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Homeschooling Before it Was Cool with Boy Mom, Andrea Studt, Episode 15


Hey housewives come on in. You know the dirty dishes are still in the sink and the laundry is still in the basket. Pop your air pods and make yourself at home here. I'm Tori. I'm Tracy, and we are You're unlikely housewives stepping out in faith and believing that God calls me unlikely. We are here to show you the appreciation and validation you deserve lead you to authentic relationships and release you from believing the cultural lies to restore your faith and wellness. Pull up those high waisted yoga pants that in your top knot and reheat your coffee for the third time today. Turn up the volume and let's go


hey housewives we are so glad you have joined us again this week. We are so thankful and we have got a another outstanding ask for you that you guys are just going to absolutely love. But before we get into that we want to read our weekly review. Yes, welcome back housewives and we are going to share from Jodi eg she says thankful for women who are willing to step out and share their stories. However, please understand these stories are coming from an authentic place. They could make you giggle, belly laugh, ponder and even shed a tear worth a listen. Give them a whirl. Thank you so much, Jody, we are so grateful. For those that leave reviews, hop over to Apple podcast, give us a five star leave us a review and let us know what you think. And you can be featured next week Potentially, yes. Okay. So you guys, this is a real treat for me because I have had the honor of knowing this woman for almost five years now, which is really hard to believe that it has been that long, watching her getting to know her personally and then also just watching her journey via social media. Isn't that a blessing that we get to see our friends and get to know their inner lives of what they're willing to share on social media. And what I love about Andrea is how transparent she is and authentic on social media and then offer social media but the reason that we wanted to bring her here and share her with you housewives is because Andrea is a homeschooling mama. She started homeschooling before homeschooling was cool. Okay, I say that with the last couple of years in mind through the pandemic, a lot of parents were thrust into the homeschooling world because they decided that that's what was best for their kiddos in the midst of everything. Well, Andrea has got a story of how she has homeschooled seven boys. I say that seven boys. Mama's Yes. And so she is absolutely a warrior Mama Mama Bear of all the things and so we just wanted you to hear her story and her heart. So welcome to the podcast, Andrea.


Thank you, Tori. And Tracy, it's good to be here. It's my first podcast.


While we're happy that you you've joined us. And so I would love for you just to tell our audience a little bit about yourself so they can kind of get to know your your background and where you're coming from.


Sure. Okay, so I am a 49 year old, married mama. I have been married my husband for 22 years. And we started having children. We'd been married about three years and we started having children. We both were you know, we call deixe. Back then that's we call a deixe. Double income, no kids. So


that's been a long time. But I remember that.


Yeah. So that's what we were. And we enjoyed that little, I guess that little spot in our life for a couple years. We bought some land, and we're gonna build and we were not setting out to have seven children. I'll just go ahead and say that. You know, I was I was working as a nurse at a big, very prestigious pediatric hospital here in the Dallas area. And my husband worked for a corporate insurance company that he was an actuary. So that's what we were doing. And while we were planning to build and all that his mom came down with late stage cancer, and so he moved in with his parents, and we lived with them until she passed away in the live with his dad for the first year of him being widowed. So that's kind of the beginning of our family story. We got pregnant while we were living there. And then when we moved into our home that we had built on our acreage, we had our little first little boy about six months later. So that's when our family began. And I was working as a nurse. And when he was about I guess six weeks old, I went back to work part time. We had our second little boy less than I guess about 20 months later. And then I continue to work part time like two days a week in the surgery department in our pediatric hospital. And then when we I was playing with our third little boy about 18 months later that's When I just we decided, okay, because at that point, at that point I was working like what we call PRN at a hospital or you work as needed. But it was usually like one night a week I was working nights nights are very, because we had the two little boys. And it was just I know a lot of people do that. But for us, it was really hard. And, but right about the time I had just kind of had had like, Okay, this is enough, because working nights with two small children being pregnant for me was very difficult. I'm not a night person at all. Anyway, I can


imagine to like getting off of a night shift and then having to be on, right like the next day. For these two, two little people like that is got to be a hard transition.


Very, very. So that was about that time, we made the decision to just for me to just come home period. And about that time, my husband got a little bit of a raise. And we learned to live, you know, pretty frugally. So we were ready. And so that's the beginning of me leaving the nursing field as far as like, you know, a paid position, if you will. And I have continued my nursing license ever since then, because I've done some volunteer work as a nurse and nog refer at a pregnancy center and things like that. So I have still continue to continue using my nursing license in different ways. I just don't work at a hospital, I don't get paid for it.


Well bless you for that. I mean, getting your license renewed on the regular, that's got to be kind of that's a sacrifice, right as to continue to have that


love to do continuing education and we have to pay a fee every two years, but it's not too bad. It's not too bad. So,


okay, so I think you're pregnant with your third when you've decided to come home. So walk us through the last four kids.


