Written by Donna Ashton of The Waldorf Connection.
After the dust from the holidays settles, we are left with a few winter months to snuggle and homeschool.
We usually buckle-down and cover more ground in our lessons, as there are fewer distractions. During the quiet days of winter, it just feels like the time is right to dig in.
Yet it often feels like an in-between time to me.
The newness of the school year and fall festivals has waned, and the promise of spring is still out of reach.
If you live in a cold climate it can be more challenging to get the kids outside (as well as yourself.)
Whether or not we like it, there is more time indoors and more opportunities to bond together as a family during these darker days.
How can you keep motivation and inspiration?
1. Take a closer look at your daily rhythm/schedule
What is working? What is not?
Take advantage of the new year’s fresh start to re-work areas of your days and weeks that feel rushed or don’t support you.
There may be some activities you could prune from your life and not miss at all.
Rising ten minutes earlier could give you a chance to breathe before the day rushes in.
Bedtime may have gotten a bit too long.
You’re spending way too much time on … [insert word here].
2. Revisit your family values & priorities
Each January our family sits down and compiles a “wish list” for the upcoming year.
From simple things like Sunday brunch or movie night to camping trips or a new play-fort, we enter all the suggestions and then decide which ones we will give our attention to.
I also take a look at what values I want to bring to my girls through our actions, deeds and words. If giving and community service is important this year, then I make sure we add those things into our schedule.
Perhaps family dinners is on your list, but when you look at your week you are rarely eating together (or worse — in the car too much).
Look to your values for the important activities/time spent and make sure you are adding them to your schedule. (Or they end up never happening.)
3. Jazz things up
Use the indoor-time to add some whimsical ideas to your normal schedule.
Create a “fun” list or box of craft, sewing, or baking ideas.
Always wanted to learn Italian? Do it together as a family and cook an Italian meal (this could tie into your lessons as well). Brava!
Learn to play an instrument or each play a part in a song you create.
Sing a song in a round.
A family play or talent show could get you through several weeks with practices, costume prep, rehearsals and performance. Invite the neighbors.
Take a cooking class or “teach” one to your kids over several weeks with a “cook- off ” at the end.
Create an “art show” where each child can enter 3-4 types of art (paintings, sculpture, crafts, etc.) Display it all on the big day and invite family and friends for the gala.
Don’t let winter blues make school boring.
Start with streamlining your rhythm, values and then add some whimsy!
There are unlimited creative ways to jazz up your lessons and have a bit of family fun this winter.
How is your family getting through these last few weeks of winter?
These are great reminders! I feel like February is dragging for me but that is most likely due to the fact that I’m due in March with baby number 5 and so it feels even more dreary in this third trimester state.
Johanna’s latest post: How we do math (for now!)
February is a tough month for me. In the beginning of the month we unschooled for a while. This week we reviewed our rhythm and made a new one for the next couple of months. We are now trying to get back on our plan with schoolwork with some added fun. I do find that we MUST get outside. 6 degrees and raining or 45 and sunny. It is a priority for my family.
Sharon’s latest post: The Wisdom of a Horse
Beautiful! Perfect timing as I attempt to change things up for Lent.
What lovely ideas!
I find that I must get outside too, but some days that is not possible where I live due to the very cold temperatures and extreme cold warnings etc. The days we cannot go we try to be active inside for a bit doing little exercises inside and that really helps a lot. Kids are so much better behaved and ready to do things when they have been active for a bit, even if its just things like marching, jumping jacks, etc. I find if I do it and turn on music they will do it too.
Great tips! Around this time of year, asking ourselves what’s most important to us as a homeschooling family helps us to tweak areas that have gotten a little saggy during the cold, get-it-done days.
Hannah’s latest post: In Search of the Flexible Life
Great ideas! To break up the routine a bit, we did some special things for Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and today, the 100th Day of School.