Embracing Your Purpose: Insights from A Working Homeschool Mom

I recently sat down for an insightful conversation with Katie Hornor, a working homeschool mom with a unique journey and inspiring perspective on finding God’s purpose in work. Hornor shares her experiences as a mom, wife, missionary, entrepreneur, and creator of a Spanish homeschool curriculum. Through her stories, she encourages mothers to trust in God’s timing, embrace their gifts, and find joy in the work they’ve been called to do.

Embracing God’s Unique Timing and Purpose:

“God had a specific purpose for our family in Mexico, but it wasn’t exactly what we had expected. He used our gifts and talents in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.”

Katie Hornor

One of the recurring themes in Hornor’s journey is the recognition of God’s unique timing and purpose. Hornor recounts how her family’s move to Mexico aligned with her own long-held desire to be a missionary overseas. She emphasizes, “God had a specific purpose for our family in Mexico, but it wasn’t exactly what we had expected. He used our gifts and talents in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.” This reminder of God’s sovereignty serves as a powerful encouragement to trust in His plans, even when they differ from our own expectations.

Discovering God-Given Gifts and Meeting Needs:

From her own experiences, Hornor believes that everyone has been given gifts and talents for a purpose. She encourages parents, especially moms seeking to work outside of motherhood, to take time to understand what they have been uniquely created for. Hornor explains, “Finding your calling is a combination of what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what people ask of you.” Drawing from her own journey, she shares how she discovered a need for Spanish homeschool curriculum and, with the blessing of an American company, developed her own literature-based curriculum for the Spanish-speaking community.

Finding Joy in Work:

“God created work even before sin entered the world. It is an expression of worship and an opportunity to glorify God.”

Hornor firmly believes that work, when aligned with one’s purpose and gifts, can be a source of joy and worship. She challenges the prevailing notion that work is something negative, emphasizing, “God created work even before sin entered the world. It is an expression of worship and an opportunity to glorify God.” Reflecting on her personal experience, she further explains, “Our work doesn’t have to be something big to matter. Even the small, behind-the-scenes work, such as serving our own families, is significant in God’s eyes.” This perspective shift encourages listeners to appreciate the work they do daily, whether big or small.

Flexible Homeschooling:

Working homeschool moms face unique challenges. Balancing the responsibilities of motherhood, homemaking, loving your husband, and teaching your children can seem like an impossible balancing act. To this point, Katie reminds us that homeschooling does not have to consume excessive amounts of time to be effective. In fact, many times simple and short is the best path to success! She recommends Durenda Wilson’s book, “The Four Hour School Day,” challenges the notion that homeschooling requires a rigid schedule and countless hours. The book encourages moms to prioritize relationships, simplicity, and efficiency in their homeschooling journey. By embracing a flexible approach, you can create a balance that allows for both work and education.

Involving Family and Supportive Spouses:

Hornor underscores the importance of involving one’s spouse and seeking their support, especially in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. She advises, “If your husband is not supportive, it’s essential to prioritize your marriage and honor your husband’s leadership.” She shares her personal experience of involving her husband in decision-making processes and highlights the positive impact it has had on their journey. To provide support for single moms or those without supportive spouses, Hornor suggests seeking guidance and accountability from godly friends. family members, or church members.

“When we align ourselves with God’s purpose and use the gifts He has given us, we can experience true joy and fulfillment in our work.”

Katie journey as a working homeschool mom reveals valuable insights into embracing God’s unique purpose, finding joy in work, and involving loved ones in our pursuits. We should be encouraged to trust in God’s timing, explore our gifts, and embrace the work we have been called to do. Whether it’s serving our families, starting a business, or pursuing a career, Hornor reminds us that every aspect of our lives can be an expression of worship and a way to make a positive impact on the world.

As she aptly puts it, “When we align ourselves with God’s purpose and use the gifts He has given us, we can experience true joy and fulfillment in our work.” So let us embark on this journey of discovering our God-given purpose and finding joy in the work that we’re called to do. For in it, we may find not only personal fulfillment, but also the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of others.

Recommended Resources: 

Flamingo Advantage “Finding Joy in the Journey” Christian Marketing Retreat – Save $10 with this link

Katie Hornor’s YouTube Channel

📚📖 Ready to start homeschooling? Download your free Homeschool Survival Kit today!

🍿🍿🍿 Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE today!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Are you in need of a fresh vision for your homeschool? Join us for 4 days of Homeschool Encouragement at the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Use the coupon code PODCAST to save 25% on registration today! 

How to Homeschool: A Step-by-Step Guide with Kristi Clover

Getting Started in Homeschooling – Israel Wayne on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced a setback or unexpected change in your career or ministry? How did you handle it, and did it ultimately lead to new opportunities or growth?
  2. How do you personally view the concept of work? Do you see it as a means to an end, or do you find enjoyment and purpose in what you do?
  3. Do you believe that everyone has a unique purpose and set of gifts that they can use to meet needs and make a positive impact on the world? Why or why not?
  4. How have you navigated the tension between your responsibilities as a parent and your desire to pursue work or other interests outside of motherhood/fatherhood?
  5. Are there any particular skills or talents that you possess that you feel could be used to serve others and bring in extra income? How might you go about discovering and developing those gifts?
  6. What strategies or techniques have you found helpful for maintaining a positive attitude and finding joy in the everyday responsibilities and tasks of life, particularly in the context of motherhood/fatherhood?
  7. How do you personally define success in work and in life? Is it solely about achievements and accomplishments, or is there a deeper significance that you strive for?
  8. How do you involve your spouse in your career or business decisions? How important do you think their support and involvement is for your success and fulfillment?
  9. Have you experienced any cultural or societal messages that have discouraged you from embracing your uniqueness or pursuing your passions? How have you worked to overcome or challenge those messages?
  10. How do you pass on the idea of work as worship to your children or the younger generation? What strategies or approaches have you found effective in helping them develop a positive attitude towards work and finding purpose in what they do?

Read the full transcript:

Yvette Hampton:

Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad you are with us this week. We are talking this week about a topic that we get asked about constantly. We have you guys write in about it, we have you talk to us about it at different events. And that question is how can moms work and homeschool at the same time? And I know many of us today need to do that because of just where we are in the world. Or maybe some of you have taken your kids out of public school or private school and you want to homeschool them but you have to work and you’re not exactly sure how to balance those things and it can be tricky. I work some from home. Of course I do the podcast. It doesn’t just happen by itself. Truth be told, my husband does the way majority of the work for the podcast. I get to just sit and have conversations with people. But I do work from home and it is a blessing to my family that I get to do that and I love working with my husband. But some of you need to work maybe full time from home, whatever that.

Katie Hornor:

Might look like for you.

Yvette Hampton:

Katie Hornor is with us this week. She’s a new guest and she is kind of the expert at this. She’s a homeschool mom. She works from home and she’s going to give some really good practical advice and pointers on how you can tie those two things together and help bring financial support to your family. Well, Katie Hornor, welcome to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. It is such a pleasure to meet you. Tell us a little bit about you and your ministry.

Katie Hornor:

Yvette, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here and share with your audience today. My husband Tap and I moved to Mexico 16 years ago to be in ministry full time. We never planned to work from home as you’re describing it, but that was to be in the Lord’s plans for us. And the first step was getting us to Mexico where we have lived for the last 16 years. And then the second step was for us to go through a series of different changes in ministry opportunities that left us in dire need of funds and what does a mama do when you need money is think how do I make this money? And so God started working in our hearts with this desire to start a business and we said but we don’t have business background. My husband went to school for electric and carpentry and was going to go to Mexico as a missionary and skipped the last year which was the business know and I grew up in an entrepreneurial family but Katie was never going to be in business so she didn’t get the training. Long story short, we did start the business because God said to, and we pioneered a homeschool curriculum. Then we took what we learned with that business and started a coaching business, which we’re still doing today under the Flamingo Advantage brand. And I know we’ll get into that and other things, but along the way, those five children still have to be educated. And it’s just been a fabulous journey of learning to blend all that we do into the life that God has given and be able to use it for his purposes.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Amen. Talk a little bit about your homeschooling in Mexico because I imagine that this is quite different in a lot of ways than what it looks like for us here in the States. What made you decide to homeschool, and what does that look like for you and your family?

Katie Hornor:

Well, depending on where you live in Mexico, you may have different things available to you. There are multiple thousands of homeschoolers in Mexico, and now way more than there were 16 years ago. However, depending on where you live, resources are different and things like that. But in Mexico right now, homeschooling is not protected by law. It’s also not prohibited by law. And so as a Mexican citizen, there are certain avenues that you would take. But as an expat living here, our children can also claim U. S. Citizenship, which gives us a little more freedom in that area. And so we pretty much can homeschool our children as if they were enrolled in a school in the United States. Under that, we can create a transcript for our homeschool just as if we lived in North Carolina or South Dakota or wherever, and then we can create our own sort of graduation certificate along those lines. Following those guidelines, if you’re in a Mexican family, the regulations are a little different, and they’re changing in the next few months. There’s actually a government meeting around. What are we going to do with this and how are we going to move forward as a country in regards to homeschooling? Because it has become so much more popular, especially post pandemic. But for us, we have a lot of liberty with what we get to do, and it’s been a fun journey.

Yvette Hampton:

Are there very many people in your area who homeschool in your neighborhood? Are you able to do like a homeschool co op or anything like that? What does that look like for you?

Katie Hornor:

We have a small group of families in our city, and in the next bigger city close to us, about an hour and a half away, there’s probably 30 or 40 families, not necessarily all faith based. It’s a mix. So there are activities there that we can participate in if we want to. And then this local group of three or four families that get together probably quarterly for an activity or a get together of some kind. So it’s not a lot of people where we are, but it’s a smaller city as well.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so cool. You talked about how it became necessary for your family to start bringing in some income. You were there as missionaries, which I’m assuming that since you began your journey in Mexico as a missionary, you had support from other people. But it sounds to me like you came to a point where you needed to actually bring in some extra income for your family. What did that look like? How did you get started? Because I know that so many moms and even dads sometimes stay at home dads. They’re looking for ways to bring in income, but they don’t even know where to start. I’ve even seen people post on social media, I need to make money from home. What do I do? How do I start? What did that look like for your family?

Katie Hornor:

Well, for us, we’d had a series of ministry changes, so the people who had pledged to support us financially in the one know may not have carried over to the next thing. And so and so and so we were at a point where it was either like, go back to the states, which we knew we weren’t called to do, or find a way to support ourselves. And we started looking like, what could we do? And it’s that question not I can’t do this or I can’t, whatever, but what would it look like if we could find a way to earn income here? And what’s the need? We were just starting to homeschool our oldest at that point, we had four under the age of seven, I think, around that time. A fifth one came a little bit later, but at that .4 little ones, just starting to homeschool ourselves, looking at the curriculum we were using, which was a literature based homeschool curriculum at the time, and thinking, what could we do? And I started researching, like, what’s available for spanish speakers? Who homeschool? And I realized that at that point in history, there was only two or three homeschool curriculums for them to choose from in the Spanish language, and out of those, you had to speak english to order two of them. Right? And so this is a big hurdle for somebody who wants to educate their children but doesn’t speak English, doesn’t know where to get the material, and there is no such thing in the Spanish world yet as a literature based curriculum, which we loved. Because I was a big children’s literature buff. I had a degree in elementary education and curriculum development. And so this was where we saw the need, we could do something, we could fix this, we could provide this, we could make this better. And I think seeing the need is part of knowing where to start and then researching and what would it look like and what’s the first step and what resources do we have, who do we know? And in our case, we were able to reach out to an american company that provided an English based, literature based education and say, hey, the Spanish world needs what you have. Would you let us help you translate your teacher’s guides and things and create one? Or would you be okay if we did it ourselves? Because we really feel strongly God is pushing us in this direction. And so those conversations went on for about a year and a half and eventually that company decided, we love what you’re doing, we don’t think we need to take on the Spanish at this point, so have our blessing, go and do what God is leading you to do. And so at that point we went ahead and started working on first kindergarten level and the a first grade level. Eventually we had preschool all the way through 6th grade of this literature based curriculum, where we were finding books that were already in print in Spanish, books about history, biographies, all the things, and then writing the teacher’s guide with which you could teach that grade level material from those actual books. A little bit Charlotte Mason, a little bit Montessori, a little bit literature based, but all hands on and discussion and proving what you’ve learned by being able to reteach it, and just a really fun curriculum based on literature. And so that’s what we did and we pioneered that then for about the next twelve years in the Spanish community.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. So what’s interesting is that you took basically what God had given you, right? The gifts and talents and abilities that he had given you. You figured out where there was a need that needed to be met and you said, let’s figure out how to meet this need. And it’s interesting that you say it took a year and a half for you to do that because I think oftentimes people think we have to do this right away, we need to do this and it needs to be in works by next week or by next month. And oftentimes God doesn’t work that way, right? The timing is always very unique and different to every situation. I’m thinking of Ephesians 210 and actually was reading this before we came on today, and it says, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. And so just seeing that God created you and your husband and your family for this specific work and that he took you to Mexico for a specific reason, but then he ended up using you in other ways as well to meet the needs of the homeschool community in Mexico. Well, and I would say probably around the world, because it’s a Spanish curriculum that can be used in all sorts of other know Latin countries as well. And so what a blessing that you have been obedient to use the gifts that God’s given you to steward them for his kingdom, right? I mean, you’ve used what he has blessed you with. So talk on that for a minute because oftentimes I think moms are like, I don’t know what my gift is, I don’t know what my passions are. Especially, I think when our kids are really young, we feel like all of us is going into our kids. All of us is going into preparing meals and grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments and changing diapers and trying to get our kids to learn how to read. And sometimes moms can get a little bit lost in that and trying to figure out what is it that I want to do? What is it that God created me for in addition to this? Obviously, he created you to take care of your family. But how can moms, especially those who are looking to work outside of motherhood and bring in some extra income, how can they really figure out what God has created them for?

Katie Hornor:

I think it’s a cross, yvette, between what you enjoy and what you’re good at, as well as what people ask of you. Right. Because as a mom of littles who are starting to go to school, we got asked all the time, where are they going to school? Well, we’re home educating. How are you doing that? What does that mean? What does that look like? How would I do that? And so if somebody asks you a question three times, that’s a pretty good indication that you have an answer people are looking for. Right? And so what is it that you get asked all the time? Or what is it that comes easy to you that other people are like, oh my goodness, I could never do that? Right. That’s a really good indication that there’s a skill there that is sellable or that there is a talent there to be developed. But I also think it has to light you up. I am not happier than when I am teaching or talking or presenting. I love to see the light bulb come on, whether I’m talking to a four year old or a 45 year old. Right. It just thrills my heart to see someone get something so that they can take it out and put it into practice. I love the conversations with our teenagers around at the lunch table where we’re throwing out questions and the things are clicking and they’re finally like, oh wow, that’s what that means. And so for us, it was a natural crossover between what we enjoyed, the questions we were already answering on a regular basis with our friends and acquaintances, and where we saw a need and it didn’t happen overnight. And I am one of those people that there’s no grass growing under my feet. If I’m going to do it, it’s going to be done. And it was an exercise in patience. But I think one of the things that we have to recognize about timing, even with God’s provision, with God’s leading, with God’s developing, desires of our hearts is that patience really is the act of agreeing with God about the timing of this situation. Right. I can’t stop and get frustrated with a slow child if I’m agreeing with God about the timing in which this child needs to do something right. I can’t get frustrated at slow service when I’m out and about if I’m agreeing with God about the timing he has for this circumstance. And then secondly, is asking God, what is my purpose in this circumstance? Right? And always saying, like, what’s my job here in this conversation, in this day? Yes, service is slow. What does this person need from me as we wait, right? Or yes, this child is not responding or not producing or not growing as quickly, but what’s my job right now? What do they need from me in this moment? And taking our eyes off of the me and putting it on, what God is doing helps us to have that patience that we need and the persistence to be able to see it through with a much more calm attitude, because now it’s about God, it’s not about me.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, absolutely. Talk about work as worship. I was recently having a conversation with both of my girls, actually, and we were talking about the idea of work and how work is a good thing. I think we as a society tend to think, oh, work, and we even pass that on to our kids sometimes, like, oh, I don’t want to do my chores. I don’t want to have to do all the things that take effort. Right? I mean, really, I would say a good portion of humans, if we could, we would just sit on the couch and watch movies all day long or read a book all day long. We don’t necessarily want to have to get up and know, exert our bodies into doing physical work. But we were talking about Adam and Eve, and even in the garden, even before the fall of man, before sin came into the world, adam and Eve worked the garden God gave them. That was like a blessing to them to be able to work in this beautiful, incredible garden that God had given them. Now, they probably didn’t have the scorching sun beating down on them, giving them sunburns know, being tortured by the things that hurt us in nature now. But still, it was a good thing, and so work is a good thing. So talk about work as worship and what that looks like and how you even have been able to pass that on to your kids.

Katie Hornor:

Well, it’s funny that you mentioned the Garden of Eden and work being there before it was hard work, right? Before there was sweat and thorns and all of that. Ecclesiastes 222 says that there’s nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his work. And the day that I came across that strict scripture, it struck me across the face because I had never heard anyone talk about that before. What do you mean we’re supposed to find enjoyment in our work? You mean work is good? Right. And then when I started studying Sabbath and I realized that God created rest not because he needed it, but because he knew we needed it. Because he knew we would be so dedicated and so into our work that if he didn’t command a rest, we would never rest. Right? And so I think it comes with alignment. When your work is in alignment with your purpose, when your work is in alignment with how God created you and what he’s gifted you to do, then work becomes a joy. Work becomes something that you do find enjoyment in, that you do want to keep doing. Right. And it’s our secular society, I think, the enemy’s strategy to try to make us think that work is bad or that it’s something to be dreaded. But no, God says you will find enjoyment in your work, that that is good. There was good work before there was sin in the world, right? And so the key is walking with God. The key is knowing who my God is, what he wants for me. Because if he’s created me to do this, then doing this is the best way I can worship Him. Right? When you think about the illustration I use a lot is that of a toy maker, right? If the toy maker makes a wind up toy and this wind up toy doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, we say, oh, it’s broken, it’s a failure, it’s malfunctioning. Right. It looks bad on the toy maker because it’s not doing what it was supposed to do. But if that toy does exactly what it’s supposed to do, that is the best thing it could do, both for Him, both for the toy and for the toy makers. And so when we do what we were created to do, that is our best worship. Scripture tells us not everyone is going to be a pastor or a teacher. We need people with all these different kinds of gifts. And if you were created with this gift, then doing that gift is your best worship. That is the best way to glorify your God, is by doing what he created you to do.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think oftentimes too, we think that our work has to be something big in order for it to matter or count, right. We have to be doing something amazing that the whole world can see. And that’s not true at all. I mean, we could be doing something totally behind the scenes that nobody ever knows about and it could be serving our family only. I mean, that is work in itself. Motherhood is no joke. Being a wife is no joke. It takes a lot of work and a lot of intention and you cannot do it if you’re lazy homeschooling. Oh my goodness. That is not for the lazy. Right. It takes a lot of work and a lot of intention. And so whatever it is that God has called us to do in this world is totally worth it and he is worthy of us doing it with a great attitude. I remember years and years ago, I was at a Bible study and this lady was kind of confessing to our group. She said, I just have had such a bad attitude about home chores, doing dishes and doing laundry and doing cooking and all those things. And she said I really had to change my thinking pattern and realize that when I’m doing laundry I need to be grateful and say, Lord, thank you for giving us clothes, and when I’m cooking, say, Lord, thank you for giving us food. And when I’m doing dishes, Lord, thank you for giving us dishes that we can put our food on and that I have to wash. Because there are people in the world who don’t have these things and so, so much of it is changing our perspective. However, passing that on to our kids sometimes can be a bit of a challenge. So I want to talk about that. We were talking yesterday about work and about how work is worship and I love that idea. I think that’s something that is a little tricky to pass on to our kids and so I would love for you to talk about that for just a quick minute. Have you been successful? I find this difficult sometimes with my girls. My girls are not huge complainers, but I also don’t think that they’re like, yay work. And as we’re talking, I’m thinking to myself like, okay, we need to maybe work on that this year, maybe that character development. Have you been successful in figuring that out with your kids?

