Making MOTH Work for Me

For those of you who think I have developed a sudden love for winged creatures do not be alarmed. MOTH stands for Managers of Their Homes, which is a scheduling system developed by Steve and Terri Maxwell.

I know many people who have tried MOTH and failed. Personally, I love MOTH, but only after I made modifications for my family. I think some of the reasons MOTH does not work for people is because they follow the book too closely. All families are different, and what works for one family will probably not work for another.

Here are some ways I have adapted MOTH to work for me.

I am not a morning person. I would love to be a morning person but I am not. Even though I wake up early, I am not really awake for a few hours. The thought of exercising or being really productive before dawn frightens me. Therefore, I do not set unrealistic times on my schedule.

I do not schedule my entire day. After about 3:30 our schedule ends. If it is a nice day we might go outside, if is rainy we will play games or with toys inside. Sometimes the kids will be allowed to play on the computer or the Wii, it depends on the weather and their attitudes. Occasionally I will run a quick errand before dinner.

Beth asked where I fit grocery shopping in the schedule. Grocery shopping at night works best for our family. The store is usually less crowded and one of us is home with the kids. I do not like to shop with the kids. I love my kids, they are well behaved in the store, but when I shop I am on a mission… to save money. Trying to keep track of little people interferes with this goal. I do take my kids to the store occasionally, but usually that is a special trip to pick up few items.

As for other activities, since we don’t schedule the late afternoons/evenings we are flexible for bible study, soccer practice, and other errands.

What happens when we have appointments? Today we had a dentist appointment at 11:45 am which is right in the middle of our schedule. We stayed on schedule until we left at 11:15 and then picked up where we left off when we returned at 12:30 pm. I try to schedule appointments during our flexible time. It is more important that my older kids complete school than my preschoolers. I would rather make an appointment during our preschool time, than during my time with the bigger kids.

Brenda asked about my “computerized” schedule. Basically I just drew a table in word. I am sure there is a better way to do it, but I am most familiar with word. I flipped my page to a horizontal view to create space for seven people. To draw a table, open up a new word document and click on table. Then click on insert table in the drop down menu. Create a table with as many columns and rows as you will need for your family. If you are changing activities every thirty minutes you will need more rows, than if you are using one hour blocks of time. I like making the schedule on the computer because I can change it very easily. When you have little children your schedule will change frequently as they out grow naps and need different activities.

Be flexible. My initial schedule is never the schedule we end up with at the end of the year. Things change, needs change, sometimes our family has changed. We have had two years where we have added a baby to our schedule during the middle of the year. Flexibility is the key to scheduling. I know that sounds silly, but if your schedule isn’t working, rework your schedule.

Start slow. If your kids have never had a schedule before don’t wake them up at 6:00am the first day and expect them to follow the schedule until bedtime. For the first week, work on getting your morning routine down. Each day try to follow the schedule a little more closely. After a few weeks you should be able to follow your schedule for an entire day.

I have been using the MOTH for about five years. It definitely helps us to stay on track during the school year (we don’t schedule the summer). My kids love routine and they love having their scheduled time with me. The schedule keeps me accountable too.

I hope this post has helped those who are struggling creating a schedule. I would be happy to answer any other questions, email me or leave your question in the comments.

You can view the entire schedule here.
Homeschool Schedule

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  1. I started a schedule this year. Although we are still learning what works and what doesn’t. I have found it to be a HUGE help!!!!!!!

    I think also that some ppl may get frustrated b/c they think they have to STICK to it. Be flexible!! 🙂

    Thanks Toni:)

  2. I have had the MOTH book for atleast 3 years now and I STILL don’t have a schedule in place. A few times I have made one up. Just last week I started making one. But like you I am not a morning person (or a late night person anymore either) so I feel like I failed before I begin because I am not up at 5 a.m. doing devotions and exercising. Reading your post was encouraging. I am going to re-look at the schedule and use Monday as our Start date.

    Question—what do you do if your hubby is home during the day? Do you schedule him? My husband has Wednesday and Thursday’s off every week.


  3. I hadn’t heard of this system before. Looks great–especially for homeschoolers. I think everyone benefits from a great schedule.

  4. Hello! Thank you for sharing! I have a rough schedule, and I’m working on refining it.

  5. I haven’t heard of this either, I’ll give it a look. I desperately need a schedule, I’m so frazzled all the time.

  6. I bought this book a few months ago. I listed it on Craigslist a few weeks ago (didn’t sell). I’ll have to look over it again. I was so intimidated by the women who wake up at 4am and don’t go to bed until 11pm. Seriously?! I need my sleep. Especially in the morning hours.

  7. I LOVE MOTH and my schedule. I, too, am not a morning person. So I have 2 hours in the morning for my coffee, nursing and computer time, while the kids do their Bible study and chores and have breakfast. Then they have a short time of school work before we all get started.

    We also stop the schedule fairly early, but we scheduled baths because no one was taking them. LOL. Now everyone gets bathed.

    Judy, yes do an alternate schedule for when he is home. If those are his only days home, do fun stuff with the kids on those days. She mentions that in the book.

    For those of you wanting to start but not quite there yet, just remember the schedule is YOURS. Make of it what you will. Sleep till 9 if that’s what your family likes.

    I had a post about this on my blog if you are interested.

  8. Wow! I am so impressed. I am a first time mommy. My little one is 4 months old and I’m having the hardest time just managing the three of us (my husband, me and her). Thanks for sharing your techniques!

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