Time to Schedule!

For many moms, August means that the return of school is just around the corner. The slower-paced days of summer are the perfect time to prepare for the routine that school days bring to your home. That way when school starts, you will be prepared for productivity and efficiency. I want to encourage you that a daily schedule is the key to bringing order to your life and accomplishing all that needs to be done in your home.

There are so many benefits to using a schedule that I love directing busy moms toward learning to make and use a schedule. I believe a schedule is vital for relieving the stress that moms often find themselves living under as they try to be a good wife, mom, homemaker, and maybe even homeschooler. Any one of those jobs is hard enough by itself, but as you put them together, the potential for falling behind and getting discouraged is magnified.

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). In this verse, Paul is specifically talking about order within a church worship service. I believe, however, that we can apply it even more universally to many areas of our Christian walk and see that it could easily relate to God’s desire for order in our time usage. A schedule allows us to have that order for our time and for our children’s time as well.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). How do we redeem our time? I think that is done by being productive and efficient with the time God gives to each of us. My schedule facilitates the organization of my day that has an outcome of redeeming the time.

When I use a schedule, I know exactly what I need to do next. There is no time spent trying to figure out what is the most important task to dive into, and there is no time wasted getting sidetracked with the unimportant. I simply follow my schedule.

Some have questioned whether using a schedule prevents one from being able to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives. My experience is just the opposite. As I pray about my schedule, seeking the Lord’s direction for how my time is used, I am doing exactly what He wants me to do with the hours He has given me. Without the schedule, I find myself drawn into time-wasting activities, usually driven by my selfish flesh, that don’t focus on His best plan for the days He has entrusted to me.

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18). God’s will for my life is the foundation of my schedule. It is His Spirit that directs the schedule, enables me to follow it, and shows me when to be flexible within it. Here are links to two Mom’s Corners I wrote on this topic of whether following the Lord and a schedule are antagonistic or compatible: Can a Scheduled Mom Be Spirit-Led? Part 1 and Can a Scheduled Mom Be Spirit-Led? Part 2.

A schedule directs not only you but also your children. I can’t tell you how often moms write me and say that they decided to take a break from their schedules for the summer but discovered it meant disaster. The disaster came about because the children had too much free time, which resulted in a great amount of squabbling and bickering among them. It also was hard to get the children to do their chores. In addition, all that the mom hoped to accomplish during the summer didn’t end up happening, because there was no schedule to help her keep up with life. She will end her e-mail by telling me that next summer she plans to put together a summer schedule to avoid the problems and gain the benefits her school-year schedule provides for her and her children.

Your children will be well occupied and productive with a schedule. That means you know what they are to be doing at any given moment of the day. You don’t call them each day for chore time if they are at an age to be able to read the clock for themselves. If you are a homeschooling mom, a schedule will enable your children to accomplish their schoolwork each day and keep that schoolwork contained within time boundaries. The schedule builds order and variety into the children’s days. With that order and variety, boredom is more limited, and so is typical sibling fussing.

As I use a schedule, I love the sense of contentment it gives me. That contentment arises from knowing that I’m accomplishing what the Lord wants me to do. I feel it when I can look back after a day and know exactly how my time was spent. My schedule brings joy to my heart because it carves out time for what is the most important to me—my Lord Jesus, my husband, and my children.

There is time in the schedule to spend alone with the Lord. That is special time to read the Word and pray. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). It is necessary nourishment for my soul, and it happens every single day because it is part of the schedule. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Managers of Their Homes If you could use help in making a schedule, I recommend Managers of Their Homes to you. That book gently takes you step by step through the scheduling process, and it has a Scheduling Kit to make it even easier. If you have the book already, dust it off, review it, get your Scheduling Kit back out, and spend some time preparing a schedule to be in place when school begins.

ScheduleBreezeSome who have Managers of Their Homes may not know that there is now a companion software available to help you make up your schedule if you would prefer to do it on the computer rather than on paper. I love the drag and drop functionality of Schedule Breeze, the ease of revising a schedule, and the ability to print it out for my reference and the children’s. You might as well. Schedule Breeze costs $15 per year, but that is a very small cost compared to the benefits a schedule brings to a home.

My life has been so very blessed by using a schedule, and I have been able to help countless moms receive the same blessing. May I encourage you to take some time before school begins to prayerfully work on your schedule? Be prepared when school starts to utilize this powerful tool the Lord has given you for bringing productivity to your time, order to your home, contentment to your heart, and joy to your spirit. I think you will be as excited about using a schedule as I am.

As I conclude this series of Mom’s Corners on topics to help you be productive with your summer days in order to be prepared for the start of school, I want to share a testimony with you that I hope will encourage you in making use of tools that are available to help you in this process.

“I wanted to write a quick note to say Thank You!! To keep this short, my husband and I never thought we would have a ‘large’ family, homeschool, or that I would ever give up my career to raise children.

“We are now pregnant with our fourth child. I have been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of our first child. After I heard his first cry, I decided I would not leave him in daycare. Everyone said I would get over it and just needed to work through it. But I simply couldn’t do it. So, my husband and I started trying our best to figure out how to live on his income. IT WAS UGLY.

