3 Homeschool Goals for the New Year with a New Baby | Pretty Nerdy Press

3 Homeschool Goals for the New Year with a New Baby

2017 felt like a year off from life for me, and not in a good way. My seventh pregnancy took a toll on my body with all-day sickness until 22 weeks and hip ligament weakness that kept me from almost all physical activity during the second half.

Creating the Pretty Nerdy posters, along with a couple of other design projects that I was able to complete while sitting at the computer, were the highlights of my productivity last year. I struggled with feeling useless for most of the year as my husband and children picked up the slack around the house to keep life going. Other activities and many of my goals were completely dropped because I didn’t have the physical strength to do them. I just kept telling myself that I’d feel “normal” again by the new year and prayed for perseverance and contentment.

Baby girl is three months old now and, for the most part, that’s true. I’ve lost a good chunk of the baby weight and my body is functioning again. I can concentrate on books and I’m getting enough sleep to wake up earlier than the kids most days.

Homeschooling was in “maintenance mode” for much of the year, but we’re ready to jump back into a regular routine again. Many of the helpful habits I had created in recent years were lost during my pregnancy. It’s important to give yourself grace during seasons of difficulty, so I’m not looking back with regret. But with some renewed energy and focus, I’m ready to restart those helpful habits and set some new homeschooling goals with a new baby, a new “normal”, and a new year!

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Here are my 3 homeschool goals for the Spring semester with a new baby:

1. Write daily to-do lists for the children

3 Homeschool Goals for the New Year with a New Baby | Pretty Nerdy Press

I began this practice over a year ago after reading this helpful post from Sarah Mackenzie. Each child has a cheap spiral notebook, and each morning I write them a quick list of schoolwork and chores that need to be done. I can’t tell you how much more work we get done when they know what to do.

Six children constantly asking what they need to do next wears me down. The decision fatigue causes me to say, “I don’t know. Just go play!” Fifteen minutes in the morning makes such a difference. Everyone knows what to do with no excuses. They know what’s expected of them at the beginning of the day and they work more efficiently to get it done. I, in turn, have less stress because there are fewer questions and fewer complaints.

Writing to-do lists on weekday mornings is a discipline I’m ready to get back to this year!

2. Read-aloud a little bit every day

3 Homeschool Goals with a New Baby for the New Year | Pretty Nerdy Press

I did some reading aloud last year, but mostly I read the essential school books that HAD to get done. This week we started reading a new series for fun, (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place) and the kids have been begging for more! I realized how much I have missed bonding over funny stories and characters. Just like with movies, shared stories provide quotes and metaphors for life together. We love the Ramona books by Beverly Clearly and it’s not uncommon for someone to yell out “Guts!” when something goes wrong, making the rest of us giggle as we remember Ramona’s antics.

In the absence of my reading last year, my husband began a new habit of reading to the children as they finish dinner. We managed to get through 7-8 books, most about missions, plus our special Sunday books (the Ralph Moody series) and A Christmas Carol. We all enjoy this time and hope to continue reading together each evening too!

3. Finish two quarters of Tapestry of Grace Year 3

3 Homeschool Goals for the New Year with a New Baby | Pretty Nerdy Press

We use Tapestry of Grace as our core curriculum for history, worldview, and social studies. At some point, we got off schedule, so we don’t complete the year between September and May. It doesn’t really matter, but my plan is to move through the curriculum at it’s intended pace instead of the slow pace we managed last year.

If I keep up with writing daily to-do lists for the children and continue reading to them more, we should have no problem meeting this goal!

Getting back on track after adding a new baby to the homeschooling mix can be a challenge, but setting achievable goals is the best way to get moving in the right direction again.

I’d love to hear about your homeschooling goals for the Spring! What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?


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4 thoughts on “3 Homeschool Goals for the New Year with a New Baby

  1. Frankie says:

    My homeschool is still recovering from my last pregnancy and newborn, from 2 years ago! I also use the spiral notebook system and it has helped tremendously. This year I purchased a beautiful Home School planner for myself and it was definitely a fail for me, I ended up just doing twice the work. This year we also have switched to the “Sabbath method” of doing school for six weeks and taking one week off. This has allowed us much more flexibility. If something doesn’t work I have only planned six weeks and we try something different next six weeks. My goal for this year is to be more intentional with the work we do, that each thing we do is beneficial and not just filling time. God bless you and your family this new year!

    1. Sara says:

      Thank you for such a thorough response! Sometimes planners end up being a lot of work, when a simple notebook and a to-do list are all you really need. We also school year round with more breaks built in for life. It works well for us. Long breaks seem to make the kids lazy, so more frequent shorter breaks keep everything moving along better. I love your main goal! No one likes busy work 🙂 May God bless your family as well!

  2. Sarah says:

    I love how kind you have been to yourself (though I am sure you have had your moments!). I’m in a different season of life (only two children, just beginning homeschooling) but I have read numerous times from mothers in similar situations to you that those life seasons are so valuable, if not more valuable than “school”. With an eternal perspective it is so true – those children are learning to love and to share. But, I am so sure it must be hard to continue de-schooling our minds that tell us otherwise!

    As for us, we are just beginning! 😀 My main aim this year is to gently teach my son to read, whilst introducing basic math concepts. Art, science, nature walks, and lots of reading! That’s the plan but I will have to keep telling myself that it isn’t “school”, and allow myself to enjoy the freedom of homeschooling.

    I came to your blog through a link-up (I can’t remember which one! Eek!), and am so glad I did! Bless you x

    1. Sara says:

      Thank you for your sweet comments! I was homeschooled as a 7-12th grade student, so I think that really helps my perspective. My mom struggled with chronic fatigue and some days were spent on the couch watching Little House on the Prairie and doing some reading. Other days we did lots of school work or ventured out on road trips to go exploring. Even though every day wasn’t a perfect “school day”, I know that I left home with an excellent education and a desire to keep learning. I received academic scholarships to college and did well there too. Your plan sounds great, but don’t beat yourself up if you “miss” a day. Life is education and I’m sure you will do a wonderful job!

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