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Setting Realistic Goals

It’s a month into the new year. How is it going? By now, you may be getting a clearer picture on whether the goals you’ve set for the new year are realistic or perhaps a little more difficult than you expected. We homeschool by the calendar year, so it’s easy to get all excited about the new year and new school year that I can easily set my goals a little too high. I start out with these HUGE ideas, and by the end of January, I’m already burnt out! Can you relate?

Now I am not saying “don’t set goals” or even saying you shouldn’t set goals that are challenging, but as homeschoolers, we have a unique set of challenges because everything going on in our lives affects our homeschool as well. It can be easy to set aspiring and lofty goals and forget that sometimes “life happens,” and we end up feeling defeated or disappointed. It’s not a fun feeling!

You pictured climbing a mountain, but are having a hard time making it over a hill. Setting realistic goals is important for a successful new year!

Setting Realistic Goals


Set Both Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

When the new year is upon us, it’s easy to set the long-term goals for the new year. Although setting yearly goals is important, it is hard to track progress and sometimes feels daunting when you’re just getting started. What I am doing is setting a yearly goal and then breaking it down into more attainable goals – monthly, weekly, and even daily. This helps me to see the big picture and plan a route to reach the ultimate goal. It also helps to track progress along the way and make any necessary changes.


Start Small

Many times we go into the new year knowing where we’ve been – what we accomplished last year and on what we need to improve. Sometimes we’re not quite sure! Reaching goals is all about endurance, and if you burn yourself out too soon you’re more likely to give up on your goals completely. Perhaps you want to schedule more field trips this year. Jumping into one field trip per week may seem realistic but perhaps you are coming from hardly going on any. In that case, it would easily burn you out.

Start small. You can always increase your goals as you go. In the field trip scenario – start with one every other week, and if you find this is a good routine, you can choose to stick with it or even build upon it. Remember, though, it is OK to go back down as well. Find what works for you and don’t give up!


Consider Circumstances

Obviously going into the new year we don’t always know what will happen. The unexpected happens all the time. I know we had a rough year last year with many circumstances we surely couldn’t foresee. The best we can do is consider circumstances we do know about and can plan for and leave a little wiggle room for the rest.

We, personally, school from the beginning of January through Thanksgiving and take breaks as needed rather than setting specific breaks unless we know there is a special event or vacation planned. This way we have some time to work with and still fit in a full school year.



Setting goals is always better when they have been set prayerfully. It’s easy to set goals based on what we see other homeschoolers doing whether in our local groups or online, but every family is different, and God’s plan for every family is different. Before you jump into lofty plans and ideas consider His path for your family. Spend some time together as a family praying for guidance.


Do you feel like you’re on the right path for the new year?


Emilee Roberts (4 Posts)

Emilee is happily married to her best friend, Joey, who is a 2x cancer survivor and Disabled Veteran. She is a full-time, homeschooling mom to their 3 special needs kids who amaze, inspire, and humble her every day. In addition to blogging she is a freelance writer and mompreneur with a crafting/sewing business with the same name as her blog Pea of Sweetness.

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5 Gifts Under $5.00 for Moms

With Valentine’s Day approaching in a few weeks, I thought it’d be fun to offer a simple list of $5.00 gifts that show a little love to moms!


These gifts are perfect for any time of the year (Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, “just because”), so make sure to pin this article for easy reference later. And while you’re at it, maybe you’ll want to email this list to your husband or your teenage kids. You know, just in case they need a few ideas ;)

Best of all, most of these gifts can be given virtually to long-distance friends so if you know someone who needs a little encouragement, send her a small gift to let her know you’re thinking of her!

1) An eBook

You could give a $5.00 Amazon gift card or send a specific eBook. Here are a few homeschool books that I love:

And here are a few other mom books I love that aren’t about homeschooling:

2) A gift card to Starbucks or another local coffee shop.

What mom wouldn’t love the gift of relaxation?! Better yet, if the person receiving this gift is local, then babysit her kids for free while she enjoys a latte!


3) Flowers

Our Aldi has little bouquets of flowers for $3.99. At a time of year when the cost of flowers skyrockets, Aldi is the perfect place to buy this little pick-me-up for women!

If you don’t have an Aldi nearby, check a store like Trader Joe or ask your frugal friends if they know where to purchase flowers for a great price. Or just purchase a single rose or carnation from a pricier store – the sentiment is still the same without breaking the bank!


4) Chocolate or another delicious snack.

Need I say more?!

{Tip: If you’re shopping for a long-distance friend, use an Amazon prime account to get free shipping and have the treat sent directly to your friend’s doorstep!}


5) A card with a hand-written note inside.

Moms work hard, and sometimes we really just need to feel valued. So tell her. Let her know that YOU value her. Print this letter and include it with your note. Use your words to make her feel special.


Because isn’t making someone feel special what these little gifts are really all about?

What sweet & simple gift ideas do you have that cost $5.00 or less?

Davonne (16 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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A Clear Vision for a New Year


Do you take time to re-evaluate your homeschool plans and progress at the start of a new year?  What about your own personal goals?

As homeschool parents, we’re called upon to give so much of ourselves on a daily basis.  I think most of us would agree that we do this gladly (for the most part), yet there has to be a way to refill our own depleted resources from time to time.

One of the ways I keep my focus, both personally and in homeschooling, is to choose one word to represent the new year.  I’ve also written about three other ways to keep your focus, which includes choosing a motto or Bible verse for your homeschool. This kind of thing can serve as a reminder of why we do what we do, even when the going gets tough.  Sometimes we need to be our own cheering section! Having a clear vision of the task at hand and the road before us can help.


A Clear Vision for a New Year

Some of our team writers have chosen one word for the new year and we’d like to share those with you as a source of encouragement.

To Grow and Strengthen in 2015 by North Laurel at North Laurel Home & School

My Word for 2015: Purpose by Emilee at Pea of Sweetness

The Most Important Thing to Remember in 2015 by Davonne at

Hope is the Word at my blog Embracing Destiny


Do you choose one word, one Bible verse, or a motto for your homeschool or your own personal reflection for the year? Please share in the comments.


Sara (47 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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