Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight - TOS Review

I never have enough time in the day for everything that needs to happen - this often leaves me feeling frazzled and stressed, so when the chance to review The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight from Real Life Press, I just knew I needed it.

It is written by Heidi St.John, a fellow busy homeschooler and mum of seven. Her writing style is honest and humorous - she really tells you how it is, all the mistakes she made, lessons she learnt and tips to improve.

The Busy Mom's guide to daylight is an easy read. The introduction not only makes you giggle but helps you realise that Heidi understands your my situation as she's been there. The book is divided into eight chapters;

Intentional Daylight - this covers improving you relationships with your spouse and children, why you homeschool, how you homeschool, creating a Plan of Action (to carry you through the inevitable burn out) and the importance of the need for flexibility.

Organised Daylight - probably one of the most relevant chapters for me (I never knew how much stuff I had until I had to pack it for a move) this chapter is all about getting organised and controlling clutter thus reclaiming your life. Heidi packs it full of tips to help you purge your collection as well as practical ideas to assess what you actually need.

Scheduled Daylight - as you may have guessed, this chapter is all about schedules - again highlighting the need for flexibility (life changes often and what worked for you last month may change this month/year etc.) she talks about the different schedules that have worked or failed for her family as well as sharing schedules from various different styles of homeschoolers. She does stress the importance of making time for the Lord, time for your spouse and time for you.

Hungry Daylight - here she focuses on how to fill their empty tummies. She discusses meal planning and strategies to help prevent the panic you feel when you forgot to defrost the meat and now you are wondering what to make quickly for dinner. I totally love her tips on pressure cookers and slow cookers - so much so that I've dusted off my pressure cooker and it now has pride of place on my kitchen side.

Discouraged Daylight - as the title suggests, this chapter explains how she deals with discouragement (it happens to us all) and tips for overcoming it. Remembering in her words that 'nothing good is ever easy'.

Consolidated Daylight - this explains how Heidi coped with teaching multiple aged students (she had high school and tots at the same time) and gives lots of ideas for creating combined group studies.

Wasted Daylight - this was the most important chapter for me - it's all about taking control of your time and identifying your personal time stealer's, Heidi offers practical suggestions and gives action steps so you can implement the changes you want.

Surrendered Daylight - all about accepted the Lords help to manage you homeschool and about not comparing yourself to others.

A number of Heidi's ideas inspired me whilst I read this book, The two I found most helpful were to address my lack of self control when it came to my own time wasters (I will hold my hands up and admit I struggle to put a good book down once I've started reading it - I have taken to setting a timer now so I don't go to sleep too late or let it take up more than its allocated time) 
and to create 'white space' on your calender - this is at least two days back to back where you have nothing planned, where you can take time to recover (avoid burnout) and enjoy time with your family.

I loved that Heidi shares so freely from her own experiences (I no longer feel bad about pyjama days), she is completely transparent and knows that being honest about her challenges will encourage others. I was impressed by the scripture she incorporates throughout the book and about how open she is that she relies on grace to get her through.

This book is a fun, uplifting read. I think most parents would benefit from the tips she shares - I know I did : )

I received the e-book priced at $10.00 and there is a paperback available for $12.95.

You can see what my crew mates thought to this and other Heidi St.John books over at the TOS Blog.

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