As I write this, we’re in the middle of a recording blitz. We always try to get ahead of recording for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast and Homeschool Insights Podcast before summer, and this always tends to be a busy time of year for us appearing on other shows, as well. Yvette recorded two interviews today. I’ll be on a podcast tonight and another live show early tomorrow morning.
As I have been preparing for my interviews, I realized that the questions that will be asked and answered on these shows are the same questions that EVERY parent should be able to answer about education.
And some of them aren’t that obvious.
So here they are….
What does God’s Word have to say about education?
How are parenting, education, and discipleship related?
Who does the Bible specifically instruct to educate children?
Culture, the family, the church, and our constitutional republic seem to be crumbling around us. How is education contributing to their decline?
What is the major philosophy or worldview that drives public education?
How are DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), the LGBTQ+ Agenda, BLM, CSE (Comprehensive Sexuality Education), Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, “anti-bullying” campaigns, and radical environmentalism related?
What’s with “book banning” and the rise of pornographic books in libraries and classrooms?
How does the traditional school model contribute to the decline of the family?
How does government funding shape the agenda that is promoted through government schools?
Who should pay for education?
How is the culture war a “War of words” and how is this agenda being driven in schools (how are critical thinking, language, and logic handled in traditional schools)?
What is this all leading to?
What is the earthly/political end game (NWO, the Great Reset, one world government, global Marxist tyranny)?
What is the spiritual/eschatalogical end (One-world government, the Great Tribulation, the rise of the Anti-Christ, and ultimately the return of Christ)?
What about “good schools?” We often hear “Our family lives in a small, conservative town and our kids’ teachers are Christians. Do I need to worry?”
Can the public education system be reformed?
What is dad’s role in education and discipleship?
What is mom’s role in education and discipleship?
What is a grandparent’s role in education and discipleship?
What should churches and pastors be doing to solve these problems?
What am I doing to solve these problems?
What resources are available to help?
As parents, the answers to these questions are all critically important. Here’s the good news. We are constantly addressing the REAL answers found in God’s Word. We are committed to producing high-quality resources to sound the alarm and help families take back the hearts of their children. I’ve listed a few great resources at the end of this post, butbefore we get to those we should look at what the Bible has to say about these things.
Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
We are blessed if we avoid the unGodly counsel our children will receive in government schools, and the socialization of sinful classmates and the mocking, scoffing attitudes they pick up in school.
How can a child meditate day and night on God’s law in government school? He can do this when his parents teach him to apply God’s law to every area of life.
Contrast “Blessings” promised in this passage with the “Cursings” in Deuteronomy 28, and see which one you want to receive.
Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it.”
There is a way a child should go, and parents need to be training the child in THAT direction, not in the direction of the world.
Joel 1:3: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
Christian education is best understood as the equipping of each successive generation to train the next. This is a family matter, not a governmental mandate.
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the LORD.”
Is schooling mentioned in the Bible (and does God have an opinion)? Why YES! I’m glad you asked! This is just one of many passages that should solifiy this issue, but in Ephesians 6:4 we are commanded:”Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but instead, train them up in the nurture (literally, “Biblical counseling”), and admonition (the Greek word, “Paideia”) of the Lord.” (KJV)
What does Paideia mean? From the Encyclopeida Brittanica:
“Paideia, (Greek: “education,” or “learning”), system of education and training in classical Greek and Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) cultures that included such subjects as gymnastics, grammar, rhetoric, music, mathematics, geography, natural history, and philosophy. In the early Christian era the Greek paideia, called humanitas in Latin, served as a model for Christian institutions of higher learning, such as the Christian school of Alexandria in Egypt, which offered theology as the culminating science of their curricula. The term was combined with enkyklios (“complete system,” or “circle”) to identify a large compendium of general education, hence “encyclopaedia. Everything that could be taught in academics was wrapped up in the Greek word, “Paideia.” It was the word the Greeks used for “Schooling.” Paul commanded fathers to train their children up NOT in the Paideia of the world, but instead, in the Paideia of the Lord.
Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world.”
Christian education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 11:19: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.
Deuteronomy 32:46: “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.”
Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.
Parents and Grandparents:
Exodus 10:2: “That you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the LORD.” • Instruction of the young is given to parents and grandparents.
Joel 1:3: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
Christian education is best understood as the equipping of each successive generation to train the next. This is a family matter, not a governmental mandate.
Jesus the WORD (LOGOS)
John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Hebrews 1:2,3: “in these last days spoke to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [worlds, 3 who is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power; who, having accomplished cleansing for sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Colossians 1:17: “And He is before all things, And in Him all things hold together.”
Free Homeschool Survival Kit – 70+ page eBook to take you from start to finish in homeschooling. The Homeschool Survival Kit begins with a quick-start guide and ends with a value packed resource guide. In between, we cover the topics that every homeschool parent needs to know so that their family thrives.
Homegrown Generation Family Expo – This online homeschool conference features over 50 hours of homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship content from Kirk Cameron, Heidi St. John, Sam Sorbo, Kevin Sorbo, Kathy Barnette, Andrew Pudewa, Israel Wayne, Rick Green, Ginger Hubbard, Meeke Addison, Todd Wilson, Leigh Bortins, Rachael Carman, Davis Carman, Durenda Wilson, and many more.
The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast – Biblical homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship encouragement and advice every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each show shares practical advice to help point our children to Christ, build a solid Biblical worldview, teach effectively, preserve our marriages, manage our homes, and approach child-rearing and discipline issues with a heart-centered focus that will result in confident, biblically-minded, wise, well-balanced adults.
The Homeschool Insights Podcast – Homeschool Insights gives you practical, Biblical, home education and parenting encouragement and resources in under ten minutes a day. Hosted by Yvette Hampton, each show features the advice of Christian education experts, authors, speakers, curriculum publishers, and homeschool veterans, to help you disciple the hearts of your children for the glory of God!
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.
Please share this post with a friend who needs this encouragement.
Thank you for allowing us to walk with you through your homeschooling journey!
Has the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast been a blessing to you? Support from our listeners allows us provide resources, support, and encouragement to homeschooling families around the world. Please consider donating to support Schoolhouse Rocked.
Want more encouragement? Listen to the Homeschool Insights Podcastdaily. Homeschool Insights gives you practical, Biblical, home education and parenting encouragement and resources in under ten minutes a day. Hosted by Yvette Hampton, each show features the advice of Christian education experts, authors, speakers, curriculum publishers, and homeschool veterans, to help you disciple the hearts of your children for the glory of God!
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…
In this season of amazing deals and sometimes runaway consumerism, instead of Black Friday deals we are asking you to consider something else. If Schoolhouse Rocked has been a blessing to your family we would like to ask you to consider making a year-end donationto help us keep providing these resources to homeschooling families around the world. You donation is and will be used to continue production on the feature-length documentary (now in post-production) and to continue to publish The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Whether or not you can donate, we ask that EVERY listener support Schoolhouse Rocked by sharing articles, videos, and podcast episodes with your friends and family, by leaving a review on iTunes, and by praying for our team.
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.
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!
Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella recently sat down for a discussion on time management for homeschooling families. While Yvette finds her self chronically challenged in this area, it is second nature for Aby. This made for a lively discussion on the topic.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Aby Rinella and we are doing another Q&A episode, and these are so much fun. We love getting to encourage you and just having the opportunity to serve you, homeschool parents, and answer some of your questions. And so, if you have questions for us, be sure to send them to us at email@example.com, and let us know how we can encourage you. Aby, welcome. Welcome back to the podcast.
Yvette Hampton: I love this, I love doing this with you. It’s so much fun, and I love getting to answer these questions that we’ve gotten from our listeners. And so, we’re just going to jump in with this. And this first question, so funny, when I first saw it, it’s two simple words that have a gigantic meaning in the world of homeschooling, and I looked at it and I was like, “I think I’m going to have to let Aby answer this one.” And those two simple words with the big meaning are,
Aby Rinella: Oh. Double question mark.
Yvette Hampton: Double question mark, and I’m not great at time management. I’m not a very “type-A” person, and so I’m just one of those people who I don’t really fly by the seat of my pants always, but I kind of do. And I’m starting to realize more and more that I need to have better time management. As a matter of fact, we recently did an episode with September McCarthy and, oh, she was so fantastic. And after that one I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change some things this year, going into this new year, and we are going to do a morning time, just a more concentrated morning time basket.” So, I actually got a basket and I’m actually putting it together, I’m assembling it right now, and I need to be more intentional with time management. And so, since you’re good at this, Aby, I would love for you to tackle this question and help me and help those other time management challenged to moms like myself. Just know, how can we get better at this? What do you do? What does it look like for you?
Aby Rinella: Well, I am super “type-A.” I thrive on schedules and planning and all of that stuff. So, I think what works best, at least for my family, is blocking out my day rather than every… You can pick, 15-minute blocks, 30-minute blocks, but really just blocking out my day and then deciding what are my priorities? Like you were saying, we do a morning time, we do an hour actually, I chunk out an hour for our morning time and we can hit all sorts of things during that time that we can all do together. And then I have the next chunk or block of time where my kids go off and they can do their independent work, and that allows me to work with my little one. And then the next chunk of time is our lunchtime and then reading, read-alouds, so I can read aloud to the kids. So, I think the best plan that works for us is really just blocking out my day chunks, and then deciding what is most important.
Aby Rinella: I think also, or I know, that when you do that, what ends up getting pushed to the end are all those fun and exciting “I really wish I would have done that” Things. So for our family, I leave Fridays as open for all those extra fun things that we want to do, all those extra read-alouds that didn’t get really planned in, or the game schooling, which is so much fun, or all those extra things go down on Fridays, and that way, I can really focus on my Monday through Thursday and work in those chunks of time. The other thing is, is when that chunk is up, whether my kids have finished their work or not, they can put their stuff away. So, I just require that they work their best for that chunk of time, rather than just get it done, get it done, or it helps them to not rush through it, they know that they have this much time and they’ll get that done.
