HS 194: Homeschooling Encouragement with Sally Clarkson
Links and Resources:
- Sally Clarkson's Website
- Sally's book, The Mission of Motherhood
- Sally's book, Awaking Wonder
- Information about Sally's Devotional called Mom Heart Moments
- A fun musical devotion CD by Steve Green
- Find all of Sally's "Life Giving" books here.
- A complete homeschool curriculum you're guaranteed to love.
- Medi-Share, an affordable health care alternative
- Great Homeschool Conventions
Sally shares with us the story of how she caught the vision to homeschool her family and what a tremendous blessing it was. Not only did it foster a deep love relationship among their family members, but homeschooling helped to cultivate three specific things in the Clarkson household:
1) A love for learning
2) A love for God
3) A thrilling sense of wonder regarding each child’s unique destiny
Sally Clarkson is a Discipler. Over the course of her life and marriage, she has continually called women to step into their God-given roles as lifegivers and influencers. She and Clay met through Campus Crusade for Christ during college and went on staff together in 1975. Sally ministered to students in Texas, discipled women in Communist Eastern Europe, and returned in 1980 to work with executive women and singles in Denver where Clay was beginning seminary studies at Denver Seminary. They were married a year later, in Dallas where they first met. After graduation, they served in international ministry in Vienna, Austria, served on the staff of two churches, and then started Whole Heart Ministries in 1994. Their four children, now all grown, are serving Christ in different ways around the world and online, through books, music, speaking, and film.
“Homeschooling all four all the way to adulthood was one of the most fulfilling and challenging commitments. I loved reading great books to them every day for hours. We enjoy our rousing discussions over feasts and tea times, (we are all hobbits at heart and love eating and celebrating life!), and books, ideas, stories, travel and adventure, movies and faith fill our lives and discussions every day that we are together. All of us are passionate about our Lord Jesus and his incarnate reality in all the moments of our lives. Our family is a cherished community and we gather together from far corners of the world whenever possible.”
CONNECT WITH SALLY:
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.
Well, what fun it is to be here with you today. This podcast episode is especially meaningful to me for a number of reasons. First of all, this is our first real podcast interview together. Last week’s episode was just us getting to know one another and casting your vision for what the homeschool solutions podcast is really all about. And if you missed that episode, I hope that you’ll double back and have a listen.
But the real reason why this specific episode has me tremendously happy today is because our first guest means so much to me. When my first child was only a few weeks old, my sister in law Kathy put a copy of Sally Clarkson’s book, The Mission of Motherhood, in my hands. And really, I was too young. My baby was too young to practically apply this stuff, except it set the stage and I remember reading it and thinking, not necessarily that I had found the mentor, I didn’t use that term quite yet, though I think many of us used that word to describe Sally Clarkson. But I felt, and I remember this so clearly, that I was actually reading a letter that I could have penned to myself, 20 years into the future, 20 years down the road, and….. back in time to me in that moment, holding my first-born miracle child. I think that what I found in Sally, that so many of us have found in this dear woman, is a friend who shares our ideals, our dreams for our own faith life, and our dreams for our children. And she speaks to us with hard-earned wisdom and life-giving encouragement. Or at least that’s what has been my experience.
Now, I know that this isn’t your typical introduction. I probably should have started by telling you about her years as a missionary in Communist Eastern Europe, or the fact she’s married to Clay, and together they have raised and homeschooled four beautiful children. That she’s going to become a grandmother for the second time, and that all of her family members are creative writers and thinkers and musicians, and I could go on and on. But I think you’d like for me to simply welcome to the podcast, our guest, Sally Clarkson. Welcome, Sally
SALLY: Hi Wendy, I’m so happy to be with you today, and I love all of these wonderful women who are listening to us. I just love homeschooling moms.
