"She was a very good student. She was an 'A' student," says Steven Rhoads, Yoest's dissertation adviser at the University of Virginia. "I'm not surprised she took a more activist route. I think that was important to her.... She is one of a number of women who are going to make a mark for themselves beyond the family, yet are not going to want to turn their kids over to day care."
The couple, married for more than two decades, now lives in a Virginia suburb of Washington with what Mr. Yoest, a management consultant, calls their "Penta posse": Hannah, 18; John, 16; Helena, 14; Sarah, 10; and James, 7.
The children are a close-knit pack of brunettes. With busy working parents, each helps to keep the family ship on course. Helena, an early riser, makes everyone's lunches – peanut butter-and-jelly or ham-and-cheese sandwiches – in the morning. Sarah unloads the dishwasher. John mows the lawn. And Hannah, who this fall starts at UVA on a rowing scholarship, drives her siblings to school. Many days, family members stay in touch via Facebook.
Routinely, Ms. Yoest admits with just mild hesitation, the family misses Sunday church services because one of the kids has a sporting event.
The Yoests bonded over politics during the 2008 campaign when Ms. Yoest worked for Mr. Huckabee. After painting the family Chevy Suburban and dubbing it the "Hucka truck," they spent six weeks on the road, traveling through New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa, where the kids say they discovered phone banking – and that it's a rare voter who hangs up on a child calling for campaign support.