Katie Hornor:

Well, yvette, our kids are ages nine to 18 right now, so I think we’re at different points of success, who we’re talking about, and with all of us, right. It’s a daily choice to choose the attitude that we have towards the work that God has given us to do. And one of the things I remind our kids when it gets hard is that God has already promised to do what he’s called you to through you, right. One, thessalonians 524 faithful is he that calls you who also will do it. So if this is something God has called you to do for our children, obeying our parents, helping with family responsibilities as we get older, right. Your actual purpose and calling in life, your job, your career, your vocation, the way you’re going to impact people in the world, all of this he’s promised to do through us. So it’s not so much about us doing it as being willing and saying, yes, Lord, I’ll do this, help me, do it through me, because he’s promised to. And so with our kids. I think we’re at varying stages, very quick to say yes if they have specific instructions. We’re still working on the self motivated part of seeing what needs to be done. But it’s been a fun growing experience, especially now that most of the are in their teen years and developing their own opinions and conversations can be so much more enjoyable now.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think one of the greatest things as a parent is when your kids start taking the initiative to do things without being asked. And my youngest did that recently, and my girls sometimes do that. We’ve actually, at times, worked that into our daily schedule, where I will actually put on their schedule initiative every day. You need to take initiative, but that’s not really taking initiative. If I’m telling them that they have to take initiative, but I’m trying to train them. And recently, my youngest daughter, it is a habit. It is a habit. And my youngest daughter, recently, she did a bunch of things, and I didn’t ask her. Like, she cleaned up the living room and I can’t remember what else she did some other things, and I was like, you just did those on your own. Like, I didn’t even ask you to do that. She was like, yes, I did.

Katie Hornor:

One of the ways that we’re doing this is actually with our curriculum. My oldest just graduated, but the next two are going into their junior year together.

Yvette Hampton:


Katie Hornor:

Because they’re pretty close in age, and we found it helps for them to be accountability partners. And so we actually develop our school year plan, develop our lesson plan or whatever and give it to them. And then it’s up to them when they’re going to do the work. Right. Some of them think better in the morning. Some of them think better in the afternoon. Some of them have differing responsibilities around the house or as they start to look for jobs in the community and things like that. And so it’s up to them. And we check in periodically, daily if necessary, but definitely weekly with them. Where are you on your schoolwork? Are you going to be done by the end of the semester with what you’ve been given? But in terms of actually doing the work, doing the lessons, reading the books, doing the reports, things like that, that’s on them when they’re going to do that and check it off. And in that, we are instilling in them this independence, right. And this autonomy of, like, I’m not going to be able to follow them around to college classes and say, did you do that yet? And starting to train them for adult work. And that’s been working pretty well for the last couple of years.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Well, let’s back up to working from home. And I want to take us back to that mom who is saying, all right, I really need to bring in some income. Our family is just not making it, or we’re just scraping by. And she wants to be a blessing to her family and to her husband, like the proverbs 31 woman and she wants to do something. Right. And so we talked about how okay this mom, the first thing might be, figure out what you’re passionate about. What are you good at? Because if you’re not good at it and God has not gifted you in this area, you’re going to be miserable doing it, probably. You’re not going to have the best attitude. Now, of course, there are some things we have to do that we don’t necessarily love to do. But when it comes to working and doing something from home, we really want to do what God’s gifted us in doing. So that mom, maybe she’s just said, okay, I’ve got to do something. Here are the things that I enjoy doing here’s where I feel like I’m gifted. What would you say to that mom? You’re talking to her face to face. What advice would you give her on here’s? How to get started and get the ball rolling to help bring in some extra income.

Katie Hornor:

A lot of times we way overthink this. And so if I was sitting across the table with you, I would just say, what’s the fastest path to cash? Right? What is the easiest thing? Maybe you might call it the low hanging fruit, right? What’s the fastest way for you to actually generate some income? Forget getting an LLC or a business license. Forget figuring out a name. Forget creating a website. If you need cash, what’s the fastest way to get that? Can you sell cookies? Can you make a cake? Can you babysit? Can you dog sit with your kids? Maybe you can sew and so you can do repairs to clothing or I saw someone just yesterday selling headpieces on Facebook, matching mom and daughter or something. What could you do with the skills that you have to be able to put it out there? All you need is a way to take payment. People still write checks. There’s PayPal, there’s Venmo, there’s all these cash apps now, right? It’s not that difficult. You just need to put it out there.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, that is a great starting point, and that’s such a good reminder of it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I think we try to overanalyze everything, right? Especially as moms and homeschool moms. We have to think through every single detail of every single thing to the point of where it paralyzes us and where we just don’t do anything at all because we’re so busy thinking about how to do it. There’s a local mom here in our town who she started out baking cookies in her kitchen, and it has turned into this huge business. She ended up bringing her husband home from work. He was working this job where he was working 60, 70 hours a week, and now they bake cookies. And cakes and all sorts of amazing things together. And they’re actually opening up a bakery now that’s going to have a kid area for them, for their kids. They’ve got five little girls, and so it’s going to have a little area for their kids to play and for other homeschool moms to go to or moms in general to go to and bring their kids. And it’s just amazing to see that it just started out with her literally baking cookies at home. And so God will do big things when it comes to trying to figure out how to do it. And prayer, I mean, I think that’s a huge part of it is just praying and seeking the Lord. Of course, that should be the number one thing, is, Lord, what is it that you want from me? How can I serve you? And it could be through baking cookies or baking bread, whatever, but how can I serve you? How can I serve Your kingdom and further whatever it is that You’ve called me to do? All right, Katie, let’s continue on with what are some other pointers that you have for moms who are looking to get started?

Katie Hornor:

I would say also, don’t limit yourself to what you know. Like we said, ask the Lord what you could do, right? Let him open that up. But think about things that other people in your area may or may not be doing. Are you good at writing Bible studies? Have you created amazing lesson plans for your homeschool kids that other people would love to pay to have and be able to use as well? You go shopping for your food once a week or more often. What if you were to shop for an elderly person at the same time, right? Just thinking outside the box, even asking your kids. You’d be amazed at what ideas kids have for like, hey, guys, if we had $20 today, what could we do with that $20 to turn it into 500 by next week, right? And just brainstorming and using that power of your kids, like lemonade stands are not out of reach, but your kids will have some really creative ideas, too. And maybe even maybe you’ve got skills in digital design or graphic design, and you could be someone’s virtual assistant. Maybe you know how to answer emails and send them for someone. There’s lots of people who need secretaries, and that can be done remotely. So don’t limit yourself to just what you know right now. Continue to ask those questions. How could we get other people involved in brainstorming and really seek the Lord for those things that come? And maybe your first idea is not the one, right? Maybe it’s going to take some time, but don’t quit with it either, because our God is faithful and he wants us to be faithful as well. If you seek Him, you will find Him. He has promised to provide what you need keep going after it.

Yvette Hampton:

What about failure? Because that’s a thing, right? I can see these moms who would try something and it just fails miserably, and that can be really discouraging. How would you encourage that, mom?

Katie Hornor:

I would say failure is perspective number one. Don’t look at it as failing. Look at it as a lesson to learn from, because now you’re not starting from nothing, you’re starting from experience. Right. I’d also say surround yourself with people who can support you. When we started in business and we made that very first offer, we were making an offer to maybe ten people on an email list, right. And nobody bought anything. And I thought I was a failure. Who do I think I am? I don’t know what I’m doing, all this other stuff. It wasn’t until I joined a community of other people who were regularly making offers that I got to learn what the statistics are. Do you know if you have a list of 100 people and two people say yes to your offer? That’s the average that’s normal in the digital marketing world. Right. And so surrounding yourself with people who know the business, understand the business, have up to date data to work with, can really help you with that perception of whether this was truly a failure or whether it’s just an indication that you need to keep going and try again.

Yvette Hampton:

What does it look like for your family? It’s a family business that you have. So your husband works with you. I’m assuming your kids do something, maybe with you, I’m not sure. What does your family dynamic look like?

Katie Hornor:

So I’m the face of the business with the flamingo advantage branding and the flower in my hair, and I do most of the teaching. Right. But my husband, we say he’s the president, so he’s behind all the decision making. He does a lot of behind the scenes logistics. I have a daughter who is a graphic design and video editor and has interned with people like Rachel Peterson and really upped her game even as a teenager and does a lot of work for us. Another one is an artist. My son is learning accounting, so he’s helping behind the scenes with some of those things on a regular basis. And we just work together and what needs to be done today and can you do this, or no, I’ll take that. Or who excels at what and being able to find the right way to do that and being able to compensate. Right. Like in your business. I’m not a CPA, so check with yours to get the specifics for your details and your state. But it’s my understanding, at least from my CPA, that we can pay our kids up to a certain amount of money per year through the business before it becomes taxable to them. And it’s things we would pay people to do anyway, so they may as well be learning those skills. It counts for school and educational experience. And they’re learning to manage their money and manage their workload and learn new skills, develop things that will be sellable later on. And so it’s really been a great blessing for us, but that’s how ours works is sort of a behind the scenes and in front of the scenes perspectives. And it’s just been a real blessing to be able to work together when we need to.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, being able to count school credit for our kids to be part of our business is such an important thing. Just before you and I actually got on to record, my daughter and I were going through her high school transcript and we were looking at, okay, what are we still needing? What holes do we still need to fill in? It’s her senior year this year, and so she has on there filmmaking for her freshman and sophomore year because we were making a film as a family, we were traveling and filming a documentary. And so actually, when I spoke with HSLDA and I went through her whole transcript with them and I said, she hasn’t taken a film class, but we made a movie. And they were like, absolutely. That is business. It’s a class for her. And it’s so great that we can put those on our kids transcripts because that’s real life learning, right? I mean, the whole point of giving our kids a textbook or teaching them something is so that they can take it into their adult life. Because our kids don’t walk around with a textbook through their adult life asking questions and trying to find the answers in a textbook. We teach them things so that they can go out into the world, into their adult life and be prepared to live the life that God has given to them. And so it is such an advantage and a blessing, not just to us, but to our kids, for them to be able to learn alongside of us as we’re building a business for the kingdom together with the Lord.

Katie Hornor:

Our littles have helped as well. When we do events, they’re behind the scenes, setting up the stage and helping. Some of them are making lunch for us while we’re for our quick breaks in between. My nine year old just did two commercial videos for our book that just came out and she did the voices for the little things and puppeted them and put the video together. It’s just amazing what they can do when you lean into that and give them an opportunity.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah, it’s so funny. You talk about them setting up food. I remember when we were filming for the documentary with Sam Sorbo, and Sam was already there with us. We were just getting ready to start filming and Kevin Sorbo came in. We were at this house in Florida where Kevin was filming a movie, and so he walked in and Brooklyn, my oldest, was setting up our craft services, so we had brought snacks and drinks and stuff for them. So she was setting that up, and Kevin walks in, and Brooklyn was you know, it was just so you know, we’ve since gotten to know their family, and they’re amazing, but it was just so funny that here she is serving this family and walks Kevin Sorbo. And she still remembers that time, and it was a really fun and special time for her. And he was so kind. He came in and he started talking to her know, asking her about the movie and all sorts of things. And so she thought that was really neat. He’s a really nice guy. The sorbells are great. We love their family. I want to ask you first about the flower in your hair. Every picture I’ve seen of you, you’ve got a flower in your hair and some really cool bling going on. Talk a little bit about that. How did this flower come to be?

Katie Hornor:

Yeah, so a lot of people do think the flower is just a branding piece, but it’s actually a big part of our story. When we first started our online business, it was the curriculum business. Then we started coaching. And so in this coaching business, when I started teaching online classes, it was a hot day in the tropics of Mexico. I had littles running around. It was behind schedule, right? And I’ve got to be live on camera in like, two minutes. And so I grabbed my daughter’s headband with a flower and stuck it in my hair. I was like, That’ll have to do, right? Turn on the camera. And here we go. Everybody was like, oh, I love the flower in your hair. And I didn’t think anything about it until the next week when I showed up without the flower. Like, Where’s your flower? That was so cool, right? So I started wearing the flower headband more often, and as I did, it was like the Lord was revitalizing in me, the piece of me that I had shouldered for so long. Back in some of our early ministry. When we first got married, we were told that anything that drew attention to ourselves drew away from the mission, drew away from the gospel that we were trying to share. And so it was discouraged to wear headpieces or earrings or nail polish or anything that would draw attention to you was frowned on. And so I complied. But I didn’t realize that when I did that, I was squashing the things that made me me. And so wearing the flower brought out to me like, I feel pretty with a flower in my hair. And it was like God was saying, yes, that’s how I designed you to love fun and color. And so it became this lesson to me. It’s my daily reminder that I get to show up and be me today. And God loves that. I love the fun and the color in my life. And then as he brought the flamingos into our business, and that became a mascot and a teaching tool for us that also like, you are on the inside what you are on the outside, and one cannot be separated from the other. And so it’s just become my thing that reminds me that this is what I get to be today.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. Hold tight on the flamingo story because we’re going to talk about that the second half of this podcast. But before we get into talking about flamingos, talk about balance, talk about how can we balance working from home and homeschooling at the same time, how do you do that? What does your day look like?

Katie Hornor:

Well, first of all, I want to remind folks that God says, faithful is he that calls you who also will do it. And so if he’s called you to homeschool, he’s called you to do business, he’s called you to be a wife, he’s called you to all these roles. You don’t have to do it. He does it right. So there’s a calm down, mama moment right there. And just remember that God’s got this. Secondly, whatever he’s given you to do, he’s going to have time for. And so we don’t balance as much as we blend the things that we do and the roles that we have. And so blending for us some days means dedicated time just to business pursuits, like today, dedicated time for podcast. I’ve had three interviews back to back, right? This is a business time slot. But this evening when I walk out of my office and shut the door, it’s dedicated family time, where they know mama’s all on for them. And having those boundaries in your calendar and in your life and being able to honor the people that you’re present with in the moment is super important in learning to blend all of this together at the same time, even though this is a dedicated spot for business today. If one of my kids needed me, they know they can walk into my office because they’re more important, right? And so if there was an emergency, they’re absolutely welcome, and they know that. But if there’s not, they also know they need to wait because Mommy’s doing business. And they know that business benefits the family because we talk about it on a regular basis. It’s not just mom and Dad’s business. It’s what God’s doing for the family through the business. And so they feel like they have more of a part in it. The other thing that we do is my husband and I regularly have planning meetings. We try to get away, like not just at home, at the dining table or in the bedroom, but actually leave the house and go somewhere an overnight or at least a dinner or a bench in the park, somewhere that is neutral, somewhere that is more public so we can’t get angry with one another. Right. And that’s where we do our planning, at least on a quarterly basis so that we can have a day to get on the same page, what’s coming up, what goals do we have in our business, what goals do we have in our family, what trips or what activities are important right. And just being able to get on the same page with the planning and with the dreams and what God might be showing each of us so that we can come back and have a united front to the children. And to the business team and to the public audience that we serve of what is happening in the next, then every day we’re on the same page. Right. Every day there’s a check in that says, hey, what have you got today? Well, I’ve got three podcast interviews back to back. I’m going to need you to keep the kids quiet for that time. Right. Or, I’ve got to go do this errand, or my husband may need to run and help a neighbor fix something or he’s a baseball chaplain here in our city. Right. And so it’s just daily coordination as well with, remember, we’ve got this today, or we’ve got to braces appointment, or there’s that music lesson we got to get him to at 05:00. And just that daily communication that keeps us working as a team and being able to blend the responsibilities in a way that looks beautiful in the end instead of causing friction.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. I think that one of the other things is for moms maybe who their husband isn’t home, he’s not part of their business, he’s working his job, and now you’re home and you really need to figure out what to do. Making your husband not necessarily part of your business, not as your business partner, but talking with him through whatever it is that you’re trying to do and having him pray with you and for you and taking his advice to heart. And if he’s not supportive of something and if you’re married and your husband’s not supportive of you doing a specific business, I would say, don’t do it. It’s more important to honor your husband and protect your marriage than it is to run with something super important yeah. Than you think is, this is what I want to do, and I’m going to do it no matter what. That can be a really dangerous place to go in your marriage. But if you don’t have a husband, if you’re someone who’s maybe you’re a single mom and you’re having to find a way to bring in some income, find somebody, whether it’s a pastor or maybe the women’s director at your church or your dad or your mom or a neighbor. Somebody who you trust, who you can say, this is what I’m thinking about. Will you pray through this with me? Will you hold me accountable? Will you help me in some way? And have other people in your world who can help walk with you through this journey. Don’t do it alone, because Katie and I, we get to work full time in ministry with our husbands, and it is the greatest blessing. But that’s rare. I mean, most people don’t have that opportunity. And so we’re definitely not the norm, but definitely have someone that you can pray with. I had a mom not too long ago. A few months ago she called me and she was wanting to do a type of business, and it was actually a home school kind of business. And she said, what do you think about this? And I said, Well, I think it sounds great. What does your husband say about it? She said, he doesn’t want me to do it. And I said, and don’t do it. It’s absolutely not worth doing what your husband doesn’t want you to know. Protect your family first. But the other thing I would say is, if you’ve not yet read Dorinda Wilson’s book, the Four Hour School Day. That’s an excellent book. School doesn’t have to take as long as what we think it needs to take. And so school is only take a few hours a day. So block out 4 hours a day or 5 hours a day or however long you need to block out for your kids and be committed to doing that. And then plan your business on the other end of it. School can take place in the evenings or even on the weekends. It does not have to take place Monday through Friday between the hours of eight and three. You can be really flexible with that. So I think that’s important to keep in mind as well. I don’t know how many of you know this about me and about Garrett, my husband of 28, almost 29 years, but we actually met on a mission trip to Mexico. It was my freshman year, in his sophomore year in high school. And we went on a short mission trip. I mean, it was like maybe a week, I think it was during Christmas break. And we went to an orphanage in somewhere near Tijuana, I think, and we got to serve in this orphanage, and that was the first time we ever met each other. I actually remember him sitting in the van as we were getting ready to leave and thinking, oh, he’s really cute. And many years later, six years later, we started dating and then got married quickly thereafter. But it’s funny to think back through the times in Mexico because, of course, we’re from California, and so I’ve been to many, many times, been on many mission trips there from the time I was pretty young. My mom started taking me when I was probably eight or nine, was my first mission trip. And I remember there was a dump, and these people lived near this trash dump, and it was really sad, but just having our eyes open to how other people lived and learning compassion for other people. When you live in modern America, we have this idea that this is how everybody in the world lives. And then you go outside of it sometimes you’re like, oh, that’s not at all. So anyway, Katie, how did you and your family end up in Mexico? I mean, of all the places to go, there’s lots of places to serve the Lord and ways to serve the Lord. What was it about Mexico? How did you end up there?

