Training Our Children – Flourish at Home

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Training Your Children Flourish At Home

Flourish At Home

Training Your Children

Curious about training your children? People often ask me how I manage to homeschool and run a home business as a single mom. One of the most important factors is that I have taught my sons how to run the household. In this episode, I’ll talk about how to train your children to be independent and responsible, how to take initiative, and how to serve others cheerfully. These four things will prepare your children well for adulthood and contribute greatly to building a balanced life for your whole family now.

These sample chore charts will give you an idea of how I allocated housework and other responsibilities among my sons at different stages of our family life:

Sample Chore Charts

How do YOU teach your children responsibility, independence, initiative, and service? After you listen to the podcast, please leave a comment and share your best tips with us!

Listen to these podcasts for additional resources:

Homeschool Lifestyle
Last Minute DIY Tips
Money Saving Field Trips
All About Teaching
Raising Spiritually Strong Kids
Six Homeschooling Insider Tips
Best Staycations for Kids
Avoid Curriculum Pitfalls
Top 10 Parenting Secrets
45 Family Date Night Ideas


Thanks to our sponsor, Harper Collins Christian, and the Kingdom Girl’s Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible. This is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. Visit the website for more information.

It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment – FAH Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Attitude Adjustment

It’s Time for An Attitude Adjustment

Me? An attitude?

Homeschooling moms are sometimes so busy training our children that we can forget to examine our own hearts. Do you ever struggle with guilt or fear? Are you paralyzed by perfectionism? Are you ever tempted to complain  about your own life or to envy someone else’s? On this episode of the Flourish at Home show, we’ll be talking about how we can make a choice every day to honor God with our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as well as our actions.


Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls as they grow in their own faith and learn about the women who have impacted the world.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Laundry and Dishes and Dust–Oh My! FAH Episode 8 (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Laundry and dishes and dust, oh my! Flourish at Home on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Laundry and dishes and dust–oh my! Laundry and dishes and dust!

Do you ever feel like you’re navigating a dark, eerie forest? Imagine, instead of facing the unknown threats of lions, tigers, and bears, you’re up against a relentless onslaught of laundry, dishes, and dust.

Thanks to our sponsor, A Fanthom Presents Film – The Ark and The Darkness – Movie Trailer here: NoahsFlood

In theaters March 20-21! Noah’s Flood is preserved in ancient writings from every major culture around the world. Recent discoveries confirm what the Bible has said all along. Sevenfold Films and Genesis Apologetics present: The Ark and the Darkness.

Laundry and Other Never Ending Chores

Life’s busyness often overwhelms us, tempting us to overlook our work’s profound significance as homemakers. In this episode, we dive into the importance of homemaking with a grateful heart. We’ll share practical tips for housework, organization, and cooking. Plus, we’ll highlight the real significance of even the smallest daily tasks.

Navigating through domestic challenges can feel like trekking through an unyielding mountain range. The endless chores can cloud our vision, making us forget the true value of our roles at home. Yet, these tasks, mundane as they may appear, are extraordinarily significant.

Importance of Homemaking

We dedicate this episode to the beauty and importance of homemaking. We aim to equip you with practical skills for mastering housework, organization, and cooking, making these tasks manageable. We’ll also explore how to find encouragement and fulfillment in recognizing the importance of every task, no matter how small.

Homemaking is more than cleaning and cooking; it’s creating a sanctuary of warmth and love. It involves stewarding our spaces with care and intention, recognizing that each act of service contributes to a happy, healthy home.

A Grateful Heart

Join us as we journey through the dense forest of homemaking, armed with gratitude, practical wisdom, and a renewed sense of purpose. Let’s uncover the beauty in the everyday, celebrate quiet victories, and remind ourselves of our work’s profound impact on our loved ones.

 

 

What Should We Read? How to Choose Good Books – FAH 24 – Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Choose Good Books | Flourish at Home Replay on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

There are millions of books available today. How on earth can you choose what’s best to read? In this episode, we’ll consider how to choose good books—both for yourself and for your children.

