Wednesday Feb 01, 2023

Grandparents Blessing Homeschoolers – Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Part 2 (Family Series)

Dr. Josh Mulvihill joins Yvette to talk about the blessing of grandparents. What does the Bible say about a grandparent's role, and how can grandparents be a blessing to homeschool families?

Come back tomorrow for the rest of this conversation.

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Grandparents Blessing Homeschoolers – Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Part 2 (Family Series)

Watch this full conversation on our YouTube channel.

Dr. Mulvihill answers these questions and covers the following topics this week:

  1. What is the biblical role of grandparents
  2. What is the role of grandparents in homeschooling
  3. What about grandparents who DON’T support homeschooling?
  4. How can grandparents be engaged in homeschooling? How can they help lighten the load for parents?
  5. What about long distance?
  6. How can parents and grandparents work together to homeschool children?
  7. How can kids serve grandparents?
  8. What are the benefits of having grandparents involved?

Josh Mulvihill is the Executive Director of Church and Family Ministry at Renewanation. He served as a pastor for 18 years, has a PhD in Family Ministry, serves on the board of AWANA, and is the author or editor of ten books on parenting and grandparenting including Biblical Grandparenting, Preparing Children for Marriage, Biblical Worldview, and his latest 50 Things Every Child Needs to Know Before Leaving Home. He is married to Jen. They homeschool their five children and live in Victoria, MN. Josh blogs at, enjoys camping, fishing, reading a great book, and a DIY project on their hobby farm.




  • We are working on a new movie! Garritt has begun pre-production on a new feature-length documentary on education. Support the project here.
  • The Family Series will continue with interviews from Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Dr. Matthew McDill, Natalie Mack, Misty Bailey, and more!

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Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. And welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rock podcast. I am back today with Josh Mulvihill. Dr. Josh Mulvihill. You never say that. You never you never make it a thing that you're a doctor. But it just seems like. Right. Right. Yeah. So. Josh Mulvihill, He's super down to earth. So, you know, if you met him in the grocery store, you wouldn't be like Dr. Mulvihill Know the bow tie that you're wearing right now?

Kind of. I'm just kidding. He's not one of our type. If you guys are not watching it. I mean, you're just listening. He is not worried about time. Anyway, we are talking about grandparents this week. This is part of our Schoolhouse Rock family series. And on Monday, we talked about we kind of set the foundation for why grandparents are important in the lives of our kids and what the biblical role of grandparents is.

And today we're going to get into some of the practical things that grandparents can do to really be a blessing and leave a legacy for their grandkids. But first, I want to thank our sponsor, B.J., you press homeschool. No parent should homeschool alone. You have a God given calling to bring up your child, to love God and to steward his creation.

And be sure you press exist to help you be successful in that endeavor. Visit their website at BJU Press Homeschool dot com or call one 800 8455731 to connect with an experienced homeschool consultant. All right, Josh, thank you for coming back with me again today. Let's talk about the practicality of grandparents and how they really can leave a legacy and impact the lives of their grandkids.

Because we talked about the why. Now let's talk about the how.

Yeah, well, I think scripture gives us a lot of guidance about the methods that grandparents can invest in telling their testimony and teaching and asking questions that generate good spiritual dialog in in prayer. Oh, man, our kids need prayer. We need prayer as parents. There's just the Bible gets really prescriptive with those kinds of things that become very helpful.

And and, you know, grandparents can learn from that. I think as we talk about homeschooling, you know, as we start to open that door and start to think about what does it look like for a grandparent to engage on the homeschool front, my encouragement is to consider three questions that you can just bounce around in your head that might be helpful for you as this talking points with the grandparent.

One What's a huge area of need for you or or an area of need? Is it a specific subject area? Is it help with some of your younger kids so that you can engage? Is it help in in some other area of your family life? And I think some a second question that you can engage with is what are their gifts and their passions?

And you're talking about questions for grandparents to ask.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, That you could ask yourself or you could ask ask them gifts or passions. So every every grandparent has a whole long list of these. And it's pretty easy to get people excited about things they love and and they can invest in a younger grandchild in that way. Ah, so I'll give you a few example of these I'll swing back with after I mentioned the third question here, just with our family.

