It’s Mailbox Monday friends! I’m answering lots of homeschooling questions today—including homeschoolng with a newborn and homeschooling through high school. Listen in, you’ll be encouraged!
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Numbers 14:18
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Hey friends, this is Heidi St. John. How are you guys doing? It’s Monday. Come on. How you doing? This is episode number 880. Monday, February the third welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. We are going to stick today to the topic of homeschooling. Some of you guys have questions about homeschooling. Some of you are wondering why we homeschool and then some of you have questions about how to homeschool.
Today’s podcast is going to be all things homeschooling. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, you guys happy that you are here today. Today is February the 3rd, which means it’s the very first day of the MomStrong International Bible Study and so this is a great, great, great time for you to jump into the study with me.
I just want to remind you that we have a heart… the whole reason… I’m not doing the podcast for fun, I’m doing it so that you will be motivated to get #offthebench and onto the battlefield. Particularly when it comes to your family, particularly when it comes to your marriage, to your children, and the way that we know what God says is to be in His Word.
Last Friday I had my friend Suzanne Phillips on the show and she was talking about the fatal diagnosis of her son in utero and basically how she had allowed the enemy to deceive her into an abortion basically at 20 weeks with that little boy. I thought one of the things that was so interesting, one of my takeaways from her very brave and beautiful story, was that she said she did not know the Word and had she known the word she would have known immediately that God says, always, always, always choose life.
Women, you have an opportunity to know God’s Word and I don’t want you to miss it. Today at MomStrong International brand new Bible study called Chesed, we are studying the lovingkindness of God and what it looks like in different seasons of our lives. We’re going to do that by studying the lives of women in the Bible. Check it out. momstronginternational.com. This is also a really great time to get your kids into the Scripture Writing Challenge with you.
The Scripture Writing Challenges is free. The study is about $8 a month and I’m telling you right now that $8 goes a long way into helping us continue with this ministry to continue the podcast. Check it out momstronginternational.com. Also, a couple things coming up on my calendar. I’m going to do something, a flash class, if you will. On the 8th of February, so coming up this Saturday from 1:00 to 2:00 Pacific, so just an hour. This is not a long drawn out thing. It’s not a week class like I normally do, but I’ve had so many questions lately on essential oils and one of my favorite things to do is talk about essential oils and intimacy.
I’m going to teach you guys how to make some massage oils that will… let me see, how shall I say this? Your husband will love them.
We’re going to talk about how essential oils can help you sexually in marriage, particularly as it relates to hormones and intimacy. Check it out. It’s a free class. It’s only an hour, and I’m not going to do it again for quite a while. This Saturday the 8th from 1pm to 2pm Pacific Time, I will link back to the registration for that in the show notes today.
Also, in just two weeks, my whole team is going to be in Lakeland, Florida. We are descending upon Lakeland, Florida for Faith That Speaks. If you’re anywhere near Florida, this is the one chance that we have to do this on the East coast this year, the Southeast I should say. We’re hoping you guys will come and join us and who doesn’t want to be in Florida in February, who? F is for Florida and February and fantastic.
Come on out Faith That Speaks and you guys are going to be blessed. I know that you will be, your registration also includes a tee shirt and a swag bag and… but really that’s not why you’re coming, right? We’re going to dig into God’s Word. You guys are going to be encouraged and inspired. We’re going to have fantastic worship, great time of Q & A. You’re going to get to meet the speakers, myself and Elizabeth Johnston and Kathy Barnett and I’m telling you what, it’s a weekend that’s going to change your life.
Check it out. Faith That speaks, Lakeland, Florida. The very next weekend I’ll be in Nashville for the Teach Them Diligently convention, this the first one of the year and I hope you guys will check it out at teachthemdiligently.com. They have a fantastic conference. You don’t want to miss it. All right, today is Mailbox Monday and I’m just going to jump right into Mailbox Monday and encourage you to reach out to me.
I love getting your questions and actually I think this is maybe part of what the Lord has gifted me and called me to do, is just talk about what’s happening in the culture in real time. I love your questions and you can submit questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org\mailboxmonday.
