Sex Talk for Parents, Couples, Teens, and the Rest of Us

We've spent a significant amount of time and energy around here on the topic of sex, sex education, and talking to our kids about sex. This week's episode features author and speaker Sheila Gregoire as we discuss the purity culture, the homeschooling movement, and how the messages we're sending our kids reach far into adulthood, for better or for worse.

We thought it was time for a big sex round-up post, giving you all the resources you might need in one convenient place. Our heart is to give you solid tools and leave you encouraged and prepared to dive into the more complicated conversations with your spouse, your kids, or the people you minister to.

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The Lifegiving Home

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We generally don't talk a lot about homemaking on our episodes of Homeschooling in Real Life, but we do mention family culture and we certainly talk a lot about creating a home that makes kids feel safe to live transparently. We definitely do talk a lot about pointing each other to Jesus, too, don't we? 

Sally Clarkson was one of the first homeschooling moms I (Kendra) listened to and read almost 20 years ago when we started homeschooling. She was an encourager, a passionate lover of Jesus, and a gentle voice who reassured me in my dark moments. In particular, I remember a story she told in one of her early books about being frustrated with her kids as she heard them goofing off down the hall, until she discovered that they were actually oohing and aahing over their baby sister. That was confirmation my Type-A self needed to hear.

Sally's the big sister I never had. She might be the mentor you are yearning for, too.

Right now in the Fletcher home, a thousand plates are spinning and threatening to crash at the slightest provocation. My heart is desirous of creating a home that doesn't feel like a freeway collision, but my flesh is weak, friends. When Sally's book, The Lifegiving Home, arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I knew this was the right time to read it. I read what I need.

The Pinterest pressure is off, though. I was leery of that, you know. I don't need another idea screaming at me in the face and revealing what I loser I feel like. I'm pretty good at doing that myself. So then, this, which Sally and her daughter Sarah wrote together:

"We want to show women (and men, if they're interested) how to create a space that supports vibrant, productive living and supports growth of body, soul, and spirit."

Yes. Me, too! I want to create a home that is all of those things. A place that feels like a refuge rather than what I currently feel: the place where all my work is and that I can never escape all the work. And maybe, if I create a place of rest and refuge and beauty for Fletch and me, all of that will spill over onto our kids and seep into our souls, don't you think?

I'm still reading The Lifegiving Home, so I can't tell you how this story ends. But I can tell you that it's a lovely winter read, perfect for the days I'm anxiously awaiting the almond blossoms next door and a warmer breeze and flip flops every day. 

One more thing? Don't try to be Sally. Don't try to be us. Just be you. God created your home to be a place that reflects the unique ways He has gifted you, and that's a beautiful truth.

Nothing is required for the making of a home except a heart that loves God, an imagination fired by His Spirit, and hands ready to create.
— Sally Clarkson

More from Sally Clarkson:

5 Terrific Christmas Advent Devotionals

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Looking for a terrific Advent devotional this Christmas? We've mined the best of the best - our family favorites - for you. After 22 years of parenting, we have some definite favorites!

5 Terrific Christmas Advent Devotionals


Starting with the youngest in the family, we love Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Adventure for Little Hands. It's a perfect Advent study for the little ones because each lesson is short and to the point. If you aren't into pulling out all the crafy stuff, you can also get the printables. Color, cut, and go!




If you have a heart to get past all the crazy stuff that comes with Christmas and seek Jesus this advent season, then Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles migh be the devotional for you. It begins, centers, and ends on the gospel - the good news - and leaves us breathless with gratitiude and wonder.




Our hands-down family favorite from year to year is the Jotham's Journey series. Fast-paced, engaging for most ages (from 4-year-old to adult), chalk full of Christmas truth, and tender, each book in the Jotham's Journey series will leave you wishing Christmas was right around the corner again so that you can read the next one!

Jotham's Journey
Bartholomew's Passage
Tabitha's Travels
Ishtar's Odyssey


If you want a hands-on approach to a Scriptural study of the Bibilcal account of Christ's birth, we think you'll love Grapevine Studies' Birth of Jesus. Draw your way through all of the events surrounding Christ's birth. Beginning in Nazareth, you will introduce your students to Mary and Joseph as they learn the news that they will be parents to Jesus, the Messiah!






If your home is filled with teens or college students, young adults, and you, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas is a book that will help you dive deep into the meaning of the gospel. Compiled from the sermons and writings of Christians such as Timothy Keller, Randy Alcorn, Francis Schaeffer, John Whitfield, and Martin Luther, this is a book that will point you to the one who gives us reason to breathe in the middle of the holiday rush.

You can get FULL ACCESS to bonus interviews, exclusive content, and cool free stuff by joining the HomeschoolingIRL community, and you can do that by subscribing (and telling your friends about us, too!)

Five For Friday: When You Need to Be Reminded of the Gospel

From around the web, here are five resources that accompany our latest episode, Christ in the Chaos. We think you'll find each stop very encouraging this weekend:


[Gospel 1]: The Gospel is a Story - Paul Tripp

Where to begin? What do we mean when we say that we must always return to the simplicity of the gospel? Start here, with Paul Tripp's explanation of where we find our hope.

In Need of a Redeemer - Jim Applegate

And then go here. It's the beginning of a life-changing series out of Exodus, and it helped Fletch and Kendra exit their own self-relying works-based religiosity. Spoiler alert: Grace wins! 

Where Can I Find Joy? - Kimm Crandall

A beautiful and hopeful post by our guest on this last podcast, Kimm Crandall.