The third one is how can you create some easy wins and early success? If this is new for a grand parent, it becomes critical that it's just not a bad experience to start. And so put the tie on the I put the ball on the tee so that it's it's a it's a it's a home run. And a grandparent and a grandchild will have a good experience and say, we want to do this again.

So bite sized easy win. So here's what this is looked like in some of these areas for our family. Just to give you some practical examples, Jen's dad loves electrical stuff, so he has taught our kids ham radio. He has purchased them all the wires and knobs and, you know, they're doing like electrical engineering kinds of things, Stuff I'm not good at in any way, shape or form.

And that's a life skill area. That man, that's great to know. Those kinds of things. My dad enjoys the outdoors. He has has loved investing in Bible study and Scripture memorization. My Jen's dad lives maybe a half an hour from us. My dad lives an hour and 15 minutes notice. I'm saying dads, our moms both died many years ago.

My mom died of ALS. Jen's mom died of brain cancer. So we've got And then my dad remarried, So we've got I could talk all about that. That's a different conversation. But and so that's why you hear me mentioning that. But my dad lives about an hour and 15 minutes away. So a lot of what they do is by technology.

And so they have a weekly call where my dad calls in. They do some Bible memorization and then they talk life. It's fantastic. And there's an accountability piece they're getting in God's word and memorizing it. As kids have gotten older, he's now going to be doing a book study with the older kids, and it's probably on an apologetics topic.

So they'll read a section, connect over video, Zoom, or whatever that is. And man, you can do so much in that in that regard. Know a and then my dad does a lot on the outdoor side with our kids in the hunting fishing and I you know some people think you know that's not really homeschooling you know a lot of you know it is this is like it's just a study, just so everybody understands where we come from with our our approach to homeschooling.

We think discipleship, education, I use those interchangeably there. It's a four legged stool of study, worship, work and service. And so when you when we start to think about those different categories, there's a lot of ways that grandparents can engage Jen's dad. We all attend worship at the same church on Sunday morning. He's teaching his grandkids how to worship God.

Through his example. We sit I'll sit together through studying. My dad's doing that through those calls, work and service. There's so many ways and so I think letting grandparents know, here's what we're doing. And then just asking, how could you help? What, where, where do you see some opportunities putting the ball in their court? And I think you'll you know, there will be a lot of different ways that grandparents could come up with when you start to lay things out like like we just did.

Yeah, that is so cool. It is hard when I mean, I feel like a lot of grandparents live far distances. You know, we're in Oklahoma. My mom lives in California, and Garrett's parents and my dad live in Georgia. And so we're far, far, you know, 18 to 20 some hours from any of our grandparents. And so it is difficult.

But like you said, there are ways, you know, through Zoom calls or, you know, even just through the phone. I mean, it doesn't even have to be video. The video is more fun because you can see people's faces. But there are ways that that grandparents can be involved with their kids, with their grandkids and they're in their lives.

And so I think that's really, really cool. And just finding ways for them to be engaged in their homeschooling and in their education. You know, maybe grandpa is really good at math and mom is not. That would be the case with me. And, you know, so being able to call grandpa and say, Hey, grandpa, how do you solve this problem?

You know, but grandparents have to be willing to do that. And you talked a little bit before about toxic relationships with grandparents. I want to park there for just a second because I obviously I mean, that is something that is real for a lot of people. How do you navigate through a relationship that is a difficult relationship and maybe the grandparents don't, you know, maybe they love their grandkids, but they don't really want anything to do with homeschooling or anything to do with really discipleship.

Or maybe they're just not saved and they can't. You know, there are lots of grandparents who a Christian parent isn't going to put their kids in front of them and say, Here, disciple my kids, because, you know, they're they're not saved, perhaps. How do you navigate through the difficulties of having a grandparent in that phase of life?

