As a homeschooling mom, you know that there are days when everything seems to be going wrong. Between managing your kids’ education, your marriage, household responsibilities, and your own health and well-being, it can be overwhelming.
If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or exhaustion, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a common challenge among homeschooling moms. But there is hope!
In a recent interview on the on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Rachael Carman and Yvette Hampton share their personal experiences with depression and anxiety and offer practical advice for other homeschooling moms facing similar challenges.
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Are you a homeschool parent looking to unlock your child’s potential? Are you uncertain if you’re doing enough to reach that potential? Do you often find yourself asking “am I doing enough?”
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Jodi Mockabee faced this same challenge and discovered an accountability mindset that embraced the uncertainty while striving to make intentional decisions for her children. In this post, we’ll outline how she did it, and show you how you can do the same and gain the same peace of mind she did.
“That one voice, and we’ve talked about it earlier, of am I doing enough? That tends to stick around with homeschoolers almost on the daily. I discovered recently that that is not a bad thing to ask that.”
Jodi Mockabee is a photographer, writer, blogger, speaker, social media influencer, and homeschooling mother of five living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With a passion for health, wellness, parenting, and more, Jodi blogs her family’s journey and shares tips for a healthy and active lifestyle. She also writes curriculum for creative and artistic learning in a homeschool environment. With her thoughtful and relatable advice, Jodi has become a go-to source for homeschoolers looking for support and guidance.
Why is it important for homeschool parents to pursue accountability?
For homeschool parents, having accountability, both internal and external, is critical for providing a high-quality education and ensuring the success of their children. This accountability mindset is important because it motivates parents to create an organized and structured learning environment, which is essential for student success. Accountable parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. Additionally, an accountability mindset encourages parents to be actively involved in their child’s learning and to provide consistent feedback and guidance. This helps children to stay motivated and engaged, as well as to develop a strong sense of self-discipline and responsibility.
Having an accountability mindset is also beneficial for homeschool parents in the long-term. It helps to ensure that their children become independent learners and develop the confidence and capability to pursue their educational goals – and ultimately, to meet their God-given purpose. Additionally, an accountability mindset helps parents create a positive learning environment, which is essential for fostering a love of learning and creating an atmosphere of trust and respect. Ultimately, an accountability mindset is important for homeschool parents as it helps them to create an environment where their children can thrive and reach their full potential.
“What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and on track.
Recognize who you are ultimately responsible to.
As parents, it is easy to forget who we are ultimately responsible to. Sometimes it cans seem like we have a chorus of voices giving us advice and demanding answers – especially when it comes to the education of our children. “Do you think you’re qualified to teach?” “What about socialization?” “How will your kids get into college?” “What curriculum/teaching method/standardized tests are you using?”
The questions are endless, and while there are a few standards, they can differ for every parent. Here’s the good news! None of the people asking those questions are your ultimate authority.
Whether we realize it or acknowledge it, we are ultimately ONLY responsible to GOD for the decisions we make as parents – that is especially true in the area of education (discipleship).
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.” – Israel Wayne
“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 32:46
“Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.” – Israel Wayne
While we may feel a responsibility to meet state requirements, or meet the expectations of parents, family, or friends, these are secondary to the responsibility to carefully steward the lives and souls of the children God has entrusted to us. They are his first.
Recognize that the voice of accountability is a good thing and should be embraced.
The first step is to recognize that the voice of accountability can be a positive thing and should be embraced. Jodi confessed, in her interview for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, that after struggling with self-doubt and the nagging question, “am I doing enough,” she discovered that asking herself if she was doing enough was actually a form of accountability and should not be seen as a source of shame or guilt. She encourages listeners to use it as a way to stay humble and accountable. Accountability can be a great tool in motivating us to make intentional decisions for our children and to strive to do our best. It can also be a reminder to stay humble and trust in God’s grace and love. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it as a positive tool, we can stay motivated and encouraged in our homeschooling journey.
“So I just want to encourage you, if you hear that voice, don’t look at it as shame or guilt or something to bring you down.”
Accountability can also be a great way to build a sense of community and accountability among homeschooling parents. While we are ultimately accountable to God, we also understand that every parent deals with these same feelings at times. This is a perfect opportunity to build each other up.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24,25
When we extend grace and accountability to one another, it helps to foster a sense of unity and mutual understanding. This can be especially beneficial for those who are new to homeschooling and may feel overwhelmed or uncertain. By being open to constructive criticism and offering advice and encouragement, we can provide a safe space for everyone to grow and learn.
Finally, embracing accountability in homeschooling can help to create and maintain a sense of balance and harmony within the family. By embracing the voice of accountability and using it to stay motivated and balanced, homeschooling families can create an atmosphere of learning and growth.
Use the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability.
Using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability is an important step for homeschoolers. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. This means acknowledging the voice in your head that questions if you are doing enough and embracing it instead of rejecting it. This does not mean that you need to strive for perfection, but rather strive for intentional decisions for your children. It is a way to stay humble and keep yourself accountable. Instead of looking at the voice as a source of guilt or shame, view it as a form of encouragement that you are striving to do your best. You will never be able to do enough because you are human and sinful, but striving to do your best and running the race is enough.
“Let it be an encouragement to you that you care and that you’re always striving to make intentional decisions for your kids.”
In addition to using the voice of accountability as a form of encouragement and accountability, it is also important to be aware of the voice of discouragement. This voice can come from within or from outside sources, such as other homeschoolers, friends, or family members. This voice may tell you that you are not doing enough or that you are not capable of homeschooling. It is important to recognize this voice as a lie and will only serve to derail you in your important work as a homeschool parent. When faced with this voice of discouragement, take a moment to remember why you chose to homeschool in the first place. Remind yourself that you are doing what you are called to do.
Finally, it is important to remember that the voice of accountability and encouragement, as well as the voice of discouragement, can be a great source of motivation, both in homeschooling and in life. Recognizing this voice and using it to your advantage can be a great way to stay humble and stay accountable for the decisions that you make for your children. It can also be a great way to keep your homeschool journey upbeat and positive.
Don’t reject the voice of accountability, but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and stay accountable to God, your spouse, yourself, and your children.
To stay accountable to God first, your spouse, yourself, and your children, don’t reject the voice of accountability but use it as an opportunity to stay humble and be reminded of the high calling you have as a parent.
Setting boundaries and proper expectations. Then stay in your lane. You can only do what you can do, and you should only seek to do what you are called to do. “Stay in your lane” and “mind your own business.” In this case, these aren’t insults or reprimands. Rather, they are critical reminders to focus on the important things – and let the other things go.
As a parent, it is important to set expectations and boundaries not just for yourself, but also for your kids. This allows children understand what is expected of them, which in turn helps to create a sense of security and stability. It will do the same for you. Establishing expectations also helps to keep parents accountable for their actions and ensure that they are being consistent.
Finally, it is important to stay humble and accountable foster an environment of open communication. Talking to your kids about their feelings, experiences, and opinions helps to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. When conversations are open and honest, you can gain valuable insight into how your children are feeling, and you can also better understand their needs and goals. This can help to create a better relationship between you and your children, and it will also help to keep you accountable and humble.
Uncovering an accountability mindset is essential for homeschooling parents looking to unlock their child’s potential. When embracing the voice of accountability, parents ensure that their children have the resources and support they need to stay on track and meet their educational goals. This accountability mindset helps to create an environment where children can thrive and reach their full potential. Remember, you don’t need to strive for perfection, but striving to do your best and staying humble is enough; you can achieve the same result!
I’d love to hear how you apply “The Voice of Accountability” to get accountability, intentionality, and humility.
Leave me a comment on how it has gone for you for you or drop any questions you want me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode!
Christmas is just around the corner! How are you preparing your heart, and the hearts of your family, for this important season? Does the busyness of the Christmas season overwhelm you? Does your family end the season focused on its true meaning or does it end in a state of exhaustion and a missed opportunity to point everyone to their Savior?
Yvette Hampton spoke with Lara Molettiere from Everyday Graces Homeschooland author of A Gentle Advent about the joy of celebrating Advent. They discussed what Advent really is, how and why you should celebrate it with your family, and how to incorporate it into your homeschool.
No Black Friday Here…
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Check out Lara’s Advent courses! Listen to part 3 of this interview to find the one that’s best for your family:
*Receive 15% OFF any of Lara’s Advent courses using Code: SHRADVENT
What is Advent?
“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Why Celebrate Advent?
“For the Christian message is not merely that God is lovely, but that God is love; not merely that God is beautiful and is to be found in the pursuit of what is attractive and desirable in the world, but that God is transcendently and absolutely beautiful and is to be found even in what to the world’s eye is ugly and deformed and unworthy.” – Richard Viladesau, Theology and the Arts
Why do some families choose Advent “school”?
“One of the major obstacles impeding any positive future change in our lives is that we are too busy with our current work or activity. Levi quit his tax-work, Peter stopped fishing at lake, Paul ceased being a priest. They all left their jobs because they thought it was necessary.” -John Ruskin
ADVENT BY THE WEEK
Week 1} HOPE – Isaiah 9:2 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
Week 2} PEACE – John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Week 3} JOY (the pink candle) – Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: ”My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”
Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Week 4} LOVE – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
If you are considering homeschooling or just need some great homeschooling encouragement, please check out HomegrownGeneration.com for over 9 hours of FREE homeschool videos from the 2020 Homegrown Generation Family Expo.
God tells us in I Peter 4:9 to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” If you’re like me, you want to obey the Lord and practice hospitality, and we as homeschooling moms know how much we desperately need relationships with other moms. We also know that our kids need healthy, strong friendships, and that all of these relationships are built through the practice of hospitality. We bless others and are blessed abundantly when we offer the gift of hospitality.
But how can we open our days to more people when our homes are already always filled up with children? I tend to feel overwhelmed on a lot of days with completing school and keeping our household running, and it’s not easy for me to be willing to welcome more people into our days. Do you feel this way, too?
One summer evening, my mom invited our family to her home for a gathering that she called Favorite Pie Party. On that night, she showed the love of Christ through simple hospitality, and it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate some of these practices in simple ways.
I wrote all about that evening and what I learned about simple hospitality in my family’s upcoming book The Gathering Table (Revell, October 2020). This is what I wrote:
“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”
After experiencing hospitality from my mom during the favorite pie party and thinking about what the Bible has to say about opening up our hearts to show love, I got to thinking about some practical ways we can bring hospitality into our already full lives. I’m often one to measure things in volume—food, budget, laundry—so I tend to think I have to do something huge to be hospitable. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be big. Guests are actually relieved when it’s quite simple, because it means they don’t have to do something big either. See how good this is for all of us? I take the pressure off you—you take the pressure off me!
There are many ideas you can easily incorporate into your life to offer this type of hospitality.
“I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.”
Keep It Simple
I was recently invited to a book club by a new friend. The hostess texted me the day of the gathering to say, “I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.” That text relieved my anxieties about going to a new group. My friend let me know that it was important I was coming and that she was more concerned about the true me than a perfect outfit. When I arrived, I was greeted with a warm hug and a “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” She proceeded to offer me a cup of coffee and a treat from a plate full of . . . Oreos!
Those Oreos and the fact that the other ladies were wearing favorite yoga pants and hanging out together on the couch made the evening comfortable and low-key. The relaxed atmosphere took the attention off of food, clothes, or home decor and instead helped us to focus on each other and some great conversation. This “come as you are and be yourself” attitude exhibited the love of Christ to me.
In what ways can you show hospitality in a similar, comfortable way?
● Meet at a park and bring a picnic to share. When my kids were little, I invited friends to meet at a community center that had a play structure. We’d visit over a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on the kids. No one will feel any less “loved” because you aren’t meeting at your home.
● Be spontaneous and casually invite people over. Last-minute often works better for some folks than weeks of planning. Intentionally focus more on the people rather than the food and preparations.
● Host a “leisure club,” “informal book group,” or other gathering around a purpose and serve foods you can pick up at the grocery store. When your friends see that you didn’t stress, they’ll feel more at ease and open to conversation.
● Like my friend did, text your guests before arriving to say, “I’m glad you’re coming. Just wear your comfiest clothes!” Your text might also say, “Don’t worry about childcare—come with your kids!” or “Come when you can!” Use texts as an encouraging way to show others you value them and their presence at your gathering.
● Have some light, casual music playing in the background. Music sets the tone for the environment and helps guests (and hosts) feel more at ease.
Most importantly, just ask the Lord for help and ideas to obey him in simple, doable ways. He knows you’re homeschooling, he sees your efforts everyday, and he wants to help you obey and show his love through hospitality.
Annie Boyd is the wife of Shane, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother of five gregarious and adventurous children, whom she homeschools. She loves traveling, spending time outside, reading, and baking bread. Annie received her BA in elementary education and biblical studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She accepted Christ as a young girl and hopes to invite others to know about his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
The Gingham Apron – We are five women from one Iowa farm family who love to find new ways to celebrate everyday life together. Join us as we plan family gatherings, try new recipes, take care of our homes, and educate our kids. We cherish our beautiful family farm, our time spent with our family, and most of all- our faith in Jesus Christ.
Yvette Hampton: A listener asks, “How do I homeschool my son, age 11, who’s uncooperative? He fights me on everything and I’m feeling so defeated and overwhelmed.” Aby, Do you want to jump on this?
Aby Rinella: I read this and immediately two great resources came to my mind, because at age 11 I feel like everything changes. With adolescence comes a huge shift.
