6 ways to shake up your homeschool & avoid the midwinter blues!

Homeschooling lore has it that more people decide to quit in February than any other time of the year. If homeschooling is really not right for you, it is perfectly fine to put your kids back in school. But so many people feel a slump in February that, if you feel like giving up, it might be a good plan to try something different for a while, and see if that (and the coming of spring) rejuvenates you. Here are six ideas for something new to try:

  1. Stagger your academic schedule so you’re starting something new in January (science, history, and art are good candidates). Most of us have more enthusiasm for new stuff than we do for the same old, same old.
  2. Get out of the house. Schedule a lot of field trips and a lot of group activities. Field trips don’t have to match your curriculum thematically. Try something off the beaten path. For example, Maryland folks might enjoy going up to York, PA for a day of free factory tours.
  3. Have reading days, where you stay in your PJs most of the day and just read to your kids – or everyone reads to themselves. Try a book swap, where each member of your family gets to pick a book for someone else to read – including letting your kids pick out their favorite graphic novel or series fiction for you.
  4. Trade kids with another homeschooler. (Not permanently.) You know how your kids always seem to behave better for someone else than they do for you? Similarly, other kids will probably be better behaved for you AND more impressed with your teaching. Or maybe both sets of kids will just appreciate their own family more when they go home.
  5. Suspend “regular school” for a few weeks and do a unit study, or a home renovation project, or community service, or board game tournaments. Again, none of this needs to be related to your regular curriculum thematically, and in fact, it probably shouldn’t be. Fancy private colleges often have a “winter term” when students get to learn offbeat stuff in a different setting, so why shouldn’t you?
  6. Have a movie week where you watch documentaries every day. Try a movie adaptation of a book you’ve read to your kids (or they’ve read on their own) and talk about the differences and similarities. Let your kids mess around filming with your video camera, iPad, or smartphone.
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