The Power of a Homeschool Schedule

Last week I spent a morning homeschooling some of my grandchildren while Melanie took a child to a doctor’s appointment in Kansas City. You know what? It wasn’t hard because Melanie has a solid homeschool schedule in place. All I needed to do was consult the schedule posted on the refrigerator, and then follow it. The children are used to the schedule, so they know what they are to do as well. They had even figured out how to compensate for the child who was gone for the doctor’s appointment and wouldn’t be there for her 1/2 hour playtime with Andrew and Benjamin!

Each child’s school morning is structured and interesting. The power of a schedule during our homeschooling years was vital for our success, and now it is blessing my grandchildren’s lives with productivity, direction, and peace (although I know it isn’t always peaceful with little children).

Trusting in Jesus,

Such a cute trio
This little guy is almost 2!
Drew reading to me

“Children’s children are the crown of old men;
and the glory of children are their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6

Axton Maxwell’s Newborn Pictures

Eight days after Axton was born, we decided spur of the moment to do his newborn session. I borrowed some props from Christopher and headed to John’s. Upon arrival, I literally Googled something about newborn baby photos natural light, had about two minutes to try to figure out what I wanted to start with, and set to work.

We started photos about 2:30 and ended two hours later. The day was pretty perfect for light, with a cloud cover quite a bit. Babies are so sweet to work with, and Axton did great. I’ll share through the post what I used for location and background.

I use a Nikon D800 and most of these pictures were with my Tamron f2.8 28-75mm lens. I took some with Nikon f1.4 50mm lens. I did not use a flash.

Oh, and John cranked the heat way up in the house, so it was pretty toasty warm: perfect for Axton and pretty warm for the rest of us.

Not quite a happy face yet, but we were just starting.

I began in the dining room, using pillows and a blanket for my background, and put him in a cute little sack. His bright eyes lent the perfect sparkle to the photos.

Next, we went to the nursery. The gray wall was an ideal backdrop. The south window let just enough light in through the curtains.

So I began experimenting. Doing some pictures with Baby and Mommy.

I used a chair or stool for height and worked to get some family pictures and stay with a clear focus in the tight space. Don’t you love how those teal greens worked together?

What a cute threesome!

Next, we needed some pictures of Daddy and Son.

I love those eyes: so trusting, looking to his daddy.

In the midst of that, I wanted a ring pose, and I tried a little different twist.

I originally wanted to try the black shirt so I could do the strong arm holding-baby-out photo. Although it didn’t turn out the way I had thought, the black shirt brought a dramatic look with the gray background, and I loved the result.

Next, we moved to the living room. As I set up for the basket photo, Dad and Mom went by on a walk, and John flagged them down and invited them in. It was great to have some company for the last part of our photo session.

For the black backdrop, I used two dining room chairs and clipped a black blanket on it. We swaddled Axton in the wrap, and then I put the gray blanket on the ground. We had a perfect amount of light coming in from the windows. For the family picture (see the last one), Dad and Mom held the blanket out because I needed the extra width to keep the background black.

An adorable package
Axton Maxwell
Axton Maxwell
The John Maxwell Family

I hope you enjoyed a peek into the newborn baby session!


“By thee have I been holden up from the womb:
thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels:
my praise shall be continually of thee.”
Psalm 71:6

Grandpa and Grandma’s Christmas Gifts

Mom and Dad gave a very sweet practical gift to Abby, Betsy, and Tina for Christmas: Hobby Lobby gift cards. But it had an extra perk. Included with the gift cards was a shopping trip to spend them with Mom and Anna and Mary plus lunch out. Each girl picked out what they wanted to spend their money on.


Mom and Abby
Anna and Bethany
Bethany and Mary

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,
so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:
for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

God Loves Us So Much

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1

He loves us so much we are called His children, if we have accepted Him (read 1 John).

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

He loved us so much, He gave His Son, His most precious possession, for us. When we did not love Him!

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:6

He loves us so much He gives us undeserved mercy. It comes with a call for obedience.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19

He loves us so much He chastens us to bring Him back to himself.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11

He loves us so much He gives us good gifts.