I’m going to give you some great resources for dealing with this critical time in your child’s life. First, is an amazing book called No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace And Hope, by Hal Melanie Young. And this book really gave me insight. It’s not just boys. It’s also girls! There’s a lot going on in an 11-year-old. And you’re not alone, mama! I think that this is a common thing. So I would suggest that you get this book. It really helps navigate through some of those tumultuous years and the confusion that they’re feeling. And often that that comes out in what you called “uncooperative” behavior. They fight you on everything that is just kind of a result of where they’re at. This book gives you a lot of good tips and pointers.
The other one is called Mother And Son: The Respect Effect, by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs. And it talks about how around that age, 11 – you’ve babied your son. He’s been your baby. I have a son and it’s the same – They’re your little baby. And you hold them and you snuggle them. And they do whatever mama says because you’re mama. And then they hit this certain age where they’re starting to become men. And in their nature, they don’t want to be told what to do by you. And so there is this new dance that you’re going to have to learn, between being his authority and his teacher, but at the same time, understanding that he’s coming into manhood, and he is naturally learning to assert himself in a new way.
And your relationship with your son is very unlike that one your daughters… It’s very different with sons. Your relationship very much shifts at that season.
We want you to know that we’re praying for you. You’re not alone. This is normal, but there are answers out there. So it’s just going to be a shift with a son to understand how you’re going to relate to him differently in this season and moving forward.
Yvette Hampton: I am so glad you could answer that because I have a family of all girls. I come from a family of girls. I only have daughters and five nieces. And so it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around what it’s like to homeschool a son, because they really are different. God made them male and female!
Aby Rinella: Yes, he did.
Yvette Hampton: Imagine that.
Aby Rinella: But I would say, too, for those with daughters, No Longer Little talks about daughters, too, because they go through a shift in 11, too.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Oh yes.
Aby Rinella: Oh, my goodness. Do they go through a shift.
Yvette Hampton: Hormones. Oh, goodness.
Aby Rinella: Yep. So you know, it’s not just sons, but there is something different about sons. So I cannot recommend that book highly enough.
Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,
What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?
And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.
Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options.
With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, here, here, and here.
Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!
Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.
FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM
Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.
Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that.
Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.
Aby Rinella: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.
Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.
Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
Aby Rinella: I love that name.
Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.
Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…
Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.
Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?
Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.
Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.
Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource.Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.
Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.
Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.”
Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.
Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized.
Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.
ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.
Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.
Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.
Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel.
Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!
Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.
“We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship.”
– Meeke Addison
Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to interview Meeke Addison for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast about the importance of preparing our children for the ongoing culture war. Meeke Addison is the Assistant Director of Special Initiatives at the American Family Association and co-host of Airing the Addisons on AFR. Her work with AFA began in 2007 as a stay-at-home mom in Louisiana. Since then she has primarily served on-air as a radio personality.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I have such a great guest on today with me, and I’m so excited for you to get to meet her. Her name is Meeke Addison, and she was actually introduced to me by Israel Wayne. I know that many of you know Israel. He’s been on the podcast several times, and he said, “You need to meet this lady, Meeke Addison.” And I said, “Okay,” so we started checking into her, because this is what we do. We use the internet to spy on people. And so, Garritt actually started listening to your radio show, and just following you on Facebook. He’s been for months, and he said, “We have got to get this lady on the podcast. She is such an encouragement.” So, I’m really, really excited, Meeke, to have you on today. I would love it if you would introduce yourself to our audience.
Meeke Addison: Well, thank you. I’m so excited to be with you guys, and that means so much to know, because we have so many different outlets, people can listen to whatever they want. So, it’s an honor to me and for me that anybody would listen to anything that I have to say. I’m Wil Addison’s wife, and we’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m the mother of his five children, and we homeschool. That’s my full-time job. My part-time job is as a spokesperson for the American Family Association, and I picked that up from my good friend, Abraham Hamilton. He says that what we do out in the culture, that is part-time work, but that our full-time work is with our families.
Meeke Addison: And so, anyway, I do that, and I host a national radio show for an hour, Monday through Friday, where we talk about cultural issues. We talk about marriage, the family. We look at what’s going on with the church, and how we can hold the line. That’s what we’re constantly encouraging people to do, hold the line in 21st century America.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, I love it. Well, you are doing amazing work. I love what you just said about Abraham Hamilton III, right?
Meeke Addison: That’s correct.
Yvette Hampton: He’s your pastor, I learned, and he’s another great advocate for Jesus and homeschooling and culture, and just this desperate revival that we are in need of. You said that being a mom is a full-time job, and the other stuff is your part-time job. And we just actually did a podcast about motherhood, the ministry of motherhood. I kind of gave my testimony of what the Lord’s been doing in my heart, and going from working full-time with Schoolhouse Rocked, and pouring my whole self into that and realizing that my first priority really needed to be my children. And so, the Lord has really been working in our family, and kind of allowing me to let go of some Schoolhouse Rocked stuff, except for the podcast, and allowing me to be more present with my family. And so, I love that that is your primary ministry as well.
Yvette Hampton: And you know, that podcast, it wasn’t at all to say we shouldn’t ever work, as wives and as moms, we should never, ever, ever work outside of taking care of our families. But there has to be balance in doing that. We need to know what our priorities are, and so I really appreciate you saying that.
Yvette Hampton: I know that the Lord has done many great things through you, and you and I got to talk on the phone the other day, and you got to share with me your story about how you started homeschooling. And so, I would love for you to tell that story, and then I want to talk about culture, and how homeschooling kind of ties into this whole culture war that we have going on. So, share with us your homeschool story.
Meeke Addison: We found ourselves in a situation where we were at this impasse where we realized that our kids were being discipled away from us. Because whenever there is influence, whenever there is training, whenever there was teaching, there was discipleship. You are making people who are followers. And so, we had our kids, the two oldest of the five were educated traditionally, outside of our home, and one of the things that we noticed was just these slow changes happening in them, where the things that they cared about and the things that grabbed their attention seemed to be more the things of the world.
Meeke Addison: And they had wonderful, Godly teachers. We live in a small community, and so they went down to First Baptist in our area, and the teachers are active in the community. But at the same time, I started to notice that those became my girls’ influence, that their teachers and that their peers were their influence. Add to that, I felt like I was spending 2-3 hours after they got home every day just kind of reteaching them, and Yvette, I just felt like, why am I doing this? I’m frustrated, and then also I’m adding time to my day to teach them the way I wanted them to be taught.
Meeke Addison: And after prayer, and just Will and I putting our heads together, we felt like the Lord was really directing us to homeschool them. I guess that was 2015, and we haven’t looked back. I was expecting baby number four. I keep track of life by the babies that I’m expecting. But I was expecting baby number four, and that’s when we made the decision that when the school year came to a close, we would homeschool.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I love that. In your radio show that you host, you talk a lot about culture, and this culture war that we are in. And I would love for you to talk about it from the perspective of a Christian homeschool mom. What do you see going on in the culture right now, and how can we as homeschool moms help this revival that is really needed to take place?
“The reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness.”
– Meeke Addison
Meeke Addison: I think one of the big mistakes that we make is that we think the culture is neutral. We think that the culture does not have a goal or an aim, or that it is not aggressive with that goal or that aim. And that’s one of the things that we try to sort of awake and stir the Christian community to see, in that the culture is making grabs all the time, and actually, it’s predominant, right? Our country has undergone a shift where it’s no longer the Christian culture that is predominant. We’ve heard people describe this as post-Christian America, and what does this look like?
Meeke Addison: But the reality is that it’s not the type of America that I think even you and I grew up in. I think it’s rapidly changing, and what we have to recognize is that it’s not a neutral change. It is a very aggressive change that pulls toward darkness. So, you can’t just expect your kid to be out in this culture and be unaffected. Your kid doesn’t just go out into the world and arrive at a neutral position. Your kid going out into the world is going to arrive at the position that’s already established by the culture. And it is antithetical to the faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. It truly is, and we’re trusting that because we have them at home with us, when we have them at home with us if we have them out in the public, we’re teaching them Bible verses, and maybe they go to one, and they go to church on Sunday morning, and so we think oftentimes at Christian parents, well, that’s enough. They know we love Jesus. But then for 35 or 40 hours a week, we’re putting them under the influence of someone else, and someone else’s ideas, and someone else’s religion, really, because everybody believes in something, and there is religion being taught in public schools. And oftentimes even in private schools, there is false religion being taught in those schools, as well. And so, yes, I think it’s a very difficult thing to expect our kids to spend all of that time away from us, and then still come back with our own values and believes and morals. It’s a war. It’s a battle that we fight.
Meeke Addison: It is a war.
Yvette Hampton: What can we as parents who, some listening to this are homeschool parents, some are not. Some are trying to future out this homeschool thing and wondering is this for us, is this something that we want to pursue. How can we have a greater influence on our kids, and therefore in our culture?
Meeke Addison: The first thing I think we have to realize is that there is the need for greater influence. I think sometimes, we start talking about hey, here are some solutions you have to do, but I don’t know that Christian parents, or even nominal Christian parents, have even bought in to the idea that there’s really a war, that they really need to be aggressive in this. And so, one of the things that we try to do with our kids is, we try to parent them for the America that they live in now. Not the America that we knew. Not the America that our grandparents knew. But we try to parent our kids based on the America that we live in now and the unchanging message of the Gospel.
Meeke Addison: So, we still teach our kids that they are peculiar. We teach them that they will have, by default, a different approach to live, and we believe that we have to prepare them now so that when they go out into the world, they’re not shocked to discover that they’re not well-liked. They’re not shocked to discover that people don’t love their message. Because you know what, there was a time when we were all just pretty good. Christians were everywhere, and everybody kind of had the same values and the same morals.
Meeke Addison: But for those of us that are adhering to the word of God, we’re waking up to the reality that where the rubber meets the road is that a Bible-believing Christian will be called hateful, will be called a bigot, will be called narrow-minded. And you can believe in a Jesus who accepts everyone as they are and doesn’t require anything of us, and is just one path among many. But if you say what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, that he is the only way, he is the only way to God, he is the only one who forgives our sin, then you’re narrow-minded, and we don’t want that type of Christian to be in our circles. So, we prepare our kids, and this is going to sound weird, I know, but we prepare our kids to not be popular in the current culture that we live in.
Yvette Hampton: How do you do that? Practically speaking?
Meeke Addison: Okay, this is going to sound really weird, right? But one of the verses, and we may get into this a little bit later, but I really believe that a kid or a student who is fully trained, as the Bible teaches us, is going to be like their teacher, right?
Yvette Hampton: That’s right, Luke 6:40.
Meeke Addison: Exactly right. So, I try to ensure that Wil and I are the number one influences in our kids’ lives. And so, we model for them that we as your parents are not chasing after the latest fad. We’re not into everything that’s cool and popular. There are things that we filter, even as adults. We constantly tell our kids, the things that we say, no, you’re not going to participate in that, or we don’t watch that, we call it consumption, we’re not consuming those things, you know what I mean? We tell them, guess what, we subject ourselves to these same rules, because these rules aren’t arbitrary. It’s not, we do it because we’re adults and you can’t because you’re kids. We say, no, this is what we do as people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Meeke Addison: So, practically, what we try to do is make sure that we ourselves are not in the world to be loved by the world. That we’re not in the world to be liked. So, that means that we’re not ripping and running all the time. We’re not trying to keep up on the latest things. I cannot stress enough how parents influence their kids with their actions more than what they say. So, it means that the things that we value, we want to make sure that it’s Biblical, and then we want to communicate that it our kids so that these are also the things that they value, and it’s as natural to them as breathing. It’s the way that we live our lives.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love that so much. It’s a hard thing to do, especially because we have grown up in a culture where we want to be liked. We want to be popular. I definitely, thinking back to my high school years, it’s so funny, I was just talking to my daughter about this the other day, and I said, I remember high school and junior high like it was yesterday. I graduated in 1993, and that was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And I remember that deep desire to be popular. I wanted to be liked by everybody, and I wanted to be the cool girl.
Yvette Hampton: And that’s something that even as an adult, I find myself going into, I want people to like me. I don’t want people to dislike me. And it’s hard to not conform to the culture around us. But I mentioned this on last week’s podcast, where we talked about when my oldest was born, I had a very wise mom come along side me, and she said, you become the wife and mom that you want her to grow up to be.
Meeke Addison: Yes!
Yvette Hampton: And that’s it.
Meeke Addison: That’s wonderful.
Yvette Hampton: That’s who I want her to become. And I’m going to fail a million times, because I’m a simple human, but at least I can attempt and to my very best to be who God made me be. And then we get to teach our kids. I went on a walk with her this morning, actually, and we were talking about identity, and how her identity is found in Christ and being Christlike. It’s not found in the culture. It’s not found in what magazines say is the new fashion, and what things on TV say, and how you should talk, and what music you should listen to. And it’s hard to keep them from that.
Yvette Hampton: We’re very intentional about what our girls say. We’re not TV-watchers. We’re not really big movie-watchers, which is kind of ironic, since my husband is a filmmaker. But oftentimes, we sit down and we’re like, let’s see if we can watch a movie, and it seems almost impossible to find even a decent movie for us to watch as a family.
Meeke Addison: I agree.
Yvette Hampton: But that’s okay. Then we end up playing a game, which is what we do all the time anyway. But it is difficult. It’s difficult to be set apart. How do your children react to that? Has that just been something that they just know, because that’s how your family is? Or do they push against you on that ever?
