332 | Five Things Every New Homeschool Parent Should Hear (Sean Allen)
It is so wonderful to see so many families making the decision to homeschool for the first time! In my conversations with many of these new homeschool parents, it's almost as if the same question lingers on all of their faces: "Can I actually do this?" My answer to that? "Absolutely, yes! And I'll tell you exactly why..." And that's just one of the things I feel that every new homeschool parent should hear as they embark on this wonderful journey of home education.
Sean Allen is the founder of The Well Ordered Homeschool, husband to his beautiful bride Caroline and a proud father of eight. He has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and is passionate about creating materials to assist parents in the incredibly challenging, yet surpassingly beautiful, work of schooling and training their children at home.
Sean Allen | Instagram | Facebook | Website
Homeschooling.mom | Instagram | Website
Thank you to our sponsors!
Medi-Share: an affordable Christian alternative to traditional health insurance
Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? We hope to see you there!
For more encouragement on your homeschooling journey, visit the Homeschooling.mom site, and tune in to our sister podcast The Charlotte Mason Show.
Sean Allen Hello and welcome to another installment of the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Sean Allen, and I am one of the many hosts that we have on the podcast. Each week you'll hear from one of us as we talk about this busy and blessed season of educating our children at home. And while the title of the podcast is Homeschool Solutions, it should come as no surprise to you that we do not have the answer to every question related to homeschooling. However, it is our hope that each episode will encourage you to look upward and seek the counsel and direction of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, as we endeavor to train our children in the way they should go. We're so glad that you decided to join us today. But before we get started, I'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsor. The sponsor of this episode of the Homeschool Solutions podcast is Medi-Share. Medi-Share is an affordable and biblical health care alternative. We invite you to find out more at MyChristianCare.org for their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like yours. And with that, let's dive into today's episode.
Hello everyone. Welcome again to another episode of the Homeschool Solutions podcast. My name is Sean Allen, and I'll be your host for today. Very happy to be with you. I hope that you all are doing well. You know, there's really no way for you to respond to that. I wish you could tell me how things are going, but just no way to do it through this medium. But nevertheless, my hope is that you're doing well. Hope your summer is going great. I know that ours is unbelievably hectic. That's been our summer. And I don't know how life can get any busier, but it always finds a way. I've said that probably every year of my adult life: "How could things get busier?" But again, things never cease to amaze me.
But we just came off of the California convention in Ontario, and it was wonderful. It was hard getting out there. And this, again, plays into that hectic stage of life that we're in. A few days before we left, we had a tornado come through our area, and thankfully it didn't touch down immediately where we are, but it did go overhead and it took out 100-year-old+ tree right next to our house and put it into our porch, ripped half of our porch off the house. You know, that's bad enough. But we are so very thankful because where this limb fell—and the limb was enormous—it fell right next to my son's head. His bed is right up against the wall. If you look at this tree, you would say that branch had every reason to fall into the house, into his room even. And it didn't. Somehow it missed the house and it hit the porch. So we're still very grateful for that. We feel that that was a great, great blessing and that the Lord preserved him. Took out some of the trees in our yard.
So that happened just a few days before we were to leave for California. We cleaned up a little bit as much as we could and hit the road. And goodness, the further west we traveled, the higher the gas prices climbed. And that was not fun. By the time we made it to the border— we filled up right before we crossed the border because we'd heard some horror stories about gas prices in California. And boy, were they pretty accurate. And we were just about to choke to death by the time we got to convention. But we went to convention. Again, it was definitely worth it. Met a lot of great people out there, made a lot of good connections and so many like-minded individuals. It's just such a blessing. We love it. We just love it. I know we've said this before. We've plugged conventions before on this podcast. We're going to keep doing it. We got one more left this season down in Round Rock, Texas. That'll be in just a few days. We'll definitely be down there, Lord willing. And we'd love to see you there. So if you're in the area, definitely encourage you to come. Be well worth your time. We'd love to meet you and love to see you there. And if it's your first time, you owe it to yourself just to check it out to see what it's like. And I'm guessing that you'll enjoy it so much that you'll want to come every year. They are really that good.