WENDY: Oh, and you know I feel that about you. I think that that’s why we’re all drawn to you, is it’s not just that you share wisdom with us, but there’s something really special about love, isn’t there? You really have a sincere love for us, and it draws us in and, man, couldn’t we just camp out on that idea? Both as Christ-followers, you know, to have been loved and to love Him back. But also, as we look forward to the lives of our children, that when we love them well, oh their soft hearts just get so supple. And they not only love us back, but they open themselves up to our teaching. And that’s more than reading, writing, and arithmetic, isn’t it?
SALLY: Of course, yes.
WENDY: But I thought it would be fun to invite you to look back and tell us what in the world made you think that this crazy idea of homeschooling was a good idea for you guys? I know that you were a missionary when you had those first couple of kids, so, maybe it had something to do with being in Vienna. I don’t know, but I’d love to hear the beginning of your story.
SALLY: Well Wendy, as I look back on my life, I have always been a kind of an out of the box girl. I mean, I found myself bored when I was in school. I was that person in church, you know, I’d be shaking my legs, I would be so impatient in my own little world and my mom would reach across in church and hold onto my leg and give me the look of, You are shaking the whole bench, can you just settle down?
But I remember, Clay and I were, I had been a single missionary for a number of years. And I was beginning to ask questions in my faith and just, my life, because I was being exposed to lots of very interesting people and a diverse culture. And Clay and I were Pastors at this chapel in Vienna. It was an English-speaking chapel since the United Nations was there. The second biggest United Nations. We had forty different countries represented in our church and so we would always have people over for lunch, after church, and it was always a variety of people. And this particular day, we had this Iraqi man who had climbed underneath the barbed wire fence and escaped his country. Didn’t have any passport or anything. And then we had a couple of people from Russia, and two attaches from South Africa, and an opera singer, and a man who played in the Philharmonic, and … anyway, very interesting group of people.
And it was... our little apartment was really simple and sparse, but as we were all talking there, I had this sudden realization. I thought, Wow!, there are so many things to know I wish I had had a better education. They’re talking about artists, and musicians, and ideas, and people, and histories, and countries. For the first time that I remember, I thought, I wish I knew more. I wish… I’m hungry for learning and for knowing and for reading and…
So, we were not even pregnant yet with Sarah. Almostpregnant with Sarah. And so, Clay and I had this long discussion, and he had read an article about having school at the kitchen table. Of course, we’d never heard the word “homeschool”, never met a homeschooler. This was in 1981. And so, we decided that when we had children, we would educate them at home. And we thought we were, there really wasn’t a “movement” back then. But, so, I hate to really tell you this, but I gave my first talk on home education before I ever had Sarah.
WENDY: It’s because you caught the vision… you caught the vision of what it could be. So completely, I think that makes sense. Yeah.
SARAH: And, you know, and now as I look back, I think, oh I sure hope that everything that we said really inspired people in the right direction. Because, you know, I was new at it. But we, you know, because of that, we read a lot about education and children and ideas and discipleship and mentoring. And so, we, I’m writing a book right now on education that I’ll share with you later. It’s called Awaking Wonder.
But I’m realizing that we really were quite out of the box in everything that we did. And I think I thought, there has to be a better way. And at that time, when Clay and I were there, I mean, both of us, he had his Master’s of Divinity. I could speak a part of four languages. It wasn’t that we weren’t educated. Because we had gone to schools and college and everything else. But we didn’t feel like we were reallyeducated. We didn’t love learning. We didn’t know things. And so our whole lifetime and legacy of what we’ve left with people and with our children, came out of ideals not out of experience, at the very beginning.
WENDY: You know I’ve heard a quote, I think, or maybe, maybe you can tell me if you’ve heard this as well. But the phrase is, "Education is wasted on the young". And that has so been like, I understand that, because I don’t think I learned how to learn or to get hungry for learning, until I was, oh, college and beyond. And then I really was awakened to wonder. Let me just affirm your title there. I was awakened to it when I started homeschooling my children. And I think that maybe the first things that awakened me to it were good pieces of literature and wonderful times walking out in nature. And then, history. I really really loved learning history and then reading living history books together. And I thought I have missed out on all of this. So, the idea that we can cast that vision and invite our children to wake up to wonder and learn in this wonderful way, means that perhaps it won’t be wasted on the young after all.
