HS #232 - Homeschooling with No Regrets - Rhonda Stoppe
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May 23 — Episode #232 — Rhonda Stoppe
Homeschooling with No Regrets
Today is part 1 of our 2-part conversation with Rhonda Stoppe. We’re covering eight very specific things we can do to make sure we don’t look back on these homeschooling years with regrets. Today we’re talking about our calling, our motivation, and so much more!
Rhonda Stoppe has been a favorite speaker at The Great Homeschool Conventions over the years, and is the author of multiple books including “Moms Raising Sons to be Men” and “The Marriage Mentor.” Rhonda’s catchphrase is “No regrets woman!” Today we’re talking about homeschooling with no regrets.
- Moms Raising Sons to be Men
- The Marriage Mentor
- Real-Life Marriage
- If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy (and other myths women believe)
8 Ways to Homeschool with No Regrets!
1. You have been called
2. Regularly evaluate your motivation
3. Don't become prideful
4. Control freaks raise freaks
5. Don't compare yourself to other homeschool families
6. Equip your child with God’s Word
7. Find a Mentor—be a mentor
8. Be genuine
Moms are architects of the next generation. (Rhonda Stoppe)
Never raise your kids for your own glory! (Rhonda Stoppe)
We either hand (our sons) their manhood or they will fight you for it. (Rhonda Stoppe)
CONNECT WITH RHONDA:
Facebook page: Rhonda Stoppe No Regrets Woman
HS EP Rhonda Stoppe Pt. 1
Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions podcast, brought to you by Sonlight Curriculum and Homeschooling.mom. I'm your host Wendy Speake. Here on the show every week you'll get to listen in on some great conversations with wonderful guests, all designed to equip us as homeschooling moms. And then once a month, we'll be opening up the Bible together, applying God's Word to our long, blessed, but often challenging days. It is my hope, as we gather together in this space, we will encourage one another with some practical, Biblical solutions. I'm so glad you're here.
Before we start the show, I'd like to thank our sponsor, Sonlight Curriculum. Complete homeschool curriculum you're guaranteed to love. And now, enjoy the show.
I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest on the Homeschool Solutions Show. Rhonda Stoppe has been a favorite speaker at the Great Homeschool Conventions over the years. She is the author of multiple books, including Mom's Raising Sons To Be Men, and The Marriage Mentor. She's been a recurring guest on Focus on the Family, and her catchphrase is, no regrets. Let's live lives with no regrets. And today we're talking about homeschooling with no regrets.
But before we dive into that topic, I'm just so excited to have this lady here with us today. Welcome, Rhonda.
So happy to be back with you again, Wendy.
Me too, me too. So, I have to tell you why she said back with you again. We did this interview and it was so good, it was the best conversation. And then, I don't know what exactly I did, but I saved it in a way that wasn't saving it all. And so I benefitted from the conversation, but I didn't save it and upload it to the right places. And so you guys didn't get to be blessed by it. So I asked her to come back and this one's for you. ‘Cause I already got the benefit from the first time.
So, Rhonda, would you introduce yourself to us. Tell us a bit about your family, your kids, your husband, your life. And just let us get to know you a bit that way.
My name is Rhonda Stoppe and I am the no regrets woman. Because I help women break free from regrets that hold them back and build no regrets lives. I'm a Pastor's wife, for a really long time. We've been at the church we're in in California now for 20 years. He was a youth pastor for 18 years prior to that. And in that time, you meet a lot of people who are stuck in regret and don't think that God can use them in a way that they would like to be used or they long to be used. Or they just don't quite know how to build their life upon the Rock, so they have no regrets.
So that's my passion, that's my zeal, that's my trademark. The no regrets woman. And I... let's see, let's go right into who I am. I am... I have been in love with Steve Stoppe, my husband, since I was 14 years old. I have been a Stoppe stalker since way back then. You could read our love story in my book, Real Life Romance. Which is one of my favorite love stories. And he's almost seven years older than I am, so don't try this at home, kids.
But, we have four children. Our oldest son, Tony, did not come to our family until he was 15 years old. Let's see, he is a fighter pilot in the Air Force, actually, a Lieutenant Colonel about ready to retire. Has a wife and two children, and they are stationed, oh, I'm not gonna say. Cause he has like a high security clearance, so sometimes I'm not supposed to say things. So mum's the word.
