Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning and Preparing for the New Year


This week I am busy preparing and planning for the New Year as I know many of you are. There is much that needs to be organized and simplified in the Fuentes household since the onslaught of the holidays and the whirlwind of birthdays in the last few weeks. I carefully wrote out a managing plan for the week of what needs to be done---tree and decorations down, goal planning, reorganizing school supplies, straightening up the school room (that we use mainly for crafts and projects) and reevaluating our school plan.

I try to reevaluate what is working in our school this year and what is not, since every school year is different and has different demands and sometimes different students. I ask some basic questions such as:

1. What is not working and why? What needs to change?

2. What methods work best with my family?

3. How can this run better-more efficiently?

 4. How am I feeling about school? Am I looking forward to it? Do I need inspiring?  What do I need to do to refresh my vision, strength and stamina?

A couple of things I am planning is devotionals for the children in having a plan of them reading through the Bible for the year. It is different for each child, sometimes they read through a year plan or a yearly Bible or sometimes with the younger ones I will have them work through a book at a time.

I am also working on book lists for the winter. There are some books on character, theology and classics that I would like my children to read but I need to be intentional in typing out this list and ordering books online or from the library.These things just don't happen on their own! I also need to remember to add in movies we would like to see and sermons we need to listen to.

I am also going to loosely plan in for the next six months some crafts, experiments, cooking, art and projects into their year.We are going to watch some of the new Homestead Blessings videos and acquire ourselves some new skills!

I am also thinking about music. A goal for us is that each child will learn an instrument--so my oldest daughter has in the past volunteered to teach her siblings piano. We also do some violin and recorder on the side. All of this is wonderful, but I am reminded that today I need to print out our daily schedule from last year where we have allotted times for these goals so that they would be met and not fall to the wayside. We also learn hymns as a family and sing them together so I also try to purposely plan that in but not all the time since we listen to hymns in our home. Without a good schedule in our home it is easy to let time get away from you and overlook all valuable skills that could be gained in the day.


Since it is winter we like to get everyone into exercising since in the winter months since we can't be outside much. We like to use video tapes or workout plans or use our indoor mini trampoline. I even have a children's workout video for the little ones that I am  planning into their day so that they can get all that energy out that can accumulate.

A couple of my children need work with their speech--so I am going to plan that into my day about 15 minutes, along with my Bible verse binder that I need to update for memorizing after we do our morning devotional ! I am also thinking of multiple ways to get more reading out loud in this year. I don't try to plan this all at once or I will get overwhelmed. Instead I try to plan in categories. This way I am only planning a bit at a time---what I can handle and really focus on what I would like to see done in that category. If I don't do everything that I planned, that is fine because there is always next year and the next.

Today I will be a busy mother printing off all these lists today to order my home and school more efficiently so that we all know what to expect and the home can run more like a well oiled machine (sure, there will be glitches---but a plan is INVALUABLE!) Like I've said before and have written as a reminder on my calendar, the schedule is there to work  for us, not US for the schedule! There is much freedom in knowing that and not becoming enslaved to thinking that you have to get every little thing done on your 'to-do list'. Life has to take place and is much more important than what we perceive needs to get done. Everyday I just ask the Lord to help me get done what He wants done and for me to be content with that. (Also note that this is what I am doing now that my children are older, when my children were younger it was different, maybe I will post about that later.)

I actually try to evaluate things often in our school. I am not afraid to stop things that don't work or switch curriculum in the middle of the year. I have also learned that scope and sequences vary from curriculum according to the different publishers so I shouldn't feel locked into what they are dictating. Remember we are homeschoolers and most of us have alot of freedom to operate our schools how we want them and are free from being told how to do it.

I am so grateful also to be home today and plan. I LOVE planning! Whenever I have to run errands and be away from the home it takes me awhile to get back into the rhythm of being at home and to get assimilated back into the flow of it all. I love being at home and being able to focus on what is needed there--it is my calling, I know I am needed here and am blessed to be able to fulfill it.

Are you doing any preparing or planning?

Also, what do you do to refresh your stamina for the school year?