This is part 2 of a series on why, what, how, and when to read and why and how to build a home library.

Three Types of Books

To be able to choose good books, you need to understand the different types of books. Apart from the usual categories of fiction and nonfiction, there are three main types of books:

  1. Living Books – A living book is written by an author who loves the subject; it is challenging and inspiring. Focus on these!
  2. Reference Books – Atlas, dictionary, almanac, etc. These are useful to have on hand even if you also look things up online.
  3. Twaddle – This is Charlotte Mason’s term for dumbed-down, diluted, silly, easy-reading books with poor writing and sometimes tacked-on morals. Avoid these.

What Is a Good Book?

  1. In general, older books are likelier to be living books. New books are often politically correct and likelier to contain offensive material.
  2. Great books feature excellent writing and thought-provoking ideas. They often have an impact on other literature and culture.
  3. “Safe” does not equal “good.” All great literature involves conflict; otherwise there’s no plot. Literature can provide both positive examples to emulate and negative examples to avoid. Use books to teach your children discernment.
  4. It’s OK to read non-Christian authors (even ancient pagans). All truth is God’s truth.
  5. Include a mix of challenging books and easy books.
  6. Every person’s and family’s standards and tastes will differ. Choose good books in accordance with your own standards.

Guides to Help You Choose Good Books

Here are some of my favorite guides to help you choose good books:

For a longer list of my favorite books about how to choose good books, as well as my favorite books about homeschooling, visit my blog for booklovers at EclecticBibliophile.com. That will also put you on the list to be the first to find out about my new e-book about books, coming soon.

And if you wish you had more time to read, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips for time management in my book, Flourish.

Stay tuned for our next episode, when we’ll discuss HOW to read.

Other Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective by Leland Ryken

A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille

 

NOTE: This post includes affiliate links. I will make a small commission if you purchase books through my links. Just think of this as an opportunity to help me build MY home library while you build YOURS!

Move Past the Juggling Act and Learn to Flourish

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


Moving past the juggling and learn to flourish

Are you paralyzed by such a long to-do list that you don’t know where to start? Do you drag through the day exhausted, thinking only of how much longer it is before you can finally collapse into bed . . . just to get up and start all over the next day? Is your life so dominated by the urgent that you never get to the important?

Balancing all the responsibilities of home life, home school, and home business can often seem overwhelming—better suited to Supermom than ordinary mortals. But take heart! There are practical ways to manage your life so that you can flourish. Here are some of the best strategies I’ve learned in 22 years as a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom.

Don’t Juggle—Balance!

We often talk about juggling our many responsibilities. The problem is that the juggling act inevitably leads to dropping the ball. Sooner or later, everything will crash—including you. It’s more useful to think in terms of balance. Imagine a performer on the high wire at a circus or crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Tightrope walkers make frequent small adjustments to maintain their balance; they move a little to the right and a little to the left, adjusting gradually without drastic shifts. That image of maintaining balance rather than juggling can make a powerful difference in the way we approach daily life.

When we’re caught up in the juggling act, we think in terms of crisis management, resulting in a triage approach to life: We ignore the things that aren’t going to be done no matter what, ignore the things that will be taken care of anyway, and give all our attention to the current crisis.

You just can’t live that way for very long. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to find a pace that you can maintain for the long haul. Rushing frantically from one deadline or crisis to the next will burn you out and eventually injure innocent bystanders—your family. Constantly operating in triage mode is a signal that your life is like a disaster scene.

So don’t think in terms of crisis management. Don’t even think in terms of time management. Think in terms of life management—balancing all of life in the real world.

Find Peace in the Space between the Ideal and Reality

One of my most fundamental principles for life management is this: Find peace in the space between the ideal and reality. The ideal is what you would do and have if you could do and have anything you wanted without any complications or the hindrances of an ordinary life. The reality is your everyday life—the facts that you have to deal with. No use whining about that. The real question is: What are you going to do in the middle?

