Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12 that if we think we are standing firm, we must be careful that we do not fall. Recently I was saddened to hear bad news about several old friends. These friends were conservative Christian home-schooling families who seemed to be the “model homeschoolers.” So when I heard that their families had been broken apart, I was somewhat stunned. I began to ponder how easy it is for even a “model family” to fall off the path. I believe it starts when we stop putting our faith in Jesus for grace to serve Him each day and instead begin to rely on other things. They may even be good things, but a reliance on them is a reliance on externals, not internals. Following are some externals that may become substitutes for Christ.

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"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (I Timothy 4:16)

It was Wednesday at 4 pm. Three mothers and their teenage boys walked into the orthodontic offices of Doctors Fearing, Payne and De Mise. Well, what actually happened was Mrs. Homemacher, Mrs. Hopewell, and Mrs. Hidebound walked into the office. Their three boys followed ten paces behind as if they had no clue who had driven them there.

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Integrity is a difficult concept for many people to understand.  Some people claim it, even though they can’t define it.  You can’t go down to the corner store and get it, but you can lose it at the corner store.  You can’t get a degree in integrity, but you can lose integrity getting a degree.  It is more than what you say.  It is more than what you do.  However, it is directly connected to what you say and do.  Proverbs 10:9 tells us, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

When I attended the US Air Force Academy we had an honor code, “We will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate among us those who do.”  This may not be a textbook definition of integrity, but it is a pretty good working definition.  It embodies the two key principles of integrity. What you say and what you do are consistent and they are honorable.

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For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.  (Romans 10:2-3)

Here’s a good stuffy, scholarly-sounding quote to throw around next time you get into a discussion about Karl Marx’s theory of economics: “The relative values of commodities are, therefore, determined by the respective quantities or amounts of labor, worked up, realized, fixed in them.” 

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School time is coming soon! Why wait? Start planning now if you want to have a Perfectly Miserable Homeschool this year! Cranky kids, lost tempers, stress, discontent, an unhappy marriage and plenty of complaining can be yours with very little trouble! Just follow these ten easy steps! (Start by leaving your sense of humor behind and taking this tongue-in-cheek article Very Seriously.)

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“The history of the present [government] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.”  An interesting quote.  Sounds like it came from a talk radio diatribe, or possibly from a right-wing conservative blog.  Actually, it comes from our Declaration of Independence.  In that document the term I have in brackets—government— was actually “King of Great Britain.” 

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In our culture, we see many skewed views of work. On one end of the spectrum there are people who hate work and do anything and everything to try to get out of it. On the other end are the workaholics to whom their work is their life and it trumps everything, including God and family. Obviously neither extreme is correct. But what is the biblical view of work? How do we teach it to our children?

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Mr. William Goat and Mrs. Nanette Goat were pondering. They wanted to raise their young goats just right. They had a good set of standards for their kids to follow. But the other creatures in the barnyard had such a variety of different standards! Oh, they all followed the very basic farm rules, but everyone had a particular interpretation of the rules. The barnyard was become disharmonious because everyone was so proud of his or her particular standards. What should they do?

“I’ll tell you what, Billy,” said Mrs. Nanette. “Tomorrow let’s ask some of the other animals and see how they view creatures who have different standards. I will talk with Mrs. Cat and Mrs. Pig. Why don’t you talk to Mr. Rooster and Mr. Dog?”

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Most homeschooled students are avid readers. However, finding good clean books to satisfy their voracious appetites can be a real challenge in today’s world. In this article I’m going to list some books that my sister and I enjoyed as young people. Most of you are familiar with traditional classics, such as the Chronicles of Narnia or the Nancy Drew series. I’d like to give you a list of some lesser-known books that your children might enjoy. Many of these are out of print (I will designate them OOP), but can be purchased used at www.amazon.com or other used books sites.

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I was asking my mom what topic I should write about for my column this week. After writing for The Times Examiner for ten years, one tends to run low on new topics, y’know? But Mom had a great suggestion: Why don’t I list things that she and Dad did in our homeschooling that worked? And she even gave me permission to list things that didn’t work too! So here we go. In no particular order: Things That Worked In Our Homeschool.

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Mike Scruggs