No matter if you are at the beginning stages of burnout or in the midst of a full-flamed attack with the symptoms above, you need to get help! As with health-related diseases, researchers suggest prevention is the best cure for homeschool burnout. Here are some tips to help!
1. Build loving relationships. Lessons aren't just in a textbook. Learning happens all the time. Instead of focusing just on your curriculum, take the day's unexpected challenges and use them as character-building and teaching moments to connect more deeply with your children.
2. Collaborate with homeschool peers. If you're feeling all alone, don't worry. It's likely there are other homeschool parents near you who feel the same way. Join support groups or co-ops and collaborate with teaching ideas, lesson planning, and homeschooling methods. Great ideas might just be a fellow homeschool parent away. So talk to each other!
3. Utilize team teaching. Get help from others! Even if your spouse doesn't have time to teach a formal subject area, maybe he/she can contribute to your homeschooling goals by giving instruction in a particular skill. Grandparents can also offer assistance by taking your children on an educational field trip. Delegate and free up more time by letting your older children help out with teaching an assignment to younger siblings.
4. Create a new routine. Are you counting down until the next holiday and thinking that summer can't come soon enough? Maybe now's the time to change the monotony of your homeschooling day and mix things up a little. Homeschool subjects on different days or at different hours, take an extra day off each week, or try a different approach to teaching a subject. Get out of the house and away from your books by enjoying a field trip or two.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Are you worried about covering every single exercise in your child's worksheets, or are you concerned about the chipping paint in your children's bedroom and the fingerprints on the refrigerator? Don't stress yourself out about unimportant things or things that you can't control right now. Lower your perfectionist expectations and save your energy for what's really important: being a patient, loving parent to your children!
6. Address problems actively. Don't passively put off parenting issues in your homeschool. If your children's attitudes are bad or they display poor character judgment, put the regular studies on hold and address those problems now. If not, they'll fester into bigger troubles later on that cause more stress for the entire family.
7. Participate in personal development. If you're feeling that you're not challenged or growing, try activities not related to homeschooling. Take a cooking class, learn to play a musical instrument, volunteer at church or a nursing home, get a new hobby, or enroll in a community college night course to further your own education!
8. Find a healthy balance. Prioritize your homeschool day. Eat healthy foods, stretch, exercise, and try to get enough sleep at night. Revamp your schedule so you can get into proper habits, and remember you can't do everything. That involves saying "no" sometimes.
9. Reward yourself. If you don't feel recognized or appreciated as a homeschool parent, find ways to give yourself small rewards for reaching personal goal accomplishments. Enjoy a favorite snack; a warm, relaxing bath; a few hours to read a good book; or pamper yourself with an entire day off from homeschooling to go shopping.
10. Rely on the Lord. You can't accomplish anything without Him, so don't feel like it's all on your shoulders. Let God help you with the burden. Mistakes happen when you think you can do everything alone. Pray for daily guidance. Focus your day with a Christian devotional book. Spend time in the Bible. Form prayer groups. Listen to His voice.
Burnout is not something to take lightly or ignore indefinitely. In its worst form, it can rob you of happiness, take your health, and leave you in despair. Plus, burnout affects more than you; it affects your entire family.
Self-evaluation is crucial, and careful consideration must be given to your personal situation. Is your burnout preventable? Do you feel your stress is coming from a spiritual attack by the adversary? Only you can answer these questions. Prayer and guidance from the Lord will help you make the correct decisions.
What tactics have you found successful for reducing your stress or burnout? Share ideas with other homeschool parents by commenting below!