You just get on there, fill out the form. It’s a great opportunity for you to interact with me to get your questions answered. I don’t mind tough questions. In fact, I really like them. One of my favorite people to watch is Charlie Kirk with Turning Point USA and I love it when they do questions and answers from the audience and he says, “Listen, if you’ve got a tough question, then come to the front of the line.” Because why? Because we don’t want to waste time with questions that are just like, “would you rather have a hamburger or a cheeseburger?” Who cares? Right?
I really want to encourage you, keep those questions coming. I’m going to answer your question for a couple of weeks, sometimes as a couple of months, sometimes I’ll see a question I go, “Oh my goodness, that needs an answer right now.” I’ll answer it the very next chance that I get.
But I really do pray over these questions and I want to thank you guys for being such a responsive podcast audience. We really, really want to thank you. Also, thank you so much for leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes and for reviewing my books at Amazon. You just have no idea how much that helps us. Thank you so much for doing that. Today I’m going to focus on homeschooling because I have so many questions stacking up in the queue right now about homeschooling.
I’m going to go down the list of some questions about homeschooling. I just want to encourage you, if you haven’t checked out what we’re doing here at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, you can check it out at Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, FPHRC.org and see what we’re doing and I hope you guys will be encouraged. We’re going to… we’re really praying about just the Lord and what He’s doing through the ministry here that we have so generously been given by the Lord to steward.
Hope you guys will continue to pray for us. Jay and I have been homeschooling our seven children. Four of our kids are graduated. We still have three at home. One of our daughters is just finishing up her high school career. Then we’ve got another one who’s a freshman and then our little caboose baby is in fourth grade this year.
We’ve been homeschooling for a long time. I was not a mom who ever wanted to homeschool. Actually, I never really wanted to get into the culture wars either. I planned on just putting my kids in school like every other normal person and participating in the PTA and watching my kids grow up, and the Lord really convicted us from his word that when our kids are trained, they’re going to be like their teachers.
We really began saying, “Who is responsible? Who is the primary educator?” While the Lord so clearly says that that is for parents, which is why you need to be standing in the gap. Even if your kids are in public school, you guys, I mean for goodness sake, what they’re teaching our children in the schools, particularly when it comes to human sexuality right now is so agregious and we need to be talking about it in the culture.
The first question I’m going to answer is a from a mom who says that they are struggling with whether or not to homeschool their kids or send them to private Christian school. I know a lot of you are in this struggle right now. I just want to read this question to you. We’ll address it and then we’ll move onto the next question.
Hi Heidi. My husband and I are looking for guidance on what we should do about either homeschooling our children or sending them to a private Christian school. If we both work my husband full-time and me part-time and sometimes full time we can afford to send our children to a private Christian school. Or should one of us quit our job and stay home to homeschool? We would have a significant reduction in our income if either one of us quit our jobs and we would need to sell our current home and move but we are both willing to do that for our children’s sake. Thank you and God bless you.
All right, so sweet mom, can I just say, I’m going to say this, what I always say to parents, you’re asking me for my opinion, this is not thus saith the Lord. I feel like a person needs to put in the disclaimer. I’m not a physician so I’m not giving you medical advice. I am going to give you advice from experience, years and years of mothering and years and years of speaking out in the culture and traveling around the country and seeing what’s happening to our kids. This decision ultimately is between you and your husband and the Lord, but my honest opinion is when we’re talking about educating our children, the gold standard is homeschooling.
I just think that it is. Because, your kids are getting you, and that means you need to be walking with the Lord. That means you need to be taking that responsibility seriously, but there’s nothing better. When you rise up, when you walk along the road, that’s Deuteronomy 6. In Luke, Oh my goodness, when a student is trained, he’ll be like his teacher and bad company corrupts good character and all the things that God tells us all throughout His Word that have to do with human interaction and the importance of relationships.
Also, I think homeschooling is sanctifying. Can we just be honest for a minute? Homeschooling is going to make you more like Jesus. You’re going to have a come to Jesus. You’re going to be calling on the name of Jesus. You’re going to be on your knees more than you ever thought. To me, that sanctification process, that becoming more like Jesus is worth every single ounce of energy that you put into it.
