Schedule Time for Yourself
"When momma's not happy, nobody's happy." Recognize the signs of fatigue and take a day, a night, or at least an hour for yourself. Take a walk, read a book, soak in the tub, or do whatever you enjoy. All work and no play will make a homeschool parent dull! Stay sane and walk away from sticky messes, spilled crayons, and dumped drawers for just a few minutes before cleaning them up. My favorite alone moments were at 6 a.m. as I combined a healthy walk with my prayer time.
Let go of the martyr syndrome and get the help you need! Homeschool dads and grandparents play a huge part in eliminating homeschool burnout; however, they don't always seem to know what to do unless it's spelled out. Lift your burden and tell your husband or parents exactly how they can help. Suggest taking a trip to the park or zoo, quizzing words for spelling tests, or simply offering an extra hand with the dishes.
Help can also be found by joining a homeschool support group. Exchange days with a friend and watch each other's children. You can also find creative ideas online for coping in homeschooling blogs and forums.
Switch Teaching Styles
No homeschool curriculum fits every family. If something isn't working, try something new. Alpha Omega Publications offers a variety of print, CD-ROM and online formats, including Monarch, Switched-On Schoolhouse, Horizons, LIFEPAC, and The Weaver Curriculum.
No schedule is set in stone. Life just doesn't work that way for homeschoolers. If the dog escapes out the door, simply cancel school for the morning and find him. If your child wakes up and turns into the reluctant learner, mix up your routine by planning a field trip, going for a bike ride, playing a board game, or reading a classic together. Enjoy your homeschooling freedoms. You're in charge, and you know how your child learns best. Eliminate those stressful learning battles with your child that cause even more homeschool burnout.
Set Realistic Expectations
Say goodbye to perfection. Find a cleaning schedule that keeps your house livable and accept the fact that your couch will always be an extra laundry table. Plus, your children may not clean and cook as well as you, but their helping hands will lighten the load. Learn to discern between what is essential and what can be left for later. Sometimes mopping the floor can wait and pancakes for supper are acceptable when you've already had a full day of academics.
Stop comparing yourself to other homeschoolers and embrace the uniqueness of your own family. You can't do everything and over-scheduling activities in the name of socialization only produces crabby children and worn-out parents. Sacrifice the good in order to enjoy the best. Each of our four children were only allowed one outside learning activity, and even that caused more stress than I wanted.
Secure Your Vision
Coming to your Heavenly Father in prayer is the surest way to eliminate homeschool burnout. Prayer lifts you above the noise and daily homeschool pressures that make you want to crumble. Prayer focuses your eyes back on the One who called you to homeschool and strengthens you for the task as a homeschool teacher and mom. Helping you see your children's future through His eyes, He fortifies you to accomplish all that He has planned.
There's no need to feel guilty for needing some time away from your children. Even when Christ was on Earth, He left the crowds and His disciples to be alone with His Father. Don't let the demands of homeschooling burn you out. Take time to pamper yourself and rediscover the joys of homeschooling your children.