We’re losing the culture war (and what a homeschool mom can do about it)

Don’t show up to a culture war without a culture. — Professor Carol Reynolds

The world is after the hearts of your children.

No, I am not saying that to leave you shaking in fear. Don’t be afraid, mama, because you’ve got chocolate and Jesus and a plan. There is no need to fear.


Instead I just want you to ponder that statement a while. Make no mistake that there is a culture war going on. The world has a myriad of distractions to pull our kids’ attention from the ideas that have shaped our culture. If we are not giving our children an education in that culture, then they will be ill-equipped to fight the war.

We live in a world that delights in the crass over the beautiful, that encourages the easy choice over the good one, and rewards relativism over truth.

But fighting a culture war is hard.

You can read or listen to this post.

Between the phonics, the laundry and the science experiments, some days it feels impossible to carve out time to get to all those lovely things we want to give to our children. How do we fit in the music appreciation, beautiful art, practicing worthy skills like drawing, or learning about saints, missionaries, or the different people of this big old world.

There is a good chance that spending time with those things is one of the reasons you wanted to homeschool in the first place. You wanted to give your children an education in the lovely and to turn their eyes towards what is beautiful.

Now you find you are losing the battle to blocky worlds and Poke-walks where no one even bothers to pay attention to the beauty of Creation around them.

Beat Culture War with Morning Time

But you can fight back and you can win this battle. Remember that plan I mentioned above? Now is the time to start formulating your strategy. Here’s how:

  • Set aside a small amount of time each day and make cultural study a priority in your schedule. You can do ten to twenty minutes of anything, right?
  • Get your kids on board by choosing age-appropriate activities and serving yummies like popcorn and hot chocolate.
  • Choose an engaging story to read — something with beautiful language, excitement, and worthy ideas. We suggest The Green Ember, The Prairie Thief, or The Chronicles of Prydain (for the older crowd).
  • Listen to some beautiful music. (This can even be done over breakfast or lunch.) Is your family familiar with these kid-favorites?
  • Provide some interesting activities the kids can do with their hands while listening to music or your reading aloud. Watercolors, chalk pastels, Play-Doh, perler beads, and Legos are all favorites here.
  • Look out the window and sketch something you see. Get inspired and informed by John Muir Laws and take note of the beauty around you.

Store all the items you need together, pull it out once a day, and do one thing to bring culture to your kids.

I can hear some of you protesting now. But my kids won’t do this. They won’t like it, will roll their eyes, will want to rush through so they can get done with their “real” school so that they can get back to the television or the horrible books the publishing industry has designed for boys because “reading anything is better than reading nothing” (don’t buy that line either, okay).

You have just found your battleground in the culture war — drill sergeant.

OK, the drill sergeant approach is not the best tactic to take in this battle, but it can be won with some brownies and a lot of persistence. Our kids will not immediately be willing to sit and listen to 45 minutes of a Bach overture, but they can be won over with a few minutes of beauty (along with that snack) served consistently every day.

At the end of the year those few minutes will have added up to over 2,250 minutes of truth, goodness, and beauty to your kids’ hearts. That’s 2,250 minutes they didn’t have before, all because you made it a priority.

That makes the battle worth fighting.

P.S. Next week I will be sharing some successes from other moms in the trenches. Make sure you are on the email list so you don’t miss their stories. 

Free Homeschool Morning Time Plans

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  • Great post, Pam! Thanks for reminding us how important it is to add beauty and grace to our days!

  • Beth says:

    “We live in a world that delights in the crass over the beautiful, that encourages the easy choice over the good one, and rewards relativism over truth.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for this post, and I look forward to hearing other successes.

    OT: What the name of the intriguing game that Olivia is playing? I’ve seen it before, and
    I think it would compliment our studies this year.

    • Dawn says:

      It isn’t a game, rather it’s Shakespeare Masterpuppet Theater. http://amzn.to/2cR8FB9 {aff link}
      Enjoy! dawn (Community Care Coord for pambarnhill.com)

  • Mary says:

    Morning Time is the time of day where I feel like we get such goodness to start our day. Thanks for leading the Morning Time charge, Pam!

  • Yes, I want to know what that game is, too!

  • Stephani says:

    Love this, thank you! Your phrase “Don’t be afraid, mama, because you’ve got chocolate and Jesus and a plan. There is no need to fear”, made me laugh out loud. That is so true! I love it! I look forward to your next post! Thank you!

  • Sara says:

    Lovely post! Thank you so much for the inspiration to keep on keeping on!

  • Cat says:

    Such great words! I am so encouraged and inspired by you, Pam! Thanks! We started morning time for the first time this school year, we are several weeks in and it’s a favorite with everyone! 🙂

  • Leslie says:

    Thank you! I needed to read this today. I feel like I’m losing ground. But remembering community is so key. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Jennifer says:

    Well said, Pam! What a poignant reminder of why we are doing what we are doing. Thank you for the encouragement to get back on track with what is TRULY important in our school.

  • Anthea says:

    Morning Time is our favorite part of the homeschool day. And yes, it does feel like a way to fight back…but it’s the best kind of fighting: positive, solution-driven, and brings peace and rest for everyone!

    We’re studying China in our morning time, (reading from Young Fu of the Yangtze, The Heavenly Man, and Revolution is Not a Dinner Party) and I’m only brave enough to do it because of your encouragement in your podcast and resources. Thanks!

  • Lourdes says:

    Wonderful post Pam!

  • Kristi says:

    Very inspiring, and with great practical suggestions, too — sometimes that’s the hardest part, knowing that you want to share beauty in their daily lives, but knowing *what* to do. Thanks, Pam!

  • Cindy says:

    “We live in a world that delights in the crass over the beautiful, that encourages the easy choice over the good one, and rewards relativism over truth.”

    My goodness…that one is going in the Commonplace Book ;).

    Thanks for another great post.

  • Andrea Kirk says:

    God bless you for your articulate and inspiring words, Pam ! I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for months now, and this post made me stop the train and do it. Building up a family culture around the good, the true, and the beautiful doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and you’ve just given us several tangible examples of how to do that. I started a small moms’ group after the CiRCE conference, and Mere Motherhood is our first book to discuss. I’ll be sharing this with them as well. Thanks again and keep up your wonderful work on behalf of cultural renewal!

  • Sara says:

    Thank you for this important word, Pam! You’ve given me an idea to try: at about 3:00 every day, I get slammed with requests for screen time. I’ll admit, I’m bitterly opposed. Maybe, just maybe, we can come up with a truth, beauty, and goodness culture loop for even 2-3 days of the week at 3:00? Watercolors, classical music, and chalk pastels? Maybe! Thank you! <3

  • Kate says:

    If I do nothing else all day, but I have done our morning basket, I know I have added some truth, goodness and beauty to our day. Lovely post thank you!

  • Elizabeth Hafferty says:

    This IS something we battle with. Thanks for the wonderful encouragement and suggestions.

  • I really needed this reminder today. Thank you! (P.S.– Another thank you for the recording. I am finding that I just don’t have the time I used to to read all the great articles I’d like to, but I CAN listen to podcasts. I appreciate all the great things you are doing to encourage we homeschooling mamas! 😀 )

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