I was chatting with a friend this week about how we waiver between homeschooler and unschooler at times. Well, not really. But I was remarking how at different times of the year, our homeschool rhythm changes. It took me years to realize this is actually okay and to go with what works for us!
So what do I mean by “seasonal” homeschooler? Let me explain…
My homeschooling style tends to vary by what season we are in throughout the year.
September: The Excitement of a New Year!
In September I am a really “good” homeschooler. 😉 We are all ready to get back to a routine after a carefree summer and schedules are welcomed. All the new books are still exciting, the new supplies are still neat and tidy, the pencils are sharpened and lined up, and the freshness and newness of the school year have begun. Attitudes are usually motivated and positive. This is a great month for us in our homeschool!
So realizing this over the years, I know that September is a month to go the extra mile. Taking advantage of the motivation, excitement, and energy levels, this is the time of year where I pursue extra assignments, fun projects, etc. This is the month I know I can push hard. We usually have much longer homeschool days at this point and, hey, even get ahead of ourselves sometimes.
On the homefront, I usually have a (simple) meal plan in place for at least a month, I’ve stocked up on groceries, and everything is in pretty good order. Again, because of the summer wrapping up, we are in “organized” mode- sort of a reaction to the lazy days of summer 😉
A few months into the school year, energy levels dwindle a bit, the weather turns a bit colder, and before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. This is the time of year where we may set a few of our usual routines (which have become much less exciting since September) aside and do some fun holiday learning. Books, crafts, and projects tend to be focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas. December is usually an abridged schedule, but we replace many activities with holiday activities! The energy levels are turned toward the fun of the holidays and we learn many life lessons during this time for sure.
Then comes my least favorite season of the homeschool year. January. It’s dark, it’s cold, the holidays have ended and the anticipation is over. The rest of the school year looms and feels really long. Motivation is low. The only glimpse of hope for me is the dawn of the new year does help me to implement some order again now that the loosey-goosey schedule of December is passed.
I do, however, use January as a time to make use of our indoor time for projects we normally wouldn’t do otherwise. I try to incorporate more fun and hands on stuff. Sometimes a unit study is in order- a snow unit study makes a great way to pass the days. It’s also a great time to cuddle on the couch for read-alouds and documentaries when the weather is really dreary.
We use winter to push through with school and rarely take any “days off.” We know that spring is coming and use the time we have in January to really push through our work.
Spring School Springs Forth!
As we move out of the cold of winter, the days grow longer and signs of spring are in the air! This is my absolute favorites time of year- the weather turns warmer, flowers bloom, and we are immersed in nature everyday.
This is also an extremely busy time, especially as our spring has changed the past several years with incorporating traveling to speak at homeschool conventions. Our schedule involves more days off for traveling, which means adjusting our work accordingly. At this point, I am thankful for the extra work we finished in winter.
Science usually takes place in the woods, on the farm, and by the stream. We know that learning is taking place, it just may look differently than it did in September with those textbooks. We also have lots to do around the farm, so hard work and life lessons abound. Learning takes place in different ways.
And then comes glorious summer! Oh, glorious summer! We are still embracing life lessons, but formal school gets put away for a bit. Summer schooling involves some ongoing reading and math, but most learning in summer involves life lessons. Until the cycle starts all over again in September.
So, that is my look at how I homeschool seasonally. I take advantage of the different rhythms of the year and tailor our life and school accordingly. How about you? Does your homeschool change throughout the year? Comment below!