Homeschool Burnout

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Feeling frustrated and drained?

Burnout leaves you feeling totally empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring.

When you experience homeschooling burnout you often don’t see any hope of positive change in you situation - you feel you have given everything and have nothing left to give.

Recognise this? Find out what you can do about it to get back on track.

How to Beat Homeschool Burnout

The first thing to do is figure out what may be causing your homeschool burnout. Is it problems with homeschooling? Or are other factors adding to the pressure?

1. Life getting in the way.

Too often we face major life changes such as moving or the arrival of a new baby - and expect everything to carry on as before, ignoring the fact that these can be stressful events in their own right.

We can't always change a stressful event - but we can change how we react to it.

If you have something major happening in your life at the moment then ease up on yourself. If you lead the children in just relaxing and accepting the change, then they will learn much more from the experience. How would you want your children to handle the event? In a stressy, trying to do it all way? Or a relaxed, focused way?

Reorganize your homeschool schedule, allowing for how things are right now.

Useful LINKS:
How to Homeschool in One Hour a Day
Autonomous Learning in action
How to keep homeschool and life in balance

2. Illness.

Bugs go around and families get ill - and we often forget that this is the bodies way of telling us to slow down and take a rest. As Moms we seem to have an overwhelming desire to keep going - whatever happens!!

EXAMPLE - Recognise this?

Weeks ago we all got this horrible head cold. It's made it's way through our family and we were all finally beginning to recover (except for a horrible cough), and then last weekend, my youngest throws up, sleeps all day and is fine the next day. Now THAT bug has gone round the family and I haven't had a break in weeks, not one minute.

I've been up at nights, and I'm about worn out. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!

You need to STOP! The health of you and your family is really important. You cannot keep rushing around (and homeschooling, and cleaning) when you are fit to drop!!

Please, please give yourself a break.

Call a break on the homeschooling (I promise you that you will catch up later)- make some down time (relax, watch tv, snuggle up together and read books or do puzzles). Tell the kids you are playing 'hospitals' for a day or two and they all have to lie quietly on quilts and read or colour-in! Plonk yourself in an armchair and let them take your temperature and fetch you drinks! Take some time just to let everyone recuperate and regain their health. Work out what is the absolute MINIMUM you have to do each day (ie feed everyone!) and try not to do anything else.

I know you are a Mum (and as a Mum are invincible!!) but everyone needs to recharge their batteries sometimes. You will enjoy things much better if you take the time now to refuel. Try to eat a healthy diet and get some gentle exercise. And let your body recover.

3. Not pulling together as a family

It would be wonderful for us to always have our family working together in harmony!

But in real life we all seem to go through times when when everyone seems to be arguing or misbehaving. See this as a season in your family history. It won't last!!

When your family hits a trouble spot it is important to relax and not let things escalate - children do pick up on your moods!

Does the family need to spend some quality time together - or some quality time apart?

As homeschooling families we do spend a lot of time together and this can be a volatile mix when homeschool burnout sets in. If the children are fighting with each other (and you!) then it's time to take action.

Try to reduce the situations where trouble generally occurs. Some homeschool field trips or extra socialising may be the answer - or a couple of days quiet play. You know your family best - what is most likely to pull them together?

You set the tone with your family. If you are upset and harassed, the children will pick up on that and get upset too. Try to make time for yourself so you feel calmer.

Useful LINKS:
THINK bracelets - one homeschoolers approach to homeschool harmony.
Time-Out Homeschool Schedule

4. Lack of Support

Lack of support is most the most cited reason for 'worker' burnout. If you feel you are struggling to cope on your own, then you need to pull in support from family and friends.

Be more assertive in asking for help - or in accepting it from those who offer! Rope in the family - even small children can help with chores! I find that explaining that 'Mummy really needs some help right now because she is struggling with things' brings out the best in children - and they become eager to help.

Joining a homeschool group can also make a world of difference - no-one understands homeschool burnout like a fellow homeschooler! You can chat while the children play - and a problem shared is a problem halved.

Find ways to help yourself too. Meditate, journal, get some 'me time' - do whatever it takes to help yourself feel more centred and relaxed. Sometimes eliminating homeschool burnout is as simple as carving out a few moments for yourself each day.

Remember, in igniting the fire in our children, we need to kindle an environment where they see EVERYONE learning. So taking time for yourself to do something 'just for you' has a double benefit. They see you setting an example - and you will feel much better about yourself and your day!

Useful LINKS:
How to Homeschool - Ignite the Fire.

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