real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

a little podcast history

My first thought of doing a podcast came after listening to Kevin Swanson one day a year or so ago. I do not remember what his exact theme was for the day or who his guest was, but I do remember thinking that any attempts at encouraging any real moms I knew were being thwarted by his hyperbole and tone. I offhandedly remarked to Clay about this and then forgot about it in the midst of Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. That all changed when, on Christmas morning, I opened Clay’s present to me…a microphone and the promise of a podcast.

When Clay and I first seriously talked about the idea of producing a podcast, we talked about our goals and objectives, the intended target audience, and the importance of setting standards for what would be discussed and who I would interview. We determined from the beginning that a podcast would serve as an encouragement to real homeschooling moms who are often discouraged by the paradigms that too frequently are promoted within homeschooling circles today. We knew that a fresh voice needed to be heard and that original ideas needed to be given a hearing. We also knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the atoning work of God’s grace must be a central theme for anything we would produce.

To that end and in order to maintain the standards we established as well as meeting my personal goals for this podcast, I am declining the request from Stacy McDonald that she and Jennie Chancey be guests on a thatmom podcast.

It is my firm belief that those within the patriocentric camp have gone unchallenged in their teachings within the homeschooling community for far too long and their influence has spread to such proportions that they hold sway over the majority of state homeschooling organizations.. Over the past 10 years I have watched as they have been the keynote speakers at homeschooling conventions from coast to coast, have published magazines, have given rise to Kevin Swanson and his popular broadcasts on homeschooling, have written books that are published through their own publishing companies, and now are being promoted through HSLDA’s endorsement of Vision Forum and the Passionate Housewives book. Though they do not represent the views of the majority of homeschoolers, for the most part, theirs has been the lone voice. But that is no longer the case. One by one, blog by blog, website by website, their views are being challenged and held up to the light of Scripture. This is not slander, gossip, or libel. It is Christian men and women who are no longer content with watching as Scripture is misused, families are destroyed, women are belittled, and awesome, Godly fathers are stuffed into molds that are not commanded in the Word of God.

While there are still those who maintain that there are “misunderstandings” regarding the Passionate Housewives book or the teachings of the Botkins and other patriocentric teachers, I believe that, in fact, there are no misunderstandings whatsoever. What I do believe is that there are inconsistencies and contradictory statements that need clarification and to that end I would like to make this challenge.

Several regular readers of this blog and of the True Womanhood blog have contacted Stacy privately and asked her questions or have sought to ask questions on her blog or her husband’s blog, but have not had their comments approved. In fact, some have been banned from posting there altogether. I, too have asked questions and am still waiting to have them answered. So, to that end, I will be posting a list of those questions on this blog and, because I do not filter comments (though I will removed nasty, personal, snarky remarks, so beware) Stacy will have the opportunity to answer them for us. I would also ask that, since she is anxious to have these things publicly clarified, that as she answers these questions, she place a link on her blog to this sight so not only my readers can know the questions and answers, but hers can as well.

I look forward to this dialog and hope to place some of these questions up within a day or two.



  thatmom wrote @

If you have questions that have not been answered by Stacy, feel free to e-mail me at or ask them in the comment section once I put up the list.

I look forward to some great, intelligent commentary and questions from the smart ladies (and gentlemen) who read here!

  Lynn wrote @

Karen, I am glad that you are keeping this particular dialogue in written form!

When there are disagreements, it is much better, I think, to frame them in written form. That helps keep every thing much clearer! And it certainly cannot be considered evasive. You set the agenda for your podcasts, and I completely understand. I think this is a very good way of dealing with a dialogue.

I will forthwith send you my questions, and in about an hour, I am going to post a blog article on my blog for yours and Jennie’s and Stacy’s and anybody else’s consideration.

  Corrie wrote @


This is an excellent response and I look forward to seeing the written clarification to my questions and those of others. I can’t see why this would be a problem with anyone.

  Lynda wrote @

Surely there will be those who agree with your reason for declining to interview Stacy and Jennie, but I am not one of them. Please do not ever state again that these women will not meet with you or answer your questions. Do not go on and on about how you’ve tried to approach them or talk with them. They’ve offered in front of the world to talk with you and you gave reasons (lame, IMHO) for not doing so. No more excuses. Move on, Karen.

