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.

Discipline / Discipleship / Heart Training

I recently received an email from a parent asking if we had any podcast episodes on discipline. The answer is a complicated one, because so much of our content is focused on the nuts and bolts of training the hearts of our children – on discipling them to have a Biblical worldview and Christ-like character. But I don’t think we have ever focused on specific methods of discipline. Quite honestly, I don’t think we ever will.

Our objective is always to point you to God’s Word as the perfect standard for parenting, discipline, marriage, and every area of life. And God’s Word has a lot to say on the subject. But even more, we know that focusing on discipline methods misses the much of the point. If we aren’t laying a Biblical foundation of Godly thinking and behavior, we are treating the symptoms without curing the disease.

Further, when we focus on discipline methods, we open ourselves and our guests up to misinterpretation and misapplication, which can be extraordinarily harmful.

It is also important to remember that the discipline process often reveals areas in our own lives where we need to grow as parents. For this purposed, discipline, discipleship, heart training are a life-long endeavor that benefit our whole families, not just our children. May we endeavor to ALL follow Christ more closely and to grow together toward Christ-likeness.

That said, as I was searching the archives to answer this mother’s email, I found a wealth of excellent episodes that cover the core of discipline, which is heart training and discipleship, from a variety of helpful perspectives.

I pray these episodes are a blessing to your family, and even more, I pray that they result in ETERNAL fruit in your children! To God be all the glory!

Matthew McDill – From Discipline to Discipleship

Ginger Hubbard – Parenting for Eternity

Mindy Dunn – Using the Bible to Train our Children

Rachael Carman – Parenting “That Child”

Ginger Hubbard – Parenting Rebellious Teens

Matthew McDill – Sibling Relationships

Connie Albers – Getting to the Hearts of our Children

Connie Albers – Parenting Teenagers

Durenda Wilson – Nurturing Sibling Relationships

Israel Wayne – Raising Them Up: Biblical Parenting

Israel Wayne- Establishing a Biblical Home/Avoiding Common Parenting Mistakes

For more on this topic, please check out the full Family Series on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Navigating Social Media: a Guide for Homeschool Moms

In the digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, connecting us with people from all corners of the world. But what are the consequences of this constant online presence? In the latest episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Aby Rinella engages joined me for an enlightening conversation on the impact of social media on our personal lives, particularly as homeschooling parents. This conversation, inspired by an article Aby wrote, titled The Original Influencer, provides practical encouragement for navigating the social media web with our families.

“We have to remember that the enemy of our souls is the master of deceit. He’s deceiving people into thinking that it’s a community. It’s not. It’s isolating people.”

Aby Rinella

The Disconnect Between Online and Real-Life Relationships:

Social media has birthed its own unique culture, often blurring the lines between the online and real world. Studies have shown that despite having more access to others than ever before, people are increasingly lonelier. Humans are built for community, but the online world has created a counterfeit that can trick us into believing that our need for human interaction is being met.

The Burden of Information Overload: “We see moms who are overwhelmed, and they’re depressed, and they feel hopeless, and it’s so overwhelming… And we carry that weight, and it causes depression, it causes anxiety, and we were never meant to know what’s going on all over, all the time, always.” — Aby Rinella

Recognizing the Lack of Authenticity:

Furthering the problem, the social pressure to create content that people will “like” and share has contributed to a pervasive lack of authenticity online, which can spill into our lives and personality. Worse, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that everyone else’s life is picture-perfect, when all we are seeing are their best moments and perfectly posed and photoshopped pictures. 

The Power of Real-Life Relationships:

Amidst the virtual facade, real-life relationships remain the bedrock of social connection and personal growth. Aby emphasizes the messiness, effort, and humbling nature of these relationships, stressing that real-life connections require intentionality, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to find the good in others.

The Loneliness Epidemic: “The studies show that people are lonelier now than they’ve ever been ever. That there’s this epidemic, this pandemic, if you will, of loneliness that we’ve never seen before. And what’s interesting is we have more access to more people than we have ever had in history, and yet we are the loneliest.” — Aby Rinella

Finding Wisdom and Support in Community:

With the rise of social media influencers, there is a danger of relying solely on their curated content for guidance and information. Aby advocates for seeking wisdom and support from experienced individuals – Titus 2 women – within our churches, homeschool co-ops, families, and local communities, urging young moms to invest in real, tangible relationships rather than depending solely on online connections.

“It was these real women who  knew me, and they knew my heart, and I knew them, and I knew their heart. And those were my influencers, and that was my community.” — Aby Rinella

Breaking Free from the Social Media Trap:

Recognizing the addictive nature of social media and its potential to distract homeschooling parents, Aby shares practical strategies to regain focus and presence in our daily lives. She recommends allocating specific time frames for social media use, fasting from it for a period, and investing in real-life experiences instead.

In a world dominated by social media, it’s essential for us to navigate its influence wisely. Aby’s insights shed light on the detrimental aspects of social media while offering a path towards authentic, real-life relationships and connections. Let us heed her wisdom and resist the trap of the online world, finding fulfillment and growth within genuine communities.

Listen to more from Aby Rinella on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

Watch Aby Rinella’s sessions from the 2020 and 2023 Homegrown Generation Family Expo

You can read more from Aby Rinella on her blog, CalledtotheTop.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. How has social media influenced your perception of what a “perfect family” looks like? Do you feel pressure to portray your own family in a certain way on social media?

2. How do you think social media culture has impacted our ability to form and maintain genuine, authentic relationships? Have you experienced any negative effects on your own relationships?

3. In what ways do you see social media as a tool for isolating individuals, rather than connecting them? Have you ever felt isolated or disconnected because of social media?

4. How do you navigate the balance between staying informed about global events and protecting your mental well-being from the constant stream of news on social media?

5. Do you think social media has had a positive or negative impact on the parenting community? How have you personally been influenced or affected as a parent by social media?

6. Have you ever felt the pressure to conform to certain homeschooling methods or philosophies because of what you’ve seen on social media? How do you strike a balance between seeking inspiration and staying true to your own homeschooling style?

7. How do you personally limit your social media use during homeschooling to stay focused and present with your children? What strategies have you found helpful in reducing distractions?

8. Do you agree with Aby’s suggestion of taking breaks from social media to regain perspective and break addictive habits? Have you ever tried a social media fast? If so, what was your experience like?

9. How do you distinguish between influencers who genuinely provide valuable content and insights, and those who simply craft curated and potentially misleading versions of their lives? What are some red flags to watch out for?

10. In what ways do you think social media has impacted society’s reliance on personal experience and wisdom for guidance? Do you believe influencers should be held to a certain standard of expertise before providing tutorials or advice?

Aby Rinella is a former public school teacher turned passionate homeschool mom.  
Aby resides in the mountains of the west with her college sweetheart and 3 awesome kids where they enjoy all things outdoors. 

Aby is a writer and speaker seeking to encourage and inspire women to live the life they were designed to live, to train up their children in God’s Word, and to stand on truth in a culture that has lost its foundation. 

Aby is co-host on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, director of her local homeschool support group and is a Homeschool Idaho board member. 

Aby and her husband, Jesse, speak and write on the benefits of pointing children to their Creator through spending time out in His creation. They are also passionate about encouraging men and women to prioritize the calling they have been given to raise their families the way they were designed.  You can find them at CalledToTheTop.com or on Facebook at Aby Rinella-His Calling My Passion.

Related posts:

Read the full transcript below:

Continue reading “Navigating Social Media: a Guide for Homeschool Moms”

How To Homeschool – My Original Roadmap

When I was just diving into homeschooling for the first time, my good friend, Holly Lerner, gave me a simple two-page document, which became my early roadmap for success. Over the years, Holly served as a homeschooling and motherhood mentor to me, and her example has been a constant inspiration and encouragement.

I still have that original document from Holly. Simply titled: “How to Homeschool,” the guide that inspired me can now inspire thousands of new homeschooling moms.

I recently sat down with Kristi Clover to record an interview for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (this four-part interview will air 9/4, 9/6, 9/7, 9/8/2023), and as I was planning I realized that with so many new families beginning to homeschool it was time to go back to the basics and record a “How to Homeschool” guide. So, once again, I brought out Holly’s instructions, and these served as a guide to my interview with Kristi.

How to Homeschool, by Holly Lerner

Foundation for Parenting

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Why We Homeschool

  • Train our children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), godly character
  • Teach obedience (Colossians 3:20) Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
  • Titus 2:3-5
    • “teaching what is good
    • “love [our] children” (delight in them)
    • “workers at home”
    • “that the word of God may not be dishonored”

How to Make Decisions

  • Pray (Phil 4:6) “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
  • Focus on God: glory to God and serve God
  • Always LOVE (1 Cor 13:1-3) If I have lots of great things, “but have not love, I gain nothing.”
  • Remember the future: Learn these and teach by modeling godly character traits in our home
    • Diligence
    • Faith
    • Moral excellence
    • Knowledge
    • Self-control
    • Perseverance
    • Godliness
    • Brotherly kindness
    • Love
  • 2 Peter 1:5-7 “… make every effort to supplement your faithwith virtue, and virtuewith knowledge,and knowledge with self-control, and self-controlwith steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,and godlinesswith brotherly affection, and brotherly affectionwith love.”

