Avoiding Homeschool Burnout

avoiding-homeschool-burnoutIs avoiding homeschool burnout possible? How do you bounce back from burnout when you experience it as a homeschool mom? Today we will be listening to a panel of homeschool moms who have dealt with burnout. Tips are offered on how to avoid and overcome homeschool burnout:

What does burnout look like?

You’re fatigued all the time. You wake up in the morning and you don’t feel refreshed day after day. You don’t have joy, you have a shorter fuse, and you don’t want to do the things that you know you need to do.

Do kids get burned out? Are their symptoms different from mom’s?

Kids can get burned out, too. You’ll know if they are taking longer to do their school work. They look exhausted, and they sometimes are so overwhelmed that they burst into tears about something that would normally not affect them. This is true especially for kids who have an overloaded schedule or are doing academics that are beyond them. The extra concentration needed to get through difficult classes like chemistry can burn out a student so that it affects their ability to get their other school work done.

What causes burnout?

Doing too much is the biggest reason for burnout, but for me, it’s taking on other responsibilities on top of homeschooling, or having strained relationships, or going through a crisis. All those circumstances cause you to no longer be able to do what you normally do because your energy is being drained.

If you’re trying to keep up with other homeschoolers or trying to do everything that is available, you will end up burning yourself out.

If we push aside what energizes us, this can also cause burnout because we no longer have things to look forward to, and our tank will be on empty.

How do you refresh yourself and gain energy to prevent burnout?

Do things that are life-giving. For example, if your husband or a homeschool friend can take your kids somewhere fun and you have the quiet house to yourself, this can be so refreshing! I end up with more energy when the house is not full of noise. Everyone has different activities that will revitalize them, such as a bubble bath, time with the Lord, time with a friend, reading a book, or watching a fun movie.

Take care of yourself physically and pay attention to signals in your body that tell you that you are starting to feel fatigued. Instead of pushing through the fatigue (which eventually leads to burnout), take a break, walk around the block, or do something else that is a change of scenery.

What should you do when you’ve already entered full burnout mode?

You can take a break from homeschooling, and then slowly add things back into your schedule so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you want to ask for help without sounding weak, you can ask another homeschool mom if you can watch her kids for her to be refreshed, and then she will probably offer to do the same for you. This way you get the break you need.

Is burnout seasonal, or can it happen any time?

Many people experience burnout during the winter months because of lack of sunshine and being cooped up in the house. Add to that the fact that it’s flu season, and if you have several kids, they can get sick one to the other until you have a whole month with at least one person miserable. This adds to burnout because you are feeling miserable from sickness. Take care of yourself physically, and make sure you wipe down the carts at the grocery store that are infected with sick germs, as well as washing your hands when you get home from being out.

To avoid seasonal burnout in the first place, plunge into homeschooling hard in the fall (especially if you take the summer off), and get ahead so that you can coast through the winter months when you have less energy.

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6 Responses to “Avoiding Homeschool Burnout”

  1. Della Hill says:

    Hello,
    I am a homeschool mom of 3, grades 2nd, 3rd and 4th and have homeschool from the beginning. I just got done watching this wedcast. I think I have lived in burn out more than not. I want to love homeschooling but I don’t. I feel trapped by the books. I know the first thing most would say to that is throughout the books but how do I do that? How do I teach my kids so they can pass the state testing requirements and still enjoy this? My two oldest struggle with dyslexia and my younger is showing signs of it in writing and math but does well in reading. (I’m having the 2 oldest tested) i have under taken this year Dianne Crafts program to try and help my kids with the struggles they face…it is intense to say the least. Lots of brain integration and such. Anyways… After watching this I am re-evaluating my life. My husband and I are associate pastor’s working with kids, youth and young adults…he also owns his own construction business. I can’t imagine my life if I just homeschooled. Maybe my brain wouldn’t hurt. I began homeschooling because we felt it was God’s best for our family and I wanted my kids to love to learn, explore and try new things. Math, reading, grammar and such have really put a damper on that dream. Lol Any help? I do I unlock my self from the books and fear of missing it…whatever “it” is. I don’t want to ramble so I’ll leave it at that. Thank you for your time. Any tips would be most welcome.
    Della

    • Susan says:

      I would cut back to the basics: reading, writing, and math, and do the other subjects through unit studies whenever you have energy. The state testing only makes sure that the 3 basics are mastered, and different schools have different books for all subjects, so tests can’t test actual knowledge in history, for example.

      Pray about everything you do, and don’t do anything you don’t feel peace about. It’s usually all the extra things that burn us out.

  2. Great article, Susan! It is tough to know when you have experienced a burn out and to know when to maybe take a day or two off just to relax and refresh. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve gone through seasons of burnout, and it’s very disheartening. One of the things we did when we were all sick of homeschooling, was to take a huge leap of faith and totally change our entire curriculum. It revitalized our homeschooling and has made things so much more interesting than teaching the same things over and over again. I don’t know how PS teachers do it. You hear of someone who taught 3rd grade for 15 years, and I think, “I would go stark raving mad to have to teach the same thing every single year.”

    • Susan says:

      A change in the way you do everything can be refreshing! Yes, I think teachers must get into a rut, but I think it’s comfortable and easy at the same time, which keeps them from going insane. (I used to be a teacher in the schools and loved teaching the same thing the second year because it was so much easier!)

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