I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. But I do like to reassess my life and make adjustments when the time is right. Jan 4th is a great time to reassess; the holidays are over, it’s almost time to start classes again, and I have a huge deadline in a couple of days. So yes, it’s time to get my head on straight (again) and move forward.
5 things in 2007 made a difference for me. And for 2008, they will be must-haves for our homeschooling success.
1) A place to work. I’m not super neat, although I like clean spaces. And I’m not obsessed with keeping the house organized, although I am comforted by knowing where things are. The one thing that keeps us sane, is having one clean space where we can do our projects. If we can have 3-4 clean spaces, even better. It worked well in 2007 to focus on the key points in the house that need to be clean, and letting the rest go.
2) My own hobbies. It may not seem like having my own hobbies is important for homeschooling. But in 2007, the times I was anxious, nervous, or over-worried about my kids were the times that I felt like I had no purpose. Scrutinizing my kids became my purpose. The times I had my hobbies in order, and felt like I had my own meaning, I was a better parent, a better teacher, and our homeschooling was overall more effective.
Case in point: I’ve been learning about social networking and social bookmarking. I’m pretty tech savvy, but this is giving me quite a bit of a challenge. There is just so much to know. I feel like there’s a wall that I have to get over. Once I’m over it, it’ll all make sense. It’s so important that I go through this, because with this experience, I am reminded what my kids feel like when they are learning something new. What they really need during this time isn’t for me to try and pull them over the wall. It’s a whole lot easier to help someone get a foothold and boost them over the wall when they want to do it, than it is to carry dead weight over it. I didn’t learn about social networking before now because I didn’t want to. My husband tried, but I wouldn’t budge. Now, I’m willing to put the effort in, and every little boost is welcome.
My own hobbies = understanding how to help my kids better.
3) A hug in the morning and a hug at night. This is a ritual I promised myself I’d do when my kids were born. First thing in the morning – a hug. Last thing at night – a hug. 2007 was a great year for that. I did slide here and there because of being sick, or falling asleep before the kids did, or being grumpy. Overall, it was a good habit. The morning hug is like a reset button for the day. The nighttime hug helps us all sleep better. Being close is our number one priority. 2008 will be another year of hugs and love.
4) Tape, paint, paper, pencils, markers, marbles and paper towel rolls. We’re fans of pre-fab activities and projects. But nothing gets a workout like the random open-ended materials we have on hand. 2007 was pretty good with that. So I’d like to do even more with this. Maybe even get a big clear box, that can hold lots of small boxes, each with a different kind of material to use. Glue, paint and other messy things will be in a separate box. All of the working materials in the big box. And have it near our clean space. What do you think – which cheap open-ended material could I store in there? The possibilities are endless!
5) Free time. Scheduled time is easy to come by and easy to manage. It’s the free time that we all need more of, and we all need to (continue to) learn how to enjoy. Time is a commodity that we can never have more of. Asking for more time is like asking for the moon. All we can do is rearrange the time we have, choosing to spend it in different ways. Free time is when I get to work on those hobbies, in my clean space, while giving the kids hugs. Free time doesn’t happen on its own, we gotta make it happen.
2008 is going to be great! Equipped with these five homeschooling must-haves, we’re ready to have a fantastic year.