How To Stay Creative as a Homeschool ParentApril 25, 2022
Guest post by Sam Bowman
Homeschooling comes with a variety of benefits. It enables students to learn in a comfortable and familiar environment surrounded by people who care about them. It allows each student to work at their own pace and utilize their individual learning style. This sort of personalized education and scheduling flexibility can benefit students well into adulthood, as it fosters self-discipline and boosted confidence.
It should come as no surprise why more parents are turning toward homeschooling for their kids. The benefits above are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why homeschooling is a good choice. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents had to learn how to homeschool for the first time. Now, some are never planning on returning back to public school.
However, that doesn’t mean the experience is challenge-free. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as a homeschooling parent is coming up with creative ideas to keep your kids engaged and moving forward. Homeschool burnout can be difficult to overcome, especially as the year drags on and your lesson plans feel like a chore. So, what can you do to avoid that burnout, maintain your creativity, and keep your child engaged throughout the year?
Take Care of Yourself to Stay Creative
If you’re experiencing homeschool burnout, it’s likely stemming from something called creative burnout. Let’s face it – it’s hard coming up with interesting lesson plans specifically designed for one or two students.
You know your child better than anyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to come up with unique ideas to fit their learning styles and interests every day. Putting that kind of pressure on yourself can actually stifle creativity rather than foster it. Some of the most common signs of creative burnout include:
- Increased irritability
- Dreading each school day
- Increased self-doubt
You can’t pour from an empty cup. One of the best ways to fight creative burnout is to take care of yourself and prioritize your well-being. Allow yourself to take breaks. Avoid overloading yourself with a packed schedule. That’s not good for you or your child. Instead, focus on time management and making the most of each lesson. Set smart goals for yourself and your child, and both of you will be more motivated to reach them.
If you’re feeling stressed and burnt out, your child will pick up on that. It could even hinder their motivation and productivity. Make sure you’re focusing on the fun aspect of homeschooling, rather than just the standard curriculum.
Make It Fun for Everyone
Speaking of focusing on the fun, think about the last time you planned a lesson with that in mind. Yes, school is supposed to be engaging, educational, and structured. However, who says it can’t also be exciting and fun for you and your student?
Take a mental health day when you’re feeling overwhelmed – you might learn that your child needed it just as much. Or, consider how you can turn a challenging project or lesson plan into something more engaging. Is your child learning about fractions? That could be a good excuse to make pizza for lunch and make your math lesson more interactive! Have science class outside and go exploring. Or, learn about chemistry by baking a cake and explaining what each ingredient does. You might be surprised by how easy it is to transform your lessons simply by switching up your routine.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to leave the house. Public school kids go on field trips all the time, and your homeschooler will benefit from it, too. Head to a local museum, zoo, or anywhere else that might spark your child’s interest and offer a change of scenery for both of you.
Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s not uncommon for parents of homeschooled children to experience things like guilt or worry that they aren’t doing enough to meet their child’s educational needs. Unfortunately, that kind of negative thinking can cause you to burn out just as quickly, and make it more difficult to stay creative.
Don’t be so hard on yourself over things like curriculum and time. While the average public school student spends 6-7 hours a day in the classroom, many homeschool students spend around half that time doing their schoolwork each day. The lessons are more focused, there are fewer distractions, and kids can get more done. Don’t beat yourself up over hours and minutes. Focus on quality over quantity, and you’ll be less likely to overwhelm yourself or your student.
Finally, understand that you’re not alone. The old saying about it “taking a village” to raise a child rings true when it comes to homeschooling. If you’re in a creative rut, consider reaching out for help from:
- Friends and family
- Online support groups
- In-person support groups
- Other homeschooling parents
Homeschooling can be an incredible experience for you and your child. Don’t fall into the creative traps that can stem from putting too much pressure on yourself. Manage your time, focus on the quality of your lessons, and focus on having fun. When you do, you and your student will both get the most out of every school day.
More About the Author:
Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.