Yvette Hampton: A listener asks, “How long is a homeschool day supposed to be?” So Aby, how much time should a family spend homeschooling each day?
Aby Rinella: Okay, your homeschool day is as long as it needs to be for your family. The answer is not going to be “as long as a public school day.” I’ll tell you that.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Now, explain that real quick, because you were a public school teacher, so I want you to unpack that a little bit.
Aby Rinella: Okay, so let’s say my class started at 8:00 and we got out at 2:30. It’s different at different schools, but that’s a long day. But let me tell you what that day was filled with; 23 kids getting their snow clothes on and off. It was filled with bathroom breaks and it was filled with helping one kid while the rest of the kids waited. It was filled with trying to walk in a line 58,000 times to get to music class. It was filled with all of these things that we, as parents at home, don’t have to think about or worry about. So your homeschool day is going to look different based on how long it takes your kid to accomplish whatever it is that you, as the parent, have set out for them to accomplish.
That looks different at different ages and in different seasons of life, but if you are doing five hours of kindergarten, you need to stop it!
Yvette Hampton: You’re doing too much.
Aby Rinella: You need to knock it off. So many parents ask this question. The thing that we fall into as parents is to think, “I’m not doing enough because this is only taking two hours” and I want to say, “It really shouldn’t take much more than that in those elementary years.” Honestly, it’s that you have been programmed to think that a school day is eight hours or seven hours and that is absolutely not the case with homeschool.
“I used to get so frustrated because we would get up and we would do our morning chores and we would do all this stuff that needed to be done in the morning and then by the time everybody was up and ready and moving, it was 11 or 12.”
Yvette Hampton: Right. And it depends how you define homeschool day, because for our family, I used to get so frustrated because we would get up and we would do our morning chores and we would do all this stuff that needed to be done in the morning and then by the time everybody was up and ready and moving, it was 11 or 12! It’s typically 11 or 12 before we’re really into our schooling academics.
Aby Rinella: Your academic studies, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Until we’re actually doing math and science, but part of that morning time we’re doing morning basket and we’re reading together and sometimes we’re playing games. The other day we sat and played googly eyes for 45 minutes and we’ll play Yahtzee. That’s all just part of life. Sometimes we go grocery shopping. Last week, I got my girls up one day and I was like, “We’re going to go get donuts this morning!“ And it’s shocking how quickly they will get up and ready when you say the word donuts! Anyway, that’s a different topic.
Life is part of homeschooling and so how are you defining your homeschool day really matters, because there are often days where we’re still doing history or science or math or any of those things until five o’clock in the evening, sometimes six o’clock in the evening, but we have done a whole lot of other stuff through the day. It’s not like they have been sitting at the table from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM doing schoolwork.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: We’ve done it kind of sporadically, throughout the day because we’ve had interruptions and stuff, but that’s the beauty of homeschooling. That’s how our family works.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, and that’s really the beauty of homeschool freedom. And that’s what really is important, is the freedom that we have as parents to make those schedules and to be interrupted because really it’s not an interruption, it’s life. And so, every family’s homeschool day is going to look different, so try to get out the box of thinking your day should look like a typical school day. The worst thing you can do as a homeschool mom is make your home look like the public school.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: That’s not what we’re trying to do.
Yvette Hampton: Or make your homeschool look like your neighbor’s homeschool or your friend’s homeschool, because Aby, you and I are very different…
Aby Rinella: Very different.
Yvette Hampton: In the way that we schedule our days. I mean, you kind of get up and get going with your kids and you guys are done earlier than us. You’re two hours behind us and you’re probably done before we are and that’s okay. It’s just how our family works.
Aby Rinella: And here’s the thing, it’s going to change. You might have teenagers who have a job to get to, so they need to do school at a different time of day. Look at your family and go to the Lord seek His wisdom on how your day should be scheduled.
Yvette Hampton: Right, and do what works best so that you and your children are not constantly stressed out and on edge all day long.
Aby Rinella: Totally.
Yvette Hampton: Like you said, it depends on the age of your kids. I have a high schooler now, so academics have gotten a whole lot more serious this year than they have been in the past and my youngest is in fourth grade and so she’s getting a little bit more serious about her academics as well.
