I sat there and stared at the stack of books my kids had yet to work through before the year was over…it was February. How was I going to get this all done? I was overwhelmed and burned-out. If I skipped the 2 weeks of spring break and made the kids work on all of the long weekends, maybe we’d get it all done. Just the thought of that made me feel even more exhausted. When do I get a break? What is the point of homeschooling if all we do is work, work, work? This was my first few years of homeschooling. So, I am not new to burn-out…I have worked very hard the last several years to avoid becoming burned out. Homeschooling can become extremely discouraging when you feel like you aren’t doing it ‘right’. We can also feel defeated when we have burned out…you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? In this very first post for Rosilind, I want to share my top 11 ways to avoid homeschool burn-out.
Take time off – holidays, Pro-D days, long weekends
If I could tell a mom to do just one thing to avoid burn-out, it would be this. In our home, we usually stop school work for a Christmas break after the first week of December. I used to go right up to the end of the week before Christmas, but I found that I didn’t have the time to do the fun Christmas things with my kids. We then take 2 weeks off for spring break and then we finish up schooling for the year at the end of May – whether all of the curricula is finished or not. We make sure long weekends are taken off and birthdays are free days. Some of you choose to homeschool all year round, which makes it even more important for you to ensure you take time off throughout the year.
Say ‘no’ to busy work
I don’t like ‘busywork’ – this is the worksheets and pages of school work your kids do even though they already understand the concept being worked on. This may also be spelling tests and grammar worksheets – I find I get a better idea of where my kids and my students are at by reading their actual written compositions. Just say ‘no’ to busy work.
Leave pages blank
Or even books unfinished. WHAT?! That’s crazy talk! I do not make my kids complete every single question on every single page in every single workbook. This is especially true with my son. For example, he uses Lightning Literature for his English. He gets overwhelmed with the number of questions sometimes. When this happens, I tell him that he has to do at least half of the questions. They absolutely must be answered thoroughly and in full sentences, otherwise he will have to do the rest of the questions as well as correct the ones he already answered.
Read a book that has nothing to do with homeschooling
Being knowledgeable about the trends of homeschooling is important. However, it is imperative that we expose our minds to other topics. I have been enjoying Priscilla Shirer’s new book, Fervent. I love prayer. I am passionate about this topic. I recently wrote a post in how to create a simple prayer journal and I offered some thoughts on how to stay motivated in your prayer life. Begin reading some books on topics that you are passionate about. There are a number of bloggers out there who have reviewed some books if you need some suggestions.
Have time with the Lord
Notice I didn’t say quiet time, since quiet time is not always possible when kids are at home. Find a method that works for you to ensure you spend your time with God. If that means getting up a few minutes before the kids or sending them on a 10-minute break in the morning, then do it. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t ‘do’ your time with God the same way as your homeschool mom friend who is up at 4 am does. Figure out what works for you. When my kids were little, I trained them to respect my time with God. They did not disturb me when they saw I was praying. Encourage them to pray on their own while you are conversing with the Lord. Do whatever it takes to spend time with your Heavenly Father and rest in Him.
Leave favourite scriptures around the home
As you go about your day to day jobs, read those verses, meditate on them, say them as prayers, talk to your kids about them. They will bring your heart much encouragement. I have made a few for you to get you started. Just sign up below to download.
Go for a coffee with a friend
Choose a friend who is accepting of homeschooling. I think this is important because sometimes we just need to say “it has been a hard day…or week” without someone telling us maybe we should consider putting the kids in school then. And sometimes we just need to talk to someone without saying ‘get back to work’ for the umpteenth time in one morning. Sometimes we need to talk about something other than homeschooling!
Go to bed at a decent time
Oh, I know, you have so much that needs to get done. But guess what, stuff left undone can be done tomorrow…or the next day. A good sleep is essential for avoiding burn-out. If you suffer exhaustion and can’t manage to get out of bed – I know, I’ve been there – then what good will that do? Just go to bed…with your hubby;) Trust me, he’ll appreciate it, too.
Take it easy on the curriculum
Oh my goodness! How much curriculum do you have? How much do you really need? I used to have a curriculum for almost everything. And I tried to do it all, too. YIKES! I have cut back a lot and intend to cut back even more for next year.
Scale down on extra-curricular activities
Your child does not need to be in 12 different extra-curricular activities. Seriously. Choose 2-3 important ones and stick with those. Maybe not even that many. If the extra-curricular activity is ruling your schedule and ruining family time, toss it.
Give yourself grace
Most importantly, give yourself grace and lots of it. I see many homeschool moms beat themselves up for not doing this or that. If your kids are following the Lord, that truly is the most important thing. They can learn anything else throughout the rest of their lives. So, if they failed that math test or they hate a novel they have to read (ahem…if they hate it, store it away for the next kid or give it away), that is not the worst thing in the world. It’s ok, momma, it’s alright. Give yourself grace, He is.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Check out my post here for the overwhelmed homeschool mom.
I am so excited to be a contributor here at A Little R & R for homeschool topics. Since this is my first post, I thought I’d share a bit about myself and my ‘qualifications’ for writing on homeschool matters. I finished university with my teaching degree, fully expecting to teach in a classroom – at that point, I had never really heard about homeschooling. Well, there were no teaching jobs to be had in my area. Then it was suggested that I apply to Heritage Christian Online School for a position in helping homeschool families. I was hired right away and I have been with this school since 2004. One of my main goals as a support teacher is encouraging the moms I work with. I’ve been homeschooling my own children since 2005 – earlier if we count pre-school.
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