My daughter Meredith and her husband, who I'm at her house today, because my Wi-Fi up in the mountains is real bad. They just recently moved to live near us. They have three daughters and a child on the way. One daughter is special-needs and I talk some about sweet Ivy Love. Yeah, Ivy Love has something called Goldenhar Syndrome, and there's a lot I could say about that, but that's not what this show's about. So we'll move forward from there. My daughter has one on the way, so she has three daughters and one on the way.
My son Brandon is a worship pastor in Southern California, the Grove Community Church in Riverside. In fact, I just watched him live stream a worship set online today on their Instagram channel. And kinda the same thing happened with your, that happened with our show. I watched it live but then it wasn't able to save it or play it afterwards. So these things happen. Yeah, and he's married and he is, he has, let's see, he has three children. A son, a little baby girl, and baby boy.
And then my youngest daughter Kayla and her husband live in Patterson, where we have our church. He's our college pastor, and they have three little girls and one baby on the way. And both... the two new ones will make our thirteenth grandchildren, both due in August.
All kinds of ways that you wanna homeschool. I've done 'em all. When my kids were growing up, some of them went through public school and did not homeschool. But some of them did all the way through and so we're gonna talk a little bit today about what brought me to the place of feeling that I needed to homeschool without regrets.
Yes, it's absolutely what I want to hear about. I love the story of how you started homeschooling, but I had to share a story I've known... I have not watched this movie, so I am not endorsing a movie. Please hear me say that. But there is a movie called We're the Millers. And I guess there's a character in it that meets another character who's all tatted up. And he's got this big tattoo, it says, "No Regrets" on his chest. But it's spelled "n-a-g-r-e-t-s", no regrets.
And so one of the main characters has not even one regret. You don't have even one regret. So, I wanna hear how you jumped into homeschooling because you weren't planning on doing it. You were happy with how your life was, sending them to school. And then, you did it and you've done it. You did it for many years. And looking back, you have put together a list of, let me see, eight pointers on how to homeschool with no regrets. And so I'd love to hear a little bit of your story about how you became a homeschool mom. And then, what these pointers are.
You know, when I... we had moved to Austin, TX. We planted a church in Austin. It was a such a sweet time in our ministry. And right after we got there, my six-year-old son, Brandon... we hadn't been there very long. In fact, Steve was still in California, picking up a vehicle driving back. And Brandon had a severe seizure. I had never seen a seizure like that before. He had never had any seizures. And it was a 28-minute long seizure. Which was terrifying. Called 9-1-1, the police came, the helicopter came, the EMTs came, the little boy was still seizing. And then he went to the hospital and they life-flighted him there, and long story about...I could share about all of that, what happened.
But after Brandon was in the hospital, they ran some EEGs on him, they did some sleep studies. And while he was asleep, I reached over and I kissed him on his temple. And it's an interesting...I love this story because the tech called me over and she circled it with her pen, and she said, "Mom's kiss." And she said they know that you kiss them when they're sleeping.
So, if you don't leave with anything else, moms, know that those junior highers that don't wanna be kissed on, go kiss ‘em in their sleep. Cause they... it registers in their brain that they're being kissed. I know, I love it.
So, Brandon, when he came out of having, you know, been diagnosed with epilepsy, they began to medicate Brandon. And the more that he would have seizures, the more they would medicate him. So he was very strongly medicated. And I remember when he was at school, the school administrator used the word "special ed" about my sweet intelligent, bright, little boy. And anyone who's ever had those words spoken over their child knows the heartache that you hear. And I continued to put him in school, and they modified his work.
And the schools in Texas are amazing, so I'm not complaining about the schools that, at least, that was then, that was... he's 32 years old now. But I remember he came home one day and he said I'm dumb. I'm stupid. And basically monitoring... I'm sorry, modifying, his work meant he was still in the mainstream classroom, but they just had him do less work. And so when he was called on to read out loud and he was stumbling over the words, the kids were laughing. And Brandon came home feeling like he wasn't smart. And I knew this was something I had to jump in. Because, you know, he was in fifth grade at the time, I think when that happened. And I remember thinking, no, that if he leaves school with this, he will be labeled the rest of his life. He will think that he's not smart.
