Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year Planning

All the visitors have gone, the Christmas enchantment is fading, and we are settling in for a long winter's nap together. This is one of my favorite times, those slow and cozy post-holiday days leading into a new year. These are the days before winter classes begin and Daddy returns to work when we wake up and decide together what each day will hold. A winter hike? A peaceful afternoon together at the library? A trip to the museum? A gathering with friends for food and play? So much to choose from as we spend our days together, immersed in whole family learning. 

And yet, even as we enjoy these slow and snuggly days together the excitement builds for winter classes and events. It always seems a work in progress to strike the right balance between structured classes and loads of unstructured play time, and of course it's up to us as parents to know and set the pace that is best for each of our children. The fall seemed a bit too light for us in terms of classes, the winter may be a bit too full, but in the end it balances and we settle into a seasonal learning rhythm that blends community homeschooling resources with plenty of home and play time. 

If I had to sum up our winter schedule I'd say it revolves around two things: art and skiing. My nine-year-old daughter will feed her creativity and passion for arts and crafts with a homeschool clay class, a homeschool fiber arts class, and a homeschool studio art class each week, with a bit of homeschool skiing thrown in, while my almost seven-year-old will feed his passion for skiing and outdoor adventure, with a bit of art thrown in. There will also be homeschool science classes at the museum, and skiing, and library lego club, and more skiing. And probably some skating and snowshoeing and swimming will be in the mix as well. 

I am already plotting what to include in my basket of toys and books and snacks for my littler ones while their older siblings are in classes or on the slopes. Some days we will head to library story time or a cafe or bookstore during an art class, and some days we will snuggle up in the base lodge for stories and play.

A new season, a new year, brings with it so much excitement and anticipation, so much that is new along with all that is familiar. It marks a moment to acknowledge the unfolding passions of our children and connect them with the resources to fulfill them. It reminds us to look back and evaluate, and to look ahead and plan. It helps us to appreciate the opportunities and adventures of a new time of the year, and to tailor our daily rhythms accordingly. It is wrapped up in wonder and possibility, dreams and actions. It is simultaneously saying good-bye and saying hello.

It is a happy new year. 

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