Do you feel like you are experiencing homeschool burnout? Here are my top tips to get out of the rut, revive your homeschool, and plan well to avoid burnout in the future.
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What is Homeschool Burnout?
If you are feeling tired, stressed out, irritable, defeated, or depressed in your homeschool, you may be experiencing burnout.
Homeschool burnout is a real thing, and you are certainly not alone. Many homeschool parents experience it when they are putting out more energy than they are taking in.
I am personally feeling a bit burnt out lately as we close in on the end of the homeschool year but with dreary, wet and chilly weather still holding on up here in northern Canada.
I am leaning on my tried and true techniques that help me take delight in our homeschool again.
If you are new here, welcome! I’m a homeschool, homebirth, homemade mom of 5 boys. Check out my about page to meet me and my family.
Steps to take if you are experiencing homeschool burnout:
- Recognize it
- Recover from it, and
- Make a plan to avoid it in the future.
Identify Why You are Experiencing Burnout
How did you get into a state of burnout in the first place? Identifying the cause will help find the cure. It will also help you make a plan to avoid burnout in the future.
Common causes of homeschool burnout include:
- Overdoing it
- Not scheduling rest
- Having no support system
- Not using the support system you have
- Trying to do “school at home”
- Dealing with special needs children
- Trying to use curricula that doesn’t suit your teaching style or your kid’s learning styles
- Overscheduling your homeschool
- Doing too many extracurriculars
- Inability to say “no”
- The comparison trap
- Work or volunteering
- Comparing yourself to others you see on social media
- Family circumstances and personal struggles
How to Save your Homeschool from Burnout
1. Take a Break
My number one advice for burnout is to take a full-out break!
You deserve a break.
You need a break.
If you are burned out, you definitely haven’t been taking enough of them. Take a week off, and if that isn’t enough, take another. I take a week off after each 6-week mini term!
2. Do Less
Most homeschool parents are parenting, homemaking, doing chores, and sometimes working too. That is a lot of responsibilities. Consider how you can do less in your homeschool or other commitments to help you recover from burnout.
Some Ways to Do Less:
- Determine your most important (top 3-5) subjects and do those
- School 3 or 4 days per week instead of 5
- Set a timer and do subjects by time limits
- Plan easier meals
- Cut out extracurriculars
I have two versions of survival mode. One is where we take a complete break from school, and the other is where we stick with our routine (which helps everyone stay regulated) but just do “homeschool lite.” I think about what is most important for us to do and put the rest on the shelf for later.
On a “homeschool lite” day we would usually do just reading OR math (child picks) and then one group read-aloud. We might also do something simple but fun, such as a drawing tutorial.
3. Add Delight
Sometimes adding fun and delight back into your homeschool can really help recover burnout.
Remember, you need to do less right now, so maybe do just math and art or only read aloud and science.
My Big List of Ways to Add Delight to Your Homeschool
- interest-led learning
- meeting new friends
- park play days
- drawing or art tutorials
- nature exploration
- take a class together
- start a new read-aloud
- do self-care together
- science experiments
- take book work outside
- read aloud in a hammock
- cook fun food
- gardening or a new project
4. Get Outside
Time outside, away from screens, and best of all, immersed in nature, replenishes you, body, mind, and spirit.
Outdoor Play ideas:
- nature walks or hikes (check out my list of fall nature walk ideas!)
- bike rides
- bubbles and chalk
- beach days
- visiting an orchard or garden centre
- park meet-ups
- outdoor lessons
- pickleball, swimming, tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball, road hockey, etc
- go to the lake
- SUP, kayak, or canoe
- planting a garden
- hide-and-seek or tag
- laser tag
- water gun fights, nerf gun wars
- sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing
- make a mud kitchen
- make flower crowns
- make your own bug spray
5. Try a Unit Study
Unit studies are a fun and engaging way to continue to do school, but change up the curriculum. They are often available for cheap or you can plan your own for free.
6. Use Audiobooks
Our curriculum is based around books. But I don’t read all of them to the kids myself!
Have I told you how we love audiobooks in our homeschool? My kids have learning differences, and I simply can’t read aloud all day, every day. We use our Audible subscription to help with my workload.
7. Ask for Help
If you’re burned out, you probably aren’t getting the support you need. Here are some ways to ask for help.
- Ask your spouse
- Ask friends and family
- Seek help from community members
- Redistribute resources
- Hire help
If you feel like there is no one you can ask for solid, real-life help and support, you are not alone. I have been there, and it was very challenging. I encourage you to seek that community. It is hard to be vulnerable and reach out for support, but many people find homeschool communities in particular are very supportive and encouraging.