Aby Rinella: I think one of the greatest things we could do is throw away the clock and do school based on how long your kids’ attention span is. This may not always be possible, because we live in the real world, but we get bogged down by the clock.
Jesse and I lived off the grid for a while and we got rid of our clock for about a year. And you know what, we worked when the sun came up, we ate when we were hungry, we stopped when the day was done and the stress level went away.I know we can’t do that now, but if you could just hide the clock while you’re doing your school day, and as long as your kids are engaged, keep them there. When they’re done, quit. Don’t let the clock rule your homeschool day!
“God’s way is best. God has a best design. When God designed us to be parents and he laid out in his word as to what it means to be parents, he gave us directions to go with that, that would guide us to be the best parents we can be. He does that with everything. How can you best manage money? How can you best be married? How can you best even run a business and a government? It’s everything that we need for life and godliness is in his word. And so with that is also how can we best raise our children? And the Bible is very clear that to best raise our children to serve and honor and worship him is to do it according to his word in everything that we do all day long.” – Aby Rinella
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton and I am so excited to be back with you again today, and I’m super excited to have my friend Aby Rinella on with me again. As most of you know, if you’ve listened to the podcast for any length of time, Aby has become just a regular guest on the show but also has really kind of filled the role of being a cohost with me. We are having a lot of fun together getting to talk with homeschool leaders and just regular moms and dads who are in the thick of this homeschooling journey with us and being able to bring encouragement to you. I am thrilled to have her back on the show with me again today.
Several months ago, we had a great conversation and we did an episode in which we talked about the why of homeschooling and it’s possibly our most popular episode, but for sure it’s been one of our most popular episodes. And so we talked about all the reasons of why we homeschool. Aby and I also did another one with Karen DeBeus. Together the three of us talked about the why, who and how of homeschooling.
On this one we want to take that a little bit further and we want to talk about the blessings and the benefits of homeschooling. So once people know and understand what their why is, we want to talk about the great joy and blessings that come from it. And the verse that Aby and I have been talking about a lot is Matthew 6:33, and for our family this has become a verse that has been very instrumental to us in this amazing journey that God has had us on with filming the documentary, and even just with life, with homeschooling, with trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. And so I’m going to read this verse to you again. Many of you already know it, but we’re going to start out with it.
It’s Matthew 6, it’s actually verses 31 through 33 is what I’m going to read, but we’re going to focus today on verse 33, specifically. Matthew 6 starting in verse 31 says, “Therefore, do not be anxious saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear, for the Gentiles seek after all these things and your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Thank you for being with us today. Aby, welcome back to the show again and I’m thrilled to be talking about the blessings of homeschooling with you.
Aby Rinella: Thanks Yvette. I’m excited to be here. I always love to be here and share with you as we share our hearts with other homeschool moms. And this is one of my very favorites. Well, my very favorite was the why, the reason that we homeschool, and that episode is available because that is the foundation of everything that we do is why we homeschool. We don’t do it because we want smarter kids, or that they go to a better college, or that they make more money or that they’re more successful, and I think when you look at that verse, if we flip flop it, we seek all of those things and then we’d fit God into that. And that’s not what God says. As homeschool moms, I think we do worry about the academics and are we going to do okay with academics.
Even though we know that’s not the primary thing that we should focus on, it is something we look at or met many other things that we’re going to talk about today. But, but really we homeschool out of obedience to God. We don’t do it for the blessings. We do it for a reverence for God and knowing that his way is always the best. We do it because we’re called to do it, regardless of the outcome. But, and like we said, we don’t obey God to get the blessings, but what’s really awesome is when we obey God, there are blessings. That’s just the truth. What’s neat is it’s almost like a trickle-down effect. When we obey God, the blessings fall into so many areas and I think of it almost like marriage.
The reason behind marriage, the reason God calls us for marriage, is it’s like a relationship. It shows us the earthly relationship between Christ and the church. God created marriage is one man, one woman forever. But the neat thing is there are trickle-down benefits, there are trickle-down benefits that is so good for our culture, it’s so good for our families and our kids. It’s someone to grow old with and have fun with and help carry life’s burdens. But those aren’t the reasons we get married. We don’t get married because we want to have fun with someone, we get married because God has ordained marriage and then the blessings come.