SALLY: No, I definitely don’t think it’s wasted. As a matter of fact, children come into the world, as we all know, learning. I mean they move from zero vocabulary to about 350 unique words, understanding a thousand words, by the time they’re three. They learn to walk, they learn to imitate. I was just so tickled... my little granddaughter, Lillian, is just 18 months old. But whenever she leaves the house now, she wraps a scarf around her neck, an adult scarf, and she wears this little purse on her shoulders because, of course, she’s imitating her Mama, who lives in England, and it’s cold there.
And children are learning from the moment they open their eyes in our arms. And I just, I just love, I loved, actually, with my children, opening up their imaginations, experiencing life together. We read a lot, we traveled a lot, we did a lot of interesting things. But I didn’t have any idea how satisfying being a mom and a disciple and teacher could be. I mean, I just ended up loving it. I hated the messes, loved my children and family, found it very fulfilling.
WENDY: Yes, I found a quote from you on your website, SallyClarkson.com, and friends, if you have not followed Sally online, this is a great way to go and you can sign up to receive her emails there. SallyClarkson.com. But I wanted to read it back to Sally and let us all listen to it, and then we’ll dive into more conversation from there.
The quote is “Homeschooling all four of my children all the way to adulthood was one of the most fulfilling and challenging commitments. I loved reading great books to them every day for hours. We enjoyed our rousing discussions over feasts and tea times. We are all hobbits at heart. And with eating and celebrating life, and books, ideas, stories, travel and adventure, movies and faith fill our lives and discussions every day that we are together. All of us are passionate about our Lord Jesus and His incarnate reality in all the moments of our lives. Our family is a cherished community, and we gather together from all corners of the world whenever possible.” I love that, and I know, it…
SALLY: I wanna do it again.
WENDY: Well you know how you get to do it again? You get to encourage us to do it, and in a way, you propel that multiplication process, you’re doing it again and again and again, by inspiring us to keep doing it.
But I’d love to talk about what can deter us, what can derail us. You know, the train’s on the tracks. We’ve caught the vision; I love that you caught the vision before you even had a kid. I would say the same about me. And I had all these ideals, and chugga chugga, you know, down the track we go. What are some of the things that can derail us?
SALLY: Well, I think there’s a lot, you know, as I look back, and one of the reasons why I do my ministry today, and I have a podcast and blog posts and all these things. Because I felt so alone. I felt so misunderstood in that I was trying this thing that culture didn’t generally affirm or approve of. Often times, even, I was at a meeting, the other night, in another city, and all of these sweet moms were saying, Oh, I’m so bored at home, and My life is so hard. And I thought, you know, here we are, in a culture that never provided us a vision for passing on a legacy. And very few people support us and oftentimes we find ourselves alone and there are children who wanna eat every day, and they fuss and say, you know, we were trying to read great books to them and they say, He touched my toe! And you know, then we have to settle an argument and, it’s the demands on the homeschooling mother are great.
And I think that a woman in her home without a mentor, without encouragement, can become quite overwhelmed and despondent. And so, I think one of the hardest things is to not have companionship of ideals. And that’s why we really encourage women to gather around books…so they can shape their ideals with other women, and just laugh and help each other bear each other’s burdens.
I think another aspect of that is that, most of us weren’t even trained to be moms. And you know, I had all of these ideals before I had my four children. But my story is so different than my ideals in that, you know, I didn’t, I kind of, I was, I had been a professional before I ever got married or had kids. I had my first child when I was 31 and there was this obviously irrational thought in my mind that my kids would go home on the weekend. You know, I had worked a job and then I had my time off. And I didn’t realize that … No, and I didn’t know about….. I learned about nursing by doing it. I learned about helping my children learn to sleep by practicing and, you know, reading every possible piece of information in the world.
