Conquering Post-Holiday Homeschool Burnout

/ / - Holidays, Blog

(What to do when you’re worn out before you even start)

It’s a new semester!

We did it!! We made it through an entire semester of homeschooling!

We finished up while hosting Thanksgiving, shopping for Christmas gifts, and attending a hundred recitals, plays, parties, and productions.

Then we rolled into the holidays with road trips to see family, big dinners, and fitting in ALL the traditions.

Now it’s time for the new semester, and let’s be honest, after all the Christmas excitement, sometimes we’re tired before we even get started.

We want the strongest possible start to our new semester, but even with our best intentions, our whole family might still be recovering from the Christmas crazy. We might feel done before we’ve begun. So, what do we do? Here are some ideas that have helped me over the years. Try one or try them all, and see if they help you conquer the post-holiday homeschool burnout.

Make the First Day Special

If you normally jump right into school after the holidays, try setting apart the first day. Have a special back-to-school breakfast, look over the curriculum you have planned for the semester, read some stories, or watch documentaries. Set the day up to get everyone (including you!) excited about the semester ahead.

Start Slow

Don’t try to take on the whole course load. It can take a minute to get back in the groove. Start with one or two subjects the first week. You can start with the hardest one or the one that’s most fun, whichever works best for your family. Or try spending a week reviewing difficult concepts from last semester before jumping into this semester’s work, or even take the first week off and start a little later. 

Switch It Up

This is the way I like to deal with any homeschool burnout. Switch stuff up!! And a new semester is a great time to tweak that schedule. Are Wednesdays already crazy with music lessons and church? Move your schedule around so you have less work that day. Really dislike your geography textbook? This is a fantastic time to find a new one. Add a great new read aloud or that class you’ve all been dying to take. (I’m looking at this cool Discovering Art History class on Just the novelty of a little change might be enough to spark excitement for the new semester. 

Press the Easy Button

This is my best friend’s saying. A new semester is the best time to “press the easy button.” If you’re struggling, outsource those homeschool subjects that cause stress or strife to an online or local class. If lesson planning feels overwhelming, try using an open-and-go curriculum, unit studies that are scripted, or video-based lectures. 

Add Some Fun

Fight homeschool burnout with fun! There are so many ways to add a little splash of fun. Our family takes every Friday off to go to the park with friends. I know one family who plays board games together every week. You could have a fancy daily teatime or go on weekly nature walks or spend afternoons having some free-play time. (And remember, fun looks different to every family so if an idea has you cringing or if you dread attempting it, it’s ok to find a different kind of fun.) 

Or Take Something Away

The new semester is the best time to reevaluate those extracurricular activities. We’ve lived in places with so many options for homeschoolers that it was hard to find time to actually stay home and do school. And sometimes, getting to all those activities every week made me seriously burnt out, especially after the holidays. Sometimes just dropping one class or club can make all the difference. Remember, you can always pick that activity back up when you have more energy. 

We’ve Got This!!

We’re already total superheroes. We’ve homeschooled a whole semester already. We’ve given thanks with a huge turkey dinner, elbowed our way through stores full of holiday shoppers, and celebrated Christmas to the fullest. And we did it all while being parents and teachers. We might be tired and maybe even burnt out, but we can do this. I hope these ideas help you start the new semester strong!!

How about you?

How do you start the post-Christmas semester strong? Do you use any of these ideas or do you do something completely different? 


Jodi married her high school sweetheart, and for over twenty-five years, she and her husband Scott have traveled the world while homeschooling their four children. Three of the four have graduated and successfully entered the adult world (and make great examples of the benefits of homeschooling).

Jodi and her youngest daughter Dan share their journey homeschooling high school on Instagram @DuckCrossingHomeschool. Drop by! They’d love to meet you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).