As a homeschooling mom, it can be difficult to prioritize your precious time, especially when you have multiple children like I do. We have so much work on our plates, and seemingly not enough time to get it all done. I was given a physical copy of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate from Apologia Educational Ministries to review, and it came at a great time for me. As my children grow older and require more school work in their day, I struggle to find time to do everything that I feel I need to do.
Flourish is geared toward homeschooling moms, so if you’re old enough to be a mom of school-aged children, then I reckon you’re old enough to read this book. ♥ The cost of the book at the time of this posting is $15, well worth the cost of the tools you’ll gain by reading it.
Mary Jo Tate is a single homeschooling mom to 4 boys. As a successful business woman and a single mom, she’s pretty much an expert when it comes to balancing life’s struggles. She manages to find the time to teach a homeschool co-op class, her boys (since 1997!), blog, and host a Flourish at Home podcast. She’s definitely someone that we homeschooling moms can look up to.
Flourish is nearly 300 pages and 16 chapters long. The chapters are:
- An Invitation to Flourish
- Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
- The FREEDOM Toolbox
- Where Did My Time Go?
- Aim High: Setting Goals
- What Do I Do Next?: Seven Essential Planning
- We Interrupt This Program
- It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
- Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
- Training Your Children
- Making Memories
- Managing Your Home
- All of Life is Learning
- Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
- Home Business
- Moving Ahead
Each chapter is further broken down into sections, and there are inspirational quotes peppered throughout. The chapters aren’t terrible long, but are chock-full of information. This is basically an all-inclusive manual; you’re given all of the tools that you need in order to examine your daily life and see what changes you need to make. At the end of the book, you’ll find a nice list of additional resources that is several pages long. These resources are related to the topics discussed in the book. You’ll also find several planning forms. You can use the ones included in the book, but when you purchase the book you are given access to the forms online, and they are customizable and printable. This way you don’t have to mar your pretty book!Seriously, isn’t the cover just gorgeous?! Say “yes”) The forms are very useful in letting you evaluate yourself before you really dig into the book, logging your time, reviewing your year and yearly goals, and even noting what your big dreams in life are.
My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 10: Training Your Children. Managing my own time is enough of a struggle for me, and delegating responsibility to them has been a challenge. When I got married at the somewhat tender age of 18, I barely had any homemaking skills. I could wash and dry clothes and heat food on the stove-top or in the microwave, but not much else. I don’t want that for my children. I want them to have life skills when they eventually move out into their own lives; to be able to cook basic meals (seriously, everyone needs to know how to fry chicken and grill hamburgers), do laundry (I should probably show them how to use an iron, even though I almost never do), housecleaning, etc. I’ll leave the handy man stuff to Jeremy. I usually break things when I try to fix them. Oops. Mary Jo gives great examples in this chapter on how to train up your children to be responsible, functional people. The 3 older kids can do a little basic cooking already, such as grilled cheese, Ramen noodles, fried eggs, mac & cheese, and peeling fruits and veggies. I don’t let Lucas do much independent cooking yet; he’s 5 and really isn’t capable of doing something like that long term, but I know he’ll be ready for it one day. What I enjoyed most about Chapter 10 was the section on Teach Your Children Initiative. This is quite a struggle us, and I am constantly working on it with the kids. I can tell that it’s something that’ll take a lot of my time. I really wish I’d started sooner.
Flourish is a wonderful book to read when you have a little free time (I really hope you have at least 30 minutes!). I usually pick the book up in the evenings to read. The book is very engaging and makes you think, and I love that tools are provided to help you reach your goals and see what fat you need to cut from your life in order to reach those goals. At the end of each chapter is a Take Action! section. This is a checklist of sorts about what you just read. I like that this really reiterates what you’ve learned, and makes you take the time to think about what you want to do. I’ve gotten so many wonderful ideas from the book, and I will read it again and again. I wish I had a copy to give to all of my homeschool mom friends. It was so easy to go to the customizable pages, fill them out, and see where I need to improve. This book will really make you think about how you live your life. It’s time to cut the fat! Mary Jo Tate is truly an inspiration on all homeschooling moms.
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