Today's episode is actually inspired by a lot of conversations that I have had with a particular group of homeschool parents, and this group has really surprised me. This group is new homeschool parents, homeschool parents that are doing this for the first time. They've surprised me in the sense that there are so many of you. It's really a refreshing thing to see. So encouraging. We have all of these parents come into our booth and you get to talking to them and, by and by, you realize or they'll just tell you, "We're doing this for the first time," or "We just started last year." I'm just shocked at how many there are. I knew that there would be more. And certainly the prevailing conditions in our country today and in the world have kind of egged that on a fair amount. But I just didn't know how many there would be. And so, you know, there's obviously there's so many more than what we can even see.
So I'm so encouraged by this. And based upon the discussions that we've had, there seems to be a similar thread that kind of runs through most of them. I decided that I was going to come up with five things that I would like to say to new homeschooling parents. These are things that I either have said in these discussions or that I wish that I could have said, because sometimes there's just not time or opportunity. So these five things are for you. And if you've been homeschooling for a very long time, do not leave. Don't run off. Because I think I'm going to say some things that you might enjoy as well, or that would be good for you to hear or to be reminded of. So just stick with us for a minute here.
But the first thing I want to throw out here to new homeschooling parents or the bit of advice that I would like to offer is to find a mentor. Find someone you trust, someone that you can talk to. And again, whether you're doing this for the first time—you're just starting—or you've done this for a very long time, I would recommend this to both camps. If you don't have that person— you could see it all over the faces of most of these new homeschooling parents. This is nothing against them. I was there once. It's totally understandable, but it's just, "What do I do?" Or "Can I do this?" There's like a big question mark in their eyes, like, "Am I going to be able to do this?" They're obviously going to give it their best shot. But there's that uncertainty there as to whether or not they can pull it off.
And so one of the things that can help you answer that question is to find a mentor. Again, find someone that can help you along. And if you're sitting there saying, "I've got nobody. Like I just, out of the blue, we decided to do this. And last year or two years ago, it wasn't even on the radar screen. But now we're doing it. And all of my friends send their children to public school. They think I'm nuts. I've got nobody." And I hope this doesn't sound like a copout, but just pray about it. And go to the Lord and ask him, "Can you send me someone? Please send me someone to help. I need some counsel. I need some guidance. I need some encouragement. I just need someone who understands what I'm going through. We can bounce some ideas off of of each other.".
My wife has that person, and I'm so thankful that she does. And it's not me, by the way. Now I'm I'm here to encourage and to counsel and to throw in my two cents in every which way that I can or that she needs me to. But this is a little different. I'm not exactly where she is. We go about this business a little differently. She's predominantly responsible for the homeschooling of our children. And so there's just some things that I can't entirely relate to. And yet she has this friend of hers who can. And she has a lot of different homeschooling moms who are friends. But you've got this one that you really understand each other and you see— you're just pretty much on the same page. You're bosom buddies. You're just the best of friends. And so having that— I can't say enough about how valuable that is or has been to Caroline. And so if you could find that person, do it. If you can't find that person, pray about it. The Lord will send you somebody.
The next thing that I want to say to first time homeschooling parents is that I want to answer the question that that is all over your faces. And again, this is not a judgment that I'm rendering against you. This is not derogatory in any way. All right. The question is, "Can I do this?" Let me answer this for you. Yes, you can. You absolutely can and should do this. Go through with it. You will not regret it. You will not regret it. The benefits that come— I mean, outside of the benefits that come to your children and the way that it can bless your children in a hundred thousand different ways for the rest of their lives— and for most of you, you will see immediate results. I've heard so many accounts from new homeschooling parents. In the first week that they brought their child home, they already see a difference in them. They see a difference in their demeanor, in their attitude, in their behavior, in their character. They see an immediate benefit from having brought them home.
