5 new (school) resolutions to consider

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I intended to finish the calendar year with a strong academic month. Of course, illness and a number of unforeseeable circumstances got in my way. In some ways, we limped to the finish line.

But, in other ways, we ran a good race. We spent more down time as a family, endeavored to be more patient with one another, had a chance just to rest, and focused on priorities rather than a completed lesson plan.

It got me thinking of how lovely it is to get a second fresh start when January 1 rolls around. And how I want to prioritize in the new year.

Here are five ways I hope to “put off the old man” and put on the new one in 2013:

1. Compare our school to our school. Not to someone else’s.

It’s so easy to compare our family school to someone else’s or even to the Perfect School in My Mind. Of course, there will always be something lacking in that scenario.

But, if I compare our school to our school last year or even last month, I see progress. I am encouraged. I know our trajectory and can adjust in a realistic way.

I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. I just need to keep up with our family’s vision of growth and learning.

2. Enjoy experiences, not checked boxes.

As my kids get bigger — I have children in 10th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grades — it’s all too easy for me to get caught up in reaching academic milestones, making sure the chapters got read, and otherwise, checking off the boxes on my to do list.

When they were younger, it was easier to say, “Let’s go to the museum.” Or “let’s go to the Science Center.” I’ve lost my love of adventures, so I’m going to reclaim that in the new year.

San Diego offers free museum entrance every week on a rotating basis. We’ve never made the most of this. But, I am going to try. My guess is that your community offers free or discounted educational experiences as well. Let’s take advantage of those hands-on learning experiences.

3. Remember it’s gonna take the time it’s gonna take.

I often get impatient that a task takes longer than I think it will. This leads to anxiety and more than a little grumpiness. In 2013 I want to embrace the chaos and not sweat it if it takes all day to finish that science project or complete that math assignment.

This is learning. And learning takes time. We’ll all enjoy the ride more if I’m patient.

4. Embrace the days (and the daze).

At the end of every calendar year I put together a slide show of our family’s experiences from the previous year. I’m always stunned at how much my kids have changed over the months. When I watch the DVD’s of past years, I’m stunned that they were once so little.

Where did the time go?

I can be tempted to recall all the ways I messed up in those moments. A picture triggers a memory of my failures.

Instead, I’m going to embrace each day as an opportunity to love my kids, to enjoy the time we have together, and to hide the good, positive experiences in my heart.

5. Laugh more.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. I’m gonna guess it’s probably the best educational tool, as well. If we don’t take things quite so seriously, if we’re able to bring levity to our days and our challenges, we will be more cheerful people, our children will relax more, and we will all learn and grow more.

Will my new year go according to plan?

Oh, probably not. But, I’m going to try my best to enter the new year with a positive spin on our home and our school. That’s all I can ask of my kids. So that’s all I can ask of me, too.

What are your goals for the new year?

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About Jessica

Once a public high school teacher, Jessica now homeschools five of her six children, covering 2nd through 10th grades. Her oldest is in college, so the experiment appears to have worked! Grab a copy of Jessica’s new cookbook Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less and the accompanying monthly meal plan to help you save money, eat well, and enjoy some freer time.


  1. “or even to the Perfect School in My Mind. Of course, there will always be something lacking in that scenario.”

    This. My goal is to stop comparing everything to the perfection my mind.
    Steph’s latest post: Christmas Wrap Up

  2. Wonderful timely post! Thanks, I am so tired of the comparision trap that I fall into time and time again. 2013 will be a year where I stop comparing my family to others but checking our past to see if we are making progress.
    Tiffany’s latest post: Merry Christmas 2012

  3. This is my first year homeschooling.
    And everytime I read about a homeschooling mom who is forging forward through the less-than-ideal….and choosing to just be present – it encourages me. This post did that today 🙂 Thank you.

    I’m setting aside some time this coming weekend to pray and set some goals and standards. Looking forward to a fresh start.

    In gratitude,
    Kate 🙂

  4. I love this, Jessica. Your first one especially resonated with me. I have achieved homeschool nirvana yet (has anyone?), but I can definitely see the progress we’ve made this year compared to last in our routines, attitudes and approach, and when I focus on that, I’m so encouraged!

  5. Great post. I need to keep things in mind for my upcoming year too.
    Twisted Cinderella’s latest post: Wordless Wednesday: Little Prince Christmas

  6. Is there a website that has a calendar of which San Diego museum is free when? We moved into the area recently, and I’d love to be able to take advantage of that. Thanks!

  7. Elizabeth Kane says:

    This list is fantastic, Jessica. I like your theme of embracing the chaos and enjoying the experiences. I think that’s a big part of creating our own everyday happiness too. One of my goals for the new year is walking the path I’m on *now* to reaching my goals. Not wishing I had done “xyz” before now or wondering why I can’t do something faster than I had intended. I want to be better about being patient with myself when the bumps in the road (that come up at all the unexpected times) frustrate me. If I keep up with that theme, I will consider 2013 a win. 🙂

  8. Love to read about homeschooling from people who do it. I do not homeschool but wish I could. I have four girls: 2 years old, preschool, 1st, and 8th. I thought it would be impossible for one person to homeschool four, but you have five! Wow! I\’m envious. I really wish I could get the low down…how hard it is, can I afford it, how do your days work with the different grades, etc. Are their any homeschooling for dummies books? Haha.

  9. Great resolutions! Although I do not homeschool, I am a former teacher and have a kindergartener in public school. These are good reminders for me for my family, as well as when I receive news home from school! 🙂 Happy 2013!

  10. So very timly for me as I also look forward to the new year as a new opportunity. Compaison, yes I would like to leave that behind. I would also like to let go of the notion that our school, our home and in general our lives should look a certain way. I wan’t more than anything for 2013 to simply involve more attention to the unique plan God has for our family and less concern over what others may think of the way we live, or even what I think our lives should entail.
    Rita’s latest post: Be it ever so humble…

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