Category Archives for "Christian Faith"

The 7 Ways to Guarantee Homeschool Success

Thinking about homeschooling? Want to avoid the homeschooling mistakes most people make? Below you’ll find what we’ve discovered from homeschooling our 5 children from birth to college.
In 1987 homeschooling was just as newborn as our first child. We looked at homeschooling for a number of reasons which were mostly related to our academic goals. And yet, our first child’s Cerebral Palsy tipped the scales. The simple nature of having a young and impressionable soul around active and undiscerning ‘friends’ made it clear that we should homeschool.. We really didn’t want our son settling into confusion about what he was capable of doing. So, we decided to give it a try until he was old enough to physically function well around others who were his age, but weren’t his friends. We thought it would be through third grade—it lasted until he went to the University of Texas in Austin.
Now, these 23 plus years later, we know seven things that we make sure all of our homeschool coaching students start to understand–inside and out. If you want a successful homeschool embrace these seven (or violate any of these at your own risk)!
  1. Define Homeschool Success for Yourself
  2. Use a Curriculum that Matches Your Definition
  3. Don’t Compete with Public or Private Schools
  4. Find a Support Group(s) or Network
  5. Learn to Use Systems for Success
  6. Make Discipline a Nice Word
  7. Find a Coach
In the following posts I’ll explain each of these points a little and ask you to pitch in your two cents!
Fred Lybrand
P.S.  You can read my entire article at The 7 Ways to Guarantee Homeschool Success





Shock News: Permissive Parenting Can be Harmful

Well, it really is shock news to some folks out there.  What an amazing world we live in where we have to be reminded that children both need, and appreciate, boundaries.  Stacy Hawkins Adams give us some good thoughts about this very point concerning teens (youth) and the s__ topic.  Here’s her article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Permissive Parenting Can be Harmful

Of course, you don’t have to read the article to start making sense of the issue [the original article has disappeared, but I liked this one as well. Point #10 talks about being your child’s ‘best friend’ as it relates to permissiveness & is pretty much spot on!].  How often have we found folks in our own anecdotal experience to have simply yielded-to-and-indulged to a point that the child grows up to demand the entire world indulge him or her?

The truth is, we can be spoiled as human beings (we can also be horrible over-controlled as well…but a counter-excess isn’t the answer to an excess).  In fact, this is a nice way to think about it:

How would you go about spoiling a person?

Hyper-permissive theories actually have no way to deal with the notion of spoiling a child; they sort of think you ‘can’t really spoil’ a child.  And yet, haven’t we seen children who are simply rude and disrespectful toward others… awfully demanding their own way in the moment?  Is this your child?

Life, as it turns out, takes you on a field trip for what you don’t learn at home.  As a result, not mentoring your child to interact properly with others is actually a kind of abuse (in my way of thinking).  How will it be someday when an employer tells the little darling, “No.”  Will your child pitch a fit?  Will he plot against the boss?

It is clear that human beings are naturally self-interested, but there is something misguided when we become self-absorbed.  The culture these days (and the parenting mistakes it escorts) is largely against the use of the word NO.  And yet, the studies are relentless in showing the importance of developing self-restraint and health when NO is a part of the conversation.  Children have to learn lots of things…sharing, waiting, and cooperating are all a part of the material.  Especially waiting (in many ways) for the commitment of marriage is strategic for healthy families.

Here’s a simple exercise that could make a difference:

1.  Think about how you would intentionally TRY to spoil a child.

2.  Ask yourself if you are doing any of these things…

3.  Courageously ask your friends and family their opinions of your parenting.

These things will give you feedback (they may be wrong 🙂 that you can use to consider in improving your own approach to parenting.

Remember…the goal is to grow up a happy adult…it isn’t to try to make a child happy all the time.

As one comment says in the article above… “I’m tired of parents not parenting, but instead trying to be their child’s best friend.”  Oddly enough, that turns out to be a serious issue.  Perhaps will look at it in more detail soon.



Fred Lybrand


Parenting and the London Riots (time to wake up)

What is up with children these days? I am admittedly conservative about a lot of things. I am also more relaxed about many other things. On parenting, however, I am a classical parent. On society, I am a common sense advocate of sanity.

Just now, because of Max Hasting’s article entitled,

“Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated,

welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters,” (click for article)

I have reviewed some of the information on feral children (those raised in the wild, and usually by dogs). It simply underscores how much impact the environment can have on a person. The context for most children is the family (of course), but it is also includes the laws of the land. We cannot control how our kids turn out, but we can put the odds in their favor.

The UK (London especially) has seen a brutal uprising of havoc-raising kids… guised under the economy, but easily explained by the flaws in the welfare state (+ the bias against providing consequences by the government) across the pond. While I realize there is a petition out there to ask the Queen to take us Yanks back, I’d suggest we wait a few more years before we send it over.

