323 | Freedom, College, Homeschool Curricula, Facebook, and More with Connor Boyack! (Jessica Smartt)
Join Jessica Smartt for a conversation with Connor Boyack, author of The Tuttle Twins books and president of Libertas Institute!
Connor Boyack is founder and president of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. Named one of Utah’s most politically influential people by The Salt Lake Tribune, Connor’s leadership has led to dozens of legislative victories spanning a wide range of areas such as privacy, government transparency, property rights, entrepreneurship, education, personal freedom, and more.
A public speaker and author of over thirty books, Connor is best known for The Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles.
Connor lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two homeschooled children.
Jessica is a wife, homeschool mom of three, author, and blogger. She lives in sunny North Carolina on a big family farm with chickens, goats, cousins, and lots of mud.
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Jessica Smartt Hey, everybody, welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Jessica Smartt and I'm one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Each week we bring you an encouraging conversation from this blessed journey of educating our children at home. While the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we do not pretend to have all the answers. It is our hope that this podcast will point you to Jesus Christ and that you seek his counsel as you're raising your kids. We are so glad you joined us for today's conversation. Before we start our episode, I would like to thank the sponsor of the Homeschool Solutions Show, Medi-Share. Medi-Share is an affordable and biblical health care alternative. Find out more about their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like ours at MyChristianCare.org. And now, on to today's show.
Jessica Smartt Hi, everybody, this is Jessica. I'm so glad to be with you today. I have a wonderful guest I cannot wait to introduce you to. I wanted to remind you really quickly that obviously we're approaching summer, and summer would be a great time to pick up one of my copies of my books if you hadn't: Memory Making Mom. Obviously, summer is a great time to make some memories. And then Let Them Be Kids: Adventure, Boredom, Innocence and Other Gifts Kids Need. Perfect summer read or beach read as well. You can find those on Amazon; just search for Jessica Smartt. So, ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce to you our special guest today, Connor Boyack. Connor, I am so thrilled to be able to interview you. We are big fans over here. If someone has not heard of you, give us just a real quick overview of what you are up to.
Connor Boyack Thanks. I'm excited to be here. And I think what I'm most known for is our Tuttle Twins books. These are books that teach kids—and frankly, their parents as well—the ideas of freedom. We've sold, gosh, almost four million books at this point. We have a new cartoon that's out and free to watch: The Tuttle Twins TV show. We're really trying to help families learn about freedom together. And a lot of us, as parents, were never taught these ideas when we were in school. So what we've found is that a lot of parents value freedom and these ideas of patriotism and free markets and property rights or whatever, but they don't understand them well enough to teach them to someone else. And so they don't. They don't talk to their kids about it. And their kids are learning junk from teachers or textbooks or tech talk or whatever, and the parents are never transmitting their values or sharing their ideas because they feel like they don't understand them very well. So what our books are all about is helping mom and dad have a language with which they can talk to their kids about the ideas of freedom. "Hey, let's read this story. Let's see how these ideas play out and learn about them." And then at the end of our books, we're like, "Here's discussion questions and here's information that you can use. And we can all have family conversation about these ideas, talk about current events." And so I think that's why we really tapped into something in terms of these books exploding in popularity because there hasn't ever really been anything like it. And then when you look at how our world is going, a lot of families are like, "My gosh, how do I talk to my kids about this craziness?" And we're over here raising our hands saying, "Just get The Tuttle Twins." It will help them make a lot of sense of what's going on. So that's kind of what we're up to and having a blast doing it.
Jessica Smartt Yes, absolutely. And we are huge fans over here. We live on a family farm with 10 of the cousins running around, they're ages 13 and under, and over half of those have absorbed these books over and over. You're doing just a fantastic job in how it's presented, and I know it's a huge venture. And it's just such a gift to so many parents. So thank you for all of that hard work that you're putting in.
Connor Boyack Thanks for saying that.
Jessica Smartt It sounds like you have a lot of things going on. I did want to ask you about the TV show. How do people watch that? Where is that streaming?
