Flourish: Finding Balance for Homeschool Moms a Schoolhouse Crew Review

This entry is part 15 of 27 in the series 2014 Homeschool Reviews

Flourish Book Review
Wouldn’t it be lovely if all the days in a homeschooling mom’s life were like butterflies and rainbows with completely obedient children smiling and eagerly soaking up all you have to teach?

But they’re not and that’s why Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Momsfrom Apologia Educational Ministries is such a breath of fresh air to help you focus and reconnect with your homeschool days.Flourish Book Review

The author of Flourish, Mary Jo Tate, has not had an easy road on her path to be a work

at home, stay at home, homeschool mom of 4 growing boys. And that makes her a perfect vessel to cover all those areas we homeschool moms have in common and even some special ones for special circumstances.

I don’t envy what Mary has had to go through but I appreciate her putting herself out there and sharing her experience and heart to help other homeschool moms excel in this none too easy call.

This incredible resource, Flourish, is aimed towards the busy homeschool mom and is a 6 x 9 inch softbound book of 288 pages. And it is available for $15 on the Apologia website.

Flourish is organized into 16 juicy chapters with a Take Action section after each one and includes an appendix with planning forms. You can also download more resources and customizable forms through a download link you can get access to with a purchase.

Flourish Book ReviewWhat’s in the Book

Instead of telling you how wonderful this book is all in one shebang, because there is so much information here, I will go through chapter by chapter and tell you what I gleaned from this book.

Chapter 1: Here is where we find out about Mary’s own journey and Oh! the list of all the struggles we homeschooling moms go through. I don’t think I had realized some of the many ways in which we not only struggle to keep it together but also beat our own selves up for not being one way or another. Here you’ll find out how to get the most out of this book and Flourish on!

Chapter 2: I think I’m pretty good at delegating and juggling my time but even I learned a few nuggets for letting some things go and making time for what’s important. Not everything on your list is a must-do.

Chapter 3: Your Toolbox. Now we’re talking! Mary gives you the acronym FREEDOM for moving through your homeschool. Try it. It will help bring freedom. Each area of the acronym will help you evaluate new challenges and duties as they come along.

Chapter 4: Have you ever thought of keeping a time log? Mary challenges you to do that and more to really find out where your time is going. It may be a wakeup call.

Chapter 5: Goals! Goals! Goals! One big name frugal homeschooling mom does a weekly post on setting up goals for you, your home, your family, your home business. I used to follow along and post my own goals and fell away a few months ago when we started planning our move. I can tell you my productivity went down big time.  Although one of those goals is about to come to pass I could have done with keeping up some of the smaller weekly goes.

Chapter 6: This was my favorite chapter. I’m all about planning tools. Calendars, To-Do lists, and Task lists. Mary really lays what they are and how to make them work. 7 Essential Tools for Planning and how they can help you. I know a lot of people really seem to dislike using tools like this to keep on track but once you get started you wonder how you ever did without them.

Chapter 7: Chapter seven is a little bit of a like chapter 4 but this time instead of tracking your time you are establishing boundaries for your time. With friends, with family, with yourself.

Chapter 8: This chapter touched a lot of buttons for me. The guilty mom syndrome. I know I go through the feelings rather often. Am I doing enough? Am I a good enough teacher? Is my home wonderful enough? And even am I judging that mom across the street who sends her children to public school. What feelings are we harboring that are letting us down?

Chapter 9: Take care of yourself mom. I’ve even blogged about this a few times but yet found areas in this book where I could definitely improve. What good are you if you are run down and unhealthy due to neglect of your own personal needs? Where do I need to improve? I’ve jumped off the vitamins bandwagon again and it’s showing.

Chapter 10: Chores, wonderful chores. Get your children involved in helping keep the home. Comes with examples of her own family’s chore schedules. You didn’t make that mess alone so don’t be the only one who cleans it.

Chapter 11: This chapter was full of ideas to help you create special memories with each member of your family and enjoy the mom journey. It goes by so quickly and there are so many more days than just birthdays to remember fondly.

Chapter 12: Yay the Homemaking chapter! Even homemaking is not your thing Mary tackles 6 areas that will help to put your home on auto-pilot. It doesn’t matter if you live alone or have a full quiver the home has it’s needs and those needs left undone will create much more headache than if you tackle them step by step on a schedule that works for you.flourish-quote

Chapter 13: Why do you homeschool? What answer do you give to those who ask?  Your homeschooling journey. If you’ve forgotten the reason you are homeschooling your child or looking for good reasons to homeschool you will want to read this chapter. Mary also gives you a quick synopsis on the  most popular ways of homeschool, different kinds of homeschool yearly schedules, and a nice detailed look at a typical homeschool day for her brood.

Chapter 14: Maybe you’ve thought that, if you were a single mom, that you couldn’t homeschool. Well Mary is a single homeschooling mom and she offer tips for making it work. My aunt, frustrated with the negative impact away school was having on her daughter, made an attempt at homeschooling over 10 years ago. Sadly it didn’t last. Wouldn’t it have been nice if this resource had been available back then. It can be done.

Chapter 15: Having a home business. I haven’t seen this before in a homeschool book but starting a home business comes really naturally when you homeschool.  There is not enough room in this for book for Mary to offer you concrete ideas of business you can start but instead reminds you of some of the things you wrote down when setting goals and ideals for your home and life. These are the things that can guide you and your family to the perfect home business.

Chapter 16: Particularly for the frustrated homeschool mom this chapter helps you to focus and revisit the things you do to make work what isn’t working.


My Thoughts

So the title of my blog is Homemaking Organized and that would make one think I had it all together. Nyet!

I want to say that when I started this blog I did have it together. Really! It was right before my daughter came along and my home and life ran like a well oiled machine. My sister still jokes about it to this day.

But as much as I’ve been able to roll with the punches through my life still, as with most people, the unexpected can throw things off balance. And quite a bit at that.

The past year has been a little unsettling to my well ordered life. On top of my mother’s stroke, my father’s surgery, and being told we need to move, oh no we don’t, oh yes we do, there are the regular daily details of homeschooling, running my home, caring for my family, and running a small business.

All these things have gotten a little out of whack and having Flourish come right on time for our move has been a nice reminder of the basics, and then some, that I need to go back to.

So far I’ve only been able to mostly read this book for the review.  Apart from doing some of the exercises I haven’t fill out any of the forms. I already use forms just like these in my Homemaking Binder and so as I get ready to plan the new school year I’ll be updating my personal forms. But my goal is to sit down and go through this book step by step once we have moved and have things basically settled down. Not too long into the future. Maybe a month or so.

This book is obviously packed with great information just speaking to the homeschool mama’s heart.

It’s the kind of book you want to carry a pen and highlighter with.

It’s the kind of book you can refer to again and again when things get rough in any area of your homeschool life.

It’s a book from a Christian perspective. Mary is a Christian and unashamedly quotes scripture (she uses the ESV version) talking about God, His Grace, His Calling and more.

This book is about embracing that often hated phrase, “Time Management”, and finding the freedom (or free hours) that come when you come prepared.

I don’t think you can go wrong if you  pick this book up for yourself or a friend.

You can connect with the Flourish author these places…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlourishAtHome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryjotate



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