Meeke Addison: No, I have to say, each of our kids has their own unique personality. I’ve noticed that there are objections, but those objections are raised differently. With our oldest, she tends to be, she was very strong-willed. From the age of three to seven, it was consistent and constant discipline and character-shaping. Oh my goodness, it was exhausting for me. But man, the spirit of God just really gave ne, I guess, the endurance to know that if I can get to this point and not just leave her on autopilot, it’s going to produce a reward, and I have seen that. She’s 13 years old now, and she is my second-in-command. We always had that ability, but it needed to be channeled.
Meeke Addison: I remember having a conversation with her, she was maybe about seven or eight, and it was almost the height of the rebellion, challenging everything. And I said to her, I said, listen, without consequence, let’s have a conversation. What do you want? What is going on? I said, you’re not going to be in trouble. I just need to know what it is. And my daughter said to me, she said, I want to be your boss. I want to be your boss.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, at least she knew.
Meeke Addison: This was a breakthrough for me, because I understood that what we’re doing here is now we’re battling for leadership. And so, I had an opportunity to teach her that the time is going to come where she is going to be able to be in her own family, and she will be the mom in the family. She will be in that position of leadership. And it was a wonderful moment, and it changed the course of our relationship. So now, she is actually very honest with me when she is tempted to rebel. When she feels like things are not going her way, we’ve built the kind of relationship where she will tell me.
Meeke Addison: Then, I have my second daughter, who is compliant outwardly, but inwardly, no. I disagree. I don’t understand the reasoning. I don’t understand why we have to do it that way. And I’ve noticed that in her, and so I’ve tried to encourage honesty and transparency. Do you sometimes think that my rules are arbitrary? Yes. Do you sometimes think that we don’t need to do it that way? Yes. Let me explain to you why we’re doing it this way, and let me explain to you that again, when you’re married, or if that’s not the Lord’s will for you, but when you’re on your own or however this all works out, after you leave this house, which that’s a whole other topic, we’re not pushing our kids out. But so, I have to deal with them each differently.
Meeke Addison: And then, I have another son who he doesn’t understand why the world is so wicked. He really just doesn’t understand why people are not better. He’s 10. He’s very philosophical in his thinking. He’s very scholarly, so he reads a lot. And he reads the Bible a lot on his own. He just loves the Word of God. And he goes, there’s nothing that the Bible doesn’t speak to, is what he says all the time, when he has an issue.
Meeke Addison: And to go back to another question that you asked, Yvette, one of the things that we have tried to do, as homeschooling parents, we still try to make sure that our kids do not see us as the final authority. We position the Word of God as the final authority, and when they ask us questions, we take them to the Scriptures, and we say to them all the time, this is the straight edge. This is the straight edge. And so, we try to take them back to the Word of God, and I feel like that’s helped them to process a lot of what our objections are, because they see them as Biblical objections and not just parental usurpation. I don’t know. I guess these little people, they want to be independent.
Yvette Hampton: Yes, yes. I love it so much. And it’s true. Our girls are kind of flip-flopped from yours, in that my oldest is the more outwardly compliant, and my youngest is very strong-willed, and it’s so net to hear her, because we’ve really been working on her strong will. And it’s strong. I didn’t … I never really understood what a temper tantrum was until she came along. Then I was like, oh, that’s actually a thing. It’s different from a tantrum. A temper tantrum is something completely different.
Meeke Addison: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: But she prays now. Like yours, she has such a soft heart, and often, almost daily, she prays, Lord, help me to use my strong will in a way that honors You. Because God gave her that strong will, and I want her to use it in a way that honors Him. I don’t want to take it away from her. She just needs to use it in the right direction.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: She can do big things for His Kingdom if will learn to honor and obey Him. And what a beautiful thing.
Yvette Hampton: We were talking about how God is the final authority, and we were talking about parenting, and just teaching our kids that it’s not our rules that we are enforcing upon our children, but it’s really God’s authority, and just saying this is what God has for us. And I say this on the podcast all the time, so for those who listen, they know. One of the things we tell our girls constantly, and it has been said many times today. Today has been one of those days for us. But we tell them all the time that sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And the reason that we want them to obey is because we want them to have a life of blessings, and not a life of pain. And here’s the thing, life is painful. Obedience doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any pain in your life at all, because we live in a sinful, fallen world. But it’s a different kind of pain than the pain that you choose for yourself because of your own disobedience.
Yvette Hampton: And so, we are constantly trying to just pour God’s word over them, and it’s one of the greatest things about having them home with us, is because we get to be the ones … you and I were talking about the different character traits in our children, the strong-willed versus the one who is outwardly obedient but not so much inwardly obedient. And when we have them with us for the majority of the time, we get to work with them one-on-one and focus on who God created them to be, and what a wonderful and amazing privilege that we have. And not just a privilege, but a responsibility that we have as their parents to pour truth into their hearts, and help them to become who God created them to be.
Yvette Hampton: So, I would love for you, I know you’ve got some scripture that you share with your kids and your family, and I would love for you to share with us some scripture that you go back to for conviction, and for the encouragement and training of your children.
Meeke Addison: Yeah. One of them we kind of alluded to in the previous broadcast, which was the understanding that … and this is sort of like, whenever it’s taxing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, or whenever I feel like maybe I talk to a friend, and they’re like, we’re studying this and we’re doing this, and that temptation kind of rises up to compare yourself, and you think, wait a minute, should I also be doing that? I don’t know if I’m …
Meeke Addison: And I think about, what’s the purpose? Why am I doing what I’m doing? I’m not doing this so that my kids will be competitive in the world. That’s not the reason that I’m doing this. I am doing this because I really do believe that when a student is fully trained, he or she will be like their teacher. And so, I go back to that whenever I feel discouraged, whenever I feel like I’m overwhelmed, or even when the enemy tries to condemn me. These feelings that we battle with as moms, like am I meeting all of their goals? Are there going to be gaps? Are there things that I don’t know?
Meeke Addison: I remind myself of the reason that I’m doing this, and the reason that I’m doing this is so that I can pass the Gospel on to them intact. I want them to have the truth of the Gospel. Not some American version of the Gospel. Not some 21st century version of the Gospel. But I want them to have the faith as it has been handed down to us, and that’s why we do what we do.
Yvette Hampton: Yep. You talk about the American version of the Gospel, and I know that one of the things that you really focus on in your ministry is the church, and where the church is today. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re seeing in church culture, and how we can be part of some change that needs to go on?
Meeke Addison: Yeah. I feel like there’s always been a battle in the church. I tell people all the time that the Gospel has never existed in safety. We have this idea where we think that back in this day, or in this time period, it was just easy to hold on to the Gospel. It’s never been easy to hold on to the Gospel. Through persecution, through loss of live, through insidious methods infiltrating the church, the Gospel has always been under attack.
Meeke Addison: But I think in the United States of America, it’s been different because we kind of think that that can’t happen in the United States of America, that the Gospel cannot be under attack because America, and my husband says this often, America and Christianity have grown up alongside one another. And so now, people think that Americanism is Christianity.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: But the two are distinct, and one is supposed to influence the other. It’s supposed to be Christianity that influences the culture, influences the nature. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is, we’ve seen Americanism influence Christianity, and that was never supposed to be. We see this represented in our churches, where our churches have growth models, like they’re businesses, right? Where how do we grow our church? Well, you do that by conversion. You do that because the Gospel bears fruit everywhere that it’s preached, and then the church grows.
Meeke Addison: If you read through Acts, we’ve been studying through the Book of Acts with our children, because we want them to understand that our faith is real, that it’s something that has passed down through generations, that it holds up under scrutiny. And so, when you go back to that, when you look at the Lord adding daily to the number of believers who are being saved, you look at the Gospel bearing fruit, one of the things I think that our church got into, our churches in America, was really just Americanism.
Meeke Addison: How do we create more popular youth groups? And I’m not anti-youth groups, but I just feel like if we have gotten to a place, and Yvette, I think we have, but if we’ve gotten to a place where we think it’s the youth pastor’s job to train my kid, if I think it’s the church’s job to equip my kid to stand against the onslaught of the culture, then I’m sorry, and not to be offensive, but we’re raising lazy Christians. And we ourselves are lazy believers. If we think that someone else is supposed to do that, it’s sort of like outsourcing discipleship. You know what I mean? Who can I get to do that for me, so that I don’t have to get my hands dirty? Well, you’re going to get your hands dirty.
Meeke Addison: My husband says all the time, he says, we glamorize being fishers of men, and yeah, but at some point when you catch the fish, you have to clean them. It doesn’t stop with catching them, and that’s the discipleship. That’s the dirty work, where you have to really get in there and shape character. Well, I’m doing that first and foremost with my kids. That’s where it starts, and then after that, I’m discipling women, because I believe the Lord has called us to that, that older women are to teach younger women.
Meeke Addison: And so, that’s important to me. But my work is first with my own kids. They’re right here. They’re closest to me in proximity. So, I don’t want to skip over them and then go to meet somebody else’s need, and my own kids are growing up like these wild weeds, you know?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love this conversation. I love what we’re talking about. I love talking about the church, and how America has really influenced the church, instead of the church influencing America. And that’s really what we’re seeing happen. And it’s not just in America, actually. It’s all over the world. We see that in European countries. I mean, it’s everywhere.
Yvette Hampton: And I think that Satan is very clever. I think that he wants people to believe that they’re Christians if they go to church and they say all the right things, and they serve in church, and they serve the homeless. And I’m not saying any of that stuff is bad by any means. Of course it’s not. But we tend to think that just playing the game is our ticket to heaven, instead of people having a really deep, sincere, longing relationship with and for the Lord.
Yvette Hampton: That is one of the things that we desperately work on teaching our girls, is we want them to thirst for the Lord. We want them to desperately want to know Him and have a relationship with Him, because it’s their relationship, it’s not ours. They don’t get to ride on our coattails into heaven.
Meeke Addison: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And it’s a hard thing to do. But all we can do is what God has called us to do, and be diligent in doing that. You have such a passion for Christian parents, and I know that for women, as well. You talked about Titus 2:3-5, and that the older women are to teach the younger women. And you’ve talked about this a little bit already, you did this in the first part of the podcast, but I would love for you to give some very practical advice on how we can very practically teach our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: My first piece of advice would be, we have to live that out. That has to be true for us. We can’t desire something for our kids that isn’t fist true for us.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Meeke Addison: So, that’s our first prayer point, that we as the Lord, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to give us a genuine love for Him, that we ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart, to renew our right spirit within us. If the things of this world have overtaken us, then we need to confess that. We need to bring that to the Lord. If we ourselves have been, I don’t know, captivated by Americanism, then again, we need to confess that and bring that to the Lord. So, that’s number one.
Meeke Addison: Number two, I approach training our kids like I approach discipling other people’s kids. We were missionaries for a number of years, and we trained university kids. And so, I look at my kids like an extension of that work that we did as missionaries. That means that I start with the Word of God as our authority and as our straight edge, and I talk to them like real people made in the image of God. I don’t disciple them, and this would be point number three.
Meeke Addison: I don’t disciple them for them to make me look good. Because our kids are not here to make us look good. In fact, our kids are going to embarrass us. Our kids are going to say things, they’re going to have these little road bumps along the way as they grow in their faith. And I’m reminded of my own walk with the Lord, where there were things that I didn’t know, I didn’t understand perfectly, and the Lord was patient with me. He didn’t cast me away because I embarrassed him. No, the Lord was patient and enduring and long-suffering. And so, I want to have that as a model with my kids. They say things on a regular basis that I’m going, and where was that in Scripture?
Meeke Addison: So, that’s number four. When they make claims about Christ … We’re going through the book of Acts, and so recently we’re on Acts chapter 17, where the Apostle Paul has moved on from Thessalonica, and he’s going to Berea, and the Bible says that the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians because they actually checked the Scriptures to see what the Apostles were saying was true. And so, I told our kids. And this is something that holds me, my feet to the fire. I tell them, if somebody makes a truth claim about the Lord, about His character, about His nature, your first question should be, where was that in Scripture? Where’d you get that? Where is that?
Meeke Addison: And my son doesn’t miss a beat. He’s like, yeah, that’s great. He goes, mom, I was wondering. He goes, you said that Barnabas and Luke … or John Mark. You said that Barnabas and John Mark were cousins. He goes, where is that in the Bible? And I said, you know what, JD, I read it. I need to get that reference for you, but that’s a great catch. If I’m going to make a claim that Paul and Barnabas split up because of this dispute with Mark, and Mark was Barnabas’s cousin, well, that’s sensational. And so, I need to be able to back that up.
Meeke Addison: So, I was talking to my husband, and I said, I remember reading somewhere about this, and he’s like, where is it? I said to my husband, where is it? And he goes, it’s in Colossians. And I go there and I did read it, but I’m thinking, these are the things that I need to subject myself to as well, right? I don’t pretend, and this would be number five. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. When I don’t know something, I say to my kids, I don’t know that answer, but I’m going to research it, and I’m going to get back to you, because that is a question worth digging in to.
Meeke Addison: I think it’s so important for us to not trip ourselves up in being super parents, and our kids see that we have a real faith. I let my kids know when I’m wrestling, when I have questions. Recently, my sister, I’m the second of five, so my older who was the oldest of the five died suddenly. There was no reason. We still don’t know. And this was February 20th. And so, I’ve been walking through this grief process, and I’ve had to say to my kids, listen, this is a really tough time for me. This was my first best friend. She was just a year older than I am.
Meeke Addison: And so, it’s been really tough, but I’m not going to hide that from them. I’m not going to only come out of my room once I’ve gotten it all together. I mean, they’ve seen me suddenly break down crying, and we were okay one minute. And I say to them, listen, the Bible teaches us that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, but guys, we do grieve, and I’m going to miss her. And so, these are opportunities for us to show our kids that our faith is real, we live in a world where there’s pain, where there is suffering, but we also serve the true and living God.
