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Review of HomeWork: Juggling Home, Work, and School without Losing your Balance

Having several times considered setting up a business of my own, I was eager to review this book.  I have always wondered how moms who both home school and earn at home survive.  How do they manage their time and teach their children, how do they choose their businesses, how much money do they make for their efforts, are their children involved, and, most importantly, is it worth it? 

Well, this book addresses all these questions and more.  It starts with an upbeat prologue that answers the question of how these moms do it all— “We D-O-N-T!”  But each of these women, in her own unique circumstances, does all she can. 

The body of the book is divided into five sections.  The first section includes moms who took an established hobby or family business and turned it into something more.  In one family mom and daughters recycle jeans into purses and quilts.  Another family lives entirely on the income from their graphic design, screen printing, embroidery business.  One mom works as an online travel agent; another runs a bed and breakfast adjacent to the family orchard.  A book lover happily sells books, and a pet lover raises pets.  

 The second section of the book is about computer-based businesses.  An internet entrepreneur,  who has tried many different online ventures, and a computer network manager share their stories.

The third section highlights four families that use creative writing as a source of income.  One family publishes language programs.  One mom started writing a letter to a company, ended up with a book, and moved on from there.  Another mom was unexpectedly launched into the publishing business when her husband brought home a borrowed commercial printer.  One family’s publishing journey began when mom innocently commented to her daughter that they should maybe try to publish a girl’s magazine.

The fourth section discusses  two business support jobs.  One mom does medical transcription work, getting up before 3 AM to put in her day’s work.  Another mom, who keeps books and prepares tax returns, characterizes self-employed home schooling moms as crazy, habitual over-committers but says she would do it all over again, only quicker and with more determination.

The remaining chapters aim to support those who choose to run a home-based business.  One chapter, by a CPA, gives detailed financial and book keeping advice.  Another one discusses organization of both time and the home, as well as the related topic of prioritization.  The Epilogue sums up lessons from the book, and The Final Word shares one final inspiring story.

In their articles, these women show how God has worked in their lives and businesses.  Not all of them planned to home school and not all originally wanted home businesses.   Some started their businesses for fun, some to cover emergency expenses, some by accident, and some to meet specific family goals. These moms share their income, schedules, and homeschooling stories, and tell how their business affects their families’ lives.   They also give invaluable tips about organization, prioritization, time management, business plans, business education, and goal setting. 

Are these women happy with their demanding lifestyles?  Mostly, the answer is ‘yes’.  The mothers who have home businesses to avoid working away from home are thrilled to be able to contribute to the family income at home.  Moms whose children learn from the business are very enthusiastic, as well.  Many women, however, stressed the long hours, the hard work, and the need to be very careful with their time, and not all were certain it was worth it.

I recommend this book for all homeschooling moms who are considering setting up a home-based business.  Home Work will help them make the big decision.  Even if they do not end up with a business, they will be inspired and encouraged by this book.

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