Connor Boyack So you can watch it on YouTube. You go to the Tuttle Twins TV show Facebook page, they're posted there. We're distributed by Angel Studios. So if anyone's ever heard of The Chosen, that's the same company behind The Chosen. So you can go download the Angel Studios app and watch it for free, and that can hook you up to your Apple TV or your Roku or whatever. So just like The Chosen is free to watch, same thing with our cartoon. You just go download the Angel Studios app and then the Tuttle Twins is in there, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff that they do. But it's all for free, and so we're trying to spread it as much as possible.
Jessica Smartt That's amazing, and I'll make sure to link it in the show notes. But if they go to just Tuttle Twins, the website, that's going to loop us into all of this stuff that they— because you have some books in the works, right? Tell us about the new one that's coming out that people can preorder right now.
Connor Boyack Yeah. So we're making, I think, five, maybe six different books this year that we're looking to publish. The biggest one—we actually just finalized it yesterday—is an American history book. So we've been working on this for two years and this came about for me because I bought—oh gosh, about two years ago—I bought a dozen text books, social studies textbooks. I wanted to see, how are kids being taught American history today? And look, we could say, "Well, we're homeschoolers." But a lot of homeschoolers, just buy the books that are being used, and they're like, "Let's read from this. We'll do it in our own way and at our own pace, but we'll still use these resources." So I said, "I want to see how these resources are teaching American history." I buy all these books and flip through them all. I was blown away.
Jessica Smartt And Connor, can I ask: is this for like general public school, or did you even look at other curricula that homeschoolers may pick up?
Connor Boyack So what happened, when I started two years ago, is I asked in our community, I'm like, "Hey, for those of you who homeschool"—which is about half of our Tuttle Twins readers—I said, "What do you use for history?" And they were all over the place. Most of them were like, "We don't know what to use. There's nothing we trust. There's nothing good." A good chunk of them were using The Good and the Beautiful, which I think at that point two years ago was just starting to do some stuff. Our own family has used The Good and the Beautiful. Couple of them had said Abeka and a few other players like that. I primarily focused on getting just the the textbooks that were being used because this is— when you talk about percentage of overall kids learning history, that's where they're getting this material from. And so that's where I wanted to focus when I did this review. And all of these books, they all taught names and dates and facts. Like on this date, this guy said this and he fought this person, whatever. And like, that's all important, I guess. But like, none of these books taught the ideas. At most they would say, "Well, they were upset about taxation without representation." But it's so much more than that. It's the Greco-Roman influence, the Judeo-Christian influence, the ideas of John Locke and classical liberalism. And there's so much depth to why the Founding Fathers did what they did. So I think of it this way— we all know the quote: "Those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it." Except we all do a piss poor job at teaching kids to learn from the past. We teach them about the past, right? We fill their head with dates and names and events and whatever. We teach them about the past.
Jessica Smartt But the lesson is lacking.
Connor Boyack Right. The ideas, the philosophies, the tension between people and the government, the play for power, what incentivized people, what motivations do they have to do things. As great a guy as George Washington was, he got started in this whole thing because he was trying to amass wealth and his land speculation, right? What are these motivations that drive people to do these things? And so the other way all these books failed was none of them helped kids understand. We're in 2022 when we're recording this. None of these books help kids understand why what happened in 17-whatever is relevant to 2022. Right? It's like, "Oh, these things happened. Okay, great." And so what we've been doing for two years is creating an American history book that addresses these issues. It teaches facts and whatever, right? Obviously. But it focuses on the ideas. What were the ideas at play in history, and then how do those ideas relate to us today? Because if we're going to teach kids to learn from the past, we actually have to try to do that. And so at TuttleTwins.com/History is where we have a page that shares a little bit of information about this. And then there's a little sign up thing where people want to be notified when this goes on our presale in June/July. That's where they can sign up to be ready for that.
Jessica Smartt All right, we'll definitely include that in the notes. And is this leveled, or is this the idea of you gather the whole family around and kind of go through the books together?
Connor Boyack Yeah, it's a lot like our children's book. So we're targeting this at like 5- to 11-year-old range. It's the same. It's basically like 11 of our children's books and one. Each chapter—it's 11 chapters—each one is kind of the length and the format and the style of one of our existing children's books. And there's 11 of them. And what will be this big hardback fully illustrated meaty book.
Jessica Smartt So The Tuttle Twins— I love the story twist. Is that carried through in the history books as well?
