New Year, New Goals! What Are Yours?
January 3, 2018
Hey Mama,

Happy New Year! I bet you’re rarin’ to go—checklist in hand and goals galore. But before you start this new year with new plans, take a moment to consider where you’ve been.

God has been good in your life, hasn’t He? So much you’ve gone through, overcome in this past year. And who knows what this new year holds? But what we do know is our goal is one and the same—to keep them home where they belong, by our sides, learning to love Jesus with their little (or big!) lives. That’s why we do it, after all. To train them up in the way they should go.

As you look to the future and learn from the past, enjoy reading these articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine :

And be assured, Mama . . .

We may get into checklists (sad reality,) but some checklists are good things. This is you:
1. You love your kids. That’s so obvious, no question.
2. They love you. Some don’t know it yet. But they will.
3. Your job is to plant seeds. God is the Harvester; stay on task.
4. Your husband and kids trump your desire for a nice clean house. (ha ha, it shows, j/k.)
6. You make some really good meals. Your kids love your food.
7. Your smile is what they look for when they do something right.
8. Your arms are what they look for when something goes wrong.
9. You’re always there.
10. It’s worth repeating, because it’s true: you’re always there.
So there you have it, Mama. At night when they cry from a bad dream, it’s you they need. In the morning when they’re hungry, there you are. During the day when someone’s calling for help, there you are, too. And when they have accomplished the impossible, what do we hear? “Look, Mommy! I did it!” (They want YOU to see.)
Checklists are good for some things. This one here is one of them. Your successes FAR outweigh the frailties. The mess-ups. Discount those. Fine, learn from them, but they should have a very tiny voice.

It's gonna be a great year! If you belong to the Lord, He has a way of working all things for good. (Romans 8:28, right?)
Your worth: it’s more than your weight in gold. And for some of us . . . whoa . . . that’s a lot. :-)
Michelle Beazer

Do you ever feel like you are trying to juggle too many roles at once? I sure do!

Recently in a FaceBook group I belong, a challenge was put out to come up with a single word to define your personal growth goal for the year 2018.

I chose “Focus” to be my personal growth word. I want to fully partake of each of the flowers in the bouquet God had given me. 

Like everyone else I am a person juggling many roles in this life.

  • I am a Mother
  • I am a Grandmother
  • I am a teacher
  • I am a provider
  • I am a business partner
  • I am an employee
  • I am a friend
  • I am a Church member
  • I am a Sunday school teacher
  • I am a helper

All of these roles are like beautiful flowers in my life. I am like a butterfly or a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower to taste them all. Giving each a snippet of my time but rarely truly drinking in the full measure of beauty each flower can give.

This week I had an opportunity to try out my word. 
My little granddaughter turned 10 near the end of November. For her birthday her mother asked if I could give her daughter (my granddaughter) sewing lessons. During this weeks lesson, her little 6 year old sister asked to learn to sew also. At first the older girl was a bit upset and said her sister is too young and the lessons are a Birthday present. I thought about my word, Focus. How can I use it in this situation? Which flower am I at right in this moment? Teacher or Grandmother? The teacher flower would mean Focus on sewing project. The Grandmother flower would mean Focus on the relationship and character building.

I chose the Grandmother flower and told the little one “Sure you can learn, but you have to start with the same project your sister did”. Then I told the kids I needed to go make dinner. I asked the older girl to help me. While we were in the kitchen she was able to tell me how she felt her sister was “butting in” on her Nanny time. Which I was able to turnaround to “Isn’t it wonderful how you have inspired your sister to want to learn to sew because you are working so hard on your projects?”
If I had not been thinking of “Focus” I may have missed the opportunity to help these precious little girls learn a much more important lesson than sewing.

Michelle is a Canadian homeschooling mom to 4 great kids including 2 on the autism spectrum one of whom is the owner of .  She also has 2 adorable grandaughters. They have been homeschooling for 20 years. She is the marketing Assistant for the TOS Canadian Division. 

National History Bee
Every time the new year rolls around, there's an outbreak of talk about resolutions. Students promise to be better students; parents promise to be better parents; people everywhere promise they're going to break bad habits and start anew.

The thing about resolutions that makes them so hard to keep is that, even in the act of making them, there's always a sense that they're temporary. By the middle of January we’ve worked our way into an easier compromise, and by February we’ve given up altogether. We often look at the new year as The New Year, thinking of the first thirty one days instead of the full three hundred sixty five.