Katie Hornor:

Well, my husband’s family moved to Mexico when he was in high school. His dad and mom became church planting missionaries on the west side of Mexico. And then he came back to the States to college, which is where we met at some point. I had wanted to be a missionary overseas since I was in 9th grade and was know Spanish was on hand. It was the easiest thing to learn. If God takes me somewhere else, it’ll be easier to learn another language if I learn Spanish, that whole deal. I was already going to go somewhere in college. I was looking at different countries and visiting mission fields and just really searching for where God wanted me to go. And so once we met and married and decided we were going back to Mexico, initially we came to work at a Bible college and were there about two years. And then God moved us to an orphanage ministry on the other side of Mexico, which is where we are now. And just like context, location wise, we are in the part of Mexico that would be like Florida compared to Tijuana under California, which would be like Washington State in the United States, right? So that’s the distance where we are. But then after the orphanage ministry ended, we were helping some church plants and getting some local ministries going here and we were starting a church out of our home and coffee shop ministry when COVID hit and the Lord shut that down. Mexico was shut down much longer than the States was. And my husband is the chaplain for the local baseball team, the Campaign Pirates, and we get to minister to them. And a lot of our ministry is done actually through our coaching clients now ministering to the people that we get to coach in business and in life. And we are still very involved in the Spanish Homeschool movement as well, speaking and consulting there. So our business, I think, has given us a lot more ministry than we ever dreamed possible. I’ll never forget when we ran ads to an online Christian Women’s Bible Summit, right? And the fact that we could spend $100 in Facebook ads at that point and gather 300 women online when we couldn’t even get 20 locally to come to a location and meet with us, it just blew my mind at the potential there is for ministry around the world. When there are no borders because of what we can do on the internet and what an amazing tool that can be for the gospel.

Yvette Hampton:

I love that. Talk about the flamingo advantage. What exactly is that? You’ve mentioned it throughout the whole week. And I have your book. The Flamingo Advantage how to Leverage Unique, Stay Relevant and Change the World. Tell us about this ministry, because I know the book is Take off of the Ministry, but tell us about this ministry and how in the world did you come up with that name?

Katie Hornor:

Well, I always say the flamingos adopted was my family. And I decided to go see Flamingos in the Wild at one point several years ago, because there’s a place close to us here on the coast of Mexico where they migrate. And we thought, oh, well, that’ll make an amazing educational, field trip family experience. So we chartered a local fishing boat. It felt like a tin can on the water. And we took it out, our family and our guide, and went to go find these flamingos in the wild. And I don’t know what I was expecting, yvette, but when we rounded that bend in the river, all I could see was like the blue of the sky and the water and the jungle green on both sides of the river and in the middle, like pink fluffy clouds everywhere. It was such an amazing, unexpected sight. I will never get that picture out of my head. And I was in awe. I think my mouth literally dropped open. But as we got closer to them, I think I expected them to move away or to be scared or to fly off. They didn’t do any of that. The closer we got to them in this shallow river, they just stood there. They just continued to do what they were created to do. They weren’t scared about the tourists. They weren’t scared like we weren’t getting out of the boat because there was crocodiles in that river too, right. They weren’t scared by that either. And we got within several feet of them. And just to see how amazing and confident they were, just standing there doing what God made them to do today. And it was so impactful to me that I couldn’t get it out of my head. When we came home, I started researching flamingos, and the teacher in me was like, oh my goodness. And I could see all of these lessons that lined up for believers and for entrepreneurs especially, right? Like the Flamingo is pink all the way through. It’s colored by what it eats. The color from their food is what colors them. Well, the color from the diet we feed ourselves is what makes us look like we do on the outside, too, physically, emotionally, spiritually. What comes in is what goes out. Right? Feed negative, get negative. Feed positive, get positive. The Flamingo can’t separate himself from the pink. I can’t be who I am on the inside and not have it show on the outside. They can’t just wake up and say, I’m going to be blue today. Right? We can’t say, oh, I’m going to be a Christian this weekend, but not Monday when I go to work. It has to color everything we do. Flamingos don’t survive if they’re isolated. They thrive in community. They have to live in community for their own safety and for their health, right? And when we isolate ourselves from the people who can support us in our calling, we also find ourselves dying. We need to be surrounded by those that can love us and support us. So many of those lessons. So it eventually became a book, right? Because I’m an author too. And so faith, like flamingo, came out first. And that was a devotional book around all of these facts that I’d found out about flamingos and the lessons that it taught me about what it means to walk out your faith in bold color and the that took off. And suddenly clients are sending me flamingos and people are tagging me on social media saying, the flamingo made me think of you in your book. And I started using it more in my teaching and in my business trainings. And then I started thinking, okay, how do we apply this to business? How can we be a flamingo in business? How can we look like all the other people who are doing what we do in our niche and still have that unique voice that calls our people to us? Because flamingos can be just as pink as the next birds and hard for us to tell them apart, but they know each other because each one has a distinct voice, right? And so even if you look like 1000 other people in your niche, you doing what you do the way you do. It calls your people to you. And so that became the flamingo advantage. And the book and the lessons in the book then became the frameworks that we use to teach marketing and client experience to our people and really helping you hone in on that God given uniqueness that is yours. That was given to you to be able to change the world that you touch, to be able to call your people to you and have the impact God wants to make in their life through what he’s given you to do. And the rest is history.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. Oh, that is such a great story. I love that. And I’m going to go look up more about flamingos. They stink, though. Was it smelly when you went to see them?

Katie Hornor:

Not in the wild, no.

Yvette Hampton:


Katie Hornor:

Not in the wild.

Yvette Hampton:

That’s so funny. Every time I go to the zoo, I love seeing the flamingos in the zoo. But it’s like you can smell them as you’re walking up to them before you can even see them. You’re like, we’re near the flamingos. They stink, but they are so beautiful. So that is a great story. I absolutely love that talk. Very quickly, we have just a minute left about your coaching business. What is it that you coach people in and how can people find out more? I know you’ve given your website, but give it again. How can people reach you and find out more about you and what you’ve got going?

Katie Hornor:

Well, the thing that we love to do most is our three day training that we host a couple of times a year. That is the Christian marketing retreat. And so for your Christians in your audience, especially if you’re thinking of starting a business, you’ve got a business you want to grow. Consider joining us at one of those. It’s virtual, you can attend from anywhere, but it’s three days of inspiration, of learning to know who your God is and what that means for business and what it means for you and your uniqueness as you market this business to the people God’s bringing to you. We do practical strategies. There’s implementation times, there’s networking times. It’s really a great way to find your flamboyance, find your flock of other flamingos in your network and be able to lean into what God has for you and growing your business. Theflamingoadvantage.com has got all the info about those events, about our coaching program, our mastermind, the books, the podcast, it’s all there.

Yvette Hampton:

Okay, well, thank you so much. It has been so much fun chatting with you this week. Katie, thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for your encouragement this week. It’s been even an encouragement to me, and I know it has been to our guests as well. We are so grateful for you and appreciate all that you’ve done to grow your business, to serve the Lord and to help others do the same. So thank you for being with us.

Katie Hornor:

Thank you so much. It’s been an honor.

Finding Identity and Redemption in the Homeschooling Journey

“If you make homeschooling an ultimate thing instead of a subordinate thing in service of the truth of God and the love of God in Christ Jesus for sinners, that kind of truth and knowledge that homeschooling itself will be perverted.”

Missy Andrews

In a captivating and thought-provoking interview on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, host Yvette Hampton delves into a transformative conversation with homeschooling advocate and leader Missy Andrews. This interview explores Missy’s personal journey as a homeschool mom and delves into the deep significance of knowing one’s true identity in Christ. With years of experience in the homeschool community and a passion for discipleship, Missy Andrews shares her insights, struggles, and growth, offering a beacon of hope and grace for moms and dads walking the homeschooling path.

Exploring Identity and Searching for Love:

From the very start, Missy Andrews emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s identity and seeking validation from the right source. She poignantly remarks, “Whatever we look to besides God to define us is too small to meet our needs.” Missy describes how people often search for love and acceptance in the wrong places, such as success in jobs or marriages, only to find themselves unfulfilled and weary. This important lesson forms the foundation for her journey and perception of homeschooling.

The Homeschooling Journey:

Missy candidly reflects on her 26 years of homeschooling, acknowledging both its noble purpose and the challenges she encountered along the way. With heartfelt honesty, she confesses that she made the mistake of intertwining the virtue of homeschooling with her own personal virtue, leading to a skewed understanding of her own identity and struggles with sin. She recounts the pressure she felt to succeed as a homeschool mom and the heartbreaking recognition of unintentionally making her child a means to her own achievements.

Lessons Learned and Grace Discovered:

“Education can’t save you, but it can put you in the proper mindset to see that you need saving.”

Missy Andrews

Through hardship and self-reflection, Missy Andrews shares a beautiful transformation. She learned the importance of self-recognition and the acceptance of her own personal sin, leading her to the liberating understanding that true identity and grace come from God alone. Missy recounts the transformation her child experienced after wrestling with their own identity and ultimately finding value in Christ. She affirms, “Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as in the daily presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”

Quotes that Illuminate the Journey:

“Whatever we look to besides God to define us is too small to meet our needs.” – Missy Andrews

“Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as in the daily presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.” – Missy Andrews


“Identity is received…from God, who created us as we are and who has a purpose for our life.”

Missy Andrews

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast episode featuring Missy Andrews is a powerful exploration of identity, redemption, and the homeschooling journey. Missy’s story serves as a reminder that even in the noble pursuit of homeschooling, it is imperative to recognize the temptation of idolizing our own achievements and instead find our worth and purpose in God’s love and grace. By openly embracing personal flaws and redirecting focus to God’s guiding hand, homeschooling becomes a delightful journey of learning, character development, and spiritual growth.

As Missy Andrews poignantly expresses, “Our hope lies in the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” It is through the transformative power of Christ’s love and daily reliance on the Holy Spirit that we find true fulfillment and freedom. Whether you are a homeschooling parent or simply seeking wisdom and inspiration, this episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast offers a refreshing perspective that resonates deeply with all seekers of truth and purpose.

Recommended Resources:

My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey, by Missy Andrews


Education: Does God Have an Opinion? by Israel Wayne

The Art of Learning – Missy Andrews, Part 1

The Art of Learning – Missy Andrews, Part 2

Avoiding the Pitfalls – Missy Andrews, Part 3

Discussion Questions:

Want to use this interview for a co-op meeting or small group? Here are a few discussion questions to keep the conversation moving in the right direction:

1. How has your understanding of your own identity been shaped by societal expectations and the search for validation in the wrong places?

2. In what ways have you observed parents, homeschooling or otherwise, conflate their own personal worth with the success or failure of their children’s education?

3. Have you ever experienced a situation where you unintentionally made someone, whether it be a child or someone else, a means to your own success? How did you reconcile and rectify that situation?

4. How can we create a safe and transparent environment with our children where they feel comfortable admitting their own flaws and mistakes?

5. How do you personally understand and navigate the tension between aiming for excellence in education and guarding against turning it into an idol?

6. Reflect on a time when you felt pressure to succeed in a particular area, and how that impacted your sense of self-worth. How were you able to find value in something beyond the pursuit of success?

7. Have there been moments in your own parenting or educational journey that served as a wake-up call or learning opportunity, revealing the truth about your own character or need for God’s grace?

8. How does the concept of recognizing our sins and repenting impact the way we approach our own personal growth and development as parents, educators, or mentors?

9. In what ways can our failures and mistakes as parents or educators actually become opportunities for growth and transformation, both for ourselves and for our children?

10. How does understanding the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inform and shape the way we approach our homeschooling or educational endeavors? How does it bring liberation and delight to the learning process?

Read the full interview transcript:

Continue reading “Finding Identity and Redemption in the Homeschooling Journey”

Embracing Distractions: Finding Purpose in Homeschooling

“God oftentimes uses distractions to challenge us in what we’re prioritizing.”

Katie Waalkes

In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton sits down with Katie Waalkes, a second-generation homeschooler and mother of multiple children with special needs. Together, they tackle the topic of distracted homeschooling and how to navigate the challenges it presents. As highly distracted homeschool moms themselves, Yvette and Katie share personal experiences and insights that will resonate with many parents who face similar circumstances.

Embracing Distractions:

In the interview, Katie underscores the importance of character over curriculum. She urges parents not to be overly focused on adhering strictly to a schedule, but rather to seize teachable moments and opportunities to build character in their children. Katie asserts, “Homeschooling is not just about academics; it’s about preparing our children for life.”

Katie also highlights a significant concern for parents who miss out on imparting valuable life lessons due to the physical separation that can occur when children spend prolonged periods away from them. She encourages moms and dads to remain open to identifying and seizing opportunities to teach and build character in their children. “We were put on this earth to serve others and serve God for His glory,” she emphasizes.

Anchoring the Day:

Both Yvette and Katie discuss the importance of anchoring the homeschool day with specific activities or times to refocus and overcome distractions. They suggest using meal times as anchors if no other routines are established. “Teaching children to refocus, pray, and confess mistakes can help them develop valuable skills in restarting and moving forward.”

Katie shares her practical approach to managing distractions, including the use of a whiteboard and the notes app on her iPhone. She prefers these methods to traditional pen and paper, as they help her stay organized and prevent her from misplacing important information.

The Blessings of Distractions:

While distractions in homeschooling can sometimes be challenging, Katie counters that they can also turn into blessings for children. She urges parents to focus on leading their children to Jesus, regardless of the day’s structure or organization. Distractions offer opportunities to guide children closer to Him.

Overcoming Challenges:

When discussing how to overcome distractions, both Yvette and Katie stress the importance of recognizing the problem, seeking God’s guidance, and subsequently experiencing a heart change. They highlight the need to protect specific hours for homeschooling and the benefits of blocking off “safety hours” to minimize interruptions and maintain focus.

Katie encourages highly distracted homeschooling moms to blend similar tasks together and avoid multitasking, as it often leads to unfinished projects. Additionally, she recommends creating a minimalist environment free from clutter and using noise-canceling headphones to reduce environmental distractions.


By focusing on character development, anchoring the day, and embracing distractions, homeschooling can become a purpose-driven journey that leads children closer to Jesus.

As Katie wisely states, “The most important thing in parenting is leading children to Jesus.” With this perspective, distractions transform from obstacles to opportunities, reminding us that our ultimate goal is not merely academic success, but shaping the hearts and minds of our children for the glory of God.

So, if you find yourself easily distracted in your homeschooling journey, take heart and tune in to this inspiring podcast episode with Yvette Hampton and Katie Waalkes. By embracing distractions and seeking God’s guidance, you can discover a new sense of purpose and fulfillment in your homeschool experience.

Katie Waalkes is a wife of 14 years, mother to 6 kids, most of whom have special needs with a mixture of medical diagnosis & special learning needs.

She is passionate about encouraging parents in their biblical parenting and helping homeschool moms in their journey. Katie has a unique perspective on homeschooling as both she and her husband grew up homeschooled. As a second-generation homeschooler, she has been both the student and teacher and has much to offer on the topic. She hopes to be able to help you start making the most of the little moments in life as the mundane moments are often the most impactful.

Recommended Resources:



M.O.M. Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy into Your Home, by Kristi Clover

Organizing the Mayhem, with Kristi Clover on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Homeschool Planning: Step by Step with Pam Barnhill on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Discussion Questions:

Want to use this interview for a co-op meeting or small group? Here are a few discussion questions to keep the conversation moving in the right direction:

1. How does Katie define distracted homeschooling? Can you relate to her experiences as a highly distracted homeschool mom?

2. How does Katie emphasize the importance of character over curriculum? In what ways can we prioritize character-building in our homeschooling journey?

3. What are some teaching moments and opportunities that parents often miss out on when their children are separated from them for long periods? How can we be more intentional in seizing those opportunities?

4. What are some strategies that Katie shares for overcoming distractions and staying focused in homeschooling? How do you anchor your day and help your children develop refocusing skills?

5. How does Katie view distractions in the journey of parenting? How can distractions actually benefit our children’s growth and our own journey towards Jesus?

6. What are some challenges that Katie identifies in her homeschooling journey, such as changing curriculums and inconsistent expectations? How can we address these challenges and ensure a more consistent homeschooling experience?

7. Katie’s children have special needs. How does she adapt her homeschooling approach to cater to each child’s individual needs and abilities? How can we accommodate our children’s unique learning styles and challenges?

8. How does Katie view multitasking? Why is it important to block off specific hours for homeschooling and protect those hours from external distractions and appointments?

9. Katie suggests creating a minimalist environment and using noise-canceling headphones to reduce distractions. How can we create a homeschooling environment that promotes focus and minimizes distractions? 

10. In what ways can we seek a heart change and rely on God’s guidance to overcome the challenges of distracted homeschooling? How can prayer and seeking the Lord’s wisdom help us in our homeschooling journey?

Keep it FREE:

We have always wanted to make the barrier to entry for homeschooling as low as possible, so we have made all but one of our resources completely free (and we’re considering how we can make that one free too). READ MORE HERE.