Connor Boyack Yes. So our book— we are not doing a textbook. It is not like, "Here's this thing that happened." It is a series of stories.
Jessica Smartt Wow.
Connor Boyack And so the whole book is a story. It's one arc of—going through the whole book—of The Tuttle Twins kind of on their own adventure to learn history. And then each of the chapters is its own little mini story in which we share stories about history. So it's all storytelling because that's the way we learn, it's the way kids love to learn and retain information. And the worst thing we can do about history—to teach history—is to do it in a textbook format.
Jessica Smartt Yes, I love it.
Connor Boyack Yeah. So it's all story-based.
Jessica Smartt Well, that's just amazing. Do you ever sleep? Or do you just work?
Connor Boyack You'd be surprised. I'm asked that question a lot. My work is my hobby, is my energy source, is my everything. So if I'm not with family or whatever, I'm "working" and loving every minute of it.
Jessica Smartt Your wife must be a good listener. Is she a good bouncing off place?
Connor Boyack Oh, she's great. She's my editor. She's refines our stories. She helped us launch our TikTok account a few weeks ago.
Jessica Smartt Oh, awesome. I'm surprised you have one.
Connor Boyack Yeah, so am I. I didn't think we would. I'd quit social media tomorrow, if I could. I'm just disgusted with a lot of it, but it's where people are and I'm on a mission to reach and teach people. So I got to be where the people are.
Jessica Smartt Yeah. And you and I chatted a little bit before I pressed the record button about Facebook and how we hate it and wish there was an alternative. Briefly tell everybody what you were just thinking about, because I think that's such a cool idea.
Connor Boyack So literally, before you and I started chatting, I had a meeting about this. We're trying to figure out how to create community because I think one of the deficiencies of a Facebook group or whatever or a Telegram channel is it's not community. It's just like a stream of posts that people can gather together and chime in on. Great. But what I would love to see— imagine if you could be like, "I want to know who are all The Tuttle Twins readers in my city so we can go have our kids have a playdate, or go on a field trip together, or have a discussion group, or a book club. Or where are The Tuttle Twins car lovers? And we could all talk about our common interest." If we could create a platform or find a platform where people who are like-minded can actually connect geographically or based on other interests. I've even had people suggest, "You need a single parents Tuttle Twins dating app or something like that." So we're trying to figure that out right now. How do we create community? And so it's something we're actively looking into.
Jessica Smartt So you're the new Mark Zuckerberg is what I'm hearing. New and improved.
Connor Boyack I hope not.
Jessica Smartt Yeah, bad example, maybe.
Connor Boyack But the demand is there, right?
Jessica Smartt Absolutely.
Connor Boyack Because I think a lot of people feel alone. They feel isolated especially with all the lockdowns. Like, "Am I insane? Am I the only one in my city who believes in freedom?" And the truth is there are a lot more of us out there than we know. But we just haven't really been connected in a very good way. And so we're trying to figure out how to do that. I don't know if we'll succeed. I don't frankly know if we'll make a full effort, but we're talking about it and we think there's a need there and we're trying to figure out what our options might be.
Jessica Smartt One of my takeaways, at this point, is to just stay on top of what you're doing because I think you're just cranking out good ideas. So hopefully everybody gives you a follow out there so we can hear about how all these new ideas come to fruition. I didn't realize—in just doing some research for this show—that you had written so many other books. And I was really intrigued by your book—and I don't know how long ago you wrote it, if you still stand by it all, or maybe even all the more—but there's a book about skipping college. Is that the title?
Connor Boyack It is. Yep.
Jessica Smartt So my question that I jotted down was: "Really?" Tell me more about that. I mean, do you mean for everybody? And if not, who would you give an exception to?
