The start of the new year is often used to reflect on ways to improve ourselves or our lives. We hope these resolutions are encouraging to our GSHE friends.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
Try not to compare your home ed program to another family’s, or your children to theirs. The beauty of home education is that it is a customize learning approach, intentionally designed to fit each child and family’s needs and goals. Children grow and develop at their own pace, so don’t measure them with the same yardstick. It’s ok to be different and march to your own drum.
What are the priorities for your children’s education? Which non-essentials are stealing away time, energy, and happiness from your home ed plans? By focusing on what is important, we can better achieve our goals and free ourselves for other opportunities, including time for your families and yourselves.
Try Something New
Mid-year is a great time to try something new and break the monotony that can set in after the holiday sugar-rush. Consider some educational games or different ways to learn the same material. Maybe a “flex Friday” for the kids to choose their own educational pursuits for the day is all that it may take to rekindle their interests. Think outside the traditional school box for ways to learn and engage your children.
You know your child best and homeschooling empowers flexibility to adjust to new or changing needs and interests. If the materials you are using aren’t clicking, go ahead and try something else. The GSHE website has an extensive list of free resources that might do the trick. We also have a Facebook group called Granite State Home Educators Marketplace to help bring buyers and sellers of homeschool resources together.
2020 was a tough year and getting out-and-about was more challenging than usual. But that doesn’t have to restrict all our activities! New Hampshire has great winter activities including skiing, sledding, snow-shoeing, and more. A hike along community trails or around the block can do wonders to reset and invigorate the mind and body. Winter festivals are popular, and great excuses to be outside enjoying the season. Ice Castles are a perennial favorite and there’s a Frost Festival in February. We try to post fun and educational events in our Facebook group as we find them, too.
Covid protocols have limited opportunities to meet new people and engage in many educational and social events and activities. That’s all the more reason it’s important to deliberately seek out community for our children and ourselves. Humans are social creatures (even introverts!) and it’s important to connect with others. GSHE shares both online and in-person events that may be good opportunities to find new friends, and we encourage our members to create events in their local communities. Go ahead and create a sledding event at a favorite hill in town, host an online game or book club and invite the GSHE community, plan a field trip to a place your children enjoy and others can join you. GSHE created a few different groups to help find each other; plug in where it suits your family – Families Helping Families; Granite State Home Educators; GSHE Unexpectedly Homeschooling; and GSHE Homeschool Pods Connections.
Enjoy your time together: the kids are little for a brief time and these opportunities will not last forever. It’s perfectly ok to set studies aside to bake cookies, build a snowman, play a game, or read a book together. The “to do” list never ends, so take a break now and again. The dust bunnies won’t run away, so enjoy the moments with the kids when you can.
Homeschooling parents tend to be very tough on themselves, somehow expecting a Pinterest-perfect house with all the laundry folded, dinner ready on time, and the kids studying happily at the kitchen table. Don’t set yourself up for failure with these super-parent expectations. Same goes for the kids. None of us are perfect people and we’ll periodically mess up and fall short. It’s ok to be human and resolve to do and be better the next day.
This is often overlooked by busy homeschooling parents. You can’t fill someone else’s cup when yours is empty. Give yourself little moments, even when big breaks may be difficult. You might not have time for a weekly manicure or bubble bath, but there are little things you can do to rest and renew yourself here and there. Pour that favorite cup of coffee or tea; use the hand lotion you love; wear fluffy socks that pamper your feet all day; read something that isn’t about parenting or homeschooling; schedule the haircut you put off. Everything seems to work better when it’s unplugged for a few minutes, including you.
From all of us at Granite State Home Educators, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2021.