Monthly Archives: September 2007
I came across this very informative article on some of the teachings in popular parenting books and wanted to pass it along. I so appreciate the analysis of this mother.
Then, after you have read this article, I would highly recommend reading Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson or Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel or Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen.
One summer, we pulled up in front of our house, bone tired as one usually arrives home from vacation, cranky, cramped, and desperately needing showers and sleep. Our neighbor walked over to greet us, but instead of the usual “how was the vacation?” he wanted to know if I realized I had missed my high school reunion and, even more importantly, if I knew I would have won an award had I attended.
This, of course, was news to me. You know how fast your mind races. Looking at the lot of us, at that point, all I could picture was winning the one million dollars from some reality show called Survivor: KOA.
“No,” I told him, “I didn’t know I had been awarded anything at all.”
He then said that his secretary, who graduated with me, had told him that because I have six children, I would have won the prize for the 1971 “Graduate of Farmington High School with the Most Children Award.” I imagine my status still stands and I am, perhaps, on the path to winning the award for the most grandchildren. I guess I am the “consummate” mom and have been rewarded appropriately.
But here is the interesting thing….I never think of myself in these terms and I am always puzzled and humbled by the positive comments I receive. To me, my life is just normal life, though it is not normal to lots of people I know in my circle of friends.
Take for example, an elderly woman I know who is in her 90’s. This dear lady has dubbed me “Wonder Woman” because, to her, I do it all. Of course, my family and I know how much of “all” still needs to be done. Daily. But to her, I accomplish more than Lynda Carter would ever hope to do, and all without a snap of the wrist or a twirl of the skirt. And what brought her to this conclusion? One day I sent a container of homemade soup and a loaf of fresh bread to her house. She was amazed and very grateful.
And it isn’t just old ladies who think a stay-at-home mom is terrific. Our first family doctor was always more interested in talking about homeschooling than anything else, one day confiding in me that, had it been done in the 1950’s, she would have loved to have homeschooled her own five children.
She went on to tell me how difficult it was to become a woman doctor back in the post WW II era. When she was a child, her family was “accidentally homeschooled” for six months while quarantined for measles and it was a turning point in her education. Without that experience, she said, she never would have had the confidence to go to medical school. She was a full time wife and mom at home with her children until the last one graduated from high school and then she opened her own practice in her front parlor. Not only was she always thrilled to hear what we were studying, but several times after she retired she talked with us to see how our grown children were getting along.
And then, let me tell you about my famous speech contest episode. The rule of thumb for storytelling is to tell a story about your own life. So, when I decided to enter a humorous speech contest, of course I had to talk about homeschooling. And do you know what? People loved that speech. In fact, they loved it through 4 different levels and I won the 1st place trophy in the district competition! To this very day, there are people I see at conferences who remember I am a homeschooler because of that speech, they ask me how my family is doing, and they really enjoy meeting my homeschooled children.
I believe all homeschooling moms are wonder women. We snap our wrists, twirl our denim skirts, and watch as amazing things happen in our homes. We see our children grow and learn and we, ourselves, grow through the process. When we look back at where the Lord has brought us, our hearts are grateful and overwhelmed with blessings. When we keep our eyes on Him, it is, as they say, all good.
But here is something that alarms me. There is a growing trend toward painting homeschooling, stay-at-home moms as victims, telling them that their jobs are belittled and mocked when, the truth of the matter is that most people are in awe of what you do and are able to accomplish as a family, day to day, under one roof and mostly on one income.
Linda Hirschman found this out when she wrote a book entitled Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, the main premise of which was that women ought to reconsider the trend toward staying home with their children and that they owe it to the culture to go into the workplace. Not only did stay-at-home moms let her know what was what, but the media, career women, and men all came to our defense, letting Linda know that our choice is just that, our choice.
I never know who these people are who are belittling and mocking our jobs as homeschooling moms. Usually the pronoun “they” is the culprit. Whoever “they” are, they are in the minority and will continue to be as we faithfully train our children and as we share our lives with others, presenting a winsome, gracious picture of God’s grace in our homes and families.
“My husband is the head of our home, but I don’t need to go through my husband to get to the Father…I am my husband’s wife but also my husband’s sister in Christ. It is a mystery and that mystery unfolds on a daily basis.” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled Interview with Spunky Homeschool Mom, Part One.
Visit Spunky’s blog if you would like to know more about her or would like to contact her.
