Everything About Homeschooling in February Is Awkward

Oh, February. How do you manage to be the shortest month on the calendar and yet the longest month of my homeschooling year?

You know what I mean. February is the funkiest month (not in a good way). I’ve heard it’s the time homeschoolers are most likely to want to give up, and I believe it. You are far enough into the school year that you are committed to finishing, yet “finishing" is still so far off as to seem unattainable. It’s pretty much lose-lose.

For many folks it’s also cold and snowy and icy and going outside is not happening. This year at least we’re not dealing with weather blahs (thank you, southern California) but we’ve BTDT and it’s no bueno. 

Another thing that always hits me in February is a strong desire to plan the following school year. Which is a fine idea—I love a good plan—but it distracts me from what we’re actually supposed to be doing this year. Then of course my potential agenda starts looking so much cooler than my current agenda and so I start to feel resentful of the fact that I need to complete what seemed like a good idea last summer before I move on to what will obviously be a much better curriculum with clearly superior educational choices and why didn’t I see that before?

In sum, February makes me question everything. That’s not a bad thing . . . reflection is necessary and anticipation is exciting. But not if it overwhelms you. What helps me is taking things one step at a time, and writing it all down.

So right now I’m going through everything we have done (and are doing) in each subject and figuring out exactly where we will be at the end of the school year. In most cases I’m pleasantly surprised at how much we’ve accomplished. Looking back at everything we’ve covered and planning our end game for each subject is encouraging me to slow down and appreciate the work we’ve done and how the Agents have grown since we started.

Once I finish that, I will move on to evaluating the good and bad for the year. This is not as painful as it sounds. I kind of like seeing what works and what doesn’t; it’s liberating to let go of ideas that simply were not useful, and knowing we got at least some things right makes me optimistic for the days ahead.

What kind of relationship do you have with February? How is the school year feeling right now? What changes will you make going forward?

This Week at The Oscar Darwin Homeschool for Happy Humans

So far so good with our new routine. We’ve had a couple of days where we stayed out longer than we planned, so we didn’t finish the school day as early as we hoped, but generally we’ve gotten into a good rhythm with how much work we can feasibly accomplish with each subject each week.

We are continuing our quest to not be hermits during this deployment. We have made two trips to Disneyland and multiple visits to the San Diego zoo, as well as just trying to get out to local parks and some of the other museums in Balboa Park when we can. We’re not big on group events, but we have a few friends that we enjoy spending time with and it helps to be able to meet someone for a park date now and then. Still, it’s only roughly half way through, and we’re already feeling a little Groundhog day.

What We’re Reading

Recently we passed 2500 books on our Goodreads account. I started keeping track this way (previously I spent a lot of time typing out lists, ha!) in June 2015 (the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year for us). So, about two and a half years; averaging about 1000 books a year. I think we are slowing down a bit though (at least in raw numbers) because as the Agents get older we are using fewer, longer, more detailed books for school; they are also reading longer fiction works as well. 

Some of our favorites for “school” reading (i.e., when we all read together on the couch each morning) include the following:

As far as free time choices, Agent E is reading Harriet the Spy and Agent J is in the middle of Goddess Interrupted.  Agent A has discovered both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I’m reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg.

What We’re Watching 

In the past few weeks, we’ve decided to re-watch some old favorites and add in some new shows. Typically the TV at our house stays off until post-bath time (7:00-7:30-ish) and then we pile onto the couch like meerkats and enjoy some quality Netflixing. 

At the library we found a terrific documentary called Brave New World (yes; like the novel) that looks at how scientific advances continue to improve quality of life. It’s hosted by Stephen Hawking and includes commentary from David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins, so the Agents were pretty much sold on it immediately. 

We’ve also started our third viewing of Cosmos (the Neil deGrasse Tyson version, although we intend to get back to the original Carl Sagan series again as well). Every time through we pick up a little more, and get some new ideas for things we’d like to explore further.

In a few episodes we’ll complete the entire Liberty’s Kids series for a second (third?) time. This is the first time that Agent A {2nd} is really watching along and paying attention, though.

Planet Earth II is now on Netflix as well, so that’s also been on our watch list. Pretty much anything that David Attenborough is involved with ends up in our queue. 

On a non-school-y note, the Senior Agents and I are also watching Supergirl; we’re currently at the beginning of season two. We haven’t found a television series they’ve been this into since we discovered Once Upon a Time. 

Have a lovely weekend, peeps.