Thrive through the Winter Slump!
Early in my homeschool career, I heard it said that February is the month everyone wants to put their kiddos into public school. My kids were young, school was flexible and fully delight-directed and I was living in Hawai’i. I couldn’t understand why February would be such a hard month!
Then we moved. In the winter. And my kids were older and school was more rigid.
By February, I understood why people said that.
The newness of the school year has worn off. Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas are over with no other holidays in sight. The weather is cold and gray. Spring feels so close…yet so very far.
That homeschool lore seems to prove itself true every year as I hear homeschool moms lamenting just that.
February can be rough!
My most basic goal is just to make it through each February, relationships intact and without daydreams of sitting around eating bonbons while the kids are in public school!
But muddling through isn’t ideal. There have been years when that is all I could manage. Sick babies, deployments, bad attitudes, endless gray skies. If that is where you are at this year, then just get through your days. No guilt, no pressure.
Why survive when you can thrive? Make February something your homeschool anticipates each year.
6 Ways to THRIVE Through the Winter Slump of February
Take care of yourself. If you aren’t well physically & mentally, it’s going to be hard to do anything beyond the basics. Be in bed for at least 8 hours a night (listen to a podcast or audiobook if you can’t sleep). Eat just one extra serving of fruits & veggies. Turn off the computer at least 20 minutes before you head to bed, so your mind can start to slow down.
Tip: I’ve committed to walking every day this year. Down the street and back, around the block. Wear what you have on, grab your shoes and take even a 10-minute walk in the sun.
Free Learning Fridays Gathering the kids back for Friday afternoon school is no longer a dreaded task. Gathering myself for it is even less of a dreaded task! As I prepared for this school year, I thought about how little time my oldest has left to fully do delight-directed learning. High school just won’t allow for much of that. So I turned Friday afternoons into Free Learning Fridays. The kids can choose what they want to learn and choose how they learn it. It’s the last hour of our week and has become a cherished tradition. I do it myself, as well!
Tip: Some areas of study have included the history of fashion, hand sewing, ants, history of Africa and nutrition.
Study something new. Harness the enthusiasm that comes with learning something new and change up your studies.
Tip: If you can’t do this every day, try every Friday or even just one afternoon a week.
- Set aside your history or science text in favor of literature & non-fiction books.
- Find a short unit study or lapbook that you can complete this month. This year is perfect timing to study the Olympics!
- Make this month a month of science activities rather than text & worksheets.
Cook a weekly history-inspired lunch. It was only last spring, while studying the Great Depression, that I thought to include era-inspired recipes. We had great fun exploring history through cooking. It’s a little harder to find ancient history recipes this year but we are still enjoying incorporating it into our days.
Tip: Invite another homeschooling family over to enjoy the meal with you. Or ask several families to come and make it a potluck!
Plan a field trip (or two). If you can make the field trip outside, even better. I know some parts of the country make that hard but even a short walk on a nature trail on a brisk but sunny day can do wonders to rejuvenate our minds. If you have the time, take one every week in February. If you need inspiration, The Homeschool Mom & Homeschool Buyers Co-op have great lists of ideas by state.
Tip: A surprise day off, regardless of destination, thrills my kids almost as much as the field trip itself. Knowing they are going to be excited with the surprise adds an element of fun for me, too.
Change your schedule. If all of those ideas just sound like too much work (and, some years, they will!), then perhaps a simple shift in your schedule is enough. A change will break you out of the rote behavior of the last several months. And maybe you’ll find a rhythm to your day that you all enjoy more!
Tip: Let your child choose their schedule (with guidance). Or have them make schedules for each other. Consider an A/B schedule. Or longer blocks for subjects but less often.
I’m Tricia, a homeschooling mom to three kiddos and a military wife. As a blogger & YouTuber, I love to share what I’ve learned from nine years of homeschool, 13 years of parenting and 14 years of criss-crossing this country as a military wife.
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