So I pulled Brandon out of school and I homeschooled him and I actually pulled his little sister out at the same time. She was in third grade. And I pulled both of them out cause honestly, my ‘spiritual’ reason was, at least I'll get to sleep in if I homeschool both of them. And... and my son, Tony, was away at A&M University in school, and Meredith was in high school. And so I just homeschooled my younger two. And honestly, I didn't wanna do it. I wanted my life back. I mean, Steve and I, our ministry, we'd go out to lunch with people and we just enjoyed a lot of freedom while our kids were at school.
And so I had not the best attitude about it, but I knew it was the best thing for my kids. So when I pulled them out, and I started realizing the connection that he and I and Kayla also could have, and training them. There's a really great curriculum...I don't know, can I say a name of a curriculum?
Okay, it was Alpha Omega. And I...see I'm not the fun homeschool teacher that says, hey let's go build a California mission out of sugar cubes and let's go...I'm like, let's get your schoolwork done so then we can do something fun. That's me. Just being honest here. And so, what I loved about Alpha Omega, first of all, was that it tested them so I knew where they were at. Where they could read the curriculum and do their own work. And it was self-paced and it really was good for my kids cause they got a look at what was required of them. And they just rolled up their sleeves and went to work. And it was a real neat watching of their sense of accomplishment as they did that.
But as I was homeschooling my two younger ones, I just found the freedom to just pour into their lives, a Biblical world view to celebrate their accomplishments. To take a day off and just do whatever we felt like we needed to do as a family. So, yeah, and I learned a lot of things along the way. So I know we wanna get right into those eight points of homeschooling without regrets.
Well, I love hearing your story first because you're a real person sharing hard-earned knowledge with us that way. So, yeah, I'm glad that you introduced us to yourself by way of introducing us to your story.
I think we have to address a lot of the moms that are homeschooling right now that are, the resistance, wish-I-didn't-have-to-do-this homeschooling moms. Can I get a witness? I was right there with you. And a lot of... you know, this is gonna air after hopefully, the quarantine has been lifted. But there's a lot of parents that are home educating their children for the first time, maybe, in their whole lives. And it's hard work. It's not always fun and games. And so, we're gonna try to unmask some ways that it can be something you can do that the kids will look back on it and enjoy that they spent that time with you. And that you won't have regrets. Cause I think it's easy in the moment to think this matters so much, you have to do it right, that our kids feel oppressed by us and can't wait till they can get out from under our thumb.
Or we do the opposite and just don't even try, cause it's too hard. And either way, I think there's a balance. So, the first point that I would love to talk about as homeschooling without regrets is that we have been called. Now, some people say, I have not been called to homeschooling. That is not my thing. And if you're listening or watching today, and you're thinking, okay, she's trying to make all of us homeschool. That is not my goal. My goal is to just talk about how a person could homeschool without regrets if you're contemplating it.
Maybe you've never done it before, or maybe you've been forced to do it for that certain season of quarantine, and now you're like, maybe we could do this? Maybe this is something that we could do? But we've all been called as parents by God to shape the worldview of our children with a Biblical foundation and perspective. Deuteronomy 6:7 clearly outlines that God's purpose for parents is to teach our children His commands and His ways and I'd love to read that if that's okay. It says, And these words which I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way. And when you lie down and when you rise up.
It's an important thing that God has called each of us to. It's so easy in our cars to just let our kids just plug in their phones and put on their headphones or put on a movie. That's all “walking by the way”. That is the time when we just share our hearts with our kids. We have conversations that we may not have except that they're trapped in the car with us.
When I was teaching my son to drive, I remember, he was fifteen and a half and had a permit. We were driving. We live up in a canyon. Forty-five minute drive up a mountain with cliffs on both sides and it was not the easiest drive. But it was also some of the best conversations that we had. And we have to be intentional with having those conversations, so homeschooling is a great way to talk about how God wants us to help our kids view life through His Biblical perspective. And not through humanism or through our own self-promotion.
