Do your kids like audio adventures? If so, they are sure to enjoy the Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama! Our family was introduced to these fantastic audio adventures during our 3-month cross-country road trip and we love them!
Every episode is an interesting, adventurous, convicting, and life changing story based on real missionaries around the world. Your family is sure to be encouraged by the many stories of God’s faithfulness, and you are sure to enjoy this episode with Sarah Bultman (Aunt Sarah) and Josh Bultman (who plays Ian Brinkman) as they share more about Brinkman Adventures.
Sarah Bultman is a beloved daughter of the King who has the privilege of raising up the next generation of Christian world-changers through her work with the Brinkman Adventures. Her passion is to see Kingdom-minded people raised up and thriving so that the Gospel will saturate every part of society and reach the ends of the earth. She has helped create the 66 action-packed Brinkman Adventures episodes that air on more than 500 station outlets all over the world. She is the author of the Brinkman Adventures curriculum and the co-host of the Brinkman Podcast. She is a life and ministry coach that helps people get unstuck and find their “why” so they can launch, grow, and thrive in their calling.
You can connect with Sarah for coaching at www.birchrise.com
Josh Bultman is a recent home school graduate who has been a part of the Brinkman Adventures from the beginning. He started as an actor in the show at age 8 and has helped create many of the 66 episodes.
He is the audio engineer and sound designer for the Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama and Brinkman podcast. In addition to acting in the Brinkman Adventures, he also is a character in the Jake Muller Audio Drama.
He has lived through many of the stories told on the Brinkman Adventures and loves to see people encouraged to use their talents to further the Kingdom.
You can find the Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama, listen to the Brinkman Podcast and purchase the curriculum at www.brinkmanadventures.com
Download three FREE EPISODES of the Brinkman Adventures here:
Listen to the Brinkman Podcast and hear from some of the real missionaries that the Brinkman Adventures are based off of: Brinkman Podcast
Hey everyone, this is Yvette Hampton, your host of The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast back with you again today with another really exciting episode. And as always, we always try to bring podcast episodes to and resources to you guys that will encourage you and equip you in your homeschool journey. And back in June or July, I actually can’t remember if it was the end of June or beginning of July that I met the Bultmann family. We were at the firmly planted homeschool resource center finishing filming for Schoolhouse Rocked with Heidi st John and the resource center is Heidi and her family’s ministry and they have of course a whole bunch of people who work there with them. And one of the gentleman who works there, his name is Pat Roy and some of you may recognize his name and he was the the founder of the Jonathan Park series that many of you, especially with older homeschool kids, you would remember that.
So he works at the homeschool resource center and one night we were there and Pat was there with this family, the Bultman family. And so we got to meet them and got to talking with them. And they started telling us about this audio drama series that they do called the Brinkman Adventures. And I was like, I’ve never heard of the Brinkman Adventures before. And it was really neat talking to them. And this family is just amazing. They have such an incredible ministry. And they were there at a homeschool convention and so they had gone to visit the resource center, so we got to meet them there. And they knew that our family of course travels a lot. We’re on the road all the time. And so they gave us their adventures, that seven seasons as the Brinkmann Adventures to listen to you on the road.
And it was just so fascinating to me that they had done these and that I hadn’t heard of him. So of course we continued on our journey and we started listening to this audio drama series and we were like, this is amazing. And what you guys have to understand about me is I, my mind wanders all over the place, especially when I’m driving. And typically when we’re, when we’re on the road, I do most of the driving because Garritt is sitting in the passenger seat working on his computer. And a lot of times we’ll listen to audio books and I will not be able to focus on the audio book. I’ll get pits and pieces of it, but I’m paying attention to the road and the traffic and stuff. Well, the Brinkmann Adventures were so engaging to me that I could not get enough of them and I would, I mean, I was like my kids.
I was like, okay, we’ve got to listen to the next one. So anyway, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to two of the Bultman family members, Sarah Bultman, who is aunt Sarah and the Brinkman Adventures and Josh Bultman, who is one of the kids who’s grown up as part of the series. And Josh, you’re the son of en, right? Who, who created Brinkmann Adventures. And then Sarah, you are Ian’s sister, correct? That’s right. Okay. So let’s quickly introduce yourselves to our audience and then let’s talk about these exciting Brinkmann Adventures. So I’m Josh boatman and I am one of the actors that plays in the show. I play Ian and I’m a sibling
Of nine other siblings. The oldest boy. I mean I’ve grown up making these things with my dad and with my mom and stuff.
Yeah. And you play a pretty big role because you, you do a lot of the technical part of it.
I also, I also do the sound design and some of the web design too.
Very cool. And Sarah, you have a pretty amazing part as well. Yeah, it’s really fun. So I also act on the show. I’m aunt Sarah, so I come in, in and out a little bit. But be besides that, I help write the stories. I did the graphic design, like the cover art and I’m, I’m the cohost of the podcast that we do the Brinkmann podcast. And I’m, I also wrote the Brinkmann curriculum, which goes with season one. So that’s really fun. Very cool. So let’s talk about these Brinkmann Adventures because the thing that really interested me is that it wasn’t just an audio drama for the sake of telling stories, but what you guys have done is you have taken stories from real missionaries and you’ve turned them in and you’ve changed them around a little bit. But every one of the adventures is based on a true story of real missionaries, right?
Yup. Almost everyone, there is just a few that’s focused just on the Brinkmann family. And those are loosely based on what has happened to either Ian’s family or yeah, our family. Yes. So yeah, but most of them are all about missionaries. Yeah. They are so cool. We, we love mission work at my husband and I actually met on a mission trip to Mexico when we were in high school. And you know, there’s just such a need and we of course feel like the America’s as big of a mission field as anywhere else in the world. Totally. But people who are willing to literally die for the gospel no matter what, what the cost, they are willing to go out and, and surrender their whole life to serving the Lord in whatever aspect God has asked them to do that. And so Sarah, you’re not only part of the Brinkman adventures, but you were a missionary.
How long, how long have you been, yeah, so I started doing missions. I’m back in college when I was, I went to Bible school in Alaska and I’m God just put on my heart to help people understand what missionaries, what they’re really doing. So my dream when I was 17 was to go to other countries and fill missionaries in their homes. I’m seeing what they’re doing and bring those, those films back basically to inspire people back here in the States to support them, but also say, wow, I can do that. They’re just normal people like acting on faith and God is doing amazing things to them. So yeah, back in college I started doing videos for missions in the native Alaskan population and I just remember thinking, wow, this, the landscape here is gorgeous. I’m in Alaska, there’s moose and bear and Eagles and mountains. But I realized the real treasure in those places where the people, you know, those tiny little villages full of incredible people that need the gospel and need to hear him and, and the missionaries, they’re doing incredible things. So
Yeah. So since college, I’ve just had this passion for missions and it was in 2008 that I went to Africa for the first time. And, and you know, when you go there, oftentimes your heart is just, you know, God just put something on my heart so deeply that I’ve gone back almost every single year. Sometimes I lived there for a whole year and work with a certain ministry and other times it’s for three months, one months. So I’ve gone back almost every single year for about 10 11 years now.
Wow. And so some of the Brinkman adventures are actually based on stories of missionaries that you personally know. And you, you’ve heard these stories on the mission field or maybe even been part of some of them. And so you’ve brought these into the the audio drama series and turn them into stories for people to listen to, which is just absolutely fascinating. And so I didn’t actually know when I first started listening, you know, all the way across the country actually while we were listening to the brain pen adventures, I didn’t realize that you had a podcast as well. And I’m not even sure how I, I think maybe I discovered that on your website. And then I was like, they have a podcast and so talk about the podcast because the podcast, I just was like, it just keeps getting better. The Brinkmanns they’re so cool. The podcast actually brings on some of the real missionaries. Yes. These stories that you’re telling,
The goal in the podcast was exactly that. These stories are so incredible. And some people when they listen to them, they’re like, all that can’t be real. But so Ian and I were talking and we’re like, these people need to know that these are real stories for one and for two. We have such an incredible opportunity to get deeper into the heart of this story and let people come even closer to those missionaries and ask, you know, Dave Anderson, who was almost drowning in the varying, see, you know, at the very first story, you hear this plane crash and they’re rescued. And to be able to hear from Dave yourself what that was like, to have to trust God in the middle of like, I could probably die right now. I am, I could drown. I mean I should be freezing to death and, and just hear straight from the missionaries heart and I, and that’s been such a blessing to bring people closer to the heart of this stories. Yeah. So it’s been awesome.
So cool. I think my favorite episodes so far that we’ve listened to, I mean, they’re all so good. And really quickly, I actually want to say though, that the series kind of follows your family. You can listen to one episode and season one and then you could listen to another one in season five and not be totally lost because it’s not a chain of stories. You know, you don’t leave cliffhangers. Well some of them have cliffhangers but, but you can listen to them here and there and still understand the the story. Cause a lot of them are just very specific to that episode. And I love that about it. But I think my favorite one that I’ve heard so far is the one about the carjacking. Oh that one was so much fun. And it tells a story of these. They were in South Africa. Is that correct?
Yeah. Well actually you tell it. I’m gonna let you tell the story cause I want to tell it that you’re going to tell it better than I can. So tell the story of the carjacking. Oh it was so amazing. And actually that happened to some friends of mine. That’s how we heard about this story when I was serving in South Africa. These guys told me the story of how they were carjacked and I was blown away with what happened. So I told Ian and he’s like, we need to do this for the Brinkmanns. So, yeah, it was just, I’m a friend of mine, Raymond, who actually plays himself in the episode. So it really happened to the guy who you’re hearing act. And he was going to buy some cows for, to give to his wife, dad. It was like the bride price, you have to get some cows.
And on the way back home they got carjacked and it was just this very scary situation because in, in South Africa often, you know, people are wanting to get things, but it often ends up in murder. So you know, someone will be killed for their cell phone. So the fact that they had carjacked them, there was almost no doubt in their minds that they are going to be killed at the end of this cause they’re, they just want to get rid of the evidence of who, who saw them. So they were just super afraid and like didn’t know what to do, but they just decided to start praying for the guy who was driving them. They’re all like shoved in the back of the van and they just, they told me, and it’s not in the episode necessarily cause it would take to them, but they prayed for them out loud for almost a half an hour.
Wow. So these guys are driving them and hearing these guys, God, we pray for this guy. We know that you love him. God, we ask that you would get, you know, we just praying and praying and praying and they didn’t like it at first, but then at the end they just said, you know, we want you to pray for us. And and they had a change of heart and in fact they gave them back their bank cards, which was incredible. I mean, they gave them back. Their cell phones just took out the the SIM parts so they couldn’t call. But at the end they let them go, which was very incredible. And even more than that before they let them go. They were able to really witness to those guys and share the gospel and ask, Hey, where would you go if you were to die right now?
And Havi my friend Javier asked that question and he didn’t realize that these guys had just gotten a message on the phone saying the police are onto us. We need to find a way to hide. Because it wasn’t just one car jacking, it was actually a string of carjackers trying to get a whole bunch of mini buses. They had a plan. So they had a whole bunch of guys and they, they knew they’re in trouble. So he’s asking this question, what’s gonna happen when you die? And these guys’ hearts are already racing. Cause they realize we’re in a really tricky situation right now. We’re about to get caught. You know, there’s roadblocks everywhere. We have to find a way to hide. So it was just providential that they were speaking that truth into them. And yeah, at the end, one of the guys, the, the second guy just said, I really want this.
I want God, please pray for me. Helped me to find him. And so yeah, they were able to love their enemies right in the middle of this super scary situation and, and were rescued. And that doesn’t always happen. But it was beautiful to be able to tell that story. And my favorite part was at the end when the car Decker’s let them go, they drove away in their other, you know, someone came and picked him up and they let the car go. They let the guys go, took their SIM cards so they couldn’t call the cops. But then they took the keys to the van and threw them into the Bush because they didn’t want them to follow them and it was dark. They couldn’t find the keys. And they were looking, I think for an hour. And then finally they stopped to pray and I’m like, God, we just want to go home. They please help us find these keys. And right after they prayed that Raymond reached out his hand and just banged into them, they were like painting in a Bush. So God just like, I hear you. There you go. And when I got home, so yeah, so that was just an amazing story and really encouraging to be able to tell. Cause I think what it says to us
Is when we’re in those pressured situations where we’re being taken advantage of or things are going crazy, you know, are we looking at ourselves and the things around us are we like, okay Lord, what are you doing right now? How are you caring about these people? How can I love them? And I just love their example of that. That is an incredible story. And it’s so impactful because, you know, as, as Christians, you know, we, we are, we’re set for eternity. I mean, we, we know for your following Christ, we know that no matter what happens to us, we’re going to go to heaven. And but, but like you said, it doesn’t happen like that. You know, obviously these guys were carjackers and so, you know, they, you’re your friend, the missionary, well, is he, was he a missionary or is he, did he both yet missionaries.
Okay. so they knew that these guys obviously were not believers. And and just for them to have that heart towards these men who had captured them, you know, and that their lives really were on the line and to just pray for, for their, their enemy is what they were doing and be able to share Jesus with them. I mean, that’s, that’s amazing. That’s absolutely amazing. And that’s what God calls us to do, you know, is to pray for our enemies. And so what what a beautiful example, what Josh, let me ask you, what is your favorite episode?
I would say probably there’s two that I really love. There’s, one is in season four is called heartsong. It’s just amazing story of this guy who was in Russia. He decided to not go to the state church and having his own house church. And so he got arrested after some time and he spent 20 years in jail. I think it was 17 Oh, 17 years in jail. Yeah. And it’s just the whole story of his struggle throughout that time. But it was such an amazing story. Listen to that one is in season four, I’m not going to spoil it. Something happened with so amazing. It just blows your mind. I mean how God rescued him from that situation. First of all, strengthened him and it darkest time of his whole entire life. Whereas, I mean, they’ll just share a tiny bit of that part where they finally kind of broke him and he renounced it was, he was willing to renounce the Lord the next day he’s going to sign the papers and something happened that night as he was just crying and just bro sober.
Okay. Something happened that night. That guy just turned whole situation around. So you have to listen to it cause it’s such a good story. And the actor who played that story, he was so good. He’s probably are, it’s just, he’s amazing. So good. He did so good. Yeah. And then the next one is our Davy ring story operation Moses corrosion. Mozel. Yeah. That one was recent. That one was our recent most for season seven. Yup. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And that story actually, which is so incredible. There’s something called the Sinica awards. So all of the Christian audio dramas kind of are in this award ceremony and that story, actually one for 2008, so yeah. Oh, here we have the popped up. But yeah, it’s just because that story was so fantastic. What that guy did. They’ve Eubank. He was, it was, he was in ISIS territory.
