Help! I feel overwhelmed! How can I homeschool my kids and keep my sanity? Please tell me what to prioritize! Today, I’ll be answering this and several more questions. Listen in and be encouraged!
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Psalm 63:3-4
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Hey you guys, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, November 18th. It’s mailbox Monday. This is episode number 846. Lots of stuff to talk about today. I’m going to get to your questions.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
There have been a lot of things happening in the news lately that I have been commenting on, on social media and obviously around the dinner table, and we’re going to get to those things today. I’m going to talk a little bit about what’s happening with the impeachment hearings that are happening on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, regarding President Trump, answer some of your criticisms from social media and then also try to get to as many questions as I can for Mailbox Monday. If you want to have your question considered. Here’s a couple of things I want you guys to remember. You need to submit your questions to me. Don’t send them to me on social media, on Instagram or any of my social media outlets. Those are looked at by staff members and it’s hard for them to get those questions off of social media and into the form that we have set up for you.
If you want to reach out to me, please do it at heidistjohn.com/mailboxMonday. Please put all the information in there that you would like for me to have, but there’s a caveat. Can you please keep it short? Short and sweet and to the point and actually it’s really awesome if right before you start your question you can say what it’s about. Maybe it’s about homeschooling, maybe it’s about marriage, maybe it’s about politics, maybe it’s about the church, whatever it is. Maybe it’s about parenting. If you can put just one or two words in there before you start your question, that really helps me categorize things, so that I can get to a wide variety of questions here at the podcast.
I wanted to remind you guys that we’re starting our third week of the November study on contentment at MomStrong International. Come study the Word with me at momstronginternational.com. You can sign up for the study. You can get the free scripture writing challenge. The study itself is about $8 a month and I’m here to tell you right now, it’s going to bless and encourage you and it’s going to strengthen you in your knowledge of the Word and help you as you train your children in righteousness.
On December 6th, I will be speaking at a women’s Christmas tea in Newbury Park, California. If you’re anywhere around there, come on out. I just cannot wait to be with all of my Newbury Park women, so excited about that. December 6th for a women’s Christmas tea. Really, really excited about that.
You guys, we have an awesome sponsor today. ECCU is sponsoring this podcast. Wouldn’t it be great if kids were born just knowing how to manage money? What a relief, right? Just hand them a little cash and they instinctively know what to do. Wrong. Not going to happen. I’ve been telling you guys for some time now about one of our partners here at the podcast and Evangelical Christian Credit Union has lots of tools at your disposal and wants to help your child become a great financial steward. I’ll tell you guys a little secret. They want you to be successful in teaching them, too. All right. Learn more about how they can help you on this journey at eccu.org/heidi.
All right. Without further ado, I’m going to jump into your questions. Lots of questions here at the podcast and I have been praying over these as they come in and really asking the Lord to give me wisdom as your questions come in and they’re wonderful questions. I love hearing from you guys and I hope you’ll keep them coming, so remember if you’ve got questions, Heidistjohn.com/mailboxMonday.
I’m going to be bringing guests on the show occasionally now on Wednesdays also, and I will be attempting to answer your questions on Mondays and Wednesdays and so I hope it’s an encouragement to you.
All right, this comes from Holly. She says, “Heidi, I am a new homeschool mom.” Welcome, Holly. “Just celebrated my one year anniversary, walking with the Lord. My husband travels for work and isn’t always available and I’m struggling to homeschool my six and four year old and giving them the time they need for school, trying to tend to my house, fit in my appointments, play dates, one on one time, trying to be a full in my own spiritual walk with the Lord and get it all done. So do you have any recommendations on how to do it all? What should be the priority?”
First of all, a sweet Holly, can I just say welcome? You have just described motherhood and I think that sometimes, I’ve noticed that you have a six and a four year old. Right off the top, I’m just going to say you probably shouldn’t be doing any more than an hour every day with your six year old. They don’t need a lot. All right? It’s the system that has told us, we’re so programmed and so conditioned to think that our kids need to be in school six hours a day and they really don’t. Especially not a six year old and certainly not a four year old. In fact, I am typically not doing school with my four year olds. This is a mistake I made long ago when my 28 year old was very little and I was so enthusiastic and thought, “Oh my goodness, she’s four years old. So let the schooling begin.”
Yeah. In hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have done it that way. So your six year old, I’d say let your four year old play. These are the wonder years, right? Dump rice onto a cookie sheet and let them practice their shapes and their letters and numbers and you have them copy things into that cookie sheet. Set out a bucket of toys for your kids. My goodness, you guys, when you make cookies with them, you’re teaching them. When they’re helping you with the laundry and helping you do chores, kids like that need to know that they are a valuable and an important part of your home. And so you have an opportunity to do that.
As far as fitting everything in, you asked specifically what should be the priority. And so I’m going to outline those priorities for you from the word of God. Are you ready? The first one comes from Deuteronomy: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. We love the Lord. The Lord is our first priority. I’m going to say that again. Your relationship with the Lord is and should be, according to God’s Word, your first priority.
And so that means when you get up in the morning that we should be conditioning ourselves, before we open Facebook, oh for the love. Please, dear God, help Heidi St. John to stop doing that. It’s so tempting, isn’t it? Especially if the first thing we do is pick up our phones, right? That’s the first thing that I do. But I’m telling you what you guys, when I get lazy, when I fall into that, the enemy messes with me. And we need to remember that we’re on a battlefield every day. And for those of you who have little children, I have written about this extensively, and I’m going to quote from the book a lot today.
I wrote a book several years ago called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight, managing your days through the homeschool years. This is a great book for anybody, homeschooling or not, because it outlines the priorities that God gives us. Your first priority is your walk with the Lord and when your kids are little, bring them into it with you. If you’ve been up all night with a newborn, I’m not talking to you, all right? I’m talking to those of you guys who were sleeping through the night. Now I know, I know. I don’t know if mothers ever sleep through the night again, but you guys get it, right? You understand?
In the morning, bring your kids downstairs, read God’s Word to them, read out of a children’s Bible if your kids are little, let them see that this is the priority in your life. Your relationship with the Lord comes first. Out of an overflow then, of what God is doing in your walk with Him, you pour into your marriage. Marriage comes before motherhood. Write that down. Dads, marriage comes before fatherhood. Tend to your marriage and then out of an overflow of what God is doing in your marriage—you pour into your children, out of an overflow of what God’s doing in your children, you pour into your community.
This is why so many people in ministry end up losing their families because we get it messed up. We start ministering to people when our own homes are not in order, and so this is the most important thing. And then ask the Lord, I mean, Holly, this is a great opportunity for you in the morning, when you’re having that time with the Lord. “Lord, how do you want me to order my day? How do you want me to do appointments and set up playdates and all those things?” And the Lord will show you. All right, Holly? Wonderful question. Thanks for writing.
Whitney. “In Alabama, we have an opportunity to homeschool our kids through Alabama Connections Academy. It is state regulated, they provide books and laptops for free. My question is, would this be a smart choice or is it best to consider something like Classical Connections that is more biblically based?” All right, now you know what I’m going to say, but I’m going say it anyway. Nothing is free. And so the school system, and I’ve been banging this drum for a really long time. Those of you who are homeschooling and you’re doing it through the state, can I just tell you right now, I believe in my heart that it actually hurts homeschool freedom when we do that.
I always encourage people, do it independent. Don’t take money from the government. Yes, they provide books and laptops. Why? Because they still want a window into influencing your kids. And so education is not neutral. It never has been, it never will be. And so I believe the smarter choice is always to give your kids a Christian education, a biblical education. And parents, you can do that without something like, I’ve never heard of Classical Connections, but without that you can do it on your own. I know lots of people who are using Ambleside Online. There are lots of online academies that are Christian based.
HSLDA— If you’ve got older children, they’ve got wonderful online courses that you can participate in. But I want to, I always steer parents toward giving their children a Christian education because education isn’t neutral. Luke 6:40. You guys know this verse. I say it all the time: When a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher. And there’s never been a more important time than now to recognize that we’ve been duped in Western civilization into thinking that education’s just this benign thing and we send our kids to school and “bye, bye, have a good day, mama will see you later.”
We don’t realize that they’re being influenced and they’re often being influenced for evil. And that’s the straight up truth. And so I think, I love your question. It tells me that you’re considering the heart of your child, Whitney. And so I think that’s awesome. And I would steer you away from a state regulated, state run program, whether they provide free books and laptops or whether they don’t and say do something that is both independent and Christian in nature. That’s one of the reasons we love the homeschool resource center that my husband and I started here in Vancouver, Washington.
We don’t take money from the government. we don’t offer government things here. And we’ve kept the cost low, as low as we can, because most of the parents that are here are volunteering their time. You guys, if we would just link arms, think of what could happen. But instead we keep looking at the state, the state can help us, the state can give us books and laptops and all that stuff. So Whitney, I’m going to steer you away from that and towards something that’s biblically based. I love your question because it reveals your heart.
From Dana. She says, “Heidi, I love your podcast.” Thank you, Dana. “Thank you for being a voice of reason and truth. Last month at my school, I was told that drag queen story hour is potentially coming to my school for an afterschool event. That is infuriating.” Good grief! “With trembling voice, I raised my hand and asked how bringing in men dressed as sexualized women was relevant to our kids’ education. I was then told that we would have a vote on the issue and further discussion was to be had, so stay tuned. Well, fast forward to the next PAC meeting last night where I was told that drag queen story hour is now confirmed for next month. I feel so disregarded and brushed aside. Many of the people in the room, including the PAC president, have known me as long as 12 years. I’m an active member of my community and have served in many ways.”
