This is the third post in my Back to “Home” School blog series. I’ve given some advice to new homeschooling mothers and helped you to get your materials organized for a great year. Today, I’m going to give you some tips to avoiding burn out.
Whether this is your first year or your 13th, no one is immune to homeschooling burn out. It can strike at any time, but for many it hits right around February when you are smack in the middle of the winter doldrums and everyone is getting tired of the same routine.
How do you know you are experiencing homeschooling burn out? Well, let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms:
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are probably experiencing burn out. We all question our decision to homeschool at some point in time, but if you step back and re-evaluate and realize that you did make the right decision then it’s time to dig your way out of the quagmire of fatigue.
Here are a few of my favorite go-to homeschooling books:
Sometimes burn out happens because you have gotten your homeschooling into a rut. You could try changing things up with a unit study. Build Your Library has several to choose from. Unit studies can be a great way to combat burn out because it gives you the opportunity to change up your studies for a brief period of time. Then, when you return back to your regular routine, it will feel fresh again.
Or why not hold a read-a-thon where you spend a whole day or even week just reading lots of great books. Curl up with blankets, hot chocolate, snacks, and piles of books. You could even add a few challenges to make it more exciting – like “read a blue book” or “read a book that has the word tree in the title”!
If you live somewhere that snows, do a nature study focused on the wintertime!
If you’ve gotten behind in a particular subject – say science or art, spend a few weeks just focusing on that particular subject. My kids love it when I surprise them with an Art or Science week.
Go on a field trip, or just get out of the house for a walk. A bit of exercise and fresh air, even when it’s cold and snowy, can really do wonders for your outlook on life. Especially if you’ve been cooped up for an extended period of time, you will all benefit from a getting out of the house for a bit.
Sometimes burn out has nothing to do with homeschooling. When you spend all of your time doing things for everyone else like planning lessons, cooking meals, or running the kids back and forth to activities, you can lose yourself a bit in the shuffle. Do something just for yourself. Get a haircut, spend some time alone, read a good book, take a relaxing bath, eat some chocolate – I’m convinced all problems can be solved with chocolate. 😉 Be sure you are taking care of yourself – drink enough water, eat well, get enough sleep, and try to fit in a little exercise (I say this as much to myself as I do to you). When you take care of yourself, you’ll have the energy to face everything else.
I know this likely sounds counter-productive. If you are burnt out, you’re too tired and overwhelmed to clean! But seriously, pick a spot that you see regularly, and get it pristine and organized. This will become an oasis of sorts. Having at least one area of my home completely cleaned and organized makes me feel better and gives me the energy to tackle anything else that comes my way. Even if it’s just walking into the bathroom to gaze at the neatly folded towels in the linen closet.
Even the most enthusiastic among us. Having some tricks up your sleeve can alleviate things before they get to the point when you are ready to throw in the towel completely. Sometimes, just knowing you aren’t in this alone can be enough to pull you out of the doldrums. Find a community of like-minded parents who you can talk to. Did you know that there are Build Your Library groups on Facebook? You can join the Build Your Library Families group to get inspiration or just chat with other parents who are using the same curriculum. There are sub-groups for each grade level as well linked on our Build Your Library Support page!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 17 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.