Tag Archives: Scheduling

The Productive Summer Schedule for Homeschoolers

A productive summer schedule can help homeschoolers (or anyone) toward desires or goals you have for your summer months. Perhaps those would include doing some homeschooling, accomplishing activities that don’t fit into a homeschool year, or simply relationship building. Whatever the desire, purposefulness in making a schedule should give time to work on various aspects that lead to its achievement. Often moms get to the end of their summer dismayed with their lack of productivity and disappointed that they didn’t accomplish what they had envisioned. Your schedule is a tool that will let you look back on summer with satisfaction rather than regret.

If you haven’t scheduled before, summer is a perfect time to learn scheduling because usually summer has a more relaxed pace than the school months do.

List and Pray

To begin, write your desires for summer accomplishments onto a list. Having these desires in writing means you can visualize the ideas all together. You have a limited amount of time and energy so what you want to accomplish will be mitigated by that. The list and then the schedule is a reality check for what is reasonable to try to do.

Before you work on the actual schedule, you want to pray and seek the Lord’s direction for what He would have you and your children accomplish this summer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). You may grow or shrink the list as you spend praying over it and also evaluating your available time.

Then pray about the actual planning and working out of the schedule since you want God’s help through that process. He is the One Who gives you direction and creativity for how to put the pieces of your schedule together.

Add a Few Notes

Now look at your list of desires for the summer. What needs to be scheduled to accomplish those goals? Start by making notes on your list since a particular goal might mean multiple spots on the schedule.

For example, your list says: summer school. But your note would be more specific – keep math and reading going during the summer by doing it daily. Your list could have: relationship building. Your note with it might say: weekly outing with one child rotating every week through the summer, assign a kitchen helper for each meal, have a daily game time. 

Assign Times

The next step is to put times with what you have on your list. It simplifies the schedule and schedule production if you use the same schedule for summer that you do for the school year when it comes to your normal daily needs. Then you don’t have to relearn that routine for the summer. School time is freed up to assign for your summer accomplishments, but the rest of the schedule remains the same.

If, however, you want to change the whole thing up, your schedule can accommodate! Just be sure to write it down. Trying to keep it in your mind is a setup for failure!

Then you use your notes to help you put what is on your list into time slots on the schedule. What is on it that you will do every day? Plug those into your schedule first. That allows you to evaluate the time blocks you have available for activities that don’t happen every day. If you want to have larger chunks of time for outings, try to group your daily activities together, so that you have several hours that can be scheduled for outings and the activities that don’t happen every day.

Finally what is on the list that you can do a couple of times a week or once a week? Put those into the blocks that are still open after the daily pieces have been entered into the schedule.

Make the Summer Schedule a Reality

Sometimes putting together a schedule seems daunting. That’s usually the case when it is all floating around in your head. Committing the details to paper or the computer, generally flows nicely once you take that first step to begin.

The productive summer schedule for homeschoolers will help you end your summer with a smile as you look back over all that you achieved through those months. 

If you need more scheduling help, I recommend our book called Managers of Their Homes. That book is full of scheduling information plus it walks you step by step through putting a schedule together utilizing the included scheduling kit. 

Here are some other articles on summer scheduling.

Prioritizing Relationships That Matter

Next to our salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ, probably the most important thing to us is our families and relationships with them. Life is busy for all, and maybe even busier for the homeschooling mom. What happens to those priority relationships for busy homeschool moms in the midst of that lifestyle? Is it possible to accomplish what needs to be done but lose the heart thrust of relationships? How can we purposefully nurture relationships but still keep up with the responsibilities the Lord has called us to fulfill?

Schedule

Your schedule is critical for helping you prioritize relationships. First, it maximizes your productivity, allowing you the most time possible to invest in relationships.

Next, it shows you where your time is misplaced. Is it possible that you have time for relationship building, but you are spending it in ways that aren’t your real priorities? Social media, texting, and emailing could be your biggest time robbers. Some of the moms I admire the most are the ones who choose to keep those things contained within a scheduled time frame and stay away from them the rest of the time. When your children leave home, what do you want them to remember about you—the mom who had her face glued to her phone or one who looked at them?

