Are you a homeschool parent looking to unlock your child’s potential? Are you uncertain if you’re doing enough to reach that potential? Do you often find yourself asking “am I doing enough?”
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Jodi Mockabee faced this same challenge and discovered an accountability mindset that embraced the uncertainty while striving to make intentional decisions for her children. In this post, we’ll outline how she did it, and show you how you can do the same and gain the same peace of mind she did.
“That one voice, and we’ve talked about it earlier, of am I doing enough? That tends to stick around with homeschoolers almost on the daily. I discovered recently that that is not a bad thing to ask that.”
Jodi Mockabee is a photographer, writer, blogger, speaker, social media influencer, and homeschooling mother of five living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With a passion for health, wellness, parenting, and more, Jodi blogs her family’s journey and shares tips for a healthy and active lifestyle. She also writes curriculum for creative and artistic learning in a homeschool environment. With her thoughtful and relatable advice, Jodi has become a go-to source for homeschoolers looking for support and guidance.
Why is it important for homeschool parents to pursue accountability?
For homeschool parents, having accountability, both internal and external, is critical for providing a high-quality education and ensuring the success of their children. This accountability mindset is important because it motivates parents to create an organized and structured learning environment, which is essential for student success. Accountable parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. Additionally, an accountability mindset encourages parents to be actively involved in their child’s learning and to provide consistent feedback and guidance. This helps children to stay motivated and engaged, as well as to develop a strong sense of self-discipline and responsibility.
Having an accountability mindset is also beneficial for homeschool parents in the long-term. It helps to ensure that their children become independent learners and develop the confidence and capability to pursue their educational goals – and ultimately, to meet their God-given purpose. Additionally, an accountability mindset helps parents create a positive learning environment, which is essential for fostering a love of learning and creating an atmosphere of trust and respect. Ultimately, an accountability mindset is important for homeschool parents as it helps them to create an environment where their children can thrive and reach their full potential.
“What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and on track.
Recognize who you are ultimately responsible to.
As parents, it is easy to forget who we are ultimately responsible to. Sometimes it cans seem like we have a chorus of voices giving us advice and demanding answers – especially when it comes to the education of our children. “Do you think you’re qualified to teach?” “What about socialization?” “How will your kids get into college?” “What curriculum/teaching method/standardized tests are you using?”
The questions are endless, and while there are a few standards, they can differ for every parent. Here’s the good news! None of the people asking those questions are your ultimate authority.
Whether we realize it or acknowledge it, we are ultimately ONLY responsible to GOD for the decisions we make as parents – that is especially true in the area of education (discipleship).
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.” – Israel Wayne
“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 32:46
“Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.” – Israel Wayne
While we may feel a responsibility to meet state requirements, or meet the expectations of parents, family, or friends, these are secondary to the responsibility to carefully steward the lives and souls of the children God has entrusted to us. They are his first.
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
The first step is to recognize that the voice of accountability can be a positive thing and should be embraced. Jodi confessed, in her interview for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, that after struggling with self-doubt and the nagging question, “am I doing enough,” she discovered that asking herself if she was doing enough was actually a form of accountability and should not be seen as a source of shame or guilt. She encourages listeners to use it as a way to stay humble and accountable. Accountability can be a great tool in motivating us to make intentional decisions for our children and to strive to do our best. It can also be a reminder to stay humble and trust in God’s grace and love. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it as a positive tool, we can stay motivated and encouraged in our homeschooling journey.
“So I just want to encourage you, if you hear that voice, don’t look at it as shame or guilt or something to bring you down.”
Accountability can also be a great way to build a sense of community and accountability among homeschooling parents. While we are ultimately accountable to God, we also understand that every parent deals with these same feelings at times. This is a perfect opportunity to build each other up.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24,25
When we extend grace and accountability to one another, it helps to foster a sense of unity and mutual understanding. This can be especially beneficial for those who are new to homeschooling and may feel overwhelmed or uncertain. By being open to constructive criticism and offering advice and encouragement, we can provide a safe space for everyone to grow and learn.
Finally, embracing accountability in homeschooling can help to create and maintain a sense of balance and harmony within the family. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it to stay motivated and balanced, homeschooling families can create an atmosphere of learning and growth.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability.
Using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability is an important step for homeschoolers. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. This means acknowledging the voice in your head that questions if you are doing enough and embracing it instead of rejecting it. This does not mean that you need to strive for perfection, but rather strive for intentional decisions for your children. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable. Instead of looking at the voice as a source of guilt or shame, view it as a form of encouragement that you are striving to do your best. You will never be able to do enough because you are human and sinful, but striving to do your best and running the race is enough.
“Let it be an encouragement to you that you care and that you’re always striving to make intentional decisions for your kids.”
In addition to using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability, it is also important to be aware of the voice of discouragement. This voice can come from within or from outside sources, such as other homeschoolers, friends, or family members. This voice may tell you that you are not doing enough or that you are not capable of homeschooling. It is important to recognize this voice as a lie and will only serve to derail you in your important work as a homeschool parent. When faced with this voice of discouragement, take a moment to remember why you chose to homeschool in the first place. Remind yourself that you are doing what you are called to do.
Finally, it is important to remember that the voice of accountability and encouragement, as well as the voice of discouragement, can be a great source of motivation, both in homeschooling and in life. Recognizing this voice and using it to your advantage can be a great way to stay humble and stay accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. It can also be a great way to keep your homeschool journey upbeat and positive.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and stay accountable to God, your spouse, yourself, and your children.
To stay accountable to God first, your spouse, yourself, and your children, don’t reject the voice of accountability but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and be reminded of the high calling you have as a parent.
Setting boundaries and proper expectations. Then stay in your lane. You can only do what you can do, and you should only seek to do what you are called to do. “Stay in your lane” and “mind your own business.” In this case, these aren’t insults or reprimands. Rather, they are critical reminders to focus on the important things – and let the other things go.
As a parent, it is important to set expectations and boundaries not just for yourself, but also for your kids. This allows children understand what is expected of them, which in turn helps to create a sense of security and stability. It will do the same for you. Establishing expectations also helps to keep parents accountable for their actions and ensure that they are being consistent.
Finally, it is important to stay humble and accountable foster an environment of open communication. Talking to your kids about their feelings, experiences, and opinions helps to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. When conversations are open and honest, you can gain valuable insight into how your children are feeling, and you can also better understand their needs and goals. This can help to create a better relationship between you and your children, and it will also help to keep you accountable and humble.
Uncovering an accountability mindset is essential for homeschooling parents looking to unlock their child’s potential. When embracing the voice of accountability, parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. This accountability mindset helps to create an environment where children can thrive and reach their full potential. Remember, you don’t need to strive for perfection, but striving to do your best and staying humble is enough; you can achieve the same result!
I’d love to hear how you apply “The Voice of Accountability” to get accountability, intentionality, and humility.
Leave me a comment on how it has gone for you for you or drop any questions you want me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode!
“We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship.”
– Meeke Addison
Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to interview Meeke Addison for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast about the importance of preparing our children for the ongoing culture war. Meeke Addison is the Assistant Director of Special Initiatives at the American Family Association and co-host of Airing the Addisons on AFR. Her work with AFA began in 2007 as a stay-at-home mom in Louisiana. Since then she has primarily served on-air as a radio personality.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have such a great guest on today with me, and I’m so excited for you to get to meet her. Her name is Meeke Addison, and she was actually introduced to me by Israel Wayne. I know that many of you know Israel. He’s been on the podcast several times, and he said, “You need to meet this lady, Meeke Addison.” And I said, “Okay,” so we started checking into her, because this is what we do. We use the internet to spy on people. And so, Garritt actually started listening to your radio show, and just following you on Facebook. He’s been for months, and he said, “We have got to get this lady on the podcast. She is such an encouragement.” So, I’m really, really excited, Meeke, to have you on today. I would love it if you would introduce yourself to our audience.
Meeke Addison: Well, thank you. I’m so excited to be with you guys, and that means so much to know, because we have so many different outlets, people can listen to whatever they want. So, it’s an honor to me and for me that anybody would listen to anything that I have to say. I’m Wil Addison’s wife, and we’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m the mother of his five children, and we homeschool. That’s my full-time job. My part-time job is as a spokesperson for the American Family Association, and I picked that up from my good friend, Abraham Hamilton. He says that what we do out in the culture, that is part-time work, but that our full-time work is with our families.
Meeke Addison: And so, anyway, I do that, and I host a national radio show for an hour, Monday through Friday, where we talk about cultural issues. We talk about marriage, the family. We look at what’s going on with the church, and how we can hold the line. That’s what we’re constantly encouraging people to do, hold the line in 21st century America.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I love it. Well, you are doing amazing work. I love what you just said about Abraham Hamilton III, right?
Meeke Addison: That’s correct.
Yvette Hampton: He’s your pastor, I learned, and he’s another great advocate for Jesus and homeschooling and culture, and just this desperate revival that we are in need of. You said that being a mom is a full-time job, and the other stuff is your part-time job. And we just actually did a podcast about motherhood, the ministry of motherhood. I kind of gave my testimony of what the Lord’s been doing in my heart, and going from working full-time with Schoolhouse Rocked, and pouring my whole self into that and realizing that my first priority really needed to be my children. And so, the Lord has really been working in our family, and kind of allowing me to let go of some Schoolhouse Rocked stuff, except for the podcast, and allowing me to be more present with my family. And so, I love that that is your primary ministry as well.
Yvette Hampton: And you know, that podcast, it wasn’t at all to say we shouldn’t ever work, as wives and as moms, we should never, ever, ever work outside of taking care of our families. But there has to be balance in doing that. We need to know what our priorities are, and so I really appreciate you saying that.
Yvette Hampton: I know that the Lord has done many great things through you, and you and I got to talk on the phone the other day, and you got to share with me your story about how you started homeschooling. And so, I would love for you to tell that story, and then I want to talk about culture, and how homeschooling kind of ties into this whole culture war that we have going on. So, share with us your homeschool story.
Meeke Addison: We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship. You are making people who are followers. And so, we had our kids, the two oldest of the five were educated traditionally, outside of our home, and one of the things that we noticed was just these slow changes happening in them, where the things that they cared about and the things that grabbed their attention seemed to be more the things of the world.
Meeke Addison: And they had wonderful, Godly teachers. We live in a small community, and so they went down to First Baptist in our area, and the teachers are active in the community. But at the same time, I started to notice that those became my girls’ influence, that their teachers and that their peers were their influence. Add to that, I felt like I was spending 2-3 hours after they got home every day just kind of reteaching them, and Yvette, I just felt like, why am I doing this? I’m frustrated, and then also I’m adding time to my day to teach them the way I wanted them to be taught.
Meeke Addison: And after prayer, and just Will and I putting our heads together, we felt like the Lord was really directing us to homeschool them. I guess that was 2015, and we haven’t looked back. I was expecting baby number four. I keep track of life by the babies that I’m expecting. But I was expecting baby number four, and that’s when we made the decision that when the school year came to a close, we would homeschool.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I love that. In your radio show that you host, you talk a lot about culture, and this culture war that we are in. And I would love for you to talk about it from the perspective of a Christian homeschool mom. What do you see going on in the culture right now, and how can we as homeschool moms help this revival that is really needed to take place?
“The reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness.”
– Meeke Addison
Meeke Addison: I think one of the big mistakes that we make is that we think the culture is neutral. We think that the culture does not have a goal or an aim, or that it is not aggressive with that goal or that aim. And that’s one of the things that we try to sort of awake and stir the Christian community to see, in that the culture is making grabs all the time, and actually, it’s predominant, right? Our country has undergone a shift where it’s no longer the Christian culture that is predominant. We’ve heard people describe this as post-Christian America, and what does this look like?
Meeke Addison: But the reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness. So, you can’t just expect your kid to be out in this culture and be unaffected. Your kid doesn’t just go out into the world and arrive at a neutral position. Your kid going out into the world is going to arrive at the position that’s already established by the culture. And it is antithetical to the faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. It truly is, and we’re trusting that because we have them at home with us, when we have them at home with us if we have them out in the public, we’re teaching them Bible verses, and maybe they go to one, and they go to church on Sunday morning, and so we think oftentimes at Christian parents, well, that’s enough. They know we love Jesus. But then for 35 or 40 hours a week, we’re putting them under the influence of someone else, and someone else’s ideas, and someone else’s religion, really, because everybody believes in something, and there is religion being taught in public schools. And oftentimes even in private schools, there is false religion being taught in those schools, as well. And so, yes, I think it’s a very difficult thing to expect our kids to spend all of that time away from us, and then still come back with our own values and believes and morals. It’s a war. It’s a battle that we fight.
Meeke Addison: It is a war.
Yvette Hampton: What can we as parents who, some listening to this are homeschool parents, some are not. Some are trying to future out this homeschool thing and wondering is this for us, is this something that we want to pursue. How can we have a greater influence on our kids, and therefore in our culture?
Meeke Addison: The first thing I think we have to realize is that there is the need for greater influence. I think sometimes, we start talking about hey, here are some solutions you have to do, but I don’t know that Christian parents, or even nominal Christian parents, have even bought in to the idea that there’s really a war, that they really need to be aggressive in this. And so, one of the things that we try to do with our kids is, we try to parent them for the America that they live in now. Not the America that we knew. Not the America that our grandparents knew. But we try to parent our kids based on the America that we live in now and the unchanging message of the Gospel.
Meeke Addison: So, we still teach our kids that they are peculiar. We teach them that they will have, by default, a different approach to live, and we believe that we have to prepare them now so that when they go out into the world, they’re not shocked to discover that they’re not well-liked. They’re not shocked to discover that people don’t love their message. Because you know what, there was a time when we were all just pretty good. Christians were everywhere, and everybody kind of had the same values and the same morals.
Meeke Addison: But for those of us that are adhering to the word of God, we’re waking up to the reality that where the rubber meets the road is that a Bible-believing Christian will be called hateful, will be called a bigot, will be called narrow-minded. And you can believe in a Jesus who accepts everyone as they are and doesn’t require anything of us, and is just one path among many. But if you say what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, that he is the only way, he is the only way to God, he is the only one who forgives our sin, then you’re narrow-minded, and we don’t want that type of Christian to be in our circles. So, we prepare our kids, and this is going to sound weird, I know, but we prepare our kids to not be popular in the current culture that we live in.
Yvette Hampton: How do you do that? Practically speaking?
Meeke Addison: Okay, this is going to sound really weird, right? But one of the verses, and we may get into this a little bit later, but I really believe that a kid or a student who is fully trained, as the Bible teaches us, is going to be like their teacher, right?
Yvette Hampton: That’s right, Luke 6:40.
Meeke Addison: Exactly right. So, I try to ensure that Wil and I are the number one influences in our kids’ lives. And so, we model for them that we as your parents are not chasing after the latest fad. We’re not into everything that’s cool and popular. There are things that we filter, even as adults. We constantly tell our kids, the things that we say, no, you’re not going to participate in that, or we don’t watch that, we call it consumption, we’re not consuming those things, you know what I mean? We tell them, guess what, we subject ourselves to these same rules, because these rules aren’t arbitrary. It’s not, we do it because we’re adults and you can’t because you’re kids. We say, no, this is what we do as people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Meeke Addison: So, practically, what we try to do is make sure that we ourselves are not in the world to be loved by the world. That we’re not in the world to be liked. So, that means that we’re not ripping and running all the time. We’re not trying to keep up on the latest things. I cannot stress enough how parents influence their kids with their actions more than what they say. So, it means that the things that we value, we want to make sure that it’s Biblical, and then we want to communicate that it our kids so that these are also the things that they value, and it’s as natural to them as breathing. It’s the way that we live our lives.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love that so much. It’s a hard thing to do, especially because we have grown up in a culture where we want to be liked. We want to be popular. I definitely, thinking back to my high school years, it’s so funny, I was just talking to my daughter about this the other day, and I said, I remember high school and junior high like it was yesterday. I graduated in 1993, and that was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And I remember that deep desire to be popular. I wanted to be liked by everybody, and I wanted to be the cool girl.
Yvette Hampton: And that’s something that even as an adult, I find myself going into, I want people to like me. I don’t want people to dislike me. And it’s hard to not conform to the culture around us. But I mentioned this on last week’s podcast, where we talked about when my oldest was born, I had a very wise mom come along side me, and she said, you become the wife and mom that you want her to grow up to be.
Meeke Addison: Yes!
Yvette Hampton: And that’s it.
Meeke Addison: That’s wonderful.
Yvette Hampton: That’s who I want her to become. And I’m going to fail a million times, because I’m a simple human, but at least I can attempt and to my very best to be who God made me be. And then we get to teach our kids. I went on a walk with her this morning, actually, and we were talking about identity, and how her identity is found in Christ and being Christlike. It’s not found in the culture. It’s not found in what magazines say is the new fashion, and what things on TV say, and how you should talk, and what music you should listen to. And it’s hard to keep them from that.
Yvette Hampton: We’re very intentional about what our girls say. We’re not TV-watchers. We’re not really big movie-watchers, which is kind of ironic, since my husband is a filmmaker. But oftentimes, we sit down and we’re like, let’s see if we can watch a movie, and it seems almost impossible to find even a decent movie for us to watch as a family.
Meeke Addison: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: But that’s okay. Then we end up playing a game, which is what we do all the time anyway. But it is difficult. It’s difficult to be set apart. How do your children react to that? Has that just been something that they just know, because that’s how your family is? Or do they push against you on that ever?
Meeke Addison: No, I have to say, each of our kids has their own unique personality. I’ve noticed that there are objections, but those objections are raised differently. With our oldest, she tends to be, she was very strong-willed. From the age of three to seven, it was consistent and constant discipline and character-shaping. Oh my goodness, it was exhausting for me. But man, the spirit of God just really gave ne, I guess, the endurance to know that if I can get to this point and not just leave her on autopilot, it’s going to produce a reward, and I have seen that. She’s 13 years old now, and she is my second-in-command. We always had that ability, but it needed to be channeled.
Meeke Addison: I remember having a conversation with her, she was maybe about seven or eight, and it was almost the height of the rebellion, challenging everything. And I said to her, I said, listen, without consequence, let’s have a conversation. What do you want? What is going on? I said, you’re not going to be in trouble. I just need to know what it is. And my daughter said to me, she said, I want to be your boss. I want to be your boss.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, at least she knew.
Meeke Addison: This was a breakthrough for me, because I understood that what we’re doing here is now we’re battling for leadership. And so, I had an opportunity to teach her that the time is going to come where she is going to be able to be in her own family, and she will be the mom in the family. She will be in that position of leadership. And it was a wonderful moment, and it changed the course of our relationship. So now, she is actually very honest with me when she is tempted to rebel. When she feels like things are not going her way, we’ve built the kind of relationship where she will tell me.
Meeke Addison: Then, I have my second daughter, who is compliant outwardly, but inwardly, no. I disagree. I don’t understand the reasoning. I don’t understand why we have to do it that way. And I’ve noticed that in her, and so I’ve tried to encourage honesty and transparency. Do you sometimes think that my rules are arbitrary? Yes. Do you sometimes think that we don’t need to do it that way? Yes. Let me explain to you why we’re doing it this way, and let me explain to you that again, when you’re married, or if that’s not the Lord’s will for you, but when you’re on your own or however this all works out, after you leave this house, which that’s a whole other topic, we’re not pushing our kids out. But so, I have to deal with them each differently.
Meeke Addison: And then, I have another son who he doesn’t understand why the world is so wicked. He really just doesn’t understand why people are not better. He’s 10. He’s very philosophical in his thinking. He’s very scholarly, so he reads a lot. And he reads the Bible a lot on his own. He just loves the Word of God. And he goes, there’s nothing that the Bible doesn’t speak to, is what he says all the time, when he has an issue.
Meeke Addison: And to go back to another question that you asked, Yvette, one of the things that we have tried to do, as homeschooling parents, we still try to make sure that our kids do not see us as the final authority. We position the Word of God as the final authority, and when they ask us questions, we take them to the Scriptures, and we say to them all the time, this is the straight edge. This is the straight edge. And so, we try to take them back to the Word of God, and I feel like that’s helped them to process a lot of what our objections are, because they see them as Biblical objections and not just parental usurpation. I don’t know. I guess these little people, they want to be independent.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love it so much. And it’s true. Our girls are kind of flip-flopped from yours, in that my oldest is the more outwardly compliant, and my youngest is very strong-willed, and it’s so net to hear her, because we’ve really been working on her strong will. And it’s strong. I didn’t … I never really understood what a temper tantrum was until she came along. Then I was like, oh, that’s actually a thing. It’s different from a tantrum. A temper tantrum is something completely different.
Meeke Addison: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: But she prays now. Like yours, she has such a soft heart, and often, almost daily, she prays, Lord, help me to use my strong will in a way that honors You. Because God gave her that strong will, and I want her to use it in a way that honors Him. I don’t want to take it away from her. She just needs to use it in the right direction.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: She can do big things for His Kingdom if will learn to honor and obey Him. And what a beautiful thing.
Yvette Hampton: We were talking about how God is the final authority, and we were talking about parenting, and just teaching our kids that it’s not our rules that we are enforcing upon our children, but it’s really God’s authority, and just saying this is what God has for us. And I say this on the podcast all the time, so for those who listen, they know. One of the things we tell our girls constantly, and it has been said many times today. Today has been one of those days for us. But we tell them all the time that sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And the reason that we want them to obey is because we want them to have a life of blessings, and not a life of pain. And here’s the thing, life is painful. Obedience doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any pain in your life at all, because we live in a sinful, fallen world. But it’s a different kind of pain than the pain that you choose for yourself because of your own disobedience.