“I love where I live and the families at our school, but this feels like a betrayal. I don’t know where to go from here. Of course, my husband and I will pray about it and are seeking the Lord’s will as we move forward or if we should, maybe this is the nail in the coffin and we should switch schools. We were there for a few years and we pulled our four kids to homeschool for two years and now this is the second year that we are back. What would you do? It seems like most people are for this event and it just breaks my heart.”
Okay, so Dana, I love your question again for the same reason as I love Whitney’s question, it really shows that you have a heart to do what is right for your child’s heart, for what your child is going to be taught and what they’re going to be surrounded with. And like I’ve said before, the reason it feels like a betrayal to you is because it is. The school system is not invested only in the academic pursuit of reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is a social engineering going on in our schools today that is beyond the pale.
It is beyond anything that I have ever seen in my lifetime. And for the 17 years that I’ve been speaking on homeschooling and speaking about education around the country for the first, you can ask anybody that listened to me for the first probably 10 years, or maybe even 12 years, I did not say “homeschooling is the best way.” I said “homeschooling is a great way.” I have changed my thinking on this over the years because I have seen such a blatant assault and a blatant disregard. When you say most people are for this, I’m here to tell you right now that the pressure that is being put on school administrators, the pressure that is being put on teachers, the pressure that is being put on lawmakers from the LBGTQ lobby for transgenderism specifically, for all other things, too, but transgenderism specifically is back breaking.
And most of the people that I am watching don’t have the moral fortitude or the courage to stand up under it and they kowtow to it. And that’s just the truth. And so if it were me, I would be switching schools. Since you asked. I’d be switching schools. I’d be taking my kids out of there so fast it’d make their head spin and I’d bring them home. The best thing that you can do for your kids is to be around your kids and influence them for the gospel, for as much time as the Lord gives you.
Because what is happening in the culture right now is a full on assault and we need to train our kids to be ready for it. I agree with you when you say that it breaks your heart. It breaks my heart, too. But more than that, it breaks the heart of God. And I think this is where Christian parents need to say no more. These kids do not belong to the schools. They don’t belong to school administrators or sexual activists. They belong to their parents. The parents have been given authority to train up their children and it’s never been more important than it is right now. Thanks for your question.
Next question comes from an anonymous listener. She says, “Dear Heidi, your podcasts always encourage me and I look forward to my 20 minutes with you while I get ready for the day. My question is not an easy one. I’m a homeschool mom of four and also a foster mom. I did not have a good education upbringing and felt very stupid growing up and was never told otherwise. My children started out in public school, but it didn’t take long to realize I needed to homeschool them for many reasons. I brought them home and did my best. Thankfully my first two and fourth are very much self motivated and learn easily. That is not the case with my third. He has continually gotten further and further behind, as I kept ignoring his obvious struggles because I simply did not know how to help him.”
“I kept thinking that it would just click, but it didn’t. He is now the age of an eighth grader and nowhere near where he should be academically. He has the heart of an angel and for that I’m grateful, but I am at a loss. We have always struggled financially and finally able to find a tutor. She made me feel horrible about myself and gave me very little hope for him. I’m afraid to go elsewhere for fear of being reported to the schools. I believe with all my heart that this is better than going to public school, but there is no support for this anywhere on the internet. And I feel as though I’m the only one in this situation and have become an absolute failure.”
All right, so anonymous. Can I just encourage you right now, God’s going to help you with this. You are not an absolute failure. I want to issue a request to everyone who’s listening to this. If you have a place where this woman can go to get help, can you send me that information at mailbox Monday? Heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday. And I’m going to get your information to this sweet mom. And so I hear from parents all the time who say, “I don’t think I’m doing a good job.” And you guys, you know what? Can I just say right now, the jury’s not in on your son. The enemy wants you to feel like a failure and what I hear in your email to me is condemnation. That is Satan. The Lord never speaks to us in tones like that. This is not a sin issue. The Holy Spirit will speak to you in tones of conviction, not condemnation, and so walk in the conviction of the Holy spirit and ask the Lord to help you. And there’s enough people listening to this that I believe we can link arms with you and give you some sound advice and some good places to go. But your son is in eighth grade. You’ve got lots of time. All right? This is not the end. This is not the end. You are not a failure and the Lord of heaven’s armies will help you. So hang in there. Don’t be discouraged.
I’ve got time for just a couple more.