You can put activities into the schedule that are relationship building. What about scheduling individual time with a child? It probably won’t be every day except for school time, but it could be once or twice a week. Even a half an hour or hour dedicated to one child will grow that relationship. It might be a time where you simply talk, perhaps discussing spiritual things and the child’s struggles and joys. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). It could also be doing something with him that you know he enjoys doing.

Working Together

If you have your children scheduled one at a time to work with you in the kitchen for meal preparation, you just gained a huge amount of relationship-building time. With 21 meals a week, if we estimated 30 minutes preparation time per meal—breakfast will likely take less and dinner more—that comes up to ten hours of individual, relationship-building time per week.

By keeping it to just one helper, your full attention is on every story that child wants to tell you, every joy he desires to share with you, and every worry that is on his heart. You have the opportunity to speak into his life what you see he is doing well and those things you know he could grow in.

In the process of all of that, in addition to relationship building, your child learns kitchen skills he takes with him through life and character that equips him for the areas of service God will call him to in adulthood. I can assure you that your two-year-old will slow you down in the kitchen, but he will be a happy helper full of enthusiasm and words. By the time he is five, he will be capable of doing many tasks independently and at eight, there might be meals he could do alone. Don’t resort to giving him that assignment on a normal basis, though, because remember—by working together you are taking time with and for that child.

Attitudes

Balanced with spending time together for relationship building is your attitude in general. If you spend lots of time with a child but are negative when you are together, I doubt that relationship will grow strong. Take inventory. When you talk to your children, are you negative and critical or encouraging and positive? Do you smile at them or talk to them with your eyes focused on your phone, seeming distracted?

Blessed

Ask the Lord to help you find ways to build relationships with your children. There is nothing dearer to a mother’s heart than for this to be true:  “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28). May I encourage you to purposefully invest in growing relationships with your children.

If you need help making a schedule, Managers of Their Homes is a resource we have available for you. It has helped many, many moms do what you want to do.

Grandma’s Lessons: Back to the Basics, Part Two

The Schedule

Being many years beyond life with little children, it is easy for me to lose sight of the key factors that contribute to a peaceful and productive home life. Now that we are daily spending hours helping Christopher with his five young children so he can work and be daddy while his wife is having chemo treatments 2,000 miles away, we are once again aware of those components.

Last month we evaluated the benefits of a bedtime and wake up time for Mom that allows her to get the sleep she needs to function well all day, plus have time with the Lord and exercise in the morning. Those pieces are the beginning of a peaceful and productive family. 

What do you know you need to accomplish each day and what are the weak areas concerning that? I believe if you were to write those down, then pray and think, you could come up with a schedule to solve those problems.

For example, homeschool moms must do school. If they schedule school time, they make steady progress on their school work, likely finishing by the end of the year when they want to finish. However, haphazard, hit and miss school is a frustration. The end result is that schoolwork falls behind and Mom feels guilty. 

Perhaps you long for quiet time to do work at your computer. That could happen if you scheduled it and scheduled the children to do activities that don’t require your attention. That might mean preschoolers and babies are napping while older children are doing independent school work. 

Speaking of computer time, one key to a successful schedule is stopping when the schedule says to stop. Computer time has a way of engulfing the next scheduled activities so quit at the time you have scheduled. If you don’t, whatever you have scheduled next doesn’t happen, and that presents a whole new set of problems.

That same scheduling principle applies to whatever your priorities are—put them on the schedule. Start with the needs and after they are filled in on the schedule, then add wants.

Make It a Habit

When you have a schedule up and running, it becomes habit. Habit makes life simple. You aren’t in perpetual decision-making mode as to what to do and when to do it. You don’t have to keep chasing after your children to round them up for what they need to do. (Although when you start a schedule there will be a training phase for everyone involved.)

The Results

My heart’s desire is to see young moms enjoying this season of their lives. More often, though, they seem run-ragged, frustrated, and burned out. I wonder if they have tried making and using a schedule. The schedule is a powerful tool for time efficiency and productivity and from that flows energy, contentment, a peaceful heart. 