  Jen wrote @

Karen, I just want you to know that I support your right to choose who you will have on your podcasts. I pray for reconciliation without compromise between all parties involved.

  thatmom wrote @

Lynda, I am giving them a wonderful opportunity to answer all my questions and not only mine but the questions of many. I look forward to this exchange. Do you have any questions for them that I can add to the list?

  thatmom wrote @

Jen, I don’t think “reconciliation” is the accurate word. This is a matter of discussing, debating, and mulling over ideas and opinions. These things are not in the “personal offense” category as I described in my thread on the differences between Matthew 18 and Galatians 2.

What I would like “reconciled” are the discrepancies between what has been written in the book and what has been stated in private e-mails and on blogs.

  Cindy Kunsman wrote @

So true. Personal reconcilliation requires that there was a pre-existing affiliation/relationship of trust.

It’s telling, because I copied my comments here and sent them to Chris Ortiz this morning. I took the opportunity to again thank him for showing me a great deal of respect, an unusual find in the debate of this topic. (Though I did mention that comparing him to others in patriarchy was a poor standard of comparison!) He responded with “Hello” and a blessing which I believe to be very genuine.

If he is able to do this, why are so few others?

  Fairlight wrote @

I’m new to this discussion on patriarchy. Could your please verify for me the differences in your opinion and those of Stacy MacDonald. I’ve read both blogs and just get more confused. What exactly are you protesting?

Lake Norman, NC

  Cindy Kunsman wrote @

I posted this on my blog a couple of weeks ago, and it is about as concise as I can make the topic. It’s got plenty of links to other sources that you can read, read, read for yourself.

  Jen wrote @

Karen, I had personal reconciliation on my mind for myself. You are right that it may not apply to you and this situation. I would like to see honesty and integrity all the way around, certainly, which is what you seem to be pushing for as well. I would like to see the issues themselves discussed without the focus on the people involved so much. I would like to see Christ and the truth of God’s Word exalted in these debates. I pray that we can all keep our focus on Jesus.

Keep up the good work!

  Alisa wrote @

I have a question for Stacy:

“How do you reconcile the assertion that “being a wife and mother is a woman’s HIGHEST calling” with the Apostle Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthian’s that “the woman who chooses to remain unmarried chooses the BETTER thing”?

  thatmom wrote @

Thanks, Alisa, and everyone, keep those questions coming. I am assembling a list for Stacy and will be posting them soon.

  thatmom wrote @

Fairlight, that is a big question for a little space!

i am going to refer you to the blog where much of this discussion has been taking place for over 6 months. Warning: there are THREE threads under the title of “visionary daughters” and over 2000 comments, so is seems daunting when you begin. However, the comments are full of awesome discussion and so much Scripture you will need a concordance and your Bible handy at all times.

The women at this site are articulate and intelligent and many of them have spent years sorting through the patriocentric teachings and have watched as they have mutated into what we are seeing today. The testimonies I have read at this site that bless me so much are from women who share how examining the differences in our philosophy vs the patriocentric philosophy have driven them to Scripture and have brought them closer than ever before to their husbands and families. Hearing those stories motivates us all to keep on keeping on with this discussion.

Also, if you are knew to the concept of patriocentricity and are interested in what my take is on it, check out my podcast archives at I spent several weeks examining the issue and was joined by Don Veinot from Midwest Christian Outreach and Spunky Homeschool Mom, Karen Braun. And on December 7 and 14 my podcasts will be on the differences between a woman’s purpose in life, her calling, and her role, which, probably will best explain where I am coming from. Following that, Corrie and I are reviewing Passionate Housewives, so the next 4 weeks ought to answer your question completely!

  thatmom wrote @

Oh, and one more things, Fairlight. I do not really think that I am protesting patriocentricity as much as I am promoting the admonition that Christian women ought to be Bereans and hold everything they are taught up to the light of Scripture.

  sarah wrote @

I will not be holding my breath for Stacy and Jennie to respond to questions from this blog’s readers.

