I am going to start journaling my experiences with Managers of Their Homes from today on. I’ll begin by giving the briefest of explanations so that those who don’t really want to read about MOTH can just bow out entirely.
MOTH is a book written by the parents of a large, homeschooling family. They have shared the way they schedule and organize their lives so that their days are peaceful and productive.
There. That says it all.
Well, not really, otherwise, I’d quit writing right now. So if you are interested in reading more, here we go. It won’t hurt my feelings if you close this window and head on to another blog where you might find someone being crafty, making something worthy of pinning to Pinterest.
Let me start by saying that I have a fairly scheduled day.
Here it is in a nutshell:
6:00 Wake up and Quiet Time
7:00 Get bigs up to eat / FB and email time
7:30 Get Parker up / Bigs start chores
8:00 Bigs start school
8:15 Bailey: Math on computer (We moved Bailey up to 3rd grade math early because he was ready and because Teaching Textbooks is slightly lower in difficulty than Saxon math. I decided when we were about to have Parker that I needed to give up some part of my teaching responsibilities and having Science and Math on the computer has been just the trick. Gives me less hands-on teaching time and yet allows me to be assured they are getting the info and practice they need. In fact, they have already done more Science in the first half of this year than in all the other years of Science combined. I was just not very diligent about teaching it when I had to actually teach it. The computer-based lessons ensures they get Science every day for thirty minutes!)
8:45 Read with Bailey
Parker runs around the house until he becomes distracting and then I (shamefully admitting this) put him in his high chair with some “cook” and his milk so he can watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I say “shamefully” because every time I put him here I feel a twinge of guilt, knowing that I’m not doing what’s best for HIM though I have to do something to allow me to work with the bigs. I knew all along that there had to be a better way to homeschool while having a baby in the house, but I didn’t know what it was. The problem started when he dropped his morning nap (which wasn’t all that long ago). Up until that point I just taught the boys while he had his first nap, then the bigs would work independently while Parker was awake and needed my attention. When Parker weaned off this first nap, without my even noticing it, we struggled to find a productive way for Parker to spend his time.
9:15 Bigs start Writing – they write independently of me, then I later edit their work, showing them which words are misspelled.
10:00 Story of the World – one hour of history, all three of the bigs together, in the living room, cozied into couches and recliners. This is their favorite part of the day.
11:00 Bailey has Science (Since the Science is a 4th grade level I read the entire thing to Bailey and he has done really well with this.)
11:30 Bailey does Math in his workbook
12:30 Nap time (generally starts any time between 12:30 and 1:00) During naptime the bigs listen to Adventures in Odyssey, read, play Legos, draw, etc. I really don’t mind as long as they stay in their rooms. We are currently having a real problem with them coming out to ask how much longer or any number of questions. I’m going to address these problems soon. I’ve been too slack or inconsistent with discipline in this area.
3:30 Nap time is over and free time begins (we usually have a 3 hour nap so it may end as late as 4:00). Bigs can go outside and play or watch TV. They don’t spend too much time watching TV and I used to have a time limit. The past several months they really haven’t watched too much so I haven’t needed a time limit.
7:00 Bedtime for the bigs
7:30 Bedtime for Parker (this gives Matt a chance to play with Parker)
8:00 Bedtime for us. We’re trying a new thing… bedtime at 8:00 gets us to the bedroom to read or whatever (wink wink) and still allows us go to sleep at a decent hour. Before, we were heading toward bed at 10:00-10:30 and this girl was just too tired to read or whatever… If we wanted to have time to connect it needed to happen earlier.
So I guess what I’m saying by sharing the above with you is that I’m not really a newbie when it comes to scheduling. Below I’ve pasted our current school schedule, with Hayden in red, Carson in blue, and Bailey in green. (I purchase all of their school notebooks and other materials in these colors so I can easily see whose books are still out after lunch. Don’t even have to look on the inside… if it’s red, it’s Hayden’s, blue, Carson, etc..)