Amber. “Heidi, I love your podcast. You’re a breath of fresh air in this cultural climate. Thank you, Amber. My husband and I feel convicted to start homeschooling in a year when our oldest turns five. However, I currently work full time outside our home. I have a very good corporate job with very good benefits. My income gives us the ability to tithe, have great health insurance. We could meet all the basic needs if I stayed home and homeschooled my girls, however, we would not be able to tithe or save much, even on a rice and beans budget. Do I choose to stay home knowing I cannot fully tithe 10% or save very much? Or continue to work full time and place my girls in a private Christian school as a second best choice? I would love to hear your honest opinion and sincerely Amber, a mama trying to obey the Lord and do right by her sweet family.”
Amber, I love this question. You are not alone. I get similar questions here all the time. And first of all, I’m going to tell you I’m not the Holy Spirit. Okay? The person that is most likely to speak to you about what’s best for you to do isn’t Heidi St. John. It’s the Holy Spirit and God will help you. He will give you what you need and he will encourage you. Can I just say, since you’ve asked for my opinion and that’s all this is, I think if you have the ability, I know moms who would absolutely kill to be able to say what you’re saying. You’re saying “if I stayed home and homeschooled my girls, we could meet all the basic needs.” You guys, everyone listening to me, that’s all we need. That’s all we need.
And I just don’t think that the Lord would say, “Oh no, if you can’t give a full 10%, I don’t want you to keep your kids home.” I can’t hear Him saying that. And so if you know that you can meet your basic needs, you guys, you will never get this time back with your kids, ever. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And if God gives you the ability to come home, then come home. So much of the things that we think we need, we don’t need. And you guys, I spent a lot of time hardly having any money at all. In fact, most of the years that most of our seven kids were young, we struggled, struggled, struggled, to just provide for basic things and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Also, I wanted to give you guys a couple of responses. I asked last week about those of you who work from home and I got lots of great responses, so thank you for that. I’m going to read one of them. This is from Heather. She said, “I’m writing in response to your podcast about working and homeschooling. I have been homeschooling my kids for four years and I’ve worked the whole time. My husband works until 4:30, so I found an evening job where I don’t have to go in until 6:00 PM or later. We still have dinner together as a family, so important, and after we eat, I head out to work. We live in a tiny town in Michigan, so I’m talking 500 people.” That’s a pretty small town. “And I found multiple jobs to work in the evenings. I even worked at McDonald’s for a bit, not ideal, but the hours were very flexible and honestly, I learned a lot about work from working there. I learned the value of treating food service workers with respect and this is a lesson I learned clearly. And I’ve told my children I want them all to work for at least some time, in fast food or waitressing in their teens, so they can learn these lessons firsthand. “Best part, my kids,” what does she say? “I also worked evenings at a local gas station.” This is a mom, you guys, who was willing to do anything to stay home with her kids and I so respect this. Finally, she said, “I was offered a custodial job cleaning a machine shop at night. I can go wherever I want, as long as I get my four hours per day, and the best part is my kids can come with me if I need them to. I was never willing to give up homeschooling and God always provided me with jobs that work around our homeschooling schedule. I did have to be willing to do jobs that are maybe less than desirable, but it makes money for my family and allows me to homeschool and so that I’m thankful where there is a will, there’s a way.”
Sarah wrote that she is able to work from home and she said “There are so many remote positions in our world today, I encourage moms to look there first.” She also goes on to say that they use an online school and it’s not the cheapest option she said, but it’s helped her feel like her kids are getting a solid education with her overseeing it and not having to do the prep time. There’s lots and lots of options for you guys and I just want to encourage you, I have written a book, I’m going to say it again. You can get it on Amazon, you can get it directly from me. I’ll link back to it in the show notes today, but it’s called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight.
There is a ton of great information in there about everything from meal prep, to laundry, to scheduling your day, to working. Lots of moms who gave input for that book work from home. And so I just wanted to throw that out there again. Heidi St. John, The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight. I just want to encourage you because I’m getting lots and lots of questions for moms who are saying, “I feel like God is asking me to come home and I don’t know how to do it.” And you guys, I think that’s the Holy Spirit saying, “bring my kids home, bring them home. These kids belong to you and the Lord has given you responsibility for them.”
I love those questions. I’m out of time for today. I had some great other questions I want to get to, but I’ll get to them on Wednesday. And in the meantime, I just want to encourage you guys. Continue to be in the word of God. Join me over at Mom Strong International and sign up for the Bible study.
Don’t forget to send your Christmas cards to me, okay? As soon as you can, send your Christmas cards, we’d love to get a year end donation from you, as well. It helps us to keep the podcast on the air.
We love you guys and we’re praying for you. Stay faithful. The Lord is at work and he will not let you fall. He will be with you wherever you go. This is the Lord, you guys. He loves you.
All right, hang in there, everybody and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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Heidi St. John
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