real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

the tenets of relationship homeschooling

A couple weeks ago, I commented on the line in the sand that R.C. Sproul Jr. drew between what he calls “movement homeschoolers” and the rest of us who have chosen homeschooling but have rejected some of the lifestyle choices he promotes and equates with being a homeschooler who lives by conviction.

I have been mulling over this dichotomy, which I already knew existed and which, when verbalized by R.C. becomes offensive, when I came to the conclusion that the nagging problem for me is, once again, found in the labeling. Living by personal conviction is just that…personal…and Christians make all sorts of lifestyle choices, including the education of their children, on core convictions that look very different than those belonging to this man.

Rather than allowing R.C. or anyone else to define me as a homeschooler (or anything else for that matter) I came up with the definition that I believe best suits what I am….a relationship homeschooler. I invite anyone else who cares to lay claim to this label to go right ahead. I intend to use the phase often and with enthusiasm so as to leave no doubt as to what I believe is the most important element in raising children. Herein are my simple tenets:

1. A relationship homeschooler embraces two great commandments: Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. She believes that upon these two commands hang all the law and the prophets.

2. A relationship homeschooler knows that these commands are fulfilled as the “one anothers” of Scripture are put into practice in their homes, churches, and communities. She values her husband and her children as precious brothers and sisters in Christ, understanding that those are the relationships that will be carried with her into eternity.

3. A relationship homeschooler seeks to be obedient to the Word of God, thus becoming a living example to her children. She believes that Jesus Christ alone is her Savior and desires to live in the truth of that fact, trusting only in His mercy and grace for her salvation.

4. A relationship homeschooler trusts that a sovereign God is working not only in her own life but in the life of her children, calling each of them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and is giving each of them an individual calling in which to use their own gifts. To that end, a relationship homeschooler seeks to help her children identify and use those gifts for God’s glory alone.

5. A relationship homeschooler sees her own household as the beginning point in fulfilling the great commandments but certainly not the end in itself. She joyfully recognizes that loving her neighbor means loving all of those in need and seeks to imprint that vital truth in the lives of her children as they work together to apply all the relationship principles to the ends of the earth.



  Denise wrote @

Well said, Karen! If I have to be labeled I’ll take this one. 🙂

  thatmom wrote @

Thanks to Cindy for pointing out my spelling typo…..:) I made the correction!

  Light wrote @

Karen, even though I’m not a homeschooling mom, I enjoy reading about homeschoolers. One thing that jumps out at me from your tenets: you are not prescribing “how to,” methods, steps, or processes. You are not giving a list of rules or criteria as to what relationship schooling should “look like” on the outside. And that’s precisely as it should be. Every single individual created by God has a unique identity and calling in Christ, and the way they live that out will be very different for everyone. You aren’t creating stiff boxes for people to fit into or placing heavy burdens on their backs … unlike some homeschooling advocates we know. 😉

  Mary wrote @

Thank you Karen, beautifully written !

  Joy wrote @

Simple, beautiful, and to the point. Dare I say refreshing? I’ll claim it! 😀

  Nullus Hypocratus wrote @

“when verbalized by R.C. becomes offensive” That’s by design. R.C. loves causing offense, and he does it in a passive-aggressive way. He’s very good at turning on the passive-charm one minute, with all his phony humility, and the next minute he’ll go offensive-aggressive in all of his pompous self-righteousness. And all the Prairie Muffins swoon.

Here’s R.C. at his best, in all his saccharine-humble glory,

“I may not resemble those nutty Mormons, but rest assured I’ve been like these blog brothers and sisters. I’ve presented others in the worst possible light. I have first made dubious associations, then convicted others through guilt by association. I have failed to practice a judgment of charity. I have treated professing Christians with whom I disagree with less grace than I treat poisonous snakes. Those nutty Mormons have not been regenerated. They are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But I have the Holy Spirit, and so ought to know better. My calling then isn’t to bash those saints who slander my friends. Nor is it even to call them to repent. My calling instead is to repent for my own sins, for my own slanders. My calling is to tend my own garden. May God have mercy on my soul.”

R. C. Sproul Jr.
Recent Edition of His Kingdom Notes

R. C. is ever the master of contrived humility! A few devout Prairie Muffins still buy the act. Not a very convincing act though to anyone else.

  alida wrote @

We just graduated our youngest from our homeschool!
I truly appreciate how beautifully you articulated my thoughts on homeschool… I would have proudly carried the label of “relationship homeschooler”!!

Thanks so much for sharing!

  Clare wrote @

Wow. You coaxed me out of lurkdom!
I need to print that out and remind myself daily . Beautiful. Simple. And true!

  Julie wrote @

Yep, I’m printing it out, too, and sharing it!

  Corrie wrote @

Amen, Karen. Wonderfully said. Thank you for keeping it real and simple.

There are others in the homeschooling movement that would appreciate the term “relationship homeschooler”.

Diana Waring, the Lamberts, the Clarksons, Mark Hamby….to name a few

  Lynn wrote @

I don’t like the name “movement homeschoolers,” Karen. It reminds me of potty training, which is always done at home, anyway. 😉

Your title, however, captures the essence of what it should be all about!

  thatmom wrote @

Lynn, you aren’t the first person who shared that thought with me!

  thatmom wrote @

Alida, I enjoyed poking around your blog.

Today we watched the segment of the documentary called Engineering an Empire that showed how St. Peter’s was built as well as some of the other engineering wonders in your neck of the woods. It was truly amazing.

  thatmom wrote @

BTW, someone is designing a sidebar button for anyone who is interested in placing either a “Relationship Homeschooler” or “I Support Relationship Homeschooling” statement on their blog. As I said, I intend to get the word out, far and wide.

  titus2woman wrote @

Light expressed my thoughts exactly~this was great! (((((HUGS))))) sandi~interested in a button!

  Susan T wrote @

Excellent Karen! And I agree with Corrie about the like-minded homeschool speakers mentioned.

  Sassy apron partner wrote @

your apron left on Monday, but it has been delayed in customs. I filled in the wrong form. D’Oh!
It must travel a long long way, so I hope it will arrive very soon. I am so sorry for the delay, but wanted you to know that it is coming. thanks for understanding.

  thatmom wrote @

Thank you Sassy Apron Partner! I look forward to getting my surprise! Have a blessed day!

  Anne wrote @

This is so wonderful. I may have to take a few of your ideas and run with them on my homeschool blog. As always, Karen, you are a great example of a real Titus 2 woman. Thank you.

  alida wrote @

Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  Amie wrote @

So, how can I get one of the button’s?

  thatmom wrote @

Amie, we are working on getting together a blog ring for relationship homeschooling and I will be putting the info up asap.

  Heather wrote @

Hi, Karen
I am new to blogging, actually just reading blogs so far. I am impressed with your “Tenets of Relationship Homeschooling.” This definitely describes my heart’s desire when it comes to my four boys. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. I will bookmark your blog to learn even more. I am so grateful to the homeschooling community out there in cyber space. Although I live in a very rural and remote area, I still feel connected via the interenet. I find much encouragement from those who have gone before me. Thank you for being on of them.

  thatmom wrote @


Welcome! I hope this little spot of the net will be a place of encouragement for you! Please drop by often and share your thoughts!

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