real encouragement for real homeschool moms

Me in 1959 heading to first grade.

Yesterday, my mom was reminiscing about her sister, Edith, who passed away a couple years ago and I remembered something I had written about her at the time. I think it is fitting to bring it out again for several reasons. First, those of us who live in Illinois have been feeling some real threats from our legislature regarding homeschooling freedoms over the past few months and they appear to continue during the remaining weeks of this legislative session. We need to keep in mind the real threats to our goals as homeschooling families. Secondly, the disagreements between Ken Ham and Great Homeschool Conventions continue and, whatever the details may be and the alliances that are being made, I have been disappointed in the past couple of years in Ham’s take on the Barna research that he believes points the finger at Sunday schools as the reasons so many young adults abandon the faith when they leave home. I think that is poppycock. And, finally, I can always tell when people have been attending homeschooling and other conferences with those who promote a family integrated church agenda because my downloads of the articles I wrote sharing the pros and cons of the movement start to skyrocket; those numbers have gone out the roof the past couple of weeks! So, here are some thoughts at the point where these issuses intersect, at least in my mind today!

I recently picked up my copy of Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s 1988 Home School Burnout, a book I had not read since the year is was published and I was homeschooling 3 children, had one toddler, and a newborn contributing to my own burnout potential. I will soon be interviewing both the Moore’s daughter, Kathie, and Ellen Dana from the Moore Academy for a series of podcasts, and wanted to refresh my memory about some of the things that had impacted my own early years as a homeschooler, thanks to the Moores and their research.

One point that was made in the early part of the book was the idea that some homeschoolers tend to see the government education system or even public school teachers as the enemy of home education and I must admit that there have been times when it has been difficult not to agree with that. But over the past couple of days I have thought long and hard about whom the real enemy is and why identifying the real threat to home schooling is crucial, especially as we define and seek to participate in multi-generational faithfulness as homeschooling parents. As always happens, the Lord provided me with a real example to teach me what He wanted me to know.

On Sunday afternoon, my Aunt Edith passed away. She was almost 88 years old and spent most of her life as an evangelist to children. Her obituary will be in the paper this week and will say that she taught public school for decades but in reality, she spent those years giving testimony of her faith in Jesus Christ to several generations of children. My Aunt Edith practiced multi-generational faithfulness. While the Lord gave her one physical daughter, she also gave her hundreds of spiritual sons and daughters because of her commitment to proclaiming the Gospel message of Jesus within the school systems of Central Illinois.

My mom, her younger sister, remembers when Edith traveled along miles of gravel and dirt roads to teach K-12 in country schools. Having only graduated from high school at that point, she began taking college classes in order to fulfill the legal requirements for teaching and eventually graduated and received a teaching certificate. Most of her career was spent teaching first graders, the age she most delighted in throughout her entire life.

Edith was married to her first husband for 25 years until he died of cancer. A few years later she remarried and she and her husband, Sam, began to have a vision for Child Evangelism Fellowship. I remember her sharing with me that she had started to see so many little ones in her classrooms who were from broken and dysfunctional homes that her heart was stirred to minister to them any way that she could. So she opened her home to Good News Clubs, each week inviting dozens of neighborhood children into a refurbished basement, complete with small tables and chairs, flannel graph boards, toys, and games. There they were shown the love of Christ, given homemade snacks, and were challenged with the message of God’s grace.

When she and Sam married, Sam, a widower, had moved into her home but had kept his house in a neighborhood of Peoria that was slowly being taken over by drug use and gang violence. Undaunted, Edith decided they ought to open another Good News Club in that neighborhood and so they did, welcoming in dozens more children, sharing the good news of salvation. Many more came to Christ and some brought their parents along to hear, too.

When the Supreme Court ruled in 1962 that prayer was to be banned from public school classrooms, Edith knew that, as a Christian, she could not comply and continued to prayer aloud over her students every day until she retired decades later. God honored her faithfulness and protected her, no student or parent ever questioning her practice. And because of her outspoken proclamation of the Gospel message, several generations of children within her school were introduced to the Savior.

My Aunt Edith had been raised by a mother who read the Word of God, my own grandmother who also shared her love of the Word with me. The Lord gave her a life-long calling to evangelism that she purposed to fulfill whenever and wherever she could, her greatest mission field being the public school system.

