February Slump

It’s February. Mid-Winter. It’s that time of year when many homeschoolers really begin to feel bogged down. The newness of the year’s studies have long worn off. The excitement of the holidays and the new year have ended. And if you live where there’s snow this time of year, you’re likely buried, stuck inside. Your house, no matter how large, doesn’t seem to be able to hold the massive amount of energy even one child brims with each day. This is the time of year when homeschoolers start looking at the next learning cycle, the school year to start in August or September. The curriculum companies must have tuned into the February slump years ago because the beautiful catalogs full of inspirational ideas and new learning materials begin arriving almost daily. The pictures of smiling children and calm parents offer hope that if we buy the right products, the right books for math and spelling and writing, we, too, will find peace.

I am not discrediting the need to offer our children learning materials that inspire and encourage them, but what if the answer doesn’t lie in anything in a catalog, or even outside of our home. What if the answer to that peacefulness we seek is not outside the chaos but within it? What if the chaos is an invitation to be ever more present, to put aside distractions, and to enter into a closer relationship with our child? What if the chaos is a call to love? A call to take a break from the regular day-to-day and create a space of solace for our families.

But how can we do this when the days just keep racing forward and our hopes for the year seem to be buried in the snow? The answer is simple: nourish. Nourish ourselves and our families. Our hearts and minds and bodies. Take a break from the regular day, even when anxiety of what is left unfinished begins to creep in. Take time to create. Paint. Draw. Cook and bake. Dance. Laugh. Listen to music. Make some of your own.

And read. Read a lot. Read to each other. Listen to books read by professional readers. Let the beauty of language well-written soak into you. Snuggle close. Allow this to be a time of togetherness. Talk together. And listen. Allow the slowness of February to bless you rather than burden you. Let go of expectations and just be, even if just for an hour. Use this time to reaffirm your intentions, the ones that can’t be bought in a catalog. When we honor the stillness, we teach our children to do the same, and that lesson is greater than any that they would learn if we just keep rushing through.