Which leads me to another detriment. And I think there’s too many opinions, voices, to compare yourself to on the internet. Having children, creating a life-giving home, building a Godly legacy, is really organic. It’s much more natural than people want to think and if you’re trying to live up to all of the different voices that are on the internet, you’re always going to fall short. And I think that’s part of it too, and the absence of a conviction about what really matters in home education, a mom will go the way of her internet culture.
WENDY: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And I think that, I use the term “distractions” and, man, couldn’t we just talk for a whole hour on the distraction? I love that you’re saying that it can distract you, of keeping your eyes on the prize basically. Like, what was the vision? Am I staying the course with what the Lord has put on my heart? In my home? Or am I thinking just subconsciously because of what I’m feeding my mind with? Now these images and these words of others, that it should look different, that I should be doing things different.
SALLY: Mmm Hmm
WENDY: And that’s one way we can be distracted. Another way that we can be distracted, that I’ve experienced personally online, is the temptation that, back when you started in the eighties, you didn’t have your phone to hide behind during the hard days. When enough kids have spilled enough things, had enough squabbles, and melted down over whatever,
WENDY: We didn’t... you didn’t have your phone to go hiding behind. Of course, you could always go to your bathroom and read a good book and still avoid doing the hard work of motherhood, but we have something so accessible in our pockets and in our purses, all the time, and I’ve been thinking of the term that “devices are divisive”. They divide us from the Lord if we stop turning to Him, and we turn to those we like, rather than the One who loves us. They can be divisive in our marriage relationship as we lie in bed, both on our phones, facing opposite directions. And they can divide us from, not only our children, but the vision of what we set out to do in the first place.
SALLY: Mmm Hmm
WENDY: So, lots of distraction right there, notifying us, or buzzing at us, chirping at us, all day long.
SALLY: It’s so true, it’s so true. And as I’ve been thinking about this lately, I’ve realized that, really, I don’t know... there are a lot of women who are going to hear this that don’t know about us. And I kind of wanna talk about my kids right now. Because I have four kids, and they’re all writers, musicians, academics. You know, they’ve kind of been able to out in the world and find their own way.
Sarah just graduated with a degree in theology in Oxford, England. And then Joel is finishing his Ph.D. He went to Berkley School of Music and was a composer and film scorer and he writes choral music. And he’s the voice-over for the Green Ember. But he’s getting his Ph.D. in theology of imagination and with a direction in music. And then Nathan is a filmmaker, writer, and does so many different things. An actor. He’s produced a couple of films on Netflix. And then Joy is a podcaster. She’s the first one to finish her Ph.D. and she’s a writer and lecturer.
WENDY: Is she the first one to finish her PhD in your family? That’s incredible!
SALLY: Much to the chagrin of everybody else with family. How in the world did the youngest child do this?
WENDY: That’s Joy!
SALLY: I know! And also, it’s just her trajectory. She’s just got that personality. But, anyway, all that to say, I saw my kids flourish. But I think that one of the things that really distracts women is they don’t realize that they’re bringing this whole imagination of education from public school into their homes. And as I looked at my children, and they’re all excited about their lives, there’s three basic things that I think were our goals, that people need to put everything else aside and focus on. And the first thing was that we wanted them... we knew we couldn’t teach them everything, but we wanted them to fall in love with learning. We wanted them to love to know, to learn, to grow, to question, to be kind of entrepreneurs, to experiment, to discover, to ask questions. And so we developed our whole model of learning around, as I said, you know, waking the wonder, and helping our children to use their mental muscle. To exercise their mental muscle. Even, you know, having a couple of kids with OCD and one of my children has several learning disabilities, and all of them are flourishing because we didn’t put them in a box of having to perform age-graded, or things that, certain things, certain weeks, certain months, certain years. And we wouldn’t give them grades. And we really kind of set them loose to learn within the routines that we had and the way we implemented life.