I’m a running through ISIS, gunfire and rescuing people and we were able to get the actual audio from some of those rescues and then Dave [inaudible] comes on at the end and actually talks himself. So it’s just so inspiring and the events are so incredible. And again, they’re actors did an amazing job. Josh did an incredible job with sound design. Just making you actually feel like you’re right there. That is so true. Yes. I definitely, well, we haven’t gotten to season seven yet. Josh, you told us your favorite episodes. What about you, Sarah? Do you have a couple of favorites? Oh man, I, there’s so many that I love. Some of my top would be the ones he mentioned. Another one or two that I really love. The family stories are really, really sweet and bring you into just deeper biblical truths and things that are encouraging to families.
And there are a couple of those that I really love. One actually it’s a bit of a mystery, but it’s, it’s called let’s see. It’s the one about Kate when she’s in the Congo. So do you remember the name of that one crisis in the Congo, I believe, or Palm feller? Well, I like both of them because just the way that the actors, Ashley, just the way that she acted in that was so great. Just hearing like someone who was a youth walking into missions and you know, trying to do her best and she’s in the Congo trying to do some stories and you, you kind of follow her journey of realizing what, what is really going on and how to more deeply share the gospel without trying to just do your own agenda. So that’s, that’s the first lesson.
The first one, but the second one, which I love, is a mystery called mysterious Palm feller. And I love it because they’re trying to figure out who’s knocking down these Palm trees in this mission compound. Well, it turns out it’s linked to this in which doctor that’s coming into town. And this is based on the true story of that happened in the Congo with Glenn. What’s his name I should have had? Anyway, so you can look up his name. His first name is Glenn, but he was in the Congo. And what happened was there is a witch doctor that would come around and basically scared everyone into paying him money for his witch doctor services. And the biggest thing he would say was, all right people, I have this stick. The staff is so powerful that if anyone touches it, you will die instantly.
And he had people so afraid and he also would send guys ahead of time to bury things in the village and then he would, you know, with his magic powers, find them, you know, so that’s, it’s proving that he’s at which sector. So Glen, who is a part of this mission he’s with Kate in the episode. Well, Kate wasn’t there in real life, but he was with Kate and episode and they realized, all right, this guy is come to town and he is ruining everything. They had been sharing the gospel. They’re no a long time and now people were kind of going back to the witchdoctor looking to him to solve their problems instead of the Lord. So Glen said, I need to do something about this. I’ve kind of been avoiding it by half to go. So he went and while he was there, Oh, there’s a huge crowd and there was a witch doctor with his really, you know, staff all dressed up with feathers and he’s just all dressed up just yelling at people that people, you, you need this power.
You know, they, things are going wrong in your village because you’re not doing what the, which doctor is telling you to do. And, and Glenn just got so upset and he said, people, this guy is telling you lies like, don’t believe it. He, he is basically keeping you bound by these lies, by these spirits that aren’t even of God. Like, we need to stand against this. And the man is all mad. What are you saying? Stop. And so Glen said, what’s supposed to happen when I touch this staff? They’re like, you’re gonna die. Don’t do it. So he goes in front of everyone and grabs the staff and just holds it up in the air. He’s like, am I dead? He’s like, people look at me. I am not dead. This is not true. God loves you and this is just keeping you trapped. And everyone was just stunned because that was like so scary and they’re just waiting for him to fall over dead or lightning does strike him.
Nothing happens. And then suddenly all the people get super angry. It was the witchdoctors minions or whatever. They chase him to the building and just, you know, throwing rocks, trying to basically kill him. But God protects him and, and he gets away and he ends up just praying for the witch doctor. And the next day, I believe it was, or the day after the witch doctor came to his door. Oh wow. In the mission compound. And he opens the door. He’s like, Oh my goodness, it’s Yannick and you want it goes, no dress in normal clothes, which side to close. And he said, Glenn, he’s like, I need you to pray for me. And he’s like, what do you want? [inaudible] He’s like, yeah, not believing him. And he said, no, he’s at Glen. When you came up and spoke, he said, I felt my power go from a 10 to a two.
Wow. Didn’t even know what that means. But he said, what you have is real. I believe that your God is the real God. And he said, can you please pray for me? So he talked with them all night long and the next morning he just fell on his knees just weeping, just receiving Jesus into his life as a savior. And I’m to this day, that guy serving as like a deacon and one of the there. Yes. So that story too just blows me away every time. Just like God’s graciousness and faithfulness and then Glen’s boldness to say, I don’t care what’s going to happen to me. I might die, but this is truth and people should not be distorted and ruined by these lies. So powerful story.
Wow, that is incredible. I love, love that. These are real stories that you guys are telling through Brinkmann Adventures because to be able to see the power of God work in real life is so different than you sitting in a room and writing out a script and making up stories and you know, it’s like when we read the Bible, we, we read these stories in it and it’s so unfortunate to me that there are so many people who think, well, they’re just stories. They’re just made up. No, no, they’re not. The power of God is so real. We serve an amazing and incredible God and if we will just open our eyes and we will look for him in everyday life. I mean, I think sometimes as Americans we think, well God does those things in other countries. And he used to do those, you know, back in the Bible days.
But he doesn’t really work like that now today. Yes he does. I mean, our family has been privy to many of God’s amazing miracles. And you know, sometimes we have the opportunities to share them and, and in the right context we, we do. And there are other times where people would be like, no, that didn’t actually happen. And sometimes there’s simple things and then sometimes there are bigger things. And you know, God is a God of miracles and wonder. And it’s so neat that you guys are bringing these stories to life to impact people. And to really show people how powerful God really is. And so it’s absolutely amazing. I love what you’re doing. And what there’s just no better way. You know, we’re, as homeschool parents, we believe, and I talk about this on the podcast all the time, when we educate our girls, we find no purpose in educating them.
If what we’re teaching them does not direct their hearts towards Christ and take them to their knees into the cross because then what’s the point? You know, if we just here, and I’m not saying that, you know, listening to fun stories just for fun, it is wrong. And we obviously we do that. You know, we, we read books all the time, but to get to hear real stories of real people and real things that God has done is just amazing. One of my very favorite stories you know, as George Mueller, I absolutely love the story of George Mueller and what God has done in his life. And, and I think I’ve maybe even talked about this too, but my absolute favorite part of that, of his whole story and his whole life of miracle after miracle is when he’s standing with the orphans and they’re there wanting to eat and they have no food.
I don’t know if you remember this, but they’ve, they have no food on their table. And he says, we’re going to stand, we’re going to thank God for the food that we’re about to eat. And they have nothing to drink. They have no food on their plates and they thank God, you know, for the food they’re about to eat. And then a bread man and a milk man both come to the door and provide all the bread and milk that they need. That is the God that we serve. And that is the God that we are directing our kids’ hearts towards. And if we’re not doing that, then we’re doing it wrong. We’re doing it wrong. And so I’m so grateful that you guys are bringing these stories to us. Take us really quickly. We have a few minutes left. Take us kind of through how you bring these stories together. So you, you hear about them. Where, where do they all come from? Cause obviously Sarah, you don’t have that many missionary friends cause you have 66,000 so that’s right. I do. Yeah. So where do the stories come from and then how, how do you bring it all together into a Brinkmann adventure?
So it happens in a lot of different ways. We get stories all the time. Just amazing stories, all like from tons of different sources. My dad was at a homeschool conference last year and some guy came up with two and he said, do you guys take stories? And my dad is like, yeah, we do all the time. And so he tells him his story and we later that year that became an episode called North Dakota gold. And I mean, that was just one of the ways we’ve,
There’s books. Sometimes it’s a book that has a story in it that we just cannot get away from. And we just think this one needs to be told. In fact, there’s one coming for season nine that we’ve been trying to do for a long time of book that we read that we thought this story has to get to more people. Or for instance my brother in law is a pastor in Alaska, so a couple of his guys that comes to their, his mission conference, we featured their stories. Or just other missionaries that come to our church or, you know, we just pray and we say, God, which stories do you want this generation to hear? And so they come to us, like Josh said, lots of different ways, and we just start praying and keeping your ears open. So if anyone listening to this has an amazing story,
Let us know it. We’ll turn it into a Brinkmann adventure. That’s so cool. Well,
Citing. Yeah. So from there then we it’s quite a process, but we kind of all get together in a room and, and bring the story to our attention. We listen to it, we read it. So we have like a writing retreat. And from there we do storyboarding, which is we write down the basic beats, like the biggest beats on cards. And then we have a big board and we’re just putting, okay, this is when he got carjacked when they pulled them aside. This is when he found the keys in the Bush. This is when he witnessed to the guy, here’s when this happened. And so then we put it all out there. And there’s a structure we follow loosely, but is hub helped us so much in story creation called save the cat is, that’s the book that we use, save the cat.
And it just kind of helps you bring all the different beats at the right time and it’s, it’s pretty logical once you get it and it’s like, Oh, this makes so much sense. So after we get all the beats down, then Ian, we’ll go ahead and write a script and then we all kind of come together. We breed it, we offer feedback, we tweak it. Sometimes it needs to be readjusted and parts added and taken away. And then at that point we send it to the missionary and they read through it and make sure they’re okay with everything they sign off. They have us change.
Oh wow. Okay. So you actually get it approved by the missionary to make sure that they’re given a thumbs up. Wow. That’s awesome.
It’s very important to us because it’s their story. So, and then from there we we have everything’s go and then we get the actors and we have actress from Milwaukee area. We have actors from all over and now we’re actually doing remote acting. So a bunch of people in India have acted and just sent in their lines. Sometimes we Skype with people and they have their own recording studio. Like Katie. Yes, we did that one. So I was directing actors in Haiti over Skype, which is fun. And some even in the U S too. Yeah. So let’s do the remote acting and and then it gets all on the computer and there are just hundreds and hundreds of tracks that, that’s where Josh becomes just like the guru of everything. Josh and Ian just mix that down and make it sing. And we have someone who writes original music for us.
Jared Davis swell is incredible, incredible composer and he just makes the story come to life through music. I mean, he loves the Lord so much and he said, I would just love to, he, he reached out to us. He said, I would love to write the score for your audio drama. And he does a lot of the other ones as well, like adventures in Odyssey heirloom there. Yeah. So he does as well. And yeah. Then we just mix it all down. Josh just fully so all the footsteps banging on things and splashing in water and there’s a lot.
Yeah, there’s a whole bunch of other processes to release it. It is fantastic. And then Josh, you like you said in the beginning you are the oldest boy of 10 kids and so we all homeschooled and you’re all homeschooled. Which is amazing because this has given you an opportunity to do this as a family ministry. We talk a lot about that on the podcast that you know, if you, if you guys were all going your separate ways during the day for five days a week, you would not have the opportunity to put as much into this as you do. And you and all, do all of your siblings act in these? Yup. Most of them. Most of them do. Right. And this is the habit. At some point you have at some point. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Which is so cool. And I think I had heard on one of your podcasts that your, all of the character names, well most of the character names of you and your siblings are your middle names.
Is that correct? Okay. Just middle name is Ian and I play Ian and the show. Okay. And there’s like two exceptions where we just changed it because they were kind of hard to say or they were too close to sure. Okay. Oh, the names. But it’s so fantastic. I absolutely love what you guys are doing. And you know, we, I am on a mission to get every family to know about the Brinkman adventures. [inaudible] I felt like I struck gold when we started listening to them. I was so excited when I, when I brought them back to the girls at Heidi’s house and I was like, look what we got. And they were like, Oh, okay, we’ve not heard of those. And, and we have just really loved them. And then you’ve got the podcast, which again, just makes it so much more exciting to get to hear the real stories. The, the actual, you know, some of them, the actual missionaries. And then really quickly, you mentioned something about a curriculum. So you have the Brinkmann Adventures curriculum. You said that goes with season one. What is that getting better Sarah [inaudible] I know
That also was born out of a desire to go deeper into the heart of these lessons or the, his stories. So we decided let’s write curriculum around each story of season one. And so basically it’s for like a Sunday school or homeschool or a homeschool co-op and it’s structured what you would need for homeschool and Sunday school. So it’s about an hour long. You listened to like an eight minute clip of the story that kinda plays the synopsis of it. And then you go deeper into what does it mean to love your enemies? Do you have enemies? So what kind of enemies are actually in your life? You know, they’re not probably the kind of enemies that Raymond and Havi had, but what are the enemies that you have and how can you love them right now? So it’s really practical in helping the kids to apply those lessons to their own life.
But then there’s also fun stuff like crafts that go along with it. There’s games that go along with it. There’s science experiments and object lessons that really help the concept just come alive. So that first one is 12 different S lessons that you can do in each one about an hour long. Okay. Can you go, you also get seasoned one with it. So you can listen to the whole story or just that synopsis depending on your group size and style. But we found that parents and teachers have loved it because again, it’s introducing kids to real stories of God working in the world. So it’s been a super great resource for people.
Very cool. And so that’s geared more towards elementary age kids it sounds like. Yep.
Oh, eight to 12 year olds. Okay. and another resource I wanted to mention that you haven’t mentioned yet is on the website. You can go to the real stories tab and fat is amazing because you just click there and go to the season that you’re listening to and go to the story and it will write in detail what really happened. You know, some of the funny things that you don’t even get to hear on the episode, but some of the deeper details, it has pictures of the real people. So it’s basically like a blog that brings you also deeper into these stories.
So. Cool. And about how long is each episode? 25 minutes and 55 seconds. [inaudible] How long is each episode [inaudible] on the radio so that, Oh my goodness, it’s so cool. And so yeah, you guys are on the radio, you said more than 500 station outlets around the world or all over. I just, I can’t understand where, I don’t know where he’s been, how I hadn’t heard of this. But anyway, for those who have not heard of it until now either. I am so honored to be able to introduce you to the Brinkmann Adventures. You have on your podcast, you have three full episodes on there so people can actually go on there, listen to three full episodes. We will link to those in the show notes so that people can get a really good idea of what the Brinkmann Adventures are. And then what is the website where people can learn more?
Yeah, so the website is BrinkmanAdventures.com. Okay. And they can obviously order any of the DVDs on, there are not going to be these CDs. Yes. Cds are digital downloads. Oh great. Yeah. Okay, fantastic. Well these are great. I mean I can just see people using these for their kids’ quiet times, you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner, any of those things are in the car like us. And that’s typically where we listen to audio books and things like that. So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for what you’re doing. You guys have an amazing ministry. And I love, we love family ministry because it’s what we do as well. We love that we get to work together as a family and just have some kind of impact, you know, and God’s kingdom. Amen. It’s what God’s called us all to do, no matter what it is.
And not everybody has to have, you know, make a movie or create an audio drama. You know, whether, whether you’re, you know, just speaking truth to your children as you’re snuggling them and reading to them and raising up, you know, the next generation of Jesus lovers. Or if you’re making movies or audio dramas it doesn’t matter as long as we’re all doing something to impact God’s kingdom. But I love that you guys get to do this as a family. So thank you for all the work that you put into it. It shows, it is so well done. So professionally done. So thank you for, for your time that you put into doing this and for talking with us today and it’s been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for having us. Yeah, it’s super fun and just blessings on what you do too.