Well, I, I look to scripture as the guide and, you know, the Bible tells us what to do when there's conflict. So I look at Matthew 18 as a place to start, you know, a conversation had in love. And I think, you know, I think restoration, if there's a broken relationships always the goal and you know, God the father had a lot of sons and private goals.

So there you know what we look to the Bible, man. There's so many principles we can tease out from just how God operates when there are problematic relationships from him with his children that we can glean. And, you know, one of them that I look to is he always pursues he always leaves the door open. There's always a high measure of grace.

And I would be I would prefer to be accused of being too gracious than than not. And that's hard. I mean, it is hard because everything in our flesh wants to lash out and and and, you know, seek revenge and hurt back if that's been part of the case. But I made a distinction before I can revisit. And that's the difference between difficult and destructive.

And, you know, if there is a destructive thing that is happening relationally, then for the health of our selves and our family, we do need to draw a line and we can have that conversation still and love to just say, you know, this, this, these words or these actions are just very hurtful. And they're they're they're problematic. And, you know, that needs to change.

I've had one really difficult conversation like that with an extended family member, and God used it to bring that relationship to a different place, a good place. It was a hard conversation. But there's a difference between destructive and difficult and difficult means. We need you know, the Bible calls us to be to look the other way, to to work through it, to fight through it, to bare, you know, the bare with kind of terminology and scripture.

And we're always going to have difficult in family relationships. It just comes with the territory. And so, you know, I want to I want to, I think, extend the grace and, you know, hopefully if both are Christians, then that we can appeal to God's word and we can work through hopefully what's there. If that's not possible, then I would say seek out a pastor.

And I've done quite a bit of counseling with grandparents and parents. When you get four in the room, I'll tell you, it gets a little complex at times working through all the stuff going on. But that, you know, it's worth it's worth doing that hard work. And so if you get to that point where you're just like, Man, we're stuck.

We want to work through this, we feel like it's worth fighting for. We believe that's pleasing to the Lord. That may be a path to go. Seek out at your church, pastor, and say, Could you help us here? Yeah. You know, if if grandparents are Christians, then we're dealing with a different category. And of course, we're going to be having different value systems, different views on a lot of things.

And it's it's going to be very difficult to probably get to some of the same outcomes. But we can at least there are times, I think, where there will be an overlap. And when that happens, we can invite invite grandparents in to be part of and they still can contribute to a degree. And so God's common grace exists in certain areas that we can, you know, grandparents could still teach life skills and still, you know, my my grandparents were were Catholic.

I don't know if they were Christians or not. But so, for example, you know, they man, they modeled a lifelong marriage, which was a huge blessing to me. And you know, that, you know, that was something that was a gift they gave even though I don't know if they were Christians. So there are things that non-Christian grandparents can give that are valuable.

And I think just think through what what is that? And yeah, and you can invite that in.

We are back with Josh. You know, before the break, you were talking about just, you know, how sometimes some of us have difficult relationships with grandparents. I mean, I know that's just a thing across the board with a lot of people. And oftentimes people have grandparents who are not believers. And I was thinking what an incredible opportunity that is for our kids and our family to be able to share the gospel with their grandparent.

My husband had a grandfather. It was his dad's dad, and he never wanted to hear about the Lord. I mean, he like he would get angry when we would talk about the Lord and we would just kind of casually, you know, just, oh, you know, you know, God is faithful. He did this thing or he did that thing.

And he would be like, Oh, no, you know, God's not real. He's just imaginary. And he would get mad at us, but we would just kind of gently just bring God into the conversation because that was our life. I mean, we we didn't know how not to do that, really. And it was so interesting. He got really sick and it was just a few months before he passed and he was in his maybe early eighties, maybe late seventies and and a few months before he passed away, he actually gave his life to the Lord.

And it was just really cool. And it was like the Lord had planted all these seeds for years and years. But many of those seeds had been planted through his grandsons and his grandsons. We just talked to him about the Lord just just casually and just share Christ with him, and so did his own sons. But but it was neat just to see how the Lord used his family.

