"Dinner?" I avoid my handsome husband's eyes. Yikes! I forgot all about dinner. I glanced around the house to find that somehow a tornado had invaded. School books were still on the dining room table along with today's mail and several of my piles. Piles seemed to multiply in my house. I don't know where they come from. I stopped looking at the mess around me and met my husband's eyes.
"Dinner?" he asked again.
"Domino's has a special this week," I stammered.
"You forgot about dinner again?"
"Well, I had planned to make chicken and dumplings, but then the cat threw up when we were trying to have history class. Jimmy just wouldn't focus today and he doesn't like the Ferris Wheel page in his phonics. Sarah Joy lost her grammar book and we had piano lessons. The kids hardly practiced at all. The piano teacher had a talk with me. I felt terribly guilty. The dog ran away and while we were chasing him, the oven caught on fire. I forgot that I was making nachos because we had forgotten to eat lunch earlier..."
"Domino's sounds great!" my husband interrupted me.
The biggest challenge of homeschooling is not teaching my children, it is maintaining functional neatness in my house. Functional neatness? I'm glad you asked.
This book covers all the topics that are difficult and stressful for moms like me: de-cluttering, taming the paper monster, and keeping organized records. Marilyn is very administrative. She sounds like she enjoys organizing and de-cluttering. The book is positive and upbeat because her enjoyment shines through! Though I have learned to organize and keep tidy records for our family school, I don't enjoy it one little bit. I see it as a necessary evil. If you are like me, you will appreciate Marilyn. She is truly "The Mom's Mentor" dispensing wisdom with encouragement. Marilyn thinks that we can get organized and she just might be right.
Marilyn is refreshingly honest and real, but the bottom line is that she knows how to manage her home and homeschooling. She can pass on to us what she knows. This is a Titus 2 woman!
"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. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 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," (Titus 2:3-5 NIV).
"Functional neatness should be our goal," Marilyn informs us, rather than attaining to perfectionist standards seen in women's magazines. This means that the house is neat enough to be comfortable to live and work in, but not so neat that people are afraid to do what they need to do to live and learn.
But Homeschooling at the Speed of Life is more than just your typical homeschool administration book or home management book. Marilyn talks about building life skills into your children's lives and focuses on the eternal, rather than the temporal things in our busy lives. She encourages us to glorify the Lord and love our families. I need to be reminded to live in light of eternity and love the most precious people in my life. Do you?
One thing that I really appreciated was Marilyn's focus on building relationships and using home as a base for outreach and hospitality. She sees these things as pleasing to the Lord and worth investing time and energy into. I agree with Marilyn here and am so excited that she included this in her book. What a lovely way for a homeschooling family to enjoy ministry--from the home!
Homeschooling at the Speed of Life comes with Marilyn's File-a-Plan organizing system on CD-Rom. Her plan is easily adaptable for everyone, including you and your family.
Happy Homeschooling at the Speed of Life!
(Meredith Ludwig Curtis)