The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling: When the One Anothers Come Home by Karen Campbell is a book I’ve taken a long, slow meander through, starting sometime in August and finally finishing it at the end of September. I borrowed the Kindle version through our Amazon Prime account, which is a nice perk (perq?) I didn’t really even know existed before this. For the past several summers I have read and blogged through books about homeschooling for my Homeschooling Mothers’ Bookclub. Due to our move and just busy-ness in general, I knew this summer wasn’t the time to try to do something that required faithfulness in posting, but I still wanted to read something to give me a little bit of oomph for the year ahead. As my girls have neared and entered adolescence, I have come to realize how much of this homeschooling business is relational more than educational. Thus, I decided this year to focus on how to navigate the relational waters well (or at least better) instead of upping my educational game. I have been an occasional reader of Karen Campbell’s blog, having first discovered it through the several fiascos that have occurred in the conservative Christian homeschooling world in the recent past. She is definitely a woman who puts the focus on the main thing–loving Jesus and our children well. Her book is worth the time of any Christian homeschooling parent, and even parents who don’t homeschool would benefit from her Godly wisdom.
I found myself saying ouch a lot, checking to see if my toes had incurred any permanent damage yet, and wishing that I had the time to blog through this book properly. She is especially careful to call her reader’s attention back to Jesus in places where we might be tempted to put our hopes elsewhere: in a person who promises the method for turning out perfect children, in a curriculum touted as the very best, etc. The subtitle of this book is When the One Anothers Come Home, and those “one anothers” are those Bible verses that tell us how we are to treat “one another.” Her idea is that it’s easy enough to treat the “one anothers” out there in the world the way we should, but it’s another thing altogether to treat the “one anothers” with whom we live the way we’re instructed to. Ouch. This book is replete with sound Biblical wisdom and would make a great book to discuss in a small group setting. Each chapter has five to ten discussion questions, too, to consider. I should really go back through this one (and preferably in print format, not on the Kindle) and take it a chapter at a time to prayerfully consider how to put the things I learn into practice.
We’re almost half-way through with our seventh year of this home education experiment, and the rose colored glasses have fallen off and shattered. 😉 This is real life. Karen Campbell offers nothing but Jesus as the solution for our sin problem, which is the root of all the difficulties we face. This book is about discipleship, about being who you want your kids to become one day. This passage sums up the reality check this book gave me, and I have plenty more I could learn from it on subsequent readings:
The truth of the matter is that life is lived daily, seasonally, and uniquely. Each mom has days when she wishes she could drop a kid off at the hospital and take a free vacation. Each mom has days she wishes she could be a vision of loveliness and perfection playing to a crowd of admiring children and an adoring husband. But reality is not like this. We all live somewhere in the middle, trying to just make it through another day, hoping the bills get paid, the dog won’t throw up on the bed, and no one gets killed or badly injured in backyard baseball. We struggle with a sin nature that temps us to do terrible, horrible things, on one hand, or to become some idealized model God never intended for us to be on the other. We desire to love and serve our families in each stage of life and we recognize that, to do this without going crazy, the only place we can reside is in the normal middle of these two extremes, in that place of tension between heinous depravity and the idolatry of perfection, and, most importantly, in daily repentance for the times we fail.
If you’re looking for an encouraging and convicting parenting book that will get you where you’re living, this is it. (CreateSpace, 2014)