All posts by Teri Maxwell

Teri Maxwell is wife to Steve for over 40 years, mom to eight children (three married), and grandma to eight. She loves keeping her home running smoothly and sharing with women in the vein of Titus 2:4&5. Teri homeschooled for thirty years, and she's graduated all her children. In between her other responsibilities, she manages to squeeze in writing time. She is co-author of the popular Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores. In addition, Teri's written three books just for ladies Homeschooling with a Meek & Quiet Spirit, Sweet Journey, and Sweet Relationships. She has been writing monthly encouragement articles for homeschool moms for 25 years. Find more information on Teri Maxwell and her books.

Getting Everything Done, Guaranteed

I love seeing happy, productive homeschooling moms in action! Could part of their happiness and peace be because they are accomplishing what they know they need to do each day? A key to being successful with homeschooling is having a homeschool schedule that lets you be a dynamo managing your time. Your homeschool schedule helps guarantee that everything is done that needs to be done whether it is the school work, meals, housework, or laundry.

Exactly how does one put together a homeschool schedule? Begin by figuring out what time you think is a reasonable start time for school, and then work backwards and forwards from that. Most homeschoolers start school at 8:30 or 9:00 each morning. 

Early Morning Schedule

Let’s say you want to start school at 9:00 a.m. Now make a list of what needs to be accomplished before school and how long each activity will take. That might look something like this:

Personal Bible time – 1/2 hour
Exercise – 1/2 hour
Shower – 1/4 hour
Help little children dress – 1/2 hour
Make breakfast – 1/4 hour
Eat breakfast – 1/2 hour
Breakfast cleanup and chores – 1/2 hour

If you total up this time, it is 3 hours. That means you need to get up and be on your feet ready for your first scheduled activity, at 6:00 a.m. To write up your schedule, put each of those activities in a time block beside the time that you want it to start. Simple!

Afternoon Schedule

Most homeschools take a lunch break from 12:00 to 1:00, and then head back to school for another hour or two as needed to complete their curriculum requirements. 

Often mid to late afternoon is unproductive time, but it doesn’t have to be. Put activities in the late afternoon schedule that are important to you, but might otherwise be neglected. This could be time to plan for school or meals, individual time with your children, ironing, or cleaning. What about teaching a daughter to sew or doing craft projects with the children? Maybe you need to run errands one or two afternoons a week after school. Incorporate those activities in your after-school schedule.

Then make sure you slot a time very late in the afternoon to do dinner preparations. When it is on the schedule, you have the delight of a hot, home-cooked meal for your family to enjoy together early enough to have special family time each evening.

Evening Schedule

If you want to get up in the morning to start your productive homeschool day, you must make sure you go to bed early enough to get the sleep you need before the alarm goes off. A tired homeschool mommy is headed for discouragement quickly! 

In our example, if you need 8 hours sleep, then lights out at 9:45 p.m. It will take a few minutes to wake up and get dressed before your first early morning activity starts at 6:00.

To be in bed, ready for sleep at 9:45, you want to have your focus on that goal and manage your evening time accordingly. That means putting the children to bed early enough so that you have some personal down time and also time with your husband. 

Follow Your Homeschool Schedule

The schedule keeps you on track, but only if you follow it! There will be a dozen or more things a day trying to pull you off schedule, from your own laziness to your best friend wanting to have a playdate. Seldom, if ever, should laziness win over your schedule. There may be times that the playdate does, though. This depends on whether you have been faithfully keeping your schedule and doing what needs to be done. If you have, you just might be able to give a resounding “yes” to the invitation. That’s part of the joy of a schedule—letting you do extras because you are keeping up with your priorities.

God wants you to use your time for His glory: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). 

If you want more help with homeschool scheduling, Managers of Their Homes is a practical, proven resource for you.

What to Do?

In recent Mom’s Corners, we addressed dealing with negative behavior in children. We started with our mindset in those situations and then moved to being proactive in prevention. Now we arrive at the nitty-gritty of actual consequences, which is what the original question asked. 

