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I remember reading about Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) in the school library’s copy of Psychology Today when I was in high school, back when SAD was a thing that people were newly talking about. Do I really, truly suffer from SAD? I dunno. I’m not an expert. But I do know that in the colder, darker months, I want to slow down. Way down. Okay, I essentially want to hibernate. Generally speaking, I. Can’t. Even.
Then a few years ago, hygge was suddenly the trendy thing. It spoke to me and my SAD-y ways. Just in case you’re in the dark about hygge (prounounced hoo-gah), it’s a Danish concept that encapsulates all things cozy. Think chunky sweaters, hot beverages, twinkle lights, cuddling up with a book under a blanket… all of the stuff that’s good about winter. Learning about hygge really helped me stop hating winter and how I felt all winter and start focusing on all of the cozy stuff I actually wanted to do as a positive thing. It’s made all the difference, and I’m actually LOOKING FORWARD to winter now. (Want to learn more about hygge? I recommend The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.)
Is this sounding familiar? Do you, too, want to spend the winter cuddled up under a cozy blanket with all of the books and all of the coffee/tea?
If I want to make the winter months happy months, our learning plan has to change. Honestly, none of us wants to keep up the pace we started in the fall. It’s time to hunker down and enjoy the rhythm of winter. Last year, the right thing to do was project-based learning. That’s not really the right thing for this year, though. Leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve found that the only part of the day that’s working as well as I want it to is our morning time. SO WHY NOT MAKE THE ENTIRE SCHOOL DAY MORNING TIME?
Seriously. Here’s my plan for making (almost) our entire school day retain the cozy, snuggled-up feel of morning time.
Here’s what we’re doing in each subject.
Usborne has plenty of great resources for easing kids into creative writing. Taking into consideration my kids’ current abilities and interests, this one seems perfect for right now.
Our Read Aloud Chapter Book
At the moment, we happen to be reading the last book of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
If you’re looking for your family’s next readaloud selection, be sure to check here for a list of some of our tried-and-true favorites.
You can also find readaloud suggestions for every age on my “Read Aloud Bookshelf” Pinterest board.
It’s important to give kids a strong background in fairy tales and fables for… well, for lots of reasons. But the reason in the forefront of my mind for now is that kids need a treasure of such stories in their memories so that they’ll be ready to pick up on allusions when they’re ready for literary analysis.
No reading instruction? Hang on… it’s coming in the afternoon.
Multiplication and Addition Flashcards, Lakeshore Learning Multiplication Machine
We don’t do all of these every day. We rotate through them, one per day. Each kid answers around 10 facts. Why the multiplication machine if we’re already using flashcards? It’s nice to run through an entire row or column, and it’s nice to have the chart in front of us to help pick up on patterns.
The You Do the Math series tackles the age-old question of “When am I ever going to use this?” head-on. In this particular volume appropriate for around 3rd-6th grades, kids learn about all of the ways math is used in the real-life application of designing a skyscraper and put it into practice. My little guy who loves architecture is going to go crazy for this.
Netflix’s Brainchild series
We’ll also be meeting up with our STEM Scouts lab. It’s probably good that there are still some activities going on to help draw me out of doors!
Picture Book Biographies
Your library probably has a great stock of picture book biographies to choose from. I will tell you that one of my favorites of late is this book. History, psychology, the scientific method… Mesmerized has it all!
Maybe right about now you’re wondering if I’m planning to spend the entire winter on the sofa under a blanket. Well… not exactly.
Here’s my plan for the afternoon.
All About Reading
We’re a dyslexia family, so taking time off from reading instruction isn’t really an option. We’ll soldier ahead with the AAR program and supplementing with Explode the Code workbooks. It stinks that we never get to take it easy in this department, but as one of my personal mantras goes, “Dyslexia doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mom who never gives up.”
Jigsaw Puzzle Time
One of my favorite hygge-licious activities is a family jigsaw puzzle. This year for Christmas I’ve selected this jigsaw puzzle mat as our family gift for easily moving our work-in-progress off the table when it’s time to eat or craft at the table.
Our Makey Advent Calendar
My kids are going to LOVE this! (Maybe yours would too?) I can’t wait to start peeking into our bags on December 1st. Find out how I put together this Advent calendar for my crafter-tinkerers here.