Homeschool Burnout? 10 Tips for Coping

[Rescued from my old blog.]

Spring cleaning has made my desk look worse than before. Nobody feels like studying. The kids would rather be outside, and their mom would rather take a nap. Sound familiar? It is our annual attack of homeschool burnout.

If you, too, are suffering from lethargy and can’t face another day of school work, here are some ideas that have helped me:

(1) Re-read the homeschooling books on your shelves, or get some new ones from the library. Try to read about one a month, if you can, to help get your enthusiasm back. And then read at least one new homeschooling book per year to help you stay inspired.

(2) Connect with other homeschoolers. Meet with friends for tea, or have a Mom’s Night Out while Dad babysits.

(3) Attend support group meetings. I find that after so many years, I let the meetings slide. I think, I already know everything they are going to say. But being with other homeschoolers is encouraging, and if you find out that you can help a new homeschooler with advice, that gives you a boost, too.

(4) Find one or two forums where you can become one of the resident experts, and answer posts as often as you can. As with number 3 above, being able to give advice (and being appreciated for it) can give you the energy to keep on going.

(5) Go to a homeschooling convention, if you get the chance. The speakers are stimulating, and you may find some new book or tool that sparks your imagination.

(6) Do school anyway. It may seem impossible when you’re stuck in the doldrums, but once you get going, you may find it easier. The light of understanding in a child’s eyes can give Mom quite a lift!

(7) Try something completely different. If you have always used a textbook program, then set it aside for a month and just read library books. If you have read lots of great literature, then try some hands-on projects, or get out those science experiments you keep putting off, or visit all the museums within a two-hour radius, or… I’m sure you can think of something that has been lingering on your good-intentions list. I can’t stand to teach the same old thing every year, and here I am in second grade again with my fifth student. Happily, I know there is always another way to approach any homeschooling topic.

(8) Figure out what your students are able to do on their own, and let them do it. Encourage them to develop as much independence as possible.

(9) Use some of your children’s independent time to learn something new for yourself. Have you always wanted to try painting, or crochet, or woodworking? Be an example of life-long learning.

(10) Start (or join in progress) a group class or co-op. You may be able to trade around with some other families: you teach history and others teach math or cooking, or whatever arrangement fits for you. This is especially helpful for those time-consuming projects that always seem to get put off, like art or science experiments.

If you have any other ideas for beating the burnout blues, please share! And if you are facing homeschool burnout now, be assured that it is not a terminal condition. You will recover your joy in sharing your children’s education.

After all, what greater adventure could there be than to introduce your child to all the wonderful things in God’s world?


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9 thoughts on “Homeschool Burnout? 10 Tips for Coping

  1. Well said, Denise. I think all of those are excellent tips.

    Sometimes, especially if we are struggling with illness on top of burn out (and often they can go hand in hand–you get burnt out and then start to get sick) I struggle to remember it is okay to take a sick (or mental health) day.

    Even when I am at my worst doing this I know it beats anything else I could be doing.

    Julie/variegatedyarn

  2. Well, if we started the day curled up under a quilt reading a Bible story—as in that wonderful picture on your blog—I think we might be a little more refreshed and ready to face our day.

  3. We just went through #7 this winter. We made the switch from radical unschooling to eccletic and boy, what a difference it made.

    I’d also suggest an intense and daily regimen of 85% cocoa dark chocolate ingestion. It’s worked wonders for me.

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