The Stockdale Family Band

Sharing Bluegrass North of the Mason-Dixon Line

The Stockdale Family Band performs a combination of Bluegrass and Gospel with a touch of Appalachian music and comedy.  Father, Tim, and brothers Calvin, Charles, Jacob, and James often spend kitchen and farm chore time together singing their favorite songs and honing their harmonies.  

Their 5 piece band includes guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and bass. Audiences find the Stockdale boys affection for people and enthusiasm for bluegrass music welcoming and infectious.

The family band has played for Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, Pennyroyal Opera House, Ohio Valley Opry, community concerts, festivals, churches, parties, and schools. They have earned first place in 3 regional band contests and 2nd in a national “Youth in Bluegrass” band contest. Jacob is a Ohio State Fiddle Grand Champion.

With an entertaining and down-home style stage show, the Stockdales provide a bluegrass show that the whole family is sure to enjoy.

Stockdale Family Manual

WELCOME TO OUR HOME!

We're not just a family we're a band - the 'Stockdale Family Band'. We play bluegrass in barn dances and shin-digs all over our area. We have Calvin on banjo, Charles on mandolin, Jacob on fiddle, and James on upright bass. Tim, my husband, is on guitar and I'm the manager. A family that plays together stays together and there's nothing so wholesome as playing old time bluegrass with your favorite people; your family.

We moved to the country to get the boys away from the city. Our children are being raised away from violent language, sexual influences, drinking, smoking, drugs, rap music all the things we left behind in the city. Instead we are raising our children on a diet of wholesome activities and farm work; keeping their minds pure and their bodies healthy and keeping out the influences of modern society. That is why we home-school.

Children need structure, and there's plenty of structure in this house. Our boys know what they are supposed to be doing from sun-up to sun down. They are busy doing chores, running the farm, doing schoolwork and, of course, practicing for performances. Everything they need is here on the farm with their family.

We teach our boys that to succeed you have to have a good work ethic. We raise chickens and process chickens, and what we don't eat we sell. We all pitch in, and I can gut a chicken in under four minutes. The boys receive tokens for every chore they do and an extra token if they do it with a glad heart. They trade their tokens for privileges like listening to the radio or for a stick of gum.

Processed and fast foods are forbidden. Food is nourishment for the mind as well as the body so it's important to eat right. We mostly only eat foods that we grow or we buy from local farmers, that way we know it's healthy and natural. I give my boys a large spoonful of cod-liver oil after dinner to keep their hearts and minds strong.

TV and video games are banned. They produce redundant minds and lazy children. I want my boys to be active, productive and busy every waking moment. Internet access is restricted there's no idle surfing in this house. Instead we enjoy spending time reading to each other, playing music or story-telling.

The boys are not encouraged to date until they are ready to get married. They need to concentrate on building the right foundations for a healthy and moral life NOT thinking about girls. There is plenty of time to worry about that when they have found their bride-to-be and are ready to settle down.

Our motto is: 'it might be a hard life but it's a good life'.

We are the Stockdale Family: Kathy (44), Tim (48), Calvin (19), Charles (16), Jacob (15), James (11) .

HOUSEHOLD

How do you divide the roles?

We live very traditional roles in this household. I stay at home and take care of the cooking, cleaning, teaching our boys and managing the family band. Tim my husband runs the farm with the boys and has a regular full time job delivering animal nutrients to farms across the state. I am completely involved in my children's lives. I stay at home so that I can shape the way they grow up and how they are influenced. It is important for children to have boundaries. They will have to live in a world that has rules and if they don't learn to comply now they're going to have a harder time later in life.

Nothing is free for the boys everything has to be earned. I teach the boys value and respect by using the token system. The boys collect tokens by doing chores with a glad heart to exchange for things that they want. That way they learn to value their privileges and don't come to just expect them.

What are your general views on cleaning?

I have a rule that if you make the mess then you clean it up and as the boys make most of the mess, they do the cleaning. Our family motto is that 'it may be a hard life but it's a good life'.

Do you have a cleaning person or hired help? If so, why? If not, why?

Chores are part of daily life here and a great lesson for the boys to learn from. Hiring someone to clean the house would simply take away that benefit from the boys. Besides no-one said life was easy.

Who does the following, and how often:

Vacuuming & Dusting?

