real encouragement for real homeschool moms


A lawsuit was filed this morning on behalf of Lourdes Torres, the young woman Phillips’ claimed to have been in a relationship with for 7 years and which lead to the collapse of Vision Forum last October. David Gibbs, attorney for Torres, states ““In that patriarchal quiverfull culture, the ultimate and the highest ideal is then becoming married. What Doug did as the leader of the movement was take the ultimate ideal and perpetually promise that fraudulently to Lourdes to manipulate and control her to do things that she would otherwise not have done.” The entire article can be found here.

Read this and tell me that patriocentric teachings are not at the root of the whole sordid story!



“If we are harsh in our admonition to others, we are demonstrating that we are not qualified because is shows our lack of spiritual maturity. The opposite of harshness is the spirit of gentleness, which in the Greek means “with humility,” lest we also be tempted.  If we look at this verse in terms of relating to our children, we have to ask how we can be tempted.  I think it could be when we forget that we are sinners, too, and that we, ourselves, are overtaken daily in trespasses.  When we reject a humble, gentle attitude toward our children, we are tempted to mistreat them, physically and verbally.  We can either build up and restore a child by our words and actions or we can tear down and lord it over them, showing no spirit of humility whatsoever. We, too, are sinners in need of a Savior, and are still a work in progress ourselves. How we respond to sin in the lives of our children will have lasting consequences and if we are harsh might even cause them to give up altogether.” from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

ebay and zoo 234 

“Mercy is a command of God, yet it cannot simply be a response to a demand. It must arise out of hearts made generous and gracious by an understanding and experience of God’s mercy.”

Tim Keller


One spring I was asked to address the graduating high school seniors at our church’s annual awards banquet. While I prepared my remarks, I kept coming back to the true meaning of success as I thought of each student I knew personally, many of them Christians with high ideals and starry-eyed goals for the future. What could I share that would inspire them, but also keep their feet on the ground so that the discouraging times I knew were coming would not result in the destruction of their faith? As I pulled a book of quotes off the shelf to consider what I might add to my presentation, I was surprised when a quickly written note I had scribbled on the back of an envelope came tumbling out. It read, “Success is obedience to the known, revealed will of God.”

Joshua 1:8 confirms this wonderful truth: This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”  God’s will for us, as known and revealed to us in Scripture, holds the key to success!

Jesus made it even simpler for Christians to understand: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). According to Jesus, loving God and loving others are the marks of success!

Interestingly, nearly everyone, when asked, would quickly say that if they had to choose, success in relationships would win any day over career success. Even government studies that have been done to examine what makes American citizens the most happy have confirmed this: more than anything else, people want to be content in their relationships with each other! In fact, research presented in the American Economic Review (2004) concluded that “the conditions and experiences associated with people’s happiness are almost all ones that most Americans approved of heartily: strong marriages, close friendships, acts of charity and community service.”[1]

So, why do so many families approach the education of their children as though the opposite were true? Government-approved academic success, entrance into top universities followed by careers with six figure incomes, athletic accomplishments, and even the telltale signs of popularity like being the homecoming queen or head cheerleader are the stories that grace the pages of family newsletters and social media. These are often what motivate a family’s choice of school districts when shopping for a home. Their siren songs lull parents into believing that these are the steps to achieving parenting success. Though most of them do not actually believe that material wealth or job security triumph over happiness in relationships, they approach teaching and training their children as though they do.

Sadly, too often this is also the case with homeschooling families. Feeling the pressure to be accepted by friends or even confirm to disapproving family members that their educational choices are valid, moms and dads prioritize in the same way for their own children. Typically, the first question asked by new homeschoolers is, “What curriculum should we use?”, assuming that academic success ought to be the first priority. And yet, if happiness in life is most fully measured by the success of our relationships, why is it so rare to hear someone talk about the dynamics involved in building sound relationships, especially those based on the commands given in Scripture? Library shelves are full of books promoting man’s wisdom, but what about desiring to know what the Bible actually says about fulfilling the two greatest commandments?

