Homeschooling with Gospel Hope (an interview with Kendra Fletcher)

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Where do you place your hope as a homeschool mom? Is it in your homeschooling? In your curriculum choices? In your parenting philosophy? As soon as you shift your hope to anything other than Jesus, you’re sure to be disappointed. Today’s guest, Kendra Fletcher, reminds us that the love of God for us in Christ is the safest, most glorious place to rest! Kendra speaks from her experience as a long-time homeschooling mom of 8, and shares with us what it’s like to homeschool in dark times. Kendra’s podcast Homeschooling IRL was one of my favorite homeschool podcasts early on, and it was such a treat to have her join me for this week’s Homeschool Conversations interview.

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

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Kendra Fletcher interview homeschooling Gospel hope

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Who is Kendra Fletcher?

Kendra Fletcher is a mother of 8, speaker, author, and podcaster. She is the author of Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace, and Leaving Legalism, and she regularly writes for Key Life Ministries. The Fletchers reside in California, where they play in the Pacific Ocean as often as possible.

Kendra Fletcher homeschool mom interview

Watch my interview with Kendra Fletcher

Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Why homeschooling? {1:20}

5 of the 8 Fletcher kids are now adults, with 3 still at home in their homeschool. This is Kendra’s 23rd year of homeschooling!

This is a bit ironic, because in the 90s, Kendra was the woman who said she would never homeschool.

But their oldest son was bright and precocious, and Kendra was concerned he would be bored and get into trouble if they put him in the local preschool. They soon caught a vision for homeschooling, and it became part of how their family operates.

Changing approaches to homeschooling {3:08}

The Fletcher family’s homeschool story is filled with a lot of legalism. They jumped into a theology and a homeschool community that was very rules-based. “I was super rigid. Homeschooling had to look a certain way, had to be a certain way, my children had to meet certain expectations,” Kendra said. Now, she looks at her children with a different eye. “How has God created you and what do we need to accomplish this year in your life and in your education? It’s a much better atmosphere than the first 10 years or so.”

Realizing that God loves us and is already pleased with us in Jesus Christ transforms the way we live and the way we view our children. “It is so freeing. It allows me to walk alongside them in a way that is joyful and free rather than stifling and religious.”

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Strategies to keep the chaos at bay {6:50}

Not only does Kendra have experience homeschooling with many littles, but her youngest son has a brain injury so she’s still having to create a schedule and balance the needs of several children at different levels.

Kendra has found that having a structure to the day is really helpful, even though things never go exactly according to plan. That flow provides a background to the day.

She also encouraged us to “major on what is major.” She learned to figure out what the non-negotiables were for a particular season. “What are the 5 most important things that have to be accomplished?

“And,” she laughed, “frozen pizza is a legitimate dinner.” Yes. Yes, it is!

Homeschool Planning

Hope-Shifting  {9:40}

Where are we shifting our hope?

That’s our one hope: what Jesus did, the love that God has for us. How we can rest in that, live in the overflow of that? That is our one hope!” Kendra reminded. Of course, it’s easy to say we believe that. But, then…we get out of bed!

Do we ever think “if I homeschool my children, then they’ll be set?” Well, reminded Kendra, then we’ve shifted our hope off of Jesus and onto homeschooling!

“Homeschooling is a tool. It is a gift God has given us. It is not our hope.”

When we run to any homeschool idea or philosophy or method for our hope, we’re shifting our hope away from Jesus.

The Fletcher family had to face this as they came to a point where they were completely wrecked. Kendra said, “We were wrecked. And God said, hey, I’m going to unwreck you, but it’s going to be My work, not yours.”

Kendra Fletcher interview homeschooling Gospel hope

Homeschooling in the dark times {16:00}

Ove the past decade, the Fletcher family has gone through multiple medical emergencies that kept them in the hospital for weeks. They went through a CPS investigation. More recently, their oldest son was diagnosed with brain cancer. (You can read more about the early part of their story in Kendra’s book Lost and Found.)

Kendra said, “When we’re in that pressure cooker, it becomes apparent to us that all we have is Jesus.”

She had some specific encouragements for families who may be going through dark seasons. Listen to her conversation for the details, but here are a few of the topics she covered:

  • Determining non-negotiables
  • Being willing to be flexible
  • Choosing community wisely
  • Focusing laser-sharp on the hope of the Gospel

“Truly, in the moment, God does give an overabundance of grace and provision,” Kendra encouraged. “It’s not something you ever plan for…but the reality is that in the moment it’s the peace that passes understanding. God is faithful, and He will give you exactly what you need for that hardship.

“We just have a hard time believing God loves us,” Kendra admitted. It’s hard for us to truly understand and believe that God loves us apart from our works, with our to-do list completely obliterated.

Questions for each Homeschool Conversations Guest {25:32}

What are you reading lately?

The Truth About Us

What is one thing you would say to a new homeschool parent?

Kendra reminded us that just because the start of the school year feels crazy, we don’t have to worry. “It’s insane the first couple of weeks! … This is not going to be your whole year. Take a breath. Enjoy.”

She also had some pretty funny things to say about diet coke and ice cream, so be sure to listen to the full episode for more encouragement. 😉

Find Kendra Fletcher online

KendraFletcher.com

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

Homeschool Conversations Video Interviews


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