381 | Homeschooling is for Everyone (Sean Allen)
Something wonderful happens when your purpose for homeschooling reaches outside the four walls of your home. Sure, your main focus is, and should be, your children; but if you'll allow the Lord to give you a heart, not just for the welfare of your children, but for the welfare of all that your humble efforts at home might affect for good, that's when you realize that homeschooling is for everyone.
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.
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Sean Allen Hello. Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Sean Allen and I am one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Since you're listening to this, I'm guessing you already know that homeschooling is both incredibly challenging and incredibly beautiful. Every week we're here doing a little guidance, some helpful counsel, and a whole lot of encouragement your way as you navigate this busy, yet blessed journey of educating your children at home. Now, even though the show is called Homeschool Solutions, it should come as no surprise to you that we do not have the answer to every homeschool related question. But if you come away with nothing else, our hope is that today's episode will point you to Jesus Christ and that you will seek His counsel as you train your children in the way they should go.
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Hello everyone, welcome again to the podcast and thank you for joining us. Thank you for allowing us to speak to you. It really is a great privilege and I really do appreciate it. That you listen to us from week to week and the other hosts on this podcast.
We made it, didn't we? It's the summer. We're in the thick of the summer, and that's just—the winter went fast. When it's at the turn of the year, when January hits, it's like, "ah, when is the spring, when's the summer?" And then it just like, boom, here it is. And we did it. Some of you are schooling through the summer, that's great. That's wonderful. Those of you who are taking a break, it's well-deserved. I hope that you enjoy your time off. That being said, and I told my wife that I would say this, she reminded me that I should. The new school year is coming and that will be here before you know it. So it is a good time to take stock of where you've been, and perhaps where you're headed. And one of the ways that you can do that is with a good homeschool planner. And we have one available for you at TheWellOrderedHomeschool.com. We've been offering this planner for about four or five years now, I can't remember, it must be four years and it gets better every year. We're always examining it, refining it. We listen to all of the customer recommendations that come in. We really do. We take them, every one of them, into consideration and we implement a lot of them. And we're just constantly looking for ways to make the planner better. And this year is the best it's ever been. It's a beautiful cover design. It's a hardcover. We return back to a hardcover, just a little more durable than last year's cover, and sturdy. And there's a beautiful gold metallic coil, 270 plus pages. It's good for up to five children, and it starts in July. Everything is set. It really is a homeschool planner designed expressly for homeschooling families, designed by a second-generation homeschooler. My wife came to me a few years back and said, "hey, let's make this planner, and what about this and what about that?" And she started just rough sketching pages and dropping all these sketches in front of me. And so off to illustrator, I went and started designing the whole planner. And it really took a lot of time. it's a labor of love. We're just ecstatic that we can offer it to you. Again, at TheWellOrderedHomeschool.com take a look and see if it might be something that would help you and bless your homeschool. We hope that it can.
So enough of that. Today, what I wanted to talk to you about—the title of today's episode is Homeschooling Is for Everyone. And I mean that in a number of different senses. And I'm going to go through what I mean when I say that. I've mentioned in the past about how I really believe that there are more people out there who can homeschool than what they really let on or what they think. There's a lot of people who are—they really sell themselves short. They tell us that they can't homeschool, that they're not a teacher. I just don't have the patience for it. And lots of different reasons that are thrown out there. And maybe it's true. Maybe it just absolutely would not work out, but I have a sneaking suspicion that for a lot of these people, it's probably not the case. That they are actually more capable than what they let on. They're more capable than what they even know. And homeschooling was daunting from—my wife grew up as a homeschooler. She watched her mother every day. She was exposed to it from an early age. And yet even when she began in her homeschooling journey, it was daunting. It was intimidating. It was scary. And she didn't know exactly—she had a lot of ideas, but she didn't know how it was going to go. And so we totally get how, from the outside looking in, how intimidating it can look. But it really is for more people than what you would think.