I would be the first to tell you how much I enjoy all the curriculum options that are available to homeschooling families, and I could spend hours chatting with other moms about the pros and cons of various methods for presenting such educational materials to students. I love cheering on homeschoolers as they achieve academic awards, often watching them rise above and shine in places our critics told us they never would. But, far too often, I am seeing parents miss out on the greatest joy of homeschooling: building solid relationships with their children that will last a lifetime, helping their children establish patterns for all future relationships they will have. In their passion to do it right, too often they are missing God’s best. I know this is true because there have been many times when I nearly missed this myself!

Homeschooling is not simply a means for teaching and training children in the academic disciplines. Homeschooling is a way of family life that, if successful, reflects all the one anothers of Scripture. If we look on the pages of the Bible, on the surface we see very little direct instruction for raising children. We see even less that tells us what sorts of subjects to include in daily lesson plans. There are no how-to lists, and yet, how often Christian parents readily welcome any and every teaching on raising children that labels itself as “biblical” while ignoring the very real commands for relationship building that are found in the passages of Scripture called the “one another” verses.

Love one another. Encourage one another. Pray for one another. Submit to one another. Serve one another. Scripture is filled with dozens of these lovely one another passages that teach us how to be successful. When we apply these verses appropriately in individual ways with our own children and within the context of the homeschooling family, we begin to enjoy the fruits of our labors in amazing and unexpected ways!

During one summer vacation, our family spent a couple days driving down Highway One on the coast of California. Traveling south of San Francisco along the Pacific Ocean and through the area known as Big Sur, we experienced some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen. Wild and untamed, each fabulous view soon gave way to yet another work of God’s creation.

Sitting in the front seat passenger’s side, I looked out my window and straight down several hundred feet of rocky coastline, often dotted with pine trees and wild grasses. Sandy beaches reached their arms out into an unending expanse of intense blue water, the bright sun of a June day casting a sparkly surface on the waves. Gulls drifted overhead, searching for their suppers, and the deep, husky wails of elephant seals could be heard from caves hidden deep beneath the winding road. My heart cried out, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” I felt quite small and insignificant in God’s grand scheme of things.

Inching along the road, stopping often to take pictures and to chat with tourists from around the globe, we had no real sense of exactly where we were going. We looked ahead and our eyes could only take in the next curve, the next beach. We followed a map, estimating the time we needed to reach the highway where we were to turn back east, away from the ocean and into the desert. But it was only a guess; we were traveling an unfamiliar path. We didn’t know how long it would take to navigate the winding road or where we would need to stop for lunch, to get out and stretch, or to pose for that year’s Christmas card picture.

At one lookout point, the parking area was on the top of a cliff with a large overhang, which allowed us a nearly panoramic view. It was only then that I was able to grasp the big picture of our journey. Looking back toward the north from where we had come, I saw the wall of rocks that appeared to grow straight up from the water’s edge. Squinting my eyes, I could barely make out the tiniest line that was the road we had just traveled! Catching my breath at what I was seeing, I silently thanked God for His hand of protection of us as we drove along that precarious path. We continued on our trip, but I found myself, this time, repeatedly looking back at where we had been.

And so it is as I look back over our years of homeschooling. We got up every morning, finished chores and schoolwork, met each others’ needs, and arrived where we are today, simply by God’s grace to us. We traveled a road that we could not see at the time. It has been lovely and uncharted by us; many times it caused us to pause in wonder and awe at what we were seeing. Sometimes it was a lonely journey, one touched by the cold hands of grief and the voices of forbidden longings spoken to us from caves we could not see. But God, in His sovereignty, went ahead of us with His plan and kept us on the path as we followed His leading.

I believe that this journey of one anothering our children is what homeschooling families are called to make and is one of God’s grace alone. We must embrace the truth that God’s grace is the force that keeps us moving forward, that protects and provides for our every need; it is ordained by His good pleasure and is not of our own doing. This assurance of God’s grace in our lives is the heritage we pass along to our children and our grandchildren, knowing that He will accomplish what He will in each of us. Confessing to God our great need for that grace is the first step in a wonderful lifetime of what I have come to call relationship homeschooling.

If you are looking for a new whiz-bang formula for homeschooling, you will not find it here. In fact, on these pages you may find very little that is new to you. I believe that the principles I am sharing are ones you already know in your heart of hearts as a mama or daddy, truths that are sometimes forgotten in the 21st century evangelical world of raising and educating children.

