Many of you have probably heard the term carschooling which is about homeschooling on the go. But I would guess you’ve never heard of the opposite – Hibernation Homeschooling. That’s because I made it up to describe what Caroline and I have done this winter.
Rather than going through a detailed telling of all the events over the fall that led up to this, I’ll summarize it by saying that we were worn out from running around, sick of being sick, and basically hit the wall. When Caroline got Influenza A in early December, that was the proverbial last straw. She had had something every month since July. In addition, I was worn out from dealing with my health stuff.
When I tallied our medical expenses at the end of the year for our taxes, I counted up that between the three of us we had had 176 medical and health related appointments in 2014.
Yes, 176 appointments.
For 3 people.
I told David that Caroline and I were going into hibernation. I was totally serious. Because we homeschool and work from home, there was nothing to stop us from making this decision.
And so we did.
For the rest of December, all of January and all of February Caroline and I have stayed home. Especially during late December and January when all of the crud was rampant, Caroline and I stayed home. David did the grocery shopping and errands. We live in a small town so almost everything we need (library, post office, banks, Meijer, etc.) is literally a mile from our home. David simply took over the running around. When necessary, we supplemented with ordering from Amazon where we could get anything we needed.
There were weeks when Caroline and I got out on Saturday or Sunday to take a drive and then didn’t leave the house again until the next weekend. Some weeks we left the house to go to a necessary medical appointment. Caroline went to the library a couple of times in February, but that was it. We have a babysitter who comes once or twice a week and we did continue that. Other than that we were pretty much on our own.
Yes, we were that committed to our hibernation.
We haven’t ended our hibernation yet. I imagine we’ll continue it for most of the rest of March since we live in a cold and snowy place. It’s been so cold that we would rather just stay home anyway and avoid stressing our bodies if we don’t have to do so.
I know some of you are thinking that we must be crazy. How could we stay home all the time? What about church? What about activities? What about playdates?
We decided that the most important thing we could do was take care of our health and there was no way we could do it if we were constantly exposing ourselves to everything out there. We basically let everything go.
By the Shores of Silver Lake
It’s funny that people think staying home for weeks on end is radical because it happened often in the past. Laura Ingalls Wilder writes in By the Shores of Silver Lake about the winter the Ingalls family lived in the surveyor’s house and they saw almost no one for months. The girls did all their learning at home.
We have the children’s picture book Snowed In that is about a Wyoming family in 1915 and the preparations they made before they were snowed in for the winter. They purchased pencils and paper at the general store. They stopped at the library and filled up two huge boxes with books to read during the winter. They homeschooled when the children couldn’t get to school.
Hibernation Homeschooling Results
So what are the results of our hibernation so far?
We have all been healthy. Caroline and I have not been sick at all this winter. We sincerely thank God for this.
We have gotten lots of rest and sleep. Because we have been home, we have been able to keep regular bedtime hours and sleep in to ensure we get a full night’s sleep.
We have greatly reduced our stress. By not running around, coming and going all the time, our stress levels have dropped. Transitioning in and out of the home is wearing, especially for introverts and children.
We’ve enjoyed lots of fires in the fireplace and family time together. The vast majority of the evenings we’ve had a fire in the fireplace for supper and enjoyed being together in the winter coziness.
We’ve accomplished much. Because we weren’t running around, we had much more time to be home and work on the things that interest us. Entire days at home are long days in the best sense of the word.
We’ve been learning. We’re relaxed homeschoolers so our learning just continued on. Obviously hibernation homeschooling is much easier today with laptops, Kindle Fires, etc. Even though we were home all the time, we had access to so much online that we never really felt cut off from the outside world the way others might have in the past.
I Wish We Could Do That!
While I’m sure some people reading this still think it sounds crazy, some people love the idea. Probably a few of you wish you could do the same thing.
If hibernation homeschooling interests you, think about it for next winter. If you are worn out from sick children and running around in the cold and snow to the point of exhaustion, it is something to consider. Taking care of your health is important. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Many families would probably be much better off and happier if they chose to make a similar decision.
I know I am glad we did.