What's remarkable, folks, is the last two years traveling the country, and going to GHC conventions, and meeting so many new people, and the number of people that I meet, that we meet, that are telling us, this is my first year. Most of the people, I want to say the majority of the people that we meet, not everybody, but the majority people that we meet at these conventions are telling us, this is my first year or this is my second year. Last year was our first year. We're heading into our second year. And it really is neat to see that, because you think back on how you were when you first started out, you could just see it on their faces how it's so new, it's so exciting. I also feel for them because when they're in the convention hall, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many resources available to the new homeschooler, or to the veteran homeschooler. It's nothing like what it used to be. You go back even ten years and it has just exploded. There are lots and lots and lots of great materials, a lot of great companies out there just producing wonderful material that is a blessing to the homeschool community. You could see the joy. You could see the excitement. You could also see the overwhelm. You can see a little bit of the trepidation at times, but we just try to do what we can to encourage them. We say, God bless you. That's just so wonderful, and congratulations that you've made this decision. And so many beautiful stories and testimonies about how they came to the place where they made this big step. They made the decision to educate their children at home. It's more people than what you would think.
When I say it's for everyone, I'm kind of saying literally. Are there situations in which it's not the best fit or it just absolutely would not work? Yeah, absolutely. That's just true. Not everybody can homeschool but again, more people than what you would think. And if you know somebody like that who deep down inside, if they thought they could or if they believed they could, they probably would. That's—maybe you need to step in there and bring a word of encouragement to them. Some of it's just operational uncertainty. What I mean by that is, is that they don't even know where to begin. And they—here's something else that we find, oftentimes they make it way more complicated than what it needs to be. It's complicated, but it doesn't need to be—you need to simplify it as much as possible. And that certainly is possible that you can do that.
But we have talked to a lot of people—and also at conventions, people who are considering homeschooling and they say, well, I've got to do this and I've got to do that. I've got to do this other thing. And I'm so afraid that they're going to fall behind. And I'm so afraid that they're not going to read by the time they're six. And in all these different things that it's just like, folks, you just want to say to them, just take it easy. And sometimes we do. Sometimes we try to encourage them just calm down, but the thing with new parents is, and I was like this, too. It's like they don't often like to listen to you. There's so much on the line and it's understandable that the only person that they would really trust is themselves. And yet that's so unfortunate. It really is good to go and try to find someone who is a veteran. Who's been there, done that as many years down the road. Has stumbled and fallen and failed, and gotten back up again and tried again, and gone through that process many, many times. It's good to find someone like that. And then just listen. Just listen to them. And I know that you've got all these things swirling up in your head, and you are so sure that it has to be just this way.
My wife has probably tried just about everything that there is out there to try. And you know something? One thing works for one child, it's not going to work for the next child, so they try something else. And then they try three different curriculums within the same year. That's one of the beauties of homeschooling, is that you could do that. It's so adjustable. So you're not stuck with one textbook. You're not stuck with one curriculum for the year that the school district thought that this was best or, I don't know, maybe there's some kind of a mandate. I'm totally ignorant of that. I don't know exactly how that works. I just know how it was when I was growing up, is that you got handed your textbook at the beginning of the year and there it is. Good luck trying to appeal it. But sometimes we've gotten into a curriculum, it's just not well-suited to this child. And they're suffering on account of it. And so we really actually would like them to excel at math, and excel at reading, excel at all the various disciplines. And so we go and we look for another curriculum that perhaps is better suited to them. And we often do find—again, there's so many materials, you'll find something. We talk to some of these new homeschool parents and you just try to respect their position and their role, and they're the ultimate determiner of how this thing's going to go. But you try to throw out some suggestions here and there.
And so that's one of the things is that operational unrest, it's just maybe they've been influenced by their upbringing or they were public schooled. I've said this before, my mother-in-law, when she first started out, she set up a public school classroom in her home because that's all that she had ever known. So she went and found some old public school desks and she lined them up and she faced—I think she held up a blackboard and she hung an American flag off of the wall. And she had all of these little—all this. It really did look like a—I didn't see it, but this is the way it was described to me. It was a public school classroom in her home. That's wonderful. Some people do that and it works for them. But for her, she got into it a little ways and she thought, you know what, I don't have to do this if I don't want to. And that's absolutely true. And she ended up on the couch. And she ended up at the kitchen table. And she ended up all over her house. Wherever it was best for them to school on that particular day. It's the same for us. There really is no one size fits all approach to educating your children at home. And so you might step in there and encourage these individuals, and help them to realize that. When that light bulb goes off, it's just like a whole new world, folks. And it really is wonderful to see that. So homeschooling is for I won't say literally everyone, but literally it's for more people than what you would think.