Hastings says,

They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings. My dogs are better behaved and subscribe to a higher code of values than the young rioters of Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham and Birmingham.

Unless or until those who run Britain introduce incentives for decency and impose penalties for bestiality which are today entirely lacking, there will never be a shortage of young rioters and looters such as those of the past four nights, for whom their monstrous excesses were ‘a great fire, man’.

The Bible simply says, “A child left to himself is a disgrace to his mother…”

What more should be said? If they aren’t allowed to learn about consequences in the home, what chance is there in the world? Reality will eventually be brutal. Which is why this rabid trend to keep kids from ever hearing the word ‘No’ is so ludicrous. All humans must learn about boundaries, which is where the laws of the land come in handy. I need protection from those who invade my sovereignty.

And yet, can we really count on the government? We are sowing the seeds of the next generation with every over indulgence that teaches children that goals, effort, respect, honor, and the like are a waste of time. Every act or policy that continually ‘does for them’ creates another opportunity to sink deeper into, dare I say, a culture of the spoiled.

Beating children and abusing them by over-bearing and over-controlling is clearly wrong, but it is not the only option to the over-indulgence of a welfare mentality.

If we begin at home to establish boundaries with consequences, there is a chance for our children to grow up as contributors who respect laws and champion the rights of others.

Here are a few examples of what children should learn at home…

No means no
Bedtime means bedtime
You break it, you fix it or pay for it
Disrespect is punished, respect is rewarded
Hard work is honorable
Protect the weak
Comfort the brokenhearted
Seek peace with all
Don’t give in to the demands of terrorists

That’s a start. Let’s wake up. Leaders are forged in the home and community. No rioters will be leaders…well, no good money is every betting on them to lead.

The Bible adds, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”

Finally, and oddest of all, your children stand to hate you when you spoil them. I remember friends of mine in a semi-affluent world while growing up. It was shocking how the kids who were given awesome cars, clothing accounts, and limitless credit cards…all tended to speak ill of their parents. Not a little bit ill, but a kind of loathing that comes with the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality.

I beg you to wake up and give your children a heritage they can build on, rather than an indulgence that will crush them (and those in their rebellious path).

Recently, one of my Home & School Club members wrote me that her 7-year-old woke up one morning to proclaim, “I wish you had never talked to that guy!” That guy is me, and all that was happening is that mom was putting in place a system that started really training the kids to learn and work at a higher level than they had experienced up to that point. Challenging our children to stretch is the momentary pain, but honestly, children must learn that they are not in charge until being in charged is earned.

That’s the crux of the problem…and…the crux of the answer.

Wide awake,

Fred Lybrand

The Absolute Easiest Way to Clean Your Home

Seriously, you won’t believe me at first. There is a simple way to up the over-all cleanliness of your home…at least in the living areas. If you are an already neat person (like my Mother), you have an advanced version of the same point. Honestly, this is about parenting as much as having a clean home.

Here’s the secret: Have guests in your home on a regular (I’d say weekly) basis.

Now, you should actually have them in your home for fellowship, fun, bible studies, book clubs, friendships, training for your kids to know how to be hospitable…and a million more. You don’t want to use people just to keep your house clean (but it is a good benefit). Really, this is good for parenting and good for friendships.

I am an expert in systems and structural dynamics…and…I want you to become and expert too. Learning how systems work, and how to use them (and build them) creates a fresh world loaded with more time and confidence.

From a systems viewpoint, there is a reinforcing tendency (loop) when you don’t have people into your home. Your standards drop a little…messes and ill-repair tend to grow…which makes it harder to invite people over. When people quit coming to visit, the messes grow. Seriously, just think of the hoarders you know (or watch on the plug-in-drug, TV). Aren’t they all pretty anti-social? Is it cart or the horse first? Who cares, it still smells like a stable! Now, this really IS about parenting!

Oddly enough, the Internet and Starbucks are adding to the problem; both allow us to meet away from home! If you will commit to start having people over, you will start seeing your house get straightened up…in fact, you won’t listen to the complaints of the kids as they help…”we just HAVE TO get the place ready for company!” That is a real urgent kind of parenting as a team.

Here’s how to get started:

    1. Start by inviting someone who is a more relaxed friend over for coffee or dessert…not a big deal. You are just wanting to hang out and catch up…not a big deal. The invitation and the acceptance MUST happen before you do anything in the house.
    2. Straighten up a specific area to sit in…and the path to it. You don’t have to straighten up the whole house because you aren’t about to let them look at it.
    3. Light a Froo-Froo (aromatic) candle for about an hour before your visitor arrives. Even if you house smells fine, it still smells ‘weird’ to other people. Plus, the nice smell will make everything look 3x better than it really does.
    4. Next, invite someone else. Let your children start having a group of friends over to hang out (or start with one or two if this is new to you). Mark a regular moment to get with others AT YOUR house.
    5. Finally, consider teaming up with a friend…your house one week…your friend’s house the next week! Honestly, you’ll be amazed that one little step can lead to so much. Even if you hardly straighten at all, it will be much better than if no one ever visits.