Yvette Hampton: And so, we are constantly trying to just pour God’s word over them, and it’s one of the greatest things about having them home with us, is because we get to be the ones … you and I were talking about the different character traits in our children, the strong-willed versus the one who is outwardly obedient but not so much inwardly obedient. And when we have them with us for the majority of the time, we get to work with them one-on-one and focus on who God created them to be, and what a wonderful and amazing privilege that we have. And not just a privilege, but a responsibility that we have as their parents to pour truth into their hearts, and help them to become who God created them to be.
Yvette Hampton: So, I would love for you, I know you’ve got some scripture that you share with your kids and your family, and I would love for you to share with us some scripture that you go back to for conviction, and for the encouragement and training of your children.
Meeke Addison: Yeah. One of them we kind of alluded to in the previous broadcast, which was the understanding that … and this is sort of like, whenever it’s taxing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, or whenever I feel like maybe I talk to a friend, and they’re like, we’re studying this and we’re doing this, and that temptation kind of rises up to compare yourself, and you think, wait a minute, should I also be doing that? I don’t know if I’m …
Meeke Addison: And I think about, what’s the purpose? Why am I doing what I’m doing? I’m not doing this so that my kids will be competitive in the world. That’s not the reason that I’m doing this. I am doing this because I really do believe that when a student is fully trained, he or she will be like their teacher. And so, I go back to that whenever I feel discouraged, whenever I feel like I’m overwhelmed, or even when the enemy tries to condemn me. These feelings that we battle with as moms, like am I meeting all of their goals? Are there going to be gaps? Are there things that I don’t know?
Meeke Addison: I remind myself of the reason that I’m doing this, and the reason that I’m doing this is so that I can pass the Gospel on to them intact. I want them to have the truth of the Gospel. Not some American version of the Gospel. Not some 21st century version of the Gospel. But I want them to have the faith as it has been handed down to us, and that’s why we do what we do.
Yvette Hampton: Yep. You talk about the American version of the Gospel, and I know that one of the things that you really focus on in your ministry is the church, and where the church is today. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing in church culture, and how we can be part of some change that needs to go on?
Meeke Addison: Yeah. I feel like there’s always been a battle in the church. I tell people all the time that the Gospel has never existed in safety. We have this idea where we think that back in this day, or in this time period, it was just easy to hold on to the Gospel. It’s never been easy to hold on to the Gospel. Through persecution, through loss of live, through insidious methods infiltrating the church, the Gospel has always been under attack.
Meeke Addison: But I think in the United States of America, it’s been different because we kind of think that that can’t happen in the United States of America, that the Gospel cannot be under attack because America, and my husband says this often, America and Christianity have grown up alongside one another. And so now, people think that Americanism is Christianity.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: But the two are distinct, and one is supposed to influence the other. It’s supposed to be Christianity that influences the culture, influences the nature. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is, we’ve seen Americanism influence Christianity, and that was never supposed to be. We see this represented in our churches, where our churches have growth models, like they’re businesses, right? Where how do we grow our church? Well, you do that by conversion. You do that because the Gospel bears fruit everywhere that it’s preached, and then the church grows.
Meeke Addison: If you read through Acts, we’ve been studying through the Book of Acts with our children, because we want them to understand that our faith is real, that it’s something that has passed down through generations, that it holds up under scrutiny. And so, when you go back to that, when you look at the Lord adding daily to the number of believers who are being saved, you look at the Gospel bearing fruit, one of the things I think that our church got into, our churches in America, was really just Americanism.
Meeke Addison: How do we create more popular youth groups? And I’m not anti-youth groups, but I just feel like if we have gotten to a place, and Yvette, I think we have, but if we’ve gotten to a place where we think it’s the youth pastor’s job to train my kid, if I think it’s the church’s job to equip my kid to stand against the onslaught of the culture, then I’m sorry, and not to be offensive, but we’re raising lazy Christians. And we ourselves are lazy believers. If we think that someone else is supposed to do that, it’s sort of like outsourcing discipleship. You know what I mean? Who can I get to do that for me, so that I don’t have to get my hands dirty? Well, you’re going to get your hands dirty.
Meeke Addison: My husband says all the time, he says, we glamorize being fishers of men, and yeah, but at some point when you catch the fish, you have to clean them. It doesn’t stop with catching them, and that’s the discipleship. That’s the dirty work, where you have to really get in there and shape character. Well, I’m doing that first and foremost with my kids. That’s where it starts, and then after that, I’m discipling women, because I believe the Lord has called us to that, that older women are to teach younger women.
Meeke Addison: And so, that’s important to me. But my work is first with my own kids. They’re right here. They’re closest to me in proximity. So, I don’t want to skip over them and then go to meet somebody else’s need, and my own kids are growing up like these wild weeds, you know?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love this conversation. I love what we’re talking about. I love talking about the church, and how America has really influenced the church, instead of the church influencing America. And that’s really what we’re seeing happen. And it’s not just in America, actually. It’s all over the world. We see that in European countries. I mean, it’s everywhere.
Yvette Hampton: And I think that Satan is very clever. I think that he wants people to believe that they’re Christians if they go to church and they say all the right things, and they serve in church, and they serve the homeless. And I’m not saying any of that stuff is bad by any means. Of course it’s not. But we tend to think that just playing the game is our ticket to heaven, instead of people having a really deep, sincere, longing relationship with and for the Lord.
Yvette Hampton: That is one of the things that we desperately work on teaching our girls, is we want them to thirst for the Lord. We want them to desperately want to know Him and have a relationship with Him, because it’s their relationship, it’s not ours. They don’t get to ride on our coattails into heaven.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And it’s a hard thing to do. But all we can do is what God has called us to do, and be diligent in doing that. You have such a passion for Christian parents, and I know that for women, as well. You talked about Titus 2:3-5, and that the older women are to teach the younger women. And you’ve talked about this a little bit already, you did this in the first part of the podcast, but I would love for you to give some very practical advice on how we can very practically teach our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: My first piece of advice would be, we have to live that out. That has to be true for us. We can’t desire something for our kids that isn’t fist true for us.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: So, that’s our first prayer point, that we as the Lord, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to give us a genuine love for Him, that we ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart, to renew our right spirit within us. If the things of this world have overtaken us, then we need to confess that. We need to bring that to the Lord. If we ourselves have been, I don’t know, captivated by Americanism, then again, we need to confess that and bring that to the Lord. So, that’s number one.
Meeke Addison: Number two, I approach training our kids like I approach discipling other people’s kids. We were missionaries for a number of years, and we trained university kids. And so, I look at my kids like an extension of that work that we did as missionaries. That means that I start with the Word of God as our authority and as our straight edge, and I talk to them like real people made in the image of God. I don’t disciple them, and this would be point number three.
Meeke Addison: I don’t disciple them for them to make me look good. Because our kids are not here to make us look good. In fact, our kids are going to embarrass us. Our kids are going to say things, they’re going to have these little road bumps along the way as they grow in their faith. And I’m reminded of my own walk with the Lord, where there were things that I didn’t know, I didn’t understand perfectly, and the Lord was patient with me. He didn’t cast me away because I embarrassed him. No, the Lord was patient and enduring and long-suffering. And so, I want to have that as a model with my kids. They say things on a regular basis that I’m going, and where was that in Scripture?
Meeke Addison: So, that’s number four. When they make claims about Christ … We’re going through the book of Acts, and so recently we’re on Acts chapter 17, where the Apostle Paul has moved on from Thessalonica, and he’s going to Berea, and the Bible says that the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians because they actually checked the Scriptures to see what the Apostles were saying was true. And so, I told our kids. And this is something that holds me, my feet to the fire. I tell them, if somebody makes a truth claim about the Lord, about His character, about His nature, your first question should be, where was that in Scripture? Where’d you get that? Where is that?
Meeke Addison: And my son doesn’t miss a beat. He’s like, yeah, that’s great. He goes, mom, I was wondering. He goes, you said that Barnabas and Luke … or John Mark. You said that Barnabas and John Mark were cousins. He goes, where is that in the Bible? And I said, you know what, JD, I read it. I need to get that reference for you, but that’s a great catch. If I’m going to make a claim that Paul and Barnabas split up because of this dispute with Mark, and Mark was Barnabas’s cousin, well, that’s sensational. And so, I need to be able to back that up.
Meeke Addison: So, I was talking to my husband, and I said, I remember reading somewhere about this, and he’s like, where is it? I said to my husband, where is it? And he goes, it’s in Colossians. And I go there and I did read it, but I’m thinking, these are the things that I need to subject myself to as well, right? I don’t pretend, and this would be number five. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. When I don’t know something, I say to my kids, I don’t know that answer, but I’m going to research it, and I’m going to get back to you, because that is a question worth digging in to.
Meeke Addison: I think it’s so important for us to not trip ourselves up in being super parents, and our kids see that we have a real faith. I let my kids know when I’m wrestling, when I have questions. Recently, my sister, I’m the second of five, so my older who was the oldest of the five died suddenly. There was no reason. We still don’t know. And this was February 20th. And so, I’ve been walking through this grief process, and I’ve had to say to my kids, listen, this is a really tough time for me. This was my first best friend. She was just a year older than I am.
Meeke Addison: And so, it’s been really tough, but I’m not going to hide that from them. I’m not going to only come out of my room once I’ve gotten it all together. I mean, they’ve seen me suddenly break down crying, and we were okay one minute. And I say to them, listen, the Bible teaches us that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, but guys, we do grieve, and I’m going to miss her. And so, these are opportunities for us to show our kids that our faith is real, we live in a world where there’s pain, where there is suffering, but we also serve the true and living God.
Meeke Addison: If I could summarize all of that for you, Yvette, what I would say is, I want my kids to know that my faith is real. That it’s not something that I just grew up in this, and this is just what people do, but that our hope is real. Everything that we’re passing on to them is something that we put our entire lives into.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Oh my goodness, that is amazing. I love that. I love everything you just said. I’m sitting here, I’m trying to write notes and still look at you at the same time. God’s word does not return void.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And when I was in high school, I think I’ve probably shared this before, but when I was in high school we went to a church that did many things that were anti-Biblical. And I really struggled with that, and I knew, there was just something in my spirit. I was a Christian at that time, and I knew that there was just something wrong with the things that were going on. And so, I went to a Christian school, and my Bible theology teacher, his name was Dean Spoelstra, and I would come to him and say, this happened at church this weekend, and what do you think?
Yvette Hampton: And he would always say to me, it doesn’t matter what I think. Let’s see what the Word of God says about it. And he would always direct me back to Scripture, and he was the first one ever, and this was my junior year in high school, I remember specifically. He was the first one ever who just always directed me back to Scripture, and just say, what does God say about it? It doesn’t matter what I say. What does God say about it?
Yvette Hampton: So, we really try to do that with our children, as well, because it doesn’t matter what we say. And teaching them Scripture as a whole, because it’s easy to take one verse and take it completely out of context, and say, well, this is what the Bible says. Okay, well, read everything around it. What’s the history around it? What does the Old Testament say that refers to that part of the New Testament? It’s one big story, and that’s why it’s so important to teach God’s Word as a whole. And so, yeah, I love that.
Yvette Hampton: Pointing back to Jesus, there’s no better way to disciple the hearts of our children, and we have, again, such an amazing opportunity with having our children home with us, to be able to do that on a daily basis. If our kids were away from us for 35, 40 hours a week, we would miss so many opportunities to be able to do that, and so what a privilege and a responsibility we have to teach and train up our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: That’s right. I don’t think I would recognize them, Yvette. I don’t think I would recognize these kids that God’s given to me if I were not able to be around them and have these times with them.
Yvette Hampton: Right, right. It is such a blessing. Well, we are unfortunately out of time. I feel like I could talk all day long with you. But again, you are going to be on the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We’re going to do a live session with you. I’m so excited about that. And so, we will continue to talk about all things culture and discipleship with you during that event. Thank you again, Meeke, for your time today, and where can people find out more about you?
Yvette Hampton: Okay, sounds great. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well, and thank you guys for listening. If you have not yet left a review for the podcast, we would love for you to do that. We really appreciate it. I know it’s kind of a hassle to do that. For some reason, iTunes does not make it easy to leave a review, but we appreciate those who take the time to figure it out, because it is a bit of a hassle. But we love you guys. We’re praying for you. Thank you for joining us today. Have a fantastic rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week. Bye!
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been strong proponents of marriage, family, and faith, in the shifting sands of Hollywood and the notoriously family-unfriendly movie industry. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared some of the keys to preserving and strengthening her family and living out her faith. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to part two of the podcast with Sam Sorbo. And we are having so much fun with her. I love talking to you, Sam. I love your heart for families, for culture, for homeschooling, and for your children. It is very evident that you have a deep passion for shifting the needle a little bit and the direction that our culture needs to be headed.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to talk a little bit about that. You actually have a new book, it’s just now released called True Faith. And you wrote that with your husband Kevin Sorbo.
Sam Sorbo: Yep.
Yvette Hampton: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Sam Sorbo: So right before we got married, Kevin suffered three strokes and nearly died. And it was a three year recovery. We got married anyway, it was a three year recovery. It was a very difficult recovery. He had myriad symptoms that were terribly debilitating. And he battled through, he is the strongest man in the world.
Yvette Hampton: He’s a real Hercules.
Sam Sorbo: And he was going through this while he was playing Hercules, exactly. And so I nagged him long and hard and he finally wrote the book about his recovery, because I saw it as a way to minister to people, who were also going through hardship. Any kind of overwhelming struggle, right? It’s always good to hear someone else’s story and say, “Oh well. My story’s not that bad”. Or “My story is just as bad, but different. But look how they overcame and there’s hope for me”. That kind of thing. And so this book is sort of the next step in that. So I have a little bit of a bigger role. And in this book we kind of went halves and we just tell the story of working together. A lot of people ask us what’s it like to be conservative in Hollywood? What’s it like to work as Christians in that industry?
Sam Sorbo: And so we just set out to answer some of those questions to give you a little bit of insight into our life together. And it’s very difficult for us to get pregnant. We talk about that journey. And that’s actually part of the reason that I eventually figured out that I needed to home educate my kids, because I was just sending them off to a stranger every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And I’ll tell you a quick story. When we moved for the schools, we moved to the really good schools, and my son went through first grade, and second grade. And the first grade teacher that he was assigned, I was not allowed to change. I had to accept what they gave him. I had no idea who the teachers were. Somebody said to me, “Oh, you’ve got a really good teacher. Oh, you got the good one, she’s awesome.” And I’m like, “Great”. Do you know why she’s awesome? Because she keeps a bowl of candy in her classroom.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, gosh.
Sam Sorbo: And so all the kids at every age level who know that come and hug her and get pieces of candy. And I didn’t realize that was sort of the modus operandi for her until halfway through second grade.
Sam Sorbo: When I saw it happen again and it was just this one time and I was like… It was the 10th time or whatever. But I was like, “Huh, that’s why”. Do you know what I mean?
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Sam Sorbo: And then you start discovering other things. And I’ll tell you something, if you just take a moment and say, “I’m just going to try it for a semester”, and the bond you’ll have with your child is improved by miles. Because what happens is when you drop your child off at the school house gates, you’re tacitly telling the child, “My authority stops here. You are now under the school’s authority”. When your child comes home and says, “Mommy, mommy, you have to sign this. The teacher says you have to sign this”. And you take it, “Okay, let me sign it”. You are under the teacher’s authority. So now anything that the teacher says that disagrees with you, whatever it might be, the teacher says, “Oh, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And your child says, “Mommy, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And you say, “Oh, that’s not really true, because whatever”, right?
Sam Sorbo: No. Now you… Now, here’s the problem with that, right? Either your authority prevails, in which case there’s a huge conflict of interest.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you were lying when you dropped them off at the school and said their authority prevails.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Right? There’s a huge conflict of interest in it. It can’t end well. It’s not in good scenario.
Sam Sorbo: So we talk a little bit about that. We talk about politics, how we became more political. You know what, I just, I love the truth. And the Bible tells me that I have to adhere to the truth as thou shall not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness. Right? And so we just started to hunker down into our values, and that’s what brought us out into the limelight, I suppose you would say, right? And it’s sad the number of people in this nation who are enamored by lies.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Well, it is sad. And you know, I want to go back really quick to where you were talking about giving up that parental authority, when we send our kids off to school. And it goes so much further and deeper than that, in that in public school… Most parents don’t realize this, but when you drop your child off at a public school, and actually I shouldn’t just say public, I believe private as well would fall under this, that school becomes their legal guardian (in loco parentis) during the time that your child is in that school. And that is the reason why in many States if your 13 year old daughter goes to their school nurse and says, “I just found out I’m pregnant”, that school can take that young innocent girl who doesn’t know anything about what she’s doing and they can take her to have an abortion and murder her baby without the parent’s consent or knowledge.
Yvette Hampton: In the state of California it is illegal for the school to inform the parents of what has gone on with their very own daughter, because the school has become their legal guardian during the school hours that we’ve dropped them off. (see In Loco Parentis)
Aby Rinella: But I would actually challenge that to say that you ARE giving them consent when you drop your kids off.
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Aby Rinella: But when I drop my kids off with someone else, I’m handing over my consent.
Yvette Hampton: Sure. Right.
Aby Rinella: So parents need to also take responsibility to say they didn’t do this without me knowing, because when you get handed your child over to them, that’s a little bit on you.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But guess what? The schools don’t actually bear the responsibility for educating the child. And there have been court cases where parents have sued the schools, because the children didn’t learn to read or what have you. And the judge always sides in favor of the school, that it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the child to read.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: It’s absurd. What kind of subcontractor do you have in your house, who leaves you homework?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Do you have somebody come clean your house, but she leaves dishes in the sink? Right? Why are we giving, why are these children coming home with homework? It just… And it was the salami tactic. It was just a little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit, and then… And pretty soon… I mean, when you’re a child, and you’re four years old or five years old, and you’re shipped off to kindergarten, and your parents are all, “Oh, you’re going to kindergarten. It’s going to be so good. And don’t cry and whatever”. And so you’re taught “No, no, be complacent. Do what you’re told and just go with the flow. Don’t raise a ruckus.”. Right?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And so now parents, they go, “Oh my gosh, the homework for my child is terrible”. And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not a problem for me”. They say, “I have to go into the school and meet with the teacher.” Yeah, I did that this morning in the mirror. It’s so much better.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And we talked earlier about this idea that people look at you like you think you’re better than they are.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And here’s the problem with that. Of course you think you’ve got the better solution.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Or else you wouldn’t be doing it.
Sam Sorbo: We don’t think we are a superior human being. No.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But of course you think that it’s a better solution because-
Aby Rinella: Why would you do it if it weren’t?
Sam Sorbo: So we have to get off of that sort of weird societal thing now that’s really just leftism run amuck, frankly.
Aby Rinella: Yeah.Totally. Because they’re offended because you’re doing something they’re not. And it’s the whole offended thing.
Sam Sorbo: Right. I actually, because I do a radio show every day called the Sam Sorbo Show, and I did a story on a young girl who had like a… Is it called a Norplant? It’s a-
Aby Rinella: Oh, yeah. The birth control.
Sam Sorbo: And it got infected, because it was improperly implanted.
Yvette Hampton: Oh.
Sam Sorbo: And so she had to have it surgically removed. And strangely enough, she needed her parental consent to have it surgically removed. They were not aware that she had gotten it done by the nurse facilitator person at the school, not even a nurse, like a non-nurse helper person at the school. These stories are crazy. I did a story the other day, a young girl in Colorado, 11th grade, given a poem… The whole class is given a poem that was at the time, it came out in the ’60s. I think there was even a court case about it, it’s a very controversial poem. And the publisher had seen fit to leave out all of the swear words, because it depicted very graphically, sexual violence of all kinds, as you might imagine. And so the publisher left out all the bad words, the F word, the C word, the other C-word, all of them.
Sam Sorbo: The teacher stood in front of the class and verbatim gave them each of the bad words to write into their version of the poem. And I had the girl on the radio, and we got to the point where she said, “I felt violated”, because because she did. Her parents tromped down to the school and said, “Hey, we need an apology, and you need to reconsider this curriculum because it is not acceptable”. They reconsidered the curriculum. The teacher wrote a “sorry, not sorry letter,” which did nothing.
Sam Sorbo: The school reconsidered the poem and said, “Nope, the poem’s fine. It’s part of teaching. And he wanted to make the point that some artwork can be offensive” or something. I don’t even know what. And so I had her at the end of the program. I had to modify the schedule to accommodate her school classes. I said, “So I understand that you’re back in school now?”. And she said, “Oh yes”. And her dad piped in with, “You know, we’re so proud of her because “salt and light” and she’s witnessing to an atheist girl who’s in her class”. And I said, “Okay. But do you understand that you going back into the same place where you were violated is actually sending the message that Christians don’t mind when they are violated?”.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And let’s get this straight. It was a sexual violation. Yes it was just words. But I’m sorry, that counts.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And she’s only in 11th grade.
Aby Rinella: And what is the father telling his daughter?
Aby Rinella: Unbelievable.
Sam Sorbo: And he said to me… “Well, we allowed her to make the choice”. How ’bout you be a parent, how about that?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Yeah. Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you protect your your daughter and say, “Not on my watch”!
Aby Rinella: Which is what every little girl needs to hear from a dad is this isn’t okay and this will not happen again. And you don’t have a choice to have this happen again, because I’m going to be here to protect you.
