real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

february 22 podcast

Podcast Logo Listen here for part 3 in the series I am sharing with my friend, Corrie Marnett, as we discuss the book we wish someone would write for wives and moms. This week Corrie and I consider several more of our top ten topics that we believe are crucial for homeschooling moms to consider.



  Cindy Kunsman wrote @

After ruminating on this podcast for a couple of days, I keep returning to the discussion of women having hobbies and interests other than family oriented activity. There is a part of me that cannot fathom that (excluding financial and pragmatic limitations) any woman would be told that they can only find satisfaction within a certain range of activity, yet I know that this is so true of some.

This part of the discussion reminds me of how so many in homeschooling are encouraged to find complete and total fulfillment in only this range. I believe that I heard Karen discuss this mitigation of calling and mission and purpose in a previous podcast. When looking over the Federal Vision book a few days ago, I noticed that I had written something similar in the margin of one of the pages beside a statement that sin diminishes God’s image in us. (That when we sin, we become less of a representation God’s image.) I wrote “NO! NO! NO!” on the page and noted how the patriarchy movement confuses essence with calling with purpose.

When I discussed this with my husband (ranting and raving!), we speculated that this is representative of the “infused grace” and merited grace that is so prevelant in Christianity today. In this view, we are justified by faith, but then the ongoing work of sanctification must be a collaborative work between us and God, and we are actually of lesser essence when we sin. This is salvation by works and not by unmerited favor through faith.

  Lynn wrote @

I think children are encouraged when they see their parents pursuing interests, keeping active an physically fit, whatever. Of course, when they know they are top priority with mom and dad — I know you didn’t mean for the hobbies a mother pursues to take over her life.

In the same way, I view the concept of the team approach to housework that you talked about.

It is perfectly true that a mother should NOT be expected to be a “one man band” in doing the chores with able bodied, capable children around, but then there are mothers who have multiple children who sometimes put a burden on their older children, especially the daughters, to assume too much of the work, whether it is child care, or cooking and cleaning and laundry, or whatever.

In all these things, there are extremes that we need to avoid, and a balance that needs to be struck.

  thatmom wrote @

I think you have made a great point, that of the motivation for how and where we spend our time and energies.

I remember my first readings of Francis Schaeffer and being struck by the statements he was making regarding the creativity of man because we are made in God’s image. (This is one of the reasons I so loathe homeschooling curriculum that involves stacks of workbooks and textbooks rather than allowing children to explore learning in creative ways, with supervision of course.) When I read Schaeffer, I realized for the first time the reasons for that desire in me to dream and design and explore and create and it was liberating. Thankfully I understood this before I started teaching my own children.

But when your worldview is such that all of your time must be spent in doing something that falls under the guidelines prescribed by your paradigm leaders in order to be acceptable to the Lord, then creativity is limited if not aborted. And when not only activities are prescribed but in certain ways as well, it becomes very legalistic. (Do you remember Scott Brown’s “Christian feng shui ?” He designed a certain house plan for homeschooling families that reflected his view of what family life should be like, including large spaces for the whole family to do their activities together at all times and no private places for children to spend time alone. Doug Phillips promoted the house plan and the concept behind it, the implied notion being that autonomy is bad and denying yourself that autonomy is what real Christian families do.”

Another example of specifically prescribed living is found in the views of music. When we began homeschooling, we were exposed to any number of teachers who had their own approved list of music that was “God-honoring.” And you were only to listen to God-honoring music which was defined by the preferences of only certain people. It was amusing to me, years later, to learn that, for example, Handel’s Messiah, one of those highly recommended classical works, was written by a man who did not profess to be a believer and who was writing to the market of his day, the very thing contemporary musicians were being accused of!

One of our sons attended the Summit Conference a couple of times and came away with a real desire to write music that addresses the human condition without Christ and to write it in terms of showing listeners how lost they are as nonbelievers. (Is not that the theme of the book of Ecclesiastes? ) How sad it would be if we had not helped him pursue that calling from the Lord, writing off all secular influence as evil or telling him that Christians don’t listen to X, Y, and Z artists because it doesn’t fit into the preferences of certain people who see all things secular as evil.

I, too, have been reading a lot about the Federal Vision teachings and know that it can be found permeating many homeschooling circles. I believe it to be another gospel, one of works righteousness that denies God’s grace. It would be interesting to know just how much this teaching is affecting those in homeschooling leadership around the country, even if they don’t use the label.

  thatmom wrote @


I agree completely with your comments regarding the many older girls who are expected to be surrogate mothers for their younger siblings. I have heard from several of those young ladies who feel they have already put in their share of child raising and will only have one or two little ones of their own, if any. It makes me really sad to hear this. In our home we expected the older ones to help with younger ones as necessary but I was always the mom and made sure that my responsibilities for raising my own little ones didn’t interfere with the education or even the interests the older children had.

  thatmom wrote @


One more comment about your comment…

One of the things that I have found to really be a great thing with my children is to do activities with only one of them at a time. We live about 50 minutes from Peoria so if one of them has a lesson or activity there, we get to enjoy that car ride alone together coming and going. I take the time while that child is doing his thing to browse through the bookstore, read in the car, or work on a craft while I wait. Sometimes the two of us will participate in something together, such as the Toastmasters club where I have done this with two of my sons. I didn’t sit down and write out a plan for this but, organically, it just happened and it has been during those car rides where I have learned the most about my children and their hopes and dreams. And that is when all the really important discussions have happened as well.

