By Renée Gotcher
This week I’m participating with a homeschool blog link-up called “The Homeschool Mother’s Journal” hosted by The Homeschool Chick. I love that this week The Homeschool Chick Sue’s post is called “My Year of New” because it’s not about your typical “New Year, New You” gonna-fix-everything-that’s-wrong-with-my-life reflection. In fact, Sue’s year will actually be marked by a lot of “new” — new experiences and changes on the horizon which she alludes will be revealed soon — and because of that, the word “new” seemed an appropriate theme.
I was glad to hear that, because for the first time that I can remember, when the clock struck midnight and ushered in 2012, I had nothing “new” on my resolutions list. In fact, I hadn’t even started a resolutions list. I have avoided every “New Year, New You” how-to article that’s dropped into my inbox or passed through my Facebook or Twitter news feeds. It’s been an intentional avoidance — which is completely contrary to my personality. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan for this New Year. Let me explain…
In my life this week… I resolved not to make a New Year’s resolutions list! What?!? For as long as I can remember, I always been a big “New Year, New You” girl. From my former magazine publishing days and business as an independent beauty consultant to my family and personal life, I’ve always been goal-oriented and strategic about planning my work and working my plans. I’m a list-making, live-by-the-planner, problem-solving kind of girl. That’s just how God made me.
So what’s changed? I still have plenty of homeschool/work/life to-do’s on my list and areas of weakness that need to be addressed — many of which are recurring issues like exercise more/eat better/declutter the house/don’t watch the Bachelor/etc. Then there are personal goals that I’m passionate about (and I believe God has placed on my heart) which never saw the light of day in 2011. If I’m being honest, there’s actually quite a lot I should tackle in the New Year!
But here’s the thing: Try as I might to find a bible verse to support me in “resolving to be the best I can be” in 2012, I simply couldn’t. I’m not saying that God doesn’t ask us to be good stewards of what He’s given us (food, family, health, talents, etc.) or that He doesn’t call us to live a purposeful life (though I do believe it’s His purpose, not ours). What I did find was a call to seek Him first (Matt. 6:33), to be obedient to His Word (Deut. 11:13-15), to make knowing Christ the goal (Phil 3:8), and to be transformed — not conformed — in order to live out His will (Romans 12:2).
So that’s where I’m going to start. I’m going to examine the items that would normally be on my resolutions list and dig into the Bible to discover what God already has to say about them — I will seek Him first. I’m going to take the list to prayer, and ask God to show me what belongs there, what doesn’t, and what He wants me to add — I have a feeling that list will grow short. Then I’m going to ask Him to show Himself strong in my weaknesses, so that as those things that remain on the list are (hopefully) accomplished, He alone is glorified. Because the truth is this: It’s not about me, it’s about HIM!
I did make one resolution: To go back and restart/finish Beth Moore’s “Jesus, 90 Days With the One and Only” personal bible study my fellow homeschooling sister Cristina gave me a few years ago for Christmas. It’s been attempted, it’s been put aside, it’s been lost, it’s been found, it’s been packed for moving and it’s been discovered 18 months later in a box one of the girls randomly opened in the basement recently. JUST IN TIME. I have a feeling that a lot will be revealed if I just start there!
In our homeschool this week… we are still on a break from a typical school schedule. Truth be told, I didn’t want to get started until the house was restored to some kind of order, and the girls weren’t ready to let go of the Christmas decorations. Finally, Tuesday was the appointed day to take down the tree, pack up the decorations from around the house, and vacuum up all the pine needles and bits of wrapping paper and ribbon still lingering here and there.
While the experience of Christmas was still fresh in their minds, I did have the girls do a couple of writing assignments. First they wrote an essay on their personal highlights from this Christmas. It was fun to see who liked what and what stood out from our “homeschooling Christmas” activities from their individual points of view. The second was a letter to Jesus expressing what celebrating His birth meant to them. My middle daughter Claire — my sentimental girl — asked me if she could keep that one private, so I let her write it in her journal. It was hard not to try to sneak a peek at that one!
In the meantime, we’ve been putting back into order our school area — which is also our dining/front room and got a lot of Christmas use — and other areas of the house that are in full use for school time. Library books have been dug out to be returned, cubbies have been purged of unnecessary contents, supplies boxes have been restocked with working pens and glue that’s not dried up, and games that have been out and in use during the vacation are back in their boxes and on the shelves.
It’s Friday, and things are looking good! The school area is ready to go. The family room and kitchen have also been restored to working order and are even cookie-crumb free again (thanks to me and an hour with the shop vac). The girls are excited about getting back to work on upcoming unit studies and projects. And I’m finally back to a homeschooling frame of mind. Bring it on!
Quote of the week… “Does anyone know where my well-planned day went?”
— Me, calling downstairs to the girls as I am frantically trying to locate my homeschooling planner at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. My husband’s laughs could be heard from across the hall. “Did you hear what you just said? Now that was funny!”
And so begins our 2012 story.
— Renée Gotcher is an entrepreneur, writer, wife & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. She currently resides in Castle Rock, Colorado.