January, The Happiest of Months

I love January. Although it may be colder where I live with an occasion of ice and snow (and now tornado threats sometimes!), it is that idea of an entire year laid out before us with shiny new possibilities and opportunities. A time to create and shape things anew. Since I am building my year of abundance on rest and relaxation and balance, the introverted vibe of this season feels just right.

I made a calendar the other day the way I have for so many years of homeschooling – take a larger piece of paper and divide it by folding into six squares on the front and six squares on the back. This provides one month for each box and in each box I write down days we celebrate, ideas for the month, and when the children were small and under aged 7 I included what tale I would tell for the entirety of the month. Repetition and daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms are soul nourishing for all of us, but especially for the life of small children. Even without small children in the house, I felt a need to return to these roots. For January I wrote down the days we are celebrating, and then a few catch phrases of things I associate with this month: water, birds, soup, snowflakes, outside, hiking, organizing, rest, date nights (on the farm at this point), reading, creating.

This month, we are celebrating:

1- New Year’s Day

6- Epiphany/Three Kings Day

17- Martin Luther King Jr. Day

These are a few of the things we are enjoying this month:

  • Daily walks, hikes, or horseback rides rain or shine
  • Puzzles and board games. We have been playing a lot of Scrabble and got the board game Azure for Christmas.
  • Green smoothies and juicing
  • Opting outside daily
  • Playing with our horses and dreaming of the show season to start again
  • Indoor microgardening!  So fun!
  • Decluttering the entire house. This somehow feels like it must be done this year.

For those of you trying to figure out what to do with children in inclement weather (besides dressing well and going outside!), I always say that a good rhythm of work is the foundation of everything else. So meaningful work is the most important thing you can do. Slow things down, and involve your children. Children need long-simmering doses of time. Chop vegetables for soup, bake something, teach your older children to cook, let your littles help you with laundry, deep clean. Meaningful work is a strong key to family life. Those of us with land, animals, etc may take it up a notch with the amount of daily care required, but even in the city you have work to do and your children need to see that and be a part of that work. Even toddlers can participate.

If you are looking for fun things to do with children:  Cut out paper snowflakes, including really cool 3-D snowflakes; dip candles; roll candles; play board games or card games with your children;  draw, paint, model; whittle wood; make popcorn together; bake together; play in the snow – build snow forts; have snowball fights; snowshoe; downhill or cross country ski;  ice skate on a pond; read and tell stories; build forts inside; take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above; knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew; sing and make music together – learn some new songs; clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture; go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in; write letters to family and friends; write stories together; snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmallows; cook for a neighbor; find a place of worship to attend and get involved; throw a party; clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal; take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time.

We are beginning Week 18 of sixth grade homeschooling this week! Our sixth grader and I will be looking at Roman History, along with a good amount of math, spelling, handwriting, and drawing. Our oldest is off snowboarding in Colorado, (and our middle child who is a junior in a four day a week high school) will be starting back this week. They truly do grow up and make their own lives. Sometimes parents bemoan when things change as their children become young adults, but I think instead watching it all unfold is rather exciting and precious in its own way and gives us as parents a chance to re-create ourselves in new ways as well as we answer the question of who we are at this juncture in our own biography.

January blows in with a plea for balance and re-evaluation. I am currently taking phone consults for parenting and homeschooling should you want to sort some things out. Please send me an email at admin@theparentingpassageway.com if you are interested.

I would love to hear how your January is unfolding! Drop me a comment or reach out on social media.