Parents’ Teaching Partnership

I have been slowly reading through Teaching, No Greater Call. I am to the part where it is specifically talking about intentional teaching in our homes. There were two chapters dedicated to parents – one as a father and one as a mother. I also enjoyed the chapter on parents having a teaching partnership. There were some great ideas in there for intentional parenting as well as ways to build a marriage up. Take a look:

“In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve explain that fathers and mothers “are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). This partnership is especially necessary in parents’ sacred responsibility to teach their children.

In a general conference address, President Boyd K. Packer read Doctrine and Covenants 27:15, 17: “Lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, … taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” After reading this passage, President Packer explained the importance of mothers and fathers working together to help their children take the “shield of faith”:

“That shield of faith is not produced in a factory but at home in a cottage industry. …

“… Our Father’s plan requires that, like the generation of life itself, the shield of faith is to be made and fitted in the family. No two can be exactly alike. Each must be handcrafted to individual specifications.

“The plan designed by the Father contemplates that man and woman, husband and wife, working together, fit each child individually with a shield of faith made to buckle on so firmly that it can neither be pulled off nor penetrated by those fiery darts.

“It takes the steady strength of a father to hammer out the metal of it and the tender hands of a mother to polish and fit it on. Sometimes one parent is left to do it alone. It is difficult, but it can be done.

“In the Church we can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, chastity, repentance, forgiveness, compassion. In church we can learn how to assemble and fit them together. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle. Otherwise it may loosen and come off in a crisis” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 8; or Ensign, May 1995, 8).

The following suggestions can help parents develop a more effective teaching partnership.

Taking Time to Plan Together

As parents, you should set aside specific times to discuss your children’s needs and plan how to meet those needs. One busy couple discovered that holding weekly planning sessions together became one of the most valuable things they did as parents. They said:

“Although it took us almost a year to make our weekly planning session a habit, we now wonder how we ever got along without it. It helps us have more interest in what the other is doing. It helps us realize how important we are to each other and to our children. It gives us time to look at ourselves and at the children and decide on a course of action to meet our problems. We also plan our dates, special times with the children, details for family home evenings, and Sunday activities. It usually takes about 30 minutes, occasionally longer if big events or unusual problems need more talking over.”

As you plan ways to teach your children, prayerfully consider the following questions:

  • What should happen in the lives of our children as a result of our teaching?
  • Which specific gospel principles should we teach in order to accomplish this?
  • How should we teach these principles?

Suggestions for using these questions are found in “Preparing Lessons,” pages 98–99, and “Creating Lessons from Conference Talks and Other Resources,” pages 100–101.”

As usual, I can see the benefits of this not only for our intentional parenting and gospel teaching, but also in tweaking it for our homeschool situation. =)

“10 Ways Mothers Can Teach Their Children the Gospel at Home” by President Benson

I recently shared a post about 10 Ways Men Can Be a Spiritual Leader in their homes. President Benson also shared some great insights on how to be the mother of your children that they need. Here is what he said:

“Regarding the importance of mothers teaching their children the gospel, President Benson said: “Mothers, you are your children’s best teacher. … Teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord’s way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them. They will call you blessed—their truly angel mother” (To the Mothers in Zion [pamphlet, 1987], 10–11).

As a mother, you teach in many ways. Sometimes you plan teaching opportunities, but many teaching opportunities occur spontaneously in the normal flow of family life (see “Teaching Moments in Family Life,”pages 140–41). Sometimes you teach by example, sometimes by precept. Sometimes you teach by establishing patterns of gospel living in the home and sometimes by just taking time to pay attention and show love. President Benson gave 10 suggestions that can help you teach your children. Each of them emphasizes taking time:

“Take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going … whether your children are six or sixteen. …

“… Take time to be a real friend to your children. …

“… Take time to read to your children. …

“… Take time to pray with your children. …

“… Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. … Make this one of your great family traditions. …

“… Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. …

“… Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. …

“… Take time to do things together as a family. …

“… Take time to teach your children. Catch the teaching moments. …

“… Take the time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love” (To the Mothers in Zion, 8–12).

