I don't usually mind winter, even with freezing cold temperatures and layers of snow and the insane unpredictability of our Ohio climate. But lately the mercury has just barely been on one side or the other of 0°F. Ain't nobody going nowhere.
Keeping yourself and your kids motivated when the four walls of home start closing in can be a challenge.
It's difficult to break from routine without feeling like you are sacrificing valuable learning time. But you don't have to skip school to cure the MidWinter Homeschool Blues with some variety and fun.
How we counteract the MidWinter Homeschool Blues:
- Spring Cleaning: We don't wait until spring to clear up clutter and prepare for warmer weather. We are taking a day off to wash walls and windows, rearrange furniture, exchange our winter decorations for brightly colored pictures, cheerful tchotchkes, fresh-smelling candles, and new indoor plants. Spring cleaning never fails to reinvigorate us, and is worth a break from a day of dedicated schooling.
- Togetherness: Instead of working in isolation with self-directed studies, we spend more time each day discussing our separate school projects, as well as chatting about current events, books, movies, and future plans. We take snow days (even though we don't have to) and have some fun outside. Because the weather prohibits our usual travel and extracurricular activities, playing games together relieves tension and creates pleasant memories.
- Educational Games: There are many low cost and free online games we use to break up the usual school routine and yet provide valuable learning exercises. Which day of the week tends to be the most difficult for your family? Are Mondays manic? Are Wednesdays Hump Day? Are you fried by Friday? Counteract your problematic days by interjecting some educational fun.
- Read Aloud: We begin every day with a read aloud, usually thought-provoking nonfiction or memoir. But to give a lift to our spirits in winter, we read fiction, graphic novels, and comic books. A dose of laughter in the morning is a big boost to our morale each day.
- Revisit Goals - Why did you decide to homeschool? What were you hoping to accomplish? When I feel stuck in a rut, I remember the reasons I began this journey. The path already traveled helps guide me when the road ahead gets bumpy and twisty. What are your children's hopes and dreams for their future? Cabin fever becomes an issue when we get tunnel vision and forget to look up and forward. Contemplating the ways our family's future may unfold is a great way to stop the navel-gazing and boost our motivation.
Midwinter Blues are common for those of us who live in a climate that experiences the extremes of this season. With a little imagination, you can fight the four walls closing in by changing up your usual schedule, activities, and maybe you should just take a break.