If you can stay home and homeschool your kids, it’s going to be a journey that’s absolutely worth taking. I just encourage you, Jay and I took a huge hit. I worked nights for a long time when we homeschooled our kids, when we first started, especially I sold Tupperware. Oh my goodness. I did all kinds of things to stay home with our kids. But we lived… we had used cars, we did not… we just… we basically lived to simple life. I like a simple life.
The culture somehow tells us we got to have more and more and more and more to be happy. I just… that hasn’t been the truth in my house. Some of the happiest years of Jay’s and my marriage were the years that we basically had nothing and we just relied on the Lord and we got to see the Lord answer our prayers and grow us up and provide. It was an amazing season.
For me, the choosing to stop working when focused on our children meant a huge shift in worldview for me because I was never going to homeschool our kids. It also meant that we took a hit financially. Guess what? The Lord worked it out. If God’s putting this on your heart, my hunch is it’s probably the Holy Spirit. I would say look into that. I don’t think that you’ll be sorry.
Next best thing obviously is a Christian school. I graduated from Christian school and my husband graduated from a public school. I would loath to put my children in public school now. I would be… The Lord would have to come down from heaven with a shout and say, “This is what I want you to do, Heidi.” Because what they’re doing in the schools to our children right now is egregious. I know there are good Christian teachers in the school and I know there are good administrators, but what I’m talking about is an agenda that’s being pushed from the highest levels into our schools that are telling our children that there are 72 genders and that their gender is malleable and that homosexuality is cool and oh here’s 17 different kinds of ways you can have sex when you’re in fifth grade and all the things and it’s just egregious to me.
For the longest time, Christian stood back and said, “Well that’s fine. They can teach evolution in the schools because creation is a religion.” What a bunch of malarkey we have bought into. Evolution is a theory. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it takes to believe that God said… God spoke and the world came into being. Anyway, I’m getting off, but I want you just to hear my heart in saying I believe homeschooling, not only is it absolutely doable today and absolutely affordable. You guys have more at your disposal if you decide to homeschool your kids than any time in the history of the nation. It’s accessible to you and it’s an awesome opportunity for you to disciple your children and to train them in the ways of the Lord and shape their worldview the way that God says to.
That’s my two cents on that one. Here’s the next one. Heidi I love your podcast. Thank you. This is from Megan. Hi sweet Megan. Thank you so much for encouragement, encouraging us. I’m a mom to a six year old and four year old twins and I’m expecting a baby in the summer.
I wanted to know if you can remember, think of some tips of what it’s like to homeschool with the baby. Did you take time off? Did you try to do a little bit? Was the baby the lesson for a while? I would love your input. Megan, I love this question and I’m going to dedicate this question to my beautiful daughter Savannah, who’s getting ready to have her third baby here in the month of May. Little Junie is going to join our family and she also has a six and a four year old, although she doesn’t have twins.
You’re winning in the twin department right here Megan. A couple of things that I definitely remember. I think people say, “Oh you have a baby and you forget.” No you don’t, I didn’t forget.
I think homeschooling, the sanctifying nature of homeschooling, has allowed me not to forget a lot of things. I had lots of babies when we were homeschooling. I do think there’s something to be said for the babies. Absolutely the lesson for a while, you’ve got a six year old and a four year old. You could do nothing for a year, nothing academically with them for a year except for just read to them and point things out on a map and they will be just fine.
You’re in a season now, if you had a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old and a baby like I did, I’d be telling you something different, but because your kids are so little, I think you can roll it back and just enjoy. These are the wonder years. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the wonder years with your kids. I think you can absolutely take time off. I think you can just settle in, try some new recipes, settle into family life. You’re creating that liturgy, that rhythm in your home right now. It’s a precious, precious time for you to do that.
For those of you who are listening and you have kids who are older, one of the things that we did was when mama was tired, like if the baby was up all night or I was up all night with the baby, we started school a lot later. We dial it down a whole lot more. There were times when I had what I call the school box and I would pull that school box out from the closet and my little ones, the toddlers or whatever, they would play in that school box. It was toys and things like that, that I got them just for school time to keep them busy. We did that for a little while too.
