Journal, January 16: The Planning Phase

i get super excited about januarys. all of them. before and after kids. my goals + plans are pored over on journal pages starting in december, sometimes even november. i circle what i want + get started right away. no need to wait until an actual new year when you have things you’re excited about.

i used to do the same with homeschool goals, back when i was solely in charge (or thought i was). enter this new, unschooling phase, + i felt a bit lost. goal-less?

we have so much luxury in our time right now because our groups don’t start til the month’s end. it feels spacious + empty + i love seeing all that rich time spread out. i planned it this way. normally i take januarys off of all groups. this year, i intended to use the time to focus on future work goals alongside the kids’ homeschooling planning + schedules for the year. i’ll also book camping spaces + summer camps, partly because i need something warm + fun to look forward to!

while i was working on all of it, sara from happiness is here published these worksheets. using those, i asked the kids to write their own goals. i normally just sit down with each child separately to discuss and write down their interests + ideas. we schedule a special meeting out, a coffee shop or bakery, + make it one-on-one time. so this was different. this year, they had a week to fill the sheets out – one spent lots of time on filling out the whole thing, one scratched at a few parts – before we scheduled a restaurant breakfast and read our answers to each other after we ordered. we were relatively unsurprised by each other’s lists, but practiced listening and openness. it was lovely!

now there’s physical input from the people on their own learning journeys! not only that, the way the kids listened to each other yesterday + built more excitement around some (not all!) of our ideas felt much more communal than our planning sessions normally go. we normally get hung up on one thing that the other kid’s not into + fall into an argument about how dumb/not dumb that thing is. oy.

from our session, we have plans to learn a language together + specific places to explore + some very concrete personal goals for them to track individually. my oldest wants more gaming time, as i anticipated, and we talked about where that can fit in our days, leaving room for time together + the other activities we’ve chosen. we’re getting to the ages where driving becomes an issue for me – i don’t want to spend my days in the car!

something about the new space, a crappy but busy diner, helped shift everyone into a different mindset. it really helped! that, and that food, haha. after yesterday, we decided we’d all like to go out for breakfast more + find new spots.

i think it’s also important, especially during the cold days of winter, to have something to look forward to, even just inside the house. taking a note from how much they looked forward to our breakfast, which was delayed a day for a snowstorm, i’m reinstituting our tea parties. we’ll choose a day each month, plan a menu, invite guests (if we wish) + make a fancy tablescape. this is just my addition, but our family really enjoys gathering over food, so it’s an easy sell. plus, we’re not only gathered around the tea itself, but also bumping elbows in the kitchen for an hour or more while we prep and cook. i find the whole thing to be lovely + look forward to our first one, next Friday!

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