I cannot wait to see the movie when it comes out. Oh, you and me both sister! I cannot wait to see it either, but thank you again. Thank you guys for listening to the podcast today. Remember, please go to iTunes and leave a review for the podcast. Those are such a blessing to us. And not only a blessing to encourage us, but it also really helps others to find the podcast. The more reviews we have the, the higher we move up in their, I don’t even know what you call it, their ranks. So that people can learn more about homeschooling and be encouraged in their homeschool journey. So I hope this has been an encouragement to you. We will be back with you again next week and have a great week.
Homeschoolers know that just sitting at a desk with a textbook is not the only way to learn.
There is a special kind of learning that occurs when children get to experience a topic rather than just study it. Their eyes light up, their minds engage, and their spirits soar. Using multiple senses make lasting impressions and pique curiosity.
The age old concept of field trips meets the new virtual world to create a learning platform like never before. Homeschooling should be an adventure. Here’s an easy and affordable way to enhance it.
The Field Trip that Comes to You
Think back to third grade. If you went to brick and mortar school, you probably remember your annual field trip. Even if, it was thirty-five years ago It was the pinnacle of excitement for the year. Who says field trips can only happen once per year in your homeschool? There is so much to learn out in the world. (Oh, and you might actually socialize!) However, homeschooling can be expensive. Even when you are frugal, it usually means living on less than two full time incomes. This can make it difficult to get out and explore as much as you would like.
What if you are studying the far away lands of Africa or Australia from you Illinois schoolroom? Sure it would be great to experience these lands first hand, but where is that in the budget? And then you need passports, visas, immunizations, etc.
Virtual field trips open doors to every family in every location. Now, students in Paris can visit the Smithsonian in an afternoon. A co-op class in Massachusetts can sail around the world and still make it to baseball practice and dinner. The experience comes right to your locations with the touch of a fingertip!
While virtual field trips take a lot of the prep work off of the homeschool parent, there are still preparations that must be made before embarking on one. Like the Boy Scouts say, “always be prepared.”
- Check that all technology works properly. Flying over the Savanna is amazing but, sound would definitely improve the journey.
- Click on every link and make sure that it is active and accurate. The Internet is always changing. The “trip” you want to take may have been created four years ago, which is aeons in the digital world. It may still be a worthwhile venture, but you want to be aware of which aspects work and which don’t.
- Make sure all content is appropriate for your study and children. Just as there are always changes, there are pitfalls on the Internet, namely, seemingly innocent links that take you to malicious downloads or sites. Ensure that your trip will be a safe one for your technology and children by previewing all the links and content before introducing them.
- Create a list of recommended reading and “surfing” for after the field trip. Make up a follow up activity list with books available from your collection or local library. You can also list websites with additional information, and/or apps that correlate to the subject matter presented.
- Set the stage and the schedule before you depart. Even though there is no physical travelling involved, virtual field trips still need an itinerary and time allotment. How long will it take to complete the entire field trip and follow up activities? Are there any supplies, such as colored pencils or astronaut ice cream that would enrich the experience? Make sure that you treat this trip as you would one that requires passports. Plan well!
If you have the time and resources, there are some fun extras that could really make a virtual field trip come to life.
- Have a picnic lunch. Brown bag it on field trip day and set up a picnic area inside your schoolroom or backyard.
- Add the local flavor and music. Are you going to a foreign land or region of the good old US of A? Consider having a tasting of local fare. Pick out recipes a couple of weeks before, and gather the ingredients. While you dine, listen to some regional or cultural music via an mp3 player, computer, or phone.
- Set up shop! What is a highlight of every trip for kids? The gift shop, of course. Sell pencils and erasers that match the theme of the trip. Print out bookmarks or activity packets. Give each child some fake money to spend. It’s a great way to add some math to any trip.
Can’t Find What You Want? Create Your Own Virtual Field Trip!
“Pre-packaged” jaunts are great resources but no one says they are the only way to go. Create your own tailored to your needs and curriculum. With a little bit of effort and a few clicks of the mouse, you can create memories to last a lifetime.
- Consult Pinterest for activities and photos.
- Find a relevant video on Youtube. Please, remember to pre-screen entire video AND the suggestions that pop up at the end. Certain surprises are never welcome.
- See if there are any related organizations, tourist bureaus, or foundations with informative sites. These may also be able to provide you with additional literature or free items for your gift shop.
Where would you take your children if even the sky weren’t the limit? Have you taken a virtual field trip? How did it go?
Post written by Jennifer Elia, of SoundFoundationsHomeschool.com.
Sound Foundations Homeschool is leading a homeschool movement – equipping moms to provide an education that celebrates her child’s unique and special gifts. Every child has special needs and even more special gifts. Sound Foundations Homeschool offers support and resources for easily building a thriving and successful homeschool that you and your child will love! From their step-by-step homeschool manual, to one-on-one mentoring, Sound Foundations Homeschool has what you need to create the homeschool of your dreams, that serves your family well, in less time, for less money, and with far less stress than you thought possible. Visit Sound Foundations Homeschool for your free copy of 10 Steps to a Successful Homeschool.
Photo by Willian West on Unsplash
Photo by Larry Li on Unsplash
“I became passionate about this topic because my daughter was taking some leadership training classes to help prepare herself for working at our local Bible camp, and the conversation turned to how she would be less equipped to work with some of these kids because she was homeschooled. She came home really bothered about that, and at the same time actually, our youth pastor made the comment about the kids needing to be the salt and the light in the public school system, and how that’s one reason he had never homeschooled is because he wanted his kids to be the salt and the light… She felt like she wasn’t doing what God wanted her to do because she was homeschooled instead of being in the public school system.” – Misty Bailey
Yvette Hampton and Misty Bailey recently had the opportunity to discuss whether our kids have the responsibility of being “salt and light” in public schools. Are we missing an opportunity to evangelize when we remove our kids from public schools, and if they do not have the responsibility of being “salt and light” there, who does?
Yvette Hampton: Misty Bailey is a blogger, a podcaster, and she is a homeschool mom. I recently had the opportunity to discuss an exciting, and maybe a little bit controversial, topic; “our kids being salt and light in the world.” We often get that question. People will say, “well, we’ve got to have Christian kids in the public school system so that they can be salt and light.”
Misty, welcome. Tell us about your family.
Misty: We have been homeschooling since 2009. My kids, right now, are 14, 11, and seven. I was a former public school teacher and I kind of went into homeschooling begrudgingly. I didn’t really want to do it. Kind of went kicking and screaming, but God just started laying it on my heart when my oldest was four, as she was entering into those preschool years… You have to send your kids to preschool, right?
At the time, I was teaching in the public school system. So I ended up quitting when I got pregnant with my second, but my husband at this point was against homeschooling, even though the Lord had been laying it on my heart. So we sent her off into public school, and shortly after she had entered public school, we started noticing changes in her, changes in her personality. There were some issues that had come up with the public school system at the time, and so my husband said, “If you could teach her to read, you can homeschool.” So no pressure. But I did it, I taught her to read, she was actually the easiest of my three kids to teach.
And here we are. We’ve not looked back. My husband now is my biggest cheerleader. So he is pro, pro, pro homeschooling. Like I said, my kids are 14, 11, and seven. My youngest son does have special needs. He has apraxia, ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. So we are also homeschooling with special needs which has opened up a whole new world for us, for homeschooling. I’m passionate about helping homeschool moms on this journey. Just encouraging them and being that mentor to them that I needed when I first started homeschooling.
Yvette: I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast and you’ve had some exciting guests on there, and you are just full of so much encouragement. I appreciate your ministry so much.
You said your husband was really against you homeschooling in the beginning. What was it that caused him to feel so negative about homeschooling?
“I was a former public school teacher and I kind of went into homeschooling begrudgingly. I didn’t really want to do it. Kind of went kicking and screaming…”
Misty: Yeah, so he thought homeschoolers were freaks. He didn’t want our kids to be weird or just stand out, and at that point we only knew one other family who homeschooled, and their kids were really good kids. It’s not like they were freaks at all. That mom ended up being my biggest homeschool mentor, but they were the only other homeschoolers he knew. So it was kind of funny because as the Lord was dealing with me to homeschool our kids, God kept putting homeschoolers in his path. From the mechanic who were fixing our van, to where he’d be at quiz bowl and he would bump into somebody and they would start talking about how they homeschooled their kids. So he started to see that our kids wouldn’t be the only weirdos out there, and I just thought that was so funny because I mean, I think God has a sense of humor, especially. I think if you ever say the words, “I would never homeschool.” You know, he’s going to come along and very likely change your mind and that’s what happened to us. He’s my biggest cheerleader now. He talks to everybody about homeschooling and I really couldn’t do this without him so.
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Yvette: I love that so much and that was our story too. We said, “We would never ever homeschool.” Now we’re making a movie about it! So I think we need to just stick on this never train and say, “I’ll never ever, ever make it to Europe.” “I’ll never ever, ever go back to Hawaii.” Let’s use those nevers to our benefit, right?
Misty: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: Well I love that he is now really on board with homeschooling, and that is a big part of why we’re making this documentary. We want to open the eyes of parents to see what homeschooling really is and, because we had all those misconceptions too, like our kids are going to be weird.
You were actually one step ahead of us. You had a van it sounds like, because you said you were having your van worked on. So, every good homeschool mom has a minivan, and I didn’t have a minivan, but I still call myself a homeschool mom, so it’s all good.
If not, you have to have some kind of other bonus points like really, really long hair, or something like that. I’m not exactly sure what all the requirements are.
Misty: Denim jumpers.
Yvette: Right. Anyway, there all of those stereotypes. we think that homeschooling should look a certain way and it doesn’t. It is so individualized and so different for every family, and it’s what makes it so beautiful, is that every family can do this and do what’s best for their family, and every family looks differently, they act differently, they have different methods and ways of schooling, but it all points back to doing what’s best for your kids and your family.
Misty: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: So, let’s talk about this whole salt and light argument. I know this is something that you’re really passionate about, which is why I was excited to have you on to talk about this because often times people will talk about the argument well we can’t take our kids out of public school or even private school because they need to be the salt and light of the world. There are, you have, I mean, we have so many great arguments against this, but I really want to talk and focus on what scripture says about this. What does God say about our kids being salt and light, and are we being unbiblical by taking our kids out of that public school system and not allowing them to be in there as salt and light and telling other kids about Jesus, or are we … Is there a benefit to having them out of the public school system? I know parents teeter both ways on this.
Misty: I became passionate about this topic because my daughter was taking some leadership training classes to help prepare herself for working at our local Bible camp, and the conversation turned to how she would be less equipped to work with some of these kids because she was homeschooled, and that really, she really came home really bothered about that, and at the same time actually our pastor, our youth pastor had made the comment about the kids needing to be the salt and the light in the public school system, and how that’s one reason he had never homeschooled is because he wanted his kids to be the salt and the light. So at this point my daughter felt very negative about, not negative about homeschooling like she wanted to go to public school, but she felt guilty. She felt like she wasn’t doing what God wanted her to do because she was homeschooled instead of being in the public school system.
“I cannot find anywhere in scripture where Jesus goes and he tells kids to go out there and to preach the Gospel, because throughout scripture whenever children are mentioned, even Jesus as a child, they’re learning. They’re not out there discipling or teaching other people.”
Misty: So she and I were talking about how it’s just not our kids’ job to be the salt and the light, and I say that because if you look at scripture, a lot of times when people talk about that verse, or they talk about being the salt and the light, they are referring to in scripture where in Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus tells his disciples that they are the “salt of the Earth and the light of the world,” and that they need to go and “let their light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is at heaven.” But I think a lot of times what people don’t look at is whenever he’s talking about that and talking to his disciples about them going out and being the salt and the light, he’s talking to adults. He is not talking to children, and I cannot find anywhere in scripture where Jesus goes and he tells kids to go out there and to preach the Gospel, because throughout scripture whenever children are mentioned, even Jesus as a child, they’re learning. They’re not out there discipling or teaching other people.
They’re learning under their parents; they’re learning under people within the temple. He’s telling the children to come to him, but he never, I can never find a place in scripture where he’s telling people to go, telling children to go out and be missionaries because that’s not their job.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. It’s not their job.
Yvette: It is their job to be salt and light wherever they go, but that doesn’t mean putting them in a system that is teaching everything contrary to the word of God and expecting them to be strong enough to defend that, and kids don’t … Kids can understand God’s word of course, kids are really smart and they are usually in that process of trying to figure out what they believe in and why they believe it, but a child does not, I would say even many middle school and high schoolers, they don’t completely understand yet what they believe and why they believe it. They’re still in the stage of asking questions and trying to figure out okay, this is what my mom says, this is what the world says, this is what my dad says, this is what my neighbor kids, my neighbors say, and where do I fit into all of this and what do I really believe. So expecting these kids to be able to say, “Well this is exactly what’s true and this is what I believe, and here is how I’m going to defend it.” They haven’t been taught yet how to do that.
Now, there are some amazing Christian parents who of course teach the word of God to their kids on a daily basis, and they have their family Bible time and stuff, but it’s very different when you’re not being able to teach them that day in and day out in a home setting where it’s you and it’s them, and you get to observe their struggles, and their victories, and all of the things that your kids deal with in their childhood, and you get to be the one to instill truth into them. When they’re apart from you for 35 hours a week, it’s not possible to be able to do that.
Misty: Yeah, and I think that that’s exactly it. I think that particularly when our kids are young, their job is to be trained up by their parents. It’s to hide the word of God in their heart so that when they’re older they can go out and serve him. Now, that doesn’t mean that our kids can’t be a positive witness to those around them, but it also doesn’t mean that we need to place them in a spiritually hostile environment at a young age just because we think our kids should be the salt and the light to the public schools because I think that our public schools are set up to where really our kids, our Christian kids are failing in the public school system. They’re not set up to where they are a place where our kids can even be a light to an extent because everything around them is so anti-God, and particularly I look at my two younger kids, and they’re seven and 11, and I don’t feel that I have had the time to fully prepare them for the world, to prepare them to be missionaries, to go into an environment full of people who are not Christians and spread the love of God.
Misty: Now, they can do it with me. We can go out somewhere as a family.
Misty: And they can be that light. They can be that light on a sports team. They can be that light if we go out as a family and serve homeless people, or serve at funerals. There are ways that they can still be a light, but it does not have to be within the public school system, and I don’t feel at that, at their age that’s really what they should be doing anyway.
Yvette: Right, yeah, and I agree. I think that’s a huge responsibility that we put on them, and to be quite honest, most wouldn’t do that. Now, that’s not to say that there are not Christian kids in public school or in private school who are really impacting the lives of other people because I’ve known them personally.