Priorities in Education & Training

  • Have a mindset to guide our thinking in discouraging times (What Scripture do we need to dwell on when we are discouraged?)
  • IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ACADEMICS!!! Academics are one aspect of one of four areas of the chart. Don’t let it take over everything else.
  • Prioritize academic subjects (don’t try to do everything every day)

How to Approach Teaching Academics

  • Academics are an opportunity to…
    • Teach character
      • Do it when they don’t like it
      • Do it diligently
      • Persevere when it’s hard
    • Learn skills to equip children for future service to God
  • Realize and Remember that…
      • We are not imitating the school system or a school setting, so don’t compare to schools or grade level skills or government standards
      • Children will learn quickly when they are ready, so don’t worry if you think they seem “behind” or if you are not accomplishing what you had hoped to accomplish
  • Pick one thing to do well and consistently
      • Aim for independence
      • Read
      • Write
      • Math
      • Choose something that you can do with all your children
    • Choose 1 subject to focus on each year (so you can build slowly and get better at all of this!)
  • Manage Age Ranges and Abilities
      • List activities that the little ones (nonreaders) can do independently
    • Limit individual instruction for the older ones to how long the youngest can be independent (or juggle with an older one working with a younger one so you can teach a 3rd one or more…)
  • Set Goals for each year – as a family and for each child
  • Use what you have!
    • You don’t have to buy curriculum or find the “perfect” thing in order to be successful/productive/teaching well.

I pray that this simple outline serves you as well as it has served our family.

Recommended Resources:

Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for free.

Free Homeschool Survival Kit

Homegrown Generation Family Expo – Online Homeschool Conference. Get instant access to all of the sessions from 2023 and 2020 (over 50 hours of content)!

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast – Biblical homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship encouragement and advice. Each show shares practical advice to help point our children to Christ, build a solid Biblical worldview, teach effectively, preserve our marriages, manage our homes, and approach child-rearing and discipline issues with a heart-centered focus that will result in confident, biblically-minded, wise, well-balanced adults.

The Homeschool Insights Podcast – Practical, Biblical, home education and parenting encouragement and resources in under ten minutes a day.

More on this topic:

This is Why We Homeschool

Homeschooling Multiple Ages: 20 Secrets to Simplify Teaching and Make History Come Alive

Rescuing Our Children: An Urgent Call to Take Back Education

20 Questions EVERY PARENT Should be Able to Answer About Education

As I write this, we’re in the middle of a recording blitz. We always try to get ahead of recording for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and Homeschool Insights Podcast before summer, and this always tends to be a busy time of year for us appearing on other shows, as well. Yvette recorded two interviews today. I’ll be on a podcast tonight and another live show early tomorrow morning.

As I have been preparing for my interviews, I realized that the questions that will be asked and answered on these shows are the same questions that EVERY parent should be able to answer about education.

And some of them aren’t that obvious.

So here they are….

  • What does God’s Word have to say about education?
  • How are parenting, education, and discipleship related?
  • Who does the Bible specifically instruct to educate children? 
  • Culture, the family, the church, and our constitutional republic seem to be crumbling around us. How is education contributing to their decline?
  • What is the major philosophy or worldview that drives public education?
  • How are DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), the LGBTQ+ Agenda, BLM, CSE (Comprehensive Sexuality Education), Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, “anti-bullying” campaigns, and radical environmentalism related?
  • What’s with “book banning” and the rise of pornographic books in libraries and classrooms?
  • How does the traditional school model contribute to the decline of the family? 
  • How does government funding shape the agenda that is promoted through government schools?
  • Who should pay for education?
  • How is the culture war a “War of words” and how is this agenda being driven in schools (how are critical thinking, language, and logic handled in traditional schools)?
  • What is this all leading to?
    • What is the earthly/political end game (NWO, the Great Reset, one world government, global Marxist tyranny)?
    • What is the spiritual/eschatalogical end (One-world government, the Great Tribulation, the rise of the Anti-Christ, and ultimately the return of Christ)?
  • What about “good schools?” We often hear “Our family lives in a small, conservative town and our kids’ teachers are Christians. Do I need to worry?”
  • Can the public education system be reformed?
  • What is dad’s role in education and discipleship?
  • What is mom’s role in education and discipleship?
  • What is a grandparent’s role in education and discipleship?
  • What should churches and pastors be doing to solve these problems?
  • What am I doing to solve these problems?
  • What resources are available to help? 

As parents, the answers to these questions are all critically important. Here’s the good news. We are constantly addressing the REAL answers found in God’s Word. We are committed to producing high-quality resources to sound the alarm and help families take back the hearts of their children. I’ve listed a few great resources at the end of this post, but before we get to those we should look at what the Bible has to say about these things.

As usual, I referenced my favorite “what does the Bible have to say about education” resource, Israel Wayne’s fantastic article, “Christian Education: A Manifesto.

Bible Verses and Application (most of the commentary below is from Israel Wayne):

Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

  • We are blessed if we avoid the unGodly counsel our children will receive in government schools, and the socialization of sinful classmates and the mocking, scoffing attitudes they pick up in school.
  • How can a child meditate day and night on God’s law in government school? He can do this when his parents teach him to apply God’s law to every area of life.
  • Contrast “Blessings” promised in this passage with the “Cursings” in Deuteronomy 28, and see which one you want to receive.

Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it.”

  • There is a way a child should go, and parents need to be training the child in THAT direction, not in the direction of the world.

Joel 1:3: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”

  • Christian education is best understood as the equipping of each successive generation to train the next. This is a family matter, not a governmental mandate.

Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the LORD.”

  • Is schooling mentioned in the Bible (and does God have an opinion)? Why YES! I’m glad you asked! This is just one of many passages that should solifiy this issue, but in Ephesians 6:4 we are commanded:”Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but instead, train them up in the nurture (literally, “Biblical counseling”), and admonition (the Greek word, “Paideia”) of the Lord.” (KJV)
  • What does Paideia mean? From the Encyclopeida Brittanica:
    • “Paideia, (Greek: “education,” or “learning”), system of education and training in classical Greek and Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) cultures that included such subjects as gymnastics, grammar, rhetoric, music, mathematics, geography, natural history, and philosophy. In the early Christian era the Greek paideia, called humanitas in Latin, served as a model for Christian institutions of higher learning, such as the Christian school of Alexandria in Egypt, which offered theology as the culminating science of their curricula. The term was combined with enkyklios (“complete system,” or “circle”) to identify a large compendium of general education, hence “encyclopaedia. Everything that could be taught in academics was wrapped up in the Greek word, “Paideia.” It was the word the Greeks used for “Schooling.” Paul commanded fathers to train their children up NOT in the Paideia of the world, but instead, in the Paideia of the Lord.

Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world.”

  • Christian education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 11:19: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

  • This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.

Deuteronomy 32:46: “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.”

  • Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.

Parents and Grandparents:

Exodus 10:2: “That you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the LORD.” • Instruction of the young is given to parents and grandparents.

Joel 1:3: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”

  • Christian education is best understood as the equipping of each successive generation to train the next. This is a family matter, not a governmental mandate.

Jesus the WORD (LOGOS)

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Hebrews 1:2,3: “in these last days spoke to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [worlds, 3 who is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power; who, having accomplished cleansing for sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”

Colossians 1:17: “And He is before all things, And in Him all things hold together.”

Resources (Share these far and wide):

Stream Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution for FREE – Whether you’re just considering home education for the first time or you’re a seasoned veteran this feature-length documentary will encourage and equip you to start strong and finish well.

Free Homeschool Survival Kit – 70+ page eBook to take you from start to finish in homeschooling. The Homeschool Survival Kit begins with a quick-start guide and ends with a value packed resource guide. In between, we cover the topics that every homeschool parent needs to know so that their family thrives.

Homegrown Generation Family Expo – This online homeschool conference features over 50 hours of homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship content from Kirk CameronHeidi St. JohnSam SorboKevin SorboKathy BarnetteAndrew PudewaIsrael WayneRick GreenGinger HubbardMeeke AddisonTodd WilsonLeigh BortinsRachael CarmanDavis CarmanDurenda Wilson, and many more.

The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast – Biblical homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship encouragement and advice every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each show shares practical advice to help point our children to Christ, build a solid Biblical worldview, teach effectively, preserve our marriages, manage our homes, and approach child-rearing and discipline issues with a heart-centered focus that will result in confident, biblically-minded, wise, well-balanced adults.

