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Being a homeschool parent can be exhausting. You give so much of your time and energy to your children. It can feel really draining! The secret to avoiding homeschool burnout is to prevent it before it even starts.
Every winter many parents start questioning their decision to homeschool because they don’t think they can give any more. They are tapped out. Burnout sets in and brings its friends – self-doubt, worry, and stress.
The secret of veteran homeschoolers is that you need to actively take steps to avoid homeschool burnout. Prevent the homeschool fatigue before it even begins.
How to Avoid Homeschool Burnout
Get out of the house
Some days we need to put our lesson plans to the side and get out of the house.
These days can still be academic in nature, but they get you out of your cozy home. I don’t think it is a coincidence that homeschool burnout seems to hit most often in the winter.
Getting out of the house usually involves a little fresh air, some separation from any homeschool stress, and a new perspective.
Field trips are a fantastic option to get out of the house! They can rejuvenate both the teacher and the student.
Plan for a mom (or dad) break
I try to always keep at least one weekday night and one weekend night free from work – planning, writing, and any other tasks. This includes homeschool related tasks – lesson planning, curriculum shopping, and grading.
As soon as the kids are in bed, I unplug and do something that relaxes me – take a hot bath with my favorite bubble gum scented bath salts, read a good book that is just for me, or just relax with my latest Netflix binge.
I also have a policy of not cooking dinner on Friday evenings. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant, sometimes we cook frozen pizza, and sometimes Paul grills.
Now that Hannah is older, she cooks dinner one night a week. This gives me at least two nights out of the kitchen each week.
The key is that I don’t have to do it. Taking a night off from this task really helps me avoid burnout.
Plan something fun
Figure out what gives you energy and joy and schedule more of that in your life. This gives you something to look forward to.
The specifics of this will vary greatly for everyone. Introverts might want to schedule more time at home locked away from the outside world while quietly reading. Extroverts might want to schedule more meeting up with friends.
The important thing is to do what is fun and refreshing for YOU.
Taking time to fill your own tank benefits everyone in your family.
Re-examine your priorities
We want to do it all, but the truth is we can’t do it all, all of the time. At least not well.
Figure out where your priorities lie and spend most of your time on that.
Yes, this might mean that the house might not get cleaned as often as you want, that meals are super simple, or that you don’t host all of the holidays.
That is okay! Those things can be done during seasons of homeschooling that are not as exhausting.
I’ll be really honest that this is the hardest part of trying to avoid homeschool burnout for me. I want to do everything and am disappointed when I can’t.
I have to check in with myself be reminded of my true priorities (family and homeschool) on a daily basis. It is a constant battle to not overload my plate.
But, if I try to do absolutely everything that I think I should, everything else, that is truly a priority will suffer.
Remember how I said that you need to identify your priorities? I hope you counted yourself among the things that matter!
Prioritizing our own health can really go a long way in avoiding homeschool burnout. We are less likely to feel utterly exhausted if we are sleeping well, eating foods that make us feel good, and moving our bodies in a way that makes us feel strong.
If you need a day without school so you can rest or get caught up on household chores or sleep, go ahead and take it. This rest time can make you more productive in the future.
Drop curriculum that isn’t working for your family
By the winter months we usually have a pretty good idea of what curriculums are working well for our families and which ones we don’t like.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we are not locked in to any particular curriculum. If something isn’t working, it is okay to set it aside!
Every year around this time, I made a few tweaks to our curriculum choices. Sometimes they are big changes and I sell off curriculums. Other times I make small adjustments that I think might work better for our family.
There is no curriculum on the market that will be perfect for every family. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right ones for your family.
Khan Academy is a free way to fill in some curriculum gaps if you find yourself curriculum shopping again in February.
How do you avoid homeschool burnout?
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