Sam Sorbo: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: It’s shocking to me how often I hear from parents, “Well, my child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. My child wants to go to public school”. Okay.
Sam Sorbo: Oh. Oh.
Yvette Hampton: Foolishness! I mean, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: The child does not know what’s best for them. You don’t say, “Well, my four year old wants to go play out in the middle of the street with speeding cars, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. And so I’m going to let him go do that”. No.
Sam Sorbo: We’re living in the age where parents allow their five-year-old to determine that they are of a different gender.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s crazy. What gets me isn’t that as much as the parents that say, “Yeah, my daughter really wants me to homeschool her”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I get that a lot. I’ve heard that so much lately, “My kid would love to be homeschooled, but I”. And I said right there, “But I”. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you when you gave birth to that child. You know? And that’s the part that really gets me. I want to take those kids home with me.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is, and I’ve actually said this to somebody, and I say it sort of generically, because it’s really harsh. If your child wants to be homeschooled and you refuse, then you have to understand that that is you refusing your child, their desire. And either that paints you as too stupid or too uncaring. It’s a no win. You can’t win that one.
Aby Rinella: Well, they’re also crying out. I think those kids are crying out. And then parents are shocked when these girls start cutting, or all these things that they’re doing. And it’s like, but they cried out to you. They told you, “Get me out of this situation”. So don’t be surprised when they have to stand up and read these crazy poems.
Sam Sorbo: Exactly. Yeah, it’s frustrating.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: So I’m on a crusade to wake people up. We’re somnambulant, we’re just brainwashed.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: [Saying things like] “Who’s winning American idol?”
Aby Rinella: Well, we need more people on that crusade.
Sam Sorbo: And I want to get the message out, because homeschooling is the secret sauce. It’s the most amazing thing. I’ve produced two movies now. I never would’ve produced a movie if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: I’ve written several books. I never would have done that if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: It has empowered me, that’s why the subtitle of my book is an inspirational journey from self-doubt at a homeschool advocate. My job when I wrote this book, the way I saw it was I was going to empower parents to make that choice. And thank God, I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, “It was through your videos. It was through your book. Thank you lighting a fire under me or guiding me in this process. And thank you for encouraging me and telling me that I could do it”. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know anything. Because here’s the thing, how best can we teach our children by showing them what it means to learn.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: By showing them how learning is done! How do accomplish that? They have something to learn, first of all, right?
Aby Rinella: Right. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but I’m a former public school teacher [gasps] I know, but do you know what I’m doing with my kids? They never step one foot and one day in a public school. But so many people say, “Oh, you can homeschool because you were a teacher”. And that is probably the most offensive thing to me, because being a public school teacher was my greatest challenge in homeschooling. I had to unlearn all of the brainwashing I got, how to teach a kid, because I realized that’s not how you teach a kid. That’s how you teach a kid that lives in this box. But when you said it’s better to not know everything, I could not echo that more, because I went to four years of school on how to teach a kid and I didn’t have a clue how to teach a kid till I came home and learned what it meant to teach a kid.
Sam Sorbo: Well, and when I criticize the institution, I don’t criticize the teachers, right?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: So many of them really want to serve.
Yvette Hampton: Okay.
Sam Sorbo: A good thing. I mean, they really want to serve. They’ve got a heart for the kids and they want to do the best by them. So for Christian teachers especially who are now really more and more conflicted between their faith and values and what they need to do, so I encourage them to hang out a shingle and become a home educator for other people’s children, because there are plenty of people who… And I had a friend, actually, who had four kids, his wife refused, just steadfastly refused. And he had to work. And so he just hired retired school teachers for a half day every day, one per child. And that was cheaper than sending them to the local private school. And he wasn’t going to send them to the public schools there because that was a nonstarter. And his oldest daughter graduated Harvard. They’re doing great. Well, they had private tutors growing up. It’s a win-win! So If you’re a public school teacher and you’re getting fed up to here with everything, go into business for yourself. Be an entrepreneur.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s I want to put on the entrepreneurship back in education.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: We should be teaching self-sufficiency.
Yvette Hampton: Well, Sam, I so much appreciate your stance on family and on homeschooling. You and Kevin are a rarity in Hollywood. Garritt worked in the Hollywood movie industry for many, many years and we saw it firsthand just like you have. And I mean, it’s no secret that most marriages in Hollywood fail miserably. And it’s one of the things I respect so much about you. And one of the reasons that I love that you homeschool is because I forget exactly what your role is, but if Kevin’s going to be away for two weeks or more or something like that, then you guys go as a family, right?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. We’re never separated for more than two weeks. That was our rule.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. And I mean, that’s amazing. And with the career that he has and the career that both of you have had, that you are able to take homeschooling with you, and you’re able to be a family. When we went and filmed with you for Schoolhouse Rocked, we met up with you in St. Pete, Florida, where you and Kevin were both filming a movie there. And it was so much fun. Your kids were there with you. My daughter and your daughter had a great time. They spent the whole day together.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And I mean it was just so much fun to just see your family all the way, because at that time you were living in Los Angeles, but you were filming in Florida, so you were all the way on the other side of the country, but your family was together! And you have worked really hard to protect that family unity. And I respect that so much about you, that family is that important to you.
Sam Sorbo: You know what? I think I learned at a fairly young age to prioritize. Right now we say you can have it all. You can’t have it all!
Yvette Hampton: No.
Sam Sorbo: No. No. Sorry. That’s not part of the equation.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s pie in the sky. That doesn’t work. So, prioritize. And so we made it… We became dedicated. We said, “Okay, we’re prioritizing our marriage”. I said, “I’m prioritizing the children” when I realized that it was actually damaging for them to be in the environment of the public school. And what’s great is, when you understand, I’m going to use air quotes, “the sacrifice”, and you sacrifice for something, you imbue it with even more value. And what you get out is so precious.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: But if we don’t value things, if we’re just like, “Eh, a little bit of that, a little bit of that, a little bit…”, nothing has any value.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And we find ourselves lost at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the lifetime.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: So yeah, I mean that’s partly why, that feeds into true faith. We stepped out in faith. Marriage is an act of faith.
Aby Rinella: Yes. Amen.
Sam Sorbo: Marriage is an act of huge faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Sam Sorbo: Children are an act of faith. Home education’s an act of faith.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: Learn how to practice your face every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: And you’ll have a more fruitful, more fulfilling life.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that is a perfect way to end this podcast. Sam, you are such a blessing. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for your part in Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you for your part in the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We are so excited to have you as part of that event. Thank you.
Aby Rinella: So what day are you speaking and what topic are you speaking on?
Sam Sorbo: I think I’m the last. Am I the last speaker?
Yvette Hampton: You are. You are actually closing it out, as the last solo session, which will be on Friday, February 21st at 4:30 PM, Eastern time.
Aby Rinella: With me again!
Sam Sorbo: Great.
Aby Rinella: I’m going to hang out with you again.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. You’ll be a part of that last round table panel that we’ve got going on, so we’re so super excited, looking forward to having you as part of that. That last panel will be myself, Aby, you, Kristi Clover, who I know you’re a good friends with.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And James Gottry from the James Dobson Family Institute is going to be joining us as well.
Sam Sorbo: It’s going to be fun! And God bless you for doing that. I think it’s very cool and it’s a great way to reach people. And so I would encourage everybody who’s hearing this, please invite your friends.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: It’s an easy thing to do. You don’t have to go anywhere. You just sit at your computer, you can peak through everybody who’s speaking and learn a little bit. And maybe you’ll have the epiphany that you need to push you into the right direction with your kid.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and it is going to be very helpful in getting post-production funded on Schoolhouse Rocked, so that we can get this movie done and into people’s hands. So Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Aby, thank you for being with us again.
Aby Rinella: Thank you.
Yvette Hampton: You both are a blessing. Thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.
Sam Sorbo: Thank you so much for having me.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-
Sam Sorbo: Hi, Aby.
Aby Rinella: I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.
Sam Sorbo: Its fun. It’s just like us girls.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?
Aby Rinella: I know.
Yvette Hampton: We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.
Yvette Hampton: It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.
Yvette Hampton: I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”
Yvette Hampton: It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-
Sam Sorbo: Can I be perfectly Frank?
Yvette Hampton: … yes.
Sam Sorbo: I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.
Sam Sorbo: So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.
Yvette Hampton: There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.
Yvette Hampton: Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.
Sam Sorbo: And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.
Yvette Hampton: Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.
Aby Rinella: I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.
Yvette Hampton: And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.
Aby Rinella: Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.
Sam Sorbo: That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.
Sam Sorbo: And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.
Aby Rinella: You were in the trenches.
Sam Sorbo: So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.
Sam Sorbo: He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”
Sam Sorbo: And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.
Sam Sorbo: And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.
Yvette Hampton: Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.
Sam Sorbo: As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.
Aby Rinella: That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.
Yvette Hampton: Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?
Sam Sorbo: At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!
Yvette Hampton: When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.
Sam Sorbo: I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.
Yvette Hampton: All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.
In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.
Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!
Enjoy their conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.
Rachael Carman: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.
Rachael Carman: Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.
Yvette Hampton: Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…
Aby Rinella: Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.
Aby Rinella: So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?
Rachael Carman: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?
Rachael Carman: You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”
Rachael Carman: So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.
Rachael Carman: I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.
Rachael Carman: Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.
Aby Rinella: I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.
Rachael Carman: It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.
Rachael Carman: That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.
Rachael Carman: And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.
Yvette Hampton: Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.
Yvette Hampton: He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?
Rachael Carman: That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.
Rachael Carman: But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?
Rachael Carman: Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.
Rachael Carman: And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.
Rachael Carman: That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.
Rachael Carman: If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.
Rachael Carman: Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.
Rachael Carman: Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
Rachael Carman: Oh, that is awesome!
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: Only by the grace of God.
Rachael Carman: I understand.
Yvette Hampton: Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.
Yvette Hampton: And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.
Yvette Hampton: We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.
Rachael Carman: I love your honesty.
Yvette Hampton: So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?
Rachael Carman: Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.
Rachael Carman: It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”
Rachael Carman: But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?
Rachael Carman: I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.
Rachael Carman: So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.
Rachael Carman: But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.
Rachael Carman: So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-
Aby Rinella: Thank you very much.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They live in Moscow.
Aby Rinella: Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.
Aby Rinella: And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.
Aby Rinella: You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.
Aby Rinella: I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.
Aby Rinella: And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. That is-
Rachael Carman: We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.
Rachael Carman: So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.
Rachael Carman: That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?
Rachael Carman: Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.
Rachael Carman: He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.
Rachael Carman: Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.
Yvette Hampton: And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.
Yvette Hampton: So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?
Rachael Carman: My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.
Yvette Hampton: You’ve got that A in there.
Rachael Carman: I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.
Yvette Hampton: Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.
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For the first episode of the third season of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella sat down with Kristi Clover to talk discuss a subject that most of us consider at the start of every year, ORGANIZATION. Kristi is a master organizer and has just released a fabulous book on the subject, that is sure to be an encouragement and valuable resource to you, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.
Kristi offers 10 simple rules to help parents manage the chaos of their homes on a daily basis. From learning routines and habits to creating systems to stay organized, she dives into the most common areas moms struggle with in their homes.
In addition to Kristi being a home organization and efficiency expert, she’s also an author, a speaker, and the host of the Simply Joyful Podcast. Her passion is to encourage families to find simple ways to bring more joy into their home and life. She loves to share about her adventures in motherhood and home life through a variety of media that you can find at KristiClover.com. As a mom of five, she’s never short on opportunities to “practice what she preaches” in the realm of home organization and #momlife. Kristi lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve, and their five children. Be sure to connect with Kristi online for an extra dose of encouragement. She’s @KristiClover on most social media networks. Enjoy this transcript of their conversation.
Yvette: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always we have such an exciting guest on today. I also have my amazing cohost with me again today, Aby Rinella, We are talking to Kristi Clover, mom of moms, homeschool mom of homeschool moms, and part of the speaker line up for the upcoming, Homegrown Generation Family Expo. She is so much fun. You guys are going to love this episode with her. We are talking about her new book, M.O.M.is that what you actually call it Kristi? M.O.M?
Kristi Clover: Yeah, M-O-M – Master Organizer of Mayhem. There it is.
Yvette: M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem. I love that title. I love the cover of the book. It is so much fun. It’s so eye-catching when you first look at it. It’s got a bunch of Legos all over it. So, welcome. And this is a great time, because your book just came out and I’m excited about it and want to tell people all about it. And Aby, thanks for joining us again today.
Aby Rinella: I’m excited to be here. Organization is my Love Language, so I’m super excited to be on here.
Kristi: I love it. Let me speak love to you today.
Yvette: It’s the eighth Love Language, huh?
Aby: Oh, it is.
Kristi: Oh, yeah! No, totally. I laughed, because I was so stressed out at one point because, I shared with you guys before we started that we started this home renovation. My friends are like, “You cannot call it remodel. You’re down to studs.” I’m like, “Great.” At the same time, we’re doing book launch, so I just, I have moments where I’m like, “Oh, find a happy place. Find a happy place.”
Kristi: I started doing this deep declutter, and my husband was laughing. He’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I feel really happy right now.” He’s like, “I’m just going to walk away.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do that. I’m really happy right now.” I was in this delirious moment. He was like, “Okay.”
Yvette: Oh my gosh. It’s like nesting, right? Because, instead of birthing a child, you’re birthing a brand new home.
Kristi: Yes! And a book. This is not recommended. I’m like, “I brought this upon myself because I called it Master Organizer of Mayhem”, so the Lord was like, “Ha-ha-ha, let’s bring a little more mayhem into your life”. And school, and homeschooling.
Aby: Like when you pray for patience and you’re like “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”.
Kristi: Oh, I don’t do that anymore.
Yvette: So very quickly Kristi, tell us about your family, because you’ve got some kiddos, and a husband, and people you like.
Kristi: Oh yes. Just a few kiddos. I love it because the homeschool community, I can say this: We only have five kids. Here in San Diego, people are like “you have what! Are you crazy? Do you know how that works?”. And we’re like yeah. And I have a funny story about that in the book actually. Someone here in San Diego who asked that to me. I was in a very hormonal state. I was pregnant with our fifth and yeah I had a very snarky response.
Kristi: So, Steve and I have been married for 22 years. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We have five kids. Grant is the oldest, he’s 17. Then Blake is 16, Wade is 11, Ashlyn is 8, and Kaitlin is 6. So when I was pregnant with Kaitlin, it’s socially acceptable to continue to have more kids if you have all of one gender. So when I was pregnant with Ashlyn, everyone was like, “Aww, did you get your girl?”. And Mama Bear, mom of boys was like, “I did but I love my boys.” Leave me alone!
Kristi: When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, I had the gentleman who decided to hit me on a day when I was very tired and hormonal. And he looked at the three boys and Ashlyn and he’s like, “You do know how that works, right?”. I’m like, “Yeah and you know what they say, practice makes perfect.”
Kristi: So sorry I went a little rated-PG there. But yeah it was awesome. And he is like “Ahhh.” And the woman behind him was blushing. The woman at the cash register was laughing so hard. So, I’m trying to get the kids out of the store and all of my older kids were like, “What does that mean? What do you mean?” And I was like, “Nothing! Nothing, mommy shouldn’t have said that.” Don’t speak when you’re pregnant, I don’t know.
Yvette: Oh goodness. Well come to the South, where lots of people have lots of kids. And it is totally socially acceptable. And we’re the family that only has two kids. We don’t drive a mini van, and what else don’t we do, probably lots of homeschooling things.
Kristi: We don’t fit in a mini van anymore, because my teenagers are 6’2″! So they won’t fit in the car very well, and everyone is too scrunched for a mini van. So we’re literally at the stage where we have an SUV, but everyone is trying to talk us into a mega sprinter thing that fits 12 and ya know 10 bikes and a camper.
Aby: It’s got a camper in it. You can sleep in there.
Kristi: We’re just gonna drive a motor home.
Yvette: So much fun. So these multiple kids that you have, that you’ve practiced for, for many years. And you now have a perfect child. This has been, I’m sure one of the many things that has caused you to write this book, called “M.O.M.– Master Organizer of Mayhem”. I love the title of it. Tell us about your book and help us, moms who are trying to figure out. Because I know this is a difficult thing for any mom, not just homeschool mom. But homeschool mom when you add real life and then homeschooling, it can get really crazy and really chaotic and really stressful. So tell us about your book.
Kristi: he book is really fun because it started when I actually only had two kids. Way back, like you know go in that time machine, like flashback, whatever it’s called. The Wayback, so if we go back in time to when I just had two kids. I think Grant and Blake were only four and three at the time, I was asked to speak at our women’s event. So I was like okay what would you like me to talk on? “Can you please talk about home organization?” And I remember thinking, Okay, that’s weird, I know I’m a little, I love it and I thrive on it but I’m not perfect at it.
Kristi: So I sat down and I really tried to think through. What gives people the perception that I’m so organized? I started asking friends too, why do people think… Because anytime I asked a girlfriend, what are some descriptions of me, what do you feel are some of my strengths? Organization always came up. And I’m like you guys have been to my house, it is messy sometimes. I feel like when I’m overwhelmed, I do, I let things go. And that’s okay. And what I’ve learned is that is absolutely the right thing to do, because if you really truly need a break. Unless you’re really crazy like me and need to get in there and get a project done, and that’s wonderful.
Kristi: What I discovered is, it’s my systems. So I would have people over for a play date one day and the house would be torn apart with all the little kids. And the next day, I would be hosting an event and people would be like, “What happened here? Were you up all night cleaning?” I’m like, “No, I just put things away and I just have this little system for doing this.” And they’re like, “Explain that.”
Kristi: And on top of all of that my husband has been traveling for 20 years of our marriage. I think when people were trying to figure out how I did things. That was kinda where it started. So long story short, I sat down and I wrote out this talk “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem”, and I came up with 10 rules. And they’re kind of like this foundation for things that I’ve noticed have to be in place for me to feel most organized. It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything going on at the same time. But they are key components to how to be organized.
Kristi: Decluttering is one and asking for help. So there’s a lot of these core foundational things that I put in the book. And what’s fun is, that from 12-13 years ago when I first gave this talk, the rules are exactly the same. I changed the order, but the rules are exactly the same. So it’s been neat to see how when continuing to apply them as my family has grown they have continued to work.
Kristi: And the second phase of the book is actually a lot. I share some systems that I put in place as well.
Yvette: I definitely want to talk about the 10 foundational rules that you have set. But you also talk in there about setting a good foundation first. How do we do that as moms?
Kristi: Well, a big key part is, a good foundation is really looking at all the 10 rules and looking through it. But the key is, I feel like we need to start be redefining organization. Because unlike 12 years ago, we have so much being thrown at us daily. We have an onslaught from TV shows. HGTV has wonderful shows, that I personally love watching. But you know when you look at a house that Joanna Gains or the Property Brothers, or whoever it is that is doing the space, they’ve completely cleaned it out, remodeled it and made it look perfect.
Kristi: We’ve got Instagram that is so focused on these beautiful rooms. There’s Facebook, Pinterest, all these things that we didn’t use to have. I mean Martha Stewart was my only person breathing down my neck, “Be perfect like me!”.
Kristi: That’s what we feel like. So often people associate organization with perfection. That’s not it at all. Organization to me is creating more efficiency in your home life, so you can maximize your time with your family. As well as for other priorities. So I like to help people figure out what their priorities are, so that it gives you that motivation, because everyone need to know their Why.
Kristi: If you’re totally happy in your mess and chaos, the God bless you! You be happy in your mess and chaos. If it’s not effecting you or anyone else in your family, and you have your systems down. Then that’s working! But if you are feeling stressed and people in your home… I have had some moms come up to me like I need this! My husband and I are fine with it but, they might have a special needs child who needs structure. So they have had to learn to get organized. Much like I had to learn to get organized.
Yvette: Let me ask you a question about that, though because I have often to friend’s houses and I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. You know, those whose houses are always neat and tidy and they have systems in place. They have an order of their life and typically those are the people who like to purge. Of course, I’m sure that’s one of your 10 rules.
Kristi: No, it’s not my gifting, decluttering is. I have friends that are very gifted at it.
Yvette: I’ve gotten really good at decluttering. We just simply don’t have space. That’s a whole different topic.
Yvette: But I have friends that who have just very organized, clean homes, and I have other friends who their house is always just a mess, all the time. I feel like, both of those friends, but typically those friends whose houses are typically messy. As soon as you walk through the door, they might say that they are comfortable with it, saying we’re okay, we’re okay living like this. But as soon as you walk through that door, they apologize for the mess in their house, almost always. “I’m sorry my house is a mess.” And I’m like look, I did not come to see your house, I came to see you. I really don’t care if your house is a mess. But I know because of their response that it is something that is stressful to them.
Yvette: And a lot of people simply don’t know how to declutter, how to organize, how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. Let’s go through some of the 10 foundational rules. Aby what are you thinking?
Aby: I’m thinking before we get into that, what I love that you said is going back to, we’re all homeschool moms here. And I love how you said it’s not a one size fits all. It really is what works best for your family. What are your husband’s needs. I might be okay with one thing. I just love how you’re saying it. We’re all created uniquely and differently, and so what’s chaos for you might not be chaos for me. That’s what I’m really liking about the direction your book goes, it is not a “you have to do this the way the Clover household does this in order to be the exact mom and wife Kristi is”. But its really just some basic fundamental concepts that really can work in anybody’s home.
Aby: That’s like there’s not one sized box curriculum for every single homeschool family. It’s something unique for each of us. So I’m super excited about that then because this book is for everyone.