The Homeschool Insights Podcast – Homeschool Insights gives you practical, Biblical, home education and parenting encouragement and resources in under ten minutes a day. Hosted by Yvette Hampton, each show features the advice of Christian education experts, authors, speakers, curriculum publishers, and homeschool veterans, to help you disciple the hearts of your children for the glory of God!

Support Schoolhouse Rocked

We have several new, powerful resources in the works, but these can only be completed with your help. Please consider supporting the ongoing ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked with a one-time or monthly donation here.

Thank you for allowing us to walk with you in the important work of parenting and discipleship. To God be all the glory!

Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash

How Can I Find a Homeschooling Mentor?

Older and younger woman cooking together

Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella continue their homeschool Q&A series with a discussion on homeschool parent mentors. Where can you find a mentor? What are the benefits of having one? Is the internet really enough, or could in-person interactions be even more valuable?

Yvette Hampton: This question says, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor that can walk me through and help me step by step.” Oh, I love this question.

Aby Rinella: Yes, you do. We all do.

Yvette Hampton: Yes, we do. And let me just say that is so much of the reason why we do what we do at Schoolhouse Rocked. Aby and I do not spend the time that we do, recording podcasts and videos, and doing all these things because we make a ton of money at it, or get tons of rewards for it. Our reward is knowing that we are doing what God has called us to do, and being a blessing to you. And so, we really want to help, virtually mentor you. And we have others who do that with us, because Aby and I are still going into our 10th year of homeschooling, but there are many who have gone ahead of me and graduated their kids.

Yvette Hampton: And so, I have people in my life, like Durenda Wilson, Rachael Carman, Ginger Hubbard, and Connie Albers and people like that who…, who have spent years pouring into their kids, and are now pouring into us younger moms. It’s the whole Titus 2 thing. The older women teaching the younger women how to do this parenting, and marriage, and life thing, and being keepers of our home. Because homeschooling falls under all of those categories, and so you do need a homeschooling mentor.

Aby Rinella: Absolutely.

Yvette Hampton: I would say if you can find someone in your local church, or a local Christian homeschool support group or co-op, or something like that, seek them out. Because I think it’s part of our nature as humans to want to feel needed. It’s a blessing to those who are helping. I know when moms come to me and say, “Can you just help me with this, can you answer this question for me,” Or, “I was thinking about this, and I know you’ve been through this already, can you just walk me through this?” It is a huge blessing to me, and an honor, to be able to walk with them and help them to do that. And then, you know what? Later on, down the road, you get to be that to someone else.

Aby Rinella: Yes. And please, if you are at the end of this journey, when you graduate your last, don’t be done. It is so important that you stay in the game, because these new moms need you. And often, I think, without these great mentors, they may quit. So, stay in the game. There are a lot of mentorship things online where you can reach out to people, but I think nothing beats someone that’s walking it with you day-to-day, that can show up at your house and fold socks with you while you’re crying, and pray with you, and knows your kids, but… So, what was actually the question though? “How do I find one?”

Yvette Hampton: It’s more kind of a statement than a question.

Aby Rinella: Okay, okay.

Yvette Hampton: I think she’s just saying, “How do I find a homeschool mentor?”

Aby Rinella: So, one thing I would say is, “Ask.” Where I live, I tried to set up a homeschool mentorship program where we took some of the veteran moms and the younger moms. I remember the veteran moms saying several times, “These new young homeschool moms, they don’t act like they need us. They’re not asking. They have it all kind of figured out, and they’ve got their books and their online courses, and their this and their that.” So, don’t be afraid to go to that older woman in your area that has homeschooled, and say, “Hey, would you mentor me?” Don’t be afraid to ask. And older moms, please don’t be afraid to reach out to the younger moms. We need that.

Yvette Hampton: Right, yeah. And be honest and transparent with them. Don’t act like you have it all together, because none of us do, trust me.

Aby Rinella: Totally. We can see right through you.

Yvette Hampton: Just be honest with them and just say, “This is really what I’m struggling with.” And sometimes you may not have that person in your local community, but try to find that person somewhere.

Aby Rinella: Right.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. [chuckle] Part of me wants to say, “You know, even through social media, you can find that.” But you can also find a lot of really, really bad advice.

Aby Rinella: Right.

Yvette Hampton: And so, I would say, be careful of that too. Rarely do I ever go on homeschool social media pages, like on Facebook and stuff, because some of the advice out there is just so poor. Some people give really good, sound Biblical advice, but some don’t. So just be careful who you’re listening to.

Aby Rinella: Exactly.

Yvette Hampton: She’s saying, “I need a Christian homeschooling mentor.” So, it sounds to me like she’s wanting someone who really is going to point her towards Christ.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, because a homeschool mentor is going to homeschool you in everything. Like you said, life, parenting, motherhood, marriage. So, you make sure your mentor lines up with God’s Word as they mentor you.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. And check everything through scripture. Don’t just take it for what they say, but back things up with scripture.

Aby Rinella: Yes.

Yvette Hampton: Sadly, we are out of time for today. Again, if you have questions for us, please send them in to podcast@schoolhouserocked.com. It is our absolute privilege and joy and honor to be able to answer those for you. So, let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, thank you for joining me today, again. And you guys cannot see this right now, but Aby is wearing a Schoolhouse Rocked T-shirt. And it is so cute.

Aby Rinella: It is so awesome. There are Schoolhouse Rocked long sleeves, shorts, it’s endless. You could actually change out your entire wardrobe to Schoolhouse Rocked… And your husband’s, too, honestly!

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: If you go to the Schoolhouse Rocked website, click “Support Schoolhouse Rocked” and select “Store” in the drop-down menu (Or click HERE!)

Considering Homeschooling? 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. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

Biblical Principles for a Healthy Nation: an interview with Kirk Cameron

“The Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. There’s lots to say in the Scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage. Our forefathers understood that. They don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies.”

Kirk Cameron

There are few people who are better encouragers than Kirk Cameron. In March, Kirk joined us for a live discussion on Biblical Principles for a Healthy Nation. As we have seen so many things change in our nation since then, we wanted to bring you that discussion. We hope that it will be a great encouragement to you in these uncertain times.

Yvette Hampton:

I want to talk about Monumental, not so much about the movie. I mean the movie is fantastic for those who have seen it, it’s just a fantastic movie, Kirk, where you kind of take us on this journey along with you as you kind of bring us back to the founding of our country. And eventually in the movie you end up at this monument called The Matrix of Liberty. And it’s funny because I’ve asked a few people who have not yet seen the movie. “Have you heard of The Matrix of Liberty.” And they are like, “The what, the matrix of what?” And people have not heard of this monument and it’s so important to our nation.

Kirk Cameron:

Yeah. They’re probably thinking it’s the sequel to the matrix and it’s some sort of freedom fighter who’s trying to figure out which world he’s in.

Yvette Hampton:

Right. Yeah.

Kirk Cameron:

So the monument is actually referred to as The Matrix of Liberty. It’s sort of the recipe, the matrix, the code that unlocks freedom. But the official name for it is The National Monument to the Forefathers. And there’s actually quite a few monuments to the pilgrims throughout the country, but that’s the one that really impressed me and that’s why we made that the centerpiece hero of the documentary.

Yvette Hampton:

Yeah. How did you find out about it?

Kirk Cameron:

So I had never heard of it. I mean, has anybody ever heard of this thing before? I’ve talked with politicians, congressmen, congresswomen, I’ve talked with people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and others who you’d think would know about such a monument because of what it says, and most people have never heard of it.

Kirk Cameron:

In fact, if you try to find it you’ll have a hard time. I know people who live in Massachusetts and have never heard of it, even though it’s maybe a mile away from Plymouth Rock, and it is the largest solid granite monument in America. But the problem is it was built on top of a hill. So imagine if my head is a hill in your neighborhood and there’s a little monument that’s sitting on top. But the problem is there were trees that grew up all around it and are now taller than the monument. So you can’t see, especially if you’re down here below looking up and it’s concealed and hidden within this residential neighborhood.

Kirk Cameron:

And honestly, most people don’t go see it. Since the documentary (Monumental), they’ve had more traffic, which I’m thankful for. But I think it’s the most important monument in the nation because of what it says. And it spells out the biblical worldview and the recipe that our fore-fathers and fore-mothers used to launch a nation that would later become the freest, the most prosperous, the strongest, healthiest and generous nation sending the Gospel out to more countries than any other. And it’s all wrapped up in this matrix of liberty, like you called it.

Yvette Hampton:

I happen to know that you have a replica of it sitting right next to you. So I would love for you to take it and just kind of take us for a tour of it.

