absolutely 100%, never thought about anything else she would just go to school.

The school was right around the corner from our home at that time, and so it just seemed like that was the next natural step. And I walked into the school building to register her for kindergarten, and as soon as I walked in, something happened to me that I have yet to be able to really describe in words. But I sort of became overwhelmed, and panicked, and almost physically ill. And all I could think of was, “She’s not going here.”

And it was really confusing because I had no idea where that was coming from. And so I registered her, because I didn’t want to look weird and turn around and get off the line, but I really felt deep down, “She’s not going here.”

And so I left that day, and I was crying, and I had my other children with me, and I started to talk to some people about what was going on. And they were all saying, “It’s the first time jitters. Once you put her in school, you’re going to see how you’ll have so much time to yourself next year.”

:                                                     And I really felt that wasn’t it, it was not the first time jitters; there was this deep sense of, “She’s not going here.” However, the really interesting part of this story is, I had no idea what else I would do. I didn’t really know much about homeschooling back then, I really only knew the Duggars on TV; that was my perception of homeschooling.

And so that wasn’t an option to me, and I knew that private school would be way too expensive, and I didn’t know what it was. And there were many reasons why I felt like I didn’t want her to go there but, ultimately, God really called me.

I started to really pray about it, and a few people approached me and said, “Have you thought about homeschooling?” And I was like, “No, because that’s not something we’re going to do.” And so it really started, though, to chase me down; God started to chase me down. Because I think, deep down, I did sort of admire what I knew about homeschooling, but I just thought, “That’s not for us.”

And so, all of a sudden, it started to appear everywhere. I would run into someone in the grocery store and they’d be like, “Oh, hey how are you? What are you up to? Oh I started homeschooling.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” I’d open a magazine and there’d be an article on homeschooling, I’d see something on TV about homeschooling; it started to really just appear.

And so when I really started to research it, I thought it sounded a great option, but I still felt it wasn’t something for us. But I prayed about it, and here’s where the answer is ‘the who’, it’s who God calls. Because I really felt that when we prayed about it, my husband and I sought scripture, we prayed about it, that God was really calling us to do this.

And I know deep down, 100%, he was calling us; however, sometimes when he calls you to do something, you don’t want to do it. I really knew he was calling us to do it, but I didn’t want to at all. And so, the more I searched the scriptures, the more I knew that this was a calling.

However, we had one more obstacle, my parents, my mother in particular, has always worked in public schooling, and I knew she’d be very upset. And so when I went and finally let them know what we were doing, it was far worse than I ever dreamed. I mean, they almost disowned me, I feel like, over it; I mean, that’s a strong word.

But, in my mind, I thought that would happen; I mean, they were you like, “You will not do this, you will ruin our grandchildren.” And I was like, “I have to do what God’s calling me to do.” And that’s really hard, because I fought with God like, “I know I have to follow you, and I know it says in the scriptures follow you, and not man.”

But these are my parents, we want to please our parents, but I decided to take that leap of faith and do that for that one year when it seemed absolutely crazy, but God was definitely calling me. And I figured, we’ll do it for one year and get it out of my system, and I’ll answer God for one year.

And here we are 13 years later and those very same parents who are so against it, are now our biggest cheerleaders, they are 100% on board, God has completely changed their hearts; but it took about 10 years until they were accepting. And not only accepting, now they’re telling everybody, “My daughter homeschools.”

So I really feel that God called me to homeschool, it was never something about me and my decision, and I have seen how he has worked through this whole situation. I mean forget the schooling part, just in our family, and it’s showing me that when you really follow him, he’s got the whole thing under control.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can watch the full video (over an hour long!) of this important discussion here.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, I love that story so much. When we started homeschooling it’s so interesting, because our ‘why’ has changed so much; and, Aby, you and I have talked a whole lot about our ‘whys’. But when we very first started, it was because we were fearful of the public school that my daughter would have gone into, and it was more of a … We were fearful for her, physically, to go into this school.

It was not in a great neighborhood, and she just wouldn’t have been safe to go to this school, we felt. And so that was kind of our initial reason, and then we went to a homeschool convention that summer before she was four years old, and we went to this homeschool convention. And we were invited by some friends and we’re like, “Well let’s just check it out.” As matter of fact I remember saying, “You guys have a convention for homeschoolers?” That’s so weird.

Karen:                                       That’s weird.

Yvette:                                      Really weird. And we went, and that weekend alone, the scales just fell from our eyes. And I’m so thankful that the Lord opened our eyes up to what homeschooling is. And the reason that we had said we would never do it was because we had so many misconceptions about what homeschooling was. We believed all the negative stereotypes, I thought, “Well I hated school as a kid.” Saying, “Why would I want to do it more, and then why would I want to homeschool my kids?”

And, I mean, we just had so many good reasons that we thought were good reasons. And we’re so grateful that the Lord changed our hearts about it because now, eight year later, we look back over what God has done, over the past eight years, and our ‘why’ has really changed, like I said.

And now our ‘why’ has really become … Because there’s so much happening in our culture. I mean, I know we all see it, it’s all around us, you can’t ignore it even if you try; and we really believe that revival begins in the home.

And as Christian parents, we have such a great opportunity to be able to speak truth into the hearts of our children. You think of Deuteronomy 6:5-7, and you hear homeschoolers talk about this all the time but, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk with them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”

And, basically, what that’s saying is, all day long. All day long you get to do this, you get to speak truth into the heart to your kids, and you get to teach them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.

And so that is why we have continued to homeschool, because it gives us the opportunity to be able to be the ones to shepherd our kids, and disciple them, and train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them.

We’re not perfect, by any means, we screw up all the time, but the great thing about that is that it’s not us doing it, it’s the Lord doing his work through us because we’re simply willing to be obedient to what he’s called us to do; and so it’s good.

I was actually just talking with a friend of mine about this today, and we’re saying it’s great that we’re inadequate, that we feel so ill-equipped to homeschool our kids, because if we felt like we had it all figured out, we wouldn’t need God to come alongside of us and help us fill in all the gaps and help us figure out this homeschooling thing, and this parenting thing, and this marriage thing. God does his work through us, all we have to be willing to do is to just say, “Okay.” And be obedient. So that has become the reason not why we started, but why we continue on this journey of homeschooling. So Aby, how about you?

Aby:                                            Well I actually came from a line of public school teachers, and I was a public school teacher myself. I went to college and was trained to teach in public school. And I taught in both private Christian school and public school for years, and then when I became pregnant with my first, the minute I held that little girl my hand, I realized, “This is my child, this isn’t anybody else’s child.”

And my husband said to me … I was working full time, and so the initial decision was do I come home? And it was a no brainer, he said, “God didn’t give us these kids for someone else to raise.” And so when our first turned five, that truth that he spoke didn’t change, all of a sudden, just because she’s give; it didn’t change that, “Well, now it’s someone else’s turn to raise.”

And it wasn’t that I had a bad experience in the public school, as a teacher, it’s just that I raised 26 other kids, every day, not their parents; and now God gave me my kids and it was my turn to raise my own children.

And so that’s how it started with us and then, like you said, it kind of morphed for you. I truly was passionate about being home with my kids, I know not everybody, it’s not their …. I don’t know how they’re wired, they don’t love it the way I love it, but I love being with my kids.

But then we had to go to God’s Word and say, “There’s got to be more, because I’m sure there’s going to be days where I don’t love changing diapers I’m sure that’s coming.” And so when we went to God’s Word just over, and over, and over it pointed us to, “This is God’s design, this is God’s design.”

Every time God talks about children, he’s talking to the parents, “Train up your children and the way they should go. Teach them when they lie down, and when they get up.” It’s all to the parents. Other than when he was speaking to the disciples, who were trying to keep the children from him, but when he’s talking to the parents he says, “Teach them, and train them.”

And so we just realized this is awesome, we love it, but it’s also God’s plan and his design. And so that’s what’s kept us through the harder times when it hasn’t been all joy, and wonderful, and laughter; but when we’re obedient to God, that’s where the blessings are.

So that’s kind of where we started and I have a story similar to Karen’s that my parents were both educators and when we said, “Homeschool.” They thought, “Weird.” And they just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They trusted us as parents, but they really had a hard time wrapping their heads around it. But eventually, they’re sold out, they tell everybody, I think [inaudible 00:13:12] sharing about homeschool, and how much they love it and how great it is. So that’s our journey, and that’s our ‘why’ is God’s Word. It’s pretty clear in there that this is what he’s called us to do, and so that’s how we do it.

And another struggle I had is for the ‘who’, who is called to homeschool? So many people say, “Oh, well, you have the college degree to do so,” And, “Oh you have the state certification to do so.” And, honestly, that was my greatest struggle; that was the greatest thing I had to overcome to be a homeschool mom.

Because I was bringing the system into my home, and I had a dear friend say to me one day, “You might as well ship your kids out, and go get a cup of coffee if you’re just going to bring that into your house.” So nowhere in God’s Word does it say that you need a certification, and nowhere does it say that you need to have a college degree to do this. It says that as parents, through him, we’re called to do. So that means everybody, that means every parent that has a child, God will equip to teach and train their children in righteousness.

Karen:                                       And I appreciate you saying that, because I spoke at a homeschool group this week, in fact, and there was a woman there just thinking about homeschooling and she said to me, “But I don’t have a college degree.” That was the first thing she said to me.

Aby:                                            And I say, “Praise the Lord.”

Karen:                                       And I said, I haven’t been asked that question in a long time, but I remember in the early years getting that question a lot. Once in a while when people find out I homeschool they say, “Do you have a degree?” And I was always caught off guard, but I’m like, “But I’m their mom.”

And I remember thinking … And I said to this woman the other day, “Public school training or a trained teacher is completely different, it’s comparing apples and oranges; it’s completely different to what we’re doing at home.”

So we don’t need the college degree. I said, “Plus there’s so much resources, so many things available.” But, honestly, if somebody out there is new to homeschooling, or just thinking about it and they’re thinking, “Well, I can’t, I’m not the person cut out for this because I’m not a teacher.” So grateful you brought that up, 100% encourage them, “Absolutely, you can.”

When I first decided to homeschool, and told my mom, and she said, “You’re not organized enough, you’re not disciplined enough, you weren’t a teacher, you didn’t even like school.” Same thing and, “How are you going to do this?” And I was like, “You know what, let me introduce you to my God-

Because I cannot do this and you’re right, I’m not organized enough, I’m not disciplined enough, I wasn’t a trained teacher; you’re absolutely right, but God is calling me, and he will equip me.” And I have seen, and I feel I can finally say that we’re the end of the road, at least, for my first one instead of saying, “Oh we did it.” I’m like, “He did it.” “He did it, he is faithful, he did it.” So it’s such an exciting time. But I would say anybody out there who’s thinking that they don’t fit the ‘who’ is That they’re not! I mean, I remember thinking the same thing. But looking back over this journey, God is calling you, and he’ll use different circumstances to call each one of us. We’re all in different circumstances, or we all have different reasons but, ultimately, it’s because it’s a calling; I really believe that.

Aby:                                            And like I said, I had to shed that degree. So parents ask me that all the time, or they say “It’s, it’s hard for me.”, or “You can do it, because you have the degree.”

And I say the only thing you need is a love for your kids…

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Aby:                                            And a Bible. Honestly, that’s all you need is God’s Word. And the years I have in training, I mean, four years in intensive training to be a teacher, I spent four years on how to fit kids into a box, and then I’d enter the classroom and go, “None of them fit in that box anyway.”

They’re all designed and gifted with different gifts and talents that God has given them, and no amount of training is going to give you the ability to teach that, it’s only going to be, Karen, like you said, by the hand of God, and a love for your own children; knowing and loving your own children.

And you might not be organized, and you might not love to lesson plan, but the reality is that’s the mom that God gave your kids, and those are the kids that God gave you. And so he perfectly meshes those things together, and there’s no piece of paper that any state can ever give you that qualifies you any more than the God who created both us and our children qualifies us; he’s the one that qualifies us.