“I would love to see some posts about how to handle things like siblings fighting, whining, talking back, etc. I just need some fresh inspiration for practical consequences on how to handle these kinds of things.” Dana

The goal of a consequence is to get a child’s attention so he will consider a new behavior to be a better choice over the previous behavior. This lines up with Scripture and how God disciplines us as His children. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11). 

In our experience, as mentioned previously, it is less about the actual consequence and more about the consistency with which it is used. Plus each child is an individual so a consequence that works great with one child might have no effect on another child. Choosing consequences can be difficult.  

Consequence Criteria

Here are some criteria you might want to consider when evaluating consequences.

  1. Can you live with it? Be careful of consequences that are complicated, take record keeping, or will cause you or a child’s sibling not to be able to do something you should do or want to do. 
  2. Does it de-escalate? It might be that simply given a break from the situation will mean the discipline problem goes away. 
  3. Is it appropriate? You want to find consequences that are age appropriate, and you are looking for consequences that don’t under or over correct the child.
  4. Is it effective? Children are different, and what will get one child’s attention means nothing to another.

Look for something that fits the criteria and works. Remember it is about providing the child incentive to change his behavior. 

Our Personal Go-To Consequences

Here were four of our favorite consequences:

  1. Chair sitting for a designated amount of time. This consequence was one we could live with—no problems while the child was on the chair. It de-escalated the problem by separating quarreling children or ending whining, and it was appropriate for younger children, when we were at home. It was quite effective because our children loved to be active so taking that freedom away for a short time got their attention. Our chair sitting rules were:
    1. Sit up on chair.
    2. No talking.
    3. No playing.
  2. Play alone for a designated length of time. This consequence fit all the criteria, but we reserved it for younger children.
  3. Extra chores. This fits the criteria, but if the child is too young to do chores, it would not be appropriate. Since meal clean up was a daily assigned chore in our home, we would often let children off of meal cleanup who didn’t have consequences and give the clean up to those who did have extra-chore consequences. That rewarded the obedient children and disciplined the disobedient children.
  4. Early bedtime. We could only live with this consequence if we made sure there was buffer time in our evening so a child could go to bed early. It was more effective for older children who understood that they were going to bed early than it was for younger children who weren’t yet time savvy. 

The End Result

Remember when you give a child a consequence, you are doing it with the goal of helping him grow into a mature, godly adult with characteristics that will make him/her a good husband/wife, father/mother, employee or business owner, and also be enjoyable to live with. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). That makes it worth the time and investment you put into finding consequences that work and using them consistently.

Here is another article with more practical consequence information. 

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Power in Discipling Children​

In November, we began a series responding to a mom with several children dealing with the stressful issues of sibling fighting, whining, and talking back. She wanted some fresh inspiration on practical consequences. The starting place is in our hearts, and that was November’s theme. If you haven’t read that article, here’s the link.

Before we move into discussing specific consequences, let’s consider some other proactive possibilities for tackling these problems that are quite common to any family with children. Scripture tells us: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Drawing our children’s hearts to Scripture and how it affects their daily lives is part of bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Teaching Time

Take advantage of individual and family time when you can discuss these problems. These times will be emotionally neutral. They won’t be in the heat of the offense, but simply in your normal, daily life. No one is unhappy or upset during the discussion, and no one is in trouble. However, you are prepared with specific instances of problems to bring out, review, and talk through. With the emotion out of the picture, you are likely to have some productive teaching discussions. Remember the Short and Sweet article last year? 

I encourage you not to move into a long lecture but to focus on a set of questions designed to help your children move to correct thinking, and then hopefully actions, about biblical behavior. Jesus often used questions in His teaching, causing His listeners to go deeper in their thoughts and motives. Questions draw your children into the conversation, help them think through what happened, how it affected them and others, why they did what they did, and what options might have been better in the situation.