I think it’s okay to ratchet it back. The government really is the one who’s determined this is what your child needs to know by la, la, la, la, la. Well I’m actually not impressed with the state standard for educating children. To me, bringing a baby into your home is education in and of itself. Teaching your children to cook education in and of itself. Teaching them to clean and cook and be responsible and to get along with each other and then add some school work to it because then you’ve got real life. That’s actually real life.
Most of you are having children, babies when you have younger children, this is really a season of learning and of leaning. I say learn and lean and this is what I’ve been telling my daughter too. You learn as the Lord brings these precious little ones into your home and then you lean into the Holy Spirit and you lean into the Lord. “Father, what do you want me to do today?” Maybe He’s going to say, “This is a reading day for you.” Or maybe he’s going to say, “This is a math. They focus on math today.” Or maybe you’re going to be reading missionary stories to your kids. All of those things. This is a great opportunity for you to do that and to not stress too much, I think about adding the baby, but really I would focus more on my attention on making that transition a smooth one.
All right, next question comes from Michelle and she says, Heidi, I’m so angry. All right, I love people when they start off letters like this to me because it tells me there’s a passion. Something’s burning in you. I sent some moms about ready to get off the bench.
She says, The church seems to be asleep on the topic of homeschooling or at least discipling children.” Yeah, Michelle, you’re right. You’re right. “They won’t even talk about it. My husband and I homeschool our two and he believes that the church shouldn’t have a say in what or how their children are educated. It makes me crazy mad churches sitting on their hands with their mouth duct tape is the reason our country’s in the state that it’s in.
Yeah. You right, Michelle, you and I are going to be good friends. I am a new Christian seven years and I’m homeschooling our eight and four-year-old. I get that others are not on fire like I am for this topic, but when I spoke to my pastor today, I was so upset with this cookie cutter answer. I’m not saying the church should tell people what to do, but they need to say something. Anything. I really need your wisdom. The Lord put it on my heart to homeschool before my daughter was even in kindergarten. I get that not everyone can or wants to. I watched the documentary Indoctrination and was dumbfounded about the actual facts about children in public school. It is an amazing documentary. Please help me speak about this topic. Maybe this is a place where I need to get off the bench and ruffle some feathers.
Okay, so this is a really great question. You’re right, the church is not talking about this enough and frankly I think it’s because they’re afraid of offending people. This was certainly the case when my husband was a pastor. People said, “We don’t want to talk about homeschooling. Because there are lots of people here that send their kids to public school. They feel like we’re coming against them. We don’t want it to be divisive.” I think there are lots of ways to talk about this without being divisive.
The church absolutely has a responsibility to make sure that the youngest members of its church are being discipled by their parents. This discipleship piece, the church is really good about bringing everybody in and we go through the standard sermon notes and blah, blah, blah and we’ve got the seeker sensitive churches and yada yada yada, but I’m wondering when we’re going to get back to saying… to really focusing on the family and living out our lives as families in the culture the way God would want us to.
We can’t do that if we’re ill-equipped in the very beginning because we don’t understand the importance of discipleship. I think it’s a great opportunity for you maybe to step into a space of your own by leading a Bible study in your home. For goodness sake, if you haven’t checked out what I’m doing over at MomStrong International, you could become a leader there and you can start having groups in your home once a week or once every other week. Michelle, this might be a great opportunity for you to get off the bench and onto the battlefield by just using your voice with the women that are around you and encouraging them to love their husbands and disciple their own children. I love that, I love that you’re a new Christian. I think part of the reason that we lose passion, especially those of us who got saved and we were five years old or whatever we don’t realize what God saved us from because it’s just been our reality since we were little, but you know, and so you have an opportunity to speak about it.
The last thing I would say is probably should have been the first thing and that is to really take it before the Lord in prayer. God would have you pray about this and what you can do in your church to be encouraging to your pastor and to the people around you.
I’ve got two questions I’m going to try to get two really quick. Stephanie’s asking, How did you homeschool your high schoolers? What’s a typical day look like? Stephanie, I’ve written about this ad nauseum on my blog and so I’ll link back to that in the show notes today. Also some great books on homeschooling through high school.
I have written a book called The Busy Homeschool Moms Guide to daylight. You guys can get that on my store. I’ll link back to that in the show notes today, but it has suggestions for you on how to order your days, what it looks like for different people with different numbers of kids and different responsibilities, et cetera, et cetera. We chose a delight directed approach with our own children to look to see what were the unique gifts and abilities that God gave them and then every chance we got we steered them in that direction.