I’m not new at color coding time blocks for the bigs so that we can easily see who’s on what computer and when. Reading MOTH was not like reading a new language for me, but, rather, more like reading a really great book in my own language. If I had to give my own ideas a score from 1-10, mine would be a 5. MOTH took them to “an eleven.” (Name that movie reference.) Many of the people who participated in the trial of this book stated that they began as completely unscheduled, free-thinkers who balked at the idea of a schedule. That does not describe me at all, so I found this entire method to be wonderfully easy to accept. Those free-thinkers had a bit more trouble wrapping their minds around the concepts and maybe even the reasons, but they were all pleasantly surprised at how much more smoothly their homes ran after implementing a detailed schedule.
How I was introduced to MOTH:
I am a big fan of the Duggar family. I think they are an incredible family to emulate and I wish critics would leave them alone. My reasons are multifold: They are raising children to be hard-working, self-sufficient, polite, well-spoken individuals. Um. What’s wrong with that? Just because they have 5 times as many people as my “large” family has does not make them wrong. I could understand the critics’ arguments if they were unkempt, rude, irresponsible, mooching off the government, expecting a handout, and adding to the problems of this world, but they do none of that. With that said, I believe you can see why I would be interested in reading their story. So, I purchased their two books and halfway through one Michelle Duggar mentioned MOTH. Because what she said about this system sounded like it could benefit my family I decided to look it up. What I read gave me mixed feelings: It sounded great but would the information in the book be worth the $25 it cost? (They have a kit included in the book that only the purchaser of the book is to use so I knew that if I liked the book I’d want to purchase it for myself. However, I really didn’t want to spend the money only to be unhappy with the content. I put a quick note out on Facebook and found a friend, fellow Army Wife, homeschool mom and blogger, who was willing to loan me her copies of MOTH as well as Managers of their Chores (a book I’m eager to read as soon as I get my schedule completed). I read the entire MOTH in two quick sessions purchased my own book. I cannot wait for it to arrive so I can work my schedule into pretty color coded slots.
Notes I made while reading: (I’m going to go back and highlight these things in my own book!)
Page 11: Absolutely revolutionary stuff to come! Boys take turns watching Parker for 30 minute blocks giving me an hour and a half each day to work with the other boys. Why didn’t I think of this?!? It will also give Parker the chance to bond with each of his brothers in ways that is impossible when he’s being bombarded by the three as a group.
Page 14: Schedule a time to inspect their chores. I tend to forget to inspect, then when their quality drops, I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be… I should just INSPECT more regularly!
Page 17: Schedule a time to do something one-on-one with each big. Hayden would LOVE more time to cook with me and we can spend this time together, but if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.
One point the authors made repeatedly was that working on character issues is part of my job as a parent and part of their jobs as students. I should not see pausing school to discipline as a interruption to our day but as a necessary part of it. On page 106 they give an idea that I may implement: Keep a notebook of disciplinary issues and handle them after school hours, since all of the bigs are old enough to remember the issue and the discipline no longer has to be right after the offense.
I found this book to be much more detailed than I expected and when I got to page 73 I jotted the note: ORDER THIS BOOK!! I think I know what I want to do for my basic schedule but can’t wait to work it out in all its colorful glory! Part of me hesitates to write much about this journey because there is so much potential for failure. For example, yesterday we had two unexpected guests pop in. I felt unprepared for said guests and my house showed it. We were lazy and the house was a slight embarrassment. With the help of MOTH and MOTC I hope to be more prepared. (As a flailing Flybaby, this program should mesh well with the goals and Baby Steps Flylady suggests.) I must remember not to be too hard on myself as we haven’t yet implemented any plan. So far, I’ve read the book and told the boys that changes are coming, but haven’t actually done anything yet. It will have to wait until the new year.
To read the additional installments in the MOTH series see these links:
MOTH 1 – You are here.