Welcome to the first ever Teach Them Diligently Podcast. This week, David and Leslie Nunnery, founders of Teach Them Diligently, give you some insight into their decision to homeschool. They explain why they started and what they have seen God do all along the way.
We hope that through it, you’ll get a fresh view of how God can use you as parents, as you invest in your children. We’re so glad you’re here. So let’s jump in.
- Download a FREE copy of Leslie Ebook, Rethink Education, where she seeks to turn the scary questions about homeschooling into exciting opportunities.
- Attend a Teach Them Diligently Event to find a refined vision of your own mission as a homeschooling family. You will also get equipped and encouraged to pursue that mission with more passion and confidence. It could make all the difference in the world in your resolve to stay the course.
- Teach Them Diligently 365 is the world’s largest, perpetually-running online homeschool convention, and it brings all the amazing workshops and a touch of the fellowship and camaraderie of Teach Them Diligently events straight to your home all year long. The more well-equipped you are (and feel!) each and every day, the easier it will be to stay on mission and have more good days than frustrating and discouraging ones.
Transcription of "Are you still homeschooling. What an unusual question."
Leslie: [theme music playing] Hey there, and welcome to the Teach Them Diligently podcast where we discuss marriage, parenting, discipleship, homeschooling, and everything else that comes into play when you're following God's plan for your family. We are David and Leslie Nunnery, and today we're going to be talking about an unusual question I was asked recently.
We hope that through it, you'll get a fresh view of how God can use you as parents, as you invest in your children. We're so glad you're here. So let's jump in.
Leslie: [theme music ends] So David, I was asked before an interview not too long ago, a most unusual question, and it got me thinking. So let me throw out the question for you and then see how you are impacted by it. I was asked before I did an interview the other day, "are you still homeschooling?" And I thought, what a very unusual question to ask us. when we have kids still in the home, we are doing all of this stuff. So, um, I thought we'd talk about that today because are we, are we still homeschooling David?
David: Yeah, absolutely we are.
Leslie: How many?
David: Well, we have one in college. He still lives at home.
Leslie: Uh, he still sleeps at home [laughter]. Let's clarify.
David: He still sleeps at home, that's true. Three.
Leslie: We have three.
David: We have three, and we are homeschooling.
Leslie: Why? Why are we still homeschooling when, um, there's so much stuff to do. There's so many opportunities. There's so much going on. Why are we still doing this?
David: Our belief around homeschooling is anchored in the fact that we believe is the best way to disciple our kids. And it's much deeper than the education part of this. It's much deeper than the place. Meaning, do they go to co-op? Do they go to dual credit or you know, at a college? Are they at home all day long?
We're not trying to insulate them. We're not trying to protect them from the evil school system. It is about discipleship and because it is about discipleship and because we believe that it's the best way to disciple our kids is to be around them all the time. We have stuck with it and we've had opportunity to move on.
Matter of fact, you know, uh, uh, I don't know how many people know this story, but we actually took our kids out of a really good private school. We actually moved down here from Lexington, Kentucky, and when we moved down here to Greenville, South Carolina, we were excited because we were finally going to be able to put our kids in the private school that we wanted.
And I want to say that when we moved here, Camden was in first grade and we pulled him out of that school in third grade, not because we were angry at the school. He wasn't making bad grades. He had a lot of friends at the school. But we just felt compelled and called to homeschool our kids. And what led to that is I, we actually heard a pastor say right before that happened that you reproduce who you are, but you teach what you know.
In me that set off a series of thought processes that led to: if I reproduce who I am, then I should want to have my kids around me as much as possible, and I need to work on myself. That kind of led into it, and at the same time the Lord was working on you regarding homeschooling, and we went from absolutely no way, never going to homeschool.
I remember helping out in a youth group and thinking, man, we are never going to homeschool. And because the youth group was a third, a third, a third public school, private school, homeschool. And it's not that the homeschool kids were bad kids or anything. I just remember thinking, "we're never going to homeschool".
So that's where we started. And then it was slowly but surely over several years. We came around to this idea that, man, we need to be homeschooling because this is the best way to disciple our kids and to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Leslie: Well don't you think that it's interesting cause I do: you alluded to the fact that we started homeschooling really because of discipleship.
There was no, there were no academic considerations because our kids were in good shape academically. They were in a great school, [00:05:00] and actually I was involved in this school. I was a room mom. It was, you know, it was everything I always thought that it would be, but we started exclusively for a discipleship purpose and amazingly, absolutely, stunningly, at the end of our first year of homeschooling, when we knew nothing about anything, had stubbed our toe on so many things. And you know, I've, I've spoken on that and we'll probably discuss that later. But at the end of our first year of homeschooling, God called us to start Teach Them Diligently, and it makes no sense.
We didn't know anything. We didn't know any of the players, but what did we know? What was the overriding purpose for why we stepped out and did this thing?
David: Well, our feeling when we started Teach Them Diligently was that if parents could understand what their calling is, that they are called to disciple their kids, that it's actually the great [00:06:00] commission that is going on when you're parenting and your home is your Jerusalem.
When you think about it in those terms, our feeling was that, man, this is the message that we really wanted to propagate. That we wanted to talk to people about that we wanted them to have because our sense was that people were hung up on homeschooling as a academic exercise, and it was almost, in some cases, many cases, it was like homeschooling was becoming an idol. People were using phrasing like, "I converted so-and-so to be a homeschooler." And I'm not saying that just because you use this phrase that it's some somehow evil.
Leslie: You just offended half the people listening [laughter].
David: I know. And I don't mean to, but my point is, is that it was almost like it was the gospel.
David: And you know, homeschooling is a great way to teach your kids. It's a great academic exercise. Many people come to it because of a bully or a bad teacher or whatever reason.
Leslie: Yes, statistics show that homeschooling is an incredible means of education.
David: And all of that is true. And, and I don't mean to diminish that. But what happens when the bully moves away, a bad teacher moves away? What, what happens? And so many families out there, they decide to homeschool and they get into it and they realize this not the academic side that is the biggest challenge. It's the discipline and the balance of relationships, because now you're not just mom, you're mom and teacher and wife, and that's difficult to balance all that.
Leslie: Yeah. We need to really unpack that a little bit later.
David: Absolutely. We can. We can, but, um. People don't realize all the difficulties that go into it and just being in the home all day long with your kids and you have, you know, you have all these things that are happening, and if you're not rooted in the right place, it's real easy to give up.
And there are a lot of homeschoolers, homeschool kids that turn into prodigals. There's a lot of private school kids that turn into prodigals. There's a lot of public school kids that turn into prodigals. So just because you're, you had the right education choice doesn't mean that your kids are going to turn out perfect.
There's a lot more that goes into it. And what I believe and what you believe is that kids need their parents and they need their parents to engage in the day to day lives. That that they are living, and they need their parents to speak into them, and God delights in using His people and He is going to use you to reach them.
Leslie: Let that simmer just a second. How amazing is it? How amazing is it that God has given us the opportunity to reach the people that we love the most, that we have the biggest influence in the world over them if we will take hold of it. Now, we can choose to not, we can choose to allow someone else to have that influence, but it's ours for the taking and I will never get over that.
I will never get over that we as parents have the opportunity to reshape or to shape what our children's futures look like, what their belief system is, what their foundation is. What a privilege that is!
David: Absolutely. And I think that even if you do make that choice to send your kids off to school. God is still going to use you to reach them.
He is still communicating through you and you're actually communicating through to your kids as well. So if you don't handle that choice right, that's communicating something and is communicating a lot of things that you may not realize and your kids are watching you constantly, they're mimicking everything that you do,
Leslie: Cause you reproduce who you are, whether you want to or not, that is going to happen.
That's right. And so you have to be careful with that. And I think that homeschooling is absolutely the best way, not just to educate, but to decide for your kids. And I think that comes as no surprise to anybody, but I think that we have to be careful that we don't make homeschooling the end in itself.
Right. Well, going back to the question that I asked you a few minutes ago about, you know, why we started, I remember it a little bit differently than the way you-- and I want to clarify this because I don't want people to think that we knew all of the stuff that we just discussed at the end of our first year of homeschooling.
We actually, our young first year of homeschooling mindset when we felt like God was calling us to start was merely to celebrate discipleship and home education. Because we thought when we set out on this that every Christian family that homeschool did it for that reason. That was, I mean, you know, you have only the perspective of what you know, and we were all that we knew [laughter].
So we assumed that that was the primary overarching reason. As we've gotten through this, God has taught us so much. A lot of what David said has come through years of growth and learning, but one thing has not changed. We still absolutely believe that for a Christian family, the number one reason to homeschool, the number one reason to celebrate what God is doing is the discipleship and the opportunity to reproduce in your children everything that you believe and hold dear.
So a lot of what David said has come through the years and will in the days ahead unpack some of that [00:12:00] for you. But if you are just starting out and you're like, "I would've never thought of that." We wouldn't have either. At the end of Camden's third grade year when we're, you know, starting out homeschooling, that's 10 years behind us and an awful lot of experience and growth and conversations with amazing people.
And so God has been incredibly good and God has grown us, our children, our perspective so much through the years, and he will do the same for your family. And that is one of the just amazing things. Homeschooling is not easy. You alluded a little while ago to all the different hats that we wear, all the different roles, the balancing of those things to try to keep everything in order.
It's not easy. And there are days when all in the world that you want to do is be normal or what you think normal is. You just want, you know-
Leslie: Well, that's true, but I mean, honestly, and I don't think anyone who's been homeschooling, you know, more than five minutes would disagree with this.
There are days when you're just questioning, why am I doing this? Why am I fighting with my middle school boys about doing work that they're just not doing? I got an email yesterday from someone who's having the same struggles with their boys that we did, but you know what? Now we're on the other side and we see they grow out of it.
Faithfulness, perseverance, day in and day out investing in those people that you love so much actually pays off, but all of that just comes with a rear view mirror, and I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. For the fact that God stays with us. He is patient. I'm sure that there are days that he looks at us and he's just like, I just can't fight this battle with him. Well, He doesn't because He's God. But if I were God, I would look at me a lot and I would think, I am not fighting this battle with this girl anymore. She has fought me so much, but God is always faithful. And he sticks right with us when we don't deserve it. And as a parent, a homeschooling parent, any parent, we have the opportunity to model that element of God for our children.
We are faithful. We will stick with you when you don't do your algebra again. And even when you lie to us about working on it. There is punishment, but we're sticking with you. We aren't giving up. We have a clean slate tomorrow. Let's do this better. And that really makes a profound impact on our children.
David: Absolutely. I have talked to many parents at Teach Them Diligently events, and it's really easy to get caught up in the moment. And I'll say something very simple like, look, remember what you're doing is discipleship. Remember what you're doing is that you are raising somebody that God is going to use in the future.
And you can kind of see in their face a relax. That's the kind of stuff that we're talking about is that when you anchor yourself in the calling that you have, it gives you this sense of 'it's going to be okay'. It kind of takes you away from, it takes your eye away from the immediate issue that you're having.
When you focus on the call that you have as parents and as homeschoolers, and it changes everything. And that's the reason why we have focused on what we have focused on through these events, is we try to focus on the calling. We try to focus on the Gospel. And our sense is, is that if you really want to change the world.
You know, you tell somebody else about Jesus Christ. Uh, just tell that next person. You tell your kids, you tell them how God is changing you and what you read and the Lord's word that morning. That changes the entire approach. It changes the pain that you feel in the, in the immediate moment that you're dealing with that.
That's what needs to be the focus is what is your calling? And if you look at this and you say, I am homeschooling because of the bully, is that the same? It's just not the same.
Leslie: So to answer that original question that we started off with, are we still homeschooling. Yeah, we are! We are still homeschooling because God has called us to make this investment in our children.
God has given us the privilege of spending these days with our kids, and I'm learning with a 20 year old who is in college that homeschooling parenting discipleship doesn't ever end. It shifts a little bit. I'm not doing any academics with him now, but I'm still teaching him about life. I'm still coaching him through decisions.
And when I say, I mean we.
David: We're providing accountability as well.
Leslie: And providing accountability. And we're there to talk about things when he needs to talk. So our role shifts a little bit, but I've realized through having one in college that not only are we in this for the long haul of, you know, kindergarten through graduation.
But this Teaching Them Diligently thing will never end.
David: Well, and the truth is that everybody's in it for the long haul. Whether they, whether they realize it or not, they're in it. They can't sluff this off. This duty and this task and this calling that God has given you is going to follow you everywhere you are.
As soon as you have those kids, that's your calling, and you cannot slough it off no matter how much you try, you are doing something with them. You're teaching them something, you are reproducing something in them, and you have no choice about it. And so you need to do it well.
Leslie: You need to prepare yourself. You need to keep your focus right. You need to also really, really bask in the joy that comes with following God and doing things His way. [theme music plays in background] So I hope that you will go out of this encouraged that you will hopefully have a refined perspective on your own homeschool efforts, that you will go, thank God for the privilege of being the parent of those children that He has given you, as well as for the privilege of homeschooling them, educating them however you are, but that you will take this role seriously and joyfully.
So thank you for joining us today. [silence] I thought David was going to say something there [laughter]. We hope that you guys have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day.
David: Thank you. [ theme music ends]
Leslie: Thank you for listening to the Teach Them Diligently podcast. We believe that every family is called to teach them diligently. So we're here to help. We would love to get to know you on site at one of our many events each year and throughout the year when you become part of the Teach Them Diligently 365 community.
Go to www.teachthemdiligently.net/podcast to get more details and resources to encourage and equip your family. While you're there, you can also pick up the show notes and additional information from today's show. It's our daily prayer that God will encourage and equip your family through Teach Them Diligently, and we'd love to hear from you. Send us a note or share your stories with us on social media with the hashtag: #weTTD. God is doing great things within His families all around the world, and we would love to celebrate that with you. We'd also love to have you join us by subscribing to our podcast and then sharing it with a friend who could use a little encouragement as they too follow God's plan for their family.
Hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, and I look forward to visiting with you again real soon.