And the second thing was, I felt like when I was in high school and college, I thought, I’d been in church off and on most of my life, but I thought, if somebody really knew the God who threw the stars into place, wouldn’t their lives be different? I mean, wouldn’t they be more loving, more engaged in life? More on fire, more excited, more excellent? So now, you know, I just thought, shouldn’t there be a life to believers? And so, our second goal was not just to pass on indoctrination, or some kind of corpus of knowledge about religion, but we really wanted to make real, in the lives of our children, the life of Christ. His stories, the context, the Roman soldiers running with spears, and the dusty roads, and the sheep bleating. And, you know, the babies crying, and that Jesus was God intervening in the history of man, in a real world. And to imagine what His stories meant, and what it meant for Him to take children into his arms, and so anyway… Our second goal was spiritual. To give them a legacy of faith.
But the third goal, which I think a lot of people neglect, which to me is one of the most important and profoundly tying together of all the areas, is, we cast upon our children a vision for life. We said, you know what, you are different. You have a different DNA than anyone who’s ever been born. You’ve a different personality. I wonder how God is gonna use you to bring light into the world? I wonder how God’s gonna use you to change your world? And so, I think cultivating and nurturing a sense of destiny and purpose in our children.
SALLY: That encompasses another aspect of education, is they, everybody longs to do something that matters, to live a life that matters. And so those three components, the falling in love with learning, falling in love with the Lord, and developing a sense of destiny, and an idea of the fact that they had a story to tell through their lives. And so those were our three focuses. And I think when you become distracted, by performance, by test scores, by accomplishment… and the funny thing is, all my children have been able to do all the other things they need to do because the core of what we concentrated on was excellent. So you don’t have to do it in the way that a school did, you can do it the way that embodies your personality.
WENDY: Yes, that’s wonderful. And for those of you who are listening while you’re driving, or listening while you’re out for a walk, wearing your headphones or folding laundry and you can’t be taking notes, I am taking some notes. And you’ll be able to find them on the show notes for the podcast.
And also, since we’re taking just a moment’s break here, I wanted to say a special thank you to one of our sponsors today, that’s Medi Share, which is an affordable and Biblical healthcare alternative. You can find out more at MyChristianCare.org, for their ongoing support of homeschooling families.
Sally, thank you so much, I love those three points. These are your goals. Falling in love with learning, goals for your children, but man, it’s about our goal for ourselves too. Two, falling in love with the Lord, and three, developing a sense of destiny.
My middle child, the one who's always been so articulate, with his thoughts, his feelings, he can just speak so clearly about what he feels the Lord calling him to do. He said to me the other day when we were driving, he said, Mom, I think that God wants me to develop a relationship with Him apart from your relationship with Him. And I said, really? He said, yes, I’ve heard a couple pastors say it, but just recently I think, I think it’s time.
And so that’s so cool, we’ve been reading, I’ve been reading through the New Testament with my youngest, my oldest is doing specific study with a group of men right now. And the middle child, and as you know, middle children sometimes pull away and say, I’m going to do what is just uniquely me. And I’m gonna figure that out. And it’s not gonna be what my older sibling does, and it’s not what the baby does. It’s me. And so, he decided, this was the one I’ve had the conversation with, I’m gonna spend time in the Psalms. And so he’s now out there developing a relationship with the Lord and right now, even as we’re doing this, he’s reading a piece of literature and he has this enormous creation on the floor of his room, which drives me crazy, because I’d like that room to be picked up.
But I’m realizing that so much of his learning is creating imaginative worlds. And so, when he does a Lego building, he doesn’t just do a Lego building, it covers the whole floor in his room. And he, over here is one world, and over there is the other world, and it’s like the hobbit. I mean, he starts in the shire and before you know it, he’s way over here and he’s and each place has its own language, and its own currency system.
And sometimes I’ll be reading a book about CS Lewis and I’ll think, that's Brody. That’s the kind of imagination that Brody has. And when we’re home with our kids, then we are inviting them to fall in love with learning and inviting them to fall in love with the Lord. And they are showing us what their natural bend is… creatively, or intellectually, or spiritually. And we can say, Lord, I don’t just want You to cast a vision for their destiny. But You in your kindness allow me to cast that vision with You. And so, I’ll say to Brody, you’re such a builder. And you’re so creative, do you think you’ll build stories? Do you think maybe you’ll build, instead of Lego structures, will you be an architect? What do you think you might build, and so we have these conversations.