Kirk Cameron:

Sure. I would love to. Before I show it to you let me just speak directly to some of our viewers who are watching right now. As you watch the news, as you’re having conversations with your kids or your spouse or your friends, you’re texting, you’re emailing, and you’re just wondering what in the world is going on in our country, even beyond the coronavirus. Just look at politics in the way that they’re being handled. It’s amazing. I mean, it seems like gone are the days where we’re able to have respectful disagreements with each other. If you’re on the right and your friends are on the left or if you’re a conservative or if you’re a liberal or you’re a libertarian or you’re an atheist or a Christian, it seems like fighting is the name of the game. And just smashing and crushing anyone who disagrees with you is sort of the way things work now. And with social media, all of that just sort of gets applauded and people are just trying to slam each other. And we look at our economy and we wonder what’s the right way to do that? We’re talking about “democratic socialism” with Bernie Sanders. We’re talking about more of a moderate type of socialism. Is that better? I mean, after all, shouldn’t the government be generous and helping the poor? And shouldn’t the government be taking care of education all the way through to college? Is there financial inequality that should not exist in the country? Or is capitalism a good thing or a bad thing? All of these things have to be answered somehow in the scriptures. And I believe that the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus came to solve the sin problem couples with the Word of God and the Law of God to help not just make healthy individuals and healthy marriages and families, but healthy nations. And the Kingdom of God is going to be built or comprised of all the nations. And I think that those nations can be blessed and experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit when we line our principals up. And there’s lots to say in the scriptures about government and about the economy and about family and church and marriage and all of that stuff.

Our forefathers understood that. And so what I love about this monument is that they don’t get into the “D” and the “R,” they don’t get into the “liberal,” “conservative.” They get into principles that all of us can understand. They’re universal and they’re rooted in the Bible. And that helps me to understand where I sit on these kinds of issues and policies. So let’s jump in.

For those who are seeing this for the very first time, this might remind you a little bit of the Statue of Liberty, but it’s not, in fact, many people think that this was actually the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty because they were raising funds for this in France before the Statue of Liberty was built with little models of what it was going to be.

In fact, this was before the Civil War that this was made. And Abraham Lincoln was one of the very first financial contributors to the building of this monument. So here it is. It’s called The National Monument to the Forefathers.

It says, “The National Monument to the Forefathers erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.” So this is a monument that is all about liberty or freedom, but two kinds. It’s in remembrance of both civil and religious liberty. Civil liberty is a government liberty, right? This is our religious freedom. This is our freedom of speech. This is our freedom to assemble all these things.

And then there’s internal religious liberty. And that is the freedom to worship God, to be able to have the Word of God and to practice our faith without government interference. And this is what they were all about.

So first of all, this monument is the largest granite monument in America. It is 88 feet tall. It’s in Plymouth, Massachusetts. And this was established in 1889. It took them 50 years to build it because the project got interrupted by this little thing we like to call the Civil War. And it was going to be twice this height, but the budget got cut in half due to the war. And that’s why actually the reason why the
“Faith” figure is twice as tall as any of these smaller statues.


So Faith was going to be as big as everything else, but it got cut in half. But it’s still, today, the largest granite monument in America. So it’s pretty important.

So let’s go through these. The tallest statue, her name is Faith. Below Faith are other figures. There are Morality, Law, Education, and finally Liberty. Each one of them have smaller reliefs on the sides, which are all really significant.

On the front is the names of the passengers of the Mayflower. And then you also have a quote from the governor of the pilgrims, Governor William Bradford.

You can see that faith is at the top, not morality, not education, not liberty. Faith is really the capstone. This is the key. This is the core that holds everything else together, faith. And if you notice she’s pointing to heaven. She’s got one finger pointed to heaven, and she has a star on her forehead and she’s holding a book in her hand, and the pages of that book are being blown open.

It’s not a closed book. It’s open. And she’s standing on this rock. And all those things are pretty significant. The book is the Bible. In fact, it’s not just any Bible, it’s the Geneva Bible. Now, the Geneva Bible was a very unique Bible. In fact, it was a hated by King James. It came out after the King James Bible. Now we all love the King James Bible. It’s a beautiful Bible, and it was the authorized Bible and it’s written so poetically and many, many people quote from the King James Bible. So King James made a great Bible, but he made a terrible King. He was like a tyrant on steroids. And so he hated the Geneva Bible because it was not authorized.

“So this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in faith’s hand says that, that parents are to train up their children in the way they should go.”

“So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.”

Kirk Cameron

What made the Geneva Bible so unique was that it had study notes from theologians of the day, and inside the study notes of this Bible, they used phrases and words like tyrants. Now, tyrants referred to government authorities that were bad authorities. But see, King James considered himself to be practically God’s representative on earth. And so there was the mixture of the church and the government together, and he coined the phrase, “the divine right of Kings.” “In essence if God made me King, well, then I’m in charge of you. I’m God’s representative here and you need to do what I say.” Well, that’s a great recipe for becoming a really great tyrant. And so when they use the word tyrant in this Bible and that tyrants need to be opposed, well, of course that’s was against the King.

Photo byRogers, C. H., – Source, New York Public Library, Public Domain

And this Geneva Bible was also the first English translated Bible that had chapters and verses in the text. So the first time for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son was John 3:16 was in this Bible, the Geneva Bible. And it was translated and small enough for a family to have one in their house and study it for themselves, rather than having it locked up in a church in a language they couldn’t understand. They were able to read it for themselves rather than having it read to them and explained to them. And that really changed the game in the whole world. And you get to the effects of the reformation and everything else, which is really what launched the pilgrims out of England to the New World.

Yvette Hampton:

Isn’t it amazing to think of how we just take it for granted? Of course we have a Bible, we’ve got 20 of them. Which color would you like and or which version would you like? We’ve got so many in our homes and that we just take for granted what we have. We haven’t always had that.

Kirk Cameron:

You’re absolutely right. It’s amazing. One of the features of this Bible is you’ll see the pages are being blown open there. It’s not shut. And most that I have talked to, the historians in the area, people who understand that and knew who the architect was, say that that is blown open as if by the wind of the Holy Spirit. It’s being opened and God is opening the scriptures the way that Jesus would open the scriptures to his disciples.

Also on her forehead, you’ll see there is a little star and that star represented wisdom. Our forefathers believed that faith was not just this goosebumps feeling that you had, it wasn’t just this hopeful, trusting in God that you didn’t ask questions. They believed that wisdom was something that you received from God. They also knew we should worship him with our mind, not just with our heart and soul, and that they would reason from the scriptures to all areas of life. So these were thinkers. These were people who really reasoned from the scriptures.

And then of course, she’s pointing to the one true God of heaven. This is not just any deity. This isn’t just some random God that it was okay to have faith in. This was a Christian worldview. This wasn’t just a bunch of agnostics and deists or people of other faiths. It was the Christian faith that they believed was absolutely essential, because that was the true and living faith that could transform the heart of man. And without faith in God and faith in God’s word, none of these principles work.

Yvette Hampton:

Right, that is still true today.

Kirk Cameron:

And she’s got her foot on a rock, which is Plymouth rock. The real Plymouth Rock is just a short distance away from where this statute sits in Plymouth. So that’s faith. She’s the center and core and capstone of it all.

Yvette Hampton:

So we start with Faith. Where do we move from there?


Kirk Cameron:

So they would believe that faith would then be expressed through these four different aspects in your society. And first we can go to Morality and she’s seated on her chair. And if you look closely, you’ll see that Morality’s eyes are closed. Some of the other statues have their eyes open, but morality’s is closed. She’s looking inward. It’s suggesting that morality is an inner quality. Morality is not just an external standard that is forced on you by the government. It’s an internal virtue or set of virtues. And if you look in her hands, she’s holding the 10 Commandments in her left hand and the scroll of Revelation in her right hand. On the Ten Commandments, on that touchstone tablet, it says Exodus 20. These are the words that God spoke to Moses.

If you look below Morality, she’s got another little carving here and it says “Prophet.” and on the other side it says “Evangelist.” There’s an evangelist who’s actually preaching the Gospel to lost souls. How’s all that tied into morality? Well, they believe that morality must first start with a transformation of the heart, which is coming from the power of God when the Gospel is preached. So once the heart is transformed, you then begin to love what God loves and hate what God hates by the power of his Spirit. And now you need a standard, which was given to us by the prophet Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai with those Ten Commandments, those two tablets. And there she’s holding it as well as the scroll of Revelation indicating that our morality is founded on both the morality found in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

I look around in our culture today and our morality has shifted a little bit from this standard. Right?

Yvette Hampton:

It’s so interesting that she’s holding the 10 Commandments, which is also known as the moral law.

Kirk Cameron:

That’s right.

