The New Year, Your Way
As Saturday evening approached, the family was prepared. Snacks, games, DVD movies, we were ready. From time to time during the evening, as the fateful hour approached, I logged on to www.foxnews.com for headlines. I found myself observing what seemed to be an unending, unfolding of the New Year. I think I saw Hong Kong, then Australia, and so on around the globe. Finally at 9 pm my time, the east coast celebrations hit. Times Square, Chicago, and finally the celebrated hour in our time zone. Even though there had been "count downs" all around the world, it was our turn for our own. We all joined in chorus:10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and 2006 had arrived.... for us in our part of the world.
It struck me that there was NO universal beginning of the New Year. Eveyone began 2006 when it was their turn. It is like we take liberties in a way, to begin our new year when it suits us best, and the rest of the world just has to live with it. Suddenly, but quietly, in my own mind, this new years reality became very important to us as a home schooling family. It said that we can begin the new year more or less at our discretion.
New beginnings for many are exciting times. A time to put away the past, take out a fresh sheet of paper and begin with no mistakes, no baggage and the hope and enthusiasm of new ideas and hopes for the future. All of this can be quite exciting and invigorating... for some. But there is another group who look at the new beginning with different eyes. And I can tell you we have spent a number of "new beginnings" at this place.
The holidays have been hectic for all, but especially for our wives. Guests, presents, cards, more guests, food, plays, church devotionals, holiday traditions. You all know the drill. All fun, all time consuming and all wonderfully therapeutic at taking our minds off the day to day home schooling patterns we trudge or frolic through, depending on the family. However, during the holidays, home schooling momentum is lost, and we need to begin again. And any start up from scratch, any beginning from a position of rest, requires energy. I have seen, in some years, Cyndy almost dread the "beginning" of the New Year. Not because she has lost the vision, but she is just plain worn out after all the holiday festivities.
If you are feeling this way this year, take a lesson from mother nature and feel free to set your own date to "begin" the new home schooling year. Take a few extra days and allow your self to do some planning, brainstorming, dreaming and pondering. This can be a very energizing experience. Taking a deep breath before beginning again, can also go a long way to helping you get started on the right foot. We have had many new years begin, where taking a few extra days has made all the difference.
This year, Cyndy is showing signs of being the seasoned veteran that she is. When I asked her about what she had in mind for the kids this week, she said, "Well this year, I actually set myself up for a good beginning by taking a bit of time before the actual holidays came, to plan for this "beginning" time. "Back to Greek and Latin Roots" she said. ""We put that off in the beginning of the year, so we are going to begin this week." It wasn't so much the topic she had selected, it couldn't have been, I mean Greek and Latin Roots? Yet what I heard and felt was the energy in her voice, the confidence. Cyndy was at peace this year. She was ready this year. I could tell she was looking forward to it, and I was happy for her AND for me AND for the kids. I asked her, how this "beginning" was different than others. After thinking, she said, "Baby Steps, small steps. When you get the feeling of being overwhelmed to the point that you are frozen in your steps, you just have to get started, and it is easier to start again, if you begin small."
So take a few more days and decide for yourself when the New Year will begin. Begin small to build momentum again, like shifting into first gear before letting out the clutch. Pick a topic you personally have fun with.
There are other ideas out there on making a good start. Don't be afraid and share them.