Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
A note from Jamie: This post was originally posted on February 8, 2010. It’s that time of year again, so I thought a little winter encouragement is probably good for all of us!
For many of us, the start of February marks the middle of our school 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 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.
Don’t let discouragement bring a dark cloud over your home this season.
You can do this–and we’ll be here to help.
What methods do you use to beat the winter blues in your home?