Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Like many women, especially homeschooling moms, I have a TON on my plate. This season of littles & technological escapism, short temper, lack of discipline & general overwhelm had me (and my poor family) in a state of survival. Better than before, but still spilling into survival mode. The opportunity to review Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms (published by homeschool curriculum provider Apologia Educational Ministries) could not have come at a better time.
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms was written by Mary Jo Tate, a SINGLE mother who both homeschooled AND supported her family with an at home business. My goodness!! In Flourish, Ms. Tate covers every area of life that a mom could encounter, including not having a spouse, running a business and homeschooling. There are 16 chapters covering areas like attitude, the FREEDOM toolbox, time management, goals, planning, interruptions, child training, making memories, home management, learning, and more. Flourish retails for $15.00.
The First Pass
I graduated with a business degree. We own a business. I am a productivity junkie (oh the irony!). Love GTD, 7 Habits and all those type of books. I have read mom productivity books, homeschool productivity books and business productivity books. A lot of times the book covers 1 or 2 of the big pieces of my life, but never all 3. Flourish is unique because it covers ALL THREE areas. That is fabulous! Even more fabulous is the fact that she covers being a single mom, doing all these things.
I am not a single mom. But! We own our own business. And we’ve been in a growth spurt for about 4 months and we thought we finally hired someone, but it didn’t work out. During growth spurts, I am practically single. He works 10-14 hour days. We have no family that is willing to help us out. I finally found a regular sitter a few years ago but she is leaving for college at the end of the year.
Plus, I’m a loner. Seriously, I’d rather be alone with a book than out for a girl’s night, which pretty effectively limits getting a good support network :). Plus, I’m not a “kid-person” and feel like I can barely relate to mine and I’m with them all day. Reciprocating in kind would be a special kind of purgatory for me. All that to say that I can relate to aspects of single motherhood. It’s also a great resource for how to help people who are single. Or like single; I have a few friends in that boat. One friend calls herself a golf-widow in the summers because her hubs manages a golf course :).
Anyway, the first thing I did was read the first chapter & take the “pre-test” to get a baseline for where I was starting. Then I read the whole book. Overall, I was inspired by stories of how she managed homeschool and work. My kids are too little to do it like her since the youngest is one and the oldest is only 6, but I’m on track to get them there some day. I was also convicted to be better disciplined. Discipline is not my strong suit. But you cannot make progress when you sit around wasting time or avoiding things. So I need to get better at that.
The toolbox was a new idea to me and the strategies for singles spoke to me, too. Go figure ;). And my last set of goals were 2 years old, repeats of previous years and obviously not good ones or I would have done them at least a few times in those 3 years. They need to be revisited. So how to proceed? In order or by need?
The Action Pass
The second time around, I’ve been slowly digesting the material. While I hadn’t heard of the toolbox as it was presented, I must have heard the bits and pieces from other places because I was pretty good at many of them. I’m always trying to improve and tend to read many books on the same topics. I’m also a master of elimination — especially of crappy & time consuming jobs :). Discipline is my big one to work on.
I decided to pass on the full time log for two reasons. First, I analyzed how much time essentials REALLY take in the winter. Second, I do too much in 30 minutes to write stuff down. Unless, I only write down “deal with kid needs” and “laundry” or “feed children” and “second breakfast,” etc. What I DID do was work on my time wasters, because really that was one of the points of the exercise–to see what you spend your time on and then analyze it for good, bad and just plain reality. I know that I spend a lot of time on my phone and computer; I think most of my readers know that, too :). I got diligent, again, about limiting them. I also decided that I needed to make time to really connect with my kids and be available to them and so I’ve been making a lot of effort to replace tech time with kid time (and not more chore time).
I’m also percolating goals. I know what *I* want, but it’s silly to make goals that may conflict with hubby’s goals and he has been working 16 hour days. I’m hoping to come home refreshed & inspired and ready to dream big after a badly needed family vacation this fall. Right now he is busy moving to a new office and trying to hire & train a new tech before we leave. Lots of stress going on the business front :).
I’ve gotten stuck in the planning tools. Sort of. Big dreams & annual goals are still percolating, but I know that one is to travel more. While I haven’t set a goal yet, I do have time scheduled for travel in September & October right now. My monthly calendars are pretty good, but my weekly plan & daily tasks will need tweaking when the new school year starts soon. I’m looking forward to finishing this section & revisiting the interruption and attitude chapters. I’m sure I’ll need it when the school year starts!
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a fabulous book for homeschool moms, especially those who work for pay (in or outside the home). Mary Jo Tate lays out all the best pieces of productivity and quality living and shares how they can make a difference in your life. As a mom, with children of all ages, homeschooling, running businesses, and in your messy, unpredictable life. Mary Jo doesn’t preach and doesn’t give orders but shares tips and how they have worked for her or others. She encourages you that more & better is possible and inspires you to get off your duff & do it. I’m so excited to be in a place of dreaming about — and taking action toward — the life I want to live. And live NOW not when the kids are older, or we have more money, or we live somewhere else, or or or. I’m so glad to have been able to review this inspiring read; it replaces nearly every other productivity book on my shelf because its tailored to my busy mom life.
Click here to read all reviews of the book Flourish by the other ladies in the Schoolhouse Review Crew!