“The only thing uglier was my homemaking skills! Seriously, I didn’t know how to make a hot dog in the microwave when we got married! YIKES.

“I love being a homeschooling mom and REALLY appreciated your books: Managers of Their Homes, Managers of Their Chores, and Managers of Their Schools. They have REVOLUTIONIZED our home!! I appreciated being mentored by you through your writings. Before I read the books, I had a heart to provide a happy, organized, clean environment but had NO IDEA where to start. My hubby and I are just THRILLED with how God has blessed our home through your books.

“We are doing so much better at feeling more secure that we are allowing God to grow our family because our home is in order now. Our kids are doing great and so are Mom andDad. Now we feel like we have a game plan for how to run our home even with a new baby on the way.” Stephanie

We are reprinting Managers of Their Schools, so I was rereading it for any necessary updates. As I went through it, I was as excited and enthusiastic about the information in it and the potential it has to transform homeschools as I was when we wrote it. The same is true for Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores.

May I encourage you to get your home organized before the start of the school year?

Can Your Children Talk?

(This month’s MP3 version of the Dad’s Corner is available.)

As we travel giving conferences we take great delight in speaking with the parents and children of homeschooling families. However, I am often quite shocked at how few teens and even young adults can carry on a conversation. I know this lack of conversation skills is typical for those children who come from the public school environment, but I expected more from homeschooled children. I’m confident they are somewhat better than the average public schooled teen, but if that describes your children, is that good enough for you? Don’t you want your children to excel in all areas?

Whether your children are homeschooled, Christian schooled, or public schooled have you ever considered how important conversation skills are for them not only in their lives right now but also their future? Think about how any relationship is developed. Isn’t it mostly accomplished through verbal communication? If our children can’t carry on a conversation with us, then we really aren’t able to know the hearts of our children nor are they able to really know our hearts. They won’t relate to us, and we won’t relate to them. We will live in two different worlds. With good conversation skills, however, we can develop and maintain the kinds of relationships that we want to have with our children—relationships that will last a lifetime because of the bonds of love that have developed. I want that with my children, and I believe you do as well.

Here’s another relationship to consider—the marriage relationship. A young man approaching a girl’s father interested in courting his daughter had better be a capable and persuasive conversationalist. Two young people courting, falling in love, and moving toward marriage need to be able to share with each other on a deeper level than discussing the weather or what they did that day. For their marriages to stand the test of time, our children will have to be able to compassionately, engagingly, and lovingly talk to their spouses with a genuine interest in their lives.

Are your children interested in being entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses during their teen or young adult years? While there are many qualities that will help them toward this goal, knowing how to easily talk to people is one of the most important skills they can possess. Almost every area of a business will involve talking to people. From initial investigations about the business they are interested in—to cultivating suppliers—to generating customers—our children will have to be able to carry on knowledgeable, articulate, and professional conversations. No matter your child’s future employment/occupation, conversation skills will be key.

Most Christian parents want their children to be salt and light in a dark world. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16). In order for our children to fulfill this calling of God on their lives, they will find it necessary to be able to carry on powerful conversations – conversations that expound the joy of the Lord in their lives and ones that can direct others to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Conversation skills open up so many possibilities in our children’s lives. When our children know how to have a conversation, they are able to learn valuable lessons and information from others. Each conversation presents the opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills from another and to build long-term relationships. Conversation skills allow our children to communicate what they are learning and what they have experienced.

I believe many families think their children will simply become proficient conversationalists through their growing up years without any parental input or teaching in this area. Judging by my conversations with teens and young adults, it seems this might be a false premise. What about your children? Have you considered and evaluated their conversation skills? If those skills are poor, I expect you would like to remedy that. I think with discipleship and practice even those young people who are already good conversationalists will greatly improve. For me personally, I am always on a quest to grow in my conversational abilities as are my children.

Many who know my children comment on their ability to start and maintain a conversation. They will tell me they would like for their children to be the kind of conversationalists that my children are. Let me assure you, that didn’t happen automatically for our children. Through the years we made conversation skills an emphasis in our family, and we regularly worked on developing those skills. We critiqued each other in family conversations, and when we were with other people we focused on what we could learn from them while we engaged them in conversation.

Making Great Conversationalists

If you would like assistance in the practical area of helping your children learn how to carry on a conversation, we have just released a book on this very topic. It is called Making Great Conversationalists. We gave it that title because we know parents can have a profound impact on whether their children are great conversationalists or not.

Because there is such a need in families to teach their children how to be proficient conversationalists and because knowing how to converse has such a dramatic effect in so many areas of life and because the Lord was showing us how to help children learn to talk to people, we put that information together to allow other parents to experience the same success with their children. Making Great Conversationalists is a practical book that equips you to work with your children on their conversation skills whether they are beginners, intermediates, or advanced.

A man or woman who is a dynamic conversationalist has so much potential in many areas of life such as relationships, business, or even sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you desire that future for your children? Can I encourage you right now to begin helping your children toward that goal? If you feel you are lacking in conversation skills maybe it starts with your own personal desire to grow in order to be able to teach your children. You can do it together. Either way, it is time to equip our children in this critical area of life. It begins with a conscious decision that now is the time. Will you make that decision? We’ve found it to be a delightful process.


Posted in: Dad's Corner