And it’s a lot like that with homeschool, we homeschool because God calls us to, and that the things that we’re going to talk about today and in the next one is … These aren’t the reasons or the drive or the motive, but they’re really exciting blessings and I’m really excited with you to share. Leviticus 26: 3 through 10 show tells us, “If you follow my decrees and you’re careful to obey my commands. I will send you rain in its season and the ground will yield its crops and the trees, their fruit.”
And then Luke 11:28 says, “Jesus said, blessed rather are those that hear the word of God and obey it.” So when we hear God’s word that says we’re to teach and train our children in righteousness and that we are to be their primary educators, and that we are to teach them his ways when we rise and when we walk. When we answer that call, when we’re obedient, then all these other things that we’re going to talk about are added.
That’s really exciting, but we just want to encourage the moms, don’t get it backwards. Always seek first God and then things will be added.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. For those of you who are listening to this, if you have not yet listened to that episode that we did on the why of homeschooling, we’ll link that, of course, in the show notes so you can go back and I would maybe even pause this one for a few minutes, go and listen to that one, know what your why is, and then come back and listen to this one.
Let’s talk about this. You talk about the blessings that obedience brings. And we often, we’ve talked about this a lot on the podcast, you and I have talked about this, and that we tell our girls all the time, “Sin causes pain, but obedience brings blessings,” and when we are obedient to what God has called us to, there will be blessings in that. That does not mean that things will always be easy and that it’s just going to be smooth sailing, because we know we live in a fallen sinful world and things are hard. I mean, this is a pretty difficult world that we live in.
But it’s a different kind of hard. It’s different than the difficulties that come because of our sin, and the difficulties that come just because we live in a world that’s full of sin. I want to clarify, I’m not saying it, and I know you’re not saying that any person who has their child in school and doesn’t homeschool you’re sinning. That is not for us to judge. That is not our heart behind Schoolhouse Rocked. Our heart behind Schoolhouse Rocked – the podcast, the movie the blog – everything that we do is to encourage and equip people to be able to homeschool and to do it with excellence.
Because if God’s called you to do it, he’s going to equip you to be able to do that. And so we want to come alongside you and be able to do that. I just wanted to clarify that. But we talk about being called. And I know sometimes I struggle with that because it not being called, but it’s that Christianese lingo that we use, “God called us to do this.”
Really quickly, can you clarify when you say, “God called you to homeschool,” or, “God has called us to homeschool,” what do you mean by that?
Aby: I would say it’s God’s way is best. God has a best design. When God designed us to be parents and he laid out in his word as to what it means to be parents, he gave us directions to go with that, that would guide us to be the best parents we can be. He does that with everything. How can you best manage money? How can you best be married? How can you best even run a business and a government? It’s everything that we need for life and godliness is in his word. And so with that is also how can we best raise our children? And the Bible is very clear that to best raise our children to serve and honor and worship him is to do it according to his word in everything that we do all day long.
Answering the call really, that is Christianese to just to say, “I’m going to choose to do things God’s best way. I’m going to choose to follow his word and his examples as to how to do this thing, how to raise my kids.” That’s what I would say that would be. Any time you answer a call, there are going to be sacrifices that are made. I mean, I have yet to answer any call in my life that there aren’t sacrifices. Again, with this whole homeschool thing, there will be sacrifices. But the really neat thing is, is there are so many blessings that come with it that make those sacrifices … you almost don’t even notice them anymore.
Yvette: Right, right. That’s right. Let’s jump on that right now. Let’s talk about some of the blessings of homeschooling because there are so many, and again, sometimes homeschooling is really hard, and sometimes the process of educating our kids, and parenting our kids and discipling them is really a hard thing to do. But again, anything worth doing is often hard. And so let’s talk about some of the blessings that you’ve seen, that we’ve seen, that as we’ve interviewed people for the movie that they’ve seen through homeschooling.
