Author: Lisa Lewis
Published in: GHEA website
Updated on: Jan. 23, 2022
The holidays have ended, and January is well underway, but my motivation to jump back into our homeschooling studies is lagging. I look outside my window at the gray and dreary sky, and my mood seems to mirror the weather. I look inside, and after having put away the fun and festive Christmas décor, my home feels dreary, too. My children seem to have lost that sense of wonder and excitement that we began our school year with, and they look to me to bring back the spark. We are in dire need of a homeschool reboot!
All families I’ve met on our homeschool journey experience times of weariness and boredom. January can be a particularly difficult month as we adjust to leaving the holiday season behind. Here are some ways that we have navigated the month of January and re-energized our homeschool.
Try something new! Everyone enjoys a change of pace even if we can’t always agree on what the change should be. I will usually have my children make a list of things they might like to do or try. It could be crafts, reading, or even an activity. I make my own list as well. I ask them to list at least three things, and then I take everyone’s suggestions and review them myself. Once I combine everyone’s suggestions, I narrow the new list down to three things, and we sit down together and compromise until we reach a decision. This can take a day or two, but it’s worth the effort! Some of our most enjoyable activities have been the result of spending some time pondering and planning. Even very young children can have a say in this activity.
Make a change in how you use curriculum. This doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but it can still be effective. If your science curriculum is centered on books, select a topic and do experiments for a few weeks. Sometimes, we skip math once a week and play games that day instead. For history, we may seek out a field trip or watch a movie about the time period under study. There are usually different ways to impart knowledge and to break the tedium, so I try to add in additional options for a short time.
Another way to reinvigorate our days is to spend at least a day reviewing how things are going. Are my students progressing? Are they struggling in any areas? What can I do to improve their day-to-day experience? Sometimes, making schedule changes is enough. Other times, we have decided to completely change what we were doing and find a different method or curriculum. Making a course correction mid-year can be challenging, but the results are worth the effort!
Choose a short family Bible study that you can complete in four to six weeks. Regular study is essential, but I always found taking some extra time during the dreary days of winter to spend on a specific in-depth study with my children to be special and meaningful. Taking time to get everyone hot tea or cocoa and then settling down to dive into God’s word was unique and distinct. We all learned something and cherished the time set apart together. It changed the mood in our home and in our homeschool.
Another tactic we have used is to spend more time together in the kitchen baking! Children love to bake, and they can learn quite a lot. As we find ourselves spending more time indoors, we have added some excitement into our schedule with baking. Everyone loves cookies, of course, but we have also tried baking bread and other items, such as pies. Most families today don’t bake pies, so baking a pie with your children is an adventure!
No matter what ideas you come up with as a family to clear away the mid-year burnout and get through the dreary days of winter, don’t forget to take photos. Although it may seem far away, their graduation day will come much faster than you can ever imagine, but the memories made will last a lifetime!