Karen:                                       Amen.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, and the truth is that there are, like you said Aby, you used to teach in the public school system, and you loved your students. And there are a lot of really good teachers out there in any school; private school, public school, there are some excellent teachers, excellent administrators who really love the Lord.

But nobody knows your kids the way that you do, and no one loves them as much as you do because they’re your kids, and you know them, you know their quirks, you know their gifts, you know their shortcomings, you know the things that they struggle with. And no matter how much a teacher might love them, that teacher cannot take time out of their day with 30 plus students in a classroom to focus on the character of your child; as much as they might want to they just can’t.

And so, as parents we have that great opportunity and privilege that we get to be the ones to train their character and to just care for them, and love them, and raise them up the way that God has created them to be.

And we tell our girls all the time God made them on purpose and for purpose, and God has a great purpose for each one of our children and for us, as well. And so, as parents, part of our purpose, whether you homeschool or don’t, part of our purpose is to train up our children. Well, are you leaving that to someone else to do, or do you get to take that responsibility and do it yourself?

Both of you have already talked about the ‘who’ of homeschooling, and I think that there are so many misconceptions, still, even though homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds, which is really exciting. There still is this misconception that only a certain group, or certain type of person can homeschool.

Maybe they have a certain look, or maybe they have a certain financial status, or whatever that ideal might be in your mind. And the fact of the matter is, God calls all of us to train up our children, and so we all are called to do this. And it’s something that God will give us the ability to do when we allow him.

Aby:                                            And I think we have to say “Yes.”, because God often doesn’t show us how first. We have to show our obedience and our yes before he starts showing us how it’s going to happen.

Yvette:                                      Absolutely.

Aby:                                            Karen’s graduating her first, and I’m sure she didn’t have the whole plan.

Karen:                                       Not at all.

Aby:                                            But she said, “Yes.” And God gave her the steps and that’s how we’re at now is I don’t know the plan. We didn’t even know, financially, how I would come home, but we didn’t need to see God’s blueprint before we said, “Yes.” We said, “Yes” and trusted because he said he will do it. He said he will do it. And so I think I want to encourage parents to say … Don’t wait until you see the 10 year plan or the 18 year plan, and Karen’s great to have because she’s there, she’s at the end that we’re all going for. But she didn’t know the plan from the beginning, she just knew God’s plan and that she would just follow in obedience to that and trusted him.

Karen:                                       And I-

Aby:                                            And it worked, right?

Karen:                                       Oh my goodness, he has blown the doors off our plans, you know what I mean? It was all right we’ll do this will do it maybe for one year and then try it again and again. Did I know that I would have a whole ministry birthed out of homeschooling, or that just our family’s journey? I can’t even wrap my brain around it, but had he told me all that back then, you don’t even really get a glimpse, it’s like, “Just do it.”

This homeschooling journey for us was one of the biggest times in my life, and in my walk with the Lord where I can say that I truly stepped out in obedience, not having a clue what was going on. And I often tell the story how a homeschooling mom had talked to me about homeschooling back then when I was sort of on the fence, I didn’t know anything about it.

And she had me over for lunch, and she kind of told me about homeschooling and then she gave me her kindergarten curriculum that she had hand-me-down from her daughter. And I thought, “Great God told me to do it and now I have a curriculum.”

And I often look back at that, and I laugh, and I wish I had that childlike faith, because I didn’t know there was anything else. I didn’t know there was any other curriculum, it’s just so funny that she gave me this and I was like, “Good we’re ready to go.”

I didn’t research, I didn’t compare online, I didn’t even go online, I didn’t know. There was no Facebook and all that stuff there, wasn’t conventions that I was aware of. And so, once I told somebody, “Oh, we’re using this curriculum because my friend gave it to me.” And she said, “Oh, you are? Did you know there’s others?” I was like, “No, I didn’t.” And then the Christian Book Distributor catalog came.

Yvette:                                      Oh gosh.

Karen:                                       And then the Internet exploded and then I started to… But I look back at that and I’m like … It was like you said, a Bible and God said so. Listen to God and do what he says, right? And that’s what it was, it was like I need to often remind myself over these years of that childlike faith I had. It’s an absolute step of obedience and you do not see the full picture; you’re not supposed to. And I never would have believed it if I seen a full picture.

Aby:                                            Or done it maybe.

Karen:                                       Right, I never would have believed it, I never would have imagined. So, and even as we’ve gotten to the end of these years, at least for my daughter, this year we were not knowing what was going to happen after this year. What happens after homeschooling? Is it college, is that a gap year, is it no college, is a community college? And it was that very same principle I went back to like, “Guess what? We don’t know but God does.”

Aby:                                            Yeah.

Karen:                                       And our job is to wait, and to keep seeking him, and he will have the plans unfold. So we often do not, at all, get the full picture. So if you’re out there, and you’re thinking about it, or you’re in the middle of it, and you’re ready to quit-

Aby:                                            Right.

Karen:                                       Just keep following God-

Aby:                                            Yeah, and “Seek first the kingdom of God.”

Yvette:                                      That’s right.

Karen:                                       Yes, that’s our life verse.

Aby:                                            “And all these things shall be added”

Karen:                                       Yes, he will provide everything-

Aby:                                            Yeah.

Karen:                                       And more than you could ever imagine.

Aby:                                            Yeah, for sure.

Yvette:                                      So many great things there’s so much freedom and being willing to just follow what God has called us to do with so. So let’s talk about the ‘how’ of homeschool. And when I say the ‘how’, I don’t mean that let’s show you how to come up with a schedule, and you start at 7:00 in the morning, and you do math for 30 minutes, and then you take a little break.

Because the thing is that we’ve all recognized in our own families, and like you talked about Abby, is that homeschooling is not bringing the classroom into your home. And a lot of parents who are just coming into homeschooling, like we all did, think that that’s what it is.

We think we need to set up the desks, and we need to have our perfect schedule, and we need to make it look like school was as we knew it growing up; because it’s all we know, it’s what makes sense to us and it’s really hard to break out of that mold.

And, there certainly needs to be some sort of structure to your day, but it’s not the classroom in your home. It can’t be, there’s actually not a possible way to do that because life still happens all around schooling. You still have doctor’s appointments, and you have grocery shopping, and you have lunches and dinners to make, and you have sick kids, and there’s so many interruptions; and not bad interruptions, but things that just interrupt our day that we have to learn to work around.

But the great thing is that’s life, and so we’re teaching our kids, at the same time, that we’re educating them academically, we’re teaching them how to deal with life issues. I remember when I got married, I was young, we had just turned 20, and I felt very ill equipped for life; I didn’t quite know what to do.

I remember going to the grocery store and I was like, “I don’t know what kind of meat to buy. I actually don’t know how to purchase meat.” Because I don’t know what to do with it, because my parents always cooked.

And so it’s great, my 13 year old now she can cook a full meal, many of them. I can just say, “Honey, can you go make dinner?” And she won’t go into the kitchen and make a full meal for the whole family, and it’s fan- … I could never have done that at 13.

And so when we talk about the ‘how’ of homeschooling, what have you found with your families, what is your kind of … How does it roll with you?

Karen:                                       I would say exactly what you just said, we’re not teaching for a test, we’re teaching for real life; and I always feel I just want my kids to be equipped for life. And we have done it all over the years from trying to schedule in 15 minute increments, trying to stay up with all that to, “Let’s have no schedule.”

And, in the end, it’s always been just what works for us is a happy medium. Having a outline of our day, but knowing … so important to know that life is part of the curriculum. Every year, especially at this time of the year, homeschooling families … Whenever I speak at this time of the year and I bring this up, they all start cracking up because they know it’s true.

Every year, this time of the year, every homeschool mom is like, “That’s it, this year is done, this year is over, it’s a wash, I’m dead, burned out. But next year is the year when we get it all together.”

And I’m like, “Guess what? Thirteen years haven’t got it all together, there has not been a perfect year yet.” Every year something has happened, whether it was job loss, or one year we had five deaths in those same amount of months; I mean it was a horrible year.

We’ve had great things happen, birth of babies, we’ve had family emergencies, we had so many things to deal with, but yet I feel like you said, our kids have seen how to live life by being immersed in life. People would say to me early on, “Well, how are your kids going to be prepared for the real world?” I’m like, “They’re in the real world every single day.” Right? It’s an immersion classroom.

When we moved, they learned about mortgages, and inspections. They knew more and they know more now, like you said, than I ever, ever did as a young adult or a teenager. And so, the curriculum is, I believe, so secondary, I believe God will work with whatever you choose as long as you’re following him.

And you have to choose a schedule, and a rhythm that works for your family; but, ultimately, it goes back to what we said before it’s all about following God. And not relying on curriculum, not relying on a style, not relying on a method of homeschooling to make your homeschool successful; it’s merely relying on God.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that’s right.

Karen:                                       And he will work no matter what you choose, no matter what style, what method. If I had used that little kindergarten curriculum that somebody gave me, the point is if we’re following God, we cannot go wrong.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, right.

Karen:                                       And that’s how to homeschool. Follow God. Do what he says.

Aby:                                            And I think God already has a path laid out for kids. I mean his word says that he has a plan for them, a plan for good and not evil. And I think sometimes as moms, we carry that weight like, “I cannot miss fractions.” I just realized my daughter, the other day, I’m like, “You are not on top of fractions the way I thought you were.”

And it’s we carry that weight, they have to have every standardized … And I know new moms come in feeling like, “How am I going to do it all?” I think we give ourselves more credit than we should, it’s “God has a plan for my kids, and if I miss something that’s not going to derail God’s plan for my kids.”

He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” And as long as my kids are pointed to Christ, ff they never learned fractions under my home, and I’m not suggesting that, but if they don’t and God has a plan for them that includes fractions, he’s going to give them what they need. And I think sometimes our pride sneaks in to say, “Well I have to do this, and I can do this, and it’s up to me.”

And we carry that which leads to anxiety and that really is pride that says, “I can either make or break my kids.” And as long as we are obeying God’s Word, which really it doesn’t talk about math and language, it talks about his word and teaching and training in righteousness. As long as we’re doing that, he’s going to add all those other things into it.

Karen:                                       Absolutely.

Aby:                                            So as you said, if we use the worst curriculum out there, God can still use that; he’s God for crying out loud, he’s God can use anything. And so it isn’t this debate of the different kinds of schooling, the different kinds of curriculum. As long as we’re focused on where we need to be focused on, and trust our children, and my husband always tells me, “As much as you love your kids, God loves them more, and he has a plan for them, and they’re going to succeed at whatever he has planned for them, which might be different than our thoughts, as long as they’re speaking him.” So that takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders as a mom too. To just be able to breathe and say, “Today we’re going to spend today together, we’re going to get done what we can get done, but we’re going to do life together and glorify God and, and there will be fruit in that.”

Yvette:                                      Absolutely. Karen, I would love for you to talk on that because, I love everything Aby just said, and we’re talking about how, even if we had just God’s Word it would be enough. Talk about the year that you use the Bible as your core curriculum.

Karen:                                       Yes, there was one year in our homeschool were, again, just the calling of homeschooling, I felt that God was calling me, for that year, to just put the curriculum aside and just study everything out of his word. And so we did language arts, science, history, everything except math, we did have separate math, I always have to say that because I don’t trust myself with the math. But we did everything from the Bible, so I put together a plan, which wasn’t comfortable for me, because I’m more of ‘write it down’ after we did it and then plan out the whole … But I did, I made a plan of how this would look. And I thought to myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? I can’t possibly ruin my children if we’re in the Bible six hours a day, and we’re basing all of our studies off of God’s Word. Because he’s the creator of history, he’s the creator of science.” And we even did supplement some math in there.