Yvette: There are certainly are kids out there who are, they’re hosting Bible clubs, and they’re leading Bible studies, and they’re inviting their friends to church, and they’re inviting their kids to youth camp and things like that. There are definitely kids out there who love Jesus and who are very solid and confident in their walk with the Lord, and they go out and they can really make a difference. So it’s not to say that that doesn’t ever happen, but I.
Misty: But it’s a rarity.
Yvette: It’s a rarity.
Misty: And those are the rare cases.
Misty: And a lot of times how old are those kids too? I mean, I don’t think they’re elementary age students or even early middle school. Most of the time they’re high schoolers, right?
Yvette: Right, right, yes, yeah. I definitely would think so, at least at the very youngest usually middle school.
Yvette: Yeah, and you know we’ve talked a lot with our girls about foundations, and you just use the structure of a building. You wouldn’t, we were driving by recently some houses that were being built and they were pouring the foundation and I said, you know, they would never build those walls around that house and start putting the roof on before building that foundation because the house would not be able to stand. You have to build that foundation and it has to be a strong solid foundation in order to hold up the walls, and hold up the roof, and be able to protect the family that’s inside of that home. So why do we do that with our children, with their hearts?
We think oh, let’s just ship them out there and then we’ll undo everything that they’ve learned, and we did a great interview with Bryan Osborne for Schoolhouse Rocked and he had been a public school teacher for I think about 13 years, and one of the things he said is he said, “If you are a Christian parents and you have your kids in a public school.” He said, “You need to be prepared to know everything that they’re being taught and then be willing to undo all of the lies that they are being taught.” And he, I mean, this is, he taught public school. Our kids are going out there in these schools and they’re learning lies, and so to have to bring them home, and it’s not even possible to know everything that they’re being taught, but to bring them home and then have to undo it all, well, you may as well just homeschool them because that’s, it’d be much easier to just teach them the truth in the first place. But talking about the foundation and our kids being able to build that solid foundation.
That’s our job as their parents, is to build that solid foundation of what they believe and helping them to understand why God’s word is truth, and then they can go out and defend that. That’s what apologetics is all about, and so I love that. One of the verses that constantly comes to mind is Luke 6:40, that, “A student is not above the teacher but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
Yvette: So first sending our kids out to these schools that are teaching untruth and we’re telling them okay, your teacher is telling you two plus two is four, believe them, that’s true, and your teacher is teaching you that evolution is true, okay well don’t believe that. Okay but believe this, but don’t believe that, but believe this, but don’t believe that. How confusing is that?
Yvette: For any child.
Misty: Yeah, exactly, and I think if we look back to when we were kids, I was never taught to question my teachers. I was never taught to even remotely doubt what they were teaching me, and particularly when we send our kids to public school we want them to be respectful to their teachers, we want them to listen, we want them to learn, but like you said, they’re filling their heads with all of these untruths, and I don’t know about where you guys live, but where we live, our kids really they’re not, we live in pretty much the Bible Belt, but at the same time there are so many issues as in our public school system where God has been mocked, where religion has been mocked, and to where even Christian kids that my daughter is in youth group with have all said that they feel uncomfortable being a Christian within the public school, and these are teenagers, and I don’t remember. I was a church bus kid. So I grew up, my parents were divorced and I was one of those kids who was not raised in a Christian home but I had a friend who invited me to church, and the church bus took me to church every week.
So, I was a Christian in high school. I felt I had a very good grasp on my faith, but I also remember being tempted on a regular basis within the school system. I remember being mocked for having Christian T-shirt. I remember being one of those kids who felt like they didn’t fully fit in, and even though I had that good grasp on my faith, I don’t remember teaching or talking to other people within the school about God. They knew I was a Christian, but I never felt comfortable ministering or being that light within the school system because it did feel so dark, and if it felt that dark 20 years ago.
Misty: What does it feel like today? And I don’t know any of us that can look back as a child and say that we really had a good enough grasp on our faith, a good enough grasp on scripture that we could have really made a huge difference in a world that was so, so, so dark, and I think one-on-one ministering with our kids, one-on-one going as a family and doing those mission-led activities, it’s just a much better way to train our kids up in the word of the Lord, and to train our kids to be ministry focused and mission focused, than throwing them into the dark system of the public schools so.
Yvette: Yeah, and I love that you said that because that’s one of the questions then is if our kids are not going to be salt and light in a public school, how then can they be salt and light? How can God use them? Because certainly God can still use our kids. We’re not at all saying well, kids are kids, they can’t be used at all to impact the kingdom of God, certainly they can. How does your family do that?
Misty: So, for us, I feel that our kids are able to be the salt and the light by going out, and our church as a church we do back to school bashes every year and we give free backpacks to kids. My oldest took leadership training like I said at our church camp, and she was able to work as a cabin leader this past summer with eight, nine year olds, and six and seven year olds, and so many of those kids came from rough homes and they would talk to her about things that they had experienced within their home, and she was really able to pour the love of God on those kids, and there was one scenario where one of the girls was talking to her about some things about her home and she didn’t know how to respond, and I wasn’t there, I wasn’t at camp with her. So, she went to a good friend of ours and she was able to talk to her. Okay, one of the kids in my cabin told me this. How can I help them? And that right there, that mentorship relationship is exactly how our kids need to be trained up in the mission field and in the ministry.
So they were able to talk together and then she was able to go back to this child and talk to this child and really be the light, and I saw those kids when I came in and watched her at camp and how they just loved her and how she had just poured so much of herself into these kids.
Yvette: So cool.
Misty: Other ways that we do that is as a family, if there are people within our church or people within our community that we knew that passed away, I’ve always told my kids if somebody dies, take them food. Take their family food, go serve that family, and that is something that we as a family have always done, and we counted a school. That is going out and showing our children how to be servants, how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Misty: So, we do that. My middle is a huge, huge animal lover, and while I would love to encourage her to love people more, she prefers the furry four-legged creature, but I feel God can still use that gift.
Misty: God can use that gift and that passion she has for animals. So we have went and worked with abused dogs. We’ve went and walked the dogs at the animal shelter. We have, she did one year for her birthday instead of getting birthday gifts she took up donations for the animal shelter and then her and a couple of friends went and worked for the day on her actual birthday at the animal shelter, and they spent the whole say scooping poop. But she was still being the light of God. Those people knew she was a Christian within the animal shelter. She had talked to them and said, “I’ve been praying for these animals.” And there are ways our kids can make an impact without being in the public school system.
Misty: And I think that one thing we don’t talk a lot about whenever it comes to the question about our kids being the salt and light is, we don’t talk about the aftermath of some of these Christian kids who go into the public school system. Is the public school system changing, or are Christians in the public school system changing the public schools or is the public schools changing our kids?
Misty: And I think that’s something too that we need to ask ourselves whenever the question about the salt and the light comes up.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah, I agree, and statistically more kids are walking away from the faith coming out of high school and more of the public schools. I’m not going to say every kid who is in public school is going to walk away from the Lord, and certainly not every kid who is homeschooled is going to continue walking with the Lord. We’ve known both sides of it. We’ve definitely known-
Yvette: Public school kids and private school kids who are strong in their relationship with the Lord and they’ve gone on to do ministry and serve the Lord in amazing ways, and we’ve known homeschooled kids who have just said, “No, this God thing is not for me and I don’t want anything to do with it.” And they completely go off the other direction, but statistically there have been studies done that have shown that a larger majority of kids who are raised in homeschool families continue down that path of serving the Lord, and many, many sadly who are raised up with a Godless worldview are walking away.
Misty: Yeah. The studies that I found show that about 80% of Christian teens walk away from the Lord when they enter into their college years, but I’m thinking that the statistic of homeschoolers is somewhere around 10%. It may be 20%. I know it was no higher than that, but the difference is phenomenal to me and I think it goes back to making sure, like you said, with the house. With that they have that foundation.
Misty: They have been raised in a biblical worldview. They know how to discuss other cultures. They know how to discuss the Bible. They know how to talk about all these questions that they may get asked like well why do you believe in God? And well why would a good God let so many bad things happen? They’re raised to talk about bad influences and how can they can turn away from those bad influences, and they also have more Christian examples. They have more influences around them that are biblical and they get that more solid foundation, and I don’t think if our kids are away from us for six to eight hours a day, how can we do that? How can we teach them diligently? We can’t, and if we can’t teach them the word of God, and teach them those biblical principles, and those foundations in the little bit of time that we would have them if they’re in public school, then how do we expect our kids to go out there and to be a salt and the light in a world full of darkness, which is what we are doing. We’re expecting to send our kids into these public school systems as missionaries but they’ve never been properly trained.
Yvette: Right. That’s right. That’s exactly right. And it’s not like they’re not going to have opportunities to do that. They’ve got neighbors most of them that they can go and talk to and just be a good witness to. In our house that we left in California, we had a great neighborhood that had so many kids in it, and we didn’t keep our girls from playing with the kids, but there were many times, I mean, our girls would invite them to church, and they would invite them to just do all kinds of different things, and they would talk to them. They gave one of our little neighbor girls a Bible, and so my girls weren’t afraid to talk about those things, and so there were still plenty of opportunities for them to tell others about Christ.
Let me ask one quick question because we got to wrap here in just a minute, but if we’re not sending our kids out to be the salt and light in a dark world, who then? Who do we send out? Who goes to be the salt and light to tell these kids who desperately need to hear about the love of God?
Misty: Yeah. So I think that there’s a couple different ways we can do that. First of all, I want to say real quick or that something that had come up recently with the salt and the light is my daughter has been doing cross-country for our local school system, and she had ended up inviting a bunch of the kids from cross-country to a recent youth night. So even though she’s not in the public school, she still has this association with the public schools through sports teams.
Misty: And she was able to lead one of those little girls to Christ actually this past Sunday night.
Misty: She was living that example of being the salt and the light even though she’s homeschooled to these public school kids.
Yvette: That’s awesome.
Misty: So, I think that is one way right there, particularly as our kids get older. My kids where we live in Ohio, they are able to participate in sports teams. So even though they’re not within the public school system, they can still have those relationships with some of those public school kids, and my kids always invite them to church. They always invite them to church. They always invite them to Bible school, but they’re able to do that more in a controlled environment. They’re not being thrown into a school system without me. I’m able to be at practices, I’m able to know these kids through games and different kids. So there is that.
Also within, one thing that has happened that I’ve heard a lot of is something called the Good News Club. They are actually a Christian organization that go around and set up Bible schools or Bible clubs within the school system, and anybody can do this. I’ve actually thought about looking into starting one in our area. There’s programs like that. Also one wonderful example that I know personally, actually my homeschool mentor. So, her name is Janie and she raised her kids, she homeschooled them and they grew up to be wonderful, wonderful adults. They’re all serving God in the churches where they’re at. Her son is actually a missionary in the Middle East. They’re in the process of going over there. Wonderful, wonderful family, but after her kids were grown, she’s now working in this, in the public school system, and I think that is something to consider too. Public schools, they do need that light, but it doesn’t have to be our children, and when I look back on my school days, I do remember the teachers. They might not have been able to tell us about God, but I could tell the ones that were different.
I think that you can still be that light. You can even get involved as/us homeschool parents, we can get involved in the PTO. We can still get involved in our public schools without sending our kids into those environments to be the missionaries.
Yvette: Yeah. No, it totally did and I think that’s perfect. We have a good friend who is our public school math teacher and he’s a cross-country coach, and he is just, he always finds opportunities to talk to his kids about Christ, and he has led some of his students to the Lord and it’s just been such an amazing thing. He’s a homeschool dad, but he’s an adult who knows what he believes, and no one is going to shake his belief. So he goes out. He uses the platform that has given him to be able to be a light to these kids in a very, very dark world, and so it’s really exciting. And there are things, Young Life is another organization that goes out into public schools and has Bible clubs and tells kids about Jesus, and you’re right. I mean, there are a lot of ways that we can get involved as parents and then just pray. I think pray for the kids in the public school system and pray for the Christian teachers and administrators who are in the thick of it because it is a huge battle that they’re fighting right now and they really need our prayers, and I so respect those Christian men and women who are leading these kids in a very, very difficult time and in a very dark world, and everything is against them and they don’t have the freedoms to tell these kids what they desperately need to hear. But God can still open up opportunities for them to do that.
For more on this subject, pick up a copy of the excellent book, Already Gone by Ken Ham, Britt Beamer, and Todd Hillard.
I, of course, have been preaching on this for 20 years. That if what you want is a person who is good at speaking and writing, the single most important thing to do every day is read out loud to them in huge quantity, all through childhood.
Yvette Hampton recently had the opportunity to talk with Andrew Pudewa, for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, about the importance of reading aloud to our children. They also discussed the ideas of mastery of subject matter and maximizing our homeschooling time by teaching integrating multiple subjects. Andrew Pudewa is the founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). He is a popular speaker and author, who has been talking to homeschool families around the world for 30 years. We were privileged to have been able to interview him for Schoolhouse Rocked and have been blessed by the support of IEW as a gold sponsor of the film.
Yvette Hampton: As we’ve filmed for Schoolhouse Rocked and talked to so many people, including you about education and the educational system. One of the conclusions that I have come to is we seem to think that all of our kids need to master every single subject – straight A’s. That’s the thing. Every kid must get straight A’s.
Even colleges want these kids to get straight A’s. And you have talked about, basically, doing what the public school system does is they learn to the test. I mean they basically learn so they can pass the test so they can move on with their life. Whether it’s something that they’re interested in or not. And as I’ve looked at my own kids and I’ve looked at other kids and interviewed so many people, I’ve realized God has not created all of us with a bend to master every single subject.
You talked about science, your passion is music, I know, and English and language arts. It’s not science. And so why do we pressure these kids to have to ace every single thing? And I’m not saying that they don’t need to learn the basics of science and the basics of history and the basics of all these … writing and all these different things. But not every one of us is created to be a historian and a scientist and a writer and all these different things.
And I just feel like we pressure our kids so much to become something that God did not intend for them to be. And we’ve often told our kids, and I’ve said this on the podcast before, “You have to learn to read well so that you can read God’s word. And you have to learn to write well so that you can write about him. And you have to learn the basics of science so that you can understand the universe and the world that God created. And you have to learn the basics of history so that you can understand the history of God’s world.”
But I don’t feel that it’s necessary for them to master every single one of these subjects in order for them to have succeeded in school. What is your opinion of that as you’ve talked to parents and educators?
Andrew Pudewa: Well, it’s always a balance between … There’s kind of your core knowledge, I think. There’s cultural literacy, there are things that everyone … To be an American citizen, a literate American citizen, things you should know. And so we do try to cover that. And I think when E.D. Hirsch wrote Cultural Literacy, and then that came into the Core Knowledge Foundation and that came into the What Every Third Grader Needs to Know series of books.
Now, that was very helpful in reminding us that pretty much, we’re either natives or immigrants by birth. But what binds us together is this shared cultural literacy, knowledge of Western civilization, familiarity with some good and great books and all that. So there is that, but then there’s also the question of how much chemistry do you need to have some literacy?
