Most of us experience the mid-winter doldrums about this time every year. We find ourselves feeling uninspired or bored with our daily routine, and have a nagging sense that what we are doing isn’t working.
This is when we begin to doubt ourselves, our curriculum, our kids, and our choices. While this is totally normal, there are some things that you should know about the Homeschooling February Blahs!
First of all, don’t quit, don’t give up, and don’t toss out everything you have been doing! And don’t toss out your curriculum or buy a new one. Many of us have an impulse when homeschooling gets hum-drum to blame the curriculum and begin hunting for the latest new something to fix the blahs. News flash – the problem is NOT your curriculum (most likely).
It’s just February! It gets dark early, it’s cold all the time, the holidays are gone, and Spring is honestly going to take a while to really get here no matter what that presumptuous marmot has to say about it. Now we get to add to this annual blah, our current dilemma of Covid safety and the lack of many socializing options.
If a new curriculum isn’t going to fix the blahs, then how do we make it until Spring without wanting to quit homeschooling or feel like we are failing our kids? How in the world do we light a spark for ourselves and our kids in this homeschooling darkness?
You start with you, the parent! Often we don’t like to acknowledge it, but the homeschooling parent is the one who sets the mood for the day’s learning. Start by doing things for you! Self-care is such a common term easily tossed around these days, but I want to talk about self-care specifically for the homeschooling parent. It is not about long peaceful baths, doing something special for yourself that you never get to do, perfectly filled out pretty homeschool planners, or even a magical self-cleaning house (oh don’t we all wish we had one of those)!
Self-care for the homeschooling parent is about engaging yourself in the experience of the love of learning. Do you have something that you get excited to learn about? Something you don’t have to learn only to then teach to the kids? Modeling a love of learning is so important and can only be done when you actually are excited and love learning about something.
So pick something new for you to learn! A new craft or skill, a moment in history, read some current science articles, take an art class, join a book club, take on a project to do something you have never done before. Let your kids see you learning, trying, failing, trying again and making progress. Then share your excitement and challenges about it with them at dinner time.
The second important and often looked over form of self-care for the homeschooling parent is professional development. In our professional careers we go to conferences, read industry magazines, stay up to date on new trends and jargon, make an effort to continuously grow and get better at our chosen career path. Why would the work of homeschooling our kids be different? We still need to learn new ideas on how to handle the challenges, get validation that we are doing things correctly, digest inspirational success stories to push us along on the hard days, and be inspired to ignite our own creativity so that we can bring our best selves to the kitchen table.
So find great books about homeschooling, listen to podcasts, attend homeschooling conferences, join homeschooling support and discussion groups, read blogs, take classes that feed your brain and inspire your teaching. Validate your commitment to your child’s/children’s education and love of learning.
Do things that will add a spark of joy to your experience as a homeschooling parent. Embrace the love of learning for yourself and invest in your development as a homeschooling parent. This is how you and your kids get through the February blahs.
By Amanda Campbell