February is over, and home educators (in the northern hemisphere at least) breathe a collective sigh of relief. In my first years of home educating, I’d never heard the term “February-itis.” I didn’t know that the slump I was experiencing was a recognized homeschool condition and that many home educators, like me, considered throwing in the towel in February. Now that I’ve weathered many Februaries as a home educator, I acknowledge my own grumpiness and try to look after myself a little better and embrace a little bit of joy in each of these 28 (29!) days. I know that, come March, spring will be on its way, along with all of the things I look forward to about the warmer, brighter months.
This winter was particularly dreary. A too-mild December meant that it rained most of the month. For days on end it seemed that the sun never rose. Winds of over 60mph kept us indoors, and we’ve all been going a little stir crazy. I don’t think my feet have been properly warm since August.
For our family, spring is when we emerge from hibernation. It’s as though we rub our bleary eyes, stretch our arms to the sky and yawn. In the lengthening evenings we look out the windows and wonderingly remark that “it’s still light outside!” When we rise in the morning, dawn is already peeking around the edges of the curtains, inviting us to gaze open-mouthed at the scarlet sunrise.
My insect-loving son’s pupae tank, in which all of his metamorphosing caterpillars sleep and transform, has been in the cold garage all winter. Now it’s time to bring it indoors, to begin misting them daily with water so they know it’s time to wake up and emerge as the beautiful moths and butterflies they will become. We’ve just hauled his moth trap out of the shed and brushed it of spider’s webs and woodlice. Soon he’ll start running his black light in earnest, checking it every morning (sometimes at 5 a.m.! Send coffee!). He’ll note what he’s caught and release the tiny, fragile creatures after marveling over the patterns and colors of their wings. Already he’s found frogspawn in the pond, watched nesting birds gathering fluff and twigs for their nests, and helped us cut back the dead growth in the garden, ready for shoots to emerge.
The days are longer, which means more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, play in the tree house or even just feel the sun on my head when I hang the washing out on the line. In this cold Northern European country, we shout about every blooming daffodil, every new green shoot we find. Each clue that spring is on its way is a discovery to be celebrated.
I’ve started clearing out the house too, my half-hearted tip of the hat to spring-cleaning. I’ve gotten rid of 17 years worth of hoarded/collected magazines, bags and bags of baby clothes from the attic, and I’m side-eying my cupboards because it’s time to give to charity everything I don’t wear, which is, let’s face it, most of what I own. I’ve got ideas for a fabric-stash-busting quilt, and I’m about to finish a blanket I’ve been crocheting for months.
March feels like a new beginning. There’s a freshness, a newness about the start of spring that lights a little fire in my heart and lends a twinkle to my eyes. I think, at long last, my toes might be thawing.