Apologia Educational Ministries offers a wide variety of products and services for to meet the needs of homeschoolers. The company is family owned and part of their mission to equip families to defend their Christian faith. They offer creation based science products for all grade levels. The present a Biblical Worldview in all of their products. Other products include planners, homeschooling books, history, language arts, and constitutional literacy. The also offer online classes.
This time the review was for me. I had the chance to read “Flourish, Balance for Homeschool Moms” by Mary Jo Tate. Flourish contains 16 chapters that cover many aspects in the life of homeschool moms. Within the book you will explore life management, family life, homemaking, homeschooling, reading, home business, and being a single parent. The information contain in the pages isn’t so much a do this and that presentation but a tool box that will help give you the ideas and practical advice that will help you create your plan of action. The appendix itself is also full of useful information and tools including planning forms, resource lists, notes, and contact information. Also, the forms are available for purchasers of the book online so that you can download them and print them out as needed.
Each chapter end with a Take Action! section. This section will help guide you to begin to utilize what you have read. Even those chapters that you feel don’t pertain directly to you still hold great information that can be put to use in your life in different ways.
Flourish comes from the heart of Mary Jo Tate who learned and developed her ideas through her own life experiences. She willingly shares her own experiences and is willing to admit her own failures at time. She was an “ordinary” homeschool mom when her world was changed through divorce. She had to find ways to care for her young sons and provide for them while still maintaining a homeschool lifestyle.
My Use and What I’m Taking Away
When I started the book it was exciting to see someone I know personally as both a homeschool mom and entrepreneur had written the foreword. It was like having it handed to me and hearing, “Here you should read this book.” Yet I found myself picking it up and putting it down several times. I kept thinking this isn’t really for me. I’m not single and work outside the home and don’t have my own business. I found myself near the end of the review period and the book barely begun. I realized that how can I be upset at my children when they don’t put effort into things because it doesn’t excite them. I determined to finish the book for no other reason than I wanted to set a good example for my children. And I’m so thankful that I did.
Suddenly there I was reading Chapter 3 – The Freedom Toolbox. There was so much there I needed. I spent a day going over the chapter and working on the activity. The next day I read several more chapters and so on and the book I couldn’t seem to start was finished in just a few days. I really love the fact that the chapters don’t end with think about it questions but instead a call to action. But what I realize is that the action required often including taking the time to really think about how those ideas would apply to my life.
I haven’t started using all the ideas I gleamed from the book because I am taking heart in the idea presented of taking small steps, making those things a habit, and then adding to them. A few of the immediate action steps I took was to get out my blogging planner and really think about what things were coming up and to begin to jot down ideas so that instead of just being random thoughts they were now clear plans. I started a running weekly to-do list. I am using Google Keep because it’s easy to add new things to the to-do list and I love check them off and seeing them move to the bottom of the list. Crossed off but bearing witness to the fact that I was getting things done. With a new idea of having a plan I was even able to keep on track or reschedule when I got an expected call in to work a couple of days this week. Instead of stressing about what I might be leaving undone I knew I had a list and could go back to it when I had time. I was able to make use of small increments of time because when I knew I didn’t have time to write a whole blog post, I could take the time to do some social media sharing and commenting.
One unexpected consequence of the chapter on Home Business was the release it gave me. I have always felt like in some ways I was a failure as a homeschool mom because when we needed more income I took a part-time job instead of starting some kind of home business. I had tried a couple of things in the past like selling scrapbooking supplies but the never felt right and they weren’t successful. In reading through this chapter I realized why I wasn’t successful. It wasn’t because I wasn’t intelligent or even dedicated it just wasn’t a good fit. As I read through the steps I realized that just reading about a home based business was enough to make me feel squeamish. Maybe someday I will feel differently because something will catch my passion but I feel better now following a different path because it fits me and my personality.
And don’t skip the chapters on being a single parent as there are lots of wonderful ideas in there that can help you minister better to single parents around you.
Finally, I’m looking forward to taking the ideas and tools and applying them in my life and situation. And that to me is the most remarkable part about this book. You can take what you learn and apply right where you are today. You can continue to use the tools and make adjustments overtime. You can begin to build good habit on good habit. Life is about forward motion and using good tools to keep moving forward.
Ready for some balance, Flourish, Balance for the Homeschool Mom can be purchased for $15.00. It is for any homeschool mom no matter where you find yourself these days.
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