So we've been called to this, and whatever God calls us to, He says He will equip us to do.
Yeah, absolutely. Day by day by day, it's not that, oh now I'm equipped and I can do the whole journey today. It's that we wake up, new mercies every morning. His love through the fruit of His Spirit fills our heart. Patience is ours for the taking. He equips us day by day.
Absolutely. And I think, man, when we come to that place of realizing, you know, Jesus said, or James says you have not because you ask not. That's every day, asking God, can you equip me for this? I mean, whether we're homeschooling or just trying to be a better parent, it's asking God, can you equip me to do this work that You've called me to? I hashtag a lot of my pictures, architects of the next generation. Mom's molding, I'm sorry, Moms Raising Sons to be Men, is the name of one of my books, and moms, we are the architects of the next generation. God has called us to influence the hearts, the minds, the lives, of the children that He has blessed us with. Whether they are children that we have born biologically, whether they are stepchildren, whether they are just children that, maybe, are in our church family that we get to pour into. It's a calling. And it's a ministry. And it has a powerful far-reaching effect on the next generations.
So when you're momming and you're cleaning toilets, I always tells moms, it's not...your ministry is not just about life and boogers and bums all day long. You've been called to the ministry of motherhood. And to what God has called it, as He will equip us if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author, and Finisher of our faith.
I believe it. I do.
I'd like to take just a moment to thank another one of today's sponsors. Medi-Share. An affordable and Biblical health care alternative. Find out more at mychristiancare.org for their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like ours. And now, back to the show.
Our next point is, regularly evaluate your motivation. So, I think we have to stop here because a lot of us, when we start homeschooling, it's for a good reason. Or, if you started homeschooling because of this pandemic, maybe it was like, what else am I gonna do. It's like maybe Grandma and Grandpa could do it, but Grandma can't come around cause we don't wanna give her COVID, so you're stuck with these kids that are less motivated to do work for you than they are for their teachers.
I can remember when Meredith was in third grade, I had homeschooled her - she's my oldest daughter - and I had homeschooled her for one year. Steve had taken the year off of work and so he was building our house and I was like all the rest of the kids were little. I couldn't imagine putting her on a school bus and sending her to school when we were all home in our jammies for the day.
But I remember sitting at the table with Meredith. And I remember her saying, Mom, Mom, no. Mom, Mom, the teacher knows this. The teacher knows that. And I remember getting so frustrated that she thought I was so stupid. And it's funny now, because I've kinda had those same conversations with my daughter, Meredith, who homeschools all of her children, and she has expressed some of those same concerns.
But, it's hard to evaluate what is our motivation. For some parents, it means setting aside our own career goals to spend our day teaching, rather than climbing the corporate ladder. So over time, it's easy for parents to look to their own affirmation in how well their child performs academically.
You wanna do your very best to educate your kids well, and yet, there's this real temptation to find your own glory and satisfaction in your children's success. If you don't leave without anything else, leave with this. Never raise your kids for your own glory. God said that in Isaiah 43:7, it says that God created us for His glory. That word, glory, means to represent God's character to a watching world in order to create in them an appetite to know the Lord. When you're careful to live for God's glory and not your own, you'll discover your worth and you'll break free from the seduction of wrong motives.
I think we are easily seduced into having great goals for our kids, but then somewhere in there, we start finding our worth or our value in how well our kids are doing academically. If they're able to name all the fifty states, the states of America or they're all able to tell us the Greek alphabet. Or they're able to...you know, my three-year-old granddaughter can recite the Apostle's Creed, which is adorable, by the way. But if we start looking to find our own worth in how well they do, because that's really all we have to judge all this time we're pouring into these little creatures, that we want to do successful things so that we can say, I didn't waste my day today.
But when we look to find that our affirmation in how well they're doing, that's kind of a self... it's idolatry. It's measuring up their performance to make me feel like I'm valued or I'm worth something. And when we do that, there's a real temptation in homeschool communities, to kind of measure ourselves against others. And for some that are on the top of your game. You're like, I'm doing it and I'm doing it, you know, my kid's gonna start taking high school college classes when they're a freshman. And they're gonna, you know, get, what is that called, a dual degree? And they're so smart, and dah dah dah dah. And then other moms look at that and they're like, man, I'm just trying to battle with them to do their geometry. I can remember when Brandon was, I think he was a sophomore in high school, and he was taking geometry.