Meeke Addison: If I could summarize all of that for you, Yvette, what I would say is, I want my kids to know that my faith is real. That it’s not something that I just grew up in this, and this is just what people do, but that our hope is real. Everything that we’re passing on to them is something that we put our entire lives into.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Oh my goodness, that is amazing. I love that. I love everything you just said. I’m sitting here, I’m trying to write notes and still look at you at the same time. God’s word does not return void.
Meeke Addison: Amen.
Yvette Hampton: And when I was in high school, I think I’ve probably shared this before, but when I was in high school we went to a church that did many things that were anti-Biblical. And I really struggled with that, and I knew, there was just something in my spirit. I was a Christian at that time, and I knew that there was just something wrong with the things that were going on. And so, I went to a Christian school, and my Bible theology teacher, his name was Dean Spoelstra, and I would come to him and say, this happened at church this weekend, and what do you think?
Yvette Hampton: And he would always say to me, it doesn’t matter what I think. Let’s see what the Word of God says about it. And he would always direct me back to Scripture, and he was the first one ever, and this was my junior year in high school, I remember specifically. He was the first one ever who just always directed me back to Scripture, and just say, what does God say about it? It doesn’t matter what I say. What does God say about it?
Yvette Hampton: So, we really try to do that with our children, as well, because it doesn’t matter what we say. And teaching them Scripture as a whole, because it’s easy to take one verse and take it completely out of context, and say, well, this is what the Bible says. Okay, well, read everything around it. What’s the history around it? What does the Old Testament say that refers to that part of the New Testament? It’s one big story, and that’s why it’s so important to teach God’s Word as a whole. And so, yeah, I love that.
Yvette Hampton: Pointing back to Jesus, there’s no better way to disciple the hearts of our children, and we have, again, such an amazing opportunity with having our children home with us, to be able to do that on a daily basis. If our kids were away from us for 35, 40 hours a week, we would miss so many opportunities to be able to do that, and so what a privilege and a responsibility we have to teach and train up our children to love Jesus.
Meeke Addison: That’s right. I don’t think I would recognize them, Yvette. I don’t think I would recognize these kids that God’s given to me if I were not able to be around them and have these times with them.
Yvette Hampton: Right, right. It is such a blessing. Well, we are unfortunately out of time. I feel like I could talk all day long with you. But again, you are going to be on the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We’re going to do a live session with you. I’m so excited about that. And so, we will continue to talk about all things culture and discipleship with you during that event. Thank you again, Meeke, for your time today, and where can people find out more about you?
Yvette Hampton: Okay, sounds great. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well, and thank you guys for listening. If you have not yet left a review for the podcast, we would love for you to do that. We really appreciate it. I know it’s kind of a hassle to do that. For some reason, iTunes does not make it easy to leave a review, but we appreciate those who take the time to figure it out, because it is a bit of a hassle. But we love you guys. We’re praying for you. Thank you for joining us today. Have a fantastic rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week. Bye!
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.
Sam Sorbo: Thank you so much for having me.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-
Sam Sorbo: Hi, Aby.
Aby Rinella: I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.
Sam Sorbo: Its fun. It’s just like us girls.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?
Aby Rinella: I know.
Yvette Hampton: We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.
Yvette Hampton: It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.
Yvette Hampton: I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”
Yvette Hampton: It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-
Sam Sorbo: Can I be perfectly Frank?
Yvette Hampton: … yes.
Sam Sorbo: I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.
Sam Sorbo: So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.
Yvette Hampton: There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.
Yvette Hampton: Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.
Sam Sorbo: And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.
Yvette Hampton: Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.
Aby Rinella: I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.
Yvette Hampton: And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.
Aby Rinella: Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.
Sam Sorbo: That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.
Sam Sorbo: And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.
Aby Rinella: You were in the trenches.
Sam Sorbo: So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.
Sam Sorbo: He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”
Sam Sorbo: And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.
Sam Sorbo: And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.
Yvette Hampton: Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.
Sam Sorbo: As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.
Aby Rinella: That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.
Yvette Hampton: Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?
Sam Sorbo: At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!
Yvette Hampton: When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.
Sam Sorbo: I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.
Yvette Hampton: All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.
In her books How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids, Rachael Carman challenges mothers to surrender their will and draw closer to their heavenly Father. She invites moms to join her in loving God passionately and worshiping him fully while sweeping up Cheerios, doing laundry, and planning dinner. You will be affirmed in your role as a mother as Rachael speaks of her struggles with perfectionism and impatience and shares her challenges, failures, and victories amid the ever-changing seasons of life. Her honesty will surprise you, and her humor will put you at ease.
Rachael is not only a respected author but is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a speaker in over thirty states and seven countries. She has been married to her husband, Davis, since 1986. They have seven kids with whom they love to laugh. Together, their life has been a roller-coaster ride, with God at the controls. Rachael enjoys playing in the dirt, eating dark chocolate, and walking on the beach. She and Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella, of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, recently sat down to talk with Rachael about why marriage matters, how to make it a priority, why it’s important to set a good example for your children, how to respond when things get hard (because that’s reality) and practical tips on how to have a successful and God honoring marriage. Backstage Pass members will get access to the extended portion of this episode with more tips on how to have a great marriage!
Enjoy their conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton with my co-host, Aby Rinella, and we are back with another fantastic guest. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. It’s always such a blessing to know that you’re on the other end and that we get to spend a little part of your day with you. Many of you are familiar with our guest today, Rachael Carman. She’s a wise veteran, homeschool mom who both Aby and I highly respect and we’re thrilled to have her as a speaker for the upcoming Homegrown Generation Family Expo. Welcome, Rachael.
Rachael Carman: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be with you in here.
Yvette Hampton: Thank you, tell us briefly about you and your family.
Rachael Carman: Okay. So I’ve been married to my man, it’ll be 33 years in December and we started out on this journey a long, long time ago together and we have seven children, which even now seems impossible. So we have two boys, two sons, and three daughters in the middle and then two sons at the end. I think it’s our 24th year of home education because next I have one more year and that will be 25 years. But we have five homeschool graduates, we have three college graduates and a fourth in this next May and one with his master’s degrees. So all to the glory of God no one is more surprised than I, and not because of my kids, just because of their mom. “O ye, of little faith.” That was me in the beginning of this whole journey.
Yvette Hampton: Well, it’s always an encouragement to hear from moms like yourself who have gone into this without the great confidence of I got this, I can do this and this is going to be amazing because very few moms feel that way. And so to hear you in this from the other end, just saying God works out all the details and in his fullness is so great. So…
Aby Rinella: Well, Rachael, I’m excited to have you here. I was able to hear you at the Homeschool Idaho Convention, last summer. My husband and I both heard you and it was powerful you bring a powerful story and just a great encouragement. And one of my favorite sessions of yours was the session that you did on marriage. And I think it’s so relevant today because marriage is under attack. The family is under attack and what God’s word has to say about marriage isn’t always a popular message that people want to hear. But it just was so encouraged. I just remember I walked out of that room and I could not believe the amount of women that were encouraged I mean just talking about. Wow. It was life-changing for a lot of marriages and it wasn’t just your opinion of marriage, but it was God’s word. And what does God say about marriage? And God’s word works, it’s designed to work. That’s why he gave it to us.
Aby Rinella: So, I’m so excited to take that message that I know just changed lives at my Homeschool Idaho Convention and just bring it to the masses through this podcast. So, you said 33 years you guys have been married?
Rachael Carman: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: And every moment has been absolute wedded bliss, right? No difficulties?
Rachael Carman: You’re funny. You need to take your show on the road. No, it hasn’t been that at all. And I don’t know if I shared this in Idaho so you might get some repeat stuff today, right? So I remember when some friends called to say that they were getting a divorce, which is heart-wrenching to receive that phone call. I’m sure both of you have received that phone call it’s not a phone call you want to ever receive and the person said they were getting a divorce and why. And he said to me, “But you know you wouldn’t understand because you just think each other are amazing and you all are just crazy about each other”. I can tell you this conversation happened 15 years ago. I can tell you where I was standing when I had this conversation. Because I said to this person on the phone. I said, “No, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, we have been through our ups and downs.”
Rachael Carman: So this would have been … We weren’t even married 20 years at this point. As we’ve been through our ups and downs and if it were not the fact that I made a covenant before the living God, I would have walked years ago and there was this… I was overcome and I said, “It was some force”, but I don’t think it’s right for any of us to look at anyone’s marriage. Anybody who’s been not married longer than 24 hours, should know it takes work. It’s work. And I think we insult each other when we just think anybody is as easy.
Rachael Carman: I think it’s admirable those who have determined, especially in this disposable generation, to stay the course. Because that’s what it is, it’s not about we’ve had friends that got a divorce because they were no longer in love with each other. That’s not part of the equation according to the Bible, this was a promise I entered into a blood covenant with the holy God of the universe that said that I was committing my life to stay in this relationship, good or bad, up or down. I like it or not it wasn’t about my feelings. It was about a promise that I made. And that’s I really think you talk about circling back, we got to circle back. It’s not this marriage thing isn’t a feeling because that does not get you through the hard times. But a covenant does. And one of my big things about marriage is it’s really easy for us to think, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get who God is. Because when you get who God is there becomes a seriousness to the covenant made.
Rachael Carman: Because of who you made the promise to when you make it to God, the almighty sovereign of the universe. You made a vow and so yeah, 33 years, ups and downs, lots of moves, good financial times, bad financial times, selling houses, houses that don’t sell, unemployment, sick children, death of parents and grandparents. It’s been like anybody else’s but we have determined to stay true to the vows that we made before God.
Aby Rinella: I love that. And not even the vows you made to each other, but the vows you made to God and I think that’s really where the difference comes in with a biblical marriage like you said, “Who did you make the promise to? And do you have a reverence for him?” And that is what carries through the hard times.
Rachael Carman: It really does. Just like his word does not return void when we spend time with God and in his word, when we keep our word, which if you study God’s word is a pretty big deal. Keeping your word is a pretty big deal. We were just reading this morning in family devotions and the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus told the masses, “Let your yes be yes, don’t go around having to swear”. And my son goes, ” Well, that didn’t make sense. You have to sign contracts.” I said, “No. But that’s not what it meant. It meant we need to be people of integrity such that when I say, ‘I’m going to do something’, people are like, ‘Oh, no. Rachael said she would do it. She will do it. You don’t need to get a signature. She will keep her word'”.
Rachael Carman: That’s what we’re called to and that’s what marriage is. It’s about being men and women of integrity who stay true to the word that we gave. And we stand our ground and determine to… It’s about honoring God, right? We’ve all heard it and they say it. It takes hearing something 17 times before it soaks in. It takes more than that many times if you have teenagers, that was true, but it takes… In other words, it takes a multitude of times to hear something.
Rachael Carman: And this generation has leaned into the idea that marriage is all about being happy.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: Then we have heard it, it’s really about that process of becoming Holy, Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”. And so we’re supposed to… Sanctification is a very real part of this. I mean, marriage is a very real part of the sanctification process that God invites us to lean into, not a runaway from, right? Oh, what I mean when we all love to run away from sanctification, do it our own way, right? And our arrogance and our pride and our selfishness, but marriage is this beautiful context that God says, “Lean in and trust me, I’ve got something for you”.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: I love that reminder of trusting him because it’s so hard and like you’re saying, the world is telling us, just do what makes you happy. You see it everywhere. You see it on tee shirts, you see it on signs, you see it on billboards, just do what makes you happy, do you, and that is not what the word of God says. And I was, as you were talking, I was actually thinking about the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. And it’s such a fantastic movie because I think if we’re all realistic about our marriage, we all come to points in our marriage where we feel like we don’t love that person. We’re angry with them. And I mean that feeling may last for 10 minutes or it may last for 10 hours or 10 years. But I think we all feel that at times.
Yvette Hampton: Like I just, I don’t like you. I don’t love you. I don’t want to be with you anymore. But if we rely on those feelings to make the decisions that are life-altering for us and our families, it’s not going to go well with us. And in that movie, Fireproof, he learns to fall in love with his wife all over again. And it’s such a fantastic and beautiful look at what God can do in a marriage. Because even though we don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean that God can’t help us walk through that and heal our marriages. I mean, just like he can heal a wound that a cut on your leg, he can heal the wounds of marriage as well. And if we’re willing to be committed to what God has called us to do, then he can do that.
Yvette Hampton: He is a powerful God. He’s the God of the universe and, he can do that. Why especially in our culture today, Rachael, why does marriage even matter? When you look at a lot of millennials, and I know there are a whole lot of them who just feel like, “Well, marriage doesn’t even matter. I don’t need a husband. I don’t need a wife. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m pursuing my career. I don’t need a family”. Why does marriage even matter in light of God’s plan for our world?
Rachael Carman: That’s such a great question that I think it’s a question that gets lost. And this me, me, me culture, right? There’s an assumption that it doesn’t matter that it is something that we should do away with. Let’s throw off the shackles of tradition. Let’s throw off the heavy weight of the way things have always been done instead of considering, well, why have they been done that way? Why don’t we dare to ask that question? And it’s a very important question. So, in the very beginning of the Bible, in the beginning, God created, we read through the Genesis account. There is the pronoun we used because we learn very early in scripture, the eternality of God that he established a beginning, right? He established time but he actually existed outside of time, established time with the rhythm of the seasons and all of that.
