Encouraging More Edifying Speech – MBFLP 268

The Bible says a lot about the power of the tongue – the question for us is, how do we train and encourage our families to speak in a more gracious and edifying way, when the culture around us grows more unkind and profane every day?

First step – “Lord, is it me?”

Never underestimate the power of our example – whether intended or not! Our children learn from the pattern they observe. If we want our kids to speak with kindness, compassion, and love, we need to model that behavior in our own speech!
Remember the Biblical example is the best example. Give our children a Scriptural understanding of loving and gracious speech. If you have to correct some bad language, then call it by Biblical terms. If it’s unkind, unloving, or mocking, call it what it is.
Explain the cultural part – why speech might be inappropriate in some places but allowed in others. Sometimes the same statement would be acceptable in certain circumstances but totally wrong in another. Part of kindness and courtesy is understanding the sensitivities of other people and adjusting our behavior to show them respect.

How to hold them accountable

Coaching is an important tool. Children aren’t naturally aware of other people’s perceptions, and often they’re not self-aware of their expressions, body language, or tone. When we feel like reacting to their words, it’s good to take a breath and address the words calmly. In many cases, they don’t intend the message we receive. Help them understand why, for example, the tone of voice or the attitude that’s allowable between playmates or siblings would be … unhelpful … with parents or other adults.
Then if correction or discipline is needed, take care of it. Just be sure that you understand what they intended to communicate … and be sure they understand why their communication was unacceptable. (And make sure the situation is calmed down enough that they’re teachable – remember that “discipline” comes from the same root word as “disciple,” and the goal should be instruction, not just punishment!)

Scripture We Referenced

James 3:3-6, 8-10 –  Indeed  we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 
Ephesians 4:32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 12:34-37 (Jesus:) “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Is There a Topic You’d Like Us to Discuss?


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


“Potty Mouth” – Big Deal or Not? – MBFLP 267

“What should I do about my kids’ ‘potty mouth’?” asked a young father in our church. Learning appropriate behavior and speech patterns is part of socialization, but is there a bigger issue than being “socially acceptable”?

Society has become more tolerant of bad language

Society itself isn’t a reliable guide. In the 1970s the comedian George Carlin had a risque nightclub routine, “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which indulged in “transgressive” self-expression.

In 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues did a study of books published in the U.S. between 1950 and 2008, using George Carlin’s list of socially unacceptable words – and they found that “Readers of books in the late 2000s were 28 times more likely than those in the early 1950s to come across one of the ‘seven words …’” (link below)

And that is just in a limited channel of the print medium. Carlin’s routine wouldn’t mean as much today, as cable television and pay-per-view has normalized much of what would have been blocked from the broadcast media back then.

What does the Scripture say? 

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

– Ephesians 4:29 – “corrupt” in the Greek means rotten, putrid, bad, unfit for use

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:3-4

Do not be deceived; “Evil company corrupts good habits.

– 1 Corinthians 15:33

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth … 

Colossians 3:8

The question of “bad words” isn’t about a checklist but about an attitude

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Jesus, in Matthew 12:34-37

Article We Referenced:

J. M. Twenge, Hannah Van Landingham, and W. Keith Campbell. “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television: Increases in the Use of Swear Words in American Books, 1950-2008.” SAGE Open, July-September 2017, pp. 1-8


Qualified to Homeschool – MBFLP 266

“What makes you think you’re qualified to homeschool?”

That’s one of the frequently asked questions, isn’t it? And if nobody in your family, church, or neighborhood asks — you’ll probably ask yourself. Don’t you have to have a teacher’s certificate to really be a teacher? Shouldn’t you go to college and get an education degree first? Or is the credential less important for a homeschool than a classroom?

This episode, we’re taking a listener’s question and talking about homeschooling with confidence – without specialized training or professional certification. We did it, and you can too!


Do you have a question or a suggestion to share?

We’d love to hear from you! Call our Listener Response Line and leave a message, and maybe we can answer your questions in a future episode!

Visit our sponsor:

Are you looking for a new Math Curriculum?

CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way!

The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test”.

Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way (and in only a few minutes at a time). Using a multi-sensory approach having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results! And ones who were doing OK before are now doing brilliantly.

Visit ctcmath.com today to start your free trial.

Homeschooling or School-at-Home – Day to Day – MBFLP 265-2

Continuing our comparison of true homeschooling with the school-at-home model!  Let’s talk about how independent home education looks different day-to-day, and why duplicating the schoolroom experience at home is more stressful, less efficient, and a lot less fun than charting a new, freer pathway to learning and exploring together.