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24 comments:

  1. Hello June,
    It sounds like a very productive day for you! Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. I was wondering if you might would share your book lists and the name of the workout video for kids. I would love to have something to help them get their energy out when they can't run around outside. Like you, I love being able to stay home! I have to run to the store today to pick up a few things, and I just keep putting it off! Also I was wondering if you would share the names of the cd's of hymns that y'all listen to at home. My kids love learning and memorizing hymns and I would love a good cd of hymns. Thanks and have a great day June!
    Teresa

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  2. Christmas break is a welcomed time in our house. I am planning too. I think I almost have my house caught up so I won't have to worry as much about cleaning...time to just sit, think, and plan. I am looking at some fun reading games for my middle daughter. I purchased Love To Learn's Happy Phonics a few years ago and basically never used it. I have been thinking about getting it out and using it for Hannah. It fits her learning style. Happy planning to you too.

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  3. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I love the encouragement and help you are.

    I too, love to plan. I have to say that I am lousy at keeping daily schedules however and since we have only just begun homeschooling with my pre-schooler (with two younger ones coming up to be schooled later) I hope to improve alot in this area in the future.

    I have a lot of plans for this year too and am sure to still be planning things when Jan 1 rolls around. I just hope I can keep up some good habits for most of the year this time.
    Thanks for the advice!

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  4. I am planning a few field trips. Here in south Texas, Oct-Apr is the best time to be out and about. Into May the heat comes back.

    On my list is the zoo, NASA, the Museum of Natural History, Galveston, The George Ranch, and The Texas City Prairie Reserve.

    I have several CDs that I got at the Christian bookstore for 3.99 each. Some are hymns, some are American patrotic songs, others are just kids songs.

    I am starting 1st grade in Jan. My daughter is very bright. So I am using lots of notebooking and writing. We are going to do birds, the solar system, ocean life, and start plants. I am going to do states and maps. Crayola has a nice site with lots of freebies. I printed a fun fact sheet for all 50 states. We are going to do a big Texas notebook and a Ohio notebook. About.com has lots of freebies too. I want to start the Laura Ingalls Wilder books too. I want to piece a quilt, make hardtack, etc to go with it. I do grammer and such with Elementary Advantage that I got at Staples for 29.99. It has math, science, reading, grammer, and Spanish. 1st-6th. I just let her go at her own pace. She can work on that as I get to other things.

    Have a wonderful week and a blessed New Year!

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  5. Hello, I would love to hear about when the children were younger.This is my first year homeschooling my 5 yr old daughter and I am always afraid I'm not doing it right or good enough.I also have a 3 yr. old and 3 month old.I would love an example from an experienced Christian woman.I would greatly appreciate it.Lord bless you,Sarah

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  6. Wow! You sound just like me :) I spend most of the day revamping our preschool program, getting ready for another year of Bible reading and study, and coming up with a list of things that need done around the house. I love planning too!

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  7. I'm curious to know what you are doing for speech. I have a child that needs help in that area also.

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  8. There is so much in this post that I was saying to my husband this morning. This is the way I plan to spend tomorrow and the following day. Planning, re-evaluating, looking for English language and literature inspiration, planning Bible memory work.... And so it goes on.
    Like you, I love planning, and I don't get too stressed when things don't follow the plan exactly. It's still good to plan - I really feel it gives me something to aim at.
    You've given me really good ideas here. Thanks!

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  9. Wow! You do have much you want to accomplish and so a plan is in order! :o) I do the same as you but I won't have much to change from last semester. I homeschool teenagers and so we will continue to work through Bible Study, History, Math, Writing, Grammar and Reading as usual. We are also traveling through the states as well as learning about arachnids and insects. My children also journal about life and experiences weekly and we read aloud a book a month together. (One of my favorite times with them.) Field trips happen as I find things of interest close to home. Along with homeschooling plans, I also reevaluate our home chores and make changes where necessary. For me personally, I would like to pursue photography more and learn Spanish. Thanks for sharing your planning and organizing style.

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  10. Sarah...I wanted to address you on your being a first time homeschooling mom. Let me say this...it will be trial and error since you will be learning much about your daughter's learning style. When I first started homeschooling (over 17 years ago), I just jumped in and trusted the Lord. I also paid attention to my son and how he was learning. If he got what I was teaching, we moved onto the next thing. If he struggled, I reevaluated whether he was ready for that or if we needed to change the style or book to another approach. Most of all, I encourage you to enjoy the journey you're embarking on. You will be fine. God is faithful!

