B2HS: Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burn Out

September 2, 2022

Welcome to Build Your Library’s Homeschool Tidbits: Episode 28 – Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burn Out!  In this weekly video series, I will delve briefly into a topic related to homeschooling and will share some of my knowledge and expertise as a long-time homeschooling mother of 4 children. Three of whom have graduated high school and one who is a new college graduate!

This is the fourth post in the Back To “Home” School blog series, now also included in our Homeschool Tidbits 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 burnout.


Whether this is your first year or your 20th, no one is immune to homeschooling burnout. It can certainly strike at any time, but for many, it hits right around February. Usually when you are smack in the middle of the winter doldrums and everyone is getting tired of the same routine.

So file this away in your mind and come back whenever the need arises! Or proactively implement any of these tips if you notice a hint of burnout starting to occur!

How do you know you are experiencing homeschooling burnout?

Let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms:

  • Are you feeling like maybe it’s time to just send your children to the local public school?
  • Do you want to toss your school books out the window?
  • Do you find yourself feeling irritable with everyone all day?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are probably experiencing burnout. 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.

Get inspired with a good book.

Here are a few of my favorite go-to homeschooling books:

  • The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home – You really can’t go wrong with The Well-Trained Mind – it’s probably my all-time favorite homeschool read. I also adore Susan Wise Bauer’s Audio Lectures, and she even has one specifically on avoiding burnout!
  • Learning All The Time – really any of John Holt’s books are a great place to go in order to remind yourself of why you are on this journey in the first place. I first read this book when my oldest was about 7, and I’ve returned to it several times since. I would never consider myself an unschooler, but I love the idea that learning is always happening and that children naturally want to learn.
  • A Literary Education – How could I not include my own book? If you are looking for practical advice for implementing Charlotte Mason’s philosophy in your homeschool, then this is where you should start. My goal in writing this book was to give you practical tips and tricks, rather than just philosophy. This is 14 years of my experience in a book.
  • Drive: 9 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Achieve – I came across this book when I was looking for a way to inspire my oldest child to be more motivated about her education. This book is full of great ideas and tips on how to help your children become motivated and inspired. I’ve read this book a couple of times over the years and I always find it inspiring.

Change up your academic routine.

Sometimes burnout happens because you have gotten your homeschool into a rut. You could try changing things up with a unit study or Lit Bite. Build Your Library has several to choose from. Unit studies and Lit Bites can be a great way to combat burnout 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 a 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 need some inspiration on coming up with a quick “challenge theme”, check out one of our past BYL Reading challenges and select a few fun sounding prompts! ( 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 )

If you live somewhere cold enough for snow, 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 impromptu Art or Science week.

Get out of the house.

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 getting out of the house for a bit. If you (like me) live in a part of the world that gets snow, build a snowman together, go sledding, or just go on a wintery walk.

Planning an educational field trip or mini-vacation can breathe life into your routine. Just knowing that there is something new and fun on the horizon can pull you out of the doldrums!

Take care of YOU!

Sometimes burnout 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 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.

Clean something.

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.

Know that burnout can strike anyone…

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 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!

Coming up next…

I hope you found this Tidbit helpful! Come back next week for more homeschooling inspiration!

Until then, happy reading!

Related Articles: Back to “Home” School Series (B2HS)


Bonus: We also did a Facebook Live on this topic last year if you’d like to watch:

[ February 12, 2021 ] – “Tea with Emily – episode 13 – We’ve talked about homeschool burnout in the past, but let’s be honest… we’re dealing with a new level of burnout after 2020. This episode, we talked about how to work your way through it and find the joy in homeschooling again. (watch Episode 13 video recording here)

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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 21 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 make 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.

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Have you been looking for a literature based homeschool curriculum that is secular? How about a way to incorporate narration, copywork, dictation and memory work into your child’s education? Or art study that ties into history?

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