The New Year is upon us and if your family is like mine, you saw your share of ups, downs, peaceful times, and mania in 2012. For many of us it’s time to make plans and set goals for the year to come. Today I want to encourage you not to beat yourself up about what you didn’t get done in 2012. Perhaps you didn’t follow your schedule as you intended to. Guess what? It’s okay because life happens and sometimes life teaches us and our children far more than the curriculum we bought ever could. Take a deep breath, look back and I am sure you will find tons of tiny moments and precious accomplishments that added up to a great year.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a plan, but you shouldn’t let your plans consume you because they can become the focus instead of your actual teaching and family time. So many people take the planning too far and it can turn into an obsession to get every little thing done. Trust me, no family needs to have guilt like that heaped upon them, especially when one of the best parts of homeschooling is the ability to be flexible. Additionally, reading blogs and going on Pinterest can be fun, but you must remember that those women doing all that cool stuff all the time aren’t super-women. And ultimately they may not actually be doing all that cool stuff all the time. Don’t compare yourself and what you are accomplishing to what you see online. If you have found someone that you think is a good example or that has good ideas, then use it, but don’t put them on a pedestal. They are a mom like you, with good and bad school days.
You also have to be prepared for things to impact your plans that are totally out of your control. One example for our family was that my mother-in-law broke her hip the first week of October. We are responsible for her and she had a bad time in the hospital and we were up there so much that we didn’t really do any school for 2 weeks. It really wore our girls out to be up at the hospital so much, but they also learned a lesson about being there for others. We were able to use the experience to remind them that they shouldn’t expect to be entertained and having fun all the time. We are still dealing with her in rehab two full months later, but it’s not so time consuming now and not disrupting school.
I have one more suggestion as you make your plans for 2013 – include fun things on your calendar. I was reminded by some friends last week that people think we are “so fun” or “always doing fun stuff.” And I had to tell them it’s not by accident, but rather that we make plans to do fun stuff and set dates to do them. My husband and I both know it is way too easy to just let our lives get so busy with the day to day stuff that we miss out on family fun. We have made being intentional about our activities a part of our life. So I encourage you to make plans to go to the park, zoo, botanical gardens or whatever local fun your community has to offer. Have a regular family fun night and rotate through activities that each family member likes. Do fun science projects one day instead of any of your other school stuff.
Start creating traditions for your kids to remember when they get older. More than any plan of attack or to-do list, your kids are going to remember the time they had with you day in and day out. Happy New Year to all my fellow Hip Homeschool Moms!