So outside of that, there are also benefits for you, because when you and I are doing the things that we were called to do, that's precisely where we're supposed to be. And that does something to you and I. It uplifts us. It empowers us. There's just a sense of belonging, if you will. And there's lots of different things that we could do in this life of ours, and we can make that determination. We're going to go this direction; we're going to go that direction. But when we're heading in the direction that was intended for us from the beginning, there's something wonderfully powerful that comes out of that, and you could feel it in your bones. And so you can do this, you should do this.
And I'm going to go on a little rant here, if you'll pardon me for a minute. Look, there's a lot of noise out there in the world today, and it's direct and indirect. And probably the indirect is maybe more oppressive. But let's just start with the the direct. And what I mean by that is you have individuals— almost certainly individuals in your sphere who are coming to you. And what are they telling you? "You can't do this. You shouldn't do this. Why would you do this? Why would you take upon yourself the education of your child?" And so you might have family members, you might have friends. We recently just talked with someone who this mother decided— she and her husband decided, "We're bringing our children home and we've had enough. We're not going to allow other people to play a role to the degree that they have previous played in the upbringing of our children. We're taking that upon ourselves." They bring them home.
Again in their association, there really wasn't anybody who who was like minded with them. Nobody else is pulling their children out of public school. So all of their friends and all of their associates and all of their family—both sides, both sets of parents—are looking at them as if they've completely lost their mind. "Why would you do this?" And my understanding is that they've had their children in public school for quite a while. Now, if you've got a kindergartner and you decide, "Well, we're just not going to public school," that's one thing. But if they've been in public school for a period of time—fourth, fifth, sixth grade or however long it is—and they've been participating in the activities and that's all your family and all your friends have ever known and then you decide to pull the plug, that can get a little ugly, the judgments that they're rendering against you there. And so you've got to put up with that.
And so they're coming to you and they're saying, "What makes you think that you're capable of doing this? Do you really think you're qualified to educate your child? Look. Look at what you're leaving. Look at this institution. Look at how well-funded it is. Look at how it's just populated with educated, skilled, and professionally-trained teachers. They went to school specifically to know how to teach your child about geography or teach them about history or teach them about math. And you think that you can do better than all of that?" The answer to that question is yes, absolutely. You can.
Let me go a little step further. Not only are you uniquely qualified to do this, you are the most qualified to teach your children. And there's a little bit of bad thinking about education in the sense that—and this is the indirect influence that I was speaking about—it's just like this oppressive air of impossibility that kind of pervades our society. In other words, the message that is being sent to you is, "You can't do this. There's no way that you're strong enough or knowledgeable enough or skilled enough to be able to do this." So the bad thinking says that you have your child—the child is born to you—and there's this little window of time in which they are solely yours. What I mean by that is— it's year one, it's year two, it's year three— we get into year four, and now we're starting to talk about pre-K. And I'm not exactly sure where the government recommendations are on government schooling right now because I haven't been keeping track of it. But I think I've heard some rumblings about mandated pre-K education now. Seems like I've heard something about that, which is disgusting to me. But nevertheless, at least at five, we're putting them into kindergarten, which is in kindergarten is supposed to prepare them for the rest of their schooling years. But you've got that little window: 0 to 4, they're yours. And then after that time, there's this gradual pulling away process. And then by the time we get to five, boom, they're gone.