The responsibilities of motherhood can seem overwhelming. It is important to remember that the Lord does not expect mothers to be perfect or to achieve an unrealistic ideal standard of homemaking. Yet He does expect them to recognize and honor their divine role and to humbly do their best.”

“10 Ways Dad Can Be a Spiritual Leader at Home” by President Benson

I have been slowly reading through Teaching, No Greater Call. I am to the part where it is specifically talking about intentional teaching in our homes. There were two chapters dedicated to parents – one as a father and one as a mother. In these chapters, President Benson’s 1987 Oct. General Conference talks was quoted and his 10 specific ways fathers can give spiritual leadership in the home were given. I thought that they were important reminders so I am sharing part of the chapter on fathers with you today!

“To all fathers, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“Yours is the basic and inescapable responsibility to stand as the head of the family. That does not carry with it any implication of dictatorship or unrighteous dominion. It carries with it a mandate that fathers provide for the needs of their families. Those needs are more than food, clothing, and shelter. Those needs include righteous direction and the teaching, by example as well as precept, of basic principles of honesty, integrity, service, respect for the rights of others, and an understanding that we are accountable for that which we do in this life, not only to one another but also to the God of heaven, who is our Eternal Father” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 78–79; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 60).

President Ezra Taft Benson suggested “ten specific ways that fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children:

  1. Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.
  2. Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.
  3. Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.
  4. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad there makes all the difference.
  5. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
  6. Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.
  7. Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal. Establishing mission funds and education funds for your children shows them what Dad considers to be important.
  8. Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.
  9. As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.
  10. Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”

President Benson concluded by saying, “Remember your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you will never be released” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 62–63; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 50–51).

As a father, you should always remember the eternal importance of your role. Fatherhood is a divine responsibility. Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “It should have great meaning that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that could be given him, God himself, he who is the highest of all, chose to be addressed simply as Father” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 139; or Ensign, July 1972, 113).”

Great Authors & Series for Boys

In my last post, I shared a list of specific books that were highly recommended for boys, but if you are like me, sometimes knowing the name of the authors is as important as the titles of books when you are shopping! Generally, if I like an author’s work, I am pretty sure that I will like others they wrote. Of course, that is not always true. There are those rare occasions when I dislike their other works…but I digress!

The following list is gathered from many places and lists, but I must give most of the credit to Jan Bloom (see  I attended her class at the St. Louis Homeschool Expo and really liked the idea of having a master list of authors or series…for both boy and girl audiences. Many of these authors are equally appealing to girls so don’t rule them out without looking at them first!  So here goes the list!

Great Authors-Series for Boys

Early Reading Levels:


  • Dan Frontier
  • Jim Forest
  • PeeWee Scouts
  • The Buttons
  • Thornton W. Burgess (we love his stories!)
  • Author Scott Bailey
  • C. W. Anderson
  • James Herriot’s Stories for Children (we liked this one very much, too!)

History/Biographies Readers

  •  Step into Reading
  • I Can Read
  • Childhood of Famous Americans
  • We Were There
  • Frontiers of America
  • Garrard biographies
  • Walter Buehr
  • Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Ronald Syme


  • Leonard
  • Peter
  • Moonbeam


  • Frog and Toad (my hubby loves reading these to the kids!)
  • Commander Toad
  • Mole and Troll

Fantasy/Other Worlds/Talking Animals

  • Thorton W. Burgess
  • Beatrix Potter


  • Helen Fuller Orton
  • Bobbsey Twins


  • Marion Renich

For Intermediate Reading Levels:


  • Merritt Parmalee Allen
  • Sonia Bleeker
  • James Daugherty
  • Walter Edmonds
  • Walter Farley
  • Shannon Garst
  • Walt Morey
  • Jack O’Brien
  • Gary Paulson
  • Willard Price
  • Ernest Thompson Seton


  • American Adventure
  • Winston Adventure
  • Trailblazer Biographies
  • YWAM Biographies (esp. Heroes of History series)
  • American Heritage
  • Dave Dawson
  • Alfred Duggan
  • Landmark Books
  • Jean Lantham
  • Stephen Meader
  • Northstar
  • James Otis
  • Howard Pyle
  • Red Reeder
  • Signature
  • Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Geoffrey Trease


  • Rick Brant
  • Eleanor Cameron
  • Tom Corbett
  • Tom Swift Jr.


  • Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Marguerite DeAngeli
  • Meindert DeJong
  • Carolyn Haywood
  • Eleanor Frances Lattimore
  • Lois Lenski
  • Arthur Ransome

Fantasy/Other Worlds

  • Lloyd Alexander
  • L. M. Boston
  • Walter Brooks
  • John Christopher
  • Edward Eager
  • Nicholas Stuart Gray
  • Brian Jacques
  • Madeleine L’Engle
  • C. S. Lewis


  • Hardy Boys
  • Happy Hollisters
  • Three Investigators
  • Howard Pease


  • Joe Archibald
  • C. Paul Jackson
  • Jackson Scholz
  • Matt Christopher (pre 1990)
  • William Gault
  • Chip Hilton

High School and Grown Up Levels


  • R. M. Ballantyne
  • C. S. Forester
  • James Oliver Curwood
  • James Fenimore Cooper
  • Daniel Defoe
  • Brock Thoene
  • Louis L’Amour (we really enjoy his books)
  • Zane Grey
  • James Herriott
  • Richard Halliburton
  • Patrick O’Brian
  • Rafael Sabatini
  • Ralph Conner


  • Ron Carter (EXCELLENT American Revolution series)
  • Alfred Church (we’ve really enjoyed his books)
  • Charles Dickens
  • Alexander Dumas
  • G. A. Henty (we’ve really enjoyed his books, too)
  • Robert Leckie
  • Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel series)
  • Brock and Brodie Thoene (their Zion Covenant series on WWII is fabulous)
  • Stanley Wyman


  • Jules Verne


  • Gordon Korman
  • Raplh Moody
  • Booth Tarkington
  • P.G. Wodehouse

Fantasy/Other Worlds

  • Ted Dekker
  • Orson Scott
  • Stephen Lawhead
  • Calvin Miller
  • Bill Myers
  • Frank Peretti
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • John White


  • T. Davis Bunn
  • John Grisham
  • Rex Stout
  • Robb Whitlow


  • John Tunis

LDS Author Series 

  • Ron Carter (Prelude to Glory)
  • Gerald Lund  (The Work and the Glory, Fishers of Men, and others)
  • Brandon Mull (Fablehaven, Beyonder)
  • Dean Hughes (Children of the Promise)

Great Books for Boys

Great Books for Boys

Great Books For Boys

Louisa M. Alcott

  • Little Men
  • Jo’s Boys

 Richard Atwater

  • Mr. Poppin’s Penguins

 R. M. Ballantyne – use caution with this author due to potential issues with content. See this blog post before handing a book to your son.

He wrote over 100 adventure stories. For a list, click here:

 Clyde Robert Bulla (he wrote over 50 books for children)

  • Riding the Pony Express (1948)
  • The Secret Valley (1949)
  • Eagle Feather (1953)
  • Star of Wild Horse Canyon (1953)
  • Squanto, Friend of the White Man (1954)
  • The Sword in the Tree (1956)
  • Pirate’s Promise (1958)
  • The Valentine Cat (1959)
  • Benito (1961)
  • Viking Adventure (1963)
  • The Ghost of Windy Hill (1968)
  • Pocahontas and the Strangers (1971)
  • Shoeshine Girl (1975)
  • The Beast of Lor (1977)
  • A Lion to Guard Us (1981) ISBN 0-690-04096-2
  • The Chalk Box Kid (1987)
  • “The Christmas Coat” (1989)
  • A Place for Angels (1995)
  • The Paint Brush Kid (1999)
  • Daniel’s Duck
  • Charlie’s House

Sam Campbell  (there is a site with some to read free online or purchase some at

  • How’s Inky?
  • Moose Country
  •  The Seven Secrets of Somewhere Lake
  • Sweet Sue’s Adventure