The funny thing is, I think all of us who went to high school, if you said, “Well, okay, you spend a year in biology or chemistry or whatever, of that book, of everything you studied over that year, what percentage of it did you remember or still know one year after that class was over?” Well, I mean most people are saying like five percent, if you’re a genius. Two percent if you’re normal.
Yvette: Unless you are really interested in that and want to be a chemist.
Andrew: Right. And then you go and you study it more. That reactivates that. So how much do we need of a subject to say, “Yes, I’m familiar with that in a way that makes me able to get the jokes and understand and read.” I think a lot of it is we teach a whole lot of that stuff in high school so that people will retain a little bit into adulthood. Maybe that’s not the most efficient way to do it, however. Maybe there’s a way to say, “Well, maybe we could do less, and then less is more.”
One thing I’ve noticed about my kids, and we were talking about this a little bit, you and I before, is that so much of what they remember and took into adulthood wasn’t in the textbooks. It was in the storybooks. It was in historical fiction novels. It was in the books that involve various elements of science and government and literature and things. Literature, well, that is books.
I’m thinking, for example, of Swiss Family Robinson. That is an adventure story, but it’s also practically a primary natural history of Oceania and New Guinea. I mean there’s so much stuff about animals and geography in there. So the author of that, he understood to catch the imagination of kids, you tell them a good story. And while they’re listening, teach them stuff.
That’s what I think parents who discover that they can often find their kids learn so much more and remember it. See, that’s the trick. They carry it with them into the future, future years, from the read-alouds that they do at home. And choosing many good and great books that have historic illusions, geographical information, biographical information.
Like I said, sometimes natural sciences, government elements, they’re all often … A good book is a good book because people say, “Wow, I learned a lot from that. It was fun and I learned a lot.” That’s what made it good. How else would you define a good book? It was entertaining. But if you could have it’s just entertaining versus it was enjoyable and I learned a lot. Well, that’s kind of a no brainer. What would you choose?
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Yvette: Yeah. And that perfect. I love that answer. One of the questions that we actually got from one of our listeners was, she asked how can read-alouds cross subject barriers and maximize our homeschooling hours, science, literature, theology, history, ethics, all in one? And that perfectly encompasses that. I mean, you can read a good book and it can encompass all of those things at one time instead of breaking them out into different subjects.
Andrew: Yeah. And I, of course, have been preaching on this for 20 years. That if what you want is a person who is good at speaking and writing, the single most important thing to do every day is read out loud to them in huge quantity, all through childhood. Because that more than anything is formative. It’s forms the vocabulary base, it forms the database of syntax and grammar patterns. It builds a stock of literary devices, schemes and tropes of rhetoric, and it will build in general knowledge.
It’s funny, I’ll meet kids who seem to just know so much. It’s like you say something and then they say something and you’re like, “Wow, how did you even know that?” And then I’ll talk to their mom, go, “What do you do?” “Well, we don’t really have … We’re not all that organized. We just read a lot.”
Yvette: Yeah. I love it. And I’ve actually heard you speak several times about the importance of not reading, because I think a lot of people think, “Well, we read a lot to our young kids who don’t yet know how to read.” But you’re talking about reading aloud to our kids who are even in high school, to our teenagers.
Yvette: Talk a little bit about that, because I love this. And for those of you who have not heard your take on this, they need to hear it. Because this has literally changed our homeschooling, and I read to my girls all the time and they … Well, my eight year old is still becoming a strong reader, but my 12 year old, of course, can read. But she loves me reading to her and I love reading to her. And talk about that for a minute.
Andrew: Well, I think we do tend to kind of fall into the mistake of as soon as a kid can read on their own, it’s like, “Oh, great. You can read to yourself now. That’ll free me up to do Peng and The Beautiful Yangtze River here one more time with the four year old.” So we tend to favor the younger children. But my argument is that it’s when kids read on their own that they most need to be read to at a level above their own decoding skills.
They need to be read to the things they would not, or could not read on their own. Because if they just read what they can read, they’ll keep reading what they can read. That’s easy. But they won’t necessarily try to read something that has longer sentences or more obscure illusions or more complex vocabulary, because it’s harder. And so they’ll either skip stuff or they kind of say, “Well, I don’t like that.”
But if we read to them, if they get it auditorily, we not only don’t skip stuff, we read all the words, we read it in the right context with the right vocal nuances that help improve comprehension. That’s actually how you improve reading comprehension, is not by throwing books at kids and saying, “Here, read this and take a test to see if you understood it.” We create reading comprehension by reading out loud to them at above their own … at a level above their own reading level, and talking about that. That’s what creates the understanding of the vocabulary and the idioms and the more complex ideas.
So, a lot of kids in school, they read, read, read, read, read, read, read, but they kind of do lateral shifts. And then as adults, they don’t want to read a great book like Jane Eyre or Ben-Hur or something. It’s too hard. So if we want our kids to enjoy reading harder stuff, the absolute best way is to bring them into that world by starting reading it to them and talking about it, defining it, understanding it.
Yvette: Yeah. I want to actually encourage any moms or dads who are listening to this who might be intimidated by that. Because I’ll tell you, I did not … I know how to read, obviously, and obviously when I graduated high school, I knew how to read. But I was not a strong reader. I didn’t not grow up reading books. My parents never really read to me. I remember them reading Cinderella and Green Eggs and Ham. Those are the only two books I ever remember my parents reading to me over and over again.
And so when I got out of high school, I was not a super strong reader and I hated to read aloud. I was the kid that whenever the teacher was … we were reading Romeo and Juliet or whatever it was we were reading. And they would say, “Okay, so-and-so is going to read next.” And I mean, I would start … My palms would start sweating and I would start getting all shaky and nervous because I hated to stand in front of my class and read.
And right after I got married, I was 20 when Garritt and I got married. My very first job was … I was a preschool teacher and I remember sitting down and they were like, “Okay, go read to this group of four-year-olds.” And I mean, I was reading again, obviously, preschool books. They were Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, things like that. And I was terrified to read in front of these kids, not because I didn’t know how to read the books, but there was just something about it. There was something about standing in front of these little kids or sitting in front of them and reading out loud to them. Because I felt like I was going to fumble on the words and it was just terrifying to me.
And of course, over the years, I’ve become a much stronger reader. And now I read to my girls all the time. And so I want to give that encouragement to moms who, and dads, who maybe are just intimidated by the idea of reading aloud to their kids. Even if you have teenagers, just do it. I mean, the more you do it, of course, the better you get at it. I love to read now. I love to read aloud, but I also love to just read on my own. And it just opens up a whole new world of learning, not just for your kids, but for yourself.
But it can be scary, because we’re not all excellent readers and not everybody grew up knowing or learning how to read aloud in a really effective way. So anyway, I love it now. It took years for me to learn how to love reading a lot, but I love it-
Andrew: Are you familiar with Sarah Mackenzie’s Read-Aloud Revival?
Yvette: Oh, of course. Yeah. She’s one of our cast members on Schoolhouse Rocked. Absolutely. We’ve talked with her.
Andrew: We should get your listeners connected up with her if they are not already, because she’s so encouraging, particularly in that area of read aloud. I would also love to mention that a lot of what I’ve been teaching and speaking about for the past many years, I’ve written articles. And those articles are now all collected into one book, and it’s available. And did I give you a copy?
Yvette: You did. Yeah, I’ve got it.
Andrew: Okay. My book, However Imperfectly, Lessons From 30 Years of Teaching. So that’s available at our website, along with all of our product stuff, IEW.com. And you can also, of course, call us or text us or email us if you have any questions about teaching writing to your children or spelling or literature or early reading. We’ve got materials for all of that.
Yvette: Yeah. We’ll link back to all those things for sure. Let me ask you one more quick question, and I know Sarah Mackenzie, Read-Aloud Revival is her podcast. I’m sure many of our listeners have heard it. She has an excellent podcast, and I think you’ve been on her podcast a few times now, right?
Andrew: Well, Yvette, when I get envious of her big numbers, I just remember, I was her first.
Yvette: I know, I remember. I remember. It’s an excellent interview too. She’s so encouraging when she talks about the importance of read-alouds. And so one of the things that she has is a book list and she has an excellent book list. I love the way it’s categorized. It’s by age and it’s just a great book list. But do you also, is there an IEW book list somewhere or what do you use? When parents ask you, “Okay, I want to read aloud to my kids. How do I find great literature to read to them?” Where do you direct them?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, we have three. One is a free list, you can just get it off the downloads tab off our website, IEW.com. It’s called Books for Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather be Making Forrts All Day. And it is divided just into elementary, middle and high school reading levels. We also have, we sell a book by Adam Andrews whose website is centerforlit.com. His course is called Teaching the Classics, and he has a book called Reading Roadmaps, I believe.
The one we published, which is the most extensive book list I’ve ever seen is called Timeline of Classics by a homeschool mom, Gail Ledbetter, and it can be got in ebook form or you can get a paper spiral bound from our website. And it’s got well over a thousand books listed. And they’re organized in time periods. So they were either written about or written in that time period. It goes from ancient all the way up to modern, tells the author and gives the approximate reading level. And that’s a resource that people probably use for their whole life.
Yvette: Yeah. Okay. That’s great. I’ll link back to all those. And then I know one that I’ve really enjoyed is Hunting for a Child’s Heart. That one has some great book recommendations and little blurbs on each book, which is awesome. So we will link back to all those things. But I feel like we could talk forever and ever. So we will definitely love to have you back on the podcast again at another time. And we can talk about more things homeschooling and how to encourage and equip parents who are on this journey of home educating their kids. But thank you so, so much, Andrew, for your time today. I know you are a busy man, so we appreciate you taking the time to talk.
You can find Andrew Pudewa and IEW online at IEW.com.
Andrew Pudewa recommends the following resources in his interview.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association: HSLDA
IEW Recommended Book List (Books for Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day)
Read Aloud Revival with Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Sarah Mackenzie.
However Imperfectly by Andrew Pudewa
IEW Book List: Timeline of Classics
Center for Lit: Reading Roadmaps
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Photos of the Bates family reading, by Yvette Hampton. ©2019, Bronze Oxen Films LLC. All Rights Reserved
Today I read a news article about a teacher in Vivian, Louisiana who had been arrested and charged with inappropriate contact with an underage student. The article went on to note that occurrences of this sort of behavior are on the rise, with many similar cases in just the beginning of 2019. It goes on to cite smartphones as the primary reason for the increase in occurrences.
Talk about missing the point!
The article quotes a report from the Texas Education Association saying, “As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.”
No. That’s not it.
For several decades, American schools have promoted atheism. Even moments of silent prayer have been banned. We have taught generations that there is no God. Therefore, there is no accountability to anyone but yourself.
We have taught kids that they are products of time and chance, descended from pond scum. Therefore, they have no eternal value; they are worthless. We have taught kids that about survival of the fittest, glorifying selfishness as an evolutionary advantage.
We have taught kids that sexual expression should be unhitched from the sacred union of marriage, and that kids should explore their sexuality to discover what pleases them the most, with the only boundary being “mutual consent”. “Comprehensive Sex-Ed” programs are being MANDATED in states and school districts across the country (and around the world). Parents are not being informed of the full reach and scope of this indoctrination, and they are not given the option to opt out of or pre-approve the teaching – which includes descriptive, instructive, pornographic, unnatural content (all presented to curious and immature students who are prone to peer pressure and experimentation, without the wisdom of years to understand the lasting consequences of their actions). Furthermore, in many cases, anti-family activists from Planned Parenthood and Pro-LGBT groups are being invited into the schools to instruct our children in these sensitive subjects.
We have taught kids that the family is a tired, unnecessary cliché.
We have taught boys that masculinity is toxic and that women don’t need a man to be “fulfilled”. “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
We have taught girls the same evil lie – that men are an oppressive burden and out to steal their personal sovereignty. We scream, “equal pay for equal work!”, and teach them that men conspire to keep them underpaid and overworked. We have taught them that motherhood isn’t a noble role, and that they should desire to be professionals – doctors, lawyers, CEOs, firefighters, soldiers, police officers – anything but wives and mothers. We have taught them that if their unrestrained sexual exploration leads to the unfortunate consequence of pregnancy, they can quickly and “safely” remedy the situation with the friendly aid of Planned Parenthood – an organization that really cares for women – just not those in the womb or the ones who will suffer the anguish of guilt from their abortion.
And now we teach girls that they can BE men!
Recently, we have seen the rise of the enthusiastic promotion of paedophilia as a valid “sexual preference”. We are hosting “Drag Queen Story Hours” at public libraries to normalize perversion and to feed the curious and inquisitive minds of our children poison, while their enlightened parents look on in approval. We see pictures of pre-teen “drag queens” suggestively posed next to naked men, hear of them performing in gay bars, and see toddlers marching in “pride” parades, surrounded by overexcited, half-dressed (or less) perverts, drooling over the fresh meat being plated up by virtue signaling “ally” parents, yet no one in authority bats an eye for fear of being labeled as hateful.
No, smartphones are not the problem, and the problem will only get worse until we accept the truth. Man is sinful by nature. We are selfish and prone to pursue pleasure and gain to the detriment of those around us and even ourselves. Only submission to the authority of the Supreme Creator; only salvation through repentance and faith in His Son, who lived a sinless life, died on our behalf, and rose again; only the aid of the Holy Spirit can cause man to pursue anything higher than self-gratification. We must realize that we are accountable to a holy God, that our sin is repulsive to Him and brings the rightful consequence of eternal separation from Him in hell, but He loves us so much that He sent His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins, and through that sacrifice we can be saved from the punishment we deserve. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (ESV)
Parents, while you still have school-aged children at home, look around. Behold the consequences of the destructive philosophies our public schools have taught and our culture has rapturously embraced. Think about your beloved children’s eternal futures. Don’t sacrifice their souls in the name of convenience or a higher standard of living. Pull them out of the schools that are JOYOUSLY promoting these ideals as virtues. Teach them Truth. Teach then the Word of God. Don’t expect a few hours at Sunday school, AWANA, or youth group to do it for you. YOU do it – every day!
Grandparents, pray for your grandchildren. Pray for your children as they teach, train, love, and discipline your grandchildren. Encourage your children to be countercultural. When your kids suggest they they are considering homeschooling your grandkids encourage them! Offer to help.
You, look for opportunities to minister to families around you. Come beside single parents and support them as they strive to teach their children the truth. Speak up when you see family, faith, and culture being attacked and undermined – and expect persecution.
There is hope. Apart from God, culture will continue to crumble. Teachers will continue to have inappropriate relationships with students. Sin and destruction will be paraded through the streets as aspirational virtues, and we will continue to suffer the consequences, but Jesus saves! God made each and every one of us for a purpose – to glorify Him! That is the point.
“If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy 30:16-20 (ESV)
“I feel like we have always homeschooled since we became parents because I believe that homeschooling starts at birth. I don’t think homeschooling begins with a formal curriculum. In that sense, we have always done it.”
