Winter homeschooling provides the opportunity for reading by the fire, bread baking days, and bottomless pots of hot cocoa. But you and I both know that it can also mean stir crazy kids (and mamas!) that haven’t seen the sun in DAYS!!
Personally, I love winter, but since moving to Minnesota almost three years ago, I’ve learned this the hard way: Winter homeschooling requires back-up!
Back-up like fresh, new art classes, science kits that we have more time for in the winter, fresh curriculum to change things up a bit. I watch for deals on art supplies, new read alouds, audio books, and winter specific curriculum.
Inspiring and life-giving resources for ME are another important thing I stock pile for winter time. I can always use a pick-me-up on those long days when we’re stuck inside and everyone is on edge.
I start stocking up early in the school year, especially as the holiday sales start to hit, with winter homeschooling in mind.
Gathering the Goods for Winter Homeschooling
I’m sure you have some tricks up your sleeves of some awesome resources that will save your bacon this winter. The following are my favorite tricks.
The goal is not to just mindlessly buy things. I like to think about what my kids have gotten sucked into in the past–the things that really grab their attention. For us it’s things like, audio stories, chalk pastels, games, and history to name a few. They love things they can grab and do on their own. Anything that gives opportunity to go outside and enjoy nice winter days are also a bonus!
When you know what you’re looking for, you’re already on your way to a peaceful, cozy winter homeschooling experience. Congratulations, let’s do this!
Now, on to the goods…
Geography and History for Winter Homeschooling
Around the World Stories
If your kids like audio books, they will love this. Around the World Stories is exactly what you think it is…except more. You get a new story every single week from a certain country. The same country is covered for a month and you’ll get a new culture every four weeks.
These stories are captivating! You can listen to samples on their site.
A parent guide is included with each story with discussion ideas, recipes and activities! You could literally use these stories for a whole week or more.
CHECK OUT Around the World Stories HERE
Homeschool in the Woods Unit Studies
What I love about these unit studies most this they are already planned out for me. They cover mostly history, but you can find studies on the states, holidays, artists, and more. We have used (and LOVED!) the Industrial Revolution, Ancient Egypt, U.S. Elections, Renaissance and Reformation, and Colonial Life (current history study).
These studies include exquisite timelines, text to read each day, tons of book and movie suggestions, projects, writing ideas, recipes and loads more. We love these!
We’ll be starting the study on the American Revolution this winter.
The Playful Pioneers Study
We had SO much fun with this study last summer and I want to pick it up again this winter. Playful Pioneers is based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which is PERFECT for cozy reading by the fire. You could pretty much ditch all the things this winter besides your math curriculum and totally dive in to pioneers this winter! Art, science, literature, writing, poetry, copywork–it’s all covered with this one resource.
We LOVE this one!
Fine Arts for your Winter Homeschool
Winter is a slower season for us. We have a lot more time at home, which gives us a lot more time for art and music. I love to brew some tea, turn on the fire and enjoy a quiet hour with my kiddos on cloudy winter afternoons.
I wish I would have known about this resource earlier on in our homeschool journey, because they are just fabulous! These are classic pieces of classical music paired with stories, all performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. They’re perfect for turning on while working on an art project or math lesson.
We own the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Handel’s Story of Water Music. All are fabulous!
We have been using Chalk Pastel guides for years. We keep going back because they have proved over and over to be the least stressful art lessons with the most reward in the end. A few of my kids can be perfectionists, but with chalk the art is meant to be imperfect which seems to alleviate their stress. 🙂
There are lessons on history, seasons, some of your kids’ favorite characters, holidays and more.
I also love that they provide video courses now in addition to the ebooks.
Green Kid Craft Kits
This kit is great because you can purchase a subscription or a single box and there’s a ton of variety. They’re also packed with goodies, which will cure the winter doldrums any day! Kits include science and art activities on things like dinosaurs, holidays around the world, botany, birds and magic.
Science and Nature for Winter Homeschooling
Nature Explorer Guides
These will probably forever be my favorite nature resource. All the thinking is done for you! The theme of your nature walks, the projects, recipes, cross-curriculum activities, extra reading ideas–it’s all done!
Winter doesn’t have to mean no nature studies. There’s still plenty to learn in the cold months. Here’s our favorite guides for winter:
If you want to let you kids get lost for the afternoon, Tinker Crate is the way to go. We have loved these monthly kits SO much. They cover science in such a relatable and hands-on way. This particular kit is designed for ages 9-16 and I would say that’s very accurate. Kids younger than this would need a lot of help from Mama, but that’s cool too!
If Tinker Crate seems too advanced for your child’s age, there’s also art and science kits for other ages too.
To read more about what we thought of Tinker Crate, read my review HERE.
Writing for your Winter Homeschool
The most memorable writing experiences we’ve had in our homeschool has been with Brave Writer projects. No question. We have used Jot it Down, Partnership Writing, and Help with the High Schooler so far. Next up for us is Faltering Ownership.
What is so great about these is the approach to writing has completely shifted. There’s no need for tears or stress because writing is just…fun. It’s just about sharing your stories, your jokes, your ideas! And kids have SO many of all of these!
We’ve created lapbooks based on my kids’ favorite Greek Myth. We’ve chosen favorite figures of the past and read and read and read some more about these people and shared what we’ve learned in simple projects. Writing is fun with Brave Writer! I never knew I could say that about elementary writing programs!
Help for the Homeschool Mama
I’m a firm believer in nourishing your homeschool mama heart before you can nourish other’s hearts. It just the logical order of things–you can’t pour out if your cup is empty. One thing that really helps me on a daily basis is Julie Bogart’s Gracious Space books. They are daily readings for the homeschool mama and they are full of so much goodness. I cannot even tell you how much these books have helped me grow as a homeschool mama.