A Fundamental Distinction

A lot of what happens in the classroom is due to the dynamics of that situation. The teacher has to consider twenty or twenty-five students, of all different gifts or needs, coming from a range of family and educational backgrounds, but all funneled into the same classroom, same book, same tests. The whole process of extra worksheets, frequent testing, homework, and report cards happens because that single teacher can’t focus as much attention on each child as she might — and the parents don’t know what happens in the schoolroom unless she communicates it home in some way.

How much of that applies to a homeschool, where the teacher has known the students from birth, and the parents are well aware of how their students are doing because there’s a parent-teacher conference at every meal?

But there’s a lot more to be said … so listen in! 

Homeschooling, or School-at-Home? – MBFLP 265-1

Is this “homeschooling” or is it “school-at-home”? Is there a difference? 

Many families have experienced public school from a remote location this year — and some districts are calling it “homeschooling.” But most homeschooling veterans will tell you there is a world of difference between independent, parent-led education, and taking public school classes with public school curriculum, online. Hint: The location – obviously enough – is not the distinction!

In two episodes, Hal and Melanie talk about the substantial differences between the two concepts, how they operate differently on a day-to-day basis, and why that’s crucially important for your family. 


“New state figures released Thursday show North Carolina’s estimated home-school population grew by more than 30,000 children during the 2020-21 school year — a 20.6% increase from the prior year. … ”

T. Keung Hui, “Enrollment soars in NC homeschools, private schools, and charter schools amid pandemic”
Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer – 3 Jul 2021

Thinking About Homeschooling – Things to Consider – MBFLP 264-2

Are you one of the thousands of families just beginning homeschooling – or thinking seriously about it this year? Surveys say that over one and a quarter million students aren’t returning to public schools, and the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October last year. This episode, we continue our conversation about our own decision to homeschool – this time, thinking about unexpected lessons we learned along the way, and things you may want to consider making your own decision!

1:25 – “Homeschooling is bigger in the inside”
2:15 – A different model than the modern classroom
3:50 – The efficiency of homeschooling – even with several grade levels
5:38 – Why “difficult” and “unpleasant” isn’t “better”
7:50 – What about finding the perfect curriculum
9:43 – Why “the way it’s done” in classrooms isn’t helpful for homeschooling
10:55 – But can homeschooled kids make it to college?
13:20 – Watching friends who homeschooled and others in public school
14:35 – How long should you expect each day?
15:56 – The reason you begin homeschooling may not be the reason you continue homeschooling
16:30 – Homeschooling and family relationships
18:00 – Some free resources



“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NKJV)




We’ll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee – July 16-17, 2021 – sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association.

This is a live event but registration is online – CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there!


Getting Kids On Board with Your New Homeschool 

Things We’re Glad We Did Homeschooling

Boy-Friendly Homeschooling

Emergency Homeschooling


Thinking About Homeschooling – How We Decided – MBFLP 264-1

One of the unexpected results of the COVID-19 pandemic is an explosion of interest in homeschooling.  Researchers say the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October of 2020, and at least 1.3 million students didn’t return to the public school system in the fall. Are you a new homeschooler? Or are you thinking about trying it for the first time this year? This episode, Hal and Melanie are talking about how they made that decision – maybe for the same reasons you are!


“In the first week (April 23-May 5, 2020) of Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling .

By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12, 2020).  A clarification was added to the school enrollment question to make sure households were reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.

That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year.”

America’s public school system lost almost 1.3 million students this year, according to an Education Week analysis of state data. The loss was spread out across the nation, touching almost every demographic group and concentrated in lower grades. It will likely have academic, financial and staffing repercussions for years to come.”

Are you in eastern Tennessee or northern Georgia?

We’ll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee – July 16-17, 2021 – sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association.

This is a live event but registration is online – CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there!

Teens, Preteens, and Social Anxiety – MBFLP 263

One of the hallmarks of adolescent behavior is social awkwardness, often to the point of anxiety. That’s true in the best of times! Yet here we are after a year of pandemic alarms, mandates, and “abundance of caution,” and you may be finding your young people are not eager to begin seeing people outside the family again. What can we do to help our teens and preteens resume normal, healthy interactions?

Resources We Reference

Our episode reviewing Dr. Jean Twenge’s book iGen about characteristics of our children’s generation

“How the Pandemic has Impacted Teen Mental Health,” Mott Poll Report, 3/15/21

Craftsman Crate by subscription, individual boxes, or party packs

Upcoming Events (May-June 2021)

We’ll be speaking at the Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 27-29, 2021. We’re speaking four times on Thursday and Friday, on parenting pre-teens, helping your struggling learners in high school and college, the challenges of boys and media, and what you can achieve academically with a more relaxed homeschooling approach. And our booth is in the usual spot on the upper level of the book fair!

