5 tips to get you back in gear
Happy New Year, Brave Writer families!
Too bad we can’t settle into a “long winter’s nap” right about now. January insists that you be productive, so let’s look at 5 ways to do it that I hope are relatively pain free.
If you live down under: You just finished your big holiday and it’s summer vacation. Rock it! Have a great time. We in the north envy you, but we know it’s well deserved.
1. Get cozy
It’s winter in the northern hemisphere. Everyone is nicer to each other under cuddly blankets or with fires roaring or with tea and candles. Don’t “hit the workbooks” so much as invite everyone back to the routine with a little attention to snuggling and pleasing natural light. Remember that winter can create a sinking feeling—moodiness, depression, pessimism, loneliness—all due to loss of sunlight. So bring some inside and warm up the space. Keeping tables and counters clear seems to matter more in winter too.
2. Read aloud
Nothing says “gentle return to education” like a new novel to read together. Pick something you loved as a child (not a new novel). This is “comfort food” time. Find the joy in the novels of your youth (pair it with The Arrow, if we have an issue created for it). This month’s issue (Jan 2013) is for Little Town on the Prairie (my favorite children’s book series of all time). You might also love reading Wind in the Willows to help foster the coziness you need (how can you resist Mole’s home?).
For older kids, you might simply designate a time that everyone reads to themselves at the same time. Shared reading time, with a fire, is amazingly intimate. It creates a dynamic of valuing literature and private reading experience, while also giving the home a moment of silence (akin to when a newborn baby is sleeping and a hush comes over the space). The Boomerang Already Published Issues is a great place to find titles to read.
Plan ahead and execute the One Thing you’ve been meaning to do all fall but never got to it: Poetry Teatime, Party School, etc. Check out our blog entry on how to focus on one thing at a time.
4. Go on a field trip to…
A nature center, a ski lodge, the library, an art museum, the movie theater, the zoo, a restaurant from another culture, your best friend’s house, McDonald’s playland (yes, sometimes that’s even a good idea in January), a shopping trip to China Town, or Little Saigon, or the Italian Quarter. Pick one. Plan it. Do it. Get OUT of the house.
5. Add one novelty item to your homeschool
This could be a new set of watercolors with an easel. You might purchase a whole set of dinosaur cookie cutters to go with your dinosaur unit and you will make playdoh and do cut outs. Maybe you add a bird feeder to the nearby tree and spend some time each day noting which birds show up. Get a new strategy board game or several decks of cards and teach everyone Solitaire. Even a new sled (for outside) or a mini trampoline (for the garage or basement) can inject some lively activity when you start to feel trapped indoors.
The main thing to remember is that January is the middle of the year. You can actually plug along nicely in your traditional education work (math, science, grammar work, reading, writing) because the quieter, slower months are conducive to all of that. Just remember to not let cabin fever take over. In those moments, remind yourself of this list and pick ONE to do!