We pray that the Schoolhouse Rocked Ministry is a blessing to you and your family. Here are a few ways to be involved in this important mission…

Read the full interview transcript below:

Yvette Hampton [00:00:00]:

Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Thank you for being with me today, this week, whatever it is that you’re doing. I am always so honored to know that you are on the other side of this camera, on the other side of this microphone, and taking the time to listen to the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast. You know, before I ever pushed the record button with any guest, we always pray. And it was no different with my guest this week. Her name is Katie Walcus. And we were just talking about the podcast and what we were going to discuss and just talking about life and stuff. And then I asked her, I said, do you have any questions? And she said, can we pray? And I said, absolutely. We always do that. And our prayer always is that you, our audience, would be encouraged by what we discuss and that the Lord would speak through us and that he would be honored in our conversation and that everything we do would point you and point your kids to Jesus. And so we really do pray that that is how you view this podcast and what you get out of it. That you walk away encouraged and equipped to be able to do this parenting thing, this homeschooling thing, this life thing, and that you would be able to do it the best that you can according to God’s word and according to biblical truth. So thank you again for being with us. I am excited about my guest this week. Like I said, her name is Katie Walcus. I totally botched her name when I asked her, because if you look at it the way it’s spelled, you might try to figure out how to say it, too. And so I’m glad that I asked before I completely butchered it on the podcast. But we are going to talk this week about the highly distracted homeschool mom, and I am so excited about this topic because this is me. I am a totally distracted homeschool mom. That might be surprising to some of you and those of you who know me, you’re going to be like, oh, yeah, that’s you, yvette. Well, Katie, welcome to the podcast. Like I said, we’re talking about the highly distracted homeschool mom. And it’s so funny. As soon as I saw that you talked on this topic, I was like, oh, you got to come on the podcast because I need your help. And I know so many others need help in this area as well. I think one of those things that as homeschool moms, those of us who are easily distracted, those type B’s like myself, it’s hard for us sometimes to think that we’re doing okay. As homeschool moms, we feel like we’re just screwing this all up, because I can’t even stay focused on a single thing, much less trying to teach all of my kids and keep everything rolling smoothly throughout the day. And so I think it can cause us to become very insecure about our ability to teach. And so I would love for you to first introduce your family and then I’m assuming I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t assume this, that you, maybe yourself, are a highly distracted homeschool mom as well. Let’s just talk about this this week, but first tell us who you are.

Katie Waalkes [00:02:52]:

Yeah, so my name is Katie, and I am a second generation homeschooler married to another second generation homeschooler. We’ve been married almost 15 years. It’ll be 15 years in August. And I have kids ranging from well, they’re getting ready to have birthdays. They’re going to be 1413, 1211, six and five. I have to get a running start, if you ask me, in the middle. I can’t tell you how old the middle child is without going up or down. But our family is very unique. We have a lot of kiddos with different special needs. And it was funny. It was actually through one of my kids going to therapy, like, to a counseling therapy session, that I actually discovered that I myself have ADHD. And it was so funny because the therapist, just very lovingly, like, with no malicious intent whatsoever, was telling my daughter who has ADHD, she’s like, you know, it’s okay. She was like, I have it too, and I’m pretty sure your mom does as well. And I was like, no, I don’t have ADHD. And she was like, oh, I’m so sorry. And as we started talking, I was like, so why? Why did you say that? Like, I’m just I’m curious, what made you think that? And so she started asking me, and I ended up getting screened for it. And I am 1000% ADHD, actually more so than my husband. I knew that he had it, but I am way more. So that was a really fun thing to find out as an adult and as a mom. So I am definitely the highly distracted home school mom. I have found that most moms feel like they actually fit in this category either because of natural tendencies or because of external circumstances. Because we live in that world that’s constantly yanking us in every direction. And our kids are in all the sports and they’re social media, and we’re balancing so many things at one time that I find that so many moms find themselves there, but there’s definitely ones who are more naturally that way and more that are, like, just end up in circumstances where they feel like that. So the things that we’re going to talk about today will help and apply to all of that, hopefully.

Yvette Hampton [00:05:03]:

Yeah, that’s a great story. And I may fall into that category and I just have never had myself tested, but I could easily see that probably since I was a kid, I can look back and I can see. Even through my academic years in school, I went to a private school my whole life, and I was always just I could not focus on anything, which is why it was hard for me to learn. And I still do that even when I read my Bible in the morning, I literally have to listen to it and read it with my eyes at the same time because otherwise, even then, I sometimes have to read the same thing over and over again because my mind just is everywhere. It’s all over the place. And are you a visual learner? I’m curious to know.

Katie Waalkes [00:05:51]:


Yvette Hampton [00:05:51]:

So not only are you distracted, but you see everything as you’re distracted with it. It’s a double curse and a blessing, I think, at the same time. Let’s talk kind of through this. And as you’ve met homeschool moms and you yourself, what are some of the distractions that you think most homeschool moms face?

Katie Waalkes [00:06:12]:

Yeah, so like I said, they’re sort of the external distractions and the internal distractions. And I actually kind of asked several people on my I have a YouTube channel and asked them, what are the things that you guys feel like are the most distracting to you? And some of the answers I got were, of course, the kids, right. And all the needs they have, the laundry or chores, the things they’re trying to keep up with in their home, the calendar, like just managing everybody’s schedules, especially if you have any kids that do have therapies or playdates or sports or whatnot. Sickness can even be an external distraction. We’ve all run into that where you just have seasons, where you just feel like you can’t get to your schoolwork because you’re constantly dealing with sickness. Of course, our phones, I think that’s probably a really common one, and just having to do list, like feeling like we’re constantly needing to do the next thing is always a distraction. But as I was thinking about it more, I was like, there’s also internal distractions, at least for people like us.

Yvette Hampton [00:07:23]:


Katie Waalkes [00:07:24]:

Because my mind in and of itself is a huge distraction. It’s constantly going, it’s constantly thinking. And I think most moms do we’re like, okay, what are we going to have for breakfast the next morning? What are we going to have for dinner? Who do I need to get where? And it can be very overwhelming, and we can be present and not actually be present at all because our minds are everywhere else. But there and there’s the sin aspect of distractions, of feeling like we just selfishly, we don’t want to do what we’re supposed to do. So we allow ourselves to get distracted and sucked into things that are more interesting to us or that we want to hyper fixate on.

Yvette Hampton [00:08:09]:

Yeah. You say being present and not present. Do you have the wonderful ability that I have to read a book and have no idea what you’re reading because you’re thinking of something else? Yes. I don’t think everyone can do that. I don’t know if I call that a gift or a curse again, but I can read a book to my kids literally perfectly, every single word, and have no idea what I’m reading to them because I’m thinking of something completely different than what I’m reading. So hopefully they don’t ask me questions about those books. I mean, I can read a book and focus on the book, and mostly I do. But sometimes if I really have something heavy on my mind, my brain, I’ll just go off into la la land and thinking about all the things and then imagining all the things because I see everything in picture. I have, like, this constant movie going on in my head all the time, which I always thought that everyone did. I always just assumed that everybody saw everything. And then I learned years ago that that’s not the case. And I was like, what do you mean you don’t see everything? You don’t have a constant movie going on in your head all the time?

Katie Waalkes [00:09:15]:


Yvette Hampton [00:09:16]:

Yeah, it can be a tough thing, but it can be kind of fun sometimes. The distractions can be overwhelming in every way.

Katie Waalkes [00:09:24]:

Yes. And a lot of times when you find yourself distracted somebody asked me when I started to talk on this topic, and it kind of threw me off guard because I just kind of assumed you knew if you were a distracted mom. But somebody asked me, how would I know if I’m a distracted mom? And I was like, oh, okay, I guess I can break this down a little bit. If you feel like you’re constantly wasting time, if you feel like.

Yvette Hampton [00:09:53]:

You can’t.

Katie Waalkes [00:09:54]:

Get to that, if you feel like a lot of the work you’re doing is not at its best and you kind of feel like you’re a little bit of everything to everybody and not really able to accomplish anything or to do anything. Well, if you’re feeling mentally exhausted and fatigued constantly. And I know as moms there’s an aspect of that, but I think that sometimes we blow past that really easily and we just assume that, well, moms are tired, so this is okay, and I just need to push through it. And there are physical tiredness that we feel, but when there’s this mental overload, there are things we can do to kind of shift that and to take off some of that extra mental weight. And I think that’s something that we oftentimes just don’t think about.

Yvette Hampton [00:10:40]:

Yeah, and I definitely want to talk about that and just give some practical advice on what can we do, how do we navigate through this. But let’s talk first about the problem as a home school mom, because we’re talking to homeschool moms specifically, and I feel like you’ve talked about some of it, but we could just go on forever about why this is a problem. But I want to bring hope to the situation because I think so oftentimes moms don’t homeschool or they want to give up on homeschooling because they think someone else they think that the teacher in the classroom has it all together and that she is going to be able to teach their kids in a more focused way than the mom can. And I feel this too sometimes. I never have the urge to put my kids in a classroom but oftentimes I’m like, man I’m such a mess. And it’s hard for me to sometimes teach my kids to be focused because we do get things done. I don’t want to sound like we just molly gag around the house all day every day. That wouldn’t work for anybody but monkey see, monkey do. I mean, my girls very much take after me in this aspect. I know it drives my husband crazy. I don’t do it on purpose, it’s just how my personality is and he loves me through it. But let’s talk about the problem of this for homeschool moms and then let’s try to give some practical ways to overcome it.

Katie Waalkes [00:12:13]:

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the big problems with it is that we can. For me, one of the ways this kind of showed up as a problem in my home school is I was a habitual curriculum hopper for the beginning of my home school years, whether it was mid year or whether it was at the end of the year, but constantly changing up different curriculums because it was like, OOH, something new and shiny and FOMO, it’s a real thing. And all the different things. And I was constantly switching things up. And so there were some gaps and inconsistencies there that fell into that. For my kids that I know that they suffered because of that. It was also hard for them because of my distractedness. I would oftentimes have different expectations for the day and so if I was feeling unmotivated then I would be like everything can slide. Either we’re not going to do home school or we’re going to do it but the standards are not going to be as high. And then the next day I would be very motivated and I would expect my kids to match my motivation which is really not fair to them whatsoever because they had no idea. And my kids learned really fast the system to things. They learned that if mom was tired and overwhelmed they could get away with not doing school or not doing as much. And if mom was really motivated they were probably going to have to do like two or three days worth of school in one day because then I’d be feeling this panic of being behind. But there is 1000% hope in this because God completely shifted things in my life. And some of these strategies that we’re going to share are ways that this happened. But there’s also part of it that was a heart change and I want to encourage that is the most practical thing you can do about this is to recognize the problem and take it to the Lord, because if he’s called you to this, he’s going to equip you for it. And we can so often be like, well, this is just the way I am. I’m kind of doomed to this. And that’s not at all the case. Yes, God has made you uniquely how you are, and there’s strength to being a highly distracted homeschool mom, and we can talk about that, but there is also sin that’s interwoven into these things and asking God to really confront that in your heart and to change those things, and he will be faithful to do it. And so I think that’s the biggest hope that I can give is that you can do the strategies, but until you have the heart change, you’re not going to see that impact.

Yvette Hampton [00:14:41]:

Talk about that transition for you then of going from realizing and did you realize it before your daughter’s therapist revealed to you? Yes. Did you realize like, oh man, I’m just distracted and kind of scattered all over the place, but you didn’t really know why?

Katie Waalkes [00:15:00]:

Yeah, I did not know why. I did discover that beforehand. I started to see as my kids got older, the consequences of my choices on them, and I started to notice them that they would get really frazzled or that they were feeling like they didn’t know what the expectations were going to be for the day. And at first I would get frustrated and then thanks, like, God gave me that insight to be able to see maybe this is a me problem, not a them problem. And so thankfully, I started working on that several years before. Like, I actually only found out I had ADHD, I think it was back in 2020. So it’s only been in the last three years.

Yvette Hampton [00:15:41]:

Oh, wow.

Katie Waalkes [00:15:42]:

Yeah, so it’s been a much more recent thing. And since then I’m like, okay, I can learn to find the strengths and the weaknesses and what I need to work on. But yeah, for many years I had no idea why. I just was like, something’s a little off here and I’m just constantly going all the different directions. But there are many benefits to it too.

Yvette Hampton [00:16:00]:

One of the things you said on Monday, which by the way, if you guys missed Monday’s episode, go back and listen to that. But one of the things you said was that there are actually some strengths to being highly distracted. And I was like, oh, this is good to know. I always want to know the good things. So let’s talk about that for a few minutes. What are some of the things that are strengths that we can derive from being highly distracted moms?

Katie Waalkes [00:16:25]:

I think one of the big ones is that as homeschool moms, we want our kids to have a love of learning. And some of the best ways to do that, in my experience, is to follow those rabbit trails and to be willing to take a second and take a break from the curriculum and just follow that thing that’s really interesting to them. And as highly distracted homeschool moms, oftentimes we are more willing to do that and to kind of go off the beaten path and I really do think that’s a strength. I have friends who are very type A and who very much wish they could. They were like but to us, that to do list is such the driving force that we have trouble taking the opportunity to dig into something. And so I found that to be a huge strength across the board. And not that we don’t ever struggle with doing that, and obviously we can’t do that 24/7, but, you know, being able to say, you know what, guys? That’s a great question. Let’s look more into that. Maybe we’re going to watch a documentary or listen to a podcast on that or read a book on that.

Yvette Hampton [00:17:23]:

Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes what I find myself doing and I totally agree with you because we will often do that too, but then we’ll go on YouTube to look at a video on something and then, oh, look at this video.

Katie Waalkes [00:17:37]:

2 hours later.

Yvette Hampton [00:17:38]:

Like, oh, wait a minute. We were supposed to be learning about pompeii or whatever it was that we were studying. And so it can lead to more distraction. However, that also can be a learning opportunity for our kids because you never know what the Lord is going to show you. Maybe something that you didn’t even know you needed to know about or talk to your kids about.

Katie Waalkes [00:18:02]:

Another one that I found has definitely been the ability to pivot life has a lot of things that just happen and pop up and the ability to take that opportunity to make shifts and adjustments fairly quickly is something oftentimes we can do. Now with every strength there is a weakness, every weakness there is a strength. So it’s always finding that balance there but there’s more of a willingness to stop and to do ministry, moments of ministry and to take the opportunity with our kids to be willing to take a break from things, to be able to pivot over to maybe a discipline issue, heart issue that needs to be addressed. And so it’s one of those things that I really do think is a strength because God gives us very specific things for a very specific reason. And another big one has definitely been with my kids having more understanding. Because whether kids have ADHD or don’t have ADHD, kids are highly distracted as a whole, as a general rule, and as parents, sometimes we can be so far removed from that and have so many strategies that we lose empathy or we forget that there’s actual strategy that has to be learned. And so we just assume our kids should be little adults. And so I feel like by having those struggles and even though some of them are not current struggles, some are still even though some of them are not current struggles, they’re recent enough that I remember what I had to do to learn how to pivot and how to grow in those areas. And I’m able to teach my kids better and equip them better because of that.

Yvette Hampton [00:19:43]:

Yeah, it’s called flexibility.

Katie Waalkes [00:19:45]:


Yvette Hampton [00:19:46]:

And you’re right. I think for the Type A mom, it is very hard for her sometimes to be flexible. And again. I mean, I’m not putting down type A, Moms. I aspire to be that Type A mom. I really want to have it all together. I want to be able to organize my day and live by my schedule. It’s just not me. And like you said yesterday or in Monday’s episode, it’s not that we stay there. It’s not that we say, well, this is just how I am, so I’m just going to stay here and, well, too bad for my family, right? We should always be growing and learning. And I know we’re going to talk about some methods. I’m assuming one of them will be because I know it has been the top method for me is making a to do list.

Katie Waalkes [00:20:27]:


Yvette Hampton [00:20:27]:

If I didn’t have a to do list in a calendar to live by, oh dear. I would not be able to function. So we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But for that Type A mom, there are so many benefits to being organized and structured and focused. But it’s really hard for that Type A mom to pivot, as you said, and to be flexible when your day doesn’t go exactly as planned. And so I think it’s hard to be really heavy on one side of the coin or really heavy on the other side of the coin because there are strengths and weaknesses to both.

Katie Waalkes [00:21:03]:

Yes, absolutely.

Yvette Hampton [00:21:05]:

So, yeah, it’s learning to balance all of the things and all of the personality traits that God’s given to us. As we’re talking about distractions, let’s kind of define what a distraction is. Obviously, we know what it looks like to be distracted, but let’s actually just really kind of hone in on that word and define it.

Katie Waalkes [00:21:25]:

Yeah, absolutely. I thought a lot about this as I’ve been studying this topic, and everybody kind of has different definitions and what they assume. But really, when you look up definitions in the dictionary and when you look at other reliable sources, you see that a distraction is really anything. And I think this part is key anything, good or bad, that takes us away from what we should be prioritizing at that moment. And this is a big difference than what we tend to think of, because we just assume that everything that we don’t want to be doing right now or everything that keeps us from doing what we want to do is a distraction versus everything that is keeping us from doing what should be the priority right in that moment.

Yvette Hampton [00:22:12]:

Yeah, that’s tough because I want to have my list and this is what thing I should be doing and never deviate from that. But that’s also not reality, right? I mean, sometimes it is. Sometimes we can stay focused, but especially, I mean, you’ve got six kids and as you mentioned before, you have special needs kids, so I have two kids, neither of them are special needs. And we still get distracted so easily when we’re trying to focus on one thing. So I imagined with six, yes, and having special needs in there, it would almost seem impossible to focus, not ever, but most of the time on the thing that you’re trying to focus on. So let’s talk about just some practical ways that we can do this. What do we do about this? If we know we’re distracted, we can recognize it, we can admit it to ourselves at least. What are some things we can do about it?

Katie Waalkes [00:23:12]:

One of the first things is reducing the amount of multitasking we do. We, as moms, love to multitask, but there’s been many studies shown that we’re not really multitasking. We’re shifting from one thing to another. And so really trying to block off time, especially when we’re talking about homeschooling, blocking off specific home school hours and really protecting those hours. So our school day, I have middle schoolers, and with having kids with special needs, our school day just takes longer. And so we actually typically go somewhere around eight to two. There’s breaks in there, there’s lunch. It’s not all working the whole time, but I’m working that whole time between eight and two. But I really protect between nine and twelve, and that is my safety hours. And for that I really try to not do scheduling any doctors appointments or therapies I try not to have any playdates or field trips we might do. That’s an exception to the rule, but in general we try to protect that nine to twelve. And it’s really helped us to be able to stay a little more focused, because as a distracted mom, I can bounce around within one task, but the second that I start to blend tasks and say, I can jump from math to language arts, no problem, but jumping from math to laundry? Then all of a sudden, I get on what my husband affectionately calls if you give a mouse the cookie days where I start everything and I finish nothing. And so I’m like, oh, we’re doing math, oh, we need to do laundry. But I forgot to switch to that laundry. I’ll go upstairs and get more and then I’m like, oh, I should make my bed. And then I need to call somebody about something. It just becomes this whole thing. So if we can kind of keep like minded tasks together and give our attention to that and then give our attention afterwards to those things. Maybe errands, or phone calls, contacting people and just grouping as many like tasks together is a huge, huge help when it comes to reducing distractions.