But not once in the years we homeschooled did I ever sense or hear a negative word about homeschooling from her. In fact, she treated me as a colleague, often offering curricula or fun projects from her files for me to share with my children. She was excited about homeschooling and the potential she saw that it held for children. She became one of the biggest cheerleaders I had for homeschooling and her encouragement went beyond me to families in her church who also had chosen this path.

One day she shared with me that she had been raking the leaves in her front yard when a middle-aged man with his son stopped by and asked her if she was the same lady who used to have all the children come to her house for Bible lessons. Nodding to him, he went on to tell her that he had attended one of her Good News clubs as a child and how much it had changed his life. Looking at his little boy, my aunt was overwhelmed with God’s goodness and faithfulness in furthering His Kingdom through even another generation.

My Aunt Edith had never heard the phrase “militant fecundity” yet she loved children and welcomed all she could into her home and her life. If she had heard the phrase “multi-generational faithfulness,” I am certain she would also have boldly stated that the faithfulness comes from God’s hand rather than from any works we might do. Yet, in her faithfulness as an evangelist to the little ones in her neighborhood and in her classrooms over the years, the Lord brought many to Himself, not for the glory or agenda of any man but for His glory alone.

As readers of the series of articles I did on the family integrated church movement know, I have a heart for home discipleship and believe it is a vital aspect of what we do as Christian parents, especially as homeschooling parents who are seeking to put Deuteronomy 6 into practice every single day. But I believe that God is so much bigger than what we do or do not do within His redemption plan, including how He chooses to bring others to Himself.

According to some, age segregated Sunday school for little ones flies in the face of multi-generational faithfulness. To them, youth groups of all kinds, Good News Clubs, camps, and AWANA are all part of a Darwinian plot against the family. But I would say emphatically that their definition of multi-generational faithfulness is skewed and is used to define all sorts of things that my Aunt Edith would never have considered as crucial to the lives of those who seek to follow Christ from generation to generation. Preaching Jesus and Him crucified and purposing to make disciples who love Him, reflecting His faithfulness to us, and to love their neighbors as themselves would most likely be her definition. It would be mine as well.

28 Responses to a little perspective on what matters

  • Anthea says:

    Hello Karen

    Thanks for reposting this testimony.

    I have reservations about the “No Sunday School” movement, since I came from a non-Xian home and was introduced to Jesus through Sunday School and the Christian Union run in our school. (I’m sure you know that in the UK a teacher may run a Bible Club in school, and many children learn about Jesus that way. There are also discipleship clubs in some of the bigger schools.)

    However, I would like to clarify something in your introduction. In his book, ‘Already Gone’, Ken Ham does not attack Sunday Schools, but bad teaching in Sunday Schools. His argument is that if the leader in the class does not show the evidences for the gospel and authority of Scripture, then it’s hard to counteract what’s being taught in schools (which is where most children are Monday to Saturday). In addition, the impression can be left that faith in Christ is a fuzzy matter with no substance behind it. In the book, he praises Sunday School leaders and gives them (and parents and pastors) tips in the Appendix of the book on how to improve what they teach. The research he used was not Barna’s, but a specially-commissioned study. Mr Ham states that he was shocked by some of the results, for example how young children were when they began to question the Bible, and the apparently deleterious effect of Sunday School. Unfortunately I cannot provide direct quotations, since I have lent out my copy of ‘Already Gone’.

    Also Answers in Genesis produces materials for Holiday Clubs/VBS — so they seem to be focusing on encouraging and equipping children’s workers, rather than telling them to stop their activities.

    It’s possible that Ken Ham seems to be against Sunday School because of the company he keeps. He sometimes speaks at conferences with FIC enthusiasts, such as Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips. For me, that is more of a problem that the contents of the book. I am quite alarmed at that.

    Since Jesus wanted workers for the harvest, I would presume that he wanted them everywhere that children can be found. Thank you for the reminder about that — and the charming photo of a younger Karen Campbell!