I have the privilege of teaching the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Workshop to a group of homeschooled high schoolers this year. I have done this before so I know I am in for a treat. There is nothing quite like listening to homeschoolers talk about their own lives, their special interests, and especially their dreams and what inspires them. Yesterday, the first day they came with real prepared speeches, I had one of those moments that is too good not to share.
It was Ice Breaker speech day, the time when each student speaks about himself or herself for about 5 minutes. Since each is an expert on the topic, it is a great place to begin learning about public speaking. So a young man starts out his presentation, telling us how his father had to drive really fast through city traffic in order to get his mother to the hospital in time for his birth. And he then says “They almost didn’t make it and as soon as they got to the hospital, they realized that she was already dilated to 10.”
I could barely contain myself. How many 15 year old young men could use the phrase “dilated to 10?” My guess is that it is only homeschooled guys who live in a household where having babies is a totally ordinary happening. I can’t tell you what a blessing that was to me!
I came across this amazing tutorial yesterday and wanted to share it with all the creative homeschooling moms who read this blog. I can’t wait to see what my own “disasters-in-history” obsessed son will do with this concept. He is already designing the lifeboats that will dangle over the edge of the bow of a Titanic lap book.
Well, I have just listened to all Clay and I have recorded so far with Spunky and let me tell you, it is great stuff! So much great stuff, in fact, that we didn’t think we ought to edit out very much of it, so you will all be treated to a Month of Spunky! Be sure to listen to the past podcasts in this series, if you haven’t already, and then join me as Spunky and I discuss the ramifications of hyper-patriarchy and patriocentricity on women, wives, moms, and daughters.
October 5 ~ Part One of Patriocentricity’s Effects on Husbands and Wives ~ Spunky Homeschool Mom, Karen Braun, joins thatmom for a discussion on some of the teachings for wives within the patriocentric camps, including a review of Debi Pearl’s extremely popular book Created to be His Helpmeet.
October 12 ~ Part Two of discussion on wives
October 19 ~ Part One of Discussion on Patriocentricity’s Effects on Daughters and Families ~ Spunky continues to discuss this important and timely topic with thatmom, as they review So Much More by the “visionary daughters” Elizabeth and Anna Sophia Botkin. (We might include a review of their new film, too, if we can get our hands on a copy or two before then.) And we will be looking at Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald, too, as we discuss the various views of raising daughters within homeschooling circles today.
October 26 ~ Part Two of discussion on the visionary daughters
“I have observed, as have many other women who are critics of this movement, that women are the ones who are really behind the patriocentricity movement. I really related to your reference to the movie the Stepford Wives because I believe it is an appropriate one….As the movie comes to a close, she is holding the husband robot head in her hand and muttering “all I wanted was a perfect community, a wholesome place.” I think this is very much like those in the patriocentric circles. These women want a guaranteed paradigm in which to raise their children and they believe these extreme forms of patriarchy will produce that.” Listen here to this week’s podcast from my continuing series on patriarchy and patriocentricity entitled “Interview with Don Veinot, Part 2.”
One of my sons likes to play “what if” with us, dreaming up impossible scenarios, hoping we will be hysterical with laughter, which we frequently are! So, here is a big “what if “for you, though it is far from impossible…..what if God called you to homeschool your children because of what He wanted to do in YOUR life?
That is the question I will be asking the moms at the homeschooling mom’s retreat in November. Just pondering that question causes me to praise and thank God for the richness He has brought to my life because of this adventure called homeschooling! Then there are the many things He has taught me, not just about history and pronouns, but about who He is and what He has called me to do. And perhaps, the most amazing thing of all, is considering how He has used homeschooling to polish off the rough edges of my life through teaching and discipling my own children.
The other day, a friend told me that when she began homeschooling over 20 years ago, she didn’t sign on for many of the things that have been struggles for her. As she prepares for giving her testimony of God’s grace through some of those things, and bounced some of her ideas off of me, it struck me how different each homeschooling mom is and how each story is another picture of God’s goodness and faithfulness, His particular gifts to the body of Christ.
I have come to believe that the only way we can grasp what God is doing in our own lives and in the lives of our children is to understand the difference between our “calling” our “role” and our “purpose” both as women and as homeschooling moms. When those three words and concepts are used interchangeably or are confused or even misused, we miss the full picture of what God has in store for each of us, our place within our own families, and especially our place within His glorious, eternal family.
I hope to share some of the things I am learning over the next few weeks and if you live any where close enough to Peoria to join us for the retreat, please consider coming. The moms who are preparing to share their lives with you are awesome examples of God’s goodness, mercy, and grace and I can’t wait to hear what He has placed on their hearts.