Yvette Hampton:

When we look at the moral law and how we as humans have broken God’s moral law, it has separated us from him.

Kirk Cameron:

That’s right. That’s how we know that we’ve sinned. When we look at the Ten Commandments it’s just like a mirror. In fact, Scripture calls God’s moral law a mirror. And if we look into it, we can see what we look like from God’s perfect perspective, and that we’re broken and dirty and that we need his healing and his cleansing.


So the reason that this morality is so important is that not only do we please God personally when we are moral people, but it allows us to make good laws in our nation. And that’s the next figure, “Law” and laws are morals.

Now, some people will say, “Well, you can’t legislate morality. You just can’t be imposing your morals on other people.” Well, if you think about it all laws are legislating somebody’s morality. I mean, if someone says, “Well, you need to go 55 miles an hour because you’re going to be endangering other people’s lives and you shouldn’t be doing that.” That’s legislating morals. That’s what laws are. They’re there to protect the people and to minimize evil. And that’s the government’s job. Government exists to restrain evil. So good laws are portrayed by the man of law who’s seated in his judge’s chair.

And he’s holding the Book of Law in his hand. His other hand is outstretched in mercy. And if you notice the book in his hand, of law, is directly beneath the book in Faith’s hand. And this is indicating that the laws of man must always line up under God’s laws. And so God’s laws are always superior. If they don’t line up and agree with God’s laws in the Bible, they’re not good laws. And those good laws are characterized on the right side by Justice.

Lady Justice is holding the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in her other hand. There’s an inference there that laws must be just, and that justice is always to be served and dealt out when laws are broken. That’s why the government does not bear the sword in vain.

On the other side is Mercy, and Mercy is there to balance out injustice. And that’s what we see in the scriptures. We see justice and mercy, justice and mercy. And the judge is able to either sentence someone to a just punishment or to extend mercy because he’s a man of morality and faith himself.

Yvette Hampton:

What a beautiful representation of God, our savior who is just, but he also is merciful at the same time. I mean, it’s hard to combine those two things. But wow, what a beautiful picture of our savior that is!

Kirk Cameron:

That’s right. Our kids try to catch us on that, right? “You’re always going with justice, where’s the mercy? Give me mercy.”

Yvette Hampton:

 All the time. My daughter asks for grace all the time. “Mom can you please do show me grace just this one time.”

Kirk Cameron:

So that’s law. You must have good laws in your nation, in your society, in your culture. I think it’s important to remember too, that this idea that government can solve our problems if we just elect the right person or we just have the right laws in place is incorrect. Our forefathers understood that a big powerful government that took care of everything was really a bad idea. That’s why they came out of England, right? I mean, King James, he did everything. He owned everything. He had all the power. You lived and died based on what the good King said was best for you. That wasn’t their idea of a good way to live.

So they understood that the first kind of law that needs to be adopted are personal laws. – that I’m going to love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and I’m going to love my neighbor as myself. So the government, in their mind started, with self-government, without self-government and people running around and taking advantage of each other you’re going to need to find a police officer. Now, you’re going to need to find somebody to help you protect yourself against all these thieves and people killing each other and doing all this stuff because they’re not self-governing under God’s laws.

But if you do self-govern, then you don’t need… Look, if kids would govern themselves, they wouldn’t need parents to discipline them, right? And if parents would govern themselves, we wouldn’t need police officers to come and take care of domestic problems. And if the police could take care of local problems, we wouldn’t need the national guard to show up in a city because locally we’re taking care of things and that’s what they understood. So personal self-government, obeying God’s laws on a personal level takes care of so much that there should not be much need for big authoritarian government from the top down.

Yvette Hampton:

Right. It’s interesting, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” And I would say it’s not just bound up in the heart of a child, it’s bound up in the heart of man. We, as humans, are foolish, rebellious people, which is why we need God’s law. We need God’s moral law to tell us how to live. It’s why we need God’s Word to direct us and guide us in the ways of the Lord.


Kirk Cameron:

So once you have some good laws in your nation and people are governing themselves with good morality, and that morality is built on a transformation of the heart by the Word of God, and you’re trusting in the true God of heaven, our provider, our protector. Then you can begin to do the… I want to say the finer things in life, but it’s not just the finer things. These are essential things in life. But if you’re constantly fighting and just trying to survive and protect against internal strife in your society, you’re not going to have the opportunity to teach your kids math and to teach them history and to teach them all these other things. But if you have good laws and good morality and trusting in the Lord, and you’re receiving his blessing, now you can teach your kids about architecture. You can teach them about warfare. You can teach them all about charity and all of the things that make life worth living.


So here we have Education and Education is a woman seated in a chair. This woman is representing a parent figure. And I know that the pilgrims did not see education as any less than a parent-led privilege and responsibility. They would never go along with the idea of a government funded, government run school. Why? Well, think of it. They just came out of England and if King James or queen Elizabeth was funding a school system, the first thing that would be out of the school, it’d be the Bible. And it would be, “Do whatever the King or the queen says.” And so this was something that the parents would teach their kids, just like the Bible says. The book in Faith’s hand says that parents are to “train up their children in the way they should go.” And so she’s holding the books of knowledge.

She has a wreath of victory around her head. She can do this this, this woman, this mom has gotten what is required for her to educate her children. On her right it says “youth” and there’s a picture of a mom training her child in the way they should go so that when they become old, and there’s an old man right here, his name is Wisdom and he’s holding a globe and he’s holding a Bible indicating that he has a Biblical worldview.

So if you educate your kids to the second and third generations, as the Jewish people believed, then you can pass on your faith. You could pass on your values, your worldview, and it would result in what everybody wants, right? And what does everybody want? They want freedom. They want liberty. And that’s what the world has never had outside of this strategy, outside of this recipe. Because freedom has to start internally with the heart.


And that’s what we read in the very beginning for both civil and religious liberty. As we continue, we see liberty man. He’s strong. He’s ready to fight. He’s got a sword in his hand, he’s got a helmet on his head, and he has a breast plate. He’s got all of the things that he needs for battle.

In fact, you can see the entire armor of God that we see in Ephesians 6 represented right here, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of the Gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit.

The chains on his wrists and on his ankles are broken. He has been liberated and set free. He’s been set free internally from the power of sin by the Gospel. And he’s been set free externally from the power of tyrants. And if you look on his shoulder, you’ll see there’s a lion’s claw. There is a lion draped over his back. That lion represents tyranny. Tyranny has been overthrown, the lion represented England. And he Liberty has overthrown the tyrant.

Kirk Cameron:

And on his side is a picture of his wife and her name is Peace. She’s holding a basket full of gifts for her family and for her friends.

Liberty is ready to defend his faith. He’s ready to defend his morals, the laws of his country. And also the ability to educate his children in a biblical worldview. This is the liberty man. And this is the result of The Matrix of Liberty. You don’t start with that guy. You finish with that guy after you have Faith, Morality, Law, Education, and generations of those virtues produce men and women of liberty.

Kirk Cameron – 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo Speaker

Join Kirk Cameron for Some Fun and Practical Family Encouragement

We are very excited to announce that the Schoolhouse Rocked team is working to put together another encouraging resource for homeschool families. The Homegrown Generation Online Family Expo is a one-of-a-kind event. Live and fully interactive, the conference will feature some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face.
Kirk Cameron will be speaking on Marriage and Family, Wednesday, February 19th, at 12:00 p.m. (EST). 
Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, are homeschool parents and advocates who met on the set of “Growing Pains” and have been married for over 27 years. Together they have six children. Kirk currently tours the country speaking live in 30 cities a year as part of the “Living Room Reset” marriage and parenting conference. We were blessed to hear Kirk speak at a Living Room Reset event last January and it was a blast. We know he will be a huge encouragement to you and your family.
Kirk is just one of the amazing speakers we already have lined up for this event. Please click here to check out some of the other speakers who have already confirmed. The event will feature several Schoolhouse Rocked cast members and Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast guests, and will bring practical advice, valuable resources, and heartfelt encouragement on several topics, including marriage, family, parenting, getting started and keeping on track in homeschooling, homeschooling methods and styles, and more. Each day will end with a roundtable Q&A session where you will be able to interact with the speakers.
Because we want to make this event available to as many families as possible, we have set a very low price of just $20 for lifetime access, but if you act quickly you can take advantage of early-bird pricing of just $15!
The conference will be held Monday, February 17th to Friday, February 21, 2020. Live workshops will be held between 12 PM and 7:30 PM EST (9 AM and 4:30 PM PST).
Please join us for this exciting event! The Homegrown Generation Family Expo is a ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked and proceeds from this event will go directly to help fund post-production on this important film.
If you would like to make a donation to support Schoolhouse Rocked, please click here.
Thank you for letting us walk with you through your homeschooling journey!
Kirk Cameron Bio:

Kirk Cameron has been a part of the national landscape since starring as “Mike Seaver” in the ABC hit sitcom, “Growing Pains.” That role turned him into a cultural icon in the 80’s, with his mullet hairstyle, cool sunglasses, and wisecracking comebacks. Since then, he’s appeared in numerous television and movie productions, including the “Left Behind” series, “Monumental,” and “Fireproof”- the marriage-centered film that became the #1 grossing inspirational movie of 2008. His newest film, Connect, offers “real help for parenting teens in a social media world.”