When I recently wrote on scheduling I had a response I think will encourage you and motivate you with scheduling:


As an old home-educating mom with much hindsight, I would like to add another benefit of schedulingjoyful anticipationbased on wonderful results of homeschool scheduling. Florida homeschool laws required us to turn in annual assessments of our children (to show progress, measured by wonderful licensed teachers) and I anticipated, planned, and prayed for wonderful growth and success. And successful, calm, and happy we were. It’s FUN to schedule, anticipate, and accomplish great homeschool goals! It is like achieving any huge goala college degree, new home, a huge family celebrationonly its happier and better because it’s your children. What an accomplishment. What a blessing. And it’s renewable with each and every homeschool day well done.

Now is the time to start. It isn’t hard. If you need help, Managers of Their Homes is a solid, proven, down-to-earth resource.

The Power of a Schedule

Stepping back into homeschool life as a grandma helping her son and daughter-in-law after a new baby’s birth, I am even more convinced of the need for a schedule in a homeschool family than I was 30 years ago in my own homeschooling time. How is a mom (or grandma) going to manage 6 children ages 7 and under, prepare meals, clean house and do laundry, and homeschool without a plan?

If you want to be productive and efficient in your homeschooling and achieve that with a peaceful, quiet heart, your schedule will be your strongest tool. You can have the best curriculum out there, but if you hardly ever have time to homeschool, what does it matter? You might have a desire for spiritual growth for your children, but if you are stressed and angry, will that be the outcome?

Self-Discipline 

Some might say to me, “Mrs. Maxwell, I don’t have the self-discipline to follow a schedule.” 

My response would be, “You will bless yourself and your children if you set that mindset aside and decide today to ask the Lord to help you develop whatever self-discipline you need for a schedule. Next to salvation, self-discipline might be your children’s greatest ally through life. Don’t waste any opportunity the Lord gives you to grow self-discipline and move your children toward it as well.”

The schedule gives direction to you and your children. With it, life is not chaotic, run by the most urgent fire to be put out. Instead, it has a vibrancy letting you live in the present, knowing exactly what to do and meeting needs but also either preparing for the ones to come or knowing when their time is scheduled.

The Team

In the process with your schedule, you make your children part of the team. Every homeschooling mom needs help. She wants to develop that team when her children are young and fine-tune it as they grow. Without scheduled activities to keep babies and toddlers occupied and without scheduled tasks for preschoolers, they can undo what you are trying to accomplish more quickly than you can do it. What you schedule for them is part of their development of self-control. I have observed families who do it both ways, and I can assure you the moms with children who have learned age-appropriate self-control are much happier moms with way less stress.

Start Simple

Begin scheduling by setting structured times for simple basics like bedtime, wake up time, Bible time, and meal times. Perhaps your greatest challenge will be for you and your husband to lead the way with a consistent bedtime and wake up time. Do it. It is worth it! After the basics are established add in chore time and school time. Then fill in other available time with other activities.

Be the Best

Once you have lived life with a schedule, I don’t think you will ever be satisfied to go back to the way you were living before. Give yourself that opportunity to see what life can be like when it has structure, and you experience productivity and efficiency with the positive emotions that go along with it. 

If you need help, that is what I feel God has called me to do and what I love: to teach and encourage moms about scheduling who don’t come to scheduling intuitively. We have two resources to help you: Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores

Determine now to be the best homeschool mom you can be utilizing the powerful tool of a schedule. Your whole family will be blessed by that decision.

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 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.

Three Crucial Steps to Fruitfully Start the Homeschool Year

How can excitement, drive, and determination so quickly deteriorate into tears, discouragement, and feeling like a failure on the first day of the homeschool year? Somehow my plans, joy, and ideals dissipated with each grumble, resistance, and dawdling leaving me a disappointed basket case by 3:00 p.m. With experience, the Lord showed me steps to turn those first-day-of-school blues into smile-filled momentum and achievement.

1. Prepare for the Year

Have your plan in place. That includes curricula for each child and their supplies such as notebooks, notebook divider tabs, pencils and pens, paper, folders, calculators, scissors—whatever they will need. Hunting for essentials when school is in session is sure to take precious minutes from study. I have many more details in this area in Managers of Their Schools.

What about your homeschool schedule? Nailed down? Printed? Available? Invest time in schedule crafting to insure productivity in education when school starts. Playing it by ear is certain to meet disaster by the end of the day. If you need any scheduling help, Managers of Their Homes is a reliable, understandable, time-tested, homeschool-mom-endorsed resource.