Rachael Carman: But there’s a… We introduced early in scripture because we know that there’s this perfect unity within the Trinity between father, son and holy spirit. And it is that unity that is physically illustrated in our marriages, right? So, husband, wife and God, that’s the Trinitarian representation in a marriage are those three. And then the reason it matters, I believe is, God wants us to participate in fellowship with one another. He invites us. We were never made to do this by ourselves, which is in my opinion, simultaneously awesome and incredibly intimidating, right?
Rachael Carman: Because it’s awesome because I don’t want to have to do this by myself. I think there are a few things worse than loneliness, which is really why I’m so committed to encouraging homeschool moms specifically because that loneliness can literally take you under when you feel like you’re all by yourself. And I want to just say here if you are a single homeschool mom and you’re longing to be in a marriage, I would just… I pray for you because it is a deep longing and I have friends that are single homeschool moms and that is a very difficult, and I’m so grateful that in scripture we’re told that God is the husband to those women who are doing it.
Rachael Carman: And it’s not easy. It’s harder than doing it as a couple, but God is so good to be a faithful husband in those circumstances. So I wanted to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was unaware that is a very real part of the homeschooling demographic. But marriage matters because again, it’s a part of our sanctification and as we come together as husband and wife and we practice in that fellowship and we practice what we’re called to as followers of Christ, and that is death to self, right? We become more and more like in the likeness of God’s son. It’s a molding process. And when we start learning the beauty and the power of dying to ourselves, then we are better equipped and ready to really serve this others that God puts in our path.
Rachael Carman: That’s what it means when it says so they were trying to trick Jesus and the lawyer I believe comes up and he says, “What’s the greatest commandment?” So it started out as 10, they expanded to 613 and now they’re trying to snag Jesus. Which one of the 613 is he going to say, because he can’t win this, right? Because in theory none of them are more important than the others. And so he goes 10, 613 and he goes to what two and he says, “Love the Lord your God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And the second is like intuit, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Well, that scripture makes a pretty long list of scriptures that have been taken out of context to mean something that it didn’t mean. And so our culture wants that to mean that we need to love ourselves. This whole idea of self-love to the point that we’re neglecting others and we’re becoming selfish and we’re becoming thoughtless and inconsiderate is not at all.
Rachael Carman: If you really want to love yourself, you will seek to become what God has planned for you to be, which means you’re dying to yourself. To love your neighbor means you’re dying to yourself. You love yourself enough to know that your plan for you is not anything on what God’s plan for you is. And so marriage gives us this opportunity to practice this fellowship, to practice dying to ourselves, practice this unity, forgiveness and grace and mercy, right? And it gives us an opportunity to practice intimacy. I mean you want to talk about… So marriage has been under fire for a while now. We’ve seen even among believers, I think it’s 50/50 now, tragically. But even now, I mean you’d have to be dead not to see the attack on sex, right? This beautiful intimate acts that God has given to one man and one woman in a monogamous relationship with each other in a covenant relationship as long as they both shall live is under fire.
Rachael Carman: Because that intimacy represents the intimacy that is available to us, with the God of the universe. It’s a physical representation of the intimacy that God has in store for us and invites us into. So, of course, the enemy is attacking it. We ought not be shocked and surprised. He wants to attack that. He wants people to participate in relationships that are not God-honoring and to carry that shame and that embarrassment and he wants to destroy the beauty of God’s gift to us. So, it matters that we as believers stay true to the covenant that we’ve made, that we lean into the opportunities for sanctification, that God gives us in that context, that we learn what it means to forgive and to be kind and gracious and consider it. That we learn to die to ourselves and that we do indeed enjoy the intimacy that God has given us so that we can be allied to the nations.
Rachael Carman: Because that is something that plays from the inside out, right? And it does, people know. We went out on a date because I’m a huge advocate for couples… Still dating. So we went out on a date and our waiter, he’s in his thirties and he’s like, “So what are you celebrating an anniversary?” And something my husband goes, “No, we’re actually celebrating that in a couple of months”. And he didn’t really care. He just wanted to know. He is so… “And what will it be? How many years have you been married?”. And Davis looked at him square in the eye and said, “On December the 20th, it will be 33 years”. I thought the guy was going to collapse. You know what that nowadays, a marriage that honors God is a huge witness and testament and, I double-dog dare everyone to live that out. Live a marriage that other people look at and go, “I want that”. I think we can… It’s a conversation starter.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good reminders and I will say happy anniversary to my hubby because right around this… At the time this is going to air, we will actually be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
Rachael Carman: Oh, that is awesome!
Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.
Yvette Hampton: Only by the grace of God.
Rachael Carman: I understand.
Yvette Hampton: Only by God’s grace have we been able to do that. And like you talked about earlier, it is only because we made that commitment to God in the beginning and we promised that we would never even say the word divorce. And, we’ve taken that covenant seriously and it at times has been really hard and just like you and just like everybody, we’ve been through hard times but, we go through them together and even in the midst of the trials and hardships that we have, God created us as a team and he brought us together as husband and wife and we’re committed to this no matter how hard it is.
Yvette Hampton: And, so, yeah, by God’s grace, 25 years and happy anniversary to you guys. I mean, it’s just amazing to see that and we love that. We get to share that with others and not brag about it. Like we’re so great, but brag on God about that and say, “Look what God’s done”. Because truly it’s only by his grace that we have been able to stay married this long.
Yvette Hampton: We are talking about why marriage matters. That was what we talked about in the first episode and just about our covenant that we make between not just us as husband and wife, but as us between our savior, the creator of the universe and how important that covenant is and how God will take all of these hardships and trials that we go through in marriage and use them for his glory. If we’re willing to commit to sticking with our marriages and trusting the Lord, he can and will heal any brokenness that we have because he is a God who loves us. He created marriage. He created it for his glory.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to continue on this conversation and I want to talk about how homeschool moms can make marriage a priority because that’s something that I know that I struggle with. We get so consumed with our kids and with homeschooling and in our responsibilities at home and laundry and dishes and doctor’s appointments and park dates and all of these things. And sometimes by the end of the day, it’s us and our husband, our kids are hopefully finally in bed. And then sometimes, I just… I’m so exhausted and I don’t even want to have a discussion because I’m just done, I’m spent.
Rachael Carman: I love your honesty.
Yvette Hampton: So how have you after 33 years of marriage… We talked about at the end of the last podcast that you and Davis have celebrated 33 years of marriage and Garritt and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and you’ve got seven kids, Rachael. So you have had a whole lot more even than I have of little people pulling on you constantly. How have you found it possible to make your marriage a priority?
Rachael Carman: Well, I think it really takes us… So I have a theory that I actually think is true and that is that it is very easy for us to just go through this journey at breakneck speed, trying to get it all done, throwing up a lot of dust, but really not accomplishing anything. And the reason why is because we don’t think that we can afford to take the time that we really at the end of the day, can’t afford not to take. And that is to establish a vision with objectives and goals for what we’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in just our lesson plan and I’m actually working on some stuff for my grandkids, right? So therefore and too, and I’ve been working on some stuff in concert with my son and daughter-in-law, putting some little activities together for little hands.
Rachael Carman: It’s been lovely and I just been thinking back on when I had little hands here and like you’re saying how hard it was. But very early on, Davis and I were counseled by some really wise people to take a weekend and think what exactly were we trying to achieve? Was it really just reading, writing and arithmetic? That’s not a bad objective and goal. But was that all that we were trying to do? Are we just trying to get kids who would be accepted into Ivy League institutions where we just…What were we trying to do? And I think it’s easy for years to go by and we just keep thinking, “We’ll think about that later. We’ll think about that later”. And I gave the example of homeschooling because we’re homeschooled moms and I think a lot of us can relate to… You get 5, 6, 10, 12, 25 years in and you’re like, “Wait, what did we do?”
Rachael Carman: But, it happens in our marriages too. And I think if we could step back and get a vision for the opportunity that we have. So, I would bet that most everyone wants their children to marry someone who is going to point them to God over and over. I think we would all want for our children, really good spouses who love the Lord, who are going to encourage our children that we have poured so much into, right? As homeschool moms, we pour an inordinate amount into our children and for all the glorious reasons and it’s wonderful and I love it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to marriage, but I’m very grateful that we’ve done it, but if you step back long enough to get the opportunity that you have to have a massive influence on who your kids choose as their spouse… By the way, you interact with your spouse now, right?
Rachael Carman: I can, when I’ve got little’s at my feet already begin to have a very loud voice. Not an obnoxious, not an obtuse, not an overbearing, not a manipulative, but a legitimate, authentic, gracious voice into my children as they began to look for a spouse as Davis and I interact on a daily basis. Because, we are either modeling for our kids something that they are going to long to have that they’re going to want or we’re modeling something that they’re like, “What was that? I don’t want that”. Right. And I mean everything in between, but I want to have the kind of relationship with him on a daily -basis that my kids, as they’re growing up and as they’re teenagers and graduating and getting out into the world, they’re thinking, “I want that”. And so I think it takes getting a vision because once you have a vision for the opportunity, right? Then it becomes a priority because then you’re like, “I want my kids to see an amazing marriage”. Not a perfect one. Our kids have seen us… I will confess, we are not yellers.
Rachael Carman: So, I know that can be a hard thing for a lot of people. We’re just not, we neither one of us came from yelling families. So, our kids have not seen us have a knockdown drag-out, yell crashing. That’s not been part of our home life. But they have seen us upset with each other. They have seen us cold towards each other. They have seen us frustrated and they have seen us come together and they have seen us stick it out and they… Because it’s up close and personal in this journey is going right. So they’ve seen this marriage grow and ebb and flow and work itself out. But they’ve also seen it as a priority. We have had date nights when the kids were little and it was a big deal. I would get dressed up, right? Davis would get dressed up because back in the day, I mean good grief when we had at one point seven under 13. I think, yeah. I mean really it’s a fog.
Rachael Carman: But even back then, I mean we prioritize going on a date and we would make a really big deal of it to the kids. This was our date night and sometimes Davis would go to the local grocery store and pick up a carnation and bring it to me. And it was a big deal. And the sitter came and… Everybody was a part of it and this, daddy is taking mommy on a date, and we would go out. I think your kids need to see that. If marriage is important to you and you want your children to have good marriages, then have one yourself. Prioritize it yourself. I’ve said for a long time, and this is not unique to me, but it is such a powerful truth that applies to a myriad of things. You cannot give what you do not have.
Rachael Carman: So, if you don’t have a vision for your marriage, if your marriage is not a priority, then you can’t cast those two things on that I think you probably want for them, but you can’t pass it on. I mean, you’re setting them up to do what… I don’t know if this is true for the two of you, but it’s been hard to be a first-generation homeschooler. Our parents didn’t do this, right? So we were trying to figure this out. I don’t want my kids to like be a first-generation good marriage, right? I want them to go, “Oh, I remember when dad used to do this and I remember when they do this, I remember they would go on date night”. So, our oldest son is married and they have two grandkids. And so when we get to go see them in the great state of Idaho-
Aby Rinella: Thank you very much.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They live in Moscow.
Aby Rinella: Oh wow. They’re way North. That’s beautiful.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. They’re way North. And he got his masters and so that’s why we were there. But when we would go and visit, we always made up for to watch the grandkids so they could go on a date. So we… That’s a gift, that’s a very cheap, inexpensive gift that we can give to them and we will continue to give to them. But if you want that for your kids, figure out a way to start doing it now and moving it out.
Aby Rinella: And honestly, I really think not that women need one more thing to fall on them, but I believe this falls on you moms because I don’t think there’s ever been a time where my husband hasn’t wanted alone time with me. There’s never been a time where he said, “No, I don’t have time. I have too much to do”. I usually see it as the homeschool moms who’s 170 lessons that they need to get done in one calendar year comes far before… That 170 lessons is at the expense of their marriages or their husbands. And so it’s usually us when the kids go to bed that say, “Well now I can do my color-coded lesson plans. Or now I can pre-read the book that I want my kids to read tomorrow”. And really I think moms need to know that this falls on you.
Aby Rinella: You need to be available to your husbands. And for years the minute, the kids went to bed, I sat down with my lesson plans and I started to realize, I am being unfaithful to my husband because I am married to these lesson plans. And when I surrendered that and honestly repented of that to the Lord and I said, “God, you know what, I’ve got one hour a day to get these lesson plans done. If I’m going to be spending the rest of the time with my husband, I need you to take this little fish, this one hour and make this work”. And when I put my husband before my lesson plans, when I put my husband before my meal plans, when I put my husband before my clean house, it’s amazing how God extended my day-to-day. It’s amazing how he took a little bit of time that I did have and extended that because I was seeking first the kingdom of God.
Aby Rinella: I was being obedient to God by putting my husband first. And I think we’re afraid to say, you know what when you are putting anything above God, it’s an idol. And when you are putting anything above your husband, even if it’s a worthy thing like lesson planning or… It’s not being faithful to your husband. And so ladies, we got to step it up in this area. We’ve got to be the wife of his youth that he fell in love with and know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s 110% worth it. And it’s amazing how everything else comes in to play, how God honors that when we make that choice in every other area of our life.
Aby Rinella: And I love how you said… I wrote down and I love how you said, “We need to make our marriages something that our kids want”. We beat them over the head with how important marriage is, we read the scriptures of how important marriage is. But if we’re battling each other every day, they’re going to walk away from it so fast. So I just love how you said, “We’re the living, breathing example of what God’s word says marriage is to be”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. That is-
Rachael Carman: We have a whole generation of kids, and I’m talking across the United States, so not exclusively in Christian circles, but we have a whole generation of kids that have experienced the very real ramifications and reproductions, repercussions of coming from broken homes. And so it’s not even just to our kids, but to their friends. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I have some mantras that everyone should have things that this is a hill I’m going to die on. No one should not have a place to be on Thanksgiving day. Everybody is welcome. People should have, nobody should send it by themselves. Everyone is welcome. This is not my house, this is God’s house. I want people to feel welcome here. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings ago, my second son who went to art school.