And so you’re speaking my language, as you have since, like I mentioned before, my firstborn was three weeks old, when I started reading one of your books. Can you tell us a little bit more about this new book, Awaking Wonder? Because I feel like you’re awakening wonder in me, and I know that the goal is to awaken wonder in our children.
SALLY: Mm Hmm. Well, I think that one of the focal points of the book, I mean there’s... it’s about the idea that we were created to imagine and to wonder, we were created to think, we were created to love learning. And that when we cooperate with that aspect of our children’s lives, and of our lives, we will access, I feel like, at my age, I’m 66, and I got to spend a year and a half in Oxford last year. And I’m learning so much. And I’m still growing, and I love being able to be someone who’s continuously moving forward.
And one of the things I’ve realized over the years is that, it’s not about curriculum. It’s not even about philosophy. The most important aspect of home education is the mentor. And Jesus said that the student will be like his teacher. And so, I’ve realized that if the Mom is growing and learning and loves the stories they’re reading, and if she’s having that quiet time and her children are watching the habits that she’s making. If she loves people well, if she is growing in self-discipline, or whatever, whatever aspects of your life that you want to pass on, you have, your children cannot draw from you what is not there.
And so, I realized that my whole home education experience, as well as my ministry of training and leading and inspiring women, has called me to my best self. And I think that there’s a tendency for us to want to find, if I could just find the right planner. If I could just find the right curriculum. You know, we think that something’s gonna make this easy. No, it’s not, because it’s an excellent work of life. And anything excellent takes hard work. I just didn’t know how much.
But I think that I would love for women to understand that it’s a marathon of, you know, it’s a long-term journey. But if they really wanna pass on a legacy of excellent character, of deep faith, of an interesting life, then they have to be cultivating that every day, every year, on their own. Women are gonna say, What do you mean I’ve gotta make meals, I’ve gotta, you know, do this and do that and the other? But we have seventeen or eighteen years with each child. And I just think that it’s so important that we plan into our week, times where we’re growing, where we’re learning, where we’re passing on what we are excited about and modeling in our own lives. And if that poor phone, if that phone is keeping you from having a quiet time, then you need to make a plan for hiding it from yourself for at least a time when you’re gonna make a habit to enrich your own faith by spending time with the Lord.
WENDY: So good. I’m reminded of Christ’s admonishment to cast it off. You know, cut it off, cast it down. And if it causes you to sin, and sin is a separation, whatever’s separating us from the Lord. And it’s amazing, we don’t usually say, Well, that phone is a sin. Well, really? It could be your romance novel. It can be whatever it is you’re turning to, in lieu of turning to Christ. And if we want to get out our Bible curriculum with our children, that is very, that holds much less power than a life modeling pursuing Christ.
So, what is getting in the way of you pursuing Christ? And either, find some good boundaries, and if the boundaries don’t work, then maybe you don’t need a cell phone. I mean, what would happen in lieu of, you know, struggling, if we just made some radical decisions to really turn our focus to Christ and invite our children to come along on the journey with us. And I’m not saying you have to throw down your phone. I’m saying, let’s cast down whatever is getting in the way of this.
And that’s one of the reasons why I love your newest book, Mom Heart Moments. It’s a devotional, it’s a 365-day devotional, and I know that you believe as I do, Sally, which is, we don’t need three to five minutes a day in a book about “the Word”, in a book about the Bible. What we need is some real time pursuing Christ. But what I love about a good devotional, and this is a good devotional, is that it points us to the Word, it points us to applying the word to our mothering homeschooling days.
