I don’t know about you, but I don’t have this motherhood thing licked. I’ve been at it for going on seven years now, and while I think I have grown in many areas, my children won’t cooperate and stay the same. Each time I think I figure out some sort of “problem” or issue, they go and mature a little bit on me and give me something new to figure out. 😉 I had heard of Steve and Teri Maxwell and their Managers of Their Home scheduling program for homeschooling families, and I had even read a few of her mom’s newsletters, so I knew her to be a woman of insight and wisdom. While I might not always agree with her or her husband on every theological issue, I do find their words to be encouraging for the season of life I’m in. I had heard of her book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, but I had never actually seen a copy of it until we attended the homeschooling conference a few weeks ago. I was feeling rather burned out and overwhelmed at the conference, so when I saw this book, I purchased it in hopes that it would give me the shot in the arm I needed at the time.
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit is a short book, just 120 pages or so, and I read it in the van on the way home from the conference. I usually hesitate to read books that are self-published (or even published by lesser-known publishing houses) because I often find them poorly edited or stylistically annoying. (For example, I don’t enjoy books that are written in an overly conversational tone. However, I’ve found this tone even in books that are publishing by big-name publishers.) Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit is neither of these, however. I found Maxwell’s voice straightforward, honest, and wise. She knows whereof she writes. She doesn’t try to build herself up at all; her attitude is more like this: “I’m writing this book because I think it might help you. Let me break it down as simply as I can.” The bottom line here is that I was not put off by the tone of the book or any glaring mistakes, etc. This is important.
The readability of this book, then, paved the way for the greater truth it holds to take root in my heart. Maxwell cites three of what she calls “meek and quiet spirit stealers”: fear/worry, disorganization, and anger. I can say amen to all three of these, and it was immensely comforting to me to have someone else recognize that these issues can cause huge problems. Although the fear/worry and anger issues are obvious, I found it so encouraging to have the disorganization issue recognized. Something about being home with children all day long, as we homeschool mothers are, really brings out my inner taskmaster when it comes to cleaning, straightening, and organization. I don’t like this about myself, and yet I long for order and (dare I say it?) quiet. Maxwell offers a few solutions that might seem obvious such as devoting thirty minutes a day to organizing, but to the overwhelmed mother, this might just be a lifeline. Her solutions are both wise and practical.
Of all the books about homeschooling I’ve read, this one is one of the most practical in terms of helping me deal with my own emotions and issues. Maxwell consistently points her readers back to the Bible and the Lord for our ultimate answers. I know I’ll be re-reading this one in the months and years ahead, probably over and over again.