SR 843: Becoming Homeschoolers: Faith, Family, and Freedom – Monica Swanson, Part 2

Watch this full interview on our YouTube Channel.

Yvette Hampton sits down with Monica Swanson, author of *Becoming Homeschoolers*, to discuss the top reasons for homeschooling. Get an in-depth view of how homeschooling can positively impact your family’s faith, freedom, and education. Monica shares valuable research findings and personal stories from her own homeschooling experiences. Tune in for tips and encouragement on navigating your homeschooling journey!

Come back tomorrow 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. **Faith and Family Values:**

How does Monica Swanson prioritize faith and family values in her homeschooling journey, and what impact has that had on her children’s development?

2. **Personal Experiences:**

Monica mentions her four sons being best friends as one of the key benefits they’ve experienced from homeschooling. How important do you think sibling relationships are in a homeschooling environment?

3. **Academic Performance:**

Discuss the research Monica Swanson shares about homeschool students consistently outperforming traditionally schooled students on SAT tests and being sought after by colleges. How significant are these findings in your decision-making process about homeschooling?

4. **Real-World Preparation:**

According to Monica, homeschoolers are often better prepared for the real world. Discuss how homeschooling can provide better real-world experiences compared to traditional schooling.

5. **Teen Sleep Patterns:**

Monica mentions research about teens needing more sleep due to melatonin shifts during adolescence. How can homeschooling accommodate these biological changes better than traditional schooling?

6. **Social Pressures:**

What are the social pressures that Monica believes homeschoolers can avoid, and how do these pressures impact traditional school students?

7. **Middle School Homeschooling:**

Monica emphasizes the benefits of homeschooling during the middle school years. Why might this particular period be especially suited for homeschooling, according to her?

8. **Flexible Learning Environments:**

Discuss Monica’s point about her son not feeling “stuck” because of the flexibility homeschooling provides. How does this flexibility contribute to a child’s overall educational experience?

9. **High School Decisions:**

High school can be particularly stressful for students as they prepare for the next phase of life. How does homeschooling help manage this stress, and what strategies does Monica suggest for supporting high schoolers through this challenging time?

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Whatever their philosophy is, is what you’re going to get. It’s not going to be

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the same school by school or class by class. So you’re getting really the

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philosophies, values, spiritual beliefs of your

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teachers taught in the classroom. Even if it’s not direct, it is indirectly going

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to come out through what they’re teaching. Hey, everyone, this is Yvette

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Hampton. Welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am back with Monica

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Swanson, and we are talking about homeschooling and her new book called Becoming

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Homeschoolers. We will put links in the show notes, of course, to where you can

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find this book. It’s an excellent book. It says give your kids a great education,

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a strong family and a life they’ll thank you for later. And she talked

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about that in her first episode. You know, just her boys now,

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her three oldest are adults. And the legacy that she and

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her husband have been able to leave for them and that they already plan to

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homeschool their kids. I mean, that says a lot about her

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raising of them and her husband’s raising of them and how they, they really did

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have a great impact on them. So we’re going to talk more about those things

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today. But before we do, I want to say thank you to our sponsor, BJU

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Press Homeschool. If you’re looking for a great christian homeschool

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out BJUPressHomeschool.com. and they are amazing. They will

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walk through your homeschool journey with you. And if you’re not sure what

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you need, call them up, talk to one of their consultants and they will help

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you figure out what it is that you need. So BJUPressHomeschool.com.

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monica, welcome back. Let’s talk about some of

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the reasons for homeschooling because I know that, again, if

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there’s people who are maybe considering homeschooling, they’re like, I’m not

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sure that this is the best fit for my family. And

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they really don’t, they can’t pinpoint specifically the

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reasons why homeschooling is right for them.

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Talk through some of the maybe best reasons, maybe like the top five

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reasons that you have for home educating. Yes.