And I gotta be honest, I had a D- in geometry, and my teacher, Mrs. Harris... I was like, Mrs. Harris, I will babysit your children. I will do whatever I have to do so that you don't flunk me in geometry. But it just didn't click. Now algebra, I liked algebra. I didn't like it, I don't like math. But I got algebra. It made sense. But geometry? No.
So now I had to teach this sophomore boy geometry. And both of us were in tears. And both of us were... actually, I was in tears, he was just frustrated. And I remember wanting to just give up. I remember just wanting to quite. And yet, when I stopped and pulled myself out of it, my failure was not in that I couldn't get this across to him. My failure was in that I was measuring my worth against how well I was able to teach that to him. Does that make sense?
Oh, it does. Just like you shouldn't, you know, look for your worth in how well they're doing. You don't need to underestimate your worth when they struggle. You know? You're calling is walk alongside them, as Deuteronomy says, you know? And teach them what is true and they have their own lives, they have their own pace of learning it, both spiritually and educationally, practically, mentally, emotionally, relationships. Relationally. They're going to be on their own journey and learn to live with privilege, not always a joy, but what a privilege. You have that calling and we're not worth more when it goes well than we are when it's a struggle. And so the value of motivation, our motivation is to do the good work that we've been called to do. And do it...
And I feel like I need to... absolutely... I have to stop and step back and talk about those adolescent years. For our daughters, and for our sons. But my book, Raising Sons to be Men, I feel like I have to address that. Because, when you're homeschooling your adolescent son, it ain't no picnic girlfriend. And I'm telling you something. See, men crave respect. And when they're little boys, they need to know you love the snot out of them. So you gush all over them and you tell them how much you love them, and how cute they are, and you snuggle their little faces.
And all of a sudden, one day, they start smelling a little funky. And they start giving you that look. And they start pushing you away. And for a mom who's as close to their son as I was to mine, you feel devastated. You feel betrayed. You feel like, how could this happen? But, it's their ‘coming of man’ ritual. There is no coming of man ritual in our culture, except don't be a mama's boy.
So, I've seen two flip sides in homeschool moms. One is as the child starts to push the mom away, she controls even more. And there's a section in Moms Raising Sons to be Men called Control Freaks Raise Freaks. Because I think we all know that it's easy to control them so much, that they don't know how to live once they're out from under our protective care. In fact, my son-in-law was a RD at the Master's University and he said, some of those kids that were so protected, so kept in their Christian bubble, would come to college and in their freshman year at university, they would be stuck playing video games 24/7. Their roommate had video games they'd never seen or never been allowed to play them. They didn't know how to self-govern, so they would just play all hours of the night.
And they didn't learn... see, we're not trying to raise perfect kids. We're trying to raise kids that know how to detach from us and to attach to Christ. We're trying to raise kids that know how to recover when they make mistakes.
And so, when we're raising adolescents and they start pushing us away, I always say that ??? sons, we have to either hand them their manhood or their going to fight us for it. And if they fight you for it, what happens is, you know, I, in eighteen years of youth ministry, I remember hearing moms say their sons are shouting at them as they're weeping, just let me make my own mistakes, just let me live my own life.
And we, as moms, the last thing we want is for our kids to live the consequences of their mistakes, so we try to rescue them from everything that could bring them consequences. But in so doing, we're not equipping them to live out from under us. Or, we're creating in them a heart of rebellion.
I just spoke at Mount Herman's Mother-Son Retreat this last year. In fact, it was ??? to do that event. And Brandon, my son, came and did the worship music with me. At this mother-son retreat, he shared this concept with moms, and moms are in tears listening. In fact, whenever I speak at a homeschool convention and I talk about Moms Raising Sons to be Men, it's standing room only. You have sons. I know you understand.
