Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms - Book Review

Flourish Book Review

I was recently sent a new book for review.  Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate.  This book is published by Apologia Educational Ministries one of my favorite companies! 

Flourish Book Review

This book is written by a homeschooling, single, work from home Mom (with her own businesses) who shares her tips and experiences on how she Flourishes with balancing it all.

This soft-bound book is 288 pages and retails for $15.00.

There are 16 chapters:

  1. An Invitation to Flourish
  2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
  4. Where Did My Time Go?
  5. Aim High: Setting Goals
  6. What Do I Do Next?:  Seven Essential Planning Tools
  7. We Interrupt This Program
  8. It's Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  10. Training Your Children
  11. Making Memories
  12. Managing Your Home
  13. All of Life Is Learning
  14. Solo Act:  Flourishing as a Single Mom
  15. Home Business
  16. Moving Ahead

It also includes two appendixes with resources and planning tools.

This book is for Moms - mostly homeschooling but I could see other Momma's finding a lot of wisdom from it - especially work from home Moms.  

I read through this book slowly, taking time to digest and reflect on all that Tate had to say.  This book isn't a simple read I would say it is more complex than that.  There is a call to action at the end of each chapter where the author challenges you to make changes and think bigger!  It would make a great group study!

The book opens with a personal story from Ms. Tate introducing herself and her four boys.  From there we branched out.  At the end of the first chapter you take a Pre-Book Evaluation - which is included in the back of the book.  Taking the time to reflect and answer these questions honestly will help as you read this book.

One of the things really I loved about this book were all the little quotes on the sides.  Quotes from people like Eleanor Roosevelt and Sally and Clay Clarkson.  These little gems are a read unto themselves!

Another thing that was special is that Mary Jo makes a point to have family time with each kid.  She sets aside special times for making memories and special moments.  This is my heart's desire so I was pleased that she made it such a big point in the book.  Having special memories for your children to me is one of the most important things.

  • I have very little memories - myself- from growing up.  One thing I do remember was how my Mom made my Christmas stocking very special!  There was always a special bigger treat (usually jewelry) for me. I was allowed to open it on Christmas morning before anyone else was awake.

  • My best friend always decorated her Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  It was a big tradition for their house. Something they still do with her parents.

  • My husband said when he was growing up on Christmas eve he was allowed to open one gift.  

  • For our children we let them pick one ornament each year that reflects their current interests- it is a very big deal to have the 'perfect ornament'.  We also do one family ornament.  It has been fun to see how the ornament has grown with each additional child.

I know I shared Christmas traditions but there could be others.  Maybe on Saturdays you always go yardsaling in the spring (we do!).  Or maybe Sunday mornings are pancake days.  I just like that they kid's will have a special memory.

Things I took away from this book:

  • Get rid of clutter - which we always struggle with but I've really made progress this summer!
  • Delegate - kids are great at helping with chores.  Many hands make short work.  (You can hire if you need to but that is not in our budget.)
  • Make the most of your time - I struggle with this- by getting up early or going to sleep late
  • Be realistic and only accept responsibilities you can undertake with your full attention - something as a blogger I need to be mindful of.

A lot of this book focuses on how Mary Jo Tate managed her home business, homeschooling and her household.  While I don't have an actual home business I was able to apply a lot of her principles to blogging.  I know I need to be more purposeful with the time I spend online.  I plan on really trying to be stricter about what I can do in the fall with accomplishing homeschooling all three children.

The homeschooling chapter included important basics like homeschooling styles as well as sample assignment sheets.  She filled that chapter with tips and ideas that really would help a beginner homeschooling Momma or a seasoned homeschooling Mom. 

Overall I enjoyed the book and will most likely re-read before we start school in the fall.  I am a rather laid back person and I enjoy that about myself however I can see how having a bit more structure would benefit all of us.   Everything she writes about doesn't always apply to my life but there was a lot of it I could modify to work with my individual situation.

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