If this is too much…how about just one person this month? Remember, parenting means the kids are watching…even when it comes to having a clearn house and a few friends.

Finally, if you are on steroids for cleanliness (like my Mom), it’s just because you think company could drop by any moment…or…you are trying to sell your house! Am I right?


Dr. Fred Lybrand

P.S. If you want to learn more about systems for a successful home, drop by  at

Dr. Lybrand is an author and educator who is responsible for changing the  lives of students all over the world through his innovative approach to applying  systems thinking to practical learning. Go to the upper right corner of this page and subscribe for a free learning  gift and future updates

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Homeschool Goal Setting

The gist of the article is that, while the blogger doesn’t really like to set goals, it is accepted as important. So, do you set goals? Do you do it like this person…laying out objectives for each academic area (reading , writing, math, etc.). Even to not have a goal is to have one, so really, kudos to anyone admitting it and thinking about it.

If your child is in school, it is much the same in that there are goals and objectives for each class, each semester, each year. Sometimes, though, we don’t think about the goal behind the goal.

So, what is your goal with homeschooling? Is it to get your child ready for high school? Is it to get your child ready for college? Is it to get your child to know enough to get a job?

Each of these goals (you might call them purposes) will dictate certain things to you as to standards and curricula. So, how about something more strategic? Our goal is to prepare our child (children) for life.

The Lybrands answered this goal by having a single focus: We want to teach our children to learn how to learn. Praise the Lord…it is starting to pay off. It is fascinating to watch our kid interact with peers in college and work. They are actually now commenting how neat it is to just know how to dig in and teach themselves something new. Do you look up words for your kids when they ask? We didn’t.

Do you show them how to do math? We didn’t. Do you help them figure out what to write? We didn’t. I don’t think we were cruel…we just asked them to explain math, or look up their own words, or play around in their mind until they found something they wanted to write about. Honestly, you have your own right to your own goals…all I am saying is to choose it carefully.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


Fred Lybrand

P.S. If you liked this, won’t you please share at facebook and twitter to let others know? Thank you! 


Telling a child, "You are stupid," is truly horrible.

But, telling a child, "You are smart," can be really (really) bad as well.

I'll explain why Wednesday at 4:00PM (Central Standard Time)

How Do We Get Our Kids Ready For College (spiritually)?

Apparently over 50% of kids who come to college with faith, lose it by the time they leave.


A new book (I haven’t read…but I like their references) tries to counter this trend.  Here’s the interview:

Fox News Interview


Another option is an their hour long interview

9/20/11 Sticky Faith Webcast



So far our first three babies have remained faithful in college, and have had good ministries among their friends.

In the video above, the number one factor is getting the kids to over-lap in worship and relationship with older (all) generations…hmmm.

I know we have technically done this by homeschooling and talking A LOT as a family about the Bible, our faith, and how to think straight…keeping the generational thing included in many areas.

The other thing we did comes right out of my book, GLAEN ( ).

Before a Lybrand leaves for college, we ask them what the most important key to their success in college, both spiritually and practically, will be.

The have the answer down pat now:


We’ve found that you really do become like the people you are with…smarter, dumber, wilder, happier…etc.  It comes out of 1 Corinthians 15:33.

I guess there results say that if you don’t hang around mature adults then you won’t be like them. 🙂

What kinds of things have you tried / are you trying to get them read?

God bless,


Fred Lybrand

Logic and Separation of Church and State

I’m pretty sure we don’t often think clearly, which is why we should be laboring to teach our kids logic.

Of course, logic is all about making sense of things.  Yesterday I ran across this article on the separation of church and state.


It was written by an atheist (who, I think, has English as a second language).  He also has a nazi emblem…don’t know what all that means…just trying to learn.

Nonetheless, the thought was really nice (I didn’t read many of the comments)…essentially he is saying that imposing the absence of religious symbols is the imposition of Atheism.

I think it’s a nice point.

Why not talk this through as a family and see what you can learn?

God bless,


Fred Lybrand

Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church…Is Barna Wrong here?

 I’m not doubting the Barna research, but the conclusions seem pretty mistaken

I recently discussed this survey conducted by the infamous Barna research organization.  All of friends responded with saying, “Sad.”  Next, they each (it varied) shared the ‘saddest’ part.

Here’s what I wrote:

It is interesting, and perhaps sad. Let me indulge you in a few of my thoughts I’ve pondered after I sent the email.

The Barna Survey as mentioned in Leadership Magazine says:

Isolationism. One-fourth of 18- to 29-year-olds say church demonizes everything outside church, including the music, movies, culture, and technology that define their generation.

