Despite being the shortest month, February is the bane of most homeschooler’s year. The holidays are far in the rear-view mirror, family members are aggravating each other due to being stuck inside too much together, and spring still seems far away. On top of it all, this year COVID still looms large, limiting activities and outings. It is enough to make a homeschooling parent question both their sanity and their decision to homeschool. If this is your first year homeschooling, you may not understand that this annual month of suffering is completely normal, thereby making it even more painful. Rest assured, you are not alone! So, what can be done to help homeschooling families survive the dreaded February funk?
- Take a Break from Homeschooling
While actual vacations in which you leave your home and go somewhere else are not in the cards for most people this February, you can still take a break from the daily routine. Many school districts take a week off during the week of President’s Day. I have found that taking this mid-winter breather can be a sanity-saver. Both parents and children need periodic mental breaks from school work. This week can provide the opportunity for both you and your kids to relax and do things you enjoy without the pressure of trying to make sure your children are learning something. It also provides something to look forward to in the midst of February.
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day
St. Valentine was a third century martyr. According to one legend, he defied the emperor’s order and secretly married couples. At the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I replaced the Roman festival of Lupercalia with Valentine’s Day. What we now know as valentines began to be sent in the 1500s.
What this means for us is that we have a day set aside to celebrate love in all its forms. Make the most of it! Have the kids exercise their creativity by making cards and decorating cookies. Indulge in some chocolate (Valentine’s Day this year is the Sunday before Lent!) Maybe even plan a special dinner for your spouse or the whole family. Celebrating Valentine’s Day gives you something to look forward to right in the middle of the month.
- Seek the Support of other Homeschoolers
Somehow there is great comfort in knowing you are not alone. This is one case where you are definitely not the only one. Take solace in commiserating with you fellow homeschoolers. It’s great if you can do this in person, but if not, reach out to your online support groups. We’re all in this together. We know how you feel. We can get through this!
- Do Something Kind for Yourself
If there was ever a time for self-care, this is it. Take the time to do something that nurtures your soul, even if it is only for 10 minutes a day. Those little moments of self-nurturing can go a long way towards helping you maintain your good humor, something everyone in your family will appreciate.
- Get Outside
The sun is starting to get stronger. If the weather is not bitterly cold, make the effort to have both you and your children get some fresh air and sunshine. Even a short walk can do a world of good. There is nothing like a little sunshine to brighten everyone’s mood.
- Plan for Spring
It may not seem like it, but spring is coming! This is a wonderful time to plan a garden. Have children get involved in the process, researching plants and choosing what they would like to grow. It’s also a great times to start dreaming of household projects you might want to undertake once the weather gets warmer. Pick out paint colors or check out decorating magazines for inspiration.
- Offer it Up for Lent
Lent begins February 17th this year, just about midway through the month. If you are suffering this month, you can offer it up as a sacrifice. Think of it as an extra spiritual gift you can offer to God.
- Remember it is only 28 Days
While February can seem never-ending while you are in the midst of it, remember that it is only 28 days. You can survive four weeks. Cross the days off the calendar and do whatever you can to keep February from getting the best of you and your family.