Yvette Hampton [00:25:14]:

Yeah. So when you’re talking about staying on those like minded tasks, how do you do that with six kids? Because you’ve got all of them different. I mean, you’ve got a pretty big range of ages with your kids and abilities. So how do you focus on that nine to twelve time frame where you try to really stay focused on them? What does that look like in your home?

Katie Waalkes [00:25:39]:

Well, part of it is I’ve had to learn what works for me and my personality. So something that’s very distracting to me is environmental clutter. I am a very messy person, but mess distracts me and that’s not always the best blend. So with that, a lot of people do their chores with their kids after school and I totally understand why it makes sense. But for us, I have to start the day out with a picked up house. It does not need to be super clean, but it needs to just be picked up. So I will opt for a later start time if it means that I can have a cleared space. And so I feel like that’s one of the big things is knowing and starting to track the distractions that you’re coming across. Because if you find yourself constantly cleaning during school hours, is it maybe that these things are really bothering you and having designated times? So sometimes work will become a task for me that distracts me. I’m like, oh, I need to send this email, I need to do this or that. And I find what helps me is to know that there is going to be a designated time for that later. And if I know that between two and four I’m going to have some work hours, then I can simply jot it on a list and I know I won’t forget it. And then during those work hours I can pick that up and take that task. So it’s all about prepping the time beforehand and knowing when you’re going to be able to do other things. Having that peace of mind really helps.

Yvette Hampton [00:27:11]:

Yeah. Let’s talk about lists. I love lists. I love checklists. Like I said, I would be a complete disaster. I would not be able to function, I could not do this podcast, I couldn’t do anything without my checklist because I think of the things that I need to. And of course I’m the one who I’ll wake up at like four in the morning and I’m like, oh, I got to put this on my checklist. Maybe I’m dreaming about it, I don’t even know. But if I don’t put it on my list, I completely forget about it. I do that with grocery. Shopping. It drives my husband crazy because he’ll say, we need this at the grocery store, and if it’s not on my shopping, it could be like the most important thing. We need milk and eggs. I go to the grocery store for milk and eggs, but if it’s not on my list, I will not get it. I have to have my list. I’ll get everything else but the milk and eggs. And I function that same way in my life. I could have the most important things to do, and if it’s not on my to do list, I just get so easily distracted and I find all the other things to do that take up my time. As you make your lists, do you use something specific? Like, do you use a pad and paper? Do you use your phone? Do you use a specific app? What does that look like for you?

Katie Waalkes [00:28:33]:

So it’s looked totally different in all different phases of life. I currently use the blend, so anything work related? I use a website called Notion. They have a totally free option. It’s kind of the next step up from Trello, if people are familiar with Trello. And so it allows me to do a little bit more than I can do with Trello. But then for the home, I find pen and paper to be my best bet. And so I actually do a couple of interesting things with my list. I brain dump everything that’s in my head the night before because I can’t sleep. All those thoughts, all those movies playing in your head, like, what you’re talking about keeps me from being able to sleep. And most highly distracted moms actually struggle with some form of insomnia because our brains just won’t turn off. And so with that, I find just dumping everything on a piece of paper and writing it all down, and then in the morning, I can look back at it. So that’s not my official to do list, but that is the beginning of.

Yvette Hampton [00:29:36]:

My to do list.

Katie Waalkes [00:29:37]:

So I’ll write anything down that I think is important, and then in the morning, I’ll look over it, and 95% of it is not important. It was just what was floating around my head. And I’ll pick those important tasks, but I make sure to pick three tasks for my day, and that’s been huge because I’m like, no, I have more than I have to do. And it’s like, but if you can only get three done, what are those three tasks you’re going to do? And it has made a whole world of a difference because now I’m getting the things done that are the most important and not necessarily the most interesting or the most urgent, but those things that actually needed to get done. And it’s made a huge difference for me, for sure.

Yvette Hampton [00:30:18]:

Yeah, I love using a whiteboard at home. Yes. I don’t know. There’s something about physically writing it down on the board. And I’ll tell you why I don’t use pen and paper. Because I lose it. Yes. And actually, it’s kind of weird. We have a pretty tidy house. I like my house to be in order, and for the most part it’s pretty clean. But for some reason, I will lose a pad of paper with my notes on it. So I like to use the whiteboard that we have in our spare room. And my phone, I use just the notes app on my iPhone. And I love that it has the little I don’t think it had this when it first started, but it has the little checkboxes now. And so as you list stuff on there, you can just check it off and it moves that item down to the bottom of the list. And it’s wonderful for me because there’s so much satisfaction in checking that box and watching it just move itself down to the bottom. But yeah, I couldn’t live without that. It can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes. But you know what? I love that. Katie pointed out that there actually are some benefits to being distracted as we walk through this journey with our kids. I think what it all comes back to is that we’re just people, right? I mean, we’re just humans. We’re not perfect in any way. We’re sinful human beings, and we’re doing the very best that we can. And really what it comes down to is what’s the most important thing we’re doing with our kids are we leading them to Jesus? And we could have the most perfectly structured day, and we can have all of our curriculum perfectly laid out, and we can get through all of our tasks in the day and check every box perfectly. But if you’re not pointing your kids to Christ in the process of doing that, then none of it matters. None of it at all. Because that’s the most important thing, is pointing them to Jesus. And so it’s okay if you’re distracted. Sometimes distractions come as a benefit to our life because it allows us opportunities to point our kids to Jesus. Katie, let’s talk about kids for a few minutes. Again, I think most of us, even those type A moms who have it all together, if she’s got more than one kid, it’s likely that she probably has a child who is highly distracted and who just has a hard time focusing. So what encouragement can you give for those moms?

Katie Waalkes [00:32:51]:

Well, the first thing is just to be patient with your kids and understand that it’s a process and that there are training things that need to happen. This is not something for most kids that come supernaturally. And then the big thing is really looking at those environmental distractions. I know we talked about that on Wednesday, but those environmental distractions for kids are huge. We as homeschool moms oftentimes look at all the pinterest boards of all the pretty home school rooms, and we want to have the charts on the walls and the fun colors and all the paintings and all the things. And in reality, typically, the highly distracted homeschooler children are going to get distracted by those things, and they actually do better, typically in a more minimal environment. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a minimalist or your whole home has to be minimal. But maybe that means that child needs to work in a different atmosphere than the rest of those places. Maybe if you have a home school room, they need to do better in the living room than working with everybody else. The other thing is noise, right? Our distracting kids noises can be very distracting. So noise canceling headphones have been a lifesaver in our home. You can get them from Walmart, Amazon. They’re like $10. You don’t have to buy super fancy ones. And having my kids be able to just kind of block out the external they can still hear me, right? They can still hear my voice, but it blocks out a lot of that white noise and helps a lot with being able to focus.

Yvette Hampton [00:34:20]:

Yeah, that is such a great point. And it’s so funny as you’re talking, and it’s like, Yep, that’s me. I cannot focus if it’s something that I need to focus on, yes. If I’m reading something that I really need to concentrate on, or if I’m writing something or studying something, if I’m preparing to speak anything like that, I have to have complete, absolute silence. And so I’ll put earplugs in. Sometimes I’ll go to the library and I’ll just put earplugs in. I cannot have any distractions around me because otherwise I just can’t focus on what I’m trying to do. But my husband is the complete opposite. He and my oldest daughter, actually both of my girls, to a point, they need to have something going on in their ears in order to be able to really focus and concentrate. It’s the most interesting thing. And when Garrett was going through college, he would listen to music loud as he was writing his papers. And I was like, how in the world? And he would say, I can’t write without listening to music.

Katie Waalkes [00:35:29]:

I have kids like that as well. And oftentimes it tends to hit around middle school, at least in our home, is when they start needing that music more. So we have boundaries around that. So if you have kids who love to listen to music, at least in our home, what we have found to work is we say you can have music, but it has to be without lyrics. Because the second there’s lyrics going, your mind’s kind of getting spent in two different places, right? And so in most homeschoolers minds, they probably envision classical music being played throughout the home. Mozart, Beethoven. Instead, in my home, I gave the parameters that it had to be without lyrics, and so we end up with a ton of techno music which just.

Yvette Hampton [00:36:15]:

Kind of like, oh, that’s funny, makes me crazy.

Katie Waalkes [00:36:18]:

But my boys are actually able to listen or to work so much better when they have that going. They also enjoy like the piano guys where they do all the fun music parodies and things like that. And so there are a lot of things that they just enjoy listening to and it really does help them focus. So you have to find what works for you and your child. And don’t assume just because something doesn’t work for one that it won’t work for the other. It’s worth trying and reducing the visual distractions. So I talked about the visual distractions on the walls, but for kids, sometimes making little barriers, taking those project boards that you can get from Walmart, like for science fairs or even some manila file folders and taping them together to give your child a little bit of a private workspace. We also are a family who we’re very picky about when we work altogether. So we come together for group subjects, but when they’re working individually, they kind of scatter throughout the house so they don’t get distracted by each other. So just thinking through what works for you and your children is a huge help in that area. And then of course, like what we were talking about the other day is teaching your kids how to make lists and the importance of lists.

Yvette Hampton [00:37:32]:

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that there is not a classroom in the world that I know of where a teacher can take each individual child and say, okay, here is your learning style and here are your learning abilities and oh, Johnny needs noise canceling headphones and Michael needs techno music playing in his ears. Okay, let me cater to each one of these child’s needs. You can’t do that with kids in a classroom. But as their mom, we get to focus on what their needs are, what their abilities are, what their capabilities are, and we can really help them to learn and to be able to focus on the task at hand. And it’s part of our job as their mom to teach them how to do those things right and in teaching them as their home school teacher. We have such an advantage over kids who are in a classroom, kids as we talk to moms. And still there are so many moms, especially those new homeschool moms, who think that when they sit down and read with their kids, their kids need to sit on their little carpet square with their legs crossed and their hands in their laps crisscross app sauce and be totally silent so that they can hear the book that you’re reading to them. And every seasoned homeschool mom that I know will tell all of the new homeschool moms no, your kids need to move. They need to do something with their hands. They need some kind of what a classroom teacher would think of as a distraction, right? Our kids need that. They need playdoh, they need to draw, they need to color. They need some kind of fidget in their hands. They need to be flipped upside down, standing on their head so that they can listen to what it is that you’re saying to them so that they can actually learn. And so what a classroom would see as a distraction, we get to see as homeschool moms as an advantage to teaching our kids in the home. And it is such a privilege. I love homeschooling. I love being able to know that my girls need to listen to music when they really need to concentrate on something and that’s what works for them. I’ve loved talking about this, that there’s some strange comfort in knowing I’m not the only one and I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy to be easily distracted. I think it was part one. You talk to a lot of moms who deal with this, and I do too. I mean, it’s a real thing. And sometimes you talked about how there can be strengths to it, but there can also be real blessings to distractions, right? Yeah, talk about that. How can distractions in our day sometimes turn into an actual blessing for our kids?

Katie Waalkes [00:40:17]:

Yeah, I think the big thing is like going back to that definition that we’re talking about, about how it could be something good or something bad that pulls us away from what we should be prioritizing. And we oftentimes think about those things that pull us away all the time from those things we want to accomplish. But I think God oftentimes uses distractions to challenge us in what we’re prioritizing. And that is such a big problem. I know for myself that whether it be the to do list or the chores or the homeschooling or even wanting to spend family time, how many times have we been like, we’re going to spend a quality family day together, we’re going to take a trip and we’re going to have fun, and all these things keep coming up and we get frustrated. And I feel like a lot of times it’s a reminder to be like, hey, this is actually the most important thing. Yes, your kids are fighting right now, but you get the opportunity to teach them conflict resolution skills and that opportunity to teach them that is going to impact them so much more than that trip to the park that you were hoping to take or that math lesson that you were going to teach. Having the opportunity to teach our kids that there are things that are worth setting aside, our to do list for, that when that mother is going to the hospital and she needs someone to come pick up her little kids because she’s got no one else, that is 100% worth putting this aside. And I think that’s what many of us who home school we want to teach our kids is we want to teach them to serve others. We want them to have right priorities, and we want them to learn. We want them to get the academics. But the academics are not the main thing, and this really allows us to teach them that in a really tangible way.

Yvette Hampton [00:42:05]:

Yeah. I love that. Rachel and Davis. Carmen Rachel is by far one of my greatest mentors. I love her. And one of the things that I’ve learned from them is character over curriculum and that it’s so much more important to build the character into our kids. And so, as you’re saying, as the day goes on and our kids are arguing with each other or there is an opportunity for them to maybe help the neighbor bring in her groceries, that math book is still going to be sitting on the table in 15 minutes. It’s okay if it doesn’t go perfectly by your schedule, let them go. Be a blessing to the neighbor or take the ten minutes or sometimes hour that it takes or however long it takes to teach our kids conflict resolution and being able to just pour into their character, because that’s part of life. It’s part of school. I mean, homeschooling, like you said, the academics are just the icing on the cake. We’re preparing our kids for life, and so we tend to just focus so much on the academics, and we’ve got to get this done. We’ve got to get these worksheets done. We’ve got to get this curriculum done. We’ve got to get to the end of the book. And we miss all of the things that are around us, all of the opportunities that we have to be able to teach our kids and point them to Jesus and build character in them and build their relationships with one another. And I think it’s unfortunate that we often miss out on those things because if we’re looking for them, we will see them and we will find them. But when our kids are separated from us for 40 some hours a week, we miss out on a lot of opportunities to build character, to build Godly character into them. So, yeah, that is a great advantage. I love that so much. What is one last bit of encouragement or advice that you can give to our audience?

Katie Waalkes [00:44:01]:

I think a big thing to focus on with your kids is to teach them how to come back from a distraction. And this goes for us and for our kids. So we know distractions are going to come. We can reduce them, but we can’t remove them because God didn’t create us to have our own perfect bubble for our glory.

Yvette Hampton [00:44:20]:


Katie Waalkes [00:44:21]:

It’s for his glory that we were put on this earth and to serve others and to serve Him. And so it’s one of those those distractions are going to come. So teaching our kids, those distractions are going to come. Recognizing ourselves, those distractions are going to come, and instead, really giving our kids and ourselves anchors in our day, where we can kind of refocus. So for every family, it’s different, your anchors. If you don’t have anchors in your day, you can just use meal times of, like, breakfast, lunch and dinner. So maybe the whole morning is a distracted mess and it’s overwhelming. And the phone kept ringing and the neighbors came to the door and the dog got out and the chickens were everywhere or whatever. We can go, okay, but now it’s lunchtime and we’re going to restart, and we’re going to like, this is the next part of the day, and kind of dividing your day up into those chunks. We’re so quick. Our kids, especially, are so quick to be like, It’s a bad day, and they just label it that way, and that’s just kind of how it stuck. And it’s like, no, this was a bad first quarter. We’re going to go into the second quarter stronger. And so really teaching them how to refocus, to take the opportunity to pray, to take the opportunity to confess sins, if we lost our temper, if we got upset because things didn’t go the way we wanted, take that opportunity to say, I’m sorry, will you forgive me? And be like, Guys, let’s start fresh. So I really encourage you to have those anchors in your day and to be able to refocus and restart and teach our kids that, because that’s probably one of the most valuable skills you’ll.

Yvette Hampton [00:45:54]:

Be able to teach your kids yeah. Going into adulthood. Yes. Awesome. Katie, thank you for your encouragement this week. It’s been so much fun chatting with you and just so refreshing. I feel like we need to have a club. We need to start some kind of focus club for the distracted homeschool mom. Yes. Though, of course, that would be just another distraction for us, so maybe we won’t do that. But thank you for your encouragement and just your wisdom. And thanks for being so transparent. Just about where you’ve been, where you are.

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

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

Watch the second part of our interview with Kirk Cameron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2} What TOPICS you’d like us to discuss

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

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

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

Praise God!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy their conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachael Carman:           Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah.

Aby Rinella:                  Right.

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

Rachael Carman:           Oh, that is awesome!

Aby Rinella:                  That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton:           Only by the grace of God.

Rachael Carman:           I understand.

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

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

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

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

Rachael Carman:           I love your honesty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aby Rinella:                  Thank you very much.

Rachael Carman:           Yeah. They live in Moscow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah. That is-

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette Hampton:           Okay.

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

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

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

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

Excellent books on marriage:

Excellent movies that will encourage you in your marriage:

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The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aby:                 Everything, yes!

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

Aby:                 It’s universal.

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

Aby:                 Reality.

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

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

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

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

Yvette:             Right?

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

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

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

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

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

Aby:                 Yes.

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

Aby:                 She’ll handle newborns well.

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

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

Yvette:             They do, yep.

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

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

Yvette:             Sure, they couldn’t fully recover.

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

Yvette:             Yeah, that’s great.

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

Yvette:             Yes, I love it.

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

Yvette:             Right.

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

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

Yvette:             That’s right.

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

Yvette:             Oh, they’re just babies.

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

Yvette:             No.

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

Yvette:             Wow.

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

Yvette:             That’s huge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aby:                 It’s part of our nature.

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

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

Yvette:             Yep, that’s right.

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

Yvette:             That’s right.

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

Yvette:             Oh, socialization for sure.

Aby:                 Socialization. What about socialization?

Yvette:             Awkward unsocialized homeschoolers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette:             And his righteousness.

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

Yvette:             Yes.

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

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

Aby:                 Exactly.

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

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

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

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

Aby:                 Yeah. Just be cautious and discerning.

Yvette:             Yeah, that’s right.

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

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

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

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

Ready to take your children back? Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for free tonight and learn how. After you have watched the movie, download the Free Homeschool Survival Kit. This free 70+ page resource will give you the encouragement and tools you need to start strong and finish well.

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

Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

The Benefits of Homeschooling, Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette:                         Okay, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yvette:                         That’s it, yup.

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

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

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

Aby:                             Thank you.

Ready to take your children back? Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for free tonight and learn how. After you have watched the movie, download the Free Homeschool Survival Kit. This free 70+ page resource will give you the encouragement and tools you need to start strong and finish well.

Read the second half of this interview here.