I split the cleaning up and assign rooms to Charles, Jacob and James to vacuum and dust. Making the boys do the work is not only practical but a good exercise for them in learning responsibility.

Cleaning the bathroom?

James is the youngest in the family so he cannot do all the same chores as the older boys. Cleaning the bathroom is something he can achieve and gives him a lesson in responsibility.

Clothes washing & ironing?

I do the washing in the house at least twice a week, we're not into big brand names here, what is practical is what is best.

It is Charles's task to hang the washing up and fold it when it is dry. All the chores in the house need doing, so if one of the boys doesn't like a task then I find something he does like. No one in this family gets a free ride; the boys have to learn that the only way to succeed is by working.

Cleaning the kitchen?

In this house no-one stands around watching everyone else do work. I teach the boys if you receive then you must give as well. Charles cleans up the dishes after the meals and James cleans the table and helps put the food away.

Other?

We do not look at chores as free slave labor. We are giving our children a good work ethic and a selfless attitude. It keeps us grounded, and bonds us together. We like to teach our boys to work with their hands. This means chores, yard work and cleaning.

PETS

How many pets do you have and what do they require?

We run this farm to provide our family with a sustainable and wholesome life. That means raising our crops and chickens in a free-range, organic environment. Free of steroids and antibiotics. The food that we grow is more natural and tastes better for it.

We have 70 hens, which give us all our eggs, 175 broiler chickens which we process, sell and also use to eat and 1 duck that thinks he is a chicken. Jacob looks after the chicken's everyday; he feeds them in the morning and puts them into their coop in the evening.

COOKING & MEALS

Who cooks for the family?

Food nourishes the mind and the body so it is very important in this family. That's why I insist on giving the boys a spoonful of cod liver oil every dinner time; it helps keep their heart, bones and brain healthy. I spend most of my day cooking three nutritious old fashioned home cooked meals for my family and it is certainly appreciated.

I bring value to home cooked meals by using quality ingredients that either we raised naturally on our farm or that we buy from other local farmers. I treat food with respect by using traditional food preparation, rather than modern methods like microwaves and pasteurizing. It takes me longer to cook but the proof is in the pudding, my food tastes better and is healthier for you and my boys are testament to that. I make sure my boys drink healthily too with my water and dairy kefir. It's a yeast, fruit and water infusion that the boys just love to drink.

We don't eat processed food or anything pre-packaged. It just doesn't have any place in a wholesome nurturing environment. I call all that rubbish 'Franken foods', its science experiments gone wrong. I insist on only eating food that is raised in its natural habitat like our chickens.

Does anyone else ever cook? Who and why?

I like things done my way, the right way. I have started to teach Jacob and Charles how to cook some recipes like sausages and bread but I have to be around to watch over them to make sure they do it right.

Do you all eat together and where do you eat?

The whole family eats together every meal unless Calvin is at college or Tim is out at work and can't get back. It is important family bonding time where we get to talk with one another.

Eating food in our house is a special event and it's a time to be savored so we never rush a meal. Food forms the basis of who we are. Meals are not an obstacle; meals are an event to be shared. Slow food is better than fast food.

What are your top dinners? Please include recipes.

SUNDAY MENU

Dinner Link sausage on bread with sauerkraut and mustard and pickled beets Milk & Water kefir Cod liver oil and butter oil Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each. Digestive enzyme supplement - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

MONDAY MENU

Breakfast Giblets (Chicken hearts and gizzards), muesli with cream, sorghum or honey, raisins or dates Dairy kefir or water kefir with flax seed Whole food supplements: Calcium Lactate - James x 6 Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each Digestive enzyme supplements: - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

Lunch Fried liver on bread and butter (set out to warm) and mustard Blueberry shakes Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each Digestive enzyme supplement - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

Supper Herb baked chicken green salad with fixins, corn on the cob with butter, sliced tomatoes Cod liver oil and butter oil Whole food supplement: Catalyn - everyone 1 each Digestive enzyme supplement- Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

TUESDAY MENU

Breakfast scrambled eggs, fried rice, hot sauce or salsa Dairy kefir or water kefir with flax seed Whole food supplements: Calcium Lactate James x 6 Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each Digestive enzyme supplement: - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

Lunch Sirloin steak, corn on the cob with butter, sauerkraut, greens salad with fixin's. Milk and water kefir Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each, Digestive enzyme supplement: - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

Supper Sardines on hot buttered toast with mustard, sauerkraut, tomato soup, pickled eggs. Milk and water kefir Whole food supplements: Catalyn - everyone 1 each Digestive enzyme supplements - Mom, Dad, Calvin and James 1 each

Do you or anyone in the family have any special dietary requirements? Is there anything you won't eat?

