My husband and I were getting into the groove of homeschooling our two teenagers a few September’s ago, and we knew that we needed to make some adjustments in our lives, but we didn’t know where to start. We were so very happy with that drastic decision to homeschool, but God was placing it on our hearts to go bigger and be better. Our kids were still getting used to the shock of being homeschooled (my son, more so than my daughter, struggled with this for a while) so we decided that baby steps as opposed to ripping it off like a Band-Aid was the better approach to more changes. We had good intentions, but our little changes turned out to be great big changes in their eyes.When I read the Duggar’s book, I had gotten a lot of useful information that helped me organize myself. We even decided to move to a house that cost less money so that we could survive on one income. God blessed us with this, because the house we live in now is much bigger than our old one, due to the fact that the school district is not good (we do not need to worry about that anymore!). Michelle Duggar is so organized, which is not only apparent in the book, but also on the show. She has a master schedule hanging on the wall for all of her family, she has moved a zillion times and uses the bank box method, and she has a food pantry to die for. So, I took a chance and ordered the book where she learned her scheduling skills. I was a little scared when I couldn’t find it used, as I had just started to implement the Duggar’s philosophy of “Buy used, save the difference”. However, I am so thankful now that I couldn’t find it on ebay or craigslist (which I support completely), because I might not have ever seen the author’s website, and that would have been a shame.
The book is called ’Manager’s of Their Homes’, by Teri Maxwell. She is the wife of Steven Maxwell and the mother of 8 children. Together they have formed a ministry to provide quality books about Christian families, homeschooling, and encouragement. When I arrived at their website, http://www.titus2.com I was so amazed and thrilled at my good fortune that I spent almost two hours pursuing the “shelves” of their books. They seemed to have everything that I had been looking for, and many things that I hadn’t even thought about. When my books arrived, I almost hugged the mailman in my excitement! Here is what I ordered for organization:
1. ‘Manager’s of Their Homes’ by Teri Maxwell. She gives you the keys to establishing and maintaining a schedule for home schooling, chores and daily family life. However, she gives you more than that, she gives you the reasons that you should have such a schedule, Biblical and practical. The book comes with a scheduling kit for up to 8 people.
2. ‘Manager’s of Their Chores’ by Teri Maxwell. If you watch the show, you might have seen the littlest Duggar children with “chore packs” clipped to their belts or shirts. Michelle and Jim Bob didn’t come up with that invaluable invention on their own, they learned it from this book. My kids were 13 and 14 when I first handed them their “chore packs”, so do not think that this is just for small children. They are absolutely wonderful, and it really works. Truly, your children do not have a choice but to do their chores, because it is all laid out for them and if they miss a chore it sticks out like a sore thumb! The book comes with all of the goodies to make “chore packs” for 4 children, and you can order more separately if you have more kids. What is even better is that after you read the book, if you are a little overwhelmed on which chores to start your kids with and how to implement a “chore pack”, the Maxwell family has a put together this website called: http://www.chorepacks.com You pay a subscription fee of $12 for the year, and it walks you through the chore pack set up process and then gives you a template to print them.
Although these books are a mom-life-saver, it is the other products that I ordered that helped us come closer to achieving the Christian lifestyle that we desired. It all came down to this folks….we went from Little House on the Prairie, The Duggars, to the Maxwell’s, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Here is what I ordered:
1. Encouragement for the Homeschool Family on 10 CD’s. The website says they are workshops, and when you listen to them you will know that Steven and Teri are at home school conferences holding these workshops. Some of the CD’s have books that go with them. Important: The CD‘s are not audio books, they are simply excerpts from the books that are meant to encourage. Such as: Preparing our Sons and Keeping Our Children’s Hearts are great CD’s and in fact are so encouraging that they will totally make you want to read the books. Here are my favorites:
A. Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. Teri is lovely, and to me she is right up there with Ma Ingalls. I hope that one day I will be meeker and quieter in both sound and spirit, but for now I am working on it.
B. Loving Your Husband. It actually didn’t take too long to get this one, and my husband is very thankful. After having a business and struggling to juggle all of the responsibilities that working mothers have, I thought I was my husband’s equal, and sometimes his superior (because I was able to handle so much). I knew in my heart that the way I treated my husband was wrong, and I even longed to live my life like the scriptures outline for a Godly woman (Proverbs 31), but society was telling me different. Women who boast of being independent and strive to best their husbands are so terribly mislead of true success, as was I. Any woman who has secretly yearned to stay home, take care of her husband and children, but think that they are giving up ‘women’s liberations’ should listen to this CD. It is not a yearning that you are feeling, but a calling that is natural and what God had intended for us. Does it make women weak? Read Proverbs 31 and tell me if you think that woman is weak. I could only dream of being that strong.
C. Keeping Our Children’s Hearts. My children are on board now, but not too long ago they probably would have liked to have made a phone call to Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell, asking them “Why, oh why did you have to record this CD!”. I know I have said it before, but home schooling in the middle is not so easy when your kids are teenagers. This CD will tell you why. Good news? It will tell you how to reverse rebellion, why you should censor every single thing that your kids do, and how to ………well, keep your children’s hearts. The book goes into greater detail, and is a must read for prevention and reversal of behavioral problems.
D. Building a Vision. I saved the best for last. I was working one day (remember, I worked one week a month), and instead of listening to a book on my Ipod like I normally do, I decided to listen to the CD’s that I had just received in the mail. The first one in the case was Building a Vision by both Steven and Teri Maxwell. At first, the way they spoke sounded a little like a preacher on TV, sort of pleading and getting really soft like a whisper in places. It made me feel instantly ashamed, because I was not leading this type of lifestyle, not even close. However, after listening to them for about five minutes, something clicked inside my head and I realized that they weren’t preaching but they were indeed pleading. They were pleading for my children, (whom of course they didn’t even know, yet seemed to care about), and your children, and their children……God’s children. I barely got anything done that day, I was so mesmerized by their words. They were not trying to make me feel inferior, they were trying to encourage me, and they did. I stopped cussing after that, too embarrassed to utter those words anymore. I went home and told my husband how sorry that I was for treating him like he was under my command, and vowed to let him take his rightful place as Head of our Household (we have never been happier…honest). I also vowed, that no matter how much it hurt my children initially, I would help them to lead the lives that God intended for them, and that my husband and I would be their example. I realized that I couldn’t really do that if I was working, even for just one week out of the month. I totally committed to them, and we let God handle our struggle with one income. Powerful stuff.
The final things that I purchased from the Maxwell family was:
1. Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, the book. Awesome read (see above).
2. Preparing Sons, the book. I will ask my husband to write a post on my blog when he is finished reading this book. It is all about preparing our sons to be providers for a one-income family.
3. Feeding Our Sheep, 2-Disk Cd set. This was really great for helping me to see the importance of family devotions. Without it, I am not sure that we would have even known to do this. Sure, we knew that we should be teaching our children about the Bible, but family devotions goes well beyond that. I only wish Steven Maxwell would publish a family devotions series, sort of like the Pearables one that my family uses. I would love to see what he would come up with, and after you hear his CD’s you will wish for it too!
If you have purchased any of the other books or materials that the Maxwell’s have available, please give me the scoop. Right now, I am saving my money for the following:
1. Manager’s of Their Homeschool. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one, and I will let you know all about it when I finally do!
2. Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, the book. I am still really loud, and I have a hard time remaining quiet, so I would love to read more about the subject!
Check out this awesome family, and receive some encouragement yourself at http://www.titus2.com For those of you who would like to know what the verse Titus 2 says (which I obtained from http://www.biblegateway.com ):
Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel
1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.