And that brings me to my next thing, it's really is connected to what I just said. Is that your homeschool is for other homeschoolers. Now, I know that there are times when, and this happens quite often actually, when you only have enough strength for your homeschool and you don't feel as if you have enough strength even for that. But then there are those moments, and actually it's always this way. We just don't always recognize it, but other people are always looking on. And they're examining your homeschool, they're looking at your children. And they may oftentimes come to you and ask you like, well, how are you doing this? And what did you think about this? And did this curriculum work for you? And we've tried this out and this and so on and so forth. And so your homeschool is for other homeschoolers, and for other homeschools. Not that this needs to be paramount in your homeschool because, again, you've only got so much strength. And so much energy. And so much of yourself to go around, but give some consideration to how inspirational is your homeschool. If you could, and I think you certainly would if you could, would you like to inspire others to continue on in their homeschool journey? You probably would. Would you like to be inspirational to the extent that they can glean wisdom and experience? And yes, a word of encouragement here and there. Just from observing your homeschool. Wouldn't you like to do that? Because I don't know about you, but I'm constantly inspired by other homeschools.
We have the privilege and the unique opportunity to meet hundreds, if not thousands of families every year, and to hear many of their experiences in their home school. And they're just so varied. They're so unique and varied. It just really is wonderful. There are no two that are alike. How they got into homeschooling in the first place, how it's gone for them for the last three years, five years, ten years, 20 years. It's just the makeup of their family. Who's actually doing the homeschooling? We've met—it's mostly mothers, but we've also met some fathers who, like "I do the homeschooling." We've met some grandparents. We've met some aunts and uncles. We've met just friends. I homeschool my friend's child. It's just unbelievable the variety that's out there, but it's all very inspirational. And they're just—you could see it on their faces. They're happy, they're content. Are they tired? Are they weary? Some of them are worried. Some of them have things to figure out. But it's all just so very encouraging. We don't necessarily launch out into this homeschool endeavor in order to inspire other people, but it really is unavoidable.
You can do it the wrong way, too. And you can be a drag on other people. I want to say growing up, I knew some homeschooling families and I just thought they were odd. And looking back on it, I think that's just because I really think that they had fallen into this, what I'm going to talk about here, a little bit this shelter-in-place mindset. And let me not get too far into that, but they were just kind of islands unto themselves, and they weren't like the majority of homeschoolers that I know who—they're all about providing support to other homeschoolers and encouraging others in their journey. And providing whatever support and inspiration and wisdom, even just simple suggestions that they can to other people. Your homeschooling is for other homeschoolers. Don't forget that. Again, that's not paramount because if you've only got so much strength, you've always got to direct that towards your home and toward your children first. If you have anything in store, if you have anything left over, you don't turn that to other people. And if you've got some beyond that, other homeschoolers, I mean, and I hope that you will and I even think that God hopes that you will consider the rest of the world.
Because you're homeschool, whether you like it or not, it really is for the rest of the world. It's for everyone that's around about you.
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I want to get back to what I just said just a minute or two ago. Is this, you want to be aware of the shelter-in-place mentality. And the sheltering-in-place mentality stems from home-schooling from a negative posture. This goes all the way back to talking about your "why" or examining your "why" if you want to find that episode from months and months and months ago. I encourage you to look that up.
Why are you homeschooling? Are you homeschooling from a negative posture or a positive posture? The negative posture would say, it's getting bad out there. There's no way I would send my child to the local public school. I know too much about it. I know too much about my public school experience and so on and so forth. So we are protecting them from those influences and on and on. That's homeschooling from a negative posture. Is that a reason? Yes. Is that enough of a reason? Yes. Is it enough of a reason to launch into homeschooling? Yes. Is it enough reason for you to continue for upwards of 20 years homeschooling your children? Probably not. For many people it is not. Many people will actually fall off that wagon because they just can't keep it up. You need a positive reason why you're homeschooling.