This is a book of lessons, accounts of my weaknesses and failures, but, most importantly, the stories of God’s unfailing goodness and mercy that has rained down on our lives as we have shared this journey with our children. Let me tell you some of the things I have learned about that mercy and grace and what it means to one another our children in this great adventure! Let me introduce you to the joy that is relationship homeschooling!

Karen Campbell, Spring 2014


 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up to cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (12:14-15)

Bitterness, once it takes root, is nearly impossible to remove and almost always causes us to fall short of God’s grace in one way or another!

We are told to “pursue peace with all people.” The word used for “peace” in this passage comes from a root word that literally means “the wholeness that you experience when all the essential parts are tied together!” It conveys the completeness of a relationship, the joining together of separate parts. We are to actively work toward bringing about this type of harmony.

However, this pursuit must go hand in hand with holiness. In other words, while this is to be our goal, peace is not to be practiced at all costs; declaring that there are no problems for the sake of a worldly type of unity is really no peace at all. Psalm 85:8-10 tells us that in God’s restoration process, “mercy and truth have met together….righteousness and peace will kiss.” Holiness and righteousness require truthfulness in discerning the problems that caused the broken relationship in the first place. It means we must agree with God as to what sin actually is.

Being a peacemaker, then, is to seek to bring people into a right relationship with God through Jesus. Anything short of this brings no true peace at all.

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~ author Anna Quindlen

I recently attended a baby shower for a young woman who looks forward to being a homeschooling mom and it was exciting to see lots of children’s books in the gift bags. Experts all agree: exposing even very young children to books is the #1 best guarantee of reading success in the elementary years. But how do you begin to assemble a home library?

Cultivate an atmosphere of reading and researching in your home. Keep stacks of books by your bed and near a cozy chair for reading with your little ones. Arrange small “book nooks” in special places: in an unused closet, under the stairs, or in a tent in a corner of the family room. Pile large floor pillows near shelves to encourage quiet reading and place reading lamps (and flashlights) near beds for late night literary adventures. Preschoolers love to have their own books in a spot on the shelf or in a special basket. Cover their picture books with clear contact paper for longer “shelf” life! Make books more accessible than TV or video games!

Keep a running list of books you would like to own. Think ahead! You never know what you might find that will be perfect in another 10 years! Remember that books are a long-term investment in your whole family. Share your list with grandparents and others who might like to add to your family library. Our children keep Amazon book lists for us for each child so shopping for the grandchildren is easy! Be sure to include “real” or “living” books in your budget each year along with curriculum and take note of topics and titles that will interest individual family members.

Keep your eyes open for used book resources. Let everyone know you will gladly accept hand-me-down books. Frequently visit garage sales, Goodwill, and church and local library discard sales. Find a connection at your local school who can give you books before they are sent to the dumpster. One of our friends who was an elementary school janitor brought us hundreds of books each year, many of them now hard-to-find classics. And our very best garage sale find: a complete set of The Great Books for $10.00!

Collect a wide variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and for all age levels. My preschoolers enjoyed the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness books long before they were able to read the text; they loved the interaction and cuddle time as we “read” together. Most new children’s books include a suggested reading level or you can use the Microsoft Works reading level feature or one of the many online formulas to decipher the level of particular books. Living history books like The Little House Series are “graded” in that they increase in difficulty in reading as you progress through the series, making them perfect for reading aloud to a variety of ages of children and the D’Aulaire books, with their delightful drawings, are the ideal introduction to history and mythology for young children.

Read aloud to the whole family. We have enjoyed many adventures as a family with Dad reading to all of us right after dinner. When I asked our now-grown children to share their favorite, The Hobbit won! A close second was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which I read every day after lunch one year, creating all the voices! Be sure to include biographies and missionary stories for reading aloud to all ages. Hearing how God has worked in the real lives of real people is a tremendous faith builder!

Have a storage plan. This is still a challenge in our home! Peruse Pinterest for ideas for building shelves. I have seen amazing bookcases made from old pallets, repurposed dressers, and even sturdy planks on heavy cement blocks. Our first built-ins used defunct kitchen cabinets as a base with shelving on top! As a homeschooler, you will probably never have enough bookshelves!