And what this oppressive system of education says to us is that you are no longer capable of educating your child. "We're going to take that over for you. You don't have to worry about that because we know better than you do." And let me tell you something. That is rubbish. That's just utter rubbish. The problem is that you're separating the education from the rearing. And there is no difference, folks. There really is no difference. Those are one in the same thing. So when we decide to bring our children home and to educate them at home, what we're doing is we're saying this is part and parcel to their rearing. All right? So it's not just their ABCs and their 123s and America has 50 states and all of those sorts of things. This is part and parcel to their rearing. So you've got to get this out of your mind that those are two separate things. The government school comes to you or society at large comes to you and says, "You can't educate them. We'll do that. You take care of the rearing." Well, here's the dirty little secret. They're doing both, okay? Whether they want to or not, whether they're a part of this so-called agenda or not, they're doing both. And now you've got two parties who are effectively— well, one of them's educating and rearing, and you're just doing the rearing. Because most people just unplug from that. Like, I don't have to teach them math. I don't have to teach them writing. I don't have to teach them any of those things. When they come home, we'll see how things are going, and I'll continue with the nurturing and the rearing and so on and so forth. Well, as time goes on, you are going to be given less and less of a seat at that table. And it probably will happen by natural means, because your child doesn't want your input anymore, because the influences that you hope to instill in their life and the influences that are being instilled in their life at the public school are not the same thing. Okay?
And so you've got to get rid of this wrongheaded notion that because your child needs educated, you have to look outside of yourself to accomplish that end. And in order to accomplish that end, we need skilled professionals to do that. That's utter nonsense. I'm sorry. It's just nonsense. There has been some kind of weird mutation that has come about as a result of this line of thinking. It would seem like, on paper, that it would make sense. Like mom has got so much to do. She can't do it all. So wouldn't it be so much better if you have a dedicated individual who sets themselves apart, goes into the realms of higher education, learns about all the latest thinking and teaching and philosophy on the education of children. And they take that all upon themselves. They're in a classroom. They get there in the morning; they leave at night. That's all they have to worry about is educating your child. How how could that not be better? How could it not be more effective or more efficient or more effectual, if you will?
Well, let me tell you, it's not. It's just not. I know it makes sense on paper. It looks good on paper, but it does not play itself out in the real world. The reason is because God never called us to that kind of an arrangement. He never signified that this is the way that he would have his children—and, by the way, they are his. They're ultimately his children to be reared and educated, and those are one and the same thing, folks. That's the beauty of homeschooling. It's the beauty of homeschooling is that you can do both of those things at once. And again, I want to remind you that even if you decide to send your children off to public school, they are also—whether they want to or not—doing those two things at once: educating and rearing.
So let me say it again. Not only are you uniquely qualified, you are the most qualified to do this. They cannot hold a candle to you. I don't care how many years of schooling they have. I don't care how expert they are in their particular field. Could your children learn something from them? Yes, absolutely they could. But what's becoming increasingly clear is that they are less and less interested—to the point of not being interested at all—in what you think about what they're teaching your children. There used to be a time in which there was a good working harmony there to some extent between the parent and the educator and the parent and the educational board. But that seems to be no longer the case. It's becoming less and less the case as the days go by. So they don't really care what you are hoping to accomplish by sending them to school. They have their own thoughts about that, and they will carry them out with or without your permission.
So many first time homeschooling parents, I think they're struggling. They're battling against this notion that they could never, ever possibly measure up against the hordes of professionally-trained teachers that are out there for the express purpose of educating your children in any given subject. It's just not true. How do I explain this? I don't know that I could explain it to you like in scientific terms. I just can't. All I know is that it's true. Look at the results. Look at the results of all of these homeschooling children who came out of homes which just the mother—and most of these mothers don't have anything above a high school education; some of them have less—and yet their children actually perform better in colleges across the country. They perform better than the classically trained— I shouldn't put it like that. Not the classically trained student, but the traditionally educated student in the public school system. How do you explain that? How do you explain that? It's just not scientifically feasible. But it doesn't matter. We don't need science to prove this to us. All that we need is the internal vindication of the Holy Spirit telling us that this is where we belong. This is what we're supposed to be doing. That's all you need. And it does not matter what the rest of the voices out there are telling you.
