[Burnout] ~ the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest This could be physical, emotional or mentally.
It seems I've been here more often than I'd like to admit. Both as a public school teacher as well as a Homeschooling parent. Teaching in any location is difficult, it is tiring. However being a homeschool parent means you are taking on a full-time job (at home), the responsibility of educating your children! Where it normally takes a team of people to accomplish this from researching curriculum to planning field trips to teaching, you are doing it all yourself. No wonder burn out seems almost inevitable at one point or another. Maybe a few of these suggestions will help fend off that season in the year.....
1. Lay it all out ~ to your heavenly Father. Cry it out to Him, what you are struggling with. I Peter says to "Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you!" He does! He led you to this place of Homeschooling and when you are weak and weary and don't quite know how to keep going, we will comfort you and care for you. And ask others for prayer as well, whether it's your spouse, a woman's group, your Mom, reach out!
2. Take it all in ~ Sometimes identifying an actual problem might be the solution to burn out....is there a curriculum or schedule that just.isn't.working.? It may be something just needs to be changed to make things run smoother or click. Sometimes it may seem hard to switch in the middle or even end of the year, but it's not the schedule that is important, it's your children!
3. Call for Back up ~ everyone needs reprieve. Maybe you know another Homeschooling mom (or many!) who will take your kids for a day. Send some things for them to work on! Or a Mom who will let your kids come play for an afternoon. A good chunk of truly quiet time to either catch up, pray, sleep, read, sew.....whatever! is maybe what you need! There will be a time that someone calls on you and you can repay the favor!
4. Call it Quits ~ that's right, just quit already! For a few days or maybe a week! (if you feel really guilty take notes on everything your child does for that week and label it your unschooling experiment!) That is one of the perks of choosing your own schedule and time line, it can fit your life. When you have hit a rough spot trying to barrel through and keep teaching for the sake of teaching isn't going to accomplish what you really want with your children.If your have fallen behind in your housekeeping or other duties, take a few days or week just to catch up. Give yourself permission to get things in order!
5. Go on an edu-vacation ~ Plan a whole week (or a few days) to get you out of the house and do fun (and perhaps educational) activities with your kids. We live on a small Island but I can fill up a whole week of fields trips.....and most for FREE if I wanted or needed to. A trip to the Library, Fire Station, Post Office....exciting and FREE! Visit some Botanical Gardens, Go play at the Park, read books under a tree, go swimming......the list is endless and life is educational.
6. Get in check ~ Make sure there isn't something medically wrong. Exhaustion, sadness, lethargy, lack of motivation can all be symptoms of medical issues! Everyone deals with these from time to time, but if you notice any one symptom is hanging around and really starting to interfere with life, it may be time to get a check up and seek help.
Don't give up though, whatever you do. Make a choice for your children and sanity sake to do something about the slump. Trying to push through a difficult season in life only makes the stress and burnout worse. Give yourself permission NOT to feel guilty about asking for prayer, help or taking time to just catch up with life. You'll thank yourself later!