Homeschool mom burnout is the bleak side of homeschooling that people don’t like to talk about! I recently had the opportunity to speak for a homeschooling support group. When the meeting was over, I enjoyed talking to many of the ladies that were there. One lady came up to me and thanked me for sharing honestly about some of the difficulties I faced in my parenting and homeschooling.
She shared that she had been struggling with burnout. She mentioned that no one is very willing to say how they are feeling and that if someone had explained to her that those feelings were from burnout, it would have really helped her to overcome.
So how long does it take for burnout to heal? And how do I stop being overwhelmed with homeschooling? There aren’t always simple answers, but there are steps you can take to prevent burnout and also stop it in it’s tracks before it really takes root in your heart. Let’s talk about that!
What to do About Homeschool Mom Burnout
I love what Christine Field said about this very issue in her book “Help for the Harried Homeschooler“.
Burnout. We don’t have to define it; we know it when we see it, or more accurately, when we feel it; the dread, the joylessness, the physical exhaustion, the sense of inadequacy or even failure. We have no vision for our work. We’re short and impatient with the kids.
Burnout is the bleak side of homeschooling, and at some point, the experience of almost every veteran homeschooler.
If we knew how common it was, if we were willing to talk about it more, perhaps we could help one another work through it. But we don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to be seen as failures. Because of this, we feel a need to prove ourselves to other homeschoolers as well as to our skeptical relatives and the world at large. How are we doing? Great! Wonderful! What a joy our homeschooling journey is!
But pretending that everything is fine when it’s not does nobody any good. If burnout is a problem in our efforts to homeschool, we need to face it and deal with it–or risk everything for which we’ve sacrificed. How many homeschools are abandoned before their time, I wonder, because a burned-out-mom saw no other alternative?”
How do I stop homeschool burnout?
1. We need to be real with each other.
We should not always be complaining about how hard it is to homeschool and do all we’re supposed to. Those difficulties shouldn’t be our topic of conversation at “support group” meetings. However, it is so important that we are honest, and admit when we are struggling.
We ALL struggle. We ALL have days when we don’t want to homeschool anymore; days when the kids have bad attitudes and challenge us continually. That doesn’t make us a failure. It means we are normal human beings with weaknesses. Instead, it shows that our kids aren’t perfect, but are normal kids with a sinful nature.
When you are struggling or discouraged, admit it, and ask for prayer. Ask others for ideas of how they have dealt with those issues. Those of us who have been homeschooling and parenting for a long time should be there to help teach the younger ones and encourage them. (Sometimes the younger ones encourage ME with their energy and zeal!)
2. Realize that you can’t do everything!!
Often we unknowingly bring homeschool mom burnout on ourselves. We try to do too much, and along with too many commitments, we have too little support.
Feeling stressed is a sign that you are doing too much. Cut back on what you can, and lighten up your schedule. Don’t keep pushing when your body is saying to stop. Be sure you make time to take care of yourself and renew yourself, or you will burn out. You can only push yourself for so long, and then it will catch you in the form of burnout. Slow down and ask God to give you strength, and to show you what your priorities should be, and what you can let go.
How do you recover from homeschool burnout?
When I was struggling with homeschooling burnout, I would often quote this verse as a reminder to myself:
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”
Look to God as the source of your strength, and wait on Him daily to lead you in balancing what He has given you to do!
One of the best things you can do at this time of your school year is to focus on building Godly character in your kids. Good character lays the foundation for academic success.
The most important job we have as parents is preparing our children for life. The best way to do that is to teach the development of Godly character, while also modeling it in your daily life.
But we also know that it can be tough to be consistent in teaching Godly character.
You don’t see how you could have the time to add it in or you just don’t know where to start…..
so you don’t …. and now you’re starting to see the results.
- Sibling Squabbles
- Lack of patience
To name a few…
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Karen, Jan. and Feb. ARE the most common months for burnout! I think the excitement and busyness of the holidays, combined (at least where I live ) with dreary cold days makes it hard to get back into the swing of things. You are SO wise to have a game plan!
I have been homeschooling 18 years and know burnout well. I have learned to expect it in late January-February of most school years. I call it the February Blahs. It comes after the excitement of a new school year has long faded and the distraction of the holidays are all boxed up. I think it really helps to know what it is and so I can do some positive things to hold back the emotion. Like plan time with my girlfriends, have a date with my husband or just take the kids to the park for a walk when a warm day surprises us. these kinds of little things help me get through the down times and dig into finish the school year. thanks for the post
Anastasia, you are smart to take a few days off like that! The beauty of homeschooling is that you can create your own schedule for the year. If you need to take a few days or a week off now and then, you can just add them in at the end of your year. There’s no such thing as “being behind”. 🙂
We are just starting our homeschooling career and I can already see how burnout can be so easy! We’ve already needed to take a few days off just to recoup and just breathe.