  Kim wrote @

B b b b but Karen, it’s okay to use workbooks and textbooks, right? If it works for your family? One thing that I have struggled with over the years of homeschooling is the teaching that there is only one right way to homeschool and that it involves creating your own curriculum and letting kids discover things on their own, (within reason, I know.) I have always had a hard time with this….you know, I had a new baby every two years and we needed meals and laundry done, etc. etc… and our kids were often aimless and frustrated with my lack of ability to implement my many plans. We have been using Bob Jones University Press texts and video (HomeSat) *GASP* for the past six years and everyone is happy and learning and doing well. And I am a much happier mom!!
I think many well meaning speakers disparage any other method but their own favorite (as non-school-like as possible) method and put many of us moms in a bind. I am glad to be free of that! One benefit of getting old!!
P.S. It was so fun to talk to you on Saturday!!

  Kim wrote @

My kids are still pretty creative….:)

  Kim wrote @

Yikes! This is why I rarely leave comments, because I always worry that what I write will be misunderstood. To all who might be reading this, I of course don’t mean that Karen has ever said there was only one way to homeschool…..I was just commenting in a general way…my experience homeschooling for 18 years. Karen has always been encouraging to me no matter what curriculum I use.

Okay, now I can go back to my kids. Thanks!

  thatmom wrote @

Kim, I really appreciate your comments. Of course I think it is totally fine to use workbooks and textbooks….we do in our house. In fact, some things need to be learned are best taught, imo, using them. But I still loathe them! 🙂

You were the one who first suggested Home-Sat to us and we used it for Ben for high school science and math and were so glad that we did. And you are absolutely correct that these things are certainly mom-savers! There were some seasons in my life where no one would have learned a single thing without using curriculum that included workbooks and textbooks. Thanks for adding this to the conversation….I went back and read what I wrote and know I didn’t make myself clear!


  Sue C wrote @

Kim wrote:
>> One thing that I have struggled with over the years of homeschooling is the teaching that there is only one right way to homeschool and that it involves creating your own curriculum and letting kids discover things on their own, (within reason, I know.)

This is interesting. I always thought “the” way was to use textbooks. Good Christian hsers buy all Abeka and use it with all their kids every year. It’s interesting that your definition of “the” is exactly the opposite.

What were you reading? Who were you listening to? Did you live near a bunch of free spirits?

Do you all think this is a generational thing? If you started hsing in the 80’s, you’d believe one way, in the 90’s another, etc.?


  thatmom wrote @

Sue, i really had to laugh because what I see is that even homeschooling, which was once an off-the-wall concept to many people, has now become mainstream and trendy. And it goes through cycles and in and out of trends. Here are some things I remember…..I am anxious to hear from Kim on this, too!

When we first began homeschooling, there were no companies who catered to us. We could order Christian school textbooks from Bob Jones or Abeka. Then Bill Gothard’s materials came along and were based on the unit study approach, which I enjoyed teaching very much. As the movement grew, there were more and more hands-on types of materials, including Konos and Sonlight. But as I recall, there were not as many new actual textbook publishers. (Saxon comes to mind but they weren’t really a homeschooling publisher.)

I have sort of been out of the loop for the past few years since I use mainly things I have really liked in the past and am not really in the market for new things. I have grandchildren being homeschooled and one of their moms uses only Abeka, as has her own mother for years. I would define my daughter as a Charlotte Mason/ Waldorf type with lots of the arts as central to what they do.

I am guessing that I wouldn’t even recognize many of the names of what products are popular today. What does bless me, however, is that there seems to be something for every teaching style as well as for every learning style. Early on we had to figure it all out ourselves, which, IMHO, was part of the fun of it all.

  Kim wrote @

The emphasis that influenced me early on was that there were certainly Christian textbooks we could use, but why would we want to.? The ideas presented encouraged us to look beyond textbooks and take advantage of the home environment and not be too “schooly”. Real books, hands on learning, projects, unit studies….all exciting ways to learn and not stifling to creativity. And this is all very good and wonderful. However, the reality is that often I personally just could not pull all of this together. And I had this “standard” in my mind of how our school should be and all of these authors and speakers that encouraged us to do homeschool in this way. So I did Konos, I really tried. When I realized I just couldn’t get through all of it, that I was bad at crafts and messy projects, years had gone by. OUr kids do remember our unit on Bees, though! We did Sonlight for years and read lots of good books, but didn’t always get around to the things we didn’t enjoy……like grammar and math. It was the year my dad had surgery, my mom developed serious heart problems and my 11 year old son ended up in the hospital for two weeks that I decided to give HomeSat a try. And it has been great! The whole burden of school is off my shoulders. I get to be my kids’ cheerleader and helper. I don’t have to do it all! We use the curriculum as a tool and I have the freedom to skip things if we need to. And my kids like it, too. We still read lots of real books. We don’t do any craft projects….yay!
I guess I think moms need to be encouraged to find the curriculum that suits their family; that homeschooling is about discipleship and relationships and not which particular method you are using to educate. Hope this makes sense! Back to my day…..blessings to you all!

  thatmom wrote @

Kim, that was an awesome testimony in a nutshell. Good advice for everyone, me included!


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