Do the weeks left of the homeschool year seem to span endlessly before you? Have you felt increasingly like you are merely trudging through the day, even perhaps feeling too tired to homeschool? As a homeschool mom, the end of the year can be tough for staying motivated. Additionally, if your homeschool year didn’t pan out as planned and your summer is looking pretty full, you may not have the luxury of a summer break to reset. If you are a discouraged homeschool mom, feeling too tired to homeschool, we completely understand. Any homeschool parent can get burned out. It’s not something to be ashamed of, instead, it’s something important to recognize. Without calling it what it is, it cannot be remedied.
There isn’t a single homeschool mom who hasn’t been in your shoes at one point or another. Homeschooling is tough work and it gets tiring! The day after day process of teaching, clarifying, grading, guiding, and yes–fighting–will wear anyone down. This post is for the discouraged homeschool mom, the weary homeschool mom, and the parent feeling the homeschool guilt. Finally, we are also here for the burned-out student. After all, if homeschool parents can feel ready to quit, so can the students! We have advice and suggestions for everyone, at all stages of their homeschool journey.
How to Reignite Motivation as Homeschool Parents
Sometimes, you just need a break. I know taking a break can open the door to homeschool guilt, but remind yourself that resting isn’t wrong. For your health, your children’s health, and the relationship between you as the homeschool parent and your students, it is essential to know when it’s okay to stop homeschooling. We aren’t talking about permanently stopping, so try to restructure your negative thoughts leading to homeschool guilt. Your students will not get behind or lose skills if you take off for a day or a week. When you’re too tired to homeschool or your homeschoolers seem burned out, it is far healthier to take a break than to push onward.
As homeschool parents, you work day and night to give your children the best education possible. Consequently, your energy is depleted and it’s okay to recognize your exhaustion, lack of inspiration, and need for variation. It is helpful to recognize when it’s okay to stop homeschooling for a moment and it is necessary for the overall health and joy of your homeschool! Here are our suggestions for putting a stop to the homeschool guilt and reigniting your motivation.
- Simplify the Schedule. When you begin feeling burned out while homeschooling, try lightening the daily schedule. Pare down the day to the basics and essentials.
- Take a Break. Sometimes, you just need a full break! If you are feeling depressed, stressed, or lacking motivation, it may be time to take a few days or a few weeks to rest and recharge. There’s no shame in it and you’ll be better for it!
- Get Fresh Air. Take a walk, jog, or hike. Sit by a pond and breathe in the fresh air. Or, just go outside on your patio, deck, or balcony. Either way, Vitamin D naturally helps us feel better. Make it a weekly priority to do something outdoors, and don’t forget to prioritize fitness!
- Homeschool with YouTube. YouTube is an excellent resource for homeschoolers! Let your students learn on their own for a while thanks to educational videos.
- Meet with Fellow Homeschoolers. It is always helpful to chat with friends and other homeschooling parents. Even if it is just over Zoom/Skype, try to connect with at least one other homeschool parent!
- Pause the Core Curriculum. If you’d rather not take a full break at the moment, consider simply pausing the core curriculum for a week. Instead, focus on electives, projects, reading, art, and more! A partial break can do more good than you’d think!
- Gameschool. Homeschooling with games is a fun and stress-free way to help your students learn. Games are a fantastic option because the educational concepts are practical, applicable, and memorable. After all, everyone learns best when they are enjoying themselves!
- Remember Why You Started. At the end of the day, your motivation for homeschooling will still come down to your root reasons for choosing this lifestyle, to begin with. Take a few moments to remember your original reasons.
Help Your Homeschooled Students Recover from Burnout
Just as homeschool parents can become irritable and tired from the weekly homeschool grind, so can your homeschool students. Additionally, if a discouraged homeschool mom isn’t going to enjoy the homeschool journey, a discouraged homeschool student will not learn effectively, and may even begin to resent being homeschooled. Do you, as the parent, feel too tired to homeschool? Most likely, your student is equally feeling too tired to focus on their lessons. Tensions will begin to rise, creating a possibly fatal cocktail for your joyful homeschool environment. It is high time to mix up the daily schedule!
Whether you dabble in taking a break, switching gears to another curriculum, dropping the core subjects for a week, or pursuing hobbies, a variation in daily tasks can help drastically, and even eliminate the homeschool equivalent of cabin fever. Driven older students may feel their own version of homeschool guilt if you tell them to take a break, so be prepared to share your cognitive restructuring techniques with them. Here are a few ways to minimize burnout symptoms and renew your student’s enjoyment of homeschooling.
- Unschool. If your students have come from a traditional education route, i.e. public school, it is a good idea to “deschool.” Deschooling offers the process to rethink education without the classroom parameters. Another idea regardless of traditional education experience is unschooling. This relaxed and child-led approach to education may be what your students need to recover from homeschool burnout!
- Virtual Field Trips. When regular field trips aren’t an option, virtual field trips are just as good! Here are 40 ideas to get started!
- Hobbies Day. Your homeschooler may enjoy a day to explore their hobbies, and it could be a great way to reignite their motivation for schoolwork. Sometimes, even just one day off to break up the day-to-day routine can do wonders for energy and focus!
- “Pursue Your Interests” Day. Similarly, consider giving your student a chance to devote a day to their academic interests. While a hobby day may offer the chance to work on art, music, reading, or writing, etc., an academic interest day is for researching topics, working on projects, watching documentaries, and so on!
- Unit Studies. A unit of study is a helpful way to renew motivation in students. If you are prone to guilt as a homeschool mom, switching from your usual schedule to a unit study can help relieve your worries about your homeschooler taking a break, while still adding excitement to the day with something new. Unit studies can be as relaxed or rigorous as you like!
- Movie Day. Sometimes, you just have to know when it’s okay to stop homeschooling. If your students are truly burned-out, taking the day off will do infinitely more good than harm! Choose either a favorite movie saga or something new, make popcorn, perhaps pick up some dollar store candy, and enjoy the day off!
- Online Learning Games. Learning games are a perfect option for relaxing your homeschool day while still offering educational opportunities! These days, there are several legitimate websites with free online learning games to help your homeschooler enjoy practicing new concepts.