6 Ways to Banish the Winter Homeschooling Blues

For many of us, February marks the middle of our homeschooling year. Halfway through, and spirits begin to sag. In many locations, winter clouds hover overhead, preventing little bodies from releasing stores of unused energy.

It’s enough to make a homeschooling parent feel a little….under the weather.

So this month is the perfect time to shake things up in your schoolroom and bring some freshness to the learning experience.

Here are six ways to help you do just that.

1. Get outside.

This goes without saying, yet still needs to be said. When cold weather waits outside our doors, it’s easier to stick the kids in front of another video than get everyone bundled up. But fresh air does so much good for every member of the family. Bringing life and energy to our bodies and a mental break to our minds, time outdoors is invaluable.

Photo by tab2_dawa

Heading outside is especially important when there’s a break from freezing temperatures. If you live where it’s always cold this time of year and a new day dawns with the sun breaking through–take advantage of it! Don’t force the “schedule” of the day when this opportunity may not come again for a month.

You’ll often find that taking a break outside means more work will be done, and at a quicker pace, when you return indoors.

2. Break out of the rut.

Experiment with switching around the order of your day. Do you usually kick the morning off with spelling or handwriting? Consider starting with a gripping read-aloud, maybe in front of the fireplace surrounded by pillows and blankets–even just for one day. Then proceed to your more intense subjects.

3. Rethink your priorities.

We’ll discuss educational priorities as the month progresses, but for now just keep in mind the core subjects that are most important to you. Keep those bases covered, and allow your children some extra freedom in other educational areas to help beat those winter blues.

4. Follow the spark.

As you allow your children more freedom, you may discover extra time here and there to follow their interests. Head to the library for an impromptu investigation or to the computer for some online research.

Photo by Pawel Loj

It can also be rejuvenating to venture out on a field trip during the winter. Often places are less crowded since traditional schools remain in session. Take a train to a nearby city and visit a new museum. Surprise your kids by taking them out to lunch for the day–call it a winter picnic.

You’ll find everyone more excited about learning when you return.

5. Look for something you can learn together.

Temporarily forgo the traditional “teacher/student” roles; join your children as a fellow participant in the learning adventure.

Curl up on the couch and watch a family documentary or gather around the dining table with a board game. Make cooking together an extension of the school day as you experiment with a new recipe for dinner.

It’s important that our kids see us learning as well.

6. Keep believing in yourself.

Self-doubt often grips the hearts of homeschooling moms or dads this time of year. “Are we going to make it through the curriculum on time?” “Will James learn to read by the end of the year?” “Do I really know what I’m doing as a teacher?”

These questions are normal, but don’t let them define your homeschool. Winter isn’t the best time to become overly introspective.

Simple Homeschool aims to be a supportive place where you’ll find many cheerleaders to applaud you on an amazing day–and encourage you on a challenging one.

Please take a minute to check out the vision for this blog on our About Page. There you’ll also discover the talented, diverse voices who will be contributing and sharing their unique experiences here in the months ahead.

So don’t let winter discouragement bring a dark cloud over your home this February.

You can do this–and we’ll be here to help.

What methods do you use to beat the winter blues in your home?

**Thanks for tuning in for our launch today! I hope you’ll take time to check out the amazing network of simple living blogs we’re a part of: Simple Mom, Simple Kids, Simple Bites, and Simple Organic. And head back here tomorrow for an exciting launch week giveaway!**

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Kara says:

    Number 1 is tricky for me. Spring, Summer, and Fall it is easy to spend hours outdoors … but in the Winter I do find myself making excuses to not have to go into the cold. Thanks for the reminder that it is worth the time to let my children experience ALL of nature’s seasons.

    I’m so excited about Simple Homeschool! A new favorite in my bookmarks :-)

  2. Eren says:

    Congrats on the launch…these are great tips for those of us who attend school outside of our homes as well. Congrats on the launch!

  3. Rana says:

    Jamie, these are great tips. We are starting to feel the blahs of the same old routine and I do believe you, we need to shake things up a bit. Almost reminds you of when you hit a plateau in weight loss you can’t keep doing the same things you need to change the routine some.

    I love the look of Simple Homeschool. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store.

  4. Tricia says:

    When we get bogged down and I get overwhelmed, we take a few days or a week and do “Checklist school.” Every morning I write each kid a checklist (with drawings for my pre-literate ones) of the things they are responsible for – core schoolwork, chores, etc. When they can give me back their checklist with everything marked off, the rest of the day is theirs! I make sure to put in something fun, like “Choose a project from one of the art books” or “Take the puppy out and run 5 laps around the yard.”

    This gives me a bit of a mental break, and teaches the kids time management too.

  5. Leslie says:

    Hi Jamie! It’s Leslie (Nandini’s mom) over from the Holt site. Just wanted you to know that I’ve been reading your Steady Days blog and am so glad you’ve got a homeschool one going now, too. I’ve never commented… so just wanted you to know that I’ve been enjoying keeping up with you via your blog(s). (And I have your book on my Amazon wish list. Can’t wait to read it!)

