In September, I had energy for homeschool.
I had shiny new curricula to work through. I had boxes of brand-new pencils and crayons. A clean schoolroom was a ready environment for learning. Besides that, there were fall holidays to look forward to, and new friends to meet at co-ops and on field trips. We were ready to do this!
Fast forward to January and February. The sun goes down before we begin dinner. The crayons have broken, the pencils have been lost or chewed on, and the weather is drab (and, for us, it is actually too cold to go out in!). Some of our school books are just not what we need. I am sick of the routine, so it’s hard to keep going my son is just bored! Our binder of activities falls apart, and the school room is a mess. I dread the morning whines, and I am sick of the weekly planning.
So, when life gets like this, it is time to revisit September by remembering how and why we started! Here are 7 things I try to keep in mind during the long winter months.
- Remember the progress. During the gloom of a wintery February, it is time to compare handwriting to week 1, acknowledge the difficulty level of his current math unit compared to what he was working on last year, and look at how much of the history timeline has been filled out!
- Remember to be flexible. Schools get snow days (or “cold” days). If we get any schoolwork done on those days, I feel we are already ahead. I should not feel guilty taking a “winter day” myself every now and then. My kids need flexibility because they are kids, and I need flexibility because I am with my kids all day.
- Remember to change. When a curriculum is not working, it’s time to try something different. When the schedule gets monotonous, we need to change that up too. My child has changed in the past four months; maybe his school routine needs to change too.
- Remember to exercise. When it is too cold for outside recess, we still have to find a way to exercise: videos, running around the basement, a community gym class, or even just walking through the mall or store. We can take a recess at just about any time my son needs it, and in the winter, we definitely still need it!
- Remember why we homeschool. There are lots of factors to contribute my decision to homeschool. On all of those whiny days, it is still the best decision for us. Remembering those reasons helps me get from morning to night!
- Remember to love. I think it is appropriate that Valentine’s Day is in the midst of dreary February. It’s a reminder that we love those around us unconditionally. On a bad day, there are still plenty of little moments to cherish.
- Remember that we are not alone. There are many other homeschoolers out there. And beyond other homeschooling friends, I remember that my Heavenly Father is helping me on those hard days too. He’s only a prayer away.
In short, we homeschool because we love our children and we love to see them learn. Now, remember that every hour from now until April!
What do you do to keep homeschooling through the dreary winter months?
Rebecca Reid decided to homeschool when her three year old taught himself to read! Now he’s a first grader, a toddler has joined them, and she cannot imagine life any other way! Rebecca lives in northern Illinois, and she blogs about homeschooling, education, and life-long learning at Line upon Line Learning.
photo credit: dhester