SR 842: Becoming Homeschoolers: A Family Transformed – Monica Swanson, Part 1

“What do I want my kids childhood to look like? What do I want the most important things in their life to be as they grow up and leave the home one day?” ~ Monica Swanson

Watch this full interview on our YouTube Channel.

Yvette Hampton sits down with Monica Swanson, author of *Becoming Homeschoolers*. Monica shares her family’s transition to homeschooling, the impact it has made on their lives, and her passion for encouraging other families. 🌊🏄‍♂️

Discover Monica’s insights into homeschooling diverse learners, balancing extracurricular activities, and the importance of character development. Whether you’re a veteran homeschooler or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable advice!

Come back Wednesday and Thursday for the rest of this conversation.

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Recommended Resources:

Podcast Note-Taking Guide

monicaswanson.com (blog, podcast, courses)

Master “Boy Mom” – Monica Swanson on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast

Books:

Becoming Homeschoolers: Give Your Kids a Great Education, a Strong Family, and a Life They’ll Thank You for Later, by Monica Swanson

Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You, by Monica Swanson

Raising Amazing: Bringing Up Kids Who Love God, Like Their Family, and Do the Dishes without Being Asked, by Monica Swanson

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Discussion Questions:

1. **Introduction to Homeschooling**: Monica Swanson mentioned that they initially didn’t put much thought into education decisions. Reflect on how you first approached the idea of homeschooling. What were your initial thoughts and feelings?

2. **Public vs. Private vs. Homeschool**: Monica and her husband tried private Christian schooling before transitioning to homeschooling. What were some of the drawbacks to private schooling that caused her to bring her sons home?

3. **Legal Concerns**: Monica’s husband initially questioned the legality of homeschooling. What are the legal requirements for homeschooling in your area, and how did you navigate them? If you have questions about the Legal requirements of homeschooling in your state, visit HSLDA for state-by-state advice.

4. **Homeschooling Environment**: Monica alluded to initially trying to recreate a traditional school environment at home. How did your homeschooling environment start, and how has it evolved? What are the drawbacks of trying to recreate the classroom in your home?

5. **Balancing Academics and Extracurriculars**: Monica’s sons are passionate about surfing, and the family has had to be flexible with their schooling schedule. How do you balance academics with your children’s extracurricular interests?

6. **Homeschool Benefits**: Monica shared that homeschooling has shaped their family profoundly. How has homeschooling impacted your family dynamics and relationships?

7. **Faith Integration**: Monica mentions integrating their faith into daily homeschooling. How do you incorporate God’s Word into your homeschooling routine?

8. **Long-term Vision**: Both Monica and Yvette discuss “zooming out” to see the bigger picture of their children’s education and future. What are your long-term goals for homeschooling, and how do those goals influence daily decisions?

9. **Dealing with Challenges**: Monica acknowledges the struggles, such as the morning rush and potential doubts about handling homeschooling. What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?

10. **Legacy of Homeschooling**: Monica and Yvette emphasize the importance of leaving a legacy through homeschooling. How do you aim to ensure that the values and lessons you’re teaching will be passed down through future generations?

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And I mentioned it to my husband who was like, homeschooling.

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You know, you couldn’t handle that. You can’t even handle the 1

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hour rush getting out the door in the morning. And I was like, shoot, busted.

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He’s right. But he also was like, is it even legal to do that? Like,

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we had no clue. And so pretty soon before you know it,

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we were homeschooling our two oldest and ultimately all of our boys, and

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we have not looked back. Best thing we ever did. And

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yeah, so I’m just super excited to encourage other families.

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Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked

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Podcast. I am back this week with my friend Monica Swanson,

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and it’s been some time since she’s been on the schoolhouse rocked podcast. I

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actually was like, okay, she’s been on before. I know we’ve had a great time

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talking and I couldn’t remember when it was, and so I looked it up and

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it was all the way back in November of 2020, which that was a long

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time ago. It’s gone by very quickly the last four

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years, but it’s been some time. And so I am so excited to have her

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back. We’re talking about her new book this week. It’s called Becoming Homeschoolers

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and it is a fantastic book. You guys are going to love this. You’re going

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to love just hearing her heart for homeschool families and

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talking about her boys. They’re a surfing family. She has a

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really fun story. So we’re going to talk about all those things today. But before

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we do, I want to say thank you to our sponsor BJU Press Homeschool.

