Why I don’t add anything new to our homeschool in January

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

I love the idea of a new year.

A fresh start. A list of ways to get back on track after the busy holiday season. A new planner.

All of it makes my type-A self a little giddy.

In the past, I have applied the same ‘New Year, New You’ approach to our homeschool.

I mean, what better time to add something new, change up our schedule, and refocus all the priorities I have for my boys’ education?

The answer for our family?

Just about any other time, but not in January.

‘New Year, New You’ has, in the past, turned into ‘New Year, Painfully Overstimulated and Out of Whack You’ around here.

The truth is, after a break from our typical school schedule and the wild ride of the holidays, my children need to get back to the familiar.

They need exactly what they already know and nothing else. Anything new makes for a pretty awful January that tends to spill over into February.

Why I Don’t Add Anything New to Our Homeschool in January

Here is what our Januarys have come to look like after a few years of trial and error:

Daily Life

Although I don’t add anything new, I do re-think our daily routines for housework, doctors’ appointments and anything related to my work.

Taking the month of January to get things in order, without adding anything to our homeschool schedule, allows me to really focus on the basics first.

Much Needed Review

After taking a winter break, my boys need time to review what they’ve already learned. We take the month of January to review and master the learning we completed in November and December. Because of my boys’ learning differences, this is essential, but I imagine this might also be true for any child.

Taking the month to review, sets us up for a more successful progression to our new learning in February,

Goal Planning

While I may not add anything new to my boys’ learning, I do spend time at the beginning of the year completing a quick mid-year assessment for each of them. I also create a handful of goals for the reminder of the school year.

This year, our goals include:

A Field trip to the Science Center

A New Language Arts program for my oldest son

Complete copywork at least once a week from Harry Potter Books

February is the New January

Because my boys have the month of January to get back into a regular homeschool routine, the month of February becomes our ‘New Year’ month for all things learning.

In February, I will introduce any curriculum and/or subjects, increase our daily requirements, go on a field trip and overall, get back into our groove.

While I may not add anything new, this approach allows us to continue to progress in a way that works best for all our personalities and learning styles. 

I find that giving myself the month of January to let things settle down and get our household back under control, makes for a much more successful back half of our school year.

Do you introduce anything new at New Years? How does it work for your family?



About Shawna Wingert

Shawna Wingert is the creator of Not The Former Things, a blog dedicated to homeschooling children with learning differences and special needs. She loves finding out-of-the-box ways for out-of-the-box learners to thrive. She is the author of two books, Special Education at Home and Everyday Autism. You can follow Shawna and Not The Former Things on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.


  1. I like your thoughts on how to approach January. My daughter was struggling a bit before the holidays to focus daily on necessary tasks so I’m going to work on that as a priority in the early days/weeks of the new year. We will do some review as well, but she also needs the challenge of new content. It’s a delicate balance for us. Add in the fact that we will look forward to Monday ski club outings and resuming Wednesday and Thursday karate and things should be just about as busy as we need. Thanks for this post:)

  2. I love the idea of waiting and working on a foundation in January for our house, work and even personal goals. Then introducing new stuff in Feb. Great idea!
    Jen’s latest post: Awesome Paper Planners For Your “Working Homeschool Mom” Life

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