Also, remember to use the electronic helpers you have in your home! Set timers, make a routine on Alexa, get the kids to load the dishwasher, and run a load of laundry first thing. I like to make sure my knock-off robot vacuum (that has lasted years now!) is running somewhere in the house while we school.
8. One-on-One Time
If you’re feeling burnt out and irritable, make sure you are taking one-on-one time with family members. Make a weekly date night with your spouse a priority. Instead of dealing with the kids as a group 24/7, schedule one-on-ones so you can get quality time.
While you’re at is, consider if your love languages are being met!
9. Try Gameschooling
Gameschooling, or making learning through games your actual whole curriculum, is a great way to add delight and fun to your homeschool and it will be really easy on you, too.
I don’t have any posts yet about my family’s favourite educational games, but I know the folks at Never Board Learning have lots of great recommendations.
10. Start Morning Basket
Communal and delightful learning time like Morning Basket can rejuvenate your homeschool. It is an easy way to cram multiple subjects into a short period of time, and it is the item in our day my kids most look forward to. Read more about how to add morning basket to your homeschool here.
By that I mean physically decluttering your home as well as decluttering your schedule and your homeschool. If you are burned out, applying the decluttering steps to your life might help.
12. Nourish Yourself
This one is the homeschool mom equivalent of putting on your own oxygen mask first. You need to be nourishing your self: mind, body and spirit, every single day.
How will you know if you aren’t nourishing yourself? If you haven’t read anything that wasn’t a text or social media post… If you haven’t been sitting down to eat nourishing meals and your prayer life is in maintenance mode.
You absolutely need to prioritize these things. No one else can prioritize them for you, and your family needs you whole and full of life.
You can do this. I am saying this with the utmost love.
Be kind to yourself. Eat a proper breakfast — before coffee. Step outside for fresh air and sunlight first thing in the morning. Take an afternoon quiet time. Go drink some bone broth, take a shower, pray the rosary, read something good.
Do the social expectations of self-care, yes, of course (every day!) but also, let God fill your cup. Model how to take care of yourself for your kids because they are watching you, and they are learning from what they see.
13. Try Habit Training
Have you read this book? It is all about Charlotte Mason habit training. Habit training has been one of the most rewarding things we have tackled in our homeschool. With kids ages 2-11, we certainly don’t have all the habits figured out yet. But I can see how the intentionality of building life-giving routines into our day-to-day helps me stay afloat as a homeschool mom.
Maybe going forward you should give this a try to help your whole family function better and stay burnout-free.
If you are too burned out to read a book and you don’t know where to start, maybe try looking at your morning routine. My morning routine is a huge anchor for me. It is very simple but I eat before coffee, pray, make my bed, get dressed all the way to shoes, and do a few chores. It really helps me have positive momentum first thing.
14. Consider your personality
I hear many homeschool mothers looking for curriculum that fits their child’s needs and learning styles. That is wonderful, but if you do not take your own needs and style into account in the choices you make for your whole family, you will burn out a lot more quickly.
There are many different personality typing systems that may help shed light on how to build a sustainable homeschool for your family. However, without diving into anything specific, I bet you can assess for yourself based on just a few simple questions.
- What do I like to teach most?
- What is the best time of day for me to teach my children?
- What kind of schedule will I be able to stick to?
- Do I value hands on learning, outings and experiences, reading aloud, creativity and flexibility, working from a set curriculum, etc?
15. Don’t forget to socialize!
Home educating can easily become isolating, especially in our digital age when it is easy to interact online and forget to interact In Real Life.
However, there are more homeschoolers than ever and more social opportunities for homeschool families as well.
Some of these social opportunities include:
- park meetups
- library homeschool drop-ins
- co-ops and pods
- and your run-of-the-mill friend time.
If you don’t have several social opportunities scheduled into your homeschool week, consider adding some in. Socializing is super important for me as an extravert, and I know my days go a lot more smoothly when we get to see, speak with and play with other people.
You have to find the balance that works for your own family. Don’t be afraid to play around with your schedule and find things that are just the right fit for you.
I hope you enjoyed these Tips for homeschool burnout
and that they help you hit the reset button on your homeschool burnout and maybe even avoid burnout in the future.
If you don’t have regular breaks and coping strategies planned out to suit your specific needs for your specific family situation, I encourage you to sit down with your spouse or kids, talk things over, and strategize some!
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