Kristi: It is, and that’s why my first rule is glean and tweak. Because we can learn from other people and learn from Pinterest and learn from other books out there, you can learn from this book. But unless you tweak it for the season that you’re in, and your personal family… I have friends that, if I cleaned and organized my house and you walked into my house and said “Wow this is perfect!”. I still have friends that would walk in and be like “This is stressing me out”. There’s people who can’t handle anything on the counter. I’m all about let’s put a knickknack here, not to an extreme, I’ve seen them where it’s a little extreme. I have friends that, they just need that. But I don’t have to live according to that.
Kristi: My husband likes clean counters, but he just doesn’t want all the Kristi piles there. That is what it is. And now my children have learned how to have their own piles and it’s not good.
Yvette: You’ve talked about your first rule, because you have 10 foundational rules that can help moms figure out how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. And the first one you’ve mentioned is glean and tweak, let’s talk about some of the others.
Kristi: Okay so it can be anything and 10 rules makes about 2/3 of the book. So the 10 rules are glean and tweak, figuring out your top priorities. In that chapter what I think is important is that I go at it from two different angles. I want you to figure out personally, what is your schedule look like? What are your priorities as a family? Prioritize based on that, schedule your life around that. Because the problem is, if you don’t have cushion in your life and you’re saying yes to everything, you won’t have time to get organized. It’s going to continue to sit at the back as a back burner thing.
Kristi: I try to talk people into giving themselves some margin, not making their family “go-go-go”. I feel like as parents, especially homeschool parents, we are horrible at this. We feel like we have to give our kids everything in the maybe 18 years, 17-18-19 years we will have them in our house, in our schools. So we feel like oh we need to give them every experience possible. Oh my goodness, I think about my own personal life and I have learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. And not to knock my education, which by the way was public school. They will continue to learn and grow, we don’t have to put it all in the first few years of their lives, so it’s okay to say no to a lot of things.
Kristi: So I try to talk people into saying no to as many things as possible, saying yes to things that are going to help your family thrive the most. And then, looking at it from the standpoint of what are your house priorities. So what’s driving you crazy in your house. If you’re married talk to your spouse, what is driving him crazy.
Aby: It’s all my son’s room.
Kristi: Everyone of us would say it’s my son’s room.
Aby: Just had to throw that in there.
Kristi: You do it, and you know my advice is, close the door.
Aby: Oh I love that! Really? Until the smell starts to waif out. Then the smell comes out. I like that, just shut the door. That is freeing Kristi. I feel like you just freed me and every other mom like me.
Kristi: Well, I mean you do have to get in there from time to time. It’s truly something that is an eyesore, close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. When you have time, make time make that your [inaudible 00:16:36]
Kristi: One of the other rules is tackle your worst project. And if that’s honestly what’s driving everyone crazy in your house. Then you have to go through and help him declutter. And the key with kids is you have to teach them the systems. You have to teach them where to put things. I always laugh because moms will go through and they’ll organize the whole house but they’re like “Oh my kids leave it messy!”. And I’m like do they know where toys go though? “No I have to help them”. I’m like teach them where the toys go, or you don’t have a system.
Kristi: You don’t create systems for other people based on how you process things. You have to create systems for the people in your house that work for them. So that’s the crazy thing, you can be the most logical person in the house, in the world, and if it doesn’t work for them. Everyone’s different, I have a very neat child. I can trust that his room is, in fact if we have too much pounding and grinding and whatever they’re doing down below me happening in the house, I go to his room to do any kind of video or audio, because I always know that its always going to be perfect. And that is just him, that’s the way that he is wired. He thrives in that situation. He knows how to take care of it. Then I have other children. They don’t quite get it.
Aby: And I think that’s where the master organizer comes in, because you’re the master of finding what works for each kid. What are the systems that work for them, not just what is the system that works for me. I appreciate that, because my system is obviously the best system in the house. But each of my kids have a different system, so I like how you said that we need to find what systems work for them and then implement that into their space.
Kristi: Yeah, and I literally just ran into that in our own home, because I have a chore system that totally works for me. I know visually, like that is what they’re supposed to do, but for my little kids, it’s just too complicated for them.
Yvette: You talked about teaching our kids how to do this alongside of us, because we’ve talked about this with Ginger Hubbard, and we talked about coming alongside a child and training them on how to do things. Because often times as moms and dads, we just assume when we tell our child to go clean their room that they know how to do it, because we know how to do it so it should make sense to them. When we say go load the dishwasher or do the laundry we just assume that because we know it they understand it. And I think that’s oftentimes what causes so much frustration between us and our children is that we are saying go do this and they’re like No. Then they don’t do it and then they get reprimanded for it because they’re not obeying. In reality its sometimes maybe because they’re lazy, often times I think it’s because they simply really have not been taught how to do it.
Yvette: And I mean it may be with some kids, you know you said you have your son, he’s just wired that way. He is, just by nature, an organizer and he’s very clean. And I have one of those. I have my oldest, she loves to organize things and she does it for fun. And my youngest, not so much. She’s not uncontrollable but we have to come alongside them and say let me show you how to fold your clothes and how to put them in your drawer. Let me show you how to hang your shirts. And then practice it with them, don’t just show them one time. We can often, take it off the hanger, okay put it back on the hanger now. You can even make it into a game. Let’s fold the clothes again, now let’s throw them all over the floor and let’s refold them and put them back in the drawer. You know two or three times so you know that they understand what it is you’re asking them to do.
Yvette: And then if they do it right then you really know, okay you really understand this. And then if they don’t obey then that’s a different topic.
Aby: I think that’s what’s great about homeschool moms too, we have all day to do this. They’re not showing up at the front door after school and sports at 5 o’clock and we’re trying to get dinner. So, we’re very blessed that we can bring them alongside of us as we are cleaning the kitchen, as we’re cleaning up the toys and they get to do it with us. What are some of the things that you outsource to your children, that you delegate to your kids to do in your home?
Kristi: Oh you’re going to love this, this one is my secret one, no kids at the door, when my kids read this someday they’re going to be like “What!”. My number one tip is work yourself out of a job that you hate. So my kids learned how to do the dishes and the trash, because I don’t like dishes and trash. They also learned how to do laundry. Because number one, dishes and laundry those are crazy things that continue to repeat and repeat, so it made sense for them to learn that. Those are my three least favorite things to do. I am fine, I’m weird, we have a little floor vac that we use on the floors not just on our carpet but on our actual hard floors. It’s a little therapeutic for me, I kind of like it. Counters, I like cleaning them, I don’t mind those jobs. And of course, because I’m finding such joy in them my kids are like “Can I do it too!?” And I’m like no, go do the dishes first.
Kristi: We all have those little things and it really depends on number one, what do you need to have done around the house? What do you need help with? And I wrote, I think it’s just a blog post, but we happened to use a hashtag that said chore systems. And I laughed because I had two people, I think it might be the same person with two handles on Instagram, we’re like “That is child labor, you should not be making your children do the work that you should be doing.” And I didn’t respond, because that’s where my snark thing just comes in.
Yvette: You should have responded with “Practice makes perfect!”
Aby: That should be your hashtag.
Kristi: They live here so they have to.
Yvette: It’s a life skill.
Kristi: It is. My daughter cleans the bathrooms and she earned that, because she told me, “Mom, I feel like the bathroom could be cleaned more often.” And there was a little corner that I missed, and I haven’t cleaned the bathroom since she said that, ever. That became her job, and blessedly she’s a little OCD so I have to clean this bathroom in town.
Yvette: Oh I love that.
Kristi: I also think you cue in, you’re like if that’s bothering you, to your child, that is a job that you can take over in the household. And if you can’t find your socks, you just became the sock folder.
Kristi: I laugh because I don’t lose socks. I’ve never totally understood that lost sock thing, until having kids. It wasn’t even the two older boys, it was when it just got crazy and one of my kiddos, he is, we call him “Mr. Fun” because he is all about fun. And he does not intentionally disobey, it’s just that if something fun and shiny is happening, then he needs to be a part of it. So, it’s like we have to make sure we are helping him to narrow his vision, no wait finish this and then move on to the next thing.
Kristi: So it’s really hard. So yeah, I don’t remember what the original question was at some point. Help them to find what needs to be done and what do you want to work yourself out of a job on. And I loved your point too Aby, is you know seeing what they naturally have a tendency toward or what they are bothered by.
Yvette: Since you were just talking about laundry, I know you have a few systems for laundry in your home. Share those with us, because I know that for homeschool moms, especially if you have multiple kids, that can just be a drag. I mean it really can consume so much of your time
Aby: Because when it’s done it starts again.
Aby: I’m so excited.
Yvette: Okay ready?
Aby: Yeah, I got my pen, I got my paper, I’m ready.
Kristi: Well I have an entire chapter on my hacks, but I will say this, that with laundry you do have to figure out what works best for you. I have heard so many different ways. There’s so many ways to do laundry as far as some people say, do a little bit everyday, that would drive me bonkers. I want to have a break from doing laundry. I cannot do it every day, then it really would pile up because if you get behind or life throws you any kind of a curve ball, your laundry is going to be missed.
Kristi: So what works for our family, especially since we have 7 people, is that everyone gets a day of the week, and my husband and I have one day together. I still do both of our laundry together, because he was traveling so much. Now, he’s not traveling. He’ll do the laundry sometimes, but even then I’m like oh wait I’ll just do it. I know what doesn’t go in the dryer and I know that this is how this is going to work.
Kristi: So, backing up a little, each person has their own day. What’s beautiful about that it creates a natural accountability, because if you don’t do your laundry and get it out of the washer, dryer and get it into your room to at least start the folding process. Someone else is coming behind you and your laundry is going to get moved, because they are ready to come and do it. So that has worked really well for us.
Yvette: That is brilliant.
Kristi: Because of that natural accountability. My other thing that is key, if you are doing that kind of laundry.
Kristi: So I can even talk through, I have a SMART, SMART is one of my little acronyms for five laundry hacks. So the M in SMART is mesh bag, they should be your best friend. Because if anything needs to go from the washer to like being hung up, you put it in a mesh bag. So that if somebody is moving your clothes from the washer to the dryer, the rule in the house is mesh bags do not go in the dryer. I do that with my husband and I too, so that if he is doing a load, he knows that doesn’t go in the dryer. So it’s not just for delicates.
Aby: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this. So for example, say Joey has a Tuesday day, as soon as he dries, he folds, he puts away his own clothes, he’s not doing like everybody’s clothes on Tuesday right? It’s his own clothes on Tuesday?
Kristi: It’s his own clothes on Tuesday.
Aby: So then, if on Friday he fails to do that special shirt, you say hey sorry you wait until Tuesday?
Kristi: No. Well…
Aby: Like you can cut in? You can share if you need?
Yvette: It’s called Laundry Grace.
Kristi: Laundry Grace, that’s right. And we aren’t sticklers on the day, all the time. So like if we just got back from Hawaii, we got back on a Sunday, you gotta be flexible. There’s days when suddenly we have three people that need to get their laundry done, because life has been crazy, we were out all day and didn’t have a chance to get laundry going. Then you know, we’re going to have to double up.
Aby: How young do you start this? Is your six year old doing it?
Kristi: My six year old is doing her laundry. She still needs help with the folding and putting away. She can do it but she doesn’t do it all the time, because she gets flustered, it takes her awhile. And Everyone’s different. My oldest, he does it all.
Kristi: One of my other things is, I truly believe in small loads. The larger the load, the more apt you are to let it sit there and not get it done. So it’s really important to have smaller loads. Which is why, again, having a day, that means everyone should be doing their clothes weekly. So my oldest, he was getting in the habit of doing huge loads, because of course his clothes are big too. He’s not in itty bitty little clothes anymore. So he was in the habit of waiting two weeks to do his if he just got busy. What was happening is, his clothes just weren’t getting as clean. And I had to explain to him again, small loads, clothes get cleaner. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to get my laundry done all in one day. But I’m like washer, dryer, fold really quick, washer, dryer, fold really quick. And then I pile it in order, so I’m literally just putting it into the drawer.
Aby: If you’re doing everyone has a day, you’re just doing it once a week. So it’s not stacking up, because you know that it’s just a once a week. That’s brilliant. Whats another, okay one more laundry hack before we have to move in.
Kristi: One more laundry hack, okay. So this is my rule breaker laundry hack for kids, have them wash everything on cold. I don’t buy a lot of white, if they have anything that’s white, they throw it in my whites divider. And I say white because people normally do, whites, brights and darks, but we actually do cold, warm and hot as our divider. So it’s kinda two laundry hacks. Divide by temperature and have all your kids wash their clothes on cold. If they have items that need to be washed more thoroughly, then you just do a separate wash with that, or throw them in one more time. Because quite frankly, I need to make sure they know what they are doing and if I have them, who knows if that black sock is going to sneak in with those white tank tops or whatever it is. I just don’t deal with that so everything gets washed on cold in our house, not my clothes but the little kids. I mean my oldest, sorry I mean my second oldest. he does do two loads, because he does have enough white clothes that he’s separating those.
Yvette: Let’s talk about a few more of the rules that you talk about in the book. So we’ve talked about laundry, we’ve talked about glean and tweak, we’ve talked about priorities.
Kristi: Well here’s a big one. The buzz is always on decluttering and everyone’s talking about KonMari method, and you know Marie Kondo. Her little spark joy, which I think is fun, if you hate something then why are you keeping it. But I don’t love, I mean my plunger does not spark joy for me but it is a necessity. I wrote that somewhere and I had someone, I have interesting people who follow me on social media, because this person was just like, “but my plunger sparks joy when I need it.” I’m like, no even when I need it I’m like, blah.
Aby: Yeah, the whole situation, there’s no joy in any of that situation.
Kristi: I don’t understand that, but it’s all good. My approach with the decluttering process, I call it a Four Leaf Method, because we have four categories, mostly. It’s the traditional what are you going to keep, so what’s gonna go back into your home. That’s when you want to make sure you’re categorizing to organize those things that you are keeping and keeping like things together. Your toss pile, things that just need to go in the trash. Whether it is just trash or toys that are broken that really don’t need to go anywhere other than in the trash can. Then also, we have a sell pile, so if there’s big items that need to be sold, those are going to be that sell pile.
Kristi: ut the key pile for us is, the blessings pile. The blessing pile is the traditional donation pile. But what’s helped us, it’s like some mental road block that changed for everyone in the house. That if this item is not useful or a blessing to us, then maybe it can bless someone else. It helps when you have that thing that you’re like, “But I spent money on that! I should keep it.” Why? If you spent money on that and it’s in great condition, see if a friend want it. And if they don’t want it, give it to Salvation Army.
Kristi: Because I’ve heard stories, in fact it was Kathi Lipp, she’s another organizer. She’s written a lot of books on organization and decluttering, and has another book coming out, I think in February on the topic. And I heard her speak recently, and she talked about how when she was really going through a hard time, she went into a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and her son really needed a new pair of shes and he was really bummed because he wanted this one kind of shoe. And they happened to find, in Salvation Army, the right size of the exact shoe. She was like it was God’s blessing on us. I think, that if that person hadn’t taken the time to donate that. You’re kinda giving God room to be like, “I can use your stuff.”
Kristi: If you don’t need your stuff, get rid of it. So if it’s not doing me any good in our house. Then let the lord use it somewhere else. And who knows, if it’s in horrible condition, maybe Salvation Army is just going to throw it away. But still, I just think it’s important, and it helps my kids to realize if we’re not playing with it, we can bless somebody else. It’s just neat to see how just changing that mentality of, this can bless someone else. So like when we got rid of a ton of our baby clothes, I literally sent an email out to all of my friends and we made this mountain, it was taller than most of my kids, of baby clothes. And my friends came over, and we had all of these babies that were being born, and so people were just coming over and grabbing them. It was great and it was fun and it was crazy, at church I see everybody in my kids’ clothes, and I’m like oh that’s so sweet. It was just fun to see them being reused.
Aby: I love that. I think it’s good for kids too because, like with my son, we talked to him. Well, he’s a boy so he’s hard on things. And we talk to him a lot too, when you’re done with things, we want to be stewards of the things that God has given us. Because when you’re done with it… We don’t want to give anyone else our junk, but if we’re stewards with our things. Then when you’re done with that, it’s in really great condition to bless somebody else. So it also, just inspires us and encourages us to take care of the things God has given us. Even if we don’t see them long term for our family. Then they can bless another family.
Yvette: And I love what that teaches kids, because we want to teach our kids that they can be content no matter what. And I think often times, especially in our society, we feel like our kids need more and more, we have to get them the newest, and the best and the biggest thing that’s out. That’s why Black Friday, that’s why people stand at in line for 24 hours before the big sale or even longer sometimes, even days, a week! It’s crazy to me. Why are we teaching our kids that? Be content in all things. And when we show them that the things that they have, that they are no longer using can be a blessing to someone else, I think that’s huge. And we have done that with our kids as well, since they were really little. What friend do you have that this might be a blessing to, or often just donating it, because it’s stuff we don’t use.
Yvette: I know moms, not that I’ve never done this, I have done this before, but I know moms that will sneak things out. But then I think you’re missing that opportunity to teach your kids to be a blessing to others. And not just to be a blessing to others, but to realize that they don’t need to have all these things to make them happy and to have joy in their lives.
Aby: Say, I’m storing up our treasures in Heaven.
Yvette: Yes. We have a few minutes left, so lets run through just a few others and then what we don’t get through, of course people just need to get the book.
Kristi: You need to get the book, because it’s so fun. Oh thank you. It was so much fun to write. It was fun to tell all my stories. I tried to make it playful and fun and just like we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee. That’s kind of my approach to writing, I try to make every book I write feel like that.
Kristi: Okay, so a few other rules. So this is, a big one, especially for moms, especially for homeschool moms. One of the stories I share in the book on this rule has everything to do with a homeschool moment, and that is ask for help. I think so many moms try to be super heroes and do everything in their own strength, or even if they’re leaning on the Lord, he will give you strength but there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So I like to encourage people to ask for help, and when people offer help you have to say yes.
Kristi: So one of the stories I share in the book is all about when we just had our 4th, and I had a bunch of friends who had mommy’s helpers coming in. And I’m like no I can handle this. And Steve was traveling like crazy and we were homeschooling, it was just so much, and I was just kind of at my wits end. I was trying to get Ashlyn, my 4th to sleep and she just wasn’t sleeping well. I just have a technique that use with the kids to, sleep training, to get them to [inaudible 00:38:01] to sleep, and it is hard on me the first several nights, trying to get them to kind of recreate that sleep cycle. I think she had just gone through a teething thing or something, but I was exhausted.
Kristi: So I decided to do what so many of us do is, ask for prayer. “Please pray for me. I have a definite need but I’m not going to say it. I’m just going to ask for prayer.” So at the end, I had a girlfriend say, “Kristi, I have a daughter who is trying to earn money for ballet camp, she would love to come over. Where do you live?” We lived three minutes apart and had no clue. It was the biggest blessing. Her daughter would come over and what was so funny is that so often when we are getting, my friends are like, “I have the mommy’s helper come over and play with the kids while I go run errands.” Well that’s fine if I really need the time alone to just get out of the house. But I did that from time to time, but I would often have my mommy’s helpers come over and help with the things I didn’t want to do, so that I could play with my kids.
Kristi: You can use help however you want to. And I’m always really upfront too, we have cleaners. I love my cleaners, I help them when they get here, and I help them when they leave. And they come every other week, and the day they come, man by that evening you can’t tell they were here. Unless you’re looking deep, because sometimes it’s just that whole Murphy’s Law of when I have a clean floor someone’s going to spill something. It works no matter if you have cleaners or not, if you clean the floor, your child will spill milk everywhere. It helps because it means, all at one time my house is clean.
Kristi: We had a season where we were hosting two different events. I was hosting our Co-Op and I was hosting our Bible study, and my husband was adamant, “I know you. You are going to want the house to be tidy, and you’re going to want it to be clean. We need to have the cleaners come on the off week.” We didn’t have the budget for it, it wasn’t so much a budget, we didn’t want to spend for another cleaning. I just asked them, for this much money will you do the kitchen, the bathrooms, just like the key things I knew I needed done, because I knew that’s where people were going to be. And they were like, “Oh yeah we can do that.” And they were already in our neighborhood.
Kristi: So again, ask! If you’re not asking, you’ll never have the solutions. I just think it’s so important for people to see where they could use help and get it.
Yvette: Yeah, I think so too. We sadly are out of time, but I would love to continue on and do this for the next two hours, but just tell me to get to work.
Kristi: Yes, we have lives. And I have to go get my grays covered. We were joking about that beforehand, I have to go get my hair done because I have spray paint on my grays now.
Yvette: Is it like a spray paint you go and get at Lowe’s? You just go to Lowe’s and get some brown spray paint that matches your hair color.
Kristi: I laugh because I had a girlfriend tell me about it, and I was like “Are you kidding me?” And she’s like, “No it’s a real thing.” It’s like L’Oreal or something like that, I get it off of Amazon, so yeah. I’ll share the link with you, I’m telling you, you got to do what you have to do. I’m telling you 40 takes over and you got to roll with it.
Yvette: I haven’t hit the grays yet, but I have hit the eyesight. I now have to wear reading glasses, which I didn’t have to wear before and I look at small print things like “I can’t see!”. So in order to read your book, I had to put my reading glasses on, but it was well worth it.
Yvette: So you guys, get this book.
Aby: Where can we get it Kristi?
Yvette: It’s fantastic.
Kristi: Thank you. You can get it anywhere books are sold. If your physical bookstore doesn’t have it, you can ask them and they will get it in. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere. It really is.