Okay. Well, basically, I don't want to give too many details, but feel free to ask me questions. 2004 was when I came home. That was about the time our oldest was four, or he was three and a half, four. And we had our next one. And when in 2005. Really close together. We had five? Well, we had four little boys five and under. Let me just clarify four little boys five and under. And that was about the time our oldest was ready to go to kindergarten. We were getting ready. Right. Right. So the interesting thing was we weren't planning on homeschooling, it wasn't like we were like, We're gonna homeschool. You know, my husband comes from a full blown public school education, went to Texas a&m. And that's all he knew. I came from a Christian school background. So I was used to a little bit outside the box, you know, I never went to I never had a problem. Never had any of that kind of stuff. Okay, I you know, we didn't have all the things I was used to not having all the things, but obviously I love going to school and all that kind of stuff. But the interesting thing is, is we went on a little vacation. There's a reason I'm telling you this, we went on a little vacation to like South Carolina, and we stayed with a family of six. The dad was a public school teacher, and the mom was a nurse. And she stayed home with her six children and homeschooled Oh, wow, we happen to stay with them for vacation for a week. It was kind of a weird, Well, God orchestrated it. But um, it wasn't like we set out to do this to confirm homeschooling or anything like that.


So is this a family that you've known for a while? Or was this just kind of,


basically, you know, we had three young boys. I was about to have our fourth. Okay, so this was while we were still kind of like, you know, how you're like our oldest was, I guess, four at the time. And so we were like, not ready to put them in school. But you know, you're starting to think about it, right. We had traveled to go see some different family and friends. And South Carolina was one of the areas we were going to and this was my sister, my younger sister. She's like 10 years younger than me, her best friend that we had grown to love and know her family, because they were from Oklahoma, which is, you know, if you're familiar with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas, you know, like we've traveled back and forth there pretty often. It's not that far away from us three hours away. And so they had moved to South Carolina. And we knew another family that lived in South Carolina that we're friends of my husband's family from like years, like his whole childhood, right. So basically, we for whatever reason, chose to go out there because we wanted to go on a road trip with our kids. But we wanted to go stay with people that we knew not just stay in a hotel, you know, when you go on a trip a vacation with three young children. It's not really a vacation. It's a trip,


right? It's a trip, yes. Many vacations after family trip.


So we went to the Charlotte area is what I was trying to say. So so we said we were going to come visit and see them. They said we'll come stay with us. That's the how it happened. And being a family with six children, but they were ahead of us in life. They wanted to welcome us and be hospitable to us. It was just a very sweet thing for them to offer to do so we took them up on it. I have a


question on that. So what were their ages? What were you witnessing? Was there six kids in school? Like, I mean, again, average, but I'm just curious where what levels they were at.


So they had six children. It was five girls and one boy, which is and he was the baby of the family. So he was six. And it went all the way up until like, 18. Okay,


wow, this is like seeing your future. I mean, this is a glimpse into your future. That's how cool that is. Yeah.


And, and I think it was pretty cool that she was a nurse and that he was a public school teacher. So like, you know, my husband coming from a public school background was able to say, wow, these people homeschool. They're both well educated. The dad even teaches at a public school yet he wants his children homeschool. Do you know like, it really built his belief in even the idea of it? Because prior to that, if I had even mentioned homeschooling because we kind of been already talking about like, what are we going to do with Caleb, Caleb is our oldest. And when I mentioned homeschooling, my husband was like, No, we are not going to homeschool. Like anybody I've ever met their homeschool, they are so awkward and weird. And all those good things, you know, but let me just be honest, he really didn't know that many people that homeschool used to like literally like probably two or three. That's it,


though. I mean, I remember a kid on my street growing up that the homeschooling family and I remember these kids very, like not socialized? Well, I mean, they, their eight year old counted 123 45. Like, but that's like when you when I think of homeschool, like I think of that family. But I mean, and I mean like what, what's the number like less than 2% of the well, what was the number? Yeah, exactly what you say what was it before a pandemic? Yeah, but nobody went home. So I mean, it was very rare to see a homeschool. Yeah,


it was still not the norm at that time. Yet. There weren't more people homeschool. I mean, it wasn't like it was back in the 80s where it was like underground and all that. Because I mean, the truth is, is once we got into homeschool, we met some of those families that were kind of like the pioneers. And it was super cool to hear their stories of how they started homeschooling and all that. But anyway, all that to say, we spent the week with them, and we got to witness their day. And they basically homeschooled in the morning. And then they had lunch and then they had the rest of the afternoon to like do chores, do their music, go to the library go to the park, like it was structured, but it wasn't like all day, they were sitting at a desk, you know, and their children were you know, they had like a routine and a blow to their day. And like they helped do different things. And it was just very relaxing and being around them. And my husband was like, okay, like if we can homeschool like this, like, I don't have any problem with homeschooling. That's literally what he said on our on our drive back home. It was literally like, if we could homeschool like that, if he understood that didn't mean identical to them. But if it can look like that, um, like, let's homeschool. So, and what's funny is when Caleb turned five, because he turned five in the summer in July, I even came back to my husband and I was like, okay, like we could maybe dip our toe in homeschooling and just put him in like the prep school there was like a Christian prep school, kind of where we live where kids could go like two days a week. And it was a Christian based university model school. We knew other people that used it. And I was like, we could just put Caleb in that he could go two days a week and then the other days, I could homeschool him. And it was funny because he would my husband was like, no, if we're gonna homeschool, let's just do it. Like, let's just do it. You know, I just want to jump all in and I was like, Okay, and so that's what we did. 2005 is when we officially started homeschooling


now, obviously, I mean, Caleb was the guinea pig, if you I mean, as you continue to add to your family, because I mean, when Kayla, when you started homeschooling, Caleb, you had Caleb and then three others, right?


Well, I thought Yeah, I started homeschooling him in obviously August or September of 2005. And then December of 2005. I had our fourth little boy like a baby, so Okay, yeah. Kind of like for under five all together when we first started essentially.


Okay. After so after Caleb's first year of homeschooling, was your second oldest and going into was he ready for kindergarten? Or was he two years behind?


If you were in regular school, he would be two years behind because of where his birthday falls, but I will tell you he was for Wesley's are second born. He was four years old, and I walked into his room one day, had a book in his bed because I used to have rest time every day. Mama had to have rest time everyday to survive. And so they would read books in their bed and I walked into his room and he was reading a book and it was not a bob sat on cat book. It was like a regular little book, you know? Yeah. Like what different sounds grasp and things like that. And he was reading it. And I was like, how are you? And Ivan said, Wait, how are you reading that? He goes, I just, I just, I'm reading it. Well, let me just tell you let me kind of backtrack. One of the things that I learned having for small little boys while homeschooling is I got a hold of all the resources I could early on that taught me how to homeschool efficiently, but without a ton of extra fluff, okay, like I really learned like the tools like, most bang for my buck, get it done. Teach them the basics, make sure and one of the basics I learned early on is teach your kids how to read and they can teach themselves almost anything and that is very true. One of the fun things we did was I would put in that leapfrog Letter Factory video. Oh,


yes, I could sing all the songs with you. It always played in my minivan.


Although mom had someone shared with me, yes. Okay, I'll add that to our arsenal. Right. So Wesley being younger, he just listened to it. And he learned all the letter sounds learned how to blend words. I mean, I hardly even had to instruct him. I'm not even kidding. So well, you know, officially, he was, you know, four, and he was reading. So once we really started school, I just took off where he was like, I just let him have books and let him you know, I just I made sure he understood the basics of phonics for sure, and spelling and things like that. But he just really made homeschooling the second born pretty easy. He was pretty easy


one i I want to highlight something that I know a lot of like my friends who homeschool. What you just said is going at your child's pace, you saw what he was ready for, you know, and I think that's one of one of the gifts that homeschooling moms get to do is see where your kids are, what they need at that time and meet them where they're at. And that's I think the hardest part, watching my four kids go through school, when there's a couple that are struggling with certain things like the pace that they either have to try to speed up and catch up, or we're slowing down and we're trying to help causes them like angst and more anxiety that they're in this special class trying to do this, you know, so that is absolutely an internal struggle that I have watching my kids struggle in a classroom.


Yeah, that's very true at home, oh, and you're at home, you don't have to worry about any of that, whichever direction it goes, you don't have to worry about it, right? Because very freeing for that child, if they're struggling, or in a I don't want to say struggling, but just maybe slower, then they don't know that they're slower, they're not gonna know, less, you know, you put them in a situation where it's pointed out to them. I


also liked the point that you brought up on how you in the beginning, you're like, I'm gonna do this without a lot of fluff. Like, it's not until like going through school, like, I guess later on in high school, you realize what's busy work for your teachers and what's not. And when you start when I start to look at some of my kids stuff, you know, I'm going that's just busy work, you know? Yeah. And that's when you're like, that's how they feel. Eight hours a day.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you don't have to do that at home, you can be like, I didn't honestly one of the ways that I homeschooled Caleb, in those early years, having a newborn like our little fourth little one is he was a little bit, Caleb was a little bit of an early bird kind of like me. And so he would get up like at six, and the little ones would pretty much still be asleep. I mean, maybe I'd let them get up and watch a cartoon or something. But they, you know, they'd be pretty much asleep. And I would just get up with Caleb at six. And we would just get a school done early, I'd make him a little cup of hot chocolate, make him some toast, and we'd sit and get a schoolwork done while everybody was asleep. And then we'd be done, you know. And then the rest of the day was filled with play play. Like Mr. Rogers always, I always loved Mr. Rogers, quote, play as the work of childhood. And so I really understood play was part of their education and learning to get along and learning to share and learning to pick up toys and all that. So I was glad that I could get that quote unquote, seat work, if you will. And it was very fundamental work. But it wasn't fluff. It was. I read this book early on called the three R's by Ruth B chick, and it really stuck with me, she's like, if you could just be consistent every single day with these three basic things. You will see your child soar and their learning and it was reading, writing and arithmetic, the RS and so that was what we focus on every morning and I really felt like it did pay off.


Okay, so we've got four kiddos, so tell us how you kind of handled as as your family continued to grow with the boys. What did that start to look like? As Caleb got older? You've got Wesley starting to read. What did that look like as you added to your family?


Well, I mean, I definitely learned about time management, like you know, I learned how to focus, you know, maybe eight to 10 You know, was our learning time is what I would call it so it was A focus time where everybody was like this, we eat breakfast, we do our little chores, and we focus on learning. And so I was very structured in that way. And then after that, they could just play, you know, and do whatever. And then if we went out, we would go out or to go to the park, or we joined a co op, well, we had four little boys, when we joined Co Op, I don't remember. So that was like, one day a week where we go out and they get to do other classes with other kids. And I'd get, I guess, a little bit of a break, I don't know, cuz it's pretty busy when you're doing that. But you know, so we did a co op is what we did. And then just each one of them, you know, we just kind of graduated each one of them into the fold of learning to read and write and do the math and all that and to co op classes for the art and the science and the extra things that was overwhelming to me with a mom of four young, small little boys, we just kind of continue that. And when Caleb was nine, we joined a co op where they did like it was more mainstream, if you will, called Classical conversations. And that kind of filled that gap at the time, because it really helped me kind of get them in more of a rhythm and a little bit more of an academic push, even though I'm not super staunch on it. But it was good to get some straight, more structure, some writing help and things like that. And then I gained more confidence in my writing, teaching abilities. And so then we kind of spun off and did our own co op for a couple years where I taught the English and the writing. So you know, we kind of have gone through different phases of homeschooling, I guess I'd say I have a


question on the co op. You said you were teaching the English were you swapping with other families? Like you were doing one subject and another family was doing another subject? Is that how you did that?


Yeah, actually, we did. We've joined my four different coops over the years, and they all look a little different. So like a classical conversations Co Op is one where you pay a good amount of money for kids to be in these specific classes with a specific curriculum. Right? We did that for a few years. And then prior to that one, we did more of a low key enrichment type Co Op where moms volunteer to teach different classes. And it was a bigger one mine dude, the first one we went to I mean, it probably had, I'm just going to kind of guess, maybe 15 families. So that's kind of bigger. When we left classical conversations, it was more of a small like four family Co Op. And we did we all swapped and did different areas that we were maybe more inclined toward or passionate about. And we led those kind of like one led an art class and one led a Bible and history class, I lead the writing and grammar. And we did that for a couple years.


That's awesome. So as you as Caleb got older, obviously you grew with him and doing different styles, this Co Op being one of them. How were you managing all the others and bringing in new babies?


Yes, it was a juggling act, I guess. Sometimes I'm like, I don't really know. Other than just I think I learned you know like anything I learned to not be a perfectionist and learn to just always be moving the needle forward. Always be making sure that we're learning something new always doing something new, always doing the basics consistently, like the math and the reading and the writing. Those are the things that can catapult them into more independent learning. Anyway, I you know, I just juggled I don't couldn't even tell you.


Honestly. Okay, if you just say, by the grace of God, I mean, it's a good valid answer.


By the grace of God, I mean, I will say at one point after our fifth, I had a, we had another little boy and I lost him at 19 weeks pregnant. And so I went through a great my mom passed away that year to and I will just say, to some degree, I learned that year like God legitimately fills in the gaps because I was in the pits of grief for a good six months. And I wonder like, Wait, how did we do that? Like how did but everything's okay. Like they manage like we manage, you know, but that's the thing is, as you grow in homeschooling, you start to really recognize this is just our lifestyle. This isn't this regimented thing that we have to do to fill in boxes, like, this is our lifestyle. So if I had six months where maybe we weren't doing as much, or maybe it didn't seem like it was as consistent as I would have liked, they were still doing the things and we were, I would say, to some degree, we were a little at a good rhythm by that point. They did their things that they knew they needed to do. And the little littlest ones weren't really school, a jet per se. So you know, we got by and all that good stuff. Oh, god. Yeah.


So did you as Caleb and Wesley, really your own family pioneers of the homeschool family, right. Were they ever at a point where they started to help the littles like


very much? That's a good question. Yeah. And I would say we use a lot. We've always use this one math curriculum called Matthew C. And so the older boys knew so well how to do it. I would catch them showing the younger ones how to do their blocks and how to figure it out and like Leslie my second born is very much just an in a natural teacher. And so he would always help me teach like Seth right below him or Eli below him. Caleb is very much more of the nurturing one of the family, the oldest, and so he would be more helping me like do housework or do dishes. So it really was pretty neat. Watching my boys like, helped me carry the load. And they're really it makes me almost choked up when I talk about it to be honest, because they really are. Were very precious to me. Those oldest boys for sure the oldest three really did so much. That's such a place in the family because I had to go Yeah, absolutely. There's really no choice. You know. So real quick,


what is the age difference between Caleb and your youngest?


So Caleb was born in 2000. And then our youngest was born in 2015. So So 52 to


15. Yeah, so okay, you are well past elementary years. You've got high school and college kids. As you were talking and like I was feeling like you were still had littles because I'm sure that's probably what it seemed like a very long season of having littles. But tell us now what it's like with the kids being older. I'm sure there's a lot more self sufficiency in their education.


Basically, we have five that are completely like, ages 15 to 21. And then we have two littles as what we call them. So our littles. So we had the little boy that we lost. And then we had there was a little bit of a gap, but it's basically between our fifth and our sixth son, there's a gap because of that. Okay, and so, our sixth son is nine and our seventh son is six now. Okay, so we call them the littles. Yeah, but the older ones, I mean, yeah, they're very independent, like we do once they get into high school, like somewhere around 7/8 grade, we put them in a class. And this kind of brings into the male influence thing. I want to just share how Yes, so here where we live, there happens to be a course for homeschoolers called worldviews of the Western world. And it's a Christian homeschooling curriculum, and a male teacher, which is a homeschool dad, basically, it his wife, who their children have all graduated, they're adults, they took up this torch, and they homeschool this particular curriculum one day a week. And so I take them there, and they take this class with other kids, and then they're home the rest of the week doing the work. So once they get into like, seventh eighth grade, I put them in that class, if you will, for the rest of high school, honestly. And so they have their syllabus, they have it all prepared. And then I make sure they do math and science and foreign language on the side, if you will. And they just they just know what they're supposed to do. I mean, obviously, I have to oversee it, and all that, but I don't have to do anything. I'm not standing there doing anything. Now, my husband, if they do get stuck math is probably the only thing right that like, obviously, if you have a kid that struggles like they're going to need help. Right? So Thank the Lord. My husband has a math degree. I don't even know how they did in nursing school. But I did. Did all that I needed to do for nursing school for math, algebra and statistics. And then I was like, okay, but I could never teach it. You know, I just did what I could do to get a good grade. So my husband fills in those gaps. But yeah, they're independent, totally independent. We do have two in college. So we have one is about to finish his bachelor's and get his master's in family marriage counseling. And our other one is doing a course it's like a cybersecurity trade. Oh, yeah.


That I mean, I like a technology trade degree. Like that's very much needed. Yeah. valuable for sure.


Your certification out of a college out by where we live. So they both chosen different very different things. And that's totally fine. Do you know, because that's the way they're both bent? Yeah. So obviously, they're very independent. Oh, Lord,


I have a question about that. Ben. So with having kids in college now, can you see advantages that homeschooling gave them over having public school education?


You know what, what I can do is I can tell you what they've told me. Yes. The best feedback ever. So my oldest Caleb, he's at Dallas Baptist University. And I'm super proud of him because he's had to work he cleans pools so he's had to work it. He goes to school full time and works to help pay toward his college, and he's always on the Dean's list, like every single semester, and he told me I feel like home my advantage from homeschooling was I always first of all I love to learn, like because of the way you homeschooled us, you never really like burnt us out on learning. Like we didn't feel like we sat at a desk for six hours a day. So I've always enjoyed learning so like learning isn't a chore to me studying isn't a chore. So he's told me that and then he said I've always because always had a time management because you just let me be independent and figure out my stuff like I know how to time manage, like, turn stuff in. I know when I need to study, I know how to like I don't cram everything in at the last minute. So he's told me that and then Wesley, my second born who's a totally mind you, they're totally different. So this is why I go, don't assume just because you homeschool, every kid's gonna look just like this because there have different personalities and different strengths or weaknesses. Caleb, our oldest is more of your typical firstborn focuses studies, academic focus, all those things. But then Wesley is highly intelligent, can figure anything out. If we need anything done around the house, we can figure out how to fix the plumbing or fix the electrical, he can hang lights for me, he does all kinds of stuff. But he's more of an outside the box learner. And he probably struggles more with time management, even though he knows how to do it, he tends to be a little bit more of a procrastinator. That's his personality, but he's doing fine in college and learning on his own. You know, I know most people do this, but you know, we don't have a being homeschooled. We don't have a college, high school advisor that can tell our kids, this is what you do when you apply for college. This is what you do you know what I mean? Like, I don't have that kind of guidance here. My kids have honestly basically had to do everything on their own. Like, I've just been like, if you need help, let me know. So both of them have just gone to whatever college and told the people, I'm homeschool, what do I need. And so they've taken care of all their own college stuff. So I've noticed that like they do not depend on their parents to get them enrolled in college and get them to figure out all their housing issues and other payment issues. They do all that on their own. So Wesley, though my second born, one of the things I love about him, though, is while he's in college, and he works, too, he loves music, and he's always making music and creating music. And he loves to do computer programming and coding. And that's what he always did when he was a kid, you know, I would just give him he'll be like, I just want to read books on coding mom. And so when he was, you know, 11, I would just give him a book on coding. And he would just learn Oracle learn, SQL, learn, whatever, all those things, you know, I don't even know what they're all called. But he would just learn how to do it. And so that's caused him to be like, okay, like, this is a really great course on taking or a certification. He was like, but I'd know so much of this stuff already. So what he's started, so it's kind of funny, they're just so different. But it's like, it's interesting, because you realize, like, he's learned so much just on his own. So he was really well prepared for his degree he's getting because he learned so much just on his own so


well. And what's incredible, too, is that listening to how you have set your kids up, where for them to take one class, go to a physical class a week, and then have the rest of the week to do the work. I mean, that's what you do in college. They're learning studying skills, they're learning. I mean, most kids get out of high school and don't know how to study for college. Like, they don't know what that looks like. And your kids have been doing it since the seventh and eighth grade. And you know, yeah, even earlier, right, like, yeah, early on, you said that if once they start to read, they can teach themselves like that. That's what's incredible on that advantage that I think so much of us miss out on when when we think about homeschooling so


yeah, and I think too, it's just, it's more innate, it just comes with the territory. Whereas if you I guess, if you were in traditional school, you know, kids are taking, like, how to study classes, and like, how to study, you know, how to take notes, you know, how to whatever. Whereas I think they just learned it so early, it just was part of their, their life. So they don't know any different, you know, so


well, and I wanted to pose another question, too, just thinking about how one homeschooling has changed so much over the years, especially since the 80s. I mean, it became something that once I went to college, you know, there was way more people that had been homeschooled than had been obviously in years past. And now our kids are going to experience that even more as they you know, grow, meet people in high school and college that have been in homeschooling or stayed in homeschooling. So with the pandemic, obviously, there's been a lot more that have come out and decided that, hey, this works with our schedule. Now that we do love this freedom. We do love this more, you know, quality one on one time giving our kids the values that they need at home. So obviously, it's changed for a lot of families in the last few years. Do you feel like it's changed at all for you? Or did you feel like well, pandemic hit and you were just kept on trucking along? Oh,


yeah. I mean, for us personally, it didn't change a single thing. Honestly. It did. Yeah, it was, I mean, nothing changed other than I mean, they the kids, they had to like because we couldn't do co op for a bed or they couldn't go to class for a bit. You know? They did a lot of work, they learned how to do zoom a little bit more, I guess my second bar Wesley, as soon as he had enrolled in his college courses for the first time he was so looking forward to finally getting to, quote, go to college. And not, you know, because he had been homeschooled. And then that was the year that the pandemic completely locked down. And so yet he's yet to be able to go to a class and that has actually, he's like, I feel like that is a little bit of a disadvantage for me, because I needed to be available to be a single person, since I've been to college. You know, that was kind of a bummer. As Caleb and his university, they still go to class and do all that. So, anyway, that's been interesting. But as far as my other kids, I mean, they learned how to use zoom a little bit more, but other than that, it's the very same, we didn't change anything. So


now a lot of families, like we said, that are coming into the homeschool worlds, from yours in public school, or even like deciding, hey, you know what, I can just take out what, you know, one kid and homeschooling for a year and give them that advantage that one on one time, and then they can go back into the public school. Like, as far as like, for families that are breaking into this homeschool world, whether it's for a year, or it's just for a season, or you know, or like, hey, you know what, after this, like Tracy said, we like our schedule, we like the freedom and flexibility of being home and having these kids do the work in a couple of hours and then having the rest of the day. What is something to encourage those parents that are starting to not tackle but take on homeschooling in this new direction.


Okay, yeah, that's a good question. Well, I mean, it kind of depends on their purpose. Like, if they legitimately want to only homeschool for a year and put them back in school, I would say, that will look different. Honestly, that will look different. I mean, I think you're going to enjoy the time with your child and the slower pace, but because you're going to put them right back in school, you need to probably get advice from someone that has done that. Because I know some schools especially like in high school, you have to take a test to get back in and make sure that you qualify to move back up a grade and all that kind of stuff. So that will look different than what we do. And honestly, when parents ask me those questions, and I know they're going to put their child back in school, I usually point them to someone that has done it, you know, because I haven't done that. Right. But as far as if someone's like, Hey, I'm loving homeschool, I want to kind of now that I've seen the quote other side, you know, what should I do, I would say, leave the school classroom behind and just know that this is your new lifestyle. And it doesn't have to look at all like the classroom setting. And like Do not try to imitate the classroom setting, you know, explore the first year, I would tell them and I've told I have told parents this that have asked me in the past, before the pandemic, when they've taken their kids out of school, like I've said, like, give yourself like, a year or two of grace, like a grace couple years to just adjust to the new lifestyle and help your children enjoy it, you know, like, don't just as soon as they come home, sit them in front of a computer curriculum for four or five, six hours a day. And that's all they do, like really enrich their life in a new way so that they'll love it, you know. So that's something that I would say, and just realize you can get a lot more done at home in a less amount of time than you would ever do at regular school. So don't even expect yourself to sit there for six, eight hours a day. Don't do that. Nobody wants to do that.


I think that's awesome advice. And you know, I think I slowly learned that I homeschooled my daughter for kindergarten during that real 2020 to 2021. Yeah. And that was the one thing that yes, it was like an hour and a half is all it was and we got it all done. And we were able to do the little mini field trips and go to the library and do things together and use that time to like you said enrich her knowledge and her creativity and playing outside and loving of nature and working through so many other things, you know, the time allowed for so that definitely like letting go of the standard is probably the greatest piece of advice. Absolutely. Okay, now I want to flip topics from as a boy mom, okay. And I'm asking you this one because I know you and I know your heart and you are raising seven strong, independent men for this world and Lord knows we need them. I would love to know, because growing up, I mean, I'm in my mid 30s But growing up boys were boys, right like rough tumble and you know, they were encouraged to be the masculine side of things. I feel like now, and I said this to you and our message and I've said this before and I'll say it is that you If you are a straight white male, you are the enemy. Like, culture really takes that on. And as a mom of two girls that I'm trying to teach them, like, Your daddy is not the bad guy, like you're, you know, where so much of society wants to tell them that He is the bad guy just because of the color of his skin. And that, you know, because we are a traditional family and we look like a traditional family. How do you tackle that? With what culture is telling men and boys today? Of what to do? I mean, is that something that you look at and go, you know, because I bet it is so different. I mean, you have got your littles and then you've got Caleb out in college. I mean, it's, it's different then than when Caleb was your little? Yeah,


that's very true. It's changed even between our third Senate and our fourth and fifth seminar, I can see a difference. You know, a couple of things that came to mind when you asked me this question I thought about I thought, well, you know, one of the big benefits of homeschooling all this time is we have definitely been able to teach our sons to think critically, to think outside the box outside the conformed narrative. And maybe some of this is because I don't really know, I'm not going to say this is exactly the reason but you know, because they've never gone to school all their lives, where they're like, well, the teacher knows best. And what the principal says is this, and they've always known like that, to hear our voice over other adults, you know, like that, obviously, you can, even when your children are in a school setting, you can still make a point to teach that, right? I'm not saying you can't, but there is a tendency to just let the school do all the work in that regard. And at some point, some kids are going to think, Well, hey, but my teacher says, It's okay to not identify with a gender and to call me, you know, he, she, they or whatever, you know, like, that's the norm that there may be hearing in school right now, you know, for sure. And so, whereas we've always been able to teach our kids like, question the narrative, do not accept what the people are telling you, if the government's giving you something for free. There's, there's a reason why like, we've taught them to be skeptical and be critical, what's going on. So my hope is that with those tools, we've already given them, as the darts continue to come against them heavier and heavier right now, especially, they're going to be able to identify what's a lie, you know, and so, there's that, but then also just seeing, I mean, the advantage of having a married parents, obviously, we have more of the traditional roles that they see it, you know, they see it, although we you know, they also see us as a team, I think showing your signs, like you are a team when you're married, but there is something to the husband being the head of his household, because that's a reflection of Christ in the body, then also a wife willingly submitting to her husband's authority within the realm of being a team to you know, I feel like they see a healthy example there.


I would agree. And knowing you and your husband, I think I've only gotten the pleasure to meet your husband like once, but you guys are such a unit. Like you guys have fun together. But like you guys are a solid team. It's not even from an outsider's point looking in like that is something that I definitely admire from you know, from a marriage standpoint, like, I definitely want our kids to see that. Yeah, it's not daddy's not in charge. Because daddy's just in charge. No. I mean, it's a team. And then, you know, like you said, it's a biblical viewpoint of marriage. Absolutely.


Yeah. And they, and they see their dad taking care of me and putting me first and serving me like they see all of that. And I guess that would be an advantage of being home so much. And with the pandemic, my husband was home a lot to working from home. And that's been another area that was a blessing. But another thing that we've been very intentional with is and I mean, I think we could always be more intentional to is when they were, you know, younger, entering high school, we prayed we prayed for a situation where they can learn in home in the homeschool realm from another man, we actually prayed for that because that's one of the things you'll find when you are homeschooling, especially in Co Ops is like everybody's a mom, you know. And when you're raising all boys, I'm just, I'm just gonna put it out there. This may go against the grain a little bit, but sometimes moms, depending on the mom, especially if you talk about moms that aren't raising boys, they can't and I know you guys a girl, so I know you understand. You can kind of have a skewed perspective of what behavior is acceptable sometimes and so boys need men in their life. To pouring into them. So there was a point, you know, when Caleb I guess he was in seventh grade. And I was like, I need to have a situation where my boys are influenced by a man for a few years outside of my husband, obviously. And so that's when we had prayed for an answer. And that's when this homeschool class came up. And it was led by a man. And then every time our kids get about 1415, we have prayed for a job opportunity for that we feel like working is very important, like work ethic is up there. That is another thing that my oldest and my second Warren told me when they're in college, he's taught us to have a strong work ethic. And that is actually what's taken us. Like if all you could have taught us was a strong work ethic and biblical character, like those two things will take a kid as far as they want to go in life. Amen. That's great. Yeah, I've seen that. So work ethic is huge. So one of the things we've done is just pray for job opportunities where they can work under men, like older men learning skills. And would you believe every single time we've prayed that a job is opened up for one of our kids, it's crazy, so crazy. So they've all had the opportunity to work for like small businesses, with a man learning some kind of unique skill that carry them on to their next job. And so right now, even our 14 in our, or a 15, and our six year old even have a job one day a week, they work for a man that does construction, and they go help them, you know, from 7am to 7pm, all day long. And they couldn't do that if they weren't homeschooled. So


that's amazing. Well, I just want to say thank you so much for this time for being authentic and transparent on your journey. And, and being the mom of seven boys and what has looked like for you. And really, I mean, I, my girls go to a Christian school, please for the I really don't want God to make me homeschool my children. I have a funny story. Okay, I swear, I have worked on this for years. We, okay, I get metaphors makes up all the time. And so when we had first had our oldest, like, Andrew was at the point he's like, you know, you're never gonna have to homeschool. So you can stop pretending like this is how you actually are. And, I mean, I'm like, no, no, I can't let the ruse go yet. Make sure that they're all the way through high school. So he doesn't all of a sudden think, no, they really do need to be homeschooled. i So that's Andrew and I joking. He's like, Wait, hold on. But you are, you're just so encouraging for for all moms, no matter where their kids are at. And you've given some great suggestions and recommendations and things, just practical things that we can look into. And so I just want to thank you for that Andrea and for for spending this time with us. I so appreciate you. Well,


thank you for having me, I would enjoy getting to share a little bit. And hopefully it does encourage other moms whatever stage and choices they're making, you know that that is my hope.


Yeah. And I also just want to say thank you, I love just the calm, the happy, the joy, the peace, like I can sense it all as you talk about the journey. And I know, I know it's also involved with chaos and broken things and you have seven boys so I know the reality of two boys and two girls so I know the reality of it. I do sense that just inner peace and happiness that you carry that this was the path eight, you know, God gave your family and I thank you for your just vulnerability to share and just the encouragement again, I think it's such a light for so many. And I know a lot of people are considering it and been in the midst of it. And I hopefully any listener that you know follows on this podcast will actually take away something to heart from it. So we appreciate you. If any listener wants to follow your journey as this. Is there a way that they could you know, do you want to give your Instagram handle so they can follow along and just see you or if they have questions they can reach out.


Yeah, they can follow me on Instagram. It's at seven boy crazy.


Very fitting very fitting. Well, we're gonna wrap this episode up and we just want to say thanks so much to the housewives. Thank you Andrea for being our guest this week. And remember housewives Be sure to follow our Instagram at unlikely housewives of Jo ko You can also join our ever growing Facebook community at the unlikely housewives of Jo co podcast. And be sure to rate review and we would love any feedback that you're getting from the episodes and with that housewives. Have a great week. Thank you. Whether we made you laugh or cry today, we pray you feel appreciated, older and braver than yesterday. stronger and more faithful for tomorrow but living in who you were made to be today? Join our online community on Facebook, find our link in the show notes. Be sure to review and subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you enjoy listening. Until next time housewives. We give you permission to walk confidently freely be intentional in your slippers or so let us

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