2017 felt like a year off from life for me, and not in a good way. My seventh pregnancy took a toll on my body with all-day sickness until 22 weeks and hip ligament weakness that kept me from almost all physical activity during the second half.
Creating the Pretty Nerdy posters, along with a couple of other design projects that I was able to complete while sitting at the computer, were the highlights of my productivity last year. I struggled with feeling useless for most of the year as my husband and children picked up the slack around the house to keep life going. Other activities and many of my goals were completely dropped because I didn’t have the physical strength to do them. I just kept telling myself that I’d feel “normal” again by the new year and prayed for perseverance and contentment.
Baby girl is three months old now and, for the most part, that’s true. I’ve lost a good chunk of the baby weight and my body is functioning again. I can concentrate on books and I’m getting enough sleep to wake up earlier than the kids most days.
Homeschooling was in “maintenance mode” for much of the year, but we’re ready to jump back into a regular routine again. Many of the helpful habits I had created in recent years were lost during my pregnancy. It’s important to give yourself grace during seasons of difficulty, so I’m not looking back with regret. But with some renewed energy and focus, I’m ready to restart those helpful habits and set some new homeschooling goals with a new baby, a new “normal”, and a new year!
(Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you!)
Here are my 3 homeschool goals for the Spring semester with a new baby:
1. Write daily to-do lists for the children
I began this practice over a year ago after reading this helpful post from Sarah Mackenzie. Each child has a cheap spiral notebook, and each morning I write them a quick list of schoolwork and chores that need to be done. I can’t tell you how much more work we get done when they know what to do.
Six children constantly asking what they need to do next wears me down. The decision fatigue causes me to say, “I don’t know. Just go play!” Fifteen minutes in the morning makes such a difference. Everyone knows what to do with no excuses. They know what’s expected of them at the beginning of the day and they work more efficiently to get it done. I, in turn, have less stress because there are fewer questions and fewer complaints.
Writing to-do lists on weekday mornings is a discipline I’m ready to get back to this year!
2. Read-aloud a little bit every day
I did some reading aloud last year, but mostly I read the essential school books that HAD to get done. This week we started reading a new series for fun, (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place) and the kids have been begging for more! I realized how much I have missed bonding over funny stories and characters. Just like with movies, shared stories provide quotes and metaphors for life together. We love the Ramona books by Beverly Clearly and it’s not uncommon for someone to yell out “Guts!” when something goes wrong, making the rest of us giggle as we remember Ramona’s antics.
In the absence of my reading last year, my husband began a new habit of reading to the children as they finish dinner. We managed to get through 7-8 books, most about missions, plus our special Sunday books (the Ralph Moody series) and A Christmas Carol. We all enjoy this time and hope to continue reading together each evening too!
3. Finish two quarters of Tapestry of Grace Year 3
We use Tapestry of Grace as our core curriculum for history, worldview, and social studies. At some point, we got off schedule, so we don’t complete the year between September and May. It doesn’t really matter, but my plan is to move through the curriculum at it’s intended pace instead of the slow pace we managed last year.
If I keep up with writing daily to-do lists for the children and continue reading to them more, we should have no problem meeting this goal!
Getting back on track after adding a new baby to the homeschooling mix can be a challenge, but setting achievable goals is the best way to get moving in the right direction again.
I’d love to hear about your homeschooling goals for the Spring! What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?