In a way, a devotional works to whet our appetite for more of ingesting Christ. And the more that we consume Him, the more He consumes our lives. And as He transforms our lives, we invite our children to come along in the transforming, radical story of what He’s doing in our family. And so, if you’re looking for a good devotional friends, Mom Heart Moments, by Sally, is just a wonderful wonderful appetizer to more time with the Lord. More time in His Word. And goodness, if there’s anything distracting you from that, set some boundaries or cast it down, because this is really, it’s gotta be number one.
SALLY: I have a wonderful team of women that work with me, and we’re realizing, especially when you’re a mom of littles, sometimes you feel like you don’t even have time to do anything. You know, going to the bathroom is a time of getting away in life, pretty much. But we realized that there, one of the things that doesn’t happen in all churches, doesn’t happen in all arenas, is that, there aren’t voices in our heads from many Christians who have our ideals. Who are actually shaping Scripture, shaping understanding about the Lord, about the Word, from the point of view that we have about the importance of family, of righteous teaching, of living in a Godly way, of education.
And so, one of the many things that we just wanted to do was to help the women. Many of us struggle with this habit of having a quiet time. So, we wanted to help them by giving a very short devotional, every day, that they could just take three or five minutes, and at least start with that, with a verse. But also, that the stories that are in the book would actually challenge them specifically as women who hold the same ideals that we have. And so, that was our desire behind it, to really come at life from many different angles, with some Scripture, and just to give women support and emotional help and spiritual help in their day to day life.
WENDY: Yeah, it’s amazing that when we start fitting in just a little bit, like I said, it does whet our appetite, but it is so living. And it is so active, and I know you’ve already heard from people, because this is what God does, saying, Oh my goodness, your verse today is just what I needed to hear! Oh, my goodness, the verse that you started with today is what I opened up my Bible and I found this morning. Oh, my goodness, the verse is what my friend texted me.
And so, God’s word is living and active and it does start to give us what we need and even if it is just a little bit. I remember when my kids were, goodness, probably four, two and newborn, I had Steve Green’s “Hide em In Your Heart” CD. I just loved it. And that helped, it does it does. And I tell, even when I speak, to women’s groups today, I say, listen, you just gotta get over the fact that it sounds like, you know, eighties preschool music, and do it. Because it truly does hide the word, not only in our children’s heart, but in our hearts. It is amazing that for that season, and we were talking about just a little, a little nugget, to get us through. A little devotional, when nothing else is fitting. Start small. But start. Start small, if you have to start small, but start!
And so those verses that would sing the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, and I thought, okay, if you live by the spirit, keep in step with the spirit, and in my mind would just marinate on that. And it started, not just, it didn’t just stay in my mind. It started transforming how I responded to my kids and I remember, we were at the park once, and one of the songs was, Do Not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. And somebody dumped sand on one of my kid’s head. And he turned around ready to whack em with a shovel. And I was able to teach scripturally in that moment that as the words came out of my mouth, I remember thinking, Ok, Wendy, what about you? What about when your children are immature and do the wrong thing. Are you overcoming their evil with My good flowing through your life? And it was just a simple basically, devotional, set to music, for me, that day.
And so, ladies, if it’s not fitting in right now, start small. And this is a wonderful way to do it. Again that’s, Mom Heart Moments. And I don’t want this conversation to end, but I know that we keep these podcasts short so that you can get back to the work that is before you each day. But I wanted to tell you, that I mentioned already, but the mission of motherhood really was my first and my favorite. It remains my favorite. Because it feels like someone who shares my ideals, just reminding me why we’re doing it. Not even that I have to do it, and convincing me that I have to do it, but why we’re doing it. And it reminds me of Galatians six nine, “Let’s not grow weary in doing good.” Let’s keep at it. Keep your eyes on the prize.
And she does that really in all of her books. Sally has a wonderful series called the lifegiving series. There’s The Life-Giving Home, The Life-Giving Table, The Life-Giving Parent, and if you wanted to get some girlfriends together and do it as the series, there are also study guides that you can get on Amazon with it. And maybe my favorite of her recent books is called, Different. Sally described herself, even in this conversation, as being an out of the box woman. But one of their children in particular was an out of the box personality, out of the box learner. Everything from learning challenges and behavioral challenges to terrible allergies and problems not being able to sleep.