Kirk’s exclusive online community of faith and family is called “The Campfire.” He’s been featured on Fox News, the Today Show, and CNN and currently tours the country speaking live in 30 cities a year as part of the “Living Room Reset” marriage and parenting conference.

In the fall of 2016 and 2017, he hosted live Fathom theater events called “Revive Us” — a “national family meeting” urging the family of faith to return to the principles that will bring blessing and protection to America. The live events took place in over 750 theaters across the U.S. Kirk also currently released his new talk show, One on One with Kirk Cameron, on the Trinity Broadcast Network.

Building A Godly Heritage – Encouragement for Dads

“That’s what we need right now. We need some continuity of faith, and I think the breakdown of faith has resulted in the breakdown of family, the breakdown of family relationships, the breakdown of our social systems, our social morality and so forth. So what we need more than anything else, as I see it, in our churches today and our families today, is a real vision for a family discipleship and family worship. The hearts of fathers and mothers turning to the kids, and the kids’ hearts turning towards their fathers and mothers, in this sort of family discipleship context.” – Kevin Swanson, Generations

Yvette Hampton:           Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I hope you’re having a great homeschool day. This podcast is one that’s going to be a little bit different for you moms who might be listening, and if your husband is around and you are able to grab him, or if you want to just pause it and wait to listen to this later, this one is going to be for both moms and dads.

Listen to Kevin Swanson on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. (10/21/2019 Episode)

Yvette:                         We have a special guest on today. His name is Kevin Swanson. He’s the director of Generations. If you’re not familiar with Generations, it’s a ministry for strengthening homeschool families around the country. We’re going to talk to Kevin a little bit about dads, and about the heritage and Godly legacy that dads can leave for their children. And so, this is going to be a really exciting one, that you can listen to with your husband. So, Kevin, welcome to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.
Kevin Swanson:             Thank you, Yvette. It’s great to be with you today.
Yvette:                         Yeah. I’m very excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Kevin:                           Well, it’s me and Brenda, and we have five children, ages… I’m going to get this right… 18 through 27.
Yvette:                         Okay.
Kevin:                           So, we’ve graduated four of our older children. Abigail’s still left. She’s 18 years old, and she’s going to graduate this year from high school. We have four of our daughters that live with us. They have all kinds of projects going on, studying different subjects and things. My son is a software engineer in the Denver metro area. So, that’s where we are. I’ve been involved in the homeschooling movement now for 50 years.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           This is my 50th year. Because my mom started homeschooling me exactly 50 years ago in Portland, Oregon, if you can believe it.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           Yeah.
Yvette:                         Was that in kindergarten, when she started with it?
Kevin:                           You know, it would have been… I think I would have been four years old.
Yvette:                         Okay.
Kevin:                           It was Portland, Oregon, and they were going to go into the mission field in Japan, and that’s one of the main reasons they homeschooled us. But in the 1960s, my folks were really focused on this idea of Christian schooling, but then they began to think about homeschooling. So, they really started to homeschool us, myself and my sister especially, in 1968, and I never attended a school until I was 10 years old, and spent one year at a Christian school in Oregon. But outside of that, I was homeschooled the whole distance.
Yvette:                         Wow. Wow. So you’ve really seen the evolution of homeschooling, and obviously what it used to be, back in the days when you had to keep your curtains closed during the day, and you couldn’t go to the grocery store in the middle of the week, because people would question you.
Kevin:                           As the old song goes, I was homeschooled when homeschooling wasn’t cool.
Yvette:                         Right. Oh, well, it’s so neat to have you now as part of the homeschooling movement and ministry. I know you have a great ministry to families and to homeschool families, but you really have a huge focus not only on fathers, but you really do have a great ministry to Christian men who are leading and discipling their own children, whether through homeschooling or not. And so, I want to talk a little bit about Generations. Talk about your ministry and what you do, and how you come alongside of families and men, to encourage and disciple them.
Kevin:                           Well, the main focus of Generations is passing on the faith. That’s our byline. You know, we’re living in a really tough time right now, because the millennial generation is more likely to be unchurched, de-churched. They have less spirituality and less faith than the previous generation. So what we want to do is, we want to see that there is something of a connection from generation to generation, and we think that comes primarily, of course, by the work of the Holy Spirit, but also by the God-ordained means of the hearts of the fathers turning to the children, and children to the fathers and mothers. And when those generational connections exist, there’s just a very much higher probability that there will be some continuity of faith.

“I think the first thing that’s happened is the massive secularization of education and pop culture. These are become the disciplers of the day. But the fact is, at one time, young kids were raised in families, and the pastors of churches and the parents had the most influence in the children’s lives. But since the 1800s we’ve had a massive social revolution, that has produced a massive culture revolution, and it happened when fathers left the home, and then eventually mothers left the home. And then you begin to get professionals that established large institutions. Those institutions become increasingly secularized.”

And that’s what we need right now. We need some continuity of faith, and I think the breakdown of faith has resulted in the breakdown of family, the breakdown of family relationships, the breakdown of our social systems, our social morality and so forth. So what we need more than anything else, as I see it, in our churches today and our families today, is a real vision for a family discipleship and family worship. The hearts of fathers and mothers turning to the kids, and the kids’ hearts turning towards their fathers and mothers, in this sort of family discipleship context.
So that’s the focus of the ministry, and I do believe that fathers are key. You know, the mothers, I think for the most part, have really been the impetus behind the modern homeschooling movement. There’s no question about that. But I do believe that when fathers get involved, you get a little bit more rebar in the concrete foundations of the home and the homeschool. Does that make sense?
Yvette:                         Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The role of fathers is so very important, and I think so many of them don’t realize how desperately their wives need them to take that leadership in their family.
Kevin:                           Yeah. Yeah.
Yvette:                         You know. Spiritually, emotionally. I think a lot of dads think, “Well, you know. I go to work and I provide for my family, so that my wife can stay home.” Which is fantastic. That is such a wonderful blessing to the family, if mom is able to stay home. And even if mom isn’t able to stay home, or if mom has to work from home, there are… You know. You’ve got the Proverbs 31 woman who helped care for her family, and care for her home. But it’s not just bringing home a paycheck. Women need, moms need, wives need for their husbands to come alongside of them, and encourage them and their children spiritually and emotionally, in so many different ways.
I want to back up really quickly, because you were talking about how our generation today, people have just kind of fallen off of church and discipling their children and taking that spiritual leadership. A lot of families have done that, but a lot of men have done that. Why do you think that is?
Kevin:                           Well, I think the first thing that’s happened is the massive secularization of education and pop culture. These are become the disciplers of the day. But the fact is, at one time, young kids were raised in families, and the pastors of churches and the parents had the most influence in the children’s lives. But since the 1800s we’ve had a massive social revolution, that has produced a massive culture revolution, and it happened when fathers left the home, and then eventually mothers left the home. And then you begin to get professionals that established large institutions. Those institutions become increasingly secularized. Of course, they kicked prayers out of the schools, and the Ten Commandments, and the reading of the Word of God out of the schools in the 1960s.

