Following on from my year in review post, here are some thoughts on the year ahead. I write this tentatively. I very often find that I can talk a lot about my plans, but my execution is lackluster, and I’m at risk of simply not being a very trustworthy person. All of this, therefore, is offered with a large dash of hoping I’ll work on these things and take these steps and a reluctance to commit to any deadlines/frequency/amount of success.
I’m planning to continue casual, but more frequent content. This is, more or less, a Charlotte Mason homeschooling blog, and I do make a lot of connections with education and educational philosophy. I don’t expect that to change. But I increasingly find value in going tangential to topics and issues that are close to my everyday life. And honestly, after spending a day homeschooling, it is good and refreshing to spend time thinking about something else! A wide and varied intellectual diet is for Mom, too.
With that in mind, I hope that my posts will be wide and varied with the ideas I’m pondering and books I’m reading. I’ll also continue to send my weekly newsletter,
I never know how frequent I’ll be, but I’m hoping it will be more often than 2022, due to changes in my…
Phone and Social Media Use
I’m planning to continue the theme of applying stricter limits and hopefully enjoying more mental clarity than when I’m bogged down in a social media feed. I’m planning to schedule ‘focus mode’ on my phone throughout the day (not just at bed time) in order to remove access to apps that lead to time wasting.
I’ve also been deliberating how to pull back further from Facebook. Unlike Instagram (which I’m rarely checking these days), there are resources there that I respect, consult with, and enjoy. Whether it’s finding local swimming spots or finding out if I want to read a certain book, I don’t want to give up these pools of knowledge!
Plus there is the practical side. Without Facebook, I would probably not be heading to a Charlotte Mason retreat next month, and I probably would not have hosted a homeschooling chat/lunch for mums earlier in the month. The trouble is that for all I use Facebook, it uses me more, and it takes up far too much of my time.
My plan now is to set up the Messenger app on my computer and then have my husband change my password to the regular site, and log me on twice a week to check the groups I’m in or to search for anything I’ve wanted to look up. This plan doesn’t seem to trigger my fear-of-missing-out. It’s probably really cheeky to think that I can have the best of both worlds, but this still seems like a solid step in the right direction, so I’ll see how it goes.
My writing goals are simpler this year: finish my second draft of the book based on the Mother Culture Road Map, revise, edit, and finally get it self-published. I’ll write more about this process and why it is taking me years to get it done in the future. My first chapter has been rewritten and I have a solid plan for the rest of the book. I just need the habits in place to get it done, which are setting an alarm, getting up before my kids six days a week, and focusing.
Apart from this giant goal, I also hope to publish more polished articles away from my blog. If I can even manage this once, I’ll be quite pleased, but I always hope to do more…
Reading and Learning
I’m really hoping for a better reading year in 2023. I felt a lack of mental clarity this year – too much social media, a fuller schedule, confused goals with habits I was putting in place. I hope the adjustments to my phone and social media use will help, but one plan is that after I get up in the morning, to spend time in prayer and Scripture, then take some time to read a hard book. I think this was the biggest thing missing in 2022. I wanted to get stuck into writing, but I was skipping reading, which is a big part of what helps me think and have anything to say. Then I wouldn’t come back to these tougher reads.
I also plan to do the Literary Life 2023 Reading Challenge again.
I’m hoping to continue my own learning through taking another course with the Davenant institute, although I’m waiting to hear whether the lecture will be at a convenient time.
My big goal for this year, though, is to read better. To narrate more of my readings, to think over them more deeply. Especially to engage less flippantly with the articles I read online when they merit further reflection. My initial idea is to use this blog as a place to do that work.
My main plan is to just do it! My eldest starts Year Four next week, though, and I’m mostly thinking about helping him transition into a more challenging year of work. In particular, helping him develop the habits to work hard when he works independently.
This year will also see me add my third student into the mix, with my youngest turning six over the summer and starting school in the autumn term. My hope for a long while has been that this staggered approach means that I will have a little extra time and attention for the child who is moving into a new school year that term. (My middle son moves up a year in April, so from this Autumn, someone starts a new school year each term.)
But as much as I want our school year to run smoothly, I want to nurture good relationships with my boys through school. I do see school as quality time with my children, but it doesn’t feel that way when I’m frazzled, stressed, or irritated. This is at the center of my hopes and prayers for the year – to grow more into the type of person who can do the work of parenting these kids with patience and wisdom, so that our days become smoother and I become calmer.