Living Outside the Normal Box

 The Laundry Moms Welcome Author & Speaker,

for Apologia and Focus on the Family…

~Rachael Carman~

 As our Featured Guest Writer

for our“Back to School” series!


I just keep forgetting. It is not until I have an early morning appointment finding myself in the local elementary school traffic that I remember:


We are not normal…


We have been homeschooling for 17 years. Being together as a family and living Deuteronomy 6 is everyday and regular around here. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t quiet. It isn’t easy. But it is our reality.
I wrote about how we began homeschooling in my second book entitled How to Have a HEART for Your Kids. Without giving away the main points of the book, I will simply say that it is not the most politically correct publication.
I encourage moms to resist the vortex of the American mainstream culture. I challenge them to die to themselves, to embrace the opportunity to raise children who will change the world, to remember that their kids are merely on loan from God, to pray that they will hear and follow God’s call on their life, and to be prepared to let them go and do what He has planned in advance for them to do.
Yeah, this is not a trendy or popular message.
The book tells the story of my own journey into this adventure of homeschooling. I never wanted to do this. Not me. It was fine for other people, just not me. I was unwilling to even consider it.
But God…
I love how providentially He intercedes in our lives for His purpose to glorify Himself and grow us. Love that!
For me, homeschooling meant leaving the comforts of “Normal.” It meant that I was going to have to trust God in brand new ways. It meant that I didn’t know what I was doing. It meant I would be stepping out in faith.
As we escaped the social norm of public education, I learned a few things about myself. I learned that I had allowed my heart to grow cold toward my first-born son. I discovered that I had abdicated, relinquished, stepped aside, abandoned, and handed over my role as mother. I had adopted hard heart toward my children.
It was a powerful moment when I realized what had happened to me. I acknowledged how easily it all occurred. I didn’t mean to do it. It just happened. But here’s the deal: I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t on guard. I wasn’t being intentional.
I found myself trapped in the “Normal Box.“
The Normal Box—it’s small and tight, but normal. It is familiar to most people. Many were raised inside this box. Normal Boxers just go with the flow of culture. They don’t ask questions or cause waves. They don’t venture outside. Normal Boxers just go along with what everyone else is doing.
Our decision to be a homeschooling family blew the top off of our Normal Box. We were so used to it that we didn’t notice it anymore. But when we got away from it, a whole new world opened up to us. And we felt the freedom.
I will admit that it was scary at first. I had grown secure in the box. I knew my way around. The rules and restrictions were familiar. I didn’t realize there were options. I thought I had to do “school” like everyone else.
Homeschooling isn’t “normal.” Those of us who venture out are in the minority. And I am grateful for the fellowship He gives us through support groups and at conferences.
God has blessed our life outside of the Normal Box. We have seen His provision and faithfulness as we have ventured outside of  “normal.” Wanting to be “normal” can cloud our vision. I personally believe that being “normal” is overrated. And our pursuit of it can keep us from living by faith the way that God desires.

rachel_carmanRachael Carman is a wife and mother, and she is passionate about both roles. She and Davis have been married twenty-five years, and they have been blessed with seven children ranging in age from 9 to 22. Her journey into homeschooling included a bumpy start, but she is grateful that God brought her to this place. She is thankful for the daily experience of His faithfulness and grace in this adventure of a lifetime.

Since 2002, Rachael has been on the board of North Carolinians for Home Education. A year later, she started Real Refreshment Retreats for homeschool moms. In 2005, she had the privilege of authoring a book for Focus on the Family entitled Soundbites from Heaven—What God Wants Us to Hear When We Talk to Our Kids.

The most recent step in her journey has been to enter the world of homeschool curriculum publishing. In June 2008, Rachael and Davis became the new owners of Apologia Educational Ministries. God has given them a vision to expand the ministry of Apologia by bringing the moms’ retreat under its umbrella. Apologia held its first Real Refreshment Retreat in Baltimore in 2009; and the retreat has expanded to other locations, including Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, and Big Lake, Alaska. Her ultimate goal, and the Apologia mission, is to help homeschool families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith.

Rachael’s latest book, How to Have A H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids, is published by Apologia. She has enjoyed speaking and encouraging homeschool groups for over fifteen years. It is her heart’s desire to become all God has planned for her to be for His glory. She loves challenging others to dare living in reckless, obedient faith. Rachael is quick to admit her many imperfections and share stories that highlight her shortcomings and the redemptive hand of Jesus Christ. Her humor will put you at ease; her honesty will surprise you; and her heart will inspire you to go deeper, stand firm, and be strong!

Check Out Rachael’s Blog at Apologia!
and don’t miss out on her latest book by clicking on the book cover below!

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