So when you think of it in these terms, like I'm homeschooling for the benefit of my children. I'm homeschooling for the benefit of other homeschoolers. I'm homeschooling for the benefit of the world. Regardless of how they educate their children, they educate them privately, they educate them publicly, they educate them at home. Regardless, it doesn't matter. I want my children to be as capable as they can be at blessing other people. When they grow up, I want them to be of a good or sound moral character. I want them to care about everyone that is around them. It doesn't matter what church they belong to, what religion they espouse belief in, how they were reared, how they were educated, where, whatever it is, it does it matter? We want these blessings extended to as many as possible.
So that's why we homeschool. This will drastically alter the nature of your homeschool, its purview, its scope, its purpose. It will infuse your homeschool with—it will revive it. And infuse it with a newfound purpose that I think you will find just incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating. When you think about this sin-sick world and the direction that it's heading. You can do one of two things. You can shelter in place. You can say, look, we're bringing everybody home and we're locking the doors, and we're pulling the curtains on the windows. And we're going to homeschool in here, and we're going to wait for the end. That's something. And I'm not going to criticize you for that. But you know what? The longevity of those kinds of homeschools is not nearly as long. It's kind of a paradox of sorts. You give more of yourself, extend more of yourself outside of the walls of your homeschool. It actually comes back and blesses and strengthens and rejuvenates your homeschool. You would think the opposite is true because they've only got so much to go around here. So if I conserve my energy, and I focus it on my children and I pull it out of other people, I focus it here. You would think, well, that's going to be the best thing that I can do. But the opposite is true. It doesn't make sense. But if you really look at your homeschool as blessing to the rest of the world, and not only in the here and now. When you go out in public and you're in the store and the rest of the world sees your well-adjusted children, you're very polite and bright and shiny and happy children. That's a blessing to them. Some people get upset about it, they really do. You've probably seen it. I know we've seen it. They see how many children that we have, or even they see maybe we're out with just three of them at that time, but it's just the way that they act. We've seen people actually literally get upset about this. Not very many people, but just a few. And that's sad. You really feel bad for those people. But for others, they recognize it and it blesses them because so often they see the opposite. They see a different kind of example coming from the young people in this country, and it discourages them. Maybe they remember their childhood. Maybe they remember how it was when they were growing up and they think, where has that gone? And they see something in your children and it just brings them joy and it brings them cheer. And so we're happy about that. We're glad. We don't want people to suffer any more than they're suffering. There's more than enough suffering out there. We want to bring cheer. We want to bring joy. We want to bring gladness. We want people to smile. We want people to think on these things. Things that are holy. Things that are pure. Things that are praiseworthy. Things that are gladsome and that lift the soul. And so, honestly, we've kind of grown into this, I think. This is another reason why we homeschool. We want our children to bless people now, but certainly when they get to the age to which they're going to leave our home and go out into the world, into the work world, build their own families, we want them to bless as many people as possible.
And they're going to come into contact with untold numbers of people, just as we've come into contact with untold numbers of people. And who knows where they'll go or what they'll do. There's no telling, but we're going to do the best we can in the time that we have, while they're under our roof to prepare them for that moment where they can reach out and bless the children of men.
Your homeschool—homeschool is for everyone. It's for everybody. Do not shelter-in-place. Do not homeschool from a negative posture. Do not turn your back on the world in that sense. Please understand me, I'm not saying invite the world into your home. That's not what I'm driving at here. I'm saying homeschool for the world, for the good of the world. For the blessing of the world. For this dying world. Where else are they going to see it? So many people are looking for a different example. They're looking for a better—they're hoping against all hope that there is somebody or some group of people out there who have a different and a better way of living. I think many people have given up hope. And one of the reasons that they've probably given up hope is that it's just not there anymore. There aren't that many good examples, but you can be one of those. So consider that.