“It’s not because we’re drilling our kids with academics, it’s because when we seek God first then I can chill out on the academics, I don’t have to be stressed. I say this because I started this out completely backwards as a teacher. I said, ‘Okay, I need to academics first, and then I’m going to consult God on the rest,’ and it was a disaster. When I stopped doing that and I sought God first, naturally, academically, my kids thrived.”
Aby: Okay. I would say what’s really neat is sometimes we get, what do they say? The cart before the horse, and when we answer the call to homeschool, then … I’m guilty, so I know this from personal. Then I realize, “Okay, I’ve got to get all this academic stuff figured out, I’ve got to get all this …” And it goes back to that verse, is we worry about all the other things, the peripheral things, the academics, all of those things. But really God says, “Seek me first.”
What’s so neat and what we’re going to talk about, is those things come naturally academically, homeschool children thrive. Not because we’re pounding academics into our kids, but because we are seeking first God. When we do that, the rest of that comes. It’s really neat because it was talking about in that verse that the Gentiles were seeking all these things. But God said, “Hey, wait a minute. Seek me and then I’ll give you these things. And look around in the world, it’s like academics is such a big thing. It’s such a big thing that our kids test well, and that they all follow all the same protocol, they all get into a great college, and that seems to be the focal point. But God says, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Seek me first and watch what I’m going to do with the academics.” And so just to encourage moms who say, “Yeah, well show me that because I’m still panicking.”
I think what’s really neat is even the world around us, they cannot deny that when you do things God’s way it works better. So it’s neat. Business insider, this is to quote them, they said, “Homeschooling could be the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century.” They are seeing the academic results of what we do, because even achievement, when we look at achievement, there’s huge nationwide studies that show that homeschool students are typically scoring between 15 and 30 points higher on average than non-homeschooled kids.
It’s not because we’re drilling our kids with academics, it’s because when we seek God first then I can chill out on the academics, I don’t have to be stressed. I say this because I started this out completely backwards as a teacher. I said, “Okay, I need to academics first, and then I’m going to consult God on the rest,” and it was a disaster. When I stopped doing that and I sought God first, naturally, academically, my kids thrived. Some of the reasons for that is, and you can jump in here too, but the curriculum options, we can customize our curriculum for our kids and we can customize how we teach them to who they are. That, right there, is naturally going to make them academically thrive.
Yvette: Let’s park on that for just a second, because oftentimes when kids are in a classroom – and you’ve been a teacher, so you know this to be true – when they’re in a classroom, you try to fit all of them into a box and you can’t do that because every kid is different. A couple of kids will fit into that box, but I mean, everyone who has kids, their kids are different. No one has two kids or more, and both of those kids are exactly the same, and so you can’t make them fit into this perfect little box. And so it does give us the opportunity to be able to alter and cater their education to who God made them to be and how he made them to learn.
“Time is definitely on our side with homeschooling, because our kids get to learn at their pace and they have so much opportunity to learn the things that God wants them to learn. So, time definitely is a big thing. We have the time for them to have individualized learning. We have the time to teach them according to who God created them. But the other really neat thing is it doesn’t take as much time to homeschool. You can accomplish more in a shorter period of time. I was just reading that the average public school student has 6.2 hours of homework every week, and I thought, ‘that’s another day, that’s an additional day of school!'”
Aby: Yup. And I think that does go back to God’s word, because when we understand God’s divine, that every single life was created on purpose, for a purpose, unique and we’re individuals, then it only makes sense that this, I like to call it the heard education, that that doesn’t work because God designed us uniquely and individually. He designed every life for a purpose on a purpose, so to be able to teach to that independent child, the individual child that God gave us, obviously when we’re seeking that, obviously it’s going to work. It’s just going to work. It doesn’t take a lot of …
I mean, homeschooling does take effort, but it doesn’t take as much effort as we think it does if we’re seeking God. Sometimes I think when it gets really, really hard and we feel like we’re hitting our head against a wall and we’re getting nowhere, it’s because we’re getting backwards. It’s because we have stopped seeking God. We’ve stopped looking at the why and we started looking at the how. We can’t do that. We have to look at the why first.