Good gifts: sisters Mary and Anna take in the beauty of God’s Creation

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. — John 14:23

He loves His children so much, He has promised a home in Heaven.

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. — Deuteronomy 7:7-8

He loves us so much. Please show someone you love an expression of God’s love today!

Random Life from New Beginnings to God’s Mercies

These past weeks have flown by, and now we’re almost to mid-February! The last Random Life closed out the old year, so I’ll catch you up on the events so far.

  • Lots of colds and flu. Yep. All the Maxwell families had some kind of bug during the month of January, but it just makes one all the more grateful for good health! It was a happy reunion yesterday when everyone gathered back together for Sunday lunch and fellowship!
  • I began brainstorming Finding Change’s sequel. I’m thrilled with the ideas that are forming!
  • We celebrated 2500 blog posts! We loved your enthusiasm and support!
  • Axton John Maxwell made his appearance, and everyone is so happy to have another little one around. He’s in high demand!
  • Samaritan Ministries highlighted Titus2 and our family in their January newsletter. We love their ministry. In fact, John just shared when he called to tell them about the additional expense of Axton’s hospital birth (they had planned on the homebirth), the first question the Samaritan Ministries’ guy asked was if Chelsy and Axton were okay. Again, it shows the heart of that ministry!
  • We’re grateful for the Lord’s provision through work. Yes, it provides busy and sometimes crazy days!

Enjoy a peek into our lives.


Nathan and Bethany
A sweet perk of working at home allows one to grab some fresh air when needed. This sunset Ellie and I enjoyed was stunning!
Friends from church — we had a great time with them on New Year’s
Most of us attended a mutual friend’s wedding. Here’s a photo from the reception.
Benji is my little buddy
Dad taking advantage of a warmer day with a fix-it project.
We’ve had quite the weather swings. From 60 to -5. All in January.
These three (isn’t Benjamin growing up so much?)
A quick errand with nieces
Anna at Bible club–one of the moms braided an extension into Anna’s hair. Really sweet!
Mary teaching Bethany some things about painting.
“Was this your chair?!”
Anna Marie and kiddos surprised Christopher with these snow people.
Christopher and his kids with some cousins.
Celebrating John’s birthday
John and Chelsy invited us over for more birthday celebrating that evening.
These two
Lunch with a friend
Spending sweet time with my sisters on my birthday!
My birthday dinner.
I received some really thoughtful gifts!
Meeting Baby Axton
Axton’s baby sign
Babysitting times have kicked up again.
Mary is a pro at homemade pizza.
Axton made his first appearance at a family event at just 8 days old.
Daddy kiddo time.
How cute is the hands-in-pockets-suspender-thing?
More babysitting
This melts me. One afternoon, at the girls’ Bible club, this little fellow was teaching the little girl to ride a bike. He’d had experience teaching his sister.
Ice sledding on Grandpa’s driveway.
Anna organizing–but Ellie wasn’t so sure when it came to her things.
The other night, GiGi, Jesse, Anna, Mary, and I went out for dinner. The first time for this particular group. We had a great time!
So much happy noise and chatter yesterday when everyone was over!

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Announcing the Titus2 Blog Giveaway Recipients

There were so many comments, we decided to double our giveaway to ten recipients!

We used a query generator which randomly pulled the names. 🙂

To put a special twist on sharing who won, I thought I’d post their original comment and then a brief introduction they shared after I contacted them.

Thank you all again for the amazing comments! They really blessed us!

#1: Irene’s comment: I first bought your three Manager (Home, School and Chores) books five years ago. I read bits a pieces of each and prayed for God’s will and order in our lives. It has taken a while but I am proud to say I have a functioning Schedule-breeze schedule to keep the day on track BUT what is the most remarkable thing is my perfectionism is melting away. I think why it took me so very long to keep a schedule is my rigidity and defeatism. Now I have grown into a vessel who can roll with the waves and not freak out if the ship steers North when I have South written down. Thanks so much! Irene

Introducing you to Irene: Hi, I’m Irene! I am blissfully married to Nathanael, and we have 8 kids. I am so grateful for everything God has given us. We live outside of Houston on some acreage.