And I know that all of us have that one kiddo that’s just a little more different. And it is the story of how she was able to love him well and point out to him the Lord that made him, loved him, and had good plans. And it really is a, it is a story of a boy finding his destiny through the loving-kindness of a mother. And so it’s really a wonderful read whether you have boys or girls. And then of course, this latest, Mom Hearts Moments Devotional. And we can’t wait for this new book, which talks specifically about homeschooling our own awakening to wonder. And then helping our children awaken to wonder as well.
So that’s me on my soapbox because I love all of these books and the woman who wrote them. But Sally, before we wrap up, do you have any other, just, I guess, I’m gonna use a good old Baptist word, do you have a word for us, sister? If you have one more word for us, and then after that, would you lead us in prayer? Will you just bless us to keep on keeping on?
SALLY: Yeah, I sure will. I would just say that each of you are exactly the mother that your children need. And each of you have been given a unique personality, a unique story. And don’t let guilt or feeling like you’re a failure, overcome you. Because our lives as moms are fraught with ups and downs and messes and difficulties. That’s just part of the process. Homeschooling is about a journey in the direction of maturity. And we’re maturing just like our children are.
But I just would say, don’t live in insecurity or condemnation. And decide to like who you are. I’ve always told my kids, you might as well decide to like God’s will for your life because it’s not gonna change. And I would just say, decide to like who you are because I think that when a mom is happy and accepts her limitations, and lives well into her life, it makes the kids feel really loved and good. My son once said to me, Mom, when you’re upset, we feel guilty. And when you’re happy, we feel like the world is at peace. And so, Mom, just chill.
WENDY: So, your happiness is basically a gift to your kids.
SALLY: Oh yeah. I mean, just living in the limitations and saying, this is a process, and I love you all, and I might need a break. But I am moving in a direction of profound influence in the world because God gave me these little human beings whose souls last for eternity. You’re doing a great job. You’re my favorite people in the world, next to my kids, so.
WENDY: That’s wonderful. Thanks. So, wrap us up with a prayer and then we’ll say goodbye.
SALLY: Okie doke. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you so much that we can know You in Your fullness, in Your creativity, in Your Love, in Your grace for us. Lord, You are our treasure. And I just pray for each of these precious ones today who hear this message, that Your Holy Spirit will encourage them and comfort them and inspire them. Give them rest, give them hope, that they might understand that motherhood and becoming a mom who trains and teaches and loves her children is, by Your design. That You created women to be civilizers of the next generation. I pray that You will strengthen their vision, that You’ll give them companions who can encourage them, and a real sense in their heart that their labor, their work, every day, is not in vain. And Lord, given them the heart to love and be at peace in their homes so that they might create that life that their children, their husband, and they themselves can enjoy. We love You so much, Lord, and we give You our lives, with our hearts filled with thanks. In Jesus Name, Amen.
WENDY: Amen. And thank you, Lord, for Sally Clarkson, what a gift you are to us, Sally. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today.
And friends, if you go to Homeschooling.Mom, to the podcast dropdown, there will be show notes. And I’m going to link to all of these wonderful resources, all of Sally’s books, as well as Keith Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart CD. And you can just come back a couple decades with us as we clap our hands and hide the Scripture in the hearts of our children.
SALLY: It should be playing as we close. Anyway, thank you so much for letting me be with you today, Wendy, I just love your heart.
WENDY: Aww, thank you, we love you right back.
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 www.greathomeschoolconventions.com. With dozens of incredible speakers, hundreds of curriculum exhibits, you will be blessed, refreshed, helped, and encouraged. I’ll be in Texas, SC, Ohio, and of course, my home state, CA this year. I hope to see some of you there.
Until next week, visit homeschooling dot mom for blog posts to encourage and support you along the way. And remember, Galatians six verse nine, 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.