Homeschool Burnout | 5 Things to Consider

Homeschool Burnout? 5 Things to Remember

Welcome to March—home of the spring month!

For me, the month of March is a lot like Wednesdays; if you can survive it, the end of your journey will be here before you know it. 

It’s that time of year when many of us are just about halfway through the second semester of homeschooling. January and February came and went, and April and May will soon follow suit. With that said, some of us are feeling the middle-of-the-semester blues—also known as homeschool burnout.

The discussion of homeschool burnout is alive and brewing all over homeschool communities. And for good reason—it can wear a sistah down! I’m talking about dreading the day so much that you don’t want to leave your bed in the morning, neglecting homeschool responsibilities because you’re overwhelmed, and having an intense desire to enroll your kids in public school—any school—as long as it doesn’t take place in your house!

I’m here to tell you, it’s okay.

Just breathe.

Homeschool is a calling. And like most callings, there will good days and bad ones. We’ve got a tough job! But these trials are supposed to help us grow in character, perseverance, and faith. They are not meant to break us.

Here are five things to remember when you’re experiencing the infamous “homeschool burnout.”

1.    With God all things are possible. 

Challenging, yes—but still possible. The truth is, homeschooling our children is not supposed to be easy. We’re taking on the full responsibility of our children’s education. That’s a big deal! But know that with Christ we can overcome these challenges and persevere. I want you to say this aloud right now:

“With Christ’s help, I can successfully homeschool my child/ren.”

Write down that declaration and put it in a place in your home where you’ll always see it.

Verses to study:

>    Mathew 19:26—With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

>    Philippians 4:13—I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

>    Mathew 6:33—But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

2.    Teaching God’s word should be the first priority. 

It’s in the word of God, so don’t shoot the messenger.

Let’s look at the bigger picture:

One day our children will be adults. It’d be a shame to realize only then that we’d been so focused on academics and social opportunities that we’ve put God’s word on the backburner. Teaching God’s word to our children goes beyond memorizing verses. It’s an intentional training! Meaning, we are to help our children apply those verses to their everyday lives.

Sometimes, our burnout is God’s way of telling us to slow down, drop the extra-curricular activities, close the textbooks, and intentionally teach our children how to live a holy life the best way we know how.

Verses to study:

>    Proverbs 22:6—Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

>   Ephesians 6:4—Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

> Deuteronomy 11:19—Teach my word to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

3.    You need God’s help. 

Listen, we are trying to carry a weight that it takes multiple teachers, staff, and administration to carry. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we’re sinking! But if we are truly called to homeschool, God will make provisions for us. The only requirement? Submitting to God and trusting Him to help us.

Verses to study:

>    Psalm 121:1-2—Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

>    Mathew 11:28—Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

>    Psalm 146:5—Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

4.    There’s a season for everything. 

Homeschool for every family looks different. Some of us will have seasons of public school—or even perhaps seasons of other types of schooling. You may be called to homeschool for one year or eighteen years. Whatever God’s plan is for your family, remember to enjoy your season of homeschool while it’s still here.

Verses to study:

>    Ecclesiastes 3:1—There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

>    Jeremiah 8:7—Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons.

>    Titus 1:3—Now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me.

5.    God gives us everything we need to homeschool. 

How many times have we asked God to give us more patience? Wisdom? Faith? Money?

In this crazy homeschool life, we have everything we need: love, faith, patience, knowledge, wisdom, resources, and more! All of these components grow not by asking God for MORE, but by asking God to help us steward the measure He’s already given us. These virtues don’t magically fall out of the sky. We have to WORK to mature in these areas. They are like muscles—the more we train, the stronger we’ll be.

Verses to study:

>    2 Peter 1:3—His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

>    Philippians 4:19—And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

>    Matthew 6:8—For your father knows what you need before you ask Him.


 

If you are experiencing burnout, I pray that God gives you rest. If you have any tips on how to address/avoid burnout, please leave your comment down below for your fellow homeschool mom/parent!

Be sure to read my other post on burnout: Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Big Homeschool Mistake

Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Free Yourself

Here’s my account of our third homeschool year. As of date, we’re approaching the second semester of our fourth year as a homeschool family. I wrote these sentiments months ago when I was in the thick of my feelings and a light bulb went off. Today, I’m finally posting what has been lying dormant in my Word documents since April 2018.

I share these real mom moments in hope that it can help free some of you from the unnecessary burden you’ve placed on yourself to raise the perfect homeschool prodigy. For some of us, this burden stems from the need to prove to outsiders that our children are meeting the mark. Don’t allow yourself to enter into the New Year still burdened and carrying the weight of everyone else’s expectations for your child.

Feeling Inadequate

I was one of those anxious moms, so to speak. I just sort of lived with it and attributed it to the stresses of homeschool. After all, stress is normal.

Or should it be?

I didn’t jump out of bed eager to start the day. I found myself tired even after a full night’s rest. I was constantly worried about my children’s progress. If they were on target with their peers—if they measured up.