Aby Rinella: For homeschool moms, we also have to cook, we also have to clean, we also have to manage the laundry. So, in those chunks where my kids are doing their independent work, that’s where I’m prepping dinner. Or in the chunks where they’re reading aloud to one another, they can read aloud and I can listen while I’m also doing laundry. So, you can work your daily stuff that you also have to do into those chunks of time, and that works really well. One huge thing that really helps our family is menu planning, because then that gets taken off your daily list. I do it every other week, so I do a two-week menu, but you could do one-week menu, you could even do three days, but if you’re doing it every single day, that will take a huge amount of time. So, that’s a huge help for time management.
Yvette Hampton: So, what you’re saying, let me just get this correct, [chuckle] is that it’s not good time management to stand at the refrigerator at 4 o’clock in the afternoon…
Aby Rinella: And decide what’s for dinner.
Yvette Hampton: And figure out, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”
Aby Rinella: You know what, some people can do it.
Yvette Hampton: I’m not saying I do that. I’ve just heard of other moms.
Aby Rinella: And my way would only work, it worked for us, and it could help a lot of moms who need something. Some people do fly by the seat of their pants and it works really well, and if they try to chunk out their day like I do, it would make them absolutely crazy. I couldn’t do that. I would end up starting at 4 o’clock looking in the fridge, and by 4:15, I’d be on the floor crying, calling pizza. So, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that’s basically how I feel every day.
Aby Rinella: [chuckle] Every day?
Yvette Hampton: I want to curl up in the fetal position every day at dinner time.
Aby Rinella: So, for us, because I have it planned out, I know the night before what I need to take out of the freezer, because I know what comes tomorrow. I get up in the morning, if it’s a Crock-Pot meal, I throw it in and I’m done. I don’t have to think about it and dinner’s done. It just, it takes it off my plate that I already know what’s going to happen for food the next day, that I don’t even have to think about it, it’s just done. And then I can plan according, when I make my menu plan, I can say, “Okay, that day we have co-op.” So, it’s not going to be a five-course meal that takes three hours to make. It’s not going to work on that day. Not that I ever do those, but… And so, you can plan according to your activities that you have going on, and so that it just takes a lot of the stress off of things.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. Are you for hire? [chuckle]
Aby Rinella: Am I for hire?
Yvette Hampton: I want to have Aby plan my meals.
Aby Rinella: I love to time manage so much that if you want to reach out to me, I’d love it. It’s strange. I thrive on it. It’s a stress relief for me. Is that weird?
Aby Rinella: Maybe it’s a disorder, I don’t know. [laughs]
Yvette Hampton: Not at all. I think, like everything else, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two. Especially for someone like myself, because I I like order, and I like cleanliness, and I like… I like my towels to be folded a very specific way. There are certain things, but when it comes to scheduling our day out, I just have a hard time. And one of the things that I struggle with the most is when a wrench gets thrown in it. Like if there’s a doctor appointment in the morning, I feel like it throws off my whole day. Mornings seem to be a little bit better, because I feel like we can come back and pick up school later in the day.
Aby Rinella: Right. See, that’s so funny, because I’m the opposite. If I have something in the morning, the whole day is done.
Yvette Hampton: Well, yes. That often happens with me too, but I’m saying, if there’s something in the middle of the day, at like lunch time, then there’s no chance that anything is going to happen. And I cannot tell you how many times the girls and I have said, “Okay, well, we’re going to just do this one thing, but when we get back, we’re going to get back on track with school,” and then we get back, and then the neighbor kids come over, they want to play…
Aby Rinella: Totally.
Yvette Hampton: It’s a lost cause.
Aby Rinella: But I think that’s too why we need to schedule in margin, because it’s not good to have such a tight schedule that the schedule is ruining the freedom. Part of the reason we homeschool is we have freedom. We have freedom to say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity, let’s go do it,” or, “Hey, we got a call and a neighbor needs help, we can throw… We can skip our school and go help that neighbor,” or… Honestly, we just work in that sometimes we just have really bad days, and no one’s going to learn anyway, so working in margin is really important. And for someone like me, the type A, we can be owned by our schedule, and that’s not good at all. So, when you… And that’s also why these blocks are nice. Work in a couple chunks, a couple of those blocks in your week for nothing. So, if you get derailed on Monday, you can bump it to that empty block on Thursday. So, you’ve got to schedule in margin also, or else you’re going to lose your mind. And don’t let the clock and the schedule run you.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: You have freedom.
Yvette Hampton: So, you do yours in chunks?
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: So, you don’t necessarily say from 8:00 to 9:00, you just say for the first hour that we can do school. So, if you have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 in the morning, you can bump that chunk of time to 10:00 or 11 o’clock.
Aby Rinella: Right. You could bump it, yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of different ways to do it. I usually chunk out my day in two-hour chunks. And so, if there’s a doctor appointment, it goes in that chunk. And that might mean we don’t do morning basket that day, and that’s okay. It’s okay. You need to go to the doctor.
Your kids are going to learn at the doctor too. So, that really helps. And I’ve done the loop scheduling before, and that’s really nice. That has worked well for our family, so that I’m not owned by our schedule. I make it work for me. So, if we… We just… We do the next thing; we just do the next thing the next day. And that works in margin, so…
Yvette Hampton: Loop scheduling is great. I know Pam Barnhill has loop scheduling forms, and she explains it. I’m sure you could find a video somewhere on YouTube or somewhere of Pam Barnhill talking about loop scheduling, for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?” Or on her website, PamBarnhill.com. But I’ve heard her talk a lot about that. And I’ve actually… I have the print-out of her loop schedule.
Aby Rinella: It helps because you can be scheduled and yet you aren’t owned by your schedule. Like if one thing goes wrong, you’re not completely derailed.
Yvette Hampton: I know you’ve briefly touched on it, but explain what loop scheduling is, how it works for those who are like, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Aby Rinella: Okay. So rather than, “Monday, we do this, Tuesday, we do this, Thursday, we do this. Lesson 121 on Monday, 122 on Tuesday,” And the worry about that is, “What if I don’t get to 121 on Monday?” Now, everything’s a mess. So basically, loop scheduling is just, you write down what you’re going to do without dates, without times, and you just do the next thing. So, you just do the next thing. And you need a visual, and maybe we can link to some stuff with visuals, but you basically, you loop through it, if that makes sense. When you get to the bottom, you go back up to the top. And you just keep doing the next thing. So, for example, if you need to do math five times, and language three, you intersperse it and you just… You do the next thing, rather than saying, “On Monday at 11:00, I must do this.” It just… It opens you up to a lot more freedom, but it also keeps you on track, if that makes sense.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And you keep some things the same.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Like you have your morning basket time.
Aby Rinella: Always.
Yvette Hampton: Every morning…
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: But then as far as… And when you’re talking about scheduling stuff, you’re talking about history, science…
Aby Rinella: Math, science, yeah.
Yvette Hampton: Math, right.
Aby Rinella: Exactly.
Yvette Hampton: Those things you have to do.
Aby Rinella: And you can budget your time to make it work for you. I kind of do a modified loop scheduling. You have to do what works for you. And that’s the beauty of homeschool. What works for you, what works for your kids, what works for your schedule. And it’s different year to year. It feels sometimes different week to week. But just get some sort of time management in play, don’t let it own you, but make it work for you, so that you have a smooth-running home.
Yvette Hampton was recently on the Be The People podcast with Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Carol M. Swain, to talk about homeschooling and Schoolhouse Rocked.
“What knowledge and skills does it take to become a successful home-schooling parent? In this episode, I interview Yvette Hampton, a home-schooling parent and producer of the forthcoming film: School House Rocked: The Home-Schooling Revolution. Yvette updates us on the film and legal and educational resources available to parents contemplating their next steps.”
“Yvette and Garritt Hampton are the producers of a feature-length documentary on home schooling in America. The film, Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, is in post-production. Yvette and I discuss the more than two-million families who now home school and the challenges they face. Join us for an informative session with a true believer who has interviewed education experts, curriculum developers, parents, and families across the nation.”
Carol M. Swain, PhD is an award-winning political scientist, a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University, and a lifetime member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University.
Math doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but there are some secrets to making it REALLY fun and for helping our homeschool students master it. We had the privilege of talking with Nadim El-Rahi, of CTCMath, for a recent episode of The Schoolhouse Rocked. In this interview, Nadim shared his passion for helping students (even the ones who don’t love math) understand it, master it, and even enjoy it.
Do you find teaching math to be a struggle for you or your child? If so, you will be encouraged by Nadim as he and Yvette discuss some of the big mistakes we make while teaching math, the number one roadblock many students face when learning math, how we can make math more fun, and spiral vs. mastery math.
Nadim El-rahi, looks after all things CTCMath and has been working with the team for 7+ years. He has a degree in Math and Economics. He and his wife, Tamara, have been married for 4 years and have 2 children, Emma (3 years) and Chloe (1 year). Nadim’s children are not yet school age, but he has an enormous passion for homeschooling and great admiration for homeschool parents.
Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. As always, we have a great guest on today. And this is going to be a fun episode, because we’re going to talk about math. And you might think, “Uh, we’re not going to talk about math. That’s going to be boring.”
But it’s not, actually, because I am learning that math is fun and if you’re anything like me, you might have grown up as a student who hated math. And when I say hated, I mean despised math. I didn’t want anything to do with it. It was the class that I dreaded most, probably from about middle school on. I just did not understand math. I mean I understood basic concepts, but as it started to get a little bit harder, I just really struggled with it and my brain just doesn’t function that way.
But, believe it or not, there are people in this world who actually love math. And we are talking to one of them today. His name is Nadim El-Rahi and he is from CTCMath. And I know that you’ve probably heard a lot about CTCMath, and so we’re actually going to talk about math, we’re not going to talk so much about CTCMath today. But we’re going to talk about how to make math fun, and how to just engage your kids in and teach them effectively.