I don't let the boys eat snacks, cookies, candy and especially not fizzy sodas. These are all nutritionally bad for you. If the boys come home with candy that someone has given them then I buy it off them and then throw it away. James has intolerance to dairy.

How often do you eat out at restaurants? Do you take the kids?

We never eat out at restaurants its just not something we like to do. We eat better food at home and it costs less.

What kind of restaurants do you go to?

Even when we're on the road we take our own fast food with us. Apples, cold chicken, crackers and cheese. We can usually survive on this until we get back home from a trip.

How often do you or your family eat fast/junk food? What kind do you eat?

Processed pre-packaged food is a gross resemblance of the real thing. It is not real food for real people. We never eat fast food. In fact any time James has eaten it, he has thrown up. We try to eliminate all processed food, because it is unnatural and un-healthy for you.

SHOPPING

Who does the grocery shopping?

Living on a farm means we grow most of our own food so we don't use the store too often. When we do we try and shop locally. That way we are putting dollars back in to the community. We buy what we can't grow ourselves, which is bananas, rice, canned meats and fish, Salmon and herring and a few spices.

How often?

During summer I go to the store once a month but always combine it with a trip for the boys like taking Jacob to his fiddle class, that way we can save on fuel bills.

Does anyone help with the grocery shopping?

I buy all the supplies myself. Sometimes the boys come with me but I usually go on my own.

Who chooses what is bought?

I am the cook for this family so I choose what is bought. I pay extra special attention to how food is grown and where it comes from that way I can be sure it is healthy.

WEEKDAY

MORNING ROUTINE

What time do you get up?

It is important for the boys to start the day with a hot wholesome hearty meal so I get up before them to prepare their breakfast. I wake up at 7am and go down to the kitchen to start cooking. It takes a little extra time to make but giving the boys the right food means they can last without snacking until lunch.

What time does everyone else get out of bed?

Tim gets up at 5:30am in the morning to go to work. I always prepare breakfast for him the night before so he can heat it up in the morning and have a cooked breakfast before he leaves the house.

Now that Calvin is working outside of the home, he no longer has as many chores or tasks to do and I leave him to manage his own time, but he still makes it for breakfast in the morning with the rest of the family. Calvin usually leaves for work at 9:30am.

I wake the boys up at 7:30am. When breakfast is nearly ready I call James, Jacob and Charles to the table and tell them that they have four minutes before breakfast starts. I make sure to set the oven timer so that I know when their time is up. If they don't come down to breakfast on time I give them two minutes to arrive and charge them 25 cents for being late. If they continue being late I increase the charge every two minutes until they come to the table.

It is good to teach children to be on time and the financial penalty seems to really work. All the money they pay in fines goes into the jar on the windowsill. Charles has the most amount of fines to pay, he never gets out of bed on time.

Are you 'morning people?'

If the boys are playing music in the evening itÕs hard to stop them so we end up going to bed a little later around 11pm. If we go to bed late then we always sleep in to maybe 8am the next morning.

What is the morning routine in your house?

I have breakfast with the boys at 8am. Feeding the boys a good hot hearty meal in the morning means that they can last until lunchtime without snacking. If the boys don't finish a meal then they canÕt eat anything until then next meal so they always finish what's on their plate.

After breakfast Charles and James clean up the breakfast dishes, while Jacob goes out to feed the chickens and put any things that need recycling into the special bin.

Who prepares breakfast? Does the family eat it together?

I always prepare breakfast. Even if Tim is rushing off very early in the morning to one of his jobs I prepare his breakfast the night before so that he can start the day with a healthy hot breakfast.

What time do the kids leave for school?

I homeschool James, Jacob and Charles, which starts first thing after, breakfast and chores. I have a rule that they are not allowed to do anything else until their schoolwork is done unless it is music, which is part of their education.

Homeschooling the boys means that they are not affected by outside influences and are able to grow up in a safe and wholesome environment.

