As soon as the weather settles into winter, I can breathe a sigh of relief. According to the calendar (and sometimes nature), there are 13 weeks each in winter, spring, summer, and fall. I’m going to focus on winter because it’s my second favorite season, and because…here it comes!
Week 1: Short Stuff
The shortest day of the year, also the first day of winter (December 21) is a great day to talk about length. Everything on earth can be measured. Spend every day this week exploring one system of measurement (metric, imperial, liquid, weight, time, etc.). Waking up before the sun and marking times for sunrise and sunset can also be fun.
Week 2: Garland Games
In elementary school we used to have something called the Turkey Olympics the week of Thanksgiving, where the classes would compete in Olympic-style games that were all Thanksgiving related. While the family is together for the holidays, create some fun games and put the brains and bodies to use in a healthy competition — indoors and out!
Week 3: NEWsletter
It’s a new year, and so much happened in the last year that children can find it hard to keep up. Instead of holiday cards, consider writing a NEWsletter with your kids. Leave a section on each letter for your kids to write something in their own handwriting or to draw in a box. Send it to everyone you love.
Week 4: Snow and Ice
Even if you don’t live in an area that gets “winter weather,” it’s a great time to explore the water cycle. Go outside and make ice, or make it inside and watch it melt outside. Shoveling snow for family and friends to earn some money is a practical way for your kids to spend this week. Create an opportunity for ice to expand and bust (this is surprising to kids, even if they’ve read it in a book).
Week 5: Animals in Winter
What is hibernation? How do animals cope with the cold? Are there animals that change their eating/hunting habits during winter? What type of animals are in your neighborhood? This is a great time to visit a zoo or nature center.
Week 6: Winter Gardening
Visit the grocery store and show the kids the types of vegetables and plants that can grow in winter. Onions, beets, carrots, and cabbage are only some of the cold weather veggies that you can grow in winter. Find out why they grow in the cold. Start a garden, or plan one for next year.
Week 7: Art & Science
You don’t often see art and science combined, but this will be a week of fun! Dissect fruits and stamp with finger paint to compare shapes. Make homemade flarp or Oobleck, and then use food coloring and glitter to jazz it up however you’d like.
Week 8: Community Service
There is something that needs doing, and you’re going to do it! Before this week begins, ask the city office if there is a need. Many food banks will allow supervised children to volunteer. Animal shelters often ask for children to come in and pet the animals. There is a lot that one family can do for a community in one week.
Week 9: Stargaze
If you live within driving distance of a planetarium, this would be a great winter field trip. If not, this is the best time of year to view the stars. If you live in the city, drive out for a night in the country and enjoy an endless starry sky — maybe catch a glimpse of Mercury, Venus, and Mars while you’re at it.
Week 10: History and Commerce
Valentine’s Day happens because of a historical event. Do you know it? Maybe you don’t want to explain the gory details to your kids just yet, but there are many historical reasons that we have the things we have and do the things we do. Why do we have clocks in our houses? What did the first clock look like? Explore Valentine’s cards and how mail was sent in colonial days.
Week 11: Making Museums
Science fairs are big in the public school scene. It will be fun to build your own museum exhibit this week. Choose a theme, collect specimens, arrange a display, and go public! Maybe your church will let you display your exhibit in the fellowship hall. (Sample ideas: Waldenses, creation, science God’s way, etc.)
Week 12: Creative Cooking
During cold weather people like to eat hearty meals — comfort food. It’s a great time to utilize your crockpot. Most the time we don’t let our kids help us in the kitchen because of the hot surfaces and sharp utensils. When you cook in a crockpot, the kids have an opportunity to work with cold ingredients and still feel ownership when the meal is served.
Week 13: Spring Cleaning
Is cleaning really a homeschool activity? Yes! And, making a spring cleaning plan that includes family members, goals, rooms, and workdays is basically a math question waiting to be completed.
By the time you’re finished with this list, the weather will start to warm and the school year will be winding down to the last weeks. Keep up the good work!
Good luck to us both!