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Who We Are

Hello! My name is Monica Irvine and I am the creator of The Etiquette Factory. How did all of this begin? Well, let me tell you about it. It's been a fun journey.

Years ago, I was homeschooling my son Sawyer and at the time, we were studying about the life of George Washington. During this study, we came across a document called, "George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior." From what I read, this was a list of 110 rules that President Washington had copied out of a French book after his tutor at the time had encouraged him to learn and practice chivalry skills. What we do know is that a copy of this list in President Washington's handwriting was found.

So I started reading this list of rules as I was always interested in the art of etiquette.
I was blown away by this beautiful list of chivalry rules.
For instance, I read rule #56 which reads, "Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company," and rule #25 which states, "Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided yet where due, they are not to be neglected."

As I read these precious rules, something pricked my heart and I was so drawn to them. I saw the great beauty in each one and thought to myself, What if I had my son memorize these rules? Surely, that would benefit him in many ways. I could imagine that if our society truly lived by these simple 110 chivalry rules, our world would be such a more kind and more generous place to be. We began to do just that, learn these rules, but while we were learning them, a new idea flooded my mind.
What if there was a more modern version of these rules? Same principles but using circumstances from our day so that children could more easily understand them?
Sometimes, God steps in and just takes you by the hand and leads you down a path where you can use your talents and your gifts to bless his other children. I believe with all my heart that that is exactly what he has done with me.
I began my search for such a program or curriculum and to my disappointment, I could not find what I was looking for. And so, The Etiquette Factory was born and what an adventure it has been. Sometimes, God steps in and just takes you by the hand and leads you down a path where you can use your talents and your gifts to bless his other children. I believe with all my heart that that is exactly what he has done with me.
The first summer I ran manners camps for kids, I scheduled 6 weeks of camp. My purpose in reality was thinking that if I had my son be my camp helper for 6 weeks of manners camp, then surely after hearing these skills taught 6 times in a row, he would learn these skills really well. Poor kid. He had no idea about his mom's ulterior motives. Sure, I thought there would be a little interest from other parents. I knew there had to be moms and dads like me who thought they could use some help in this area. What I didn't know is how many parents would be interested in having help. Within a few weeks, I had waiting list for 5 or my 6 camps. It's then that I knew I had to do more.
I have learned that children love learning manners and social skills when taught with love and outside of the bounds of being corrected.
I have learned many things since that beginning in May of 2009. I have learned that children love learning manners and social skills when taught with love and outside of the bounds of being corrected. I realized that most of the time when parents are teaching their children manners, they are doing it while correcting, because that's when we think of it. Our child starts to do something wrong and we say, "Oh honey. Don't do/say that. It's rude." However, 99% of the time, children are not trying to be rude. They just haven't come to understand why that behavior is indeed rude. But, they want to know. They want to know the right way to do things.

