Challenges, Successes, and New Approaches in the New Year


Fresh beginnings.

Though not the beginning of our school year, January still offers a new start after a much needed break. The semester break offers time to reflect on the first semester and make any necessary changes to make the rest of the school year the best it can be.

The New Year brings a time of reflection-- a time to reassess our challenges and rejoice in our successes.

Fall Challenges

E-- Probably our biggest challenges with E are writing and lack of free time (which actually has more to do with my challenges than hers!) She is doing amazing well! We are not prioritizing writing as much as I would like, and that is one change we will make in the spring. E has been complaining recently that she only gets to "play" on the weekend. The reason for this is three-fold. 1) We are starting too late (my fault) 2) We are not as scheduled as we need to be (my fault!) and 3) She spends 13 hours a week at gymnastics (this one is all her!)

New Approach:
For writing, I plan to create a new routine and stick with it. Also, I want to have a writing focus on Fridays to work on Brave Writer projects I have not been great at fitting in. As for free play, as long as she chooses to remain in gym this won't change a lot, but I plan to do what I can in the scheduling area to maximize time.

C-- C's biggest challenge is his distractibility. He is amazingly smart, but really works best in short bursts. Since it is easier to just sit down and "knock out" all of his schoolwork, I have a hard time with this.

New Approach:
My plan is to approach schooling C differently in the spring. Focus on his strengths, and split reading into two shorter sessions a day instead of one long one. I also need to work on my own frustration and keep it positive at all times.

J-- J biggest challenge is simply that she just needs more time with me. Finally old enough to play independently, it is all too easy to send her away to play and she all too often gets ignored.

New Approach:
I have promised J she can start "school" in January. She is almost four, so instead of waiting for the new school year, we will begin her "pre-K" year. This is really less about academics and more a recognition that I need to spend more one on one time with her. Since she begs to do school, this should be a good change in our routine and grant her the time she needs.

Fall Successes

E-- E's diligence and character constantly amazes me. I am so pleased with her work ethic and continuing independence. She is about to begin Math Mammoth 4 and is reading amazingly well. She is really a delight to teach, and I am so grateful for her.

C-- C is such a hard worker with a tender heart. He is so eager to please, and cares deeply about others. He is reading well, and about one third the way through All About Reading 3-- slow and steady in his progress. He just started Math Mammoth 2A and will start spelling in the spring. He is progressing well and loves to play.

J-- J brings so much joy and laughter to our home. She is full of energy and can often be found upside down following in her big sister the gymnasts footsteps. She is showing readiness of learning to read and already has a great grasp of numbers and counting. She loves to pretend to read and be read to. Finding enough things to keep her busy mind and hands occupied is always a challenge!

Curriculum Challenges 

Bible was a bit of a fail this year. We love Bible Study Guide for All Ages, but the primary pages were no longer enough and the intermediate was too much. I now understand the need for the primary pages they are developing, but they don't currently have them for year three. Our plan for the spring is to just read through the Egermeiers Bible Story Book, use the BSGFAA Bible Summary cards, and dust off our children's catechism book we haven't used in awhile.

Curriculum Successes

I am amazed at E's progress in piano, and her talent in drawing is amazing. C's math intuitiveness constantly amazes me, as does Journey's constantly growing vocabulary and sass.

I am enjoying history more this year than ever before. Making our own plan has been well worth the effort.

Science-- Education Exploration has been a major blessing. It has been so easy to use, and the kids can do most everything by themselves.

E's favorite subject is Art, but handwriting is a close second. Amazingly, math is gaining ground. She loves reading as well

C's favorite is "copywork, then reading, math, science, and history." (His answer when asked the question!) :)

J's favorite remains Ziggy Zebra (from All About Reading). I just need to kick it into gear and get it out more! 

This year is progressing well. The last 3 weeks of break were very needed! The kids and I needed that time, and we are (almost!) ready to get back to it on Monday!


  1. Hi Nicole! Thank you for sharing what is and isn't working for your family. It is an encouragement for me! What history did you end up with? I know you used BiblioPlan, but couldn't remember if y'all were doing US History this year.

    1. Hi Jackie, we ended up just using our own plan this year. I outlined it here.
      We are having a great year. Our current plan is to finish US History next year and then jump back into BP with Ancients the following year. Hope that helps!

  2. Nicole, what kinds of things will you be starting with J? James is also about to turn four and would love any suggestions of things you've found helpful at their age.

    1. Hope the preschool post helped! Can you believe they are so big already?!? Such a fun age! Playing is learning at this age. :)


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