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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
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Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, and Family in the Real World


Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, and Family in the Real World

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Publisher: B and H Publishing Group

Author: Marilyn Rockett

List Price: 8”x10” Paperback: $17.99

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Jean Hall

Suffering from chronic disorganization, I’ve read a lot of organizing books over the years. I can tell you all sorts of facts about getting and staying organized. I can talk the talk with the best of them, but when it comes to walking the walk...

Marilyn Rockett’s HomeSchooling at the Speed of Life takes a slightly different tack. I’ve been reading with a pencil in hand, underlining and making notes in the margins, and a Bible next to me. You see, this book doesn’t analyze your disorganization style or give you a list of things to do or any sort of short term solution. This book starts at the foundation, encouraging you to build a workable lifestyle. Yes, you examine what isn’t working in your life and home. Yes, there’s advice on planning and setting priorities. But unlike many other organizing books, this book continually brings you back to what the Bible says, back to your relationship with the Lord.

“Balance” is a watchword here, and the book is both thought-provoking and encouraging. At the end of each chapter you’ll find two sections under the heading “Stop, Look, Think” that help you to interact with what you’ve read, to internalize and apply the information.

“Direction – Where Are You Going?” contains a list of questions and assignments. This is practical application, broken into doable steps and seasoned with forethought. Following these prompts, you take time to observe your surroundings and the people in your family (yourself included!), record your observations and thoughts, and then act based on the reality of your home and life, not someone else’s!

I knew this book was going to be something special when I turned to the Acknowledgements page and found myself being thanked for taking the time to read the acknowledgements! However, you’re interested in organizing, so we’ll move on to give you a brief overview of what else you’ll find in this book.

The author starts, in a section appropriately called “Getting Started,” by defining organization. You may well find her definition of organization a little different from anything you’ve ever heard before; I know I did. And yet it is, perhaps, the best definition I’ve ever seen. I wrote it on a 3x5 card, as a matter of fact, and try to keep it in mind as I tackle this house I’d like to have resemble a haven rather than the aftermath of a disaster, because it reminds me of my purpose, and just Who should be at the forefront of my thoughts and actions. (The Lord, of course.)

The book leads from foundational information, the underpinnings of life and purpose, through practical steps. You’ll find topics like setting priorities and making plans, dealing with clutter, managing paper and record-keeping, and teaching children the practical life skills they’ll need to succeed in daily living (I don’t want our daughters to grow up with the same hamster-in-a-wheel feeling I have when it comes to housework). You’ll read (and, if you’re wise, apply the information) about scheduling, and maintaining relationships as you’re maintaining your household. All through the book, the author includes anecdotes that help in understanding the suggestions and assignments.

Of course, the book is aimed at homeschoolers, and don’t we need the extra help! After all, our children are more likely to be underfoot all day, and our houses very likely to have that lived-in look, with projects all over. I know homeschoolers whose homes are always beautiful when I see them, and it’s a mystery to me how they manage it. But I’d like my home to be warm and welcoming, too, and not so cluttered and disheveled as to make a visitor uncomfortable. Oh, yes, HomeSchooling at the Speed of Life addresses hospitality, too!

Inspiring quotes and points to ponder are scattered through the chapters, and blank pages for you to make notes appear at the end of each chapter. The wide margins are a help, too. At the back of the book you’ll find a list of Resources – not just your typical books on housekeeping and organizing, but more of a general list aimed at the homeschooling lifestyle. Two appendices contain the File-a-Plan Category List, useful in the effort to tame the paper pile(s), one with explanations of each heading, and another with just the categories themselves. Then there is the File-a-Plan Form list, and another wonderful feature found in this book: the enclosed CD-Rom!

The author has included a number of helpful forms for you to choose from, more than any one person would ever use, but something for everyone in the list. The author encourages you to use whatever forms will help you on your way. There are school-related forms (attendance, curriculum, expenses, field trips, grades, lesson planners, transcripts, just to name a few) and home-related forms (chores, lists, routines, menus, and other planners), as well as people-related forms (addresses, goal-setting, child-training, and more). All these forms are on the CD, with permission to print and copy for your personal use.

The themes of the book are balance, focus, and perspective, and it is fitting that the author concludes by looking at the outcome. Just why are we doing this, anyhow? (Have you asked yourself that, lately?) What is the goal? What is the vision? (There are warnings in the Bible about people without a vision...) I have found HomeSchooling at the Speed of Life to be encouraging, challenging, thought-provoking, sobering, and uplifting by turns and all at once. I’m already beginning to see a change in my attitude, and the children’s, and changes in the atmosphere of our home, though we have a long way yet to go.

This book is suited both to those who suffer chronic disorganization, and those who don’t struggle so, but are feeling a little out of balance. Perhaps your house is “perfect” (with a lot of time invested in making it that way) but you feel you need to spend more time on relationships. You’ll find good advice and techniques for streamlining what you do, as well as setting God-honoring priorities and sticking with them.

I’m left with the desire to thank the author for taking the time to encourage the rest of us, and to give us a tool that promotes balance in life, self-discipline, and right relationships.

Looking at this book and what I’ve begun to apply already, I have the encouraging thought that, yes, I can do this.

And you can, too.
More Information
Available From: B and H Publishing Group
Address: 127 Ninth Avenue North, MSN 114, Nashville, TN 37234
Phone: 800.448.8032
Other Notes: Available in bookstores
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Jean Hall
Jean Hall, a Christian home educator with three daughters, enjoys writing stories and music. Her family's interests include reading together, art, gardening, volkswalking and pets: two cats and a Giant Schnauzer.
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