Yvette: We of course will put links in the show notes to it. It is called, “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem” by Kristi Clover. And Kristi, thank you. You have written a few other books, I know I would definitely love to have you on the podcast again to talk about some of your other stuff you have going on. You have got all kinds of great encouragements, so I love it. So maybe it won’t take us a year to have you back on, right?
Kristi: Life is a little, we’ve been told two more weeks and the house is done.
Aby: How long have they been telling you two more weeks?
Kristi: They’ve been great. They are keeping right within their timeline, so we’re very happy.
Yvette: You are a blessing, thank you for using what God has taught you and shown you to encourage me as a mom and Aby and to encourage all of our listeners. Because you really do have a gift for organization but not just for doing it for yourself but helping others to learn how to do it as well. And it is doable, so for those listening who just feel overwhelmed, truly, honestly get this book because it really will help you. Because it helped me to see things that I just couldn’t see them inside of my little box. So I would read a chapter and go well I can do that. And it really did change my perspective and my habits of doing things around our home. So this is a book that does the same thing as that. So thank you Kristi, you are a blessing.
“I’ve taught at seven different universities now and I’ve always had one colleague in every English department who looks forward to teaching homeschool kids. One, because they were smart and two, because they saw it as their mission, as one put, to kick the Jesus out of them. So the universities recognize that these kids are smart and they want them because these are kids that don’t drop class, they don’t swear or cut classes. They turn their homework and they say, “yes ma’am,” “no sir.” They like that. But then they want to socially engineer these kids. And so they’ll take them. The universities want them, but a lot of the professors want them for very different reasons.” – Dr. Duke Pesta
Dr. Duke Pesta is the Director of FreedomProject Academy, host of the Dr. Duke Show, and a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. His experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, and high school teacher, uniquely qualify him to address the current state of education in our country. He speaks across the nation on topics including the necessity of homeschooling, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public schools, and the myriad of ways that colleges and universities indoctrinate students.
Dr. Duke is one of America’s foremost authorities on the dangers of Common Core and the federal takeover of education. He hosts A weekly program about education—The Dr. Duke Show—which covers educational issues from preschool through graduate school.
Yvette Hampton, host of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, had the privilege of talking with Dr. Duke about the influence that culture and churches have had on today’s youth, and how we, as parents, can best prepare our children for the secular worldview ideology that they are being exposed to on a daily basis. They also discussed how most homeschooled students fare in a university setting.
Yvette Hampton: We were visiting Heidi St. John this past summer, filming for Schoolhouse Rocked and actually, while we were at her house was when your episode on her show aired. She had talked about you and she’s just so impressed with who you are and the knowledge that you have of the public education system and all things going on in culture, having to do with education. Of course, you know a whole lot about many, many other things, not just education. So, I heard you on her podcast after she had spoken of you and I thought, man, we’ve got to get this guy on the podcast.
Talk about what you do because, I like that you’re labeled kind of the educational reformer and that’s really what Schoolhouse Rocked is. The full title of the movie is Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution! And it really is a revolution because we need to reform education not just in our country, but worldwide. Why are we in need of a reformation right now when it comes to education?
Dr. Duke Pesta: Well, I mean, anybody who’s involved with education who is not trying to reform it as part of the problem. We have an educational system that is getting worse and worse. I mean, because you asked me in one word, one sentence to explain the major problem. It is the following. That our progressive educrats, it’s the progressive left who’s been in charge of our public schools, our colleges who are going on 50, 60 years now. And what they have succeeded in doing now over the last 25 years in particular is transforming the way we educate our kids, whether it’s public schools from kindergarten through high school, whether it’s our universities, to educate them primarily first for left-wing ideological purposes. What you and I would call the social justice movement.
Dr. Duke: We have relegated academic achievement, merit, hard work, we have relegated real serious study to all of these political objectives of the left, which is why our kids know less and less and less the farther they go along but are much more politicized. So you’ve got these kids on college campuses who can’t tell you who their senator is, who don’t know the three branches of government, can tell you nothing about the constitution. Yet they know America’s a racist, sexist, evil place and that capitalism and free markets have to go. What we’ve seen happen is a hijacking of the schools by ideology and leftist politics at the expense of real learning. And it’s really starting to transform this country into something very different than what it was meant to be.
Yvette: Yeah. It’s all about indoctrination and no longer about education. And that’s a scary place to be. And you talk about being involved in and reformation on the end of education. And we just got back from a camping trip, actually, yesterday and I was talking to one of the dads there and we had such an interesting conversation because we were talking about as homeschoolers, sometimes, we feel like, well, our kids are protected and so we’re good. We can just close that door. We don’t worry about the education of our kids because we’ve taken it into our own hands, which obviously is what we stand on as a family. It’s why we’re making a movie about it. It’s why we do a podcast, and a blog, and all that stuff because we feel like it’s important for parents to take that role of educating our children.
Yvette: However, it can’t stop there. It needs to continue on. And we were talking about our tax dollars are going to pay, they’re paying for all of these other children to be indoctrinated, and these children are the ones who are the future of our country, our future political leaders, our future doctors, lawyers. And we’re seeing this crazy shift. I mean, sometimes, I feel, and I know you feel this way too, I’m sure, like I’m in the Twilight zone. I hear the things that are happening in universities and in the schools, private schools, public schools, public schools K through 12. We’re from California and I, I literally cannot wrap my mind around the things that are being taught to these children. How did we get here? How did we get to this point where people are having the freedom, because it really has become a freedom for them, to be able to indoctrinate our kids with these horrible, horrific, wicked ideas and have turned so far away from the truth of God? How did we get to this place? And what do we do? How do we get back to where we came from?
“How we got here is really kind of basic, it seems to me. Our churches have stopped fighting this battle. The churches have … I argue that the institutional Christianity, church Christianity is on life support in this country because they don’t want to lose that 501(c)(3), I have had pastors who haveve told me, yeah, gee, Dr. Pesta, we’d love to have you speak here, but I’ve got four public school teachers in my faculty. I can’t upset them.”
Dr. Duke: Well, start with the first part of your question. It was very clear that Christ in the Gospels wants us to be in the world but not of the world. On one hand, we have to protect our kids, our families, our communities in a Christian way. On the other hand, we have to turn outward to a corrupt culture. We can’t ignore it or it’s going to swallow us up. We have to prioritize protecting the faith but we also have to reach out into the world. And so many homeschool moms and dads, I think you’re right, they think that their kids are safe, that by pulling out of the schools, they fix the problem. They really haven’t because not only are we paying for it with our taxpayer dollars, but we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction because as these kids become more common, still many more, like 9.5 out of every 10 school kids are public school kids.
Dr. Duke: And so, as they become more indoctrinated, more secular, they’re convinced now that God was never meant to be a part of the culture, that our constitution somehow banishes God from public spaces. These are the lies our kids are being told. And as they get older and older, and the generation that leaves college becomes the millennials, they’re … 54% of millennials believe in some kind of cult behavior, right? They believe in tarot cards, they believe in astrology, 54% of them believe in sort of a cult spirituality and less than 50% actually believe in God. And that’s going to come back to bite us. You and me can homeschool our kids, but will your kids be able to homeschool theirs We’ve already seen California, the state you ran away from, wisely got out of, California’s trying to put the screws to homeschoolers. They’re trying to force state agents into homeschool families to kind of watch and see what’s going on, and this is beginning to spread. So that’s the first part of your question, I think.
Dr. Duke: And how we got here is really kind of basic, it seems to me. Our churches have stopped fighting this battle. The churches have … I argue that the institutional Christianity, church Christianity is on life support in this country because they don’t want to lose that 501(c)(3), I have had pastors who haveve told me, yeah, gee, Dr. Pesta, we’d love to have you speak here, but I’ve got four public school teachers in my faculty. I can’t upset them. And so all of this temerity on the refusal of our Christian pastors to actually wade into this, to take a side … because if they were doing that, if our Christian pastors were doing it, they would ultimately be telling the moms and dads, you got to get your kid out of these schools, you’re not going to be able to fix them. Sorry for being long winded, but the answer to your question is you got to get them out. If we’re going to fix any of this, many, many more American kids have to be educated outside of that system and it’s happening but not fast enough.
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Yvette: Yes, I agree with you completely. We often have people ask us, we’re trying to fundraise for this movie just to get through post-production. And we have had many, many people ask us, well, you know, have you gone to churches? And we’ve said, we’ve talked to pastors before and churches will not touch this movie because it is a movie about homeschooling. And it’s the same exact thing is that they don’t want to offend people because they’ve got people on their leadership board or, elders, deacons, whatever, some pastors who are part of their church who have their kids in public school and they don’t want to ruffle their feathers. They don’t want to. And even people in the congregation as well, they don’t want to upset people. And I don’t understand that because I’m thinking, well, if you’re standing up and you’re teaching the truth of God’s word, we often talk about Luke 6:40. It says, “The student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Yvette: Well, who’s teaching our kids and are we the ones who are coming alongside and teaching them and discipling their hearts? Again, Deuteronomy six, we talk about that all the time. You know, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and teach this to your children when they rise and when they sleep, and when they walk about their day.” We can’t do these things if … we can’t teach our children the way that they need to be taught if they’re not with us. And when we’re sending them to a public institution, a government school for 40 hours a week, they’re being taught by someone else who is not their parent and who doesn’t have their best interest in mind.
Yvette: Now, there are teachers, of course, you and I both know, I mean you’ve taught in the public school system. There are teachers who love kids, genuinely love their students, but their hands are tied and there’s nothing that they can do about it. What are you seeing? Because obviously, California, I know a whole lot about what’s going on in California because that’s home for us. What are you seeing as far as what’s happening in the California and kind of whole Left Coast part of the world? How is that infiltrating into the rest of the nation and what changes are you seeing even in these so-called conservative states and towns?
“They do not like freedom and liberty. They don’t like the constitution. They don’t like American history and values. And Christianity is at the core of what they don’t like. They see Christianity in 250 years of American history, 2000 years of Western culture as the root of all evil in terms of repression and backwardness.”
Dr. Duke: Yeah, to start with where you started, it always amazes me when I read the Gospels. Christ spoke to the power, he spoke to the churches, basically, spoke to the synagogues, told them the truth, it made them uncomfortable and then you had the great divide. And here we are, the heirs of Christ, and we won’t speak to the culture. We won’t speak to the moms and dads in our parish, our constituency, because, hey, they got kids in the wrong place. And if priests and ministers, if pastors can’t tell their parents, you’re sending your kids to not just a godless place but an anti-God place because you fear your 501(c)(3), that shows you the state we’re in, right? That our biggest ally should be biblical Christians, should be Bible-believing Christians. And when the ministers who lead those congregations will not stand up for the truth, then we really can’t be surprised where we are.
Dr. Duke: But you mentioned California and California, because there is so little opposition, what few Republicans remained in the state have been more or less completely elected out of office. It’s been a landslide for far-leftist politicians and this is of course fueled by a huge base of illegal immigrants, many of whom are finding ways to vote. And what’s happening is that there’s no balance here. There really are no longer any checks and balances in California because they got basically supermajorities to pass any radical agenda item they want to, they’re doing it. Then we have places like New York City where they pass these radical abortion laws where you’re allowed to abort babies while they’re in the process of being born. And so the left has run away and then we know what the progressive left is. They’re atheist or secularist. They are very sympathetic to communism.
Dr. Duke: They do not like freedom and liberty. They don’t like the constitution. They don’t like American history and values. And Christianity is at the core of what they don’t like. They see Christianity in 250 years of American history, 2000 years of Western culture as the root of all evil in terms of repression and backwardness. So we’re seeing this problem. And the problem with California is that there are a lot of states in the union that aren’t as progressive, that still have more of a balance and legislature who are using California as an excuse to do it themselves. And the places like Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and New York, and Chicago, the district of Chicago. So these big liberal cities are incorporating this stuff and using their power, the big cities and liberal states, to transform how state business has done as well. So this is spreading. It’s a virus. And what you see in California today, you’re going to see in Nebraska, you’re going to see in North Carolina tomorrow unless somebody turns this around.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. As far as kids being in the public school system, we hear all the time, and we were just talking about this the other day, my husband and I. People will often say, well, our kids’ school is different. We live in a small town. We live in a conservative state. My child’s teacher is a Christian. Are there any kids who are safe anywhere in this country from being taught and indoctrinated with these godless ideas that they’re being indoctrinated with? Are they safe anywhere?
“It’s not terribly intellectual. They’re slipping in sexuality education into all the different classrooms. They’re using math, and science, and social studies, even physical education classes as a way of reinforcing a certain set of liberal, progressive values.”
Dr. Duke: I wouldn’t call them safe anywhere. I would say that some schools have gone farther down the rabbit hole than others. And of course, with this new Common Core scheme and the federalization of education, that starting first in the major cities in every state. So in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is gone. If you’ve got a big city in Wisconsin, the kids in Wisconsin are all getting the same diet of ideology. But in smaller towns, it hasn’t quite got there yet or hasn’t quite got there fully. But even still, even if your kids are in a relatively safe place, and it’s a small school, and there is still some oversight, the fundamental nature of the pedagogy, how they’re being taught, even non-religious subjects is really very screwy. It’s not terribly intellectual. They’re slipping in sexuality education into all the different classrooms. They’re using math, and science, and social studies, even physical education classes as a way of reinforcing a certain set of liberal, progressive values.
Dr. Duke: So, at the best, your kids are being pushed very hard left. At the worst, they’re being downright indoctrinated. So there is really no place. And what’s bad now is going to get worse. There’s no place where your kids can hide from this and that doesn’t even mention the data gathered how the feds are using your kids’ public schools to gather all sorts of private data, how they’re using your kids’ schools, your kids. Something called social emotional learning, SEL, social emotional learning, which is big all across the country where there are actually unqualified elementary school teachers are making psychological evaluations of your kids. That’s happening even in the safest of schools now and it’s dangerous.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah. It really is. We have a friend who is just a wonderful Christian lady. She’s been teaching in the public school system in Northern California for probably 30 years, a very long time. Loves teaching. I believe she teaches kindergarten or first grade and she was telling me that last year, they had brought in so many books on the LGBT movement into the school library. And so though she is finding ways to not teach that in her classroom, the kids have access to those books. And so she did something that I thought was very clever and she said, I just checked out those books because as a teacher, she can check them out for the school year to quote-unquote use for her classroom. So she just checked out all of the books that she could find to get them out of the library. She obviously didn’t teach them in her classroom, but she was trying to do something so that the children, the kindergartners and, elementary school kids didn’t have access to those books.
Yvette: But like you said, I know these things are being taught and they’re being weaved into all of the curriculum. It’s not like they are just doing it, you know, here’s the sex ed class and you can opt out of it. It’s in everything. It’s in science, it’s in literature, it’s in grammar. I mean, they’re literally weaving it into everything that these kids are being taught. They’re very clever and intentional about it and it’s a scary place to be. How can parents prepare their kids? And I’m not talking just about homeschool parents, I’m talking about parents, homeschool parents, public school, private school parents. How can we prepare our kids for this culture war that we are in right now, not even entering, but we’re in a war right now. How can we prepare our kids as they’re growing into young adults and the future of our country? How can we help them?
Dr. Duke: Well, I mean, think about what you just said. I want to reiterate it. You have a well-meaning and incredibly brave young teacher in California who is evading the system to some degree. The entire library has been stocked with books that are harmful to these kids’ development and she’s checked them out. And that’s the best you’re going to get. She hasn’t protected her kids from that. In her classrooms, they don’t get it. But in other classrooms, they will. So even the best-case scenario, you see how dangerous it is. And so the way to prepare them, I say, I think I go back to what I said before. Number one is you’re praying with them two or three every night before they go to bed, if you take them to church on Wednesday and Sundays or you spend an hour every night doing Bible study, that pales in comparison to what they’re getting eight hours a day, nine months of the year. It is relentless.
Dr. Duke: So, the answer is our kids need an education. But they need an education that is our education. It is Christian based. It is Biblically-based. It is knowledge-based. They need to be able, these kids, and unfortunately because we’re attacking kids at younger and younger ages, in the public schools, they start this when they’re six and seven years old. We need to prepare our kids to answer those things. It’s not enough just as you teach the kids that God loves them and to teach them the moral values. That’s important. We’ve got to give them a reason to believe intellectually. So many of our kids, we homeschool them and they know the Bible, and they know their prayers, and they believe in their country, and they believe in God. And then they get to the university if you’ve homeschooled until high school. And then they meet really smart professors with PhDs after their name who don’t engage them on a biblical level, don’t engage them on a moral level.
Dr. Duke: That’s a battle they won’t win. Instead, they engage them on a rational level. All right, you know, prove to me your God exists. And they started hitting them with those kinds of questions. Our kids have to be able to rebut secular arguments. It’s not enough simply to be able to cite the Bible. And that’s an education they used to get. They used to get it before we corrupted the schools, they would get a sound logical education and then that would be reinforced by their faith. Now they’re getting an education that is hostile and absolutely the opposite of what their faith teaches them. And when they say that they’re not allowed to use the Bible, they can’t use scripture to prove their point. So every tool we give them is rendered moot by the professors. And so they dutifully line up.
Dr. Duke: Either they drop out or they fight and get lower grades. We’ve got to do a better job of, when I say giving them a Christian education, we’re handling the Bible stuff well. We’re not handling culture well. Why should you? Why is chastity better than libertinism? Why is humility in this culture, where it’s a total narcissistic self-esteem culture when it comes to education, why is humility perhaps the primary virtue Christ witnesses to us? Why is humility better than pride? Why is my self-esteem less important than making somebody else feel better about their lives? They don’t get that anymore. And we as Christian parents aren’t giving it to them. And again, our pastors aren’t giving them. We don’t talk about … everything is the prosperity gospel. Sin is judgmental. Many of our pastors actually believe talking about sin is prejudicial. It’s one-sided. So without that kinds stuff, it’s a bleak landscape unless we as parents decide to give them those things.
Yvette: Yeah, well, it hurts people’s feelings when you tell them that they’re sinful and we don’t want to do that. And you’re exactly right. It’s all about apologetics. Teaching our kids to understand what they believe, ask the questions, and then understand why they believe what they believe. Because if they don’t understand why they believe what they believe, they’re never going to be able to defend it. We’ve watched this happen time and time again with kids and it happens to kids in public school, private school, homeschool where they think, well, we’re good. And the parents think they’re good because we’re Christians and they go to church, like you said, a couple times a week and they can play their cards right, and they can say all the right things. But if they don’t really own their relationship with the Lord, then they have no solid foundation to stand on. I’m curious to know because you’re a university professor, what is your viewpoint of Christian universities today? How are you seeing those kind of shake up culture?
Dr. Duke: The vast majority of them are worse than the public schools. You take schools, the obvious Catholic ones like Notre Dame or Georgetown, and these Christian schools, and the Protestant ones do it as well, in the name of plurality, in the name of open-mindedness, the Christian universities all hire non-Christian faculty. They don’t want to be seen as discriminating like the pastors. They want to invite secular teachers in because our Christian kids need to hear both sides and immediately when they get to campus, these non-Christian faculty members who are now 70% and 80% of the faculty now. That number of Christians keeps shrinking, and they’re demanding LGTBQ, and they’re demanding socialism, and they’re demanding an end to borders. They’re turning around and accusing the Christian theology that governs the school of being exclusionary and there’s nobody to stop it. But I’ve said this many times. I would much rather my kid lose his faith from a public school teacher or a public university professor because you expect it.
Dr. Duke: You expect them when they go into a non-Christian classroom to have their face challenged. It is really dangerous when our kids go to so-called Christian schools and they encounter in Christian environments really anti-Christian ideas. they begin to think that Christianity is either evil by definition if all these Christian professors don’t like it or their Christianity becomes really social justice pretending to be Christianity. And many of our kids are working again, many of our Christian kids think that Christianity now means radical left-wing politics. And so it’s undermining faith. I’d rather have my kids in a secular school than in a Christian school that’s lost its way. And there are very, very, very few Christian schools that are faithful to their heritage and their mission.
Yvette: Yeah, I agree with you completely. And it’s so deceptive because they think they’re getting a Christian education and these parents think that they’re sending their children to a good, solid Christian school. It’s got all of these awards, and accreditations, and blah blah blah. Okay. But are they really teaching the truth of God’s word? And I know that there are some out there that really are, but I appreciate you saying that because we’ve talked a whole lot about that and that’s a scary place to be as a parent.
Yvette: We’re looking at, our daughter is going into high school next year and starting to just think through, okay, what direction is she going to head? And we were talking to a pastor several months ago and he was saying the same thing. And I said, “Would you ever consider sending your kids to a public university?” He said, “Most of them are better than private universities today.” And he goes, “And at least they know that they’re getting a secular education.” And hopefully my children will have been trained and have a very solid foundation and be able, again, back to apologetics, they know what they believe and why they believe it. And so they know that going into it.
Dr. Duke: Well, one piece of advice I give your parents, I can give you, even. When you go to a Christian school, Christian college to find out what it’s really like, don’t ignore the administration. They’re going to give you some student is going to give you a tour of a Christian campus and talk about how faith-friendly it is. That’s all propaganda. Go to the cafeteria, sit down with a couple of strange kids and say, hey, my daughter is going to be coming here. Can we buy you lunch and talk to you? Sit down with the kids. The kids are much more honest. Ask them, is there regular church service? Are the faculty really open to Christian values? You’ll find out quick from the kids whether or not. They’re a much better gauge of what’s going on than the school’s trying to get, they want your money. They want you there.