Not only are you uniquely qualified, you are the most qualified. One of the reasons for this is that you have something that these people don't. You have an enduring and a deep and abiding love for your children that they could never possess in the same way. That doesn't mean that there are public school teachers that do not love their students. I'm not saying that. I'm not suggesting that. But they can't hold a candle to the love that you have for your children. And there is something wonderful that comes out of that. Why would you not want to tap into that? Somebody explain this to me. You can go on and on. Again, you can go on and on about the degrees. You can talk to me forever about "I spent 15 years. Actually, it's ongoing. My education is ongoing. I'm always going back to college and learning." I think they require that of teachers. You have to keep going back to college to learn the new things that they've come out with recently.
It's like this is not a mystery, folks. It's not rocket science. You need a committed mother who loves their children. And by the way, most mothers— all mothers love their children to some extent. But you need that mother that is committed, and that's really all you need. That's it. You put her in the same room as her children, and there's something wonderful that comes out of that. And the education takes care of itself. A lot of you homeschool moms who are listening to this, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And it's not just about the mother. It's about the children. The children respond to this better as well. Why? Because they're like little sheep and they have a shepherd, and the sheep hear their shepherd's voice. They know that voice. They've known it from the earliest age when they were in your womb. They heard you. They became well acquainted and familiar with that voice. And they hear it still today.
When you send them out into the public sphere, they hear lots of other voices, and it's not your voice. And I'm not just talking in a physical sense. I'm talking in a spiritual sense. They hear that voice. They feel that voice. They know you. And something about that voice resonates within them and it tells them that you love them and that you would never, ever leave them, and that there's no one on this earth that loves them quite in the same way that you do, and certainly not as much. And you couple that with your efforts, however meager they may be. And I know that many of you struggle. You feel like you've got this inferiority complex and you just— "I'm not enough. I'm not enough." But I'm here to tell you that the love that Jesus Christ implanted in your heart for your brood, for your little children, makes you more than enough. And that's all you need to know.
Now, are there lots of questions and lots of complexities to work out in the midst of all of this? Like what curriculum am I going to use and what grade am I going to start this? And is this company good for my family or is it this company? There's lots of things like that to work out, but it will work itself out. Why? Because not only are you uniquely qualified, you are the most qualified for this. It will work itself out. You'll find a way. Mothers find a way. Parents find a way to get this done. And you will get it done. So that's number two. You can do this. Just answering that question that's on your face. You can. Yes, you can do this.
And the third thing that I want to say is, is very closely connected to what I just said. It is: be careful who you listen to. All right. I'm not going to say much about this because I feel like I've already gone into it a little bit in the in the last one. Be careful who you listen to. Family, friends, social media, the television. It doesn't matter. Be just be very discerning about who you listen to because, as I mentioned, there are a lot of direct opinions that are extant today. And there's certainly a lot of indirect opinions that are swirling around out there. And they will grab a hold of you and most of them have it as their business to discourage you and to knock you off of this course. They do not want to see you succeed at this because, once again, it's precisely where you're supposed to be. It's what you're supposed to be doing.
And so my heart just sinks particularly when I hear parents talk about how their parents are not supportive of their homeschooling efforts. And that is hard. That is so hard. And particularly when you have young ones, and again, we've had lots of discussions with parents about— you know, we've set these standard standards in our home. We've tried to communicate these standards to our parents. And then maybe they spend the night and we learn about it after the fact that those standards are not being upheld. And actually, they're almost brazenly denying our wishes and flying it in our face. And that is so hard because then you've got a decision to make. And you've really got to make— you've got to be careful with this.
And I've said this before to various parents is that, particularly because a lot of my children are a little older and so I've seen this process play out, I was exactly where you were. And it is hard because you just don't know what to do. Do you address your parents? And then they feel as if now you are lecturing them. Now you're correcting them, and that's a very uncomfortable situation to be in. One of the things that you can do—if it's not that bad; you know, the way in which your your parents or your friends including are trying to influence your children against your wishes—if it's not that serious, is just wait. Just wait. Just be patient. Just be patient with it. Now, there are some things where it's just a road too far and you cannot allow it to go on. But with some lesser issues— and I don't want to spell out exactly what those are. I assume that you probably know and feel what those are. Just wait it out a little bit. Whereas they may not listen to you, but they will almost certainly listen to your children. All right?
