Happy New Year, and welcome to 2024! For homeschooling parents, this is a time for a return to routine, while still trying to have fresh eyes for the spring semester ahead. Maybe you’re approaching this “restarting” time with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. I can relate! Here are a few tips to start off 2024 in your homeschool:
January is usually when families begin a long stretch of uninterrupted schooling with no break on the near horizon. At the same time, you’re trying to ramp back up to a school level of activity after quite a few weeks off. It’s normal to feel sluggish and even overwhelmed trying to get back up to speed. Maybe the Christmas decor isn’t all put away yet. Maybe you had a rough visit with family over the holidays. Or maybe you’re hoping for a big change this coming year. These all can add up to mental overwhelm.
Consider your own needs and those of your kids; break slowly back into the routine, adding a little bit every day until you’re back up to a full load.
One of my homeschool mentors used to plan a change of pace for January, featuring something out of the ordinary that the family didn’t usually do. In her case, it was a three-week-long study of hymns: the writers, the poetry, and the time period. Her family used the long weeks of January to pursue a unit study, departing from their regular studies just for a time. Mixing up the school weeks in this way brought fresh energy to their home—as well as joyful music. When January was over, they were more ready to undertake their regular routine.
However you choose to reenter your January homeschool routines, patience and perseverance are a must.
For younger students, a unit study on biographies, such as our Do Great Things for God series, might be a fun history exploration. This series is ideal for making a timeline and learning profiles of different women through the history of our faith. Consider printing off some of our freebies and making a booklet for kids to work through together or on their own.
For teens and pre-teens, this might be a good season for diving in deep on some questions about worldview. Parents might choose to assign this reading as part of a curriculum, but we encourage you to read alongside your child. The Good Book Company’s More to the Story, featuring Biblical counsel about love, sex, and relationships, or our Big Questions series, are ideal places to start exploring some critical questions about Christian living.
Maybe you have a new sports season starting this month, or maybe practices ramp up for the spring musical. January can be full of new beginnings or added commitments after a break during the holidays. As much as possible, safeguard those things that mark your ordinary days: dinner at the table together, morning time, a walk outside, or afternoon quiet time. The kids will be a little extra tired after the holidays, so give everyone grace.
Maybe holidays mean car trips to see your extended relatives. My family lives a fifteen hours’ drive away; my husband’s family is a mere (!) nine hours away. Why don’t we fly? Because there are too many of us and it’s too expensive. Sound familiar?
All that being said, when we arrive back home after some intense holiday bonding, all of us are ready for a little alone time. Kids often relish alone time for a bit after being together in the car for hours. I’d encourage you to gladly indulge this tendency! Setting up some hours for everyone to decompress a little bit is ideal. Maybe you can put together a small basket or bag with new books or goodies to explore; maybe the kids have new toys they’d like to play with for a while. It’s a perfect time for audiobooks, music, and cozy hot drinks. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you get to stay home while others have to go out and brave the cold. Enjoy it!
As much as possible, safeguard those things that mark your ordinary days: dinner at the table together, morning time, a walk outside, or afternoon quiet time.
Ideal resources for some afternoon alone time might be our new children’s Bible, the God’s Big Promises Bible Storybook (aimed at children 2-6), or one of the companion sticker books. These easy activities would keep your littlest students engaged independently for some time. For your elementary students, you might consider one of the rich informational titles we have available, such as All About Bible Animals or Bible Investigators (coming soon!).
However you choose to reenter your January homeschool routines, patience and perseverance are a must. The weather is most likely not ideal; the hours can be long; the excitement of the holidays is past. Now is a time for regrouping, praying for grace, and making space for rest. May you be blessed as you undertake another busy school season!
For those of you who are eager planners and already in the swing of things, may we suggest looking ahead to Easter curriculum? Did you know that one of our bestsellers, The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross has a curriculum that runs alongside it? Check out this resource here to fill out your Lent or Easter plans