And so, over time, you find that the young generation, each successive generation is discipled out of the Christian faith, and there’s less and less influence of the Christian faith in their lives. And it’s very, very difficult to salvage a young person who’s receiving secular inputs. You know, the other worldview, through their iPods and their iPads, and through education and pop culture and such throughout the week. And then you’re trying to salvage it with a 20 minute Sunday school lesson on the Sunday morning in the church. You know, to be honest, the church just is not able to stand against this massive, massive flow of a counter worldview, this other form of discipleship.
So, I think it’s just that simple. I think it’s competing discipleship. And here’s one more factor that plays into it. At one time, pop culture was not as influential on the peer group as it is today. Think about the 1980s, when young children had access to the television set only in the family’s living room, where there was some oversight from mom and dad.
Kevin:                           Well, see, they couldn’t carry a 600-pound television set into their bedroom then, and set it under the covers, or take it into the bathroom. It was just too heavy.
Yvette:                         Right.
Kevin:                           You can’t carry 600-pound television sets around. But today, with the iPod, iPad revolution, these kids have access to the popular culture and these other worldviews. They’re effectively hooked up by wires into the matrix, and they are being fed these other ideas. And so, you know. Even if your child is attending a Christian school, or attending a public school, their peer group is far more connected to a popular cultural system, that is not really receiving much oversight from parents. It’s a family disintegrated form of entertainment, that just predominates in these kids’ lives. And so, that becomes the peer group, and that peer group becomes much more influential. That popular culture, that peer group influence becomes much more influential, much more powerful in the life of a young person today, than it was, say in 1990.
So, you know. I would say that pop culture, peer culture, is probably 100 times more influential today than it was in the early 1990s, and those competing discipling influences are very hard to stand against, unless you homeschool. Unless you spend concerted time with your children, and you become the primary influence in their life.
Yvette:                         Yeah, I agree with that completely. You know, you look today at what… And maybe I’m completely off base on this, because I’m not in the homes of every person of every family, of course. But it seems to me that the majority of families, you know, dad comes home from work, sits down on the couch. Watches TV, watches the evening news or sitcoms or whatever it is. And while he might be engaged a little bit with his kids, it’s all about, “How can I just rest and be entertained myself, so then I can go off to bed, and my kids can do their homework, and they can take their baths and have dinner, and we all go to bed, just to get up and do it all over again tomorrow?” And I feel like there’s a big disconnect between a lot of fathers and their kids.
And one of the things over the past few years that has really frustrated me, and it kind of seems to be the new trend is the man cave. You know, dads are building these rooms in their houses. They’re taking up one of the rooms, and they build their man cave. It has their video games, and it has their TV, and it has their computer, all their stuff, so that they can escape their family, basically. And I’m not saying… I’m probably going to get some nasty emails about this, and that’s okay… I’m not saying that there’s never a time for a mom or a dad to want to be able to just get away. You know? I’m with my family pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there are times when I just say, “You know what? I need to just go take a drive. I need to go walk around the park. I need to go drive. I need to do something. I just need to get away for a little bit.” But I’m talking every like few months, maybe. You know.
And it’s okay to have a little bit of alone time, and to be able to breathe, and I get that. And especially for those who are maybe more introverted than I am. But to have an intentional room where you say, “This is my room. It’s off limits to the family. This is my man cave, and I’m going to go away, and be disengaged from my family,” is not discipling your kids. That’s not coming alongside of your children and teaching them the ways of the Lord, and being able to embrace them and build the family unity, because you can’t possibly do that. And parents being so distracted with sports and this and that. And I’m not saying that those things are bad or wrong at all, but I feel like culture has gotten so busy, and so overwhelmed with things that are outside of the family, that we’ve almost forgotten how important it is to just be a family. To read together, to play games together, to just talk together, to cook together, to do things together as a family. And so, anyway-
Kevin:                           After a while, you find you actually enjoy being together.
Yvette:                         For sure.
Kevin:                           But I think you have to begin to establish the habit first, before you discover that this is the life. This is a better life. This is the life of relationship. And I think there are two words that describe the zeitgeist of the day. Zeitgeist is the spirit of the age, basically the river of culture in which almost everybody participates. The zeitgeist is defined by diversion and isolation. That’s pretty much the modern world. And I think most sociologists would agree with me, actually, that isolation diversion makes up most of modern life. But it’s not healthy.
Yvette:                         Right.
Kevin:                           It’s escapist, and it eventually sort of deprioritizes human relationship.
Yvette:                         Yeah.
Kevin:                           And certainly, that’s the music form, that’s the cultural form. That’s the way in which we view the stars on the movie screen. You take somebody like James Bond, or 24 movie star, who plays the part of the lone protagonist, who is divorced, and he lives by himself, and he sort of lives the brave existentialist life of the individual who is isolated from family, and isolated from friendship and other things. That’s sort of the modern world. That’s the modern individual. And of course, pornography being the ultimate derelationalized form of sexuality, where it’s depersonalized.
There’s no second person. But this has now become almost the predominant form of sexuality amongst young men. Some 80% of young men are now hooked on this derelationalized form of sexuality. So, isolation, just isolating ourselves and consuming ourselves in diversions, is really escaping the real world. It’s escaping God’s world. It’s escaping God, and escaping a relationship with God, and escaping a relationship with God’s people, with the church, or escaping a relationship within a marriage or within a family. So, that’s the philosophy. That’s the spirit of the age. And we, as Christians, just need to say, “You know what? That’s not the life God wants for us. God wants a life in fellowship with others. God wants us to live a life in relationship.”
And you know, we need to come back to this as men especially, because I think it’s men who are the first ones to walk down the river, as the men did in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath. You know, the men were the ones to abandon camp. The men were the ones who abandoned relationship. The men were the ones to walk away from responsibility and the pressures of life. But you know, the life of faith is the life that wants to face the challenges before us believing God, trusting in God, and then establishing relationship and fulfilling those responsibilities that God has given us.
Because you know, Ephesians 6:4 does say, “Fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.” So that specifically is directed towards fathers, first and foremost. Obviously, mothers were intended there too, but fathers are the ones that are responsible and culpable before God, to really focus on a proper raising, a proper discipleship for their kids. So, this is just a ball we just simply cannot drop.
Yvette:                         Yeah, I agree. Kevin, you’ve got a conference coming up. It’s the Shepherd’s Conference. It’s November 5th through the 9th in Elizabeth, Colorado. Let’s talk about that. I remember last year, we met you at the Life Schooling Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and you talked about this conference, and I remember thinking, “Wow. This is a conference that every husband, every father on the planet should attend.” So, can you give us a 10-minute version of the Shepherd’s Conference, and what it is that you’re going to discuss there and talk about, and what this conference is?
Kevin:                           Well, Yvette, this is an opportunity for men to disciple and to be discipled. You know, we don’t get an opportunity like this very much, to get into a home, and for four to five days, really immerse in the Word of God, and immerse ourselves in prayer and in fellowship, and building one another up. I mean, it’s a four to five day, just go for it, you know, 14, 15 hours per day, being together and fellowshipping together, and going through good teaching, and confessing our sins and struggles in small groups, and praying for each other, lifting each other up. You know, we learn how to pray. We learn how to lead in the Word of God. We’re learning how to be disciplers and shepherds in our homes. So, this is kind of a radical idea.
Now, one of my strategies is kind of an immersive approach to discipleship. In other words, you sort of have to dive into the deep end, if you’re really going to grow. And especially in the age in which we live. You know, we’re so busy, as you said. To take four to five days off, and just immerse yourself in a Biblical approach to shepherding and relationship building and spiritual growth for yourself, I think is really helpful for men. Now, we open this up for dads and older sons. You know, they come together. By the way, we still have I think two or three or four slots open for this year’s Shepherd’s Conference, so if anybody’s interested in this, just go to our website, Generations.org, and click on Events, and you’ll go straight to it. But-
Yvette:                         Now, what would the age be of the sons?
Kevin:                           Well, you know, I’d say anywhere from 10 to 12 years up.
Yvette:                         Okay.
Kevin:                           It depends on whether they can sit and listen.
Yvette:                         Sure.
Kevin:                           And if they’re not wanting to do that, perhaps a little older.
Yvette:                         Okay.
Kevin:                           But yeah, the Shepherd’s Conference is a great opportunity to do that. The other thing I do is I open up my home for this, and my daughters make 1,000 meals for the guys. Three meals a day for about five days, and it’s… You know. It’s not just the formal time together as we’re studying God’s word, as we’re praying together and singing hymns together. It’s also getting together in fellowship around those meal times, and getting to know each other, and iron sharpening iron. Just building each other up for the week. I find this is probably the most successful thing we have done as a ministry.
Also, I think it’s important for people who know about us, and know about my ministry, to come into my home and watch the dynamics in my home. You know, a lot of leaders, a lot of spiritual leaders across the country, they wouldn’t do this kind of thing, but I think it’s important for leaders to be accessible to those who want to drop by, and just sort of enjoy some hospitality at our house. So, this has been an important aspect of my ministry over the years, and we have had literally thousands of people come through our home over the years.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           We always open up our home, so if anybody is ever coming through the Denver metro area here in Colorado and would like a little Christian fellowship along the way, we invite them to our home for that fellowship. I just think that’s the way Jesus would have done it, you know? Jesus was always accessible.
Yvette:                         Yup.
