How is your homeschool year going? Did you plan out your entire year in July? Are you right on schedule – not even one page behind in the math book? I know that is not true in our school. We have the year planned, but are not on target – life has happened and I am reexamining, adjusting calendars and assignments.
But homeschooling is more than lists and dates on a calendar. How is your heart? How are the hearts of your children? Have you kept up the pristine attitude you began with in August? Is the excitement and sense of wonder in your home still alive? I always seem to find myself in January needing a new courage.
A new year is a chance to begin again – to look at our work of home education with a fresh eye and a fresh heart. I always enjoy the feeling of having two beginnings in the year; one in August and another in January. In reality we can have a fresh start, wipe the slate clean so to speak, any day we like. I often set time aside for myself to regroup and gain new encouragement – I have to!
In the dawn of this very first day of 2014 I searched out and reread some helpful and encouraging posts not just for homeschooling but also for mothering and for homemaking. They are posts that I return to again and again. I include them below along with some others that I have more recently found. Maybe your will find encouragement from them, too.
I have grouped them into three categories; vision, inspiration and action. I often want to jump straight to the action but find that without vision and inspiration I stumble and fall more quickly – fall flat even.
I need a picture of where I am going. What is it that I am About? Why am I doing this? Where there is No vision people perish.
Line Your Nest With Sacrifice
This post from A Holy Experience was written five years ago, but from the morning I very first read it has remained one of my favorites. “Homes can only be made, and that with bits of ourselves.”
Learning from the Wrens
Beth Pinckney of Ebenezer Storyteller wrote a post in 2007 in which she saw herself on the cusp of where she is today – with all of her children fledged and homeschooling no longer. When she wrote this, she had three children in various stages of adulthood and three still home. It is a poignant post and one that I return to often as I totter between certainty and uncertainty in my walk as a homeschooling mother.
Education Is an Atmosphere
Ann Voskamp wowed the homeschool world with pictures of her homeschooling room in 2010. Many of us, understandably so, were in awe of its beauty, of its size, of the vision it set forth of a space for education in the home. Did we miss the message of the post? Do we need to read it again? The quote from Charlotte Mason, ‘Education is an Atmosphere’ is often also misunderstood but Ann get’s it right. This quote is from Ann not Charlotte, “Sometimes we need to remember that the atmosphere protects all life on earth and we live in the Lord.”
Write Down Your Vision
Victoria from Homemaking With Heart wrote a post recently in which she guides you in creating a vision for your homeschool and setting it down in words. Several years ago I wrote my own document about why we are homeschooling. In reality it was a vision of what our life would be like if our children went to school – a deterrent for those days when I just want to have them climb on that yellow bus. This year I would like to take Victoria’s challenge of putting a more positive vision into words and even pictures – one that includes a vision for each of our boys. Thanks, Victoria!
These links provide motivation and pull me towards perseverance. They also remind me that there is grace whenever I fail to be steadfast.
Keeping Sanity In the House
This is a post from Ashlee Andrews of The Kitchen Is Not My Office. I always find it encouraging to read posts from mom’s of other large families. Mom’s who know what it’s like to walk the balance beam between order and chaos…to try to keep central the personhood and the training of her children. Besides – I’m a sucker for pictures of shoes lined up in rows – lots of shoes!
Order and Wonder
This is a post written by Leila from one of my most favorite blogs – Like Mother, Like Daughter: “Your home ought to provide two things for the development of your child…order and wonder.” And just in case you were wondering, yes, there are more pictures of shoes.
The Bluebird of Happiness
Another post from Leila. I love how she writes – very conversational, a teller of stories sprinkled liberally with pretty pictures. In this post she tells the story of her bluebird houses which her husband built for her even though they had no bluebirds and she saw no hope that any bluebirds would come. It’s a post about having peace before she begins a series about the disciplining of your children. A very favorite quote: “But, for now, I must say that if we are needy– only needy (everyone is needy, but not only) –nothing will be right. We are going to have to learn to stand a bit apart from all our needs and see things from above.”
These links provide me with tangible things that I can do. They help me form my own action plan. What can I do right where I am? Yes, just ‘do the next thing’, but sometimes I need help knowing what the next thing is!
A Grace Plan from A Holy Experience
For the past few years Ann Voskamp annually posts a link with her 25 point sanity manifesto. It is a list of 25 real, doable things that can be done any day, every day. Each year I read it different points seem to call to me. Print it out. Put it on the fridge. Put a copy by my desk. Reread the posts that go with the points? Check.
Establish a Homeschooling Routine With Multiple Ages
Frugal Fun For Boys is a new blog for me. I have a heart for fellow MOBs (Moms of Boys) and often find LEGOs mixed in with our school lessons, too. In this post Sarah Dees shares an example of what a homeschool day looks like when you are schooling multiple children. My routine looks very different because the age span of my children is greater, but I like very much and agree with her about the importance of a routine versus that of a set schedule. And routines always change – there are some things in this new year that we need to move and do away with and others that we need to add. Just a reminder to look at my routine with refreshed eyes.
Methods, Goals and Structure
This is the second of Victoria’s homeschool planning posts (from Homemaking With Heart). This year I would like to set learning goals for each of my children as she describes here. Not that I haven’t done this before or seen this idea elsewhere, but put together with a written vision that I can return to again and again seems good. I like the idea of a ‘living schedule’ that she speaks of in the section ‘Planning Your Course’.
Make Dinner Every Day and Like It
This link serves as a place holder for many other useful links on Cooking, Laundry, and Cleaning. You know, the grit that Ann reminds us that we must not fill the jar with first or nothing else will fit. I post this link to making dinner because it seems to be an area where I’m struggling with right now. “Why do they want dinner every single night?” (thanks to my friend Kelly for sharing this one):
This link about making dinner is also from Like Mother Like Daughter and I suggest that you visit the homepage and scroll down the sidebar and look for the groups of posts related to cooking, laundry and cleaning. I have found much encouragement and practical help in them.
Proof of Life
My friend Kelly of KellKell Everyday Musings has a long running series on her blog titled Proof of Life. I love these posts – reminders that life happens and we pick up the pieces, wipe off the tears, laugh, smile and give thanks. This year I would like to participate once again in this series – rest assured, there is much Proof of Life here!
If there is a favorite blog post that you return to year after year why not leave it in the comment section, below?
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