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If you’re looking for great homeschool curriculum that has a

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good, strong, solid, biblical worldview,

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check out BJUPressHomeschool.com. and they have something for

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every grade, every age, every subject. They’ve got something for you. So check

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them out. BJUPressHomeschool.com.

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Well, Monica, welcome back to the schoolhouse Rocked podcast. I am looking

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at you. For those of you who are watching on video, if you see

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her background, you might see some trees and a

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beautiful window behind her. And what that is is called Hawaii. It’s

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green. It’s green. She is in the beautiful state of

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Hawaii and I am jealous because I love

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Oklahoma, but I am now landlocked.

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This state called Oklahoma where we don’t have the ocean, we

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don’t have the beach. Here, there are lakes, but okay, if you are from

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Oklahoma, cover your ears. The lakes are disgusting.

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At least the ones that I’ve been to. I hear that they’re beautiful lakes,

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but I have not yet discovered them. They feel like. It’s

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so weird. The first time I went, I walked out into the lake, and I

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expected it to feel like the ocean floor. And it was, like,

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gooey and muddy and really gross. And I did not know what my feet

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were standing on, and it roasted me out. And so I would like to go

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back to the beach, back to the Pacific Ocean, and put my

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feet in that sand, in that water. That’s what vacations are for, right? I

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know. I know. So Monica just invited all of us to come vacation with her

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in Hawaii. Anyway, for those who don’t know you,

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Monica, introduce yourself and your family to us. You

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bet. Thanks so much. Yes. My husband Dave and I are both

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originally from the Pacific Northwest. So Seattle,

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Portland area, small towns, raised in the

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public school system, moved to Hawaii for a

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three year medical residency for my husband, and 23

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years later, here we are. We’ve raised four sons, actually. The

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youngest is just 14. So we have three homeschool high

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school graduates, two college graduates, a professional

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surfer in there who’s doing college online, and

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we live on the north shore, kind of out in the country. You do see

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green behind me. We live a simple life

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in the country, and I love encouraging families.

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I love writing books and podcasting and getting to talk

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to people like you who share my heart. So thanks for

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having me. Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to have you back. The first time you came

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on, you talked about boys, because, as you guys heard, she has four of

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them, so lots of testosterone in her house.

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Talk about your homeschool journey. How did you and your husband make this decision to

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start homeschooling? Right? Yes. Well, we didn’t

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put a whole lot of thought into our kids education, I’m not proud to

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say. But when we were first married, I think that we both just

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kind of assumed that our kids would do what we did. And we both grew

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up in the public schools, and as so many people will say, like, oh, we

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did okay. But looking back, I’m like, did we do okay?

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I’m not sure if there’s some things that I would reconsider in

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that statement, but by the time we had three

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little ones, we put them in a private christian school.

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All was going well. It was very expensive, and it wasn’t something we could

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sustain long term, we realized. And the oldest son came home from

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first grade and over a granola bar and apple juice, said, hey,

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mom, would you homeschool me next year. To which I was

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like, what in the world? Now, I did know a few people who are homeschooling,

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and I think he had heard about it from friends at Sunday school, at church.

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And so the idea was probably somewhere in the back of my head, but it

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definitely caught me off guard. And so I at first

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responded, tried to brush off the topic, move on, and

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then it kind of lingered in my mind as I continued to wrestle with

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it. Think about it. Then I got a little bit curious about it. Then I

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mentioned it to my husband, who was like, homeschooling?

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You couldn’t handle that. You can’t even handle the 1 hour rush

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getting out the door in the morning. And I was like, shoot, busted. He’s right.

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I do lose my temper a lot in those morning rush rushes, which we can

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talk about. Yeah. But he also was like, is it even

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legal to do that? Like, we had no clue. And so pretty

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soon before you know it, we were homeschooling our two oldest and

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ultimately all of our boys, and we have not looked back. Best thing we ever

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did. And, yeah. So I’m just super excited to

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encourage other families. Yeah, I imagine that when you got into homeschooling, you

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probably did the same thing that every, I won’t say every.

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That most homeschool families do. And you tried to recreate the

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classroom in your house. Yeah. And, you know, you jumped

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in doing that. What, what did that kind

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of transformation look like for you of bringing them home from

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school, you know, traditional school, into homeschooling and then kind

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of. How has that morphed through the years? You bet. Good

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question. And I confess I still have that tendency. Yeah. Like, I think it’s,

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it’s some of it’s a personality thing, and, and I

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just, I always want to make sure that I’m checking all the boxes.