If I measured up as a home educator.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I teeter-tottered with the idea of “traditional school,” thinking to myself perhaps my boys would be better off. After all, who was I to think that I could supply all their educational needs? This was the weight of other people’s words that I carried for a long time.

Abandoning My Homeschool Room

This year, I’ve noticed we’ve been gravitating toward a more relaxed learning environment. The whiteboard in our classroom has not met the stroke of an Expo marker in months. Our workbox drawers have not been pulled open in months. My boys have not sat at their desks in months. I have not stood at the top of the class teaching lessons in months. In fact, I kept telling my husband, “One day we’re going to go back into that classroom and actually use it.”

One day.

I felt guilty. Like I’ve somehow failed as a homeschool teacher. I feared my boys would never learn how to sit still in the classroom. I feared they’d never learn how to raise their hand and wait to be called on to speak. And even though they were still learning, I feared I wasn’t teaching enough.

Doing enough.

Yet, I was exhausted—burned all the way out. Some of the exhaustion stemmed from the war going on in my thoughts.

Mental exhaustion.

Some of the exhaustion stemmed from doing the absolute most.

Physical exhaustion.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I grew tired of force-feeding information to my children. Things that held very little value to them. Things they’d learn just enough to ace a test and then forget the next month. It all felt counterproductive. We weren’t having fun anymore. They went from “YAY, school!!!!!” to “Oh no! It’s a school day?”

They Hated School

I could laugh every time I think about my second-grader “spacing out” while I’m teaching him a new concept. His little eyes just glazed over with a blank stare. His default nod to convince me he’s paying attention. His sigh of relief when I’m finished explaining everything (I tend to be long-winded, haha).

Laughter escapes me whenever I think of my preschooler actually running from me whenever I pulled out his reading curriculum. All the excuses he’d make, like, “I’ve got to draw some pictures, first.” He was the one who initiated his reading journey, yet I sucked ALL the fun out of it by using a traditional teaching approach unsuitable for his learning style. The daily battles to get him to “do his school work” put a strain on our relationship. I’d say things like, “You’re the one who wanted to learn to read.” Yea, I’m sure this is a great way to ensure he shares his interests with me in the future.

My “Aha” Moment

A few months ago, I shared Three Things It Takes to Homeschool. But there was a piece missing; something only revealed to me very recently, after watching a video by Shelly Sangrey.

In that video, Shelly, a homeschool veteran, said something like this, “If you’re still holding onto the standards of public education, you’re missing out on the freedom homeschool has to offer.” The freedom of not being bound by age, grade-levels, and “what your child should know” propaganda. The freedom of not being bound by one teaching method that caters to one learning style. The freedom of not being bound by a classroom. Chairs. Desks. Whiteboards. These things work for some people. But for our family, they just don’t.

Homeschool quotes by Shelly Sangrey

So, if I were to add a fourth point to the post Three Things It Takes to Homeschool, I’d say unschool yourself.

That was my mistake. I was still bound by traditional education and all the stress that came with it. The emphasis on performance and looking good on paper over quality learning.

Unschooling Myself 

I’ve realized that, while we’re concluding our third year of homeschool, I’ve never officially “unschooled” myself. Each time I tried to break away from the traditional model of education, I found myself being lured back in, fixating on grade-levels, assessments, and teacher’s manuals. Why? Because that’s all I knew, and that structure worked for me as an “A” student growing up.

But it doesn’t work for my boys.

What is unschooling exactly? This quote by the late George Bernard Shaw sums it up nicely:

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

Child in Pursuit of Knowledge by George Bernard Shaw

Slowly, my new motto became, “if education isn’t organic, I want no part of it.” Each of my children have subjects they gravitate to. They burst at the seams with questions about all kinds of things, and I miss teaching moments because I’m busy trying to get them to remember the difference between mass and matter.

My boys retained more information about random questions they’ve asked during fifteen-minute car rides than information they’ve studied for two to three weeks. They don’t mind spending an hour listening to me read a book about architecture because that’s what they’re into. But it’s a struggle getting them to follow along on a book about medieval history.

Revisiting the Root of Education

I get it. There are just some things that children should know and learning won’t always be “fun.” But the heart of education comes from the Latin word “educare” which means “to draw out” and “lead”—yet, I spent more time putting information “into” my children rather than encouraging them to discover learning for themselves.

And, truthfully, children don’t need help learning. They’re natural learners. But they do need guidance; someone to help them develop their ideas and concepts, answer pressing questions, provide the right resources, and demonstrate the lifestyle of learning.

So, instead of “doing school” or “going to school,” we’ve made a point to ask God how to help our children learn to live intentionally with vision and purpose. If we do this, they’ll always seek the knowledge they need to pursue that calling. In that, we can help them develop the habit of “being in pursuit of knowledge.”

Until next time, friends…

Tag, You’re It!

What would you say was your biggest homeschool mistake? Write a comment below!