It’s that time of year again. February. I know it’s coming. The fact that February is a month of the year that always comes after January, and is never skipped in favour of March has not escaped my notice. Since homeschooling, February is my very least favourite time of the year. I couldn’t tell you why, only that it is. I always schedule a weeks break around the first week of February and if possible we go away. As we went to Paris last year we felt we couldn’t justify time away again. Next year we will go away. It is like I go into a type of hibernation, so weary do I feel.
When I first started homeschooling it would be the time of the year (the only time) I would start thinking about putting the children into school. In fact one year, when they were about six, I trooped them down to the local village school to enroll them! Yes, really! I am much more forgiving on myself now. I know it’s coming and I try to treat it as a necessary evil. Something to get through with as little damage to the children’s schooling as possible.
Anyone who knows me in real life knows that my passion and energy for homeschooling seemingly know no bounds. That is until February. And then I have to work really hard to recapture that joyful exuberance. Each year I worry it’s gone forever, only to find it returning a few weeks later with a vengeance. I go with the flow now!
I thought I’d jot down a few practical things I do to help our home school.
- The first and probably the biggest is to take a break. This blog’s been fairly quiet recently for a reason. We’ve not done an awful lot to write about. Last week we took it really easy.
- This week we have a done some home school but changed the pace and subject content to stop that ‘in a rut’ feeling we get each year. So we dumped Saxon and Mathusee for some Freddie maths (Life of Fred). We stopped all independent writing and wrote an essay together contrasting the styles of Cimabue (studied last year) with his student Giotto (studied this week), and had loads of fun doing it. We stopped history and science and took up an intense artist study for a week with lots of hands on activities. We started reading and discussing Dante’s Divine Comedy whilst making Lego Technic.
- We read some new, inspiring and most importantly, easy read books. T11 started the Redwall series, the girls began to read Janette Oak’s Love Comes softly series which is giving them a real passion for the home and I read some slow, beautiful, natural homemaking books peppered with some of my favourite Amish books. Lovely.
- As Gary gets up at 4.30 am every morning he is often asleep before 10pm. I usually use the time between about ten and two to school plan, often starting even earlier than that. I don’t sleep, so it gives me something productive and quiet to do during those potentially lonely hours! In February I ignore all the heavy academic planning and choose to look up stuff for our more frivolous studies, such as the younger girl’s Easter adventure box, which will be on Mr Men! Who can’t start to feel uplifted and excited when faced with fun Mr Men foods, activities and games to make and play!
- I have little choice in my sleep. I’ve been an insomniac all my life and rarely get more than two hours a night. But if I could, and if I thought it would do any good, I’d tell myself to go to bed earlier and GET MORE SLEEP!!
I’ll not be posting again until Monday when, God willing, our little home school will be in full swing again, with all the enthusiasm I can muster. I’m banking on the fact that enthusiasm will breed enthusiasm and soon I’ll be back to normal as I am each year. Just as soon as I can say goodbye to February.