Recommended books for toddlers and pre-schoolers:

Harold and the Purple Crayon
Owl Babies
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Where’s Spot
Guess How Much I Love You
Go, Dog, Go!
The Tawny Scrawny Lion
Knuffle Bunny
The Snowy Day
Where the Wild Things Are
The Giving Tree
The Paper Bag Princess
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Make Way for Ducklings
The Mitten (and other titles by Jan Brett)
The Monster Bed
I Can’t Said the Ant
Cricktor the Boa Constrictor
Mouse Paint
Minerva Louise
Miss Rumphius
Make Way for Ducklings
A Little Bit of Winter
One Kitten is Not Too Many
The Egg
The Carrot Seed
Blueberries for Sal
Goodnight Moon
Caps for Sale
Jesus Storybook Bible
Baby Beluga
Brown Bear
How Many Goodnight Kisses
Owen’s Walk
I’m Special, I’m Me
Big Green Pocket Book
Caps for Sale
The Corduroy Books
The Mitten
Are You My Mother?
Go, Dog, Go
Who is Coming to Our House?
Where the Wild Things Are
The Tale of Tricky Fox
Chicken Little
Can I Keep Him?
Give the Dog a Bone
What’s Under My Bed?
Winnie the Pooh
My Side of the Mountain
Caddie Woodlawn
Indian in the Cupboard
American Girl series
Jesus Storybook Bible
The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes
The Children’s Story Bible
Goodnight, Gorilla
Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit
Danny the Champion of the World
My First 100 Words (Spanish/English)
Curious George
All titles by Sandra Boynton, Virginia Lee Burton, Alexandra Day, Dr. Seuss, Leslie Patricelli, and Richard Scarry

Early Elementary and Read Alouds

Frog and Toad
Amelia Bedelila
Billy and Blaze
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
James and the Giant Peach (and other titles by Roald Dahl)
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Pippi Longstocking
The Phantom Tollbooth
The first four Betsy-Tacy books
Little House on the Prairie series
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
In Grandma’s Attic
Trumpet of the Swan
Chronicles of Narnia
The Boxcar Children series
The Little Princess
The Series of Unfortunate Events
The Enormous Crocodile
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Danny the Champion of the World
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Esio Trot
The Twits
George’s Marvelous Medicine
The Magic Finger
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
The Enormous Crocodile
All the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary

“Paul reminded his beloved Thessalonians that he was willing to do spiritual battle on their behalf, assuring them that being a Christian is not easy. He was transparent with them as he shared his past experiences and painted no picture of a perfect Christian life. Just imagine Paul showing his scars to the wide-eyed believers, making sure they understood what embracing Christ could look like up close and personal!

“This is the model Scripture places before us. We must admit to our families as well as ourselves that life isn’t always perfect. I say admit because they already do have an awareness of this on some level as they observe us on a daily basis; they will fully understand it as they grow and mature and have families of their own! Paul wanted to be sure his students knew life was difficult and that boldness is required, even in the midst of our daily lives as believers. Sometimes all we can offer to our children is the truth that life is hard but that God is always good!” ~ The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling, Spring 2014

“……Even in describing sinless Jesus as a youth, we are told that “He kept increasing in wisdom, and stature, and favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), which indicates that there are various ages of development children pass through that are normal and not a reflection of a sin. This is why I believe it is so important to learn all we can about each stage of a child’s life and what common characteristics there might be so that we can parent with understanding.” ~ The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling, Spring 2014

“The sense of personal calling on the lives of our children will help them persevere during those times of discouragement and difficulty that are certain to come to them. Early on, our children must embrace the truth that God has no plan B for their lives, only a plan A, and that He is bringing that plan to pass in spite of our best efforts or worst mistakes. Sometimes our children sin miserably and, lost in our own grief and disappointment, we forget this truth ourselves. But it is during these very times that we need to fulfill the calling God gives to us as parents: to comfort, exhort, admonish, strengthen, and encourage our children, affirming God’s forgiveness and watch care.” ~  The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling, Spring 2014

Now available!