When these discussions are family discussions, everyone can help with the answers and everyone benefits from the discipleship they afford. Sometimes, though, you will have the opportunity to have a discussion one-on-one, or maybe it is of the nature that you wouldn’t want discussed with the whole family. Remember, though, it is vital that this discussion be held at a neutral time.

Questions

When you have one of these discussions and rehearse what happened, what are some questions you can use? How about ones like these?  

Was this behavior kind?
Were the words kind?
How does the recipient of what was said or done feel?
Is this how you would like to be treated?
Is this how you see Daddy and Mommy acting?
Is this how Jesus would want you to act?

Then you can ask the children if they can think of any Scripture that would apply to the situation. 

Finally, you could ask what other ways there would have been to go through the situation in a positive way. Let your children come up with the good thoughts, words, and actions that would be appropriate. If your children are little, you might have them act out the right scenario as practice for the future. 

What are some good times for these discussions? How about meal times, family Bible time, or when you are working together in the kitchen or another project? 

Another helpful idea is to memorize Scripture with your children that applies to the common problems they are struggling with. That gives you and them biblically right thoughts to have at the moment of conflict. Plus it helps the children with Scripture that applies when that question is asked in the family discussions.

Could you be proactive with your children and their negative behaviors by using non-stressful moments to discuss their problems? Might you use Scripture to direct their thoughts and actions to godliness? My parenting-children days are over, and in hindsight, I wish I’d more often had wrong behavior discussions during the neutral moments, used questions, and helped the children apply Scripture. While that did happen, it wasn’t as much as I would have liked it to. I can’t redo those days, but I can encourage you.

Christmas Joy or Christmas Failure?

It seems that most moms enjoy Christmas, looking forward to the focus on Christ, giving, and family time. It can be a delightful, sweet season. There is something that can happen, though, in the midst of the joy of Christmas that might certainly dampen it.

Have you ever been decorating for Christmas and become irritated with your children’s interruptions, or if they were helping, critical of how they did something? Perhaps you are out Christmas shopping with the children and they begin bickering in the back seat. Your voice belts out a rebuke much louder than you wanted since you are feeling hungry and tired yourself. Those are situations I sometimes experienced, and I didn’t like my responses.

The Lord would convict me after those situations, and I wondered if there was hypocrisy in my heart. I questioned being busy preparing for celebrating of the Savior’s birth, heralding peace on earth and good will toward men while my own children received my irritation, impatience, and criticism.

Can we even avoid these undesirable reactions? If so, how?

In the Word

When you become busier with Christmas do you go to bed later, get up later, and skip your time with the Lord in the Word? Or if it is scheduled for another time of the day, you miss it for various other reasons. Would the Lord Jesus think that was a good trade? We need that spiritual nourishment as much when we don’t think we have time for it and most likely even more. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

On Your Knees

What if you were to ask the Lord to keep you from reacting negatively in your Christmas preparations and celebrations? What if you were to ask Him to replace every thought that leads to a negative emotion with a thought of gratitude, praise, or worship? What if that were your daily and even hourly prayer?

What if when you are in situations you know you have reacted to in the past, you prayed for His strength and mercy to allow you to avoid those ungodly attitudes and give you the fruit of the Spirit? “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Letting Go

What if you were to let go of any expectations you might have for how things would go over Christmas and when they would happen? Could it be that a perfectionistic mindset puts pressure on you that everything must be just so? Does God put that pressure on you? What do you think matters more to Him—your sweet spirit or when, what, and how those Christmas preparations and celebrations are accomplished? “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If you proactively anticipate the emotional pitfalls of the Christmas season, you have the opportunity to proactively avoid them with God’s help. Time in God’s Word, prayer, and resisting perfectionism were keys for me in that battle. I hope they could be for you as well. May we be women with sweet spirits this Christmas contributing to its joy for our families.

Here is a link to a practical article from a few years ago on de-stressing Christmas that goes nicely with this article.

