Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flourish by Mary Jo Tate - Apologia Book Review

Flourish Book Review
Honestly, I was nervous to take on this review.  I, a homeschool mom, struggle greatly with finding balance in my day, my week, my life, and reading had somehow gotten knocked near the bottom of my list of priorities.  I had been existing in survival mode.  However, when the opportunity to review Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms came to me through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew via Apologia Educational Ministries something in me told me to take on the challenge.  The big clincher for me was that Mary Jo Tate is a successful homeschool mom that works from home, and when I reviewed the chapters of the book I saw that she included one titled Home Business where she shares her personal experience and wisdom as a successful, SINGLE, work-from-home, homeschool mom.  Talk about some pretty big hats!  My attention had been peaked, and I accepted the challenge.

If I chose to focus on the perceived negative, I failed my challenge.  I have not finished the book.  However, I choose to focus on the positive.  There are 16 chapters in Flourish, and I am a mere five pages from completing Chapter 15, Home Business; the magic morsel that I had been searching for when I began this personal challenge.  I did get a little more than I bargained for.  Once I received my book in the mail from Apologia, and I read the first chapter, I was hooked.  What I didn't realize was that Mary Jo Tate would call on me to take some action on my own behalf.  At the end of each chapter Mary Jo a page titled Take Action!  I was a little nervous when I saw that first action step at the end of Chapter One.  However, I would not be so easily discouraged.  I grabbed a blank composition book from our homeschool cupboard and got to work.

The first Take Action! step was basically a review session for me.  See, I have been really working on self-reflection and have really been taking the time I need to evaluate where I am as an individual, where we are as a family, and where we stand as entrepreneurs.  I have been doing a bit of the dirty work already, so the first step didn't throw me any real curve balls.  The one glaring thing that did stand out to me though is that I do not have ANY written goals.  NONE!  I, the constant goal setter, had somehow allowed the waves of life to grab hold tight and beat me against the shore, over and over again.  Somehow, I have managed to lose my footing and stop doing something I consider completely essential to a successful life.  I have NO written goals for myself.  I have NO written goals for my family.  I have NO written goals for my homeschool.  I have NO written goals for our business.  ZIP.  ZERO.  ZILCH.  NADA.  This, thanks to Mary Jo Tate, will soon be remedied.

I have worked myself through each chapter so far diligently working on each and every Take Action! step at the end of each and every chapter.  I even completely read the chapter on single parents.  If you are not a single-parent this chapter is still for you.  Mary Jo does a wonderful job giving insight to both the single-parent that has made the commitment to homeschool her children as well as homeschoolers like me who have the benefit of a supportive husband.  She provides Take Action! steps for both groups of people as well.  I appreciate the wise quotes throughout the book as well as the personal input from real-life individuals in the trenches today, especially in this chapter.  The single-parent led homeschool family can easily slip through the social cracks, so to speak, and there is great advice given here that both empowers the single-parent as well as equips the traditional homeschool family to be both empathetic and supportive.

Flourish Book ReviewMary Jo Tate has provided a true blessing in the writing of Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms.  I have been telling others about it since I read the first four chapters in one sitting.  (Your do remember what I said about my struggle to find time to read above, right?)  It's a breath of fresh air, and should hold a place on the shelves of all homeschoolers, both new and veteran.  It would make a wonderful gift for any occasion to any homeschool mom.  Flourish is loaded with practical advice given from personal experience.  It is real life lived successfully with bumps and bruises bared.  For me, this equates to wisdom, and wisdom shared is multiplied.  Mary Jo Tate has effectively shared with us wisdom worth sharing.  Reading Flourish has been a blessing to me, and I know it will continue to bless me and many others for years to come.  It may just be the best $15 investment you'll ever make in your self, your family, your homeschool, and your business; all in one fell swoop!

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. 
She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
~Proverbs 3:13-18

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