Elementary, Homeschool, Nature Study

Beating the Homeschool Winter Blahs

I’m feeling it, you’re feeling it, it’s February and the homeschool winter blahs are setting in.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret… public school teachers are feeling it too. (I have a few friends who can attest to this.)

January is a great slow down time after the holidays, a time to get back into the groove of things, get the routine going again.

By the time February comes we’ve been spending a lot of time indoors, activities have been paused, routines might not be going again the way we imagined. We start to get stir crazy, and we doubt ourselves. Am I really doing enough?

Yes, momma, you are doing enough. You are raising your children. You are caring for them and their needs. You are doing more than you think you are.

Yes, momma, you are doing enough... You are doing more than you think you are. Click To Tweet

This weekend I had quite the eye opening conversation with hubby that I am in fact doing a lot, and am actually possibly burned out. And of course I still don’t 100% believe this because I’m a mom and there’s always more to do. There’s that mom guilt creeping in.

Have you ever listed out how you spend your day, what you do, the responsibilities you take on? It can be liberating to know how long our list is; to know that we do indeed do enough.

So let’s give ourselves grace. Let’s get creative and find a way out of this homeschool winter funk.

Get Outside

Often the best medicine for the blahs is to get outdoors, breathe some fresh air, soak up some sunshine (vitamin D), and move around.

We’ve instituted a Recess at the Park for any local homeschooler who wants to get out for a bit. Temperatures above 35 degrees, and as long as it’s not too windy or too much snow on the ground, will usually get some families out and playing together.

Invite friends over for a Special Tea Time

Have the kids recite poetry. Serve special treats. Set the table nicely. After tea time let the kids play. Moms, chat it up. We all need some time with our friends.

Bake Together

Too cold to go out? It’s the perfect time to bake together. Put the oven on and let the heat warm up the house. When you’re finished baking Grandma’s special cookie recipe, cuddle under the blankets (or make a blanket fort!) and read that read aloud you’ve been meaning to get to while enjoying your sweets.

Slow Down, Read for Fun, Cuddle

Put the lessons aside for the day. Slow down the schedule. Play for the sake of playing. Read for the sake of hearing a good story. And just cuddle and hold those beautiful children of yours. Who cares about the dishes? Today, just hug on those babies, because we all know childhood is oh so very short.

Play for the sake of playing. Read for the sake of hearing a good story. And just cuddle those beautiful children. Click To Tweet

More Drawing, Art, and Projects

When we spend so much more of our time indoors it’s a great time to bring out extra art supplies and spend more time working on those art projects you’ve been meaning to do. Add in more drawing lessons and add in the time to draw for fun. Let the kids think of a project they want to tackle and give them the time to do so.

Go to a Museum

Need to get out of the house? Plan a field trip to an art museum where they are showing an artist you’re studying this year. Go to a science museum where the kids can do a lot of hands on observations.

Indoor Play Place/ Trampoline Park

Another great way to go out of the house is to go somewhere the kids can move their bodies. Find an indoor playground, bounce house, or trampoline park. Kids love these creative ways to move, moms love the time out of the house.

Oh and moms, you can do this a few different ways: bring a book for your own enjoyment (of course with one eye on the kids), invite other families to join you (so you may also have “social” time), or get up and play with the kids (we all need to move every once in a while too, getting our blood flowing isn’t just for kids, I’m speaking to myself here, lol).

Dance Party

Can’t actually make it outside the house? Dance Party!! Best way for everyone to move in a fun and lively way, hands down, my favorite.

Put on some music that gets you all pumped and excited and just move. I have fond memories of my little girl back since she was a toddler (she’s now 8) of us just enjoying ourselves being silly and dancing.

Now, I sometimes put on fun music when I’m about to cook dinner and the kids are supposed to be doing chores, my five year son comes up and says, “Mommy, let’s dance.” Um, how could I not!? So, we all dance and twirl and run around crazy as I get ingredients out.

Also, if you want to start your day out with a little something different, dance party. Nothing helps those little brains thinking better than getting some exercise and movement in first. And the fun memories those kids will have… we used to have dance parties every once in a while before school, it was the best! Yeah, I like that.

Board Game Day

Another way to reduce the homeschool winter blahs is declare a board game day. Again, put the lessons aside and pull out some favorite games. You could mix it up with the kind of games you play and add in some educational games. (I love how Jamie from The Unlikely Homeschool calls this “Sneaky Learning.”)

The point is spending a little extra time with the kids not doing things you “have to” and to do things you enjoy. Games are great for learning many different skills, but it doesn’t have to feel like learning.