What I mean by that is that eventually your children are going to get old enough, and if you keep with this, you keep talking to them and say, "This is the way we do things. This is what we believe. This is what we think is right." And eventually your children will grow up and they will start to communicate that to your family. And again, I've seen this many, many times. If your parents—whichever side they might be on—will not listen to you. They will almost certainly listen to your children because they love your children. They love being around you. And if your son or your daughter says, "Grandpa or grandma, you know, we don't do that like that," or "We're not allowed to watch that," or "We're not allowed to eat that," or "We don't say that or read that," or whatever it might be— and they do not want to lose a relationship with their grandchildren most likely. Now, there are those out there who will hazard that, and that's a terrible thing.
They'll listen to you, and they want to keep in your children's good graces. And not only that, they'll start to see the good example that emanates from your children as they get older. And they will look on and marvel. And I've seen this so many times is that the parents, eventually they just come around— the grandparents, rather. They come around to this and they— whereas previously they were opposed to it, and now they're talking to their friends about it. Like, "I didn't think this was possible, but those children are the best behaved children that I've ever been around. And they're so smart." And that's what turns the tide.
So be careful who you listen to, because unfortunately, there's a lot of people who are trying to bring you down. So much of that is just absolutely not true. This goes back into the first thing I said. Find a mentor. Find a solidly reliable sounding board, someone that you trust, and someone that you can say, "So-and-so said this the other day and I'm really wrestling with it." And they could say, "Look, it's not so. It's just not so." Maybe one of these mentors has been down the road. Maybe they're a veteran homeschooler is who you need to talk to. That would also be wonderful so that they can kind of drown out these voices.
The fourth thing I want to say to you is—you knew homeschooling parents—is do not overdo it. And this would be a good thing for some veteran homeschooling parents to listen to as well, because this is an easy trap to fall into. Do not overdo it. I've noticed this or recognized this in talking to a number of parents in that, again, they're listening to this pervasive mentality that is ever present in our modern society that, again, they're not enough and they're going to mess it up. And then you kick into overdrive and now you're overdoing it, and that is setting you up to crash. And once you crash, you give up and you turn them back over to the "experts".
Don't do this. The beauty of homeschooling is that it would be better for you to underdo it than it would be to overdo it. And so you feel like you've got to cram it all in. I've heard this from like with my four-year-old or my five-year-old. My five-year-old can't read yet. And they're like freaking out about it. Or my six-year-old. I don't care if your eight-year-old can't read yet. Okay. I mean, sometimes there are disabilities there and sometimes there's a very real difficulty, but most parents that I talk to who are like freaking out that my child cannot read because every other child their age can read at this age. Stop. It's going to be okay. Don't overthink it. Don't overdo it.
I say this because all of my children have been late readers, and I knew that my wife was was regularly teaching them. She was doing everything that was within her power to do. And they just hadn't taken to it yet, but you should see them now. They are voracious readers. We have a library of, I don't know, probably over 600-700 books, I would guess. Maybe more. They've read them all, almost every single one of those books. I remember when I think we had some family or friends over and we walked into this library. All of our books are currently at my mom's house because we're remodeling our house and so we don't have access to them, ready access. But I remember when we were in our last house and we walked into the library with— I can't remember if it was family or friends, and one of my sons piped up and said, "I've read every one of these books." And the look that was on the face of this person was just— that sort of dawned on me like, my goodness, my children read. And I was not like that growing up. But again, they were late readers. Much later than is traditionally accepted, even to the point where I think professional educators would have come to me and said, "You've got a problem. Your children have a problem. They're behind." But when it clicked, boom, they were off. They were off.