"In today's homeschooling world, you can find all sorts of formulas and prescriptions. If you just follow the correct method, your children will grow up to live godly lives, and they will always make family (including you) their priority. In this book, Karen Campbell gives you the real story. Homeschooling and parenting are not about formulas and prescriptions. They are about relationships. Weaving together Scripture, her own successes and failures, and her observations of the homeschooling world, Karen provides a wealth of wisdom for the homeschooling parent. If you want a formula, this book is not for you. If you want honest wisdom that will aid you in your homeschooling journey, this book is exactly what you are looking for!" – Dr. Jay Wile, PhD, speaker and author of the popular "Exploring Creation with" series of textbooks.

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Family Integrated Church podcasts

The Family Integrated Church ~ Are you frustrated in your search for a church home? Are you considering a family integrated church? The podcast series on the FIC movement is just for you! This series includes Pastor Shawn Mathis who explains the "theological basis" for the movement, Pastor Steve Doyle, who was once an FIC pastor and left the movement, and Bible scholar and author, Jon Zens, who looks at the underlying doctrines that permeate many FIC churches. The series concludes with thatmom's encouragement to homeschooling families as they seek to be part of the entire body of Christ. You will also want to read the series of articles on the pros and cons of the FIC and my exhortation to homeschooling families who are looking for a church home!

thatmom’s podcasts on iTunes

thatmom’s thoughts on curriculum

And you can learn about my thoughts on developing your own philosophy of education as well as finding the methods of homeschooling that work best for you and your children by

looking for my presentations on the Home Educating Family media site!

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truth from the Word

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73: 25-26

more truth from the Word

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." ~ Ephesians 4:32

William Carey says:

"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."

Tim Keller says:

"God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately oppressed or even murdered people, or how much you’ve abused yourself… There is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace." ~ Tim Keller

Tim Keller also says:

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” ! Tim Keller in The Reason for God.

Oswald Chambers says:

"If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His." ~ Oswald Chambers

Phillip E. Johnson says:

“When pressed in interviews to name my heroes, I have spontaneously responded that they are homeschooling mothers! To me, the heroic mothers who nurture the next generation of faithful Christians are among the leaders of the church.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson

John Stonestreet says:

“C.S. Lewis said that for every new book we read, we ought to read three old ones. But I think for every latest, greatest new homeschooling book you read, go find three old homeschooling moms and ask them what happened and what worked.” ~ John Stonestreet

Carolyn Custis James says:

“The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.” ~ from Carolyn Custis James in When Life and Beliefs Collide

Anne Ortlund says:

“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.” ~ Anne Ortlund in Children Are Wet Cement

J.C Ryle says:

"Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." ~ J. C. Ryle in The Upper Room

Clay Clarkson says:

“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline

Tim Kimmel says:

“Grace can’t be some abstract concept that you talk about in your home. It has to be a real-time action that ultimately imprints itself in your children’s hearts. To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s words of grace in their hearts. Grace means that God not only loves them but that He loves them uniquely and specially. The primary way to give our children grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.” ~ Tim Kimmel in Grace-Based Parenting

Chuck Swindoll says:

"You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately...yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur. "

Kathy Thile says:

"I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children — he does, I’m sure — and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes — they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children." ~ Kathy Thile

Anna Quindlen says:

“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." ~ Anna Quindlen

Winston Churchill says:

“My education was interrupted only by my schooling." ~ Winston Churchill

John Taylor Gatto says:

"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real." ~ John Taylor Gatto

Fred Rogers say:

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers

thatmom says

"The truth is that the way a marriage becomes truly heavenly is for each husband and each wife to pursue, really pursue, a relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit to obey the Word of God, to set aside each of their own agendas and paradigms, and then as they walk in the Holy Spirit, as they are sanctified, a little at a time each day, they will grow closer to one another. Godly wisdom will manifest itself in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, a willingness to submit to one another, the fruits of the spirit, and no role-playing (the true meaning of hypocrisy). (James 3:17)" ~ thatmom

thatmom says:

"We need to approach our children not as character projects, but rather, we must see them with hearts of sympathy, with compassion and understanding, and with ears that listen. You see, homeschooling is not about lesson plans and research papers and standardized tests. Homeschooling is about building a relationship with our children, friendships that will last our entire lives on earth and clear into eternity. Homeschooling is merely the tool whereby we build those relationships." ~ thatmom

thatmom knows:

As a homeschooling mom, I have realized that everything, ultimately, is outside of my own control. I have learned that the unique circumstances that happen in my family have occurred because God’s plan is so much bigger than my own. It is knowing this truth about God and in experiencing that truth with those in my home that has enabled us to face past challenges and that will prepare us for all those difficulties that still lie before us.

thatmom realizes:

If I think about 37 years of marriage, times the number of loads of laundry I have done for 2 parents, 6 children and 1 grandma, I am amazed to know that I have washed, dried, folded, (sometimes ironed) and put away roughly 27,526 loads of laundry. That is over 215,000 socks! Or, in that same amount of time, provided 38,324 meals for a family and sometimes guests. Or that I have overseen nearly 21,500 hours of education of one sort or another during that time. Just thinking of these numbers takes my breath away. ~ thatmom

thatmom says:

"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children." ~ thatmom

thatmom says:

"Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream 'Yeah, you can do it.' " ~ thatmom

thatmom says:

“The beauty of homeschooling is building relationships within our families and inspiring our children to become lifelong learners, gently leading them into the truth of Scripture and trusting that the work we have begun will be brought to completion by a sovereign God who has a plan for building His heavenly kingdom.” ~ thatmom

thatmom says:

"A family that embraces a paradigm becomes lazy and doesn’t study the Word of God for themselves. They take what others state as gospel. They have to check in with the “expert” blogs to see how so and so is doing it. It requires little effort and, truthfully, little leadership on the part of the parents. Dads who think they are turning the hearts of their children to themselves are really turning the hearts of their children to the dad’s gurus!" ~ thatmom

thatmom also says:

“After parenting for 36 years, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they are a picture of Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.” ~ thatmom

thatmom says this, too:

“The word wisdom is used in Exodus to describe the knowledge that the Lord gave to the skilled artisans so they could make Aaron’s garments for worship. We are told that these workers “were given wisdom and understanding in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.” I have never had to sew any garments for a priest to wear for worship. I have not had to sew any draperies or build any walls or prepare any inner sanctuary as per the Lord’s instructions. But I have been called to give all I can toward the goal of building up children in the faith, preparing children for life outside my home, children whose bodies, we are told, are called the very temple of the Holy Spirit, children whose job it is to worship in spirit and in truth." ~ thatmom

what does thatmom believe?

" What is thy only comfort in life and death? "That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him." ~ Heidelberg Catechism

What does it mean to be a Christian?

1.We must acknowledge that we are all sinners. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) and “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

2.We are all accountable for our own sins before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

3.There is only one way to be forgiven of these sins and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

4.If we confess our sin to the Lord and repent of it (not allow it to rule in our lives) we can be forgiven and be in right standing with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousenss.” (1 John 1:9)

5.Genuine salvation will result in living lives of good works but none of those works contribute in any way to our standing before God which is based solely and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) and “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5) and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

6.We all, men and women, boys and girls, have direct access to the throne of grace because everyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ is called a “priest and king” in God’s economy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

I believe that many of the false teachings within the patriocentric movement are in direct contrast to these Scriptures and I would encourage each of us to first examine what we believe about Jesus and His work on the cross, its implications and its marvelous power.

Secondly, I would challenge anyone reading here to examine your own heart and ask yourself whether you have been trusting in good works….baptism, homeschooling, church attendance, modest dress, the list goes on and on, or if you have placed ALL your faith and hope in Jesus’ blood and righteousness alone.

And finally, I would challenge you to examine the teachings within your own church system, whether it is Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc. Ask yourself what your church teaches about ecclesiastical authority and family authority. Does it line up with the Word of God? It is a top down system that requires certain works in exchange for a relationship with Jesus Christ or do you have the assurance that you are saved for eternity by His death on the cross in your stead? Does it teach that the fruits of the spirit and obedience to all the one anothers is what our lives will demonstrate or is there a list of man made rules?

If you desire to talk with me about this, please send me a note to My desire is that no one who visits this website will leave without knowing the glorious truth that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and can enjoy a life filled with His goodness and grace!



Adoration of the Home was painted by regional artist, Grant Wood. The original hangs in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Ben Campbell and Lon Eldridge deserve extra cookies for writing, performing, recording, and mixing Mom’s Prairie Song for the podcast intro and outro. Great job, guys. Garrison Keillor would be proud.

Copyright © 2013 ~ ~ Karen Campbell ~ All Rights Reserved.