Brittney Howard is a homeschooling mom of 5 children who range in age from toddlers to teenagers. She has been homeschooling for 17 years and loves Jesus, reading, coffee, and good conversations. She’s operates a successful home business and has been able to bless her family financially while also successfully homeschooling her kids. She lives with her husband and kids in a tiny town near Savannah, GA. She loves empowering others to reach their potential and is passionate about leadership.
Yvette Hampton: My sweet friend Brittney is with me today and to talk today about homeschooling with little kids. She has multiple ages and is working from home while homeschooling. Whether you are homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling, wherever you are right now, I hope that this article will be a great blessing to you.
Yvette: Our readers can’t hear your voice, but podcast listeners may recognize your voice, because in our very first Schoolhouse Rocked movie trailer that came out about a year and a half ago, at the very beginning, it’s your voice that people hear. You say, “I felt like I was messing it all up.” Now you get to hear her on the podcast and be encouraged by her. Brittney, tell us about your family. You are married to your wonderful husband, Anthony. You guys have a great family. How long have you been homeschooling and how did you get started with homeschooling?
Brittney: I have five children. They range from toddlers all the way to teenagers and we have always homeschooled. I feel like we have always homeschooled since we became parents because I believe that homeschooling starts at birth. I don’t think homeschooling begins with a formal curriculum. In that sense, we have always done it. 17 years, my oldest just turned 17 yesterday.
As far as a formal curriculum, we started right away when he was in kindergarten and I have just always valued freedom. Freedom is a word that is super important to me and I wanted that freedom with my children’s education as well. I wanted to be free to choose what they were going to be learning. I wanted the freedom to choose what influences we’re going to be in their lives because when they’re not with you all the time, you really don’t have that freedom to choose what influences are going to come into their lives.
I wanted that freedom as well and just wanted the freedom to give them an individualized education, rather than the, “you’re eight years old, you learn this”, kind of in a box model. I wanted the freedom to encourage them to pursue whatever their talents, gifts and abilities that God had given them are. I also wanted freedom to be able to protect them from just worldly things and things like that.
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Yvette: Yeah. You have multiple ages. Like you said, your youngest one is just going into preschool and your oldest is finishing out his junior year this year. One of the questions that we get asked all the time is how do you homeschool with multiple ages and what do you do with those little ones when you’re trying to focus on homeschooling the older ones? How have you learned how to balance the different ages?
“Don’t feel like you have to be the one that teaches them everything. You do want to be a primary influence, but you’re not necessarily the one who has to teach them everything and they can learn a lot on their own. My children do not feel like they’re dependent on me to get all of their schoolwork done. They just know what their responsibilities are and they go and do it.”
Brittney: Yeah, that’s a great question too. The struggle is real. Lots of things. I have lots of thoughts on this. It is definitely difficult when they are little, but I think implementing a few simple systems really help. When my littles were even smaller than they are now, I had like a toy rotation system.
I had four different bins of toys. They were labeled week one, week two, week three, week four and I would give them one box at a time for a week. That was the only time they can play with those toys from that box was that week. The other three boxes would go in the attic, out of sight, out of mind. Every week, they would feel like they were getting a new box of toys. I could have my littles playing with their new box of toys for a period of time while I was working with the older ones and that would keep them occupied and entertained. Another thing I would do was playpen time, just train those littles to play independently and not depend on someone else for their entertainment and something.
Another thing is having older ones work with the little ones while you are doing one-on-one instruction. I did a lot of that because I do have a broad range. I might have an eight year old work with a two year old while I’m working with the 10 year old, et cetera. I think another thing that’s really important is to delegate when you can because I do have five kids so there’s no way that I as one person can teach my five children everything they need to know about life, fate, health, everything they need to know.
I’ve learned to delegate well. I like to say that I’ve hired master tutors to teach my children two plus two and things like that. Things that I don’t necessarily feel like I have to be the only one who teaches them that. We do a lot of online learning, we do a lot of video lessons and things like that. That is delegating. I will teach them the things that I’m really passionate about. Then delegate everything else. I’ll delegate their Math, they’ll do BJU online or they’ve done teaching textbooks, they do Saxon online. There’s a lot of different things you can do. The options are endless at this point, but I will teach them things like Bible or just things like that that I feel like I do want to be the primary influence.
I will teach them the things like that. Another thing is train them to be independent learners. If you just teach your children how to learn, they can learn anything they want to learn and I will never forget the day my oldest son, he was probably 15 years old at the time, but I was cooking dinner and he walks in the kitchen. He’s like, “Hey mom, guess what? I’m on iTunes.” I was like, “Really? How did you do that?” He taught himself to play guitar. He taught himself to write music. He taught himself anything he wanted to know about performing, music, all of that. Now he writes songs. He’s a musician, he’s an artist and I have not taught him any of that. All I taught him was how to learn.
You just start there and don’t feel like you have to be the one that teaches them everything. You do want to be a primary influence, but you’re not necessarily the one who has to teach them everything and they can learn a lot on their own. My children do not feel like they’re dependent on me to get all of their schoolwork done. They just know what their responsibilities are and they go and do it. Then the last thing would be in a group. Anything that you can do in a group such as memory work or just grouping kids together that are similar in age or level, then you can get a lot more accomplished that way too.
“I have learned to ask good questions. Whenever my children come to me with a question, I will often do what Jesus did and answer with a question. I don’t really directly answer their questions a lot of times, I will just show them where to find the answer instead of answering. Even if I know the answer, I would say, ‘Oh, that’s a great question. Why don’t you go research that and then you come tell me what the answer to that is.’”
Yvette: Let me go back to teaching them how to learn because oftentimes we say that in the homeschool world, and especially for the mom who’s brand new at homeschooling or who’s just thinking about homeschooling. The big question is always, well how? How do you do that? How do you teach your kids how to learn? How have you gone about doing that with your kids?
Brittney: That is a great question too. I have learned to ask good questions. Whenever my children come to me with a question, I will often do what Jesus did and answer with a question. I don’t really directly answer their questions a lot of times, I will just show them where to find the answer instead of answering. Even if I know the answer, I would say, “Oh, that’s a great question. Why don’t you go research that and then you come tell me what the answer to that is.”
Yvette: That is a fantastic answer. Now let me as a mom, one of the things I think about in doing that is there’s so much on the internet that could be dangerous for kids. Do you have a way that if they’re going to go use the internet to research something that you can protect them from seeing something or stumbling upon something that you don’t want them to stumble upon?
Brittney: Yeah, absolutely. We have internet filters, we use Covenant Eyes. Anything that would be questionable would be blocked, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be internet-based. Books are also a great resource.
We have tons of books like you can see. We have lots and lots of books. If my kid has a question about volcanoes, then I’m going to point them in the direction of a book that would provide the answer.
Yvette: Right. We went to a thrift store, this was several months ago and I was with my youngest daughter and they had a bunch of Encyclopedia sets and I was like, “Oh, encyclopedias.” And she said, “What are encyclopedias?” I was like, “Oh no, where has our role to them that we don’t know what encyclopedias are anymore.” It was really fun. I got to open some of them up with her and actually show her like, “This is how we did it when I was a kid. We did not have the internet. We couldn’t just pull anything up on Wikipedia or ask Siri, tell us about volcanoes. You actually had to research it through a book.
You had to go to the library, you had to find resources to bring them into your home in order to actually learn about them.” That is a fantastic way of course to do that. I think it’s healthy for kids to take that extra step of just saying, “Not everything needs to be found on the internet because half the time it’s not true anyway when you research things online.” Of course, not that everything you find in the library is true either. But, I think finding other ways to research those things are fantastic and having great curriculum in your home that also provide answers. Whether it’s science or history or reading, reading good literature, things like that. You can find so many answers through those resources as well.
Brittney: Yes. One more thing you can do is asking an expert. Just ask them, “Who do you think we could ask to find out this answer?” Then they can start brainstorming of people they know who might be an expert on that. Then just that cultivates leadership skills, social skills and all of that good stuff.
Yvette: That is fantastic. I love that answer because people are always excited and willing to help especially when it comes to kids and if you’re an expert in something, people always want to be that one that someone else comes to and says, “Hey, how do you do this?” Or, “Can you explain this to me?”
That’s always a blessing to the person who’s being asked as well so very, very exciting. I want to ask you because I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that it was your voice in the beginning of that interview that we did.
We interviewed you for Schoolhouse Rocked the movie and your interview is hands down one of our favorites and I love it because what we did with the movie was we interviewed several homeschool experts. We’ve got the Andrew Pudewa and Christopher Perrin and Sarah Mackenzie and Heidi St. John and Ken Ham, all those people and a whole lot more, but we didn’t just interview the homeschool convention speakers and writers and experts. We interviewed real families just like you and I who are in the thick of it right now who have just figured out this homeschooling thing with the help of other people. One of the things you said was you said, “I felt like I was messing it all up.” Like most homeschool moms, you felt like you are not well enough equipped in the beginning to teach your children at home. Why did you feel that way and then how have you overcome that feeling?
Brittney: Well, I just thought this could not be right. This cannot be normal for it to be this hard and also, I don’t know if I’ve shared with you a little bit of my background, but I was actually a teenage mother when I had my oldest child, I was only 17 and I had no idea how to raise a child.
I understood the statistics were stacked against us, but I was determined that I was not going to be a statistic and neither was my son. I got to work learning how do I raise children who are productive citizens who love the Lord and all of that. I’ve just started reading and learning a ton about just any parenting book from a biblical world view that I could find.
I just knew. I was humble enough to understand that I didn’t know it at all. The same thing when I decided to homeschool, I just started learning. Just any book I could find about homeschooling, I would read it. I did the same thing with building a business. I had no idea how to do any of that either. I just decided to learn.
I just, I believe when I say I teach my children how to learn, I do the same thing myself. I set that example for them that there’s anything that you want to know, you can learn it. We live in an information age. I overcame that feeling of I don’t know what I’m doing, just simply by learning and also at this point, my children are… I have two teenagers. I am beginning to see that fruit of the diligence that I put in when they were in their younger years and my younger children benefit from that because now I don’t have so much fear attached to the daily activities and wondering am I doing it right? Because when I see my smaller ones doing the same things my older ones did and now I look at my older ones and I’m like, “Okay, well, I didn’t ruin them. They’re okay. They’re actually doing really well.” Then that has just given me the confidence to not feel that way now.
Yvette: Did you have a mentor or mentors that came alongside of you? Because I know for myself, when I first got into this and into homeschooling and I felt like I have no clue what I’m doing, I really needed to have that community around me to just help me figure it out and help figure out what it would look like from my family because of course, it looks differently for every family. Did you have that in your life? Did you have those who came alongside of you and just encouraged you?
Brittney: When I first started homeschooling, no, I did not, but along the way, I met other people. It was something I had to be very intentional about. When I first started homeschooling, I had no idea that there were actually homeschool communities and somehow I heard about it maybe a year or two into it and I just showed up one day I found out where they were meeting and I was scared to death, but I pulled up and the parking lot was full of minivans.
I was like, “I must be in the right place.” Yeah, I met other homeschooling moms and that was extremely helpful as well, just learning from them, asking questions, good conversation and we … I felt like that is so important and needed as a homeschooling mom. You definitely need a community of people who can encourage you, especially the ones who have done it successfully. Yeah, definitely very encouraging.
Yvette: Brittney, you are one who… You work from home. You actually have a pretty neat family and I want to talk about two different things because you work from home and you’re able to bring in a pretty significant income and just help support your family financially, but your husband also works from home.
I would love for you to tell the story first about how your boys took a whole lot of time off of what someone would consider traditional school a few years ago and they helped your husband build the house that you live in which is a beautiful house. Tell me how that whole scenario unfolded and what impact that has had on your family.
Brittney: Well, thank you for the compliment on my house. I do love our home that my husband and my sons built for our family. Yeah, my husband is a carpenter. He actually would be considered a lot of different trades, but carpentry is something he’s really good at. He did endeavor in building our homes for us and they just took a summer to frame the whole thing.
My boys learned a lot of life skills and hands on practical skills. There were no casualties although there was one minor injury that’s kind of grounded, I won’t go into detail on it, but they learned so much. It brought them together as dad and sons and it’s skills that they will be able to take to their family and maybe just this few short years, who knows?
Yvette: Yeah, that’s great. Talk about being a work at home mama. I was actually recently reading Proverbs 31 and you think about that Proverbs 31 wife and how she toils with her hand. She works and she helps to bring so much stability to her home, not just and caring for her home, but financially and oftentimes, moms need to do that especially if maybe a mom is working and she needs to … She wants to stop working so that she can homeschool her kids or if she’s already homeschooling in their one income family which of course is very typical for homeschool families and she needs to just bring in some extra income.
How do you go about working from home? You work in sales. How do you do that? How do you balance work and homeschool and family?
Brittney: Well, that’s a great question too. I love the Proverbs 31 woman too and a few years ago, I was just really studying that proverb and taking a close look and evaluating and I found some things that I was doing right, but one thing I felt like was missing was I wasn’t contributing financially.
The Proverbs 31 woman wore many business hats. She was a real estate investor. She made things and sold it. She was definitely industrious and I wanted to be her. I wanted to be just like her and we were a one income family and that sometimes that can be a stretch because it’s not that money is everything, but everything you want to do with your family, it costs money.
I did want to bless my family in that way. I was already homeschooling. I felt like I was doing, being a godly homemaker, but I did start looking for something that I could do that would allow me to keep what is the most important as the most important, but also contribute financially at the same time.
Balancing I would say … Again, it goes back to just implementing a few smart systems because you definitely need to manage your time well. I know in the beginning when my kids were smaller, especially there was a lot of getting up early and staying up late. There was a lot of working through nap time. There was a lot of, “Okay, you’ve got it.” While you’re doing your schoolwork independently, Mommy’s going to work on building this. Things like that. Does that answer your question?
Yvette: It does. Tell us maybe what a typical day would look like for you at home. You’re saying get up early, stay up late, but how do you do that to where you’re not? Because I work from home, I guess I could say now, we’re filming the documentary, I’m doing this podcast now.
Even for myself, I find that it’s often difficult to balance accomplishing what I need to accomplish. I’m sending emails and making phone calls and podcasting and doing all of these things during the day and then figuring out how do I bring my girls into that with me, what can I do with them?
Then not feeling like I’m ignoring them because sometimes I find myself doing that, not intentionally ignoring them, but just like, “Okay, I’ve got to get this email out. I’ve got to make this phone call. I have to get on this meeting that I have with a few other people.” Or whatever it is and feeling like I’m having to push them aside for a time.
I feel like even for myself, I’m still figuring out how to balance all of that. Like you said, independent work is excellent for the kids and they’re able to do that for … I mean, they’re doing that right now. They’re in the other room doing their schoolwork, but what would a typical day look like for you? How many hours typically do you work? Then do you bring your kids into your work with you? Do you involve them with that and how do you do it without feeling like you’re ignoring them?