This is just one example that I want to give, because parents are naturally worriers, and I totally understand that. I'm that way too. But so often I have found that it just works itself out. It's going to be okay. And don't— this plays into be careful who you listen to, because so many people out there are saying, "You got to do this and you got to do that, and this is what's most important." And you just get like, "Oh my goodness, I've got to do it all, because if I don't, they're going to fall behind and the world will come out as being correct." They'll say, "Aha, I told you so." And this just plays back into this inferiority complex. Do not play into that. Don't give in to that. Do the best that you can. Leave the rest to God.
There's a T-shirt that my wife wears that says, "Do the next right thing." That's it. It's really as simple as that. We make it difficult. Do the next right thing. He will take care of the rest. God has a vested interest in the rearing and the education of your children. He's helping you. Actually, he's carrying all the heavy lifting, and we get in the way of that sometimes. We like to mess around with that and say it's all on us. It's not all on you. Okay. So you're reading to them books and you're introducing to them various sounds and pronunciations and the letters and the forms and all of those different things. But you can't make it click. You can't go in there and like flip the switch. And that's obviously highly untechnical language there. But the Lord is the one that does that. How he does that, I don't know. But He'll take care of it.
And it's not just with reading, it's with math. It's with anything else, any other area that you care to mention. Just don't overdo it. Don't try to do too much. Your children would be better benefited more by underdoing it than they would be by overdoing it. But that being said, just go to the Lord and ask, "How much or how little are we supposed to be doing here? Am I doing anything that is actually hindering the education of my child because I'm doing too much? I'm overwhelming them. I'm wearing them out. I'm wearing myself out." You don't want to do that. They need you. They need you. So stick in there. Don't overdo it.
And the last thing is—and these are all very connected to one another—it's going to be okay. Again. These things are so connected. I don't care what anybody else is telling you, it's going to be okay. This is a question that I think every parent since the dawn of time has had—or most every parent—has had in their heart at one time or another. Am I doing this right? Am I doing this right? And because there is no universally accepted child training manual in existence out there, we can't crack open this book and turn to page 357 and read the guidelines for how we're supposed to teach spelling or how we're supposed to correct this character anomaly in my child. It doesn't exist. And so because that doesn't exist, we find ourselves in situations where we're asking, "Am I doing this right? Am I just about to mess this up royally? I mean, is this going to create an irreconcilable character deficiency in my child?".
And I try to tell people that there's three criteria that you can use to measure up any of your actions at any given time. And that is, you ask yourself, am I loving? Am I lifting? Or am I learning? At any given moment. And what do I mean by that? So you should always be doing one of these three things whenever you are interacting with your child. It's not always possible because we're human and we mess it up. We do mess it up. We make it more difficult than it needs to be. We make it more harsh than it needs to be or what have you. But that's one way to gauge whether or not you're doing it right.
And this applies to your homeschooling as well. Am I loving my child? So whether I'm teaching them, whether I'm chastising them, whether I am counseling them, is there love in my message? Can you chastise a child in love? You absolutely can, and you absolutely should. There's a powerful message in that, and that's a whole 'nother episode. Maybe someday. But if you're not loving, then that's a sign that you're not doing it right. Something is amiss. When you take these actions to—again—to educate, to correct, to chide, to counsel, is there a lifting action in this case? So the lifting action is born out of the love. Sometimes your children need hard consequences, but you're doing that because you love them. Sometimes you have to make a hard decision in the course of your homeschooling experience. Like we've got to make a drastic change here and it's going to be difficult for your family at large. The very decision to homeschool may be that very decision. But are you doing that because you love your children? Yes, you absolutely are. We've pulled them out of the public school because we love them. Do we think that the act of homeschooling our children will lift them in the long run? Yes, we do. We want to lift them because we love them.