#2: Would you believe the second comment was an international reader? Here is Susi’s comment: AUSTRIA Where shall I start? Your resources changed my marriage, my home, my children, my school. Even if I do not win, I already won by finding your ministry and your lovely family. If I win I hope to get Sarah’s new book:-) Susi

Introducing you to Susi: I’m Susi, and I have 7 children, 4 of them are still homeschooled. I’ve been married for 24 years to a missionary and live in Austria. My biggest dream is to bring Teri and Steve to Europe. I have been blessed for years through their ministry and specially through the investment from Teri and the time she took to coach me through emails. This is the first time ever that I won something. I feel very blessed. Thank you, Maxwell Family! Susi

#3: Angel’s comment: I am encouraged daily by your blog. Each month I go back and see the posts shared in that month in years past. Your family has been a blessing to me to see another family that looks to Jesus for guidance. God bless you all in your ministry.

Introducing you to Angel: Hello, I’m Angel. I have been married for 17 years this month to my husband Benjamin. We have 2 daughters. Carolina is 13, and Annabelle is 10. The Titus 2 Blog is such a blessing to my family. It has been very encouraging to follow the Maxwell family through the years. Thank you so much!

#4: Stephen G’s comment: I guess I will comment for the whole family. 🙂 I have read almost all of Steve’s books and I am continually challenged and blessed. My wife said she “really, really, really appreciates Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit and Sweet Relationships”! The children just love the Moody books as well as Finding Change! Thank you for allowing Jesus to use your family!

Introducing you to Stephen G: My name is Stephen. My wife, Gwen, and I have 5 children. We were missionaries in South Africa for 7 years. I’ve also done landscaping, construction and been an office manager. I am currently hoping to start a greenhouse and/or microgreen business in order to work together with my family. This year my wife and I will be married 20 years! We are in the process of moving from MO to IN.  

#5: Kim H’s comment: The books and articles I read from Titus 2 are always encouraging and help me through my homeschooling struggles. I really dont think I would accomplish so much, if I didnt have the help from so many of your books.

Introducing you to Kim H: My name is Kimberly. I have been married for 15 years. I have 5 children, my daughter will be 14 this March, and my 4 boys ages are 11, 8, 7, and 4.5. We have been homeschooling since my daughter was 4. We live in Pennsylvania.

#6: Rhonda C’s comment: I love your heart for the family and your love for God.

Introducing you to Rhonda C: I am Rhonda. My husband and I live in Nebraska.  We have 6 children who are all in public schools.

#7: Catherine D’s comment: I appreciate this blog because you celebrate and encourage godly living.

Introducing you to Catherine D: We’ve been married 32 years and have 9 children. We live in New Mexico.

#8: Geniece B’s comment: Our family is greatly blessed by the Maxwell Family. I especially thank the Lord for the time spent (by your family) in prayer on our behalf. Your blog is wonderful. The literature fantastic, but the prayer is most nurturing. May the Lord bless you all!

Introducing you to Geniece B: We are Forest and Geniece. We have been married 12.5 years. We have 4 children and live in Kansas. Our favorite Titus 2 book (so far) is “keeping our children’s hearts”!

#9: Amy Jo’s comment: Been following your blog for SO many years! Thank your for your encouragement and godly resources. My daughters have LOVED reading (and re-reading over and over) Sarah’s books…and I’ve enjoyed all of the rest of your resources. Praying blessings over your beautiful family.

Introducing you to Amy Jo: I’m Amy, and I’ve been married for 24 years. I have three children and live in Oregon. 

#10: Stacey P’s comment: As a homeschooling mom, I particularly love Teri’s moms corner. It always speaks of something that is applicable to my life. I’ve never read one where I didn’t think something like, “Yes, she understands.” Or “I’m so glad someone else has experienced that too.” It’s just so refreshing to be encouraged in my role as wife and mother. Thanks!

Introducing you to Stacey P: I’m Stacey, and I have three amazing children–all boys. I LOVE being a homeschool mama. My husband and I have been happily married for 12 years, and we live in Virginia.

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God,
which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him
and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”
Deuteronomy 7:9

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