I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Nurturing a Hyggelig Homeschool

boys on a creek bridge

Cozy. Peaceful. Calm. 

I'd venture to guess that when you began thinking of homeschooling, these were the words that played on permanent repeat in your head. You envisioned pastoral scenes--children meandering through lush fields, collecting nature samples in hand-woven baskets or gathered on an heirloom quilt in the backyard, reading a hardbacked classic out loud to one another.

You hoped for the stuff of Instagram.

But a week or so in, and you're realizing that your homeschool looks nothing like the picture on the front of the homeschool catalog. Your days are loud. Disordered. Chaotic.

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And while a homeschool will never be without a certain level of commotion, with the introduction of some simple hyggelige practices, it can be a place of peace. It can be the backdrop of beauty, providing opportunities for you and your kids to quiet your souls. 

What is hygge, you ask? 

Well, I've written about it at length in my book Holy Hygge. But here's the short version. 

Simply put, hygge is the Danish lifestyle practice that promotes feelings of coziness, comfort, and general well-being. It's the cultural DNA of Denmark that helps bring peace and calm to their homes.

I first learned of hygge years ago through my Danish/Norwegian husband. Like for most Danes, hygge comes naturally to him by way of birthright. But I've learned to embrace it myself, despite my bloodline. With a few simple but strategic decisions, we have nurtured a home and homeschool cocooned in peace.

If you are craving cozy and calm, I'd invite you to let my husband be your designated Dane. Allow the hyggelige practices of his heritage to transform your days. 

Nurturing a Hyggelig Homeschool #hyggehomeschool #homeschool #cozyhome #lifegivinghome

Create good habits 

Automate as much of your homeschool day as possible by creating rhythms, routines, and templates. Good habits promote creativity because they give freedom for rabbit trails, provide safety nets, eliminate potential human error, and make every task more efficient, and timely. If you find yourself running willy-nilly all the livelong day, set the books aside for a bit and concentrate on forming good habits for both you and your kids. 

For more reading to help you form helpful habits in your home>>>5 Tips for a Peaceful Start to the Homeschool Day

Limit extra commitments

Overcommitted schedules put everyone on edge. Every time you have to rush out the door to be on time to this sport's practice or that music lesson, your body goes into a flight or fight mode, releasing a hefty dose of adrenaline. Over time, these increased hormone levels can wreak havoc on your body, causing you to experience headaches, elevated blood pressure, and general feelings of anxiety. Limiting your outside-of-the-house commitments, on the other hand, allows you to build margin into your days in order that you can quiet your soul. 

For more reading to help you establish good schedules>>>The Quick-Start Guide to Brave Homeschool Schedules

college at home

Designate a place for works-in-progress

If you have a designated classroom space in your home, this particular suggestion won't necessarily apply to you. However, if you, like me, intentionally choose not to set up a specific room in your home for learning, then you'll have to devise a special plan for creating, moving, and storing in-process projects.

The dining room table might be the perfect spot for your older child to set up a complicated science project in the morning. But by lunchtime, all those pieces and parts quickly become a choking hazard for the toddler. Having a small workspace or a movable masonite board set aside for in-process projects will help to reduce the congestion in your main living and working spaces while still ensuring that delight-directed learning can happen. 

Quiet your spaces

Americans often describe the Danish people as minimalists, but that word doesn't really paint an accurate picture of their homes. I think it's more appropriate to call them meaningfulists. When choosing home decor, they focus on quieting their spaces. When adding beauty to their walls and surfaces, they value function over form and tend to select items that evoke meaningful memories. Hyggelig design recognizes that more can be found in owning less.

In the realm of learning, research suggests that a cluttered classroom affects a child's ability to stay focused and actually inhibits academic gains. When home is the classroom, those findings still apply. Spacially loud rooms are distracting. So, clear the clutter and you'll help to calm the chaos.

For further reading to help you quiet your spaces>>>Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff

Reading on a cozy chair

Incorporate all the senses

One of the reasons that the Danish people often come across as minimalistic is because they've learned that creating a cozy atmosphere includes more than just your sense of sight and touch. Comfy chairs, soft pillows, warm paint colors help, but they're just the start. Coziness is best cultivated when all the senses are used.

They also recognize the benefit of incorporating nature into their design. Because they live in a part of the world that experiences bitter temperatures for much of the year, they can't always go outside to enjoy creation. Instead, they eagerly invite the outside in by decorating their homes with lots of plants. 

If you were to walk into my home on any given day, you'd probably hear cello music whispering from a nearby speaker. You'd smell a soy candle burning in the kitchen or a diffuser of essential oils wafting a seasonal blend in the living room. (My current favorite: 2 drops clove, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops rosemary.) And you'd see lots of house plants, draping their leaves over and around surfaces, bringing the calming, God-designed sights and smells of nature indoors.

Set a comforting tone in your home by creating calm through all five senses.

homemade artisan bread

Embrace seasonal activities

Their geographical location requires the Danes to embrace seasonal living. Enjoying activities in season means that they can’t do everything they want to do when they want to do it. But that also means that they get to be creative and learn how to make beautiful use of the experiences that are available to them season by season. It encourages healthy moderation and a deep appreciation for those things that can only be enjoyed every once in a while. It helps them be present in the moment.

When planning for fun homeschool extras like field trips and family projects, incorporate seasonal activities--maple sugaring in early spring, gardening in late spring and early summer, creating leaf collages and visiting apple orchards in the fall, baking and reading by a fire in the winter. 

It's not by accident that God created four different seasons. They provide necessary times of growth and dormancy that all creation needs, including you and me and our kids. We'd do well to lean into those rhythms and patterns in our homeschools.

A final word

Your home whispers the story of your homeschool. Some homes can leave a learner feeling ragged, desperate, and destitute, no matter how crowded or costly. What does your home say about your school? A few simple hyggelige practices can be the difference between cozy and chaotic. To learn more, grab a copy of Holy Hygge: Creating a Place for People to Gather and the Gospel to Grow.

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