And after all these years, he finally gave his life to the Lord almost at the very end. And so kids have a huge part, can have a huge part in sharing truth and sharing the gospel with their unbelieving grandparents. I want to talk about how kids can serve grandparents because we've talked about how grandparents can serve their kids and their grandkids and how they can have a really important role in the world of homeschooling.

And I think because, you know, our kids are homeschooled, they might have more opportunities to even serve their gram, their grandparents. How can kids really be a blessing to their grandparents and how can we train them up to do that?

Well, just like the Bible gives grandparents a role with children and grandchildren, the Bible also gives children and grandchildren a role with grandparents, and that revolves around the idea of honor and respect and caring for their physical and emotional needs of the aging. Interestingly, in Scripture, you don't ever see the idea of a retirement plan because that's what we are.

Children are a parent's retirement plan scripturally, and in most cultures you have tried generational living as a piece of that. That's not the norm in the United States, at least it hasn't been for a few generations, in part because of the influence of our country. Social Security has essentially one of the unintended consequences of Social Security was it puts the generations apart from one another.

But as I think that will begin to change as our country becomes less affluent, you'll see that more and and that was just the norm. But as we think about how we serve grandparents, part of that is simply the way we talk about them. You know, listening to them, the way we engage with them. A lot of grandparents feel minimized and marginalized, and that's reflective in the time communication.

You know, we're not they don't get called. They don't get visits, they don't get invited to. And in fact, that's a lament I hear from a lot of grand parents. I just want to be a part of. I don't feel like I don't know my children anymore. And and there's settlement there. So that honoring and that respecting, I think is huge from grandchildren.

It it bestows to somebody that they are important and valued. And the other piece is the care element. And as all of us age, that's just the reality. And God has built that into the family. God's design is for the family to care for one another. That's not to be given away to the government or, you know, the church can step in as a supplement and God puts the church there as a fallback.

You know, we get the commands to care for widows and orphans, essentially, when the family can't do what the family has been designed to do by God, then the church is kind of the fallback. But we see, just like with education, when we give God's designed role to a different institution, you know, education with the government in public school or the caring of family to any of the other institutions, all kinds of problems happen and it weakens all the institutions.

And so, you know, there you know, grandparents have a role with their family members, and we do as well with with grandparents. And, you know, there's it's interesting, you know, the of the at the ends of the spectrum, young and old both often feel like they don't have the purpose and they their value is not as significant as it could be.

And I think the grandparent grandchild relationship adds of a place of purpose, meaning and value for both for grandkids to care, for grandparents, to honor them, to be part of their life, to serve them. You know, this could take different roles as far as helping around their house, being with being, you know, you know, helping in whatever kind of care needs are there and vice versa with a grandparent to invest in a in a child.

And it's interesting that these often these two ends is that the higher end needs of the life spectrum and God's built in a a a give and take there that we need to be willing to invest in. And it takes energy, it takes time, it costs us something. And that's okay. But we, you know, we reap the value and the benefit of that in these are rich relationships that many of us just have lost.

We have absolutely lost it in the United States. And we many and many times don't many ways don't even realize what what we have lost because we've never tasted it. And so I'm just going to encourage that. You know, for a grandchild, having dial up the phone and spend some time talking with a grandparent, invite the grandparent in to have dinner at your home, to be at church together, to share life together.

It is crazy. When we look back on how we used to do life, there was Sunday dinners together as an extended family. I mean, we've given that away to restaurants now. Essentially, we have outsourced the role of grandparent to other others. And we, you know, we've not left things for grandparents to engage with, and we can do that with our grandchildren as well.

So, yeah, man, it once we get engaged in doing life together, the how can we serve grandparent question Now there will be so many opportunities. And part of that is we just need to know, know our grandparents so that we can get engaged in their life.

Yeah, yeah. Looking for ways to serve. So. Wow. Good stuff. All right. We are out of time, but we are going to be back tomorrow and talk more about grandparenting. You can find out more about Josh at Renew a Nation dot org. We will put links to that in the show notes. Thank you, Josh, for being back with us again today.

And we'll see you guys back here tomorrow. Bye.


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