Brittney: Yes, these are all great questions. Okay, the mom guilt first of all, let’s address that because that’s a very real thing and I think it’s important to understand that balance is not necessarily daily. It’s more like over a period of time.
If I were trying to achieve daily balance, I’d probably would lose my mind because when you are building a business or building something significant, there will be periods of long hours, but then there will be other periods where you have time off.
There will be a lot of times where you feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’m working way too much.” Then there will be other days where you feel like, “Oh my gosh, I should be working more, but I’m not.” I would say be present mentally and not just physically whenever you’re not working, be present.
That is a discipline that anybody can develop and it’s difficult, but that’s why it requires discipline. But just being present when you are with your children goes a long way. I think also it’s important to realize that you are teaching your children even when you’re not eyeball to eyeball with them, they’re learning from you.
They’re learning a work ethic, they’re learning what it takes to be successful. They’re learning what it takes to build something that’s going to impact a lot of people and they’re learning that through watching you. That should encourage you to keep going because you don’t have to be in the floor building blocks with your littles all day every day in order to teach them or build a relationship with them.
Sometimes, just understanding that the quality … You want quantity too. You do want quantity. Nobody wants their career or their business to consume them, but quality really does go a long way. As far as a typical day is concerned, I get up very early way before my kids do. Several hours before my kids do so that I can read because reading is very high on my priority list and I can work out and take care and have my coffee in silence that way I’m nice when everybody gets up.
I take care of those things before everybody wakes up and then I’ll wake my kids up and they will get started on their chores. They will get started and we’ll have breakfast together and then everybody just gets busy on their schoolwork or whatever it is, whatever task, everybody knows what they need to complete.
We have basically, we have a system in place that way everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time and they’re not all coming to me waiting for direction all day long. I don’t have to tell everybody what they need to … I mean, I do have to get them rolling, but once everybody’s rolling, they know what to do.
Everybody goes to do their schoolwork and I will start working. I don’t have any infants at this point. My day definitely looks a lot different now than it did when I first started. At this point, everyone is actually okay doing book work and stuff like that. We’ll all work sometimes independently, sometimes as a group, depending on what time of day and what subject.
We definitely have all of our meals together and everybody’s just pursuing usually whatever subject or interest they have going on at that moment.
Yvette: I find that with my girls. One of the things that I really try to do with them is if I’m in the middle of working and they come to me for anything, I try really hard to stop what I’m doing in that instant and look at them and give them my full attention.
Sometimes that’s hard because I’m in the middle of doing something, but I realize more and more that it speaks volumes to them because they need to know that they are actually the priority over everything else, but at the same time, I still have responsibilities to fulfill what God has called us to do.
Yeah, it’s fun and I love that we get to have our kids with us at home and we’re building a family business just like you are and getting to show them this is what it looks like to work diligently throughout the day and teaching them responsibility because that’s important for them to learn.
Brittney: Yes. Another thing I would add is delegating well. I mentioned this earlier, but I delegate most of the housework. My children are all trained as soon as they can walk, they are working like I want … I expect my children to have a work ethic and I think you can’t wait until they’re 18 to instill that in them.
As soon as they’re able to, “Hey, go help mommy by throwing this diaper in the trash.” Or like whatever they can do, I expect them to do it and we have a system for chores. We have a system for schoolwork. Systems help, but just knowing that you can’t do everything. If somebody can do something 80% as well as you can do it, then you should delegate it and you should do whatever the most important things God has called you to do it.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. I would love for you to give encouragement to the mom who’s listening right now who’s thinking about homeschooling because at this time of the year, there are many mamas who are thinking about what they’re going to do next year for their kids, and they’re trying to decide, “Is this homeschooling thing legit? Can I actually do this?” Can you encourage that mom who’s considering homeschooling? What would you say to her?
Brittney: I would say you should. It’s worth it. It’s not easy, but nothing that’s worth building is ever easy, but it is worth it. The resources that you have available to you now are unlimited. If you want to homeschool, you can homeschool successfully and you have every tool that you need to be successful at it and it’s worth it.
Yvette: Yes, I agree completely. Then I want you to do one more encouragement. Encourage the mom who is just tired, who is overwhelmed. She just doesn’t know she can continue on for another day. How would you encourage that mom?
Brittney: I would say cry it out – like legit cry – because research shows that tears, like stress tears, they actually do release stress hormones. Crying does make you feel better and then pray and sometimes pray and cry at the same time, but just know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s the daily consistent effort that’s going to produce big results overtime.
You don’t have to do a massive amount every single day. You just have to be consistent. If you’re overwhelmed, your expectations may be too high and that is very common when people start homeschooling. I think homeschooling veterans understand that they don’t need as much as what’s in those books in order to be educated. Scaling is important and just knowing that consistency really is the key.
Yvette: Yes. I agree. Slow down a little bit. Take a breath and get back to it. I love the constant encouragement we get and that God will equip you. He’ll give you everything you need to accomplish what he’s called you to.
You can find Brittney Howard online and learn more about her business at mysite.plexusworldwide.com/brittneyhoward
“In fact, my mother-in-law had asked me, a couple years before I even had kids, if I’d ever consider homeschooling, and I said absolutely not. And it wasn’t anything against homeschooling, I just thought I had the perfect gig as a mom, that my kids could come to school with me, we’d have the same vacation time, I’d be able to spend quality time at school with them. So on paper, everything looked like I would continue teaching and everything would be great. But God’s plans are so much different than our plans, and he began to just slowly sprinkle that idea in my thoughts that homeschooling might be a good path for us.”
Jamie is a Christian mother to five blissfully abnormal kids, and wife to her formerly homeschooled husband, Dain. She is a former school teacher who can now be found encouraging and equipping a growing tribe of mothers all across the globe on the Mom to Mom Podcast and through her blog, The Unlikely Homeschool. She speaks at national conferences. And in addition to writing and speaking, she loves talking faith and family over a cup of coffee, and hanging out with her family.
Yvette Hampton: I am excited to have a return guest with me today. Jamie Erickson was on the 11thepisode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, and we had such a great response to her episode, she was so encouraging. It’s one of the most listened to episodes that we’ve ever done, and so I’m excited to have her back, talking about her new book that she just released, and a new podcast that she is doing with a couple of other mamas.
Jamie Erickson: Thank you for having me back.
Yvette: Yes. I am so glad to have you back. You are a homeschool mama who loves to encourage homeschool moms. It is one of the big passions that God has put on your heart and you do it well, so I am thrilled to have you again.
Jamie: Thank you.
Yvette: I want to talk about two things. I want to talk about your new podcast that you recently launched and about your new book that was just released. But let’s talk about the podcast first really quickly, because I really want to spend most of the time talking about your new book. So tell us about your podcast.
Jamie: Okay. It’s called the Mom to MomPodcastand I cohost it with Kate Battistelli, and September McCarthy. Kateis the author of Growing Great Kids-Partner with God to Cultivate His Purpose in Your Child’s Life and the The God Dare. She’s been married for 35 years and is mom to GRAMMY award-winning artist Francesca Battistelli and Mimi to her four children. September McCarthy is a mother of 10 and a homeschooling mom. We’ve all homeschooled at various places on the journey. And what I love about our podcast, and kind of why I initially wanted to take on a project, is we’re three moms, three different stages and seasons of motherhood, and we’ve really seen the gamut of motherhood, because Kate and September have grandchildren, and we’re all in different places. And we don’t always agree on everything, but we have the common thread of Jesus weaving all of our words together, and so we have the same goal, to see our children come to know the Lord and love him. And so it’s a really gospel-centered podcast that hopefully encourages moms in every place. It’s really a podcast, at least I hope, for every mom for every season.
Yvette: Yeah. So it’s not just about homeschooling, though you guys talk a little bit about homeschooling on there.
Jamie: A little bit, but it’s really just for any mom, we don’t necessarily focus on homeschooling. Obviously we all homeschooled, or homeschool currently, but we recognize that not every mom is called to that and not every listener will be a homeschool mom. So it’s really, hopefully, for every mom.
Yvette: Yeah, it’s excellent. I’ve listened to it a few times and it has definitely become one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. So thank you for doing that. I love listening to podcasts. Oftentimes, people will say, “When do you find time to do it?”, and I’m like, “I don’t have any more time than you have, trust me,” but that’s usually my, “when I’m in the shower and getting ready in the morning, putting on makeup or whatever”, I can get in a few minutes, 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s in spurts, but-
Jamie: Yeah. Well, and I love to read, but I don’t always have the time to sit down and read. A podcast is a really easy go-to, to listen to while I’m doing the dishes, folding laundry, and yeah.
Yvette: Yes. I’ve just really, for myself, jumped on the audio book bandwagon. We’ve done it with our girls for a really long time, but I’ve never really done audio books myself. And I found myself not reading as much, because like you said, I just don’t have time. By the time I fall into bed at night, I’m so tired, and I will pick up a book and try to read it, and then I’m closing my eyes, and before I know it I’m asleep and I’ve read maybe a page. But I can do audio books, and I love that. Those keep me a little bit more alert, and so I am enjoying audio books a little bit more. And I can play them on a little bit faster speed, so-
Jamie: Yeah. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah. I think it’s always good for moms to pour into themselves, because you can’t pour out from an empty cup, so if you’re in-taking some great information or even just reading to expand your own horizons, anything that you do that sort of maybe only looks like is adding to you really adds to your whole family, because you come ready to teach and to share, and you have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table.
Yvette: Yes. And I feel like there’s such a good balance between that, that we have to find as moms, because we don’t want it to be all about me, me, me, and how can I serve myself, and how can I make myself happy. We’re serving our families, but at the same time, like you said, if our cup is empty, I mean, we then have very little to give, and so we need to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves as well. Not in a selfish or idolatrous ways, but so that we have more to give to our families, that we’re resting and exercising and doing the things that we need to do so that we can care well for our families. So, yes. Well, okay, so that’s the podcast, the Mom to Mom Podcast, and that can be found on iTunes, Spotify-
Jamie: iTunes, Spotify, you could go to momtomompodcast.com and go directly to there, or we’re also on Instagram.
Yvette: Great. We’ll put links to that. Let’s talk about your new book though. I am super excited about this book and I actually love the title of the book. That was the first thing that really captured me. It’s called Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence. But I love the Homeschool Bravely part of it, because so many moms … We’ve spent the last two and a half years filming for Schoolhouse Rocked, and the number one thing that we hear from every single mom, it does not matter who the mom is, everything that we hear is mom doesn’t feel like she is adequate enough to home educate her children.
There has only been one mom, in all of our interviews, who said, “Yep. I totally felt like I was capable of doing this,” and she has her doctorate in education, and she did her dissertation on homeschooling, and so I would say, yes, she has every right to say that she felt like she was totally equipped to teach her kids. But for the most part, most of us do not feel like we are capable of doing that. And the reality is, we’re really not. That’s why we need the Lord to help us through this. But we also need to just take that step of bravery and just say, “You know what? This is what we feel is best for our kids, and so we’re just going to take this leap of faith, and we’re going to do it.” Talk a little bit about why you decided to write … Well, first, talk about why you chose to homeschool, yourself, and then talk about what led to writing the book.
Jamie: Well, I was a teacher for several years, even before having kids, and my husband, like you had mentioned, was homeschooled. And homeschooling was never in my radar. In fact, my mother-in-law had asked me, a couple years before I even had kids, if I’d ever consider homeschooling, and I said absolutely not. And it wasn’t anything against homeschooling, I just thought I had the perfect gig as a mom, that my kids could come to school with me, we’d have the same vacation time, I’d be able to spend quality time at school with them. So on paper, everything looked like I would continue teaching and everything would be great. But God’s plans are so much different than our plans, and he began to just slowly sprinkle that idea in my thoughts that homeschooling might be a good path for us.
“When I had my first daughter, I just honestly couldn’t envision myself handing her off to somebody for six to eight hours a day. Not that I didn’t trust anybody else, it’s just that I loved her so much and I didn’t want to miss out on those moments with her.”
And part of that, I would say that the real catalyst for that was that … It was kind of twofold. One, when I had my first daughter, I just honestly couldn’t envision myself handing her off to somebody for six to eight hours a day. Not that I didn’t trust anybody else, it’s just that I loved her so much and I didn’t want to miss out on those moments with her. Even when she was really little and she wasn’t even … school was just a few years down the road, and we weren’t even close to sending her off yet, I still had those painful thoughts of, “What am I going to do when she has to go to school?” So that was part of it. And I also think that, if I’m being really honest, part of my reason to want to homeschool was that, as a teacher, I had seen sort of the underbelly of what it was like for kids in school, and I think teaching sort of ruined me for anything but homeschooling.
Yvette: So then, was it hard for you, since you’d been in the classroom … In the classroom, whether it’s public school or private school, you have to kind of fit kids into a box, you’re forced to, there’s no other way to do it when you’ve got a classroom full of anywhere from 20 to 30 kids, or more. Was it hard for you, when you started homeschooling, to break out of that?
“Actually, because I do have a teaching degree, I can say that I came to homeschooling with sort of a burden on my back. I had all of these preconceived notions about what schooling was supposed to be, because I had been trained to teach the masses.”
Jamie: Yeah. I often hear from moms, in fact, I just wrote an article about this, about how helpful, or actually unhelpful, my teaching degree was when it came to homeschooling, because I think moms without that teaching degree, moms without that doctorate and dissertation, feel lesser than and feel like they are ill-equipped, but actually, because I do have a teaching degree, I can say that I came to homeschooling with sort of a burden on my back. I had all of these preconceived notions about what schooling was supposed to be, because I had been trained to teach the masses, and that looks so much differently, and has to. I mean, even the best of teachers, they have to maintain order and they have to teach sort of with this herd mentality. And when you bring that, you take that square peg and try to fit it in this round hole of homeschooling, it just doesn’t fit. And it really was a burden more than it was a blessing, for the first few years of homeschooling. And then I found my groove, and realized I could cast off the chains of the old guard down the street and do it my way. But right away, I think my degree wasn’t helpful.
Yvette: Yeah. But loving your children a whole lot was. So was there-
Jamie: Absolutely. And knowing them well helped a lot.
Yvette: Yeah. Right. So much. So you said, obviously, you loved her, you wanted to spend time with her, you wanted to be with her. Do you remember that kind of aha moment, of like, “Oh yeah. I actually do want to homeschool. I said I never would, but I think this is really a good idea”? Do you remember that moment or was it more of a process of time?
Jamie: I think it was a process for me, that God slowly started to show me, I’ve been teaching her all along, and that doesn’t have to necessarily stop just because she meets this magical age that the school district determines she has to then be taught by someone else. Who was it that taught her to walk, that taught her to talk, all … If you look at, statistically, child growth and development, 90% of what a person learns, they learn by the time they’re five. So in those first five formative years, I had already taught her 90% of what she needed to know. Why did I need to pass it off to somebody else?