So Nadim, welcome to the show.
Nadim El-Rahi: Thank you. Thank you for having me, I’m so excited to be here. As you can see, I’m in my office. Ignore everything behind me, just focus on me.
Yvette: It’s okay. While you are in your office coming to us from Australia, which, I think you told me you’re about 16 hours ahead of my timezone, which is Eastern Standard Time, is that correct?
Nadim: Correct, yes.
Yvette: Okay, so it’s seven o’clock here, so 11 o’clock in the morning your time?
Nadim: That’s it. You’re pretty good at math.
Yvette: Yeah, right? Well, and you’re tomorrow, you’re into our tomorrow. As you and I were talking earlier, you could tell us everything about what happens tomorrow. Winning lottery numbers… If the Super Bowl was on you could tell us who won the Super Bowl. It would be great.
Well, welcome, Nadim, to the show. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Nadim: Sure. So I’m married to my beautiful wife, Tamara. Been married for four years now. We have two children, Emma and Chloe. Emma is three and a half, Chloe is one and a half. So I’m just loving the journey. Every day’s something new, something different, and it’s really fun. Parenting’s awesome.
Yvette: It is awesome. I could not agree with you more. I love being a parent, I love being a mom. It is the joy of my life, and as a homeschool mom, I get to experience it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I used to think that I would not enjoy that, I used to think, “Why would I want to be with my kids all day, every day?”
But as it turns out, I actually really like my kids, and so I really do enjoy being with them most of the time. But in addition to thinking that I would not enjoy being with my kids, I also used to think that teaching them certain subjects would be really difficult, and math was at the top of that list. Math and science were the two things that I thought, “Man, if we ever homeschool, I don’t know how I would do that.”
And I was pretty terrified of that in the beginning because, like I said at the beginning of the podcast, I did not enjoy math growing up, it was very difficult for me. And I love people, I love nature, I love things like that. But math was just one of the things I struggled with.
And so coming into homeschooling I thought, “I can handle the elementary school years.” But getting into middle school and definitely into high school, I just thought, “I don’t know how in the world we’re going to manage this.” But I trusted that the Lord had a plan. And as He would have it, He has provided programs like CTCMath to come alongside us moms, who, whether we love math or struggle with math, can help us with teaching math to our kids.
So I want to talk a little bit about math.
Yvette: And first I would love to ask you, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see homeschool moms making in teaching math to their kids?
Nadim: Yes, and math is an incredibly difficult subject to teach and particularly in these old grade levels. But I think there’s a few things that we can just try to ensure that we don’t do during our homeschool day. One of the big things is the long, drawn out explanation. If you take too much time, or over-complicate the explanation, students will often get lost. So we try to keep it short. Try to keep the younger grades three to four minutes, higher grades six to eight minutes.
Another mistake that can sort of happen that’s linked with that is giving too many diverse methods, or too many methods to attack a problem. Now, every child is unique. So if your child loves math, and they want to explore different ways to answer a problem, by all means. You want to expand on their strengths. But what we find is sometimes parents will over-complicate it. So it’s important to keep it short and not go into too many methods. Find the method that works best for your child.
Another mistake that’s often made is getting caught up in the hype of discovery learning, and we’re seeing this more and more often now. Don’t get me wrong, discovery learning has its place, and it is important, but let me give you a bit of an analogy. If you give a student a Rubik’s Cube, and you ask the student, “Hey, try to work this Rubik’s Cube out,” with no instruction, they’ll play with it, they’ll fiddle it, they’ll get it. Sure maybe one, two percent might get it, and that’s fantastic. But the majority, the vast majority, will get frustrated, annoyed, and put it down. And not want to go back.
Yvette: That’s me.
Nadim: But if I was to sit down with that same student, and show him a small algorithm, a small technique, a quick technique on how to solve that Rubik’s Cube, then they’ll be able to solve it. They’ll get excited, they’ll be passionate, they’ll want a bigger one. And then you can maybe go down that path of discovery learning with the bigger one, with the bigger Rubik’s Cube and whatnot. But throwing them in the deep end to begin with can often beat up their confidence.
And again, each child is unique. That sort of leads to learning your times tables. We believe it’s really important to nail down those facts and have those facts at a young age. It’s proven, there’s many studies that if students have a solid understanding of their times tables, math is far easier in those older grade levels, and they can build on that.
I know I’ve talked a lot about mistakes, but this is the biggest one, and this is the easiest one to commit. I want to start by saying this is not a criticism or anything, it’s just a self-awareness. And I think sometimes, and I’m certainly guilty of this, is getting frustrated when teaching. If the child senses any bit of frustration, you can throw things out completely, and you can lose them. So if you’re sensing the frustration, it’s important to get those levels down.
A consequence of this can be that the student is scared or turned off coming to you, and this could be problematic in the future when they’re coming to you with far more difficult problems as they grow up, much bigger than math. So I think trying to avoid any frustration, it is difficult, but.
Yvette: You were just talking about the importance of not getting too frustrated with our kids when we’re teaching them math. And we talk so much on the podcast about how one of the most important things in homeschooling is to build that relationship with our kids. Because it’s all about relationship, and the purpose of raising children in general is to prepare them for adulthood. And so we need to build that relationship with them, and like you said, if it’s something that’s causing a real rift in our relationship with our kids, then they’re not going to all of a sudden think, “All of a sudden I just love math, and I love it when my mom gets frustrated with me.”
That’s never going to be the case. And so, if I you can maybe give some suggestions of, when a child is really struggling with math, is it best to just put it aside for maybe six months or a year? Or back up and take it a little bit slower? Or maybe get a math tutor? I know a lot of homeschool families do that. What do you suggest, in order to protect that relationship that we have with our kids, what do you suggest is a good way to do that?
Nadim: Well certainly, I think if you are struggling, and it is a continual problem, I think you do need to maybe look at other resources and maybe outsourcing the teaching component of it. And you then become, maybe, the tutor, or they get to the bulk of their learning done, whether it be online, a personal tutor. What works best for you and your family. And then they come to you with a few problems.
But in that moment of frustration, I think it’s very important to remove yourself from that moment. I think it’s very important to take a step back and say, “Can we move on to a different subject? Or is there something else we can do today?” This is what I love about homeschooling. The freedom, the complete freedom, to sort of make the decision of what your day comprises of, and what you’re going to set out to do.
I think it’s important to maybe look at if there’s another method, using different methodology that you could try to explain the problem, or explain the question. Or if you don’t want to switch to another permanent resource, just finding a source for that particular concept that they might not be fully understanding.
It might be that, because you know, math is a building block, and it’s important to build on concepts. It might be the fact that an earlier concept was missed. So you might need to do some revision from the previous year’s work. And that’s really important. So just self-evaluate, have a look at the situation, have a good think about it, and trust in different things.
Yvette: So how do you go back? Because math obviously is a subject that builds on itself. And if our kids get to a point where they’re just really struggling, and they just can’t get it, how do you back up? Because we’ve had that happen a couple of times, where I’m like, “Man, I just don’t know what you’re missing, here.”
And partly because I’m not a math geek, I don’t know what it is that they’re missing. So is there a good system in place? Is there a good way to try to figure out like, “Oh, that’s the one piece of the puzzle that fell under the table, which is causing you to not be able to put this whole puzzle together at this point.” Is there a good way to do that?
Nadim: Yes and no. It comes down to the resource that you’re using, really, I think. Because math is structured in such a way, and some curriculums do this better than others, but if you look at the lessons, they’re incorporated within a topic. But within topics, it’s actually a stream of math, so it might be the stream of measurement. Or the stream of algebra, or the stream of numbers, depending on the grade level and whatnot.
But there are particular streams, and there might be only three or four streams within a grade level that needs to be covered. So if a student is having trouble… Simple example. If a student is having troubles with grade four fractions, well maybe something was missing from grade three fractions. So if your curriculum is ordered in such a way that the streams flow through from grade level to grade level, and topics flow through from grade level to grade level, then you can easily identify the building blocks that happened prior.
But, as we know as well, sometimes math draws on, particularly in the older grade levels, draws on other concepts from different concepts, and other grade levels, and if you’re not entirely sure, I would suggest that you… At CTCMath, we would encourage parents to reach out, send us an email saying, “Hey, my child’s having troubles with this.” And we’d refer it on to one of our math teachers, they would have a look at it, and make some suggestions.
So it does require a bit of in depth knowledge.
Yvette: Detective work.
Nadim: Detective work and in depth knowledge of understanding the curriculum and how it’s structured.
Nadim: I don’t know if that answers your question, I hope it did.
Yvette: Yeah, it does.
Nadim: Email me, I’ll help.
Yvette: Yes, it does. And I’m just going to give everyone your phone number and say, “Call Nadim, he’ll help you.”
Nadim: I’m going to give you my email [crosstalk 00:13:45]
Yvette: I won’t do that. So let me ask you this, because I remember, several years ago, for the first time I’d heard … Now remember, I’m not a math person. And I’m sure math was taught one of two ways when I was growing up. But I remember hearing the term “spiral math” and “mastery math”. And I was like, “What in the world? What does that even mean?” Can you explain the difference between the two, and is there a better way to teach math? Or does it depend on the child and their learning style?
Nadim: Sure. I think everything depends on the child. When I make comments, I make them about their generalizations, and the majority of students. So I think everything does depend on child. But I do make recommendations all the time. And they’re based on what we see with the majority of students.
So, quick definition. So mastery approach is when you focus on one concept at a time in math. Okay? As we know, math involves building blocks, but if you just focus on one concept and one particular thing.
Spiral incorporates revision, so incorporates learning with a buildup of concepts, which both naturally overlap. Okay? So what’s important? I believe, both. I believe both are important. But in separate parts of the day. So separate parts of the math lesson, I should say, not the day.
So when it comes to teaching the content, I believe mastery is the best approach. Focus on the one concept. And that way, if you focus on the one concept, and master that concept, you can build on it. Practice problems should be related specifically on that lesson that was just taught.