Yvette: Yeah. That’s a fantastic idea. We have a few more minutes left. Let’s talk about FreedomProject Academy. Tell us what that is.
Dr. Duke: It’s one more way to try to help homeschool moms and dads. There a lot of homes. There are a lot of moms I’ve encountered across the country, oftentimes, secular moms or Christian moms who are overwhelmed by what’s happening in the public schools, but they got to work two jobs. The husband and wife have to work. Sometimes it’s single mothers. These are families that desperately want out of public school, but they can’t afford the costs of private Christian schools and they don’t have time or they feel like they’re not qualified to teach the kids the way they have to. So what we do at FreedomProject is we have real live teachers teaching over the computer just like you and I are watching each other right now. And they teach in real-time and they come right into your living room. We can do everything from kindergarten through high school. We can do one or two classes or an entire range of classes.
Dr. Duke: We are accredited. So kids who come with us can get a high school diploma. And our kids are getting into colleges all over the place. So we’re a Christian school, we teach Christian values, we teach biblical principles, we give a high-quality classical education. And so for moms and dads who use us, we’re not for everybody. I mean, it’s a lot of screen time but we do give a really good education in a Christian vein for families who want to homeschool but don’t think they can quite do it themselves. We can either help them or do it for them.
Yvette: And can they choose from specific classes or you just sign up and you get everything?
Dr. Duke: No. We have moms and dads who are great at homeschooling, the only thing they can’t teach their kid is chemistry at junior year of high school. So they’ll just take our chemistry class or we’ve got moms and dads and keep the kids in the public school, but they don’t like the fact that American history is so bad. So they’ll send their kids to public school all day and then in the evening, they’ll do one of our courses on American history so they get to see the other side of the story. We have other parents for whom we do five classes a semester from kindergarten through high school and we give them a diploma. So it depends on what you need, what you want. We’re very flexible that way.
Yvette: Okay. I know you started classes at the beginning of this semester. Will you start new classes mid-year? And can people sign up for it mid-year or do they have to wait until next school year?
Dr. Duke: Rolling admissions is too difficult because, especially because, and this is a fact across the board when kids come to us from the public schools, they are at a minimum two years behind where they should be. So it’s very hard in the middle of the semester to try to place that. So unfortunately, we need to wait until the following August, September. But we can do it then. And we’re very serious about that. The nice thing about this online course stuff is if your kid comes to us and she’s a fourth grader and she does fourth grade English, she’s doing good, but her math grade is second grade, we can keep her in all the other classes at her age and then put her back into math classes a little earlier and then catch her up. So this is something that public schools can’t do. It’s not something we do.
Yvette: Okay. And do you assess the children before you assign them to a class?
Dr. Duke: Anybody who applies to FreedomProject and you could do it for, even if you want to find out where your kids are, we’ll do placement exams in math and English for you. Even if you have no intention of coming to us, it won’t cost you anything. And then we’ll tell you where your kids are. Vis-a-vis where they should be. It’s not that complicated. If you want your kids to be able to read at a high level and you want them to be able to do at least precalculus by the time they graduate high school, then at every grade you have to get them a certain place. And so every parent that comes to us, we give the two exams, we let them know. And even moms and dads who don’t come with us, we tell them where their kids are so they know, they have a sense of where their kids should be and where they are.
Yvette: Okay. That’s fantastic. We’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. One last question. As a university professor, I don’t know how many homeschool kids you get in your classroom, but are you seeing that homeschooled students going into college and universities, are they well prepared? Are they better prepared? Are they less prepared? What are you seeing?
Dr. Duke: It’s undeniably true that the homeschool kids we get at college are better because … it takes us full circle back to the beginning of the interview. We’re not educating anymore kids to be good readers, to be good mathematicians and scientists, we’re educating them to be woke, socially aware, progressive. So when they get to college, most of the public school kids shouldn’t be there. I estimate about four out of 10 of my kids in every class, every one, shouldn’t even be in college. They don’t have enough knowledge or they’re unwilling to work at it. But when I get homeschool kids, they’re fine. I mean, they’re solid. They’re literate. They have a basic foundation that the public school kids don’t have. So then even if they’re not completely ready, you can catch them up quickly.
Dr. Duke: It’s the public school kids. And even many of the Christian educated kids who get a solid Christian education, they’re more or less ready. But certainly, the public school kids aren’t. And then the sad thing is, the tragic thing is that the universities too are catering to the progressive kid who doesn’t know anything rather than the Christian kid who could succeed. So we’re lowering our standards. We’re bringing kids to college, not on the basis of achievement, but on the basis of how woke they are and how malleable they are to progressive arguments. So universities, to the surprise of nobody, universities are worse even than the public schools in terms of turning kids into good little progressives.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah. It’s encouraging to know that universities are seeking out homeschooled kids. We’ve talked to a few university professors and that’s one of the fears, of course, that parents often have of homeschooling is my kid’s not going to be able to get into college. And so we talk about that in the movie and say, yes, they will be able to getting to college. Not only that, but there are actual universities now, many of them and more and more each year who are seeking out homeschooled kids because they really are better prepared.
Dr. Duke: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, at every university, I’ve taught at seven different universities now and I’ve always had one colleague in every English department who looks forward to teaching homeschool kids. One, because they were smart and two, because they saw it as their mission, as one put, to kick the Jesus out of them. So the universities recognize that these kids are smart and they want them because these are kids that don’t drop class, they don’t swear or cut classes. They turn their homework and they say, “yes ma’am,” “no sir.” They like that. But then they want to socially engineer these kids. And so they’ll take them. The universities want them, but a lot of the professors want them for very different reasons.
Yvette: Interesting. That’s really interesting. What is one last bit of encouragement that you can give to the moms and dads who are listening to this podcast? How would you encourage them in regards to either bringing their kids home from public school, why should they do that, or just homeschooling in general?
Dr. Duke: Well, I think rather than give them some platitude, I would simply cite your story. because I’ve heard your story tens of thousands of times. Concerned parents who are Christian, who watched their kids’ education, who see what’s happening around them, who hear the horror stories, who understand what’s happening, who never thought, and you and I’ve talked about this before, I mean, you never thought in a million years you would homeschool your kids. You’re a good Christian, but you thought that those homeschool kids were a little socially maladjusted. And now that you’ve taken the leap, I love the phrase you said, it’s St. Paul on the road to Damascus. The scales fell from your eyes and now you wouldn’t trade your homeschooling for anything.
Dr. Duke: I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, I’ve been to 48 States, I’ve given over a thousand talks on this stuff, I have never met a single homeschool mom and dad who regrets doing it. Not one. And that tells you something that if you take that commit, that you make that leap in God’s name to give your kids a godly education, God is going to allow you to do it. God will give you all the tools you need. Every financial, every sociological, every family obstacle that the devil has thrown in your way will fall away. You just got to take that leap of faith and as Christians, we all we do every day. Do it. You’ll be happy.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. Well, you guys heard it from Dr. Duke Pesta and he knows his stuff. So where can people find out more about you and FreedomProject Academy?
Dr. Duke: Well, you can go to our freedom project website. It’s FreedomProject Education, fpeusa.org, and there’s all sorts of stuff there about the school. One thing I would urge you to do maybe is if you like podcasts like this one you’re watching now, ours too, the Dr. Duke Show. It’s four times a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and it’s absolutely free. You can get it anywhere you get podcasts and you’re going to you, at the very least, you will be a very, very informed person as to what is actually happening in the schools.
Yvette: Yes. Well, I appreciate it so much. I listen to your podcast. I have been since I heard you on Heidi’s podcast, and you and Katie are a riot.
Dr. Duke: It’s such a sad, depressing story. We try to make it as fun as possible. And that’s the Dr. Duke show.
Yvette: Well, you do a good job of it. It’s hard to talk about the issues of today sometimes and it’s not entertaining where you sit and laugh all the time, but you have made me think about a lot of things and really opened my eyes up to a whole lot of things going on in our culture. And so I get a lot of my information from you, so thank you for what you’re doing. You are a blessing.
Find out more about Dr. Duke’s FreedomProject Academy, an online homeschool curriculum that offers a fully accredited, Classical education for Kindergarten through High School.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited to have my guest, and I want to say kind of new cohost, on with me today. This is Aby. And many of you who have listened to the podcast know who she is. She has been a great friend, and just an incredible encouragement to my family and I over the past year or so, as we’ve been filming Schoolhouse Rocked and working on the podcast and doing all things Schoolhouse Rocked. And God has just done amazing things in our friendship.
Yvette: So, Aby, welcome back to the podcast. I’m excited to have you on. Because we’ve been talking a lot about just kind of the future of Schoolhouse Rocked and the podcast and what the Lord is doing with all of this stuff. And so you’re kind of jumping on board with me, right?
Aby Rinella: I am so excited to do so. Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: I love this. We got to do an interview together. It was me, you, and Karen DeBeus. And this was several months ago. And the three of us just had a great connection with one another, and then you and I have done several podcast interviews together. And we’ve just become good friends outside of the podcast. And we’re so like-minded. God has really brought us together clearly on purpose. And so I love your heart for homeschooling. I love your heart for family. I love the encouragement that you have given to me. I feel like you have just done an incredible job of standing beside my family and I as we’ve been on this crazy journey, which is what we’re going to talk a little bit about today, right?
Aby: And I am so excited to talk to you about this crazy journey and this incredible journey that you guys have been on. It is a story that needs to … Maybe there should be another movie of the making of the movie. It has been an amazing journey. And we connected about a year ago. And I was so captivated by you guys. And not only what God was doing through you guys but what you guys were willing to do for God. And it was just incredible. It’s incredible to see. The verse Matthew 4:19 just hits me when Jesus says, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
And he asked the men to drop their nets and walk away from everything that they knew, everything comfortable, everything that they kind of had figured out. And he said, “Let it all go. Leave it all behind, and follow me into the unknown. But know that I’m with you.” And I just feel like that is what I see with your family, is that’s exactly what you guys have done. And I feel super privileged to know the story. And I know that the podcast listeners have heard bits and pieces of it. But I’m just hoping that you will share with us from the moment Jesus said, “Come and follow me.”
Well, that was way before he called you to the movie. You followed him. But when he said, “I want you to leave behind everything you know and everything that’s comfortable and I want to do something incredible through you guys for my kingdom.” So will you share that journey with us?
Yvette: Sure. Yeah. It has been an incredible journey. As we’re recording this right now we are in California, which is where we’re from. This has been home to our family, to my husband and I and to our kids pretty much our whole lives. So we have lived in other places for a few short periods of time, but for 40-some years this was home and it was all we knew, and so I guess I can kind of start it a little bit at the beginning, for those who don’t know the whole story.
Garritt used to work in the Hollywood film industry and he did that for many years, and he was very good at what he did. He loves filmmaking. God has just gifted him in that area, and so many other areas as well. But he really felt like the Lord had called him to do this. But he didn’t want to do it in an industry that he didn’t believe in. And so he quit working in that industry, went on to work for our church and teach film in a Christian school for a year. And this was in 2015 through 2016 school year.
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So, he was teaching for that year and working for our church. And through that year we knew it was just a one-year commitment and we knew that at the end of that year it was going to be time for him to figure out what next. They wanted him to come back and teach. But he just didn’t feel like that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. I don’t know if I’ve actually told you this part of the story, but I vividly remember it was April of 2016 and we were sitting in church, and I can still picture it perfectly. We’re sitting in the middle of the service, and we have a great pastor, so usually I was really interested and engaged in what he was talking about.
And I don’t even remember if he had said something that triggered this idea in my mind, or if the Lord just put it on my heart. Either way it was certainly from the Lord. But I thought, “You know, we should …” We knew his job was ending and I thought, “We should just sell our house and sell all of ours stuff and go travel around the country.” And at that time we had felt like the Lord was leading us out of California, but we didn’t know where we would go. We had family in a couple of other states, but we just didn’t have any idea where we would end up.
And so, I wrote on our church bulletin, and I said, “I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff and get an RV and go travel the country.” And I passed it over to him, and he kind of looked at me like, “Are you crazy? That’s insane.” And so after church he just said, “We can’t do that. That’s insane.” So I just let it go, and I thought, “Okay, well whatever. Clearly if the Lord’s not going to put that big idea on his heart then it’s probably not the best idea.”
Well, fast forward several months and the school year ended and so his job was ending. And he had so many options for work at the time. The economy was really looking a lot better. And he’s a very talented man, very gifted in many areas. He has tons of experience. He’s got his marketing degree. So it would have been easy for him to go out and find a job. And there were so many people who were saying, “Weil, you should go and do this,” or, “You should do that. And I’ve heard about this job opening or that job opening.”
He also was in the Air Force, so he also has a background in aircraft. And none of it sat right with him. He just didn’t feel like that was the right thing for him to pursue. Like any of those things were right for him to pursue. And so we just prayed through that summer, “Lord, just show us where you want us to go. Show us what you want us to do.” And I don’t remember exactly what month it was, but it was probably somewhere around July, maybe the end of July or so.
And I remember him just kind of sitting on the edge of our bed and he just said, “I don’t know how to tell you this.” He said, “But, I think we should sell our house and sell all of our stuff, load up in an RV and go travel and see where the Lord takes us. And I think we need to film a documentary on homeschooling.” And instantly, without hesitation, I said, “Yes. Let’s do that.”
And it was just incredible that the Lord had put that on my heart many months before that. Because I think had he come to me and just said, “I think we should do all this, I have this crazy idea,” I would have followed if I knew that that’s what the Lord was calling him to do. But I don’t know how excited I would have been about that. But I didn’t just say yes. I was excited about it. And understand, California, like I said, was home. It was where our family is. It’s where our church is, all of our friends, our homeschool community. Our whole life was in California.
And so, the idea of just driving out aimlessly should have been a really scary thing for us. But it wasn’t. Because we knew the Lord was in it. So we just prayed, and we said, “Okay Lord. We’re going to trust you to just orchestrate this. And if this is really what you want us to do then we’ve got to sell the house first.” And we had a really nice five-bedroom house and had the minivan, because of course we’re a homeschool family. So every homeschool mom must have a minivan.
And so, we had our comfortable life. And we said, “If this is what you want for us then you’re going to have to just open the doors. And He did. I mean, we put our house up for sale. The very next day we had an almost full-price offer on it. We sold the house. All of our stuff sold. I mean, it was amazing. It was really cool, because we had friends and family who just came over to our house and they were like, “Okay, we’ll take this, this, this, this and this.”
And then we had a huge estate sale and pretty much sold everything that we didn’t absolutely need to keep. We got rid of all of our childhood trophies and camp pictures, and I mean everything we’d been toting around for 20-some years of marriage. And so the Lord gave us such peace about it. So we in December of 2016 … It took obviously a few months to pull all of this together. Actually, we started pre-production on Schoolhouse Rocked in August I think. So it was almost three years ago.
Started in August and then it took until December for us to actually leave. But in December, on December 15th of 2106 we got in our RV, pulled by our Excursion, and even through the process of that there were so many answered prayers. We wanted a very specific travel trailer. That was the kind of RV we decided that we wanted. And the Lord provided exactly what we wanted. Even more so actually. And it was a mile down the road from us. We wanted a Ford Excursion. He provided the Excursion that came with the travel trailer. You know, they were already attached, and it was perfect.
And so just there were so many answered prayers through that time that we just saw the hand of God move. And so we set out to film this documentary and to really just explore and see where the Lord would take us. And we ended up going straight to Georgia, because we knew that we wanted to be with family for Christmas. And so half of our family is in California. The other half is in Georgia. And then we’ve got kind of other extended family scattered throughout the country.
So, we ended up in Georgia, and that was where we kind of parked ourselves for the past two and a half plus years. And through the process of just being obedient to God we have had to rely on him and depend on him for everything. Everything. It sounds crazy when we tell people that Garritt has not had a steady paycheck, as you will, for over three years.
Yvette: And the Lord has provided our daily bread. I mean, it’s been incredible to just see the hand of God move and provide for us because we’ve answered this call that he’s put upon us to film this documentary. And so-
Aby: Can I interject really quick?
Yvette: Please, yes.
Aby: It wasn’t, from my understanding, that you guys were not like on the homeschool speaking circuit, and you knew all these homeschool people to interview. And you didn’t have one foot in to the whole … You were just a normal guy, a normal mom, and normal kids. And so it wasn’t like we kind of have this figured out and the Lord-
Aby: It was totally into the unknown. And share a little bit about just God’s incredible hand on … I mean, you’ve interviewed … This movie has the top, the cream of the crop, the most inspirational, wisest, incredible cast. And that, share a little bit about how God put that all together.
Yvette: Sure. Yes. Well, as you say, we were just your typical homeschool family. I didn’t know anyone, and Garritt certainly didn’t know anyone in the homeschool world. We’d been to a couple of conventions and we’d heard some speakers that were really encouraging to us. But there were a couple of people whose names we knew. And Andrew Pudewa was one of them. And he was one that I said from the beginning … We had used IEW, which is his company, we’d use their curriculum. And I just really respected him, and I really liked his style of teaching. And I just knew he was very well respected in the homeschool community. And so I thought, “I want to interview him.”
And the Lord worked out the details of that. Before we left California we contacted him. He was the first homeschool expert that we contacted and we just said, “Hey, we’re making this movie.” At the time I don’t think we even had a title for the movie. We didn’t even know what we were going to call it. We just said, “We’re making this documentary on homeschooling.” We thought it was going to be kind of a small direct-to-DVD type documentary. And he said, “Oh, I’d love to be a part of that.”
And he lives in Oklahoma. He said, “But I’m coming to California in a few weeks. If you’re still in California I would love to just do the interview while I’m there.” And we said, “Well, that would be fantastic.” So that’s what we did. He actually drove out to us from … He was in Long Beach and we were way south of him. We were north of him actually. So he drove to where we were, and we got to interview him and just, I mean, we were blown away by his wisdom and his knowledge and his incredible interview.
And then he went on after the interview and he just said to us, “You know, I really believe in what you guys are doing.” He said, “Here are some suggestions of people that you may want to interview.” And he listed off a whole bunch of names. And it was really funny because he said, “All these people are great. I highly recommend trying to connect with these people. I’ll be more than happy to connect you with them, because I know all of them,” he said, “But if there’s any one person that you really need to get in this movie it’s Heidi St. John.”
And I was familiar of course with her. Interested read a couple of her books. But I had never actually heard her speak at that time. So I was like, “Okay. Well, yes, I know who she-
Aby: You really were in the dark, weren’t you?
Yvette: Yes. I was in the dark. And so we just prayed about it and I guess it was about a year and a half later or so the Lord opened the door for us to be able to interview Heidi. And so she’ll come in a little bit later in this story again, as you know. But having Andrew Pudewa in the movie, and having interviewed him, just opened up the door to all of these other people. Because we were able to contact these people and we would say, “We’re making this documentary. This is why we’re making it.” And it was we really want to encourage and equip the homeschool community. We want people to understand the great benefits and blessings of homeschooling and debunk all of the myths and misconceptions that people have of homeschooling. And we would say, “And we’ve interviewed Andrew Pudewa and several other people.”
And as soon as they would see his name they would say, “Oh, well, if Andrew’s in this movie then certainly it must be legit. And so we would love to do this.” And that’s how the Lord opened up the doors for us to interview so many of the cast members that we have since interviewed.
Aby: Obviously God’s movie.
Yvette: Obviously God’s movie, because it’s not anything we’ve done. I mean, we’re not these amazing people that anyone even knows. No one knows our name or anything. So we were able to go to a couple of homeschool conventions where they were speaking. So that spring we hit a few of them and we were able to interview a bunch of people all at one time. I mean, not together, but while we were at the conventions. And that was a great blessing that the Lord just allowed us to be able to do that.
When we started interviewing people for the movie, one of the people that we wanted to interview was Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis. So we called Answers in Genesis, and we said, “We would love to interview him for this movie.” And we were going to be in Cincinnati, which is near where the Creation Museum is. And we said, “We’re going to be there on these dates. Would he be available?” And they said, “He’s not going to be available,” but Bryan Osborne, who is one of their speakers and he is one of their curriculum developers, they said he would be available and he would be happy to be interviewed for the movie.
And we said, “Okay, great. We don’t know who this Bryan Osborne guy is. But yes. If this is the door the Lord is opening then let’s interview him.” So we got to go and interview Bryan. And he was just fantastic. He was a public school teacher for 13 years and just an incredible, wise, godly man. And so the Lord just kept orchestrating all of this and bringing people to us who we didn’t even know that we needed to interview. And God just would say, “Here you go. Interview this person.”
And again, through the course of this God kept providing for our family in just the most amazing and miraculous ways. We’ve had several families who have just come alongside us and just said, “We’ll support you monthly.” And some of them have been just a little bit per month. Some of them have been a couple hundred dollars per month. And the Lord has just put that on their hearts. And other people have supported us by donating large amounts at a time. We had one family who they donated $5,000 and just sent a really sweet note with it. And she said her husband had been homeschooled and his mom had passed away before she was able to see the fruits of her labor. And so they wanted to just bless this ministry that God had called us to.
And that has just happened over and over again where God has just put it on people’s hearts to support it. Because it’s really not our ministry, as you know. It’s the Lord’s ministry. And so, anyway, as we’ve been on this journey and seen God open the doors for us to pull this whole movie together, he brought us to a point about a year ago where we were almost done with filming but we needed just to finish the narrative of the movie. And when you have a documentary you can’t have just a bunch of interviews with a bunch of talking heads. You have to actually have a storyline through the movie.