Do you have to gather your children up tomorrow and have your family meeting or your morning devotions or morning time or whatever it is, and just say, look, folks, we're homeschooling for the world. No, you don't have to say that, but put this in the back of your mind. And there are probably other ways that you can introduce this to your children. And begin to pray for other people, and look outside yourselves. Really it doesn't make sense and it's not easy. But the more we look outside of ourselves, I think the more blessings we actually inherit. And you would think it would be different. We want to hole up in our houses, and we want to store up all of our blessings for ourselves and keep them to ourselves. And in a mass unto ourselves all of these personal riches, whatever those are. But the exact opposite is usually true. I think the scripture goes, "you throw your bread on the water and it will return unto you again, four-fold." There's an exponential number there, and I can't remember what it is, but it doesn't make sense. But that's the way that it works. That's the way the Lord has—he's written a law here somewhere. And so homeschool for your children. Homeschool for other homeschoolers. Homeschool for the world. Beware of the sheltering-in-place mindset, you got to do away with that. Beware of pride. Sometimes we like—well, we're homeschoolers and fire on the rest of you all. You can't do that. That is death to your homeschool. It's just utter poison and it has to be rejected.
I've said this many times. The fact that we homeschool doesn't make us better than anybody else. It really doesn't. We'd really actually like to be left alone, and just let us be free to educate and rear our children as we see fit. And we really don't have to come into conflict or contact with anybody. We don't need that. We don't necessarily even want to argue or to come into conflict with any other ideology or educational philosophy or anything like that. I think most home-schoolers just want to be left alone. But with that oftentimes there creeps in this pride in thinking that we are superior. We are better. We're purer, we're holier, we're more in line with God's will, and so on and so forth. You can have those conversations within your own heart, because everybody has to do that. Everybody has to determine what they think or what they believe God is leading them to do. And whether you're a homeschooler, a public schooler, or a private schooler, or whatever you may be, you want to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most people, certainly Christians, I would like to think, have had that conversation within themselves and with their maker in trying to examine what is the best way for us to go. So if you've done that, you also have to grant that most other people have done that as well, and they've made their decision.
There doesn't really need to be any conflict there. But you do have to beware of pride because pride is a death nail to your homeschool. And when we're talking about the capability to bless other people, this is something that will absolutely kill, it in your children, is pride. And if you've got on whether knowingly or not, whether directly or indirectly communicating to your children that you're better than the rest of the world because of what you do, that's a legacy that they will carry on.
And so even though people will say things like, you want to bless other people and you want to help other people, they're going to pick something else up on you. They're going to pick that pride up. And it will just utterly negate any amount of good that you want to do in their lives. And that's sad. It really is sad. I've seen it so many times. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this. And people want to believe that you want to help them, and they want to believe that you want to do good. But there's just something that's disingenuous about our attempts when there's pride in our lives. And it's easy to creep in. It really is, because homeschooling can become an island kind of mindset, that shelter-in-place mindset. It's becoming island to yourself. And people don't trust islands. They don't know what to think about that. But if you reach out beyond yourself, if you allow that humility to possess your soul. And you truly, just genuinely want to bless the world with your homeschool now and want your children to go out and bless the world in the future. You can't fake that. You just cannot fake it. And if it's genuine and if it's there every day and you've passed it on to your children, they'll recognize it. It takes time. For some people, it takes time. And other people have discernment, they could just pick it up on you. But again, you cannot fake that.
I can't say that enough. You can use smooth words and you can have a pretty smile on your face and you can wear all the right clothes. But if they sense pride in you to any degree, like you think you're better than me. And if you have had that, if you've harbored that pride in your heart, and that's the way that you truly deep down inside look on at the world, that's the lens through which you view the world. People just know that instinctively. How do they know that? I can't explain that, but they just do. And I've recognized that in my own life in trying–I want to reach this person. But there's just something, there's some kind of a barrier there. And I think oftentimes that there's a pride there that just keeps them from fully accepting or receiving unto themselves that which you are attempting to give.
I'm going to leave you with that. I've said enough about it. I hope you know where I'm coming from here. I say this because not only is it good for other people, but it's good for you, too. It's good for your home. Your homeschool will be blessed. It will improve. It will go to places that perhaps you never thought that it could. And reach higher heights that you never even dreamed of. And not only bless you, bless your children, your children's children, and all those individuals that you, your children and your children's children will one day touch and come into contact with. Isn't that a remarkable thing?
Thank you for being with me today and for listening to the podcast. Again, we as always, pray that the Lord is now and will continue to bless you in your home. And bless your children and bless what you're doing. And we look forward to talking to you again soon. Goodbye for now.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve health care you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. That's GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @homeschooling.mom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the Homeschooling events of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topic, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I'll be there. I hope to see you there too.