So if you have a look at your homeschooling day, and I said keep the explanations to three to four minutes. So if we take a math lesson and we say it’s 30 minutes. Three to four minute explanation, 20 minutes or 15 minutes practice problems, where it’s just focusing on that concept. Now, depending on the concept, there will be some spiral learning there, there will be some earlier concepts covered.
But then the last five, 10 minutes, spiral. Revision. Going back earlier concepts, mix-up of problems, what you just learned, what you learned last week, what you learned last month. Change it up. So when it comes to the teaching and the delivery, mastery approach. But incorporate spiral revision towards the end of a lesson. Does that make sense?
Yvette: Yeah, so basically it sounds like mastery is when they’re learning the concept for the first time. They master that concept. And then they practice it through the spiral method, right? Spiraling, to me, sounds just like practice. So you just go back, and you just keep practicing it so that you don’t forget it.
Nadim: Correct, but with the practice problems, I would focus solely on that concept that was just taught. It might be… Let’s take a really simple example. Multiplication, and we’re looking at four times tables. Okay? So questions we’ll just, four times certain numbers. Four times two, four times six, four times 12, and so on and so forth. Focus on that. And then, maybe in the last five, 10 minutes, include earlier multiplication that you’ve learned. So mix it up. Have fours, threes, and twos.
And that would ensure that some revision, the mind thinking, and a spiral approach, a more wholesome approach to the actual… Because when you sit down and you attempt practice problems, you’re not just focusing… A test, for instance. It’s not just one concept, it’s a whole range of concepts.
Yvette: Okay. So in talking about multiplication tables, times tables, have you found that there’s a best way to teach that to kids, or? Again, I’m assuming it’s depending on the child.
But here’s the thing. When you’ve got, as many homeschool families do, when you’ve got six kids, you can’t have six different ways to teach multiplication. So have you found, because you’re a math whiz, I know this about you. Have you found the most effective way that works best for a family in general? Like, “try this with all your kids.” And then you might have the one kid who doesn’t learn that way and then maybe you can try a different approach with them. But does there seem to be a best way to teach multiplication?
Nadim: Rote learning. Sit down, write it out, keep working through it, keep revising it, keep practicing it, keep learning it. Bounce it off siblings, if you do have those six children. Get them to test each other, quiz each other. At the dinner table, throw a few problems there. Rote learning.
Yvette: Okay. Just over and over and over again.
Nadim: Over and over.
Yvette: I remember, we used to do Classical Conversations years ago, and we don’t now because we travel so much. But when we were in a community, that was always a fun thing with rote memorization, is that we would do fun things like toss a ball back and forth, or do jumping jacks. Or, you know, whatever. Just fun things that would get kids to remember those different facts. And so yes, I agree. Rote memory is definitely, for times tables, the best way to get kids to memorize them.
Now, do you suggest doing them where it’s like, do all the twos times tables first. Then all the threes, and all the fours. Do you stack them like that? Or does it make sense to just try and kind of learn them all at the same time?
Nadim: I would learn twos, learn threes, learn fours. Now, you might want to, once you get to the fours, you might want to introduce some other math concept, because they might be sick of times tables, and then go back and do five, and six, and seven, and whatnot.
Yvette: It’s kind of funny, because we’ve covered a lot of topics on The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, but math is not something that we have talked about, yet. I mean, we kind of interspersed it into different podcast episodes, but we have not actually done an entire episode focused on math. And as I have been homeschooling my kids, and as we have gotten deeper and deeper into math, one of the things that I have really noticed and that we’ve become really aware of in our family, and I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. But it’s that math, everything that we teach our kids, we want to use those things to point our kids towards their creator, towards Christ.
So one might think, “Well how in the world do I do that with math? How do I teach math and Jesus at the same time?” Well, math is so perfect, because math is absolute. It is in perfect order, and it shows that we have a God, we have a creator who is a perfect God of perfect order, and he is a God of absolutes. And so just like two plus two will always equal four, it has always equaled four, it’s never going to change, it can never be revised by anybody because they decide that they want two plus two to equal five. They can’t do that.
And in that same way, we don’t get to change the order of God’s creation. And so math is just one of those things, that again, points us towards just an incredible, awesome creator. He made up math, we didn’t make it up.
And it’s amazing to me how when you look back into history, you can see how mankind, how humans have been able to develop their minds when it comes to understanding math. And they’ll have these big huge problems, that, in a movie or something, you’ll see them writing a big, some kind of math problem up on the board, and it seems like the impossible problem and then they get to the end and they’re like, “Oh. Well there’s the answer.” And there’s only one answer, you can’t have more than one.
And so I love that about math, because it’s not a subject that I enjoyed growing up, but I do enjoy that I get to point my kids to their creator by teaching it. So I would love to talk about how to make math fun. And I know you’ve got some suggestions on that. So talk to us a little bit about this. Talk to the mom like myself, who does not love math, who struggled with math growing up, and who really wants my kids to grow up not dreading math, but being engaged and excited about learning it.
Nadim: Yeah, for sure, for sure. I think the first thing is to tap into your child’s interests. I think to work out what your child’s interests are, and then try to relate that back to math. An example. Me, growing up, I loved cars. I loved the model of cars, I loved the various types of cars. So one thing I would have loved and enjoyed as a kid was surveying the models of cars on long road trips, just outside my home. And then tabling that, and creating graphs and charts.
So I think it’s important to tap into your child’s interests. So if they like cooking, well cooking is a fantastic example. There’s a lot of fractions involved in measuring. What I really like with cooking is, when you find a recipe for four people, but you’re cooking for six, and just multiplying the quantities, that always makes math fun. You know? It’ll add a really practical element to it.
Another example are board games. And these might be better suited to those students who really, really don’t enjoy math, who really don’t like math. So let’s draw out some fun in board games. My little three year-old, Emma, she loves order, and she loves helping out. So what we get her to do is set the table. And we get her to count out how many people are going to have dinner, so then she’s got to count out the plates, and count out the forks, and count out the knives. Because she wouldn’t have an extra fork, or a knife, or one short plate. She’s a bit of a perfectionist and Tamara and I laugh about it.
So really tapping into your child’s interests, and going with it, my brother loves bargains. So our best buys, when we go to the shops, he’s great at picking out the best buys and the best value for money.
Yvette: Yeah, you know, math is one of those things that is fun to kind of incorporate into just life skills. Because the whole purpose, of course, of raising our kids is not to raise kids, but it’s to raise adults. And so we get to take these things that kids learn in a classroom in a workbook, or in an online program like CTCMath, and they get to use them in the real world.
And you talk about your brother, he enjoys bargain shopping. Well, it’s great to be able to go into a grocery store and look at several different items. You know, you look at sour cream, and see, “Okay, how many different items are there? What is the size? How much do they cost? What’s the better deal?” And just trying to figure out that way. And of course, weighing bananas, if you’ve got bananas and they’re 85 cents a pound and you need three pounds of them, weigh them with your kids and think, “How much is this going to cost if we have three pounds?” And just doing that logical math with them. Because that is really what prepares them for adult life, for life in general.
And so it’s a fantastic… Gas is one of those things, too. You know, when you’re pumping gas, and you think, “Okay, gas is so much per gallon, and we’ve got to put 30 gallons in the car, how much is it going to cost us if we’re on empty?” Those are the things that really will allow kids, like you said, to have fun and to start realizing that, “Oh, math is not just something I do on a worksheet, but this is part of my everyday life as an adult. I have to understand these things.”
You mentioned board games. Do you have specific board games? The first game that comes to my mind is Yahtzee. Our family loves Yahtzee, we play that all the time. That, and Rummikub, those are my two favorite games. I like Rummikub because I almost always win. And I like to win. Are there board games that you recommend that are great for teaching math?
Nadim: I’m super competitive as well. I’m super competitive. Look, any games… I tend to lean towards the games that involve a bit of money transaction. So I always liked Monopoly. I think it gets you thinking about a different side of math. More probably the counting side of things, but Monopoly, any game of strategy really incorporates math, because you’re breaking down a problem. You’re breaking down, “What’s the best way?” So it might not involve numbers, but if it involves some sort of strategy, then certainly you’re using your math brain.
Yvette: Yeah, for sure. Playing games, often times, is really good for engaging kids’ brains with numbers and with math and even with accounting. Are there other activities… Well, first of all, are there any other games you would recommend? And I’ll actually, if I have time, I will do my best before this airs, I’ll try to see if I can find some good math games. Because I know that there are lots of homeschool moms out there who actually, they love games. They love playing games.
And again, that goes back to the relationship with our kids. I mean, how much fun is it to play a game with your kid? And I will say, if you have a child who’s super crazy competitive, and they cry when they lose, that is such a great opportunity to reach the heart of your child.
I remember my oldest, when she was real little, we would play games and she would get upset when she would lose. And that’s natural for most kids. I think most kids do that. And it was fun, well it wasn’t fun for her to cry, but I remember just thinking, “What a great opportunity this is to teach her how to lose at a game, and how to be a gracious loser.” She’s not a loser, she’s wonderful. And so I taught her, when she was really little, I would teach her to say, if someone else won… And I would not let her win. I would never let her win a game. But I would teach her to say, “Congratulations, Mommy, I’m so happy for you that you won.” And it was so funny because she was so little and she would lose, and she would first start to get emotional about it, and then she would say, “Congratulations, Mommy, I’m so happy that you won.”
And over time, it really did teach her that if you play your best, you always want to do your very best…
Yvette: But it’s okay if someone else wins. And when they do, we get to celebrate with them. And so, that’s a little bit of a rabbit trail, but are there any other games that, in thinking through it, that you think, “Man, these are just great games for teaching math”?
Nadim: Yeah, and just quickly on that, I think that’s a fantastic opportunity, really taking the opportunity to teach a little lesson there and teaching our kids to be a little kind, you know? Teaching kindness.