Now, as you do these two things, because we're human, we will make mistakes. As I said, we're going to mess it up. That's all right. The third thing is learning. Are you learning from your mistakes? If you've said to yourself, "All right, I made a misstep here. And because of that misstep, this consequence has come as a result. You know what? Next time I'm not doing that," you're doing it right. You're doing it right. That's when you know that in that moment, I'm doing the right thing. Even though I made a mistake, I'm learning from it. And this is making me a better parent. It's making me a better homeschool mom or homeschool father. Loving, lifting, learning. It's going to be okay. You're going to make it. You stick with it. You're not doing this because you're lazy. You're not doing this because you don't love your children. You're not doing this to spit in the eye of the world. I hope that you're not doing it for that reason. You're doing this because you believe in your very heart of hearts that this is what is best for your children. And if you stick to that, it's going to be okay.
So those are the five things that I hope have blessed you in some way if you're a new homeschool mom or a homeschool dad. I hope that these five things are a help to you in some form or fashion. I hope that maybe you can refer back to them at some point in time. If I was a new homeschooling parent, these are five things that I would want to hear. And there are so many other things that could be said. We can get into the nuts and bolts of the whole operation, and those five bits of counsel would be entirely different. But to recap, number one, find a mentor. Number two, you can do this. Not only are you uniquely qualified, you are the most qualified to educate your children. And remember, education and rearing is one and the same. That's the same act. Be careful who you listen to— your family, your friends, social media, the various voices that are abroad. Be very, very careful. Be discerning in listening to those voices. Don't overdo it. Do not overdo it. It would be better for you to underdo it than to overdo it. The Lord will fill in the gaps, and if He finds an area in which you're lacking and you need to pick it up a little bit, he's going to spur you on in that area. He's going to speak to you. Just ask him. He'll tell you the areas that you need to fill in. And lastly, it's going to be okay. It's rarely as bad as it seems. And as long as any action that you take toward your child is an action of love or of lifting or of learning, everything's going to be all right.
So God bless you as you continue in this grand adventure of homeschooling and raising your children. I just think it's wonderful. I'm so encouraged by the number of people who are doing this. I wish you all the very best. And we're here for you in whatever way that we can be. I hope that just in some small way that this podcast uplifts you and continues to give you just a little bit of strength to continue forward because we all need that. I'm right there with you.
And actually, the funny thing is this past convention—I'll just share this before I close—I met some ladies who said that they'd heard the podcast before and listened to a few of my episodes and they said, "Yeah, I was thinking, 'Boy, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about because he must not have very many children if what he's saying is true, because he talks like he's got like one child.'" And I don't know, I'm not exactly sure what I've said or done to give off that impression. I feel bad about that. If you are thinking that, I will just say again that my wife and I, we have eight children. So it's not the most children in the world. There are a lot of people that have more. But we don't have two either. And so I don't want to diminish anyone that has two, because it's all work, no matter how many you have. But they just said that, you know, "I felt like you were a little out of touch. Some of the things that you were encouraging us to do, like you must not have very many children." So again, I just want to make it clear, I have eight children. So I know that it's possible that you can homeschool more than one child, and you can do it in such a way that is such a great blessing to not only your children, but to you as an individual. The riches of the blessings that come as a result of engaging in this wonderful sacrifice that we're engaging in. So thank you for listening today. God bless you each and every one. And I look forward to talking again with you soon. Bye for now.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions podcast. If you're looking for show notes and links to all of the resources mentioned in the episode, you can find them at Homeschooling.mom. If this episode resonated with you, we invite you to subscribe to the podcast and share on social media. Please use the @HomeschoolingDotMom on Instagram. Also, we would be so grateful if you left us a positive review on iTunes. This helps our show to grow and it also helps other homeschooling parents like you find this great resource. And lastly, have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year, offering inspirational talks from outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the U.S. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. We would love to see you there, but until then, you can find us every week right here on the Homeschool Solutions podcast. Goodbye for now.