As we begin to embrace the cold and clammy months, Charlotte Mason homeschoolers may begin to feel a bit of frustration and anxiety keeping the kids busy during afternoon homeschool schedules. It’s much easier to tell the kids to go outside during sunny and warm days, but as the chill in the air begins to sting, resistance is futile.
Yet, it may be time to begin shifting your focus on getting creative with your afternoon occupations during winter months.
Charlotte Mason Afternoon Occupations
You may be wondering — what does afternoon occupations mean? Maybe the word ‘occupation’ makes you cringe at the sound of it. Does the word “work” come into mind? If so, it’s not the intention at all. In fact, quite the opposite. Charlotte Mason meant it as activities that occupy one’s time and encourage solidarity and independence.
Let’s face it — summertime is much easier to keep the kids outside and enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature. While the winter season may seem a bit more challenging, instead, think of it as an excellent opportunity for your children to cultivate creativity in a seasonal way.
God didn’t create four temperature types to torture us, He wants us to see them through their own prism.
If you’re looking for ideas during your children’s afternoon schedules in the winter season, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it may inspire and encourage you enough to realize that the cold weather is a magnificent time for indoor observation, self-reflection, and even fosters innovation.
If you discover the weather doesn’t fair well, instead of a nature walk, cultivate some nature talks. Hand out binoculars indoors to your naturally curious kids and ask them to observe what they see. Do they see a squirrel or bird? What kind is it? What is the living creature looking for?
Then, ask your inquisitive students to independently draw or paint what they’ve observed using different techniques learned from previous lessons or watching a video. The possibilities are endless! You could even pick an artist and learn more about their own artistic methods.
While they’re drawing or painting their newly found observations, kill two birds with one stone (figuratively of course!). Play this month’s composer study using YouTube or online via any web browser. It may inspire them to draw or paint for a longer period of time, giving you a few minutes to find your own afternoon occupations!
You may be hesitant to teach poetry to a child — it can seem dry and dull, but it’s up to you to make it riveting and lively!
Charlotte Mason spoke fondly of Shakespeare’s teachings, ‘He, indeed, is not to be classed, and timed, and treated as one amongst others,–he, who might well be the daily bread of the intellectual life’. Wow, what a powerful statement!
Shakespeare is one of many poets your children can study, but he should be on top of the list! Check out these wonderful resources from Everyday Graces to give your children a TON of material to learn and grow in their Shakespeare poetry puns and lingo.
Handicrafts is an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands. The typical crafts such as knitting, origami, and whittling wood is a handicraft.
However, one may argue in our contemporary society that it should also include life skills as well. Some Life skills could encompass cooking, chores, caring for siblings, and cleaning. Your homeschool, your choice!
Get the older kids involved by asking them to teach the younger ones a skill set. The previous years of daily narration practice will come in handy! They’ll find it a much easier task than a non-Charlotte Mason student to organize their thoughts as they teach young ones new concepts.
While this is also a contemporary topic, it’s important to mention. Allowing the kids to watch a movie on sick, rainy or cold days is a suitable way to not just entertain kids, but to educate them as well. There are many resources online that give your children an opportunity to narrate in writing!
Try using free and/or frugal printable movie studies. These may include comparison analysis, problem-solving, writing mastery, and discussion questions.
And, don’t forget to teach these hungry children the handicraft of popping popcorn — including the addition of delicious creamy butter and salt! It’s been a tradition in many households worldwide!
Independence in Afternoon Schedules
As you discover your own family’s unique winter afternoon occupations, continue to nurture your children’s independence. This should also be cultivated in your child’s morning time schedule as well.
Charlotte Mason is quoted as saying, “Wise and purposeful letting alone is the best part of education“. Boredom breeds creativity and solidarity builds confidence in your students as they create their own delightful innovations.