Do you have a homeschool chore system in place? You simply can’t do all the housework yourself. Even preschoolers can pitch in to help, and older children are actually productive. It is possible that a chore plan will make or break not just your first day of school but your whole year. House work has to be accomplished efficiently and effectively. Managers of Their Chores takes you step by step through making a customized chore system for your family using ChorePacks.

2. Prepare Your Heart

Pray. Sometime before starting school make time to pray long and specifically for school and each child. I would gather all our school books around me, working child by child through them to direct my prayers. 

One of the deadliest enemies of homeschool joy is expectations. Give your expectations to the Lord. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). Then cultivate a heart of gratitude that finds reasons to be thankful rather than disappointed. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

3. Prepare Memories and Your Children

Let the the first day-of-school be memories not academics. We actually called this our pre-first-day of school. We had a special breakfast—that’s very time consuming. I put out school surprises that ended up distracting from our normal flow of morning life. We took photos of each child with their school books. But when memories were our goal, it didn’t matter how long it took or how much it distracted. 

I also met with each child so I could go over his homeschool schedule, look at his books with him, and set up any other school materials that he had. I let him know what the requirements were for each subject and how he would tackle it. That way when we dove into our homeschool schedule the next day, he was prepared to study.

I am smiling as I think about you starting school in the next few weeks. I am praying that these three crucial steps will have you smiling at the end of that pre-first-day of school and your children sharing a happy report when your husband comes home. I would love to know how it goes for you. Just reply to this e-mail.

Trusting in Jesus,

Teri

Three Top Pieces of Advice for Young Moms Starting Homeschooling, Part 1

Recently I was talking to a mom with three little children, the oldest being 4 years old. She was planning to homeschool and had heard that I homeschooled for 30 years. She sweetly smiled at me and asked what I felt was a very insightful question. She said, “What 3 pieces of advice could you give me that you think would be the most important for my success as a homeschooling mom?”

I was thrilled to talk to this mom. She was thinking about and preparing for her homeschooling days. She gave me boundaries for the information she wanted—boundaries that would help her remember what I said.

For number 1, I started with what is probably the dearest to my heart—a schedule. Structure is what productivity, learning, and stress-free days hang upon. The schedule helps a family accomplish not only their homeschooling but other essential and even non-essential parts of their day.

I have observed schedules transform the family life, personal life, and homeschooling life of weary, discouraged mommies. That thrills me beyond measure. I don’t think it is a matter of personality —schedules for the disciplined person but not for the free spirited person. Schedules let the disciplined mom put her talents to use, and for the free-spirited one, it lets her have time for her free-spirited activities.

Even before you begin homeschooling, you can schedule. Mommies with preschoolers can benefit from a schedule just as much as those who are already involved in homeschooling can. Getting children used to a schedule as preschoolers keeps those days flowing and productive while getting children accustomed to the rhythm that a schedule will bring to homeschool life.

When we were preparing for another Managers of Their Homes (MOTH) reprint, we realized that we had gained a huge amount of scheduling experience since we first wrote and published Managers of Their Homes, and we wanted to impart that to others.

When MOTH came out, it was based upon our own personal scheduling experience and confirmed by those first 24 test families who used MOTH. Now, however, we have worked with countless moms as they have scheduled and seen the power of the schedule in a much broader framework.

We decided to take that valuable experience and put it into a revised version of Managers of Their Homes. So we ruthlessly tore into the text and took out what we didn’t think was as helpful in the book, and put in what we have gained from working with MOTH moms.

We know that the original MOTH is successful in teaching moms to schedule. We have the testimonies from so many who have read and used it to prove that it does. The revised MOTH doesn’t change those basics, but it brings in a fresh power from our real life experiences with a multitude of MOTH scheduling moms. We are excited about that!

If you haven’t yet dived into scheduling, this is the time to get the new, revised Managers of Their Homes. If you have friends who aren’t scheduling, suggest it to them. I really can’t think of a better Christmas or birthday present for you or a friend than this resource that will help bring productivity, peace, and contentment to a family.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

Sorting Out Decisions

With the 30 years of homeschooling behind me, I remember those spring days and the excitement of thinking about and preparing for a new homeschooling year. As I read the following Mom’s Corner I wrote during a springtime when I was actively homeschooling many children, I thought you would be encouraged by these words.