Do you ever get to sleep in?

We do not live by the clock. We live according to farm seasons and seasons of family life. Our schedule responds to the families needs. We sometimes stay up late at night till 11pm to make time for the boys and their dad to practice. When this happens we all sleep in.

DAYTIME

What is your schedule for the day?

I run this house with structure and schedules. The boys all have chores and tasks to accomplish after breakfast and I make sure that they do them. James scrubs the bathroom, Charles folds and hangs up the laundry and all three of them have to make their bed. I check up on each chore to make sure it is done correctly, my boys are so well trained that they usually do them to standard but I have detailed reminders of what is expected in each room in case they forget.

While the boys are doing their morning chores I put together their daily schedule sheets listing everything I want them to accomplish.

Charles Math Science Mandolin and guitar practice Gather trash at house and take all trash cans to the road for pickup Weed whip Mowing Garden weeding and rototilling

Jacob Math Science History Memorization Drafting fiddle, Chick brooder @ 4 times/day including before breakfast and at the end of the day, Clean nest boxes Clean House clutter Garden weeding and rototilling

James Reading Math Logic Memorization Drafting Suzuki, Fiddle Clean bath and sink Clean kitchen sink Get the mail Sweep porch, clean steps clutter Water garden

I always start home school at 10am with a ring of the bell outside. By teaching the boys myself I have control over what is taught and what morals to impart. I don't believe in leaving something as important as education decisions to anybody else. Home schooling the boys preserves our way of life and ensures that the boys grow up in a wholesome environment. Multi-tasking is essential in this house. While the boys are schooling I keep one eye on them and start to make my nutritious water kefir or sauerkraut. Or work on organizing the bands arrangements in my office.

Chores and a good work ethic are the foundations of this family. Most other children don't know how to mow a lawn or weed whack, my boys do and they are learning the true benefit of a good days work. After an hour of home schooling I send the boys out to start on their outside chores. Jacob lets the chickens out, feeds them and picks up their eggs. And then goes to help Charles mowing one of the fields.

Charles is also responsible for weed whipping. James waters the front garden and then sweeps the porch. There are always maintenance works and farm tasks to be done around here so the boys help along with Tim when he is home. If the boys do a chore or task then I reward them with a token on the board. It is important to reward good behavior that way they learn not only from the benefit but through positive reinforcement. The boys can trade in tokens for privileges later in the day.

I start working on lunch at around 12noon and like to serve lunch for everyone at 1pm. Food is important nourishment in my family and not just for the body but for the mind too. A healthy body and healthy mind that's what we strive for here. The boys always clean up after lunch, Charles loads the dishwasher and James and Jacob help clear the table and empty the plates.

After lunch the boys get together and practice their music. Some music these days can only be classed as a bad influence, but not the Bluegrass the boys play. At 4pm the boys have their debate lesson. Teaching the boys to communicate and think through an argument is a vital part of their education. It is also a good way for them to meet and to learn to socialize with other young people.

If it is chicken processing day then we usually start around 3pm and spend the rest of the afternoon processing the chickens for sale. It can be slightly messy, eviscerating a chicken but that is part of farm life.

If the boys have a performance in the evening then I like to prepare a light hot meal for them around 5pm before getting them ready for their performance. I get the boys to load the CDs I sell at the concerts into the car and make sure they have all of their music and equipment loaded.

When we are not having a performance then I would start preparing dinner at 5pm. We always have a sit down family dinner and eat together at 6pm. It so important to take time over your meal and really enjoy spending time together.

What time do the kids finish school and how do they get home?

Schoolwork and music have priority in this house so the boys must do their schoolwork first before attending to any of the outside chores.

Do they have any extra classes or activities after school? Who takes them and picks them up?

We do not push the boys to play sports because of the competitive nature of team games. The glory seeking can encourage too much of a self centered aspect that is not desirable in clean living children.

The boys pay for all the extra activities that they do with money that they earn themselves. It is a valuable lesson for them to learn that nothing is free in this world and if you want to do something then you have to pay for it yourself.

Raising the boys in a wholesome environment means teaching them activities that will be useful to them in the future. I think it is good for them to learn to be practical with their hands so Jacob and Charles have woodworking class on Mondays from 6:15 and all three of the younger boys have scouts on a Tuesday evening at 7pm.

