For many reasons, a parent may feel overwhelmed or exhausted when parenting in general. The same is especially true when the parent is also the full-time teacher. In an ideal world, we would have ample time and energy each day to prepare and implement teach moments, take of the day-to-day parenting, clean the house, get to extra-curricular activities and sports, etc. We would wake each more with a full night’s sleep feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Undoubtedly, this is not the world where you or I live.
The real world is where the neighbor’s dog barks all night, the kids fight through the entire science experiment, a relative or friend drops in unannounced, or the car breaks down on the way to a field trip. Something is bound to go wrong, distract us or simply disable us for the time being.
Just like adults, kids get burned out, too. They have bad days, sleepless nights, worries and frustrations that wear them down. A unit study that was exciting three weeks ago is not even remotely interesting now. Living in close proximity and spending all day, every day together can cause even the closest of siblings to get on each others nerves.
Tips to Recover from Burnout
Often, parents will catch sight of the fact that they or their children are on the road to burnout and take action to avoid it. When that does not happen, here are some tips to help your family to get back on the right path.
- Talk to your support person. If you do not already have someone in your life who supports your homeschooling efforts, you need to find and establish a trusted friend or family member who knows your goals and reasons for homeschooling and understands that you are simply overwhelmed and exhausted.
- Evaluate what you have been doing and determine if a change is necessary. If it is working, keep at it. If not, find a way to modify it or replace it.
- Ask your children what they believe is working and not working. Their answers may inspire you.
- Evaluate your family’s health. Are you drinking enough water? Taking your vitamins? Eating right? Exercising enough?
- Go to bed early for 2-3 nights in a row. That means the kids, too. Everyone go to bed at the same time.
- Take a day off. Declare a pajama day, go to the beach just to enjoy it, read a book together simply because it’s a great book, go for a walk. Whatever you do, do it to relax, not to educate.
- If you truly must get your school work accomplished, do it somewhere new. Try the library, park, airport, beach, your lawn, a friend’s house, anywhere.
Once life is relatively stable again, evaluate how you got so far into burnout mode. Have you been using the tips for avoiding burnout? Has there been a stressful life event? Have you been taking enough holidays or field trips to break up the day-to-day routine? Are you trying to cram too much into your schedule? Or a lesson plan? Whatever it is that contributed to your feeling so overburdened, you need to find a way to resolve it or you’ll be right back where you started.
Rough times are inevitable. It’s a part of life and it affects our homeschooling efforts. Remember to slow down once in a while and enjoy the journey.
Photo credit: kakisky @ morgueFile