Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our plans for 2016 - Blog Hop #2

This post is part of the blog hop ... "Australian Mums Encouraging Mums".   
Blog Hop Topic #2 
"What are your plans for 2016?"

What are your goals for different areas of your life, including homeschooling?

Well, that's a big question!  I included a goal setting page for each of us in my homeschool journal.  My goals are mostly copied from my personal journals and yearly planning pages.
My personal key phrase for the year is "Strength and Vision."
With that in mind, some of my goals are:
  • Homeschool - Keep more detailed home ed records again
  • Writing - Write on home ed blog monthly and GLOW fortnightly
  • Creativity - Sketch and paint several times a week
  • Spiritual - Bible reading plan and journal, prayer list
  • Family - Make memory albums for the children
  • Health - Daily sunshine;  Walk and talks;  Cook easy healthy dinners, lunches and snacks
  • Home - Deep clean & declutter a room per month

I recorded goals the children expressed during the Christmas break and had a chat with them at the start of the year to check and add any extras they wanted.  DS11 has many goals this year, and is so far working hard to reach them.  DD10 has very few goals at present, so I suggested a few which fit with her current interests.

What worked for you last year, what didn't, and what are you going to change?

Copywork is consistently a favourite activity here.  Sometimes chosen by me, sometimes themselves.  Last year the children chose to copy a story each - "Fantastic Mr Fox," and "The Boxcar Children."  Neither finished the task, but they both copied more than half a novel!  It was something they could do independently, and I saw their stamina, confidence and neatness grow.  Copywork is a keeper!

When something doesn't work we let it go and move on without much fanfare.  DD10 really disliked Wordly Wise, whilst DS11 enjoyed it and found the challenge rather satisfying.  Both have chosen to try something different this year.  I asked them to choose two English workbooks each that they would be happy to commit to working in consistently this year.  I know they like to have a textbook as a go-to activity, and to switch between two for variety.  From the options I presented they both chose exactly what I thought they would, which reassured me that I know them pretty well ... who likes colour vs black and white, challenge vs comfort, clear-cut vs creative.

For perfectionists who make mistakes (who doesn't?) rub-out pens saved us all a lot of frustration.
We have several each ... and one of mine is tied into my diary so it can't go awol.

Share your week's schedule or share the stories from one day this week:

I have written a separate 'Typical Day' post.  We have a rhythm more than a schedule, and that is working very well for us so far this year.  Each term I write a new 'timetable' according to what external activities we need to work around, and this is the most flexible one so far.  Having said that, we are getting more academic work done than any previous term ... probably because we are all feeling much better, have clear goals, are comfortable with our chosen methods and resources and the children are more mature, motivated and independent.

Our simple plan this Term is basically independent work in the mornings, a two hour break, and work together in the afternoon.

Share how you plan your day/ week/ year - how do you find your priorities?

This collage shows the journals and notebooks I am using this year for planning and recording. Yes, I like to write!  I am always gathering ideas.  I have a yearly brainstorm, listing all the resources I know I intend to use.  I used to over-plan but am getting better at keeping it simple and achievable.  The documents I show at registration time are always a work in progress.

In my journal this year I have pages to summarise plans for each term (like the white page below) and pages to pinpoint the focus for the month (the coloured page).  After that, life and learning just has to unfold.  Some things which sounded good don't eventuate, and other things might suddenly take precedence.  Priorities can be obvious, or they can rise to the surface gradually.

I take note of special moments, and detailed observations of my children's interests, challenges and triumphs, in an ongoing blank notebook which is also my primary recording tool when we have seasons of 'Project-Based Homeschooling.'

Share how you stay motivated to stay on track with your goals

My home ed journal helps me keep track of what we want to achieve and what we actually do each day.  Last year I used my iPad for recording and I found it very easy to get slack.  Weekly summaries made way for fortnightly or monthly summaries, and it wasn't as simple to flick back, jot random notes, and see patterns emerge.  I like pen and paper, and am glad to have returned to my favourite format of home ed journalling.

This is the journal I created using pages and ideas from several sources.  For each month I have a calendar printed on card stock and a summary page.  It's lovely to see the lists grow during the month: books, shows, audiobooks, activities and special information.

I also have weekly double-page spreads to record hours, pages, events and general notes.

Share anything that helps us get to know you and your plans for 2016

Five random insights:

*  I enjoy knitting together ideas from several philosophies ... Charlotte Mason, Thomas Jefferson Education, Project-Based Homeschooling, Natural Learning, WholeHearted Homeschooling.

*  We desire to live simply, walk humbly in faith and love, be thankful, peaceful, be kind to others and ourselves.

*  There is a lovely local Charlotte Mason idea-sharing community.  This is probably our most CM year so far ... more read alouds now that I have the stamina to read for longer, we're starting nature journaling, narrations are happening without much prompting, copy work is a daily habit, we do dictation occasionally and frequently enjoy poetry, art and music.

*  We like to spend quality free time with a few friends at once, one family at home or a few at a park, rather than join in with organised activities and large groups.  By saying "No thanks" to many good things we're able to say "Yes!" to those which are better for us.

*  I fall more in love with my family every day, growing and learning together!

I'll leave you with a poem I wrote last year, Heart of a Homeschool Mum.

Sending kind thoughts, 


  1. This is a lovely read. I agree copywork is a wonderful independent tool. We even did some Latin copywork with my highschoolers last year. And we also are erasable pen people!

    1. Thankyou, Michelle! I had Latin on my original list for this year (Latin and Greek root words in English From The Roots Up) but we were going to be overloaded, and it was one of the things I decided to postpone until next year.


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