Moms, it's a mystery to raise these sons to be men and to do it in a way where we're handing them their manhood. And the alternative is that they don't fight you for it. Depending on their personality. They succumb to being a mamas boy. And we don't want that either, right? We don't wanna raise a son who's so under his mama's thumb that when he grows up, his wife can't stand her mother in law, because mom's so into all of their life. You have to learn how to have them grow away from us.
So, let's keep moving, so we don't run out of time. The next point is, don't become prideful. This is number three in the points of seven ways... eight ways to homeschool without regrets.
Let's be honest. We meet homeschool kids who seem to look down on others that don't educate at home. Judgmental of those who don't use the same type of homeschooling that they use. I was super laid back as a homeschool mom. I'm ??? pajamas, we slept in. Steve was in ministry so we were the swing shift family. Half the stuff we did was after midnight. As my kids got older, I would just give them their week's worth of assignments and say, here it is, do it. And when you get done, you know, it's your time. But you just have to finish all of this work.
And it was kind of like how you do in college. You get the syllabus, and you know what is due. What a wonderful gift I gave my kids. And I didn't do it to give them a gift. I did it to just hand it to them so I didn't have to, you know, fight with them over every day, what they were getting done. But when they went to college, they knew how to work through the syllabus for a class. They had learned how to work independently to manage their time. But I also remember feeling chastised by some of the children that might spend the night at my house, or be somewhere in my world, watching how we homeschool and seeing how much more loosely it was then, the way that maybe theirs was more, what's the word, organized.
I'm kind of a ‘shoot from the hip’ kind of girl, that's just who I am. And that kinda goes back to not comparing ourselves to how other people homeschool. For some, it has to be. My daughter is very organized and scheduled. Which I kinda think her pendulum swung back from the mom who shoots from hip to, she's very organized. And has a plan all day every day. She's also a teacher. She's a certified teacher. So, she's much more organized than I am.
But we have to learn that God gives us wisdom to guide our own children. And He will grant you the wisdom and discernment to parent what's best for your kids too. So don't judge others for not measuring up to your expectations. We have to choose to believe the best about them and pray for God to give them the strength inside to train up their own children in the way that they should go. Proverbs 16:18 says Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. So, remember that pride is the tool of the enemy and he will undo all of our good efforts if we become prideful. Humility is the mark of one that God is using to do great things, and the best way to raise our kids who are humble is through our own example.
So, you know, don't be tempted to not, you know, talk to your kids about, well, they don't do it the way we do. Or, they send their kids to that really bad school and we would never do that. Trust that, you know, First Corinthians 13 says, Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. So, we have to believe the best about each other. We have to pray for the moms that are in our community to have wisdom for the children God's given them, and we have to just humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God. We have to be willing to let God do through us what He's called us to do, and the ministry to our own children. And then celebrate the accomplishments of the other moms that are in our circle of influence.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you. And then the next one is, control freaks raise freaks, and you touched on this already.
There we go.
And I found it to be true also when I speak with moms who struggle with anger. And we say, you know, when you feel out of control, it's usually when you act out of control. You know, you clog your way, some semblance of controlling. Because you're not in control. God never ever called us to be other's control. Meant to be self-controlled with the help of His Holy Spirit.
So, I totally agree. And then, the result is, we all start acting like freaks. You know?
We do all start acting like freaks. And here's the thing, the Bible talks about the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10, When they had finished building that wall, when they were being accused falsely to the king, Nehemiah huddles them all together for a pep talk. And he says the joy of the Lord is your strength. They've got a trowel in one hand, and a sword in the other, which is how we build our homes. We build with a trowel in one hand and the Sword of the Word in our other hand. And God equips us and sends us to this ministry of motherhood, but He says the joy of the Lord is your strength.
And all I can say is if you're not laughing, that's the key to having this no regrets parenting experience. The more that your house is a place of joy and laughter, the more when your kids grow up, they will want to come home. When you're laughing, if you're married, laughing with your spouse. And here's a thing that we do as wives. I already know the punchline that my husband's gonna say cause he's said it a thousand times. Or I know his mind so well, I know what he's gonna say.