  • jen oliver says:

    I am hesitant to comment on a book I haven’t read in entirety myself, but I guess it’s okay to share my husband’s perspective on it. His main concern with it wasn’t with it’s conclusions about who was to blame for whatever perceived deficit of faith or knowledge was “causing” young adults to leave the church in adulthood; rather, my husband disagreed with the proposed solution–that we need to pump kids and teens full of apologetical arguments, and this would somehow save them. Neither I nor my husband are against apologetics and think it’s good to train people to defend there faith with intelligence (teaching the doctrine of inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture goes without saying); however, Scripture is emphatically clear that wise words and sage arguments are not effective for salvation (1st Corinthians 1-2); it’s a work of the Spirit. In line with this, my husband was bothered that the book seemed to place apologetical knowledge in priority above a real understanding of the “declarations and obligations” of the gospel (if I can borrow Fitzpatrick’s and Johnson’s terms from Counsel From the Cross), which in the truly regenerate Christian aid in real sanctification (also ultimately a work of the Spirit, not man).

    My husband saw the fruits of the book’s teaching playing out in the Christian high school where he worked. The students’ Bible class curriculum had all been altered to prioritize apologetical argumentation in every grade level instead of teaching about the gospel, the overarching themes of Scripture, and godly living. This was done intentionally because the superintendent had read that book and come to believe that apologetical teaching would bridge the gap he rightly perceived between the students’ professions of faith and their practical living. After a few years of this, the class that had had the bulk of this specialized training was known as, shall I say, profiting the least, at least in terms of the super’s objective; they knew the arguments cold, and would debate with them with gusto–but the impact on their sanctification as a whole? Not too encouraging. My husband said the real problem was simple; he found when he asked students basic questions about the gospel and sanctification, most of the kids gave him blank stares, and the fair share of others gave cockeyed answers that betrayed a shocking level of (mis)understanding about the basic truths of Scripture. They honestly just didn’t know much about the gospel, and certainly didn’t understand how it was supposed to affect their lives (or that it even should).

    While a person’s curiosity about theism may be piqued by a good apologetical argument, and while their confidence (sense of wisdom) might be bolstered (puffed up) by mastering these arguments themselves, apologetics is no substitute for the work of the Spirit through the sound and faithful preaching of the gospel. For kids and young adults, of course, it’s incredibly important that their teachers (parents, pastors, youth workers, and older believers in their faith communities) model the gospel to them with all the grace, truth, and love they have to offer. While another person’s faith and testimony can’t save a child, it can certainly encourage or discourage one’s faith. Kids and teens are looking for evidence of the power of the cross, surely, but they find–or lose–a great bulk of it in the lives of those adults who claim to be ruled by it.

  • klfisher says:

    While I appreciate your thoughtful article I must respectively disagree. Your Aunt Edith sounds like a wonderful God fearing woman that truly loved children. And while at her meetings she kept it Christ centered, most church groups do not. I have seen Sunday schools firsthand and it is hard pressed to see them teach the bible. I am not talking veggie tales and fluff, I am talking true down to earth Bible. I also have talked to many parents whose children attend youth groups and they are nothing but social clubs. Oh they might pray and mention God in passing but most of them are nothing but social clubs. More young ladies have walked away damaged from so called youth clubs. so while I am sure there are some good loving people out there and maybe even a couple decent youth groups it is not enough for me to allow my precious children and teens to attend.
    However I do respect your view and hope that you can respect mine.

    God bless

  • thatmom says:

    Anthea, I am trying to find my copy of Already Gone to post a quote that I found quite troubling but mine is also out! Will post when I get it back….I am trying to find out where Ken Ham stands on the patriocentricity issue, specifically what he teaches about Genesis 1-3. If anyone comes across CD messages or writings on these things, please send them my way.

  • thatmom says:

    Jen, these are such good insights. I agree that head knowledge isn’t the solution, it is only part of the equation. Think about how this looks if we apply it to relationships with others…having only head knowledge of each other without the heart issues to match them! It spells disaster in our dealings with each other!

    One thing that has troubled me is the number of homeschooled young people who train in debate skill, learning all the ways to “get” an opponent and to argue someone to death. I have seen my share of arrogant and know-it-all homeschoolers who think winning an arguement is the same as winning someone into the Kingdom, something no human being can do anyway! Often this attitude is extended to adults and I have even heard some misuse Psalm 119:99 “I am wiser than all my teachers, because I think about your rules” to support this attitude!

    This is one reason I highly recomment basic public speaking skills for young people instead of debate and have been teaching these classes in the past few years. There are more important skills to learn that will help someone present a clear case for the Gospel message: thoughtful organization of ideas that are well researched, articulate expression to others in a gracious manner, and expressing a genuine love for others that is learned by repeatedly sharing your ideas with them in an atmosphere of evaluation and acceptance. Combined with a genuine love of Christ, these students are a delight to everyone!

