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New Year’s Resolutions Even I Can Keep

A non-homeschooling friend of mine mentioned a New Year’s Resolution she was making – something about making time for herself. I’m not sure what that idea even is anymore! I thought it sounded like fun, but I have never been big on new year’s resolutions. Frankly, if I can’t do it the rest of the time, why would the new year change this? That said, there are a couple of things that I think even I can do, and would increase our fun-factor (and my sanity) in a big way.

Teach the kids to cook.

To be fair, our kids have been cooking for years. The twins are almost 13, and the older two 25 and 23 – we taught them all to cook because you gotta eat, and when you’re on a tight budget cooking is cheaper than eating out. I only bring it up because so many kids entering college can’t even boil water. When I was barely 18 and on my own with my oldest, I could hardly cook at all. Out of necessity I discovered that buying a single butternut squash (his favorite food at the time), cooking and pureeing it cost just a fraction of even two of those fancy jars of pre-made baby food, made 10 times more, and tasted better. A hard time to learn the lesson, but wow what a difference!

This simple menu item blossomed into exploring how to cook other things instead of buying them – we ate a lot better after that. Or rather, I did. He had never gone without. Ever.

As a result, I was driven to make sure all my kids could cook too, and add that to a husband who has been a sous chef in the past. Cooking is a big part of our lives. Teaching your kids to cook has other benefits too –

  • By following or creating recipes, you can use it for math and science, even reading.
  • Bonding with your kids – let’s face it, food brings people together.
  • Understanding what goes into our food makes us more likely to be careful with what goes into our bodies.
  • They can make their own breakfast, or even breakfast for everyone. Last night, the twins followed the steps to make pork money bags with a dipping sauce. It was delicious, and they did a terrific job with only a small amount of help from me. Their future wives will thank us.

This year, they have even bigger cooking goals – they have already learned to make crepes, we make mozzarella, ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, they can make burgers like nobodies business and their eggs are better than ours. But this year, they want to do even more. They’re scouring my cookbooks to find new and interesting things to try, and want to do the whole meal plan for the week.

Check out the Fall  and Winter issues for delicious food-based unit studies. Do your kids know how to cook? What’s their favorite thing to make?

Keep the house cleaner.

Our home looks like a bomb went off at the end of a successful school day. Really. I look enviously at those photos of beautiful homes with clean counters and clear tables…and while I know that homeschooling brings a host of challenges that our public schooled counterparts do not face, I still wish at least one table wasn’t covered with a project. Sometimes. For my new year, I’ll be working on that – just one table or counter not covered in a project. That leaves what… 5 others we can still cover? Good enough.

How do you keep things organized? I would love to hear your ideas.

Hide the chocolate.

It’ll probably have to go in the deep freezer in the garage to keep the kids out of it – I swear they can smell it when I walk in the door! But it seems that every time I need a bit of chocolate, they’ve eaten it all. So, barring a monthly chocolate subscription, I’m just going to have to keep it hidden. My chocolate needs outweigh their chocolate needs, don’t they? Where do you hide your stash?

Plan “me time.”

Truth is, that even though I think my non-homeschooling friend gets “me time” every day her kids are in school, she doesn’t feel that way. She has other responsibilities to which to attend while they’re in school, and those deplete her “me time.” If she feels that a bit of time without stuff to do is necessary for her, then it’s even more so for me: A busy homeschool mom who owns not one, but two businesses (Learning Tangent and Gail Nelson Music). I’m convinced that the only way I get anything done is by scheduling it, so I’m going to do just that. At least every other month, I’m ditching the kids for an hour or two. I might go to the bookstore without them, or wander through antique stores looking for goodies, but I’ll be alone. Maybe I’ll even get a massage some time. Or a pedicure.

Plan date nights.

Seriously. I think our relationship suffers a bit sometimes because we can’t just spend time with each other. We’re an odd couple in that we spend a lot of our time apart on the phone chit chatting, and actually really like each other, but still – time with just the two of us would be nice too. Even dessert at Denny’s would be good. Then we can tell the boys all about how we had ice cream without them. I think they’d like to hear about that, don’t you? LOL Maybe not.


Stocking enough duct-tape to keep the kids…umm…busy.

That’s it…I’m just trying to keep them busy.

I swear.

Actually, it’s not just duct tape we need, but fabric, glue, paper, scissors, thread, needles, felt, googly eyes and more. They are always creating something, and ever since I taught them to sew, they love to make things. Sometimes it’s a puppet, others a costume or machine. I love homeschooling because they have had the time to explore so many ideas. So this new year, I promise they’ll always have enough supplies. The dollar store and fabric store employees will probably know me by name. Bookstore people already do, why not get to know these awesome people too?

Get out and explore more.

The last few months we’ve been in a bit of a funk. Haven’t gone and done much, and have just generally been homebodies. We’re all cranky as a result. Once a week, we’re going somewhere. Anywhere. There is a great archery range nearby, and even an archery club. On top of that, we have some of the best hiking and bicycling trails around. Why haven’t we been out more? I don’t know – but we’re fixing it.

What are you going to work on this year? Tell us in the comments.