by Marilyn Rockett
softcover, 2007, B&H Publishing Company
Homeschooling mothers are prone to tons of questions. How can you be sure your children are learning everything they need to know? Why on earth wouldn’t you want to send your children to school in the fall and be free of them for a few months? But it’s this question: How do you manage to balance your home, school, and your family? that causes a homeschool mom to pause.
Throwing clothes into the washer, browning hamburger for an easy hotdish, cleaning up the grape juice stain in the carpet while your seven year old is asking you how to spell organize and your twelve year old is wondering how to get his science kit out of the dog’s mouth . Organize might be impossible to spell until you’ve learned how to do it yourself.
That’s where Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, and Family in the Real World comes in. Marilyn Rockett is the mother of four grown sons and she homeschooled three of them for fifteen years. Her wisdom, experience and reliance on God has given her the chance to share all of that in her new book.
Marilyn writes in a manner that makes you expect to look up and see her sitting across from you as you chat over a cup of hot tea. Chapters such as Real-life Home Management teach you to establish priorities, take a hard look at what consumes your time, create running to-do lists with columns and reminds you to start small. Each chapter is full of practical ideas along with some of Marilyn’s own personal stories.
Marilyn also includes Stop, Look, Think sections at the end of each chapter for you to evaluate and determine what your next steps should be as well as encouraging verses in the devotions section.
A CD-Rom with her File-a-Plan System is included. As a whole, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, and Family in the Real World gives the homeschooling mom a practical hands-on approach to getting organized with a biblical approach.
For a chance to win Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, simply leave a comment here or at Through the Eyes of an Author. Winner will be announced on October 1st.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WITH MARILYN
Paula: You've written and contributed to several books for homeschooling moms including The Time Minder File-a-Plan, The Time Minder, The Home School Manual, Easy Homeschooling Techniques, Easy Homeschooling Curriculum, and Laundry Tales to Lighten Your Load. Can you tell us why you've chosen to use your gifts in this way?
Marilyn: I’ve been writing in various ways since I was a little girl and have always had something to say (just ask my husband!). When I struggled as a young wife and mother, I longed to talk to an older woman, but one never seemed to be available. Older Christian women seem to have forgotten about the verses in Titus 2. I knew that I had to obey the Lord in sharing what I knew with younger women. I wanted to help younger women avoid some of the struggles I had experienced, so writing to minister to them seemed natural.
Paula: Tell us a little about your seminars. What topics do you cover?
Marilyn: I currently have eleven topics for groups to choose from and am adding more – topics on clutter, paper control, teaching children life skills, grandparents and homeschooling, real-life home management, and more. See the complete list on my web site at http://www.marilynrockett.com/ and I welcome suggestions for additional topics. I speak at events with one or more topics, but I also give my own seminar for those who want to sponsor my one-day Minding Your Time seminar.
Paula: How did you meet your husband, Chesley?
Marilyn: His cousins introduced us thinking we each needed someone just to go to dinner with – never dreamed we would get married! In fact, they pestered him until he finally called me. After all, would you want to go out with someone your cousin was trying to fix you up with! Neither of us were believers when we met, so God was so wonderfully merciful in bringing both of us to himself! I liked him a lot when I met him, but I really liked his mother – a great mother-in-law! By the way, Chesley was very skeptical at first when I talked to him about homeschooling, but he quickly saw the benefit.
Paula: As a homeschooling mother of four boys myself, I have to ask: Would you have a different topic for your book if you’d had four girls?
Marilyn: Probably not! Boys or girls, life moves fast and any active family struggles with balance. My friends with girls say that, generally, they are busier with their girls because girls are more social and want to be involved in outside activities more than boys. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but either way, families today have so many choices and options for activities that we stay busier than we should.
Paula: What did you learn while writing Homeschooling at the Speed of Life?
Marilyn: First, I learned that it is hard work to pour your heart out in print - LOL! But I also realized that any mom’s struggles are the same no matter what age she is or how many children she has. We have the love for our children in common and would do anything necessary to be a successful parent. We have many of the same fears, heartaches, joys, and rewards. Each of us has something to share with another mom who needs encouragement and support.
Paula: Tell us one thing about you that most people don't know.
Marilyn: Most people don’t know that in my single and early marriage days I sold life insurance and cars. Before the Lord convicted me that I should stay home with my children (two then), I thought I could work outside the home and be an equally good mom. Maybe some women can do it, but I saw that I couldn’t. My hat is off to the many single moms who are successfully homeschooling. I’m so thankful now that I came home and later homeschooled. Jeremiah 29: 11-13 has been my life verse. He DOES know the plans that are best for me!
Paula: Do you have another project/book in the future?
Marilyn: Yes, I’m working on others things now. I hope to have a couple of e-books out soon and I’m discussing other projects with publishers. What would you like to see in print? I welcome readers’ suggestions and ideas. In my book, I ask for input from readers about publishing the File-A-Plan in an easy, ready-to-use boxed kit. I welcome thoughts on that product as well. Readers can check my Web site to see what is coming. They can also sign up for a free newsletter, Timeminder Tips, and have fun with other moms who subscribe. If I can conquer the technology, I’ll have more out soon! A wordsmith often isn’t very good with techie things -
Paula: Anything new and different you are doing now?
Marilyn: I’m glad you asked! A Yahoo book discussion group of homeschool moms who wanted to read my book in their online book group invited me to moderate the discussion—a “read through with the author.” It starts in September and I’m so thrilled to interact with these moms as we read, chapter by chapter, through Homeschooling at the Speed of Life. It is such a great idea that I plan to lead another one of my own early in 2008. Moms can watch for the announcement on my web site and in Timeminder Tips. I will also be a guest for a one-hour segment on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program on October 20. Other events and replays of past events and appearances are on the Web site.
Paula: What was the most influential thing you learned on your homeschooling/mothering journey?
Marilyn: Simplify your life and enjoy your children while they are with you! Listen, love, and laugh, because they will be gone sooner than you realize now. Academics are important and you should pursue them with excellence, but your children grow and learn when they trust you in your relationship. That comes first. They will learn (sometimes in spite of you!), and there are no perfect mothers. In fact, God can only use an imperfect mom, because that is the only kind that exists. He works through us, including through our imperfections, in our children’s lives. Our job is to seek Him first.
Paula: That's something we all need to hear as parents! If you could give new homeschoolers, especially those taking their children out of the public school system, one piece of advice, what would it be?
Marilyn: You can do it! Forget what you know about institutional school and do what is best for your child. Follow your instinct with the Lord’s guidance. You are teaching and raising a child for eternity. We struggle when we try too hard to reproduce “school” in the home, rather than home for school. As I mention in Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, Ruth Beechick, author of You Can Teach Your Child Successfully, says “If you find yourself struggling to mold your child to a book, try reversing priorities. It’s the child you are teaching, not the book.” This applies to your household as well, if you are trying to mold your family to your school—It’s the family/child you are dealing with, not the school. Real-life happens (see some of the stories in my book) and your children will learn from those things as well. Homeschooling will be the hardest “easy” thing you have ever done! Worth all the effort and certainly worth it for your children. Blessings to every mom who embarks on the journey.
Thanks so much, Marilyn!