Connor Boyack Yeah, happy to answer that. So the answer is: almost everybody. So the book is "Skip College: Launch Your Career Without Debt, Distractions, or a Degree." And to answer the question, you really have to understand the history behind higher education. At its core and its history, university was kind of this classical, liberal kind of education, well-rounded, understanding the humanities, helping you become this kind of person who understands deep issues, and critical thinking, and becoming well-rounded enough that you can then go succeed in whatever you're going to do. Colleges today are not that. If anything, they're antithetical to that. They are closed-minded, they are propagandists. You get professors, often, who are hostile to alternative thinking and free inquiry of ideas. It is the narrowing of the human mind rather than the expanding of it. And frankly, a college degree used to be a signal, right? So if I'm an employer—which I am—decades ago, I would have used a college degree as a way to identify who stood out because college degrees were not common. Right? So who are the people who are hustlers, who can put in a lot of effort, who are trying to invest in themselves and get a lot of education, and level up? I want those people. I want to hire those people. The college degree is the signal. But then the government stepped in and they subsidized it. And when you subsidize something, you get more of it. And now high schools are entirely focused on what they call college and career readiness, and it's all about keeping kids on that conveyor belt. You get out of high school, you go in to college. You may not know what you're going to do, but you got to go to college and assume all that debt and just jump into that field. And so now that everyone's got a college degree, it's not a signal. It's noise. It's not a signal of competence anymore. It just shows that you can be a good rule follower and sit in your chair and do your job. And so, look, I am extremely pro-education and pro hustling and investing in yourself, but you don't need college to do it anymore. There are abundant resources online where you can obtain the same education at a tiny fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time. And so if I'm an employer now, when people come to me and they tell me— and there are countless employers doing this now: dropping their college degree requirement, recognizing that it's not really a good way to sift through things. Employers today with the abundance of information and opportunity, they want to see people who stand out. So how do you stand out if the college degree doesn't do that anymore? Well, what you need is a portfolio. You need experience. You need to do apprenticeships. You need to actually do things and not just sit in class for another four years. So my message to the homeschool school community is we are so anti conveyor belt, right? Don't do the conformist thing. Go explore the world, and be creative, and be bored, and go be entrepreneurial. Why do we then—so many of us—put our kids back on the college conveyor belt that has many of the same problems? So, Skip College. It's provocative. And look, if you want to be an attorney or a doctor, you've got to kiss the ring and jump through the hoops. I get it. But for almost everyone else, you don't need to. If you want to, that's great. If you want to be super intentional about the risks, and the costs, and the tradeoffs, I am pro-college. But the issue—and I'll end here—is that too many are not making informed decisions. They have this societal expectation impressed upon them, and they assume a ton of debt, and are subjecting themselves to a ton of propaganda without being prepared for it, without being cognizant of it, without having countermeasures and strategies in place. And so then it becomes a big problem. So the intentionality is what we're after. Plan your life, be more focused. Is it really what you need? What are the trade-offs? Then you can make a smarter decision.
Jessica Smartt And not to make it out of fear or habit or that's what I do so we have to. Yeah, I mean, gosh, I have so many thoughts. I think that's so brilliant. And even for somebody—so let's say someone did want to become a lawyer or a nurse or whatever—I guess maybe are you suggesting there's so many online avenues and then like live in your house or with people that you respect and trust versus getting plopped into a random dorm? Just being intentional about that avenue? Is that kind of what you would say?
Connor Boyack Well, I mean, it's very easy to go live near a college. If you want the social scene, it's not hard to find roommates and go have those social experiences but while pursuing your own education and doing your own thing.
Jessica Smartt Yeah, I think the social scene has just changed so much that I'm kind of like, "Do you really want that?" The other thing I want to say—I just have to say this—I am a graduate of Grove City College. Are you familiar with Grove City?
Connor Boyack I am. I love Grove, yeah.
Jessica Smartt So when you were talking, I kind of was like, "Yeah, you know, this may be one of the handfuls—" because when you were talking about your Tuttle Twins books, I do feel like I am one of the rare people that did kind of get a foundation in a lot of those principles, and it has served me very well. I can pick up Jordan Peterson and read him with all of that background knowledge about psychology and mythology and philosophy because I learned it in my humanities classes, and they're still doing that. I think they're facing—as are most Christian colleges and colleges in general—the landscape is completely changing. It's even more difficult to stay strong to those ideals, but they're trying, and it's a great school.
Connor Boyack I agree.
Jessica Smartt It truly still is. So I just did want to throw that out there.
