This post is by Kerry, a homeschooling mother of two, and is from our contributing sponsor, Time4Learning.
Are you in the depths of a homeschool burnout?
There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you’ve reached the homeschool burnout point. Anyone who has homeschooled for multiple years, who is homeschooling multiple children, or who is homeschooling one or more children with special needs is especially vulnerable to hitting their breaking point. When it hits, it can take the form of depression, lack of motivation, exhaustion, and even questioning your decision to homeschool.
If you’ve found yourself in this place as a homeschool parent, it’s time to take the steps you need to get back on track. The steps are easy, but you can’t rush through them. In this case, time really is on your side. When you want to address homeschool burnout, you simply need to:
Did you do any deschooling when you started homeschooling? Deschooling is a process that allows yourself and your kids to go through if you’ve previously been involved with a traditional educational system. It is a transitional period where you rethink your approach to education when you no longer need to take a classroom approach to teaching and learning. It’s a chance to renew a love of learning for learning’s sake and to let everyone get back in touch with their natural curiosities and interests.
When you’ve reached homeschool burnout, it’s likely a sign that you need another period of de-schooling (or even de-homeschooling!). This is a time to stop everything you’ve been doing so far, and simply sit back and mull over what’s worked, what hasn’t, where your energies are most being drained, and why you feel overtaxed. For the kids, this could take the form of a period of unschooling, or even just a school break in general.
Once you feel reasonably rested and have gained some new perspective on your homeschool approach, you still shouldn’t rush back into old habits. Instead, take a little more time to recharge those homeschool batteries. There are so many wonderful ways to do this, including:
- planning some local educational field trips
- seek out local volunteer opportunities that you can take part in as a family
- connect with other local homeschoolers either in planned activities or for playdates
- complete some non-curriculum related activities together such as building a treehouse or creating a fairy garden
- spend time in nature by taking walks together, creating nature collections, nature journalling, using field guides to identify local plants, investigating stream habitats, or just picnicking together and watching wildlife
- join a local gym or sporting club together and learn a new sport or get better at one you already enjoy
- take turns reading aloud or listening to audiobooks together
With a new perspective, and some time to fall back in love with learning, it’s time to take a fresh start with your homeschooling. Hopefully this pause will have allowed you to see that homeschooling doesn’t have to be a strain. Even when they aren’t doing activities specifically designed to build core subject skills, your children are always learning and developing.
Reinvigorating your homeschool approach may be as simple as taking a little of the pressure off of yourself as a homeschool parent. Subscribing to homeschool curriculum programs such as Time4Learning and Time4Writing that handle the lesson planning, grading, and record-keeping for you can take off a significant amount of the load you’ve been carrying.
Homeschool burnout can even be a positive thing if it has propelled you toward the realization that you don’t always have to “do it all.” The choice to educate a child at home means just that – – choice. So, choose a new homeschool approach that allows you to consistently make time for yourself, for fun activities, and for keeping a love of learning.