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And I’ve often said, you know, though I don’t think college is for everyone,

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I don’t want to be the one to close that door. So I’m often trying

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to just make sure that we’re doing enough that if our kids

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choose college, that door is open for them. With that being said,

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I think that I was forced to morph

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because of my kids sports obsession, because when you’re

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surfing and now my youngest is a passionate golfer. Oh, wow.

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You don’t do school on a normal school schedule. You do

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school around their sports. And so I think over time,

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I just had to learn to let go and really

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give them an opportunity to get outdoors to go to the beach to do the

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things they did, to find ways to do school, sometimes really early,

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sometimes later, and to just be a little bit more

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flexible. And that has taken me some time, but also

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discovered the joy of, of learning in our own

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way and not trying to replicate what I experienced in the public school.

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So, yeah, it’s been great. Yeah, it’s so good for our kids to have that

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freedom to be able to become who God created them to be, whether that’s

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surfing or golfing or, you know, maybe they’re artistic, maybe

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they’re musicians. I mean, whatever it is. But then you also have those

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kids who are. They’re just wired to be engineers, and so they’re

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the ones who want to sit and do math all day long. I’ve got, like,

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an absolute nightmare to me. Yeah. Right. And so how,

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you know, you’ve got four boys, they all have different abilities and

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personalities and stuff. How did you. I mean, this. Well,

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what are your age ranges from your boys? You said your youngest is 14 and

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your oldest. Well, my first three were kind of more right in a row. So

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I have an almost 25 year old, almost 23 year old,

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20 year old, and then we had a little break there, and now a

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14 year old. Okay. So, yeah, the first two just, I mean,

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all of them are surfers. All of them are passionate about the

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ocean. They love to spear fish and dive, dive through caves.

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Like, they just love the ocean. They love to hike

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and run and explore and camp. I mean, their best memories

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to date are they try once a year to do a bro road

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trip on the mainland. So the two that live here

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will fly over and they’ll get in the car and do yosemite or,

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you know, some national park and go camp and create great

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memories, things that I’m always glad I hear about later. But they love their

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time to together. They’re still alive. Yes. Yes. But the

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oldest two were more academically inclined in that they just, they

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loved to read. They loved school. They tricked me into

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thinking homeschooling would be really easy because my fourth son is not

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necessarily that way. But they

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both, I think we had conversations about college early on in their high school

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years, and they were both pretty determined to go to

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college and to go to college on the mainland and to go

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to a college that I said, you’re only going to go if you get a

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scholarship. So they were motivated and they worked really hard, and they had kind of

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the well rounded resume of activities and

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involvement and faith and character and all the things this college was looking for. And

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so they both were able to go to college on a nearly full

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ride scholarship, which is really a blessing. And they’ve both

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graduated, and one is an engineer. Actually, just as we’re talking, he

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just started his first big boy job at the, you know, an

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aerospace engineering firm. So it’s kind of doing stuff that I don’t

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understand. And he’s like, mom, I’m not going to be able to tell you about

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some of the things that I do, which my husband thinks is the coolest thing

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in the world. And then my oldest son works in

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data analytics, so he’s super computer y, geeky,

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and helpful for all the things I do. So that’s been really

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fun. That’s fun. So you have nerdy surfers, totally

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nerdy. Surfers that love Jesus. So, you know,

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you said, you know, the too old has made it look easy,

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and I think that’s a really important thing to. I want to talk about that

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for a minute, because I think oftentimes in parenting, you know, homeschooling really is parenting.

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We just went to a homeschool conference, and we were listening to Israel Wayne

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speak, and he was talking about this, and it’s a thing that most of us

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know, but maybe some haven’t quite realized it yet, is that

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homeschooling really is just parenting. That’s what it is. It’s taking back our

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families. It’s taking our kids under our wings and discipling them and teaching

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them all those things. But I remember for my two girls, my oldest,

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she was a very easy kid. I mean, just easy. Like, I

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mean, I can tell you the first time she threw a tantrum in public, because

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she never really threw tantrums. Like, she just was very compliant and obedient. And

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then I was like, man, I’m really good at this I’m crushing

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mom thing. I’m crushing it totally. And then God sent