So we did that for one year, it was our most amazing year ever, and it was also the year that my husband lost his job, and now he’s self-employed. So it was, at the time, going from that, “Okay, now you’ve lost your job, and we’re going to take this leap of faith and start our own family business.”

And wouldn’t that God knew,. It’s so amazing when I look back at that, because God knew we would need to be in his word, as a family, more than ever; that was such a difficult year. And we started in September, he lost his job in October, and we didn’t make the decision for our family business till March.

So, in that time frame we were like, “We don’t know what we’re going to do.” But here we were in the Bible every single day and guess what? I didn’t spend any extra money on curriculum that year, God knew; he even provided financially. I hadn’t purchased all the stuff I wasn’t going to end up using and wasted any money on curriculum.

We merely used the Bible, we brought in other supplements from the library, and DVDs, and things that; but we did not use any other curriculum. So I do have a course coming up that I’m outlining that because, over the years, that is one thing that I have been asked so much about is how we did this.

And it was the most amazing year, we don’t do it anymore, we don’t have the Bible as our main textbook, we have since used curriculum; however, the Bible is always, always the foundation of everything that we do.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that is so fantastic. We often have talked about the academics of homeschooling, and we’ve told our girls, “It’s not about the academics, but you have to understand the things that you need to be taught.” Because math is one that people say, “Well, how can you tie that into math?” Well simple because God is a God of order, not chaos, and God created math. He made it to make sense.

Karen:                                       I love that you see God in math because it’s absolute, right?

Yvette:                                      You’re so right.

Karen:                                       “because two plus two is always four.” I tell my kids. Just like God is always God, and His Word is always true.

Yvette:                                      That’s right.

Karen:                                       You can’t change it.

Yvette:                                      He made it. The same with science, if you’re being taught science that is an opposition to God and his word, and you’re learning the lies of the world, it’s not pointing you towards Christ. And so with our kids, “Well, you have to learn the basics of science, you don’t have to be a scientist-

Karen:                                       Right.

Yvette:                                      But you have to learn the basics of science because science helps you to see the glorious creation of our great God.” I mean it’s just amazing, you cannot look at any part of science, whether it’s the universe, or the human body, or animals, or anything, you can’t look at that and just think, “Yeah, yeah, it all just came about by chance.”

And so, science points our kids to Christ, if you’re teaching them science, according to God’s Word. History is the same way, “In the beginning God created.” And that’s what I love about you having used the Bible as your core curriculum because you start in the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That was the beginning of time. And so when we teach history, you teach it from the beginning of time because, again, it helps to point our kids towards their Creator. And when kids understand who their Creator is, that they were made by their loving creator for a purpose, it changes everything.

We’ve been talking so much about what’s going on in the culture right now, and you think about all the things that are going on and you think about, the abortion Holocaust; that’s going on. And all the insanity of what people are believing to be true, and you think about those people, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose. And even the men and women who are making these decisions in our culture right now, it’s because they don’t understand their purpose.

And it’s because they haven’t been taught that, or maybe they have been taught and they have chosen to reject it, for some reason. But I think that homeschooling is such an integral part of the revival that is coming about in our nation, and that is needed in our nation and in our world.

Because, again, we talked about this at the beginning of this, is that revival begins in the home; it has to begin with parents. Whether you have your kids in school, or homeschool them, or whatever revival has to begin at home, you have to speak truth into the hearts of your kids; it’s just a whole lot easier to do it when you’re homeschooling.

Yvette:                                      It’s almost impossible to do it when they’re in a setting that is teaching them everything that’s contrary to the Word of God, and then having to try to undo that at the end of the day. And there is a revival that’s going on, and it’s very exciting to see it happen. People are waking up, the scales are falling from people’s eyes, and homeschooling is part of that revival, for sure. I’m absolutely certain of it, you see it I see it, people around the globe are seeing it; and so, it’s a neat place to be, it’s a neat time to be homeschooling our kids.

Aby:                                            And there’s going to be a change and a shift, and more people are staying, I think that’s why homeschooling is becoming a thing is we’re seeing it. And we were looking at our door the other day and there were some deer just right out on our street, and there never used to be deer here because we’ve gotten so much snow, historically, that they migrate out.

And the younger generations learn to migrate because the older generations, year after year, they teach them they have their new fawn, they migrate out. Well we had a few dry years where there wasn’t snow, and so these animals … The older generations did not, they didn’t migrate out so the younger generations never learned how to get out of this incredibly snowy place where they’re, starving, they’re being slaughtered by predators.

And as we were looking at this deer we thought it’s due to several generations of not teaching them and showing them the way to safety, and now they’re trapped, and they’re stuck, and they’re being slaughtered left and right in this valley because there’s there’s too much snow they can’t get out now; they’re they’re stuck and they’re trapped.

Karen:                                       That’s an amazing picture.

Aby:                                            And we we’re just thinking … And that’s God’s creation; there’s your science!

Karen:                                       Right.

Aby:                                            That’s your biology, that’s God’s creation. God designed the older generations of these deer to teach and train these younger ones to migrate out of danger, how to get out of danger in hunting season.

And because that hasn’t been happening, this is where we’re at and we thought with our kids, we’ve had several generations … I mean, it used to be in the schools you hear grandparents say, “Well, schools never were as bad as they are now.” And then the next generation, “Oh, they’re so horrible now they’re teaching transgenderism.” And if we’ve lost this generational hand-down of God’s truth and, at this point, in our generation we have, I believe, no other option but to bring our children home.

Because there is a disconnect between what’s being taught them, and they are being trapped and they’re being led to slaughter; if we don’t get them home and be the older generation that teaches and trains them, the way to safety. So, even that, there was our science lesson. God shows himself in his creation all around us all the time. So we are called to teach and train our kids, otherwise we’re allowing them to be led to a slaughterhouse, essentially.

Karen:                                       That is a great picture!

Yvette:                                      Yes, it is. I want to talk really quickly about husbands, because there may be some husbands who are watching this; I’m assuming if they are they’re watching it maybe with their wives. But I would love for the three of us to maybe talk about how our husbands have encouraged us in this homeschool journey, because that’s such an important part.

I think, oftentimes, husbands don’t realize how very, critically important their role is as homeschool dad; even if they’re not the ones who are in the day-to-day academic part of it. And so, can you guys talk a little bit about, for yourselves, how your husband’s have supported and encouraged you?

Karen:                                       Well, I feel very blessed because Steve, right from the beginning, when I had this little idea he was totally on board and he knew as little as I did. But he was like, “Sure.” He’s very laid back, so he’s just like, “Sure, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll try it.” So he’s always been supportive, so I appreciate that because I know it’s not always the case.

But, I think, when he came home from a traditional work place, and we have our own business, he has been involved in the kid’s education so much; but not at all with the curriculum or the textbooks. Just with teaching them, spending time with them, teaching them life, and he’s a very hands on, we’re a very together family.

So I think just the building of relationships; so important, way beyond the academic stuff. And he’s been involved in all of that relationship building, and just teaching real life. We live out here on our little hobby farm, and teaching the boys the animals, and the garden, and they do everything together, and building things; and all of that is education.

That is not the typical homeschooling curriculum but, like I said, life is the curriculum. So he’s very involved and, like I said, I’m very grateful, because I know that’s not always the case. I’ll have families come to me and say, “Well my husband isn’t on board and that’s difficult.”

But if your husband, if they work outside the home, and their schedule is busy, they can still be teaching so much; like I said, the stuff that’s even more important generally. They can still be teaching just by building that relationship.

We do our family Bible time every evening together, and that’s so important to us because, as I have these teenagers, they’re the ones that say to us after dinner, “When are we doing Bible? When’s Bible?” It’s so ingrained in them that this is what we do at night. And so, it’s a training that takes place over a long period of time, but never underestimate the power of a father, and a father who loves the Lord.

Aby:                                            My husband was homeschooled for part of his education, so he was onboard from the beginning. And a little bit like, “This is what we’re doing with our children, so figure it out.” So true, which is really a huge blessing.

So he’s 100% on board, which is helpful when we waver, and I’m sure I’m not the only mom that sometimes is like, “Ah.” But he’s there and he’s the rock, and that’s huge. It’s huge for my kids to see that their dad’s sold out on this, and that this is what he knows is best for his family and he leads us in that direction.

So I’m very grateful and blessed that we’re in it together. Different families look different, my husband doesn’t do the math, the language, that whole bit, he really trusts me. And then sometimes I’ll be like, “What do you think of these two curriculums?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you got this. [inaudible 00:42:40] I can pray for you, I will pray for you.”

But some families the dad’s do a lot of the … I have a friend and the dad does the math, and that’s just how they work, so it looks different; and that’s the beauty of homeschool is that it looks different.

My husband’s very all hands on deck very, very involved. But I do want to speak to the moms that don’t have that. I have a very dear friend and her husband is not a believer either, and it’s very discouraging for her because you already, somewhat, feel alone sometimes in what we do.

And so she feels even more alone and I constantly encourage her and say, “You have an opportunity to lean on God in such a different way than a lot of people. And he is the godly father for your children and he is your husband and supporting you of this.” And that’s not to say that because you don’t have a husband that’s on board, and one of the greatest things I tell her is, “He’s letting you do this. He’s okay with you doing this, and that’s huge, and praise God for that.” So I’m very grateful I’m very blessed that my husband loves the Lord, above all, and wants to teach and train our kids in his word; but I know that’s not the case with everyone and that does not mean that it’s not doable.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, yeah. And there are many husbands who are not on-board with homeschooling, they don’t want their wives to do it, and as hard as it is to say this, I would say if that’s the case, then honor your husband.

Aby:                                            Right.

Yvette:                                      If your husband is not on board and he is non supportive, then be respectful of him, because he still is the head of your household. And so I would respect that.

Aby:                                            And entrust your children to the Lord.

Yvette:                                      That’s right.

Aby:                                            Trust that God will protect your children.

Yvette:                                      That’s right, that’s exactly right and he will if you’re faithful. And that doesn’t mean that you still won’t have opportunities to teach them the truth of God’s Word, and to instill Godly character traits into them; because there’s always opportunities to do that.

And then there may be some who don’t have a husband, they’re a single mom for whatever reason. And like you said, Aby, just allow God to fill that gap. Allow God to fill that that role of husband, and he will be the one, and find an older gentleman … maybe your pastor, or your dad, or another Godly man to come alongside of you, and pray for you, and pray with you, and encourage you in this endeavor to homeschool. And God will provide, he will be faithful in those things. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but he will be faithful in doing those things.

And yeah, and just like the both of you talked about, I’m grateful to have a husband who encourages me and we, from the beginning, we both together had said we would never homeschool. We used to joke about it, we’d say “We’d never, ever, ever do that to our kids or to ourselves.”

Karen:                                       And now you’re making a movie.

Yvette:                                      And now we’re making a move about it, directed by my husband; God has a sense of humor. But once, the Lord changed our hearts and, thankfully, he changed them together, I think it would have been really hard if my heart had been changed and not my husband’s, or the other way around.

But, thankfully, we went to that convention together that first year and God just said, “No, here you go, this is what you’re going to do.” And the same with you, Garret does not have a whole lot to do with the decisions about curriculum or anything that; he trusts me with that.

But he leads our family spiritually really well, I mean, every day we have our family Bible time, and he spends time teaching our kids the Word of God and praying with them; and it’s such a beautiful thing to see. And he’s committed to that, and I heard a pastor actually one of the gentlemen that we filmed for the movie, his name is Scott LaPierre, and he said, “Oftentimes, men will come to him to him and say, ‘I really don’t know a lot about the Bible, I don’t know how to lead my family spiritually’.”

And he says, “If you can read, you can read God’s Word. It doesn’t take more than that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to be able to lead your family spiritually, you have to be willing to just open it up and read it.” And for goodness sake, even if you can’t read, you can listen to an audio version! So God is faithful though. I want to talk about two more things, really quickly, before we end. I want you each to tell about what your very favorite thing is about homeschooling.

