New year, new start - or so they say, and it works for me!
I'm not one for New Year's resolutions - as I said to a friend, there's something about setting a self-imposed rule that makes me almost immediately break it (perhaps it's a continuation of my allergy to 'should's!) Resolutions aside though, I do love fresh starts - and especially at the beginning of a new year as it always comes hot on the heels of Christmas excess and chaos, just when I am itching to pack the decorations away and see a bit of peaceful order restored (well, as peaceful as this house gets, anyway). It wasn't just Christmas this year, either - it's been the culmination of the whole of the preceding month's frustration, owing to my being mostly unable to do anything much except lie still. The month before was pretty limiting too: talk about itching to move on to a fresh season!
Today I was able to do a bit of sorting out and tidying up. I can't do too much still, but I can do a lot more than this time last week even, and boy, am I in the mood to pick up the reins again! I am thoroughly in the mood for a good sort-out, and a bit more structure. Happily, I think the boys are too. We enjoyed our season of total autonomy - it was what we needed at the time - and now I am seeing signs of them wanting/ needing a bit more structure (I don't think it's just me wishing it on them). As always, we won't be too heavy on the structure, as none of them do well in that environment. I think we will be tweaking the gentle plan from September - alternating days of MathsWhizz and Reading Eggs (or workbooks for Eldest as I think Reading Eggspress has lost its appeal for him) - and then plenty of hands-on activities available: science, art, baking, hopefully some learning invitations. We may well start some new lapbooks too as the boys really enjoy them every now and then - and our groups of course, once I can start driving again. I still want to have lots of time available for them to follow their own interests, but I have found that while in some seasons they thrive on being given space to do whatever they like, there are other times when it can get a bit heavy for them having to self-motivate, and they need me to give them a booster: point them in a general direction of learning that I think will stimulate them and require a little effort on their part. It kind of primes their system and gets their engines running again.
The longer we home educate, the more I love the freedom of continual assessment - not in the school sense of targets and testing, but in the sense of "is this still working?" etc. It's all utterly seasonal, and I am really happy that we get to change about and mix things up, to keep their learning fresh and enjoyable. Happily for me, they all seem to thrive on change too, so we all get to experience the joys of new season together.
Hubby goes back to work on the 6th, so I think that will be a natural place to start a new loose routine. That gives me a week to chat to the boys and find out their ideas for the coming month(s), and to draw up a new plan. Exciting stuff!