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my youngest and was like, let me just show you what you’re made of. I

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stay humble here. Yes. Yeah. And, I mean, she is an absolute

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delight. You know, she is so much fun, but

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she’s just a completely different kid. And when she was a lot younger, you know,

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just took a lot more out of me, and I was like, okay, maybe I

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don’t actually know what I’m doing. And so homeschooling oftentimes is the same way,

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where we might have that oldest, more compliant, and moms are like, I

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got this. This homeschooling thing is super easy. Yeah. And I’ll

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add to that. I think that some of it is. I put in a lot

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of effort, maybe because I was new and so nervous with the oldest

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two. I really did parent discipline

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train all that so much when they were young that I feel like by the

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time, the crucial years, the high school years and all that hit, they

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were pretty well on their way. Whereas with the youngest, you know, birth order is

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a thing. Yeah. And he’s been catered to pretty well by everyone in the

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family. And he’s funny and he knows how to use his humor. So I think

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that probably there’s a lot of factors there. But the

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oldest kids definitely were drawn to school and wanting to please

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mom and dad and wanting to do well. So I was blessed. I thank

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them often. Yeah. Still, that’s awesome. Let’s take a break. We’ll

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CTCMath. It’s a rare find that I’ve used with my children

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very applicable. Thank you so much for all that you are doing in providing

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online math program, visit ctcmath.com.

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that’s ctcmath.com.

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Are you looking for a homeschool curriculum that goes beyond textbooks and

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truly engages your children in the joy of learning?

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parents to specifically meet your needs and captivate your students with

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hands on activities and experiments that make learning

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unforgettable. With an easy to follow, open and go format,

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Apologia takes the stress out of planning and provides a simple

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roadmap that can easily be tailored to your family’s needs.

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Explore live classes or self paced courses designed to

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accommodate every student’s unique learning style, elevate your child’s

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education, spark their curiosity, and nurture a life.

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Love for learning with Apologia Discover Apologia

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today Apologia.com. we are

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back with Monica. Talk about the impact that homeschooling has had in

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your family. You know, we talk about homeschooling.

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Oftentimes we want to leave a legacy for our kids. And since homeschooling is parenting

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and we want to leave a legacy for our grandchildren and how we’ve

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parented our children so they can go on to parent their children in a certain

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way. Homeschooling is such a big part of that. So

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talk about your family and how you and your husband have really worked together

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to really impact your kids, but then

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going on for them to impact theirs. My favorite, favorite

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topic, it was, in fact, when I was writing my previous

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book, raising amazing, that I was on. I think it was the

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final chapter. And I, you know, both in my book,

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boy mom, that you and I talked about before when I was on and raising

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amazing, I really wanted to encourage

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parenting and family and faith, but I was always a little

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bit hesitant to share too much about homeschooling because I knew that

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in the general population, it’s a small percentage overall, it’s growing

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a whole lot. But I knew that most of my readers probably weren’t

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homeschooling, and so I was kind of just trying to be thoughtful. So I didn’t

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say a lot, but in that final chapter, it was a chapter about how kids

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spend their days. And I was pretty much just saying, listen, you know,

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zoom out and consider what are your kids doing with their time? Because you’re going

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to look back one day and see that how they spent their time was their

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childhood. And as I did that, I was like, well, I’m going to talk a

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little bit about homeschooling. But as I wrote, one chapter led to the next, and

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pretty soon I had pages about homeschooling. And when I turned the book into

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my editor, she sent it back to me with scratching

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almost all of it, and she said, let’s save this for your next book about

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homeschooling. And that was where this book was born. And I was like, oh, my

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goodness. I was like, told my husband, and I tell this story in becoming

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homeschoolers that I told my husband. I was like, I don’t

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think I’ve ever really come out and said what I really believe.

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Like, I don’t even know if I’ve been honest with myself. And he’s like, what?

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What? I was like, well, I’ve tried to, you know, honor the

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reader by not saying too much. I was like, but homeschooling isn’t just a part

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of our journey. It’s the main thing. This has shaped our family.