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

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Becoming an Eternally Minded Mama

Yvette Hampton:               Hey everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have a really exciting guest on with me today. Her name is Katie LaPierre, and you are going to be super encouraged by her. She is a mama of seven. I’m going to let her tell you a little bit about her family and … She’s a homeschool mom, who is in the thick of it right now, and just has some really neat advice and stories to share with us. She has a new devotional that just came out recently. So we are going to talk about those things today. So, Katie, welcome to the Podcast.

Katie LaPierre:                   Thank you so much for having me, Yvette.

Yvette Hampton:               Yeah. Yeah, I’m so glad to have you on. We got to meet you and your husband Scott when we were back in California still. But we went to Washington to film you guys for Schoolhouse Rocked, and you were a couple of our very first interviews that we got to do and I got to meet your amazing family. So, tell our listeners about your awesome family that you have.

Katie:                                        We are in Washington, and my husband is the senior teaching pastor at a church, and we have seven children ages 11 and under. That’s about it.

Yvette:                                      Well, you’ve got a sweet, sweet family. We have really enjoyed getting to know you over the last couple of years. We were just talking about social media and how amazing it is. Because you and I, we’ve only met one time in person. But it seems like we’ve been friends for a really long time. And like we actually kind of … do life together, like we know one another.

Katie:                                        Yeah.

Yvette:                                      That is much due to social media.

Katie:                                        Yes.

Listen to Katie LaPierre on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Yvette:                                      So, I am excited about this conversation today. We have some fun things to talk about. Two things that I want to … kind of go down two separate roads with you, but I think they’re going to kind of bring it all back together is … We have asked our listeners, and we often get questions that come in from our listeners. One of the questions that we get, hands down more than any other question is, “How do you home school with multiple kids? How do you deal with younger siblings when the older siblings are doing school? How do you homeschool in a large family?” Just … organizing and trying to figure out how to to subjects with all the different kids. And so I know you are in the middle of that. You’ve been homeschooling for sometime now. Your oldest is 11. How old is your youngest?

Katie:                                        She’s eight months old.

Yvette:                                      Wow! I can’t believe she’s eight months already. That’s amazing.

And so you’re there. You are in the midst of that very thing right now. So, I would love to start by you sharing with us how you just kind of balance your day out, and then the second half of the Podcast let’s talk about this new devotional journal that you have that came out.

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

Katie:                                        First, I would say it’s not balanced. I don’t … I cannot find balance to save my life. So, one thing I do though that I recommend every wife does is that she asks her husband, “Honey, what is important to you? What would you have done?” Because aside from homeschooling we’re also keeping the home, meal planning, there’s a whole bunch of things. I cannot believe all the things a mother has to do. I mean keeping track of everything is crazy and I consider myself a multitasker but this is like a new level of multitasking.

Yvette:                                      Yeah.

Katie:                                        So first, you go to your husband and say, “Honey, what is important to you? What do you want done first?” And as wives we’re called to adapt to our husbands. So, my husband does not care about food. He will eat popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will slave away making lasagna or something and homemade bread and he goes, “Can I have popcorn?”, you no, are you joking? So he doesn’t care about food. So, I’m like okay well one less thing. I can push that off to help me find balance, right? So then what’s left? Well we’ve got homemaking and homeschooling.

Katie:                                        Now homemaking’s super important to my husband, so that’s part of our homeschooling. We do jurisdictions and chores throughout the day, and I … at this point the seventh child has really thrown me for a loop. It’s been probably the hardest. This is my first time having four kids five and under, and so it’s a lot harder. So, to keep the house clean we have to incorporate that into our schedule. I think you’ve done a Podcast with Durenda Wilson.

Yvette:                                      I did.

Katie:                                        I love her, and I love listening to her, and she just talks a lot about how important it is in our homeschooling that we are teaching work ethic. That should be a class all on its own, and so I incorporate that into schooling. We have a 30-minute schedule that starts at 8:30 actually. We don’t start breakfast until 8:30, because my husband’s a senior pastor at a primarily homeschooling church, these people stay up forever! So we’ve had schedule to stay up later and then sleep in later. So we don’t start breakfast ’til 8:30, and at 8:30 everyone sits down, we pray, eat breakfast and that’s when I do some kind of Bible thing with the kids. Right now we’re going through Wisdom with the Millers, and that’s like, my idle time with the children. After that, I have a 30-minute schedule that’s up on the fridge. We set the timer, and every time the timer goes off each kid knows what they need to be doing. I sound off, “Okay. Ricky has piano, Rhea needs to be doing creative literature and writing, Johnny’s doing Bible” … and that’s one way we do that. Another thing is, I actually started doing online videos for my five year old.

I will never do anything with kindergarten. You just need to throw some letters at them and some cards, have them look at colors. She is excelling, and I feel like I’m kind of shoving her in the corner because I’m trying to focus with my other kid that needs more help, and then she’s losing out.

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Katie:                                        So I have one child that’s doing video learning, I have one child that needs a lot of one on one. Two children that are doing ACE curriculum, and they’re very … like totally good on their own. They know what they need to be doing. While they’re working, I have … He’s just turned four, two and eight month old. So I might be nursing the baby while the kid that needs work is sitting with me reading to me, and the other two we have what’s called pattern tiles … And so, they can be making patterns with their tiles, the two year old and the four year old. They play together really well. So I’ll often have some kind of activity for them, Duplos, race car tracks … Just as a side note, it’s really important when you have a bunch of kids that you have toys organized. You can’t just expect to send your children downstairs, or wherever the toys are … go play with toys. It just doesn’t work for big families.

So I have been sorting out my toys by category, and I am finding they are playing so much better. So I recommend that for moms with big families. Get your toys organized; categorized together and say, okay today you’re going to go play with the Hot Wheels. Sometimes they just need simple direction.

And they do have screen time sometimes. I don’t want to give this impression like my kids never look at a screen. They can do screens, but it’s purposeful. It’s often learning. My two year old now can count to 14 or 15 and that had nothing to do with me. That’s from a lot of these wonderful learning videos that are out there. And so they do that too. But it’s very parent directed and overseen. Does that kind of answer the question?

Yvette:                                      Yeah it does. That’s helpful, and I like that gave very specific things. So when they’re playing with toys, I like that you give a specific like, go play with this toy today. Now do you keep some of your toys and activities set aside so that you can bring them out, you know, every couple of months so that it’s kind of a new toy. Because I’ve heard of moms doing that too, and I think that’s a fantastic idea. Then it’s like a brand new thing, instead of having all of their toys out.

Katie:                                        Yeah that is a great idea. What I have done is I’ve organized them and labeled them in totes, and so I don’t go hide them. But like, right now we have like … I forget the word, a variety of toys in this tub. Random I guess … Miscellaneous. The Hot Wheels stacked on top of that, and then we have the Duplos. And so, right now the one that’s on top is the one they’re playing with the most.

And then I’ll switch them and move them around in that way. But we eliminated our toys down to Legos, Hot Wheels and puzzles. That’s pretty much it. Because I … What are my kids actually playing with? I don’t have time, energy or personality to go with organizing all this stuff all the time, keeping up with it. So that’s what we’re down to right now, and I find eliminating tons of choices, like little random toy over here … little random toy. The kids just get like distracted, overstimulated. They don’t know what to play with. So Scott would rather have us invest in one category of toy and spend a lot of money in that category, and so you should see our Lego collection, and now we’ve color-coded them. So all the red ones are in a tub, all the white ones, and then they can take them and build, and the boys will completely organize this Lego section that looks like … out of a store.

But that really helps, and I’m a huge proponent of if just because you have a shelf, or just because you have a closet or cabinet does not mean you need to fill it. I think we feel that way, like ugh, there’s this empty space I need to put something there. We don’t have to do that.

And so, books of course. I mean, books to me kind of fit in the toy category ’cause they’re fun. So books are a huge investment too that we love to have, and I just say go grab two books and sit on the couch. Nobody talk. Like three times a day, and that is a great way to gather everybody. If someone’s screaming they got hurt … Go grab two books and sit on the couch.

It’s a very easy go to. So, toys should be for our convenience and help. They should never be a burden like many other things in our home. But they become a burden. You know, I love that God says in James, “Pray and ask me for wisdom and I’ll answer.” There are not many prayers God says that about. I don’t know many other ones where He says ask me for this and I will answer.

And so, even as moms so we can say, “Okay Lord I need wisdom, even with toys. What do I do with these things?” Or I need, especially since we’re talking about homeschooling, “I need wisdom with homeschooling. This child’s falling behind. What do I do?” And I feel like God answered that. And always go to your husband. Seek his counsel too.

Yvette:                                      Yes. I am right with you in regards to simplifying because we have … I remember when Brooklyn was born, you know your first kid, and we had so many things. I mean clothes, her closet. So I had three baby showers for her.

Katie:                                        Oh wow!

Yvette:                                      Her closet was ridiculously full of everything pink, because she was the first girl who had, we had … I mean we were married 11 years before she was born. So we had waited a long time. There was a big celebration of course.

And then as she grew into where she could play with toys, she had so many toys, and it was so overwhelming, and we got to the point where we started just getting rid of things that were not necessary, and I realized she’s not … she’s never played with this one thing. So, what I started doing with her from a very young age was I would say you know, honey … I know a lot of parents will … Well, and I will say I have done this before. But a lot of parents will try to kind of sneak those toys out of their home, and their kids pretty much never notice that they’re gone because they don’t play with them anyway.

But oftentimes I would say, you know let’s see what other child we can bless with these toys. And then it became an exciting thing for her, like oh there might be another kid who doesn’t have as many toys as me and we can go bless them, and so what a great way for them to learn from a really young age that it’s not all about them, and they can serve other people, and other children by providing them with their toys that they don’t play with.

And then, of course, we sold all of our stuff. For those who don’t know our story, about two and a half years ago we sold our house, all of our stuff in it, had to basically get rid of everything, and we loaded up in an RV and started traveling across the country, kind of road schooling and filming the documentary.

But we had to get rid of pretty much everything, and so we really had to decide, like what is really important. And we kept the Legos. We have lots of Lego still, and there are a few other things that we held on to. But honestly my girls haven’t needed a whole lot. You know, they’ve got dolls and Barbies. I mean Brooklyn’s 13 now. So she doesn’t play with those as much anymore. Except for with her little sister. But it seems to just kind of clutter your life when you have so many things and it just makes more work. It creates more of a burden for the whole family.

I want to ask you because you talk about, how well you know, you’ll say well this child is to go do Bible, this child is supposed to go do piano, this child is supposed to go do math or whatever. I imagine that with a family of seven kids that doesn’t always fall perfectly in line, and they all go their beautiful way without fussing and complaining and they’re completely compliant and say, “Yes, mommy,” and they all go do exactly what they’re supposed to do. Because I know kids are kids. How do you deal with making sure that they’re all doing what they’re supposed to be doing and trying to just keep from it being completely chaotic?

Katie:                                        I would say that actually they do pretty well with schoolwork at this point. Going and doing the stuff that they’re supposed to do. That has not been much of an issue. My husband was a public school teacher for eight years before he became a pastor and that’s why he wanted me to homeschool is because he’s a public school teacher. And he said, “Routines and procedures. Routines and procedures”. I know I’ve heard that from him so many times, and often we expect our kids just to like fall in line.

Just do what I said. They have to practice it. So he will literally do things like, if a child forgets their plate at the table, you have to pick the plate up ten times, go to the kitchen put it in the sink. Pick it back up. Go back to the table. Because we are all like that, we all need … So we practice things. But this schedule at this point, it’s probably been about a year that I’ve been doing it, and they are on it. Now, at the beginning, yeah it’s messy and you just have to expect that. But I … if you have a personality like me that’s just kind of scatterbrained and all over the place, you need a schedule.

No matter how much you want to fight it, and set a timer. And no matter what that person’s doing at that point, they go to the next thing; even if they didn’t finish piano we go to Bible. And something really important, like there’s been a few times with math where they just are not getting it, and I’m like alright we have to stay on this subject. You’re going to skip creative literature and writing and do math for the next half hour. And we’re actually looking at doing more reading and writing. We’re considering changing our schedule to hour increments instead of 30 minute.

It makes a huge difference, and children want to know what to do. They’re looking to us to tell them what to do even if it seems like they’re fighting it and I’ve found there’s so much more peace in my home when we just do exactly what the schedule says and they want that ultimately. So I actually haven’t had that much resistance. It’s when chores come along and I say go get your chore, and they’re like flailing around in the kitchen and you’re not sure … what are you doing? That part gets a little bit messier.

Yvette:                                      Yeah. Well the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.” And we’ve talked about this on the Podcast before, and I love that you and Scott do that with your kids, that you train them to: “Okay you didn’t put your plate away. Go do it ten times”, because it’s training them in how to do it the right way. It’s not a punishment for them. It’s training them.

Katie:                                        Yes, exactly. “Train them up the way they should go.” They don’t know which way to go. We have to train them.

Yvette:                                      We do, and so often I think as parents we think that they know what is expected of them because we’ve maybe told them a couple of times … and we have to remember they’re children. They don’t always remember or naturally think, okay what is the most logical next step, is to put my plate in the sink, or put it in the dishwasher … and so they do need to be trained to do those things and that’s our job as their parents, to train them that-

Katie:                                        Yeah, I’ve actually … in my devotional I have one where I talk about how our kids are new here, to planet earth, and we forget that, and so I tell parents, or mothers, look at this as if they’re on a new job site. You’re not going to like scorn some employee ’cause they forgot something and they’re brand new. Our children are new.

And then, like if we look at things in five-year increments, compare that to a month on a job. You know, so you’re training them. They’re new. You’ve got to expect that. You have to expect them to forget, you have to expect them to probably do [inaudible 00:17:00] them out. And if you are expecting these things, you’re not as offended, you’re not taking it so personally and you can have like, a more like work mindset. Okay, picture they’re your employee. You’re not going to get all fired up and emotional ’cause you’re the mother.

Sometimes it helps to separate ourselves like that. So that’s something else I’ve done.

Yvette:                                      Yeah. Oh, that’s fantastic, because it’s not an offense against you personally. Though I think we take it that way sometimes.

Katie:                                        Yes. We can see why we’re in charge. But ultimately they belong to the Lord. And they’re ultimately not working as unto Him. They’re not called the workers unto mommy. Although they do work for mommy, we try to tell them this. They’re working for the Lord. But it’s always unto Him.

Yvette:                                      So Katie, you actually have a new devotional and journal that came out. It’s called Eternally Minded Mamas. Talk to us about that.

Katie:                                        Okay, great yeah. First on the title: why I chose that title. Colossians 3:1-2 calls us to set our mind on things that are above where Christ is. And as moms, I don’t know about you but I find that harder to do than any other season in my life because we’re doing dishes. We’re getting up or … for me right now I’m getting up for the baby still at night, and I’m like, Lord how am I going to set my mind on things that are above?

I think sometimes we have to remind ourselves when we’re reading the Word, is this a command? Is this a suggestion? No. It’s … God’s commanding that, set your mind on things that are above, where I am. Don’t forget, and so, okay Lord I’ve got to continually do that. So my heart behind Eternally Minded Mamas was Lord, I want to help moms. Mother in the midst of the temporal mundane while keeping their minds set on You, on spiritual things. So, that’s where the heart was born out of was Colossians 3.

Katie:                                        And then so I just have 31 daily devotionals that I tried to filter out any junk, and just make it a meaty, good thing for them to be able to sit down and be able to chew on all day. But it not take 40 minutes, and then I left a spot where they could write notes and gave some suggestions for questions on how they can apply what they read.

Yvette:                                      One of the things that I’ve heard you talk about is that you don’t feel totally adequate as a mom, as a homeschool mom and we have seen that over and over as we’ve talked to moms, as we’ve interviewed moms for the Podcast and for the movie, is that none of us feel like we’re perfectly equipped to raise these children. We feel like we’re just … somehow we’re messing it up, and we can’t always put our finger on why we feel that way. But we feel like we’re just not enough, and I think sometimes it’s society telling us that. I think often times it’s social media. You know, we see the things on Facebook and Instagram and these perfect families that it seems that everyone else has. So it makes us feel like, “well we’re not doing this right. We’re not doing it as well as so and so.” And so, talk to that mama who’s just feeling … ’cause I know you’re in this place yourself, where God is really teaching you a whole lot of things about … You’re not enough. He is enough. You know, none of us are enough. None of us are big enough to do this. But with the grace and mercy of our savior we are enough to do this through Him. So talk about, just the season that you’re in and encourage that mama who’s feeling that way.

Katie:                                        Oh it’s so good. I feel like I could talk about this for five hours. I think being in ministry too, everyone is so messed up. I don’t know if … I cannot tell you, even when I go to the grocery store, if I’m anywhere I’m like what’s their problem? They got a big mess. I don’t know what their name is but I’ll tell you they’ve got a big mess at home, and it’s just … Everyone is such a mess but we’re all so busy trying to make it look like that’s not the case.

So my husband and I are known in our church body in particular, for being very transparent about the mess we are. In fact, he just did a marriage conference like three hours east of here, and we talked in the Q and A about a big fight we had right before we came … and I think that’s just so important, and the more we’re putting on this façade of, you just need to discipline your kids right like I do. And so it ruins moms. It makes them feel like, ugh … like you said, “I’m never going to be like so and so. I’m never going to measure up.” So I’m just very transparent about how I tell Scott I feel like I’m in the wrong calling. I feel like a fish out of water. I had a woman come to me the other day. She’s a single young lady, she’s in her late twenties and she’s not married and she said, “Sometimes I wonder if I want to get married and have kids because I want to be in control.” And I’m like, “ugh it’s a nightmare being in control.” I just … I want to be their friend. I’m like, “can we hang out and play together?” I … just, nothing fits for me in being a mom … is what it feels like. But that’s why I’m so comforted when God says in your weakness I am strong. I’m so glad He never said, in your strength Katie, I’ll show myself strong. He says your weakness. You feel pathetic. Perfect, that’s exactly where I want you!

Katie:                                        And I’m crying out to him constantly. I feel like I’m unorganized, I am inconsistent, I am all over the place, these different things that people say you can’t be that way and be a good mom. But I’m called to be their mom. I am Rhea’s mom. That is the position that God has put me in, and so I have to trust like David did, or Moses. All these men that felt like, Lord you’ve got the wrong guy.

You know, he’s called you to mother your two girls and He’s like, designed that. As messy as it may feel sometimes, or, is that inadequate? And I would say that to any mom, Yeah you’re a total mess just like everybody else. But God’s called you to this. He’s going to equip you and be like, don’t be like Moses and say, “Lord please send somebody else.” I don’t want to do it. And just embrace the messiness.

I tell people that. If you embrace the messiness and stop fighting it so much, it gets a lot easier.

