Friday, September 25, 2009

Encouragement For The Homeschool Family Conference

Last night I went to the Encouragement For The Homeschool Family Conference in Sumter.  It was led by Steve and Teri Maxwell of  In case you don't know who they are, they have 8 children and have been homeschooling since 1985.  They have a program called Managers Of Their Homes which teaches women how to schedule their days with homeschooling and chores in order to be the most effective. 

I knew about their book because my friend Barb loves schedules and lists, so she already had it.  She was going, so even though I hate schedules and such, I thought maybe I could learn something from them.  The thing I hated was that it was over an hour and a half away and I had to drive by myself at night.  Barb was coming with some friends, but they live in NC, so they came from a different direction.  It was all good because I had a safe trip and time alone with no kids for a change!

The first part of the conference was by Terri about managing the home and chores.  Some helpful things she mentioned were assigning playtimes for an older child with a younger child and assigning alone playtime with each child going in a different room for 30 minutes to learn to play by themselves.  Another idea is to let the older children help the younger children with their school, that way that frees up mom to work one on one with another child.

Teri said that every child needs to know every chore in the house.  That way even boys would be able to help out if their wives need help or are sick.  She started her children when they were around 1 by making them pick up their toys.  She also said chores are to be done with a good attitude, with a serving attitude.  My two year old happily helps me to unload the dishwasher every time.  He thinks it's fun.  So, I do believe starting them early is a great idea.

Lamentations 3:27 It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth.

If we instill that serving attitude while they are young, it will carry on into their adult years.  I'll be honest here, my mom did everything for me, I didn't really have any chores.  So, it's been really hard for me to adjust to having to do everything now.  I usually only do things around the house when I have to.  My mom didn't train me to serve, she trained me to expect others to serve me.  I know she only did it because she loved me so, she always wanted to take care of me, even after I was married.  But, perhaps if I would have had chores to do on a regular basis, I wouldn't be so lazy now.

The other session was on keeping our children's hearts and it was led by both Teri and Steve.  Are we spending enough time with our kids?  At first thought, I would say yes, I'm here all the time, and so are they.  But really am I spending time with them?  Divide up your time between these things and see:
There are 168 hours in a week-
  • work
  • sleep
  • TV
  • entertainment
  • children
  • in the word
  • ministry
  • witnessing

When you put it like that, I am really falling short in a lot of key categories there.  Steve asked "Are we spending time with our children as if where they spent eternity depends on it?"  He said to turn our hearts to our children and that we need to have a vision for our family.  We need to delight in them and don't consider them an interruption, or a nuisance.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

Steve says to be with your children always, never apart. Because whoever they are with is the person they will learn from. That means he doesn't let his children participate in youth groups or sports, or any activity where someone else can influence his children. Their family also has no TV and urged all of us to get rid of ours. I do admit that most of what is on TV is pretty bad, but I can't see our family not having one at all. We have TVs in the game room and the living room. My son has one in his room that he only uses for video games.

The Maxwell family seemed like a really happy family and the children were so polite and always smiling.  At the end they all sang a couple songs for us.  While I wouldn't do everything they suggest, I did get a lot of useful ideas from this conference.  I also have a lot to think and pray on.  What about you?  What do you think of their ideas?  If you want to see what Barb thought about the conference her post is here, it also includes a picture of all us girls.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a very interesting and informative conference Nancy. I can just see your little one helping you with the dishwasher - you and your husband have two wonderful boys and are truly blessed!

Valerie @ Inner Child Fun said...

I'm sorry, did you say they have 8 children? 8 as in EIGHT??? Wow, that is amazing. I'm going to have to check out their book. Sounds like they must have all sorts of good tips!

Abatevintage said...

How wonderful to be blessed with so many lovely chidlren. I was blessed with two children, and un-able to have any more. I love the pitter patter of the little ones in the morning running into the room to wake you up for breakfeast :0) mine are now 12 and 9 and I have been attending college since they are finally in school all day. I have been a stay at home mother to them since they were born. Spending time with your children is so important. I believe the 1Corinthinas verse; many children and their morals can be tanted by just one person. I know my children are getting older now and I do not suffocate them however their still to young to not have the guidance from me or the Lord. I love your post today. Have a wonderful weekend.


Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...


Glad you were able to enjoy the homeschooling conference! I agree with all those principles. I have to say though that I guess it's my personality, but the book Managers of Their Homes, just had me in a tizzy! lol! It must be the perfectionist in me, but I had to sell the book! lol! I can't operate that way! However, I firmly believe in giving children chores and principles to live by...I guess I just couldn't handle the so tight scheduling thing!


tammi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tammi said...

While I like his idea about making sure we spend intentional time with our children (as if their eternity depends on it), I disagree with his idea of never allowing his kids to be outside of his influence. At what age does he finally let them go? What happens to them at that point? Are they really equipped to handle the barrage of new information that comes their way if they've been sheltered from it all their lives?

I think we need to continually encourage our kids to think for themselves, relying on what they've been taught at home, but to send them out to have social lives nonetheless.

Other than that part, it sounds like an encouraging, informative seminar. My hat's off to anyone who chooses to homeschool their children ~ particularly if they have that many!!

KathyB. said...

As a mother who home schooled a LONG time ago, and now has grandchildren who are home schooled, I agree with a lot of what was said. The Bible has lot to say about choosing good friends and as the parents you can decide just which friends are or are not appropriate and deal with it. And yes, even little ones are very capable of doing chores, and privileges, such as video games, hobbies, special outings, etc., can be withheld if home responsibilities are not fulfilled, with a good attitude, no talking back or eye-rolling.

Sometimes hard, yes, but ultimately teaching these principles and behaviors lead to adults that truly do show honor and respect for parents, elders, family, community....God.And hey, fun adults you grew up in your own home and love to spend time with!

Thoughtful post, and it sounds like it was worth your trip.

Farmhouse Blessings said...

Thanks, Nancy, for a great summary of their meeting. I wanted to attend their TN conference this coming weekend, but some of the family can't get away so we're waiting for another. I so admire their life principles and commitment to holiness.

Blessings, Lea