Do you homeschool year-round? Do your children hit walls during homeschooling or do you experience burnout every few weeks? How do you deal with burnout, even if you don’t homeschool year-round? I know we all go through it and I am here to show you three things that have worked for us very well.
I hope these three tips will help you, too. The great thing is that each tip has several options, so you can rotate them or use them as they fit best your family. At the end of this post, you will be able to get your printout of these 3 tips. Keep them handy, probably in your homeschool planner to keep things fresh.
1. Take Breaks & Really Make Them Count
We take breaks as we need them. Sometimes, it’s just a few subjects, sometimes, it’s just a day or two off. And sometimes, it’s a week or so. It all depends on where I am and where my children are (burnout-wise).
Maybe you could try this: be more flexible about breaks and make a list of ways to take a break to see which kind of break would fit best each time you feel like you and/or your children are hitting the verge of burnout.
Or maybe just shortening homeschool for a few days will help. Or maybe having just one half day of fun activities only will do it. Maybe go learn outside for the day or take more breaks during the day for a few days.
The possibilities of taking breaks is endless and it doesn’t have to be long. I personally find that it is harder and it takes longer to get back into the groove of things after long breaks, so we only do those twice a year.
2. Change Your Schedule… Try Different Approaches Throughout the Year
We have gone from an unstopping schedule to a structured schedule. Yes, we have visited those two and every stop in-between. It seems like every 8-12 weeks, we are in need to change our schedule around. Are you stuck in a rut and then get bored or your children seem disengaged or uninterested in school? Those are all signs that you need a change.
What I would suggest is explore the following kinds of schedules and try one, two or all as you need it. The best part is that you don’t have to adopt one or the other permanently, but rather use a change in schedule for a time, for a break and then go back to the routine that usually works well for you.
- Block schedule: for example, Math is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while Science is on Tuesdays and Thursday, etc and have a designated amount of blocks per day. You work on that subject until that block time is up. This will encourage students (and moms) to press on for a few minutes and then it is over (as opposed to working on chapters or amount of pages).
- Morning schedule: Students will be excited to know that once lunch hits, it’s a free-for-all and they have the rest of the day for fun. It does entail, especially for the older ones, an earlier morning start.
- Afternoon schedule: Students and moms will like this schedule (it is our favorite) because it is a peaceful and slower start to the day and they ease into school. There can be physical education, playing outside or taking a walk in the morning before school start.
- Shortened schedule: Students will like this schedule because it is shortened, even though they know it isn’t permanent. We do this in December and the month of July every year.
- Outside learning schedule: Schedule a couple of subjects where you can change the scenery and go learn outside. It can be a fixed thing where “art is always outside” or our “devotional time is always outside” or keep a not in your plan book to surprise you children at least once a week for at least one subject where the lesson will take place outside. If you are learning about shapes, go outside and play a scavenger game where your children find a list of shapes in objects around them. Art is an easy one. Nature walks. Music is fun when you find things to use as instruments to create rhythms.
3. If You Feel the Burnout Coming, Stop It in Its Tracks!
The best thing to do as soon as you feel or see the burnout coming in you or your children is DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Stop it in its tracks as quickly as you can. The first thing I do when this happens, I forget all about paper-and-pencil work and go hands-on as much as you can.
We put it all aside and go out, even if we are learning things that weren’t in our plan book, including reading books about hail in the library, run around finding shiny rocks or follow clouds as they pass by in the sky. Build a robot! Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to throw homeschooling out the window. You can still learn, just in a more unconventional way.
We find that sometimes, we all need to de-school and de-compress. The pressure can be great, but we need to remind ourselves that the beauty of homeschooling is the bonding and the living of life together, and not the focus on the doing. Do whatever you can to reset the button…to bring back the fun, the joy of learning.
Don’t despair. Everyone, not just homeschoolers, hit those walls. We hit them as students, as parents, as teachers, workers… The key is to snap out of it and find the peace…to find the smiles again.
*Free Printable List of Ideas
Below, is a printable that you can download and keep near you with ideas and tips on how to avoid the burnout. Even if you are in the middle of it, you can still apply some of these strategies to get out of it. I hope you find it helpful.
Avoid Homeschool Burnout Printable List
Here are some books that have come highly recommended.