Charles has Mandolin lessons on Thursday at 2pm and Jacob has fiddle lessons at 4pm.

When do the kids do their homework? Do you or your partner help them?

Teaching a child that it is ok to fail is not acceptable in my book. I never pass the boys if they have a C or even a B they have to achieve an A grade in a subject before moving on. That way they are working towards mastering the subject.

EVENING

If you work outside the home, what time do you get home from work?

My life is centered on the home and the boys. I am the mother, school teacher, cook and band manager in this family. I get the boys up and schedule their day from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. I don't believe in having idle hands or idle boys so I try to keep them busy and teach them a good work ethic. I provide a safe wholesome environment for the boys to grow up in and I monitor and control the inputs into their life so that they receive the right education.

I do not allow the boys to watch TV at all and if they want to trade in their tokens to watch a movie or listen to the radio then it is from a selection that I have pre-vetted. I don't want them listening to or watching horror movies or inappropriate language. It is important to limit the contact the boys have with the ills of the world. Just because it exist doesn't mean it is good or healthy and especially not for children.

What time is dinner? Who cooks it?

I spend most of my afternoon preparing the dinner for the family. Our family's schedule revolves around our meal times. I serve dinner at 6pm usually depending on what time Tim is back from work.

What is your dinner routine?

The boys set the table and prepare the salad for dinner. We nourish our minds as well as our bodies with wholesome home cooked food that I prepare. To keep the boys healthy I make them eat a spoonful of cod liver oil at every dinnertime. The main dinner is the most important meal of the day, we gather round our kitchen table and praise God for the food that we receive before eating.

Who cleans up after dinner?

The boys clean up after dinner so that they learn that to receive they must also give Charles is responsible for putting the plates in the dish washer and James help clear the table.

What happens after dinner?

After dinner the boys start practicing their music. I make sure there is regular practice sessions scheduled into their day and even put up lyrics in the bathroom so that they never miss an opportunity to learn them. Music is one of the ways we bond together as a family and is a good life skill that they can use at any age. We have a band contract to outline everyone's responsibilities and the need to turn up to practices on time. If the boys don't know what is expected of them then they can't be held accountable when they do something wrong. The boys are very keen musicians so it can get pretty loud in the house but it is better than everyone going off to sit in their rooms on their own.

Are your kids allowed out during the week? If so do they have a curfew?

We spend most of our time together as a family and do not really go out late at night. In the city, families are constantly distracted from being together. It's too difficult to compete with all the modern entertainment and activities available. I see the farm setting as being a much more natural way for a family to be a family. It is easier to control and censor the inputs into the children's lives being out here in the countryside.

Do your kids have set bedtimes?

I run this family to a tight ship with their schedules but we are not slaves to the clock. If the boys have been performing in their Bluegrass band or have been practicing then they stay up a little later. Usually James and Jacob go to bed at 9:30pm and Charles goes to bed at 10.00pm. Calvin decides when he goes to bed. Once in bed they usually read for a while before lights out. If we are to bed late we can always get up a little later in the morning and adjust our schedules for the day.

What is the bedtime routine with the kids?

We find it very difficult to stop what we are doing in the evenings, especially if the boys have started playing music they become so involved. If they are not playing music, I will read to the boys from one of the 'classics'. After all, if you read well you will think well.

What else do you do in the evening before you go to bed?

After the boys have gone to bed Tim and I spend time with each other talking through the days events and planning the days ahead. With so much going on all the time it is important to us to have time with one another.

What time do you go to bed?

I will go to be bed at around 11:00pm after the boys have gone to bed.

WEEKENDS

What does the family do on Saturday?

The weekend is where we all come together as a family. Tim always has a project on the farm to do and includes the boys in helping him, whether it's chopping firewood, maintenance or setting up the electric fence to ward off groundhogs. I usually spend the day catching up on house cleaning and organizing any extra band activities.

Living on the farm gives us a simple life. Unlike living in the city we do not need lots of material possessions out here.

What's your Sunday morning routine?

We always have breakfast together on Sunday mornings before going to church at 10am. We get back from church at 12:30 and eat a small lunch at 1:30pm.

What's your Sunday afternoon routine?