There’s many… Connect 4, is another game of strategy. Again, you’re sort of thinking ahead, and thinking on how to break down the problem, or how to best achieve the desired outcome of getting those four in a row. And again, I’ll reiterate, it doesn’t have to be numbers. So chess, or anything like that.
Yvette: Yeah. And strategy games, like you said, those are fantastic.
Nadim: Strategy games, yep. There’s a card game that I liked to play that I don’t know if you would have heard of. It’s called 400. You’ve basically got to get cards to… I’ll send you the rules, how about that?
Yvette: Okay. Oh, fine.
Nadim: It’s a counting game.
Yvette: Oh, yeah, that does sound fun. I would love to hear that. Our family loves Farkle. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that game.
Yvette: But it’s a really fun math game. You have to count the dice and stuff, and it has a terrible name. I hate the name of it. But it’s a really fun game.
So what else? What are some other ways of making math fun with our kids?
Nadim: Yeah, I think if you’ve got a lot of leaves outside, I think it would be pretty cool to go out and sweep them up and think, “Okay, how many bags are we going to fill up?” Play a bit of a guessing game where you sort of estimate how many leaves you’re going to fill up. That’s another situation of making math fun.
And bringing it out in nature, that sort of stems to nature. Everything follows growth patterns. Even if it’s just researching, just jumping on the internet and researching models of growth of trees, of all sorts of things. Growth and decay.
Yvette: Yeah. That’s fine. And you talk about estimating leaves and things. That’s something that you could even do with pasta, or M&Ms, or something like that. Put a bunch in a jar. I know that’s always a fun thing. Sometimes, we go to the library and they’ll have some sort of goofy jar with candy in it or something and, you know, “Guess how many M&Ms are in this jar, and the winner wins the whole jar.” And things like that. Yeah, those are great for kids, great for them to just learn how to logically think through that kind of stuff.
We have a few more minutes left, so what is the number one roadblock that you see that students face when learning math?
Nadim: I think the number one roadblock by far, it’s a great question, is confidence. They’re a bit down on confidence. That once that confidence is beaten, that once it’s down, a shield goes up and nothing sort of… It’s difficult to get through to them or make any headway.
So confidence. We’ve got to really rebuild that confidence. It’s just brilliant when they see things in a different way or an explanation from a different angle that really gets to them, and then you see the “a-ha” moment. The light bulbs go off. And the “a-ha” moment, and the change of expression on their face. So finding confidence is a big one.
Yvette: Yeah. I totally agree. I’ve experienced that many times with both of my girls, where they’re just struggling through a concept and then they just get it, and they’re like “Ah, I get it! I get it!” And they get so excited about it, and you’re like, “Yes, yes, you get it!”
And it is hard to not become frustrated when you’ve explained it to them so many times, over and over, but then there’s just that, it’s like a switch that just, “Oh, yeah, I get it!” And you know, that happens with many things, whether it’s spelling or math or, I don’t know, just a variety of different subjects. But math seems to be the one that…
Nadim: It’s a big one.
Yvette: That concept just clicking over, and just encouraging our kids along the way. And it’s one the great things about homeschooling is that we have our grade levels for everything, but as homeschool families, and as homeschool students, they don’t have to adhere to a specific grade level of anything. They don’t have to be in third grade math, or eighth grade math. We can cater to how God created them and what their bend is towards math.
I have one daughter who does not like math, and I have one who really likes math, and she really gets it. But my daughter who doesn’t like math, she enjoys other things much more than her sister does. And so it’s great to be able to just see how God has created each one of them with their specific gifts and abilities.
So one last thing that doesn’t actually have to do with math.
Yvette: You’re in Australia.
Yvette: I would love to know, what is the homeschool climate like in Australia? Is it growing? Is it even existent? I know you and I have talked before and you’ve said you thought about maybe homeschooling when your kids are of school age. What does it look like there?
Nadim: For sure. It is growing. That’s the great thing about it, it is growing, and it is getting bigger, which is fantastic. It’s not as big, of course, as it is in the US. I think the difference here is that there’s a lot more options available to parents with just the way government funding works. Every school receives government funding, so there’s actually a lot of parents who go off and start their own schools. A lot of people get together and start off their own schools.
There are more options in that. But I think as things change, and I think when our government, if they start to regulate curriculums and what is taught, I think you’ll see homeschooling just absolutely take off here in Australia. We have very close friends of ours who homeschool their six children. It’s fantastic to see. I can see that they actually tap into a lot of the US resources, which is awesome. With my involvement with CTCMath, I’m getting in touch with more and more Aussie homeschoolers as well, which is great.
Yvette: Yeah. That’s fantastic. Is it something that, if there’s a family who’s homeschooling, do others kind of look at them like they’re crazy? Like, “What in the world are you doing?” Or, because I know here in America, it’s not everywhere. But the majority of this country, I mean I never hesitate to go out in public with my kids during a school day. And never, literally I don’t think there’s been one time where anyone has just said, “Oh, you guys are homeschooled? That’s terrible, you should be in school, you should be in public school or private school.”
People may think that, but no one’s ever actually said that to me. And more often than not, people will actually say, “Oh wow, you’re homeschooled? That’s great. I have a sister who homeschools, or a niece who homeschools.” Or something like that. And it’s very widely accepted here, overall. Is it widely accepted there as well? Or are people still kind of sitting back wondering what this homeschool is?
Nadim: I think it is widely accepted. I think the issue that might sort of play on people’s minds, which is really unfortunately still the stigma of the sort of social ramifications. Which of course, we all know, is not true, and is completely wrong. But just sort of educating people, I suppose. Explaining it out to people.
Yvette: That is one of the big, big reasons behind Schoolhouse Rocked. Why we’re making the movie, why we’ve got our blog and our social media outlets, all of those things are to help people open their eyes up to the just great blessings and benefits of homeschooling. And so hopefully we can help do that down under as well.
Nadim: For sure.
Yvette: Nadim, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate your math encouragement, and we appreciate you guys. We appreciate CTCMath. You guys have been very supportive of what we’re doing and so we are very grateful for you. And people can find out more about you at CTCMath.com, is that correct?
Nadim: Correct, yes.
Yvette: Okay, perfect. We will link to that in the show notes, of course. I’ll try to find some fun math games, in addition to the ones that you have recommended, and I’ll put those in the show notes as well. And you guys, thank you for listening. Nadim, have a great week, and listeners, you have a great week, too. We pray for you guys all the time and we are so grateful for your support and your encouragement. And we will see you guys back here again next week. Bye.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been strong proponents of marriage, family, and faith, in the shifting sands of Hollywood and the notoriously family-unfriendly movie industry. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared some of the keys to preserving and strengthening her family and living out her faith. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to part two of the podcast with Sam Sorbo. And we are having so much fun with her. I love talking to you, Sam. I love your heart for families, for culture, for homeschooling, and for your children. It is very evident that you have a deep passion for shifting the needle a little bit and the direction that our culture needs to be headed.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And so I want to talk a little bit about that. You actually have a new book, it’s just now released called True Faith. And you wrote that with your husband Kevin Sorbo.
Sam Sorbo: Yep.
Yvette Hampton: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Sam Sorbo: So right before we got married, Kevin suffered three strokes and nearly died. And it was a three year recovery. We got married anyway, it was a three year recovery. It was a very difficult recovery. He had myriad symptoms that were terribly debilitating. And he battled through, he is the strongest man in the world.
Yvette Hampton: He’s a real Hercules.
Sam Sorbo: And he was going through this while he was playing Hercules, exactly. And so I nagged him long and hard and he finally wrote the book about his recovery, because I saw it as a way to minister to people, who were also going through hardship. Any kind of overwhelming struggle, right? It’s always good to hear someone else’s story and say, “Oh well. My story’s not that bad”. Or “My story is just as bad, but different. But look how they overcame and there’s hope for me”. That kind of thing. And so this book is sort of the next step in that. So I have a little bit of a bigger role. And in this book we kind of went halves and we just tell the story of working together. A lot of people ask us what’s it like to be conservative in Hollywood? What’s it like to work as Christians in that industry?
Sam Sorbo: And so we just set out to answer some of those questions to give you a little bit of insight into our life together. And it’s very difficult for us to get pregnant. We talk about that journey. And that’s actually part of the reason that I eventually figured out that I needed to home educate my kids, because I was just sending them off to a stranger every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And I’ll tell you a quick story. When we moved for the schools, we moved to the really good schools, and my son went through first grade, and second grade. And the first grade teacher that he was assigned, I was not allowed to change. I had to accept what they gave him. I had no idea who the teachers were. Somebody said to me, “Oh, you’ve got a really good teacher. Oh, you got the good one, she’s awesome.” And I’m like, “Great”. Do you know why she’s awesome? Because she keeps a bowl of candy in her classroom.
Yvette Hampton: Oh, gosh.
Sam Sorbo: And so all the kids at every age level who know that come and hug her and get pieces of candy. And I didn’t realize that was sort of the modus operandi for her until halfway through second grade.
Sam Sorbo: When I saw it happen again and it was just this one time and I was like… It was the 10th time or whatever. But I was like, “Huh, that’s why”. Do you know what I mean?
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Sam Sorbo: And then you start discovering other things. And I’ll tell you something, if you just take a moment and say, “I’m just going to try it for a semester”, and the bond you’ll have with your child is improved by miles. Because what happens is when you drop your child off at the school house gates, you’re tacitly telling the child, “My authority stops here. You are now under the school’s authority”. When your child comes home and says, “Mommy, mommy, you have to sign this. The teacher says you have to sign this”. And you take it, “Okay, let me sign it”. You are under the teacher’s authority. So now anything that the teacher says that disagrees with you, whatever it might be, the teacher says, “Oh, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And your child says, “Mommy, plastic bags kill dolphins”. And you say, “Oh, that’s not really true, because whatever”, right?