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I love this. And I have been encouraged to hear from a

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lot of readers, especially readers who are already

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homeschooling who said they needed this because maybe they were hitting

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burnout. Maybe they were questioning, you know, maybe my kids would do better

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if I just sent them to a traditional school. And after reading this section, they

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were like, I was re energized. I was reminded, I’m sticking with it.

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This is worth hanging in there. But, you know,

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typically, if somebody asks me why I homeschool, I think of all the.

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The warm fuzzies. I mean, I think of, like we talked about in the last

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episode, the fact that my four sons are best friends, from the 20,

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almost 25 year old down to the 14 year old. They go on road

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trips every year together. They love each other. The fact that I talk to my

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boys every day, we have a really tight family. To me, that’s at the

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top of the list, like their faith, the fact that they all have a

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solid biblical worldview that nobody deconstructed, you

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know, everybody is doing really well. Those are the things I think of. But I

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know that there’s parents out there who are like, I need to know more.

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I need more facts. And so I did a lot of research, and I included

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on my list of 20 good reasons to homeschool. Things like the fact that

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homeschool students consistently outperform

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traditional schooled students in SAT tests. Yep. The fact

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that colleges are now seeking out homeschoolers because they are proving to be

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self directed learners involved on the campus. All the things that a college

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would want. There are things like

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homeschoolers are good at time management. They’re ready for the

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real world because they’ve grown up living in the real world and observing what

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adults do, so they’re prepared for the real world.

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But again, top of my list would be faith

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family. The fact that my boys have been able to pursue their passions

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and interests and be really well rounded, and a couple of

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them are pursuing sports really seriously and have that opportunity.

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You asked for five. I think I gave more than that for. You can give

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more than that. You can keep going if you want to. We’ve got lots of

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time. Well, yes. I mean, I guess I would say if

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there’s anything else I’d like to highlight, probably

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just the real. I mentioned it, but the fact that

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they’re prepared for the real world. I loved that my boys had a chance to

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do internships their freshman year of high school, that they had a chance

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to really get to know the topics that they were interested

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in. I think so many kids rush through high school, they have to commit to

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a major in college. You and I kind of talked about that before this. They’re

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not ready. They’re not. They haven’t had the experiences to know, and now they feel

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stuck. Now they choose a major and they may never even work in that major,

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and now they. Now they are in debt from college, and they never. So

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it’s like that whole real world experience is really hard

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to put into words until you’ve seen your kids do it and you see them

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grow up and mature and be really ready for what’s next. Yeah,

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it’s funny you said faith and family, and, you know, we. We

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just had, you know, celebrated independence day. And

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oftentimes you’ll see people with the t shirts that say faith, family, and freedom.

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And I thought, that’s a great slogan for homeschooling. I never thought about that until

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you just said that. But I thought, that’s perfect, because it really is. Faith, family,

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and freedom. It’s being able to instill God’s word and truth into the hearts of

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our kids. It’s family and the relationships that we have with one another. And then

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it’s the freedom to be able to allow them to become who God’s

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created them to be and explore life. You know, you talk about internships and things

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like that. I mean, that’s such a great opportunity our kids

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have to figure out, yeah, what do they like? You know, how

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many kids go to college and say, I’m gonna go

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major in this particular area, and they get into it and they’re like, nope,

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I hate that. And they’ve spent a whole year or two or four. Absolutely.

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Studying something that they then realize is not something that they really wanna

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do. But like you said, they don’t have the opportunity. When

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they’re in middle school and high school, typically, if they’re in a

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classroom, they don’t have time. There’s no margin. There’s no margin.

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Speaking of which, I’ll mention one other thing on my list that I think has

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really been helpful. Assuming that people listening might be sending

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this episode to your friends who maybe don’t always listen to this podcast,

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but are thinking about homeschooling, maybe they’ve mentioned it. So one

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thing I really think is important for people to consider is the fact that we

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have, you know, what people are saying is an epidemic in our country, in

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the world right now, with kids and anxiety and depression. And we know

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that this relates to the use of technology and cell phones

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and social media. And I’m going to say, across the board, research is

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finding that homeschoolers are getting more sleep, an average of

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90 minutes more sleep per night, which they need

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desperately. Less anxiety, less depression, just

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so much healthier. And that’s

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gonna solve these problems that we see in our world where, you know, kids are

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up all night on social media because they feel all these pressures at school, and

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then they go face their friends and it is such a mess out there.