3 Key Steps to DeStressing Life with Children

“I would love to see some posts about how to handle things like siblings fighting, whining, talking back, etc. I have found your materials the most helpful of all the parenting/homeschool resources I’ve used (and that’s been quite a bit!). I just need some fresh inspiration for practical consequences on how to handle these kinds of things. When the squabbles and such multiply across several children, it becomes rather stressful!” Dana

Dana’s children are 16, 14, 12, 8, 6, and 4. Dealing consistently with the negative behavior of children is stressful, wearying, and even discouraging. The results, though, make the investment worth the effort.

At the root of feeling stressed over those situations are our own expectations and perhaps even some self-pity. We want to deal with a problem and have it be solved forever. We hope to correct for wrong behavior and have it never reappear. We desire to have sweet, cheerful, cooperative, obedient, loving children. Those are our expectations. When that doesn’t happen, we feel discouraged, and the self-pity rolls in.

Accepting that bringing children to maturity is a process and then letting go of those unrealistic expectations, frees us to do our jobs as moms. That means breaking up the same squabbles, dealing with whining, and correcting for talking back—day after day after day. I think, though, you will find that if you do that, next year when you re-evaluate, you will see progress in your children.

The second basic tenet is that consistency is key. The actual consequence is less important than its consistent application. When you sometimes correct and other times don’t, the children learn to do something and hope it is a “no correction” moment for you. “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (Proverbs 29:17).

Finally, our attitude is foundational. When our children’s behavior causes us to be impatient, frustrated, sarcastic, or angry, we undermine anything we want to achieve through correction. We are behaving like the child who is to be corrected. “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21).

I remember when Steve helped me learn to correct our children unemotionally and without discouragement. He suggested I think of what a policeman would do making a traffic stop. He said, “What if that policeman has pulled a motorist over for the third time in one day for the same offense? Will he get angry with the motorist? Will he feel like a failure as a policeman? Will he cry about it? Of course not. He will just write another ticket.” Steve encouraged me to metaphorically write my children tickets by unemotionally giving them consequences.

When you get your heart and thoughts in tune with child raising being a long-term investment with high-stake outcomes, it makes it easier to face your daily battles. If you are willing to tackle them without giving up, it is quite possible that in just a short time you will see significant improvement in your children. At the least, when your heart is set, you approach each day with confidence and peace that you are doing what God has called you to do. Then you proceed, asking Him for His strength and grace for each moment of your day and interaction with your children.

Simplified Meal Strategies

Busy moms and especially homeschooling moms need strategies to streamline kitchen work. Proverbs 31:27 talks about this: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

One of the most frustrating situations for Mom is when she doesn’t know what to prepare for a meal and spends time wracking her brain for ideas with nothing coming together. Schedule for the following suggestions, and you will eliminate the emotional drain of indecision and also gain valuable time for other endeavors.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:15). I imagine that a woman who gets up while it is still dark to prepare food for the day knew what she was going to make. Her plan allowed her to get to her work early.

Schedule Planning Time

Schedule time each week for meal planning and populating a grocery list. You could start with 1 hour a week and back down to 1/2 hour with experience and speed. Plan to grocery shop weekly and have your planning time the day of shopping or the day before.

Begin with three master meal lists: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The easiest way to do this is to simply write down—track—each unique meal you eat as you eat it. Your master list will grow itself. You can also write from memory meals your family eats and enjoys. From the master meal list, you can quickly choose meals without dealing with empty brain and without eating the same meal every other night.

Standardized Weekly Menus

I suggest a standardized weekly breakfast and lunch menu. That doesn’t require any decisions after the initial plan is developed, and all you have to do is check the food supply to see what you need to purchase to have enough for those meals that week. Pick favorites from your master breakfast and lunch meals that are simple and nutritious. Change the standardized menu up every couple of months or stick to it, if everyone is satisfied with it.

