I didn’t always homeschool. My oldest is in college, and he went to public school all his life. So, even though I homeschool now, I know what snow days feel like, and I know the struggle.
I’ve always been a teacher, so it was almost always the case that, if my son got a snow day, I did too. It was a great perk of being a teacher, and even though I would have to work at home, I was thankful to be home. We could sleep in, eat a slow breakfast, watch a movie, but, inevitably, the work I would have to do at home would become an issue. It was then that I would let the oldest take in too much screen time. Really, he had just way too much screen time on snow days.
But I’m a homeschooling mom now, and every day’s a snow day–more or less. The reality of homeschooling is that, for us, we’re able to complete my son’s lessons or learning for the day in three to four hours. We cover the basics—science, reading, writing, and math—and then spend time on projects or topics or crafts my son chooses. Then, it’s time for a late lunch, and my husband and I find ourselves having to balance our own work and chores as well as keep our son busy–and believe me, he always has to be busy.
Since my husband and I are determined not to let the youngest spend as much time on the screen as our oldest, being a homeschool mom has taught me to be a little more creative when it comes to finding activities for little ones that don’t involve as much screen time.
If you’re looking at a snow day and have to find some balance between your work and children’s activities, here are a few tips that might be helpful.
- Keep comics and graphic novels handy.
It’s like reading but not reading. Maybe you’re lucky, and your kiddos just love to read for fun, but I’ve had to be sneaky with the reading with my youngest. Once get gets into a good book, he’s great, but getting him into one is a challenge. So we tried comics and graphic novels. Worked like a charm! Plus, it really counts as reading. As a literacy teacher, I can assure you that it counts in a big way.
- Bust out the board games.
This one is tricky if you’re like me and have just one kiddo at home, but if you can take a break from work and play a board game, I promise it’s fantastic. One of the best things about homeschooling is that we now have quite the collection of board games, and I’ve found that I love them now even more than I loved them as a kid. And, if you have more than one kiddo at home on a snow day, you’re all set. You can probably get about 20 minutes of work done before the fight starts, but every 20 minutes helps.
- Go outside and play.
This one is especially great if you can play too. Your exercise is good for you. Their exercise is good for you. It’s all good for you. Build a snowman or just run around in the snow a bit. It’s always fun.
Well, just be careful on that ice.
- Find some fun and educational screen time.
I’m convinced that not all screen time is equal. There are games and apps our family plays together that are a great family experience. My husband is playing Civilization with our youngest, and they love it. I love it because it’s a game often used as a springboard for history in some college classes. Plus, snuggling on the couch and watching a movie or a really cool documentary on Netflix can’t be a bad thing.
I’m just saying don’t feel guilty if you have to use a little screen time, and you can always find some ways to make screen time not mean alone time.
Of course, these are just a few strategies that work well for this homeschooling mom on a regular basis with a super-busy little boy. I’ve found that snow days are still important though, so, sometimes, even though we homeschool, when the schools are closed for everyone else, I let my youngest have a snow day too. After morning chores, it’s a great time to snuggle, cook a fun breakfast, and just spend a day hanging out.
One thing I’ve learned from having one kiddo who’s almost grown, those snow days are wonderful opportunities to connect. If I could go back in time, I would enjoy those days with my oldest more. I would try to worry less about work and just enjoy him being 5 or 8 or whatever age he was.
Treasure snow days if you can, even the craziness. Your kids are probably going to have awesome memories of snow days, especially if you get to enjoy the snow days with them.