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How to Beat the Homeschool Blues: Winter Homeschool Activities for Kids

by Jessica Parnell | Jan 01, 2016 | 4 min read

Most homeschoolers know that when it hits mid-winter, especially in January and February, a case of the blahs can settle in. The overcast days and the frigid temperatures can leave you begging for spring to arrive, but there’s still a chunk of the school year ahead of you.  When you hit that point where you just don’t feel like cracking open the books, remember that spring is around the corner and these winter homeschool activities will help you plug along until those sunnier, warmer days finally arrive.

  1. Try not to plan too much ahead.  It’s easy to feel like you want to quit doing work when it hits mid-year. You might even have the urge to quit homeschooling, altogether.  Fear not.  Wintertime is usually not the best time to make decisions, and it can be hard to feel inspired.  Instead of getting down on yourself, mark your calendar for a date in April when you can sit down and think with a fresh slate. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you’ve just made it through several months of rigorous curriculum.  Go easy on yourself.  Spring is just around the corner.
  2. Get outside.  Even if it’s cold, you can bundle up and take a short walk that will get your blood flowing and your mind moving with new ideas.  And young kids can handle being outdoors in the cooler temperatures as long as they are dressed appropriately.  It’s far too easy to sink into the couch and play video games or watch a movie when the weather dips, but even a brief encounter with nature can help beat the doldrums.  
  3. Schedule an hour for yourself.  It might seem impossible, especially if you have a large family, but taking just an hour for yourself during the week can provide you with stress relief and relaxation.  If you are homeschooling teenagers, then you understand that it can be frustrating work, at times.  When you start feeling burned out, take a step back and pencil some alone time into your calendar.  Ask a friend to watch your little ones if you need to.  Invite a neighbor to get some coffee.  Do some yoga, schedule a dance class or maybe get a journal and do some writing.  There are lots of quick and simple ways that you can get away from the books, even if just for a short period of time.
  4. Consider switching.  While it might sometimes be tempting to stop homeschooling, especially when the long winter months hit, remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe you haven’t been happy with all of the aspects of your curriculum.  Instead of throwing in the towel, why not just look at some other curriculum that would add more fun and interaction into your day. If it hasn’t been working out since October, then chances are, it’s not going to amend itself by April.  If switching a course doesn’t appeal to you, then consider revamping it, instead.  Sometimes it only takes a minor tweak in a course to set it off on a new angle.
  5. Plant something.  Even if you aren’t an avid gardener, there is nothing like watching the first blooms from a bed of daffodils or tulips to brighten up a cold morning.  Even though it’s too cold outside to plant, take some time to plant some flower bulbs in a pot indoors!  Just remember to keep the flower pots close to windows so that the flowers will grow. If this isn’t an option for you, then go through some flower catalogs and make a plan for what you want to plant in the early spring. And if you’re creative, think about designing a raised bed or a rock wall garden for the spring.  
  6. Take a trip.  Lots of homeschoolers take filed trips as part of their regular curriculum, so make sure you schedule a few for February and March if you haven’t already.  Getting out in a new environment is a sure-fire way to beat the homeschooling blues.  You can check out a museum, an aquarium, or even a special event. Click here to get a whole list of ideas.  And if the weather is too bad to go out on a field trip, try adding a couple of virtual field trips to your homeschool day!  This can help your kids feel inspired and add new life in the topics they have been learning about in their curriculum. Check out this list of virtual field trips that are perfect for the whole family!   
  7. Get creative.  The winter time is a great season for crafting and thinking about new projects.  Do you knit, sew, or crochet?  Winter is the perfect time for making a bright and colorful scarf, a pair of mittens, or even a pair of special socks.  Maybe your children have a few painting projects they’d like to complete, or maybe they’d like to write a few letters to some old friends who live far away.  The sky is the limit when it comes to crafting in the dead of winter.  
  8. Cultivate a rhythm of thankfulness.  When it’s gray and cold, feeling gloomy can seem like second nature. Try and keep yourself out of a negative thinking pattern by cultivating thankfulness, instead.  Think of the many ways that your homeschoolers have excelled through the school year.  What special feats have they accomplished?  What are they looking forward to?  The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the less likely you will slip into the pattern of hopeless thinking.  If your kids are struggling with things they can be thankful for, try making a thankfulness jar!  It’s a great art project that encourages creativity and it will help give tips and ideas when your kids can’t remember what they are thankful for. 
  9. Switch up your schedule.  Why not rearrange your homeschool day to beat back the blues?  You can try starting off your day with math instead of spelling.  You can do a read-aloud instead of teaching science. Sometimes even if you just experiment for a day, it can change the monotonous cycle and leave you feeling refreshed for the rest of the day.
  10. Keep the faith.  Sometimes it can be easy to want to stop believing in yourself because the school year is proving to be harder than expected, or because you just don’t think you have the mental or physical energy to continue.  Find some quiet time to reflect and pray on what you have to be thankful for, and then move on with the rest of your day. Homeschooling is a challenging journey, and giving it your all can oftentimes be exhausting.  Remember why you started homeschooling in the first place, and remind yourself that you’ve chosen to homeschool because you believe it’s what is best for your family.

Were these homeschool activities and ideas helpful for your family? Let us know!  We would love to hear from you by following our blog or calling 800-863-1474.

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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