As we come to the end of our first year in business, I am in pursuit of a simpler path. I am just too busy - too busy with work, too busy with homeschool, too busy with homemaking, too busy with outside commitments - just way too busy! This year, I'm slowing down and I'm committed to the KISS method. Have you heard of it? It stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" or "Keep It Simple, Sweetie!" if you prefer. I've heard this aphorism in seminars for time management, goal setting, project management, and education. And while I agree with the general premise, it makes me laugh every time. Because often, life is anything but simple, right? But this Waldorf-inspired, homeschooling, work at home mom is going to strive for exactly that!
For many homeschooling families in the US, we are coming to an exciting time of year - the end of one school year, and planning time for the next. It's a time of year that brings mixed emotions for all of us. I am so proud of the work we have done this year, as well as a bit exhausted, and I'm excited for things to come. I'm also feeling a little overwhelmed. There are just so many things to consider! Did my children really internalize the lessons I tried to teach? Did we spend enough time on math facts? Did we do enough modeling/knitting/form drawing? And looking ahead, am I really up to the task for the next grade level? Will I be able to teach about cultures I know so little about - or will I be over my head with reading and preparation? And it is time for my youngest child to begin academics - am I in for the same struggle I had with his older brother? Is it going to be another few years of gritting my teeth, faking it until I make it, and trying to remain positive in the face of strong negativity and resistance?
And on top of those questions, there are also the never-ending ones concerning my home and my own deep and personal goals. There's a book I want to write, and I find myself the president of a new nonprofit established for animal rescue that needs my organizational and public relations skills. I've taken great strides to become more active and more physically fit, and running several 5Ks and a 10K are on my to-do list this year. That training takes time. And what about the many things others expect from me? I get asked to do a lot of extras - all good, worthy projects, activities that would likely be very helpful and meaningful to others. And beyond all of the expectations from others and my expectations for myself - I'd like to deepen my connection with my spouse, travel, and generally enjoy life!
I can really get worked up if I think about this stuff for too long!
But what if I focus instead on the idea that the world is best served when I am authentically myself? What if I gave myself permission to turn down the possible, perhaps even the beneficial, if it isn't the path for me? I've realized that even though it may seem impossible, I am going to have to find a way to truly "Keep It Simple, Sweetie," as I plan for and experience the year ahead.
What does that mean for Hearth & Gnome? It means I do not plan to create new content this year, but instead, I'll focus on fine-tuning the products I already offer and getting them to more families and more classrooms. Whereas constantly creating new content tends to drive many successful online businesses, I am okay with being less "successful" if it means I have more time and energy for the things that really feed my spirit.
Here is what that looks like.
1. I'll be releasing the compilation of all of my early childhood song and story circles, Sprouts, in digital and print format soon. I'll be improving the format and layout to make it even easier to use and including more tips and tricks for a successful music time with the littlest learners.
2. I'll be releasing the compilation of all of my Spanish materials, Puertas y puentes, in digital and print format soon. It will include additional ideas for working with elementary age children as well as a resource list for additional reading.
3. I'll be blogging and creating videos from time to time that help clients use the tools I've already provided at home and in homeschool co-operatives.
I hope you will follow along with me this year. No, I won't be launching new products every month, I won't be on social media every day urging people to purchase. I'm just in a different season - a simpler season - and one I'm looking forward to very much. I hope that you, too, find your most authentic path, whatever season you may be in, and enjoy it. If our journeys intersect, if you find something helpful in mine, that would be great, too!