Rise from the ashes: Beat homeschool burnout
If you have homeschooled your children for any length of time, you're familiar with the term "homeschool burnout." Many of us have fallen victim to burnout at some point in our homeschool journey.
Feelings of frustration, inadequacy, anger and exhaustion can all be signs that you might be at the end of your rope when it comes to home-educating your children.
I have come to learn that burnout isn't necessary and can be avoided altogether. Here are six attainable steps to keeping homeschool burnout at bay.
Take care of you
My husband always reminds me of the life-saving instructions we receive on airplanes: "Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting your children." If we don't take care of ourselves then we can't properly take care of our families, let alone homeschool them. We have to make ourselves a priority and pencil in that "me time."
Sleep - Get your ZZZs, 7 to 8 hours a night when possible. Just like our children, when we don't get enough sleep, we become cranky and short-tempered. Sleep can help strengthen your immunity, improve your memory, aid with weight loss and so much more. We need a good night's sleep in order to tackle the day and juggle the many hats we must "wear" as homeschool moms.
Exercise - Getting in a small amount of daily exercise will increase stamina, benefit overall health, boost your mood and make you feel better about yourself! Something as simple as a 30-minute walk with or without your children will do wonders. Don't forget to stay hydrated! The general rule is to keep yourself from getting thirsty.
Focus - It's essential that we take time to quiet the mind and control our thoughts. Whether this be a quiet time in the morning before the kiddos wake up or a mid-day family quiet time, take a daily break. For me it is a daily quiet time and prayer. If God has brought me to it, he will bring me through it!
S.O.S. - Create simple, organized solutions for every area of your homeschool. Lose the clutter! Clutter is anything that is obsolete, time-consuming and de-energizing. Make sure there's a place for everything and everything is in its place. There is nothing more frustrating than losing precious time to disorganization.
Plan your schedule
Make a homeschool schedule, but try not to overschedule. Set realistic goals, allowing for creativity and spontaneity in your learning. We are essentially trying to nurture a love and lifestyle of learning in our children. Socializing is a good thing but packing your week with activities outside of the home can be taxing and cause undue stress to the entire family.
Plan your days. Even a loose schedule is better than no schedule at all. Plan your lessons, chores, meals and play time. I don't have a timed schedule but I do have a plan and routines for each day.
Take it outside
Take a little time to enjoy some fresh air. I give my sons at least three outdoor breaks throughout our homeschool day. When they go out to play I often go with them to watch the birds and take in the sun. There is something about sunshine and fresh air that feeds the mind, body and soul.
Don't compare yourself to your fellow homeschool moms or public/private school children. Trying to keep up with the mom that grows her own organic food, makes bread from scratch, has her children two grade levels ahead and speaking three languages will only leave you with feelings of inadequacy. We each have our own struggles to overcome and goals to achieve; there is no need to heap on the added stress of comparison.
Support and a sense of community is crucial when it comes to homeschooling. Homeschooling can be somewhat isolating and just as we want our children to play and socialize with other children, moms also need time to unwind and share with fellow homeschool moms. Whether it be a local homeschool group, co-op or an online homeschool community, finding support, empathy and fellowship is a necessity.
If you are experiencing homeschool burnout, you have more than likely lost sight of your goals. (I know from experience.) Remember the reasons why you started homeschooling in the first place — it may be that you have gotten off track from the real purpose of having your children at home.
The greatest lessons your children will learn, lessons that will carry them into adulthood, are the lessons they learn from watching you cope with difficult situations, lessons in patience, grace, respectfulness and perseverance.
If you have dealt with homeschool burnout, what worked best for you to recover and or prevent it?