(Last Updated on April 14, 2021)
To the tune of Auld Lang Syne…
Christmas gifts strewn all around,
Party messes still piled high,
Decorations to repack…
I think I’m about to cry.
And add to this the pressure felt– words by Sensible Homeschool
To analyze your life,
And come up with some lofty goals
That will solve all of your strife.
That’s how the song goes, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but the end of December and the first few weeks of the New Year feel like a roller coaster ride to me.
The highs and lows of navigating holiday get-togethers… The work and fun of hosting and attending events… The landslide of new gifts entering your home all at one time… The pressure to reflect on the past 365 days and come up with resolutions to improve your physical, mental, and spiritual life by changing a few key habits…
I’m exhausted just writing about it!
On top of all that, homeschool parents usually have some level of self-induced stress (sometimes excited-hopeful-stress and sometimes anxious-panicked-stress… usually some of both) over the catch-up and planning required to start the New Year off on the right foot.
In both homeschooling and the rest of life I’ve found that excessively lofty resolutions made in January lead to a depressing crash and burn around February. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s why Valentine’s Day is scheduled for the middle of February – we all just need some hugs and chocolate to make it through to spring break. ♥️
Here are six of the Do’s and Don’ts that have helped me get through the New Year roller coaster a little more calmly and make it to February without the aftershock.
6 Homeschool Sanity Tips for the New Year
DON’T Change Too Much at Once
New exercise apps, Bible study routines, revised educational plans, money management strategies, and other resolutions are good things.
It’s good to have goals. But don’t try to do them all at once!
Building new habits takes time! Pick one to start with and focus on it for a few weeks before introducing another new change – that way they’ll be more likely to stick long-term.
DO Make Resolutions a Family Event
Take this opportunity to have a family meeting and ask each person what they’re hoping to achieve, learn, do, or change in the next year. When it’s a family event, it’s easier to generate excitement and ideas. Talking through it together also helps provide accountability (for your kids and you, too)!
Remember to take notes as your kids share – it will help you work some of their less-immediate hopes and goals into your future school and family plans.
Also, you don’t have to wait until a New Year – you can set and change goals anytime! Here are a few freebies to help get the conversation started…
- My Year in Review printable from Skip To My Lou
- Goal Setting for Kids worksheet from I Can Teach My Child
- Goal Setting & Resolutions for Kids pages from Long Live Learning
- Young Learner Goal worksheet from Worksheet Place
- Student Goal Setting worksheet from Develop Good Habits
DO Review Your Homeschool Progress
This doesn’t have to be a high-pressure kind of thing. Just take a quick look at each subject, and figure out how much you’ve covered and how much you have left.
If progress is slow in one area, you can decide if you’d like to make a change. (Check out this post for a look at a mid-year progress report for our homeschool). Maybe that pace is fine since it’s allowing your child to retain everything well. Or maybe you decide to work on that subject three days a week instead of two for a while.
And if you find you’re ahead of schedule (miracles DO happen) you can add in some extra field trips or simply relax a little bit and follow a few more interest-led rabbit trails!
DON’T Use All the Christmas Gifts Right Away
Christmas gifts can be a wonderful tradition and an absolute blessing, but sometimes the sudden abundance can be overwhelming.
Instead of letting your kids play with everything right away, hold some of the gifts aside after opening them (you sneaky parent, you)! Bring them back out over the next few weeks (or months!) to spread out the joy and excitement. This works especially well for younger kiddos who might not even notice a few are missing!
Your kids will have more time to fully enjoy and explore each gift. And you’ll be thanking yourself later during the stir-crazy days of late winter when you’ll need all the help you can get!
DO Take Time to Organize
A place for everything and everything in it’s place, right? Part of the overwhelm for me comes with the physical messes and all the new toys that don’t yet have a storage spot. Try to carve out some time to de-clutter and organize so kids can’t use the “but I don’t know where it goes” excuse.
Some families I know have had success with the “one-in-one-out” rule – for every new toy received, a gently-used toy is donated.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out Fly Lady for helpful organizing and home management ideas.
** 2021 Update: Also, The Minimal Mom is one of my new favorites for suggestions on minimalist living. **
DO Take Stock of Your Homeschooling Resources
Once you find a place for the new toys, take a half hour to skim through your homeschooling shelves and educational materials. Set aside things that might help with upcoming topics or your kids’ New Year’s goals.
Homeschoolers are resourceful but we can’t use what we don’t remember we have! The time spent taking stock is well worth it – you can probably find supplies and resources to re-vitalize your New Year of homeschooling without buying anything new!
Best wishes to you in this New Year and always! Don’t forget to subscribe to be notified of new posts via email!