  • thatmom says:

    Hi Kathy!

    I don’t know if you have read my series of articles on family intergrated churches, but I share my own concerns on the very things you have mentioned.

    After both visiting and being a part of a number of churches that are rejecting these sorts of groups (at least in name…I see an awful lot of stuff that looks like “youth groups” to me where a bunch of kids get together and do stuff, though they preach against “youth groups”….not sure how they explain this) I have come to see issues that I think are more problematic for families than Sunday school, AWANA, etc. I hope you will take some time to read through those articles.

    Another good resource for examinating this is the interview I did with
    John Stonestreet from Summit Ministries. He is also a homeschoolng dad.

    I really appreciate the balance John brings to the topic. One thing that came out in our discussion is that it is difficult to expect young people to have genuine Biblical worldviews (not paradigms labled as such) when their parents do not have them themselves and in many cases neither does the pastor. John shares and analyzes those sad stats. Hope you will take a few minutes and listen to them.

  • Pressing On says:

    Thank you for publishing this.

    As one who has and works with teens, I agree with your assessment. Programs or not, if they don’t grasp the love of Jesus, they will indeed be drawn away. It is not about what we do, but WHO we point to.

  • Anthea says:

    Hello all

    When I read Mr Ham’s book, he noted that the research (and the book) were targeted at churches which are bible-believing, orthodox places. There was an assumption that these churches were *already* telling children about the gospel and encouraging them to repent and believe. The thesis of the book is *not* that our preaching of the gospel should be replaced by apologetics or fancy arguments, but that we undermine our efforts (and work against the Holy Spirit’s ministry of convicting sinners)when we do even little things, such using the term ‘Bible stories’. That resonated with me, because I knew that little ones assume that a story is fictional, whereas an adult might use an expression such as, ‘the story of the French Revolution’. If a local headteacher overreacted to the book, that’s a little like someone who doesn’t read the instructions from a recipe book or uses inferior ingredients. Sometimes people who are looking for The Magic Bullet will run wild with an idea after reading a book, however carefully the author articulates his ideas.

    I have done little things, such as showing children in Sunday School a photograph of Nebuchanezzar’s palace, before telling them of Daniel in the lion’s den. It made it clear that this happened in a real place to a real king. There are lots of great resources such as

    Jen mentioned apologetics — I agree that fancy intellectual evidence does not save anyone, and in the latest Answers magazine AiG reiterate that point. However we cannot let Satan snatch the word from little ones. My children are 8 and 5 — the age that Ken Ham’s book noted was more crucial than most churches realise. So a little goes a long way at this age. A few photos that show the Bible is real, a few little comments, such as: “Some people say that these things never happened, but did you know that one day archaeologists dug a hole in the ground, and guess what they found?” All I am doing is pre-empting the lies of the world and getting in my story first.

    (BTW, I am thoroughly spoiled rotten, since we can pop down to the British Museum, sometimes using a book such as Footsteps of the Past: The Old Testament in the British Museum. To stand in front of a frieze from an Abyssinian palace, or the Rosetta Stone, to handle a denarius at the ‘see and touch’ table … I know what an impact that can make.)

    These activities do not replace proclaiming or living out the gospel — that’d be daft!
    I didn’t read Ken Ham’s book looking for The Magic Bullet. I think there are some interesting insights, some useful ideas, and I read it in that spirit. I am sure that I could find a paragraph or a sentence with which I’d disagree, but it’s not a big issue for me, since Ken Ham is generally sound.

    For example, he has frequently expressed real concerns about state schools, but book does not hammer on at us to pull our children out of school — in fact, ‘Already Gone’ challenged the idea that homeschooled children are less likely to fall away from the faith. I found that very interesting, since many blogs and speakers were very keen to tell us just that in the months prior to ‘Already Gone’ appearing in the shops.

    Jen’s references to Scripture show us where we need to turn for guidance and clarification in all these matters. Nowhere does the NT show an either/or approach.