Our goal at The Etiquette Factory is to help parents teach their children these life changing skills; the skills of kindness.
What is Etiquette?
Etiquette is helping those around you to feel valued and comfortable.
Every single skill we teach is based on this definition and principle. I know that when we understand the "why" behind each skill, we then can believe in the purpose of practicing the considerations of kindness. If we don't know why, then it's difficult to stay motivated to remember to practice them.
Each resource we have created, is for the sole purpose of helping children to reach their full potential. We want children to be happy, to have healthy relationships, to feel good about who they are and to have the skills they need to be their best selves. I have been blessed with amazing people who have helped me along this journey and have become an integral part of growing The Etiquette Factory. I thank God for these people.
Although The Etiquette Factory has been created for all children, preschool through high school, families with children who have special needs also have come to appreciate and love The Etiquette Factory due to our approach to learning. Struggling learners who might need a little extra help with understanding social cues and social expectations, really thrive from using all of their senses to learn. At The Etiquette Factory, we use music, games, stories, treats, crafts, and kind discussion mixed with a whole lot of love and encouragement to help children along their journey.
Here is what some of our customers have said:
Hello!  We have used "Mary Manners," as it is known in our house, for a week now.  We are loving it.  This is our bridge from preschool to kindergarten homeschool. 
~ Brandi from Acton, IN
Hello!  I first want to say thank you for The Etiquette Factory!  We began it in June and over the couse of the summer we have noticed some major changes in our 5 year old.  He is more polite, is constantly spreading kindness, and (the ultimate reward for a Momma) has been praised by young and old for his manners.  It has been just great, and as a matter of fact, I am sort of kicking myself for not ordering the high school level program for my much younger siblings.  :)  We are please as punch with The Etiquette Factory.
~ Brandi, mother of 5 year old
We LOVE the Etiquette Factory so much we included it in our blog this week as we share some of our homeschool favorites!  We are using the intermediate program with a group of 5 homeschool boys and it is wonderful.  Thanks for a great product! Susan World For Learning
~ Susan World
I picked up the etiquette factory and have used it regularly to start our homeschool day . My 6 year old and 4 year old twins love your stories and songs. Even my 2 year old boy tries to sing along with "Kindness" and "Crazy Clean Machine.". Your mixture of teaching with catchy tunes has been just perfect for our family. Thanks for your efforts. They have blessed our home.
~ Janene
The Life Skills for You Program by the Etiquette Factory was an extremely beneficial tool to utilize as school-based occupational therapists in our weekly group sessions. The short video clips captured the attention of adolescents with disabilities almost immediately. Students were able to relate to correct and incorrect scenarios in the short video clips, as they were not only very relatable to their everyday life experiences, but also interactive and elicited positive emotions and behaviors across environments. The video clips were so purposeful in conveying correct and incorrect ways to handle the soft skills of adolescent life. It was encouraging to see how the students generalized lessons learned in the videos to their everyday life within the school and community settings; during academic, social, and vocational experiences.
~ Occupational Therapist working in Public School Settings
My High School Life Skills class participated in weekly group sessions with their Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist which included watching videos from the Life Skills for You Etiquette Program by the Etiquette Factory. My students looked forward to their weekly sessions and were highly engaged in the videos from the program. My students applied what they learned from the videos both in class and on field trips. I also had multiple parents tell me how much they enjoyed the program. I would highly recommend this program to other Life Skills Classrooms.
~ High School Life Skills Classroom Teacher in a Public School setting
I just wanted to send you a note to say thank you for the manners camp this week.  My girls had an amazing time and learned so many things that they have been practicing.  They spent most of the day yesterday singing the songs from the cd and then when a song would stop, I would hear them start whining saying, "I am so sad that camp is over."  I love the conversations I have had with my girls about different things that you have covered over the week of camp. Great conversation starters for us and I see more of understanding of why mom and dad sometimes do the things they do, like saying no. Thank you again for your time and it was such a pleasure to meet you.  My girls are already missing you.
~ Angela, mom of 2 girls
I purchased the Life Skills for You online program from you at the curriculum fair yesterday and my 11 yr old son just LOVES it!  He did six lessons in a row last night and I had to force him to get offline and go to bed.  Just wanted to say thanks for a great product.  I'll be recommending it to many friends.  Thank you.
~ Misty, Mom
Manners and etiquette lessons will draw rolls of eyes from many teenagers but our youth group and adult leaders were pleasantly surprised at how you were able to make it fit in almost ever facet of our everyday lives.  It is amazing how we take so much for granted with the way we treat others.  I can see results already when we have our Wednesday night meal at chruch.  Now the youth wait for the adults to go thorugh the line first.  Thank you for the many life lessons.  We will definitly have you bck to do more training in the future.  
~ Marshall Barnett, Youth Minister--West Town Christian Church
Before I retired as an Elementary school guidance counselor, I used your etiquette program in grades 1-2.  The kids loved the songs and asked to sing them over and over.  I highly recommend it and I'm sure the new one will be great as well!
~ Mindy Kaiser

My Passion

Finally, please allow me to share with you one of my passions that is very near and dear to my heart. I have been sensitive to child abuse of any kind, I guess my whole life. Something in me very early, alerted my senses to any child that was being mistreated in any way. I remember as a 5th grader, I was friends with a little girl whose father taught at my school. She came in too many mornings to school, crying or having been crying because her father would paddle her with a wooden paddle before school for one thing or another. Sometimes, I could tell that it was difficult for her to sit down. One day, I had seen enough. I was mad and someone had to stick up for my friend. I had thought about calling the Department of Human Services. I knew about them because my family had kept foster children. I decided for some reason however, to take matters into my own hands. After school that day, I walked to my friends father's classroom. All the children had left and he was walking around putting papers on his student's desks. I stood in the door and said, "Mr. ___________, my name is Monica Madewell, and I am friends with your daughter _______________. I know that you paddle her a lot and I believe that what you're doing is wrong. I believe it is child abuse and if you do not stop, I am going to call the Department of Human Services and report you." I turned and walked away.
This moment was the beginning of my deep interest in fighting for those most vulnerable. Granted, perhaps I was wrong about his actions being child abuse. I really do not know. I just know that in my child's mind at the time, it felt wrong. Would you please help me today, however, in fighting for those who truly are suffering abuse, who are our most vulnerable? I implore you to choose an organization that helps children who are being abused in any way and find a way to support them. There are so many organizations that are doing much good in our My Passion world. They need our help. They cannot continue their efforts without the support of volunteers both physically and monetarily.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about who we are. I hope you and your children will benefit from participating in one of our amazing programs. I love to see children soar with confidence in their abilities. Help me give children confidence and self respect by teaching children the skills of kindness. Our world needs our children to lead the way in compassion, integrity, humility, generosity and love. It starts with teaching them the skills of kindness.
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