Ladder Christianity - Tullian Tchvidjian

"The strength of God alone can liberate us from the burden of needing to be strong."

Good Parenting - Jessica Thompson

We want so badly for our good parenting to be what makes our kids who they are. But the truth is, all we really can do is point our kids to the One who shapes their souls.

Of Seizures and Septic Tank Back-Ups and Seriousness

We recently asked HIRLers (fans of HomeschoolingIRL) on Facebook what they'd most like to see us writing about and providing here on the website. One answer was "humor", and I immediately tagged Fletch to say, "You're up!" Fletch is the funny one. Me, not so much.

I'm a reflector. I reflect on stuff. 

Last week our 7-year-old had another febrile seizure, of which he has been prone all his little life. It had been over a year since he'd seized, so we really thought he'd grown out of them. The thing is, he had his first one just two days after we brought our daughter home from 3 weeks in the ICU after she went into septic shock from a ruptured appendix.

  Post-seizure resting

Post-seizure resting

Which was a year after I ran over our 5-year-old with our 12-passenger van. Which was 6 months after I found our 7-week-old in a coma. While we try to lighten the mood by glancing at each other, shaking our heads, and declaring, "It's always something", it's not really funny. It's serious.

Then Fletch's parents' septic tank backed up last week, too. They live across the driveway from us. That was serious. And gross.

This week's episode, Christ in the Chaos, is peppered with humorous moments, but the subject is serious. Our guest Kimm Crandall has weathered a lot, and her story's not so funny. But it is glorious.

God transforms us in the serious moments, doesn't He? He teaches us that in the midst of chaos and destruction and our sense of a loss of control, He is steady, ever-present, reliable, and kind. If life is always a humorous moment, a side-splitting laugh-fest, or as smooth as a summer lake, we tend not to see God in it all. 

On the other hand, it's humor that often helps us understand that God is there, despite our quirky and chaotic humanity. It's what makes us listen to a middle-aged homeschooling couple banter with one another and poke fun over a podcast and realize that we're not alone. We're crazy too, and that's okay. 

  Every little thing is gonna be alright. 

Every little thing is gonna be alright. 

We'll keep providing the humor (c'mon Fletch!) and the quiet reflections. We'll continue to draw out the real life - the junk that isn't pretty or that we tend to want to stuff under the couch cushions. When we examine every facet, even the unpolished, un-pretty circumstances, we tend to see God there. In our imperfections we meet Jesus, and that's what Homeschooling in Real Life is all about.

Five For Friday - On Saturday

It's Saturday. We know. We were just galavanting around San Francisco with our exchange student yesterday and didn't get our Five for Friday post to you this week. Forgive us?

Speaking of exchange students, you can hear why we are so passionate about hosting them on our Episode 8: Homeschooling With Exchange Students.

Our Five for Friday this week is a bit thematic, drawing from our most recent episode, Let's Talk Sex . . . Again:

4 Lies the Church Taught Me About Sex - by Lily Dunn
She grew up evangelical and she thinks the church could be doing a way better job talking about sex. Us, too.

How to Celebrate Sexual Freedom in Your Marriage - by Shannon Ethridge
"God wants you and your spouse to feel sexually free together, and to celebrate that freedom by enjoying great sex regularly. Here’s how you can do so . . . "

14 Things to Know Before You Cheat - by Rod Arters
The reality of adultery is never pretty and is always destructive. If you're tempted to cheat on your spouse, here are 14 things to consider before you run in that direction.

What is Sex? -
by Barrett Johnson
"A recent study showed that 88% of single adults in their 20's have had sex. When they looked at Christian single adults, that number dropped to 80%. Whoopie. I guess that for most of our kids, true love doesn't wait after all."

The Secret Women's Porn Problem -
by Trillia Newbell
We tend to think that men and porn go together but what about women? Do women - even women in the church - have a porn problem, too? Yes. Yes, they do.


What resonates most with you?




What Homeschooling Does to a Marriage


What does homeschooling do to a marriage? Are there particular stresses and strains present just because homeschooling adds its own issues into the family dynamic?

Fletch and I married in the summer between my junior and senior year of college. Weeks after I graduated, we headed off to San Francisco and he started dental school. I took a job as a nanny and taught at a performing arts school. And I felt lousy.

Nauseated, weak, spinning as if my world was being swallowed into a vortex. You know where this is going, don't you? I was pregnant with our firstborn.

It was stressful timing, to say the least, and by the time Fletch hit the graduation platform, we had a two-year-old and a newborn. We moved, he took a job, we plugged into a new church, we met new people. 

I was pregnant again. By the time I was 29, we had four children we adored and a dental practice with bills as large as our state deficit (this is California; I might be exaggerating).

We were homeschooling and sometime I'll tell you why this girl who said, "I will never, not ever homeschool" decided to homeschool. 

Baby 5, baby 6, miscarriage, baby 7, baby 8, and then the harrowing near-misses began - you can read those stories here.

But you have similar tales to tell, don't you? The trials we've weathered simply have a different name than the trials you've weathered, and the strains and stresses put upon a marriage just have a different hue. It's all rocky terrain.

Homeschooling adds: 

+ Children
+ Educational decisions
+Loss of income
+Feelings of Inadequacy
+Limited alone time
+Discipleship opportunities
+Much more time together

How does a marriage weather all that homeschooling adds? Is there any good to be had by adding full-time homeschooling to your family dynamic? Before we hit that topic on this week's podcast, we'd love to hear from you. 

What is the hardest thing about homeschooling? What positive dynamic has homeschooling leant to your marriage?