Karen:                                       I would say the family time, and the fact that we have … Now that I said we’re graduating one, and we have these three teenagers, and then my 10 year old, there’s nothing that can replace the amount of time we’ve spent together. And the fact that we can take trips whenever we want, when I go speaking, and I bring them all with me.

And the time, and seeing their relationships, I crack up every night because they’re in our room till the latest hours of night, and I’m like, “Get out of my room.” My husband and I, we’re like “Get out.” And then I look at him and I’m like, “Do you understand she’s 18 and doesn’t want to leave our room?” I mean, when I was 18, the last place I wanted to be was in daddy’s room at 11:30 at night.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Karen:                                       So it’s just that we have so much fun together, especially now that they’re older. Some moms a little ones out there, I promise you it gets better. But having these fun people, and seeing that, it’s because I believe the amount of time we’ve spent together … And not that it was always joyful, there was horrible times, good times, but because we did it together, and we relied on God, and when we messed up, we went back to God. And so, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Harvard, nothing academically, nothing at all could compare to having the relationships that we have built between and, like you said, we’re not perfect, we have our moments, we have our disputes. But when all is said and done, we are so close. it’s been a good thing; this is why we do it. So that these relationships, and so that we know that we have done our job to pass down our faith to the next generation, who then will pass that down to the next generation.

And not just those generations, but all those people they come in contact with; the effect is huge just teaching these four children. Because they’re going to teach the next generation, and the next generation, and everybody those people come into contact; it’s huge.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, the ripple effect.

Karen:                                       Yeah, there’s nothing that I would ever compare; that, to me, is the reason. It has nothing to do like, “Oh we learned this great lesson, or these academics.” It’s all about the relationships; that’s been my very favorite thing.

Aby:                                            I would say, I mean, the very same thing relationships. And I’ve learned … You know that saying, “The days are long but the years are short when they’re really little.” And now that we’re further along in this, I’m realizing how fast it goes.

I mean, I’m going to blink and those kids will, Karen you see; they’re graduating. And I just think we have 18 years with them under our roof. I think how devastating to me to send them out for half of that, to cut that time in half, because I love spending time with my kids, I love getting to know them and who God made them, and they’re just everything about who God has designed them to be. And if I had to share those 18 years with somebody else, and send them out of my home for half that time, there’s no way I want to cut that time in half.

So, the relationships, the freedom of being able to … I mean, I love that when dad gets home early, we’re done. We go as a family, and just being able to do what God has called our family to do, and not be dependent upon another system’s schedules, and ideals of what we should be doing; I love that. And also too, I love being able to teach to who my kids are.

And that’s something that was really hard to do … Well was impossible to do as a public school teacher is I had to teach this and, hopefully, they fit in this. But I love how different God made my kids, and being able to teach them according to those things; that has been such a joy to do. And, again, pass down … I mean, big picture passed down who God it to my kids and know that they’re going to pass that down. So I think it’s kind of the same for all of us most likely.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, well I’m going to piggyback on that from both of you and say it’s hands down, it’s the same thing. I told you Garrett and I said we would never, ever homeschool our kids and, one of the reasons that I, foolishly, thought that was because I used to think, “Why would I be around my kids all day every day?” I always thought that.

And the ironic thing about that is it took us almost 11 years to have our first daughter, and I desperately wanted to be a mom; I mean, all I ever wanted growing up was to be a wife and a mom. I got married young, and then it took 11 years to have our first, and I so desperately wanted this child.

And then I had her, and I remember she was maybe about three months old or so, and I remember one day just holding her and it was this moment where she locked eyes with me, and there was something about that moment where just my deep love for her was so real; like it almost hurt, that almost painful mom love where you’re just like, “I can’t even imagine loving another human being as much as I love this child.” That I waited for her so … Whether you waited or not, but this child that you hold in your arms and you just love them with such a deep love.

And then I would think, “But I don’t want to be around her all day every day, that would annoy me.” And then it came time to think about school, and that was one of the things that started leading us towards homeschooling is because I thought, “I genuinely love being with her.”

And I was recently talking to a mom who was saying, “It would drive me crazy to be around my kids all day every day.” And if you think about that, if you’re not around your kid all day, and they’re being raised by someone else, and they’re being instructed by someone else, they are not going to behave according to your standards, because they’re not with you, they’re with someone else most of the time. Most of their waking hours, they’re under the supervision and care of someone else, so they’re not going to be trained to the way that you’re going to train them.

Yeah. And so when we have them all the time, we get to train them. It doesn’t that mean it’s easy, I mean, we all deal with discipline, but we get to train them the way that we feel God has called us to train them, according to His Word. And so they become a delight, they’re fun, most of the time. I mean, you’ve got your moments…

Karen:                                       Even at 11:30 at night.

Yvette:                                      Even at 11:30 at night. But it’s such a delight. And I know for myself, if we have to take a trip apart from our girls, or even sometimes, honestly, if I’m gone for a few hours, I miss them. Because it’s almost like I feel like I’m missing a limb or something. And I truly enjoy being with my kids and the relationship that it allows me, because we homeschool them and we get to have them home with us; it is so much fun.

Karen:                                       And it does take time, like you said, to cultivate that. If we’re sending them out, and it’s starting at six weeks that they’re outside of the home, and I’m living my life at my job, they’re at their daycare, and they’re at their school out, and we’re not cultivating that relationship. So then it does become difficult to build those bonds and, honestly, those bonds might not even be there. So it does feel like maybe you’re living with strangers, because you spend so much apart.

So that is a really good point. And so we do need to cultivate that by being together.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, and even the sibling relationships that are formed between them. And, again, I mean there’s still going to be squabbles between siblings. It’s different, my girls have such a bond, they’re almost five years apart, and they have a bond with each other that is undeniable. And it’s really neat to see them because I never had a connection with my sister, I love my sister, but I never, ever had a connection or friendship with her like my girls have with one another. And so I love that they get to be each other’s best friends, I mean, and we told them early on, “You’d better learn to each other because you’re kind of all each other has.”

And they have other friends and stuff, but on a day-to-day basis, its them; and so, it’s such a blessing. So okay we have just, literally, a couple more minutes and I just want to end with an encouragement; and I want to encourage two different moms.

So first, let’s encourage the mom who’s maybe thinking about homeschooling, and she’s just not sure if this is the right thing for her. And then encourage the mom who’s in the middle of it, and she’s feeling discouraged, and just maybe ready to give up. So what would you say to those two different moms? Aby, let’s start this one with you.

Aby:                                            Okay, the first mom that’s thinking about it, I say just do it; just hop in and do it. I think there’s a lot of moms that have three year olds, I’ve had three this week and their oldest is three and they say, “Can I meet to go over curriculum with you?” And I say, “Three? No, but you can meet and let’s talk, let’s pray, and let’s get our ‘why’ at least down. And let’s talk about what God’s plan is for you as a mom.”

And so I would say to them, “Don’t sweat the schooling, build the character, build the relationships, invest in the lives that God has given you to invest in. And above all, be obedient to God in what he’s called you, because I guarantee you when you’re obedient, he will give you all you need to do it, and you’ll be beyond blessed.”

And for the mom that’s in the midst of it, that’s tired, I’d say, “We’ve all been there, we’ve all been there, you’re not alone.” And probably the greatest encouragement I would say is, “Step back from the school.” Again, “Step back from this idea of school, and go enjoy your kids, go breathe life into your kids, go build those relationships, cultivate that unity and that bond. And pray that God would ignite the passion that started you there, and remember back.” It’s really fun for the three of us to tell our stories, I really enjoyed this because it reminds us where this all came from and what God put in us to do this. So go back and remember what God told you to do, and remember that he’ll do it through you, if you lay your life down.

Karen:                                       I would say for the mom just starting out, just pray, pray, pray, and if God calls you to it, he will equip you. Echoing what everybody said, just do it, he will not fail you.

But you have to seek him. I would say, “Don’t listen to anybody else but him.” I say this when I speak, “Don’t listen to me, listen to God. This isn’t what Karen says to do. Hopefully, God will use me to encourage but, ultimately, this is between you and God.”

And so really try to drown out the other voices, which is so important, so that you can hear God’s voice. We live in a very noisy world, and everybody’s trying to say how to do it and what to do. So, this is between you and God, this is a personal decision, pray and Matthew 6:33 like we’ve been saying, “Seek mim first.” And then just do it.

I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I truly believe though that if God is calling somebody, you do need to just take that step of faith, and put the fear aside. Because if I had listened to fear, I cannot even imagine how different our life would be right now.

Because there was tons of fear, and then that would bring me to, if you’re in the middle of it, again, keep walking in that faith, don’t listen to that fear. And remember that homeschooling is a mission field, your children are your mission. And no missionary goes out on the mission field and it says like, “This is going to be so easy, and comfortable, and safe, and I can’t wait, it’s going to be so easy.”

Any missionary has difficulty and has to rely on God and sometimes it’s dangerous, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and it’s the same thing; nothing worth doing is going to be easy. So when it gets hard, does not mean it’s not working; in fact, that’s when God is working.

So if it’s hard, don’t throw in the towel and say this is too hard say, “Wow what does God want to do through this?” Because I can look back on all the years I did look at the school one year, the local private school the year that I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.”

And, thankfully, like you said before Aby, you look back and say, “Wait, God called me to this, he will equip me.” So really remembering what he’s done, but there’s been many times where I wanted to throw in the towel, and you always have to remember that it’s not going to be easy and, in fact, that is where the most work will happen.

Karen:                                       And when you get through it on the other side, and you look back and you realize this was God’s plan; it’s amazing. So, I would say to the person starting out and the person in the middle, don’t rely on yourself; just fully rely on God.

Yvette:                                      Yes, amen. And I agree completely, do it scared! I think that’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard is, “If you’re afraid to jump on this homeschooling train, jump on any way, do it scared.” And have people come alongside of you who can encourage you, there are lots of things.

Karen you have a podcast, I have a podcast, there are lots of great podcasts out there, there’s a lot of good … There’re YouTube videos, there are a ton of good books. Karen, I know you’ve written several books, and we’ll actually at the very end, again, repeat where people can find you.

There are so many great resources out there and, like you said, it can be noisy, and there’s a lot out there. But find somebody … hopefully someone who’s local who can actually come alongside of you physically and pray with you and help walk you through this.

And if you don’t have that, I mean, there are places in the country that don’t have that, I’m aware of that. Find people through podcasts, or books, or online. I say that with hesitation because you can get a lot of really bad advice on Facebook, believe it or not; not everything you hear on Facebook is true!

Karen:                                       But if you are listening to God, you’re able to discern.

That’s what I always say. If you’re in the Word, and you have a good relationship with God, then you’re able to discern all those voices.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that’s right, and seek out wisdom. Our family, right now, is reading through Psalms and we often read through Proverbs, and we’ve actually been reading Psalm 8 and it’s all about wisdom. And so go read Psalm 8, and go read the book of James and if we asked for wisdom, God will give it to us; and so do it scared.

And then, again, for that mom who’s in the midst of it, just keep on. If you need to take a break, take a break; it’s okay. It’s better to take a break, even if you have to take a break for the rest of the year.

Take a break, it’s better to do that than it is to give up completely and put them in a system that’s going to teach them everything that you don’t want them to learn. So those would be my two encouragements.

Karen where can people find you?

Karen:                                       You can find me at SimplyLivingForHim.com, which where also you can find the podcast there, the podcast is available on all the podcast streaming apps, you can find my books there. In just a few weeks, we are releasing the Bible-based homeschooling e-Course.

You can actually find some resources for the Christian homeschooling family at biblebasedhomeschooling.com, that is my other website. But if you come to Simply Living for Him, or you can follow me over there on Instagram or Facebook page, I have a lot of interaction with my audience; I would love to see you there.

Yvette:                                      Awesome, and Aby, how about you?

Aby:                                            I’m CalledToTheTop.com, and that’s where you can find all of our stuff in one. It’s not a blog, but it’s a housing for what we do and all of our writings that are out there. And then over at Facebook at Aby Rinella – His Calling. My Passion.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

A Firm Foundation

The longer I homeschool, the more I realize that establishing a proper foundation for education is critical. While teaching knowledge is important, we are told in Proverbs that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”  It is critical that we teach character and worldview, but we know that if character and worldview aren’t based on truth of God’s Word they are worthless.

Hannah Leary is a 2015 homeschool graduate and serves as the cohost of the National Bible Bee competition. As the winner of the inaugural National Bible Bee Game Show and a competitor in the National Bible Bee competition for six years, through it she’s been encouraged to study scripture on her own and has memorized 12 books of the Bible. I had the chance to talk with Hannah about her experiences with the Bible Bee, Bible study, scripture memorization, her homeschool education, and more for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (4/29/2019 episode)

Yvette Hampton:               Hannah, I am so excited to talk with you. I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation. I heard you several months ago when you did an interview with Dr. James Dobson. You were talking about the National Bible Bee and I actually looked you up because I was like, “who is this girl?” Such an amazing testimony and you are one of those girls, I’ve met you personally briefly, but just reading through your bio and just doing some research on you, you’re one of those girls that I look at, and I just think, “Oh, if my girls could strive to learn to love God’s Word the way that you love God’s Word…” That is our whole purpose in homeschooling them. So I would love for you to tell your story. I know you have a pretty neat personal testimony, just about how God has used your time and his Word during your middle school years and high school years specifically to prepare you and equip you for your adult life. Tell us your testimony. Tell us about what you’ve done.

Hannah Leary:                    Thank you for your kind words. Praise the Lord for what he’s done. I guess just to start off, I’ve grown up Christian home my whole life. My dad’s a pastor. I was homeschooled all the way through, and so the Bible and the gospel were nothing new to me growing up. I’m very thankful to have known the gospel and the Word of the Lord at such a young age and to come to know him personally as my savior at the young age of four. Often times people are like, oh, when you’re saved at a young age you don’t have this exciting testimony, but I’m very thankful that, and I’m very excited that the Lord gave me the opportunity to know him while I was young and that he even spared me from a life of hardship and figuring it out later and just giving me that amazing privilege to know him in the days of my youth.

Hannah:                                  That started at the age of four personally for me and really as I was getting into my middle school and high school years, specifically around the age of 11 and 12 is when I really started to understand that I needed to make my relationship with the Lord something that affected all of my life and to surrender the entirety of my life to him. It was around that time when I heard of the National Bible Bee. We just saw an ad a paper and I had done spelling bees and geography bees in the past and I saw this and I was like, “Oh Mom and Dad, I would love to, could we do this, is this something you think our family could do?” And so we signed up, but we didn’t know anything about it or what we were getting ourselves into, but we jumped in. I had just turned 12 and that summer we received all these verses to memorize and these books to study. That was the first year the National Bible Bee was even in existence.

It’s changed a lot since then, but that first year for me, as a 12-year-old young person, I memorized probably 1800 verses in preparation for the competition. It was just amazing to me to realize, and I’m a competitive person so I maybe didn’t have all the right motives at the time, but it was really amazing to me to see through that study how much, how exciting God’s Word can be and how immersing myself into it for such long periods of time the benefits of that could reap. Once the competition finished that fall, I was looking at some of what I had studied and realized, oh, I had a little bit of Ephesians 1 memorized and a bit of Ephesians 2 and some Ephesians 4 et cetera, I was like, oh, I might as well memorize the whole book.

Yvette:                                      You might as well.

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Hannah:                                  Yeah, exactly. I went ahead, in the off seasons of Bible Bee, went ahead and memorized books of the Bible on my own. It just became, it became a passion of mine and the competition and the program of the National Bible Bee as it developed, it was just a really fun, motivating way to get into the Word of God and to develop friendships around it and to study alongside my family and my siblings. It was something that was definitely a huge part of my life for most of my middle school and high school years. Throughout the competition, my junior year of high school I was competing and I advanced to the semi-final round of the National competition and at that time I was really, very motivated by the competition, really wanted to do well, didn’t make it past there and was kind of like, oh, like, I don’t know if I should do this anymore, I’m almost a senior, there’s a lot of other things starting to vie for my time.

Backstage Pass members can watch the full interview with Hannah, which includes 15 minutes of bonus content.

During that off-season, I started studying the book of Ecclesiastes and digging into that book and really struggling as a junior in high school with, “okay, what is my purpose in life. What am I here for? What’s this all about? Is the Word of God, is studying his Word worth it? What am I doing with my life?” And Ecclesiastes just has such an interesting answer to that is, Solomon goes through and says everything is vanity and knowledge and wisdom are vanity and riches and wealth and work and all those things, are all vanity and so as I’m studying this, I’m realizing, okay, what am I supposed to do, how is this supposed to affect me in my life and that summer I started working and I was getting close to graduating high school and trying to think, “okay, what should I go into when I’m done” and just had a lot of different questions in my mind and I was kind of getting distracted from the possibility of doing Bible Bee and when that season rolled around again, I was like, I don’t know if this is something I want to do, especially in my senior year. And my dad’s like, “Hannah, you should do it, you should do it one more time.”

And so I decided to sign up and that year, one of the passages we had to memorize was Ecclesiastes 12. Long story short, I ended up in the final round of the National Bible Bee Game Show and I knew it was last time going to be competing and that fall I really had been struggling a lot with like I said, my purpose and what I was here for what the purpose of studying God’s Word was. Like, was it worth it to spend so much time in God’s Word, to know so much of God’s Word if I’m not going to win a competition, or you know, all these different things. My heart was really struggling and I was just asking God, “God please show me what’s the purpose in all this. Why do I need to know your word and what do you have for me next?”

Listen to Hannah on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (4/29/2019 episode)

It was in the final round of the game show that year and I knew it was my last passage I was going to be reciting and they asked me to recite Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 and even though I had studied it in the past and of course I had memorized it for the competition, as I started to recite it there in that round, the words just, the full impact of them hit me and the words spoke to me through them. It starts off by saying, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Before the difficult days come and the years draw near where you say, I have no pleasure in them”, and then it goes on to describe some of the hardships that you’re going to face in life and how eventually we’re all just going to die and a lot of this life is vanity, but then it concludes by saying, “This is the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep his commandments for this is mans all. For God will bring every work into judgment including every secret thing whether good or evil.” And as I was reciting those words, the conclusion of my Bible Bee competition, just realizing that that was what it was all about.

I was supposed to remember my Creator in the days of my youth so that I could fear him and keep his commandments, and besides that, that is a very simple answer to a lot of our complicated answers and the weight of those words just hit me and I was in tears just thanking the Lord for the opportunity he had given me. Even though I didn’t always appreciate it in the moments of those six years studying God’s Word, but the grace he had given me and the opportunity he had given me to lay such a foundation in his Word throughout those six years, I was just incredibly overwhelmed with thankfulness. I still don’t know all the answers, I still am asking what’s next and all those different questions that any young person may struggle with, but even though I don’t know my future, I know the one who holds it. I’m just so thankful that I have that foundation and even though I’m not perfect, I feel confident in looking ahead because I know the truth and the Creator, the one who created this life and has my purpose planned out and planned for my life.

Yvette:                                      Wow. That is seriously the most amazing testimony I think I’ve ever heard. That is so incredible. I love what God has done with you and I love your just transparency in that even though in the beginning maybe you didn’t feel like you were in it for all the right reasons, even if you didn’t win, it was okay. It’s one thing my husband, I have an amazing godly husband who leads our family in family devotions every day and I have a 13 year old and an 8 year old, and they’re both girls, and so both of them we really are working to help them to understand that they need to own their faith and their relationship with the Lord. It doesn’t what we tell them, it doesn’t matter what believe, it matters what they believe cause when they come face to face with Christ, he’s not going to ask them what did your mom and dad believe about me, and what did your mom and dad do to serve me, he’s going to say, what did you believe about me and how did you serve me?

We really are working especially with our 13 year old and it’s so funny, I think I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but when she turned 13 she really wanted to start wearing a little bit of makeup. We felt very convicted, not about her wearing makeup, I mean, obviously, just a small ounce like mascara, but we felt like she needed to become beautiful inside before she became beautiful outside. And the way to do that was to be immersed in God’s Word every day and so my husband said, “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, “You read your whole Bible cover to cover and you can start wearing makeup.” And so we let her wear it on occasion if there’s something special coming up or something like that we’ll let her wear a little bit, but before she puts one bit of makeup on, she has to spend time in God’s Word that day. That’s our deal with her. You spend time with the Lord first, become beautiful inside and then you can become beautiful outside.

So even though, there are times I’m certain where she’s not doing it so much to learn about God’s Word, she’s doing it because she wants to wear makeup, that’s okay because God’s Word does not return void. And we know that her being in God’s Word is going to transform her life more than anything else will. More than my husband reading the scriptures with us, more than her hearing about it in church or at youth group or anywhere like that, her being in it personally, is going to be what is going to impact her life the most.

It’s so exciting to hear your story about being involved in the Bible Bee and about what the Lord has done through that and I want to talk definitely more about that and I actually in a little bit want to talk with you about how you have dug into God’s Word. But first, for those who are not familiar with the National Bible Bee, can you kind of walk us through that? What did that look like for you? How do you get involved? What does that whole process look like?

Hannah:                                  Yes, definitely. The National Bible Bee, its mission is to get kids into the Word of God, to know God’s Word, and then to be able to make him known. It starts out with an eight week summer study. It’s a little different then the first year I did it, how it’s developed now, but it starts with an eight week summer study and it’s designed for families to be able to do together. The ages are for ages seven through 18. There’s also a beginner level for ages five and six. But it takes them through a specific passage or book of the Bible. So last years study was in the book of James. Eight weeks you’re diving in, you’re getting an inductive study, teaching you kind of how to study the book, giving them context, allowing them to answer questions on their own and to really think through what it means, how to get into God’s Word and be giving them those tools and then there’s also two memory passages every day, every week I’m sorry. So 14 passages throughout the entire summer that they’re memorizing along with the study that kind of correlates with the study.

The great thing about the summer study program is that families can do it together because there’s three different divisions or age levels of the discovery journal, but they’re all studying the exact same book at an age appropriate level. I know personally in our family, we still use it during the summers for our family devotions and it’s something that we all can do together and read through the book and compare notes about what we’re learning and memorizing the same passages together. If you’re located near a host group, there’s also host groups, hosted by churches or homeschool groups, or just a family who’s like, “hey, I want to do this with other families in my community.” There’s that opportunity for those who are interested in doing it in a group study.

At the end of the summer, for those who are interested, there’s a Proclaim Day where students can come and celebrate what they learned, share some verses that they’ve memorized with an audience, and that’s kind of the start of the competition aspect. They can go on to take an online test, which qualifies them for the national competition where the top 360 across the country come at a national event this year it’s going to be in Covington, Kentucky in November. That’s when the competition kind of kicks into gear a little higher, there’s quite a bit more memory passages given, and another book to study on their own without the guide and discovery journal aspect. At the end of the competition there’s over a $100,000 awarded in prize money.

Yvette:                                      Wow. You basically don’t get the information until summertime? For the November competition? So you can’t spend a whole year studying for it, you have a fairly short amount of time, so like you said, you really have to be dedicated to doing this through the summertime.

Hannah:                                  Exactly.

Yvette:                                      What better way to spend your summer though?

Hannah:                                  And it works so well, because of course throughout the summer there’s a little bit less structure when it comes to school and so having that structure of a Bible study and memorization program, just a fun and engaging way to keep kids in some sort of structure in one of the best curriculum possible, the Word of God. It’s a wonderful way to spend your summer.

Yvette:                                      So cool. There are 10 kids in your family right? Where are you in that lineup?

Hannah:                                  I’m the oldest.

Yvette:                                      So what a great precedent you’re setting for your younger siblings. That’s so cool. So there’s 10 of you, and you all study this together. How, have other of your siblings participated in the Bible Bee as well?

Hannah:                                  Yes. All of my siblings who are within the age of being able to join the actual study, five through 18, are always in involved in the summer study and then I also have three of my sisters qualify for the National competition as well. I love being able, of course, I’m not competing any more, but I love being able to come alongside them and help them study, encourage them, and we’ve had opportunities to be able to just to recite God’s Word together and church settings and ministry settings and that’s probably the biggest blessing to me, is just the opportunity to take what we’ve been given, what God has entrusted to us and blessed up with and be able to bless and inspire others with it. It’s one of my greatest joys.

Yvette:                                      That is so incredible. I have a friend, I don’t know if I’ve told this story, but I have friend who I grew up with and she really had a hard time after high school. Her mom was very insistent on her learning the Word of God and just memorizing scripture and after high school she kind of went off the rail for a little bit and just made some poor choices and got to the point in her life where she felt like she couldn’t even open up the Word of God. Like she knew that she was living in sin, she knew she was struggling, but because of that she could not physically open up God’s Word and she said she just prayed one day, she’s like, God, you’re going to have to help me through this cause I can’t even open up the Bible right now.

And at that moment, all the scripture she had memorized starting pouring back into her mind and she’s like, I didn’t even know that I still knew that scripture. She had genuinely and literally, hidden it in her heart and it’s so cool, I mean, that was a huge turning point for her and she loves the Lord now and is serving him and it’s just so neat to see how God used what her mom had required of her when she was younger that she probably complained and fussed over, later in her adult life to bring her back to the Lord. It’s just so important to know scripture. We’re a family who’s very, very big on scripture memorization and I think people think that it’s too hard, you know, they, your kids can only learn John 3:16 and you know, or they just have to learn one little piece of scripture at a time and it’s not that hard. How do you go about memorizing all of that stuff cause obviously everyone has different learning styles, so not everyone’s going to do it the way that you did it, but how have you gone about and maybe even some of your sisters, how have you guys gone about memorizing these things?

Hannah:                                  Yeah, that’s a great question. Honestly, for me personally, it’s just the discipline and the consistency of being in it every day. I will often say, your memory is a muscle, and so just like any other muscle in your body, it’s going to hurt when you exercise it the first few times and it’s hard to stretch it out and it’s going to be sore for those first few days or weeks, but then as you get into a consistent habit and pattern, it becomes more natural and it becomes something easy, easier to do as you go along. For me, I didn’t have any specific techniques that I used besides just being it on a consistent basis and reciting it over and over and over again.

Having my family involved was absolutely critical and huge to your point of just getting your family, just the Word of God that’s probably the biggest motivation I had and the support and encouragement that I received. Being able to memorize scripture as a family together, whether that was through family devotions or especially the competition aspect of my memorization, my dad would quiz me or my mom or siblings, but mainly my dad, and he would just listen to me recite. And so having someone there to recite back to, having that accountability, was a huge part of memorizing for me as well. Then I think a lot of those same things my sisters have used. My one sister, she really enjoys writing it out and so that’s one thing that she’s used. She’s a lot more artistic than me so she loves to see it.

My other siblings who, and especially my younger siblings I think, my youngest brother is almost two, there’s quite the range of kids, but I think even just having them hearing us older siblings reciting God’s Word, and so in family devotions, we might have a five verse or a 10 verse passage that we’re working through as a family, and the little ones might not be able to recite the whole 10 verses, but after hearing those first few verses, over and over, and over, and over, and over again, they can recite them just as well. So I think listening to God’s Word and especially for the younger ones, that, even without trying, you’re getting into their hearts and they’re picking up on it. They’re like little sponges.

Yvette:                                      Yeah. You think about how easily kids can memorize songs or even books. You know, if you read them a book and you read the same book over and over and over again, they can read the book back to you without even reading it. They’ve just memorized it and they know every word that’s on every page and if you try to skip a page, you get in trouble cause they’re like, no wait, you forgot this part. But kids have an incredible ability to memorize and we’ve seen that with our girls. My oldest, Brooklyn when she was in fourth grade, I think, she did the AWANA a Bible quiz and it was really a neat thing. She was so excited about it and she and her friend placed second. The way that she ended up memorizing everything was she, she’s not a visual learner, she’s an auditory learner. She can hear a song one time and remember it seems like forever.

She knows songs. I’m like, how do you even know this song cause we don’t listen to this song and she’s like, I heard it in the restaurant. Okay. What I did was, I just recorded all of the things that she needed to memorize for Bible quiz on my phone and I just read through them and then she listened to them and she would be playing Legos or with her dolls, or drawing or coloring, or doing something with her hands and she would just listen to it over and over and over and over. So she didn’t even read it. I mean she could read it, but she didn’t. She didn’t enjoy learning it that way and so she would just continue to memorize it that way and she did great. I mean, it was a fantastic way for her to learn. Let’s talk about your homeschool journey. What was it like for you being homeschooled? Did you enjoy being homeschooled? Did you feel like it was a good thing for you or did you feel like you were missing out somehow on the amazing things that life has to offer to all kids? What was yours like?

Hannah:                                  Honestly, it probably was one of the biggest benefits of my life and I can’t thank my parents enough for the time that they invested into my education through homeschooling and just taking that to a personal level and that they wanted to do that themselves and I am so thankful of, just as a general statement, I loved being homeschooled. Looking back, especially with my middle school years, I don’t know if I would have survived any other way of schooling, spiritually even. Just because being in a more sheltered environment really allowed my faith to flourish and I know God uses all environments and all stories, but I’m so thankful that he allowed my story to include that and being homeschooled. I really in just speaking to the missing out, you know the thing that people talk a lot, especially when it comes to socialization, people asking, “how are you being socialized?” I really appreciated it growing up. My dad’s a pastor and so we are very involved in our local church and community that way.

I’m very thankful for the opportunity that homeschooling gave me to interact with all generations and people and I definitely was blessed with some amazing peer friends, but also to be blessed with being friends people who are five years older than me, 10 years older than me, older people in our church who invested time and energy into informal mentoring and education that they gave me. At the same time, being able, as the oldest of 10, I was able to invest into those younger than me as well and so I’ve always grown up surrounded by kids and infants and babies, and those different things. I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to get a rounded zero socialization and to be surrounded by all sorts of people and given all sorts of opportunities to interact and to learn with so many different variety of opportunities.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, that’s so cool and I love earlier you talked about in your off season from Bible Bee, you got to spend time memorizing God’s Word and if you think through that, you know, if you had been in traditional school and you had this very steady flow of homework that you had to and you were sitting in the classroom all day, you would not have had the time to press into God’s Word like you did and so what a blessing that was and what a gift that was for you to be able to spend that time just studying God’s Word cause that is absolutely amazing.

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What is Schoolhouse Rocked? An Interview with Director, Garritt Hampton

“The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.” – Garritt Hampton

Yvette Hampton:           Welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I’m Yvette Hampton, producer and host of the upcoming documentary Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution. On this podcast we bring you the very best from today’s homeschool leaders to help you start strong and finish well. This podcast is for you. If you have a guest or topic suggestion, email podcast@schoolhouserocked.com.

Listen to this episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

We are so excited to have you here. This is the first official episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and I have an amazing guest with me today. I can say hands down that my guest today is my absolute favorite guests that I have had on and that I will ever have on the podcast. My guest today is Garritt Hampton, director of Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution and he also happens to be my wonderful, faithful, loving husband of 23 years, and the father of my two amazing, beautiful daughters.

Garritt Hampton:                        Proudly.

Yvette:                        Welcome to the podcast.

Garritt Hampton:                        Thank you. It’s exciting to be here. Yeah, I’m really excited about this podcast. We’ve been talking about doing this for over a year and kind of, it’s been kind of in the back of our planning process as we’ve been working on so many other different things. And you know, God’s just put us in a great position where over the past two years as we’ve been recording for the movie and filming, we have had a chance to meet so many amazing people and it just made sense to be able to reach out to those people again and say, Hey, will you be part of the podcast? And so, we’re excited to do that. I mean, do you want to tell them what the purpose of the podcast?

Garritt Hampton:          Well, the purpose of the podcast is very much the same as the purpose of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie, which is to encourage and equip homeschool families. We set out when we, when we started production, when we started pre-production, one of the first things we did was write out our mission statement. And it’s very simple. The mission of Schoolhouse Rocked is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well. And so, everything we’ve done has been guided by that goal. Our primary goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we want to do that by building up homeschool families. We know that it can be difficult, but it’s super rewarding. So, we want to be a part of the process of making homeschooling great for your family. That’s what we’re doing with the film. That’s what we’re doing with the podcast.

Yvette:             Yeah. So maybe we could give him a little bit of an idea of kind of where this podcast is going. We have actually, this is podcast number one, but we have actually recorded five already and we have several more already scheduled to record. So, I’m really, really excited about who, who we have. so far have recorded interviews with, Israel, Wayne, Ginger Hubbard, Connie Alberts, Carol Swain, and Scott Lob here.

Garritt:             All of them. Excellent. I’ve, I’ve heard them also.

Yvette:             all of them. Excellent. And all of them. Part of the cast. Right. And then we’ve got Pam Barnhill coming up. We’ve got Dr. Christopher Perrin, we have Andrew Kern and we have several others that were still actually just trying to work out dates with, but it’s actually not going to be all the expert types as people would know. It will also be regular just homeschool moms like me who are just in the thick of it right now who are working through this great thing that we call homeschooling. And um, and so we have several moms who just have different stories maybe. I know we’ve got one mom who’s going to be on, and she dealt with cancer a few years ago and so she’s got just a great testimony about her journey of dealing with cancer and homeschooling at the same time and how God brought her and her family through that. We’ve got calling Kessler. We’ll be on talking about kids who are twice exceptional and gifted. And we, we’ve got just a great lineup of people who will be on the podcast and just some great moms and dads who will come on and just share their experiences and wisdom so that we can encourage and equip people to be able to homeschool. So, we’re very excited about that.

Garritt:             Now can I ask you a question about that? Sure. You say moms and Dads, and already we’ve recorded five episodes and two of them have been homeschooled dads. How does listening to homeschool dads build up encourage quip homeschool moms?

Yvette:             Well, I actually, my hope and prayer is that with the podcast that it won’t be a podcast that just moms will listen to. I’m really hoping that with the dads who will be on that they will be able to encourage the other dads because dads have such a very important role in homeschooling. And we actually talk a lot about that in the movie. And we’ll talk about the movie in a few minutes. But in the movie, we talk a lot about the important role of dads to lead their families to encourage and support their wives and how they can do that. And so that if anyone ever asked me what my favorite part of the movie is done, hands down my, my absolute favorite part because I think many dads don’t realize how, just how important that is in their day to day family life and how much their wives need. That.

Garritt:             It’s definitely been a fun part. Um, as we’ve interviewed just great Christian men who are leading their families well and going through this journey and being spiritual leaders, we’ve always taken a minute to step out of the homeschool part of the movie and just ask them what it’s like to be the spiritual leader in their home. How do they do that? What does it look like? What are they trying to get? Um, get into their kids and get out of the, out from their kids. And it’s always been a huge encouragement. We’ve had some great discussions and I will tell you there may be another movie in that. Um, we have not talked about this, but there’s so much good stuff there. You will see it on the backstage past site for sure. Um, but there may be something else in the works.

Yvette:             Yeah, I think so too. Um, I want to back up a little bit and talk a little bit about Schoolhouse Rocked too because some people listening to this podcast may not know that Schoolhouse Rocked is actually a movie. It’s a full-length movie that we are currently in production on. And so, let’s, let’s tell them a little bit about the movie, kind of our story, what we’ve done and how we’ve come to this place of doing this podcast. Do you want to go?

Garritt:             I think you’re wanting me to go there.

Well, I kind of want to start from the, not the very beginning of time, but um, start a little bit.

Garritt:             God created the heavens and the air. Yes, he did. The earth was without form and void in the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the year 2016. That’s a big jump. And that is a big jam. K 2016. So, we’ll go back to the very inception of the movie. I was teaching film at a private school in Lancaster, California. And in that year, I got asked to help out with a student film. Um, the crew, the girl doing the film was a friend of a teacher that I was working with and it was a short film on homeschooling that really was the beginning of this project. And I saw the short film that she did and thought, wow, what a great opportunity to just build up homeschooling families to show that homeschooling is a great option for families and really to legitimize the movement. And so, but this film was short. It was seven minutes long, I think. And even in that seven minutes, it was really powerful. So, I actually asked her if she wanted to do a feature and she said no, she was done with that project. So, I said, you know, that would be an awesome movie. And we started thinking about it at that point. Um,

Yvette:             and I think you should mention previous to that, you had worked in the Hollywood film industry for many years, right? That was part of your background and then you’d worked in the music industry before that.

Garritt:             Right. My, my background is really entertainment. Um, and I’ve had a varied background, but the, the last 10 years I’ve really spent doing movies and prior to that I had done music. Um, and so it wasn’t like I was just jumping into this movie thing cause a man, it would be a hard thing to jump into. But I had taken a year where I was teaching film at a school really because the movie industry had just become such a crazy mass for our family. I was, there was a lot of travel, a lot of time away from the girls in it. It needed to slow down a little bit. So, I had an awesome opportunity to teach film to junior high and high school students for a year. And it was a great time. Um, but it was also only a year. And so, we knew something was coming after that year. We knew we’d have to make a decision about where we’d be because it was going to end.

Yvette:             Can I interject here in, in, on, on my end of it I was the homeschool mom. I was the homeschool mom who said I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever homeschooled my kids. We said that for many years. We had been married for about 11 years before we had our first child. And so, for this whole 11 years, we were adamant about it. We said we would never homeschool. And the reason for that was because we had so many misconceptions about homeschooling and what it was and all the negative stereotypes of, you know, what, how we saw homeschooling as kids because it was very different when we were growing up in the eighties and nineties

Garritt:             yeah. It was different and we just didn’t get it too.

Yvette:             Right, right. It’s not, it wasn’t bad. We just didn’t get it. That’s exactly right. Yeah.

Garritt:             Right. It has changed though. It’s ironic because even, even though it was different, we still just didn’t get it and it was still a great movement, but we just saw all the negative things that people from the outside see. So, we really, I mean, we were, we had so many discussions about this saying how we would never homeschool our kids and so we didn’t want them to be socially awkward. Yes. The obnoxious. How will you socialize your kids? Argument came out of our mouth as many times and we’re ashamed of it.

Yvette:             Well, I wouldn’t say that we’re ashamed of it. I’m actually glad that we were on that side of the fence because I think it has given us, I mentioned better understanding of people now who are on that side of the fence that they just simply don’t get it, which is why we’re making this movie.

Garritt:             Yeah, absolutely. We wanted to answer so many of those questions because we had all those questions and when, when it came time to decide what we were going to do with our daughter for school, we had to work through all those issues. And it was by God’s grace that he changed our hearts about homeschooling. Um, I’m sure we could get into that, but it might take the whole show. But God changed our hearts. But to do that, he had a breakdown, a lot of misconceptions in our minds. And so, part of the reason we’re making this movie is so that we can show what homeschooling really looks like and that so many of those things aren’t true. And homeschooling can be really, really good for your family.

Yvette:             So, yeah. Yeah. I agree. Okay. So, so we started our, we, I guess you stopped at that you were teaching film at a private school. And this was in, this was into the summer of 2016 so two years ago,

Garritt:             right. So, two years ago, I knew that my time at the school was going to end at the end of the school year, and we didn’t know quite what we were going to do. And yet we had felt God just prompting us to make this movie. And it was in little ways. He never spoke from heaven. We never heard the audible voice of God. I wish we would have. Right. Maybe it would have been, it would’ve been helpful, but we were also feeling that it was time to get out of California. Um, for many reasons. We Love California. Our family is, there are churches there, our friends are there. Um, but we were feeling like it may be time to leave. And so the, the break from the school job and the, and what I was doing was a good opportunity to determine if it was time to go which over the, over the months as I, as it lead up to the end of the school year, God just made it more and more clear that it was time to leave and that it was a good idea to do this film.

Um, and he would just confirm it in great ways. It’s funny, this weekend actually, we, we got to see some friends and it was great just seeing friends from California and getting that fellowship, but I was reminded of how God confirmed things for us. One day after church, we went out to lunch with some friends who we loved, some friends for our homes from our homeschool co-op and they had another friend with them who we didn’t know. And we were just at the point where we were ready to tell people we were going to do this crazy thing, which was make a movie. And we’re sitting at lunch and, and you know, somebody asked, so what are you guys going to do? And I said, well, we’re, we’re going to make a homeschool movie. We didn’t have a title for the, for it at this point.

We didn’t even really know what it was going to look like. But we said, we’re going to show homeschooling. Like it really is. We’re going to show that it’s a great option for families and we’re really excited about it. I think that’s about all we knew. Right. And the friend who we didn’t know at the table said, “Oh man, you’ve got to meet our friend Scott LaPierre.” And we said, okay, great. Tell us about Scott. And they, you know, told us about Scott, you’re going to get to meet Scott in an upcoming episode. We have already recorded his episode and it’s fantastic. But within a few weeks of that meeting, we were on a plane up to woodland Washington to meet Scott and Katie, his wife and to interview him and several people from his church. We actually ended up doing a day in Portland where we did street interviews and then all day at a church from, well just after lunch because we did go to church in the morning.

We had lunch with the congregation and then started recording interviews and we got done at like as like 10 or 11 o’clock at night. It was a long day, but we had great stuff in the movie, was off to a great start. So, God just kept confirming in such interesting ways and definitely made it clear that we were supposed to do that. So, we set off on this journey. Long Story Short we sold everything we had. We sold our house, we sold our cars, we sold our furniture, we sold everything and bought a travel trailer and a truck and headed off across the country to make this move knowing where we were going. Right. We

Yvette:             literally go, we, we knew that we were just going to head to Georgia because we had family in Georgia. And so, we said, well, well we’ll head there because it was December. We left on December 16th. And we said, we just need to make it to Georgia by Christmas. Cause we had promised the girls that we would be with family on Christmas Day.

Garritt:             And so, we drove away from California really not knowing what God had in store. And up until that point, we had recorded interviews on three different sub sessions, three different occasions. We had done the interviews in Washington and Oregon, which were great. We had done a day of interviewing at our Classical Conversations group, which was really fun. And then we had interviewed Andrew Poodle. Ah.

Yvette:             Oh, that was, that was a neat story too. You want me to tell that one? Sure. Yeah. Okay. So that was really cool. We had kind of made our list of people that we are wanting to kind of start the movie with. And Andrew Pudewa was one at the very top of that list. And so, we, we worked for melting. We were doing IEW curriculum with our daughter and stuff. And so, I was very familiar with him and I thought, you know, he would just be great. He’s just got such a great personality and hang, there’d be a great one to start with. And so Garritt sent him an email I think, and just said, hey, we’re making this movie again. I don’t think at the time we even had a title yet for the movie. And we said, we’re filming this documentary on homeschooling.

We would love to have you be part of it. And our thought was, we’re going to be traveling across the country from west coast to east coast and we can just kind of hit, oh, we knew he was in Oklahoma. We can hit Oklahoma on the way if we need to and interview him. We would be willing to do that. And so, you sent him an email, Garritt, and he responded within like a few hours and he said, yes, I’d love to be part of this documentary. You know, how do we work out the details of it? And, and then anyway, long story short, it turned out that he was heading out to California. He was going to be just a couple of hours from where we, where we lived and he said, I’ll, I’ll be happy to come to you because he was going out there to visit his family and it was going to be a personal trip.

And I remember he said, if I go out there and we filmed this and it can turn my personal trip into a business trip and I can write it off, you’re like, you’re welcome. And he was so gracious. He actually drove I think about two hours to where we actually were. And he spent the day with us. We got to interview him, we got to take him out to dinner that night and just got to spend some great time getting to know him. And, and he said, you know, here’s all the, a list of people that you, you know, you should get in this movie and if you have any problems getting in touch with them, let me know, I’d be happy to help you. And he was just so gracious and his name alone really, really kind of brought, you know, credibility. Right. Credibility. That’s the word I’m thinking of to the movie because as soon as we said to so many people, oh, you know, we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa while they would say, Oh, we love Andrew, he’s wonderful and well if he’s in it, it must be a real movie. And um, and it was just so great. And so that got the whole thing rolling and God just opened up that great door and we were able to connect with so many people because of that. And that was nothing but God’s doing.

Garritt:             Yeah. And that was how he worked and has worked since. Um, we had also done Master’s College too. Oh yes. We knew that we were, we were going to need the college perspective for the movie. And so, one day we got to drive down to master’s college and we had done some others at the house where we did Andrew put a while, but we didn’t have much of an idea still what we were doing and we headed out across the country. And how long have we filmed? I mean we, we filmed for about a year and a half.

Yvette:             Well, it’s been almost two because I think our very, very first interviews that we did, we’re in August. Right. I want to say they were in August because it was when we were still on our house. Sure. The test was in August, right. August, September. So, but, but our first interviews that we did, official interviews were in December of 2016 so, right. So, it’s been little more than a year and a half since we filmed those first interviews.

Garritt:             Yeah. And it’s been great. God has provided the, just the best people. Um, we, we go into every interview not really knowing what to expect and event has kind of some questions in line just to get things started and make sure the interview moves in a certain direction. But it always goes somewhere better. I think in every case. And we’ll be, we’ll be watching together as the interviews going on and thinking about how interviews will work together with others that we’ve done in the past. And it is just such a friend. Fun Process. We finished interviewing

Yvette:             in Nashville, right. And Nashville, which was just a few months ago in March of 2018 and over the past year and a half or so we’ve traveled ally, we’ve been to, I think we’ve traveled to, I think we filmed in 20 states. Have we, something like that. Yeah, it’s been a lot. Um, or at least had that many states represented cause some people have come from other states and, but we’ve taught, we’ve, I think we have traveled to about 20 different states and it’s been so great just to get her perspective of homeschooling across the country. And part of it has been that people have just opened up their homes to, as we’ve traveled and said, hey, you know, come stay with us. We have made friends. I mean across the whole country; it has been the most amazing thing. You know, we were kind of part of our little bubble in California, which we love.

We love our California bubble; we love our friends and family there. And it was really hard to move out outside of that. But it has been such a blessing meeting people in all different parts of the country and getting to see all these different parts of the country and interviewing. So, it’s not like we just stayed in one place and got just, okay. Here’s perspective of people homeschooling in California. I mean we have people from New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, California, of course, Alabama, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio. I mean a lot. And it’s been a really exciting to see and it’s been neat to see the homeschool community just rally around us and come together and really people, people are people. And there is just a real great community of people in the homeschool movement who love each other and work together. And you know,

Garritt:             and we found so many similarities too. You would think that things would be different, and they are different from community to community. But really the homeschool community is very similar. I’m very, very open, very family oriented of course, because it’s, it’s really a movement of families. Um, and we have been so blessed by getting to know them. I, I, yeah. It’s,

Yvette:             and the struggles are all the same for everybody. You know, it seems like every mom we talk to has, you know, more or less the same fears about, you know, am I doing it right? Am I messing up my kids? Am I teaching them enough? Um, you know, am I making it fun? Am I doing this the right way? And so, it’s been neat to just be able to just come alongside those people and say, you’re the same as everyone else. We all are in that same boat. And then you have those older moms like Doretta Wilson and Heidi St John and Connie Alberts who have been through it. They’ve done it. They’ve graduated their kids and their kids are thriving as adults. And those are the moms and dads who are coming alongside Zane. You’re doing a great job. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Garritt:             What a great encouragement they are to them.

