February is the shortest month of the year, but with regard to homeschooling, it often feels as though it drags on forever. Dark, dreary days require that everyone stay inside, despite the fact that home is starting to feel claustrophobic. Schoolwork is moving along, but the excitement of a new school year has diminished considerably from September. Plodding through the day with little variation in routine, it is evident that everyone is inclined to irritation and frustration. Remedy this situation by implementing a few changes in your routine.
Creatively Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Try spending a few afternoons in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Using advertising circulars, help your students calculate the cost of various Valentine treats. They can compare similar items available at different stores, as well as calculate the cost per piece of candy in a prepackaged bag or box. Once you have calculated which items are the least expensive, take some time to consider taste and quality. For example, individual chocolate candy that is sold in a heart-shaped box at the drug store will be less expensive than a similarly packaged box of candy purchased from a chocolatier. Ask each child to consider when he would buy the more expensive item and when he would choose the opposite. Discussion about value judgments versus absolutes can ensue. In other words, it is an objective fact that one box of chocolate requires less money than another. However, when it is a better choice to buy the more expensive chocolate, is a value judgment.
Around this time of year, it is also entertaining to make Valentines. Creating works of art out of colorful materials will raise everyone's spirits. There are a variety of ways you can share these works of art with others. Nursing homes or rehabilitation centers for the elderly will likely welcome a visit from your family. Give them a call to ask if you can pass out your homemade Valentines. Both the recipient and the contributor will benefit from the visit.
Since patience is short, increase family harmony by putting everyone’s name into a hat. Each family member chooses a name, and that person becomes his “Secret Valentine.” Each person tries to do something nice for his “Secret Valentine” without getting caught. As a result, kindness becomes a game!
Get Involved and Stay Organized
This is a great time of year to tackle a home improvement project. With more time indoors, plan to spend a couple of afternoons cleaning out and organizing a closet, room, or cupboard. Enlist the help of your children by assigning small, helpful tasks. Playing some upbeat music while you work will also make the task more enjoyable. The kids may even start dancing to the music, which is actually exercise in disguise. By spending a few hours per day on an area of your home that needs attention, you will be able to see progress. Seeing progress somehow banishes the flat feeling and lifts our spirits.
Ease into Spring
Springtime seems distant right now, but if you purchase some small pots and plant some seeds, you can expedite its arrival. Anticipation will have the whole family examining the pots to look for growth. Prior to purchasing seeds, incorporate research skills and science by encouraging your children to investigate which types of seeds will grow best in pots, and also in your geographic region. Expand this project by painting the pots. Painting will brighten up a gray afternoon while providing a creative art project. In addition, if you buy a few extra supplies, your potted seedlings will make wonderful gifts.
Supplemental Lessons for February:
Gifts for Valentine's Day
Compare prices, calculate cost, use store circulars, and learn how to read labels; all using the Valentine's Day theme. You can also expand on this lesson using a few of your family's favorite grocery items.
Basic directions are provided for decorating pots that can be filled with candy, personalized messages, or seeds. These will make great gifts for family members or friends.
Proportional Reasoning, computation, measuring, and problem solving skills must be used in order to reduce a cafeteria cookie recipe to a household-sized recipe. Your kids will have fun baking and learning at the same time.