★ Heidi St. John Washington Interview

Backstage Pass Member Exclusive! Get an intimate look at the raw video footage from our interview with Heidi St. John in Vancouver Washington. This members-only exclusive includes over 1 1/2 hours of footage.

In late June and early July of 2019 we were in Vancouver, Washington to finish filming Schoolhouse Rocked with Heidi St. John. Over the course of two and a half weeks we filmed an interview with Heidi, the “a-story” for the Schoolhouse Rocked, with Yvette and Heidi, two days of b-roll at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, a few days of b-roll with Heidi and her family at her house and at locations around Washington, and b-roll with several other homeschooling families from the Vancouver area.

Heidi St. John, Washington Interview – Part 1, Getting Started

In this first video, Heidi St. John talks about her start in homeschooling. While she initially enrolled her oldest daughter in public school, she eventually removed her from school and homeschooled all of her seven children. As we filmed this interview, four of her children had graduated from high school and her fourth son was enrolling at college.

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 2 – Homeschooling Confidence, Family, and Culture

“Why would we give our best years of parenting to the school system?”

In this video Heidi St. John talks about gaining the confidence to homeschool, even though she wasn’t trained as a teacher. She then discusses the profound impact that homeschooling has had on her family. Next she addresses the question, “Why would a parent choose to homeschool?”, and asks why parents would choose to turn their children over to the public schools through the best years of their childhood, when education is discipleship and the parents are called to disciple their children. Finally, she talks about the impact of public schools on culture and encourages viewers to think of public schooling as “the alternative”. She ends the video with the profound truth, “It’s miraculous what God does when we trust him.”

Heidi St. JohnWashington Interview, Part 3 – Homeschooling and Family

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 4 – God Provides

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 5 – Homeschooling Isn’t Always Easy

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 6 – Homeschooling Through High School

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 7 – The Importance of Community

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 8 – Homeschooling, Culture, and the Church

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 9 – Legal Considerations and Support for Homeschool Families – State Homeschool Organizations and HSLDA

Heidi St. John Washington Interview, Part 10 – Encouragement for Homeschoolers

Watch More from Heidi St. John

Heidi’s first interview for Schoolhouse Rocked  |  Live Q&A With Heidi and Yvette

Read the transcript of our whole interview with heidi

Tell me about your homeschool journey?

I have kind of an interesting homeschool journey. Most people think of me, especially in the homeschool world as an author and a speaker, and I write about homeschooling, but I did not start out convinced about homeschooling, desiring homeschooling. In fact, I knew people that homeschooled and I just thought they were crazy. You know what woman in her right mind would want to be locked up with her children all day long? One a school bus would come and take them away for free and give her a break. Right. So I never planned on homeschooling and in fact our oldest daughter who is, I’m now a mother herself, when she was about three years old, I put her in preschool because I thought that’s what we did. So I put her in preschool. She had a great preschool teacher. She did preschool for third grade and fourth grade.

When it came time to put her in kindergarten, my husband and I enrolled her in a Christian school because I went to Christian school and I think this is where parents, we typically do with our children, what our parents did with us, right. And so my grandparents enrolled my siblings and myself in a Christian school. And so I enrolled Savannah in that same Christian school. And a, after a year of that we realized, okay, we can’t feed our family and pay for private school tuition. So when she was in first grade, I enrolled her in a public school and Savannah had a wonderful teacher in the public school. And I wasn’t, I, even though I knew about homeschooling, it didn’t, I wasn’t thinking about discipling Savannah. I was thinking about educating her and to me they were different things. Discipleship was on one side of the parenting coin and education was on the other side.

And I wasn’t upset with Savannah’s public school. She went to a small public school in a small town in Oregon. But after about three months of her being there, I noticed something happening with her. She was coming home at the end of the day. So the bus would come and pick her up seven 30 in the morning and she’d come home at the end of the day and she’d been at school all day long. She’d been around students all day long. She did not want to interact with her little sister who was dying for her to come home. And so she’d come home from school and she was tired and she’d want to sit down in front of the television and watch cartoons for a little while. And then we would have dinner and then I would do homework and then we would do it all over again the next day. And it was really interfering with what I had hoped would happen with Savannah and her sister.

And I let another couple of months go by and something really astonishing began to happen. Savannah would come home from school and we weren’t talking about the things that she was learning academically in school. We were talking about the ideas that she was entertaining, that she was hearing from other students on the playground, on the school bus. And I began having conversations with her at the age of seven that I had hoped I would not be having with her until she was 12, or maybe even 13. And at that point I began to really question, is this what we want for our children or right about this time Savannah’s little sister Sierra, who’s the second of our seven she was, became almost eligible for kindergarten. And again, I’m still in this mindset of parenting is on one side and education is on the other. And when my kids need to be educated, I send them to school.

And so this is very much my mindset. So I went down to apply for, see her to go to school and I was told she missed the age cutoff by just a few weeks. And here I have this little five-year-old, almost a five year old who is so bright and so ready to learn. And she’s an eager learner. And the school is saying, no, she can’t come because she’s missing the age cutoff. And so I began to think, you know, okay, what can I do? Because now she’s bored. She’s home. She’s bored. Her sister’s gone all day long. I had another little boy at this point. I had we had three children now, so I have a little, a little baby boy at home and I did something that I said I would never do. I took Sierra down with me and her little brother to a homeschool supply store.

And I remember going in very clearly there. The guy who ran the store, his name was the guy who ran the store, his name was Eli. And I introduced myself to him and I said, hi, my name’s Heidi and I am not interested in homeschooling. And he said, if I had a nickel for every time a mom came in here and said that to me, I wouldn’t need to be running this store right now. And he just kind of laughed at me, said, well, what can I do? And I said, I’m just trying to pass the time. My daughter missed the cutoff for a public school and I want to, I want to give her something to do. And he brought me to the reading corner of the bookstore, which was surprising to me because in my mind, I can’t teach my child to read a, the only the professionals can do that.

I didn’t go to school to learn how to be a teacher. So, so I must not be able, I’m thinking, give me a coloring book with the States, right? I can do that. I could say, Oh, this is Oregon, right? And he gives me a book called teach your child to read in a hundred easy lessons. And that was the only time I ever got out of that store spending less than $60. And I went home with this book and I began to read the instructions and the instructions said 20 minutes a day. So teach your child to read a teacher child to read in a hundred easy lessons, 20 minutes a day. And I thought, what could possibly go wrong, right? I’ll teach my daughter for 20 minutes and see what happens. And she began to my amazement, I began to read the instructions and just read them back to her.

So the instructions for the parent were in red and I would read the red letters out loud, the, you know, the instructions out loud to her. And she began to learn her letters. And the first letter they teach you is a, and the second letter they teach you is M. And the beautiful thing about a and M is they make a word. And the word of course is am. And as I’m teaching this to her, I’m watching these light bulb moments happen with her. All of a sudden here is my daughter who I’ve been told I can’t do this and I am doing it. And not only am I doing it, I love doing it. So my husband would come home from work and before Savannah would be off the school bus, I would be taking our book to him and saying, Sierra, read for your dad.

I’m like, Jay, watch this. Okay honey, go ahead. And Sierra would sound out this word. And of course everyone’s lists, you know, looking at me going, who cares? It’s the word am. But the point is, I was the one who was teaching her. And up until that point, I believe I couldn’t do it. And so here’s the area and she’s sounding out the word am and I’m looking at Jay and I’m like, did you hear that Annie? I did that. I taught her how to read that word. And then I began all the sudden I thought, what else can I teach her? And so we went back down to the homeschool supply store and I picked up another book and it was a geography book. And I began to teach her about the United States and just where we were and where we had been and places we hoped to go.

And before I knew it, I had the alphabet up on the wall in the kitchen. And we had, I had posters of the president’s and my husband. Every day he’d come home from work and he’d be like, all right, something’s going on. And I am realizing as I’m teaching her, not only do I love teaching her, I don’t want her older sister in school anymore. And this was the point in which I really began to pray, Lord, is this something that you would want me to do? Because I think that for me what had happened was all my life I had been told only educators educate and I never thought of myself as an educator and why? Why aren’t parents thought of as educators? We are the primary educators of our, of our children. Up until that point, I mean Savannah was in school doing very successfully, very successfully completing her work because I was teaching her manners and I potty trained her and I taught her how to sit at a table and what not to do at the lunch table.

All those things came from me, not from a teacher. All right, so here I am really this very unlikely mom, right? I, this is not in my plan. So I planned to put my kids in school, maybe get a job and all of a sudden I’m seeing something happen in Sierra first. Like her eyes are lighting up and I’m thinking I don’t want to send her to school. Like, even though she can qualify for her age next year, I would be sad. I would actually miss her. I’d be missing this opportunity to watch her getting these things. And not only that, but I’m accomplishing with her in about an hour every day. What it’s taking Savannah, eight and a half hours every day, five days a week to do. And so Savannah’s getting up in the morning, you know, six 30 in the morning, I’m packing her lunch, I’m putting her on the school bus, I’m saying goodbye to her and she’s gone.

And I wake her sister up at about eight 30 and we have breakfast and we hang out for a little while. Then we do some school and we’re more finished. And I started to think to myself, this is what my life could be like. Life could be different. It doesn’t have to look this way. About the time that this is happening. I began to really focus in on some of the issues that I was having with Savannah when she would come home from school, she was exhausted. For one thing, she wasn’t loving learning. I did not. And she never came home from school excited about what she was learning. And in fact there was some bullying, some things that were happening on the playground, stories that she was telling me. One time I went to see her at school during the day and I thought I’ll show up for lunch and I’ll surprise her.

And she’s in second grade. So here’s this little girl, you know, she’s seven years old and I pull up and I walk with her little sister and her baby brother over to the field where they’re out in the playground. And I watch and my daughter is behind the backstop and she’s by herself and she’s crying and it broke my heart, right? I’m a mother and I’m thinking, why is no one playing with Savannah? What is, what is going on? And I went, I went to the office cause I couldn’t go out and see my daughter without checking in into the school office. I went to the school office, I said, Hey, I’m Savannah’s mom. I just like to talk to her for a minute. It took an act of Congress to get my child off of the recess playground and into the office to talk to me.

And she was very unwilling to say what was going on. I said, Hey honey, I came by to surprise you and say hello. Because I remembered that my grandparents used to come by and see me when I would be out on the playground at our little Christian school. And there was never this rigmarole. They would just show up and you know, hi grandma and grandpa. And they could come and see me. It’s not like that in school today. There’s a lot of security. A lot of things had to happen before she could see me. And by the time I got her home that afternoon and she began to tell me how she really felt about being away from us all day long. Do you know what it boil down to? She heard that her sister was learning at home and she wanted to learn at home too.

