Beat the Winter Homeschool Slump: Part 1: Break with Your Regular Routine

Bust through the blahs with a new twist on an old classic—the unit study.

Beat the winter homeschool slump

Getting lost in a completely different world can be one of the best ways to beat the winter blues. Turn to your favorite book for inspiration, and craft a weeks-long study that will totally shake up your routine while still keeping you on track for your academic goals. These are some ideas that have worked for our homeschool, but your favorite books are the best guide.

A semester at Hogwarts. Leave a little surprise owl post at the end of your kids’ beds, and let them wake up to study at the legendary school of witchcraft and wizardry. Do chemistry experiments for Potions class, set up your telescope for nighttime Astronomy lessons, and put together a collection of readalouds to explore the history of magic. If you want, you can even track down school robes at a thrift shop — nothing’s more spirit-lifting than a little dress-up.

Little term on the prairie. Use Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic stories about frontier life or Louise Erdrich’s new classics of Native American life as inspiration for a month of pioneer studies: Make your own butter and cheese, cook dinner over an open fire, practice your handwriting on slates, and start your day with outdoor chores. This is also a great time to dive into U.S. history studies and explore the history of westward expansion.

In school with Shakespeare. Tackling one of Shakespeare’s plays together is a great opportunity to immerse yourselves in history, theater, poetry, and music. Choose a play that piques your interest, and watch several film and/or stage adaptations, considering differences in interpretation and staging. Create music soundtracks for your play. Rewrite portions of the play in contemporary language. Act out scenes in costume.

4 Other Ways to Shake Up Your Routine

Flip your routine. If you usually start the day with a readaloud and finish with your nature journal, bundle up for an early morning nature walk and end the day with your book.

Take a field trip every day. Virtual field trips let you get out of the house without, you know, actually leaving the house.

Adopt a class pet. Obviously do this only if you’re committed to the responsibilities of pet ownership, but if you’ve been thinking about setting up an aquarium or adopting a puppy, now’s a great time.

Put on an indoor Olympics. Events like juggling, bowling, sack racing, and obstacle course can keep kids moving when the weather outside is not-so- delightful.

beat the winter homeschool slump