We have our main dinner in the evening on Sundays as a family so usually we eat just a light meal during the day. After lunch I let the boys leave clearing up till later as they are always rushing off to help Tim with some project or picking up a fiddle or banjo to play. If we move one of the cars into the driveway we can pick up a local Bluegrass radio show so we usually spend the afternoon on the porch listening to that.

What do you do Sunday evening?

I start preparing dinner around 4.30pm on Sundays. I usually take an hour to get everything just right and prepared and we like to eat by 6.30pm. Before we eat, the boys sing a prayer thanking the Lord for the food we receive.

After dinner the boys clean up and we spend the evening conversing with one another or listening to the boys play music. I often read the boys a story from one of the classics before they go to bed.

EDUCATION

How do you feel about education?

My aim is to give the boys the ability to explore the world in a safe environment. There is no playground bullying or peer pressure here and I do not allow criticism between the boys.

No-one fails my classes. They are only allowed to continue on with a subject when they have mastered it. So they all get A's.

It is important that the boys are well read and that they can speak properly. Higher education is not so important though as it doesn't always equate to success. We teach the boys they can be successful through entrepreneurial self employment by making them earn their own money. There is no 'free' money on this farm!

Did you or your partner go to college?

Both Tim and I went to college and studied 'agriculture'. That's where we met each other in agronomy club and started to date before getting married.

Although I dated when I was at college I don't want my boys to date until they are ready to get married. Charles is already asking questions about it so I sit down with him and explain that it is not the best thing to do just yet. Teenagers can suffer emotional traumas or even diseases by focusing their lives on dating too early. I remember wasting so much of my time on dating that now that I look back it just seems so pointless. When they have established themselves then they can go out looking but not until then.

Do you home school your children?

I home school the boys to keep the family unit together and to be able to limit the influence of the outside world on our children's lives so we can create the type of childhood that is most healthy for them.

Since we have farm and music demands all through the year we keep up with book learning by studying year round. It also helps the boys not to forget over the summer what they learned.

Are there any rules about homework?

All schoolwork is homework. I help the boys and then the older boys help the younger brothers. Delegation is vital to our home life and school and its never too early or late to learn that we need each other to succeed in life.

Is it important that your children go to college?

The boys don't get anything free from us and money doesn't grow on trees around here, they have to work for their own money. Even though Calvin has started at college I don't think that it is always a recipe for success. We believe in entrepreneurship first and foremost.

LEISURE AND SOCIAL LIFE

What do you do as a family? Life is not about entertainment and fun. I do not promote a lot of leisure time for the boys. A lot of emphasis in the teen world is placed on hanging out with friends. We do not hang out. I insist that the boys have a focus and purpose to any activity so that the boys do not become corrupted by meaningless relationships.

What do you do as a couple?

We nurture a family environment so we are together all the time, as it should be. If we do have time to ourselves then we spend it lying in the fields looking at the sky or stars or just enjoying one another's company outside on the porch.

Do your kids have their own social life outside of the family?

The boys don't hang out at malls. If they socialize it is through useful and wholesome activities like debate class where they learn life long communication skills in a fun environment. The boys have made some good friends though debate class with other home schooled children and occasionally get together here at our home to discuss speech and debate topics with one another.

How much of a role do friends play in your life?

My family is the cornerstone of my life. I teach the boys that you need to work together to achieve anything in this world.

KIDS

What kind of parent are you?

It is important to be a parent first and foremost when you have children. Children are not independent people and need to be directed and guided through life. We create a safe nurturing environment for the boys to grow up in.

Do you parent like you were parented?

I am definitely stricter with my boys than my parents were on me but America is a very different country now than when I was growing up.

I try to limit the amount of influence the 21st century has on my boys so that they can grow up in a wholesome and carefree manner. Video games, TV and dating are all banned in this house. I want my boys to concentrate on the good things in life like family unity, music and education.

Not allowing my boys to watch television and play video games is one of the sole reasons they are who they are today. I am always asked how I get the boys to be so interested in playing instruments, itÕs more like how do I stop them from playing all the time. Their daily lives are not distracted with modern technological obstacles that entertain them to death. I always say if itÕs fun it doesn't mean you have to do it.

Do you and your partner disagree about parenting?

I am the disciplinarian in the house but Tim backs me up. We both believe in home schooling because we want to preserve our lifestyle, our family unity, and our morals. With home schooling we are able to control the impurities that come into their lives and give the boys a great education.

