Let me introduce you to your worst homeschool enemy…burnout.
No motivation. Cranky kids who refuse to do work. Lack of excitement for learning. Doesn’t sound fun, does it?
Nobody wants to go through burnout of any kind, and facing it in your homeschool can take the joy out of it for everyone. The best way to fight it? Take steps against it before it even starts! You, as a homeschool parent, can build habits into your family’s schedule that help you avoid falling into the trap of burnout.
Stop Comparing – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs…they show ideal homeschool lives, perfectly behaved kids, immaculately decorated houses, clean and organized schoolrooms. But here’s the deal… they show the parts of life that they want you to see and not what’s beneath the surface (or just out of the photo frame). They have days their toddler throws fits and days their house looks like a hurricane blew through, just like you! Don’t compare yourself to a facade that only looks like perfection. Instead, embrace the imperfections and learn to love them. It’s what makes your family special!
Schedule Breaks – One beauty of homeschooling is that you have the ability to work breaks into your schedule. Forget about school for a week. Go somewhere fun. Explore something new. It helps you recharge so that you can come back refreshed and ready to go again. It can be as easy as taking a three-day staycation every few weeks, or scheduling a day off once a month!
Pay Attention – Are your kids struggling in a subject? Is getting them to work on something nearly impossible? Find out why! It could be because they struggle with that topic, or it maybe it’s simply that the curriculum doesn’t match their learning style. Continuing to push them into a system that doesn’t work for them can quickly lead you down a road to burnout.
Try Something New – When I was in elementary school, I hated math. Like, hated it. It got so bad, I refused to do my worksheets with all the stubbornness that was in third-grade me. Obviously, something wasn’t working, so my mom did something a little drastic. She took my math book, tore out a worksheet, and told me I only had to do every other page. Did I ever start to love it? No. But did I start doing my math again? Yes. Sometimes avoiding burnout simply means trying something new.
Avoid Over-committing – If every single hour of your day is full from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, you are going to soon feel overwhelmed. Sometimes the solution is simply saying no! You don’t need to go on that field trip or babysit your friend’s kids. You don’t need to do everything that everybody asks of you. If it’s going to push you over the edge, just say no!
Incorporate Self-care – This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Sometimes all you need is to incorporate self-care into your day. In our high-pressured American culture, taking time to actually do nothing is almost counter-cultural. But, for homeschoolers, and nearly everyone else, it’s essential. Nobody can keep going without burning out; it’s not how we were designed. Make sure you and your homeschooler are getting enough time in the day to stop and take time for yourselves. It can even be as simple as sending them outside to play while you relax with a cup of coffee!
Homeschooling can be hard and exhausting. You’re going to have days or even months where it’s rough and all you want to do is quit. But, take a look at your beautiful kids who bring smiles and laughs into your day, and look at your home with all the toys that never stay in their places, and choose joy.
What are your tips for avoiding homeschool burnout?