Sam Sorbo: No. Now you… Now, here’s the problem with that, right? Either your authority prevails, in which case there’s a huge conflict of interest.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you were lying when you dropped them off at the school and said their authority prevails.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Right? There’s a huge conflict of interest in it. It can’t end well. It’s not in good scenario.
Sam Sorbo: So we talk a little bit about that. We talk about politics, how we became more political. You know what, I just, I love the truth. And the Bible tells me that I have to adhere to the truth as thou shall not lie, thou shalt not bear false witness. Right? And so we just started to hunker down into our values, and that’s what brought us out into the limelight, I suppose you would say, right? And it’s sad the number of people in this nation who are enamored by lies.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. Well, it is sad. And you know, I want to go back really quick to where you were talking about giving up that parental authority, when we send our kids off to school. And it goes so much further and deeper than that, in that in public school… Most parents don’t realize this, but when you drop your child off at a public school, and actually I shouldn’t just say public, I believe private as well would fall under this, that school becomes their legal guardian (in loco parentis) during the time that your child is in that school. And that is the reason why in many States if your 13 year old daughter goes to their school nurse and says, “I just found out I’m pregnant”, that school can take that young innocent girl who doesn’t know anything about what she’s doing and they can take her to have an abortion and murder her baby without the parent’s consent or knowledge.
Yvette Hampton: In the state of California it is illegal for the school to inform the parents of what has gone on with their very own daughter, because the school has become their legal guardian during the school hours that we’ve dropped them off. (see In Loco Parentis)
Aby Rinella: But I would actually challenge that to say that you ARE giving them consent when you drop your kids off.
Yvette Hampton: Sure.
Aby Rinella: But when I drop my kids off with someone else, I’m handing over my consent.
Yvette Hampton: Sure. Right.
Aby Rinella: So parents need to also take responsibility to say they didn’t do this without me knowing, because when you get handed your child over to them, that’s a little bit on you.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But guess what? The schools don’t actually bear the responsibility for educating the child. And there have been court cases where parents have sued the schools, because the children didn’t learn to read or what have you. And the judge always sides in favor of the school, that it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the child to read.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: It’s absurd. What kind of subcontractor do you have in your house, who leaves you homework?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: Do you have somebody come clean your house, but she leaves dishes in the sink? Right? Why are we giving, why are these children coming home with homework? It just… And it was the salami tactic. It was just a little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit, and then… And pretty soon… I mean, when you’re a child, and you’re four years old or five years old, and you’re shipped off to kindergarten, and your parents are all, “Oh, you’re going to kindergarten. It’s going to be so good. And don’t cry and whatever”. And so you’re taught “No, no, be complacent. Do what you’re told and just go with the flow. Don’t raise a ruckus.”. Right?
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And so now parents, they go, “Oh my gosh, the homework for my child is terrible”. And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not a problem for me”. They say, “I have to go into the school and meet with the teacher.” Yeah, I did that this morning in the mirror. It’s so much better.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And we talked earlier about this idea that people look at you like you think you’re better than they are.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And here’s the problem with that. Of course you think you’ve got the better solution.
Yvette Hampton: Right. Or else you wouldn’t be doing it.
Sam Sorbo: We don’t think we are a superior human being. No.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: But of course you think that it’s a better solution because-
Aby Rinella: Why would you do it if it weren’t?
Sam Sorbo: So we have to get off of that sort of weird societal thing now that’s really just leftism run amuck, frankly.
Aby Rinella: Yeah.Totally. Because they’re offended because you’re doing something they’re not. And it’s the whole offended thing.
Sam Sorbo: Right. I actually, because I do a radio show every day called the Sam Sorbo Show, and I did a story on a young girl who had like a… Is it called a Norplant? It’s a-
Aby Rinella: Oh, yeah. The birth control.
Sam Sorbo: And it got infected, because it was improperly implanted.
Yvette Hampton: Oh.
Sam Sorbo: And so she had to have it surgically removed. And strangely enough, she needed her parental consent to have it surgically removed. They were not aware that she had gotten it done by the nurse facilitator person at the school, not even a nurse, like a non-nurse helper person at the school. These stories are crazy. I did a story the other day, a young girl in Colorado, 11th grade, given a poem… The whole class is given a poem that was at the time, it came out in the ’60s. I think there was even a court case about it, it’s a very controversial poem. And the publisher had seen fit to leave out all of the swear words, because it depicted very graphically, sexual violence of all kinds, as you might imagine. And so the publisher left out all the bad words, the F word, the C word, the other C-word, all of them.
Sam Sorbo: The teacher stood in front of the class and verbatim gave them each of the bad words to write into their version of the poem. And I had the girl on the radio, and we got to the point where she said, “I felt violated”, because because she did. Her parents tromped down to the school and said, “Hey, we need an apology, and you need to reconsider this curriculum because it is not acceptable”. They reconsidered the curriculum. The teacher wrote a “sorry, not sorry letter,” which did nothing.
Sam Sorbo: The school reconsidered the poem and said, “Nope, the poem’s fine. It’s part of teaching. And he wanted to make the point that some artwork can be offensive” or something. I don’t even know what. And so I had her at the end of the program. I had to modify the schedule to accommodate her school classes. I said, “So I understand that you’re back in school now?”. And she said, “Oh yes”. And her dad piped in with, “You know, we’re so proud of her because “salt and light” and she’s witnessing to an atheist girl who’s in her class”. And I said, “Okay. But do you understand that you going back into the same place where you were violated is actually sending the message that Christians don’t mind when they are violated?”.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And let’s get this straight. It was a sexual violation. Yes it was just words. But I’m sorry, that counts.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And she’s only in 11th grade.
Aby Rinella: And what is the father telling his daughter?
Aby Rinella: Unbelievable.
Sam Sorbo: And he said to me… “Well, we allowed her to make the choice”. How ’bout you be a parent, how about that?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Yeah. Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: And you protect your your daughter and say, “Not on my watch”!
Aby Rinella: Which is what every little girl needs to hear from a dad is this isn’t okay and this will not happen again. And you don’t have a choice to have this happen again, because I’m going to be here to protect you.
Sam Sorbo: That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Wow.
Yvette Hampton: It’s shocking to me how often I hear from parents, “Well, my child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. My child wants to go to public school”. Okay.
Sam Sorbo: Oh. Oh.
Yvette Hampton: Foolishness! I mean, the Bible says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”
Aby Rinella: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: The child does not know what’s best for them. You don’t say, “Well, my four year old wants to go play out in the middle of the street with speeding cars, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. And so I’m going to let him go do that”. No.
Sam Sorbo: We’re living in the age where parents allow their five-year-old to determine that they are of a different gender.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s crazy. What gets me isn’t that as much as the parents that say, “Yeah, my daughter really wants me to homeschool her”.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I get that a lot. I’ve heard that so much lately, “My kid would love to be homeschooled, but I”. And I said right there, “But I”. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you when you gave birth to that child. You know? And that’s the part that really gets me. I want to take those kids home with me.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is, and I’ve actually said this to somebody, and I say it sort of generically, because it’s really harsh. If your child wants to be homeschooled and you refuse, then you have to understand that that is you refusing your child, their desire. And either that paints you as too stupid or too uncaring. It’s a no win. You can’t win that one.
Aby Rinella: Well, they’re also crying out. I think those kids are crying out. And then parents are shocked when these girls start cutting, or all these things that they’re doing. And it’s like, but they cried out to you. They told you, “Get me out of this situation”. So don’t be surprised when they have to stand up and read these crazy poems.
Sam Sorbo: Exactly. Yeah, it’s frustrating.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: So I’m on a crusade to wake people up. We’re somnambulant, we’re just brainwashed.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: [Saying things like] “Who’s winning American idol?”
Aby Rinella: Well, we need more people on that crusade.
Sam Sorbo: And I want to get the message out, because homeschooling is the secret sauce. It’s the most amazing thing. I’ve produced two movies now. I never would’ve produced a movie if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: I’ve written several books. I never would have done that if I hadn’t started home educating my children.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: It has empowered me, that’s why the subtitle of my book is an inspirational journey from self-doubt at a homeschool advocate. My job when I wrote this book, the way I saw it was I was going to empower parents to make that choice. And thank God, I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, “It was through your videos. It was through your book. Thank you lighting a fire under me or guiding me in this process. And thank you for encouraging me and telling me that I could do it”. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know anything. Because here’s the thing, how best can we teach our children by showing them what it means to learn.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah.
Sam Sorbo: By showing them how learning is done! How do accomplish that? They have something to learn, first of all, right?
Aby Rinella: Right. I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but I’m a former public school teacher [gasps] I know, but do you know what I’m doing with my kids? They never step one foot and one day in a public school. But so many people say, “Oh, you can homeschool because you were a teacher”. And that is probably the most offensive thing to me, because being a public school teacher was my greatest challenge in homeschooling. I had to unlearn all of the brainwashing I got, how to teach a kid, because I realized that’s not how you teach a kid. That’s how you teach a kid that lives in this box. But when you said it’s better to not know everything, I could not echo that more, because I went to four years of school on how to teach a kid and I didn’t have a clue how to teach a kid till I came home and learned what it meant to teach a kid.
Sam Sorbo: Well, and when I criticize the institution, I don’t criticize the teachers, right?
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: So many of them really want to serve.
Yvette Hampton: Okay.
Sam Sorbo: A good thing. I mean, they really want to serve. They’ve got a heart for the kids and they want to do the best by them. So for Christian teachers especially who are now really more and more conflicted between their faith and values and what they need to do, so I encourage them to hang out a shingle and become a home educator for other people’s children, because there are plenty of people who… And I had a friend, actually, who had four kids, his wife refused, just steadfastly refused. And he had to work. And so he just hired retired school teachers for a half day every day, one per child. And that was cheaper than sending them to the local private school. And he wasn’t going to send them to the public schools there because that was a nonstarter. And his oldest daughter graduated Harvard. They’re doing great. Well, they had private tutors growing up. It’s a win-win! So If you’re a public school teacher and you’re getting fed up to here with everything, go into business for yourself. Be an entrepreneur.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s I want to put on the entrepreneurship back in education.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: We should be teaching self-sufficiency.
