• Liz Hannam

An Intentional Year

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

January always feels like the the "other" new year to me. September is the year's beginning for us, a new academic year; when we gather our resources, revamp our learning spaces, make plans together, reflect on what went well over the previous year and what we want to do differently in the coming one. Our new weekly rhythm is created and proudly pinned to the door. The year turns, the months go by until we arrive at Christmas, celebrations and then settle into the arms of winter. Hunkering down, going inward and another period of reflection and planning naturally emerges, a new calendar year, a time for quiet consideration and introspection. To set ambitions for a fresh new year and look at the plans made in September, tweak them, take bits away, change the path according to our family's ever changing interests and needs. But, I also like to take time to set out my own personal resolutions for the year, set the tone for myself. Over the past few years I have found a process to incorporate these two areas of intentions: home education and personal intentions, which can be shaped to meet your own needs and purpose.

Author and happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin, talks on her podcast, Happier, about having a one word theme for the year, a mantra to shape and guide you through the coming months. You could choose a word to set your own tone to the year or choose a theme as a family. It could be a word to draw upon throughout your home educating year, for example; adventure, calm, creative, nature, spontaneous, structure, collaborate, new, connect. Or your own word could link many aspects of your life such as; work, home education and family.

Last year my theme was take care. I wanted to take care of myself emotionally and physically and it turned out to be a good choice for a pandemic year! I discovered running and ate thoughtfully. I made sleep and rest a priority and carved out time for regular self care. I made time to read and dived into fiction which was such a beautiful escape. All decisions led back to my theme of taking care, I kept it at the forefront of my mind and in turn I felt strong and calm, with the energy to home educate and be fully present. This year my one word theme is brave. I want to be brave creatively, putting our project of The Other Path into the world, connecting with others and learning from the journey. I also want to be brave when dealing with the aftermath of this pandemic. Spending most of 2020 shielding and keeping safe, stepping out of my safe nest feels scary, the effects of this pandemic runs deep in us all, so I will treat myself with care and be brave whilst we slowly emerge from this difficult time.

This year I wanted to include visual reminders of my theme, I included it in my art work, I saved an image as a wallpaper on my phone and wrote it in the front of my note book. You could write it down and put it somewhere you will see everyday; your mirror, the fridge, in your learning space, anywhere it will catch your eye, make you smile and remind you of the intention you set for the year that lies ahead.

Have a think, envision the year you want, discuss ideas with your family. What would your own one word theme for the year? Can you think of one for yourself or for your home educating year ahead or maybe a family theme?

We would love to hear what you chose and how it goes over the year, how you weave it into the next twelve months. Share your thoughts with us #theotherpathuk or drop us an email at


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