Castleberry Farm Books

  • The Farm Mystery Series
  • Footprints in the Barn
  • The Mysterious Message
  • Midnight Sky
  • Who, me?
  • Weighty Matters
  • Where There’s Smoke
  • The History Mystery
  • Light’s Out!
  • Trapped!
  • The Case of the Missing Man

G. K. Chesterson 

  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill

Childhood of Famous Americans biography series (there are many more than I have listed)

  • Davy Crockett
  • Daniel Boone
  • John Adams
  • Walt Disney

 John Christopher

  • The Tripod Series:
  • The White Mountains (1967)
  • The City of Gold and Lead (1968)
  • The Pool of Fire (1968)
  • When the Tripods Came (prequel to the series, written 20 years after the trilogy)

Beverly Cleary

  • Henry Huggins, published in 1950
  • Henry and Beezus, published in 1952
  • Henry and Ribsy, published in 1954
  • Henry and the Paper Route, published in 1957
  • Henry and the Clubhouse, published in 1962
  • Ribsy, published in 1964

Alice Dalgliesh

  • The Bears On Hemlock Mountain

Richard Henry Dana

  • Two Years Before The Mast

Meindert  deJong

  • Along Came a Dog
  • Wheel on the School

 William  Pene du Bois

  • Twenty One Balloons

Ed Dunlop

  •  The Terrestria Chronicles”. It’s an allegory, knights type tale.

 Allen W. Eckert

  • Incident at Hawke’s Hill
  • Return to Hawke’s Hill

 Walter D. Edmonds

  • The Matchlock Gun

Elizabeth Enright

  • Gone Away Lake series
  • Gone-Away Lake (1957)
  • Return to Gone-Away (1961)

The Saturdays series (about the Melendy Family)

  • The Saturdays
  • The Four Story Mistake
  • Then There Were Five
  • The Melendy Family
  • Spidereweb for Two: A Melendy Maze

Eleanor Estes

  • The Moffats (1941)
  • The Middle Moffat (1942)
  • The Moffat Museum (1983)
  • Ginger Pye (1951)

Walter Farley

  • The Black Stallion (1941)
  • The Black Stallion Returns (1945)
  • Son of the Black Stallion (1947)
  • The Island Stallion (1948)
  • The Black Stallion and Satan (1949)
  • The Blood Bay Colt (1951)
  • The Island Stallion’s Fury (1951)
  • The Black Stallion’s Filly (1952)
  • The Black Stallion Revolts (1953)
  • The Black Stallion’s Sulky Colt (1954)
  • The Island Stallion Races (1955)
  • The Black Stallion’s Courage (1956)
  • The Black Stallion Mystery (1957)
  • The Horse Tamer (1958)
  • The Black Stallion and Flame (1960)
  • Man o’ War (1962
  • The Black Stallion Challenged (1964)
  • The Black Stallion’s Ghost (1969)
  • The Black Stallion and the Girl (1971)
  • The Black Stallion Legend (1983) 

 John D. Fitzgerald

  • The Great Brain (1967)
  • More Adventures of the Great Brain (1969)
  • Me and My Little Brain (1971)
  • The Great Brain At The Academy (1972)
  • The Great Brain Reforms (1973)
  • The Return of the Great Brain (1974)
  • The Great Brain Does It Again (1976)
  • The Great Brain Is Back (Published in 1995 from loose notes after the author’s death)

Esther Hoskins Forbes

  • Johnny Tremain

 Ruth Stiles Gannett

  • My Father’s Dragon
  • Elmer and the Dragon
  • The Dragons of Blueland

 James A. Garfield

  • Follow My Leader

 Jean Craighead George

Mountain Series:

  • My Side of the Mountain
  • On the Far Side of the Mountain
  • Frightful’s Mountain
  • Frightful’s Daughter
  • Frightful’s Daughter Meets the Baron Weasel

Other Books:

  • The Summer of the Falcon
  • Dipper of Copper Creek
  •  Tree Castle Island
  • Julie of the Wolves

