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?