I hope your February has started out well, but at this time of year, I know a lot of people really feel the pain of winter. In fact, author Susan Wise Bauer once said: “Everyone wants to quit in November and February.” She was talking specifically about homeschool parents, but if you are one of my awesome classroom teachers, stay with me, because I think you can also probably relate. February can be a hard month, but I want to encourage you to press on!
First up, know that you are not alone. You are not imagining things. Winter really can cause us to see things differently than we might otherwise.
THERE GOES THE SUN
For example, where’s the sun? Seriously. I’m in Florida so I am blessed to have a decent stream of sunlight almost all year long. But if you are one of my awesome members in the colder climates, I hear how you are struggling. I grew up in New York, so I know how day after day of dreary weather can affect your mood. Chances are at this time of year, you aren’t getting enough sun, and that can really affect mood. In fact, researchers say 40% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient. The lack of sunlight can steal the joy and motivation of even the most upbeat and driven people!
We all feel like this kid at some point in February, right?
A second reason this is a hard month is that a lot of us end up isolated. It’s cold. It’s often wet. It’s just harder to get out and see people. So the very thing that would make many of us feel less alone is one of those things that’s hard to make happen! Knowing that it’s important, though, can help us get up the motivation to make those dinners or playdates happen even when we’d rather curl up in bed.
LOSS OF MOTIVATION
Third, as Bauer said, EVERYONE loses some amount of motivation at certain times. Is she overstating things? Maybe. But if you feel overwhelmed and are questioning why you are doing this whole homeschool/teaching thing, take comfort in knowing that other people feel the same way. That even includes people who, like you, started the year enthusiastically and with plenty of energy. It can help us be kinder to ourselves and to have patience while we wait out the next few weeks.
ALL THE PROJECTS
Finally, let’s acknowledge that a lot of our kids are working on the hardest curriculum of the year. Science fairs often happen now. Mock Trial, History papers, practice for end-of-year presentations and projects all start to ramp up now. Even the Saxon lessons tend to get really meaty around the Lesson 70 mark, and that can be a challenge. So acknowledge that all this is happening right when we have the least energy to deal with it, and know that may be a factor in feeling like you want to pull the plug.
So with all that in mind, I say, let’s work together to make this February one that doesn’t make us doubt our choices. We can all find a little joy and calm this month, right? Let’s stop and acknowledge the good stuff: warm coffee or tea, cozy clothes and blankets, some upbeat music and kids that are hopefully building big ol’ math muscles and having some fun at the same time.
I know you probably have some February tricks up your sleeve. Let me know how you cope with the February doldrums so I can share it with your fellow subscribers!