Teach Your Children Well
The Brodock family lives and works together in central Alabama, homeschooling and running exciting day camps. We love the work they are doing as a team and hope you will be encouraged and inspired by their example. The following interview was graciously granted us by Kathy Brodock, the talented mother behind Teaching Good Things.
LAF: What are some of
the excellent skills that we've almost forgotten in our
KB: Anything that has to do with
home-life! Cooking, hospitality, canning, basic home repairs, auto repairs,
gardening are all areas that usually are not done by the people that
live in the house. We live in a fast-paced, highly
entertained and gender-neutral culture that has gotten so far
from home--physically and emotionally--that there is little desire or ability to
do what needs to be done. No one is home to keep home; they are gone to school
and work all day, then they have to rush off to other activities, most of which
only pull them further from home. When something needs to be cooked, it is
popped out of a box and in a microwave. If something breaks, we either call
someone to fix it or we just buy a new one.
Beyond the basics of home
maintenance, rarely will you find people who want to create something that takes
time; something that takes the discipline of paying attention to detail. It is
so much easier to plop down in front of the TV or hook up to an iPod and tune
out the world, than it is to stretch the mind and hands to master
a new skill, whether it be sewing, baking, woodworking, or
LAF: Why do
you believe it's important to revive these skills?
KB: There are so many
reasons! 1 Thessalonians 4:12 says we are to be busy with our hands so that we
will behave properly toward our neighbor. Part of this is to be able to
meet our neighbor's needs, whether it be the neighbor next-door or the
neighbor in China. Most needs people have are hands-on, practical
needs. The last part of that verse says "so that we will not be in any
need." A man who cannot do his own home maintenance usually finds himself in
need quite often, as does a woman who cannot keep her home orderly or provide
food for her household (Proverbs 31). There is nothing wrong with calling in a
specialist or a skilled craftsman when we need to, but when it comes to the day-to-day things we need to be able to take care of ourselves with our "own
Learning these skills can
build many character traits, not only in our children, but in us. Traits such
as: diligence, humility, obedience,
gratefulness, patience, attentiveness, orderliness, responsibility, initiative,
creativity, thriftiness, availability, and self control. Learning these skills
helps develop our ability to appreciate the world around us. We can never
truly appreciate a quilt until we have tried to make one for ourselves. We can
never understand why a skilled carpenter charges what he does until we try to
build something ourselves. This is true for any skill.
Learning how to use your
hands to create beauty, meet the needs of others, and repair or maintain things
around you is truly an important part of being an efficient, well educated
adult. Then there is the whole
issue of being a good steward of our money. Doing your own repairs,
cooking, etc. can save you a lot of money.
LAF: When did you
begin creating video courses for home skills?
KB: We were given the idea
about two years ago. Since then we have been learning all about filming,
editing, and marketing. By God's grace we have published two videos
this year and have several more in the works.
LAF: What is the
course you've enjoyed creating the most and why?
So far I have been
the most excited about the cake decorating
. I think if you make being in the
kitchen fun for the children, half the battle is won. Cake
decorating is one skill that moms can learn, and with a little practice she
can save her family money by making all their cakes. With a
little more practice she could make money as she makes cakes for extended family
and friends. This is something she can do without compromising her conviction of
being a keeper of her home. Baking and decorating cakes for church,
community, and charity events is also one way to be able to minister
inspired you to create the day camps?
KB: What I hear over and over from
parents is that they just don't have the time to squeeze in sewing lessons or
woodworking classes during their normal school year. Most parents view getting
the academics done as their primary goal in their child's education, and I
do understand that. Most of us reading this are first generation
homeschoolers. We have put so much energy into "doing school" that we have
instituted a classroom in our home instead of making our homes a place of
learning. We need to bring some balance to our children's education.
Hosting summer camps is a perfect way to help parents bring that
balance in when they don't feel so pressured with a school schedule. We
also want these camps to be available for families that do attend public
schools so they, too, can be better equipped to meet the needs of others and
maintain their homes.
LAF: Tell us a
little about your day camps for fathers and sons.
We host a
Carpentry Day Camp
that is geared towards boys ages 12 and up, and their dads can attend for free. If dads are lacking in the carpentry area
they can learn right along with their sons. If they do have these skills it is a
great opportunity to help their sons and grow closer. It is not required
that dads come; we just want to give every opportunity to foster the father-son
Carpentry Camp is for one
week. The boys are taken to a lumber yard and shown how to look for good quality
lumber and how to look for a good deal. The rest of the time they are
taught to work as a crew as they build a storage building. The building is
built on the property of the person buying the building. The landowner only has
to pay for the cost of the lumber and supplies, which is a really good deal for
the landowner! Each boy is given a binder with a list of vocabulary words
and a set of drawings of the building so he will be exposed to reading
a print. We provide lunch a drinks for the guys!
We also offer a Woodworking
where boys 10 and up can come build a birdhouse and a bird feeder.
This is a one-day activity.
LAF: Tell us a little
about your day camps for moms and daughters.
Our Domestic Day Camps
cover a wide range of skills, including organization, cake decorating, sewing
a skirt without a pattern, simple sewing projects, how to grow and use herbs,
making bread by hand, quilting, card making, canning jam, and how to minister to
your community from your home. Here again, mothers are encouraged to
attend with their daughters. Many of us moms are learning right alongside our
daughters, but if that is not possible, the daughters really need to be there!
This year I have recruited a couple of other ladies to help teach areas that I
am not confident enough to teach myself, because I still have alot to learn.
I love the definition of
domestic: to be fond of home life and household affairs. We need to fond of
homemaking, embrace it, enjoy it and pass it down to our daughters and
granddaughters! That is my goal with these day camps.
LAF: Can someone
really gain a new skill in just a day or two?
KB: Definitely yes! Most
hands-on skills can be learned in a short period of time, but getting good at it
takes practice, and practice takes self-discipline. As I said earlier, this is
where that character training comes in. Not everyone will enjoy all skills,
and no one will master all of them. The important thing is to learn them so
at least you will know how to do them, then master the ones you really
LAF: How do you involve your entire family
in these endeavors?
KB: It is called the "We Factor." We've taught our children that this is not Mom or Dad's business, it is "our
business." Our children help us with everything! When we serve
others, WE serve as a family. When we work, WE all work, when we
play WE all play. They help with the filming, they help when we teach
classes, they can fill orders, actually they can do most anything mom and dad
can do. Then WE all enjoy the benefits! It's just how we
LAF: What kind of
response have you gotten to your day camps and video courses?
response has been very positive for both. All of the customer reviews on the
DVDs have surpassed my hopes! Camp registrations are coming in, and we are
getting excited about our summer! We hope to light the fire in some young people
to turn their hearts toward home and inspire them to look for ways to
meet the needs of those around them.
LAF: What if
readers don't live in Alabama--how can they benefit from your teaching?
On our website
you can sign
up for our free 7-part mini-course, "Encouraging Eager Hands." This course is
about building good character through working with your hands.
We do have our Cake
and Crochet DVD
available. The customer reviews on these have
been great! Our How to Make and Sell Your Own Bath Products DVD will be released
in June. The others that are in the making are: How to Quilt, How to Make a
Wedding Cake, Create Live Evergreen Arrangements and How to Build
Birdhouses and Bird Feeders. As you can see we have several irons in the
fire, so be sure to sign up for our updates so you will know when the next
resource is hot of the press!
Thank you for letting me
share about our website and ministry with
Thanks for sharing with us, Kathy!
Be sure to visit the Brodocks' website
to learn more about their camps, DVDs, and eBooks. We
recommend all of their resources!
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