Rachael Carman: So yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine. Academically outstanding. He is a gifted artist but the liberalism and the promiscuity and every other blank you want to fill in was present. And this particular Thanksgiving, I remember he called and he said, “So mom, I have some friends I want to bring home”. I was like, “You know that’s fun. That’s great. Just let me know” and he goes, “I know, but I want to tell you”, all of them come from broken homes and we’re all… I’m always talking about, I just got off the phone with me or with dad or I’m looking forward to coming home. And they literally said, “Can we come and see? We’ve never seen it”. So I’m really telling you… And this is something that we also don’t understand the Genesis mandate renewed after the ark, renewed with Abraham to fill the world with the glory of God.
Rachael Carman: That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s a huge part that we have grossly underestimated when we have growing, thriving, joyful marriages. We are participating in the mandate that God has given us to fill the earth with his glory because it’s only with his goodness and his grace abiding in and through us, that’s even possible. But there are other people, Aby, there are people watching you and your husband. There are people watching you and your husband… People you’ll never meet, right? When they see you on a date or they see you’re holding hands, those are all things that we get to say, “God’s way is a good way” and it’s good for us. You know this chasing after my selfish happiness only ends in emptiness.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: God’s way always brings more fullness and joy than any way we try to do it on our own.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right. His plan is best. Rachael, we have just a few minutes left for this episode and then I would like to do an extended version of this one for backstage pass members, but in the last few minutes that we have for this one, can you speak to the hearts of those whose marriage is just under fire, they are not in a happy marriage for whatever reason. I mean there are a million reasons why marriages are unhappy. Sometimes it’s the husband, sometimes it’s the wife. Their marriage is falling apart all around us. How would you encourage those moms?
Rachael Carman: Yeah. And that’s really a great question and it’s a question that I get often when I do this session. Stand by your man is what it’s generally called. First of all, don’t try to do this by yourself. I believe the first thing you do is you seek God and you spend time in prayer. I think the best way to get the spouse you want to have is to be the spouse that you want to have.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Rachael Carman: So, I think the best thing you can do to improve your marriage is improve yourself and in terms of taking a self-inventory of where you are, how are you contributing? How are you dying to yourself? How are you serving? Are you available? I think Aby made a great point a minute ago when you said it’s not generally the man, but men don’t like to be turned down indefinitely. That’s one thing I learned from my husband that he has talked to our girls about when it comes to dating.
Rachael Carman: He said, “Guys, don’t ask you out unless they think you’re going to say yes”. And so if you get asked out and it’s really a no, you need to be very kind and gracious and considerate because he probably didn’t ask. He would not have asked if he hadn’t thought you were actually going to say yes. So, my point in this is, I really do believe there comes a point where our guys aren’t asking us to snuggle on the sofa anymore and aren’t asking us to get away for the weekend anymore and aren’t… But that doesn’t mean nobody is. You know what I’m saying? I mean, if your husband is wanting to have time with you, we need to run with reckless abandon and do that. So the first thing, if your marriage is in trouble, take some time with God.
Rachael Carman: Dare to pray the hard prayer. God, show me what I need to see in myself, in my own heart. Their prayers that God… I believe God answers all of our prayers. But I mean, boy, that’s one. You’re asking God to show you. He generally shows you. And it’s not usually pretty, but he’s very gracious, loving-kindness. Secondly, know when you need help. There’s no shame in seeking out good Christian counseling and talking to someone. We’ve known friends that in their marriage, some childhood issues come up and it looks like a marriage issue, but it’s really something from way back that was undealt with and unhandled. And we’ve seen marriages reconciled through counseling when they’re both struggling with not… Communication is such a huge thing in marriage. So know when to get help and get it and don’t wait too long.
Yvette Hampton: And know who to get help from because it doesn’t mean go get help from your girlfriend next door who’s not a believer and who’s going to just let you gossip and break down your husband and your relationship, but know how to get godly help.
Rachael Carman: Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, and be wise and who you seek help from, and again in this generation, one of the tragedies is their help is so generally pure-based instead of seeking out mentorship from older, they seem to be more content just commiserating among themselves. That doesn’t generally lend itself to progress forward, nor does it offer accountability. Which I think is bad design, but that’s not good. So you’re right. Seek out good biblical Christian counseling and dig your heels in on your covenant. Determine to honor God. Scripture speaks to this. Scripture talks to the woman who finds herself in a bad marriage and adopt a quiet spirit. Live what you believe. Honor, serve, respect. I would commend to anyone that book, Love and Respect. I mean, it’s been an outstanding book. Respect your man, honor him, seek to serve him. Do not talk in any way negatively toward him, to your children or to anyone else that will do it in faster than anything I know. And dare to do the hard work and stick it out.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Such good advice. I wish we could go on and on. I wish we had all the time in the world to continue talking about this because I know that there are moms out there who even if they’re not in a struggling marriage, we just need to be reminded of God’s promises and of his faithfulness to keep our marriages going and to keep them strong, not just existing but to keep them strong and have that good example set for our children. But we are out of time.
Yvette Hampton: So Rachael and Aby, if you guys can stay on, I would love to do an extended version and some bonus content for our backstage pass members. If you are not a backstage pass member, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com and you can see the Backstage Pass membership button right there and learn more about becoming a backstage pass member. There’s tons of great content on there, interviews from the movie, behind the scenes stuff from the movie and then tons of great podcasts, extended versions of the podcast that we’ve done. But thank you for your wisdom, Rachael. We are so thankful for you. Where can people learn more about you and your ministry?
Rachael Carman: My name is a little tricky to spell. It’s R-A-C-H-A-E-L.
Yvette Hampton: You’ve got that A in there.
Rachael Carman: I know that A is in there and then my last name is C-A-R-M-A-N. So, RachaelCarman.com and there’s tons of content there. I’m on YouTube with some presentations and I’m also on Facebook, Rachael Carman. So I do Facebook lives periodically and all of that’s available there.
Yvette Hampton: Okay, fantastic. We will link to all of those things and I’ll throw in really quickly, I know you’ve got a couple of books, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and then another one called, How to Have a HEART for Your Kids and you also… Some will know… This many will, but you and your husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries and so that’s a fantastic Christian worldview curriculum. You guys have a ton of great resources on there, so we’ll link back to Apologia as well. Rachael, thank you for your heart. You have such a heart for moms, for ministry, for homeschooling, and I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness to share with us today.
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For the first episode of the third season of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella sat down with Kristi Clover to talk discuss a subject that most of us consider at the start of every year, ORGANIZATION. Kristi is a master organizer and has just released a fabulous book on the subject, that is sure to be an encouragement and valuable resource to you, M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem.
Kristi offers 10 simple rules to help parents manage the chaos of their homes on a daily basis. From learning routines and habits to creating systems to stay organized, she dives into the most common areas moms struggle with in their homes.
In addition to Kristi being a home organization and efficiency expert, she’s also an author, a speaker, and the host of the Simply Joyful Podcast. Her passion is to encourage families to find simple ways to bring more joy into their home and life. She loves to share about her adventures in motherhood and home life through a variety of media that you can find at KristiClover.com. As a mom of five, she’s never short on opportunities to “practice what she preaches” in the realm of home organization and #momlife. Kristi lives in San Diego with her husband, Steve, and their five children. Be sure to connect with Kristi online for an extra dose of encouragement. She’s @KristiClover on most social media networks. Enjoy this transcript of their conversation.
Yvette: Hey, everyone. This is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always we have such an exciting guest on today. I also have my amazing cohost with me again today, Aby Rinella, We are talking to Kristi Clover, mom of moms, homeschool mom of homeschool moms, and part of the speaker line up for the upcoming, Homegrown Generation Family Expo. She is so much fun. You guys are going to love this episode with her. We are talking about her new book, M.O.M.is that what you actually call it Kristi? M.O.M?
Kristi Clover: Yeah, M-O-M – Master Organizer of Mayhem. There it is.
Yvette: M.O.M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem. I love that title. I love the cover of the book. It is so much fun. It’s so eye-catching when you first look at it. It’s got a bunch of Legos all over it. So, welcome. And this is a great time, because your book just came out and I’m excited about it and want to tell people all about it. And Aby, thanks for joining us again today.
Aby Rinella: I’m excited to be here. Organization is my Love Language, so I’m super excited to be on here.
Kristi: I love it. Let me speak love to you today.
Yvette: It’s the eighth Love Language, huh?
Aby: Oh, it is.
Kristi: Oh, yeah! No, totally. I laughed, because I was so stressed out at one point because, I shared with you guys before we started that we started this home renovation. My friends are like, “You cannot call it remodel. You’re down to studs.” I’m like, “Great.” At the same time, we’re doing book launch, so I just, I have moments where I’m like, “Oh, find a happy place. Find a happy place.”
Kristi: I started doing this deep declutter, and my husband was laughing. He’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I feel really happy right now.” He’s like, “I’m just going to walk away.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do that. I’m really happy right now.” I was in this delirious moment. He was like, “Okay.”
Yvette: Oh my gosh. It’s like nesting, right? Because, instead of birthing a child, you’re birthing a brand new home.
Kristi: Yes! And a book. This is not recommended. I’m like, “I brought this upon myself because I called it Master Organizer of Mayhem”, so the Lord was like, “Ha-ha-ha, let’s bring a little more mayhem into your life”. And school, and homeschooling.
Aby: Like when you pray for patience and you’re like “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”.
Kristi: Oh, I don’t do that anymore.
Yvette: So very quickly Kristi, tell us about your family, because you’ve got some kiddos, and a husband, and people you like.
Kristi: Oh yes. Just a few kiddos. I love it because the homeschool community, I can say this: We only have five kids. Here in San Diego, people are like “you have what! Are you crazy? Do you know how that works?”. And we’re like yeah. And I have a funny story about that in the book actually. Someone here in San Diego who asked that to me. I was in a very hormonal state. I was pregnant with our fifth and yeah I had a very snarky response.
Kristi: So, Steve and I have been married for 22 years. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We have five kids. Grant is the oldest, he’s 17. Then Blake is 16, Wade is 11, Ashlyn is 8, and Kaitlin is 6. So when I was pregnant with Kaitlin, it’s socially acceptable to continue to have more kids if you have all of one gender. So when I was pregnant with Ashlyn, everyone was like, “Aww, did you get your girl?”. And Mama Bear, mom of boys was like, “I did but I love my boys.” Leave me alone!
Kristi: When I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, I had the gentleman who decided to hit me on a day when I was very tired and hormonal. And he looked at the three boys and Ashlyn and he’s like, “You do know how that works, right?”. I’m like, “Yeah and you know what they say, practice makes perfect.”
Kristi: So sorry I went a little rated-PG there. But yeah it was awesome. And he is like “Ahhh.” And the woman behind him was blushing. The woman at the cash register was laughing so hard. So, I’m trying to get the kids out of the store and all of my older kids were like, “What does that mean? What do you mean?” And I was like, “Nothing! Nothing, mommy shouldn’t have said that.” Don’t speak when you’re pregnant, I don’t know.
Yvette: Oh goodness. Well come to the South, where lots of people have lots of kids. And it is totally socially acceptable. And we’re the family that only has two kids. We don’t drive a mini van, and what else don’t we do, probably lots of homeschooling things.
Kristi: We don’t fit in a mini van anymore, because my teenagers are 6’2″! So they won’t fit in the car very well, and everyone is too scrunched for a mini van. So we’re literally at the stage where we have an SUV, but everyone is trying to talk us into a mega sprinter thing that fits 12 and ya know 10 bikes and a camper.
Aby: It’s got a camper in it. You can sleep in there.
Kristi: We’re just gonna drive a motor home.
Yvette: So much fun. So these multiple kids that you have, that you’ve practiced for, for many years. And you now have a perfect child. This has been, I’m sure one of the many things that has caused you to write this book, called “M.O.M.– Master Organizer of Mayhem”. I love the title of it. Tell us about your book and help us, moms who are trying to figure out. Because I know this is a difficult thing for any mom, not just homeschool mom. But homeschool mom when you add real life and then homeschooling, it can get really crazy and really chaotic and really stressful. So tell us about your book.
Kristi: he book is really fun because it started when I actually only had two kids. Way back, like you know go in that time machine, like flashback, whatever it’s called. The Wayback, so if we go back in time to when I just had two kids. I think Grant and Blake were only four and three at the time, I was asked to speak at our women’s event. So I was like okay what would you like me to talk on? “Can you please talk about home organization?” And I remember thinking, Okay, that’s weird, I know I’m a little, I love it and I thrive on it but I’m not perfect at it.
Kristi: So I sat down and I really tried to think through. What gives people the perception that I’m so organized? I started asking friends too, why do people think… Because anytime I asked a girlfriend, what are some descriptions of me, what do you feel are some of my strengths? Organization always came up. And I’m like you guys have been to my house, it is messy sometimes. I feel like when I’m overwhelmed, I do, I let things go. And that’s okay. And what I’ve learned is that is absolutely the right thing to do, because if you really truly need a break. Unless you’re really crazy like me and need to get in there and get a project done, and that’s wonderful.