Connor Boyack No, and I'm glad you did, right? Because there's always exceptions to the rule, as there should be. And as provocative as it is to say to skip college, there are— I know some people behind the University of Austin, and they're trying to set up this kind of unschooling, free thinking approach to higher education. There's innovation happening. There's great people doing things. Grove City has produced some amazing thinkers and freedom fighters in past years. So there are people doing it right. The problem is, as a general matter, most are doing it wrong. And when we just continue on that conveyor belt without being eyes wide open, without being intentional, I think it's ultimately a net negative as it was in my own experience. I shouldn't have gone to college. I didn't need to, but I just did because that expectation was there, that that's just what you do.
Jessica Smartt Well, I love that you're saying that. I'm going to definitely pick up that book. And this was another question I had jotted down just because I think you're really wise. How old are your kids now?
Connor Boyack How old are they? They are 13 and 11.
Jessica Smartt Okay, so we're very similar. I have a 12 and 11. So I struggle sometimes because I feel like— and this was a book title I pitched that didn't get picked up, but I wanted to call it Raising Unicorns because I feel like when you're doing some of these things, you're creating a human being that is so weird, and I sometimes wonder, what is the future going to be like for our kids? And I don't know that I have like a very well articulated question, but I'm kind of like— I'm on board with you 100%. Let's raise them under these ideals of what our country was founded on and, you know, raising kids to think critically. And then sometimes I'm like, "What in the world is going to happen to my little homeschooled kids when they really hit the real world?" I mean, they have glimmers of it. We're not totally in a bubble. But when they're actually stepping foot into the real world, what do you think is going to happen?
Connor Boyack I love this question and topic, and I think about it a lot. So I'm a religious person. And other than scripture, I think the next most accurate thing about our society is the movie The Matrix. And I relate to it in so many ways, but I think of like Neo who unplugs himself, and now he sees the real world and he understands things. Versus there's the guy Cipher, who was unplugged, but he just wants to go back into the matrix because, as he says, ignorance is bliss. And so I think about a lot. And for those who've seen the movie. There's the scene when Morpheus is talking to Neo in the simulation before he shows him the full matrix, and they're walking through— it's the scene with the woman in the red dress. So this is like a virtual simulation and they're walking through, and Morpheus says to Neo, he says, "All these people that you see right here, they're not actual people. It's the mental projection of the people who are actually plugged into the matrix." And he says, "The problem that you're going to have is that when you're in the matrix, the very people that you are trying to liberate and open their mind to the existence of the matrix, they will fight you. They are so hopelessly dependent upon the system for their existence that they will fight you even though you are trying to help them and help them see the reality." And so I think about that about our society. And then to your question, I think about it with my kids. It would be easy to raise children who are not unicorns, who are just part of the system, who go to sports games and wave their tribal flags and go to their 9-5 and live a comfortable life and just go with the flow. Over the past years, it would have been easy, like, "Oh yeah, lockdowns are fine. Go wear your mask and do what you're told." That's easy, right? And so then I think of the quote, "Ships are safer in harbor, but that's not what ships were designed for." And so do I want to raise kids that are going to be able to "fit in," and be able to more easily relate to others and be part of society? Or am I so disgusted with the world and think they've gotten so far off track that even though my kids are going to have a "harder time" and not really fit in and be hated by some people and be opposed by a lot of people because of their decisions or beliefs or whatever, is that the right thing? Ultimately, I want my kids to decide. I'm not going to totally dictate things, but from a parenting approach, I think of it this way, especially as a homeschooling dad— I think our society very much wants to imprint its expectations on children. So Elijah designed this in our education vacation book where kids are like on a conveyor belt, and just like eggs or meat or whatever, these products that are like batch produced and cranked out in a uniform size and shape, and "Oh, you must be this way." Right? That's how society treats our children. So you have curriculum committees and you have all these people who decide, "Kids must learn these facts at this age in the same way." Right? And to me, that's just ridiculous. And so again, as a religious person, I don't think even me—as their dad—I don't think I know what my children are destined for or predestined for or what their futures are going to be. So I even struggle to say "raising a unicorn." I struggle to say, "How do I raise my children?" Because they are on their own unique journey and path, and it would be problematic of me to then kind of impose on them and say, "Oh, I want you to go down this path," or "I think you should do this." So I end up taking or try to take more of like a laissez faire parenting approach and really listen and watch and say, "What are they latching onto? What are they expressing interest in? What thoughts are they having? And then how can I kind of continue them on that journey?" And it may be a difficult one. They may be a unicorn, or they may be more like, you know, I want to fit in and not rock the boat kind of deal, but I'm trying—failing—but I'm also trying to listen to where they want to take their lives and then just kind of help them along those journeys.
