It’s that time when many of us (myself included!) are deep in the throes of organizing and planning for the new homeschool year.
I’ve been a homeschool mom for well over a dozen years now, and I still haven’t outgrown the need for encouragement and support in juggling the many roles and responsibilities this job entails. Even the most seasoned homeschool mom can easily become discouraged and burned out if she’s not careful.
For a variety of reasons, life has been incredibly stressful for our family for the last year to year and a half. The effects have shown in my home management and our homeschool – it feels like we’ve basically been in “survival mode”. We’ve finally seen the end of some of the trying circumstances we were dealing with, and I’m really feeling the need to focus and get back on track as we move into fall. As part of that preparation, I’ve been working my way through Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational Ministries.
Flourish was written by Mary Jo Tate, a single mom who homeschools her four boys and also runs a successful home business. She wrote the book to encourage and equip exhausted, overloaded moms who feel like they’re barely getting by. By sharing the story of God’s faithfulness in her own life, she wants to give God glory and inspire hope in those who are struggling that they can not just survive, but flourish in the role God has given them!
The sixteen chapters included 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 Tools
- 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
The chapters are filled with easy to implement concepts, tips, and tools for all aspects of managing your time, home, and homeschool, including customizable, printable planning forms for all purchasers of the book. Alongside all these practical tools, Mary Jo offers heartfelt encouragement and Godly wisdom to counter the stress and discouragement many moms experience. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and/or practical steps to implement the concepts in that chapter.
This has been such a refreshing read for me! Mary Jo doesn’t come across as a mom who “has it all together”. She’s very real, sharing her successes, struggles, and failures, and most importantly, where she places her hope and confidence (hint: it’s not in her own ability 😉 ).
I love the encouragement to find peace in the space between our ideal and reality, and her tips for prioritizing. The concept of a “Stop Doing” list to balance and offset the running (never-ending!) to-do list is brilliant! The gentle reminder to resist viewing our children as hindrances rather than blessings was convicting, and I love the statement that “perfectionism is the mother of procrastination” – wow, can I identify with that! The illustration of those days when it feels like everyone wants a piece of you as “monkey bread” days is perfect! The testimonies from other moms and quotes at the beginning of each chapter and scattered throughout are great.
In short, I think Flourish is a wonderful resource for encouragement and motivation for the new year! If you’re like me and you like to read something to refresh, inspire and energize you as you plan, you can’t go wrong with it!
You can connect with author Mary Jo Tate on social media here:
Be sure to click on the graphic below to read what other homeschool moms have to say about Flourish too.