  • thatmom says:

    Anthea, you just brought something to mind from my childhood I hadn’t thought of in years! In the primary grade Sunday school department, there was a little house someone had built for us to play with. It was painted brown and had a flat roof like the ones talked about in the Bible. It certainly made lessons about the man being lowered through the ceiling to be healed by Jesus come alive. We were allowed to play with it and I can remember acting out those stories! This is one reason I always enjoyed Bible school as a child, too, because the teachers spent a couple weeks at a time making those stories come alive.

    You mentioned the ages between 5-8, to….my mom and dad taught a 3-4th grade SS class for years and loved how eager that age was to learn. They believed in hands-on learning, too, and were always dreaming up creative ways for their students to experience the truth of the Gospel message. I think the most doctrinally sound and compassionate SS teachers belong in this age group!

  • jennie says:

    I have been convinced that directly confronting error puts people off significantly. I agree so much wiht what you all are saying. Apologetics does not always leave room for love. Coming along side someone with the truth and letting them see their error themselves is preferable. What is even more powerful is testimony. We shall overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony:) Also this scripture comes to mind.


    23But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

    24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

    25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

    26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    My husband is another example of apologetics gone wrong. He was taught this in sunday school and had a legalistic church view. He didn’t get saved until he was 39, last year! He said well how can you ever be sure. The bible talks about ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth. Ouch right? Fortunately, God stepped into our lives and we got to see a few overt miracles, and he could no longer be unsure.

    I love the story of what your aunt did. That is so amazing.

  • thatmom says:

    Wow, Jennie, thanks so much for that testimony! And what appropriate Scripture. It certainly is all about grace, is it not!?!?!?

  • thatmom says:

    Anthea, I am disgustingly cheerful at 4:30 am. The only time I am online at night is if I have had too much coffee in the evening, which I try to avoid! :)

  • emr says:

    Re: debate
    I’m reminded of my dad (a pastor for 35 years) saying, “You can’t argue people into the kingdom. You have to love them in.”

    Re: apologetics
    One of my sons, in studying Christian apologetics, was drawn to and eventually joined the Catholic church. I do not say that as a negative, because he is a Godly young man who is following Christ and I’m extremely proud of him. I always told my children, “Don’t let other people do your thinking for you,” and he didn’t. However, I don’t think that’s where most evangelicals expect apologetics to lead.

  • Susan says:

    Karen, I’m looking forward to your podcasts with the Moore family. They were so steadfast supporting homeschoolers even when Dr. Moore was being attacked. They kept their eye on the family and not on power or control.
    It was great to read about your Aunt Edith and her mission work.

  • Kelley Wallace says:

    Thanks so much for this beautiful article. I am a new reader of your blog and follow you on Facebook. Thank you for being a Titus 2 woman to younger homeschooling moms. We need your perspective!

  • kh says:

    I have read Ken Ham’s book..”Already Gone”. I do agree that there are many young people leaving the church. I absolutely Do Not agree that it is because of the age segregated Sunday School Classes and all that. I do agree that in many churches(we have been in some) that Biblical things are not always taught. Parents need to know what is going on in there kids classes!! Ask your about it. If it’s know good and they won’t change it..Pull them out of there. Or better yet..Teach it to them!

  • Granddad says:

    I need some survey-type information to help me as a work on an essay.

    Why do/did you homeschool?
    1. Dissatisfied with the state of the local public schools.
    2. There was no available private (non-religious)school.
    3. There was no available Christian school I wanted to send my kids to.
    4. Believe homeschooling best reflects God’s design for the total education of children.


  • kh says:

    I personally began homeschooling our oldest daughter(now 28yrs.)because she was having problems reading.They taught the sight method.She even went to “summer school” because they told me it would really help.It did not.They pretty much watched television because the teacher had so many kids. I continued homeschooling because I saw the fruit in the life of my daughter..and 5 kids later..and still homeschooling the two youngest in high-school. We did check out a couple of Christian Schools later but it was like an extra mortgage The Lord gave me the grace to continue!!

  • Jerzy says:

    Hi Granddad,

    I started homeschooling because I hate getting up in the morning!

    Okay, seriously. I knew I could teach my kids just as well, if not better, than any teacher. And I just didn’t want to miss out on their lives.

    So I didn’t start out with any of the reasons you outlined, but I ended up with #4.

  • Susan T says:

    For Grandad

    Why do/did you homeschool?
    1. Dissatisfied with the state of the local public schools. — Yes: Heard reports that parents were not welcome in the local school. School had just changed to all day K. Principal could not give me a logical reason for doing so. Bus ride was going to be 40 minutes one way to travel 5 miles. We were expecting a baby and I didn’t want to take baby in the car twice a day and have 5 yr old miss out on on all the fun at home. Figured for the next two years until legal schoo, age of seven, we could easily work on the 3 R’s at home.
    2. There was no available private (non-religious)school. — Yes: available 20 miles away + too expensive & driving issue above.
    3. There was no available Christian school I wanted to send my kids to. Yes: available 20 miles away + too expensive, ditto driving.
    4. Believe homeschooling best reflects God’s design for the total education of children. No. Believe homeschooling is one of a few education methods which allow us to love God, and love others as we love ourselves. God calls different individuals & families to different education methods & life activities for different reasons but all for the same purpose – building up our faith & obedience to Him so we will eventually reflect Him and tell others about Him, for their salvation and for His glory.

  • Anthea says:

    Hello Grandad

    None of the above. First, the reasons we began were different from the reasons we continue, because before you begin home educating there is a “push” factor that is about what you don’t like about school; then once you start there is a “pull” towards parent-led education. Second, our reasons were more systemic than about local schools.

    Why did we start home edding? My reason: the National Curriculum in the UK had created a top-down, centrally-controlled system, with a culture focused on teaching to the test and an ever-narrower range of topics.**

    Husband’s reason: He said, “We can’t send this child to school. School will make’m stupid. You don’t know what goes on in those places. I’m telling you, school will make’m stupid.” Child was as yet unborn, by the way.

    Why do we carry on?

    My reason: We are all having a great time, and it’s going all right — why would we stop? Besides, we can’t send them to school — my husband and I would be nightmares at Parents’ Evening, with all our “Why?” questions.

    Husband’s reason: Why would we want to send them to school?

    Children’s reason: We get to eat snacks while we are learning. [That's deep, man.]

  • Anthea says:

    ** Academic footnote to my comment, namely a quotation from Charlotte Mason:

    “We hold that great things, such as nature, life, education, are ‘cabined,cribbed,confined’ in proportion as they are systematised. We have a METHOD of education, it is true, but method is no more than a way to an end, and is free, yielding, adaptive as Nature itself … System, on the contrary, has an infinity of rules and instructions as to what you are to do and how you are to do it…

    “Does Nature endow every young thing, child or kitten, with a wonderful capacity for inventive play? Nay, but says System, I can help here; I will invent games for the child nad help his play, and make more use of this power of his than unaided Nature knows how. So Dame System teaches the child to play, and he enjoys it; but, alas, there is no play in him, no initiative, when he is left to himself; and so on, all along the lines. System is fussy and zealous and produce enormous results — in the teacher!”

    from ‘Parents and Children’ pg 168 (Tyndale House 1989)

  • thatmom says:

    I am enjoying everyone’s story and am so glad Granddad asked!

    I am not certain our answer is found in your list either. The two reasons we began homeschooling is that we wanted our children to have an education based on a Biblical worldview AND we wanted to be with them! We had considered homeschooling initially when the oldest three were preschoolers back in the 1970′s but didn’t really begin to form our own philosophy of education until a few years later.

    We have come to consider homeschooling to be one of several aspects of discipling our children and over the years have grown to see more and more aspects of the government system to purposefully work against efforts of discipleship.

    We have also come to see any sort of formal education system to be stiffling for most children and not conducive to learning outside the box. Highly recommend reading The Outliers and John Taylor Gatto just to get your wheels turning!

  • thatmom says:

    Another thought I had…perhaps it would be better if parents could see their roles as teachers s primary and formal education as secondary. Just think about that for a bit…..

  • kh says:

    One more thing I thought I would share and everyone might think is really funny!! (I did). When my oldest son had been out of school for a few years,he came home for dinner one night and stated..”I sure am glad you home-schooled me because there for sure are some weird people out there”!! I cracked up!!

  • kh says:

    Perhaps it would be better if parents could see their roles as teachers as primary and formal education as secondary.

    Thanks Karen..and yes I have thought of that often but after homeschooling my whole life(some days it feels like for that Great Reminder as I finish up my two high schoolers!!

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“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
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
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
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.
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
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
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. "
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 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 realizes:
If I think about nearly 40 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:
"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 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 © 2014 ~ ~ Karen Campbell ~ All Rights Reserved.