And the, I took comedy classes at San Jose State years ago. And one of the things you learn in comedy is the punchline is a surprise, or the coming back and revisiting something. The surprise of it is what's funny. Well, when I know the surprise already, my husband says something, my kids spill their milk laughing at the table, cause dad is so funny. And what does mom do? Oh, thanks, now more work for me. And we get up and we clean off the mess that the kids just made. And the kids look at mom and say, you know, she's a killjoy. Dad's trying to be funny and maybe you're not.
Maybe someone's watching and you're going, no, my husband's not the funny one, I am, yay. That's awesome. I just remember during being tired and hormonal and having a lot of work to do. and then pile on homeschooling on top of that. it's like, your life can just feel like it's all about work. We don't take time to laugh. Your kids will not be people who laugh. And the joy of the Lord will not be your strength.
And you give yourself this incredible gift if you teach your children to laugh with each other, to laugh with you, is they will want to come home when they're grown. They will want to bring their children and their spouses. My kids try, at least once a year, to all be at our house for the same week out of the year. And that takes a lot of orchestration. My one son's in the military and he's a, you know, fighter pilot in the Air Force. And my others, they're all so busy. But they do whatever it takes to get to be together for a week at our home, at our ranch.
And what a joy. What laughter. What memories are being built? But that didn't come because we just insisted they be there. It's because they grew up laughing with one another and as they married, their spouses enjoy that joyful fellowship. And the joy of the Lord is truly your strength. If you wanna homeschool without regrets homeschool from a place of joy.
Yes, and you know, Rhonda, what could we regret? You know, we could regret a family that doesn't wanna be a family once they fly the coop, right? And so, this really is a very good practical one. If you're not laughing with them now, they probably likely aren't going to want to be around to not laugh with you later. You know?
But if you laugh with them now, if you're touching them now, if you're invested in the people that they're becoming, rather than the ones we're making them, you know, or trying to make them to be. We're inviting them into a lifelong friendship, not just with the Lord, not just with their siblings, not with just with learning, education, the love for the great outdoors, but love relationship with us. And so, let's not regret tomorrow. Let's love today. Let's... great application. Thank you so much. And then...
And I think that...
Oh, I'm sorry. Go on.
Oh, I was just gonna say, if we are laughing together with our families, Jesus said the student will be like his teacher. He didn't say the student will be like the teacher tells him to be. He said he will be like, he will become like his teacher. So if joy is what marks your character, that will be something that you can pass to the next generation through your children.
And I gotta be honest, there was a season when I was not joyful. When I had my third child, we moved to the mountains where we live now, and we lived on a generator for two and a half years in a small house. It was our little house on the prairie season of our life. And I got pregnant unexpectedly, did my whole pregnancy on a sofa bed with my youngest child, and that was the year I homeschooled my daughter when she was in third grade. And I had postpartum, and I was not joyful. And I regret that year. And I remember asking my children to forgive me. And my oldest daughter, who was six years old when I started that journey of postpartum, I can remember just putting the newborn in her hands and going in my room and crying. And asking... you know, putting on another episode of the Little Mermaid for the one-hundredth time. And I know, someone's gonna say, oh, I don't like the message of the Little Mermaid. I didn't care. I just needed to not be in the room with them cause I was weeping.
And that's regretful to react that way, and yet, God is so much bigger than our regrets. I wasn't the perfect mom. I've asked my kids to forgive me. I asked Meredith. Meredith's like, Mom, I don't remember. I'm like, that's just the grace of God that you don't remember your crazy mother. But I'm telling you that God is the One who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure, and if we press into loving Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, if we seek Him above all else in our lives, then He will fill us with His selfless love for our families, and His joy will be our strength. It's not mustering up to be a happy person, or mustering ourselves up to be joyful. It's washing our minds with the water of the Word, seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Building as Jesus said, on the rock. You know, not on the sand. And that is what, when the world shakes around us, that is what stays stable.
When I think back of when my husband... Steve shattered his hip about fifteen years ago now, in a dirt bike accident. And Brandon and he were dirt biking together. And it was an awful accident, and he was in traction for nine days. And then our house flooded cause our pipes froze while we were at the hospital for nine days. And all of these things were going on, and the Word of the Lord that just kept impressing on my heart was Nehemiah 8:10, the joy of the Lord is your strength.
