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In all my years of homeschooling, the month of February was consistently the most difficult. The end of February was into the second semester enough that my students no longer had a “clean slate” like they did a few weeks back and may even have started slipping a bit behind. It was far enough into the year to feel a bit worn down, yet too early to be able to celebrate seeing the finish line. Also it is also the month that many parents start thinking about the following school year, forcing them to evaluate if this whole homeschooling thing is working for their family. Throw in the fact that the Michigan sun has likely been missing for several weeks, and it is the perfect scenario to bring on Freak-Out February and, without intervention, a continuation into Moody March.

ID 1750131 © Martin Allinger |

So what’s a homeschooling mom who is ready to throw in the towel to do? Here are several ideas to perk up your outlook and regain your perspective on this awesome thing you do called homeschooling.

Shed some light on it – literally

I know it is cold, but get on out there and get a bit of sun on that face. While it seems like a month of darkness, the Michigan sun makes an appearance in 46% of the February days. Even if it isn’t sunny out, some fresh air will do you all some good. Go sledding, walk the dog, go for a nature walk. Just bundle up and get out there! If you just can’t tolerate the cold or need to multitask and get work done while you soak in some light, consider some indoor light therapy. The Happy Light is a good choice. It isn’t the same as the real thing, but it could help. Did you know…● The birds on the trail at the Nature Center at Kensington Metropark will eat right from your hand? Put some birdseed in your hand, hold it out, stand still, and wait for an up-close nature adventure. This is so fun you’ll forget how cold it is outside. ● The Commerce Library has light therapy lamps?

Eat a gummy and have a dance party

A multivitamin gummy with vitamin D, that is. With the lack of sunshine, vitamin D is especially important to avoid a deficiency that is common among those in northern climates.  A deficiency in vitamin D will make you feel sluggish, tired, and likely crabby.

Not only does dancing provide great exercise, but studies also show that listening to music and dancing are great for mental health as well. An added bonus is it will help your kids get pent up wiggles out in between subjects. Crank up the music and get moving!

Plan a day or night for you

I don’t know about you, but once I get on the Sluggish Train, it is hard to get off it and go do something. Yet, there is nothing like a recharge with a night with some good friends. Plan a Mom’s Night Out with other homeschooling moms or call up some old friends you haven’t seen in a while to catch a movie or laugh it up at a comedy club. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something with other adults as a reminder that you have an identity outside of homeschooling mom.

Change gears for a day

If you are feeling the blues, chances are your kids are too. Change it up a bit and take a family field trip to a local museum for some out-of-the-house learning, plan an impromptu afternoon playdate, or declare it Super Science Day and spend the afternoon doing science experiments. You could even just pack up the books and head to the library to work on school for a change of scenery.

When my kids were younger, a friend and I used to do a kid swap. Once a month I would take her kids for three hours and once a month she would take mine. This allowed some time for me, but my kids loved it too. Even if your kids are old enough that you can’t afford a day off of school work, they could have a study day with friends. An added bonus – you may find that your students whine a little less and get more accomplished in the presence of friends and a different adult overseeing the work.

Make summer plans

Fully planning for the next school year may seem a bit overwhelming, but many great short-term educational summer opportunities have registrations that open very early in the calendar year. While the skies are gray and the weather is cold right now, curl up with a blanket and explore what is out there for summer months.

If you have a high school student, there are many low-cost and free programs, often run as outreach on a university campus. A few such opportunities in Michigan are the Hillsdale Summer Science Camps at Hillsdale College, Physics of Atomic Nuclei at Michigan State University and Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs (grades 6-11). It takes some research and Googling based on your child’s interest and talents, and most have an application process at varying levels of competitiveness, but could be worth the effort if your student is selected.

There is no shortage of summer opportunities for younger kids for a variety of ages, interests, or budgets. Summer Camps Metro Detroit 2020 (all ages), Free Apple Camps (ages 8-12), Cirque Amongus (ages 6-16), and Henry Ford Summer Camps (ages 7 – 13) are just a few to explore.

Even though February is the shortest month of the year, it often seems like the longest when you are suffering from the homeschool blues. It might not be the best time for serious evaluation of how things are going in your homeschool if you don’t have a clear head and a positive perspective. Instead, get some fresh air, put on some dance music, switch it up a bit, and focus on some short summer activities. Sometimes a little self-care and awareness are all that is needed to get you – and your students – out of that February Funk.