Yvette: Yeah. I’m with you.
Jamie: But it was a process for me, I guess.
Yvette: Sure. Yeah. And I think it was for me too, a little bit. We’d said we’d never homeschool, and then I think it was kind of like you, at that moment when I held this baby in my arms, I had waited 11 years to be a mom, and I was like, “I really like her. I really genuinely like her, and I love spending time with her, I love being with her. I love watching her grow. I love getting to experience all her first things, her first steps, and her first word, and just the things that you would miss.” And the same with school, I love getting to watch her just figure out what her life is meant to be and how God designed her. And so it’s really exciting to be that mom who gets to come alongside of our kids and experience … I think it’s Israel Wayne, he talks about that kids are in school, if they go to school from kindergarten through 12th grade, it’s like 10,800 hours, somewhere around there. 10,800 hours-
Jamie: That you miss out and-
Yvette: I mean, think about that. That is a long time to miss out on your child’s life. And then, of course-
Jamie: And what-
Yvette: … they grow up, and move out of your house, and …
Jamie: Yeah. What you get on the back end of that, when they do come home at the end of that long day, is really the leftovers. You get the extras that are left over. They’re just tired and they don’t really have much else to give. I didn’t want the leftovers.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah. Well, okay, so I’m sitting here recording with you and this is really funny, I emailed you last night and I said, “I haven’t gotten my copy of the book yet,” and so you sent me a little bit more information on it, because I’d been waiting for it to come, and my husband literally just walked in as we’re recording and he handed me my new copy of your new book.
Jamie: Here it is.
Yvette: So here it is, you guys. This is so exciting. So I’ve literally not even opened it. He just wants to-
Jamie: Does it have the new book smell?
Yvette: It does. I love the smell of books. I love the smell of libraries. They smell so good. They have a certain smell. And it doesn’t matter what library you go to, anywhere in the country, they all smell the same, California to Georgia.
Jamie: If only we could bottle that smell and wear it as a scent.
Yvette: Right? Yes. Maybe we can make candles and market those to homeschool moms, right?
Jamie: Yeah. That’s an idea.
Yvette: Homeschool Bravelyis your new book. Walk us through it a little bit. Tell us about some of the chapters that you’ve got in it. I mean, I’m looking at it right here, but walk us through the book a little bit.
Jamie: Okay. Well, it’s divided into three different parts. The first part really touches on the fears that homeschooling moms struggle with, because I think there’s some really prevalent universal fears. As moms, we naturally kind of have this lifelong relationship with self-doubt, all moms, I think. But then you go ahead and you add on the weight of your child’s education, and that’s a whole different ball game. That’s a whole mess bag of additional fears that you carry, because now the burden of proof is on you, for those 12 years of schooling. So the first part talks about fears.
And the second part is really referencing some of the struggles that we have as homeschool moms. I think there’s some key ones, when you’re trying to homeschool, when you have lots of little ones under foot, and trying to live in the tension of being mom, but also being teacher. There’s the struggle of teaching a struggling learner, or somebody who just regular academics doesn’t come easy or click with. Then there’s the struggle of teaching sort of that child, one of those wild ones that doesn’t want to color within the lines, and who always has the crossed arms. What do you do on the days where all you see is just chins raised in the air, and defiance, and, “I don’t want to do this”? So hopefully I speak to that in that particular section. And then just the struggle of the crazy chaotic days of just combining home and school. Even if you don’t have a struggling learner or you don’t have toddlers, anytime you try to mesh together a bunch of imperfect people in the world, you’re going to have struggles, because Jesus told you would, in this world you will have struggles.
So that’s the second part of the book. And then the last part is the solutions. Where do we go when we need bravery and it’s just not coming? What is the source, the hope that we have? Where do we look to, to squash all those fears?
Yvette: Yeah. I love the solutions. We always need those. I mean, we can work through all of the problems, and talk about them, and be frustrated about them, and even pray about them, but it’s so great to have actual solutions. And in reality, God’s going to give us what we need. But I love that in this book you offer actual practical ways to deal with those things.
Jamie: Yeah. Hopefully there’s lots of take-aways. And it’s not a homeschooling how-to book, because I think there’s plenty of those on the market. Some really great women have already written them and have done a much better job than I could. But there’s plenty of practical tips and take-aways, I hope, within the pages.
Yvette: Yeah. So why this book? What made you want to write this book? Because there are, as you mentioned, there’s a lot of different homeschool books out there, many really excellent ones. And I’m sure this is definitely in line with all of those. So with all of those out there, what made you want to write this?
Jamie: I think this is a little bit of a different book in that it’s not a homeschool how-to book. So a mom who’s been homeschooling for 20 years could hopefully pick up this book and really glean some truth from it, as well as the mom who’s just starting out, because it really speaks to the pain points that we have and the fear that we have. It’s a book of encouragement that really sets your gaze back on your very source of bravery, and that’s God. And so the reason I wrote this book is because there are lots of homeschooling how-to books out there to sort of give you marching orders, and your 12-step programs, and your checklists, and those are very helpful, but at the end of the day, you can’t tack a pretty system onto soul work. And so I hope that my book really helps a mom sort of quiet the voices of not good enough.
Yvette: In the book, I know one of the things that you mentioned is about how one third of all new homeschool moms quit after the first year. Why do you think this is?
Jamie: That’s a staggering number, isn’t it?
Yvette: It is.
Jamie: That’s 33%-
Yvette: Yeah. That’s huge.
Jamie: … of mothers who start end up quitting. I think there’s a couple of different reasons. I don’t think you can peg it on any one thing, but I think some of the biggest contributing factors are, one, homeschooling can be a very lonely road, and very isolating if you do not surround yourself with a community of other moms sort of circling the wagons and showing you the way. But I realize that there are a lot of moms who are in very isolating communities. And what do you do with that? I mean, you can’t just go dig up friends that aren’t there. So I think isolation is one of the factors. I-
Yvette: So really quickly, on that point, do you talk about, in the solutions part, how to go about finding community?
Jamie: Absolutely. There’s a whole chapter about it, and also how to sort of speak to the naysayers, because I think that’s another reason that a lot of homeschool moms, maybe not the reason they give up, but definitely something that adds to their fears and leads them to giving up, is the naysayers. We talk about how to answer the naysayers, because anytime you choose a different path, homeschooling or otherwise, there are always going to be people, other folks, shouting from the curb, telling you you’re doing it wrong, while you’re actually down in the trenches doing the work. So you have to be able to have some real practical, tangible things, hold them in your hand to know, “When those naysayers come, how am I going to respond? And actually, as a Christian, what is the biblical response when people question your decision to home school?”
I think those are a couple of the reasons. I also think that the fear, the fear of the unknown, you don’t always see the immediate fruit. This is a life work, just like motherhood is, and you’re not going to see the fruit of it tomorrow. In fact, sorry to say, you might not see the fruit of it for years and years and years to come. And we’re such a quick-fix society, that if we don’t see the fruit tomorrow, or by the end of that first school year, we want to give up, because we think we failed, we think we did something wrong. Our life doesn’t look like the curriculum catalog cover, with the smiling children and the mom who doesn’t have any gray hairs. So I think we sit in the weight of this failure-centric thought or mentality. And if there’s nobody to come alongside us, and to cheer us on, and to help us carry that banner, then it’s easy to give up.
Yvette: Yeah. It is. I can say that there have been many times, not where I’ve wanted to give up on homeschooling, but where that fear sets in, and like you said, because oftentimes, we can’t see the results right in front of us. And so my oldest is in seventh grade this year, and I’m like, “Oh, she’s getting ready to go into high school, and I hope we’re doing okay, hope we’re filling in all the blanks.” And it is a little bit terrifying. We were in Nashville recently, at the Teach Them Diligently convention, and I was talking to Rhea Perry. She is a former homeschool mom. She’s a grandma now, but she has a home business company, and she’s fantastic. And she just sat down with me and she said, “How’s homeschooling going?”, and I didn’t break down, but I just was like, “Oh, Rhea, I don’t even know how to answer that.” I said, “I just feel like we’re not always doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Now, understand, we’ve been recording … or filming for this movie for two and a half years, and I have had multiple moms sit in front of me and say, “Just take it easy. Take a breath. Let God have control of this. Allow him to fill in all of the gaps, and your kids are going to be fine. You do what God’s called you to do, and your kids are going to turn out fine.” And I still have that anxiety of like, “Oh, I hope I’m not messing it up. I hope I’m doing all right.” And she just sat me down and she said, “You’re doing a great job.” She said, “God has you guys exactly where he wants you to be. He is going to fill in all the gaps. It’s going to be great. Your kids are going to be so much better off for having been homeschooled,” and it was just great. I needed an older mom to come alongside of me and just remind me once again, because I feel like I need to be reminded of that over and over and over and over again.
Jamie: Well, and I think that’s the enemy’s biggest trick when it comes to homeschooling moms, is to, one, make us think that we even can do it in and of our own strength, like God will only give us what we can handle. But that’s just not true. Of course, he’s going to give us some things that we can’t handle. Otherwise, if we could handle it, what would be the need of Jesus? So he wants us to first think we can get it all done, if we just pull up our big girl pants, we can do it. And then when we don’t, when at the first little tripping or stumbling, we feel like a failure, we’re face down in the muck, and we want to throw in the towel, that’s all a part of his scheme.
Yvette: It really is. It really is. So, and going back to community, that’s so much part of why we need community, because we need other moms to come alongside of us, and we need to encourage one another, because there might be a day where I’m feeling really low, and discouraged, and frustrated, and I have a friend who’s like, “No. You’ve got this,” and then another day she may be feeling that way and I can come alongside of her and say, “No. You’ve got this. Let’s keep doing this. Let’s link arms and let’s do this together.” So community is so important.
We have a few more minutes left, so I want to talk about a few more things. Let’s talk about the feeling of being overwhelmed. I know I find myself here, oftentimes, I’m sure you do, I’m sure pretty much every mom does, where we feel like we’re trying to just juggle life, all of these things, being a wife, being a mom, being a teacher, and being a taxi driver, or being whatever it is that we’re doing with our families. Maybe oftentimes we’re involved with ministry, or we’re helping to lead a co-op, or there’s just so many things. How do you encourage that mom who is just dealing with feeling overwhelmed?
Jamie: Well, I guess I would say that, “Remember, anything worth doing is going to be hard. Think about marriage, parenting, any of the eternal things that have eternal value, they’re going to be difficult, and it’s going to require digging in and doing the hard work. Don’t be afraid by that and don’t be surprised by that.” I think it’s very easy for a homeschool mom to be overwhelmed. And I also think that no one else around you, but other homeschool moms, are going to truly understand right where you’re sitting, and will truly understand the overwhelm. It’s easy to look at a homeschool mom who’s at home all day and just think, “Well, she must sit around in her jammies eating bonbons. And if I need a babysitter, I’ll call that homeschool mom, because what else is she doing all day?” They just don’t understand.
I think it’s really important, like you said, with the community, to have other women who recognize, and see you, and see your struggles. And then I think, too, I find it very helpful … and this is a boots on the ground, practical tip that seems to work, at least for me, I find it very helpful to really set … I don’t want you to think of homeschooling as a job, but in some ways you kind of have to, you have to be able to say, “This fits in this timeframe of my day, and I’m not going to let it commandeer and strong-arm the whole day.”
We start homeschooling around 9:30, in theory, on good days, and then at 3 o’clock … I’m teaching five, so they’re not always doing school from 9:30 to 3:00, but I am, because I’m one person and there’s five of them. But at 3 o’clock, I have a hard and fast rule that I’m done, because then I need to go on and do other things. I work from home, so I’ve got to juggle that. Like you said, there’s ministry things that need to be done. And plus I’m also a wife and I want to love my husband well, and I want to love my children as a mother.
I think sometimes you just have to give homeschooling the right weight and importance in the day. And I think too often, especially at first, homeschool moms, because of just the weight of a child’s education, we give homeschooling way more control of our lives, and make it harder than it’s supposed to be, and make it bigger than it’s supposed to be. Yes, academics, education, absolutely important, but your life is worth more than a textbook, or the next test, or that next worksheet. So I think it’s really important to put homeschooling in the proper perspective.
Yvette: Yeah. Yes. I love that. Unfortunately, we are out of time for the podcast, but I would love to stay on with you and continue talking, because I want to talk about a few more things. I want to talk about moms who don’t feel called to homeschool, because some feel like they need to homeschool because maybe their child’s being bullied, or maybe they don’t feel comfortable with the public school but they can’t afford the private school, and they just feel like it’s their only option, but they don’t necessarily feel like God is prompting them to homeschool, so I want to talk to those moms.
I want to talk about community. We touched on this a little bit earlier, but I want to give some practical advice that you give in your book. But I want to, for those who have ordered the book and maybe they haven’t received it yet, talk about how they can go about finding community, because for those introverts it might not be as easy. And then I want to talk about the naysayers. We talked about that as well a little bit, but I want to give some practical advice on how people can respond to those naysayers in their lives.
Yvette: So we are going to close out the podcast right now, but for the backstage pass members we’re going to stay on, and they can listen to the rest of our conversation. For those of you who are not yet familiar with the backstage pass membership, Schoolhouse Rocked is a film that we are in production on right now, looking to release in summer of 2020, but we have a backstage pass membership site, and with the membership site we have a ton of resources on there, mostly videos. So a lot of them are the full length videos, video interviews of people that we’ve had in the movie, like Heidi St. John. Oh my goodness, there’s so many. I should have the list in front of me right now. Israel Wayne, Sam Sorbo, there’s a bunch of people that we’ve got, so we’ll have their full interviews on there. Many of them are already on there.
And then for our podcast, oftentimes like this, I just have more that I want to talk about, so we will continue the discussion and people can view that discussion on video on the backstage pass membership site. So if you’re not familiar, go to schoolhouserocked.com, click on backstage pass, and you can find out more about that. And it’s a great way to support what we’re doing with the podcast, and with the film, and all that we have going on with Schoolhouse Rocked, so we would love it if you would check that out. Jamie, tell us where people can find you.
Jamie: Well, you can find me at theunlikelyhomeschool.com, and Facebook and Instagram, and then over at momtomompodcast.com.
Yvette: Okay. Great. We will link those in the show notes. And then, again, the name of your book is Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with Confidence. And that is already out on Amazon,probably through your website, right, and you can pretty much find it anywhere.
Jamie: Yep. Barnes & Noble, christianbook.com, all of the places. And actually, if you want to know more about the book, you can go to homeschoolbravely.com.
Yvette: Great. Thank you so much, Jamie, for joining me today.
Don’t miss the rest of this discussion. Backstage Pass members can watch this full interview, which includes 30 minutes of additional content!
Jamie Erickson first appeared on episode 11 of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Listen to “Letting Go of ‘School’ to Homeschool with Excellence”, which aired September 10th, 2018.
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