Oh no… is this homeschool burnout?
Today I woke up and nobody wants to get out of bed. What now? Is this what homeschool burnout looks like?
The causes of burnout will vary by family and by family member. Some may need more time out with friends, some more time at home with friends, some need to get out of the house alone, while others might need time at home alone. Sometimes the curriculum we chose isn’t quite working out the way we hoped, perhaps kids are misbehaving and you are totally over it. Marital tension is inevitable, and financial stress is REAL. Let’s be honest, life can be stressful. When you are assuming responsiblity for educating humans and you are together almost all the time, everything can feel intense. There are so many things that can contribute to homeschool burnout.
While you know more about your family’s needs than anyone else, we still need to dial in to see how everyone is doing. This will require you to be curious. Ask everyone in your family how they are doing. What are the happy with? What are they frustrated with? What do they feel is going well and what do they feel needs to change for them to do a better job and be more at peace? What is most important is for you to seriously evaluate how each person is coping. To connect with your kids, one option is to just hang out and talk. Maybe you need to switch things up and get out of the house to have this conversation. You can have formal one-on-one discussions. Family meetings on a weekly or monthly basis can also be extremely beneficial. Whichever way you decide to communicate, do your best to foster conversation in an encouraging and loving way. When people feel burnt out, tensions are often high and it is too easy for these conversations to become tense. Remember even though people are likely frustrated you can get through this.
Things you can do!
- Assess what you have planned for your schoool year. Did you schedule regular breaks? If you haven’t scheduled breaks, do it! Obvious time off will be for religious holidays your family observes, planned vacations, planned family visits (nobody wants to be doing school when Grandma visits!), etc. Maybe look at the calendar and take federal holidays off (or avoid those and plan a random day of the month off instead). Other options are to do 3 or 4 day school weeks instead of 5. Some people love schooling year round with 6 weeks on & 1 week off.
- Don’t stress about finishing the curriculum, traditional schools don’t even do that. If the co-op isn’t working out, you don’t have to sign back up next semester – same for sports. It’s ok to remove or add activities throughout the seasons of your homeschool.
- Plan game days. Themed days can make the mundane feel more exciting. Tea Party days can be a lot of fun too, if your family is into it. Take your kids out for one-on-one dates to do something fun with each kid. Regular dates with your spouse are always beneficial. Don’t forget to schedule and take regular time for yourself. Always be aware of taking time for yourself, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, even something as simple as a walk alone around your neighborhood can recharge your batteries.
- Whatever you do, don’t try to be like Sally down the street, or Suzy in co-op. You are not them, your family isn’t like theirs. Think of them as a square and you are a triangle. You weren’t created to fit in their box. If you try to be like them, YOU WILL FAIL and you WILL BE MISERABLE. You are the mom (or dad) that was meant to be for your kids. Be true to who you are! When you accept yourself and each member of your family for exactly as you are, you will be able to enjoy each child and their unique personalities. Homeschooling is a journey that can absolutely work for you and your kids when you do it in the way that best supports each member of your family.
You can do this!
Be flexible, even if you have a rigid schedule. Remember why you’re homeschooling in the first place. Talk to others, it helps to know we’re not alone. Be patient and give grace to your kids, your spouse, and yourself.
Know that many families have gone through homeschool burnout and have been able to turn things around. Homeschool burnout does not mean homeschooling isn’t the right edcuation model for your family, it simply means that things need to change. Having the humility to go to your kids and talk to them about their thoughts and feelings and then working together to make improvements will not just help you bond and become closer, it will teach them critical life skills that successful adults need to have in order to live a healthy life.
I would love to help you in your homeschool journey!