I don’t know about you, but I need all the tips I can get for how to avoid homeschool burnout. By the end of December, and again around the beginning of May, you can stick me with a fork because I’m done.
I’m worn out from all the curricular AND extracurricular activities. I’m barely hanging on, and the words you’ll hear most often from my mouth those days are, “just skip it!” My homeschooling mojo has left the building. My inspiration lies wet and soggy somewhere underneath a pile of once shiny-new ideas.
I need a pick-me-up, and a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with almond milk just won’t do. I’m experiencing homeschool burnout.
I’ve been through this before. Many times. And I can help you get through your own version of homeschool burnout
Here are three things that have helped me most: (in order)
Stop Feeling Guilty
I know you feel it. You can’t deny it. We homeschool moms are the ones who begin each year with our polished new ideas, mission statements, clean schedules, new resolutions and high hopes. When we get to May and are reminded of all the ways in which our ideas didn’t pan out, we feel awful. It’s to be expected. But guilt (or remorse or regret) just don’t serve us. Throw those feelings away and replace them with a mind open to learning why those ideas didn’t pan out. For me, it’s usually because of one of these three things: (more…)
Let Your Children Play
Lately everywhere I turn, homeschooling parents are asking the question, “is my child doing enough to get ahead?” We are forgetting that play should be an important part of your homeschool curriculum.
The pressure on young children today is incredible. Even the developers of PBS believe that the biggest obstacle American children face in terms of education is being unprepared for kindergarten.
No wonder parents are worried! Not only are parents over-teaching, but they are also over-scheduling, I believe it’s being done out of fear, and it’s not necessary.
Consider this schedule: phonics lessons and grammar lessons in the morning, music and Mandarin lessons in the afternoon, and in between all of that, Moms are forcing their young children to work in newly- purchased math workbooks and insisting that they complete multiplication and division problems. The words “algebra” and “geometry” are being tossed around at play dates.
These parents really think that they are doing the right thing. They’re giving their children a “leg up” right?
They are not. Here’s why.
First, young children are not developmentally ready to pursue such academic activities. Are some seemingly “able” to do this type of academic work? Perhaps. But a completed worksheet does not equal a deep learning for a subject matter and even if you believe that your child is ready, there is evidence that doing so is more harmful than helpful.
Take a look at this article written by a mathematician </a>for reasons why worksheets should not be used with young children.
Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.
Secondly, the importance of play has been so overlooked in the last decade or two that it is shameful. Here’s what Edward Miller and Joan Almon say in their book Crisis In The Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School.
How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement
Several years ago I was talking with a mom during a portfolio evaluation appointment about her home school mission statement. She had it type-written and clearly displayed at the front of her daughter’s portfolio. It was short, only a few sentences long.
As I read it I nodded my head. Yes, yes, yes, I need to do this. And you should, too. Why? As Dr. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families says, “Every decision we make is ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or principle, whether we know it or not.”
Yikes. I was convicted. If you are, too, here are some tips to help you write a great homeschool mission statement of your own.
Involve the Whole Family
Speaking about a family mission statement, Covey goes on to say that, “A Family Mission Statement is an effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that people are on the same page.”This holds true for our homeschool mission statement as well Bring everyone together and ask each family member what they believe should be included in the mission statement.
Ask Yourself Why
Ask your family members why you are homeschooling in the first place. Go back to those initial conversations with your family about homeschooling before you made the choice to do so. Remind yourselves of why you have your homeschool set up the way you do.
Examine Your Priorities and Schedule
Take a look at where you spend your time during your homeschool day. Noticing your patterns will show you your priorities. See if these line up with your overall vision for your homeschool.
Be Specific and Explicit
Once you have brainstormed all of the above, write a rough draft. Be as specific as you can and try to explain your why the best you can in present-tense. For example, “Our homeschool is a place where learning and life happen simultaneously. We learn all the time. We strive daily to do our best to nourish our minds, hearts and spirits.”
As home schooling parents we can get bogged down in the daily grind of life. Work commitments, household chores, community activities, the needs of other family members; these all take our time and attention, and we can often lose sight of not only where we’re going, but why.
A mission statement can help keep us on track and guide us when the road gets rough. Print yours and hang it where your whole family can reflect on it daily.
Share Your Homeschool Mission Statement
Do you have a homeschool mission statement? If so, please share it in the comments!
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Have you ever wanted to start a blog about your homeschool?
It’s easy and fun! And you can earn money while homeschooling while blogging about your homeschool journey. I’ve been blogging about homeschooling for over a decade, and you can do it, too.
In addition to sharing important information about how to homeschool in Florida, I also like to tell stories about the many other facets of our life as a homeschooling family in Florida, and I love to read stories of how other homeschooling families do things. I’m sure you do, too.
One of my most popular posts is about our journey toward a gluten-free lifestyle. Now’s the time for you to start sharing your own stories in order to inspire others!
How Blogging Has Changed For Us
Why do you need New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool? I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, several years ago I resolved not to participate in the seemingly pointless, tradition of sharing with friends all the ways I was going to make my life better in the coming year.
What a set up for failure, right?
I mean, all these ads and sales for healthy foods, supplements, weight loss products, exercise equipment is enough to prove that resolutions don’t last; otherwise all these things would be in your face all year long.
But today I’m not talking about exercise and diet resolutions; I’m talking about resolutions for your homeschool and why you need them.
Are there changes you’d like to make? Things you’d like to do differently? Do your kids have ideas about what they’d like to add to their schooling? Now is the time to regroup, recharge and resolve! Making New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool is important and here’s why: (more…)