Kristi: What I discovered is, it’s my systems. So I would have people over for a play date one day and the house would be torn apart with all the little kids. And the next day, I would be hosting an event and people would be like, “What happened here? Were you up all night cleaning?” I’m like, “No, I just put things away and I just have this little system for doing this.” And they’re like, “Explain that.”
Kristi: And on top of all of that my husband has been traveling for 20 years of our marriage. I think when people were trying to figure out how I did things. That was kinda where it started. So long story short, I sat down and I wrote out this talk “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem”, and I came up with 10 rules. And they’re kind of like this foundation for things that I’ve noticed have to be in place for me to feel most organized. It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything going on at the same time. But they are key components to how to be organized.
Kristi: Decluttering is one and asking for help. So there’s a lot of these core foundational things that I put in the book. And what’s fun is, that from 12-13 years ago when I first gave this talk, the rules are exactly the same. I changed the order, but the rules are exactly the same. So it’s been neat to see how when continuing to apply them as my family has grown they have continued to work.
Kristi: And the second phase of the book is actually a lot. I share some systems that I put in place as well.
Yvette: I definitely want to talk about the 10 foundational rules that you have set. But you also talk in there about setting a good foundation first. How do we do that as moms?
Kristi: Well, a big key part is, a good foundation is really looking at all the 10 rules and looking through it. But the key is, I feel like we need to start be redefining organization. Because unlike 12 years ago, we have so much being thrown at us daily. We have an onslaught from TV shows. HGTV has wonderful shows, that I personally love watching. But you know when you look at a house that Joanna Gains or the Property Brothers, or whoever it is that is doing the space, they’ve completely cleaned it out, remodeled it and made it look perfect.
Kristi: We’ve got Instagram that is so focused on these beautiful rooms. There’s Facebook, Pinterest, all these things that we didn’t use to have. I mean Martha Stewart was my only person breathing down my neck, “Be perfect like me!”.
Kristi: That’s what we feel like. So often people associate organization with perfection. That’s not it at all. Organization to me is creating more efficiency in your home life, so you can maximize your time with your family. As well as for other priorities. So I like to help people figure out what their priorities are, so that it gives you that motivation, because everyone need to know their Why.
Kristi: If you’re totally happy in your mess and chaos, the God bless you! You be happy in your mess and chaos. If it’s not effecting you or anyone else in your family, and you have your systems down. Then that’s working! But if you are feeling stressed and people in your home… I have had some moms come up to me like I need this! My husband and I are fine with it but, they might have a special needs child who needs structure. So they have had to learn to get organized. Much like I had to learn to get organized.
Yvette: Let me ask you a question about that, though because I have often to friend’s houses and I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. You know, those whose houses are always neat and tidy and they have systems in place. They have an order of their life and typically those are the people who like to purge. Of course, I’m sure that’s one of your 10 rules.
Kristi: No, it’s not my gifting, decluttering is. I have friends that are very gifted at it.
Yvette: I’ve gotten really good at decluttering. We just simply don’t have space. That’s a whole different topic.
Yvette: But I have friends that who have just very organized, clean homes, and I have other friends who their house is always just a mess, all the time. I feel like, both of those friends, but typically those friends whose houses are typically messy. As soon as you walk through the door, they might say that they are comfortable with it, saying we’re okay, we’re okay living like this. But as soon as you walk through that door, they apologize for the mess in their house, almost always. “I’m sorry my house is a mess.” And I’m like look, I did not come to see your house, I came to see you. I really don’t care if your house is a mess. But I know because of their response that it is something that is stressful to them.
Yvette: And a lot of people simply don’t know how to declutter, how to organize, how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. Let’s go through some of the 10 foundational rules. Aby what are you thinking?
Aby: I’m thinking before we get into that, what I love that you said is going back to, we’re all homeschool moms here. And I love how you said it’s not a one size fits all. It really is what works best for your family. What are your husband’s needs. I might be okay with one thing. I just love how you’re saying it. We’re all created uniquely and differently, and so what’s chaos for you might not be chaos for me. That’s what I’m really liking about the direction your book goes, it is not a “you have to do this the way the Clover household does this in order to be the exact mom and wife Kristi is”. But its really just some basic fundamental concepts that really can work in anybody’s home.
Aby: That’s like there’s not one sized box curriculum for every single homeschool family. It’s something unique for each of us. So I’m super excited about that then because this book is for everyone.
Kristi: It is, and that’s why my first rule is glean and tweak. Because we can learn from other people and learn from Pinterest and learn from other books out there, you can learn from this book. But unless you tweak it for the season that you’re in, and your personal family… I have friends that, if I cleaned and organized my house and you walked into my house and said “Wow this is perfect!”. I still have friends that would walk in and be like “This is stressing me out”. There’s people who can’t handle anything on the counter. I’m all about let’s put a knickknack here, not to an extreme, I’ve seen them where it’s a little extreme. I have friends that, they just need that. But I don’t have to live according to that.
Kristi: My husband likes clean counters, but he just doesn’t want all the Kristi piles there. That is what it is. And now my children have learned how to have their own piles and it’s not good.
Yvette: You’ve talked about your first rule, because you have 10 foundational rules that can help moms figure out how to get rid of the chaos in their lives. And the first one you’ve mentioned is glean and tweak, let’s talk about some of the others.
Kristi: Okay so it can be anything and 10 rules makes about 2/3 of the book. So the 10 rules are glean and tweak, figuring out your top priorities. In that chapter what I think is important is that I go at it from two different angles. I want you to figure out personally, what is your schedule look like? What are your priorities as a family? Prioritize based on that, schedule your life around that. Because the problem is, if you don’t have cushion in your life and you’re saying yes to everything, you won’t have time to get organized. It’s going to continue to sit at the back as a back burner thing.
Kristi: I try to talk people into giving themselves some margin, not making their family “go-go-go”. I feel like as parents, especially homeschool parents, we are horrible at this. We feel like we have to give our kids everything in the maybe 18 years, 17-18-19 years we will have them in our house, in our schools. So we feel like oh we need to give them every experience possible. Oh my goodness, I think about my own personal life and I have learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. And not to knock my education, which by the way was public school. They will continue to learn and grow, we don’t have to put it all in the first few years of their lives, so it’s okay to say no to a lot of things.
Kristi: So I try to talk people into saying no to as many things as possible, saying yes to things that are going to help your family thrive the most. And then, looking at it from the standpoint of what are your house priorities. So what’s driving you crazy in your house. If you’re married talk to your spouse, what is driving him crazy.
Aby: It’s all my son’s room.
Kristi: Everyone of us would say it’s my son’s room.
Aby: Just had to throw that in there.
Kristi: You do it, and you know my advice is, close the door.
Aby: Oh I love that! Really? Until the smell starts to waif out. Then the smell comes out. I like that, just shut the door. That is freeing Kristi. I feel like you just freed me and every other mom like me.
Kristi: Well, I mean you do have to get in there from time to time. It’s truly something that is an eyesore, close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. When you have time, make time make that your [inaudible 00:16:36]
Kristi: One of the other rules is tackle your worst project. And if that’s honestly what’s driving everyone crazy in your house. Then you have to go through and help him declutter. And the key with kids is you have to teach them the systems. You have to teach them where to put things. I always laugh because moms will go through and they’ll organize the whole house but they’re like “Oh my kids leave it messy!”. And I’m like do they know where toys go though? “No I have to help them”. I’m like teach them where the toys go, or you don’t have a system.
Kristi: You don’t create systems for other people based on how you process things. You have to create systems for the people in your house that work for them. So that’s the crazy thing, you can be the most logical person in the house, in the world, and if it doesn’t work for them. Everyone’s different, I have a very neat child. I can trust that his room is, in fact if we have too much pounding and grinding and whatever they’re doing down below me happening in the house, I go to his room to do any kind of video or audio, because I always know that its always going to be perfect. And that is just him, that’s the way that he is wired. He thrives in that situation. He knows how to take care of it. Then I have other children. They don’t quite get it.
Aby: And I think that’s where the master organizer comes in, because you’re the master of finding what works for each kid. What are the systems that work for them, not just what is the system that works for me. I appreciate that, because my system is obviously the best system in the house. But each of my kids have a different system, so I like how you said that we need to find what systems work for them and then implement that into their space.
Kristi: Yeah, and I literally just ran into that in our own home, because I have a chore system that totally works for me. I know visually, like that is what they’re supposed to do, but for my little kids, it’s just too complicated for them.
Yvette: You talked about teaching our kids how to do this alongside of us, because we’ve talked about this with Ginger Hubbard, and we talked about coming alongside a child and training them on how to do things. Because often times as moms and dads, we just assume when we tell our child to go clean their room that they know how to do it, because we know how to do it so it should make sense to them. When we say go load the dishwasher or do the laundry we just assume that because we know it they understand it. And I think that’s oftentimes what causes so much frustration between us and our children is that we are saying go do this and they’re like No. Then they don’t do it and then they get reprimanded for it because they’re not obeying. In reality its sometimes maybe because they’re lazy, often times I think it’s because they simply really have not been taught how to do it.
Yvette: And I mean it may be with some kids, you know you said you have your son, he’s just wired that way. He is, just by nature, an organizer and he’s very clean. And I have one of those. I have my oldest, she loves to organize things and she does it for fun. And my youngest, not so much. She’s not uncontrollable but we have to come alongside them and say let me show you how to fold your clothes and how to put them in your drawer. Let me show you how to hang your shirts. And then practice it with them, don’t just show them one time. We can often, take it off the hanger, okay put it back on the hanger now. You can even make it into a game. Let’s fold the clothes again, now let’s throw them all over the floor and let’s refold them and put them back in the drawer. You know two or three times so you know that they understand what it is you’re asking them to do.
Yvette: And then if they do it right then you really know, okay you really understand this. And then if they don’t obey then that’s a different topic.
Aby: I think that’s what’s great about homeschool moms too, we have all day to do this. They’re not showing up at the front door after school and sports at 5 o’clock and we’re trying to get dinner. So, we’re very blessed that we can bring them alongside of us as we are cleaning the kitchen, as we’re cleaning up the toys and they get to do it with us. What are some of the things that you outsource to your children, that you delegate to your kids to do in your home?
Kristi: Oh you’re going to love this, this one is my secret one, no kids at the door, when my kids read this someday they’re going to be like “What!”. My number one tip is work yourself out of a job that you hate. So my kids learned how to do the dishes and the trash, because I don’t like dishes and trash. They also learned how to do laundry. Because number one, dishes and laundry those are crazy things that continue to repeat and repeat, so it made sense for them to learn that. Those are my three least favorite things to do. I am fine, I’m weird, we have a little floor vac that we use on the floors not just on our carpet but on our actual hard floors. It’s a little therapeutic for me, I kind of like it. Counters, I like cleaning them, I don’t mind those jobs. And of course, because I’m finding such joy in them my kids are like “Can I do it too!?” And I’m like no, go do the dishes first.
Kristi: We all have those little things and it really depends on number one, what do you need to have done around the house? What do you need help with? And I wrote, I think it’s just a blog post, but we happened to use a hashtag that said chore systems. And I laughed because I had two people, I think it might be the same person with two handles on Instagram, we’re like “That is child labor, you should not be making your children do the work that you should be doing.” And I didn’t respond, because that’s where my snark thing just comes in.
Yvette: You should have responded with “Practice makes perfect!”
Aby: That should be your hashtag.
Kristi: They live here so they have to.
Yvette: It’s a life skill.
Kristi: It is. My daughter cleans the bathrooms and she earned that, because she told me, “Mom, I feel like the bathroom could be cleaned more often.” And there was a little corner that I missed, and I haven’t cleaned the bathroom since she said that, ever. That became her job, and blessedly she’s a little OCD so I have to clean this bathroom in town.
Yvette: Oh I love that.
Kristi: I also think you cue in, you’re like if that’s bothering you, to your child, that is a job that you can take over in the household. And if you can’t find your socks, you just became the sock folder.
Kristi: I laugh because I don’t lose socks. I’ve never totally understood that lost sock thing, until having kids. It wasn’t even the two older boys, it was when it just got crazy and one of my kiddos, he is, we call him “Mr. Fun” because he is all about fun. And he does not intentionally disobey, it’s just that if something fun and shiny is happening, then he needs to be a part of it. So, it’s like we have to make sure we are helping him to narrow his vision, no wait finish this and then move on to the next thing.
Kristi: So it’s really hard. So yeah, I don’t remember what the original question was at some point. Help them to find what needs to be done and what do you want to work yourself out of a job on. And I loved your point too Aby, is you know seeing what they naturally have a tendency toward or what they are bothered by.
Yvette: Since you were just talking about laundry, I know you have a few systems for laundry in your home. Share those with us, because I know that for homeschool moms, especially if you have multiple kids, that can just be a drag. I mean it really can consume so much of your time
Aby: Because when it’s done it starts again.
Aby: I’m so excited.
Yvette: Okay ready?
Aby: Yeah, I got my pen, I got my paper, I’m ready.
Kristi: Well I have an entire chapter on my hacks, but I will say this, that with laundry you do have to figure out what works best for you. I have heard so many different ways. There’s so many ways to do laundry as far as some people say, do a little bit everyday, that would drive me bonkers. I want to have a break from doing laundry. I cannot do it every day, then it really would pile up because if you get behind or life throws you any kind of a curve ball, your laundry is going to be missed.
Kristi: So what works for our family, especially since we have 7 people, is that everyone gets a day of the week, and my husband and I have one day together. I still do both of our laundry together, because he was traveling so much. Now, he’s not traveling. He’ll do the laundry sometimes, but even then I’m like oh wait I’ll just do it. I know what doesn’t go in the dryer and I know that this is how this is going to work.
