A while back I was especially desperate for wisdom from an older, more experienced homeschooling mother. The first thing that came to mind was the scripture found in Titus 2 regarding the things older women are to teach younger women. It reads, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” With this in mind, I googled “Titus 2,” hopeful that something along the lines of what I was looking for would turn up. With this simple search, I was introduced to the ministry of Steve and Teri Maxwell. They operate Titus 2 dot com: Resources for Christian Homeschooling Families.
I spent close to an hour perusing the wealth of information they provide for mothers. Much of it is free. I really appreciate a ministry that gives freely (it seems more like a ministry than a way to make money). The Maxwells have self-published several books and resources for homeschooling families. You may have seen their work highlighted in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I had such a hard time making a decision about which book I really needed at the moment that I didn’t buy anything. Rather, I gathered up the advice available on the website and promised myself I would revisit. That was months ago.
You may remember this little post about a starting over. Kim left some helpful comments, one that mentioned Teri Maxwell’s little book, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. If Kim really liked it, then I knew it must be a gem. I hurried over to Titus 2 and bought a copy along with the study guide written to accompany the book. The study guide was only $1.50! And let me go ahead and say this about the study guide: the questions are convicting and the exercises are worth the time it will take to do them.
It is wonderful to read a book written by a woman who knows exactly how I feel; a woman who has been there, done that, and lived to write a book about it! Teri Maxwell begins by sharing a bit of her own struggle to develop a meek and quiet spirit and how the Lord taught her. She spends some time defining these terms and giving examples of what it is not. She then uses questions to help the reader pinpoint some of her own “meek and quiet spirit robbers”. She says, “As we study the list of meek and quiet spirit robbers, I think they fall into three main categories: fear, disorganization, and anger. Each of these is the opposite of a meek and quiet spirit. These negative characteristics keep us from teaching (and loving) our children as we so greatly desire.”
In Chapter 2, “Undergirding,” Mrs. Maxwell shares how she came to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. She also shares how vitally important daily Bible reading, prayer, and scripture memorization is for the homeschooling mother. Rather than just saying, “You need to spend time with God,” she offers a short “how-to” section. She does not assume that every woman knows how to do this, nor does she say that every woman should do it the exact way that she recommends. I thought this was encouraging and a demonstration of her own meek and quiet spirit.
She then gets into the meat of the book in which she details how fear, disorganization, and anger destroy our efforts to teach and love our children. She does not dwell on anything negative. She is quick to get to how God led her to solve her problems and develop a meek and quiet spirit. She uses a lot of scripture throughout the book. She tries to back everything she says with God’s word. I liked this aspect of the book. She really emphasizes the importance of building our lives on the foundation of Jesus and His infallible word. She does not gloss over sin, rather she calls it what it is. I found her section on the differences between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow over sin especially insightful. Another chapter I really appreciate is “Hard Work and Dying to Self.” While many “mommy” books emphasize giving myself treats for every little thing I do, Maxwell emphasizes dying to self and serving as unto Christ. Those were the strong words I needed to hear (read). One surprising chapter is the one near the end in which Maxwell shares her own struggle with depression. The dreaded, stigmatized d-word. I appreciated her honest, biblical treatment.
This is a wonderful little book. It’s only 118 pages, but nothing is wasted. I read it aloud to Karl in about two hours. He was impressed with her as well, and is helping me implement several of her suggestions. It is practical, enjoyable, and encouraging. I wish I had ordered it months ago when I first noticed it. If you find yourself yelling too much, angry with yourself and your kids, starting to hate homeschooling, and living in a messy, disorganized house, don’t delay buying this book!