Yvette Hampton: Well, Sam, I so much appreciate your stance on family and on homeschooling. You and Kevin are a rarity in Hollywood. Garritt worked in the Hollywood movie industry for many, many years and we saw it firsthand just like you have. And I mean, it’s no secret that most marriages in Hollywood fail miserably. And it’s one of the things I respect so much about you. And one of the reasons that I love that you homeschool is because I forget exactly what your role is, but if Kevin’s going to be away for two weeks or more or something like that, then you guys go as a family, right?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. We’re never separated for more than two weeks. That was our rule.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. And I mean, that’s amazing. And with the career that he has and the career that both of you have had, that you are able to take homeschooling with you, and you’re able to be a family. When we went and filmed with you for Schoolhouse Rocked, we met up with you in St. Pete, Florida, where you and Kevin were both filming a movie there. And it was so much fun. Your kids were there with you. My daughter and your daughter had a great time. They spent the whole day together.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. That’s right.
Yvette Hampton: And I mean it was just so much fun to just see your family all the way, because at that time you were living in Los Angeles, but you were filming in Florida, so you were all the way on the other side of the country, but your family was together! And you have worked really hard to protect that family unity. And I respect that so much about you, that family is that important to you.
Sam Sorbo: You know what? I think I learned at a fairly young age to prioritize. Right now we say you can have it all. You can’t have it all!
Yvette Hampton: No.
Sam Sorbo: No. No. Sorry. That’s not part of the equation.
Yvette Hampton: Right.
Sam Sorbo: That’s pie in the sky. That doesn’t work. So, prioritize. And so we made it… We became dedicated. We said, “Okay, we’re prioritizing our marriage”. I said, “I’m prioritizing the children” when I realized that it was actually damaging for them to be in the environment of the public school. And what’s great is, when you understand, I’m going to use air quotes, “the sacrifice”, and you sacrifice for something, you imbue it with even more value. And what you get out is so precious.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: But if we don’t value things, if we’re just like, “Eh, a little bit of that, a little bit of that, a little bit…”, nothing has any value.
Aby Rinella: Right.
Sam Sorbo: And we find ourselves lost at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the lifetime.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: So yeah, I mean that’s partly why, that feeds into true faith. We stepped out in faith. Marriage is an act of faith.
Aby Rinella: Yes. Amen.
Sam Sorbo: Marriage is an act of huge faith.
Yvette Hampton: That’s right.
Sam Sorbo: Children are an act of faith. Home education’s an act of faith.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: Learn how to practice your face every day.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: And you’ll have a more fruitful, more fulfilling life.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right.
Aby Rinella: Absolutely.
Yvette Hampton: Well, that is a perfect way to end this podcast. Sam, you are such a blessing. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for your part in Schoolhouse Rocked. Thank you for your part in the Homegrown Generation Family Expo. We are so excited to have you as part of that event. Thank you.
Aby Rinella: So what day are you speaking and what topic are you speaking on?
Sam Sorbo: I think I’m the last. Am I the last speaker?
Yvette Hampton: You are. You are actually closing it out, as the last solo session, which will be on Friday, February 21st at 4:30 PM, Eastern time.
Aby Rinella: With me again!
Sam Sorbo: Great.
Aby Rinella: I’m going to hang out with you again.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah. You’ll be a part of that last round table panel that we’ve got going on, so we’re so super excited, looking forward to having you as part of that. That last panel will be myself, Aby, you, Kristi Clover, who I know you’re a good friends with.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Yvette Hampton: And James Gottry from the James Dobson Family Institute is going to be joining us as well.
Sam Sorbo: It’s going to be fun! And God bless you for doing that. I think it’s very cool and it’s a great way to reach people. And so I would encourage everybody who’s hearing this, please invite your friends.
Yvette Hampton: Yes.
Sam Sorbo: It’s an easy thing to do. You don’t have to go anywhere. You just sit at your computer, you can peak through everybody who’s speaking and learn a little bit. And maybe you’ll have the epiphany that you need to push you into the right direction with your kid.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and it is going to be very helpful in getting post-production funded on Schoolhouse Rocked, so that we can get this movie done and into people’s hands. So Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Aby, thank you for being with us again.
Aby Rinella: Thank you.
Yvette Hampton: You both are a blessing. Thank you guys for listening. Have a great rest of your week, and we will see you back here next week.
Sam Sorbo is passionate about faith and families. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Sam for The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, in which Sam shared her story of going taking her own kids back from the schools and how that decision has blessed her family. Please enjoy this transcript of their heart-felt and encouraging conversation.
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so excited that you are with us today because you are likely listening to this podcast because you likely saw the guest that I have on today. Her name is Sam Sorbo. Many of you are very familiar with her as a homeschool mom, as an actress, as the wife of Kevin Sorbo. She is just an amazing mom, an amazing wife, and she is such a blessing to me. Sam, welcome to the podcast.
Sam Sorbo: Thank you so much for having me.
Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and welcome Aby too. I’ve got my co-host here with me as well so the three-
Sam Sorbo: Hi, Aby.
Aby Rinella: I’m here. Hi, I’m so excited to get to know you a little bit better and be encouraged.
Sam Sorbo: Its fun. It’s just like us girls.
Aby Rinella: Yes.
Yvette Hampton: Right. We need our cup of coffee. Right?
Aby Rinella: I know.
Yvette Hampton: We have a neat story of when we got to actually meet you Sam, you are a really important part of Schoolhouse Rocked, the movie.
Yvette Hampton: It was about two years ago, several people had said to us, you really need to try to get Sam Sorbo in this movie. And I felt I don’t even know how to get hold of Sam Sorbo. One day, Garritt just said, we really want you to try to reach out to her, because I’d really like to get her as part of the cast. I said, okay. I found SamSorbo.com and I went onto your contact me page, sent you an email. Every time I do that, I always just assume it’s going to go into this big black hole of email that no one’s going to see it. At least not the person I’m trying to reach. And a couple of hours later you called me and it was so funny because my phone rang and I was expecting another call at the time from someone whose number I didn’t know. I didn’t expect to recognize the number.
Yvette Hampton: I picked up the phone, I said hello, and you said “hi, this is Sam Sorbo” and it was so funny. I actually said, hi Sam, could you hold on just one second and I put you on hold. I looked at Karen, I said “Its Sam Sorbo!”
Yvette Hampton: It was so funny. And then I calmed myself down, and you and I from there had a great talk. I think we talked for about an hour about our families and homeschooling and culture and all things related to those three things. And just it was so neat to get to know your heart, and that made me even now much more excited about having you as part of the movie and so-
Sam Sorbo: Can I be perfectly Frank?
Yvette Hampton: … yes.
Sam Sorbo: I had heard about the movie, and I don’t know if I’d seen stuff but I’d heard about it. I knew some people who had done the movie and stuff. And I was like, I want to be in that movie. When you reached out I’m like yeah. And I had just started this new thing where I pick up the phone now because I’m so tired of texting in the evening and I’m like look, she reached out, she put her phone number right there, she’s getting a call. I picked up the phone and we did, we had a really like mind-meld on the phone that first time that we talked, I think because we share a passion for the incredible grace that homeschooling provides. Is that the right way to put it? It’s such a gift. We feel like we’ve figured out sliced bread, we’ve got the wheel, it’s the most amazing invention, right?.
Sam Sorbo: So when you find somebody who’s like-minded, you just want to hug them. I think when I came to the house I just hugged you. I’m like, hey you’re here!.
Yvette Hampton: There is that there is a connection between moms that choose to school, to raise their own children. There is such a deep connection because it’s a commitment. It’s a beautiful commitment. And like you said, it’s the greatest gift, it is absolutely, next to marriage, it’s the greatest gift.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And there’s also the flip side, which is, I don’t want to say that we’re ostracized, but we’re sort of on the outside, and so there’s the mainstream people who send their kids to school and then we’re the other. And so when we meet people who are like us, there’s an instant comradery and it’s such a gift, homeschooling, that we feel like we’ve got that special sauce or we figured something out like it’s the worst kept secret or something.
Yvette Hampton: Well Sam, you and Kevin are from Hollywood and so this is the great analogy, is that when you see a good movie, like an excellent movie, and you want to tell everyone about it, like God’s Not Dead. It’s such a good movie or Let There be Light. You’ve seen a great movie and then you want everyone to see it and so will you tell all of your friends, you’ve got to go see this movie, it’s so good and you get excited about it. That’s how I feel about homeschool. I mean that’s why we’re making a movie about it. That’s exactly why. That’s why we do the podcast. It’s why we’re doing the movie. It’s why we are doing the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, because we want to share the goodness that we have discovered.
Sam Sorbo: And recognize that there are people who don’t want you to share that. Unlike movies, for the most part, it’s like if you like the movie, then go ahead and tell anybody. But if you like homeschooling, there are people out there saying no don’t do it.
Yvette Hampton: Well, I think oftentimes, and I don’t know if you find this to be true, I think oftentimes the reason that people don’t want us to talk about it with them is because they don’t have that conviction, and they don’t want to feel convicted or guilted over the fact that they are not homeschooling. So Aby, do you find that to be true?
Aby Rinella: Yeah, I do. I do find that to be true. As I talk to older generation homeschoolers, I feel like it’s totally shifted. They used to get the, don’t do that, that’s so terrible. And now I almost feel like people are like, aren’t you lucky to be able to do that? But I never could because of a, b, and c and d. The other part I sometimes get is, oh, you think you’re better. And that part breaks my heart because not at all do I think I’m better.
Aby Rinella: I mean, I do with my heart and soul and, and even with God’s word, believe this is God’s best design. This is God’s best way to raise our children. Do I think I’m a better person or a better mom? No. But I do believe, and God’s word says this is God’s best design to raise our own children. He gave us these children to raise, but I think it’s different than it was back on the day of like, this is a bad thing to do now. It seems like people are almost slightly envious that we get to spend as much time as we do together as a family.
