In 2016, hygge took second place to Brexit for word of the year. Newsweek's 2017 word of the year was "fake news." In 2018, Oxofrd word of the years as "toxic." I prefer hygge. I feel hygge can make a difference for good in our lives, our homes, our homemaking, our parenting, communities, and our homeschools. Have you heard of hygge? Hygge is a Danish concept, similar to gemütlichkeit in German, koselig in Norwegian, mysig in Swedish, gezelligheid in Dutch, and there is no one word translation into English.
“The Danish word hygge (pronounce hue-gah) is taking pleasure in celebrating the ordinary; spending a cosy evening with family or friends, sipping cocoa, sitting by the fireplace, perhaps dinner by candlelight… Words such as warmth, living well, security, coziness, comfort, reassurance, family, fellowship, friendship, and simplicity are frequently used to describe the concept of Hygge.”
So, in my understanding, hygge is being comfortable, contented, present, warm, a good home atmosphere, simplicity, enjoying life's simple pleasures, a feeling of well-being, replenishing, and quality time with self, family, or friends. Do you hygge? How would one hygge homeschool?
11 Ways to Hygge Homeschool...
1. Family Work
Homeschooling involves more than academics, it includes character training. "Family work" is character training. I cannot think of a more hygge way to character train than through caring for the home through "family work." As we cheerfully work together, being present for each other, appreciating the efforts of each other, we are character training children in work ethic and cooperation, we are living hygge homeschooling in the home.
As the weather gets cooler, we come into our warm houses, it is wonderful to snuggle up to read aloud together. Read stories that uplift, encourage, inspire, and can help build character in our children. This is hygge homeschooling.
Take time to take long walks outside, hold hands, kick leaves and notice the changes in nature. Keeping a nature notebook or discovery journal, taking nature walks, and doing nature studies, builds relationships, respect for nature, and these things are hygge homeschooling.
Meals can be part of homeschool too. Take meals slowly, work together, prepare simple meals, and take time unrushed to enjoy the meal. Leave technology behind and connect when you are at the table. Make meal times an inviting time, a safe place, not a battle of wills. Be patient with children as they learn to eat. Some foods take time to acquire a taste to enjoy. When meals are enjoyed, they digest better. Put on some soft music. Discuss happy things, things you are learning, and listen to your children. The Danes often use the ambiance of lower lights, candles, or lamps, as they soften the mood and give a soft glow for a hygge evening. Learning to prepare, enjoy, and clean up after meals together, can be hygge homeschooling.
Journal writing, commonplace books, and letter writing can be a gentle way to learn to write. In the beginning, you may set the example and may write what they want written. Do real writing, instead of workbook pages. Learning to write can be gentle, be meaningful, and does not have to be busy work. This is hygge homeschooling.
Create a home library basket or shelf and a comfy place to read (a chair, a nook, or a room). If you cannot do that, get library cards for everyone. Make going to the library for books, a regular habit. Keep a basket of library books next to a well-lit, cozy sofa, chair or pile of pillows, where children can pick a book and curl up to learning. A library basket full of books and time to use the books from the basket can be very hygge homeschooling.
7. Social Skills
Include homeschool friend luncheons. Keep them low key. Make these luncheons pot luck, but no pressure to bring anything. Just let it be a time to just enjoy each other's presence. Pull out art supplies or games and let the children play. Set the electronics aside. Adults chill. Just be friends.
The same during warm weather when the weather invites us outside. Have times you gather together to build friendships. This is not a time for book reviews, classes, fieldtrips, or other obligations. This is come if you can and no stress. It is just a time to support each other, de-stress, and relax. You can gather together for other reasons at other times, but let these luncheons be no stress and a time to have a break. Resist the urge to over program these times together. Association and friendship with other homeschoolers can be very hygge homeschooling.
8. Math, Language Arts and more, through Games
Enjoy games together as a family. For little ones, games can give a context for math later on, as they grow up. Games are a gentle way to learn to count and even learn basic math operations. Games can teach language arts, spelling, history, geography, general knowledge, strategy, and sportsmanship. Games also help develop skills of "collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence," the "six C's" that Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Phd., says children need to succeed. Friendly family games can be enjoyable with children. Games can be a part of hygge homeschooling.
Create a foundation for Geography by placing a world map on your dining room table and covering it with medium weight clear vinyl. Then as you read stories and hear current events, the map is there to consult. Then they gently can learn the geography of the world in a relevant, but gentle way. This is hygge homeschooling.
10. Cultural Arts
Enjoy cultural arts with your children and give them the opportunity to explore the arts. Memorize and share poetry. Sing songs together. Create together. We started a family recital night to share those things we are learning in the arts. Cultural arts do not need to be a huge event, though. Some families do a weekly cocoa, snack, and poetry reading. Enjoying the cultural arts can be as simple as singing in the car or playing dress-up. This is hygee homeschooling.
11. Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Instead of the age-grade curriculum method, consider the one room school house approach, where general knowledge is learned and shared together; where skills are taught within the developmental readiness and attention span of the child. Children thrive here and are not sent the message that they are behind or inflated by the idea they are ahead. This is a safe place to learn and develop. This is hygge homeschooling.
There are more ways to hygge homeschool, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
May you have a very hygge homeschool, an inviting place, where learning is cozy, safe, more peaceful, and where children come to love learning!
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This post was originally posted 6 November 2017 and updated 25 October 2019.