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You can solve a whole lot by bringing them home, by giving them the sleep

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they need. I loved finding, actually, my boys loved

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that. I found research that melatonin, that,

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you know, the chemical that we really need for good sleep, actually

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shifts during the teenage years. And it’s released

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later, actually, into the early morning hours. So kids go

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into their deepest sleep right about the time kids who go to a

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traditional school have to be up and out the door. And so the fact

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that they have trouble falling asleep at night is somewhat due to

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just this shift in melatonin. And so how great, though

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I try to keep my boys on a good schedule. I wake them up in

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the morning, they’re not sleeping till noon, but if they need that extra sleep

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as homeschoolers, they can sleep extra. And that is so

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helpful for their mental health, for their physical health, for their growth, for everything they’re

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doing. Yeah. So what did, I was going to ask you about that. Like, were

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you one of those moms who just let your kids sleep until they wake up?

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And then here’s the, you know, here’s the things you need to do throughout the

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day and get it done right. How structured were you

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with them? Right. Well, I was always kind of having that inner

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battle that I mentioned in the last episode where I love a structured day.

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But no, I think I was pretty reasonable. I would let them sleep,

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but by about 08:00 I would typically, if they were still asleep, I’d be like,

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you know, unless something had come up the night before and we were all out

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late. So I would get them up and the older boys were

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pretty self directed and that they’d get up, do their devotions and start

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school. My youngest needs a little prodding, a little nudging, and then, of

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course, the third son, because he’s a competitive surfer, he would often

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be out the door really early to surf, sometimes come home, take a power

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nap, and then start school about noon. So had to be flexible

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with some of that. Yeah, yeah. Oh, my goodness. I can’t imagine getting up

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that early and going out in the water. I know it. Surfing, painful for me

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as a mom, so crazy. It’s so funny. I can’t not think

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about Bethany Hamilton and her story and her going out and surfing and, you

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know, her mom. I mean, I don’t know if that was, I know it’s a

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true story. But in the movie, you know, her mom says something like,

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well, we could stop homeschooling you. And she’s like, no. Cause she has the

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freedom to be able to surface in the

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mornings, in the afternoons, whenever she wants. Oh, yes, my boys do appreciate

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that when it comes to their sports. Yeah, for sure. Let’s take a break. We’ll

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Apologia.com. We are back with

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Monica. Let’s talk about some of the things that homeschoolers get to

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avoid, because you talk about this in your book, and I think oftentimes

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we talk about, like, the benefits of homeschooling, but we don’t

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always think about the things that we avoid from putting our

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kids in traditional school. I love this. I loved

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researching this. You know, many of us think of

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avoiding things like the social pressures. Think about things

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like the things that are, especially now. I mean, for anyone

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listening, that’s like, well, I homeschool. I mean, I went to public school and I

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did fine. I just have to say, the world is changing.

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Literally, week by week, it is changing. So even if you came

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through just fine, don’t think your kids are gonna have the same experience. So that’s

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my big warning. But I think of them avoiding so many of

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those things that have crept into our school system all the way down to the

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elementary years. I probably don’t even need to name them. But when I

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talk to people, one of the top things that comes up is school violence.

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Parents are terrified about the school shootings. And, you

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know, I try to be a realist and say, listen, it’s a very low percentage

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chance that any kid going to school is going to be a part of one.

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But you know what? They all have to go through active shooter drills. That’s

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pretty traumatizing in itself. I remember doing the earthquake drills and

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that freaked me out. So an active shooter drill, I can’t imagine having to

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practice that in school. So you get to avoid all of that.

