For Washington's Birthday (Tomorrow) ~
Tea & a Craft for The Chair of St. Peter

Do Homeschoolers Have Snow Days?

This is one of those questions I get asked once in a while in regards to our homeschooling.Winterscenes1 Sometimes its asked rhetorically, with a wink and a smile - but sometimes the person asking the question is honestly curious. And in general, my first instinct is usually to smile in return and acknowledge that no, snow days are not really part of our life as home learners ...

But if I stop to think about it, snow days (like rainy days and sunny days and foggy days etc.), are actually quite a big part of our lives. Just not in the way one commonly thinks.

As I mentioned in my nature notes, we have a snowstorm on the way today, and as you can probably guess, we're all a-twitter here. :) The skies have just now lightened and we can see they are very gray. Snow skies, for sure. But the winds are still calm and so too are the birdfeeders. In a few hours that will change, and over the course of the day - as we read and talk and eat and learn - the snow will begin to fall, and the world outside our windows will turn white.

Though the snow will not change our day significantly, it will play a part; more than just a delightful diversion, it will spark that connection with nature, it will remind us what living in New England means. We'll remember ~ this is what February feels like. As we learn at home, day by day and season by season, we have the freedom to invite nature into our lives, in an easy and natural way. And I believe our days are much richer for it.

So then, I guess homeschoolers do have "snow days," just in our own way. Schools are closed when it's snowing because of poor traveling conditions - teachers and children cannot safely make it to the building in which they teach and learn. That is obviously not a concern for us - our learning can (and does) take place anywhere, and at any time, and most comfortably and conveniently at home. Of course, many homeschoolers (ourselves included) participate in activities that take place out-and-about: classes, field trips, co-ops, etc. And these things are subject to weather concerns; case in point, Bookworm's Tween Movie Night scheduled (and now most likely cancelled) for this evening. And possibly there are homeschoolers who do cancel lessons on "snow days" - I certainly don't mean to speak for us all.

But for the most part, a snow day means something entirely different to us. I don't "cancel lessons" because of weather - instead, I usually work the weather right into our plans for the day. I capitalize on it, you could say. :) I make sure there's a comfortable spot by the fire for reading. I ensure the feeders are filled so we might spend time watching the birds. Upon learning of a storm on the way, I might pick a poem about snow for the week, and I check the hot cocoa supply. And as the storm approaches, we watch the skies, we smell the air, we observe the behavior of the wildlife outside our windows ...

All of this transpires as we move our way through math, language, history and science, and once the snow starts falling, we take a break to quietly (or sometimes not so quietly!) watch in wonder. Before long we'll be out in it too - the oldest will shovel the walkways and then join the younger two for a romp in the yard, looking for tracks and throwing snowballs. Fresh air is so good for the mind and the soul, and the warm embrace of home is only magnified by it.

At every turn of the year, the weather is part of our day; sometimes in small ways and sometimes significantly. Surely it's a small thing in the scheme of things, but I'm grateful for the freedom our lifestyle allows, to let nature be a part of our lives. Because there are many gifts I wish to impart to my children as we journey together through life - a love of learning, a love of our faith and a love of nature to name but a few. Being at home, and at home in nature, affords us time and endless opportunities to increase our love for all of these things.

Well, as I finish this post, the first flakes have started to fall, and now the boys are milling about asking for breakfast - so I'm off. I hope this February Friday finds you warm and well - wherever you are, and whatever your weather! :)