A Schedule Can Help with Depression

I struggled with depression on and off for about twelve years. Many of you who regularly read the Mom’s Corners have seen me talk about those battles before.

Those were difficult and dark days, not only for me but also for my family. In a previous Mom’s Corner I shared about that battle and several of the things the Lord used to help pull me out of depression. In this Mom’s Corner, I want to focus on a specific tool that helped me navigate life in the midst of depression and care for the needs of a young and growing family.

When the Lord called our family to homeschool and then began giving us more children, my ability to keep up with the childcare responsibilities, housework, cooking, laundry, plus homeschooling, failed. Falling behind with those tasks caused stress, worry, guilt, and a host of other negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and impatience.

Time Management Tool

When I asked the Lord for help, He began to teach me to schedule. “I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication” (Psalm 142:1). Since I had a home to run, which had many similarities to a small business, I needed time management skills to do so. Back then, I didn’t have time to read books on time management, nor would I probably have found any that dealt with time management for a stay-at-home mom who was homeschooling. However, I am excited to find that what the Lord taught me years ago about time management in a home is exactly what time-management experts recommend in the business world today. Time management is powerful in business, and it was powerful for me with the specific needs I had as a stay-at-home mom with children to care for and educate.

I started putting together a daily schedule to help direct my time usage, and also the children’s. I used a paper and notebook. There was much erasing and rewriting, but it gave me a basis for my day. (Now we have a scheduling kit that comes with Managers of Their Homes, and also ScheduleBreeze, which is an add-on scheduling software for Managers of Their Homes users. )

The Schedule Makes Decisions

While scheduling has been beneficial in a multitude of ways in our home through the years, I want to deal specifically with how it impacted me during my depression. A depressed person doesn’t make decisions well, nor are they motivated to do much of anything. Because of my love for my husband and children, I had a desire to care for their needs. Having a schedule gave me direction for how to use my time. I didn’t have to make decisions; they were already made for me. I had direction through the schedule. When the mind is tracking things that need to be done and decisions that need to be made, it is an extra weight.

I remember back then listening to Elisabeth Elliot’s radio program for Christian women, called “Gateway to Joy.” She would say, “Just do the next thing,” to encourage women to keep up with daily tasks. My schedule told me what my “next thing” was when, in my depression, I could not figure it out.

A Schedule Gives Sense of Accomplishment

That schedule also allowed me to have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day, rather than being saddled with a burden of all that was left undone. As a depressed woman, consider what sitting and doing nothing—which is typical in depression—would have done to deepen that depression, versus the positive aspects of caring for my family and keeping up with the home management plus homeschooling. I know that this was a vital part of helping me through and out of the depression, whereas without the schedule, I would have spiraled deeper and further into it.

Moms write me who are living with depression, and they often say that their homes are out of control. They also tell me that they aren’t spending any time with Jesus. Of course, they share the deepness of their misery, and I more than understand their feelings. Putting together and using a schedule brings structure back to their lives. I’ve seen countless times how depressed moms are encouraged when they follow their schedule. It does for them what it did for me.

A Schedule Renews a Depressed Mind

The most important part of a schedule is to plan daily time to spend in Bible reading and prayer. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). There is nothing a depressed mom needs more than to be spiritually nourished. God’s Word will give her the help she needs for many of her emotional struggles, just like it did for me. For example, when she reads this,  “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4), she probably thinks, “But, Lord, I don’t feel like rejoicing. I just feel sad and unhappy.”

She might also read, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Hopefully, she will then decide to choose to rejoice rather than letting her feelings rule her. Victory begins to come to her, step by step, just as it did for me.

A Schedule Helps Many Moms

I honestly believe that a schedule helps not only a depressed mom, but also most other stay-at-home moms. All the benefits the depressed mom realizes with her schedule are ones that other moms will experience as well. Perhaps that schedule will keep the mom who isn’t depressed from becoming depressed. The schedule certainly brings peace and productivity to days that can be chaotic and stressful. There is a wealth of information in Managers of Their Homes that allows me to come alongside you as you learn about scheduling and implement a schedule for your time.