And all of a sudden it was, it was as if a switch flipped in me and I realized, not only can I do this, but my daughters are happier when I’m doing this. Our daughters, they, they’re young, they want to be with their mom. And so I really began to take it to the Lord in prayer. It was something that I knew I can’t do this on my own strength. I need wisdom, I need encouragement. And it wasn’t too long after that. We had one other incident and this was really the, the tipping point for me. The bus came to pick Savannah up in the morning and Sierra went out and followed her to the T because the bus would come right to my house. Right. So a long time ago, I thought, I have won the lottery of the school buses because the stop was in front of my house.

So the bus would come in front of my house and Savannah would go out and meet the bus and Sierra would follow her. Well, this particular day, Sierra went out and followed her and she came right back in and she was crying and I said, honey, what’s wrong? And she said, well, Savannah told me that she’s embarrassed to have me out there. I’m too little. And I’m thinking to myself, okay, she’s seven now. You know what, what’s going on? But then I realized that there’s a separation happening now. We’ve got the age segregation thing going on. This doesn’t happen inside of our home. Right? The, the seven year old doesn’t say to the five-year-old, you’re too little. I don’t want to play with, you know, they just, they find things to do together. They explore together. They often would have their little baby brother as a prop in whatever they were playing.

But when, but when she went out my door and she got onto that school bus, she shifted into a very different mentality. And I said, Sierra, get in the car. Now this is the kind of funny part of my story because a, at this point I was already destined to be a homeschooler. I just didn’t know it. And I’ll tell you how I know now. I was driving a Ford Aerostar minivan at the time and if it been now that I’ve been homeschooling for 22 years, if I had known this earlier, I probably would’ve just given up, but I didn’t understand. I already had all the keys, right? So I thought I had Sierra go get in the car and I woke her little brother up and strapped him in his car seat and I waited for the school bus to go out through my neighborhood and back through down my street again until it would go out onto the main road.

And I followed that school bus for 45 minutes through the back Hills of Wilsonville, Oregon because I wanted to talk to my daughter. I wanted to talk to Savannah about how we treat our siblings and how our, how this is not how it, this is not how it works. And the whole time I’m in my pajamas, dude, it’s probably worth noting. So now I’ve fallen into school bus and my Ford Aerostar minivan in my pajamas for 45 minutes. And I could just hear the Lord and I have in this conversation, right. And it was almost as if he was saying, you know, Heidi, maybe if you’d listened to me, you wouldn’t be chasing a school bus in your pajamas through the Hills of Wilsonville, Oregon right now. And when we got there, Savannah already knew, right? Because Savannah was watching through the back window of the school bus while her friends were like, your mom is crazy.

Your mom’s ball on a school bus. Savannah already knew why I wanted to talk to her. And as soon as we got there, praise the Lord, I didn’t have to get out in my pajamas and humiliate myself. I was willing, but I’d need to because Savannah got off that bus, came right over to the van, and she walked right up to her sister and she said, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean what I said back there. And I thought, I’m not doing this anymore. This will be the last year that I have my kids in school. And I prayed for about two weeks on a Saturday morning, my husband on a Saturday morning, my husband and I, you know, lying in bed, it’s probably nine o’clock in the morning. And if you’ve ever had your kids lean over you while you’re sleeping and they wake you up, their very presence wakes you up.

It was sort of like that. I was doing that to my husband. I’m leaning over him just waiting for him to wake up and finally he does it. What are you doing? I said, honey, what would you think if we homeschooled our kids? And the man was so, he was like, who are you and what have you done with my wife? You don’t want to homeschool our kids. You want to get a job? Remember, we’ve always, this was not what we planned on doing. And I said, can I just tell you about what’s been happening for the last three months at home? And I began to just sort of unpack all of the amazing things that I was seeing as a result of teaching Sierra how to read. Now, I’m not only teaching her to read, I’m teaching her to write, she’s writing her name.

She comes running to the kitchen table in the morning. She can’t wait to see what we’re going to do that day. And I told Jay, I said, I think our family, I think we’d find freedom as a family. I think our kids would get along more. And I think that this is something that God would use to grow our family. And so he said, well, let’s pray about it. And so we prayed about it. And a few weeks after that, we’re coming to the end of the school year, right? So a few weeks after that, I went back to the homeschool supply store and I said, Hey, Eli. And he said, Oh, you’re back. You’re like, he’s not surprised at all because this happens all the time. You know, once a mom finds out that she can do it and our kids are thriving, it changes the way you see education, right?

All of a sudden, I realize I’m the educator and with a little bit of help, I can do this. And so I went back and I said, I’m going to pull my daughter out of out of second grade and you got to understand, I don’t know where she is. Right, because how many parents really know where their kids are in school? I don’t know if she’s thriving in reading. I don’t know if she’s really good at math. I don’t know if she sits you still for her teacher or if she’s got learning issues or any of that. I just send her off on a school bus and I assume they know what they’re doing. So I asked Eli, can you give me a basic third grade curriculum? And he walked me through all these options that I had. I picked something very, very simple and I took them to see, to meet her teacher.

I made an appointment with their teacher at the public school. I loved her teacher. I went and I sat down with her. I laid out all my curriculum because I’m nervous, right? My knees are shaking, I’m sweating. I’m thinking she’s going to think I’m crazy. I said, I want to take Savannah out in homeschool her next year. And I brought some curriculum to show you. And she looked at me just as sweet as could be, big tears in her eyes. And she said, if I could go back and do it again, I would take my kids out too. She said, you can do it. You can do it. What did you bring me? And now I’m thinking, all right. You know, I don’t know what I’m doing. So I said, well, I picked out this for handwriting and this is what I picked out for science and this is what I think we’re going to do for history.

And she kept saying, I love it. I love it. I love it. And it was like the Lord stepped in to my heart in that moment and just confirm this thing that he’d been doing in my, in my family for a year. And that was the last time any of our kids ever stepped foot in a school building. And we have been homeschooling ever since. One of the reasons of course, why you felt like you couldn’t homeschool or shouldn’t homeschool is because you weren’t trained as a teacher. Yeah. So how, how did that unfold in, in you and then how did you see that work itself out? As you’ve homeschooled, you’ve now graduated four as of your seven kids, how have you seen the Lord work through you to be able to accomplish what you have accomplished? I think that the most important thing, the biggest light bulb moment for me was one person who said you can do it. One person who said this isn’t that hard. You know, your whole life you’ve been conditioned to believe that kids go to school for learning and they stay home for, I don’t know what they stay home for their meals, but it was that one person. Alright.

You, part of the reason why you decided to homeschool was because you wanted to see that relationship built up between your children. So now that many of your children are grown and you still have some in the home, tell me about what that has done for your family unit. Oh, the St. Johns are a thing. And I think their memories, you know, of being together and schooling together. I mean, I always told my kids, if you can get along with your siblings, you can get along with anyone. And so it doesn’t mean that we had perfect days, you know, and I’ve been homeschooling for 22 years. The laundry has never folded itself. The kids had never come down in the morning and said, Oh mom, you were so happy to see you. We got up early, did some prepositions, did a little math thought that would bless you.

That never happens. Right? But what has happened is over years, through even the hard days and even the days when I thought, I can’t do this for one more minute, we have been solidifying relationships with our kids. And one of the things I like to tell parents that I wish I would’ve known when I became a mother was “relationships trump everything”. Character trumps curriculum. If we can teach our children what’s important and we impart our values and we’re really, that’s what we’re doing right? At the end of the day, education is discipleship. And this is something I didn’t understand until I was probably three years into homeschooling because not only was I saying I went into it, right? Because I saw, Oh my goodness, I can do it. I stayed in it because I realized it was absolutely life changing for our family. It was life changing. It was life giving.

It was life affirming. All of a sudden, instead of having my kids go off and be gone for eight hours a day, I have those eight hours a day to teach them, to instruct them, to enjoy them, to get to know them. And now that my kids are grown and I have grandkids of my own and I still have a little one, like our youngest is eight. But I, I look at parents today who are just starting out and I think to myself, when did we have been so duped in the culture? When did we want to give the very best years of our parenting and the very best years of our young adult lives as parents to a school system? Why are we doing that? And as I look now to my daughter who’s beginning to homeschool our grandsons, she has already a vision of what she wants to see happen in her family because that’s what happened in her family.

And so many families who don’t have that vision, they don’t realize the joy of it. You know, they, they, they look at the hard things, right? It’s not hard to see the hard thing. The hard thing is now you mom are the math teacher, right? And you were thinking to yourself, Oh, thank goodness I don’t have to teach math to my kids. But what happens is that exchange that you make, that exchange of becoming your child’s teacher and exchanging your free time is a beautiful exchange. It is a beautiful thing. And I’m telling you what, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was the hardest thing we ever did to take our daughter out of public school and to make this decision, this very intentional decision to keep our kids home and do something that was counter to the culture. I wouldn’t change it for four.

I wouldn’t change it for anything because now I have the beautiful gift of perspective. So when we’re younger, we don’t have perspective, right? All we’re doing is looking at the road ahead of us, which seems so long and so arduous, and we have people in the culture telling us, Oh, that’s not your job. We’ll do it. And in the process of them doing it, what we really do is we scoot out of the driver’s seat of our children’s lives and we give it to somebody else. And oftentimes we’re giving it to people that we don’t know. We don’t know the worldview of the people that are teaching our children. Something that was so fascinating to me that I’ve seen happen in the culture and one of the reasons we keep homeschooling our kids is because we have seen the downward spiral of culture. So what I’m seeing happen now is that we’ve moved from a place, Ian, of education in the school system.

It’s not about reading and writing and arithmetic anymore, it’s about social engineering. It’s about teaching our children that there’s 15 genders and that there is no God and that their parents aren’t the final authority and as I’m watching the culture and many of my friends whose kids are still in the school struggle with their children. I think back to those 22 years ago when I was struggling just to reorient my daughter when she would come home from eight hours at school and she would be engaging with students who didn’t share her worldview and didn’t care about her family. Right. I can’t even imagine what parents are dealing with now. It’s a completely different scenario that we’re seeing play out in the public schools right now and so when you talk about why we do this, why would a person bring their kids home from school?

My answer now is why would we put our kids in school in the first place? To me, this idea that homeschooling is alternative, I think we turn that that narrative on its ear and we say a public funded education is the alternative. If you can’t think of anything else to do, if there’s nothing else available to you, then put your kids in public school. But there are also, there are so many wonderful options right now. And to me, a homeschooling is the most life giving most affirming puts the parent in the driver’s seat of their child’s life, which is where God tells us that we should be right. Parents have been given authority for their children and parents are the ones who are supposed to be educating their children. And I think moms and dads need to know, not only is it attainable, it’s absolutely miraculous what God does when we say, you know what?