Frankly, Karen’s questions and critiques of their voluminous body of work are readily available here and at truewomanhood. Nothing is stopping Jennie and Stacy from writing responses to those comments on their own websites. Further, I find it odd that Jennie and Stacy believe they are such poor writers and communicators that educated women such as Karen cannot understand what they “really meant” in their books, speeches, and other writings.

  questions for Stacy on being a keeper at home « thatmom wrote @

[…] offered to be interviewed on a podcast with me, along with her co-author, Jennie Chancey. Then, in this blog entry, I responded to her, citing my reasons for not conducting a podcast interview with her, but offering […]

  joanna wrote @

I agree with Lynda above. I would think you would WELCOME doing a podcast with Stacy and Jennie. I am actually shocked that you are turning down the offer.
I re-read several times your reasons for doing so and it isn’t clear to me. It appears to me that you don’t have the gumption to go thru with it-that’s what it looks like from my perspective.
I had Christian radio on yesterday (12-4) and a program was on called “Prime Time America” which I had never listened to before-I never have the radio on in the afternoon but I wasn’t feeling well.
To my surprise, Stacy and Jennie were featured because of their new book. Maybe you could send for a transcript or something? Just in case you’re interested. Part 2 was today, but I completely forgot about it. I’m not interested anyway, as I’m on your side about the whole thing. I am disappointed, though, that you won’t do a podcast with them. It sounds like such a wonderful opportunity for you.

  thatmom wrote @

Joanna, have you listened to the patriocentricity podcasts? If so, I cannot imagine how you would think that I lack gumption!

Let me add some more insights that might help.

I believe that the Passionate Housewives book and the subsequent interviews have various layers to them. On the surface, a casual reader or listener who is a stay-at-home mom responds by feeling affirmed in her convictions about her life, especially after a difficult day of pouring out her life for her family. By reading the examples in the book of women like “Carolyn,” a career woman who doesn’t want children, or the soccer moms with their marble sinks, she is satisfied the she has made not only the right choice for her life, but she has chosen the role for women that God has ordained before the foundation of the world. This is an understandable response, since we all like to feel that our choices are validated, especially by God. But these sorts of caricature examples encourage the temptation to “compare ourselves among ourselves,” which the scripture tells us is not wise. ( “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12)

However, if that same woman steps out of her own life and her own experience and examines the many presuppositions in the book and holds them up to the light of Scripture, she will have another level of understanding. She will see that yes, she is being obedient to what the Lord has called HER to do, but that her calling is not the same as another woman’s calling. She will begin to question the fact that there are examples throughout Scripture of women who were called to serve the Lord in a variety of ways. She will examine church history and see that many women who have been mightily used of God, even in our day, did not fit into the mold of a passionate housewife as described by these authors. She will begin to see that this worldview isn’t really a biblical one, but rather, one that is Americanized, especially if she is in tune at all to world missions.

Then, finally, if she looks at these same presuppositions in light of the other writings of the authors, she begins to understand on an even deeper level. She begins to be aware of an overriding, extra-biblical, patriocentric agenda that is being promoted. She measures what she is reading in the book with not only the authors’ other writings on women and their roles, and not only the ramifications of those writings, but she begins to see the inconsistencies between those writings. She starts to be able to recognize “patriospeak,” as it were, and suddenly her eyes are opened.

If you have listened to any of the interviews that have already been done with Stacy and Jennie, you quickly realize that they keep their interview on the first level and even state things that are not what they say elsewhere, including in the book. They are betting on the fact that most listeners have not read their other writings or have not watched any of their spots on documentaries. They are very shrewd, because if they were to openly state that women’s suffrage was a terrible idea or that women are blaspheming God’s name if they work outside the home, they would not be allowed on any speaking circuit. (It all reminds me of politicians whose views are radical and their handlers warn them not to tell the audience their real positions on issues. Just think presidential debates.) They are being the “kinder and gentler” patriarch wives.

So, you see, I am not willing to be party to the charade by handing a microphone to Jennie and Stacy, allowing them to give their first level presentation. I care too much about those who listen to the podcasts and I know that, before the Lord, I have a great responsibility to present things honestly and in an upright manner, which includes the deeper levels of understanding of this book and how Scripture has been used in it.

I also want to take Stacy at her word, that she honestly and sincerely wants to have an audience to be able to “clear up any misunderstandings.” That will be done in a format that allows for questions and follow-up questions that will enable us to not only look at the shiny new car, but under the hood as well.

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