Surviving the February slump.

Homeschooling lore says that more people decide to quit in February than in any other month. It’s cold and dark, and the excitement most of us start the school year with has faded long ago. I gave a talk at the Baltimore Homeschool Community Center today about how normal the February slump is, and tips for getting through it. If you missed the talk, here are some of my suggestions for taking care of yourself and your kids, as well as my thoughts about when the normal midwinter slump is, well, not so normal. In my next post, I’ll share some ideas from today’s session about how to shake up your homeschooling itself.

Coping and self-care strategies:

  • Get some physical exercise for yourself and your kids. Skating, indoor pools, indoor gyms and playspaces, cross-country skiing, sledding, active Wii games, bowling, or just turning up the music and dancing in your living room.
  • Take sick days when you’re sick.
  • STOP reading homeschool porn: perfect blogs by perfect homeschooling families, assurances that homeschooling will supply you with angelic and brilliant children, perfect Pinterest projects.
  • Get social support from other homeschooling parents. (locals, BHCC is a great place for that.)
  • Trade babysitting with a friend and get some time to yourself. Don’t feel like you need to use it to clean your house or reorganize your school plans… unless that stuff is genuinely satisfying to you.
  • When possible, get exposure to sunlight early in the day. Bundle up and go for a morning walk, or sit in a sunny window.
  • Make sure your sugar intake is balanced by protein and whole grains.


  • You are hitting your kids, escalating punishments, or regularly screaming at them, insulting them, calling them names.
  • The winter isn’t going well with school, but neither did the fall. Or last summer, when you thought you’d catch up. Or last spring.
  • You are crying more than once a week, feeling sad or hopeless most of the day, having trouble sleeping or sleeping way more than usual, thinking about hurting yourself or your kids.
  • Your kids are hurting you, each other, or themselves.
  • Your kids are significantly “behind” and not improving, and either (a) you just can’t manage to get teaching done on a regular basis, or (b) teaching doesn’t seem to help.
  • Your child’s behavioral or emotional problems are taking up more and more of your life.
  • Call me at 443-826-9858 for a confidential consultation.
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