I will be the first person to admit, that homeschooling in January is usually uninspiring to me. The allure of winter is already lost to me. I want to be cozy, and eat, and watch the cardinals from my place of warmth with a cup of tea in my hand. But having kids, and wanting to teach them that their is no bad weather, only bad clothing (or attitudes), makes me look inward at my own crotchety grandmother ways, and instead of forcing things, I try to lean into them more. I of course, am still growing and learning too, and am trying to lean into the winter rhythms more, in ways that still feel filled with comfort and warmth. Nature schooling and hyyge combine to create my unofficial homeschool winter rhythm.
There are a few staple themes and homeschool curriculum that I fall back on and love during the winter. And I don’t believe that it needs to be over complicated. In this stage of our lives, we’re about exploring and learning naturally, wheater it be math in the kitchen, or science outdoors. So this month we started up our annual 1000 Hours Outdoor Challenge . Which for me is a fun and stressfree way to track the hours you spend outside this year. This will be our 3rd year doing so, and looking back and seeing how many fun little dots we’ve colored in, makes me smile every time. Also to kick off homeschooling in January, which may be middle of term for most students, but the joy of homeschooling is adding or removing items as they suit your family, I finally purchased some fun new curriculum I’ve been eyeing. I bought the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum by Raising Little Shoots, and let me tell you, its so fun and easy to adapt. Each week gives you a book suggestion list based off that week or month’s study. I just hop onto my library’s app and search what I want for the next two weeks and pick it up in the holds section, so I can actually get what I need when I take the wild kratt children to the library. Also, following the #raisinglittleshoots is filled with inspiration from other parents on lesson plans and actives revolved around the cirriclum. Exploring Nature with Children is a digital download, but those who are in the know, get their PDFs printed from The Homeschool Printing Company. We also created the phenology wheel from Raising Little Shoots. I totally believe in art as a form of therapy and way to connect with your children. My eldest is 6, and has such a talent for art, while myself may be crafty and a sewist, definitely don’t have a natural knack for drawing. Do not let that deter you! There are so many ways to fill out your phenology wheels. I love this activity for its easy correlation with nature journaling, as well as an opportunity to learn about moon cycles or seasonal birds.
We utilized the unseasonably warm weather, and only had to layer up slightly as we went on a walk around a lake, in search of birds to feed. This month we were discovering buds beginning to sprout and decided to take the knowledge outdoors and do some nature school on our little lake walk/woods meander. We found no ducks sadly, but were able to all get out as a family and saw lots of seedpods, animal tracks, and much needed fresh air.
We had a lot of chill library and lego crafting days this month too. Which is just fine by me. I am a total book nerd, and whole heartedly believe in creating a literature rich environment. Me and the kids picked out a new book to read together this month, Howl’s Moving Castle. I gotta admit to skipping over some negative body talk but other than that so far, it’s been a fun fantasy that we can all enjoy, plus, we love the movie.
I think it feeds into our human nature to want to cozy up in the winter. Eating a home prepared meal always makes feel recharged , and at home. So the kids and I went on cooking & baking rampage. We fed and measured sourdough starter, made bread, cinnamon rolls, and bagels all in 48 hours. My 6 year old loves cooking, and did an excellent job shaping, pouring, mixing, following instructions, and preparing all of our goodies. My 4 year old was still able to help a lot too with the cinnamon rolls, and definitely helped eating them. I was extra proud of myself by doubling my cinnamon roll recipe to save some for the future, probably the closest to meal prepping I’ll ever get.
I know that winter for some, or a lot, can be a time of sadness. But I think instead of fighting it so hard, like most things, it helps to just lean into it. Don’t do too much too fast, or you’ll burn out. Spend the days doing what makes you happy if you can, whether it be baking, or collecting little pinecones. Anytime, even winter, can be a magical opportunity to learn, you just have to follow what feels right, and freshly made cinnamon rolls never hurt.