So, the personalized learning and, again, I’m just fascinated how the secular world is seeing the benefits of homeschool, which isn’t a surprise because when God says to do something, he has a reason because it’s wonderful and it works. But even Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, not that I support either of those men or agree with either of them, but the reality is they were businessmen that succeeded according to the world’s standards in a business capacity. They knew how to run a business, and both of them talked about, spoke out and use the terms, “Personalized learning,” and how that is so important that when we personalize learning. I just think it’s really interesting how God isn’t separate from the world, how God created things to work in the world.
And it’s really neat that people are seeing this, that the academic success. It’s a lot from the self-directed education. As we’re talking about blessings, academically self-directed education without the top down learning, that that doesn’t work as well. When there’s from the top to down learning. It’s a self-directed when kids are learning and that that flows over into colleges. They’re saying kids know how to learn. When you teach a kid how to learn, there’s nothing they can’t learn, and so that’s a huge academic benefit is that we have the ability as homeschool moms to let our kids have self-directed learning. And the time, we have the time to do it.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. Time is definitely on our side with homeschooling, because our kids get to learn at their pace and they have so much opportunity to learn the things that God wants them to learn. So, time definitely is a big thing. We have the time for them to have individualized learning. We have the time to teach them according to who God created them. But the other really neat thing is it doesn’t take as much time to homeschool. You can accomplish more in a shorter period of time. I was just reading that the average public school student has 6.2 hours of homework every week, and I thought, “that’s another day, that’s an additional day of school!” And they’re doing that with homeschool.
It’s interesting. Then you look at that and you’re looking at the studies of the statistics of the outcome of that, and it really isn’t warranting the extra time. They have a lot of extra time, but the scores aren’t showing. I think a benefit of a homeschool mom is all that extra time. We get to build relationships with them. We get to use to be together as a family. We get to use to get to know our kids and point them to Jesus. So time is a big one, like you mentioned.
Yvette: Sure, yeah, and they have the time to learn to do life. I mean, there’s so much importance. It’s so important to just learn the logistics of life. And I think sometimes we take for granted that, while our kids are obviously going to know how to do dishes, and do laundry, and take care of a house, and deal with doctor’s appointments, and deal with going to the DMV and all of the things that encompass adult life. And really as we’re homeschooling, we’re raising our children to become adults. And so they need to know how to deal with those things and how many kids come out of high school, jump into college or some kind of trade, and they really don’t know how to function in life.
Many do, but when you’re weighed down with being in school for 35 to 40 hours a week and then coming home with six plus hours’ worth of homework a week, you don’t have time. They don’t have time to be able to just learn the everyday workings of the adult life, and how to take care of themselves and take care of their families. That is another just great benefit that we’ve seen in our own family of having our girls at home with us.
Aby: Yeah. And that time, like you said, to do life and discover kind of who they are and what they want to do and what they love. I find that this new phenomenon of this gap year really interesting. When I was a kid, I mean when you graduated high school, there was no gap year. I’d never even knew what that was. But it seems like now kids are taking a gap year to learn how to do life, to learn how to do the things that really they should have been learning all along, or to figure out what they want to do, and who they are, and what they love and what they’re geared for. A blessing with homeschool is we can start that right off the bat and grow that in all their 12 years. So there isn’t that need of, “Oh now I need to figure out what this whole life thing is about in a year before I move on.”
You were talking about doing life. There’s so many incredible opportunities also that come, like apprenticeship. What we can do with this time these kids, they can do an apprenticeship. There’s entrepreneurship opportunities. I know that your girls are doing a family business with you. It’s incredible. I love listening to the ads where Brooklyn is on there, and the incredible things she’s learning and she’s part of that. She wouldn’t be there to do that with you and Garritt if it weren’t for this
There are ministry opportunities, which is huge. It’s not, “Okay, now that I’m done with school, I can get into ministry.” It’s part of life. Volunteering. If the kid is in school all day and then afterschool activities, where are they going to volunteer? Where are they going to learn to serve? So just this time that we get with our kids, there’s so many opportunities. And again, back to when we’re seeking God first we don’t have to come up with that time. It’s given to us. When we were seeking God first, we don’t have to pound the academics. We’re not saying don’t do it. Academics are important, but they’re going to come. It naturally is going to happen. The statistics show it. The outcome, if you look around, it happens because you’re seeking God first. He promises us that.