Jessica Smartt Yeah, I love that. That's a great answer. I did an interview with a friend Cliff Wright—I'll link it—but he had a quote where, basically, you are your kids' people. They need to have people. They're not going to find their people if they're out in the real world and they need to know that you're behind them and you're with them and like, "Yes, you're weird, but we're here too." And so maybe not using those exact phrases, but thanks for your thoughts there. I think that's super insightful. And gosh, we've touched on so much. I guess I would love to know— you have so much insight and you have a broad hawk's eye view of like, here's what's happening, here's some of the main culture issues, and also like, here's some really good resources, here's some pitfalls. What would you say to just the average mom that's listening—or dad—that's just plugging along here trying to do the right thing? I mean, obviously, The Tuttle Twins are a great resource. Is there something else out there that you would say, "This is an author I would really dig into. This is a resource I would really read." I know that's kind of a broad question, but do you have anything that's been particularly helpful to you and your wife as you're parenting these kids—almost teenagers—and getting ready to go into the high school years?
Connor Boyack So I'm going to answer this question this way. I was kind of a Ron Paul guy when he was running for office— very kind of freedom focused guy. And as his campaign was concluding, he was being asked by a lot of people, "What's next? What should we do? Who should we support? How should we get involved?" And he would repeatedly answer and say, "I don't know." And so when we had— on our Tuttle Twins podcast, we interviewed him about a year or so ago. And I reminded him of that. I said, "Dr. Paul, you often just told people, 'I don't have an answer for you.' Why did you say that?" He's like, "Connor, I never would have thought to recommend one start a think tank like you did or write kids books that teach—" Everyone is on their own path. And I would struggle to know what to advise them or put them on a different path. So to answer your question, I kind of take the same approach where I don't know that I have an answer of go read these things or listen to these things. So here's how I would answer it. Because I'm trying to think: what's a unifying thread? Everyone's on their own journey. They've got different interests, backgrounds, perspectives. I'm not going to say, "Everyone needs to go read this book." Other than yours. Go read Jessica's book.
Jessica Smartt Well, hey.
Connor Boyack But what I would say is: no matter what you read or listen to—your podcast—what everyone could stand to do a little bit more of is more family discussion. And that means having dinners together. It means listening to podcasts in the car rather than music. It means going to town hall meetings, maybe. Right? Or watching the news a little bit together and then analyzing it. It's basically paying a little bit more attention to what's going on in our world and then helping our kids process these things.
Jessica Smartt I love that.
Connor Boyack And I don't see enough families doing that. They turn off the news. It's not even news. I hate calling it that word. It's propaganda.
Jessica Smartt It's not. Absolutely.
Connor Boyack Right? But let's watch it and help our kids why that is, and how it works, and why we should be skeptical of what these people are saying. Like, I guess a more simpler way of saying this is having intentionality. I have encountered so many families, freedom loving families who did not have intentionality. Their kids get older, and their kid is now sporting a Bernie Sanders T-shirt. And the parents are like, "Where did we go wrong?" And when I dig into with them, it's like, "Well, wait a minute. You talked to your kids about religious stuff. You took them to Sunday school. You did Bible study. Whatever. Right? You were kind of sharing your religious values. But at what point were you sharing your kind of political and economic way of thinking? At what point were you talking to your kids about these ideas? And you weren't. Therefore, they learned it from the gutter, from the other kids in the internet or whatever. And they're going to latch onto these social fads because you didn't give them that foundation." So obviously, I think Tuttle Twins is part of that answer. But even if you don't use our books, just have these conversations, and ask your kids questions, and dialog about these complex current events and ideas. Because if you shy away and if you withhold your ideas from your kids, they're going to get them elsewhere and you're not going to like where they get them from probably. So do your part. Have those discussions. Be intentional. Along the way, you'll find all kinds of resources. You'll find your— just go search. Go spend an hour on Amazon and poke around. Go in your podcast app and noodle around. See what interests you. Try something else. There's an abundance out there.
Jessica Smartt And bring your kids into that with you.
