By Laura Hoffpauir
My youngest child has graduated from high school. As a homeschooling mom, not only do I face the loneliness that comes from not being needed as a mom in the same way (what people refer to as “empty nest”), but also retirement from homeschooling, which has been my job and the focus of my life for the past 30 years. So what do I do now? I’m not looking to reinvent myself, but I think it’s a great opportunity for reassessment. Who am I underneath it all? What do I want? Where am I heading?
I have lots of ideas running around in my head. How might my experience and gifts best be put to use? I’m interested in volunteering as a way to pass on the faith that has been the backbone of my life and to share my blessings with others, tutoring as a way to help students overcome impediments to learning and promote their success in school while earning a small income, mentoring to offer assistance to other homeschooling families, and maybe even writing the quintessential math textbooks I was always looking for but never could find. I have many household projects on hold for so long that it’s tricky even to know where to start. Now is the time to review my goals, priorities, projects, and schedule.
You don’t have to wait for a significant life change to go through these exercises. As we enter the second half of this year, now is an excellent time to look back and forward. Revisit your goals from January and think about what’s going well, what fell through the cracks, and what isn’t working. Have your priorities changed? Then some goals might need to change to better align with your priorities. Are your goals still the same, but you’re just not progressing toward them? Consider how you might tweak your schedules and your routines to maximize success.
Ideally, we could all stand to take a few minutes every night to think about how our day went, what we should repeat, and what we should change tomorrow. Weekly we might spend 20 or 30 minutes looking back on the previous week and contemplating what adjustments we should implement to make the following week better. Even in the middle of a day that’s not going well, we can take a deep breath and figure out how to reset our day.
Typically, we think about goal-setting and resolution-making in January. I want to challenge you to see July as the month for revisiting the goals and resolutions you set up in January, not to beat yourself up for things you let slide, but to encourage yourself to improve in the second half and finish strong for the year.
Laura Hoffpauir is passionate about learning and teaching. She has homeschooled her 6 children, taught small classes in homeschooling co-ops, and continues to provide tutoring services. She also enjoys crochet, crafts, birdwatching, word games, and live music of all kinds, from her daughters’ church choirs to her husband and son’s rock cover band, The Lakeshore Drivers.