“The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.” That’s Robert Burns. But maybe you haven’t gotten that far in British Lit this year, because it has just been a grind and You. Are. Just. So. Done. We get it. Homeschooling is exhausting, mentally and physically. Accept that we’re only human as parents and give yourself – and your student – a break! We’ve collected homeschool burnout advice from experienced homeschoolers.
Homeschool Burnout Tips
1) Don’t Feel Guilty
“I have heard homeschool moms talk about the guilt they feel because they are at the end of the school year and they only have 178 days of school logged instead of 180. I talked to a lot of homeschool moms as a part of my job at one point. Shortly after talking with these moms, God blessed me by allowing me to attend a Bible study that just happened to be full of public school teachers. I was amazed to learn what they considered to be a “school day,” especially toward the end of the school year after standardized testing was finished. They would have whole days of just playing at the park—field days—and they would also have days where the kids would play video games for the lion’s share of the day. These days counted toward the 180-day requirement. Once I learned this, I wished I could go back and tell those worried moms about it.”
Source: Homeschooling Now (HSLDA)
2) Go Outside
“I promise you that it will help even when you don’t feel like going outside. Make yourself get out there for twenty minutes and see what happens. Your children will benefit, too. If you don’t believe me, read this book. It’s science!”
Source: Simple Homeschool
3) Learn to Say No
“The first reason we burn out is that we neglect ourselves. But the second reason is that we don’t know how to say no to others! In Portuguese, we have a saying: “We want to whistle and chew sugar cane at the same time.” We are addicted to busy. We want to do it all and that’s when stress comes in.
We need to learn our limits and create healthy boundaries in our lives. At first, people who are not used to it may find strange, especially if they don’t know what is happening to you. But believe me, this will not only give you immediate relief but also will produce major benefits in the long haul.
When someone asks you to bake a pie for an event, just say no! It might sound heartless, but if you don’t learn to say no now, you will fall back into the same trap or being busy and overwhelmed. I had to learn to say no even to myself!”
Source: Proverbial Homemaker
4) Don’t Be Overly Ambitious with Planning
“Guilty as charged. I can always tell newer homeschoolers or homeschoolers who will burnout quickly by the exhaustive lists of homeschool subjects they think they will cover.
Writing it down is key to being sure your list is doable.
When you simply list it, and not plug a homeschool subject into a time slot on your day, it stays as overly ambitious. The next step is hitting a brick wall and burnout follows.”
Source: Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
5) Plan a Day with Friends
“One of our favorite things to do in the winter is celebrating our 100th day of school. We always do this with a big group of friends at a local museum. It helps break up the mundane of winter and gets us out and about. Plan something similar for you and your homeschool friends. Maybe it’s a day at a pizza place? A playdate at the mall? A trip to the local aquarium? Yes, the weather’s cold, but breaking up the winter months is important if you want to combat homeschool burn out.”
Source: Joy in the Journey
6) Try Unschooling for a Change
“This doesn’t have to be a long-term thing, unless you want it to be! Let your kids learn through daily life. Bake with them. Take them on errands with you. Visit the library and go on low-key field trips. There is so much learning that can be done in the real world that just can’t be picked up in any classroom – even a homeschool one.”
Source: iHomeschool Network
7) Seek Out Support
“Lack of support is most the most cited reason for ‘worker’ burnout. If you feel you are struggling to cope on your own, then you need to pull in support from family and friends.
Be more assertive in asking for help – or in accepting it from those who offer! Rope in the family – even small children can help with chores! I find that explaining that ‘Mummy really needs some help right now because she is struggling with things’ brings out the best in children – and they become eager to help.
Joining a homeschool group can also make a world of difference – no-one understands homeschool burnout like a fellow homeschooler! You can chat while the children play – and a problem shared is a problem halved.”
Source: Homeschooling Ideas
8) Organize with Spreadsheets
“Create a spreadsheet with subjects and curriculum for each child. Break down your lesson plan into segments: by year, semester, quarter, and week. Delegate authority – give your children responsibility for chores and school assignments. Create a school planner, even if it’s a simple store-bought weekly/monthly calendar. If you are able, use a digital system to keep your school records and cut your paper trail. Search features in software will save you a ton of searching time if you grade your children’s papers. You can also enlist your kids in helping to create their own portfolios – having them sort through each week’s papers to purge and keep their best work.”
Source: The End in Mind
9) Consider Year-Round Schooling
“If you have several children all at different levels and work part or full time, consider year-round schooling. This can often allow you to take short, regular breaks when life gets in the way but still maintain a schedule and not get behind in your studies. It can often be overwhelming to come back after a long summer break and feel the need to do a lot of review; year-round schooling can help with both of those issues.”
Source: Demme Learning
10) Declutter & Rearrange Your Homeschool Space
“I don’t know about you, but for me, all the neatness and organization that we began with at the start of the homeschool year has become one big pile of clutter. Clean out a closet. Organize school supplies. Sometimes, you just need to feel accomplished with something. And you’ll be one step ahead at the start of the new year.
Source: Ben and Me
11) Take a Reading Day
“Snuggling on the couch or under a shade tree and reading aloud to the children is a wonderful way for me to feel reconnected to them while feeding my soul. Children learn far more than you’d expect by being read aloud to.”
Source: Nourishing My Scholar
12) Go on a Field Trip
“Have an impromptu field trip to escape for the day. Use it to head outdoors and enjoy time with your kids. Whether you go to a museum, park, or any other location away from home. Make it a day to just have fun and not worry about school.”
Source: Life of a Homeschool Mom
13) Homeschool With Another Family
“If you know some kids in your area who homeschool as well, team up and have a homeschool day. This is a fun way for kids and parents to get to interact with some other people. Have them come to your home or you go to theirs for a day of school. It really changes things up and you will be amazed to walk away feeling like it was a productive and fun day.”
Source: Home Made Lovely
14) Take Regular Breaks
“Take regular breaks. Do not neglect yourself. Yes, you have heard that before and you need to hear it again. Take breaks for you and have your kids take breaks from you and their siblings. Sometimes there is simply too much closeness. Take an hour in the afternoon for everyone to get some alone time reading. You certainly can take breaks together at the park or playing games or even a field trip. Even a simple change of routine or scenery can get everyone back on track.”
Source: Talking Mom 2 Mom
15) Take Care of Yourself
“Sometimes burn out has nothing to do with homeschooling. When you spend all of your time doing things for everyone else like planning lessons, cooking meals, or running the kids back and forth to activities, you can lose yourself a bit in the shuffle. Do something just for yourself. Get a haircut, spend some time alone and read a good book, take a relaxing bath, eat some chocolate – I’m convinced all problems can be solved with chocolate. Be sure you are taking care of yourself – drink enough water, eat well, get enough sleep, and try to fit in a little exercise (I say this as much to myself as I do to you). When you take care of yourself, you’ll have the energy to face everything else.”
Source: Build Your Library