And so, we got in contact with another production company and we were talking with them and working with them for several months. Actually it was about I think seven or eight months that we were working through trying to solidify a partnership with them. And the Lord closed the door on that, and there’s a whole story behind that that I won’t get into. And it was not anything … There was nothing wrong with them or with us. It’s just the Lord just said, “This is just not the direction that I want you to go.”
So, we actually walked away from that deal. But before we had a signed contract with them. And at that time, that was just in April, this past April, it had set us back several months because we had spent all that time working through that potential partnership. And so April came around and we were like, “Well, what do we do now? We still need to finish the movie.” We still need to have the narrative of the movie filmed, and then we were going to be all done with it. And the Lord over and over again kept putting Heidi St. John on our hearts and said, “She’s the one.” She’s the one that he wanted us to do it with.
So, I called Heidi. We had interviewed her before for the movie in Tennessee. And her interview was excellent. But it was just a regular interview. It wasn’t the storyline of the movie. So I called Heidi and I said, “Here’s the deal. We need to finish this movie and we need a storyline. And we would like to do that with you.” And it was going to by myself and another homeschool mom talking through our journey of homeschooling. And she just said, “I’m in. Let’s do this.” But as you know, Heidi lives in Washington. She lives in-
Aby: On the other side of the country.
Yvette: On the other side of the country. We were in Georgia. She’s in Washington state. So we just started to pray again and say, “Lord, we’re going to just trust you to get us there. It’s not like we have all this extra money to travel across the country. It’s very expensive, obviously, to do that.” And so we just prayed. And again the Lord provided for us to be able to do that. And you were an exciting part of that, Aby, because as we were traveling across the country, you are in Idaho, and you and I … You know, you talked in the beginning a little bit about how you had reached out to us over a year ago and just said, “Hey, I’m excited about what you’re doing. How can I pray for you? How can I help?”
So, the Lord has just formed a really good friendship between you and me. So when I realized that you were on the way we were able to stop by and meet you and your family and stay with you for a few days. And that was such a huge blessing. Clearly a friendship and relationship orchestrated by the Lord. So we got to spend time with you and then we went on to Washington. And we got to go spend time with Heidi and her family. We were there for about two and a half weeks. So that was towards the end of June.
So, we got to finish filming the movie with Heidi. And we filmed the narrative with her, and then we filmed also, she and her family about two years ago opened the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center. And this place is absolutely amazing. It is exactly what every homeschool mom would dream of having. It’s this huge warehouse. It’s set up with classrooms and a theater and an art studio and a science lab, and they’ve got music rooms, and they’ve got beekeeping, and they have a recording studio where Heidi records her podcasts. And they’ve got a computer lab. I mean, a coffee shop so the moms can go hang out while their kids are doing classes.
It’s just amazing what the Lord has done with their ministry. And so we were able to film there with a bunch of their families who are part of the Homeschool Resource Center as well. And it was just incredible to see how God, again, opened those doors, provided for us to get to Washington, film the rest of the movie with Heidi and with her family, and at the Homeschool Resource Center. And then bring us to the place where we are now.
So last month, we finished in July, so last month we finished filming the whole movie.
Aby: That’s amazing. That’s incredible.
Yvette: It was amazing. Yes. Yeah. It was an amazing day when we finished. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait till the movie comes out because there was this one part where we needed to kind of tie up the whole message of the movie. And Heidi and I were sitting in the coffee shop and Garritt’s filming, and we’re talking with one another. And Garritt is saying, because he’s directing the movie of course, and he says, “Here’s the message that we need in order to just bring it home.”
And I was trying to get it out. And I just couldn’t do it. I could not form the words together properly in order to get the message across that we were trying to get through in this movie. And so he looked at Heidi, he said, “Heidi, do you think you can do this.” And I’m like, “Of course Heidi can do it.” And ironically she wasn’t even feeling very good that day. She was just having one of those days where she was just feeling kind of crummy.
And so, she didn’t even know what she was going to say exactly or how this was all going to end. But we had prayed beforehand and Garritt just said, “Okay, Heidi. It’s you. It’s on you now. Bring it home.” And it was literally like the Holy Spirit just came down on her. And she just gave this amazing … And it was probably three minutes of just bringing the whole movie together in one beautiful kind of speech, if you will, to the point where we were all about in tears. Actually I think Garritt was in tears at the end of it. And it was so funny, as soon as he cut he was like, “Yes.” And he screamed really loud and kind of Heidi and I jumped and we were like, “What?”
And he said, “That was it. That’s the end of the movie.” And that was it. And it was done.
Aby: Three years wrapped up in three minutes.
Yvette: Three years wrapped up in three minutes. Exactly. It was absolutely incredible, and it was only-
Aby: And it’s incredible because God knew from the very beginning, from the moment you wrote that little note to him on the church pew. God knew that that powerful last three minutes of the movie was where it was going to be delivered, who was going to say it, in exactly the time and place that he had planned for it.
Yvette: Yes. Yeah. It was a beautiful thing. So that’s where we are right now with the movie. We are done filming. It has been really neat. As we’ve been here in California we’ve been able to meet with a lot of friends and family and just kind of share the journey of where God has taken us over the past few years. And I think three years ago had God laid out for us, “This is what your life is going to look like,” I don’t know that we would have been so quick to sign on the dotted line. Because it’s been a huge blessing. But it’s also been a really difficult three years, because for this whole time we haven’t really been settled anywhere. We’ve been traveling a lot. We have not had a real solid homeschool community. We’ve gone to church in Georgia when we’re there, but we travel so much that we haven’t had a solid steady church community.
It’s been difficult for our whole family. But there have been so many blessings that have come from it. And we know that we are exactly where God wants us to be.
Aby: And he knows exactly where you’re going. So the movie’s wrapped up, and if anybody has not seen the trailer to this film, it will … If that didn’t give you chills, what the story the Yvette just told, the trailer will. So we’ll link to that at the bottom of this, because you’ve got to go watch that trailer. And then it needs to be shared everywhere so that you can get just what’s behind this film. And just as a side-note, because you would never plug this, but I will. That trailer won an incredible award, right? Didn’t that trailer win some award?
Yvette: Yeah. It won best film trailer at the Christian Worldview Film Festival just back in March. So yes. That was really exciting.
Aby: Which just shows you what kind of film this is going to be. This is going to be a top-notch film. So tell me now, it’s August 17th. I know God knows the plan-
Yvette: When we’re recording this.
Aby: So, the plan… Oh, sorry, yes.
Yvette: This is not live.
Aby: Right. So what is it going to take for me to see this movie on the screen?
Yvette: Well, that’s a good question. It’s going to take the Lord, obviously. The hand of God continuing to move. As we have filmed, about a year ago we went and we got to stay with a couple who had invited us to stay in their home overnight. They knew that we were going to be traveling through their town and they said, “We’d love to just have you guys over,” which that’s actually one of the amazing things God has done over the past several years is that people have just opened up their homes to us. Hospitality has been amazing. And people have just loved on our family and randomly they’ll just invite us in, and it’s been incredible because we have friends now all over the place.
But we stayed with them overnight, and the morning that we were leaving the husband, he said, “I really, I just want to pray over your family.” And when he prayed for us he prayed … Do you remember the story of course of the Israelites and Moses is leading the Israelites into the promised land. And there’s the one part where they’re fighting the Amalekites. And the Israelites are winning as long as Moses is holding up his staff. And as soon as his arm gets tired and he starts to fall, then the Israelites start to lose.
And so, Aaron and Hur come alongside Moses and they hold up his arm, and the Israelites end up winning this battle. And so that was what he prayed over us. And he said, “Lord, just bring people around the Hampton family as they fight this battle and get this movie done. Bring people alongside them who will help hold up their arms and encourage them.” Because there’s been several times where we’ve just been weary. We’re tired. We are overwhelm. It has for the most part been I’ll say a four-man show, because we’ll include our girls in that. They’ve done a lot with this movie. And so it’s just been our family who has done most of this.
But the Lord has brought alongside us people who have supported us through prayer, through encouragement, through finances. And writing blogs for us. Just podcasting with me. I mean, so different things that people have done to encourage and support us. And it’s not anything that we’ve done on our own. We are, to be quite honest, we’re totally lame on our own. We are not capable of doing any of this without the grace and mercy and power of God. But the beautiful thing about that is that in the end, and we talk a lot about this as a family. Because it’s been such a difficult journey in many ways and a journey that we couldn’t do on our own, in the end all we’re going to be able to say is, “Look what God did.”
It’s not because we’re such amazing people and so gifted in a million different areas. It’s because God has equipped us to be able to accomplish what he’s called us to do in making this movie. And so he gets all the glory for it in the end.
Aby: Well, and I think too, it is a movie, but it is so much more than a movie. And I think that that’s maybe the message that also needs to get across, is this isn’t just a movie. I mean, look around our culture and see what’s going on. We are in a whole new set of times that we’ve ever been in, and we are raising children in, they’re not scary times because we know who’s in control and we know the end of the story. But they’re difficult times. And our culture is going down fast. And our families are being torn apart. And our children are having to fight things that we never thought they would.
And so, this isn’t just a movie. This is a message that God has placed on your guys’ hearts. But the reality is it’s a message that every one of us who has chosen to homeschool, and even those that haven’t, this is a message that’s on the hearts of the people. And this is a tool. This movie is a tool for all of us. I’ve said so many times, if I could just pay someone to answer all the ridiculous questions people ask me about homeschool, if I could just hand someone a movie and say, “Check this out,” that they would be as inspired and passionate about not just homeschool, but about the design that God made for parents to teach and train their children in his righteousness.
I mean, that sounds like a cop out for me, but I’d love to just hand someone something that they could watch. And that’s what this is. This isn’t just a movie. This is a message to God’s people and to people that wonder and question and aren’t sure. Because more now than ever this message needs to be heard.
Yvette: Yes. Oh, I could not agree more. It’s interesting, because we’ve talked a lot about this over the last even just couple months, in that since we started filming three years ago, the time has gone by so quickly but so much has happened in the last three years in culture. I mean, we have seen a drastic change in the way people are responding to God’s word, in the way that the church is responding, in the way that public schools are responding, and that the deeper their indoctrination is going and what they’re teaching these kids. It was bad three years ago. It’s worse today. And it’s gotten so out of control that parents, they need help, and they need hope. They need to know that there’s another way, another alternative to homeschooling, or I’m sorry, to public schooling or private schooling.
And so that’s why God’s called us to make this movie. But we can’t make it alone. I mean, we are the body of Christ and we are not meant to do this on our own. And we haven’t done it on our own. We’ve been kind of the daily hands and feet who the Lord has called to do this. But we certainly cannot do this without the help of people. I was reflecting recently on … I don’t know, I’m reading a lot of the Old Testament, as you can see. Our family’s actually reading through the New Testament, but in my quiet time I’m actually reading through Joshua right now.
And I love reading about the Israelites because it’s amazing to see what God has done with them. And I was thinking recently about, you know when God brought them out of Egypt and they’re standing at the edge of the Red Sea, and they’re standing in front of this huge sea, and they don’t know how they’re going to get through it. Because what are they going to do? If it had been a little stream or if it had been maybe even like a larger river there were enough of them that collectively they could have said, “You know what, if we just stack these rocks just right or if we lay these logs just so we can figure out a way to get across this stream or across this river.”
But God didn’t bring them to a stream or river. He brought them to the sea. And so they’re standing there and they could not at that point even have said, “Well, we’re just going to stand here and wait, and clearly God’s going to split the sea and we’re going to walk through on dry ground.” Because that had never been done before. And so all they could do was stand and wait. And they were scared. And now the enemy’s chasing them. And again, God just said, “Moses, you hold up your staff and watch what I do.” And he parts the sea. And they walk through on dry land. I mean, that’s an incredible story.
Aby: It’s incredible. Yes.
Yvette: And the same God who can split the sea for the Israelites to walk through is the same God who will provide everything that we need in order to get this movie done. Because again, it’s his movie. It’s not ours. And we, as far as budget-wise, I know you didn’t ask this, but I’ll just say anyway, just so people know where we are, as far as budget-wise it’s going to take close to about $500,000 to get the movie into theaters.
So now that we’re done filming, we’re done with production, we now are moving into postproduction. And post production is where we bring in a composer and a colorist, and probably a second editor, and all the other names that you see in the end credits of the movie who will make this movie excellent. But we have to hire all those people and then all the resources that we need in order to complete this. So post production is about, I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $198,000. So that’s what we need to finish, post-production on the movie.
And then another, well, whatever the difference is of that. So close to $500,000 total to get it actually into theaters. So the rest of that budget is for marketing the movie, which I know that sounds like a big number, but if no one knows about the movie then no one’s going to see it. So it’s not too big for God, though. You know, we realize that [crosstalk 00:38:29]-
Aby: It’s not. And I know a lot of people are probably thinking, “Okay, why would I get behind … There’s a million movies out there. There’s 100 movies out there. There’s lots of movie makers out there.” But what I want to say is getting behind this, we’re not getting behind a movie. We’re getting behind a message that needs to be heard, and God has a message that he wants heard in a culture that desperately needs to hear it. And you know, when we send missionaries out into a strange world where people aren’t following Christ to spread the gospel, missionaries don’t go without people sending them. And there are people sending the missionaries, there are people praying for the missionaries and encouraging and supporting them financially, and in many ways.
And that’s how I want people to see this, is this is a mission. This is a mission that has been put on your guys’ heart. And as parents who have already answered the call to homeschool, we need to get behind this mission. We need to have a heart for the lost. We need to have a heart for parents. They were once probably where we were, that said, “Yeah, I would like to but there’s no way I could.” And they have all the reasons as to why they don’t think they’re equipped. Or even maybe aren’t sure that it’s even the best, the right way to do it. So we need to spread this message. And the way to do that, because not everybody’s an eloquent speaker. Not everybody can make a movie. But God has placed those gifts in the speakers that you have in the movie, and in you and Garritt to make the movie. And so we need to get behind you, homeschool families.
I want to get behind you guys to do this because I look around my neighborhood and I cry for the children. And I cry for the families who they know that they don’t, they don’t want to send their kids out every day, but they don’t know another way. And so this is for those families. This is for our neighbors, this is for our church families, this is for ourselves to be encouraged and our parents and the naysayers, or the people that want to do it but just don’t know how.
So, getting behind this movie isn’t just funding a movie. Getting behind this movie is supporting missionaries who have answered the call to go out into a culture that rejects God and give hope and a message that just must be spread right now. So how can we do that? So now what? I’m on board. What can we do now?
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you for your encouragement with that. There are a couple of ways that people can help. The quickest way is to just go to schoolhouserocked.com. If people want to donate they can click right on the front page. There’s a blue button that says, I think it just says, “Donate now.” But then there are also several different ways that people can help. So I think on the front page there’s a button that says, “Support Schoolhouse Rocked.” I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s labeled. And they can go on there and they can see how they can partner with us. Homeschool friendly organizations can sponsor the movie. That’s a huge way that organizations can help and get on board with us.
People can donate. People can invest. We’re actually looking for bigger investors, and donors. Bigger donors as well. Though honestly, I mean $10 or $10,000, it doesn’t matter. It’s all God’s money and it’s all the same in his economy anyway. But that shows the different ways that people can be involved in helping the movie. And then also, obviously, just praying for us. Pray for us as we go about doing this. We have several people who are on our prayer team and they will send us regular text messages or phone calls or emails and just say, “Hey, how can we pray for you. How are things going.” And that means the world to us.
I think people don’t realize how much we need that encouragement and how much that keeps us going. And, I mean, Aby, you’ve been one who the Lord, I am certain he has placed you in our lives exactly at the right time because you … I think I shared this with you, but a couple weeks ago Garritt and I were out to dinner and just talking through, “Okay, what now? What are we going to do? How are we going to move forward with this? Which direction is the Lord leading us to get this movie done?” And you had sent an email, no, a text message to me that morning and just said, “I’m so excited. I can’t wait till the day that we get to actually see this movie completed, and I don’t care if it takes 10 years for it to get done. It will get done in God’s perfect time.”
And at the end of it you said, “Stay the course.” And as Garritt and I were talking he was sharing with me, he just said, “You know, I just, I know that this is what God’s called us to. There’s no doubt in my mind.” And I know it too. “Because we’ve seen his hand move in so many different ways.” But we need people to remind us of that. To just stay the course, just keep going, don’t give up, keep going, keep going. Have you ever seen Facing the Giants? That’s the Kendrick brothers’ movie.
The Death Crawl Scene from Facing the Giants
Yvette: Oh, you need to watch it. It’s so good. For those of you who have seen it, you may remember there’s this part in there where Alex Kendrick is a football coach. And you need to see this part because I don’t know that I can do it justice. But there’s this part where he’s got this football player and this big football player has another of this smaller football player guys on his back. And he’s getting him to crawl across the field. And he’s blindfolded, the one who’s crawling with the other one on his back, he’s blindfolded. And he’s trying so hard to get across the field, and he’s exhausted. I mean, he gets halfway across and he’s just so tired. And he’s like, “I can’t go one more step.”
And Alex Kendrick is on the football field on the ground with him. And he’s down on his hands and knees with him, and he’s like, “Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going.” And I often feel like people like you and our family members, you know our parents have been incredibly supportive of this and what God is doing here. There are so many people who are just on their hands and knees with us and just saying, “Keep going, keep going, stay the course, keep going.” And so when people leave reviews on the podcast, when they email us, when they text us or call us, that is a huge way that people can support and encourage us as well.
Aby: Awesome. Well, I cannot wait. I cannot wait. I keep thinking about sitting in a seat and watching it on the big screen, and hearing a message that is so important to be heard and bringing my friends and my family. And this is going to be wonderful. And there’s been another big movie that’s just been released that is just, it’s changed lives and it’s addressed things that are happening right now that are against God’s word in the culture. And it reached peoples’ hearts. And that’s what I can’t wait to see this movie do, is reach peoples’ hearts for the kingdom of God.
And I can’t wait. And I’m so blessed to be with you in this journey. And I just keep thinking, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And I think this movie is going to give parents the encouragement they need and the tools that they need to not hinder their children from coming to Christ. So I just, I’m so thankful for what you guys are doing. I want to encourage everybody listening to this to get behind this, to get behind this film. It’s for all of us. It’s for God, but it’s for all of us to share and to use. And then share it. It’s just, get on, if you’re on social media share the trailer, share the movie, and share the need that it’s going to take people getting behind this movie to see it in the theaters and to have it in our hands. So-
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you. And I want to just throw out there too, it’s not just the movie. Schoolhouse Rockedis a ministry that God has called us to. And we’re building this whole kind of ecosystem around the movie, which is why we have the podcast, it’s why we have the blog, it’s why we have the Facebook page. It’s not just here’s a movie, now leave and go figure out how to do it on your own. It’s the movie is the base of it, but then you’ve got all of these things that go along with it to help continue to encourage parents in their journey of homeschooling. And that’s really what we feel like the Lord has led us to do, is to build a ministry to homeschool families to help them to stay the course, to help them homeschool with excellence. Because anything we do for the Lord it should be done with excellence, including this movie, including the podcast, including everything that we do, we do it for the glory of God.
And so, it’s not just the movie, it’s the whole package. So when people support Schoolhouse Rockedthey are supporting everything that we’re doing with this ministry.
Aby: Yeah. A ministry to encourage parents and equip parents who homeschool. And for such a time as this. All we have to do is look around and this message is one that needs … And we all need the encouragement. I need to get on to Schoolhouse Rockedand get encouraged. So thank you for answering the call. Thank you for letting us all be a part of it.
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you, Aby. It’s so fun talking to you. And I appreciate you being on with me. This ended up being kind of a reverse podcast where I feel like you were interviewing me, but I love being able to share of God’s faithfulness, and again, it’s all for his glory.
Yvette: Only by his grace. So thank you, Aby, for loving our family, and loving us through this journey. And thank you guys for listening to the podcast today. I know we went way long today. But please pray for us, and please consider supporting us in any way you can, whether it’s through prayer or through a financial contribution or donation or investment, or whatever it is. Just pray about that, and we would love for you to just partner with us in this important ministry. So have a great day you guys, and we will be back next week.
You may not know his name, but you’re probably familiar with his work. Aaron Burns is a movie producer who has worked on some movies that I’m sure many of you have seen before. He is the producer of Beyond the Mask and Pendragon: Sword of His Father. He was also the associate producer on the Kendrick Brothers film, War Room, and he recently finished work on their next release, Overcomer, which was released on August 22nd.
Yvette Hampton: I am excited to be talking to you today Aaron, welcome!
Aaron Burns: Thank you. It’s a real pleasure to be here today.
Aaron: Yes. We have a lot of fun at that event. For people who are interested in filmmaking and storytelling, we encourage any families or kids who want to get involved in that come down every March to the Nashville area, to the Christian Worldview Film Festival.
Yvette: Yes, it is one of our favorite events. We have been the last two years to that event. We are always so incredibly blown away by just the speakers, the encouragement, the training, everything that comes with that. Then at the end of the week, you guys a big award ceremony and it’s fun and flashy, and it makes everyone feel a bit like a Hollywood star. So you got to emcee that, that was a lot of fun. By the way, Schoolhouse Rocked won “Best Film Trailer” this year. So that was really exciting.
Yvette: Yeah. Thank you. It was very exciting. We were surprised to win that, and very honored to get that award. So anyway, tell us about you. Because you were Homeschooled growing up. You now have three little ones yourself. Tell us about you and your family.
