It’s that time of year where families start thinking about some New Year’s Resolutions. And for homeschooling families, making New Year’s Resolutions together can be a great way to share ideas about goals for the upcoming year, and to reflect on some of the experiences from the previous year. Even if you don’t think that you’ll stick to each resolution, it is still a fun way to set goals, get the whole family involved, and to come up with new ways for improving your homeschooling curriculum as a whole. Here are some of our favorite New Year’s resolutions and we hope they inspire your family.
- Consider joining a homeschool co-op or a homeschool group. Homeschool education groups provide support, socialization, educational opportunities and networking for homeschool families. Starting off the New Year with a group is a great way to get involved with other families who share some of the same visions that you do. See what passions and needs each of your kids have and try finding something that everyone will enjoy. Finding a co-op or group that’s a good fit can be a priceless asset to your homeschooling experience.
- Set reading goals. Growing up, I couldn’t stop reading! In fact there were many days that my parents had to take away my books until I finished the rest of my subjects. I just couldn’t get enough! But some kids don’t feel the same way. Try to make it fun by implementing reading activities into your homeschool curriculum through read-alouds and quiet independent reading. By doing this you are setting your children up for more chances to succeed academically and helping them expand vocabulary and critical thinking skills. There are also several great reading programs you can participate in, such as the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program, and Heifer International’s Read to Feed program. You can also consider organizing a Reach for the Stars reading incentive challenge, where kids earn free books to donate to their public library or another community organization.
- Decide to try a ‘relaxed schedule.’ Homeschoolers have some advantages when it comes to scheduling. They can juggle academics and field trips around other obligations as they pop up. This can be a help, but it can also be a hindrance. Sometimes, families try to do too much and end up over-scheduling or missing key components to that day’s curriculum. For the New Year, why not sit down and talk about what areas in your schedule you feel you have mastered, and which areas need some help. Try to arrange your schedule beginning in January so that it works for every family member’s needs, but don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and rearrange if needed.
- Take a course on survival skills. Life skills are a crucial aspect to any homeschooling curriculum. In our hectic and frazzled world, it’s easy to understand why more and more children are growing up without learning how to take care of themselves. Well, they can’t take care of themselves without the convenience of first world privileges. Encouraging your children to think for themselves and to become independent is one way of ensuring that they can take care of themselves alone. There are many homeschool families who learn how to make their own soap, build a fire, practice archery, create a shelter, and understand emergency preparedness skills. Find a skill that your whole family finds interesting and take time to learn that skill throughout the next year!
- Volunteer and look for service projects. Volunteer work builds character and encourages children to think of people other than themselves. Every community has some way for your children to get involved in volunteer work. You can make volunteering and service work a standard in your homeschool curriculum and think about signing up for seasonal projects. Your children will walk away having helped someone less fortunate and will probably have some cherished memories, as well.
- Re-evaluate your curriculum. The New Year is an excellent time for reflecting on the past few months and assessing what has worked well in your curriculum, and what has flopped. Try not to feel locked in whatever you selected at the beginning of the year, because sometimes even the best ideas don’t always pan out as expected. Try to walk into the New Year with a sense of openness to trying new material, and devote more time in subject areas that aren’t your strengths. Maybe setting a goal for the New Year will include scheduling 10 minutes a day for timed math drills and 20 minutes a day for independent reading time.
- Rearrange and redecorate your area. After a few months of school, many homeschool families feel like their kitchens are filled with ungraded papers, or there’s a pile of artwork that still needs to get hung up. And the school room seems dreary after taking down the Christmas decorations. The New Year the perfect opportunity to declutter and refresh your homeschool space. Ed Snap Shots is hosting a Refresh Your Homeschool Space Challenge where families will receive a daily email through January that includes a 5-6 minute daily task, inspiration, resources and helpful tips and links. What a fun way to keep things interesting!
- Start a Bible study. Lots of homeschool families already have a study incorporated into their curriculum, but if you don’t, try adding something! You can get together with some families at your church, other homeschooling families you know, or just having a study in the mornings around the breakfast table. The New Year is a great time to refocus on having a routine time to build your family’s faith. Want another idea? Try New Beginnings: A Biblical Study Towards Change from Kim at Not Consumed. It’s only $4.99 and offers a 5 day look at what Scripture has to say about change, giving a personal assessment section and can be adapted for multiple age levels.
Happy New Year! Everyone here at Bridgeway wishes your family the very best as you and your family make some New Year’s Resolutions together.
Do you have any Resolutions that your family has made? Please share them with us! We would love to hear from you.