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You know, bullying. Bullying is awful. And homeschool students,

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I. Most of the bullying happens either on the school bus

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or sometime in the school day or on the way home or something related to

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school. You get to avoid that when you homeschool. Exposure

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to drugs and alcohol. Of course, homeschoolers may be exposed somewhere else,

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but for the most part, you’re pretty safe keeping your kids home.

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And the list goes on. Teaching of evolution as fact

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in the classroom, systemic racism that, however

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your teachers are teaching, whatever their perception is, I mean,

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whatever their philosophy is, is what you’re gonna get. It’s not gonna be

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the same school by school or class by class. So you’re getting really the

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00:12:35,168 –> 00:12:38,696
philosophies, values, spiritual beliefs of your

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teachers taught in the classroom. Even if it’s not direct, it is indirectly

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gonna come out through what they’re teaching. I remember that in school, my teacher’s just

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kind of chatting on the side and pretty soon they’re talking about whatever their wacky

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beliefs are and you just, your kids are just sitting there taking it

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in. So. Yeah. So much you can avoid by keeping your kids home.

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Absolutely. You know, I oftentimes hear people talk

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about, well, bullying still happens in homeschooling and

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things are still taught in homeschool co ops and things like that. The difference

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is if your child is in a co op or some type of a

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homeschool program and they’re being bullied or other kids are being bullied,

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you as the parent have the freedom to take them out and put them

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in because it does happen. And more and more, as you’re talking about the world

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changing, the homeschool community is changing very

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rapidly. And there are some good things about that. There are some not so good

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things about that. And so because of COVID so many people have brought their

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kids home, and so these, what were oftentimes

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they were once solid christian conservative

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homeschool groups are not so much that anymore. Some

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still are, but they have to be very intentional about being that

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still. But there are, you know, my girls take classes,

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just a la carte classes. You know, my youngest is taking

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sewing and self defense,

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and there we go. Beauty basics class this year. I love it.

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And geography, like, those are the only classes she’s taking. Just, they’re all just electives,

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you know? But that’s because I want her to be able to

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have interaction and fellowship with these other kids

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anyway. It can happen where these things our kids are exposed

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to, the things that we’re trying to pull them away from. Absolutely. But it’s not

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like they have to go to this particular school and they have to have this

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particular teacher, and the parent has no say in it because that’s the school

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district that you’re in, and that’s the teacher they’re assigned to. Exactly. If it’s not

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working for them, pull them out. Absolutely. In fact, when I asked my son Luke,

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who is the competitive surfer in the family,

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what he most was happy to avoid, the first thing he said was,

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I just, I’m so glad that I’ve never felt stuck. And I was like, tell

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00:14:47,524 –> 00:14:49,972
me what you mean. And he’s like, well, I just look at these kids, and

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they all have to go to whatever school they’re zoned for. They sit in a

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class that they’re assigned. They have no choice in it, and they have to study

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the things that everyone else is studying all day. He’s like, I can’t even

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imagine feeling stuck. He’s like, at least at home, I can do my

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school. Outside, I can do school inside. I can choose what I’m

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focused on. Sure, there’s a few core subjects I have to scratch off my

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list, but then I get to choose the things I study. So I love hearing

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from him. Yeah, it’s tough, you know, looking back into my

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years of schooling, my middle school year, 7th

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grade, there was a girl named Maria who was a bully,

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and she threatened me and bullied me. She never touched me,

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but I was terrified. I remember being just terrified to go to school because I

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never knew if she was going to try to touch me or do something, you

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know, if she’s going to hit me across the face. I didn’t know,

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like. And it was terrifying. So I would get to school literally right

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before the bell rang, and I would leave as soon as school was

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over because I was so afraid of her. And I just think,

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and that was a horrible way to live. Right. And, yeah,

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I’m thankful that we can pull our kids away from that and that they don’t

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have to experience those things, so. Exactly. Oh, goodness. Let’s

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talk, you know, talking about kind of the middle school years. Talk a little bit

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about those middle school and high school years. And I think it’s interesting because

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a lot of parents kind of go one way or another. Oftentimes

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parents will put their kids in school for elementary

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and then they’ll say, we’ll bring them home to homeschool them in the later years

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or they’ll do the reverse and they will homeschool

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00:16:23,248 –> 00:16:26,952
them in the early years, and then they will want to

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put them into. Wait, did I just say that backwards? I’m not

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00:16:30,808 –> 00:16:33,944
sure, but I know what you’re saying. They start them at home and then send

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them home. Right? Right. Yes. Or send them and then plan to bring them home.

