How to Happily Homeschool in Winter

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Written by Alicia Hutchinson of Investing Love.

Here we are, mamas! We’ve made it halfway through the school year! (Unless you’re a year-round homeschooler, in which case, bless you. I’m not sure where you are in your homeschool year, but bless you.)

How are you feeling?? I’m wondering if you’re feeling a bit sluggish. Or tired. Or maybe totally burned out is a better description.

Just me?

Nah, I didn’t think so.

Historically for us, this post-Christmas homeschool can be killer. It’s really hard for me to get back into it. The holidays have worn me out, and I don’t feel very motivated to plan super fun lessons or make elaborate plans. I find myself gravitating towards very verrrrry simple things. The colder weather is making things feel a bit slower and gentler opposed to the rigor of the fun and fresh fall semester.

Before, I’ve tried to fight against this feeling of slowness. I’ve bucked it and tried to force it and then become discouraged because we weren’t getting finished with all the things I had planned. Then I would start the vicious cycle of feeling like a less-than homeschool mom because we “weren’t getting anything done.”

Anyone feel me?

So this year, I’ve finally caught myself before it started the cycle again. After nine years of homeschooling, I’ve finally figured out this ugly cycle before I beat myself up too badly.

We’ve adapted to Winter Schooling.

It looks different than Fall Schooling. With Fall Schooling, we’ve just come off of a long summer break, a long session of planning for the new school year, and plenty of rest.

With Winter Schooling, we’ve just come off a busy season of holidays, parties, traveling to relatives, and staying up late for seasonal activities. It’s not the time to try to go crazy with school. For us, it’s time to be a bit more relaxed.

What Winter Homeschooling Looks Like for Us

We changed up our schedule. We are now getting out of the house and going to the gym a few times a week. Winter can get long and monotonous. I’m trying to combat that, and let everyone burn off some energy, by going to the gym. We’re doing school when we get back home right after lunch.

Games are a big part of our school right now. Winter is always the time we pull out the board games. There is so much learning to be had while playing games.

Movies are also a big part of our school right now. We love watching movies together. I used to feel like this was a not-so-good thing – like the TV was taboo and not a meaningful way to spend time together. But I feel differently now. I realized that there is so much learning when you watch a great movie and then you have great topics to discuss together.

[bctt tweet=”No one will be damaged from taking it easy for a few months and we’ll actually learn more because of it. ” via=”no”]

We are reading more than ever right now. It’s dark before dinnertime, and the fire is in full force. It’s the perfect time of year to get a lot of reading done. After dinner and showers, we are snuggling up with a read-aloud together.

I’ve stripped our school regimen to the basics. Right now we are basically doing math, a language arts lesson, and writing. A few times a week we are doing history as well.

Take more field trips! This is an excellent way to get out of the house and do some exploring together. We try to have at least 2-3/month during the winter. It just helps with the hum-drums.

Why I don’t feel bad about cutting back in the winter

I don’t feel bad because I know it won’t be like this forever. Or even for the rest of the school year. I know that when the weather starts to warm up, I’ll feel more motivated and energized again.

We’ll get outdoors more.

We’ll be jazzed to finish the school year strong.

I know from experience that no one will be damaged from taking it easy for a few months and we’ll actually learn more because of it. Because following the natural rhythm of the seasons means I’m not forcing what’s not there–trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, so to speak.

Trying to push, push, push when everyone is lacking VitaminD and feels a bit sluggish. It’s okay. It’s Winter Schooling, not All the Time Schooling.

Are you feeling a bit sluggish too? Maybe it’s time to hop into Winter Schooling mode till springtime arrives.

How do you avoid the winter hum-drums?

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  1. We to have kind of slowed down a bit. Because my daughter loves history we are doing that plus math and language arts. We are also reading more and pursuing more arts. My daughter loves to draw so she has been working on learning to draw people better and I have picked up my stained glass tools once again. Being “stuck” inside during the winter makes us want to be more creative I guess.

  2. Thank you for this! It’s my first year homeschooling and I’m DEFINITELY feeling that way right now. I feel so much better now, that it’s not just me!

  3. I’m in Florida, so I don’t deal with the stir-craziness that northern winters bring (though I’m still inclined to stay in on chilly days…), but I still hear you on feeling burned-out and sluggish this time of year. It always feels like we can’t quite find a post-holiday groove, and here we are, halfway through February, still not in a groove. Or at least, not a good one. “Kids try to kill each other post-breakfast while mom desperately tries to finish tea” is something I’d just as soon see us quit, if I could figure out how!

    1. Well, that’s disappointing. That post doesn’t seem to be available anymore. I’ve removed the broken link. Thanks for letting me know!

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