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  11. I found this post very useful - it really helped me to organize my thoughts - into categories as you suggested, so today I will reorganize our home office and library room. Just one room/area/ bookshelf at a time otherwise it becomes overwhelming. I love the verse in Proverbs 16 that says 'Commit your works to the Lord And your thoughts will be established.' Most excellent advice for planning and preparing for the New Year!
    I received the full 11 Homestead Blessings dvd set as a gift from my children - it arrived on Christmas Eve, so I also will be learning some new and most useful skills this year.

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  12. I am re-reading Charlotte Mason books and Terry Camp's Ignite the Fire on my Kindle to remind me of what I feel is important and God's plan for our family. This year, I want to be more involved, more fun, and do more hands-on. I also want to teach my children more self-reliant skills.
    I'm also excited to help my husband grow our business more this year, and prepare to start a business of my own in a couple of years.
    By the way, do you know of any Christian family business blogs that you enjoy?

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  13. Do you do everything yourself or do you have help?

    I am totally exhausted from doing everything. The cleaning, organizing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, holidays, schooling, laundry, packing, unpacking, praying with our son....everything. I am so tired and burned out at this very moment that all I want to do sit and cry, but there is no time because we are to leave tomorrow for New Jersey...which by the way...I will be doing most if not all the driving.
    I cannot plan one more thing or attempt one more thing.
    How do you do it all?

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  14. Dear Mrs Fuentes,
    THANK YOU..you have inspired me so much with your post. You can't understand how overwhelmed and exhausted I am at the end of this year and how cast down I often feel because it seems I didn't get all I wanted to do with my homeschool and at home.. but your post has give me hope, inspiration and an organized vision plus JOY that I can't describe.. it makes me realize that 2011 is a new year that can hold so much for me and my home if only I just pick myself up and trust in God to help me do it all. You are such an encouragement to me. Everyone else seems to be so good at everything they do, but I often feel that I don't have the strength to continue. Your post has given me a bit of motivation in my present state of weakness and I promise I'll pray to God to help me do what He wants me to in this new year, at home, in my family and in my homeschool.
    God Bless You richly.
    Dios la bendiga ricamente. Usted es muy preciosa y una mujer de gran valor. ~

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  15. What a wise blog. I plan to follow along with you my new bloggy friend. Stop by Grace and follow along with me.
    Blessings,
    Bren

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  16. Hi June!
    I really enjoyed your post, as this is just what I have been pondering myself. I love beginning a new school year and then love it when a new calendar year comes.
    It is so rewarding to me to plan and set new goals.

    If it is okay, I have a question that I would like to ask you privately.
    My email is: godlyolives@yahoo.com

    Thank you and God bless you!

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  17. June, sounds like a good plan for the New Year. I need to do the same this week.

    I love the book list idea; I have so many ideas going through my mind that not writing things down is no longer an option.

    If you haven't read The Millers purchased through Rod and Staff, I highly recommend the series for your list of books to read.

    I usually take off a week to prepare for the New Year. It helps me build up stamina as I clean and organize my home while I'm off from school.

    Thank you. And if we don't chat again - Have a Happy New Year!!

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  18. Yes, this is the time for review and planning ... I have made some plans for things that I just didn't do this past year. I have shared our <a href="http://practicalpages.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/hymn-study-schedule-for-2011/>Hymn Study schedule for 2011</a> and I am busy planning fun physical education activities. I find that even the best plans make way for 'real' life, but at least a plan is better than nothing!

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  19. when you accumulate your book list of classics, character builders, etc. would you please share that list?

    thanks!

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  20. What a blessing this post has been to me! I hope you don't mind I posted a link to this post on my blog.

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  21. Very Inspiring, June.

    As a working class from developing country & just being a homemaker for 2 years after 9 married years, this blog just make me realize for the importance of Planning & Preparing for a homemaker -- in a very simple word for myself, you can & need to fully use your brain to homemaker activities to excel your family, but the most important thing is to serve & love our family.

    Thank you.

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  22. It looks like we have the same plans...LOL! I do love to evaluate and make changes and plan:-)

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  23. We really need not get discouraged with our plans knowing that we have every freedom to change it at any minute of the day. It was so great to hear from all of you--thanks so much for taking the time to share what you are doing for the New Year!

    Many blessings...

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