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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Overcoming the Midwinter Blues       January 12, 2010 

Greetings!Nancy Carter Picture

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but spring is still 66 days away. I know that, for my family at least, winter can be a somewhat cold and dreary season. Maybe it's because we miss the sun. Maybe it's the extra layer of clothes slowing us down. Maybe it's because there aren't a lot of indoor activity options. But I don't want to just endure winter, I want to make it a special time for my family. So, with that said, here are some creative ways to overcome the midwinter blues.

Maybe you could schedule some fun family field trips to area factories. It's usually free and a great way to stay out of the weather! I've discovered that a local scuba diving group will teach the kids about scuba at a local indoor pool. And that Paoli Peaks ski resort has a great rate for its
Homeschool Mondays. How about inviting another family over and hosting a game night or festive winter gathering? Of course, you can even make family movie night more special just by adding a few extra touches. Pick up the movie-theater-style candy at the dollar store, pop a large batch of popcorn, and settle in for a fun family night.

Take advantage of your local library to check out some great books, audiobooks, or even movies! Work on a jigsaw puzzle as a family, do crosswords together, try some new recipes, organize your family pictures, tackle some craft projects. And you can use the slower pace of winter to actually do some winter nature studies. Barb (a.k.a. Harmony Art Mom) has a wonderful
nature study blog and many more wonderful ideas on Squidoo, including Winter Nature Walks, Winter Wednesday Nature Study Challenge, and the Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Series.

Although I don't love the cold weather generally associated with winter, I do love the more quiet, still pace that seems to come with it. This winter, as the cold weather approaches, don't let the media tell you that it's nothing more than the boring cold and flu season. Enjoy this special time with your family and the
God of all seasons.

Enjoy every minute,

~Nancy Carter

Nancy Carter
THM Editor



Schoolhouse ExpoOur next Schoolhouse Expo is coming up May 16-20, 2011.

Be watching for details on how you can buy your ticket at the LOWEST price on January 27th!



Deborah WuehlerMercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor

I was trying to figure out this week why I was feeling so downcast. Maybe it was because within these last few weeks:


  • I've had tons of discipline and training issues. 
  •  I've had the tension of starting school after our break.
  • I've had my credit card number stolen and lost a debit card. 
  • I've been falsely accused.
  • I've gained more weight over the holidays.
  • I've had several migraines, blood sugar, and yeast issues.
  • I've had lots of visitors, expected and unexpected.
  • I've had some painful teen issues to deal with.
  • I've had my plans and to-do lists laid aside once again.
  • I still have Christmas decorations up and boxes all over my bedroom.


Okay, I just realized that the focus of that whole list was: me! Hmmm, perhaps that is the real reason for my blues. Let's see if I can change that perspective a bit:


  • God has blessed me to keep my children home all day to train for His purposes.
  • God has given me the privilege of participating in their instruction as we discover what they were created to do for Him.
  • God has blessed me to be able to live in this country, where I have money in the bank, clothes to wear, and a warm house in which to live and laugh and love.
  • Jesus was falsely accused. He was afflicted by men, rejected by men, reviled by men so that I might live and move and have my being in Him.
  • God has continually provided cupboards that are full; enough to share with others.
  • God continues to either heal me or give me strength for one more day, and children who are more than able to handle the household when I am down.
  • God has provided a bounty of good food in His Word so my soul can delight in fatness, and friends to encourage me to eat everything else in moderation.
  • God has sent friends and strangers and maybe even "angels unawares" to my house that He might draw them to Himself and teach us all to be servants.
  • The Holy Spirit is doing His work in the hearts and lives of my children and teens as I pour out my heart for them and find help at His throne of grace.
  • God gives me the freedom, the desire, and the ability to do His will, in spite of my plans, and teaches me the necessity and grace of flexibility.
  • Jesus is worth celebrating every day, all year round, no matter the boxes!


Real life can be overwhelming and discouraging, especially in midwinter, and our hearts can be easily overwhelmed. This is when we need to get a higher perspective:


Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. Psalm 61: 1-3 


When we look up, we see His face. When we climb that rock that is higher, we get a higher perspective-one not tied down to the things of the earth. When you are tempted to look down, keep looking up! When we are on that higher ground, the Lord can minister to us so that we will be refreshed when we are sent out to serve our family and our world. He knows our frame, that we are but dust, but He is the excellency of power that dwells in our earthen vessels. To Him be the glory, and the power, forever and ever, amen.  


~ Deborah


P.S. Our Winter issue of the magazine is at the printers now and has a very uplifting article on winter blues and so many other helpful and practical articles on homeschooling. Also, I talk about how homeschooling is part of living out a biblical worldview- just might be something you want to share with others. 


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Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries


Listen gals, if you're having a case of the midwinter blues after having two weeks (or more) off at Christmas, then you either didn't take off Christmas vacation or you did too much during the break. If you didn't take a break . . . then take one now.

