February is a difficult month. It’s smack dab in the middle of the year, cold, dark, and far from the excitement of the beginning or end of the semester. Homeschool burnout is most common in February and November. In these months, we are trudging through lessons, feeling the struggle of getting out early for music lessons or co-op classes, and our motivation begins to dissipate. We find ourselves exhausted by the pace of our schedule, and may even notice a homeschool depression. February is a month where many of us start feeling stir-crazy for a change in our daily routine. Homeschool mom burnout may even lead you to feel like quitting, and homeschool depression can make you feel like homeschooling isn’t right for your family.
Before you quit, though, I want to let you know that nearly all of us feel this way during those cold, dark months! It’s normal, and it does pass. If you feel like your daily schedule is too much or you need a change, then don’t quit — change your routine! Homeschooling and depression do not have to go hand-in-hand, and there are ways you can reignite your motivation once again.
10 Ways to Keep Away Homeschooling Burnout
With the homeschooling community being such a big part of our lives, I’ve heard the phrase, “Homeschooling is making me depressed,” more than once from a discouraged homeschool mom. And yet, the majority of those homeschooling parents felt the lack of energy and inspiration specifically during the winter months! Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a harsh reality for many people during the long, dark winter, and adding the responsibility of homeschooling can make it more difficult. Even for people who don’t necessarily struggle with SAD, homeschooling in February is enough to make the most determined and inspired people feel like quitting.
By the time this month rolls around, the fun holidays have passed, and spring break is still far away. You have devoted hours of effort into grading, teaching, planning, organizing, and driving your children to lessons and classes. Homeschool mom burnout is highest at this time of the year, and you’re likely tired enough to feel it in your bones.
We’ve been there! I think it’s the most difficult month to stay strong, power through, and continue homeschooling. We want to help inject fun and encouragement once again in your family before the February blues become homeschool burnout depression. Here are our top recommendations for renewing your motivation to homeschool in Don’t Quit February!
- Take a Self-Care Day. Sometimes, we just need time to recharge our batteries. After all, you can’t serve from an empty vessel! If you need a weekend day to yourself to relax or you need to get out of the house for a massage or a favorite sport, make it happen. Self-care is important.
- Reset Your Homeschool by Nailing Your WHY. Remember the reasons why you began homeschooling, to begin with. All those reasons that convinced you to take on the role of teacher, to unenroll your children from a traditional school, or to spend a small fortune on curriculum materials. In comparison, these bad days or moments are fleeting. We don’t homeschool because it’s easy or fun every day. We homeschool because we believe it is the best choice for our children, regardless of rough patches.
- Step Back for a Day/Week. Sometimes, you just need to take a break. That doesn’t mean you are quitting! If you need a break, take the break. Your kids will not suffer from a day or even a week or two off from homeschooling. The curriculum and schedule will still be there waiting for you, and your refreshed energy will be worth the time away.
- Make a “Pursue Your Interests” Day. Set aside the formal homeschooling for a day, and let your children pursue whatever interests them the most in place of studying. Perhaps that means bringing out all the LEGOs, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, browsing articles and informational videos on the computer, or playing Risk at the kitchen table. This day is for your children to evaluate what excites them the most, and begin pursuing it.
- Go on a Field Trip. Field trips are a great idea for getting out of the house and focusing on something different than the usual studies. They are a good solution for keeping your day educational, as well as incorporating real-world learning opportunities!
- Pause the Core Curriculum for a Week. Put a pause on the core curriculum and try something new to mix it up. Perhaps spend all week reading, working on science experiments, or art projects. You could even choose a few outings for the week; the zoo, aquarium, library, or museum could be good ideas.
- Roadschool. Even for homeschoolers who can’t roadschool full time, consider taking a road trip with your family to one of your bucket list destinations, or perhaps a National Park or museum. The change in pace and scenery can refresh your homeschooling spirits.
- Enjoy Fresh Air. Head outside for some fresh air and Vitamin D. When we feel grouchy, extra tired, and perhaps even lazy, it’s a good time to bundle up and go for a walk. Better yet, make it a hike! Run, climb, laugh, and shout. Give your muscles the chance to warm up and get some use. Find a local park or playground to have some extra fun. What matters is that you’re getting outside!
- Schedule a Playdate. Part of the problem is your busy schedule, so how could you have time for a random playdate? That is exactly what we want to change. Even if you need to rearrange your schedule, take some time off for your kids to have a playdate with their friends — and also so their burned-out parent can have coffee with another adult.
- Take a Fitness Day. Whether indoor or outdoor fitness, designate a day to exercise! You can do yoga with your kids, YouTube fitness videos, take turns on the treadmill, go to a park or trail and run laps, or even an athletic club to use the heated indoor pool. You’ll be amazed at your increased energy levels once you get your blood pumping. Those endorphins are excellent for solving grumpy moods as well.
10 Fun Supplemental Homeschooling Websites
Do you know those days when it just seems like too much to power through the books? When everyone is snippy and it feels like any level of proper learning just isn’t going to happen? Those days are perfect for alternative homeschool options. For example, educational videos, learning games, gameschooling, and so on. We want to encourage you to still look for learning opportunities in the day rather than quitting because the problem with throwing in the towel on a difficult day is the increased temptation to do it again. Truth be told, the more we allow ourselves to stop or give up, the more likely we are to do it again the next time we have a hard day. Just as our cravings for sugar grow the more we eat sweets, so do our cravings for the easier option. Sometimes, it is truly important to take a break, but it’s a good idea to first evaluate whether it’s merely a hard day or time for a rest!
Even when everyone is in a bad mood, you’re tired, and frankly, just done with the cold and dark, instead of calling it quits on your homeschool, try out these ideas!