All the excitement of the holiday season has died down, the weather has turned bitterly cold, and most of my girls’ activities are on break until February. It is the beginning of a long winter in the Midwest. After eight years of homeschooling, I now see this season on the horizon before Christmas so I am prepared when we are in the midst of the long winter.
Whether your long winter is seasonal, situational, or the monotony of homeschooling getting the better of you, there are ways to change the mood of your home and thrive in the long winter.
In anticipation of the winter, I change our day’s rhythm, purchase plenty of handicraft supplies, and have a few simple surprises in my back pocket.
HOmeschool Winter Rhythm
In the fall, the girls wake up at the same time, eat breakfast, and begin the school day with Morning Time. You can read about our school day rhythm here. Our days look different during the winter season because we have a lot of hours to fill each day, and I am in no rush to get the school day started.
The biggest obstacle for our family is finding ways to burn off all of our energy. When the weather is too cold or wet to get outside, I have found that starting our days with exercise is key. The girls work out each morning for 30 minutes by playing Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. Starting our day with exercise has helped us focus better on school work and gives the girls time to sleep in or read quietly in their room before our school day officially starts.
Each girl has two different winter homeschool checklists, a lite day and a full day. Two days a week are lite, and we are flexible about which day of the week these lite days are used. I prefer a lite Friday and use the other lite day if we have other activities going on. A lite day is the bare bones of what school means to me: reading, math, writing, music practice, and morning time.
Three days a week are a full schedule of school: all the lite day subjects and geography, science, grammar, spelling, social studies, and art. These two different school workloads help the girls understand the day’s expectations and know that we have flexibility. As a type-A personality, it helps me plan for less productive days and make space for life while having measured progress each day.
Handicrafts + Independent Activities
When my girls were younger, I always looked forward to their afternoon nap. This was the time of the day I could get things done around the house, read, shower, exercise, or anything I wanted to do. As they have grown up, I still needed that hour and a half to catch up on life.
One silver lining of staying home during Covid lockdowns is the girls have learned how to entertain themselves for long periods of time without using technology. I have explored different handicrafts with each of the girls by signing them up for classes or watching online instructional videos. I wanted each of them to have the proper skills and supplies to complete handicrafts independently during our afternoon quiet time.
No one naps in the afternoon, but we still take time apart from one another to create. Here is a list of our current favorite activities:
Winter in the Midwest is dark, cold, and can be a bit of a drag. Adding daily exercise, flexibility to our homeschooling rhythm, and alone time in the afternoons to create helps us be better people. This season is savored when I slow down and readjust my expectations.
This is the first time that I was ready for winter and looking forward to more time in our home. I am ready to read more books, spend more time on home cooking, work on house projects, and repurpose home decor. These slow days allow time for creative endeavors, and I now look forward to the long days of winter.
I am always looking for more ways to embrace each season of life. What do you do to make the most of long winter days?
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