If you did take a break from school, then you're probably suffering from a bad case of I-don't-want-to-get-back-into-the-swing-of-things blues. About the only thing you can do to get over it (or past it) is to jump in there and just start. Don't wait until it gets easier or you feel more like it, because that may never happen. Just do it.

BUT, may I also suggest to you that if you're really hating everything school-related, then maybe you should reevaluate your method/style and see if there's . . . a better, more relaxed way (no, I'm not talking about putting them in school).

Be real,



End of Your Rope Sale


It's Just Common Sense
Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist
Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant

The holidays are behind you and winter has now taken center stage. It's dark and cold. Blankets and hot chocolate are the order of the day, even in Florida. It would be easy to pull the covers a little closer and sleep a little longer, but you have a job to do.


In winter, it looks like nothing is happening in nature, yet the work accomplished is crucial to prepare plants for great shows of color and spurts of growth in the spring. So it is with your homeschooling life. The time you spend now in discussion, explanation and encouragement will bear good fruit over time.


While finishing the work you have planned brings a certain satisfaction, there is an even richer prize for this time. Connect with your children's hearts. Find out what is working for them, and what is not. What do they enjoy, what are they hoping to do, what are they proud of and what holds them back...


This heart check is just what my children, and their homeschool mom, needed when we started back to school. In return, I saw efforts from my children to return to work with the best attitude they could muster. Begin this season with a heart of mercy and look forward to the fruit of your labors.

~ Debbie

Read more from Debbie at


Molly GreenHomeschool Freebies
Molly Green, Econobusters


Did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to beat the midwinter blues? Like it or not, it's a fact. It is even believed that exercise is likely just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression. So, while exercise may be the least appealing activity on your "things I'd like to do" list (especially if you're feeling sluggish) it's probably the one that will best help you regain your energy and enthusiasm. So force yourself to get moving with a few of the free resources below. is great for tracking your diet, exercise, and weight loss. If you're like me, tracking helps keep you, well, on track. I hate messing up a string of good days by missing an exercise session. You can even set up little rewards for yourself after you've met certain criteria for a specific number of days.


And there's no need to buy a gym membership or invest in expensive equipment, either. Here are 10 exercises you can do at home without any equipment. And here are some ideas for inexpensive home workout equipment. Visit to find videos of exercises that target specific areas.


If you don't care for any of the above ideas, go for a walk with a friend, read a magazine or listen to a sermon on your iPod while you walk on the treadmill, or play an active game with your kids on the Wii. Bundle up and get out in the sunshine whenever possible. Incorporating a few of these ideas will certainly give you head-start on kicking the midwinter blues.

~Molly Green


While every effort is made to ensure that the recommended sites are family-friendly, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and its writers do not own the sites recommended. Content and advertising can change without notice. Please exercise caution when viewing websites and review all websites before allowing your children to visit them.

Calling All Cooks!

As a mom, do you find yourself getting bored with seeing the "same old, same old" on your dining room table? Although it is comforting to know exactly how to prepare those old faithfuls, do you ever wish for something new and different?

Meal preparation is something most of us are responsible for daily, and the TOS team thought it would be fun to include a menu (plus recipes for each entree) in a new column titled Lunchroom! The "same old" to you could be "new and different" to someone else! Therefore, would you share your menu idea with us?

You're not limited to lunch ideas; a simple menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner would be welcomed enthusiastically. Ideally, we'd love to have an excellent photograph of the prepared dishes or at least one photograph of your favorite dish among the items within the submitted menu, but that is not absolutely essential.

What is absolutely essential is a generous heart (yours) and an investment of 15 to 30 minutes to type up the menu, ingredient lists, and instructions and send them to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's managing editor at this email address We will be waiting eagerly to receive your menus so that all of us can discover fresh ideas for the new year!

Contest Central

January, 2011

For the month of January


Whizizzle Phonics 1-2-3 and 4-5-6


Whizizzle Phonics, from Wiggity Bang Games, LLC, is a fun card game that helps to teach and reinforce phonics to your child. Two different sets are available with three decks of cards per set. Each deck covers a different phonics concept. The first set, 1-2-3, covers short vowels sounds in consonant-vowel-consonant words, long vowel sounds and silent e, and beginning blends. Set two, 4-5-6, covers ending blends, vowel brothers and the y vowel sound, and digraphs. You can buy one set for $12.95 or both for $19.95. 


The game is for 2-8 players, ages 4 and up. Similar in play to UNO, the game involves matching (by sound) a card in your hand to the card that is face up in the discard pile. You can match the beginning, middle, or ending sound of the words. Once you've decided which card to play, you have to say the sound you are matching and the word on the card. There are also action cards, including Draw One, Leap Frog, Turn Around, and Change the Vowel. The person to discard all his cards first wins.


Read the rest of the review here. Win this set for your family!



Email Deb with your name and mailing address and the subject, "Whizizzle Phonics" for a chance to win*  these games!


Homestead Blogger
*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the January Contest Central contest running from January 1, 2010, to January 31, 2011. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines
 and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

For a full copy of the Official Rules, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: Official Rules Request, PO Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615