Fred Gipson

  • Old Yeller
  • Savage Sam

 Kenneth Grahame

  • The Wind in the Willows

Ernest Hemingway

  • The Old Man and the Sea

 Marguerite Henry

  • King of the Wind
  • The White Stallion of Lipizza

 G. A. Henty

  • He wrote lots (over 99 books) of historical fiction that are full of adventure! For a list of books in historical chronological order, click here:

 Brian Jacques

  • The Redwall Series

 Lois Walfrid Johnson

  • Viking Quest series
  • Raiders from the Sea
  • Mystery of the Silver Coins
  • The Invisible Friend
  • Heart of Courage
  • The Raider’s Promise

 Rudyard Kipling

  • Just So Stories
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Second Jungle Book
  • Puck of Pook’s Hill
  • KIm

Jim Kjelgaard

  • Big Red
  • Outlaw Red
  • Irish Red
  • Snow Dog
  • Wild Trek
  • Rebel Siege
  • Stormy

Jean Lee Latham

  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Lois Lenski

  • Corn Farm Boy (10th of the American Regional Series)

C. S. Lewis

The Narnia Series

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) 
  • Prince Caspian(1951)
  •  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  •  The Silver Chair (1953)
  •  The Horse and His Boy (1954)
  •  The Magicians Nephew(1955)
  •  The Last Battle (1956)

Jack London Not all of his work is suitable for children, with a careful screening there should be more

  • The Call of the Wild

 Robert McCloskey

  • Homer Price
  • More Homer Price
  • Centerburg Tales

Ralph Moody

Little Britches series:

  • Little Britches      
  • Man of the Family    
  • The Home Ranch    
  • Mary Emma and Company    
  • The Fields of Home    
  • Shaking the Nickel
  • The Dry Divide 
  • Horse of a Different Color 

 Farley Mowat (Caution: A parent gave me this warning: some of Mowat’s other books are not for kids to read alone, though they make excellent read alouds with some editing.)

  • Owls in the Family

Walt Morey  (he wrote a lot of books, many are out of print, so check your library!)

  • Kavik the Wolf Dog
  • Home Is the North
  • Gentle Ben
  •  Canyon Winter

 Edith Nesbit

  • The Book Of Dragons
  • Five Children and It
  • The Railway Children

 Sterling North

  • Rascal

 Scott O’Dell  (he has many other children’s books, too)

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Zia
  •  Sing Down the Moon

 Gary Paulsen

Brian’s Saga

  • Hatchet (1987) (Has an alternate ending which makes continuity with Brian’s Winter)
  • The River (Hatchet: The Return) (1991)
  • Brian’s Winter (Hatchet: Winter) (1996)
  • Brian’s Return (Hatchet: The Call) (1999)
  • Brian’s Hunt (2003)

 Tucket Saga

  • Tucket(1969)
  • Call Me Francis Tucket (1995)
  • Tucket’s Ride (1997)
  • Tucket’s Gold (1999)
  • Tucket’s Home (2000)

 Howard Pyle

  • Robin Hood
  • Sir Arthur Legends
  • Men of Iron
  • Otto of the Silver Hand
  • The Wonder Clock
  •  Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates 

 Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons series

  • Swallows and Amazons (published 1930)
  • Swallowdale (1931)
  • Peter Duck (1932)
  • Winter Holiday (1933)
  • Coot Club (1934)
  • Pigeon Post (1936)
  • We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea (1937)
  • Secret Water (1939)
  • The Big Six (1940)
  • Missee Lee (1941)
  • The Picts And The Martyrs: or Not Welcome At All (1943)
  • Great Northern? (1947)
  • Coots in the North (1988)

 Wilson Rawls

  • Where the Red Fern Grows

 George Selden

  • The Cricket in Times Square(1960)
  • Tucker’s Countryside (1969)
  • Harry Cat’s Pet Puppy (1974)
  • Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride (1981)
  • Chester Cricket’s New Home (1983)
  • Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse (1986)
  • The Old Meadow (1987)

Ernest T Seton (free for a Kindle)

  • Biography of a Grizzly Bear
  • Lives of the Hunted
  • “Two Little Savages” –Adventures of two boys living as Indians; explaining Indian ways, woodlore, pioneer methods.