Yvette Hampton: And that actually segues perfectly into Sam’s book. You actually have a couple of books, and the first one that I really became familiar with was called, They’re Your Kids, an inspirational journey from self doubter to homeschool advocate. So I would love to talk about that. Let’s have a quick break and then let’s come back and talk about that book.
Aby Rinella: Sam, we had just kind of segued into your book called They’re Your Kids. I love the name of that book because when we were ready to put our kids in school, my husband said, you know, God gave us these kids to raise. He didn’t give them to everybody else to raise, they’re our kids and we need to raise them. So when I first saw the title of your book, I’m like, that was the line, the catching line, that kept our kids home with us to raise. So excellent name. So tell us a little bit about that book.
Sam Sorbo: That’s awesome. So I started homeschooling after my son finished second grade and the school just wasn’t getting the job done. They just weren’t doing what I expected them to do, which wasn’t that much frankly, but they were getting too much, just really wrong. And so I just made the leap and I said, okay, I’m going to do this. At that point I decided to start blogging about it. So that first year I did it until Christmas, and then I said I was going to reevaluate but I knew already I wasn’t going to go back. So the first year was great. Hard, not like oh this is easy, I’ve got this all covered. I was the young homeschooler so I tried to do everything. I checked off every box, it was labor intensive.
Sam Sorbo: And of course I had my third grader, a first grader, and a toddler.
Aby Rinella: You were in the trenches.
Sam Sorbo: So I was blogging about what I was learning and I began learning so much, which I had not expected. Because I was done. I went through high school, I finished, I went to college. I felt like I was done. So why was I learning all this stuff? And yet my kids were teaching me so much and I was learning so much that put me in the position of being able to tutor them and stuff. And the second year I put them back into a little Christian school that had a hybrid program. It was a classical Christian-modeled school, and it was a disaster. And the day that I dropped them off, I cried my eyes out. And the weird thing is, and this is really the reason that I wrote the book, I brought my kids in and my second child was not a great reader, but he was a little mathematician.
Sam Sorbo: He was like a human calculator. He loved, loved, loved math. And so I had allowed him to work ahead in math, and I’d had to tutor him a lot in reading because he was just abysmal. So he was in second grade. I brought him in and the gal said, okay we’re going to test him to see where he lines up with what students. And she comes back and says so you’re right. Because I was apologetic. I said he’s great in math, he’s advanced in math, but he’s remedial in reading. She comes back and she says, so you’re right, he’s testing at about a fourth grade level in math. And I’m like, “yeah”. She said, but he’s reading at about a fifth grade level. And I said, “so I’m the one with the problem?” And she said “yeah, I think so.”
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing, right? I made the rules and the rule was I was dropping the kids off that day. So it never even occurred to me, hey look, you’re vindicated. You’re doing fine. Good job mom. Keep up the good work. Take the kids home and keep going. I didn’t, I dropped them off. And the rest of the story is in the book. It didn’t end well. I lasted six weeks and then I stopped and I brought them back home. And somebody said to me about a year later, it took me a while to process what had happened, and somebody said to me, “isn’t it wonderful how God allowed you to make that mistake to teach you that you are enough?”
Sam Sorbo: And that was a huge lesson. So after that I didn’t look back. But before that, you can’t help it, you look back, and the reason is because the system has taught you that you’re not enough, that you’re inadequate, but you can’t. In fact, the system has taught you everything that you can’t do because you can’t do anything that you haven’t been formally instructed to do by a teacher standing at a blackboard. Like this is the paradigm, this is how you learn, and everything else is not learned. And so we have this weird, honestly it’s like we’ve been brainwashed, we have this odd idea of what is really education. I got to tell you I have a new initiative now to revamp the way that we even define the word education. In fact, I may have a way to put it into the political campaign this coming year.
Sam Sorbo: And I’m very excited about that because people need to reexamine what constitutes education, what counts for education. We saw the parents that are being indicted for purchasing their children’s way into college. Really what is a college degree worth if all it takes is some cash that your folks have to get you into the school of your choice or the school of their choice. So we’ve seen that more recently, there was a young man who they found out his parents had bought his way into school, and they were considering rescinding his degree. If we get into the take-backs, then what? And now of course we have the socialists saying, well, education should be free. Well then know how much it’s going to be worth, right? The fact is with the internet, we all have the facility to learn anything we want, basically at any time we want for free. For the most part. It’s insane. So education is in the offing. It’s out there for the taking, and we need to get away from this old, dead paradigm of sending your children into an institution. It’s killing our young men. It’s just destroying them because it’s not geared to young men. Little boys should be outside picking up critters.
Yvette Hampton: Yes. And on that point, Sam, you know it’s really important, and we talk a lot about this on the podcast in that the whole idea of raising up our kids and homeschooling them is to teach them how to learn, and to teach them to love learning. It’s not just an issue of teaching them a bunch of facts, pouring it into their brains so that they can then go off and rattle them off on a test and mark, all the right check boxes. It’s really teaching our kids how to be lifelong learners because like you said the internet is full of all sorts of information that our kids can try. First of all, they need to have the discernment to know what is real information and what is false information. And where that comes from too is then takes us back to the word of God.
Yvette Hampton: Are we training our children up in discernment and in wisdom and teaching them how to be wise and how to discern right from wrong? Just because Facebook says it or the internet says it, or your friends say it certainly does not make it true. And we’re seeing that all around culture right now and this whole new generation of kids has been raised up, and they have no idea what they believe, but they’ve got degrees and they’ve got a piece of paper saying $60,000 in debt to tell them that they have this great education and they don’t know anything.
Sam Sorbo: What’s worse is they don’t know how to find joy. So I just want to step back for a minute, and say that it’s our job to teach our children to love learning. The fact is, no teaching required. Children love learning. They’re innately curious and they’re innately creative. There’s a great Ted talk, well the first half of it, by Ken Robinson, I think it’s been viewed 64 million times. And he talks about the death of creativity. How schools basically kill creativity because you need to get it right. And the only way to be able to get things right is if there’s a culture of the ability to fail. That embraces failure as a way of getting to the right answer. We don’t have that. If you get it wrong, it’s a red check mark, it’s a cross out. Well now they don’t even discern between right and wrong.
Sam Sorbo: As long as you feel good about the answer it’s cool, crazy stuff. So our job is actually even easier, because all we’re supposed to do is inspire the children toward your goal of learning, towards their creativity and that’s the wonderful thing. But now we’ve got these kids who have grown up in this environment where there is no right and wrong, there is no moral yardstick for them. They’ve been taught everything but Christianity there, it is not, no religion. Let’s get that straight. It’s not that we have no religion in our schools. We absolutely have a religion. It’s actually called irreligion now. It’s the combination of atheism and agnosticism and it’s irreligion, and it is the antithesis of Christianity or Judeo-Christian principles. And the reason that I’m so desperate to get the word out is because our freedom is completely intertwined with our Christian faith. And so as we lose the faith in our culture, we lose our freedom because they don’t have the same value as they did, and so we will squander them because they’re completely intertwined, and it’s a very powerful thing. People who have no faith have no concept of what that is, so they’ll squander it freely.
Aby Rinella: That’s why you see so much selling out, without that foundation of a faith, you’ll sell out to the highest bidder, the almighty dollar or whatever they’re going to offer you.
Yvette Hampton: Let’s close out this episode and let’s continue on for part two on Wednesday, because I want to talk more about this, but we are out of time for this one. So Sam, for those listening to this one, where can people can find out more about you at SamSorbo.com, correct?
Sam Sorbo: At samsorbo.com and I do have a new book coming out, so I’ll just throw that up there. It’s called Through Faith. This is my mock up, so it’s not a real copy, I wrote it with my husband Kevin. It talks about marriage, movie making, and miracles, oh my!
Yvette Hampton: When we come back on Wednesday and we talk a little bit more about that book.
Sam Sorbo: I would love to. Just go to SamSorbo.com for all the information you need.
Yvette Hampton: All right, sounds great. Thank you guys for listening. We will see you back here on Wednesday and have a great day.
“My friends, Garritt & Yvette Hampton, are creating what I believe will be one of
the most important projects to expand the message of homeschooling
that we have seen in the past decade.” – Israel Wayne
There is a serious war raging all around us for the hearts and minds of our children. As early as preschool, a secular ungodly foundation is being set for them in schools all across our nation. Children are being indoctrinated with a worldview that undermines the value of life and teaches them that they have no purpose. They are also being taught that their parents are not the authority in their lives. This agenda is robbing our children of who God made them to be. Desperate parents are crying out and they don’t know what to do.
But there is hope! As parents, we have the freedom to remove our children from these government institutions and teach them at home the values and morals set before us in God’s Word. However, many parents don’t home educate because they don’t realize this option is available to them, or because they don’t feel like they are equipped to do it. Schoolhouse Rocked will help to open the eyes of these parents and show them that they can be successful in homeschooling.
As many of you know, by the grace of God, this past summer we finished filming Schoolhouse Rocked in Vancouver, Washington with Heidi St. John and her family. Filming is done! This was the first monumental step. Now we are pulling it all together into one excellent, engaging, and life-changing film. And that costs money.
You can change lives!YOUR help is needed to finish Schoolhouse Rocked. Since post-production has now begun, full funding is critical and needed immediately in order to complete this film with excellence. The post-production budget for the film is $198,157 and that budget still needs to be funded. Following post-production, the P&A budget (marketing) will need to be raised in order to get Schoolhouse Rocked into theaters nationwide through Fathom Events.
We were never meant to do this alone. And we haven’t. Whether you have been a cast member in the film, a guest on the podcast, a prayer warrior, or a previous donor, THANK YOU. The role you have played in the ministry of Schoolhouse Rocked is vital. But we have a great financial hurdle to overcome and once again, your help is needed. We need you…the body of Christ to rally around us and help us finish this important film.