In my time with family over Christmas and in these days leading up to the new year, I have been reflecting. Reflecting on God’s goodness. His constant provision. His direction and love over our family, our homeschool. We started with a clean slate planning and dreaming for the new year.
We sat down as a family this past weekend. We dreamed, we planned, we talked. Some specific goals, some homeschool goals, maybe some places we’d like to go. (It was a relaxed and easy going version of our Weekly Homeschool Planning Meeting). There are specifics I’ll share in the coming weeks. But today I am sharing the process and a few of those developing thoughts. I’m also sharing some of our family photo collages from December.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
The Thursday before Christmas all three of our girls performed in their piano recital. Eldest Girl also played the accompaniment as Littlest Girl sang Angels We Have Heard on High. We’ve taken to calling them the Piano Gals!
A Clean Slate Planning – Reflect on the Good
The new year is a fabulous time to do a homeschool assessment, to see where each child is in each subject. But it’s most importantly a time to be grateful for how far we’ve come. Yes, we may need to catch up in a subject, we may need more practice holding that pencil. But most importantly, that child’s heart – have we talked about things as we walked along the road, as we tucked them in at night, as we craned our necks to see the last rays of the sunset?
Our Littlest Girl made her drama debut as Lydia in a church production of Camel Lot. Our two drama troupe girls performed in Angel Squadron, a beautiful story of Christmas from the angels’ perspective. And Middle Girl performed in her very first violin recital.
Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
And just couple weeks before Christmas we had to endure a major septic tank repair. Sigh. Served to show us that our best laid plans can often be diverted. However, Little Buddy thought the construction equipment right in his own backyard was a great thing!
A Clean Slate Planning – Give Praise
In our list making for the new year and in our hopes to catch up or accomplish, let us not neglect giving the gift of praise. There is always something “excellent or praiseworthy” in each day, even in each trial. Back to school time is a perfect chance to build the habit of catching your child working diligently. Especially when we are all struggling with getting back into a routine. A smile, a praise, a thank you and an ‘I love you’ are daily gifts we can give to our children, our husbands, extended family.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8
One of the highlights of our December was Grandma and Grandpa moving back to Georgia from out west! And they are living a little closer than they did last time. Hooray!
A Clean Slate Planning – Long Term Goals in Mind
In the nitty gritty of checking things off, I urge you not to lose sight of the long term goal. For my husband and me – that is raising children with a love of the Lord. Imparting practical, life skills, preparing each for the path the Lord has in store for them. Maybe it’s time to drop those lessons, maybe an interest is developing in an another area. Don’t hold so hard and fast to a certain course of study simply because your eldest child did it. Think on down the road (some are longer roads, some just around the corner) and consider how each child may look as an adult.
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
Last week we went to one of our favorite spots – The World of Coca-Cola! It was beautifully decorated for Christmas and we got a few more photos in front of those fun, life-sized ornaments in Pemberton Place. We also got to see the new Polar Bears movie and, of course, sample all those flavors of Coca-Cola, including Chocolate Cherry Coke! More info at World of Coca-Cola.
A Clean Slate Planning – Write it Down
A few years ago we took up a practice based on a post I read at incourage.me – a simple habit of writing down goals and more importantly, prayer requests. The first time we did this, we wrote our thoughts and requests on a long piece of a paper roll. We rolled it up and stuck it in a pocket of our family, wall organizer. It went untouched until my annual cleaning off the top of the fridge habit. One full year later, we unrolled that ‘scroll’ of forgotten paper – and we saw with our own eyes exactly how The Lord had provided. How He answered that prayer request and WOW – that was an unexpected blessing…see what He did here? Written goals, prayer requests, a journal – will help you see what He is doing in your life, your family, your homeschool. Prayer Does Change Things!
We were blessed with many, wonderful family Christmas gatherings. Attending Christmas plays and concerts. I have counted blessing after blessing of health and wellness after our sad December of sickness last year when the well side of the house was skyping the sick side.
A Clean Slate Planning
The new year is not the only time you have a clean slate. You have a daily, hourly, minute by minute clean slate with Jesus. I am so very thankful for that. Here’s that favorite quote I love to pull out!
You can’t change what you have or haven’t done over the past year. Just start where you are, ask the Lord to make you a “joyful mother of children,” pray for grace and wisdom (and strength and patience), and move forward. ~ Vicki Bentley, HSLDA and Everyday Homemaking
Remember how I have been asking the Lord to bless our homeschool? Biblical solutions are the best. My pastor shared this saying and I knew you would enjoy it too…
Instead of making a New Year’s resolution
Consider committing to a biblical solution
Your promises are easily broken
Empty words, though earnestly spoken
But God’s Word transforms the soul
By His Holy Spirit making you whole
As you spend time alone with Him
He will change you from within! ~ Mary Fairchild
He challenged us with these questions as well: Have you grown spiritually in 2013? Where will you be on your spiritual journey this time in 2014?
One of the best gifts I received this Christmas? Hodgepodgedad took time off to be with the family over the holidays. It was wonderful to have relaxing family days together. One day he spruced up the homeschool room. Just because. Did he know that was hanging over me? I hadn’t mentioned it. I am pretty good about organizing – besides my stacks. This man of mine is the best! He cleaned, purged, straightened and organized our main homeschool space – switched out the rug – and wow! What a gift!
Help for Building Habits – For You!
Return of the Routine ebook for you
My Help! I’m Homeschooling! book
6 Simple Successful Strategies for Homeschooling a House Full
I’m sure I’ll be sharing more specifics and goals for our family and our homeschool in the coming weeks. How about you? Have you rested, reflected and started with a clean slate for the new year?
-originally published December 2013
Stef Layton says
Love this question, “Have you grown spiritually in 2013? Where will you be on your spiritual journey this time in 2014?” I’ve been asking myself that A LOT this past month!!
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
What a sweet surprise. It is so wonderful when our better half knows us so well and attends to our needs like that. I would love to go to the World of Coke one day. I love all your Christmas activities and you are such an encouragement to me. Thank you.