Kristi: So, backing up a little, each person has their own day. What’s beautiful about that it creates a natural accountability, because if you don’t do your laundry and get it out of the washer, dryer and get it into your room to at least start the folding process. Someone else is coming behind you and your laundry is going to get moved, because they are ready to come and do it. So that has worked really well for us.
Yvette: That is brilliant.
Kristi: Because of that natural accountability. My other thing that is key, if you are doing that kind of laundry.
Kristi: So I can even talk through, I have a SMART, SMART is one of my little acronyms for five laundry hacks. So the M in SMART is mesh bag, they should be your best friend. Because if anything needs to go from the washer to like being hung up, you put it in a mesh bag. So that if somebody is moving your clothes from the washer to the dryer, the rule in the house is mesh bags do not go in the dryer. I do that with my husband and I too, so that if he is doing a load, he knows that doesn’t go in the dryer. So it’s not just for delicates.
Aby: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about this. So for example, say Joey has a Tuesday day, as soon as he dries, he folds, he puts away his own clothes, he’s not doing like everybody’s clothes on Tuesday right? It’s his own clothes on Tuesday?
Kristi: It’s his own clothes on Tuesday.
Aby: So then, if on Friday he fails to do that special shirt, you say hey sorry you wait until Tuesday?
Kristi: No. Well…
Aby: Like you can cut in? You can share if you need?
Yvette: It’s called Laundry Grace.
Kristi: Laundry Grace, that’s right. And we aren’t sticklers on the day, all the time. So like if we just got back from Hawaii, we got back on a Sunday, you gotta be flexible. There’s days when suddenly we have three people that need to get their laundry done, because life has been crazy, we were out all day and didn’t have a chance to get laundry going. Then you know, we’re going to have to double up.
Aby: How young do you start this? Is your six year old doing it?
Kristi: My six year old is doing her laundry. She still needs help with the folding and putting away. She can do it but she doesn’t do it all the time, because she gets flustered, it takes her awhile. And Everyone’s different. My oldest, he does it all.
Kristi: One of my other things is, I truly believe in small loads. The larger the load, the more apt you are to let it sit there and not get it done. So it’s really important to have smaller loads. Which is why, again, having a day, that means everyone should be doing their clothes weekly. So my oldest, he was getting in the habit of doing huge loads, because of course his clothes are big too. He’s not in itty bitty little clothes anymore. So he was in the habit of waiting two weeks to do his if he just got busy. What was happening is, his clothes just weren’t getting as clean. And I had to explain to him again, small loads, clothes get cleaner. Everyone tells me I’m crazy to get my laundry done all in one day. But I’m like washer, dryer, fold really quick, washer, dryer, fold really quick. And then I pile it in order, so I’m literally just putting it into the drawer.
Aby: If you’re doing everyone has a day, you’re just doing it once a week. So it’s not stacking up, because you know that it’s just a once a week. That’s brilliant. Whats another, okay one more laundry hack before we have to move in.
Kristi: One more laundry hack, okay. So this is my rule breaker laundry hack for kids, have them wash everything on cold. I don’t buy a lot of white, if they have anything that’s white, they throw it in my whites divider. And I say white because people normally do, whites, brights and darks, but we actually do cold, warm and hot as our divider. So it’s kinda two laundry hacks. Divide by temperature and have all your kids wash their clothes on cold. If they have items that need to be washed more thoroughly, then you just do a separate wash with that, or throw them in one more time. Because quite frankly, I need to make sure they know what they are doing and if I have them, who knows if that black sock is going to sneak in with those white tank tops or whatever it is. I just don’t deal with that so everything gets washed on cold in our house, not my clothes but the little kids. I mean my oldest, sorry I mean my second oldest. he does do two loads, because he does have enough white clothes that he’s separating those.
Yvette: Let’s talk about a few more of the rules that you talk about in the book. So we’ve talked about laundry, we’ve talked about glean and tweak, we’ve talked about priorities.
Kristi: Well here’s a big one. The buzz is always on decluttering and everyone’s talking about KonMari method, and you know Marie Kondo. Her little spark joy, which I think is fun, if you hate something then why are you keeping it. But I don’t love, I mean my plunger does not spark joy for me but it is a necessity. I wrote that somewhere and I had someone, I have interesting people who follow me on social media, because this person was just like, “but my plunger sparks joy when I need it.” I’m like, no even when I need it I’m like, blah.
Aby: Yeah, the whole situation, there’s no joy in any of that situation.
Kristi: I don’t understand that, but it’s all good. My approach with the decluttering process, I call it a Four Leaf Method, because we have four categories, mostly. It’s the traditional what are you going to keep, so what’s gonna go back into your home. That’s when you want to make sure you’re categorizing to organize those things that you are keeping and keeping like things together. Your toss pile, things that just need to go in the trash. Whether it is just trash or toys that are broken that really don’t need to go anywhere other than in the trash can. Then also, we have a sell pile, so if there’s big items that need to be sold, those are going to be that sell pile.
Kristi: ut the key pile for us is, the blessings pile. The blessing pile is the traditional donation pile. But what’s helped us, it’s like some mental road block that changed for everyone in the house. That if this item is not useful or a blessing to us, then maybe it can bless someone else. It helps when you have that thing that you’re like, “But I spent money on that! I should keep it.” Why? If you spent money on that and it’s in great condition, see if a friend want it. And if they don’t want it, give it to Salvation Army.
Kristi: Because I’ve heard stories, in fact it was Kathi Lipp, she’s another organizer. She’s written a lot of books on organization and decluttering, and has another book coming out, I think in February on the topic. And I heard her speak recently, and she talked about how when she was really going through a hard time, she went into a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and her son really needed a new pair of shes and he was really bummed because he wanted this one kind of shoe. And they happened to find, in Salvation Army, the right size of the exact shoe. She was like it was God’s blessing on us. I think, that if that person hadn’t taken the time to donate that. You’re kinda giving God room to be like, “I can use your stuff.”
Kristi: If you don’t need your stuff, get rid of it. So if it’s not doing me any good in our house. Then let the lord use it somewhere else. And who knows, if it’s in horrible condition, maybe Salvation Army is just going to throw it away. But still, I just think it’s important, and it helps my kids to realize if we’re not playing with it, we can bless somebody else. It’s just neat to see how just changing that mentality of, this can bless someone else. So like when we got rid of a ton of our baby clothes, I literally sent an email out to all of my friends and we made this mountain, it was taller than most of my kids, of baby clothes. And my friends came over, and we had all of these babies that were being born, and so people were just coming over and grabbing them. It was great and it was fun and it was crazy, at church I see everybody in my kids’ clothes, and I’m like oh that’s so sweet. It was just fun to see them being reused.
Aby: I love that. I think it’s good for kids too because, like with my son, we talked to him. Well, he’s a boy so he’s hard on things. And we talk to him a lot too, when you’re done with things, we want to be stewards of the things that God has given us. Because when you’re done with it… We don’t want to give anyone else our junk, but if we’re stewards with our things. Then when you’re done with that, it’s in really great condition to bless somebody else. So it also, just inspires us and encourages us to take care of the things God has given us. Even if we don’t see them long term for our family. Then they can bless another family.
Yvette: And I love what that teaches kids, because we want to teach our kids that they can be content no matter what. And I think often times, especially in our society, we feel like our kids need more and more, we have to get them the newest, and the best and the biggest thing that’s out. That’s why Black Friday, that’s why people stand at in line for 24 hours before the big sale or even longer sometimes, even days, a week! It’s crazy to me. Why are we teaching our kids that? Be content in all things. And when we show them that the things that they have, that they are no longer using can be a blessing to someone else, I think that’s huge. And we have done that with our kids as well, since they were really little. What friend do you have that this might be a blessing to, or often just donating it, because it’s stuff we don’t use.
Yvette: I know moms, not that I’ve never done this, I have done this before, but I know moms that will sneak things out. But then I think you’re missing that opportunity to teach your kids to be a blessing to others. And not just to be a blessing to others, but to realize that they don’t need to have all these things to make them happy and to have joy in their lives.
Aby: Say, I’m storing up our treasures in Heaven.
Yvette: Yes. We have a few minutes left, so lets run through just a few others and then what we don’t get through, of course people just need to get the book.
Kristi: You need to get the book, because it’s so fun. Oh thank you. It was so much fun to write. It was fun to tell all my stories. I tried to make it playful and fun and just like we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee. That’s kind of my approach to writing, I try to make every book I write feel like that.
Kristi: Okay, so a few other rules. So this is, a big one, especially for moms, especially for homeschool moms. One of the stories I share in the book on this rule has everything to do with a homeschool moment, and that is ask for help. I think so many moms try to be super heroes and do everything in their own strength, or even if they’re leaning on the Lord, he will give you strength but there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So I like to encourage people to ask for help, and when people offer help you have to say yes.
Kristi: So one of the stories I share in the book is all about when we just had our 4th, and I had a bunch of friends who had mommy’s helpers coming in. And I’m like no I can handle this. And Steve was traveling like crazy and we were homeschooling, it was just so much, and I was just kind of at my wits end. I was trying to get Ashlyn, my 4th to sleep and she just wasn’t sleeping well. I just have a technique that use with the kids to, sleep training, to get them to [inaudible 00:38:01] to sleep, and it is hard on me the first several nights, trying to get them to kind of recreate that sleep cycle. I think she had just gone through a teething thing or something, but I was exhausted.
Kristi: So I decided to do what so many of us do is, ask for prayer. “Please pray for me. I have a definite need but I’m not going to say it. I’m just going to ask for prayer.” So at the end, I had a girlfriend say, “Kristi, I have a daughter who is trying to earn money for ballet camp, she would love to come over. Where do you live?” We lived three minutes apart and had no clue. It was the biggest blessing. Her daughter would come over and what was so funny is that so often when we are getting, my friends are like, “I have the mommy’s helper come over and play with the kids while I go run errands.” Well that’s fine if I really need the time alone to just get out of the house. But I did that from time to time, but I would often have my mommy’s helpers come over and help with the things I didn’t want to do, so that I could play with my kids.
Kristi: You can use help however you want to. And I’m always really upfront too, we have cleaners. I love my cleaners, I help them when they get here, and I help them when they leave. And they come every other week, and the day they come, man by that evening you can’t tell they were here. Unless you’re looking deep, because sometimes it’s just that whole Murphy’s Law of when I have a clean floor someone’s going to spill something. It works no matter if you have cleaners or not, if you clean the floor, your child will spill milk everywhere. It helps because it means, all at one time my house is clean.
Kristi: We had a season where we were hosting two different events. I was hosting our Co-Op and I was hosting our Bible study, and my husband was adamant, “I know you. You are going to want the house to be tidy, and you’re going to want it to be clean. We need to have the cleaners come on the off week.” We didn’t have the budget for it, it wasn’t so much a budget, we didn’t want to spend for another cleaning. I just asked them, for this much money will you do the kitchen, the bathrooms, just like the key things I knew I needed done, because I knew that’s where people were going to be. And they were like, “Oh yeah we can do that.” And they were already in our neighborhood.
Kristi: So again, ask! If you’re not asking, you’ll never have the solutions. I just think it’s so important for people to see where they could use help and get it.
Yvette: Yeah, I think so too. We sadly are out of time, but I would love to continue on and do this for the next two hours, but just tell me to get to work.
Kristi: Yes, we have lives. And I have to go get my grays covered. We were joking about that beforehand, I have to go get my hair done because I have spray paint on my grays now.
Yvette: Is it like a spray paint you go and get at Lowe’s? You just go to Lowe’s and get some brown spray paint that matches your hair color.
Kristi: I laugh because I had a girlfriend tell me about it, and I was like “Are you kidding me?” And she’s like, “No it’s a real thing.” It’s like L’Oreal or something like that, I get it off of Amazon, so yeah. I’ll share the link with you, I’m telling you, you got to do what you have to do. I’m telling you 40 takes over and you got to roll with it.
Yvette: I haven’t hit the grays yet, but I have hit the eyesight. I now have to wear reading glasses, which I didn’t have to wear before and I look at small print things like “I can’t see!”. So in order to read your book, I had to put my reading glasses on, but it was well worth it.
Yvette: So you guys, get this book.
Aby: Where can we get it Kristi?
Yvette: It’s fantastic.
Kristi: Thank you. You can get it anywhere books are sold. If your physical bookstore doesn’t have it, you can ask them and they will get it in. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere. It really is.
Yvette: We of course will put links in the show notes to it. It is called, “M.O.M – Master Organizer of Mayhem” by Kristi Clover. And Kristi, thank you. You have written a few other books, I know I would definitely love to have you on the podcast again to talk about some of your other stuff you have going on. You have got all kinds of great encouragements, so I love it. So maybe it won’t take us a year to have you back on, right?
Kristi: Life is a little, we’ve been told two more weeks and the house is done.
Aby: How long have they been telling you two more weeks?
Kristi: They’ve been great. They are keeping right within their timeline, so we’re very happy.
Yvette: You are a blessing, thank you for using what God has taught you and shown you to encourage me as a mom and Aby and to encourage all of our listeners. Because you really do have a gift for organization but not just for doing it for yourself but helping others to learn how to do it as well. And it is doable, so for those listening who just feel overwhelmed, truly, honestly get this book because it really will help you. Because it helped me to see things that I just couldn’t see them inside of my little box. So I would read a chapter and go well I can do that. And it really did change my perspective and my habits of doing things around our home. So this is a book that does the same thing as that. So thank you Kristi, you are a blessing.