Yvette:                                      Oh, I love that. I was thinking this morning actually that I have days sometimes … I don’t have days where I feel like I don’t want to be a mom. I love being a mom. I waited a long time to be a mom, and I genuinely love being a mom. But I have some days where I feel like I just don’t want to do this adult thing today. Like, I don’t want to do … It’s not that I don’t want to do anything. It’s not like I want to sleep all day. But I just don’t want any responsibility for anybody or anything. I don’t to want to homeschool, I don’t want to have to train my kids, I don’t want to have to podcast. And I love everything that I do. I love my life. But I just want to check out for a few days sometimes. And so sometimes I have to be brought back to the reality of, “this is where God has me.” He has me exactly where He wants me to be. I have the perfect family that God has put in my life, and I’m so grateful for that, and I think so much of it is keeping perspective of how God can use us and will use us if we will allow Him to. And … But it’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s really hard, and like you said, we’re all a mess in our own different ways and that’s hard to admit sometimes for people. I just did a podcast with Karen DeBeus and we talked about getting real, and we were just talking about this very thing-

Where we feel like we need to put on this pretty show for everybody and always you know, just look a certain way and act a certain way and that’s hard. It’s hard to show your mess to people. But I think there’s so much freedom in it when people see that we’re not perfect. We’re … you know. There are so many days where every single one of us because we’re humans, are just kind of falling apart. And then we have days when we’re not. You know… Hopefully this is not an everyday thing.

Katie                                          But I think this is so important that our kids see this too.

Katie:                                        I’m not saying our children’s salvation depends on us. I think they have free will. I know God’s sovereign. But I have seen a common theme especially in homeschooling families where kids are walking away ’cause they’re sick and tired of putting on a show. I don’t want to be that. So we’re a mess with our kids. We talk with how mommy just messed up again. We actually … I don’t know if any other family does … we go round the table and talk about our weaknesses. About how so and so’s controlling and needs to work on that, and it’s not a question of if you’re messed up. It’s just a question of what they are. So getting our kids used to talking about that stuff early on. Our kids have a large voice in our lives. Some people think that we border maybe on disrespect. But we really want them to be able to talk to us. And sometimes you’ll see in the homeschooling circle, it’s like, you act like this when we go in public, and you look like this. So and so’s going to be there. They’re going to be watching us. That stuff ruins our kids. So we let them talk to us. We let them confront us. Hey, daddy I didn’t like how you said this. I wish you wouldn’t have done that.

And it is so important that that transparency goes into the home. So that our kids, when they’re struggling with their faith, when they’re struggling with whatever … purity that they can come to us.

Yvette:                                      Yeah, absolutely and being willing to apologize to our kids when we’re struggling with things, and they have you know, unfortunately been the victims of a hard day. You know, going to them and just saying you know, “Honey, we were wrong in our attitude. Please forgive us,” because then they learn to do that in return.

Katie:                                        It’s so beautiful when you hear your kids saying that to each other, because they’ve heard you do it.

The other day I’d snapped at one of my boys, and I asked him, “Please forgive me. I’m sorry I did that,” and the other boy said, “Good job, mama.” Like, you know we call it spiritual weightlifting in our house. When you apologize and your flesh is like, no! You know, you picture your like flesh shriveling up and like getting stronger and we call it spiritual weightlifting. When you apologize saying I’m sorry and then the next step saying, will you forgive me? That’s like an extra five pounds.

Yvette:                                      I love it. Really quickly, we’re almost out of time. But I want to ask you from your devotional that you just put out, do you have a favorite entry in there that you would like to share with us?

Katie:                                        Yes, I’d love to. This one is on Day 18, it’s called, “Small Things Mothering.” And I start from a few verses in Zechariah … and God says, “Do not despise the day of small things.” And I love this, especially because I’m a stay at home mom, and sometimes it just seems like our day is filled with small things. And the Lord was encouraging Zerubbabel though the prophet Zechariah here, and he was actually laying the foundation for the temple where people would worship God. And so we look back at that and we say, oh that is not a small thing. That’s the big thing. But guess what mama, you’re doing a huge thing.

You’re laying a foundation, but it takes small things, daily being faithful, and even the beginning of great things like building the temple for the Lord can be despised. And we can despise these things. And I’m just thankful God knows that, and God has called us mamas to build a mighty thing, which is our home, and we are laying a mighty foundation daily even though it seems small. Moses wrote, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us. Yes, establish the work of our hands,” and this should be our prayer too. And so in the journaling entry I said, I consider what it is that makes us despise the day of small things.

So I want moms to analyze, why do I despise this? And often it’s a root of pride. Is there a sense that you’re above it? And then I ask the simple question, “do you enjoy small things?” Maybe there are some small things you enjoy. Why do you think you enjoy those, and write down your thoughts and search your heart. Pray for the Lord to give you a heart to enjoy even the smallest things today. And then I close with Colossians 3:23-24, Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward.

You are serving the Lord Christ. So when you’re doing the dishes, when you’re changing a poopy diaper, when you’re separating siblings squabbling again, you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ and that is no small thing.

Yvette:                                      Yes, oh Amen, I love it. That is the absolute perfect way to end this. Our job is not a small job. It seems like it is sometimes, and it seems like it’s just the mundane, everyday … changing diapers, doing dishes, you know, homeschooling, teaching spelling once again, having your kids sound out C A T, you know? But it is no small thing because we are raising up these children to be ambassadors for Christ, and to be the future of this country, and we’re raising adults. We’re not raising children, and it is a very big job, and it is a very important job.

Thank you Katie. You have been such an encouragement to me. Where can people find you?

Katie:                                        You can find me at KatieLaPierre.org. It’s my name, and the book is on Amazon.

Yvette:                                      Okay, and we will link back to both of those things in the show notes. If you guys have a chance to pick up this devotional, I would highly recommend it. It is really encouraging. I love the journal part in there. I’m a journaler, and so I love to … I’ve got my journal. Every day I sit and write in it, and so I love that you’ve got the devotional on one side and then the journal on the other side. So you can really write down what you’re feeling for that day, and just how the Lord is moving in your heart with each of those devotionals, and I do want to say … I think Scott had said it took you two years to write this devotional, right?

Katie:                                        Yes, yes.

Yvette:                                      I mean, this was a process. Because … and I want to say that because I don’t want moms to think, well she’s got seven kids. Her house is run perfectly and she wrote a devotional. Like how is that even possible?

Katie:                                        Yeah.

Yvette:                                      Because again that’s one of those things that will make moms feel like they’re inadequate. This is something that has been a part project for you for quite sometime.

Katie:                                        Yeah, just to give you an idea, my husband wrote a book. It was 80,000 words. This is 9000 words total. And this was just, you know what, I would write about stuff, and when women would react like positively, like, “Oh that’s me,” that’s the stuff I would write about. So I just wanted to write what would speak to women’s hearts.

Yvette:                                      Well, thank you for sharing your heart with us. You are a great encouragement and a blessing, and thank you guys for listening to the Podcast today. We love having you with us. Please continue praying for us and sending us notes of encouragement. We always like to know how we can encourage you, and how we are encouraging you. So that we know that we’re doing the right thing here. Let us know what other topics we can tackle on the Podcast. If you have any suggestions for Podcast guests or anything like that, let us know. You can send us an email at podcast@schoolhouserocked.com and just let us know how we can serve you. And Katie, again thank you for your time today. You are a huge blessing and I appreciate you being with me.

Katie:                                        Thank you, Yvette.


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Why Do I Homeschool?

“Why do I homeschool? Because today my children will be at home with me, learning about the catastrophic events that happened in New York. About the evil that happens when we deviate from God’s design. And about how we have a God that mourns because he loves his people. They will be home with me, praying for the preborn babies, rather than in a public school system that tells them they get to choose for themselves what is good and evil, rather than looking to God for truth.” Aby Rinella

What does the Bible say about training the hearts of our children?

In this interview, for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella discuss what the Bible calls us to as parents, especially concerning the day-to-day education of our children.

Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am loving my guest today. We have been sitting here chit chatting for a few minutes, and you are going to love getting to know her. Her name is Aby Rinella, and she is in Idaho right now where it is snowing, and I am in Georgia where it is not. So we’re talking about the difference in weather, but you are going to love her. She is a sweet, sweet friend of mine who strangely, we have never actually met in person.

Aby: That’s crazy.

Aby Rinella is, above all, a follower of Jesus. She is also the director of her local homeschool co-op, director of women’s ministry at her church, wife, mom and teacher to the Rinella children. She writes and speaks on homeschool, motherhood, parental rights, the culture war and more and has a passion for encouraging and inspiring women to live the life they were designed to live.
Aby and her husband also write for the outdoor industry about their adventures together, showing their kids the Creator by spending time in His creation.
You can find all of Aby’s published work at CalledToTheTop.com

Yvette: But we have talked a whole lot on the phone, and FaceTime, and just really gotten to know each other over the past couple of months and she has been an incredible blessing to me and my family and I know she’s going to be great blessing to you. So Aby, I am so excited to have you on. Welcome to the show.

Aby: Thanks Yvette, thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Yvette: Yeah, tell us about your family, the Rinella family.

Aby: I am the wife of Jesse Rinella, and we have three little ones. We have fifth grade, second grade, you know how homeschool is, what grade are we in, it depends. Do you wanna know math or language?

Yvette: Right.

Aby: So I have a 10, eight and four. Yeah, and we’ve been homeschooling from the very beginning.

Yvette: I love it, love it. And you’re a hunting family.

Aby: We are a hunting family.

Yvette: That’s a big part of who you are.

Aby: It is. It’s something that we love to do, it’s something we’ve always loved to do and we get our kids out with us and it’s really an awesome way to show a creator, through being in his creation to our kids and let them see just how awesome God is by being out in his creation.

Yvette: Oh, so great.

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: So, several months ago, it’s been quite some time now we got this email from you. And we get a lot of emails from different people who just reach out for various reasons, but yours was a little different in that you reached out to us and you just said, “I’m Aby, I’m a homeschool mom, I am in Idaho and how can I help?” And the ones where people just say, “How can I help and how can I pray?” Or, “I’m praying for you.” Are the most amazing messages we can get, especially from people that we don’t know because that just means that the Lord has laid that on your heart. And so you have been just a great encouragement to our family over the past many months as we continue on with production of Schoolhouse Rocked and you’ve connected us with the homeschool Idaho organization, and they’ve been great and encouraging. And you and I have had some really great conversations about homeschooling.

And I want to talk today about, “why homeschool?” And it’s a question that so many people ask, and oftentimes we say, “If you don’t know your why’s.” I talked with Leslie Nunnery from Teach Them Diligently about this the other day, and if people don’t know their why of homeschooling, it’s very likely that they’re going to give up.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: And they’re gonna just say, “This just isn’t for me.” And so, let’s talk about your why. I want to hear your story of why you chose to homeschool your kids, and then why you continue to do so.

Aby: Okay, and to expand on what you said, I think we need to know our why but at the same time, it needs to be the right why, because there’s a lot of reasons that people homeschool that don’t hold, that aren’t the foundation that’s going to hold strong when the winds come because they’re going to.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: The tough times are gonna come.

Yvette: They are.

Aby: And that big yellow bus is going to look so good. So I think it’s about having a why and also having the right why. So my story is, I was a public school teacher and I came from a line of public school teachers, and I loved teaching public school and then when I got pregnant with my first, it just was a no-brainer that I was going to stay home with my baby. It wasn’t even like something we really prayed about, it just was something we knew that that’s how God designed it. And my husband actually said to me, “God didn’t give us these kids to give to someone else to raise.” And when he said that, it just it was a no-brainer and through a lot of just seeing God’s hand and God’s miracle in our life, I was able to quit my teaching job and stay home and it was only by the hand of God.

So we made that decision and then it just was never a huge thought of homeschool. I never really thought of it and in fact, back in my early days when I was going to college to be an educator, I remember sitting in the living room with my mother in law, or in the dining room in the kitchen and arguing with her over how silly I thought homeschool was and actually how wrong I thought it was. But she is such a godly, gracious woman, she just beared with me and probably prayed that her husband would ditch me or son, I’m sorry, son. But anyway, she held on and my husband was homeschooled for a while so. God changed my heart. What it came down to is, again, God didn’t give me these kids to let someone else raise. So when it came time to schooling them, it was not a question, they were to be home with me.

And so my why, you asked my why, it started with a lot of why’s. It started with I was a teacher so why would I teach other people’s kids when I can teach my own, and then it went to how awesome of relationships we could have to have the kids at home and then it went through looking at the statistics that academically homeschool students do so much better. And really, all of those are awesome blessings of homeschool, they’re awesome results of homeschool, but they weren’t enough of a why. And for everything that my husband and I do, we go to the Word of God and we say, “What does God say.” Because our emotions can change. On good days we want to be home, on bad days we might not.

So we really just went to the Word of God and we said, “What does God say about this? What is the word of God tell us when it comes to where our children should be and what they should be taught, and who should be teaching them. So, in that, and we can discuss more what we discovered in looking to God’s word for that, but that ended up being our why. Our why became because this is how God designed it, because this is God’s best and this is what He wants us to do. And that why has held us through really hard days where academically we aren’t succeeding above the rest, and where it really isn’t that fun. And so that’s become a really important foundation for our family, is knowing that we’re doing the will of God.

Schoolhouse Rocked Backstage Pass members can watch this interview, which includes 30 minutes of additional content!  Save 10% on any paid Backstage Pass Membership when you use the coupon code “Podcast10“!

Yvette: And there’s so much joy in knowing that God has given our children to us. Like you said, he didn’t give them to us to then hand them off to someone else. That’s one of my favorite parts of the interviews that we’ve done for the movie, is we interviewed Sam Sorbo, and she said, “What is it that society tells us once your kids turn five, I mean they’re your responsibility until they’re five and then all of a sudden it’s your job to hand them over to someone else and let someone else raise them.”

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And that is not.

Aby: No, and logically it doesn’t make sense. I think when we’re pregnant … I mean think how many books you read when you were pregnant. You made sure you took the folic acid, and you make sure you didn’t eat the raw fish, because we have this innate, as women, as parents we have this thing that’s in us that wants to protect our children.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: We want to protect our kids and we do it when we’re pregnant with them. We’re so careful when we’re pregnant with them to make sure that we’re eating right and taking the right things and going to our checkups. And then when they’re infants, and when they’re toddlers, “I got to make sure my car seat’s the right thing.” And they’re wearing the right helmets and we’re naturally protectors and we want to protect our kids. And then all a sudden, they turn five and we forget that we have an enemy that’s there to steal, kill and destroy our kids.

Yvette: That’s true, yeah.

Aby: And we’re to protect them from that, and I always think breaking their leg, they’re going to heal from that quicker than they’re going to heal from exposure to Satan’s attacks. And it is our responsibility and our job to protect our kids and that doesn’t end at five years old.

Yvette: Right. No, it doesn’t. And it is our responsibility to do that and it is a great blessing. I mean, the Bible tells us children are our heritage from the Lord. They are such a blessing and society tells us, “Oh, it’s so great, once they turn five you get to put them on a bus and ship them out to school.”

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: “And you could have all this free time and you’re going to be free.”

Aby: Right.

Yvette: I remember one of my neighbors once who lived right next door, she was I think probably eight at the time. And she said, “Why do you homeschool?” And I told her, “Because I love being with my girls. I love being able to teach them and spend the days with them.” And she goes, “But you know, if you didn’t homeschool and you sent them to school, you would have time to go to lunch with your friends.” This is like an eight year old girl. She goes, “You could go to the movies and go to lunch with your friends during the day.” And I was like, “That’s true.”

Aby: That is true.

Yvette: And some days that sounds really appealing. And some days I need that.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: Which again, that’s why we need community and that’s another whole topic.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: But I love being the one that gets to train the hearts of my children. Yesterday morning, as a matter of fact, my little one she had done something. She’s my super strong-willed one, and she really has very strong opinions about things. All the way to what kind of sock she’s wearing.

Aby: Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.

Yvette: And I forget what it was, but there was some kind of little debate with her and she wanted to do one thing and I said, “No, that’s not what you’re going to do, you’re going to do this.” And so she got upset and so we had this opportunity, and we sat and talked for probably 20 minutes, just the two of us. She’s eight years old, and I said, “God made you on purpose and for a purpose, and he has blessed you with this amazing and strong personality on purpose.”

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: “But it’s mommy’s job and daddy’s job to help you direct your strong will in a way that honors and pleases the Lord.”

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And we talked about it for a long time and she was crying and finally she just … I could see it in her eyes that it kind of clicked in her like, “Oh, yeah. I do have a purpose in this life.” And I was able at the end to say, “You know honey, if you were in school all day, I wouldn’t have this opportunity right now, today, to sit and talk to you about this.” Now that doesn’t mean that kids who are in school and separated from their parents, that their parents don’t have opportunities to direct them towards Christ.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: Certainly they do, but they don’t have the opportunity to do it day-in and day-out all day long. There’s so many missed opportunities.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And Deuteronomy six, six and seven is a verse obviously that constantly over and over again you hear homeschooling parents talk about, “And these words I command to you that they should be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children. You 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.” And when we leave that to someone else to do all day long, we give up that opportunity to be able to teach the ways of the Lord to our children.

Aby: Yes, and we do and in Matthew 18, six it says, “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, better to have a millstone hung around his neck and drowned.” And that’s not as quite as an uplifting one as the Deuteronomy.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: But I often think to send our kids into a place where at the very best, they have to stay silent about the existence of a God. I mean, I understand that not every school is teaching the transgender movement, and the abortion. I understand they’re not all doing that, but at the very best case scenario, they’re staying silent about a creator and they’re staying silent about a God. And they’re not able to tell kids, “You were created on purpose, for a purpose and God has a design for you.” And to me, the thought of my child, all day long, learning things void of God’s word Would be leading them to stumble. It really felt like I wasn’t protecting them the way that God required me to, because it would be leading them to stumble and then I’d be spending all my time unteaching.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: What they were being taught and having to reteach truth, and I didn’t want to spend all my time with my kids having to unteach. I wanted to, through our daily living, teach them and not even I wanted to, but God tells us to in these verses and I wanted to be obedient to God.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And, he says, “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training up in righteousness.” So that our kids are equipped for every good work and that verse is saying that we’re to use scripture in everything. In math, in language and that’s not being done if I send them out to where they have to stay silent about God. And so, to me those verses read this is my job, this isn’t just about what I want to do and that I’m wired this way, and that I enjoy teaching because I, it’s really just, this is God’s command to me and I know that when we’re obedient to God, there’s incredible blessing.

Yvette: Oh yeah. There are so many blessings. I’ve said it so many times on the podcast, because we say it to our girls all the time that, “Obedience brings blessings, but sin causes pain.”