Shallowness. One-third call church boring, about one-fourth say faith is irrelevant and Bible teaching is unclear. One-fifth say God is absent from their church experience.

Anti-science. Up to one-third say the church is out of step on scientific developments and debate.

Sex. The church is perceived as simplistic and judgmental. For a fifth or more, a “just say no” philosophy is insufficient in a techno-porno world. Young Christian singles are as sexually active as their non-churched friends, and many say they feel judged.

Exclusivity. Three in 10 young people feel the church is too exclusive in this pluralistic and multi-cultural age. And the same number feel forced to choose between their faith and their friends.

Doubters. The church is not a safe place to express doubts say over one-third of young people, and one-fourth have serious doubts they’d like to discuss.

I’ve pondered it a little, and find the assumption the Barna Group seems to have is that “if we do it right, everyone will love Christianity / Church.”

Is that really true? When I survey the Bible, God seems to rebuke the generation itself (not the parents). Falsehood and worldliness are big issues that

no one seems to address (when is a church worldly…at what point?).

Then, there is the nature of statistics. If we invert the emphasis (in red), the picture changes.

Isolationism. One-fourth of 18- to 29-year-olds say church demonizes everything outside church, including the music, movies, culture, and technology that define their generation.

Three-Fourths think church is right to challenge (demonize?) music, movies, culture, etc., that ‘define their generation’.

Shallowness. One-third call church boring, about one-fourth say faith is irrelevant and Bible teaching is unclear. One-fifth say God is absent from their church experience.

Two-Thirds think church is not boring, and about Three-Fourths say faith is relevant and the teaching is clear. Four-Fifths say God is in their church experience.

Anti-science. Up to one-third say the church is out of step on scientific developments and debate.

Up to Two-Thirds say the church is in step (up on) scientific developments and debate.

Sex. The church is perceived as simplistic and judgmental. For a fifth or more, a “just say no” philosophy is insufficient in a techno-porno world. Young Christian singles are as sexually active as their non-churched friends, and many say they feel judged.

For Four-Fifths a “just say no” philosophy is sufficient for a techno porno world.

Young Christian singles who are having sex like their non-churched friends feel like others think it is wrong for them to do so.

Exclusivity. Three in 10 young people feel the church is too exclusive in this pluralistic and multi-cultural age. And the same number feel forced to choose between their faith and their friends.

70% of young people feel the church is open to others in this pluralistic and multi-cultural age. And, the same 70% do not feel they have to choose between their faith and their friends.

Doubters. The church is not a safe place to express doubts say over one-third of young people, and one-fourth have serious doubts they’d like to discuss.

Two-Thirds of young people feel the church is a safe place to express doubts, and Three-Fourths have no serious doubts they’d like to discuss.

This says the ‘way majority’ of young people actually feel really good about church / Christianity.

But, the problem remains (I’m assuming it’s true), that 60% leave church (though that is only about 15% off from those who don’t like what the church is doing). Barna seems to suggest that the reason people (kids) leave church is because the church isn’t matching their (kids) expectations. I’m wondering how many young people we could expect to remain in the church if we really did everything just right…surely some number would bail out in pursuit of the world, other religions, drugs, etc. (nothing to do with the church).

When I look at the Bible and ask, “Why don’t more people attend / commit to church?” The answers I see blame the people for their sin (especially the leaders who lead into sin), and say they will be the ones judged for ‘forsaking the assembling of themselves together, etc.’

You know, I think of the dozens of kids I’ve know who have gone away from church for awhile, but who are doing so awesome now…I really think the story is about their own hearts and their own walks with God. The church (and the family) was there, but this kids (drugs, babies out of wedlock, jail, foolishness) didn’t want it at the time…in a real sense, we’ve all watched them ‘come back’ to a spiritual environment that could be a part of their ‘healing’…watching God work all things together for good :-

At any rate, just wanted to throw some thoughts out there. I have more!

I’d love to hear from you,


Bible Study Aid (Video): How to Do an Online Bible Search (Concordance)

I know many homeschool families (especially) are interested in the Bible, and making sense of it. Jody and I are the same and have found great wisdom and comfort in the Scriptures.

One of the neglected areas of study is to notice the patterns in the Bible, and to use them for insight and understanding (or curiosity to spur on learning).

Studying the use of terms in books or sections of the Bible can be very useful. For example:

The term 'disciple' is never used after Acts 21:16

"Repent" does not occur in the Book of John and only once in the Book of Romans

Believe is found 98 times in the Book of John

Barnabus is never mentioned again after his conflict with Paul ​

​I mention these things because they are both interesting and give us many hints about how certain truths 'fit together' in the Bible.

Here's a tool that you might find very helpful (it's a video I made for a group of men I meet with weekly):

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand