5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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Written by Sara Dennis of Classically Homeschooling.

Ever since I started homeschooling years and years ago, I’ve heard about the Winter Blues. August is summer. The sky is blue, the sun is warm, and the air is sweet. September there’s the excitement of starting school again. Fall is just getting under way, and the weather is perfect.

Then October hits.

It’s stormy, cloudy, and gray. The kids are restless and through the beginning of the year review. Everyone is crabby. The Winter Blues have struck again!


5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

1. Plan vacation days into your homeschool.

Plan for a certain number of vacation days. Use these days sporadically throughout the year to visit the zoo, the local museum, or even the local amusement park.

A day off here and there does wonders for beating the Winter Blues and preventing homeschool burnout.

2. Add fun activities.

During the cloudy days of winter, homeschools have a tendency to fall into a routine that’s as blah as the weather. Complete math, English, geography, and science. Check it off; call it done. I don’t know about you, but it’s an uninspiring routine. One that’s doomed to bring dread and fear into children’s hearts everywhere.

Spice up an ordinary routine with fun activities such as mummifying a chicken, making a cell out of cake and candy, or reenacting historical events to snap everyone out of the Winter Blues.

3. Make a naughty and nice list.

Make a naughty and nice list. Divide a piece of paper in half. On one side, list all of the things you loathe about your homeschool. On the other, list all the things you love about your homeschool. Obviously you don’t want to change what you love, but take a look at what’s annoying you about homeschooling.

Does math feel like it’s nothing but an unending routine of drill then lesson, drill then lesson? Try adding some fun math projects to the day. Make 3-dimensional shapes, solve a few puzzles, or explore some obscure patterns.

If science has turned into a long list of reading assignments, add a few hands-on demonstrations of concepts or experiments to spice things up. In fact my kids love science kits. They’re a wonderful way to add educational fun to science.

With a bit of thought and effort, you can ensure that the nice list far outnumbers the naughty list.


4. Indulge in a spontaneous game day.

Some days we all wake up and need a break. Perhaps the kids are crabby as they’re recovering from a bad cold or simply sick of being stuck inside all day.

Declare a spontaneous game day. Pop popcorn, turn on music, and pull out the games. Give everyone a day off and spend it playing games and enjoying family time. Sometimes we all need a change of pace to combat the Winter Blues.

5. Let the kids teach.

There’s a rather funny phenomenon where teaching a subject forces you to understand it better. Take advantage of it by having your kids teach you for a day. Have them read through the lesson and explain to you what’s going on. Ask questions and ask for detailed explanations.

Encourage the kids to give a lecture, guide discussions, and lead the homeschool for the day. You’ll be amazed at how much your children learn when they’re doing the teaching.

You don’t have to be held hostage this winter by the Winter Blues. Instead use these 5 tips to combat the Winter Blues and enjoy homeschooling.

What’s your best tip for beating the Winter Blues?

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  1. We love having occasional movie days- usually a movie for whatever book we’ve just completed as a family. After a shortened day of school, we make some popcorn and hot chocolate, grab some blankets, and snuggle in the living room. We’re actually planning one for tomorrow. 🙂 And I totally agree with taking breaks. Since I homeschool with the 6-week on, 1-week off schedule (which I learned about here), we’ll be having a one week break in about a week and a half! Yay!

  2. Some wonderful tips here. I am with you, after a certain time, our routine begins to feel a little blah and we are tempted to drop off.

    We like to do school with friends; sometimes we can do Montessori inspired works with same-age friends.

    Other times we get out the science equipment, throw the curriculum sequence out the window, and just start making cool stuff like, bubbles, lava lamps, and magnetic goo. My kids always love goggles and gloves.

    Other times we make up lessons, like, make a story booklet about the Romans, or we take our math and reading to the grocery store, or we make dioramas out of plywood and so some wood working.

    Reinventing our schedule is what makes our homeschooling fresh, new, and alive.

  3. We live in the South and I do year-round homeschool (until DS gets older), so we actually experience the SUMMER blues! We have many more winter days that are nice to be outside in than summer days.

    That said, the same old routine can get old any time of the year, so we are just very flexible and take a day off or do something special whenever we feel like it. This doesn’t happen that often, so it doesn’t add up to more than the usual number of vacation days a schooler has (probably many fewer days, actually).

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