Donald Sobol

  • Encyclopedia Brown series

 Elizabeth George Speare

  • Calico Captive (1957)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1958)
  • The Bronze Bow (1961)
  • The Sign of the Beaver (1983)

William O. Steele

  • Winter Danger 
  • The Far Frontier

Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Treasure Island
  • Kidnapped

J. R.R. Tolkien

  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King

 Mark Twain

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Huckleberry Finn

 Jules Verne

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • In Search of the Castaways
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth

Gertrude Warner

  • The Boxcar Children (First 19 in the series are by her, the rest are not)

 Ann Weil

  • Red Sails to Capri

E. B. White

  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Stuart Little
  • Trumpet of The Swan

Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Farmer Boy

Johann David Wyss

  • Swiss Family Robinson

Elizabeth Yates

  • Mountain Born

This is obviously not an exhaustive list…but it is a great start to get boys hooked on living books!

Managers of Their Homes

Another step in being intentional this year was my decision that we need to create a bit more structure in our home so that we can be good stewards of our time and get the FUN things done that always seem to get swept away in the tidal wave of unscheduled “emergencies” and general apathy regarding time. ;)

Several friends have recommended a book called Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell as a great way to get accomplish what you NEED and WANT to in a given day.

managers of their homes cover


I have resisted it for a while because the idea of “scheduling” my day is stressful to me – it makes me turn into the Wicked Witch of the West because no one follows what I want done. I prefer the idea of a routine and we do generally follow one. During the last few months especially as I was working so hard to unclutter our home of non-needed and non-favorite things, we have sort of drifted from one thing to the next. I am weary of it all. I want and need our days to have more structure…so I finally caved in and got it.

I took time to read it over a couple of weeks. It is not hard book to read, but again, time to digest and think about what they are saying is important.

The Maxwell’s give many examples of their schedules so you can catch the vision and see the big picture of what this could do for your family. Seeing what your big picture or end results are is motivating to a person wanting to make a change. However, it may seem completely unobtainable to an over-whelmed mama!  Knowing that, the authors have tried very hard to break it down into manageable pieces and encourage a family to start with baby steps.

There are several areas that are addressed in this particular book including why a schedule is beneficial for the whole family, the key to successful scheduling, scheduling priorities, chores, help in the kitchen, and more. They even address how to deal with interruptions and de-rails and how to recover. Another thing that they address is how to effectively put a schedule together and successful implementation. They even include a scheduling kit with purchase of a new kit and have started a support forum on their website.

Things that really stood out to me are:

A schedule is not your master. It is an adjustable thing that works as a support for you to be able to accomplish all that NEEDS to be done, all that you WANT to be done, and leaves you refreshed because you are not pulling your hair out while putting out all those “emergency fires” that consume your time otherwise.

An effective schedule does require a commitment. You cannot just drop everything anytime to run to the park or go shopping every time someone asks. But you can add it to the schedule for another time. That way you train yourself to finish what you start, but still allow time for fun. The fun is all the sweeter because you “earned” it.

The Maxwell’s were quite firm in their opinion that Dad needs to be very involved in the process. Maybe not in all the minute details, but he needs to understand, support, encourage, give advice where needed, and live the schedule like everyone else. Without Dad, there is not much incentive to follow a schedule. Dad’s needs can be met as well as everyone else’s with a schedule.

Dad can be a person that children can be held accountable to - and a schedule helps him know where and what to ask about  without Mom tattling. ;)

The last BIG thing that really clicked for me is that not only does Mom have a schedule, so do the children.  Think about it – of there is only one schedule for the entire family, Mom still has to direct children all day, make 50 billion decisions and commands, and get the kids to obey, and still get her schedule done (this is where my stressed Wicked Witch of the West takes over!)  BUT – if every single person has a written schedule just like Mom’s – there is NO need to lose all the children for any interruptions! If the doorbell rings during school…or the phone rings and some one needs Mom right then, a child needs some attention, whatever.  The schedules save the day. Right there is what everyone is supposed to be doing during any given time throughout the day. No more delays waiting for mom to be available.  And if interruptions catch the whole family, it is easy to get right back on task because it is already decided. 