Connor Boyack Totally.
Jessica Smartt Yeah, I love it. Okay, I know I said it was the last question, but I have just one more. I just want to give you a little spiel of like this is how I am kind of trying to do things, and you can feel free to disagree or agree. I would love to hear your take on this because one thing that's hard with talking about politics with kids is, to some degree, I want them to learn to treat others with respect. And while I might make a political joke to my husband or friends, it feels unbecoming to me—and again, you can interact with this on whatever level—for my kids to act that way towards their friends or to grown-ups. Like, there's a respect kind of element that I'm trying to— but I find it very hard to bring them into our world and say, "Isn't this nuts? Look what they're making us do?" You know what I mean? But also to treat them— to have them learn to engage with a discussion with someone who disagrees in a manner that's respectful and not belligerent. Because I think it's kind of easy to create these little like political parrots that actually turn out being kind of obnoxious. That's just— again, how does that hit you?
Connor Boyack These are good questions. You're definitely a Grove City graduate. I can tell.
Jessica Smartt Ah, that is such a compliment.
Connor Boyack You got a sharp mind. No, I like this question. So here's how I answer it from experience. I think it's the same as it is with Santa Claus. I never wanted to lie to my children. We never said Santa Claus was real. We never played into that cultural tradition. I wanted my kids understand that they should be grateful to me and to God for the things that we have, not some mystical creature that comes down the chimney. And so we never lied to our children, but we didn't want them acting all high and mighty that they knew the truth and that they were going to go tell other kids and ruin their fantasies and be that kid that did that. So it provided us an opportunity with the kids to say, "Look, this is how we do things in our family. This is what we believe and think. This is what we want to teach you. Other families do it differently. You need to be respectful of that. And it would be wrong for you to go burst someone's bubble or tell them something different when they're not ready for it or their family wants to do something different. So let's keep it in the family. It's our little secret. It's our way of thinking. Let other people think the way they want. It's not your role to go and tell them that they're wrong." And our kids did well with that. They understood that, and it was kind of like a family— then it was kind of like, "Oh, we're in on the secret and everyone else doesn't—" like, they kind of were able to run with that. And it worked out well when they were younger until their friends became enough of an age where they all understood, and then it was an open secret and they could talk openly about it. So I kind of think it's the same with "politics" as well, right? My 13-year-old with, "Oh man, Biden sucks. Have you seen gas prices lately?" And he'll like, do these things where obviously I wouldn't want him doing that out in the open. So we approach it kind of the same way. Like, "Look, in our family, we're very opinionated. We're very vocal about what we think and believe. Others are not. And so you're fine in the comfort of our home to make these little wisecracks or what you think. But with other people who believe differently and maybe have not yet reached a sufficient maturity or encountered the truth yet, you are not the person— you're not the messenger," Right? It's, "Leave that to someone else. Leave it till you're older." And so we're kind of taking the same approach and just saying, "Let's treat it differently in our family than we do out of our family and just recognize that other people have different backgrounds or approaches. And so you need to be respectful."
Jessica Smartt I love the Santa analogy. My brother-in-law's kids just said Santa is Satan with the letters mixed up, and that's what they told everyone.
Connor Boyack Oh boy.
Jessica Smartt But no, I love that. That's great. I know we're running out of time here. Thank you so much. You have so much on your plate and you've taken the time to chat about all these different things with our listeners. I know they're grateful. I would encourage everybody to head over to TuttleTwins.com, and you can see all of this stuff. Obviously, if you have not ordered Tuttle Twins to have a copy of in your home— and who knows what the world is going to be like. I'm like, "I might as well buy a couple extra copies for my grandkids because maybe one day they'll be illegal." But anyway, definitely pick those up. And I love the idea of your history books coming up. I'm going to be really excited to get my hands on some of those. So, thanks again, Connor, for joining us here. This has been a real treat.
Connor Boyack Thank you, Jessica. Appreciate it.
Jessica Smartt Thanks so much 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. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast, and while you're on there, leave us a review and tell us what you love about the show. As you know, this will help other homeschooling parents just like you get connected to our community and finally, tag us over on Instagram @homeschoolingdotmom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us yet at one of the Great Gomeschool 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 topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the U.S. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there.