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Next to our kids relationship with Jesus, nothing has shaped us more

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than our homeschool experience. So

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100%. I mean, I know it’s used often, but I can’t

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help but refer to deuteronomy, chapter six, where

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Moses is giving God’s marching orders to the Israelites and

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saying, when you raise those children, talk about God’s

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commands when. Well, when you lie down, when you get up, when you walk

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along the street, that’s an all day, everyday thing. That’s not a

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Sunday thing. That’s not even an evening devotional thing. That’s an all

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day homeschooling thing. So for us, that’s what it’s looked like. It’s looked like

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breakfast. It’s looked like the classes they take. It’s looked like dinner and

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bedtime. And I am so grateful that we’ve had this

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opportunity to talk about faith in every subject of

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every day. And now that our boys are grown and tell me

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that they all plan to homeschool their kids. And that’s where

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you mentioned legacy and generations. This is how

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you pass faith on that faith baton generation to generation is

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by the all day, every day, you know,

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act of homeschooling better than any other way you could do it. Yeah,

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00:16:58,800 –> 00:17:02,464
absolutely. You talk about zooming out and taking a look at the whole

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picture, and it’s so funny because I just get this image in my head. We

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travel a lot as a family, and now that we’re in

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Oklahoma, we’re kind of in the middle of the country. We go every direction it

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00:17:12,528 –> 00:17:16,272
seems, and every single time we have to plan for a trip, I always.

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I get on my computer, not on my phone. I have to do it on

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00:17:18,712 –> 00:17:22,188
my computer because I have to see the map. I have to literally see the

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entire map and all map from Oklahoma. We just did it. We just went

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to California a few weeks ago. And so I

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mapped from Oklahoma to California, and I had to zoom

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out and look at, okay, what roads are we going to take? How are we

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going to get there? Because we drove and you have to

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look at the entire picture. And I think that’s such an important part. We talk

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all the time on this podcast about using gps. Like, you have to know where

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you’re going in order to get there. But also zooming out of and just seeing

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what does the whole picture look like? What do we want our kids futures to

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look like? What do we want our grandkids futures to look like? And it’s such

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an important thing for us to consider because

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it causes us as parents to be intentional about

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how we’re doing life, you know, how we’re

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00:18:06,698 –> 00:18:10,466
parenting them, what we’re teaching them. Absolutely. What really matters right now,

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00:18:10,498 –> 00:18:14,074
we’re going through. And you’re probably doing this right now. It’s summertime, and so I’m

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00:18:14,122 –> 00:18:16,738
still kind of working through, like, what is this next year? Gonna look like I’m

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00:18:16,754 –> 00:18:20,440
only gonna have one that I’m gonna be schooling since my eldest

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00:18:20,480 –> 00:18:24,112
just graduated. And so it’s going to look a little bit different this year.

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Yep. And. And we’ll talk about sports later. But for. For us this year, like,

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a whole different thing where she’s actually playing volleyball and

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she just tried out for a volleyball team. And it’s like, this is a whole

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new world for us because we’ve never done sports, and

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00:18:38,480 –> 00:18:41,992
it just looks different. But I’m able to kind of zoom out and was able

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00:18:42,016 –> 00:18:45,664
to look at, like, what are the benefits of her playing volleyball? Self

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00:18:45,712 –> 00:18:49,432
discipline, looking, you know, being able to work as a team,

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00:18:49,496 –> 00:18:53,244
listening to instructions from the coach, all the things I’m like, I don’t really

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00:18:53,292 –> 00:18:55,572
care whether or not she makes it over the net. What I care about is

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00:18:55,596 –> 00:18:58,680
the character development that comes with that

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00:18:59,020 –> 00:19:02,796
training of learning to play volleyball. And so, again, it’s just zooming out.

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00:19:02,828 –> 00:19:06,484
Like you said, looking at the entire picture of their

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00:19:06,532 –> 00:19:09,916
lives. It’s so true. And I think for especially younger

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00:19:09,948 –> 00:19:13,160
families, when you’re in the thick of it and you’re just, like,

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00:19:13,620 –> 00:19:17,292
putting out the fires, you got the diapers, the tantrums, you know, the snacks, the

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00:19:17,316 –> 00:19:21,064
naps, it’s hard to zoom out. But I encourage anyone listening

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00:19:21,112 –> 00:19:23,928
if you feel like you’re just in the thick of it to zoom out and

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00:19:23,944 –> 00:19:27,660
think, what do I want my kids childhood to look like? What do I want

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00:19:27,960 –> 00:19:31,800
the most important things in their life to be as they grow up and

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00:19:31,840 –> 00:19:34,944
leave the home one day? And those are the things you want to focus on?