Sometimes, as a student, it can feel like you’re hurtling along through each year and school year—juggling essays and projects and extracurricular activities—and your accomplishments can get lost in the fray. It’s like building a bridge as you’re walking along it; you’re so focused on getting the next plank down (finishing the next paper, waiting for the next quiz score) that you don’t remember to stop and look back at the beautiful thing you’ve been building.

That’s the best thing about the new year. It’s a reminder to look back before you close the door, and take note of everything you’ve done.

This year I got the opportunity to work for the National History Bee, and that opportunity has allowed me to meet so many bright kids who are always striving to learn and reach their goals, kids who always want to reach their personal best. No matter how old we get, we never truly stop learning. And helping these kids embrace their passion for knowledge has been rewarding in so many ways.

We recognize the hard work put in each year by our students and the academic excellence they’ve achieved, so that those students may take that encouragement back to their studies, and open the door on a new year.

All too often, Homeschool students don't get the recognition that they deserve for their academic efforts. At the National History Bee, we want to make sure that Homeschool students have an opportunity to earn that recognition, so we are waiving the registration fee—meaning Homeschool students can take the History Bee online exam for free. Interested parents just need to register on using the promo code  HOME.  The registration deadline is January 8th.
Mercy Every Minute  
The New Year is an opportunity to look at your homeschool with a new perspective and ask yourself some questions. What has been working? What hasn’t been working? What do I do for the rest of this school year, and how should it be done? Here are three steps that might help ease back into schooling with success:

Review and Re-evaluate
Take the next week or two to assess and get geared up for starting again. Some helpful questions:
  • What areas were problem areas before the holidays? 
  • How can I resolve those problems before we start again? 
  • Do I need to incorporate an all-grade approach to teaching a subject, or does one child need private instruction in a particular area? 
  • Where have they shown success, and how can I encourage further excellence? 
  • What are the gifts the Lord has given them, and how can they be used for His glory? 
  • What did I want to teach this school year that I haven’t started yet? 
  • If I take a summer break in June, what do I need to do in order to incorporate that new area of study for the next five months (January through May)? 
  • What kind of daily or weekly or monthly schedule would help me follow through? 

Repent and Return 
Have you lost sight of the true eternal priorities of educating your children? Did you forget that it is your obedience and not your ability that God rewards? Now is the time to repent for your lack of desire to be obedient, your lack of courage to continue, or your lack of vision for what is eternally important. Then, return to the assignment God has given you in training up His children for His glory. 

Resolution and Courage
The New Year is famous for bringing new resolutions. I suggest we really be intentional about keeping our old resolve to homeschool. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word “resolution” as this: 
RESOLUTION: Fixed purpose or determination of mind; as a resolution to reform our lives; a resolution to undertake an expedition. The effect of fixed purpose; firmness, steadiness or constancy in execution, implying courage.  

We see here that we not only need to be resolved in our old and new homeschooling efforts, but we need courage . Courage to remain fixed in purpose, determined in our minds, and resolute to follow through in execution. Let’s look at the definition for courage as well:
COURAGE , n . [L., the heart.] Bravery . . . that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.

Homeschooling often requires courage in the face of persecution, as well as courage against our own minds that tell us we are failing; courage against “depression of spirits” and courage to bear through difficulties to the end. The only way to find this kind of courage is to dig ourselves out of our own thinking and become buried deep in the Word of God. There are over 100 verses in the Bible about courage. Here are a couple:

Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Some new things I have going on this New Year are regular live devotions to help us focus on this trustworthy God Who gives us courage. Visit our YouTube page here and check out the first two devotions. And, if you are raising a difficult child, you can also listen to the Homeschooling the Rebel webinar . Facing a lot of hurdles? This editorial was written to give you fresh courage to overcome: Overcoming Hurdles .

A very happy New Year to you!

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Jodi Riddle
There is just something about “new” things. The excitement, the freshness, the “never-had-before” feeling—I’m not sure exactly what it is, but “new” is a great word! But it’s not just a word! It’s a frame of mind in many ways. Do you realize that after a while something that is new, is no longer “new”? It’s “used,” “worn” or simply, “old.” What’s the key to keeping the excitement and freshness of something even after you have had it for some time?

For most of us, it seems the beginning of the “new” year brings all kinds of ideas, plans, and goals. Many times they are not really “new” though. They simply are a repeat from the previous year because we didn’t accomplish what we had hoped. Goals are not bad in and of themselves. We should all have things that we desire to accomplish, but LIFE happens. The newness of our goals wears off—many times sooner than later—resulting in disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion. Did you know that God never intended for us to be frustrated and exhausted? 

