Homeschool Burnout and How to Overcome It – A Top 10
February is known as homeschool burnout month. It’s when the days can seem long due to dreary weather, rampant illness, and the resulting loneliness. Some moms just feel weary.
Some moms are calling the school down the street to ask about immediate enrollment.
If you’re finding yourself dragging and lacking the motivation to keep up with the repetitive, daily tasks of homeschooling, you are not alone! Many moms feel this way this time of year. Burnout is when homeschooling is no longer a joy or you regularly feel exhausted and exasperated.
[But if you’re completely physically, mentally, and emotionally drained and can barely get out of bed, and it’s not just temporary, please seek professional care. That’s not burnout. That’s probably something else that will take more healing than these quick tips.]
For me, burnout creeps in regularly, sometimes in February, sometimes in other months, and I have found that a little effort to boost my attitude can go a long way. A few small changes can prevent serious, life-altering burnout.
Here are ten tips that I have personally and successfully used to help me beat back that sneaking feeling of burnout:
10. Make a JOY list! Write down in your planner or on your phone a list of things that bring you joy. Be sure to put things on the list that vary in time, cost, and location. What would you put on your list that you can do at home and takes less than 5 minutes?
9. Take a Just Because We Can Day! These are most fun when it’s a surprise for your kids. Take the day off from your usual schooling and go somewhere fun like a movie or museum (or a park if you’re in Texas, like me)! Or bring something fun into your home by popping popcorn and binge-watching educational shows or playing board games all morning!
8. Phone a friend! Or text or email or Vox or Marco Polo or *gasp* get together in person! Mamas, we need each other. There is a huge benefit to having colleagues who understand you and can share in the joys and struggles of this unique journey. My spirit is lifted when a friend sends a quick message to ask how I’m doing, and I even inspire myself when encouraging others. Reach out to someone and check in to encourage and pray for them!
7. Find inspiration! Read a blog post. Listen to a podcast. Participate in a webinar. Technology is our friend when used to educate and inspire! There are plenty of homeschooling gurus who share fabulous resources online for avoiding and overcoming burnout. Focus your time on the writers and speakers that leave you feeling positive and motivated.
6. Remember Your Why! Have you ever written down WHY you homeschool? This is the time to review it or document it. You can write down your why or create a vision board and put it somewhere you will see it regularly. When we remember WHY we are going to all the trouble to homeschool, it can strengthen our resolve to persevere. If you don’t have a written or visual explanation of why you homeschool, set a timer for 2 minutes and brainstorm!
5. Acknowledge the Challenges! Homeschooling is tough, and we all face different struggles in this journey. Maybe you have a child with special needs or a husband who works irregular hours. Perhaps you have health issues or extended family complications. Or maybe it’s challenging a gifted child or running your own business. Putting a name to the unique challenges in my family has helped me gain both confidence to face them and courage to seek solutions that work for us.
4. Change the Scenery! Sometimes all it takes is a change to where you homeschool to lift your spirits. Can you put new posters on the walls? Can you do school at the couch instead of the table? Can you go outside or to the library? Think about how you can change your scenery to improve your mood.
3. Be creative! There is real value to participating in creative pursuits. It allows us a connection to the creativity of Our Creator. Whether we sew or paint or write or craft, making something with our own hands and effort for our own enjoyment can give our souls a unique peace and joy. Are there such hobbies you used to enjoy but currently do not? How can you work creativity into your life?
2. Do NOT make big changes or big decisions this month! Most likely, this is not the time to throw out the math book, spend hundreds on a whole new curriculum, or enroll your kids in public school. Wait a little while longer until the sun is shining more to properly discern those big changes! Stay the course and work on small tweaks that will help you find more peace, and then weigh the pros and cons of any significant changes to your homeschooling.
1. Pray! Pray! Pray! Maybe I should have put this one first, but here at the end I can say this: First, if you can’t do any of the other nine things I’ve mentioned, then pray. Second, if you do some or all of the other tips, and you’re still feeling the frustration of burnout, then pray. And finally, pray. While prayer can solve many issues, the biggest gift of prayer is grace. We all need grace, and we need as much as we can get!
I challenge you to choose one of the above and see how it impacts your mood this week! These quick tips might help you climb out of the beginning stages of burnout or maybe keep it from creeping up on you in the coming weeks.
Because let’s face it. While homeschooling, most of the day to day decisions about the academic, disciplinary, emotional, nutritional, physical, social, and spiritual needs of our children are mom’s responsibility. And that’s a lot.
When burnout is lurking, it’s also our responsibility to send it packing!