Kevin:                           He was always accessible. There might have been a line of 10 or 20, but He was there, you know? He was just walking around, and He was accessible. He didn’t drive into the conference center in a big limo, and then come into the stage from the back, and then leave from the back in His limo. Jesus didn’t do that, and that’s not how we shepherd. That’s not how we grow as the body. I think it’s important for us to be in the same house, the same home together, sitting up to the table together and fellowshipping, and finding ways in which we can edify each other and build each other up. So that’s the vision for the week, and that’s been really successful.
In terms of content, we’ll talk about some basic biblical doctrine. We’ll go through psalms, a couple psalms together. We’ll talk about practical issues in terms of marriage, in terms of raising our children, in terms of education. We’ll talk about family, church, and state, which are really the three basic spheres in which we interact. We interact with our families, we interact with brothers and sisters in the church, and we also have an obligation as those who are part of a wider community. And so, we’ll talk about those three aspects. We also get into spiritual warfare a little bit. We want it to be intensely practical. You know, because we all know what spiritual warfare is, so we want to be sure that we’re geared up for spiritual warfare.
And our goal is that we would grow, that we’d become mature, that we’d be able to stand in the day of trial and persecution, and prepare ourselves with the full armor of God, in order that we be prepared to stand in the evil day. So, we want men built up and strong in the faith, so we do that through the teaching. We do that through the singing of the hymns and psalms and spiritual songs, and of course lots and lots of prayer. We do spend time in prayer together. That is probably the most powerful part of the week.
Yvette:                         Wow. That’s great. And I imagine that a lot of these men who go to this conference get to know one another, because they probably come from different places.
Kevin:                           Yes.
Yvette:                         And so they build those relationships, and can then encourage and support each other.
Kevin:                           They do. They do. You know, it’s amazing how much can be accomplished in 45 to 55 hours together.
Yvette:                         Yeah.
Kevin:                           You think about your average church. You come together for an hour every Sunday.
Yvette:                         Right.
Kevin:                           That’s 52 hours a week. We knock that out in four days.
Yvette:                         Wow. Wow.
Kevin:                           You follow me?
Yvette:                         Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin:                           So, those relationships are lifetime relationships, and these guys stay in contact with each other for years and years.
Yvette:                         Wow. That’s great. One of the things I love about it is that you allow the younger men to come alongside of their fathers and learn. You know, we talk with our girls. I have two daughters. They’re almost eight… She’ll be eight in two weeks. Eight years old and 12 years old. And so, we already talk a whole lot about, you know, when you are getting to that age of marriage, what is it that you look for in a husband, and what does God’s best look like for you? And one of the things that we tell our girls is to look for a man who is being discipled by other Godly men, and then for a man who is discipling men younger than him. And I think that discipleship is so, so very important. And so, it doesn’t matter where you are in your Christian walk. You need to be accountable, and discipled by someone who is… You know. Whether older than you, or your same age or whatever. And women need that, too.
Kevin:                           Yeah.
Yvette:                         But you need to know how to disciple younger men as well. And so, I think it goes on both ends, and I think this conference is such a beautiful way to teach these young men, to raise them up to be discipled, and to be able to disciple others as well.
Kevin:                           That’s some of the best advice you could give. In fact, I just did a presentation at our church on preparation for marriage, and the advice that I gave the young ladies and the young men was, be sure that you marry somebody who has been discipled, and has opened themselves up for discipleship, has sought out that discipleship.
Yvette:                         Yeah. Yes.
Kevin:                           And that’s I think so, so, so very key, especially in the day in which we live. That’s one reason we have been discipling young men, as part of our ministry, for about 14 years now.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           In fact, we’ve had young men living in this house here for nine years. Our family lives upstairs, and then these young men, who are part of our discipleship center, live downstairs. And that’s been a full time thing, pretty much for the last nine years. We have probably discipled, I don’t know, 14 to 16 young men over a period of nine years, and it has been generally very successful. These young men become future fathers, husbands. They get married oftentimes early, like 21 or 22 or 23 years of age.
Yvette:                         Sure.
Kevin:                           Not that that’s the end all and be all of maturity, but it’s been encouraging to see them now raising children. Some of them have three, four, five children. Some of them become deacons in churches. Some have become elders. One of them is becoming a pastor, in about three weeks from now. So, yeah. It’s been probably the absolute most powerful thing, and influential and important thing, that I have done in my ministry over the last 30 years. You know, bringing up these young men, and preparing them for their own ministry and their own home life. I personally encourage every single church in America to engage in this, because if we don’t disciple the young men, it will be bust. I have this little word. I call it Discipleship or Bust. Either we will disciple the young men, or our young women will have nobody to marry.
Yvette:                         Right.
Kevin:                           We will not have churches. We will not have families in the years to come.
Yvette:                         Yeah.
Kevin:                           It’s discipleship, discipleship, discipleship. The Apostle Paul, in Second Timothy 2:2 says, “You’ve got to disciple the young men, that they will be prepared to disciple others as well.”
That was his advice to Timothy. And of course he wants them to preach the word and such, but as far as what we are to be doing to be preparing the next generation, we have got to be focusing on discipleship, discipling the young men. Of course, we encourage the older women to disciple the younger women.
Yvette:                         Sure.
Kevin:                           But the young men have not been discipled, and they are wandering around. They’re not growing up. Newsweek magazine came out with a statistic a couple years ago that said 70% of young men are not grown up by 30 years of age, up from 30% in 1970. That means they don’t have jobs. They’re not getting married.
Those statistics are based on a couple different indexes. And so, 70% of young men not grown up by 30 years of age, up from 30% in 1970.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           They are living in guy-ville. They’re living in this Peter Pan man cave thing, yeah. And we’re just not seeing the maturity. We’re not seeing that young men are ready for life, and the end result of course is going to be the breakdown of entire social systems. It will be the breakdown of churches. It will be the breakdown of future families, and it will be the breakdown of an entire nation. I’m convinced of it.
Yvette:                         Yeah.
Kevin:                           That this nation will break down. We are looking at the breakdown of character and the breakdown of maturity across this nation, because we have not invested in the discipleship of our young men and our young women.
Yvette:                         You know, if the Christian men today do not take that responsibility, to disciple the younger men who need that, the world is going to take over. And that’s exactly what’s happening, is the world is taking over, and they’re going the way of the world, and not the way of God. And like you said, it’s breaking down the family unit.
I want to take this a little bit back to homeschooling. That is one of the reasons why homeschooling is so very important, and so very powerful. Because it allows the Christian dad to disciple his Christian young son, or his daughter, who is going to marry a Christian man, hopefully, and show her, “This is what it looks like. This is what a Godly man looks like. This is what I want you to strive for to marry.” You know. And I agree. It’s so important for our culture.
Kevin:                           Yvette, even the secularists. I’m talking about non-Christian sociologists. They’re writing books like The War Against Boys, The End of Men, The Demise of Guys. You’ve heard all of these books.
Yvette:                         Oh, yes.
Kevin:                           They’re all over the place today. And it seems to me that Christians should establish something of a better standard. You know, shouldn’t we, above all people, take on ourselves the opportunities to give up of our selves? You know, sacrificially love our brothers and our sisters in Christ, and really invest that time and that energy into the discipleship of young men?
Now, I wouldn’t say that you have to bring them into your home, as I’ve done. There are some opportunities where perhaps you meet with a young teenage boy in the congregation, you know, once a month for lunch or something, and you just are there to invest in his life, or you might create some small Bible studies. We’ve got I think six Bible studies in our church, that are primarily attended by young men. There are prayer groups and there are Bible study groups. These guys will come once a week, and we’ll invest an hour or two hours a week with them. But, you know, 52 hours a year is a big deal for a young man. So, you know. I mean, I’m not just working with 14 guys. I’m probably meeting with anywhere between 30 to 40 young men every week, as part of our ministry.
Yvette:                         Wow.
Kevin:                           And then we’ve got the Shepherd’s Conference, where we do that full 52-hour deal in one four to five day spread. So, you know. I think the focal point for ministries at this point really needs to be discipleship.
Yvette:                         Yeah.
Kevin:                           We need to come back to this vision, and that’s the thing we encourage with our families. As we talk about homeschooling, it’s not just about homeschooling. It’s also about discipling our kids as we sit in the house, as we walk by the ways. We rise up as we light up.
Yvette:                         That’s right.
Kevin:                           And this also needs to be the focal point of the wider body. We need to disciple young men. We need to disciple the young women. They resonate to it, you know? For the most part, these young men and young women, when they realize that you care about them, and you care about their future, and you want to invest in their lives… You really are buying in to their success in life. Their spiritual success, their economic success. You are buying in, man.
Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s right.
Kevin:                           You are going to be their cheerleader… They respond to that.
Yvette:                         Yeah. That’s right.
Kevin:                           And it is amazing what will happen in your homeschool group, in your church, in whatever relationships you’ve built as you pursue this discipleship vision.
Yvette:                         Yeah. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Kevin. Thank you for your time today. Thank you for your encouragement to families and to husbands. It has been such a pleasure having you on.We are very grateful for what you’re doing. And we’ll get word out about the Shepherd’s Conference this year, and if people are listening to this after it’s full, or after it’s over, I’m sure you’ll do it again next year, because I know you’ve done it many years in a row. So, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on. Thank you for your encouragement with homeschooling and to families. We appreciate it so much.

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Learn more about the Shepherds Conference here!

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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?

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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.

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