When we began our homeschool journey 9 years ago, one of the first items I purchased was one of the Five in a Row manuals. It did not take long for me to purchase all of their manuals. They were written by Jane Claire Lambert and her daughter Becky Jane Lambert Schoeppner. One of the highlights in my homeschool journey was meeting Steve and Jane Lambert at a homeschool convention in Cincinnati, OH a few years ago. You can see their love for the Lord and homeschool families in person and in their writing. I am very honored to have had a chance recently to ask the Lamberts some questions, so you can get to know them better.
Steve, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Can you tell us a bit about your family. You have been in the homeschool market a long time, and you have touched many lives in the process.
We began homeschooling in 1982. Both of our daughters are married to wonderful men. Becky and Troy have been married 11 years and have four great children. Becky handles Five in a Row operations, shipping, etc. in addition to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom, wife, homeschool mother and church leader. Carrie and Michael have been married 7 years and have one adorable daughter. Carrie and Michael are both involved with Five in a Row as website designers, product designers and more in addition to their own freelance work as graphic artists, website designers and professional photographers.
Can you tell us how God is using you to minister to homeschoolers today?
We continue to travel and speak at state conventions as keynote speakers. In addition we’re actively involved on our website forums each day offering encouragement and advice. We serve on the national board of directors of First Class Homeschool Ministries, and together with Jay & Heidi St. John we do a homeschool marriage retreats called “Real Life Marriage” workshops for Christian homeschool couples.
When did you hold your first marriage encounter weekend, and what led you to hold it?
We began in 2007. We’ve actually only done a total of 5 events because we can’t afford to do them very often. The logistics of getting the St. Johns from Washington State and us from Missouri to where ever we’re invited are complicated with travel and hotel costs what they are these days. However, we are committed to do what we can, because we have seen such an outright attack on marriages in recent years.
You recently had a marriage encounter weekend. Would you like to tell us about it? From what I read, it is not your typical weekend.
No, it’s really not “typical” of marriage weekends. We lay our own lives open in a very vulnerable way. Then we challenge couples to get real with one another and get real with God. The sad truth is that there are few places where it’s less comfortable to “be real” than churches and homeschooling circles. We’re supposed to have all of our ducks in a row at all times and look good. But any hope of healing broken and hurting marriages begins with getting real; taking an honest look at our own lives and the condition of our marriage. First we have to get real with ourselves- then with God and with our partner. We can’t heal broken marriages in 24 hours, but we can put hurting couples on a path that will lead to healing if they have the courage to walk down that path.
How did you become involved in First Class Homeschool Ministries?
I (Steve) was the keynote speaker at the WATCH conference seveal years ago. (Washington Association of Teaching Christian Homes) Jay and Heidi St. John served as president of the state organization at that time. As we dialogued before, during and after the conference we discovered that we both had a heart for connecting homeschoolers and local churches into a life-giving, mutually supportive community. The more we talked the more we felt connected and eventually Jay & Heidi asked us to serve on their Board of Directors for FCHM. It’s been a tremendously rewarding relationship.
What’s new with Five in a Row? I have noticed that you have branched out a bit in recent years.
The homeschool market has changed dramatically since we began homeschooling nearly 30 years ago. Five in a Row has won countless awards and been recognized in so many gratifying ways, but we’re wanting to stay connected to the new generation of homeschoolers today. To continue our vision of effective, great academics acquired through lessons that promote a deep love of learning, and that are presented in a way that cause families to grow strong together, we need a more interactive internet experience for parents, and more ancillary products that can help fill niche needs for each unique homeschool family, etc. We are working on all of these. It also means, in many cases, helping nurture young couples in the area of life skills: Marriage, Christian discipleship, parenting, etc. So many young couples today that grew up in the 80’s really don’t have any known, working model for what marriage and parenting should look like.
We’re also very proud of a new product called “small talk” which is a professionally developed set of diagnostic tools and parent-directed therapies for the more than 10% of children who suffer from speech and language delays. Author Cari Ebert is a professional pediatric speech pathologist and she has offered homeschool parents a complete program for about what one diagnostic testing session would normally cost.
Remind us of your websites, and where we can find more information about your ministries.
Gosh. There are so many these days. Thank you for letting us share them.
Our primary website is www.fiveinarow.com which is where readers will find 10 forums for daily support and much more
Our digital and downloadable products are found at http://fiardigital.com
Small Talk is available from www.homeschoolsmalltalk.com
Jane’s regular nature blog is
Steve’s Monday-thru-Friday blog of homeschool encouragement and teaching ideas:
First Class Homeschool ministries is
Our homeschool marriage retreat website is http://reallifemarriages.com/
Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to tell us about the ministries you and Jane are involved with. May God richly bless you for the time you have both taken to minister and mentor homeschool families across the world.