Tag Archives: New Year resolutions

Organize and Simplify

Junk_DrawerOne of my New Year’s resolutions was to organize our home, and we got off to a good start this year. As we rearranged our rooms to make our space more useable, we packed up boxes and boxes of stuff (some might call it junk) that we just don’t need right now. Fortunately, we have an extra building we can use for storage, so we put everything out there. I haven’t sorted through anything yet — we just boxed it and stored it.

I’ve learned several things through this process:

1) A house with less stuff is easier to clean. I always knew this, but for the first time in several years, we’re actually putting it into practice. That’s not to say we’ve never gleaned through things before — we’ve given away bags and bags (and bags!) full of toys, clothes, and household items just this past year. But it must not have been enough, because we had so much to pack away as well.

2) We can save money by not having so much stuff. We have spent a lot of money on those things we packed away. Even with store sales and yard sale finds, the money adds up. When I look at all that stuff we aren’t even using, it’s easy to estimate how much it cost — and somewhat disheartening.

3) We don’t need so much stuff!  We are a family of collectors, and we all tend to hang on to things either for sentimental reasons or because we just might need it someday. But we’re functioning just fine without all that stuff, and actually, we’re functioning even better.

So here’s to a new year and an uncluttered house! Now I just have to sort through that building…

Homeschool Resolutions

New_YrsAlthough it seems I’m always assessing how well our schooling is going, there are generally two times of the year when I make big changes. The first is in August, as I plan for the new school year, and the second comes at the end of December, before school starts again after the holidays. Now, for the new year, I have several homeschooling resolutions:

1. Focus more on school during school time: I tend to get easily distracted with “life” during the school hours, so naturally, my children become distracted as well. For me, this resolution means that I’ll be unplugging the phone and leaving the computer off until after lunch.

2. Include more of the fun stuff: Some days, it seems that it’s all we can do to get the academics covered well. But part of the joy of homeschooling is being able to explore, investigate, and create together. Whether it’s taking nature walks, working on projects, or trying out new recipes, I want enjoyable activities to be a regular part of our school days.

3. Get dad involved: My husband has a full-time job during the day and then works a few extra hours a couple of nights a week. It’s hard to imagine that he’d have time to help out with the schooling, but there are some easy (and relationship-building) things he can do with our children. He can snuggle up with them on the sofa and listening to them read, or he can choose a story to read to them. Or, he could call out a few of those math facts while they sip cocoa together. Either way, the children would enjoy spending that time with him.

4. Make the most of trips: Because we have a lot of extended family living within a day’s driving distance, we often travel to visit and spend time with them. This year, we’ll make the most of those trips by using each one as the focus of a unit study. Before we go, we’re going to research our destination, locate it on the map, and trace our travel route.

All in all, I think it’s going to be a good year. Are you making any changes in 2010?