Managers of Their Homes Preface
There is a saying we have heard that goes like this: “If Mama is happy, everybody’s happy. If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” How often this is true! God has placed a desire in each mother’s heart to have a smooth-running, peaceful household.
Through the years, we have observed many homeschooling mothers and families. The moms who seem the most content can manage their families and homes effectively. On the other hand, the unhappy mothers are the ones who cannot keep up with their workload. A mother who does not manage her time well is burdened and discouraged.
As a homeschooling mom of eight, Teri was able to keep up with the priorities and tasks she believed God had given to her. This was due to the fact that as our family began to grow, the Lord was teaching her the necessity of scheduling.
It began with baby naps. They had to be at the right time and for the right length so the baby would go back to sleep at night. Next we moved into scheduling school time. Why did three children choose to use the computer at the same moment? Who wanted to have to deal with conflicts over computer use each day? The solution was simple: Schedule who could be on the computer at what time! This eventually led to organizing the entire school day on a schedule. Mom no longer had to run through a checklist whenever one of the children said, “I’m finished with school,” to make sure he or she had completed each assignment. The children had scheduled times for every school subject, and when the school day was over, they were free—providing they had done their work during that assigned time.
With more years and more children, it became evident that we needed schedules to help us get up at a consistent time and to have dinner ready when Daddy was available to eat. Both Mom and the children needed the schedule to keep the day organized and eliminate the stress that disorganization and mismanagement bring. The children did not come to Mom and say, “Mom, I’m ready to do my chores now.” It had to be a habit that would not require constant prodding.
In the early years of our homeschooling, friends would ask Teri how her day ran. Instead of trying to explain, she found it easier to give them a copy of her schedule. They were not asking the question simply because they were interested in what was going on at our house. They wanted to see if there was anything in how she set up her day that would help them with theirs. The truth is that each family functions differently. We do not all have to fit into the same mold when it comes to spending our time. Seeing how another mom arranges her day can provide ideas on how to plan ours. Even seeing a written schedule can be a great help for those who are new to scheduling.
We have read books on organization and time management. We have never seen one, however, that addresses the unique needs of scheduling that a homeschool family generates or one that guides you through simple steps and worksheets to help you actually set up your own personalized schedule.
When we were nearly finished with the rough draft of this book, we discussed how beneficial it would be to have a family read Managers of Their Homes and “test” it. Teri sent out a notice on an e-mail list in which she briefly explained Managers of Their Homes and the Scheduling Kit and requested a volunteer test family. Within the next few days, we had not one volunteer family but 24!
After seeking the Lord as to whether we should select one family or take all who had volunteered, we decided the book could only benefit from a larger test group. Before accepting a family, we asked them to commit to reading the book, making a schedule, and implementing it. We wanted each husband to read our information and agree to his wife’s participation. The result: We still had 24 test families. From this group have come the personal scheduling stories at the beginning of each chapter.
All the real-life sample schedules in the Appendix are from homeschooling moms who have used Managers of Their Homes as a basis for making and implementing their own schedules. We think that when you see what these women have been able to accomplish with their schedules, you will be encouraged to develop a schedule that works well for you and your family. You will gain valuable ideas by looking over their schedules.
We believe that seeing how real mothers in real homes have used and implemented Managers of Their Homes will encourage you. We are very grateful to each of these families for their participation in our test.
Years after the original Managers of Their Homes book was published, we decided it was time for a major revision so we could present the information we had learned through helping other families schedule and make it part of the book. When we wrote Managers of Their Homes, it was just our family’s experience. Now it has stood the test of time as thousands of moms have developed successful schedules based on the information in this book.
Managers of Their Homes was a joint effort of the Steven Maxwell family, who began homeschooling in 1985 and finished in 2015. Our family comprises of Dad (Steve), Mom (Teri), and eight children: Nathan (1976) and his wife, Melanie, plus their children, Christopher (1979) and his wife, Anna Marie, and their children, Sarah (1982), Joseph (1989) and his wife, Elissa, and their children, John (1991), Anna (1992), Jesse (1994), and Mary (1996). Special thanks to Joseph and Mary for their design of the cover and interior, Anna for implementing the interior design, and Sarah for assisting.
The Maxwell family delights in serving Jesus Christ. We love to help others achieve this same goal. Therefore, our desire in writing this book was to help free mothers from any burden of discouragement they carry when they cannot keep up with the demands on their time and to help them be better managers of their homes, for the glory of God.
We would encourage you to ask your husband to read chapter 16, a special chapter for dads, as you begin this journey.
—Teri and Steve