Yvette: Right. Right. And we’re not saying, “Go out and do everything else but academics and expect them to learn everything they need to learn.” It’s just that that doesn’t have to be the primary focus day in and day out of life. It’s not the traditional school day that we all grew up with, that most of us grew up with of sitting in a classroom for six or seven hours a day. I mean there’s certainly a schoolwork that needs to be done and we do those things.
But again, we talked a lot about this in the episode we did on the why of homeschooling. When looking at academics, the important part of that is using everything that they do to point them to Christ. Everything you teach them, even math should point them to Christ. Math is amazing when you think about God being a God of order, and he is a God of absolutes. Two plus two is always going to equal four. We cannot decide one day that two plus two is going to equal 17. It’s never going to happen. It’s always going to be four. Always has been. Always will be.
Aby: Yup. It does not get to identify with 17. It will be four.
Yvette: That’s right. And God is a God of absolutes and he is a God of order, and so being able to do math and helping our kids to see, you know what? Just like two plus two is always four, the absolute certainty of God’s word will always stand firm. God is the same yesterday, today and forever because he is God and he is unchanging. And so just like math doesn’t change, God doesn’t change, and his word does not change, and the culture is telling our kids something completely different than that. They’re telling them, “Well, you know, in …”
Sadly, I mean, we won’t off on this, but sadly, so many, even churches today are saying, “Well, this part of the Bible is irrelevant today,” or, “This part of the Bible is irrelevant.” Nope, it’s not. God gave us his word for a purpose. And so when we teach them at home, we get to be able to point them to Christ in everything that they learn.
Aby: Right. And then again, and I keep saying this, but it is so neat to see that when we do that, when we are obedient in that naturally, I mean I just love looking at the homeschool statistics of the kids. They are scoring higher, they just are. And when you go around and talk to homeschool moms, it is not because we are making our kids do nine hours a day and sleep on top of their textbooks and memorize. It truly is because God’s way works. It just works. And there is proof, and I know I needed to hear that. I, for some reason, I like to know. Show me that it works. And it’s like God’s way does work, and it’s not going to, I mean, you’re going to see it. And so when you seek first the Kingdom, speak first, pointing to your kids, pointing to God in math and in language and in science and in history, the academics will happen.
A couple of other before we have to wrap up. A couple of other awesome benefits of homeschool, again, not the focal point, not our drive but things that trickle-down from being obedient to God. We’ve talked about family relationships, but I think just marriage. I see that marriages tend to be stronger. I can’t imagine if there were five of us going in five different directions all day long, and then we could come together for only two hours in the evening. Then I’m divided my time between my kids and my husband, and it strengthens marriages, homeschool does.
I mean, there is a lot of pressure on a marriage too when you homeschool, but when you’re seeking God first and not your lesson planning at eight o’clock at night, when you’re seeking God first, then it naturally is going to bless your marriage. But again moms, you have to be seeking God first. Don’t seek your lesson plan book, don’t seek what your yearly annual goals are. Seek God and it happens.
“When I started homeschooling, homeschooling became my ‘number one.’ I’d get my Bible study done in the morning, and then I wanted to be the best homeschool mom I could be. And so that, in my mind, was ‘plan, organize, coordinate,’ and I forgot to seek God first.”
Yvette: Yes. Let’s talk a little bit about that, because and we’re actually going to do a podcast episode pretty soon on marriage, and I’m super-excited about that one. But about maybe if you can give some personal things on your end, in your marriage, and how you have seen your marriage strengthened because of homeschooling.
Aby: Okay. Well, I can first tell you how I saw it being destroyed because of homeschooling.
Yvette: Okay, yeah.
Aby: And I know I’m not alone in that, but when I started homeschooling, homeschooling became my “number one.” I’d get my Bible study done in the morning, and then I wanted to be the best homeschool mom I could be. And so that, in my mind, was “plan, organize, coordinate”, and I forgot to seek God first. And if I was seeking God first, I would know that my marriage would be a priority over my homeschool.