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Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, totally. And it’s just better to

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just keep them home. I mean, this is such a great topic that I think

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00:16:44,768 –> 00:16:48,586
we could all sit around and chat about. Yeah. I think

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at one point people would suggest,

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well, I’ll send my kids to school and bring them home when things get

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really a little trickier, you know, by middle school, lots of things coming into

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the school. And I’m like, no, those things are coming into the school earlier and

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earlier. Yeah. By kindergarten, many

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schools are exposing kids to stories of

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same sex marriage. They’re introducing kids to all these concepts.

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They’ve got their Ydez, their pride weeks and their all the things

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00:17:17,432 –> 00:17:21,216
that’s not reserved for middle school or high school. They are teaching

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those kids younger and younger. So with that.

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But in the book, I believe that I state, if there’s one

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time I encourage people to homeschool, it’s middle school because

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I take some time in that chapter. In fact, there’s a section, the middle

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00:17:36,752 –> 00:17:40,448
section of the book is preschool to college. So whatever age your kids are, it’s

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a guidebook. It’s talking about what they need, curriculum. It’s talking about everything they

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need from preschool to college, wherever you find yourself or whatever you’re stressed

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about. And I take some time in the middle school

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00:17:51,552 –> 00:17:54,856
chapter just to hang out and chat about middle school. What’s going on in middle

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00:17:54,888 –> 00:17:58,352
school? Partly because I just have a heart for those sweet,

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00:17:58,456 –> 00:18:02,160
awkward, funny, confusing years

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00:18:02,200 –> 00:18:05,552
of middle school. I just look at my boys with their long

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00:18:05,656 –> 00:18:09,408
limbs and they’re trying to figure things out. And

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00:18:09,424 –> 00:18:12,710
so I’m like, what’s going on? Let’s look at what’s going on physically,

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00:18:12,870 –> 00:18:16,398
emotionally, spiritually. Puberty is a huge factor.

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So if there’s ever a time that’s really helpful to just pull your kids out

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00:18:20,286 –> 00:18:23,382
of all the crazy and just give them a good education and a lot of

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00:18:23,406 –> 00:18:27,142
love and support and freedom at home, middle school’s a great time to do

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00:18:27,166 –> 00:18:30,702
that. And then that extends into high school, which is also just a

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00:18:30,726 –> 00:18:34,294
complicated season of growth and development and so many big life

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00:18:34,342 –> 00:18:38,038
choices. So, yeah, I think that because of what kids are

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00:18:38,054 –> 00:18:41,784
going through in those years, homeschooling is such a great option. Yeah.

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00:18:41,872 –> 00:18:45,592
The high school years are tough because everybody, you know, if you’ve had a

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00:18:45,616 –> 00:18:49,432
graduate, you know, everybody asks them their senior year, and as

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00:18:49,456 –> 00:18:52,488
you get closer to graduation, it’s always a, what are you gonna do next? What

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00:18:52,504 –> 00:18:55,984
are you gonna do next? And it’s just a natural question to ask

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00:18:56,032 –> 00:18:59,648
someone who’s moving into the next phase of their life. But it’s very

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00:18:59,704 –> 00:19:02,792
stressful. At least I know it was for Brooklyn, where she was like, if one

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00:19:02,816 –> 00:19:06,300
more person asks me, then I’m gonna scream, please stop asking me. Yep.