Have a Documentary Watching Day

Right now, find yourself a few documentaries that are appropriate for your family. List them in your planner, make a note in your favorite app. But get this list ready, so if your family does become ill this winter season you have a few “go-to” videos.

A documentary watching day doesn’t even have to be for sick days. It could be for a mom’s mental health day. Or simply a just because day.

That’s the beauty of homeschooling. The routine gets a little too routine-ish and you need something to help with that blah winter feeling, give yourself permission to do something out of the norm.

That's the beauty of homeschooling. The routine gets a little too routine-ish and you need something to help with that blah winter feeling, give yourself permission to do something out of the norm. Click To Tweet

Watch/Learn about the Olympics

The Winter Olympics started this past Friday. Take this opportunity to do something a bit different in your homeschool and learn about the winter sports. Watch a few of your favorite events and see what the kids like. Perhaps create your own sport.

If it’s not an Olympic season, pick your favorite sport or two and follow the athletes. Find out who is up and coming and watch some events. When the next Olympic season comes up you’ll be familiar with who’s who. I find when I have a particular person to root for I’m more interested.

Side note: as a kid I loved watching all the women’s and pairs ice skating. It was something my mom and I did together. And my best friend and I loved to roller skate in her basement. We would always pretend to be Katerina Witt or Kristi Yamaguchi and later Oksana Baiul or Nancy Kerrigan. As I grew into teen years I remember watching the Olympics to see Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan.

Make it a Building Day

Build snowmen, snow forts, blanket forts, legos, k’nex. Build box forts, couch cushion forts, any kind of fort. And play! Sometimes a good old fashioned day of play and pretend can get you and the kids out of a funk.

Refresh your Homeschool Space

This is on my short list of things to do. I know that a fresh organizing and sprucing up of our space will help me feel less blah. It’s about time to go through our materials and put them back where they really belong. It’s time to go through the papers cluttering up the shelf and file some away and trash the rest.

We also have a shelf with those plastic shoe boxes that keep our phonics program materials, math manipulatives, legos, paint, stamps, etc, and these bins need some serious revamping. How a ruler ends up in the legos and the cubix bag is missing about 20 cubes, I couldn’t tell you.

Maybe on your shelves some books need to get switched out for next term. Perhaps some shelves need to change their function. Or things just need to get neat and tidy again, refreshing your homeschool space can help. Is anyone else down to 1 pencil??

Decorate for the Next Season or Holiday

This one is not me so much, at least not right now. I’d like to be a little more home-maker-ish in the future and make little changes throughout the house to indicate a new season or holiday. But for now if I can take the Christmas decorations down in time I’ll count that a win.

If you enjoy decorating for the seasons or you’ve been itching to make a wreath for the next season, get the kids to help you one day. It’s the little touches in your home that help bring beauty. That beauty can help brighten your day during these dull winter days.

Visit a Nature Center

If it’s been too cold to actually go out in nature, the nature center may be the next best thing. We have at least two near by that are free of charge and offer a few live reptiles to observe and some hands on learning exhibits.

Bring your sketchbooks to draw any live animals your nature center may have. And those with older kids, if you have animal lovers on your hand, ask about a volunteer program for them. They get to learn about the animals, and possibly handle them one day. What a great experience!

Life Skills

Winter is the perfect time to get some life skills training in. There’s a bit more time indoors so use the time to learn how to sew, or show the kids how to fix a broken toilet, or grease door hinges, or cook a meal from scratch. Can daddy bring the kids to work one day and show them what his job is like?

Do a Service Project Together

Often the holidays bring out the best in people and we give freely of our time and resources. Our town has a noticeable homeless population and they are often forgotten about after the holidays. It’s still winter and there is still a need.

Our church is collecting necessity items for a nearby shelter. For me, it’s important that I teach my kids about different types of giving and this is just one way we can tangibly do that.

Any service project that you do with your kids is worthwhile.

It’s made this list because I know on the days when I’m feeling particularly, um, let’s say selfish, it’s particularly difficult for me to not feel extra grumpy and blah. I know deep down that the days I’m consciously thinking of how to help others I naturally feel lighter and less stressed.

To beat the homeschool winter blahs feel free to use your afternoons for finding ways to serve others.

To beat the homeschool winter blahs feel free to use your afternoons for finding ways to serve others. Click To Tweet

Hopefully these ideas will help move you from “Am I doing enough?” to “Yes, we’ve got this homeschooling thing!”

17 Ways to Beating the Homeschool Winter Blahs (2)Remember, winter is temporary. The middle of the homeschool year will soon be the end of the homeschool year.

Sometimes it just takes a bit of out of the box thinking and doing something a little out of the ordinary to beat those homeschool winter blahs.

How do you beat the homeschool winter blahs?

 

 

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