Avoiding Homeschooling Burnout – Homeschooling

Those of us who have been homeschooling for some time are familiar with the enthusiasm and willing commitment to a new homeschooling year in early September followed by a sense of feeling rushed and overworked somewhere around Thanksgiving. Homeschooling begins to feel emotionally like a burden instead of a worthwhile family journey and we feel fatigued and forgetful of which multitask we are performing! These are the signs of homeschooling burnout. Most homeschoolers can recognize the symptoms but some feel helpless to find a remedy that is more than short term symptom relief. Unless a real remedy is found, newer homeschoolers can even decide that it is all too much for them and the journey of homeschooling comes to a dead end that brings the child back into public school for the wrong reasons.Here are some helpful tips for finding a real remedy for homeschooling burnout:1. When you start to feel stressed out at even the thought of another homeschooling day, put the problem temporarily on hold and do something that you know will re-energize you at the start of the day such as meditation, prayer, yoga,or working up a sweat with a short exercise video. Make sure that you begin your day above the battlefield of stress, otherwise you will be carrying yesterday’s burdens into the new day.2. Once you feel refreshed, allow yourself time to look at the issues that concern you about homeschooling. That may be difficult when the baby is crying and the children are reluctant to do their chores! You will probably have to make sure that you do this process when you are able to create a quiet space for reflection perhaps on the weekend when your spouse can help with the children. Begin this reflection process by remembering why you made the decision to homeschool in the first place. Consider the goals and vision that you carry for your homeschooling family. What has happened to make you fall short of your working goals or to lose your sense of vision? Really look at this without blaming yourself, your spouse or your children for falling short of your dreams and goals. I think its a good idea to actually write this information down so that you can look at it more objectively.3. Once you have identified the problem, look for creative ways to find a real solution to these stresses, not just momentary relief. One of the common causes of stress can be things like overcommitments in your homeschooling schedule. Are you spending more time in the car going to co-ops and field trips and play dates and music/dance lessons than you are spending time together at home as a homeschooling family? Families work best with a rhythm to the day and if you feel that has been displaced by being away from home too frequently, then cut back on your outside activities. Another big stress is the feeling that you are not connecting with your child in your homeschooling.Perhaps your style of learning and your child’s are different. You will have to be flexible and adapt your expectations to what you can identify as the learning style of your child. How can you approach the material differently so that you can more effectively reach your child’s innate desire to learn and draw this forth from the child? Remember too that as a child matures, what may have worked before may not work now. You will need to look at the developmental stage of your child and see if the material is really meeting those developmental needs. Another major stress can be when you and your spouse are not sharing the same homeschooling vision for the family.Your roles may be different but a couple should share a fundamental sense of agreement on how to approach homeschooling. If that is not the case, then it becomes important to work out the difficulties with your spouse so that you have a more unified approach with the children. Sometimes relatives that do not support homeschooling can really add to that stress but if the couple is clear about their goals, then eventually other relatives will get the message!4. Once you have developed a new plan for restoring or re-envisioning your homeschooling journey, then implement that plan on a day by day basis. Listen and watch for signs that things are working better and fine tune and adjust your plan based on the feedback you get from the family. That doesn’t mean throw it all out if you meet some resistance! Simply be aware of observing how your new attitude and actions affect the family and readjust things as necessary.5. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself some time to succeed and make sure that you eat well, sleep well and go to bed at night with a sense of gratitude for the ability to change and grow as a family together. Make time to see friends and laugh together.Then, instead of feeling like a candle being burned at both ends, your healthy attitude will be a steady and encouraging light around which your family can rally.If you take the time re-envision your homeschooling goals and find creative and balanced ways to meet them, you should be able to avoid homeschooling burnout. This, along with a daily dose of relaxation, laughter and healthy living, creates a good recipe for a happier homeschooling lifestyle. Enjoy your homeschooling journey!