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00:19:06,400 –> 00:19:10,236
But it’s. It’s a. It’s a lot. It’s a big burden for these

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00:19:10,268 –> 00:19:13,940
kids to carry. It is. And so, as their homeschool

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00:19:13,980 –> 00:19:16,804
parents, you know, if we have them home with us, we get to help direct

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and guide them. Again, looking, you know, taking that bird’s eye view

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00:19:20,420 –> 00:19:24,084
and zooming out to look at, well,

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where do you want to go? And helping them figure out, you know, what. What

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00:19:27,844 –> 00:19:30,468
next? And it could be a gap year. You talked about and talk about that

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00:19:30,484 –> 00:19:34,184
for just a minute. Actually, you know what? We’re out of time, so

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00:19:34,352 –> 00:19:37,896
let’s pause here, and then let’s come back tomorrow and let’s talk

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00:19:37,928 –> 00:19:41,672
about gap years, because I know that you’re two, was it two, your

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00:19:41,696 –> 00:19:44,552
two oldest to gap year? So I want to park on that just for a

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00:19:44,576 –> 00:19:48,376
minute, but we’ll come back and talk about that tomorrow. So for

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00:19:48,408 –> 00:19:51,864
those who would like to find out more about you again, tell them where they

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00:19:51,872 –> 00:19:54,928
can find you and your new book, becoming homeschoolers. Yes,

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00:19:55,024 –> 00:19:58,698
MonicaSwanson.com is my home base for my book, my

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00:19:58,714 –> 00:20:02,554
podcast, my courses, all the things I have. Okay. Thank you so much, you guys,

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00:20:02,602 –> 00:20:06,242
for listening. Stay tuned to the very end here. Clip of what’s coming up tomorrow

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00:20:06,386 –> 00:20:10,138
on the podcast. And if you’ve not left a review for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast,

335
00:20:10,274 –> 00:20:13,842
please do so, uh, we really appreciate it when you do that. And also, if

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00:20:13,866 –> 00:20:17,546
you have not yet listened to my husband’s new podcast, the Thinking

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00:20:17,578 –> 00:20:21,362
Dad, it’s so funny. We went to this homeschool conference, um, recently,

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00:20:21,466 –> 00:20:24,578
and there were a few moms who came up to my husband and said, oh,

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00:20:24,594 –> 00:20:28,034
I’ve been listening to the thinking dad. And any he’s like, that’s

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00:20:28,082 –> 00:20:31,702
awesome. And so it’s, you know, it’s geared, of course, towards

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00:20:31,766 –> 00:20:35,430
dads, but apparently there are a bunch of moms listening to it too, which

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00:20:35,470 –> 00:20:38,926
I absolutely love, and I listen to it, so it’s great. I

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00:20:38,958 –> 00:20:42,542
absolutely love it. I’m so encouraged by it. So it’s called the Thinking Dad.

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00:20:42,686 –> 00:20:46,534
You can find it wherever you find this podcast or go to ThinkingDad.net. We’ll put

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00:20:46,542 –> 00:20:48,958
a link to that in the show notes as well. Have a great day, and

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00:20:48,974 –> 00:20:51,010
we will see you back here tomorrow. Bye.

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00:20:54,670 –> 00:20:58,286
I think, like with all parts of parenting, you see so much clearer

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00:20:58,318 –> 00:21:01,928
looking back. And I think back to the joyful times

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were a lot of just the regular days. And, oh, the

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treasures I had just in spending that sweet time over lunch

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00:21:09,568 –> 00:21:13,264
with my boys, you know, hearing them read a paper

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00:21:13,312 –> 00:21:16,760
that they wrote that I wouldn’t have probably witnessed if they were doing that somewhere

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else. Just so many of the sweet moments around the house, doing

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life as a family. Now, that’s probably mixed with the same

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challenges, which was there were four kids around the house all the

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time, and I do appreciate a little peace and quiet, and I

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rarely have that. But the joys and the challenges were all mixed, and now, looking

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back, it’s more, much more joyous.

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