Family Times MOTH Book Review

Although it is relatively new, many of you have probably heard of this book; it has been a hot topic on numerous homeschool-oriented web sites and email discussion lists for the past few months. When I heard about this book last spring I was already beginning to dread the coming of July, August, and September. The reason? I was scheduled to teach a teenage girls Bible class during those months at the congregation where my family worships. Don’t get me wrong—I love teaching Bible class—my dread was caused by my inability to balance the demands of being a wife, homemaker, and mother with the demands of spending hours each week studying, writing lessons, planning and developing visual aids and learning activities, and teaching. I had taught this class the year before (different subject) and remembered only too well how often I had neglected my family’s ongoing needs so I could devote my time to class preparation. My memories of haphazard meals, mountains of dirty laundry, and no time to talk with my husband or read to my children came rushing back. I knew I didn’t want a repeat of all that but I had no idea how to change things. I began to hear reports about MOTH and was immediately interested but I wondered, could it really help me, a homeschooling mom with so many responsibilities and demands on her time?

I ordered my copy of MOTH about four months ago. I read the book quickly and began working on a custom-designed summer schedule. Since the book included the schedules followed by all 24 test families, I had plenty of fodder for ideas for my own family. We took a couple of weeks to gradually implement the schedule, which kept anyone from feeling overwhelmed by the changes. The kids memorized their schedules much faster than me and have been thriving on this way of living. We got “off” the schedule for a few days once and the kids said several times, ”When are we going to do the schedule again?!”

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that our whole household has been transformed since I started applying what I learned from MOTH. I think most people who have known me for awhile would say that I’m a fairly “together” person, but now I’m finding it so much easier to get all of my work done and still have plenty of time to do the fun things with my family that are often so hard to get around to. We are having a consistent daily Bible study (at the same time each day!), taking walks, reading aloud, playing games together, working on projects, etc.,—plus, I’m keeping up with the housework and even dejunking/organizing the whole house, 1/2 hour at a time! I’ve been telling my friends that I totally relate to the comment made by one of the mothers who tested the prototype of this book: “We’re finally doing all the fun things I’ve been promising my kids we’d do ‘next week’ for the past year!”

As the Summer Bible Class quarter drew to a close, I designed an Autumn/School schedule. It took only about 1/4 of the time as the first schedule to finish. We have been following it for a few weeks now and are happily settling into our school year routine. I’m amazed all over again—we are accomplishing much more school work than we have in past years!

You probably need MOTH if you have activities:

1. that you really love to do (like spending time on the computer or reading for your own pleasure) but often have trouble stopping on your own. They often end up taking up too much of your time which needs to be spent on other things. 2. that you really don’t like to do. If you didn’t have them scheduled, you would put them off indefinitely. You need a scheduled, limited block of time set aside only for this activity to make sure you actually get it done but also to comfort yourself that you don’t have to do it for a really long time. (Some cleaning jobs and exercising fall into this category for me!) 3. that you want to do but for whatever reason haven’t been part of your regular routine up until now. You need to schedule them to get used to doing them daily and so you don’t “forget” about them. (Things like a regular, daily, family Bible study time or a craft project time with your kids might fit into this category.) 4. which you already routinely include in your day and usually take up about the same amount of time but until now haven’t happened at a PARTICULAR time each day. These things need to be scheduled so that they don’t get in the way of getting #1, 2, and 3 accomplished. For example, I never forget to eat lunch, more’s the pity, but before MOTH I might have served it anywhere between 11:30 and 2:00. Some ladies do get dressed at some point each day, but no one in their immediate family knows when it will happen: it might be at 7 AM or it might not be until 4 PM!! Choosing a predictable time to do things like food prep, eating, personal grooming, school, etc. just helps all the other want to’s and must do’s have a good chance of occurring!

A few miscellaneous details about MOTH: * It includes a scheduling kit which contains everything you need to custom-design a schedule to fit the needs of your family. (No trips to the copy store to sidetrack you from getting started!) * The book teaches you how to design this wonderful schedule, how to fix it if it isn’t so wonderful, and what to do about those inevitable interruptions. * The book teaches Mom to develop a schedule for herself and her children —not her husband! MOTH also stresses the importance of consulting one’s husband throughout the scheduling process, of putting the husband’s needs first, and of the wife’s submission to the husband’s desires for his family. I found this refreshing emphasis helpful both as a reminder of my responsibilities as a wife and as a “two are better than one” way to design a realistic, workable schedule. * It contains a registration form for the purchaser to fill out and send back to the Maxwells. By doing so, you receive their permission to copy all of the forms in the scheduling kit for your own personal use. I took advantage of this because I plan to change our schedule seasonally. Another option is to purchase additional Scheduling Kits. * It will NOT teach you how to clean and organize your home—it assumes you already know how to do those things but need help with how to find the time to do it. (If you don’t know how to do these things, I recommend you read Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, by Denice Schofield, Is There Life After Housework?, by Don Aslett, and Clutter’s Last Stand, also by Don Aslett.) MOTH teaches you to determine exactly what activities you, your husband, and God want you to be doing each day and then helps you figure out how to fit them all in to 24 hours.

MOTH is also available from other homeschool curricula sources, but I recommend ordering directly from the Maxwells. They ship the book very quickly (via Priority Mail) and I’ve even heard of some people calling them to order and having the Maxwells offer to ship the book immediately while they sent the check simultaneously!

In closing, although the price seemed high to me before I decided to purchase it, the knowledge I have gained from reading and using MOTH is worth many times its cost. My household is running smoothly, I have time for personal activities I enjoy, my children are enjoying their days learning, working, and playing, and my husband is pleased. Moms, if you get this book and use what you learn from reading it, I think it will be the best gift you’ve given yourself in a long time.

Happy scheduling!