    Give T a hug for us. :-)

    Leslie

    • Jamie says:

      Hi Leslie! It’s so wonderful to hear from you–I hope you are all doing well. Trishna still talks about Nandini sometimes! Welcome to Simple Homeschool–thanks for reading!

      Jamie

  6. Aimee says:

    Welcome Simple Homeschool!

    I’m doing preschool at home with my 4yo and I’ve already encountered challenges that I never expected. I’m looking forward to everything that SH has to offer.

    Congratulations, Jamie!

  7. Blayne says:

    I am thrilled about Simple Homeschool! I just subscribed. :)

  8. Anna Sophia says:

    I can not tell you how excited I am about the launch of this new website! I love simple mom and and am so happy that those concepts are being incorporated into the homeschool life. Can’t wait for more!

  9. Brenda says:

    #6 is so important!

  10. My daughter is just 2.5 yrs old, but I am already planning to homeschool her for preschool, so I can’t wait to start learning all about it! Looking forward to everything here on Simple Homeschool! Thanks, Jamie!

  11. These are great tips! I have found that by having a new theme unit each month, there is always something to look forward to and be excited about. Lately we’ve covered apples, birds, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. It has really kept things fresh and maintained an eagerness to learn.
    Congratulations on this encouraging and informative blog!

  12. Jamie says:

    We homeschool all year round therefore we have the ability to be more flexible. But I agree, this time of the year my son starts to get a bit of cabin fever. We go out when we can and I try to mix it up best I can as well. Now that the snow is gone I’m going to schedule a couple of field trips the next few weeks. Hopefuly by then the weather will break and we can both get some eductional and fun time out side.

  13. Claire says:

    Great advice! I am so excited about Simple Homeschool. We definitely need to get outside more during the winter. They are predicted a foot of snow tomorrow, so I suppose I should get off the computer and head out right now!

    Congratulations on the new site!

  14. I have an eight-month-old we are planning to homeschool, but I already subscribe to this blog. There are still some wonderful ideas here such as reading by the fire in the morning (although we don’t have a fire). Lol. Thank you for sharing with us and I look forward to future posts!!

  15. santhi says:

    Congrats on the launch! Maybe this is the signal that I should go ahead and hs my youngest despite me not meeting all learning objectives for my older ds previously. Whatever my decision may be, I look forward to learning from SH ;D

  16. Misha says:

    I love these ideas, Jamie. I have found switching up focuses to be helpful, too. A new theme each month for us means new field trips, new books, fresh energy but we still stay focused on the basics. I love your ideas.

  17. Beth says:

    I kept a really tight schedule fwith my kindergartner and preschooler until last week. We are in major transition (moving, renovating, and putting our old house on the market) this month, and I suddenly realized, I’m the one making the schedule. I’m stressing myself and my kids out by pushing them so hard to stay on target with the curriculum. The great thing about homeschooling is if we get a little behind in the curriculum, we can always catch up later. I like the idea of year round homeschool. My personality won’t let me be lax for very long, but I can see my kids’ creativity coming out a bit more as I let them explore on their own this past week. Thanks for your ideas!

  18. hillary says:

    Congratulations on the launch!

    We just re-remembered how much going outside effects our day in a positive way! We’ve been trying to bundle up daily and go outside even if it’s for 20 minutes. It can really help clear the stuffy energy on being inside all winter.

  19. Jena says:

    Great suggestions! February IS the hardest month to homeschool. :) I found this to be a good time to start a new book to read aloud–a nice long one that would encourage us to curl up under a blanket together. A favorite that comes to mind is The Borrowers series–those little people who live between the walls.

  20. Stacy says:

    I am so excited to see what this site will bring! I do agree, this is our first year of formally homeschooling and I am finding it real hard right now to keep plugging along. I feel frustrated, so we are taking a lot of field trips. I try to keep up on the formal end (reading and math) at least 3 days out of the week, but I am not stressing out over it because we also plan to homeschool year round. Learning never really does stop, does it? I noticed from the books currently on your reading list, Jamie, that you must be using Sonlight pre-K? I would love to hear your opinions on the Sonlight curriculum and how you make it work for you! I have contemplated using it, but wasn’t sure about it. Thanks for this wonderful site!

  21. This is such a great list. It is funny how we burn ourselves out right out of the gate and then after the holiday break we are slow to get back onto the hamster wheel. I notice with our homeschool co-ops we have a lot of drop outs or attendance issues following the holidays.

  22. Julia says:

    As a stay-at-home parent, I really appreciate these winter ideas. We’re not officially homeschooling at this point, but we are educating our three children (ages 2, 4, and 6) whenever they are at home.
    .-= Julia’s last blog: Menu Plan for the Week of 2/15 =-.

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