For example:

Breakfast
S – Egg casserole
M – Yogurt, granola, fruit
T – Oatmeal, fruit
W – Pancakes, fruit
Th – Muffins and eggs
F – Yogurt, granola, fruit
S – Oatmeal, fruit

Lunch
S – Quesadillas
M – Sandwiches
T – Soup
W – Leftovers
Th – Sandwiches
F – Soup
S – Leftovers

Themed Weekly Menus

For dinners, you could have a theme or a meal for some nights plus nights left open to be determined from your master dinner meal list when you meal plan. For example:

Dinner
S –
M – Beef
T – Chicken
W – Meatless
Th – Mexican
F – Homemade Pizza
S –

If you want to take the planning further, add your side dishes on the menu.

There is nothing binding about the menu. You always have the flexibility and choice to do something different. Having the plan, however, directs meals and allows you to be efficient in the kitchen. You don’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every lunch because you can’t think of anything else to eat or don’t have what you need for anything else. You don’t spend the morning trying to decide what to have for dinner. You don’t run to the store because you decide to have something you are missing ingredients for. If you post your menu for the family and stick to it, you won’t have to tell every family member what’s for dinner since you forestall their questions.

I loved the ease my master meal lists, standardized and themed meal plans, plus weekly meal planning and grocery shopping brought to my full homeschooling lifestyle. I think you will benefit from it as well.

If you need scheduling help, Managers of Their Homes is an excellent resource. If you need help with a family chore plan, Managers of Their Chores is the resource for you.

For our downloadable shopping lists, see this link.

For meal planning ideas, see this popular blog post Simple Ideas for Homeschool Moms, and make sure to read the comments too!

The Modern Curse

Recently at a restaurant, I observed a grandmother-aged woman with two girls in their late teens sit down in a booth near ours. After a while, I heard the older woman complain, “Are you going to be on your phones the whole time you are with me?” Both assured her they weren’t but neither put her phone down.

Moms have issues with their phones as well:

I know better, but I do it anyways. My biggest problem is my phone. I don’t know how I manage to waste so much time there. I deactivated my Facebook account, so there’s just that much less to do on my phone when I absentmindedly pick it up.

This mom took a huge step to be free of bondage to her phone by deactivating her Facebook account, but she’s still spending time on her phone she doesn’t want to spend there. Whether it is making someone feel devalued or wasting time, smartphones have negative consequences.

Here’s a brave mom who made some tough decisions:

I’ve deactivated and deleted Facebook several times. I deleted it for the final time last August after God took the blinders off and showed me how utterly wasteful it is. There are zero benefits for me in this season of my life. Not to mention safety concerns with all the information that is sold and used. I actually deleted all social media.

However, the deal with smartphones is there’s SO much you can do from your phone that it’s hard to live without it being near you. I would encourage you to do a fast though. Go back to calling instead of texting. Use a real calendar. Designate a certain time of day that you check emails or utilize apps. If it’s not a part of your structured/scheduled day then it can become unruly and uncontrolled. You’ll be amazed at how addicted you were and begin to notice how 80% of the world around you is too! That’s not an addiction I want my kids to inherit, and I still have to be diligent to carefully watch the time I use it.

When I was raising children, we didn’t have smartphones. They are 21st-century distractions that moms today have to deal with, but they are also helpful, time savers. How you manage your phone will determine your ability to engage emotionally with your children, your productivity, your children’s memories of you, and how they will utilize their phones when they have one and manage their own time.

I suggest you have a scheduled computer time and don’t do anything on your phone that you can do on your computer, including texting. Then prioritize your computer time so you accomplish the most pressing and important tasks first. Keep your phone on airplane mode so you aren’t distracted by all its notification sounds. Then you can keep it with you for a timer, calculator, or camera without being distracted by texts. During scheduled computer time, you can look at the notifications that came in since your last computer time and deal with them. Windows users: This would be the time you would turn your phone back on to check texts and such because those won’t come to your computer. 

