Visit us online:
Texas Home School Coalition Review
ne of my favorite
television shows is
because it is such an object lesson of what can happen
when there is no vision for raising a family. The families profiled on
struggle to complete the most basic activities—from cooking and
eating a meal to going on outings with their children. Nothing is done
smoothly, and the parents are emotionally and physically exhausted by
their struggles of trying to get through each day. Adding home school-
ing to such an atmosphere would be a recipe for disaster!
When I married in April 1985 and began having children, I knew
I wanted something different than the way I was raised. Discipline varied
according to my mother’s mood each day, and rules were not clearly
explained or enforced.
I tried one philosophy and then another with my first two children,
but nothing had any staying power until I became a Christian in 1988.
Finally I had guidance and inspiration in all areas of my life! I read my
Bible consistently, in particular the book of Proverbs, and quickly began
applying the wisdom I found there with my young family.
In 1993 we made the leap of faith to begin home schooling our
growing brood of two daughters and two sons. I attended a one-day
workshop Gregg Harris presented at a local church. His workshop was a
breath of fresh air, chock-full of wisdom for training children, for home
schooling with enjoyment, and for serving one another. I bought his
The 21 Rules of This House
, as soon as we were released from the
workshop to peruse the shopping area.
At last I had a very concrete set of biblically based principles for the
whole family to follow—especially Mom! I was enabled to be consistent
in disciplining my children. The book was created to be copied so that
children could color a page illustrating each rule as they were taught it.
It also contained a laminated sheet listing each rule, which still has a spot
on my refrigerator twenty years later. Gregg Harris no longer publishes
this wonderful resource, but “The 21 Rules of This House” and accompa-
nying instructions are listed a
Once I implemented this child-training tool, our family life improved
dramatically! I no longer wasted time trying to decide what to do regarding
certain behaviors. In a short period of time we learned these new rules,
pairing them with Bible verses, and we were off and running.
Not having to reinvent the wheel each time one of the children mis-
behaved made for days that ran more smoothly and efficiently. The
children stopped pushing to see where the boundaries were once they
realized that I was being consistent. Truly, when we correct our children
we have rest.
Next I sought the Lord on another issue that needed the benefit of
consistency. My children always clamored to have a turn to sit in the
front seat of our van, to get the mail, to set the table and create a cen-
terpiece for the dinner table, to help make dinner, and to have “special”
time alone with Mom. I was feeling overwhelmed trying to remember
who had done what and when. My children were frustrated and feeling
as though they had each been shortchanged when I allowed someone
a privilege when it ought to have been a different child’s turn. Parental
inconsistency causes children insecurity.
One day, as I had a rare quiet moment when the children were play-
ing outside together, it came to me to assign each child a day of the
week. On “their” day they were the person who got all the privileges
and responsibilities listed above. My oldest child was assigned Monday,
the second child assigned Tuesday, and so on. When my niece visited us
for two summers she was assigned Saturday as “her” day.
My children were happier as each of them had his or her turn to be
the “special” person. That child beamed with happiness on his or her
assigned day and planned all week for a unique centerpiece for our table
and what we would do together for “special” time that evening. I was
also happier because I no longer felt that I was doing a terrible job raising
With just two plans in place, followed consistently, the whole tenor
of our home changed. If we had not implemented biblically based rules
and a daily plan for managing which child was allowed privileges and
responsibilities, I do not think we would have continued home schooling
after the first year. These two tools allowed us to truly enjoy our children
and to have the peace and quiet we needed in order to seek the Lord for
His plans for each of our five children. (We ended up with two daughters
and three sons.)
My children are now all adults, ranging in age from 19 to 27. Each one
of them has at one time or another thanked me and their dad for how
they were raised. Each has pointed to a friend’s family, in which the par-
ents were inconsistent or disciplined emotionally, as examples of what
he or she is glad did not occur in our family.
If you are struggling with your children, I urge you to seek the Lord
for wisdom, to put in place some biblically based family rules (some
others to evaluate: Doorposts at
Our 24 Family Ways
by Sally and Clay Clarkson at
and materials by authors
Debi and Michael Pearl at
, and to be consistent with
whatever training tool you are led to use for your precious children.
I wish you the rest, contentment, and satisfaction that I found with my
children as I implemented the principles of consistency in my home so
many years ago.
Holly Williams Urbach has home schooled her
children since 1993. She has been married to
her husband Joe since 1985 and is a mother
of five and grandmother of two. Holly
currently works as an on-site director for a
home school academy and also in property
management. In her spare time Holly enjoys
writing, gardening, physical fitness activities,
and interior decorating.
Equals Family Security and Satisfaction
Holly Williams Urbach