We’ll also be part of the Homeschooling With Confidence: Unstoppable online event hosted by Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV.org). This is going to be a different sort of online event with more interaction with the speakers and with other attendees – we’re looking forward something special with this one!

Seasons of Motherhood – MBFLP 262

There are seasons to motherhood

Ecclesiastes says that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Eccl 3:1) Yet young women are being told that they can and should do all things right now. They’re being urged to set their priorities by the culture’s values instead of their own – unless their priority is “Me first!”

In this special presentation to a mothers’ group in Winnsboro, Louisiana, Melanie offers an encouraging perspective on the opportunities and special needs at different stages of our children’s lives, and the critical contribution that a mother can make in each of those times.


Upcoming Events

We’ll be speaking at two conferences this month:

May 6-8, 2021
Teach Them Diligently – Mobile, AL

May 27-29, 2021
Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) – Winston-Salem, NC

If you’re there, come by our booth and say hello! And if you’d like to see us at your nearby event, let them hear from you!

Call our Listener Contact Line – (919) 295-0321

Effective Discipline for Teens – MBFLP 261


A reader writes, “I need suggestions how to discipline my 14-year-old son.” She’s finding out what we all discover – if you try to discipline your 14-year-old like he was still six, you’re likely to have a fight on your hands! So what do you do with this young person who’s growing so tall, but still needs a lot of guidance and discipleship?

It’s more than behavior management

With younger kids, a great deal of our training is behavior – “Don’t tease the cat,” “Don’t touch the stove,” “Stop hitting your brother!” Tedd Tripp points out that Ephesians 6:1 is fundamental for the younger set: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

And external behavior is important – that’s what hurts others and damages things! But as they move into the early teen years, our children need more coaching and discipleship to reach their deepest need – the condition of their heart. They need to be confronted with Right and Wrong in a larger sense than, “Honor your father and your mother.” When they realize their failing and sin, they are more likely to grasp their need for a Savior!

And when we recognize that their behavior is more than “You’re on my nerves!” but something rooted on their human fallenness … maybe we can be a little more compassionate and not as quick to react.

As they change, we should too

A lot of parent-teen relationships are strained or broken because parents don’t adapt to their young person’s changes. When they reach adolescence, they’re not kids any more! We need to understand they aren’t the little ones we’ve raised so far, but young adults-in-training. We can’t just continue the old discipline models and expect the same response. Appropriate correction for a four-year-old is humiliating, at best, to a 14-year-old.

More and more, we need to move our discipline to adult responses. What does that look like?

Well, consider what happens when we make a mistake or cause an offense as an adult. Are we sent to stand with our nose in the corner until we say we’re sorry? Does our boss or pastor or neighbor give us a sharp swat on the hand? Of course not. Instead, we are likely to experience “natural consequences.”

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado includes the chorus, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” Humor aside, that’s actually quite Biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, you see principles of repentance followed by restitution. We use this as a guide with our teens – if you break it, you fix it – whether it’s a broken toy or a damaged relationship. It’s a hard lesson, but we impress on them that being an adult sometimes means we accept responsibility for things that aren’t strictly our fault. Maybe something happened by accident, or someone took offense by misunderstanding – we still need to step up and try to make things right.

Occasionally the problem isn’t actual sin but rather just high spirits or too much energy. Maybe they really are on your nerves, and that’s most of the problem!

How did Coach handle it?

Sometimes the best correction is just to work it off. How did your high school coach handle it if you were goofing off during practice? What did your drill instructor do at boot camp if you weren’t putting your back into the job?

A bit of strenuous exertion can be a lifesaver here! “Drop and give me ten!” – a call for some push-ups is a good manly punishment for a minor but irritating infraction. You can have them run up and down the stairs, or laps around the back yard. Ask Dad for advice, since he’s probably received similar correction in his time! It’s not offensive or demeaning, but it can use up some energy and help your son focus again.

It’s not supposed to be easy or fun. Hebrews 12:11 says,

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.


(continue …)

The most important part

But the most critical thing to remember is the foundation you’re laying for the long term. What sort of relationship are you building with your teenager?

Our relationship with God is more than just crime-and-punishment – that’s part of it and unavoidable, but it’s not the full relationship. If that’s all we know of our heavenly Father, there’s a lot that’s missing!

Likewise with our kids. Of course we’ll have times of conflict or confrontation, but the question will remain – what sort of relationship do we have now, and what sort are we building for tomorrow? … Tune in for practical applications!