Once you accept that no one can “do it all,” you realize that it all boils down to prioritizing. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to other things, so be very intentional about what you choose. Opportunity does not equal obligation. Figure out what it is that only you can do or should do, and focus on those things. Eliminate unnecessary activities, and delegate or outsource tasks that have to be done, but not necessarily by you.

Set Written, Specific, Measurable Goals

Once you’ve decided what you need to focus on, setting goals will help keep you on track. Writing down your goals makes them more real and helps you take them more seriously. Goals must be specific and measurable. If you can’t measure something, how can you know if you did it? Sharing your goals with a mastermind team or accountability partner will help keep you on track.

Set both short-term and long-term goals. Building our lives primarily around short-term tasks keeps us focused on the urgent rather than the important. Instead, start with a long-term vision for your life and build your yearly goals around that. Then you can plan each month, week, and day in alignment with that vision.

Setting goals in 3 major categories—personal, family (including homeschooling), and business—helps you see the balance (or lack of it) in your life each week. You won’t always have a perfect balance among the categories—and it’s not just about the number of items in each group. Some weeks will necessarily lean more toward one area than others. But if you often have 25 items in the business list, 5 in family, and 0 in personal, you’re headed for burnout fast!

Take Care of Yourself

Many moms neglect taking care of themselves, but you simply can’t nurture, provide for, and educate your children well if you’re always on the edge of burnout. Make time for personal rest, renewal, relaxation, and even recreation. Be sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and drinking plenty of water.

When we get bogged down in the difficulties and challenges of our busy lives, we start drooping like a wilted plant that hasn’t been watered in a long time. But it’s the flourishing plant—one that has been well tended, with the right balance of good soil, water, and light—that grows and offers beauty or nourishment. When you are flourishing, you can take better care of your family so that they too will flourish.

God Is Faithful

Even with the best strategies and goals, things won’t always go exactly as you plan. But if God has called you to homeschool your children, He will provide the strength, patience, grace, resources, and time to do it. May your family and your life be a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

 

What Should We Read? How to Choose Good Books – FAH 24

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
How to Choose Good Books

How to Choose Good Books

 

There are millions of books available today. How on earth can you choose what’s best to read? In this episode, we’ll consider how to choose good books—both for yourself and for your children.

This is part 2 of a series on why, what, how, and when to read and why and how to build a home library.

Three Types of Books

To be able to choose good books, you need to understand the different types of books. Apart from the usual categories of fiction and nonfiction, there are three main types of books:

  1. Living Books – A living book is written by an author who loves the subject; it is challenging and inspiring. Focus on these!
  2. Reference Books – Atlas, dictionary, almanac, etc. These are useful to have on hand even if you also look things up online.
  3. Twaddle – This is Charlotte Mason’s term for dumbed-down, diluted, silly, easy-reading books with poor writing and sometimes tacked-on morals. Avoid these.

What Is a Good Book?

  1. In general, older books are likelier to be living books. New books are often politically correct and likelier to contain offensive material.
  2. Great books feature excellent writing and thought-provoking ideas. They often have an impact on other literature and culture.
  3. “Safe” does not equal “good.” All great literature involves conflict; otherwise there’s no plot. Literature can provide both positive examples to emulate and negative examples to avoid. Use books to teach your children discernment.
  4. It’s OK to read non-Christian authors (even ancient pagans). All truth is God’s truth.
  5. Include a mix of challenging books and easy books.
  6. Every person’s and family’s standards and tastes will differ. Choose good books in accordance with your own standards.

Guides to Help You Choose Good Books

Here are some of my favorite guides to help you choose good books:

For a longer list of my favorite books about how to choose good books, as well as my favorite books about homeschooling, visit my blog for booklovers at EclecticBibliophile.com. That will also put you on the list to be the first to find out about my new e-book about books, coming soon.