When we do that and we’re burning the midnight oil and ignoring our husbands because we’re planning, and ignoring our husbands because we have our giant to do list, you can destroy your marriage that way. And again, that’s because you’re not seeking God first. Then when I turned the ship around and I realized, “You know what? When my husband’s home, the books are away.” It was amazing how God honored that time. I could miraculously plan twice as much in half the time, because I was seeking God first, because I wasn’t staying up till midnight planning. Meanwhile, my husband is being completely ignored.
The first ingredient is, “get the priorities right.” Seek first God. Know what your primary ministry is. Homeschooling should never take precedence over any relationship in your family, ever. But then when we seek first God, and we do get those things right, and we do make our marriage more important than our homeschool, it will naturally bless your marriage. It just does. It blesses your relationship with your husband and your kids, and your kids’ relationship with your husband, and allows your husband to have time with your kids. You’re not just managing and running and shuffling.
When daddy gets home, we get to be together. We get to be together. I’m not juggling homework assignments. I’m not shuffling my kids every which way, and that brings a peace in our home. I also think I have helpers at home. I have helpers to help run the household, which just makes everything runs smooth. So that’s a blessing for the marriage as well. But whenever you’re seeking God it blesses every relation.
Yvette: Yup, absolutely. And we’re, you know, it’s interesting because we are in a different situation than you where Garritt is home all the time. He works from home. We’re making this movie where we are together all the time. Literally, for the most part, our family is together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we love that. He came from a job working the Hollywood film industry where he was gone all the time, and the Lord brought him out of that and we’re so thankful for that. But now we’re together always.
But we have to make an effort to get away, and not just Garritt and I. Oftentimes, we’ll say, “We need to just go on a dinner date, or a lunch date or something when we can.” Sometimes it’s spontaneous, but we recognize that we need to have husband and wife time alone apart from our girls where we can just talk and we can just fellowship with one another We’ll get to the point where we’ve missed that. You feel like, “I’m sitting next to you all day, but I miss you.”
But we also do that with our girls too. So oftentimes, where I’ll take one of my girls out for a date, or Garritt will take one of them out for a date, because we start to see that we just need some one-on-one time with each other, since we are together all the time. It’s just a different dynamic. Every family is different in that way.
Aby: And not that this is a marriage podcast, but I do also want to encourage moms. The word tells us that we are to be the wife of his youth and he is to love the wife of his youth. And he didn’t marry you because you were an incredible homeschooling teacher. That’s probably not why you married you. Just remember to be his wife first, so when you do get to go do those date nights, you don’t need to fill your time talking about curriculum. Love your husband and don’t let homeschool all consume you. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and those other things will be added unto you. We can get off the marriage thing because then we want everybody to come listen to the marriage podcast.
But the last thing, the last incredible blessing is the sibling relationship with homeschool. I want to debunk another myth. That does not mean that siblings are going to get along all the time and be best friends every day and never fight. I’ve heard that so many places where, “We homeschool and so our kids get along,” and I thought, “What am I doing wrong?” Then I sought first God’s word and I realized, you know what? There is going to be conflict. There’s conflict with children, there’s conflict with adults, there’s conflict in churches. I have the opportunity to teach and train my children how to deal with conflict biblically, and that’s the difference with the sibling. That’s a blessing with raising siblings in a home, and we get to work through conflict together. Not that there isn’t conflict, and I can promise you those relationships will be deeper, just they will naturally be deeper.
But what a blessing to be able to point our kids to God’s word when working through conflict, as opposed to maybe on a playground where you can just walk away and go find another friend, or you can go to the corner, or you can bully, or those things aren’t allowed in a home. You get to teach and train your children how God gives us direction on how to deal with conflicts. That’s an incredible blessing. It helps siblings with that.
Yvette: Yeah. And I think really, we’ve talked our girls a lot about this, and that helping them to learn to deal with one another in conflict with each other is helping them learn to deal with conflict with their future husband or their … Typically they’re not going to have a lot of conflict with their friends, but that’s actually one thing I tell my girls all the time, “Treat each other as you would treat your best friend,” but they need to learn to work through conflict. It’s okay to have differences and things, because you are going to have differences with your husband, or with your wife, or the other people that God brings into your life, maybe your boss. And so teaching them to deal with conflict with each other prepares them, again, for adulthood, and it’s such a beautiful thing.