I am going to schedule out everyone’s days. We will sit down and ask the teenagers as well as ourselves what they need and want time to accomplish. We will add those things to our routine things and make sure that it will all work. Here are some ideas of how I will begin creating and implementing a REALISTIC schedule of our days:

    • Write down the the things that we want to do, things that have to happen, and how much time we need to do each thing.
    • Have a master chart with the hours of the day down the side with the days of the week across the top.
    • Start plugging in the items we want to accomplish and when they need to be done.
    • Fiddle with that for a few days and then start DOING the schedule.
    • I will make one for each child. It will help all of us to know who does what, when, how often, and our days will suddenly be more smooth. Because the children know what is to be done and when, they will be happier.
    • If you start feeling overly scheduled, too inflexible, or unrealistic, make a few adjustments and stick with it. Sooner or later, you will find a rhythm that works for you.

Honestly – Even if I am only able to do a few hours at a time, I think that we will all be amazed at how much happier those hours were and how much more got done.

Managers of Their Homes is available here.

I did not receive any form of compensation for my opinion. I am just sharing my experience!

The Book of Mormon: A Pattern for Parenting

In January, I chose a word for the year. Not a big list of goals, but a word that would inspire me to change some things in our home, attitudes, and habits. 

That word was intentional.

I wrote about being tired of reacting instead of being PRO-active. One of the areas I decided to be more intentional about was my choices of books. Another area that needed (still needs) improvement is my parenting skills. Most of us probably feel that way.

I have a lot of books on my shelf that I have purchased over the years thinking that I would read them someday…and I realized that I actually haven’t read some of them.

The Book of Mormon A Pattern for Parenting was one of those books. I had read the first two chapters and never finished it. How I wish I would have finished it sooner. I would be a much better mother!

bom pattern for parenting cover

For those of you who don’t know what The Book of Mormon is, I’ll give a quick background for you.  In the Old Testament days of Jeremiah, there were several other prophets in addtion to Jeremiah.  One of these was Lehi. You don’t find his story in the Old Testament because God instructed Lehi to leave Jerusalem before it was destroyed. The Lord preserved Lehi and his family and a couple of other families from the destruction of Jerusalem by sending them across the ocean to the Americas where they could live in righteousness and peace if they would be obedient to the Lord’s commandments. The story of Lehi’s family is recorded in The Book of Mormon, including the visit Christ made to them after His crucifixion.  The Book of Mormon in no way replaces the Bible – it stands with and strengthens the Bible as another witness that testifies to the divinity of Jesus Christ and His mission in saving mankind from sin and death. 

As the people in the Book of Mormon are human beings like us, they made mistakes and they made good choices. The book reflects this and shows lesson after lesson the people learned as they made those choices.  Author Geri Brinley has taken those lessons taught in the Book of Mormon and shows us how to learn from scriptures the kind of parent we should be. Each principle is illustrated with the examples found in the Book of Mormon, as well as quotes from modern prophets and apostles.

Topics covered and explored in this book are Teach Your Children, Good Parenting, Children’s Needs, and Fight the Good Fight. The appendix is a gold-mine of practical tips and references for all 15 of the principles discussed throughout the 4 main topics including Hands-On Teaching Ideas, Additional Resources for Parents, Parenting Principles Scriptural References, and Scriptural Theme Index. 

I found this to be a book that required some time to read and some time to ponder, so it was not a book I devoured in one sitting. I was reminded, encouraged, challenged, and inspired not just to strive to be better but intentionally DO things to make our family more unified in the gospel of Jesus Christ and our love for each other. This is a great book for any parent who is seeking for more than most parenting books offer!

 The Book of Mormon: A Pattern for Parenting is available as a paperback and a Kindle book from Amazon. 

I did not receive any form of compensation for my opinion. I am just sharing my experience!