Hey homeschoolers! As soon as the Christmas lights come down, I come down with the blahs. January and February aren’t my favorite months, but this year I’m determined to keep homeschooling right through the winter blahs. If you’d like to join me, listen to this episode for some great ideas from other homeschoolers who’ve survived winter.
But first, I think you’ll find that getting organized this winter will be a big help in dealing with the winter blahs. You can find my book, The Organized Homeschool Life in the show notes for this episode or on Amazon. Clearing out clutter and feeling in control by spending just 15 minutes a day on tasks other than putting out fires always makes me feel better. I will be checking in with my fellow organized homeschoolers on Periscope or Facebook. I hope you’ll join us for accountability.
Teaching Tip of the Week
The teaching tip of the week is Shining Dawn Books’ Nature by the Season: Winter. This preschool/kindergarten curriculum will help you and your younger learner appreciate winter and have fun learning. With 40 Nature Walk ideas and colorful worksheets, you’ll find yourself warming up to learning this winter.
Click here to view more details
Organized Homeschool Challenge of the Week
How to Homeschool Through the Winter Blahs
I needed help with this to save my own sanity, so I turned to the bloggers of iHomeschool Network. I am definitely inspired and I hope you will be too. I have organized the ideas into three main tips.
#1 Change your attitude about winter. I realized that my attitude was the biggest contributor to my winter blahs. I don’t know if you choose a word for the year, but I do and mine is attitude. Instead of focusing on the blessings of winter, I’ve focused on the blahs. Where we put our focus determines our thoughts which determine our emotions which contribute to our behavior.
Here’s an example. I initially focused on the negatives of January: There’s nothing to do, I whined to myself. Of course that isn’t true. I vacation in January, plan and participate in a women’s retreat in January, and have a sleepover for my daughter’s birthday in January. We also start new studies, start skiing season, and sometimes when we get one of those wonderfully warm days, we even play tennis as a family. I had dismissed all those things with my bad attitude.
If you want to survive the winter blahs, join me in changing your attitude. Focus on the unique and wonderful aspects of the season. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. That includes winter! As I’ve done this and prepared for this podcast, I’ve found myself actually excited about this season. To help us with our attitudes, I’ve created a free Thankful for Winter printable for you and your kids. Review it on the blah days.
The ihomeschoolnetwork bloggers recommend being kind to yourself during this season, not expecting too much. Remember it’s about progress, not perfection. You have good company if you haven’t kept your New Year’s resolution this early in January.
They also recommend spending time with friends. It may be cold outside, but make socializing a priority. It will make a big difference in your attitude. I really missed seeing my homeschool friends over the holidays, so I am looking forward to that this month. It’s amazing how helpful chatting and laughing together can be.
Spend more time in the Word. Nothing can make a bigger difference in our attitudes than spending time with the Lord and meditating on truth. I love spending devotion time under a thick blanket by the fireplace. Perhaps a new devotional or Bible will inspire you. There are plenty of free options at biblegateway.com.
If you are still struggling with your attitude to the point that you suspect you’re depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or counselor. I did an interview with the Fletchers for Homeschooling in Real Life on depression.
A surprising reason for a bad attitude is a change in routine. Keep doing the basic parts of your routine that work to maintain a positive attitude. For example, I have found that I will tell myself that sleeping in will be great. Then I do it and I’m a discouraged and negative Nelly. Kids are especially sensitive to changes in routine, so stick to it.
If you have a positive attitude about winter, you can survive the winter blahs.
Tip #2 is to take care of yourself and your kids physically. Illness and low energy can definitely give you the blahs. My doctor has me take vitamin D after blood tests showed I was low. Ask your doctor about it. If you could be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (and many people in northern climates do), consider purchasing full spectrum lights. But get what sun you can from getting outside. I don’t do well with this because I’m cold phobic. I would like to bundle up and do better this year. Even 15 minutes outside can be spirit-lifting.
Get plenty of exercise. Take a walk outside, build a snowman, play with the kids, or do an indoor workout. I have a winter workout for kids and 6 workouts you can do at home on Psychowith6. Exercise is the number one way to improve mood and health. But don’t neglect nutrition. Keep drinking water at this dry time of year. I have a water bottle that keeps my water ice cold. It encourages me to drink more. Eat fruit and vegetables (that’s also something I want to do more of). We’re so fortunate that we have access to fresh fruit and veggies all winter long. But it’s also a great time for making comfort foods as well as baked goods like bread that take more time to make. I want to break out my bread machine cookbook and make some new recipes this winter. You won’t mind heating up the kitchen if it’s cold where you live in winter. I love my crockpot, too. Be sure to check out my post of 6 more crazy-easy crockpot recipes for fix it and forget it homemade meals this winter.
If you take care of yourself and the kids physically, you can keep homeschooling through the winter blahs.
My final tip is to do something new. While you want to maintain a basic routine, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same-old, same-old.
Do something new that takes advantage of the winter season. Read books about winter. I have a really fun study on Mr. Popper’s penguins on Psychowith6 that you could try. Do winter science. Make winter-related crafts. Play winter sports. The iHomeschool network bloggers have lots of great ideas for you. I’ve also pinned some good ones on my winter inspiration board on Pinterest.
But don’t limit yourself to winter ideas. Anything you can do indoors is a great option this time of year. Start a new fun study. Gena Mayo’s 20th Century Music Appreciation is a great one. Try a cooking unit, a robotics unit. The sky’s the limit. The point is to do something new and interesting. Go all out. My family’s best homeschool memories are of full-costume medieval feasts and an Africa night we did at this time of year. Go on indoor field trips. Many museums have specific programs for homeschoolers this time of year.
Even small changes can make a difference. What if you switched up the schedule and studied one subject all morning and another all afternoon? What if you watched educational movies or played educational games all day? Celebrate a non-holiday. Have an indoor snowball fight with balled up socks. I bought soft fake snowballs for the kids for this purpose. Surprise the kids with a special outing or trip. One summer I had a different surprise for the kids every day and they loved it. Most of them cost me nothing. There’s no reason I can’t do that this winter, too.
If we will change our attitude about winter, take care of ourselves and the kids physically, and do something new, we can definitely homeschool through the winter blahs. Make a plan right now and let me know what you’re going to do on the Homeschool Sanity Facebook page.
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Have a happy homeschool week!