February 28, 2011

Just Hold On, Spring is Coming

100_5091It feels as if winter will never end.  Out my window there is still snow on the ground complete with cat tracks.  In homeschooling we can sometimes find ourselves in a place where it seems like winter will never end.  We’re tired, the kids are bored with the curriculum, nobody feels like doing school, and the refreshing time of spring seems very far off.  Many homeschool families start feeling restless near the end of winter.  More and more I hear discussions of the curricula they want to change “because it’s not working well anymore”.  While I recognize there are times when a curricula truly is not meeting the needs of your family (read my post about our math struggles to see what I mean), I think that for very many homeschoolers late winter is not the time to change curricula.  It is a time to take a short break from the everyday work and chase some proverbial animal tracks. 
Your children have some interests that probably do not ‘go along’ with your current curricular plan, so chase them for a few weeks.  You may be studying the American Revolution but you have a son who is dying to learn about knights of the Middle Ages.  Go for it!  Spend 2 weeks just chasing that trail.  You and your son will feel refreshed from the change, and come back to your regular curricula ready to go at it again. 
But what if your child is dying to learn something not academic?  My daughter really wants to study cake decorating like she’s seen on Cake Boss.  You know, the kind where the cake looks like a fishbowl, a vase of flowers, or a pile of gift boxes.  I’ll be honest, even cake decorating can be academic – we would work with measurements and math by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling recipes.  Chemistry is used to figure out how to make a sturdy cake without eggs due to our food allergy.  We need architecture to figure out how to build that cake and not have it collapse or tumble over.  We can even add in lessons on hospitality, cooking, and life skills.  The break will be refreshing.  (And yes, we’ve got a Cake Boss unit study in the works where we’ll build and decorate cupcakes and cakes with a friend from church who has experience in this area.)
I went outside to take pictures of the cat’s prints in the snow, my reminder that winter is still here.  When I looked a little closer I saw something else. 100_5087
The very beginnings of tulips peeking through the snow.  Spring is coming.  Instead of looking longingly at a change of curricula, hold on to the hope of spring.  Take a short break to chase some tracks with your children, even if they lead you somewhere you never expected to go.  Then buckle down again and finish what you started with your regular curricula.  It will be spring before you know it!
Tristan is the happy mother to 6 children ranging in age from 9 down to 3 months old. She blogs at Our Busy Homeschool most days and would love some adult conversation, so please stop by for a visit!

6 comments - Add a comment below -:

teresa said...

How motivating, Tristan. Thank you! I love the idea!

Dana ♥ said...

Spring is coming!! It's a wonderful thought isn't it? You are so right Tristan. Cabin fever hits hard this time of year. Hang in there everyone! :)

JRoberts said...

You are so lucky to have thin enough snow to start having tulips!

Thank you for the motivation. We do get stir crazy with all the sameness of winter. What a great reminder to just hang on. (relates so well to the second coming...just couldn't help but make the comparison)

Jessica said...

This is great advice! Thank you!

Rachel said...

We have a hard time with February. Now that March is here I am more enthused, and the kids pick up on that. Also, they are finishing bits and pieces and that excites them too. Come on spring!

Bttrscch said...

Thank you so much for your blog! i appreciate all the ideas i can get. I'm new to homeschooling this year with my four children and I'm SO excited about it!! :D
a book I'm sure your children and your self will enjoy is... ish by Peter H. Reynolds, It's a wonderful simple book that's uplifting. Thank you again, Heather