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It is sad to say but…
I have lost my zeal for homeschooling. I have been going through the motions lately but not pouring myself into the children’s education like I did when they were little. Back then, homeschooling was still fresh and new for me and I was still excited about it all. After a few years of schooling, many moms tend to have homeschool burn-out. It is where you lose you drive and passion for it. You are tired and mentally exhausted and attempt to “push through” and the kids are bored and and disinterested tend to “push back.”
I have been stuck in “burn out” mode for too long. I struggle with depression and health issues ever since my “medically induced menopause.” During that time, we got “behind” in schooling and we never seemed to recover. But something has to be done…
This year I was trying to “play catch up.” Instead of ”freelancing” like normal, I bought the kids Christian based workbooks that are designed to be worked on at their own ” target=”_blank”>PACE so the kids could get back to “societies” idea of proper grade level. I suppose it is working, we have sailed through a year and a half worth of workbooks in about 6 months (and maybe they aren’t as behind as I feared.) But at what cost? The kids are finishing the workbooks as fast as possible, learning only what they must to achieve the goal… pass the test, get through that “grade.” This was NOT my plan when I started schooling my kids.
My plan was to raise them in an environment that teaches Biblical morals and values along with a love for learning. I wanted them to have hobbies and unique ways to express themselves. I wanted them to be cultured, to know a little about art and music, Latin and Shakespeare, maybe acquire a love for some of it… I wanted them to want these things too.
I can say that my graduated son has turned out with a nice interest in some of these things. He is firm in his faith. He loves photography and nature. He enjoys violin music, especially violinists like Kate Chruscicka & Lindsey Stirling. He likes the Latin language and looks up Latin words for tons of stuff just for the fun of it. So I can say he did end up with a little culture. I think that the reason he is more passionate about learning is because back in his influential years I was more passionate about teaching. I have to find my passion again, for the sake of the two younger kiddos, that have 5 & 7 years of school left.
I have been reading up on homeschool burn out a bit, trying to figure out why, whats, and hows of it all and this is what I came up with…
10 Signs of Homeschool Burnout
There are signs to look for when you are homeschooling that will tell you that you are having homeschool burnout. If you start feeling any of these, recognize it sooner rather than later. You want to get ahold of this before it gets too bad and affects to much!
- Feelings of envy toward those who do not homeschool
- Wanting to quit homeschooling
- Bitter, angry, and resentful about the responsibility level you have
- Feeling overwhelmed, overburdened
- Feeling irritable, impatient
- Crying or lashing out easily
- Depression and hopelessness
- Change in appetite (Food is a major source of pleasure, or holds no interest at all.)
- Apathy or despondency about family life, wanting to be alone more than usual
- Feelings of failure, like your children are behind or not learning enough
Causes of Homeschool Burnout
But WHY do I feel this way, …why is it no longer fun!?
- An extremely stressful event happen in your life (death of someone close, illness, divorce, job loss)
- Minor stress that has lasted too long
- Extreme Expectations
- Too many or too few extracurricular activities
- Unresolved parenting/relationship issues
- Lack of organization
- Putting YOU last
Getting to the root of the Problem
Can you remember when you started feeling overwhelmed by homeschool? What happened around that time. For some of us we know exactly what happened, for others you may not be so quick to point out the issue. Here are some suggestions that can help you pin point the problem so you can get busy overcoming it! The first step is admitting there is a problem!
- Keep a diary – If you don’t keep one, start. It is the simple most obvious way to go back and see what triggers you to have a bad day. It helps you remember events that happen so you can see what things knock you off your kilter and learn to avoid or manage these things better. (In high stress situations I tend to forget everything, writing it down will keep that from happening)
- Write down your feelings- If you can honestly pour out your feelings on paper (or computer screen) then go back and read it a few days later, often you will have your ah-ha moment and see what the real issue is! (Be honest with yourself)
- Ask your hubby (or BFF if you are single) – First, I pray you have a hubby who will be honest with you, even if you don’t like what you hear. Ask him what does he see that could be hindering your love for teaching. He is your partner in this, even if he carries the more administrative rather than teacher role. He knows you better than most and can tell you from an “outside looking in” perspective. If you are going this alone (bless you) ask a friend or relative you trust. Accept corrective criticism.
- Ask your children – They are there in the trenches with you and they are usually brutally honest. They know what they like and what they don’t. They know if your get more stressed in areas or at certain times. Listen and let them know you are trying to make things better. It can be a great bonding moment for you.
You’re an Overcomer!
- Pray! Most of us homeschool because of our faith. Make sure it is the FIRST thing you do in overcoming homeschool burnout!
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- Take care of YOU! Take time when you can for just YOU! When hubby is able have him watch the kids for an hour and do what makes you happy..without interruptions! Make yourself exercise EVERY morning. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant and boosts your metabolism so you can keep up with those kids that have a non-stop energy supply!
- Take time for HUBBY! Before you were a mom you were a woman. You need to make time to connect with your spouse on all levels, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical… everything. Get a sitter, plan a date night at least once a month, and enjoy taking about anything BUT school and kids.
- Take a Break! Yes, a break! You may FEEL you are behind already and can not possibly imagine taking a break but trust me if you don’t now, you will only fall farther behind in the long run. Take a week or even a month off, the beauty of homeschooling is that you can do it your way! I live in Texas and the summers are hot, humid, & miserable, so we school year round. This leaves plenty of time for those random sporadic breaks I need!
- Set Goals! What is your goal for your children? Write it down and fashion your school towards that goal! There is nothing worse that heading off in an unknown direction with no idea how to get there! Set long term and short term goals, and adjust as needed.
- Look at that schedule! If you have to much on your “plate” discard what is least important! If your and your child’s goal is that they become a missionary in China, then sure, Chinese is a well planned elective, if not… ditch it! Make sure timing is well placed, if daughter needs help with math at the same time son needs help with reading , fix it! There is nothing more stressful to me than all the kids needing something at the same time!
- Lighten up! Shake things up a bit. So today you look at your math book and see that you are studying measurements (cups, pints etc.) don’t be afraid to leave that page blank and go bake cookies with your kids and SHOW them measurements! Play “store” with them on the day you have to study money! This is the BEST education they will ever get, and when they look back, they will not remember the page they skipped in that book but they WILL remember the fun you had in the kitchen!
- Relax! The biggest hurdle I face is my stress level and depression. I have things I do that help me relax and relieve stress, focus better, and boosts my spirit. Set aside you time when you can take a relaxing bath, go on a walk out side, or listen to some praise and worship music , and pray! I use essential oils and love to diffuse ones that lift my mood during school. Sadly I don’t always think of these things when I am in the stress moment. I honestly think I will post a sign on my wall to remind me!
Personally, I am going to do all of the above! I rarely take off during the summer (like I mentioned before) but I think I will this time. Not for the kids but for myself so I can focus on getting their curriculum the way I want it so we can have a more enjoyable inspiring experience for all of us. And as for “catching up” … I need to quit using other peoples gauges to measure myself , my homeschool and my children by!
Here are some more helpful links about homeschool burnout!
Blessings to you,
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