And if you wish you had more time to read, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips for time management in my book, Flourish.

Stay tuned for our next episode, when we’ll discuss HOW to read.

Other Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective by Leland Ryken

A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille

 

NOTE: This post includes affiliate links. I will make a small commission if you purchase books through my links. Just think of this as an opportunity to help me build MY home library while you build YOURS!

Why Should We Read? 12 Benefits of Reading – FAH 23

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
12 Benefits of Reading

12 Benefits of Reading

Why should we read? You probably already know some of the benefits, such as education and entertainment, but there are many more.

This is part 1 of a series on why, what, how, and when to read and why and how to build a home library. Why am I doing a series about reading on the “Flourish At Home” show? Because reading is an important part of a flourishing life! Education is one of my 7 FREEDOM tools that we discussed in episode 15, and reading is a great way to take care of yourself by destressing and relaxing.

So let’s dive in to 12 of the most important benefits of reading—for both children and adults!

Benefits of Reading

  1. Changes your life by building wisdom and growing your character.
  2. Helps you learn facts and builds your personal storehouse of knowledge.
  3. Develops and preserves your mind and your memory and helps prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  4. Improves your focus and concentration in a world that normally scatters your attention in a million different directions.
  5. Builds your vocabulary and improves your grammar skills—almost by osmosis!
  6. Helps you become a better writer.
  7. Inspires creativity and expands your imagination.
  8. Helps you learn by example—both positive and negative examples.
  9. Helps you develop empathy and understand real people’s feelings better.
  10. Lets you travel to new places—both real and imaginary.
  11. Reduces stress and promotes relaxation.
  12. Provides a relatively inexpensive source of entertainment. Put simply, reading is a pleasure.

What are YOUR favorite reasons to read? Be sure to leave a comment!

Visit my blog for booklovers, Eclectic Bibliophile, and sign up for a free report with my favorite books about choosing good books and my top ten recommendations for books about homeschooling. That will also put you on the list to be the first to find out about my new e-book about books, coming soon.

And if you wish you had more time to read, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips for time management in my book, Flourish.

Stay tuned for our next episode, when we’ll discuss WHAT to read.

New series on reading and building a home library coming soon!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

An important part of living a flourishing life is continuing to learn and grow, so I’m developing an exciting new podcast series about books! I’ll be talking about why, what, how, and when to read, as well as why and how to build a home library. The first episode will air on November 17.

Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy the story of how I became a bibliophile. It’s my grandmother’s fault!

Autobiography of a Bibliophile

When you read that story, be sure to sign up (in the top right corner of that blog) for a free report with my favorite books about choosing good books and my top ten recommendations for books about homeschooling. That will also put you on the list to be the first to find out about my new e-book about books, coming soon.

 

Just Say No to Interruptions, part 1 – FAH episode 21

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

interruptions

It’s hard  to get anything done when you’re constantly being interrupted. You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? You’re desperately trying to accomplish some task, and the phone rings. The dryer buzzes. The baby cries. You hear a mysterious crash from the kitchen. The doorbell rings. Calgon can’t even take you away because it’s impossible to get 5 minutes alone in the bathroom.

No matter how well we manage our time, our best efforts are often undermined by interruptions. I’m defining interruptions broadly as anything that keeps us from doing what we need to do by distracting us from our priorities and making us lose our focus.

Interruptions can come from strangers, acquaintances, business associates, friends, family…and even from ourselves. They can involve bad or good news, illness, ordinary events, or enticing opportunities.

Whatever the source, they distract us from what we have planned to do, hinder our productivity, and upset our balance. They can trigger bad attitudes and make us frustrated or irritable. Even worse, they can confuse us about what is really important.

Today we’re going to look at ways to handle the interruptions and distractions that come from outside our homes, especially through technology.

Perception of Moms at Home

When you spend most of your time at home, some people assume that you are available anytime.  Homeschooling and working from home are so different from our society’s norms that many people don’t take them seriously. They may call you or drop by your house although they would never call or drop by if you worked in an office.

It’s important to show God’s love by serving people, but you simply can’t be available on demand for everyone all the time without neglecting your own family. It’s essential to establish some boundaries, or your true priorities will be completely undermined.

Telephone and Texting

What’s your most common interruption? For many people, it’s the telephone. Cell phones have made it even worse by creating an expectation that everyone should be instantly available all the time. Here are a few tips for making the phone your servant, not your master:

  • Ignore the phone.
  • Turn off the ringer.
  • Use caller ID.
  • Use an answering machine or voice mail.
  • Use call waiting.
  • Reply to phone messages by e-mail.

Doorbell

  • Just ignore it.
  • Put a note on the door.
  • Use the peephole like caller ID.
  • Answer the door with work in your hands.

E-mail and Social Media

The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can also be a hindrance. Discipline yourself ot use e-mail and social media wisely and intentionally.

  • Don’t go online first thing in the morning.
  • Create rules to automatically sort incoming e-mail messages into folders.
  • Act on most e-mails right away.
  • Create a folder for action items.
  • Minimize incoming messages.

Technology has made it possible to stay in touch with friends and family and make new acquaintances from all over the world. Used wisely, social media can be a tremendous tool for relaxation, fellowship, business networking, and ministering to others. Used carelessly, it can be a distraction and a hindrance to focusing on your family and other priorities. Remember the value of your time and use your time online with discretion and self-discipline.

On the next episode of the Flourish At Home show, we’ll continue talking about interruptions and what we can do about them. Meanwhile, I want to hear from YOU! What interruptions bug you the most? How do handle them? Be sure to leave a comment and share your best ideas with us!

Remember, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips for managing your busy life in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, available at FlourishAtHome.com.

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms

Learn about Writing, Interruptions, and Home Business

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week’s podcast didn’t happen because I was sick. I’m so sorry! (And I’m feeling much better now.)

I’ll be back in October with two episodes about how to handle all the annoying interruptions and distractions that so easily get us off track, trigger bad attitudes, and hinder our productivity. You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? Too many text messages, ringing doorbells, a mysterious crash from the kitchen, yet another phone call from a telemarketer or politician, friends and neighbors who think you can’t possibly be busy because you’re “just” a mom at home, a kid who thinks his urgent need to tell you he wants a Batman birthday party seven months from now (although he will, of course, change his mind 27 times between now and his actual birthday) constitutes an emergency that justifies interrupting you when you’ve finally found five relatively quiet minutes to think, being sick when you’re supposed to record a podcast—that kind of stuff.

Meanwhile, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming events where I’d love to meet you in person!

Sept. 24, 2015, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Writing Workshop at the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Montgomery, Alabama

Topics:

  • The Composition of a Masterpiece: How F. Scott Fitzgerald Wrote and Revised The Great Gatsby
  • The 5 Ps of Publishing: How to Plan, Pen, Polish, Publish, and Promote Your Book
  • Getting it Right: How to Polish Your Writing
Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Montgomery, Alabama

Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Montgomery, Alabama

Sept. 24, 2015 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Workshop for Busy Moms, Montgomery, Alabama

Topic: Just Say No to Interruptions and Distractions

Oct. 16-17, 2015

2:1 Conference, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Topic: Just Say No to Interruption and Distractions

Nov. 11, 2015 , 3:00 p.m. Eastern

National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE)

Teleclass (OK, we can’t actually meet in person at this one. But I think you’ll find it helpful anyway . . . and you can listen from the comfort of your own home, just like a podcast!)

Topic: How Do You Do It All? Balancing Family Life and Home Business in the Real World

For more information on all of these events, visit my blog at flourishathome.com/writing-interruptions-home-business-workshops/