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
Some days I don’t think it will ever end. Everything becomes a clue, a mystery, a puzzle to be solved. Why does our neighbor live by himself in that huge old house? What do you suppose are stored in those extra bedrooms? Why is his driveway gated? It is the Nancy Drew phase and as it looks right now, my son will one day be a private investigator!
I know you understand just what I am talking about, those days when one of your children has an interest that hasn’t yet been satisfied and everyone in the family gets drawn in to the madness just because we live in the same household. We have survived many of these phases….dinosaurs, World War 2 aircraft, Star Wars and outer space mania, the films of Bela Lugosi, the Titanic, etc. However, as annoying as the never-ending details might be to the rest of us, the good that comes of it all is that my children have become great researchers. They do not just accept something at face value, but rather, they want to know all they possibly can about a subject and they won’t stop until they are satisfied. In truth, they are all Nancy Drew.
In the book of Acts, we are told that the Jewish believers from Berea where “of more noble character” than those from Thessalonica because they did three things: they were eager learners of God’s Word, they thoroughly researched and examined all they were taught and held it up to the light of Scripture, and they especially questioned Paul, the one who was teaching them about God and His word.
But what do we know about the Thessalonians? 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9 says that they were imitators of Paul, they persevered in spite of their sufferings, they welcomed the teachings they received with joy in the Holy Spirit, and Paul even considered them to be models for other Christ followers. The passage goes on to tell us that they had a solid testimony not just in their own home town but everywhere and that testimony conveyed that they had turned away from their idol worship to serve and honor the one true God. These were commendable believers and Paul found no fault with them.
However, as praiseworthy as the Thessalonians were, we are told in the book of Acts that the Bereans were even more noble because they did not just accept all they heard from Paul, but they researched and tested what they were being taught.
The Strong’s Concordance says that this word “examine” means to “judge, investigate, inquire into, scrutinize, sift, question, specifically in a forensic sense, to interrogate, to determine the excellence or defects of any person or thing.” The Bereans were Nancy Drew Christians. They would leave no stone unturned until they found the truth in what they were hearing.
I believe that, besides the example of their diligent research, there are two lessons for us in the few verses the Bible actually records about the Berean believers.
First of all, those who are teaching the Word of God ought to welcome questions about their teachings and about who they are. Paul obviously welcomed being held accountable because he commended them for doing so!
In our day, the words of teachers are not just found on their lips, whether it is in sermons they preach or in conference presentations they make to homeschoolers, but in their books and on their blogs as well. All of those places are where we begin as we examine them, according to the example given to us in Acts.
True Berean teachers will not be afraid of opposing views, and will open their blogs to comments, not deleting or censoring those who question or challenge them. And, as they present to us their applications of God’s Word, it is even more important that they differentiate between the commands of Scripture and their own preferences as they instruct so as not to confuse other believers, placing heavy burdens of behavior on them that are not based purely on the Word of God.
Which brings me to my second point. I wonder if, perhaps, the Bereans examined Paul because of some of the things he believed and forced on others back in his days as a Pharisee. At that time, he strictly followed the letter of the Mosaic Law. He separated himself from anyone or anything that might contaminate him. In fact, he was so zealous that he persecuted Christians who didn’t follow his example, those who trusted only in Christ for their salvation. Maybe the Bereans were skeptical because they knew the dangers of being drug into a legalistic way of life and they wanted no part of it. Afterall, they were Christians who had experienced the joy of the Lord and His grace and mercy, which stood in stark contrast to the ways taught by the Pharisees.
How crucial this process is for homeschooling moms, perhaps more than anyone else involved in discipleship and evangelism, because the stakes are so high! Our children will learn by our example how to be noble Christians. They will see what we question and what we accept without asking questions. And they will become Nancy Drew Christians only when they see that we are also super sleuths when it comes to the Word of God.
“Last week I spent considerable time defining the terms of the patriarchy movement and some of its history. Today, before I welcome my guest, I would like to, again, define what I believe “patriarchy” is in the homeschooling community. At first blush, it doesn’t seem too much different than the message taught by Promise Keepers or that the new “In the Zone” ministries are promoting or even what Dr. James Dobson has promoted for the past 30 years…..and I welcome to my podcast Don Veinot.” Listen here for this week’s podcast Part Two of the Patriarch Series: The First of Two Interviews with Don Veinot from Midwest Christian Outreach.