Several years ago when we were still vegetable farmers I wrote post called The Northern Vegetable Farmers Guide to Surviving Winter. I thought It would be fun to do a new post like that one for homeschoolers(actually some of the same tips in that one could apply to homeschoolers, seed catalogs are always a win). Because let’s face it, by now we are all going crazy cooped up in the house all day with each other! With a little intentional planning we can even find joy in the winter season!
Books, Books, and Audiobooks
Yes, yes, I know we are homeschoolers, we have books all the time. But sometimes something fun, new or different can change the mood or lift your spirits. Go to the library and pick out the most beautiful picture books you can find, read aloud a funny book together and laugh out loud, play a captivating audiobook when the children start getting irritable, start a tradition of teatime with poetry.
Board Games and Card Games
We go through phases when we play lots of games and other season where we hardly play any. Winter is a great time to bring out the games and encourage everyone to play! It has been exciting to see my children finally reach the age where they can play games together and not need ME for every game! Although I enjoy playing with them when I am not too busy with other things. We love many of the classic games like Monopoly, Clue, Yahtzee, Uno and others and we have also discovered some fun newer games including KingDomino, Forbidden Island, and Dominion. Sometimes a good game of Monopoly can occupy the boys for a whole snowy afternoon!
Winter is the perfect time to practice being creative and working with your hands. I keep a variety of art supplies and craft supplies on hand for everyone to use- yarn, fabric, felt, paper, paints, etc. Once a week we have a scheduled time for learning and instruction in a specific handicraft and the rest of the time they can create as they please(within certain limits of course-proper time and place and cleaning up afterward).
Winter in the north can be dark. The hours of daylight are short, evening falls early and even the daylight we do have is often grey. At times I struggle with this but at other times I am able to embrace this. I love to create a cozy atmosphere and on dark days adding special light goes a long way. Lighting a candle on the table in the morning, leaving the white Christmas lights up all winter, occasionally even an old fashioned oil lamp.
Warm Winter Clothing and Boots
It can certainly be harder to get outside in the wintertime, but it is still so important! Some days we just don’t. When the temperature is just too cold or sometimes when it is quite wet or yucky out. But even in the winter there are plenty of opportunities to get outside. Having a warm coat, snowsuit, boots and gloves for everyone makes it possible to spend many hours outside sledding, building snowmen, exploring and working.
Yes, I am going to include this one even though we don’t farm any more. We do still grow a small garden each year and the children and I love to go through the seed catalogs this time of year and dream and plan for Spring. Maybe you don’t even garden so this wouldn’t apply, but really you just need something to awaken the hope of Spring in your hearts. Maybe a local map and hiking guide to plan your outings when warmer weather comes!
What about you? When the winter days grow long what are your favorite activities to keep everyone going?