Yvette:             It really has been. It has been. Yeah.

Garritt:             One of my favorite things we’ve done to, I don’t mean to keep going on this, but I was thinking about as you say, Heidi and Connie and these people is um, it’s been a blessing to be at homeschool conventions where these people speak because you see the homeschool community come together and there’s nothing more encouraging than being in a room with 4,000 homeschool families and all knowing that everyone is going through basically the same things and dealing with similar issues. But having these people on stage say, you’re okay. This is what you need to do to move forward. And it’s going to be all right. Your kids are going to be great. We have been blessed. We’ve been able to be at several conventions across the country. And to me, I always leave energized. I leave energized as a homeschool dad, as a husband, you know, encouraged to do my job.

I leave energized as a filmmaker because I know that that stuff is just so impactful and we’re going to be able to incorporate that into the film, but so much more highly selfishly encouraged. Um, it really is a blessing. The other thing that’s a blessing is seeing how many families are together at these things. Homeschooling. Um, it, it’s always encouraging to me to see the movement of families who are intentional about raising their kids up in the right way. Um, we believe that that right way is in the, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And you see so many families together walking hand in hand through these conventions who are all walking in the same direction. It really is. It’s encouraging.

Yvette:             It is. And you know, as you were talking about conventions, one of the things that we have realized is that almost across the board, every curriculum company that’s out there, I won’t say every single one, but most of them were homeschooled families who saw a need and met that need and they created their curriculum, Classical Conversations, apology, a not cross history. Um, I just, I mean there are so, so many of them that are, we’re just, there are families that, you know, mom or dad saw a need and just said, hey, you know, let’s create this curriculum. Oftentimes it was for their own kids and then it just turned into something bigger. And so, most of the curriculum you see out there nowadays is created by homeschool families and often still being run by those families themselves. Right. Which is really exciting because actually in the movie we talk a lot about family business and entrepreneurship and things like that.

And so that plays perfectly into homeschooling. And how and why homeschooling is so powerful for families because it allows families to be together and work together and learn together and teaches kids work ethic. And you know, our girls work with us. That’s been a really exciting part of filming this movie is that we, you know, we went from gear up being gone pretty much all the time when he was working in, in the Hollywood film industry. He was just, I mean, he’d be gone for days at a time and it was really hard on our family and now we’re together 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, and we love it. And you know, sometimes we need to get out and breathe a little bit, but we really enjoy being together and, and it has brought such a different element to our family and to our girls lives that they get to be part of this amazing thing that God has called us to, of making this documentary.

Garritt:             Yeah. So back to the podcast, we, we have been talking about this for a year and we’re, we try to keep them around 30 minutes. So, we’re at 26 minutes right now and I want to get back to what people can expect. But one of the reasons we did the podcast was because we had such a wealth of great stuff to share with people. When you make a movie like ours, you go out and you film a lot of stuff and it can’t all make it into the movie. And we didn’t want to just let it down and go into a hole and disappear. We wanted to really build up homeschool families. So, an outgrowth of that was the podcast because we had forged relationships with great people who just had so much good wisdom to share. So, we wanted to bring those to you. Um, another aspect of that though is that we went out to our news newsletter subscribers early on and said, what do you want to hear in the podcast? What can we answer for you? And we’ve already started answering some of those questions you’ve had, do you want to share some of those?

Yvette:             That was so much fun. We, we didn’t know how many responses we would get from that. And we got well over 80 responses and they were such good suggestions for topics and guests to have on. I mean the interesting thing is so many people asked the same questions in different ways. A lot of people are, you know, just wanting to know how I balance my homeschool day or how do I balance my homeschool day with little ones. You know, I’ve got an infant and a two-year-old who are running around like crazy and I’m trying to homeschool my seven and nine-year-old or you know, whatever your family dynamics still look like. And so, we have Pam Barnhill is going to be on, she’s going to talk a little bit about some of that stuff and um, we’ve got some other guests actually that are coming on as well that will help address some of these questions.

We have people who’ve asked about children with learning disabilities and how you homeschooled those kids. And so, we’ve got people who are going to come on and talk about that. We’ve got a, one of the questions we were asked, which Scott Lob here does such a beautiful job of answering is what do, what do your moms do when their husbands are not on board with homeschooling? And so, I talked with Scott about that and he just, he addresses it so perfectly and biblically and I’m just gives a great answer to that question. And um, you know, how do I make homeschool fun? So, Trish Corlew from hip homeschool moms is going to come on and talk about how to make homeschool fun. She’s a fun one. She is really fun because it doesn’t have to it, you know, the thing that we’ve realized is that with homeschooling, so many moms think that when you homeschool, you have in your brain the school room as we know in, into your home.

And it’s really hard to replicate what school looks like at a traditional school. And that’s not what homeschooling is. And so, we can encouragement from moms again, you know like Durenda Wilson who’ve been through it and who, who have walked that road and can give encouragement of just relax, just relaxed and have fun with your kids. I’m gender hybrid, talks about parenting. We had some questions about parenting and how do you deal with discipline issues because obviously that’s part of homeschool and that’s part of raising our kids. So Ginger Hubbard addresses that beautifully and she talks about just training the hearts of your children. And so many of these questions are getting answered and then we had a whole list of guest suggestions and we’ve already been able to connect with some of those people and they’ve agreed to come on the show. And some of them we’ve actually already recorded podcast interviews with. So that’s been really exciting.

Garritt:             I see a couple here that are really fun to me and they’re the one-word ones. We have one, somebody just said encouragement. And I would really honestly say that as the heart of what we do is encourage homeschool families. We want to equip you by giving you great resources and great, you know, pouring wisdom into you and instructing you. But really, we want to build you up and encourage you so that you can make it through. So, we will do that in spades. That is our highest goal. The other one is road schooling. And on our journey, we’ve gotten to try that out and we have now almost a year and a half, well actually a more than a year and a half of roadschooling under our belt. So, we’ll get to that. Um, maybe we can have on another guest who’s done it and talk about the joys of traveling.

It’s awesome that homeschooling allows you the freedom to get out and travel and you can still do school on the road. So, it’s fine. We get to say that our girls get to actually drive the map and said, I just look at it on a piece of paper. And so that’s been a big blasting. So, we’re almost to 30 minutes and I want to tie up this episode, but really quickly I want to talk about the two other things that we have that we can offer to people, which is the website and then our backstage pass membership site. Cause those are great resources as well. Um, the websites – go to SchoolhouseRocked.com. We have some guest bloggers who are just wonderful and they, they post such encouraging things and all kinds of different topics that you can find on there. So, you can find guest blog posts on there and we actually will have a whole lot of more guest posts coming up in the near future.

There’s already a wealth on there though. There’s stuff on special needs. Homeschooling was special needs or stuff on family business. Um, there’s just general encouragement for homeschooling. It’s a wealth of information. Then the backstage past membership. Um, the backstage pass site is where you get an inside look at the making of the movie and you get the value of all this video that we’ve done. We’re going to release basically everything over time. Um, in addition to the movie, you’re going to see the uncut interviews with our guests and you’ll find that at the backstage pass site there’s a free subscription that gets you access to clips that you can search by topic and, and they’re going to answer your questions and build you up quick. But if you really want to dig down deep, we have a paid membership and it’s the Co cost of a cup of coffee, coffee a month for four 99 a month you can get access to complete interviews and there’s already several hours up there. We have a Heidi St John, Sarah McKinsey and her, Andrew Kern, Connie Albers is up there. Josh Tolley. His is amazing. That was Brooklyn’s favorite. Do we have Sam up yet?

Garritt:     Her whole interview isn’t up yet, but there’s a few minutes there and it’s great. And I want to just elaborate a little bit on what that is. So, as we’ve filmed interviews for the movie, each interview has been, I mean I would say the average time that it taken for an interview is probably close to an hour and we have a ton of them. I mean our cast list is, is massive. If you go on the website, you can actually see who several of our cast members are and then families as well. And so obviously, you know, we can’t put an hour of Heidi St John in the movie because that would take up, it would be a good movie, it would be fantastic. But we’ve got so much great content in, so, you know, we can’t, we want to do something with the remainder of the footage that’s not going to make it into the movie.

That’s just so powerful that we really want people to be encouraged by it. And so, well that’s what’s going to be on the backstage pass membership site is you’ll get some behind the scenes stuff and then you’ll also get the full exclusive interviews from the cast members and you get to see us record this podcast live in color.

Garritt:             Just to go on that for just one more second. Our first big interview, like we said was Andrew Pudewa and his interview was almost two hours long and there’s not one minute that’s not excellent. I don’t know how I’m going to cut that interview. It was so good. We were sitting there just dying because it was two hours of great stuff. So that’s coming to the Backstage Pass site, and just so much more if you want to be built up, if you want to be encouraged and equipped check out Members.SchoolhouseRocked.com and it’s a great way to support the movie.

Yvette:             All of the paid memberships that come in actually goes to support production out of Schoolhouse Rocked. And so that’s a great way to support the movie and get something for yourself in return. Yep, absolutely. Why support the movie? Well we, we actually, right now the plan is that the movie is going to be in theaters and early summer of 2019, but we have a huge budget that we still need to meet in order to get it in theaters by next year. Um, we’re working with fathom events, which some of you may be familiar with them. They’re the company that does a lot of Kirk Cameron’s documentaries and, and live events and stuff like that. And so as of now, the plan is that the movie will be in theaters across the country, probably 850 plus theaters. And we’re really excited about that, but that is going to take an army of people to get it done. We have to hire, and we’ve already had to have all these people in place, but we have to pay for a composer and a colorist and a second editor. And I mean there’s just an, a marketing angel in a marketing budget, right? The marketing budget is huge. And so, we need to raise the rest of our budget to get it in theaters. And it’s a whole lot of money. And so, every year

Garritt:             thing that, you know, whenever people pay for the backstage pass membership, that goes to help support that, right? Yeah. Every, every membership goes straight to production on the movie. And you can also donate to support. If you believe in what we’re doing, come beside us and help make a movie. You will be doing a great thing. Um, and you will be building up the homeschool community just like you’ve been built up.

Thank you so much for listening today. We are very excited to be here with you. We hope that it’s been an encouragement to you and we really hope that this podcast will encourage and equip you in many, many ways on this homeschool journey for great homeschooling videos, articles, giveaways, and more. Check out Members.SchoolhouseRocked.com and use the coupon code “PODCAST10” to save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass membership backstage pass members get exclusive access to full interviews from the cast of Schoolhouse Rocked and so much more. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and leave a review. Until next time. I’m Yvette Hampton. Wish she knew the joys of community and the wisdom to teach and learn.

 

 

 

Garritt and Yvette on Israel Wayne’s Family Renewal Podcast

Garritt and Yvette Hampton, director and producer/host of Schoolhouse Rocked were recent guests on Israel Wayne’s excellent Family Renewal podcast, where they got to talk about homeschooling and the production of this important homeschooling documentary. Listen to the show here.

On the monthly Family Renewal Podcast Israel Wayne discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is a national speaker and the author of several books including Education: Does God Have an Opinion? and his newest book, Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask. Israel appeared in the excellent documentary, Indoctrination, and we were very excited to interview him for Schoolhouse Rocked. The Family Renewal Podcast is featured on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.

We are giving away a two copies of Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask, by Israel Wayne. Listen to Episode 4 of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, where we interview Israel about Godly parenting and the blessings that homeschooling brings. This special hour-long episode is a filled with practical advice and wisdom from the original “homeschool guy”!