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00:19:35,032 –> 00:19:38,256
Absolutely. I think even writing it down, I mean, you could even make a

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00:19:38,288 –> 00:19:41,816
picture of it with your kids. Take each child

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00:19:41,888 –> 00:19:45,736
individually, and where do we want them to be 1015,

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00:19:45,808 –> 00:19:49,452
2050 years from now? That’s right. And then

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00:19:49,476 –> 00:19:52,348
let’s back up and figure out how we’re going to get there. What road are

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00:19:52,364 –> 00:19:55,932
we going to take to get there? So, so good. Yeah. And it all

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00:19:55,956 –> 00:19:59,788
focuses on Jesus. It all comes back to the word of God, which

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00:19:59,804 –> 00:20:03,612
is the most important thing, you know, trusting him to guide us

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00:20:03,636 –> 00:20:07,332
and lead us as we navigate through this life. So. That’s right. It’s so

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00:20:07,356 –> 00:20:10,596
exciting. Well, we’ve got so much more to talk about, but we’re out of time,

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00:20:10,628 –> 00:20:13,988
so we’re going to come back and talk more with Monica. Monica, tell people where

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00:20:14,004 –> 00:20:17,806
they can find your book and all things. And you have a podcast, too. I

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00:20:17,838 –> 00:20:21,198
do. Where can they find all things? Monica Swanson. Yes.

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00:20:21,334 –> 00:20:23,854
Easiest place to find me. Is my home base website,

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00:20:23,942 –> 00:20:27,430
MonicaSwanson.com. I have the Monica Swanson

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00:20:27,430 –> 00:20:30,606
Podcast. It used to be the boy mom podcast, but now we

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00:20:30,718 –> 00:20:34,462
expanded to talk about other things as well. And yes,

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00:20:34,526 –> 00:20:37,494
you’ll find all my books and all my things MonicaSwanson.com.

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00:20:37,494 –> 00:20:41,304
Awesome. We will put those links in the show notes. Stay tuned to

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00:20:41,312 –> 00:20:44,072
hear what’s coming up next on the podcast. And you guys, thank you so much

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00:20:44,096 –> 00:20:47,536
for listening. We were talking about the movie, Monica and I. Last time we

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00:20:47,688 –> 00:20:51,120
recorded together, the movie was not yet out. We were still in production. And so

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00:20:51,160 –> 00:20:53,768
she’s like, I haven’t seen it yet. Oh, you’ve got to see the movie now.

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00:20:53,784 –> 00:20:57,624
So if you guys haven’t seen it, go to SchoolhouseRocked.com. it’s right on

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00:20:57,632 –> 00:21:00,864
the front page. You can stream it for free and share it with your friends.

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00:21:00,952 –> 00:21:04,008
Have a watch party. It’s not too late to do that. Invite some friends over

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00:21:04,024 –> 00:21:07,720
at summertime now, and people are still sometimes considering

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00:21:07,760 –> 00:21:11,306
homeschooling. If you’re considering homeschooling, get Monica’s

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00:21:11,338 –> 00:21:15,146
book. Becoming Homeschoolers, because there this really, it speaks to

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00:21:15,178 –> 00:21:18,650
any kind of homeschooler, but it’s a great book for those who are just considering

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00:21:18,770 –> 00:21:22,442
whether or not it’s a good fit for their family. So get

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00:21:22,466 –> 00:21:26,162
her book, watch the movie, schoolhouse rock, the homeschool revolution, and I

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00:21:26,186 –> 00:21:29,178
promise you will be blessed by both. Have a great rest of your day, and

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00:21:29,194 –> 00:21:31,270
we will see you back here next time. Bye.

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00:21:34,900 –> 00:21:38,332
When I asked my son Luke what he most was happy to

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00:21:38,356 –> 00:21:42,084
avoid, the first thing he said was, I just, I’m so glad that I’ve never

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00:21:42,132 –> 00:21:44,772
felt stuck. And I was like, tell me what you mean. And he’s like, well,

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00:21:44,796 –> 00:21:47,540
I just look at these kids, and they all have to go to whatever school

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00:21:47,580 –> 00:21:51,276
they’re zoned for. They sit in a class that they’re assigned. They have no choice

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00:21:51,308 –> 00:21:54,876
in it, and they have to study the things that everyone else is studying all

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day. He’s like, I can’t even imagine feeling stuck.

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