Homeschooling Through the Fall and Winter BlahsLeah Courtney
Every year I start a new homeschool year excited about what’s to come. Even now, after fourteen years of homeschooling, my heart thrills to begin new curriculum. The kids are usually excited too. Even though getting back into the swing of things means more structure and less free time than they’ve had in the summer, they’re usually eager for the newness of another school year.
But after a couple months in a school routine, things begin to change. No longer am I looking forward to what I’m going to do with the kids each day. No longer are they excited about learning. And as fall and then winter roll in with colder weather, gloomy skies, and lots of rain, the blahs officially hit us.
The fall and winter blahs hit especially hard at my home.I experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), meaning that I am particularly affected by the lack of sunlight during the shorter days of fall and winter. When I’m sluggish and less than excited about school, my negative attitude rubs off on the kids.
So what’s a homeschool mom to do when the blahs roll in? We can’t just chuck it all and take off school from October through February although I have sometimes considered it. Here are ways that help us regain energy and focus in the blah times of homeschooling.
Take a (reasonable) break.
Okay, maybe October through February isn’t a reasonable break. But taking a few days here and there helps us navigate times of feeling particularly worn down. Maybe we’ll take off a Friday and read in our pajamas all day. Maybe we’ll take a Monday off and extend our weekend. Flexibility is one of the things I love about homeschooling, and this flexibility allow us to take a break when we really need it.
Take advantage of the sun when it’s around.
Even if you don’t have an official SAD diagnosis, we all need a certain amount of vitamin D, which comes from the sun, to balance our moods. If you live in an area that is rainy, snowy, or gloomy throughout the fall and winter, you might not be getting much natural sunlight. When the sun does pop out, take advantage of it!
I like to round up as my kids and take a walk outside after lunch. If it isn’t too cold, we can head to the park and have a picnic lunch. Even if we can’t get outside in the sun, I open the shades and let in as much natural sunlight as possible.
Have fall and winter traditions.
Nothing chases away the blahs like having something to look forward to. When the kids were little, a visit to the apple orchard was a fall tradition. We made a full day of it by eating donuts, taking a hayride, and picking out pumpkins. As the kids have gotten older, going to a difficult corn maze has become an autumn tradition. Winter traditions revolve around Christmas and snow.
Keep the family healthy.
Colds, flu, and other viruses definitely contribute to the fall and winter blahs. When half the family is sick at any given time, it’s hard to muster energy for homeschooling. It might be impossible to keep the whole family well all fall and winter, but you can try to limit sickness with healthy habits.
- Emphasize hand washing especially if you have young kids who tend to touch everything they see.
- Watch what the family is eating, and make sure that you’re choosing healthy food.
- Avoid outings when you know you’re more likely to be in contact with sickness.
- Get exercise daily.
You might not avoid all sickness, but having healthy habits can make for more smooth going during the blahs seasons. I’ve not yet found a way to totally avoid the fall and winter blahs. But by doing these things, the kids and I can maintain m0re energy and focus when the season of blahs hits.