Homeschool Burnout: 10 Ways to Thrive Throughout the Year
Are you a tired homeschool mom? Do you approach the holidays like a sputtering vehicle, running out of gas as you barely reach your destination? If you feel worn out by the end of a calendar year or school year, you are not alone! Many other homeschool moms can relate to the experience of homeschool burnout.
Before we go any further, I want to say that you are a superstar! You love your children so much that you have taken on the grand responsibility of being their full-time teacher, as well as their full-time mom. While other moms enjoy the school day hours to pursue work opportunities, hobbies, or rest, you are always “On Duty” with the kids. There are no breaks, sick days, or vacations from this noble venture.
Homeschooling is a tiring job, as all hard work is tiring, but there is a difference between a “good tired” and a “bad tired.” A good tired is how you feel at the end of the day when you have given your best for the glory of God and the betterment of others. A bad tired is the perpetual feeling that you are worn out, spent, depleted, and ready to quit.
If you are experiencing homeschool burnout, please do not give up because help is on the way! In this blog post, I will outline ten ways that you can thrive throughout the year. Each point is linked to another blog or article that will shed more light on the subject by offering greater detail. These ten ideas can re-energize your teaching and help you to thrive – not just survive.
God loves to work through our prayers, so when we pray, we are inviting Him to act and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. When we pray for others, it helps us to see them through the eyes of Jesus so we can view them more positively. When we experience homeschool burnout, we can actually begin to resent our children so praying for them helps us to draw closer to them. It is also important that we pray for wisdom as we lead our children. That keeps us focused on the most important priorities and eases the burden of trying to accomplish too much.
It is healthy for your family to get outside the walls of your home from time to time and take a field trip. You will be amazed at how much information your children absorb when you visit places such as museums and historical sites. Whenever a tour guide is available, it takes a lot of pressure off your own teaching. You have heard it many times before that a change is as good as a rest. For a mom with homeschool burnout, going on a field trip can be the perfect change of pace that provides a much-needed rest.
Your view of art as a teacher is likely similar to how you viewed it as a student. If you loved art when you were in school, you enjoy sharing that love of art with your children. If you did not like it back then, you probably do not like teaching it either. You may also be reluctant to spend much time on it if you see it as more fun than educational. However, art is very educational. It teaches creativity and problem solving, develops fine motor skills, and builds confidence. It can also be relaxing for families.
The ironic thing about exercising is that while it expends energy, it actually increases your energy level! If you feel sleepy in the middle of the afternoon, taking a brisk walk can give you a “second wind.” We know the general health benefits of exercising but let us focus here on the specific benefits for homeschool families. Exercise improves brain function and memory. Children who engage in regular physical activity learn faster and retain more of what they learn. (That makes Mom’s job easier.) Moms who exercise regularly will sleep better and be well-rested. Exercising may not provide the total cure for homeschool burnout, but it is certainly one of the remedies.
While exercising can be done indoors, going on a nature walk involves getting outdoors and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. It enhances our creativity as it renews our appreciation for the handiwork of God. Nature walks put us in a better mood and help us fight depression.
This is a great time to be homeschooling, with all the resources available. For example, technology can bring hundreds of professionally-made documentaries into our homes. This can save a great amount of time on lesson planning. Parents and students can learn together, watching videos that allow them to explore the world from the comfort of their family room. Please don’t feel guilty for utilizing these resources that are ripe for the picking. There is no need for you to create all your own lesson plans. (That will just lead to more homeschool burnout.) Part of being a good teacher is also being a facilitator, providing your students with the best resources to help them learn.
Speaking of being a facilitator, that is the approach that parents take when they incorporate interest led learning into their homeschooling. Moms are not the only ones who experience homeschool burnout. Kids do also, especially when they are bored or frustrated by their subjects. That adds more pressure to mom, who has to work harder at getting her kids to complete their lessons. Of course, there will always be some general subjects that need to be covered, but beyond those, if you let your children choose the subjects that interest them, they will want to learn, and school will become less stressful for the whole family.
Networking with other families is an important part of homeschooling and a great burden lifter for homeschooling moms. Families that form homeschool groups can pool their resources and help each other. Parents who are skilled in certain subjects can teach them to the other families. Some field trips are better suited for larger groups and may be subject to discounted group rates. There can also be fun times such as park days, skating, and swimming. These events create good opportunities for kids to play together and moms to enjoy some fellowship and mutual encouragement. Planning a monthly Moms’ Night Out is one of the best ways to prevent homeschool burnout!
Many families are now taking the concept of minimalist living and applying it to homeschooling. Instead of stressing themselves out trying to check all the curriculum boxes, they focus on the subjects that bring the most value and fulfill their purposes as a family. One of the biggest causes of homeschool burnout is trying to do too much, and one of the common reasons for that is a desire to please people. Parents may want to show how much their children are accomplishing to silence the critics (i.e. family and friends) that have questioned their decision to homeschool. It is best to stop worrying about what others think and seek the Lord’s will for our family.
You may be thinking, “I have so much to do, I can’t afford to take time for myself.” The truth is that you can’t afford NOT to take some Mom Time! It is an investment in your health, which means it is also an investment in your children. A mom suffering from homeschool burnout cannot give her best to the family, but a well-rested mom will have enough fuel in the tank to lead her children across the Finish Line.
More Help for Mom…
SchoohouseTeachers.com is the full curriculum website of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. An Ultimate Membership gives a whole family unlimited access to over 400 self-paced courses, 450 streaming videos, 10 libraries of World Book Online, organizational tools, and numerous other resources, including courses Just for Parents. Below are two courses that can help prevent or alleviate homeschool burnout. (The course descriptions are copied directly from the website.)
Written by a mom who homeschooled four children through high school graduation, these thirty-one Encouragement for Homeschool Moms short studies address issues and pressures experienced by those who have chosen to educate their children at home.
This introduction to homeschooling course is designed to help parents grow in their confidence and know-how about home education. This is not only for parents who have already made the decision to homeschool, but for parents who are considering homeschooling and those who have just started. Even those who view themselves as longtime homeschoolers can benefit from this course as they seek to improve.
The 18 lessons include questions and homework assignments to help parents deeply explore the information covered. Some of the topics include how to get started with home education, childhood development phases, learning styles, and developing a course of study. The Growing in Homeschool Confidence lessons are best read in order as the material builds successively upon concepts and methods discussed.