I’m going to trust you Lord. I’m going to trust that you have given me these children. And when you gave me these kids, you gave me everything I needed to get them from childhood to adulthood. I want to talk a little bit more about your homeschool journey because this is going to weave throughout the whole film. So we you, you started off with how you started to homeschool. So I would love for you to, and you can make this long, I mean not intentionally, but don’t feel like you need to make it short. Right. Talk about what your journey looked like homeschooling and especially as you brought more kids in to the mix. And just what, what was that like for your family? Yeah, I think that one of the blessings really of homeschooling is that it changed my opinion on children. We started off thinking, I came from a, from a big family.

So there’s seven kids in my family of origin. My husband had two kids in his family, so he wanted, you know, two or three and I wanted at least three because I thought, you know, we’ll be so bored. We just have two kids. But three was kind of enough, maybe four maybe. But something amazing happened in the of homeschooling. And that is I realized the richness of family life. And so every time the Lord would give us another baby and we would bring another child into our family, the tapestry that God was writing of our family became richer. And so, and the Lord taught me so much about my strength and his strength and how when my strength has gone, that’s when we really see his strength kick in. So homeschooling really changed my idea of family. Before we started homeschooling, I was like, we’re going to put our kids in school.

This is what we’ll do. When we started homeschooling and I realized the richness that it brought to our family, it changed the way I saw children. It changed the way my husband and I looked at the family and the richness of it. And with every child that’s been born into our family, the tapestry that’s been written into our family line and into our family’s legacy has become richer. Also, I’ve realized a lot with each child that the Lord has given us, even in the middle of homeschooling. So I had babies and December babies in August, babies in March, two babies in March right in the middle of the school year. And those were the times when I learned so much more about family life and about God’s strength being found in weakness. And when our fourth son was born, I had a rough, rough, really, pregnancy was difficult, the birth was difficult.

And this was the year that I learned about something called Charlotte Mason education. I learned that we don’t have to be sitting at home just looking at workbooks. We can look to nature and nature is a teacher. And taking our kids out into out into the neighborhood, into parks and studying the trees. And I had this great plan. I had a really wonderful grand plan for homeschooling that year. And then we found out we were pregnant with our fourth child and then the pregnancy didn’t go well, and the birth was even more difficult than we had imagined. And so, I was homeschooling during the months when I was on bedrest and I was the, I remember thinking to myself, this isn’t going to work. I’m homeschooling my kids in this week part of my life when I’m not doing what I wanted to do. I’m not taking the nature walks with the kids.

I don’t have a lot of energy to really pour into them. And so in lieu of having that energy, I decided, all right, we’re going to read this year and we’re going to read a lot. So I gave my husband our little red wagon and he took the kids to the library and they came back with a whole bunch of books and we read about a hermit crab named Pigou and we went to an Island with a boy name red. And we sailed to Capri and we studied the Greek islands. And we began to see the richness and literature. We started reading missionary stories with our kids. And I did a little bit of math with the kids. I mean, I did as much as I could keep up on. And where are we live in Washington state. The kids are required to take a standardized test at the end of every year.

And I terrified that year came around. Our son was born in March and like I said, I had a rough delivery. Our son was born in March and the test was taken in June. And I just remembered thinking, oh my goodness, the kids are going to fail their tests. You know, because I was thinking like the school had conditioned me to think that if I didn’t do this, this, this, and this in the right amount of time, then when the school year was over, my kids would fail the test. Now you’ve got to keep in mind as a homeschool mom, I don’t teach my kids to have a test. I don’t teach them to take a test. At the end of the year. We just do what we do. And then usually I spring it on them. I’ll say, Hey, it’s testing day and we’ll go down and we’ll take the test.

And that’s what we did this time too. Because I, I am not, I’m more concerned that my children love learning. I want them to love the process because I know that as I teach them, they are, and if I’m teaching them in a way that brings the subject matter alive to them, they’re going to embrace whatever it is that we’re learning. But I wasn’t confident. I wasn’t confident that I could have a difficult year and my kids would do well at the end of their, at the end of the school year. And so I waited for two weeks for that, those test scores to come back. And did you know that they scored on average three grade levels above where they were supposed to be? I never worried about a rough season again. I knew that if I would start, if I started something in obedience, God would finish it and I looked at my husband tears in my eyes.

I mean just tears streaming down my face, standing in the kitchen of our home. I handed him the standardized test and I said, look what the Lord has done. And it changed. It changed my confidence. I think people need confidence to know kids are natural learners. If you’ll read to them, if you will engage with them, put your phone down, get off your computer, read with your kids, watch what happens when we give a natural learner something to learn something that’s, that’s real to them. Something that they can put their wrap their arms around. And the best part about it wasn’t that my kids did so well in the test. It was, I realized that as a mother, if I would do my part, God would do his. I love talking about how God provides everything that we need. And lately I’ve been reflecting on Matthew six 33 and it says, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

And with homeschooling, you know, one of the fears that pretty much every mom has is that they are not well equipped. They’re not ready, they’re not prepared to be able to teach their children at home. Because like we’ve talked about, we’ve been conditioned to believe that that’s right. And when we seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, he is going to fill in all the gaps. He’s going to do everything that he’s, everything he’s called us to do, he’s going to equip us to be able to do that. And so there needs to not be fear and homeschooling because God is going to do it, going to work through us.

We just have to be willing to be obedient. You learn that is to start the only way we learn how to trust the Lord. The only way we learn that our kids are natural born learners and we really are natural born teachers. A parent is a teacher. The only way you learn that is to jump in and go for it, and so when people come up to me, which happens all the time, right? Because I’m out speaking all the time and a mom will come up to me and she’ll say, I want to homeschool, but I just feel so inadequate or I don’t think I’ll have enough patients or my kids respond to a teacher, but they would never respond to me. My answer always is, have you tried? Have you tried? Because once you get in there and you try and you and now it’s on you, right?

The onus is on the mom now to say, Hey guys, we’re going to a study edition today, or here’s your math worksheet for a day and this is what we’re going to do. And once that, that paradigm shift has happened, once the mom realizes, all right, I am in the driver’s seat, I am the teacher. All of a sudden it’s not about patients, it’s about perspective. It’s about resolve. It’s about getting from point a to point B and you realize that priorities really do matter. And so when you decide, all right, I’m going to believe the Lord, right? That’s putting, that’s putting the kingdom first. When we put the kingdom first, we believe God’s word is true. So in our house we talk a lot about Solomon because I want my kids to understand the difference between wisdom and knowledge. As a mother, I want to impart wisdom to my children as their teacher.

My job is to teach them things. It’s to give them knowledge, but without wisdom, they won’t know how to apply that knowledge that they’re learning into their everyday lives. And so as we teach our children wisdom, it becomes more and more apparent as a mother that the most important thing I will ever do is teach my children to honor the principles that God lays out in his word first. That’s what we do first. And then things fall into place after that. So one of the, one of the questions that came up about Solomon not too long ago with our, with our kids was we were talking about God’s promise to Solomon that because he asked for wisdom and not for wealth or for a retribution for his enemies, which you could blame the guy, right? He had a lot of them. He asked for wisdom and the Bible said that God was pleased that he asked for wisdom and he said, Solomon, because you’ve asked for wisdom and not for any of these other things, I will give you what you have asked so that there will never be anyone as wise as you, nor will there ever be.

And so I asked my kids, have you ever heard of anyone as wise as Solomon since the day of Solomon? And of course the answer is no. So my question to the kids was, why is that? It’s because God said there never would be. When God says something, you can take it to the bank. When we see a rainbow that comes out over the sky, the question always is, why is the rainbow there? Well, if we’re teaching our children to honor God first, they’re going to look at that rainbow and say, because God said I will never again flood the earth. We teach our children

To honor God’s principles and then as parents we show them how that is fleshed out every day and one of the ways we do that is by walking in obedience and believing. God said that if I have given you these children, I will give you everything that you need to prepare them for adulthood and God will. It’s an amazing thing like once, once that gets deep down into your heart, it just, it changes the way you see parenting and absolutely does. One of the things that we tell our girls all the time is that obedience brings blessings, but sand causes pain. And that doesn’t just go for children. That doesn’t just go for children. The Lord has called us as parents to disciple and train up our children in the way that they should go. And so in order to be obedient to that, we have to be willing to do that and to do it scared.

That’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. You know, when I started homeschooling, do it scared because it’s scary. It’s scary to start homeschooling, especially if you’re like us. And we said we’d never ever homeschool. Yeah. And so jumping into it and just taking that step of faith and trusting that God is going to bring everything that he needs to bring to you and your family because you have obeyed him because you have taken that step. And we don’t want pain for our children. We don’t want pain for our families. And so to put them into a system that is teaching everything that’s contrary to the word of God is going to bring pain in one way or another. Now that doesn’t mean necessarily that they’re going to all walk away from the Lord if they’re in that system, but it is going to cause some kind of pain because it’s a system that is contrary to the word of God.

Yeah, that’s right. So do it scared you and I were talking in the car earlier about the hardships of homeschooling and the last thing I want to do is sit here and make it sound like homeschooling is always easy and it’s always fun and there is a lot of joy in homeschooling. There are so many blessings, but it’s also hard. Yeah. Sometimes. Talk through some of the difficulties that your family has had with homeschooling. Oh, first I think it’s really important for us to be realistic about anything that we take on. There’s nothing that’s worth doing in this life. It’s easy. Have you been married more than five minutes? Am I right? Yes. So it’s worth it, right? We don’t, we don’t do something because it’s going to be easy. We do something because we know that if the Bible, what the Bible says is true.

If we don’t give up, there’s a harvest coming and we’re looking ahead beyond the hard days. I love to tell homeschool moms that a bad day does not make a bad mom a home bad homeschool day. I really believe this, and I’ve told this to my daughter now, she’s beginning to homeschool my grandsons. I’ve said to her, listen, Savannah, your, your worst day of homeschooling is going to be better than their best day at the public school because you’re the one who gets to come in and make it right when we mess up with our kids, when we say the thing that we didn’t think we could say, I always tell parents, you want to know how sinful you are. Do you want to know how your lack of patience and where your end is homeschool your kid and you’ll find out? But the awesome thing about this is that as you’re doing that, you’re going to be learning so much about yourself.

Your kids are going to be growing in relationship. I think I have learned the power of an apology with my children as I’ve homeschooled them. I’ve gotten lots and lots of opportunities to apologize to my kids. I think sometimes as parents we have it in our head that the best thing that we can do for our kids is to keep them from adversity, right? We don’t want them to experience any kind of suffering. We don’t want them and we, and so sometimes we shield our own problems from our kids, our own shortcomings. When you’re homeschooling your kids and they’re with you a lot, it’s very hard to conceal your shortcomings. And for as long as we’ve been homeschooling aren’t our daughters, especially in the very beginning, I had several friends that wanted me to homeschool and frankly, they were a reason why I didn’t want to homeschool because it looked too perfect to me.