Are your children well behaved?

We try to have not only wholesome foods but also wholesome attitudes and wholesome speech so we do not swear in our household. My boys are very well behaved just like we have raised them.

By fining the boys financially and by taking away their privileges the boys have learned what is expected of them. I use the token system to reward them not only for behavior but for attitude as well.

Charles is the independent thinker of the four boys and is always questioning why we do the things we do. I am sure he would rather be out playing sports all the time. We have even had to stop him from climbing the roof of the house.

What are your hopes and dreams for your children?

I don't want my boys to make the same mistakes that I made, like spending too much time on dating so I try to instill the lessons that I learned as I grew up. That way they can benefit from my experiences.

What are your feelings about chores?

There are no free rides in this house. Chores are a mandatory part of living in this family and it teaches the boys a good work ethic and team spirit.

Do you have house rules?

The first rule of this house is to obey your parents. Teaching the boys respect is vital in this modern world where so many children disrespect adults. We don't tolerate any of the boys hurting each other physically or verbally and insist that if they make a mess they clean it up.

There is no free roaming of the internet. You have to have a purpose and a destination to go to and then you're done. The children are at a critical age when it is necessary to protect their innocence.

Do you discipline your children? How often and for what?

We use the token chart system to install discipline. For every chore or task that the boys have to do they receive a token for completing it and another token for doing it on time or with a good attitude. If they don't complete the task or have bad attitude they have a token taken away. The boys can then redeem privileges for tokens, like listening to a radio program.

How often do you and your children talk?

By limiting and controlling media and other modern distractions in the house we spend more time together as a family doing the simple things in life like talking and playing music together.

How much time do you spend without your children?

Our family lives, works, learns, eats and plays together. The whole point of our way of life is to create a nurturing family environment for our children. My boys are learning a great lesson on how to interact with elders. When Calvin or Tim come home everyone gathers together and listens to them tell stories of their day.

THE RELATIONSHIP

How would you describe your relationship with your partner?

We both look out for each other. We are a partnership raising our children in a safe and controlled environment for their benefit.

What is the best thing about your relationship?

We need very little external material things to make our relationship happy. We enjoy the simple things in life and we enjoy them together.

What annoys you about your partner?

Tim finds it hard managing his own time. He lives very much in the present and doesn't think about the consequences of spending 100% of his own time on the here and now without planning for the future.

What do your partner and you disagree about the most?

Tim and I are pretty unified in our thinking because we spend the time to talk through our thoughts with one another and with the family.

But we do disagree on whether to stay on a farm of this size. The farm is not paying for itself and Tim is taking extra work outside which means he is spending even more time away from the family. Tim wants to try to keep the farm because he likes the lifestyle but it must become sustainable.

What happens when you disagree?

We don't disagree very often but when we do we talk out our problems with each other. If one of us feels more strongly then the other differs.

Do you disagree in front of the children?

I'm too verbal to be quiet; if I disagree then I say what I think.

FINANCES

Are you spenders or savers?

Running a farm is definitely an expensive business. Tim has taken extra work which has taken him away from the farm and the family but the extra money is useful and needed. You can't always grow everything but we try to be as self sufficient as possible. We are definitely savers and teach the boys that if they want something then they have to work for it just like in the real world, no-one is going to give it to you for free.

Who controls the money?

I am very thrifty in saving money and we share all financial decisions.

How much allowance do the children receive per week? Do they have to earn their allowance?

The boys don't receive any money allowance. You don't get that when you're older so they should learn that now. We teach the boys to be entrepreneurial in earning money for themselves. They sell chickens that we raise and work on other farms during the summer. The boys must pay for all their own music lessons and debating classes just like the real world.

How much do you spend on food & household items per week?

We grow most of our food ourselves and try to live as sustainable as possible. When we have to buy food and household items we try to buy locally from other farmers. We spend about $30 a week on household items.

How much do you each spend on treats or vices per week?

We don't spend anything on treats and vices; it doesn't cost anything being together as a family spending time with each other.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL ABOUT YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

We are raising our family on a homestead, where we live simply and grow our own food. We have found the combination of farm work, books and music combined with wholesome food and a nurturing family environment to be a great foundation to raise children. This life is definitely not the easiest but it is certainly the most rewarding.