Enhanced – read by the author
The Family Man title
with Todd Wilson
The Lombardi Principle
A football, the lower half in shadow

Just about every motivational speaker, conference leader and back woods preacher has used the illustration about football coach and legend Vince Lombardi to make a point about going back to the basics.

Standing before his team at the first practice of the season, he held a football as he began his opening pep talk. The veteran coach held the football high and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

Since then the story has been told and retold in all kinds of venues…and maybe for the first time is about to be applied to homeschooling.

My suspicion is that Coach Lombardi knew that sometimes even the best player forgets what really matters and what it’s all about. I know homeschooling moms do. You can’t blame them, really. There’s so much expert advice being tossed about. This expert says this, that blogger says that, this Facebook page says yet another thing.

Picture me standing in front of a smelly locker-room filled with homeschooling moms with eager faces hoping for some new nugget of truth to make this the best season ever. Up front I stand, wearing 1950s black-rimmed glasses, a white, short-sleeved shirt and a thin black tie. I clear my throat. “Homeschooling mom,” I pause for dramatic effect and everyone holds her breath for what is about to be said, “home is the best place for your kids.”

“We’ve bought into the lie that real learning takes place only part of the year.”

A football, the lower half in shadow

The room sighs at the obvious, thinking there should be more, but that’s it. The thing about this simple truth is that we’ve forgotten it. You’d think it would be pretty obvious for homeschoolers. After all, we’re home educators. But most of us have forgotten it nonetheless.

It wasn’t always so. Back in the early days (from creation on) parents knew that truth. That’s where all the important training and battles took place. That was the place where children were born, raised, taught, and where they lived and died.

It was the place where important lessons were taught and learned twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Lessons were taught like how to trust God, love each other, get along and everything else you would need for life. And then something happened… someone said, “Home is a good place to sleep and eat, but it’s not a good place to learn. What we need to do is get children out of their homes and into a place where real learning can happen.” No longer did real learning take place year round, now it took place only 180 days of the year.

The early, modern days of homeschooling were an exodus from that kind of thinking. But since then, we’ve slid back into a home is bad mindset. We’ve bought into the lie that real learning takes place only part of the year. Even my wife said to me as we lay in bed one night, “I feel like school was a waste today. No one learned a thing.”

In the darkness I reminded her, “Honey, the truth is our kids learned more after the books were closed than they did during school.” That’s because home is a place of constant learning. In it, they learn about sharing, loving, forgiving, trusting, family life and a hundred other things.

In fact, has anyone but me noticed how traditional schools are trying to copy us? They are teaching children how to plant gardens, taking them on field trips to the woods, talking about being polite, how to share and how to get along with others. They try to copy home because, whether they realize it or not, home is the best place for kids.

Can I break it down for you? The truth is your home is the best place for your kids. If you feel like throwing in the homeschooling towel, cling to this truth. In Dorothy Gail fashion, repeat after me, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” (You can click your heels if you want to).

To do a great job of homeschooling, you don’t have to get your kids out of your home to learn… you need to keep them home.

A digital signature mark of Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson headshot

odd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe and Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. Todd and his wife Debbie homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Familyman Mobile. You can visit Familyman Ministries at: www.familymanweb.com.