Like I would look at families on the covers of magazines and they had matching jumpers and they were all playing an instrument and I was thinking, I can’t, I can’t relate to that. Right? They’re growing their own wheat and grinded it into flour. And I thought, I, that’s not me. Like I’m, I’m going to the store in, you know, getting wonder bread for my kids and trying to figure out how to learn how to use my crockpot. Right? And I realized very quickly that the best thing about homeschooling wasn’t the fact that we had it all together. It was the fact that we were learning to live together. The fact that we were learning to grow together and learn together. And we learned through our mistakes and through our weaknesses. There was a point in which I learned very quickly that I, I’m not going to be the perfect homeschool mom and I want my kids to, I want my kids to know two things when they leave my house.

I want them to know that I loved them. That’s the first thing I want, I want, I don’t want them to look back on their years at home and wonder if I love them. I want them to know that I loved them. The second thing is that I want them to know that I trusted the Lord, that I trusted God for every decision that I make and when I make a wrong decision, which we do as parents and when the day goes bad and when we burn the dinner and when we stub our toe and when our kids push us to the end of what we think we can do and we say the word that we never thought we’d hear come out of our mouth or you make a wrong decision, we have an opportunity to go back and make it right. And there was a point in which Savannah and Sierra had a bunch of kids over from a youth group and I had a newborn and I always had newborns, right?

We had newborns for 20 years in our own and I was thinking about the baby and how the baby was going to be up every three hours in the night. And I remember telling Savannah’s friends, you know, you guys, I’m so glad that you came over cause I wanted to be the mom that had all the kids at that, at my house. We were going to be the party house, the house where all the kids would want to come and their friends would want to come. I didn’t realize I was going to get older and realize I’d be tired. I didn’t realize because no one who talked me into homeschooling told me I would have a bad day. So if I had a bad day, I assumed I was doing it wrong. And it was the end of a rough day. And I asked the kids to be quiet and then I went and I got into bed, right, put the little ones to bed and then I got into bed.

Well the kids in the kitchen, you know a whole bunch of teenagers in there. Do you think they were quiet? No. When they were quiet, I went out into the kitchen. Hey guys, please be quiet. I don’t want you to wake up the baby. I’m trying to get them to understand. About the fourth time that I went the kitchen, I lost it. I lost my cool completely. I yelled at kids I don’t even know from the youth group. And I was like, I told you to be quiet. No one’s listening to me. I’m crying. I mean, it was like, it was as if these kids were looking at a ghost, like here’s the van and Sierra’s mom, and she’s losing it like this homeschool mom. But they were very quiet at that point. They tiptoed around me and they went downstairs and the only thing that I could hear in the kitchen was the mixer.

Woo woo. Cause I left it on cause I scared him so bad. I turned off the mixer, got back into bed. My husband’s like, how’d that go for you? It was fine. It was fine. And then in, in my spirit, I just heard the Lord, like, how’d that go for you? You really, I got to go down and make this right. I went downstairs, you go, you know what? Your kids are stuck with you. They don’t get a do over. They don’t get to pick their parents or pick your temperament, right? They’re born into your family and that is what it is. And if we love our kids, we’re going to work on it, right? We’re going to work on it. And we do it in relationship. And I humbled myself that day. Went downstairs in my pajamas, knocked on the door where all the kids are now, like hiding in the bedroom, right?

And I was like, Ugh, no, no. You know, I’m back. And I said to my daughter, I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I lost my temper. Please forgive me. I said, you know what? I realized I had a wrong expectation. Often that’s what the problem is, right? We have an expectation that homeschooling is going to be perfect, that our kids are going to love learning, that they’re just going to soak up prepositions and really want to learn their math facts. But life doesn’t work that way, right? And so I had an opportunity to apologize to my daughters and I look over in the corner and here is a 16 year old girl and she’s crying and now I’m telling you what I feel like the worst mom ever because this, I’ve scared this child, right? So I walked over to her and I put my hand on her shoulder.

I, so please forgive me. I, I’m so glad that you’re here. I just lost my patients and I was wrong. And she said, Oh, Mrs. St. John, you don’t understand. You see, this was a young girl whose family was struggling. Their parents were in the middle of a divorce. She’s one of six kids, a homeschooled family. So lest we think that homeschooling parents have it all together, I think we need to be realistic about, about how hard life can be. And she said, Oh, Mrs. St. John, you don’t understand. I would give anything to hear my mom apologize. Just one time she threw her arms around me. In that moment I realized the power of an apology. I realized that I’m learning so much about my impact on my children through my willingness to go back and say, you know what I thought was wrong. Please forgive me. Can we do it again? Can we make it right? And one of the things about homeschooling I love so much is it gives me opportunity every day to assess with

My children, how am I doing as a mom? How are my kids doing? And you know what their strength in it, and it’s been about 10 years since that happened and my girls will still tell that story and the thing they remember was their mom was willing to come down and make it right. You have an opportunity every day to make it right. And when we do that, amazing things happen. Talk about homeschooling through high school. Oh man. P okay. So I used to be afraid of homeschooling through high school. Right? What about algebra? What about physics? I don’t want to do chemistry again. Right? I did that once and I didn’t like it and I’d like to be done. And I always tell parents that homeschooling through high school was the very best decision that we ever made to keep our kids close to us.

You know, when do you start to see fruit when your kids are in high school? So you’ve been working, working, working with your kids, and all the sudden you start to see fruit in the lives of your kids. Why then would we put them back in school? Why not keep going all the way to the end? They’re making life altering decisions in high school. These are the days when your kids want to ask you the really difficult questions. They see what’s happening in the culture. They understand the confusing times that they’re, that they are coming into, they can see it. And so you have opportunity to disciple them, to really talk about the difficult things with them and to give them your perspective from the perspective of God’s word. That’s what we’re trying to do, right? And when it comes to subjects in school for our kids all the way through high school, every year we assess, right?

We look to see what are the requirements for our state. So we live in Washington state. So when my first daughter went into high school, I looked to see, okay, what are the requirements? What does she need? Well, she needs four years of math. She’s four years of English. She needs two years of a foreign language. And I began to map it out and I started looking around to see if there are areas that I did not want to teach. Like I’m not going to teach her Spanish. I don’t know Spanish. So what did I do? I found a tutor who would help her. There was another homeschool mom in the neighborhood who also wanted to do Spanish. And so we began that way. I always tell parents, homeschooling doesn’t mean that you do every single thing at home. This is especially true in the high school years because most of the parents that I encounter are not teaching physics at home.

They’re not teaching chemistry. I did teach history all the way through high school because I love it and I wanted our kids to learn it together. We studied the constitution together. We went to Washington D C we looked at our state Capitol, we studied the legislative and the judicial branches. We talked about the executive branch of government. And we, we did that as a family together. But there were other subjects like algebra, like calculus, like physics, that I did not feel qualified nor did I want to teach. And so I began to look for places for my kids to take those classes and to earn those credits. And there are so many ways for your children to get those credits and to learn the subjects that you don’t want to teach them or you don’t feel equipped or you maybe just don’t have the time.

And so before you get discouraged about high school, we look and we see what would the benefit be. And then when we realize, Oh my goodness, this is an opportunity for me to speak life into my child’s life until they get ready to go to college. That where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? So we started looking to see there are homeschool cooperatives in the area. We started a homeschool resource center in our neck. Of the woods and kids come there every single week and they take those subjects that the parents are like, you know what? This one subject, I’m going to have somebody else do it. So homeschooling doesn’t mean that you do every single class at home. It means that the parent is in the driver’s seat. The parent determines who is going to teach that class and what worldview that class is going to be taught from rather than just sending your kid to an institution and letting the institution do it for you.

One of the reasons that a lot of people choose not to homeschool, even though they might feel like they’re being prompted to do it, is because they have so many misconceptions about what homeschooling is and they see the negative stereotypes. They think their kids are going to be unsocialized, which everyone knows is not true. What are some of the misconceptions that you had coming into homeschooling that you now look back and you think not at all. That’s not at all what homeschooling is. Every idea I had about homeschooling was wrong. Every, every misconception that I had was a standard misconception. The first one was socialization, right. What about socialization? And I always tell parents, that’s my favorite question. Oh, please, please ask me about socialization. And so I get asked about it on airplanes a lot and as soon as someone finds out, Oh, I’m homeschooling.

Not only have I homeschooled, but I’ve homeschooled seven children. Right? And they’ll say, aren’t you worried about socialization? And I say to them, yes, I am absolutely worried about socialization. That is why I pulled my daughter out of public school. When did we begin to believe that socialization is putting a child, an immature five year old child in with a bunch of other imagery, five-year-old child children and having those children then socialize our child. That’s not socialization. Yeah. When did we start to believe that socialization means that we put an immature child in with a classroom filled with other immature children and then they socialize each other. That’s not socialization. Socialization is making sure that our children become adults who are able to interact and socialize with all ages of children and with other adults. And so that’s what homeschooling absolutely is the best environment for that. A, for goodness sake, take your kids to the grocery store, take them to the bank with you. Let them see how you interact with the teller at the bank, take them to the library. There are so many things that we can do with our children that I think that benefits them and helps them to grow as human beings. Putting them in a classroom full of other students who are just as immature and just as unwise as they are. It seems to me the opposite

Of socialization. I think another really big misconception is that parents are not capable of teaching their children all the way through high school. This is what keeps parents though, they freak out, right? So we think, Oh, I can do kindergarten or first grade or second grade, but as they get a little bit older, I’m going to have a hard time doing it. And the truth is there are so many resources out there and I’m always trying to point parents in the direction of other seasoned homeschool parents who have been there and done that. This is why homeschool conferences are so important. This is why doing your, doing your research, find out what your kids are interested in. You know, I think we, the, the school system really caters to a cookie cutter approach, right? We cater to the collective. This is where no child left behind, which is ironic since so many kids are being now left behind.

But we cater to the collective. This is where common core came from. I don’t know of a single parent who believes their child is common. We look at what’s happening with our children and we see as parents unique gifts and abilities in each one of our children. And so it’s a misconception that they have to be schooled the same way we want to school our children in the way that meets them where they’re at and takes into account the unique gifting and ability that God has given to that particular child. And so for instance, Jay and I have seven children. None of them learn the same. They all have very different interests. We, we sometimes will look at each other and say, how could we have had seven children that can be this different where the same people bull and yet we’ve produced these very unique, very individualized children.

So then why would we put them into a system that will treat them like the collective and what we do in the collective is we falsely push ahead the kids who should be held behind and we artificially hold back kids who would normally and naturally Excel because it doesn’t work in a classroom setting. And so when parents talk to me about homeschooling their children and why they are afraid that their kid’s not going to get the education that they need. My question always is why do you think they’re getting the education that they need now? And usually if a parent steps back and looks at what’s happening in the classroom, they will come to the same conclusion. It just has to do with confidence. And does that parent feel like they are equipped to teach their own child that a lot of people feel like they can’t afford to homeschool?

Is that something that you have come up against? So the question of affordability is a big one, right? And I met a mom about a year ago and she had 10 children that she homeschooled. And so my first question was, and here I’ve been homeschooling for such a long time, but the homeschool mom and me was like, what curriculum did you use? And she said, you know, Heidi, for the first six years we just had access to the Bible and that’s what we use. And I was stunned by that. What do you mean you just had access to the Bible? And she said, well, we learned grammar, we learned reading, we learned how to write, we learned science from the Bible. She said that her kids got their PR, their formative during those first five or six years that she was doing school with them was really largely from God’s word.

And so my next question was, because in my head I’m thinking, well, how that worked for you, right? And I said, well, what are your kids doing now? And she said, well, three of my kids are attorneys, and two of them are doctors. Two of them have gotten into the public school to teach. Couple of them have kids of their own. And I said to her, are you surprised that they did so well? And she said, Oh no, I’m not surprised because I knew that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my kids and that God would finish in my kids what he’d started in it, in them, through me. And so if parents, I’m always telling parents, listen, if all you had access to was the Bible, and all these wonderful homeschool conferences went away and he didn’t have access to the library and all he had access to was the word of God.

And God told you to do what you would be enough, you’ll be enough. So, start by seeing what you know. You’ve got it. Let’s say you’ve got a second grader. What do they need to know? They need to know how to add and subtract. So do you have beans at your house? Good. Can you do you know your numbers? You’re going to be fine. I think so much of it is a confidence thing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on curriculum. It’s amazing what you can do when you just look to see what is it that I’m trying to teach my child and look to see the resources that are available around you because they’re everywhere. They really are. So it’s not about, to me, it’s not so much about finding inexpensive curriculum. It’s finding out how does my child learn?

What is their unique learning style? How do I learn? Because if I don’t know how I learned that I’m going to struggle to teach my child. So for instance, I learned that I am a visual learner. It’s why would I write you a note? I’m going to doodle on the note or when I when I make a worksheets for my kids or when I write things down for them, I need the highlighter. I’m a visual learner. So when I go to teach them something, I’m going to teach them from something that’s appealing to me. And then I’m going to find out how does my child learn? And then make that thing appealing to our kids. And you know what, you can do that with a book library. You know, this is the, this is where unit studies came from, right? So we did a unit study one year with one book.

We went to the library and we got Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. You’re familiar, right? Every child needs to read this book. And while we studied Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, we spelled the word Mulligan, we spelled it out. And I would teach my children, how do you think we’d spell the word? Mulligan, Mike Mulligan. And they would spell Mike Mulligan and they got it wrong the first time. So we’d look at Mike Mulligan and do you know what? By the end of that, all three of my little kids could spell Mike Mulligan. And then we learned steam shovel and we learned what is a steam shovel. Now we’re learning about a science. We’re learning where does steam come from? So we went over to the stove and I put some water on this. I’ll never forget this as long as I live because I was thinking, I am a rockstar homeschool mom now because I pulled out this little pot and I poured some water on the stove and here’s my four little kids and a baby just leaning, looking, waiting

To see what this water is going to do. So mom turns on the heat and all of a sudden the water starts to boil and they can see the steam coming up. I said, what do you guys call that? There? They knew what it was, but they were like, I don’t know. I said, that steam. And then we learn how to steam power and engine. Now we’re learning science. We’re learning grammar out of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. So apparent. I think your kids are natural born learners and as we learn what it means to teach and we become better teachers, guess what happens? Are kids become better learners. Another reason why a lot of people choose not to homeschool is because of the critics in their life, whether it’s maybe their parents or a neighbor or a friend, someone who truly cares about them.

But really doesn’t understand the benefits and the blessing of homeschooling. How do you answer the critics? Well, it’s a great question, right? Because we all have critics in our life. And when my husband and I made the decision to homeschool, we were the first in our family to do it. And I think a lot of people listening to that can, it can relate to that. A lot of us are first generation homeschoolers. Never thought we would do this thing, never wanted to do it. And so we make what is considered to be a radical decision. Right? And of course, people are going to look at that and go, why? Why would you do that? And I always like to tell parents, first of all, fruit takes time to grow. I live in Washington state and we are very proud of the fact that we grow apples here.

So golden delicious apples, you know, gala apples, we grow all these apples. No one would ever go up to a man who is planting his orchard. And a year and a half into it when his saplings are just taking root and maybe he’s got a foot and a half sapling poking out of the ground, they’re never going to go up to him and squint at the sapling and say, what’s wrong with your tree? I don’t see any fruit on your tree. But they’ll do that to you. They’ll do that to a parent. You see fruit takes time to grow your children. The fruit will be born out over time. And I think this, it comes back to the insecurity of the parent, right? To say, Oh my goodness, I actually don’t know if this is going to work or not because I haven’t been doing it long enough.

I don’t have time to see any fruit on my trees. And so I always tell parents two things that are very important. One, fruit takes time to grow, and so don’t put your children on display for other people. Let your children grow and learn in the safety of your home where they know you’re not going to. You’re not going to parade them out in front of people during Thanksgiving and feel like you need to have your children recite the States and their capitals, right? Because I promise you that over time when that fruit begins to grow, the critics will be quieter. A J and I had been homeschooling now for a very, very long time. And guess what? Not a single person in our family is criticizing what we’re doing anymore. Why? Because there’s fruit. So this, those. So the first thing is to know that fruit takes time to grow. And the second thing is that you need to take confidence in what you know that you are capable of doing as a parent. And so you don’t need to answer your critic. You don’t need to answer your

Critic. You can be confident and say, I know this seems like a kind of an off the wall solution, but we know it’s going to work and we’re excited and then walk. Because when your kids see that, you’re confident in that, guess what they’re going to be, they’re going to be confident also. And so your kids are taking their accused from you. So I always like to tell parents, listen, you’re never going to be able to silence the critics, but you don’t need to silence them. You only need to silence the voices in your own heart until such a time as your kids begin to show fruit. And they will so be confident in it. Talk about the benefits of homeschooling. Why homeschool? And I want this one to actually be, I’m not going in the direction of the, you know, why would you put your kids in public school?

But, and I know you’ve touched on this a bunch of times in, in different answers, but I want just kind of a clearly thought out answer of why homeschool. What are the actual benefits of homeschooling our kids? I think the first and the most important benefit of homeschooling is that it puts the parent in the driver’s seat of their child’s life. The Bible teaches us in Luke six 40 that when a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher. And as we look around the culture right now, I think it begs the question, who is teaching our children? Who is teaching our children and what are they teaching? Our children and parents are naturally concerned when our child, when our children are given to us, whether it’s through adoption or they’re handed to us in a delivery room like my children were the very first thing.

My very first instinct is to protect that child, right? It is our natural instinct as parents and yet we set that instinct aside when we send our children to school and to me the benefit, the primary benefit of having my children home with me is I am able to impart my worldview to my children to help them navigate what’s happening around them. From a biblical point of view, I want my children to see what is happening in the culture through the lens of what God says it should look like. So we take everything that’s happening and we hold it up to the light of scripture and we sift everything through. Whatever comes out on the other side of that, that is the worldview that God would have us have and so to me it’s about relationship first. It’s about imparting worldview to our children and about equipping them so that they are ready to engage the culture and we want our children to be ready and what’s amazing to me is as I’ve done that and then we incorporate academics into it, right?

We began learning science and math and history and reading and language, and as we do that, it begins to weave a wonderful tapestry that makes our family stronger because we learn these things together through the grit of scripture and when our children graduate. Then we have confidence that we have taken every opportunity that God has given us to shape the hearts and minds of our children so that they can go into adulthood and serve the Lord. One of the other arguments a lot of people use for choosing not to homeschool is because they think that our children need to go into the public school system or even the private school system and be salt and light. What do you say to that? Well, first of all, we are seeing in the culture now, first of all, there’s a battle that’s being, that’s being waged, right?

We read about this in Ephesians six the Bible teaches us that the battle that we’re waging is not against people. It’s a spiritual battle. And we know that we are called to put on the armor of God. So we are teaching our children to be salt and light in the world, but we’re not putting our children out onto the frontlines of the battle until they’re ready. So the front lines really in the culture right now, what is up for grabs in the culture? It’s truth. Truth is what’s being truth is what’s in the cross hairs right now and until our children are steeped in truth until they know truth, until they can defend truth, we would never put an a defenseless child out on the front lines. And education is a frontline battle. It is not a sideline battle. It’s not something that’s happening in the periphery of our lives.

This is happening in the culture in real time. This is the frontline of the culture. This is where truth, this is where the battle for truth is being fought and it is where the battle for truth is being lost. And so we do not want our children out on the front lines. We are training our children to go out onto the front lines. And so to me, when we talk about salt and light, I say, let’s put the people out on the front lines who are trained and ready for battle. I thank God for the many men and women who are Christians who know truth and can defend it, to be in the public school system, to be teachers, to be administrators, to be out in the playground helping these kids and talking to them. But our children not equipped for battle when they are five and six and seven and eight years old.

Many times they don’t even understand the war. So would you put a defenseless child out onto the front lines of a battle that they do not understand and cannot comprehend? No, we would never do that. I think it’s fascinating. I a mom said to me one time, aren’t you worried about sheltering your children? And I said to her, we care more about sheltering tomato plants in the culture right now than we do about our precious children. And so if someone wants to accuse me of sheltering my children, my answer is always, absolutely yes. I will shelter my child until I know my child can stand up against the elements of the culture. That is our job as parents. One of our primary jobs as parents is to shelter our children so that they can grow to maturity and we slowly begin to remove the shelter from around them as we see that they are mature and that they understand the battle lines around them and can engage the culture from a position of strength rather than weakness.

You talk about the culture war. How is that playing out in public schools today? Well, I think that any of us who are watching what’s happening in the culture right now can see that there has been a massive shift in the culture and a huge part of that shift is happening in education. Right. And so years ago I was in Chattanooga, my husband and I were staying there for my speaking season and we were listening to the radio one night and we heard that president Obama made a rule about bathrooms. We called it the bathroom bill, right? And we, and this was front page news, it was all over the, all over the country that students could choose which bathroom they would like to go to. So if I feel like I’m a boy today, then I can use the boys restroom. Well, immediately, as you can imagine, the phones of our nonprofits started ringing off the hook.

Parents are terrified by this idea. They don’t like it. 10 years ago I would’ve never said that homeschooling is the best option. Absolutely. This is what parents should do. And I have changed my position because at what point do you say the part is on fire? At what point do we say enough is enough is enough. And so my husband and I began to think about our own our own neighborhood. We live just outside of Portland, Oregon, where the culture Wars are raging. And we know because we have friends who teach in the public schools that our children are at risk now because adults are making decisions that are not only unwise for children, they are dangerous. And so we began to think, what is it that we can do to wake parents up to what’s happening in the culture? We learned about something recently called comprehensive sex education.

Every parent should understand what is behind comprehensive sex ed. People tell me, well it’s not in my state. It absolutely is in your state. And they’re not teaching our children biology. They’re teaching our children social engineering. They’re teaching fiction as if it were fact. They are teaching our children that their gender is malleable and that w that they could possibly be born in the wrong body. We are teaching children that’s as young as five years old. And so, to me, we, we have reached a point now where we are having not just a bad day in the public school, not just a bad stretch. We have reached a crisis of epidemic proportions whereby our schools can no longer be trusted to protect and educate our children. And so to me, I would, I would say to parents now, why would we leave our children in an institution that is teaching them the antithesis of what we know to be true?

Most parents that I talked to know that there are two genders and yet we are sending our children to institutions that are literally lying to them in the name of social progressivism. And it is doing irreparable harm to our children. And so my, my feeling now and my strong belief has changed from saying, Hey, look at homeschooling as a viable option to say bye to say public school is no longer a viable option. There has to be a better way for us to educate our children, to let them enjoy being children. Our, our children are literally having childhood stolen from them. I was walking through the grocery store with my daughter. She’s now eight years old, but when she was four years old, I was walking with her through the grocery store checkout, and it’s always the gauntlet, right? We go through the gauntlet and we tried to say, Hey, please don’t pick up 15 snicker bars and put them on the conveyor belt.

But I looked over at my daughter and she was very intently gazing at a, at a cover of a magazine with a transgender man. And maybe you would remember seeing this trend, this, this picture of a man dressed in a corset and she’s tugging on my shirt. And I looked down at her and she said, mama, mama. And I looked and I, I mean my heart was breaking for what she was saying because I know the truth of that image. And she said, mama, why is this man dressed like a princess? And in that moment I had a decision to make. I could have glossed over it and turn the magazine around and pretended like she didn’t ask the question or I could’ve engaged with her. And I chose to engage with her at that moment because she was asking the question, parents need to understand that we think our children don’t see what’s going on.

They do. They’re just being indoctrinated against something. They’re being indoctrinated into a belief system that is wrong. And so I got down on my knees, I looked at sailor right in her eyes and I said, sweetheart, did God make you a boy or a girl? And she said, well, he made me a girl. And I said, you know, some people are confused and they don’t know if they are a boy or a girl. Some people don’t know how loved they are, that God loves them. Just the way he made them, just the way that they were born. And you know what her next question was to me. She said, why doesn’t someone tell him that? And I thought, Oh my goodness, she’s right. Why are we lying to our children? Why are we telling children teaching children fiction as if it were fact in the name of a social of a social agenda that we know is the antithesis of what is in reality.

And so now I say to parents, listen, if you want to protect your children and you want to protect their hearts and their minds, you cannot leave them in a system of education that would teach them fiction as if it were fact that would Rob them of a basic morality in the name of social justice. It’s time to take your children out of public school. So a few years ago I was introduced to the idea of comprehensive sex education. And at first I was like, that’s fine. I mean, we want that for our kids, right? We want a comprehensive sex education for our children. Until I got a phone call from a lawmaker and she said, Heidi, can I bring a sample of the Washington state comprehensive sex education over to the homeschool resource center so that you can look at it? I said, sure, bring it over.

I was horrified at what I was reading. Abortion was mentioned as a normal health care practice to little girl starting in fifth grade, 125 times. Our children are being taught that if they have feelings that are contrary to the body that they are born. In another words, if your third grade son is subjected to the idea of transgender as in which they are doing all over the place, just look at drag queen story hours because the libraries have teamed up with the American library association that is pushing this dangerous ideology to children and we are watching the schools literally come in and take over the sexual education of children and parents do not even know that it’s happening every single day. We read headlines of children who are being taken from their parents because a school counselor hears that a child may be thinks for a moment that he was born in the wrong body.

And so what happens? We start telling these children, well, maybe you are in the wrong body. I have heard from parents whose children had been put on puberty blocking drugs of little girls as young as 11 years old who are being prescribed breast binders to keep their breasts from developing. This is happening in our public schools. It is an assault against parental authority is an affront against our children and it is doing irreparable damage to children. Parents need to understand that when they take their children to a public school and they drop that child off so that the child can learn about us history and can learn about math and can learn about reading and learn about spelling. That is the least of what those children are actually learning about. And they also need to understand that when they drop their child off, they are giving their authority as parents to that school and the school system then becomes the authority.

The other thing I think that is increasingly alarming is that the schools are pitting children against their parents. So the child does not need to go to the parent for permission. The child goes to the teacher and the teacher has to get a, and the parent has to get permission from the teacher. And so what happens is we replaced the parent as the primary authority in the life of that child and we elevate the teacher. So what happens when the teacher comes in and the teacher teaches something to that child that is contrary to what the parent believes? Well, every single time the parent will teach the child, or I’m sorry, every single time the student is put in a position of conflict. Now do I choose to believe my parent or do I choose to believe the school? Parents need to understand that education is not neutral.

It never has been and it never will be. And until we know for sure that our children are safe from this kind of indoctrination and this kind of sexual abuse, which is really what it is. This is child abuse. Parents need to know your children don’t belong to the state. They don’t belong to the schools they belong to. You bring them home where they belong. Oftentimes parents will choose to turn their heads and think that what’s happening in the public school system and in culture is not infiltrating into their child’s school. Maybe they live in a small town or they just have a small school that their child is in. What are you seeing happening across the board? So places where I would have never said that this is happening. This is where I see the most damage happening because we are not looking for it.

We’re not, you know, here in the liberal Pacific Northwest, our minds and our heads and our hearts are geared toward looking to see what’s happening. But there are other places in the country where parents feel safe. They feel safe from the progressive agenda. They feel safe from comprehensive sex education and I just want to shout from the rooftops. Your children are not safe as long as they are in a public school. It doesn’t matter if there are Christians teaching your children. They are bound by curriculum, so when a school board chooses curriculum, the teacher does not get to choose whether or not they want to choose that curriculum. The curriculum is given to them and they are required to teach it. I have several friends who are teachers in the public schools and as I’ve watched the last five years especially, I am seeing teachers who love teaching, resigning from their positions because they can no longer stomach what they’re being asked to teach children.

Parents cannot afford to look away. They cannot afford to put their head in the sand. They cannot afford to think that this will never happen in their school or be taught to their child. It is time for parents to get off the sidelines of the cultural battle for truth that’s being fought on the front lines of our public schools and engage in the battle. It has never been more important than it is right now. I think parents, as we, as we consider what’s happening in the schools and we wonder how we got here, the answer is really very simple. We got here by being quiet. We got here by pretending that this wasn’t really happening or maybe it’s only happening in Massachusetts or maybe it’s only happening in the most liberal counties in California, but this is no longer the case, and so parents who are looking and seeing just the beginnings of a cultural battle coming to their neck of the woods or coming to their library or coming to their public school, even into their grade schools, even into their public kindergartens. I promise you, if you’re seeing a little tiny bit of it, it’s already too late. It’s already in the system. And so for parents who are wondering what they can do about it, the very first thing they need to know is you are the parents of your child. You do not have to keep your child in a public school. You can take your child out to Morrow and begin to turn the tide of education in the life of your child from something that’s negative and damaging to something that’s positive and giving.

Oftentimes parents get to, you know, the second or third semester of school after they’ve started homeschooling, especially in the first year or two, and they just are ready to give up. They are feeling defeated. They’re tired, they’re overwhelmed. How do you encourage a mom to just keep going? Wow. If you get to the second or third quarter and you’re ready to take a break, take a break. Why do we push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion? Why do we think we have to go with the public school schedule? Why is it that we’ve conditioned ourselves to think that we just have to keep going, keep going, keep going. I feel like parents who are arrested and parents who can take a step back and remember why they’re doing what they’re doing, that’s what I do when I get burned out because I get burned out at least once a week when I get burned out.

The most important thing for me to do is take a step back and I think we need to remember what we’re really doing. It’s much bigger than educating our children in reading, writing, and arithmetic. What we are doing is we are preparing them for the battle of their lives. We are preparing them to step out onto the battlefield. And if we think for one minute that we’re not going to get exhausted as we’re training up warriors we don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t really understand. I think also oftentimes we will talk to husbands out on the road and they’ll come up to my husband and myself and they’ll say, my wife is tired. Our children, you know, my wife is, my wife is a grouchy. So let’s say word the grouchy homeschool mom. Like I should wear a badge that says, I too have been a grouchy homeschool mom.

Right? We can relate to that. But one of the best ways that husbands can encourage their wives is by telling them the things that they forget along the way. So there was a point in which I wanted to quit, right? I can’t remember. I think we had six children at this point. You know, I’ve got one in diapers. I got a toddler. I’ve got a kid who won’t learn her math facts. I’ve got a child who won’t.. you cannot, for whatever reason, I’ve got a child who for whatever reason can never remember where she left her math book and I’m frustrated and I get to the end of the day and I haven’t made dinner and I’m, I just, I’m exhausted. I’m thinking, why am I doing what I’m doing? And my husband came home from work and I was sitting on the couch. I was probably in a fetal position by this point.

Who knows? But I was sitting on the couch and my husband came up to me and as soon as I saw that he wanted to engage me in conversation, I started to cry. I was so tired and so, so worn out and I could not remember why I was doing this. After all, I’m watching every day the neighbors get on a school bus, the name my friends who my neighbor moms who would come out, Pat their kids on the head, hand them their sack lunch, see you later. And I would watch those moms and I thought that mom’s going to the gym. I just know that mom’s going to Starbucks, but you know the one I really envied was the mom and her pajamas because I just knew she was going to go back in her house and she was going to take a shower in relative peace. I just knew it and I started losing sight of why I was doing what I was doing. And my husband sat down next to me,

Actually he, he got a little lower than eye level with me and he said, Heidi, look into my eyes. So, I looked right into his eyes and he said, Heidi, St. John, ordinary women would be dead right now. They said, there’s nothing ordinary about you. He said, everything you’re doing is making a difference in the lives of our kids. And even when you feel like you’re failing, you are succeeding. And he began to tell me about the character traits that he sees in our children that we pray over together. Because at the end of the day, I care less about whether or not my kids are proficient in their math facts and more about whether or not their hearts are right before the Lord. I want to raise kids of integrity and raise kids of character who will go out and be in amazing young adults and have an impact on this world for good.

And that is why we feel so tired. That is why that is where the battle is won or lost. It’s for the hearts of our children. And so moms need to understand and fathers need to understand, this is the battle we have. We’ve made it about education. We’ve made education into an idol and we worship education. But what we should be doing is looking at the hearts of our children and investing there. And when we’re tired, we take, we can take a step back, get off the battlefield and say, Lord, refresh my heart. Remind me of what I’m doing when I’m doing. Every time a mom comes up to me when she says, I’m too tired, I can’t go on. I don’t know what I’m doing. I will always put my arms around her. That’s one of my favorite things to do. And just pull her in close and say, what you are doing is making an eternal difference. Take a break, take a break. It’s all right to say, you know what? I’m going to rest for a little while. Every warrior needs to put his sword down and take a break. Right. And so if a mom’s listening to this and she and she has lost sight of what she’s doing, I would say that’s the adversary. And he’s come in and he’s clouding your vision and he’s he, and you’re believing the lie that what you’re doing, does it matter when in reality it’s making all the difference in the world?

It’s easy to become weary and tired as a mom who’s homeschooling. Yeah, and I think oftentimes, just like anything else, we need the body to come around us and to help. And that’s why community is so important in homeschooling. You’ve got this amazing homeschool resource center in [inaudible], Washington, which is incredible. And it’s a place where families can come together and they can encourage each other. They can lift each other up. They can. You know, we, we often have talked about this story in the Bible of Moses when the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites. And remember Moses goes up on the Hill and God told him, he said, as long as you’re holding up your staff, you will be, you will win. And he got tired and he got tired. So Aaron and come alongside

Moses and they hold his arm up so that the Israelites can defeat the Amalekites. They can win that battle. And oftentimes as homeschool moms, we need someone to come alongside us and we need them to hold up our arms and to encourage us and to just hold us up. And that’s why community is so very important at homeschooling. And, and I know you for many years have been instrumental in providing community, local community where you live for homeschool families so that they can hold each other up when they’re down because we all, every one of us who’s homeschooled for more than 10 minutes, right? We all have times. We’re working exhausted, we’re overwhelmed. We feel like we can’t do it any longer. We feel like we’re doing it wrong and we need another mom to come alongside us and just say, you’re doing a great job.

You can do this. Let’s do this together. And like you talked about your husband, we need our husbands to come alongside us and say, you can do this. You’re doing the best thing for our children. This is what’s best for our family and have those people come and hold us up and we’re doing that. Well, listen to the Bible says we were created for relationship, right? We are created. We have a soul. We’re created for relationship first with our creator first with the one who made us unique and in his image, the Bible teaches us that God loves us. He loves us. He wants to walk in relationship with him. And so our souls, your, we yearned for that relationship with the living God. And then we were created for relationship with each other and without that relationship with the Lord and without the relationship with each other.

We do get weary and we do get tired. I’m always telling moms, so you got to have every homeschool mom needs to have another homeschool mom on speed dial. You got to have that mom who you can call up at the end of a bad day when your kid just spilled the sugar bowl and crawled through it. Right? And then tracked it all over your house when you’ve already got a sugar ant problem. Right. She just did that and you, you didn’t finish school for the day and you feel like you failed. You need to be able to call that mom up. And as soon as she sees your number come up on the caller ID, she’s like, girlfriend, what you need? You know, mocha with extra whip and sprinkles. I will be there right now. Right. And maybe she doesn’t live down the street from you.

Maybe she is the mom who lives three quarters away across the country who can totally do the same thing and send Uber eats over with your mocha, right? We need each other. And as Jay and I have been on this homeschool journey ourselves, one of the things that God has put on my heart and on my husband’s heart is the fact that homeschool moms tend to be isolated. Sometimes we isolate ourselves, right? And sometimes we’re isolated out of fear. We’re afraid that we’re afraid that we won’t be able to do what we’re doing. And so rather than say I’m struggling, we keep it to ourselves, right? And we know that fear festers in the dark, right? That’s where it grows and multiplies. That’s where it becomes so much a part of our thinking that it clouds are thinking eventually. And so many years ago, we started a homeschooled co-op organization and we ended up planting roughly 60 homeschool cooperatives around the United States, up in Canada, even over in Europe to try to give homeschool families a place where they could take their comm just one day a week and be in relationship with other people.

They could talk to other moms who could say, Oh man, I totally get you. I know exactly how that feels and we can encourage each other. But something has happened in the last five years in particular as the culture Wars have heated up. And as we see our rapid cultural and moral decline in the nation, I am watching homeschoolers who were running to something, right? This is what I was doing when I pulled our daughter out of public school 22 years ago. I was running to something. I saw homeschooling as this wonderful alternative to what was happening in the public schools. And I wanted something more for my daughter. This generation of homeschoolers, they are running from something, they’re running from an educational system that is both morally and educationally bankrupt. They’re running from an educational system that is lying to their children and literally wounding the hearts and souls of their children and they desperately need something to run to.

And so as Jay and I looked around at what was happening in our little, in our little town just across the river from Portland, Oregon, as we started looking around, we began to pray, Lord, give us, give us resources, bring us resources. We wanted to open a full time homeschool resource center for families. And at the time it seemed like an impossible stretch. Like what we needed was a $2 million building and it needed to be full of $1 million worth of things we needed. We needed a reception area. We, I wanted to have a library. I don’t know if you’re noticing what’s happening in the libraries, but our libraries are no longer safe places for children. They are being, our children are little children are being marketed aggressively marketed to through the library systems in this nation. And so we started thinking maybe we can open our own library where kids can come and actually read Tom Sawyer and pull a good book off the shelves.

And so we began to pray and we pulled a community together here in Vancouver, Washington, and we held a meeting at our house and I put it out on Facebook. Anyone who wants to help us and is interested in opening the area’s first fulltime homeschool resource centers so we can give parents of viable, doable answer a solution to what’s happening in the public schools. Come meet us at our house. And we had 60 people show up and I thought maybe five people will show up. Oh no, these parents are desperate for something. They see the problem, but they don’t know what to do about it. And we know that God’s not going to give us a problem and not give us a solution. And so we began to pray and we prayed morning, noon, and night, and we found a little cluster of buildings that we thought this would be perfect.

We only need one point $2 million to buy this little, this little grouping of buildings. And so we started to pray around those buildings and we brought mods and they would come, you know, Tuesday mornings at 10 30 and they would bring their kids and some of them had, you know, baby strapped to the front of them. And some of them had babies that they were pushing their strollers and there were teenagers. And we began to March around those buildings. And we began to say, Lord, we believe that you’ve put this on our heart and you will provide. And I know that there are people that are watching this right now. They have an ache in their heart. They see what’s happening and they want to help. And I also know that God is listening. He is a listening. And about a year and a half after we began to pray that God would open the doors, a gentleman by the name of David [inaudible] heard our hearts cry.

He came to a fundraiser and I was talking about what was happening in our schools and the bathroom bill that president Obama had just passed really in the middle of the night, the, we’re not consulting with parents, we’re not saying, Hey mom and dad, how do you feel about this? No, this is just what we’re doing. And if you don’t like it, too bad, sorry, this is the way it is now. And so we hosted a fundraiser and David came and we had invited our lawmakers, several of our lawmakers there, there a Congresswoman was there, people from our local leadership and we were saying this is a crisis we can no longer afford to put our heads in the sand and pretend like this isn’t killing our children. And we had maybe a hundred people show up. I was hoping for 400 right. And we just had a small number of people because you know, fundraiser.

And do you know that about two and a half weeks after that, David called and said my wife and I would like to buy those buildings. And so many things happened since then and we didn’t actually get those buildings because God had a better one. And now we have the area’s first full time homeschool resource center, 17,000 square feet where people can come Monday through Friday and every single day of the week people walk through the front doors of this building and they’re saying, I want to pull my kids out of school. How can I do it? And we walk them through the process. Moms will come in here and they will step foot. They’ll see the coffee shop. I, we built the coffee shop intentionally. So there’s a coffee shop, which is where we’re sitting right now because I know that homeschool moms needed to be talked down out of trees.

And so I say, come in, let’s get you a cup of coffee. Let’s sit down and talk about what you want for your family, what’s going on in your home, tell me how your kids are doing and let’s see what we can do to make it better. And so these moms will come in and literally this happens over and over again. I see this happen at least once a month. A mom will come in and she’ll just start crying. She’ll stand in the entryway of the homeschool resource center and she’ll just start crying. Why? Because there’s life here. There’s life here because God is doing something to rescue these children out of a system that would steal their hearts from their parents and from their creator who made them, who created them for relationship. And we’re saying, this is the Lord of heaven’s saying, come back to me.

Come back. And you can see the relief that will flood over parents when they come here and they realize I’m not alone. We were created for relationship first with our creator and then with each other and we’ve got to walk the way we were created. So I think rather than you, me, you can talk about losing kids from this, the churches. But I think you could just say we’re losing a generation of kids statistics as statistics are bearing out that there are this, this is the first generation of kids who are not engaged in Christianity like they were before. And so I think it’s less about a church and more about faith and Cheryl. Okay. I need you to reference Ken Ham, Already Gone. I will. Okay. Cause we’ll cut to Ken during this time. Okay.

A few years ago. I read a book by my friend Ken ham called Already Gone. And I read it with a fair degree of angst and a little bit of discouragement because he was making the point that studies are bearing out that we’re losing our kids, that this is the first generation in a long time where there are more kids outside the faith than there are in it. And we’re losing our children at a rapid pace. And it’s very interesting to watch what’s happened in the public school system and to see it line up with how our children are leaving the faith. And as I was thinking about this, I started, I started talking to my husband about it, you know, just kind of bantering back and forth. And I said to him, you know what? You don’t just lose a generation of children. You lose a generation of parents and then you lose a generation of children, you lose a generation of grandparents.

You become disinterested in their children’s at, in their grandchildren’s, you lose a generation of grandparents. You become disinterested in their grandchildren’s education and then you lose a generation of children. And so the way that we combat that is to recognize not only that we’re losing them, but really talk about why we’re losing them. And then determined to get back into the lives of our children. You know, my husband, ah, sorry, sorry. Here my grandparents put me through private education. So from kindergarten through 12th grade, I went to a very small Christian school in Portland, Oregon. And I’ll never forget my grandfather telling me why they decided to do that. These work parent grandparents who were so interested in my education and in the education of my siblings, that they were willing to draw from their retirement to make sure that we had a Christian education.

And my grandfather said to me, Heidi, education will be the most important thing that you do until the time you’re graduated and your grandmother. And I want you to be educated in the ways of the Lord and do you know that there a desire to see my brother and my sisters and I educated in the ways of the Lord is still reaping dividends today. Education matters and we’ve got to, as parents stop. I think we need to stop talking about what’s wrong with the millennials and start talking about how did the millennials get to where they are because it’s parents who become dizzy, disengaged. It’s parents who drop their kids off at the door of a public school and then assume that everything’s going to be okay because let’s face it, raising children is difficult, right? Homeschooling is a monumental undertaking, but it’s worth it.

Parenting is a monumental undertaking and we need to love our children more than we love our own comfort. We need to love our children and care about the direction of their hearts more than we care about whether or not we want to get that second car and buy that vacation home. We have got to start reassessing and look very carefully at our priorities as parents because the studies are showing that it is the priorities of the parents that are determining the direction that their children are ultimately taking. You know, as I travel and I’m out on the road and I encounter moms who are retired, it occurs to me, and I wrote about this in a book I wrote a couple of years ago called becoming moms strong. This generation of parents is up against something that previous generations have not had to encounter these. This generation of parents is dealing with a school system that is absolutely 100% opposed to what God says is true.

This generation of parents is dealing with kids who are addicted to social media. They’re dealing with smartphones and all manner of things coming at them and they desperately need their parents to be involved. And so when I talked to moms, one of the first questions I ask is, where are your parents? Grandparents need to be involved? I was thinking about this because my friend, Dr. Dobson and I were speaking and many years ago when I did an interview with him and he asked me what I thought about retirement and I thought it was an interesting question coming from him and because it was several years ago, I was pregnant with our last child, so this would have been nine years ago. I’m doing this interview with Dr. Dobson and I’m not thinking about retirement, you know, I’m seven months pregnant. Retirement is nowhere in my future. And he said, how did you think retirement is a biblical concept?

And I said, I don’t know. I never thought about it. He said, I don’t think it’s biblical at all. And in fact, I think it’s anti biblical because what happens is this generation of grandparents, we need their wisdom. We need them to be engaged and not get off the battlefield and go golfing. We need you to stay engaged. Stay in there, ask your kids, how are you doing? How can I pray for you? How can I help you? Can I offer some respite care? Can I come in and take the kids to the park for an afternoon so you can have a shower by yourself? You know? He, he’s absolutely right that retirement is sort of an idle in the culture right now and we look to see a certain age, like at what age can I get off the battlefield? Maybe that age is 67 maybe it’s 68 one of the biggest blessings of my life has been my mother in law who lives with us and has decided to stay engaged. She engages our children every day with the truth of God’s word. She comes up to me when she sees I’m weary and she prays for me and I think sometimes grandparents don’t realize the power that they have that’s been given to them by the Lord. You guys have been through something. You’ve got some wisdom to share. We still need your wisdom. We need your prayers. We need your encouragement. We need your reinforcement. Don’t get off the battlefield. Get off the bench, get onto the battlefield. God still has more for you to do.

You spend a good part of your time. Speaking at homeschool conventions and many of those conventions are put on by state organizations and most States have their own state homeschool organization. I would love for you to talk about the importance of state organizations. Why do they exist and why are they important to homeschooling? Well, first of all, state organizations do more than just homeschool conferences and I think that’s what people need to understand as data organization isn’t there to just host a conference. They are there to protect your right to homeschool. I think this is probably the most important role that a state organization will ever have is to make sure that your fundamental right, your freedom to be able to homeschool your children is being defended against and not defended against is being advocated for and defended. And so when parents go to a homeschool conference, I always tell them, join your state organization for goodness sake.

Even if they don’t have a conference, join your state organization because these people are working 365 days a year to make sure that you have the ability to homeschool and they’re bringing you the resources to do it. Most States have their very own state organization that knows the different battles that are, that are being fought and their specific state. So those are the organizations that homeschoolers can go to and they can get involved and they can know how to get onto the battlefield with these organizations and work alongside them to strengthen the homeschool community. Yeah, that’s right. And if you’re curious about where your state organization is, it’s pretty easy to find and get onto a search engine and just type in your state and homeschooling. And usually the first thing that will happen is that state organization will come to the top. We’ve spent some time in Virginia interviewing some of the staff from HSLDA, which is the Home School Legal Defense Association.

And I know that they work very closely with many state organizations and other leaders around the country as well to make sure that homeschooling is continues to be free because it hasn’t always been a freedom that we have been able to enjoy as Americans. I think oftentimes we take it for granted, those of us who are homeschooling today because we don’t know, we were not on those frontlines. We don’t know the battles that were fought for years and years and years in order to make homeschooling free. And now praise the Lord. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 States, which is amazing. But we still need to continue to fight for that freedom and to keep that freedom that we, yeah, why

You think something parents don’t understand is that homeschool freedom? We do have it but it is always under attack. There are a lot of people in this country and even around the world that Holmes going threatens the existence of homeschooling threatens their ideology. So if you believe in collectivism, if you believe in socialism, you are probably not going to believe in homeschooling. And there are people who would like to see it made illegal. And so I love the work of HSLDA. We have been friends with Mike Ferris and Mike Smith for many years at the ASL. The AA website is a great place to go just for information. So if you want to find out what the law is in your state, really, you could go to HSLDA.org and just type in your state and they will give you the law of your States. You can find out what, because they they’re different. So, so homeschooling law varies from state to state, but it’s very important for parents not to take for granted the fact that homeschooling is legal and to stay vigilant. If you think for one minute that a homeschooling is not under attack or that there are people in the United States that would like to see it made illegal, then you don’t understand the nature of education. Education is not neutral and people on the front lines know that.

All right.

So I’ve seen homeschooling change quite a bit in the last 10 years. One of the things I have observed is that homeschoolers are no longer running to something they’re running from something. But the other thing that I’m observing is that I think we have forgotten what made homeschooling so successful in the first place. And I often try to tell parents, let’s take a look back at the homeschool pioneers. These are the men and women who saw that education was important, that it is not neutral, that it is the job of the parents to author and direct the education and the upbringing of their children. And a lot of these parents who without access to mainstream curriculum in many places it was illegal. And they pulled their kids out of public school and they began to do the work of homeschooling their children. And all they had at all they had was a library card and the Lord.

And guess what? Those kids are doing amazing right now. These kids are doctors and lawyers and parents themselves and teachers and judges and educators in many spheres of influence. And I’m always telling parents, it’s very easy for us to become a hostage to the world’s idea of what education looks like, even as we’re homeschooling. And to begin to think that, Oh my goodness, if I didn’t have this or I didn’t have that, I couldn’t do it, and the homeschool pioneers knew otherwise. They knew that if they would be obedient to the Lord and they would take over the education of their children, that God would finish in their children, what he began in them through him. And it is such a powerful testimony. If you ever want to be really encouraged, talk to a homeschool pioneer, something we can really learn from the homeschool pioneers as opposed to what we’re doing today.

We’re really trying hard to model our homeschooling and model our education after the public school. And we see this in the push towards charter schools, right? So parents pull their kids out of public school and they think, I can’t do this. I’m not equipped. And so what’s the next best thing? Oh, I’ll put them in a charter school problem with the charter school is they’re getting the same information that they would be getting if they put their kid in a straight up brick and mortar school. And so I think we need to remember not only what the homeschool pioneers did that was so excellent, but what made it excellent? It was excellent because they went after the education themselves and they realized that they could do it. I think so much of what’s happening with parents right now is we are, we are having sort of a crisis of identity, right?

And we’ve forgotten that we are the parents of these children and that we can go after that information ourselves. We don’t need a charter school to help us. We don’t need an online Academy. So often I had a mom asked me just the other day on my podcast, she said, I have decided to pull my kids out of public school. And I was like, great, good call. And I’m enrolling them in an online school. And the next question she said is, should I be concerned about what my child is learning? And my answer was an unequivocal yes. You need to know what your children are learning. So if you decide to enroll your child in any sort of system of education that takes you again out of the driver’s seat, you need to know what your children are learning. So research it, find out about the curriculum, find out where it’s coming from.

You’d be amazed at what they’re putting into online curriculum and into charter schools. Parents need to be the primary educators of their children, and that means that we know what our children are being taught. I think one of the reasons that parents get frustrated when they begin homeschooling is they’re trying to recreate school at home. So I did this as a new homeschool mom, right? We do what we were taught. I learned in a, in a classroom, in a traditional classroom. And so when we made the decision to pull our kids out of school, I tried as hard as I could to recreate the classroom in my home. And so to my husband’s absolute delight, I took all of the chairs out of our family room downstairs. I put a flag up, I put a table, you know, my desk was out there. I got some desks that look very similar to the desks I had in school.

Right? These were the ones where the janitor would come in at least once a year and he would adjust your seat up because you’re growing. I found a couple of them at a garage sale. Funny thing, a homeschool mom was selling those desks and I couldn’t understand why she would do that. So I happily bought those desks than I set them up in my classroom downstairs and we had a whiteboard and I put the posters on the wall and the whole thing. Well, where do you think we spend our time? It wasn’t in that classroom that I set up. It was at the kitchen table. It was on the sofa in our family room because real learning doesn’t happen in an artificial environment. Real learning happens when sitting at the kitchen table. Real learning happens when we’re on the couch reading about a hermit crab named Page and studying the stories of men and women who followed God with a reckless abandon. And after about six months, my husband came to me and he said, Hey Heidi, I noticed that you’ve turned our family room into a schoolroom by you’re never down there. Do you mind if, if we turn it back into a family room again? And I said, by this time I knew it wasn’t going to work. So I said, no, no, that’s fine. And our neighborhood garage sale was coming up. And so my sweet man, he carried those heavy, bulky deaths up our stairs and out into the garage and about, you know, I started pricing everything in my garage and he came out to the garage one day and he said, you’re not going to sell those desks to a homeschool mom, are you?

And I said, Oh, yes I am. She’ll figure it out. Right. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in my cul-de-sac? But the thing is, I learned a valuable lesson and that is homeschooling is not meant to just be school at home. It’s a lifestyle of learning. It’s bringing our children. Yes, we’re doing book bookwork. Yes, we’re studying workbook. Yes, we’re studying science. But it’s so much more than that. It’s relationship. It’s sitting around on the couch and reading these wonderful rich stories and talking about why learning is so important. That’s what makes homeschooling different. Don’t try to recreate school at home. Enjoy your children in the home guide gave you and watch education happen. Do you want me to say I have been homeschooling seven children over 22 years? Yes. I don’t think I ever said that. Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. If your heart’s racing and your palms are sweating and you just don’t think you’re enough, if you’re wondering if you can do it, I just want to encourage you right now.

Take a chance. You will not be sorry. Your kids are worth it. They’re worth every ounce of energy that you put into them and the dividends that you will reap or the investment that you’re making in your children will be shown for generations to come. You can do it if you’re doing this and your heart is tired and you feel weary and you just want to give up. Can I just encourage you right now, I want to wrap my arms around you. Give you a homeschool mom hug. We need each other. Call somebody that can encourage you, but can I just encourage you right now, don’t give up the enemy of your soul is a lying to you. He’s telling you that you’re not enough. He’s telling you that this isn’t worth it and it is worth it. So get in relationship, take a break. Be encouraged. You can do it. You can do it. You can do this. You can do it.