As I wrote in a post last year, I get cabin fever really bad towards the end of winter each year.  This year, I think it started to get to the kids, too, after we had a 6-week spell of the temps hardly ever getting out of the teens. As if winter weather wasn’t bad enough, I have seriously pushed school this year so we could be done well in advance in our move.  Therefore, we started school around August 1, and have only taken a rare day off about twice a month.

The good news is, I have children who love school.  I have found that simply allowing them some freedoms during their school day revives them and seems to be getting them through their cabin fever moments.  We use Abeka Book’s “Abeka Academy” program for the older children, and the Abeka K-4 workbooks for the younger children.  This week, when they decided they were tired of the routine where M watches her school DVD’s on the computer downstairs and JR watches his on his DVD player at his desk, they asked if they could do something different.  Since then, they have been sharing the DVD player (which extends the school day, but they love it–go figure!), watching each other’s DVD’s together, doing their school out on the front porch, in my walk-in closet, at the dining room table, and recently, my bed has become their favorite location.  On occasion, when they are doing really well, I will allow them to just complete their written and reading work and skip the videos altogether.  In turn, they are learning that they get more freedoms when they do their school well and correctly.  If my checks of their work show some slacking off or a lack of understanding of a concept, the privileges are lost, and the structure returns until they shape up again.

JR and M doing worksheets and watching their school DVD.  Callie, the cat, is supervising.

JR and M doing worksheets and watching their school DVD. Callie, the cat, is supervising.

A and N require a lot of input and assistance from me to do their worksheets.  Therefore, since they are only 4, I don’t push it with them.  We gave up the reading lessons long ago, as they just weren’t ready.  Sometimes, you have to choose your battles!  They love to do their worksheets, though, and since the worksheets (phonics and numbers) are pretty basic, we usually do several days’ worth together.  I am better able to consolidate my time that way.  I have decided to ease my required assistance next year, though, by signing them up for the video program too.  I think they will like it, and may learn more.  They will certainly benefit from the increased structure of a video-led school day.

In addition, we have started getting out of the house more.  Twice a week, the kids have swimming lessons.  I will discuss that more in a future post, but it is working out beautifully!  The kids get more activity, more stimulation, the action of swimming in itself is tremendously therapeutic for A and N, and R has turned out to be a total water-baby!  The private, 30-minute sessions are very intensive and fast-paced, though they advance at the rate the child is ready, which works great for our children–who differ so greatly in physical and mental abilities.

Finally, to help revive me, we are very blessed to still have a wonderful young lady who babysits one evening a week, for a simple gift of fresh eggs and/or goat milk, so S and I can have a date night.  We use these nights to run errands, attend functions, see an occasional movie, recently to shop for trucks and trailers, etc.  We usually work in a nice dinner together though, which is very refreshing to my spirit, and often even a quick visit to my chiropractor, which is equally refreshing to my physical body.  One-on-one time with my husband is something I crave and very much enjoy–especially during this season of young, dependent children outnumbering me.  Although it isn’t with S, I also have another trip to Red Gate to look forward to next month.  I will be traveling back again for about a week to do some last-minute building, painting, and cleaning projects, to help the move transition go smoother.  That will be a lot of fun, just getting away by myself for a spell.

I cannot deny how much I love the flexibility of homeschooling, and the freedoms offered therein.  We can have an otherwise boring, cabin-fever-type day, change it up a bit, and rejuvenate everyone a bit.