And you have to fight for joy amidst those struggles. You have to, you know, remind yourself... I shattered my wrist last year in a quad accident. We probably shouldn't ride motorcycles. ... But I laid there in more pain than I think I've ever been in, and I was, I had to cancel speaking engagements. I was discouraged cause of all of that. And I was like, okay, the Bible says in Philippians, be anxious for nothing. It says the joy of the Lord is your strength. It says I have to fight for joy. Rejoice in the Lord always, and against I say, rejoice.
So, what did I rejoice in? Not in my circumstances. Not in how I could make sense of the trial. But in the Lord. How can I make sense, how can I know, you know, know His character? Know the Names of God? The God who sees. The God who hears. All of those things, I rejoiced in that. And His joy came, even amidst trials and seasons of something that wouldn't be joyful if my happiness was relying on my circumstances.
So, if our kids learn that we can fight for joy, even when life doesn't make sense, we are handing them the most amazing gift. Homeschooling, walking through life together, seeing them, how we walk through trials. I always say, your trial may not be about you. It's them watching you go through the trial so when it's their turn, they will know the way that God wants them, the normal Christian life, to walk through their own trials.
Yes. Rhonda, I wanna pause for just a minute. Or maybe not pause. I actually would love to end this here, cause we're only halfway through our eight points. And, can we do a part two next week? Would you let us...
R - Absolutely.
Because this is so meaty, and I keep coming back to, you know, every one of these points, we could spend an hour talking about, and applying to our lives. So, we're gonna sign off here. I would love it, Rhonda, if you would pray for us. And then, we'll see or hear from you again next week on the last part of this, how to homeschool, how to parent without regrets. So let's close it in prayer and then we'll listen to everybody, we'll invite everybody back next week.
Okay. Father God, we are humbled, kind of freaked out, scared, overwhelmed, by this calling of motherhood. Father, we know that there are seasons of motherhood that are, we feel like we've got our rhythm, seems to be going well, seems to be like everything's gonna be just the way we think it should be. And then something throws us a curveball. Whether it's a circumstance, whether it's a worldwide pandemic. Whether it is an illness, a broken bone, a financial setback. Whether it's a rebellious, a rebellious teen. Father, it's all so big, too big for us.
But God, we know that You have called us to keep our eyes on you. And Father, all of the ministries that you call us to in life are too big for us. In fact, you call us to humble ourselves under your mighty Hand, and being a mom is humbling. Cause we don't know what we're doing. But Father, our eyes are on you. And we ask, Father, that You would equip us for this important calling as architects of the next generation. That you would help us to seek Your Face daily. That we would not get so busy doing good things like Martha in the kitchen, that we miss sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary in the living room. Father we know there's a lot of work that has to be done as a mom, and even more when we're homeschooling as moms, working moms, single moms.
But Father God, we just ask that You would help us to remember our strength comes from you. And not from pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Father, do through us all that you have ordained before the foundations of this world. Capture the heart of our children. Father, remind us that it is You Who has to open their eyes to understanding their need for a Saviour. Help us to pray diligently for your spirit to tender their hearts, to draw them to salvation, to cause them to walk in wholehearted obedience to You, so that, Father, they will go out into this world without regrets. We thank You, we praise You, for all that You will do in our lives and through our children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
What a privilege it is to have these conversations with you each week. You are so busy, I don't take it lightly that you tune in with me here for a weekly shot of encouragement. As a reminder, you can subscribe to the Homeschool Solutions podcast through Apple or Google Play. And your positive reviews always help other homeschooling families find us online.
As we say goodbye, I'd like to say thank you to Great Homeschool Conventions. Every year, they host multiple conventions in various regions throughout the US. You can find a location near you at greathomeschoolconventions.com. With dozens of incredible speakers, hundreds of curriculum exhibits, you will be blessed, refreshed, helped, and encouraged. I'll be in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, and of course, my home state, California this year. I hope to see some of you there.
Until next week, visit homeschooling.mom for blog posts to encourage and support you along the way. And remember Galatians 6, verse 9. Let's not grow weary of doing good. For in due season, we will reap if we do not give up. It's a promise that I'm taking to the bank every day.
Again, this is Wendy Speake, and I'll see you next week.
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