We are so close to the new year.
I am happy to say goodbye and start fresh. This time of year always causes a serious need to reflect and eventually create goals for my life. I mean, it’s New Years. Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are all about?
Written by Shawna of Different by Design Learning.
Although I am happy to think through New Year’s goals for myself, and even for my family, there is one area of our lives that I never, ever make New Year’s resolutions for – homeschooling.
When we first started homeschooling ten years ago, I had so many big plans.
Maybe you can identify? We were going to practice all the sight words, do all the math worksheets, and even keep the house tidy as we learned with a well-planned chore chart.
(You can laugh. It’s ok. I’m laughing too.)
Then reality hit in the form of two little boys who did not learn the way that I thought they should. Reality hit in the form of daily resistance and meltdowns. Eventually, reality hit in the form of my being ready to give up.
By January, I was ready to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. I thought a few well-chosen New Year’s Resolutions would be exactly what our homeschool needed to get right back on track.
I could not have been more wrong, and I have never made a New Year’s Homeschool resolution since.
Why I Never Make Homeschool New Year’s Resolutions
In my experience, the new year is perhaps the absolute worst time to reinvent the homeschool wheel. There are so many reasons why, but these are the ones I find to be the biggest obstacles that come our way each January.
1. I am tired.
The holidays are a time of great joy for my family. We love the traditions, the movie nights, the hot chocolate, and even the holiday travel to see aunties and grandmas.
They are a time of great joy – and also great exhaustion.
By the time the Christmas decorations are packed away and the kitchen finally cleaned up after one last baking session, I am 100% ready to rest. Not only am I physically tired, but my brain is done.
This is not the time for creatively coming up with homeschool New Year’s resolutions and improved goals for our homeschool. It is a time for rest.
2. My kids are tired.
As tired as I am, my boys are pretty tired as well. The joy of the season turns into one last trip home from a relative’s house and trying to find a place to put the new presents. They squabble more and overall find less and less joy in the holiday hub-bub.
They are just as in need of rest as their mom!
3. We are out of routine.
This might be the number one reason for me to never, ever try to introduce a homeschool New Year’s resolution in this time frame.
When the New Year rolls around, we are coming off of the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Bedtimes have been more lenient. Sugar intake is at a year-long high. None of us remember what it even feels like to have a normal homeschool day without some special gift project or baking session.
My children do best with a loose routine. They operate at their best when they know what to expect and now to mentally plan for their days. I am the same way.
Out of routine means not exactly happy, easy-going children (or moms) in my experience. It also means it’s not the best time to start with resolutions.
4. Getting back to normal actually feels new anyway.
After a few years of homeschooling, I realized that January was a month when I could count on our boring, basic routines to feel new again. After the break the holidays provide from the mundane day-to-day, any semblance of normalcy actually works best for all us!
My children seem to relax when we get back to the basic studies we employed prior to the holidays. It almost feels boring, and, for a short period of time, we like it.
Why mess up the gift of boring by adding in more?
What I Do Instead Of Making New Year’s Homeschool Resolutions
January, for me and my kiddos, is a month of getting back on track. It begins with a very slow start and ends with us being back in what I consider to be a more reliable, productive routine.
Once January has passed, then, and only then, do I start thinking about any goals I have for the rest of the school year or anything new I want to add to our days.
February brings a chance to evaluate our current academic progress and goals. It is the month I look at our curriculum choices for the year and begin thinking about what may need to be added or tweaked to help us finish strong. It is the month I am better equipped to handle the pressure of making resolutions for our homeschool.
Whether you make New Year’s Resolutions or not for your homeschool this year, I want you to know that it is OK to allow your family a bit of time to transition out of the holiday season. In fact, it might be the only resolution you need!