Aby: It has to be taught because that’s not something … I mean, that has to be taught, because we naturally, our human flesh wants to either fight or flight, you know?
Yvette: That’s it, yup.
Aby: And in the school I remember thinking, “Oh, those two kids won’t be in the same classroom next year, so we won’t have to deal with this.” It has to be taught, and God has asked us to teach it according to his words. It’s a beautiful blessing that we get the privilege of doing that when we homeschool.
Yvette: Yes, yes. Oh, I love it so much. We are out of time for this podcast episode, but we will be back again next week. We’re going to finish this conversation talking about the benefits of homeschooling, so listen again next week.
And Aby, thank you for coming on again today. You are such a blessing and I’m so thankful that you get to be part of this ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked, that God has put on our hearts, and thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your willingness to share your heart with us.
Homeschooling is hard. Homeschooling during a crisis is even harder.
How do I know? Friend, I have been living it. I had to step away from blogging quite some time and let me tell you why. In the past year, we have experienced so much loss. My stepfather passed away suddenly — in fact as of this writing, we have had five deaths in the family. My husband fought and beat cancer again and two close friends of the family passed away.
Talk about being on auto-pilot.
Who’s had time to process, grieve, cry or anything else? Not me. It’s been a rough and emotionally exhausting few months. (My shining light — my eldest graduated from high school!) There were days where I was struggling big time. The overwhelm from all of the loss was/is enough to make anyone sit down and try to regroup. I’ve found myself frustrated, overwhelmed and utterly exhausted at times. A crisis will do that to you.
As a homeschooling mom, it’s been difficult because even though my children are very young, I know that they really like school. They also (on most days) like the structure that a schedule can bring. They know what to expect and tend to look forward to doing certain activities on certain days. And that is something that I have desperately missed giving to them. I want my children to have “normalcy.” I want them to be able to understand that things happen (whether good or bad) but to also appreciate routine. And who am I kidding? The recovering perfectionist in me loves routine, order and planning. Schedules make me smile.
Stop putting extra pressure on yourself.
As homeschoolers, we are fortunate to be raising our children in a flexible learning environment. While we do have to ensure accurate attendance, we don’t have to be burdened by the stress and pressure of a public or private school system’s attendance protocol. This is something that I will admit that I have had to get used to.
Break down units. Break down lessons. And then break them down some more.
Depending on your schooling style, you may follow a strict schedule with your curriculum. In times of crisis, this is the time where you REALLY need to give yourself some grace and allow the flexibility of the homeschool model to work for you. While you may want to keep moving forward with your lessons, remember that it is perfectly fine to not do all of the lesson.
In times of crisis, focus on what you need to do rather that what you may want to do. The work will be there when it is a better time for you to pick it back up. And you know, some days that may involve just being present with your family. These are the times when you will be focusing more on teaching life and coping skills than math facts and that is okay.
Embrace the flexibility of homeschooling and the community around you.
One thing that moms have to understand is that we have got to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME. I get it – this is hard. We are used to wearing our capes and making everything happen no matter what. It’s just what we do. But during the most stressful times, that type of attitude doesn’t help anyone. It will keep us mamas running on that endless treadmill and feeling exhausted.
It will leave our children confused and trying to make sense of what’s happening. We are irritable. The kids are frustrated. It’s not worth it. It’s ok to let another mom take the kids to co-op for a few days. Let another mom or two or three make dinner for you.
Moms have to let go of the idea that we HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING to everyone ALL. THE. TIME.
There is no guilt in you needing to step back for a few days or weeks and saying to those around you that you need some help. For many, this is hard in itself. Please allow me to say this. If you find yourself in a season where you are struggling to do it all and the people around you know it, please let them help you. Allowing others to help does not mean that you are weak. It allows other families to step in and allow embrace what it means to be part of community. A community is strengthened during times of crisis. And community is what sets homeschooling apart. It truly is like no other.
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