We put way too much pressure on ourselves to set up a list of things at the beginning of the new year that we want to accomplish. God knows what your new year has in store for you, though. He wants you to experience the excitement and freshness of life ALL the time, not just when something is “new!” Ask Him for wisdom in what He wants your goals to be. Set shorter-term goals, and re-evaluate them frequently. When life happens, know that God knew it before you did, and He’s okay with you re-adjusting your goals! But most of all, remember that there is something new that happens every day – “ It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Because of HIS faithfulness, HIS mercies are new every single day!

Make your number one goal this “new” year to keep the excitement for and a freshness with the One who can help you meet all those other goals you plan year after year! Enjoy knowing Him and realizing that He IS faithful to help you through whatever life brings you this year! 

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5 

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Human Resource and Operations Assistant and is also the Homeschooling with Heart  blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three boys. She has homeschooled for seventeen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!
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Happy New Year!!! The years seem to be flying by...leaving me feeling old and nostalgic. Why wasn’t it just a year or two ago that we were celebrating the new millennium? I saw some family photos just before Christmas and was shocked by how quickly a decade passes. Old children replace young children in the snap of a finger.

So here's my advice as we approach the new year: instead of making lots of new years resolutions about losing weight, exercising, being more on top of homeschooling, finances, house cleaning....and a bunch of other things that you've resolved to do before and find yourself breaking soon afterwards, this year make just one.

This year resolve to spend your fleeting days on what matters. Spend more time playing games, sitting and listening, and less time on being busy, accomplishing, and getting on top of "things."

I'm telling day you'll be fat, old, and decrepit, and you'll wish you'd have spent more time enjoying your children and spouse. It won't matter how much money you have or how clean and organized your house'll wish you could have more time homeschooling and being with your children.

So start the new year off by putting away your school schedule, cleaning guide, and financial workbook and sit down with your children and talk about the last year and the year to come. Ask them what they liked most and what they'd like to do in the year 2018. Listen carefully and then play one of the games the kids got for Christmas or do something else fun, enjoying these stress-less, post-holiday days.

It's going to be the best year ever.

Be real,
What about UFOs, Roswell, and alien abductions?
 Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception reveals one of the most powerful affirmations of Christianity and the Bible. 

Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those 
CONSIDERING  homeschooling know about the enormous  FREE  info-pack which awaits them here: .
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Sometimes we run into new days and new goals. Sometimes we struggle and haltingly take one step at a time. And through it all, He carries us. As we start this new year, let us pray for God’s help to keep our eyes on Him each step of the way. 

We invite you to stop by our new parent eBook library on where you can find encouragement and practical advice on homeschooling, home and garden, finances, working from home, and much more. It’s your own island of encouragement and information right at your fingertips. 

If you haven’t yet joined , come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5 or join during our New Year’s special and save big! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at . We look forward to serving you and your family! 

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of January

Learning comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you have children who crave worksheets, other times you have a child who just wants to read a book. If you have the latter, like me, you will find that All Through the Ages - History Through Literature Guide is the perfect way to make history learning fun!

My family loves history, the adventure packed, what is around the next corner type of history. Not the boring, dry, textbook history. We love to live in the moment of the history we are learning about. The only way to do that is to ditch the textbook and find the living history books that make the history come to life for us.

Now, we could do this by looking up books at the library. I could proofread them, see if they fit our standards, age groups and time periods. But this takes time, time that I don’t have when I have four kids at home that want to learn -- four kids who I want to keep that desire for learning burning, no matter what.

Christine Miller from Nothing New Press has taken all the dirty work out of finding books for me with this guide. Now I am able to look up the time period, narrow down the age group, and find the books my family will love to learn from when it comes to their history lessons! (. . .)

One book in particular gives me names of books to read, or have my children read, from creation and the antediluvian world all the way up through the modern era. Not only that, but we also get geographical history of the top countries in the world. There are even small sections of books that cover the History of Science and Mathematics, History of the Visual Arts and Music, and Great Books of Western Civilization and the Christian Tradition.

Most of the books listed in this book can be found in your local library or within the common homeschool catalogs. There are codes listed after every book that tell the source where that book came from. Having this information will help you find the book if you can’t find it at your local library. 

I fell in love with this book so much that this is my go-to book. I could not make our history lessons fun and engaging without it! 

YOU can WIN this amazing resource for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER : Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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