Are you having doubts about your ability to homeschool? Do you get easily frustrated at the slightest disturbance in your homeschool routine? Do you feel like throwing in the towel and putting the kids on that big yellow bus?
You, my friend, may be suffering from homeschool burnout.
Don’t feel guilty about it. It happens to the best of us. The important thing is getting it under control before you give in to the temptation to put your kids in school, only to regret it later.
Homeschool burnout can happen for any number of reasons. Maybe you’ve been trying to do too much at once. Maybe you’ve been schooling too long without a break. Maybe you need to make some changes in your curriculum. Whatever the reason, the good news is that there are a number of ways to beat the homeschool blues before they beat you.
10 Practical Ways to Deal with Homeschool Burnout
1. Strip your routine down to the bare minimum.
Cut your homeschool subjects down to the basics for a while. Focus on the three R’s- reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic- and give your kids the opportunity to spend the rest of the day following their interests. You’d be surprised at how many subjects are easily covered without ever cracking a textbook.
2. Try unschooling for a change.
This doesn’t have to be a long-term thing, unless you want it to be! Let your kids learn through daily life. Bake with them. Take them on errands with you. Visit the library and go on low-key field trips. There is so much learning that can be done in the real world that just can’t be picked up in any classroom- even a homeschool one.
3. Do a unit study together.
Unit studies are very similar to unschooling in that they often surround a child’s interests and simply follow various rabbit trails that pop up in the midst of things. For families who use a textbook approach to homeschooling, unit studies may be a wonderful break from “hitting the books” day after day.
4. Have a movie day.
There are so many fantastic movies available today that are not only entertaining, but educational. Choose a movie that will appeal to everyone, pop some popcorn, and cuddle up under some warm blankets. If you’re uncomfortable with such a laid back day of school, have the children complete a notebooking page once the movie’s over, or have a family discussion about the plot, theme, and characters. Your children are bound to learn more than you realize.
5. Spend the day reading.
Whether you decide to read aloud to the kids or let them read to themselves depends upon their abilities and your preference, but either way, reading is always a win/win situation. Even if you’re one who dislikes “twaddle,” consider giving your kids the choice of choosing their own literature for the day. Believe it or not, even books you may consider to be poorly written often have more value than they’re given credit for.
6. Get out of the house.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Get the kids dressed (this may be something new for families who homeschool in their pj’s!), and go somewhere. Anywhere. Take a walk or visit the park down the street. Drop by a neighbor or family member’s house who may enjoy the company. Drive to the mall, and enjoy the quieter hours while most kids are in school. Sometimes a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered.
7. Do some baking.
Most kids love baking because it means getting their hands dirty and getting to lick the bowl clean. Measuring is a great introduction to fractions for your younger kids, or a great way to reinforce adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions for your older kids. Even if you completely ignore all educational aspects of it, baking is a life skill that is invaluable for your child to be exposed to.
8. Have a game day.
Dust off those board games, and have yourself a family game event. Unbeknownst to your children, games can cover just about every single homeschool subject through scorekeeping and adding dice, spelling and guessing words, negotiating properties, and applying critical thinking skills on what move to make next. Just don’t tell the kids!
9. Take a break.
One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is the ability to control your own schedule. Even if you planned on homeschooling for the next few months straight, if the situation calls for it – and burnout certainly does – take a break for a week or two. Just because traditional school works around a nine month schedule doesn’t mean that you have to! Give some thought to homeschooling year round. Many families homeschool for a few weeks and take breaks at regular intervals year round, such as 6 weeks on, 1 week off with 6-week breaks at Christmas and over the summer. There are so many ways to do this. Use your imagination!
10. Combine all of these suggestions for a longer break.
Sometimes a day or two of R-and-R is all you may need to reset. Unfortunately, sometimes that just isn’t enough, but you may not feel at ease with taking a total break from school. Use a combination of these suggestions to create an educational, yet more relaxed atmosphere in your homeschool for a couple of weeks. It’s worth a try!
Homeschool burnout can be a difficult time to get through, but with the proper mindset and a little creativity, you don’t have to be overcome. So the next time you feel those feelings of frustration and inadequacy creeping in, push them right back out by applying these tips on how to beat the dreaded, but not-so-tough, homeschool burnout.