For example, we had a daughter who from the time she was probably nine years old, I was like, “Oh my goodness, she has an incredible eye.” She is Sierra, our 26 year old who is now a Graphic Designer. She does all the graphics for MomStrong International. For those of you who download that study every month and you’ve seen what it is, that’s our daughter Sierra, who creates the graphics and makes the study that we write look so beautiful.
We saw that in her when she was very young. So I love a directed approach to homeschooling. Obviously they need to have, depending on where you are, four years of math, three years of English, whatever. But there’s a hundred different ways to do that. We’ve… over the years, our kids, I have taught that all of the classes, but then eventually we started leaning more on the homeschool co-op, especially for things like algebra and chemistry and things that I was just like, “No, thank you.”
There’s lots and lots of ways to homeschool your kids through high school. This is a great time to do it too because you get to see fruit. You work for all these years or whatever and then you’re like: “I need to see fruit.” Homeschooling through high school is. to me, the best opportunity for really seeing that fruit in the lives of your kids. I’ll link back to a bunch of things, homeschooling through high school and then check that out in the show notes today.
Last question. Heidi. My homeschool needs peace. I’m going to let that sit. I have a question about homeschooling and maintaining peace in our home. We have four kids, ages 13, 11, nine and seven. We are generally really love homeschooling and feel very much like this is where the Lord has called our family. But lately there has been so much steepiness between my kids. They’re snapping at each other a lot to the point where it’s become disruptive to our school time. I would love any wisdom that you can share about maintain peace in my current season of life.
All right, so you’ve got a 13, 11 and nine and a seven. Moment of silence. I was there once and I remember it. To me, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can stop what you’re doing and address character issues within your family and particularly with each of your children individually.
I’ve been known to stop school and just have everybody doing chores. I’ve been known to stop school and have my kids go run around outside. I’ve been known to stop school, just get in the car and go down and get an ice cream cone. You need to be asking the Lord what He wants you to do. Because remember, homeschooling is about a whole lot more than academics. Character comes before curriculum.
God would have for your home to be a place of peace. I love that the Lord is always with us. In Romans 8:31, if God is for us, who can ever be against us? 2 Timothy 4, but the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the good news in its entirety. I love that God says, “I hear you.” Psalm 61, “from the ends of the earth I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.” To me the towering rock of safety, particularly when it comes to raising children, is always hearing the Word of the Lord and saying, “Lord, what am I supposed to focus on today?”
He’ll show you. He’s going to tell you, “Hey, stop what you’re doing and correct this issue in your family. Correct this character flaw in your child or whatever it is.” God will help you and he will lead you to whatever it is that you need to do. I would say focus on that with your children. If it seems like it’s getting out of hand, I would even… I’ve done this before, I’ve quit for a couple of weeks at a time, said, “You know what? The last several weeks have been really rough, so we’re going to take a couple weeks off.”
If it means you have to homeschool this summer, that’s okay. That’s all right. Take a couple of weeks off, change it up a little bit. Hit the reset button and then start over again and see if you can’t start your kids off with a better attitude and a better reflection on where they are and what they’ve been given. To me, that’s the best way to do it.
I hope that this has been really helpful for you. I know that a whole bunch of you listening to this are homeschooling your kids and I just want to encourage you keep doing it. I’m actually going to be speaking for the BJU Foundation Summit tomorrow and it’s going to be live streamed on their Facebook page, so I’ll link back to that in the show notes today, but I’m going to be teaching on the importance of training your children with a biblical worldview and what’s happening in the culture.
Every single one of you that’s listening to this right now, you guys will benefit from that. About 40 minutes long we’ll be coming to you live from Greenville, South Carolina and you can catch it on their Facebook page live. I’ll link back to that mission stay.
I really appreciate you guys listening. Thank you so much for continuing to leave reviews for the podcast and sharing it with your friends and we’re just encouraged by what God is doing in your lives and your heart for wanting to disciple and raise your children in the ways of the Lord.
You will not be sorry. Stay faithful everybody your kids are watching.
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Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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