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And when we do obey God and we take seriously the role that he’s given us as parents to train up our children in the way that they should go, we will reap the benefits and blessings of that. And not that we will, I should take our children will.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And again, it’s not that parents can’t teach their kids things, but like you said when they’re in a public school setting, and they’re being taught everything that’s contrary to God’s word.

Aby: Yes, yes.

Yvette: You talk about undoing it and we’ve talked a lot about that on the podcast. We talked with Brian Osborne from Answers in Genesis a few weeks ago, and he was a public school teacher for 13 years and he said the same thing, “You better be prepared to undo what your kids are being taught.” But I don’t know how possible and practical that is, because if you’re not in the classroom with them, you really don’t know everything that they’re being taught. You don’t know what they’re hearing on the playground.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: You don’t know what’s being said in the locker room, and not even the things that are said but things that are done. We’re from California, and I know everybody across the country kind of looks at California it’s like, “Oh, California. They have so many crazy laws and stuff.” And they do, but it’s not just in California. It is quickly spreading throughout all parts of the country, and I think oftentimes people will say, and people have said this to me, and I’m sure they’ve said it to you, “But the public schools in my area are really good.” Okay, well that means they’re just doing a better job of teaching your kids everything that’s contrary to the Word of God.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: And it’s a very scary thing for me to think about, because in California right now it’s not just the educational agenda that they have. It is a cultural agenda that they have. Kids in public schools right now in California, if a little girl decides that she wants to be a boy now any age, I mean it could be kindergarten through 12th grade, if she decides that she wants to be a boy for the day, they have to by law respect her wishes and her desire to be another gender, and they have to give her all the privileges of that gender. And the same obviously with a little boy. If a 14-year-old boy says, “I want to be a girl today.” They have to give him access to the girls bathroom and the girls locker room, and they can’t tell his parents. They are not allowed by law to tell his parents. Girls can go, and I say California only because I’m most familiar with it because that’s home.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: But they will take a little girl at 12, 13, 14, 15-year-old little girl, to have an abortion to murder her baby. And by law they are not allowed to tell her parents.

Aby: And if that’s not causing our little ones to stumble, I don’t know what is because that is leading them right into temptation. And even though we don’t believe that, and we’re not teaching that at home, if we’re sending them into a system every single day that sets that foundation, and I just I go back to Ephesians four that says, “Do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” And for me, not for me, for all of us, for Bible believing Christians we are called to set a foundation for our children in Christ.

And when we send to them more hours a day, or any hours a day actually, to a system that says it’s okay to murder babies, it’s okay to be something that you’re not, then you’re giving them that. Or even, there is no creator. This earth happened by chance, they’re building a foundation all day long. And then they come home and then you’re giving them a different foundation and essentially these young children who are so moldable, they’re building this up and then you’re taking the bricks down at home and putting new bricks in, and then they go back to school and they’re tearing the bricks down of what you’re teaching at home. And it’s just this vicious cycle, and we’re stunting our children’s spiritual growth, because they’re hearing two polar opposite things.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And to me, if I was a child, which I was in the public school, that led to exasperation.

Yvette: Sure.

Aby: And it says, “Do not. Do not exasperate your children.” And how can that not exasperate a child to have to go fill in a bubble on a test that says, “Yes, I believe that a boy can be a girl and the girl can be a boy. Or yes, I believe that there is no God and that this earth was created by chance, or that there is no creator.” And I would ask my children to say that during the day and then I’d come home and tell them to be bold and stand up for Christ and these little kids are getting such an incredibly mixed message. And then we end up with at the worst kids walking away, and at the very best they end up with a watered down Christianity because they’ve had two foundations being built.

Yvette: Right. It’s very confusing for them.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And they need to have that solid foundation. That’s again, exactly what Brian Osborne and I talked about is, they have to have that solid foundation set for them of knowing what they believe and why they believe what they believe.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: And when you’re putting them in an institution with teachers who oftentimes really love these kids.

Aby: Yeah.

Yvette: I mean, you have public school teacher, you loved kids I’m sure.

Aby: And I loved those kids. And you know why I was silenced, and I’m the personality and temperament, I couldn’t. I could not spend all day with those kids and not tell them the truth.

Yvette: Right, yeah. But not all teachers are like that. And not all teachers, obviously believe in the truth. And so when you’re sending your kids into that environment you’re telling them, “Your teacher is right. Believe what they say. Obviously believe in the history, believe in the science, believe in the math, believe in the English Lit. Believe in everything that they’re teaching you.” Just simply by sending them there.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: When we go to church, we go sit in church and we worship and we are taught by our pastor because we want to learn from them. We’re students, we’re disciples of them. Because we trust them.

Aby: And we trust what they’re telling us.

Yvette: That’s truth. That’s right. And when we send our kids to Sunday school or to youth group or anywhere where they’re receiving instruction, the simple fact of sending our kids there is saying, “We believe what this person is teaching you is true.”

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: And so then for you to bring them home and say, “I’m just kidding, that part was-”

Aby: That’s actually a lie.

Yvette: This is true but that’s not true, but this is true but that’s not true.

Aby: Yup.

Yvette: That’s very confusing to kids.

Aby: Yes. And then to tell kids they’re lying to you every day, but you need to respect them. And then to tell them, “You need to stand up for what’s true, but you need to take the test and say what they want you to say rather than the truth.” That’s not protecting our children. And I think there is an innate fierceness in moms to protect our kids. That whole mama bear thing, that whole, anybody tries to mess with my kids, and I want to encourage moms not to lose that. Don’t lose that when it comes to their … We want to protect our kids from stranger danger, and we want to protect our kids if they’re walking in the middle of the road, we would put our life on the line to throw them out of the road and we would put our own life in danger.

And yet, why are we losing this when it comes to their spirits? When it comes to their minds and their hearts, when we know that there’s an enemy that’s after them. We need to have that same fierceness in protecting and defending our children’s innocence. The way that we do from the very beginning. It’s not optional, it’s commanded by God.

Yvette: Yeah. Amen. I agree completely.

So we’re talking about protection. I remember years ago, Garrett and I, I might have told this story before on the podcast, I can’t remember. But Garett and I were at a parenting conference, and our oldest was really, really little if she was even born yet. And he said, “If someone were to break into your house and your children were in danger, you would not as a parent go curl up in the closet and be like okay kids, good luck.”

Aby: Best of luck.

Yvette: Good luck with that. I’ll be in the closet hiding. I’ll pray for you.

Aby: Yes, yes.

Yvette: And when the intruder is gone I’ll tell you what you should have done.

We wouldn’t do that. I mean, our job is like you said, to protect our children, to protect their hearts. Not just to protect them physically and actually, and I’ve told this story for sure. When we first started homeschooling, it was a physical protection thing for us. The school that Brooklyn would’ve gone to, it would not have been physically safe for her to go.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And that was the whole reason why we started homeschooling. At that point it wasn’t because we had this great revelation from God and that it wasn’t the spiritual stuff. I don’t know, we were just very much against homeschooling, and you and I can talk about that in a minute. But we had so many misconceptions about it, and then it came down to the physical safety of our daughter. And we said, “Okay, we have no other choice. We have to homeschool her.”

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And I’m so thankful that we did. But we quickly recognized that it was not just a physical protection.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: It was a spiritual and emotional protection that we needed to cover her with as well.

Aby: And no one would question you if you said I’m physically protecting my child, and no one would question what a great decision that was. But when it comes to spiritually protecting our kids all of the sudden people think we’re crazy.

Yvette: Yes. Yeah, that’s right. So one of the reasons that we said we’d never homeschool was because we had so many misconceptions about homeschooling.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: And there’s all the negative stereotypes and stuff. What have you come across with that? Because I know that you talk to a lot of homeschool moms.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: What are some of those misconceptions that you get from them and how do you help to debunk those?

Aby: There are a lot. It’s an interesting generation that we’re in, because when I talked to the homeschoolers that have gone ahead of us, a lot of them say, “Oh people would say we’d never want to homeschool.” And I actually feel like I’m hearing a lot of parents say, “Oh, we’d love to, but.” And I think that’s an interesting shift I don’t get.

Yvette: Yes.

Aby: I feel like I don’t get a lot of people go, “I can’t believe you do that, that’s so bad.” Actually, I more hear parents say, “I think that what you’re doing is great. I think it’s awesome for your kids. I just couldn’t.” And then they get out their list and, which is a step in the right direction. At least they’re feeling that pull. But I think probably the number one is maybe moms with careers that, “I couldn’t give up my career.” And probably the number one is finances. And that was the first panic that my husband and I had is well what about, well I had. He was like, “God provides I can’t even believe you’re thinking about this.”

But I just go back to when a mom says that first of all, we have to validate that. It is scary, but when we know that God has called us to do something, we also know that he’s going to give us everything we need to do it. And that just goes hand-in-hand. But I always think of Second Chronicles when King Judah was prepping for a war and he paid, the Bible says 100 talents and I looked that up, and that’s a lot of money. Like it’s debatable how much it was, but tons and tons, more than I’ll ever see in my life. But he paid 100 talents of silver for men that God would not have approved of him using. And when a wise man, a godly man came and said, “You need to get rid of these people.” He said, “But what about the money I paid, but what about my money, but what about the finances?”

And I think that’s what we tend to say. But what about the finances? I can’t afford to stay home and homeschool my kids. And in that story in Second Chronicles, the godly man replies, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” And God doesn’t just say things in the Bible and then forget about us in 2019. It’s the same message to us today. When we obey God he can give us so much more than we can do. I have a little quote on my wall that says, ‘God can do more with our obedience than we can do with our compromise.’ And so that’s probably the first one that people panic is, but what about the money?

And the second one I hear a lot is, “But my kid’s supposed to be salt and light.” And you just did an incredible podcast with Misty Bailey, so if anybody gets that, what about salt and light? Go back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and listen to that one, because that one is debunked very quickly through scripture, honestly.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: Which all these are. It’s all God’s word. What does God’s word tell us? It doesn’t matter what Yvette, or myself tells you.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: What is God saying in His Word? And he’s got all the answers there. I think a lot of it is fear, a lot of moms, one of the other big ones is fear. Just, “I’m not equipped.” I hear so often, “Well yeah Aby, you did it because you were a public school teacher. You were a teacher, you were trained to be a teacher.” And I honestly, that is probably my biggest challenge to overcome, is the fact that I was trained to be a teacher in the system.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: It took me years to overcome that. But you know God, He tells us in Isaiah 40 that He will gently lead those with young. He will lead, so if we follow Him then we are equipped.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: I wasn’t equipped when I got pregnant with my first daughter. I had no idea what I was going to do. Nothing. I remember looking at that blue nose sucker going, “What is this thing even for?” And I’m supposed to save her life with this thing? Talk about not equipped, and yet God gave her to me. And then He quipped me to raise her. And so He did the same thing with school, and He will do the same thing with every mom when we answer the call to teach and train our kids and His righteousness. He will equipped us, and that we’re to trust in the Lord, not our own understanding. I don’t understand half the math I teach my kids. But I trust in the Lord and they’re learning it.

Yvette: Yup.

Aby: And He tells us we can do all things through Him, and I think that’s the big one is we’ve got to stop thinking that we need to do it on our own.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And if we can’t do it on our own then we might as well send them to the experts. Because the reality is, is we are the experts in our own children’s lives. He made them for us, and He made us for them, and so we just became the expert the day that you conceived that child. He quipped you and you just became the expert.

Yvette: That’s right.

Aby: So you can do it, moms. You can. You can do it through Him. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in your weakness.

Yvette: Yep. Seek first the kingdom of God. We were just talking about that with Karen DeBeus, and He will give us everything we need. And it’s scary.

Aby: He does.

Yvette: One of the best things I have ever read about homeschooling is, do it scared.

Aby: Do it scared. That’s awesome, I love that.

Yvette: Do it scared. It’s okay to be scared to do something.

Aby: Yes.

Yvette: ‘Cause anything worth doing is scary sometimes.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: Like you said, it’s scary when the doctor puts this baby in your arms and you’re like.

Aby: Yup. I’m supposed to do what?

Yvette: Yeah. Literally their whole life is in your hands.

Aby: Exactly.

Yvette: But let me rephrase that. They’re not in our hands, there in the Lord’s hands.

Aby: They are in the Lord’s hands. And He gave them to us because He knows that He can do it.

Yvette: Right.

Aby: And He knows that our weakness is when we rely on Him and when we are terrified out of our mind, that’s when we go to Him.

Yvette: Right. But praise God that we get to lean on Him to help us do this.

Aby: Absolutely.

Yvette: Because if we had to do it on our own, oh goodness I know for myself, I’d be an absolute disaster.

Aby: Right.

Yvette: If I had to rely on myself to figure out this parenting thing, and this homeschooling thing and this marriage thing. I would destroy it to pieces.

Aby: Yeah, absolutely. And I think about marriage and I think back to the why. I think if my husband, if you’d asked him why he married me, his answer would have been 20 years ago when we met, if it would have been like, “Well, I thought she was cute we had fun together.” He’d be singing probably a very different tune right now.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And it probably wouldn’t have sustained our marriage, but when you did ask him he would say, “Because I made a commitment to the Lord. I made a commitment to God, and God’s word says and describes marriage.” And that’s what gets you though the hard times is your why. If your why is we laugh together, then what about those days that you don’t.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: But if your why is, “Because God has ordained this marriage.” Then you get through it all, and it’s the same with homeschool. If your why is, “Because my kids are so fun to be with.” Well, for crying out loud I tell you, you better get a new why real quick. ‘Cause there’s gonna be days when they’re not.

Yvette: No, your kids aren’t fun every single day like mine?

Aby: No. 90% of the time but on the 10%. But if your why is, “Because God called me to do this.”

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: Then you can get through anything, and because He can get you through anything.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: And one of the other ones I get a lot that cracks me up of, this one I probably hear more than any, “I love what you’re doing but I would never have the patience to do it.”

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: I get that one all the time. “I wouldn’t have the patience.” Or, “It’s not my thing.” You know, it’s not my thing. And I think, “Well, I don’t have the patience to do this either.”

Yvette: No.

Aby: But we’re doing it because … And it isn’t about being someone’s thing. It became your thing the day you brought that child home from the hospital.

Yvette: Yeah.

Aby: It became your thing, because He made you a mom, and He called you to be a mom and that child’s walk is … Not their walk is dependent on you, but what you teach them and train them now will forever affect what foundation they have in the future. So it might not be your thing, but it needs to become your thing because it’s His thing.

Yvette: Yeah. And it’s a great thing.

Aby: And it’s a great thing. It is so amazing, and if you don’t have the patience to do it there is nothing that will teach you patience faster. Oh, God will refine you in it. And honestly, it’s a blessing. It’s like you said that you tell your kids, I love that. I use that ever since I heard you say that I use that all the time. They’re like, “Yvette.” They say that. But with obedience comes blessing, and we could do a whole episode on the blessings of homeschool. It is truly, for me one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Yvette: Yeah, well hey. Let’s do this. We are out of time for the podcast. And so we need to close this up, I want you to just encourage those mamas at the end of this, but for Backstage Pass members, we are going to continue this conversation so let’s continue it. Let’s talk about the blessings of it. But thank you for being on the podcast.

Aby: Yes, thank you. And if you’re not a Backstage Pass member, guess what you can become one right now. (and you can save 10% on any paid membership by using the coupon code, “Podcast10“)

Yvette: And Aby’s one, right?

Aby: I am, so come hang out with me!

Yvette: Backstage pass membership is great. For those who don’t know what it is, if you might be listening to this for the first time, we have the Schoolhouse Rocked backstage pass membership site. And what that is we have all kinds of videos like the one that, Aby and I are doing right now. We extend a lot of our podcasts into an extra kind of bonus section and continue discussing what it was that we’re discussing. So those are up, but we also have, as we filmed for the movie Schoolhouse Rocked, we have a ton of footage from the movie. And so we obviously can’t get it all in an hour and a half long documentary, and so we’re taking all of those full interviews, uncut interviews and putting them up on the backstage pass membership site so you can get the entire interview instead of just the 15 minutes or 10 minutes of each person that’s going to make up the movie itself. And lots of bonus stuff. We are adding stuff to it weekly.

Yvette: So, it is a great resource. And it’s a great way to support Schoolhouse Rocked as we continue working through production stuff, every membership sign up that we get, that money goes directly to production on the movie. So you’re supporting the movie.

Aby: That’s awesome.

Yvette: You’re getting something great in return and Aby’s there so you can hang out with her. So, really quickly, I would love for you to just give an encouragement to those moms, the moms I want you to encourage today, are those who are in the thick of it right now, and they’re tired, and they just are ready to give up. And they’re just saying, “I can’t do this anymore. And I need to find something else besides this homeschool gig, because it’s not working for me.” How would you encourage that mom?

Aby: The first thing I would say is, “You’re not the first one to feel that and think that. Every veteran homeschool mom has felt that feeling.” So that does not mean that you’re not equipped, it doesn’t mean that they all have something that you don’t to be successful. We’ve all felt it, because that’s the enemy and the enemy wants to attack us when we’re doing God’s work.

The second thing I would say is what Second Peter tells us is that God gives us everything we need. If you try to do it on your own, it’s not gonna work. But God will give it to you. That’s a promise. That’s not a suggestion that’s not a, “Hey, try this.” That is a promise that God will. You were made for this. The day He gave you that child is the day He called you to raise that child in truth, and in righteousness, and so He’s going to stand by your side and He’s gonna fight the fight with you. And He will equipped you, He will, He will do that He promises.

And the last thing I would say is not just know your why, but you need to make God’s word your why. Because God’s word is our rock and we can stand on his word so on the days that all the other why’s aren’t enough, God’s word is always sufficient. So when His word and His command to us become our why, then there’s nothing that’s going to shake us. So that would be my encouragement, and get a  group of moms that feel … Community is huge. God gave us the church, God gave us community for a reason.

Yvette: Yeah, love it beautifully said. Really quickly, where can people find you?

Aby: People can find me.

Yvette: Besides in your living room.

Aby: I’m right here in my living room, and I’m usually in the mountains or sometimes I’m in the bathroom hiding. But no, people can find me at CalledToTheTop.com. And that’s not really a blog, but it’s just where all of my husband and I published articles. We write for many different organizations, and all of our articles are just, that’s kind of their housing. So if you want to read any of the stuff that we’ve put out there, we write on family and the culture war, and family values, homeschool, and we also write a lot on hunting and outdoor industry.

Yvette: I love it so much. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Aby: Thank you so much.

Yvette: Aby, you are a huge blessing.

Aby: Thank you.

Yvette: And thank you for how you have encouraged and supported us as well.

Aby: Thanks so much.

Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash