Do you struggle with trying to “do it all?” And trying to do it all really well? Mary Jo Tate offers help for women in her new book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, published by Apologia Educational Ministries.
Homeschool mothers can be very busy. In addition to raising and educating our children, we try to maintain a home, nourish a marriage, and volunteer outside the home. Many of us have jobs or own small businesses. Some of us are single mothers on top of everything else. Our society seems to tell us that we should be able to juggle all of these roles flawlessly, but real life tells us otherwise.
Flourish, Balance for Homeschool Moms is loaded with encouragement for the tired woman as well as practical tips for organizing and prioritizing her life and commitments. Each chapter concludes with thought provoking questions and calls to action that will help the reader apply each topic to real life.
One of the first points that the author makes is no one can do everything well. Choices always have to be made about which demands are most important, and which ones can be allowed to slide for a season. One of the chapter-end tasks was to place circumstances into three categories:
- Irreducible facts—what you can’t change
- Non-reducible facts--what you won’t change
- Preferences—what you can and will change
I found this very helpful to think about. For example, having a family member with a chronic health problem, or being a single parent are irreducible facts. Homeschooling or the choice to work outside the home may (or may not) be non-reducible facts. Choice of curriculum, living in a particular location, and school scheduling may be preferences that are open to change if necessary.
We need to do the best we can with our personal circumstances in an effort find peace in our lives. Setting priorities and looking objectively at our commitments can help us accomplish this.
Subsequent chapters address setting goals and planning, beginning with the “Big Goal,” down to yearly, monthly, and weekly goals, and daily to-do lists. The book even includes time logs to help you track where your time is really going and various forms to help with goal setting and self-evaluation.
Some of the topics discussed are:
- Setting boundaries
- Adjusting attitudes (not just the kids’, but our own!)
- Making memories with your children
- Managing your home
- Single parenting (and how to reach out to single parents)
- Starting and running a home business
Because the author is a single mother who homeschools her children and runs a home business, I really felt that she addressed all the main areas of my own life. I’ve read a lot of wonderful books about homeschooling, but few if any that addressed the issues of homeschooling, single parenting and working at the same time. I know I haven’t read a homeschooling book that even addresses the possibility that a husband isn’t part of the picture. After my husband left me a few years ago, I became painfully of how difficult it could be to do it all alone. It’s wonderful to read of success stories of others that were able to continue homeschooling and keep going, albeit not with an ideal scenario.
At the same time, I know this book would be very helpful to any mom who is struggling to balance her priorities and time and who is looking for organizational tips and encouragement. The chapter on home business is wonderful, providing ideas for the woman who is just looking for business ideas to one who has a business who needs help with marketing, setting prices, and keeping better records. The chapter on homeschooling didn’t provide me with much new information, but would be very helpful to a newer homeschooler, with ideas on scheduling, reasons to homeschool, and homeschooling methods. I loved her description of a “typical day,” complete with interruptions and failures. Those perfect days only happen in the magazines!
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms sells for $15 and would be a great addition to any mom’s bookshelf.