Are you brave enough to make tough decisions so you control your phone rather than it controlling you? “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). I don’t think you will regret focusing on the Lord and your family rather than your phone.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

The Power of Time

August means school starting for most homeschool families. After a slower pace of summer, the thought of adding in school hours can be daunting for the homeschool mom. You might be a mom with all younger children who are not yet school age, but you are drowning in all that you have to do. I know the secret that will make it possible for you to keep up and regain your joyful spirit. You need a schedule for your time and your children’s time.

A schedule forces you to critically evaluate your time and prioritize it. When you put your life into a schedule, it is definable and quantifiable. God gave us each 24 hours in a day, and those are the boundaries with which we work. Your priorities are no longer missed because your day ended. Each one has its rightful place in the schedule. 

A schedule makes what you do on a daily basis habitual. Once a habit is formed, you don’t think about it any more. It just happens. No more trying to keep everything that has to be accomplished in your mind, hoping you don’t forget, and then getting sidetracked by what isn’t a priority at all.

A schedule brings maximum productivity into your home. You don’t waste time doing what doesn’t matter, and you don’t waste time trying to decide what to do next. You are utilizing every moment in the most productive way according to its priority, that you and the Lord have determined. That might mean taking an afternoon nap if you are up with a baby or child in the night. It could be reading out loud to your children or playing games with them because that is important to you.

A schedule frees you from battles with your children to get them to do what they are supposed to do. When you consistently follow the schedule, their days become habitual as well, and they know what to do and when to do it.

A schedule allows you to do activities you didn’t think you had time to do. It makes you so productive that it is likely you will keep up with what you weren’t keeping up with before your schedule and have time for what you had only hoped for in the past.

A schedule improves your health because it assures adequate sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. Bedtime and wake up time are the foundations on which your whole day is built. A schedule defines and stabilizes them. Without enough sleep, you drag through the day, are emotionally short with the children, and put your health at risk. Lack of exercise and poor nutrition have the same effects.

A schedule grows your relationship with Jesus because you daily have time with Him. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). 

This verse encourages us on physical exercise but even more on our time with the Lord. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

I lived that discouraged, overwhelmed, there’s-never-enough-time, stressed life. I didn’t like it, and I doubt you do either. I know firsthand the differences and benefits a schedule brings, and I want those for you, your family, and your home. Please don’t excuse the idea away by saying you couldn’t do it or that it isn’t for you. I have seen so many moms move from despair to joy, from frustration to peace, and from stressed to contentment. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Are you?

If you need help with scheduling, Managers of Their Homes is your proven tool.

More Mature Than Your Children?

Are you more mature than your children?

Obedience

Consider this. You ask your child to do something he doesn’t want to do, and he responds with a sigh, verbal complaint, or non-compliance. I doubt that is the response you want. I know a smile along with, “Yes, Mom, I’d be happy to” is what delights your heart.

Now think about your response to the hard things the Lord asks you to do (or maybe they aren’t even so difficult, just not to your liking), especially areas of daily life and mothering. Jesus wants you to respond to your child’s bad attitude with a meek and quiet spirit. Is that what you do, or do you sigh inside and complain to the Lord about how tired you are of your child’s bad attitudes, how much time it takes to correct him, and how you sure wish he would change? Do you have a tone in your voice when you correct the child? Perhaps you raise your voice at him, or simply ignore it?

Do we want our children to obey us, and yet we fail at obeying Him? “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Are we more mature than our children?

Repentance

Would it make a difference to you if that scenario with your child happens, and five minutes later he comes to you saying, “Mommy, my attitude was wrong. Please forgive me. I will happily do what you asked me to do.” Might that response knock you over? Would it change your thoughts about the child’s bad attitude?

Do you repent when you fail? Perhaps you think repenting doesn’t matter that much, or your wrong responses happen often so you ignore the repenting part and just try a little harder. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

If our children’s repentance brings us joy, what does our repentance do to our heavenly Father? If our children don’t repent over their wrong childish behavior, and we don’t repent over our wrong adult behavior, are we really more mature than our children?

