New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect. A time to look at all the things we’ve done and tried, what worked and what could have been better.
As I am reflecting on the past year, I thought I would share those things that worked and didn’t work for us in the 2016.
I decided I needed to have “me” time before the craziness of the day began. This year it seemed to work well. My alarm was set for 6:00am and I began my devotional time. I am using a read through the bible in a year program (which I started mid-year) and bible journaling. After my devotional time, I am spending some time catching up on blogs and social media. This has given me time to do what I want to do and then I am not thinking about catching up during the rest of the day, which helps me focus on what really needs to be done.
This has been such a fun addition to my morning time. I was hesitant to begin drawing in my bible, so I bought a new bible and decided it was going to be my bible journal. I love being able to express what I am reading directly in the bible. I’ve always had a commonplace journal where I would write quotes and thoughts that touched me, but this was a whole new ballgame. I am feeling a deeper connection to the daily readings and am hopeful this will be something I can pass onto the kiddos later in life. Maybe I’ll even begin another few so each kiddo can have one.
This is one of the best changes we made to our school days. We made the switch to Ambleside Online in January last year. I remember frantically getting everything ready in December so that we would be able to jump right in after the New Year began. This has made such a difference in our homeschool days. We are loving the way our day flows and the great things we are reading and learning.
Working on Schoolwork With Each Kiddo Individually
I’ve always tried to do as much as we can together in our mornings, however, as we began to have issues with fighting between kiddos during school time, I decided to let one do something quietly while I worked through all the individual work with the other kiddo. While this does take more time, it has been a great change for attitudes and focus. The one-on-one attention has been a great thing for each kid and the days have gone smoother between the two of them as well. The (mostly) uninterrupted time to work with me has been a great way to give them attention and help them focus and get their work done. Surprisingly, it has only added about an hour to our schoolwork.
What Didn’t Work
I tried to schedule a nature walk each week, but it always seemed to be a crazy day or the weather didn’t cooperate. The impromptu nature walks and studies in our backyard, worked so much better. We are very blessed to have a lot of nature at our fingertips, the wooded area behind our house has provided studies galore, a nature trail begins one house from us and we seem to find something new to explore almost daily. So while a planned nature study did not work, our unscheduled nature studies were amazing!
I bought a bullet journal, started a cleaning schedule and intended to stick with it. This worked for about a month. Then life took over and I stopped looking at the schedule to make sure the cleaning got completed. This year, I have decided to get the kids involved. I have created a schedule for all of us and placed it on the fridge. Each kid will get a commission for all the work completed. The plan is to have them do the chore while the other is doing schoolwork. I’ll let you all know how it goes.
This is something I have struggled with for my whole life, I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy even when I have to sacrifice. While I don’t think this is a bad thing, I do think it has gotten out of hand this past year. So this year, I am making more of an effort to really reflect and pick and choose what I sacrifice and know that I don’t have to do everything. Sometimes it’s better for everyone if I just say, “No.” I am sure this will be an issue for some people but it’s what my immediate family needs me to do now and what I need to do as well.
Finishing a Book
2016 was the year to begin a book and stop halfway through, never to pick it back up. Don’t get me wrong, I read a ton of books with the kiddos this year and loved everyone of them. It was the books I picked up for pleasure that I had a really hard time getting through. I am not sure if it was time, or interest level but I never felt a connection to the books I had on my kindle and nightstand this year and it seemed about halfway through I would abandon the book. This year, I am doing a book challenge in hopes of keeping myself on track.
2016 was a great year all together. I am looking forward to the year to come and the changes that our lives will bring. Happy New Year!