SummaryPatricia Purcell has 3 kids, and knows how hard it can get mid-winter. Here are her top 9 ideas to keep kids happy, engaged, and learning!
Long after the holidays are over and the decorations are all put away, winter stretches on.
With its short days and bitter weather, it can seem endless, and homeschooling under such mid-winter conditions can be extra challenging.
Because cold weather can last for the majority of the school year here in the Northeast (and other chilly climes), those of us who live here have to find ways to carry on and thrive despite the frigid conditions.
In order to keep winter from sapping the spirit out of your homeschool, here’s how you can take action to combat the mid-winter blues.
1. Embrace Mid-Winter
Getting outside can have a positive effect on state of mind, especially for wriggly kids. When deep snows fall, consider giving the kids a snow day off from school.
Bundle everyone up and head out to play. There are plenty of low cost ways to enjoy the wintry weather.
- Clear the driveway. Hand out shovels and see who can clear their section of driveway the fastest. Sure, younger kids will probably abandon this task before long, but any help is better than none. Right?
- Go sledding. If you don’t have a hilly yard, head to the neighborhood sledding hill.
- Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Of course you do! Make a whole frosty family while you’re at it.
- Have a snowball fight.
- Make Snow Angels.
All of this snow fun might keep little ones occupied for awhile…well, long enough for you to make progress on the driveway anyway.
When you’re done, warm everyone up with some hot chocolate.
2. The Comforts of Home
Sometimes the weather is just too brutal to get outside. In that case, it’s time to enjoy some cold weather comfort indoors.
Even if you’re unlucky enough to suffer a power outage, these tips will help you endure until the lights (and heat) are back on.
- Light your Fire. Nothing spreads warmth and cheer like a crackling fire on the hearth.
- Books and Board Games. Gather the family (and some cozy throw blankets) and spend the day reading aloud, or having a checkers tournament.
- Soup’s On. Perhaps the most comforting thing about winter is the food. If you have a gas stove, even during a power outage you can put a pot of soup on to simmer away all afternoon. The aroma will fill the house, making everything feel a little cozier. If you’ve got time, make a loaf of homemade bread to go along with it. The hardest part will be making it last until dinner!
3. Take in Some Culture
Museums, plays, and movies are all available year round and can offer a nice, warm way to get out of the house and fend off cabin fever.
Many even offer discounts for schoolchildren, so check the websites before you go.
Make sure to allow time to carefully examine the displays, or brush up on the plot of the play to get the most out of the experience.
4. Start a Unit Study
Has a particular topic caught your children’s interest? The winter months can be a perfect time to delve deeper into that topic.
Build some time into your school day to devote to research. Check some books out of the library, or help your kids search for information online.
Better yet, pack up the kids and some notebooks and head to the library for the day. Libraries offer a quiet place to study during most weekdays, and the change of venue will keep everyone more interested.
Challenge the kids to put together a report or presentation on their findings. It could be the start of a lifelong interest or career.
5. Start a Club
Winter is an ideal time to organize a club for the kids. Most folks are home, getting through the school year, unlike the summer months when vacations can get in the way.
Think of an area of interest to your kids, and how to tailor it to a children’s club. Some ideas would be:
- A Children’s Book Club. It can be a great way to get kids reading the classics.
- A Game Club. Have everyone bring a board game to share, and gather for some old-fashioned fun.
- A Movie Club. Have the kids write a script, act, and film it. It might not be Oscar quality, but they’ll learn valuable skills while having a lot of fun!
Winter offers a surprising number of holidays, even after Christmas is over. Have a party for St. Valentine’s Day and let the kids exchange cards, or wear your green and take in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Enjoy some apple pie on Pi Day (March 14) to let your kids see that math can be fun.
You can also just celebrate friendship and invite a crowd over for a potluck dinner. They’ll all be glad of a chance to combat cabin fever too!
7. Think Spring
Beat the winter blues by planning your summer garden crops and starting some seeds indoors.
Turn it into a science project by letting the kids help. With any luck their passion for plants will last into the warm weather…when it’s time to weed!
8. Plan a Trip
Planning a vacation can be another great way to think ahead to summer. If you’re going someplace new, help the kids research about the area and map out the route that you will take to get there.
It will give them the perfect chance to put their geography skills to use while giving everyone some warm weather fun to dream about.
9. Keep On Combating the Mid-Winter Blues
No matter what the weather, you can keep your homeschool going strong even in the winter. Look for opportunities to enjoy the cold months, and remember that spring will eventually arrive.
Do you have any favorite ways to beat the mid-winter blues? I’d love to hear them!