Diligence

Are you frustrated with a child who doesn’t have initiative? One that you have to remind all the time to do what he is supposed to do? Perhaps he starts on a task but doesn’t finish it.

What about you? When you have a free moment, do you do something productive or feel like you deserve a break? Do you have a schedule but choose not to follow it? Do you allow your devices to distract you from the job you are involved in doing? Would God view you as His child who wants to hurry away from responsibility, has to be reminded to do what needs to be done, and is pulled away to her own interests or His faithful servant, diligent and happy to do more? “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If we don’t do what we should do, when we should do it, are we more mature than our children?

More Mature

Perhaps as we consider our failures, we will have more patience and compassion working with our children. That doesn’t mean we let down the bar, but it does mean we consistently and sweetly encourage them along the right path.

When we feel frustrated with our children’s lack of maturity, it reminds us to obey the Lord, repent of our sin, and be His diligent servants.

If you’d like encouragement in this area of a meek and quiet spirit, I suggest you read Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. I wrote it when I was a mom in the trenches, with five young ones, including an epic dawdler. Whew! Some ladies share that they read this book at the beginning of each school year!

Deborah Claims Her Summer

Here we are, it’s June already. Can I encourage you to have a no-regrets summer? I’m pretty sure I share about this every year (see last June’s get-ready-for summer article).

Real-life testimonies always motivate, so follow Deborah’s summer journal below. 


I am delighted that I actually have the summer schedule in place, and we are using it this early in the summer. Last summer was a huge wash for a variety of reasons, so I am really looking forward to this summer. Deborah

I am beyond excited with our summer schedule. I put in special activities I’d like to do, such as crafts with my daughter, “Funtime with Mom” times with each child individually, and an hour of family activities (bike riding, sitting by the campfire, playing games, taking a walk, etc.) after dinner. Since my son is older, I asked him what he wanted included and was able to find blocks for those activities, as well.

We’re still going to do a bit of homeschooling, but we also have time for outdoor jobs for the children, as well as gardening/canning, and other projects. I am truly hoping that this will finally be the summer I’ve always desired. 🙂 Deborah


Last week was our first week on our summer schedule. The children really seem to like the new schedule, and I am loving the peace and order it is bringing to our home, as well as the way it is allowing me to do those tasks that I desire and feel are important, rather than frittering away the summer.  In just one week, happy memories have been made, work has been accomplished, our house has stayed orderly instead of turning into a mess from chaos, and our standardized testing went smoothly.

In the middle of the week, we had a situation arise that could have wrecked havoc to our schedule, but I was able to say “No” to a request from a friend—something that has always been very difficult for me to do. Although I felt very guilty at the time, I now see the good that came out of it and the great benefit to our family and our week of testing. Deborah


I see how keeping with a consistent schedule this summer has really helped my children, so I want to be able to do the same in the fall. Deborah


I’m still loving our summer schedule. For the longest time, I’ve wanted a craft time with my daughter, but I never got around to it. This summer I have a block twice a week to do crafts with her. Oh, how she looks forward to it! This week, she sweetly called down to me, “Mom, it’s our time together!” Needless to say, I made sure I came right up and worked with her. Currently, I’m teaching her to crochet and she’s so pleased with what she is learning! Deborah


I am so excited about the difference using a schedule made this summer, that I’m already looking ahead to next summer and want to make sure we plan well for the school year, so we can start our summer schedule on time. I only wish I could go back in time and would have used a summer schedule when my oldest was still young. It makes me sad to think of the many lost years, but I am encouraged that we are on the right path now and am glad my children are not yet grown. 🙂 Deborah


I want YOU to experience a summer like Deborah. What an amazing feeling to get to the end of the summer and have no regrets for how you spent your time!

If you need resources to help you reclaim summer with scheduling, putting together a chore system, or planning for the new school yearTitus2.com has them available.