Aaron: Yeah, well that’s always, an interesting question where to begin. But I was Homeschooled, and really enjoyed that journey. So my parents were both first-generation believers who wanted to just raise us in a way that would be honoring to the Lord. So back then Homeschooling was kind of a newer thing and now it’s very much more established. Because you say well, George Washington was Homeschooled. So it’s been around for a while. But it was more cutting edge, we didn’t have all the resources that we had today.
But had a lot of fun with it. My mom loved history and loved teaching us, and in literature and reading. So that’s something that we spend a lot of time reading great books and studying characters in the past and my dad is a storyteller. So he’d constantly be telling us every night, come on Dad, could you tell us more stories?
So that influence on me growing up with history and literature, and reading and storytelling, is a huge part of what shaped my passion to tell stories to reach a generation today with the medium of film. Honestly we didn’t watch that many movies or really hardly any TV shows as kids. But it was a curiosity around those things and awareness of the power of storytelling that led us to want to get involved.
When we were in high school, junior high, that age, started playing around the backyard. We started off with the giant VHS camcorder and you’d have a little mini DVD camera that our mom used to film our birthday party. We’re off in the backyard shooting superhero movies, and cowboy and Indian stories and all kinds of adventures like that. So I just had a great time with my cousins and siblings. I think that the nature of us being Homeschooled, and being thrown together all these times encouraged us to be creative and do things like that.
Yvette: That’s so cool. So your cousin, Chad and you, you have your own production company, correct? Okay, and you and what have you done with your company? I know you did Beyond the Mask.
Aaron: Yeah, so our family made our first feature film, Pendragon, and we released that back in 2009, I think. So it’s crazy, that’s 10 years ago. But that was what was our first feature, and it was literally a probably 10, 12, 15 of us Burns working in that movie. I played the lead actor in it. It was an adventure for sure. We were making our own costumes, and we built a giant Roman hill fort in the woods behind my dad’s house. We built a real 20 foot trebuchet launching fire bombs and all of these things. Wanting to tell a story about inspiring a generation to follow God’s call on your life. What God calls you to do He gives you the grace to accomplish.
It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of challenge and a lot of learning. It was our version of film school where we had literally no idea what we were doing when we got started, and it’s trial and error. You’d shoot a scene, you’d be like, huh, that does not look good.
Yvette: Doesn’t look like it looked in your head, huh?
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Aaron: Yes, and so you try again and trial and error. We wound up shooting our movie like one and a half times over the course of three years. Then we finished that and said, okay, well let’s move on with life. I went off to college to, was working on my Masters of business. When we started distributing it, my cousin Chad was working on his PhD in engineering. All of our other cousins and siblings were heading their different directions.
A couple of things happened. One, this little movie we made, Pendragon, started to pick up some steam in distribution and Christian bookstores and TV here in the states and overseas. It’s also in 12 countries, in four or five languages. We’re getting letters back from kids all over the world said, “hey, your movie’s different.”
It’s a faith-based adventure story that exalts Christ, and we loved it. When are you going to your next movie? We’re like, kind of hit us by surprise in a way. At the same time, God had put a mentor in my life who’s discipling me and encouraging me and pushing me to really flesh out this faith, this religion, this God that you’ve grown up with. What does that really mean for you? What does it really look like?
So, I started to really grow in my personal relationship with the Lord, and then want to start sharing that with others. So all these things were happening at the same time that God just really put a burden on our hearts. I was in an entrepreneurial marketing class, and the professor put up what he called a unique space map. It would have these different quadrants and different projects and ideas. He said, “hey, if you’re going to start a business, you have to find a way to compete differently.”
I was thinking of what business I’d want to start, and then just realized we were already doing this. These Christ-centered adventure stories that wouldn’t just reach Christian women. Or wouldn’t reach just a secular audience that would be gospel centered, Christian worldview adventure stories that the whole family and particularly young people would enjoy.
So, all these things were swirling, and we felt a clear call from the Lord back into pursuing filmmaking. Beyond the Mask was birthed out of that adventure. Then from there we went on to help the Kendricks with a couple of their projects, War Room and, Overcomer. I’m shooting a project right now with some friends from Texas, you guys should check out called Washington’s Armor. It’s a new series about the life of young George Washington. Then we have our couple of other big projects that we’re developing and would love your guys’ prayers for.
Yvette: Yes, so where are you in production on those?
Aaron: We have two feature films that are in development. One we’ve been developing for a couple of years and we’re almost done. We’re kind of in the pitching to studios and potential investors, see who wants to get involved with it, frankly, those decisions. But it’s ready to shoot, we finished our location scouting and hundreds of pages of set designs and the script and all of these creative elements are all done.
So, we’re in the pitching phase for that project. Then the other one is a little bit earlier in development. So those are both feature films. Then we have, like I said helping a friend shoot Washington’s Armor. We’re In production right now, which is a tv show about George Washington.
Yvette: Okay. So cool. So this is what you do for a living. You’ve got your Master’s in business administration and I know, being a producer, really is that. You administer all the business of the filmmaking.
Aaron: In many ways, yes.
Yvette: So how has that coupled together with your education, with Homeschooling and now with filmmaking, how have you worked all of that together?
Aaron: Yeah, it’s really a fun question. Because the role that I have as a producer, you’re really very split between creative and business and logistics. So an executive producer is specifically focused on the money side and the distribution side. But with my role as producer, I get to look very much on both sides. So you kind of take an idea, this is the story we want to tell.
It’s my privilege to shepherd that story all the way through concept, and all the way through distribution to getting in front of an audience. So we have about five phases of filmmaking. So the first one is development. It’s, hey, I’ve got this idea. I want to make a movie about this theme. Okay, well who are the characters going to be? Let’s get together an outline. Let’s get together the script. Then you sit there and you go, well where in the world are you going to shoot it?
What is the budget you’re going to shoot it for? Is this going to be animated or live action? Are you going to build all the sets? Is going to be CG heavy. What kind of actors, and who’s the target audience. All those questions, creative fun questions happen in development. It’s one of my favorite phases because that’s where the most creativity occurs. You’re just throwing mud at the wall and dreaming and framing plans.
Aaron: So, once you finished development, you say this is exactly what the goal is. You have your financing and hopefully your distribution lined up. You move into the second phase, which is pre-production. That’s relatively short, just a couple of months that you’re getting the project rolling. You’re hiring the actors, you’re building the sets, you’re making the costumes. You’re getting all the gear and gathering your crew.
In the shortest phase of the project is actual production itself. Where you’re all on cameras. That might be just 30 to 60 shooting days, depending on the scale of press. A lot of projects, for instance, War Room, we shot in 30 days. Over time, it was like 32 shooting days. So you’re only on set for six weeks and then you jump. There’s a massive team, 120 depending if you pay extras. So you might have 300 people, 400 people working for you for a day of shooting. Then they all go home and you’re left with a pile of hard drives.
Aaron: Then that starts post-production, which is the editing. You spend several months editing and then you get to fix you get to picture lock and you start doing the score and the visual effects and the music. All those elements, your team kind of grows again. Then you get to distribution and that’s taking the audience or taking the movie and getting it out to your audience.
So those are kinds of phases, and it’s been neat from, definitely my Homeschool background. Being forced to collaborate with all of your different siblings in all different situations I think naturally set me up to be comfortable with all the variety of different situations that we encountered when we first started doing movies. So it never was something that was really stressful or freaked us out.
Yvette: At the beginning, we just did this, and we just started running these teams. Which were basically, or getting our siblings, our cousins and our friends to work for us, before it just transitioned back. I think also one of the values of Homeschooling for us is translated into filmmaking. Particularly with the way our parents raised us, with that critical thinking along moral and spiritual issues.
Just spent a lot of time about and exploring. Also for us, it was a passion for history and literature and those things, and then storytelling. Valuing all of those out. So there’s the practical side of interacting with teams and then getting to do bigger projects and stuff at an earlier age. Then the academic focus as well, the way it mentally, emotionally, spiritually shaped us to be storytellers. So we give my parents a lot of credit and a lot of gratitude for that.
Yeah. So cool. How many siblings do you have?
Aaron: I’m one of four. Then Chad, my other kind of set of cousins who did a lot of movies with us, they’re five. So those were our core families that we started with. Many of us are still involved in creative endeavors. But we’ll jump together to work on projects at different times. It’s really, fun.
Yvette: That is so cool. We often talk about life schooling and the advantage of Homeschooling because you get to just do real life. We have some friends, the McCoskeys, and Matthew, their son, he’s working on a film right now. Basically this whole school year, he has directed this film with a group of other friends of his and his siblings. Very much like you did with Pendragon. Where they’ve done the costumes, they’ve done the sets. I mean it’s just incredible what these kids have done.
I was talking to his mom a few weeks ago and she said, you know, sometimes I think, man, you know, we haven’t really done very much spelling or math or writing this year. I’m like the kids making a movie. I mean, it’s incredible. These kids together, they’ve written this script, they’ve acted it out. They’ve had to do all the business behind it. They’ve had to do all the funding and financing behind it. It’s just amazing.
When you think about education, whether it’s Homeschool, public school, private school, whatever. The whole goal of education is to raise up these children to become, productive, successful adults in the adult world. Well, when you get that firsthand experience, that hands on experience, you don’t need a classroom to do that. You get to actually do it in real life. What an incredible blessing. How old were you when you did Pendragon?
Aaron: So, I started writing Pendragon when I was a senior in high school. We’d been working for several years to make several big projects before that. That was the first feature.
Yvette: What an amazing opportunity you have had to do that. Our girls are very much in that same boat. We’ve been traveling and making this movie for the past two and a half years. So they’ve been able to see the business side of this and the filming side of it as well. Our 13 year old, she’s actually done some of the filming for the movie. So she’ll have a camera credit on the movie, which is really cool.
Aaron: That’s great.
Yvette: Yeah, it’s just so much fun and we get to just be a family and be together.
Aaron: It’s something that I really enjoy being a family and being able to be together. That’s a huge thing to learn together, and to learn in those real life situations and to get to see what you’re … Get to interact with your kids in a variety of different situations and talk through those life issues.
Aaron: In the context of doing something together is something that we loved. We really enjoyed it.
Yvette: Talk about your relationship with your siblings now. So now you, you grew up together, you got to do all kinds of fun projects together. You Homeschooled together. What are your relationships look like now as adults?
Aaron: Yeah, so my oldest sister, Marilyn, lives in Ireland now. She went on a missions trip several years ago to Ireland, and then married the camp director. So we lost her over there. She actually just had her first baby and so my parents are in Ireland this week visiting them. So that’s more challenging to keep in touch and work on things together long distance. But then my younger brother Mason … So when we did Beyond the Mask, she was our wardrobe designer, so she did that for us.
Of course, my younger sister Shannon is a photographer and a writer. So she also managed the doctor’s office between writing gigs. So she is working for me now on Overcomer, doing their behind the scenes book. Then she did the same thing for us. She’s our onset photographer, and did all the behind the scenes for me on Beyond the Mask. Then my youngest brother Nathan, he is an engineer. So he did all our props and all our mechanical work on Beyond the Mask. Then when he finished, he went to engineering school and that’s what he’s doing now. I definitely enjoyed working with my siblings, having a chance to work through some of those things, and have a chance to spend time together in doing it. So yeah, they all depending on the project and depending on their availability, they’ll all jump back in to help us at various times with different elements of it.
Yvette: So, it’s really a lot of fun just to have that community. We have our family WhatsApp thread, which we keep touch. Keeping us that way, sharing updates and answered prayers and prayer requests and challenges for the project and for family things. So that’s something that we’ve really tried to use even as our family is spread around the globe to still stay connected using our smart phones for some things that’s actually positive.
Yeah, they can be good sometimes. Looking back in your journey of being Homeschooled as a kid, what would you do differently if you could’ve changed something about how you were Homeschooled or something with your, I don’t know, your family life or whatever. Is there anything that you would change?
Aaron: Ouch, now you’re asking me to rat out my parents.
Yvette: No, no, no, nothing that’s going to offend your mom or your dad.
Aaron: Let’s see-
Yvette: Maybe even something like for yourself, like I don’t know, maybe-
Aaron: Something I’ve found is each kid is different. So for me, I really, so I compose the score. We did music lessons all growing up and playing orchestral stuff, which I loved. But for Pendragon, I composed a score for it with my sister. I found myself getting depressed after working on it for 12 hours a day in the basement.
I’m like, I love music. I love music theory. I love composing. What is wrong with me? Why do I feel so sad right now? I realized it’s just, I’m wired as an exhorter. I’m as a people person, so some of that for me, I just don’t do well by myself spending days and days at a time.
So, looking back, most of my siblings could go either way. You know, they’re not as much super hard drivers. Like my younger brother, he’s very comfortable to spend the whole day by himself and work on things and be productive and get stuff done, he’s fine that way.
But for me being Homeschooled, one of the things was, hey, I want to be talked to and do more things. So in the later years of Homeschooling, my parents put me on a basketball team at a local Christian school. Put me in orchestras and choirs and things so that every day I was doing outside interaction.
It’s something that I would encourage parents, and my parents were great about listening and having these conversations throughout. By saying each kid is different, and just because it works for one kid doesn’t mean it’s going to work for another. Being able to shape, and that’s one of the values of Homeschooling, you can do whatever is possible for your kid.
So that’s something that, I think whenever we ran into one of those bumps, then we’d say, okay, well what is an adjustment that you make that will help you with your learning and those kinds of things.
Aaron: I’m thinking back to some of the old curriculums that we used were pretty outdated. Some of the phonics memorization books that we had back when I was a little kid. Then you see, you’re other siblings have these fun games and songs and prizes. I would say, what’s up with that, I had to learn it the hard way. But overall we did have a good experience.
I think once we recognized the differences between different kids, that was a strength. Something else I’ll say, and this is something that we learned. With what was standard, and how do you decide, okay, as a Homeschool, you’re teaching your kids out of Homeschool. Okay, why did you decide to do that?
Well, you know, lots of different reasons, but one element is we want to keep them protected from the world. I would encourage parents to really think about the choices they make in that category. As you have high standards of what you will and won’t watch, also remember that where does evil come from?
Evil doesn’t come from without it comes from within our own heart. So we are our own greatest danger to ourselves. I think that’s something that I wouldn’t blame anyone but myself for this. But I grew up through high school and into college with more of a self-righteous bent, it’s fine. I’ve kept myself clean from these different kinds of things that other bad people do. No, that’s not how it works. Yes, God cares about our actions in terms about our holiness and those things, but first of all, He cares about our hearts. He wants us to live and walk in humility in line with Him. Have that relationship with Him, and out of our hearts flow what we do with our hands. So that’s something that I think is something that we’re talking about with my wife and I with our kids and processing through. Again, it’s a new generation, everything’s changed. You can’t even try to apply the same standards from a generation ago to today.
So, thinking through those things and making sure that as we pray through what should those decisions be like. Recognizing that no matter how we organize and structure things, it’s often the Lord that has to rule in our hearts and our lives.
Yvette: Yeah. Let’s park on that for a minute because I think that’s a really great point. Oftentimes, Homeschool parents can become kind of self-righteous in the idea of, well we Homeschool. So we’re obviously so much better parents than other people who might put their kids in school. Obviously that’s not true. Parents love their kids unconditionally with everything in them. But teaching our kids, we want our girls to grow up to love Jesus with all their hearts. As you were growing up, when did you really recognize in yourself that your faith was becoming your own and not what your parents wanted it to be because you were Homeschooled?
Because that can often happen where, I mean we’ve seen it happen a whole lot where kids are Homeschooled and so parents are like yep, box checked, kids are Homeschooled. We’ve done all the right things, we’ve checked all the right boxes. We’ve raised them up to love Jesus. Then they go out into the world and they just go off the rails. I mean they don’t know what to do with this whole world around them. At what point did your faith become your own?
Aaron: I would say it’s a gradual process. I think some people will go and put like this an exact moment where you just say, I look at Peter, and did Peter become a believer of Jesus when he left everything to follow him? Was it when he made the profession that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God? Or was it in the fish fry on the beach or where Jesus said, I forgive you and I want you to feed my sheep? Which one of those moments was it when his faith became real?
I know for me it was, it was a process over time. But I think until, as long as you live under your parents’ rule, you don’t know for sure in a way if your faith is yours or it’s their rules. So there’s this kind of transition where all of sudden you realize you’re not under their rule, and you can make whatever decisions you want.
Then you have to ask, okay, what do I really believe. My kids are little, I’m so much a learner in the parenting category and it’s something I’m eager to get advice and input from others. But something that we’ve been praying about and thinking about is, okay, what can we do to give our kids more rope, as it were, to let them fail earlier. Let them try and learn and make mistakes while they’re still, while we still have a voice that we can speak into their life.
What can we do to expose them to the world and expose them to these things in a way that there’s not just this huge curiosity mic as they’ve been held back from all those things? But that we can expose it to them in a context that we can have a discussion about it and say, you see how these decisions or words set up the world.
If you make these decisions, this is where it leads. Those kinds of questions and those kinds of things. So that they’re not “sheltered” in such a way that when they leave, the curiosity is so strong or the hatred of the way that we run things is so strong that they want to go out and explore it for themselves. But that we can experience that with them. So that’s something that I don’t know practically how to execute on that. That’s something that we’ve talked about and thought about before.
Yvette: Yeah, I think it’s constantly a learning process. You know, our oldest is 13 right now and we’re hitting those teen years. I feel like every day there’s just a new excitement about the teen years, and then new challenge that comes with it. But it’s really fun because if we’re intentional as parents and really paying attention to our kids and to their needs. Like you said, in your family you were able to talk through stuff with your parents.
I think being open with our kids and being able to really talk with them and talk, dig deep into their hearts and see how are you really feeling about this? What are your thoughts on this? Let’s walk through this together.
Yvette: It’s such a joy to be able to do that, and sometimes it’s a little bit scary, I’ll be honest. Because sometimes my girls will say something and I’m like, that’s not at all what we’ve taught you. That’s not what we believe. That’s not what God’s Word says. Where did you even get that from?
Aaron: Something that I would add to that. I was just talking with a good friend of mine who’s a pastor, a youth pastor. We were talking about standards versus God’s Word. I think that it’s easy in young people’s mind or for all of us to blur, okay, what does the Bible really say about that? There’s a huge hot button topic of what you watch, what you listen to, what you wear, what you consume.
Does the Bible really prescribe what kind of clothing we should wear? I don’t think that it does. There’s no verse that you can judge and say that clothing pleases God or not based on God’s Word. He gives us principles to apply.
Yvette: Sure, modesty.
Aaron: Yeah, exactly. Modesty, and appropriate and those are things you can have a conversation. But when it comes down to applying this, and He doesn’t give us specific standards for what kind of music to listen to or even what to consume.
So, you can say for my family, these are the principles. Be very clear about where the … now there are some things that are right and wrong, God says always tell the truth, and God says never cheat. God says that marriage is between a man and a woman. God says that, all these things that are very clear, very unequivocal. But then there’s also this moving out from there. How are you going to apply these things in your context?
That’s where wisdom and all those other things that come in. But making it a clear distinction between this is what the Bible says, and this is how to apply it. Then I think that was something that was a challenge for me in some of the church context and family context. Because then you say, so that’s a rule, that’s something that they made us do or made us avoid.
The Bible doesn’t say anything about that. So if we teach as doctrine the commandments of men as Jesus warns against. Then I think you can be in danger and say well, that’s just your opinion. I’m throwing out the whole baby with the bath water. So I mean I think people should land and have very strong standards and know exactly why they believe what they believe. Why they have certain rules in their home. I don’t think rules in your home are a bad thing at all you should actually have them.
Be careful what we communicate in them that we make sure that we discussed … The Bible actually says this, this is actually God’s World. No, this is our application of it, and this might vary. You might come to disagree with us some day. That’s okay, because while you’re in our home this is how we want to do it.
Aaron: That’s something that I think can be helpful as well.
Yvette: Yes. I agree with you wholeheartedly. We are unfortunately out of time for the Podcast. But if you have a few more minutes, I would love to continue the conversation. Because I have a few more points that I want to talk about. I want to talk about advice that you would give to any aspiring filmmakers. I know that there are a whole lot of Homeschool kids out there who really want to use the gifts that God’s given them through film. Also, I want to talk about that specific thing about using the gifts and talents that God’s given us for His kingdom. So you good to stand for a few more minutes.
Aaron: Yeah, that’s fine.
Yvette: Okay. All right. So we will continue on for Backstage Pass members. For those of you listening to the Podcast, if you are not familiar with the backstage pass membership, it is the Schoolhouse Rocked backstage pass membership gives you access to bonus material from the Podcast. It gives you all kinds of behind the scenes footage from Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie that we’re in production on right now. Lots of fun interviews and things like that. It’s a really great way to support the film right now.
We would love that. We would also love your prayers. If you guys would just continue praying for our family as we work through production on this movie. God is doing amazing things right now, and we are so grateful for those of you who have just stood by our sides and prayed for us over the last couple of years. We are so grateful for that. So please continue to do that.
If you have not yet signed up for the newsletter, please do that. It’s so funny, I talk to people all the time and they’ll ask me questions and I’ll say, well, did you get our latest update? They’ll say, well, no, I don’t think I get your updates. I’m like, well, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll know what’s going on with us. So if you just click here and fill out the form that just goes to us and you’ll get our updates. But Aaron, thank you for your time today. Where can people find out more about you and what you’re doing?
Aaron: We have a website, Burns & Co Productions.
Aaron: Then our Facebook page, I fear it’ll be on the mass Facebook page and probably post updates there.
Yvette: Okay. Okay. Sounds great. We’ll put those links in the show notes, so thank you so much for being on today and we will continue this conversation.
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