It’s the time of year when homeschool parents typically experience burnout. So, I’ve been thinking about the key to avoiding homeschool burnout this week. As I chatted with my husband one day, I realized that, for me, “keeping fresh” centres around one thing – one of the things that I consider to be a wonderful advantage that we have as homeschoolers – Flexibility.
I love to take advantage of our flexibility as homeschoolers!
Flexibility with …
Our Homeschool Day
I realized early on, from chatting with many homeschoolers at first and then through working with my son while my daughter was a toddler, that keeping traditional school day hours isn’t necessary when homeschooling. We can get so much done in merely a few hours, leaving time for all of us to enjoy interests and pursuits together or separately – and not feeling burnt out because we still get down-time, even though we participate in many outside activities.
I also have never worried about what time my children get up in the morning. When they were younger, my daughter slept in until 10am and my son was up by 7am at the latest. As they got older, and approached the teen years, they both started to sleep in until around 10am or even until closer to noon. They’ve always been able to go to sleep and wake as their body rhythms dictate and I am so glad that we have been able to accommodate that in our homeschool.
At age 15 and 20 now, they are still easily able to get up on their own when they need to go to an early dance class or work respectively. Not fighting my kids over sleep for all these years has definitely helped us all keep less stressed.
At times, we find out about an activity that would make a great field trip at the last minute. So, we simply drop everything and go! Sometimes I can tell we need a change of venue and dropping everything and going on a field trip is exactly what we need. Instead of a field trip, a good change of pace can also be as simple as a walk or relocating to finish up homeschool work outside.
Scheduling Homeschool Breaks
I can feel when I need a break from homeschool or my child needs a break, or all of us need a break! I’ve always liked making the announcement, “Guess what, no school today,” or “Guess what, no school this week.” There are so many things we are interested in doing that we are rarely bored – from fibre arts like knitting, to drawing, to writing, reading, or relaxing and playing some video games. There is plenty to do and enjoy.
A wise homeschooler I know once said that you should never be a slave to curriculum, it should be your slave. If I want to cover a subject a different way for a time, I do. For instance, when studying the World Wars, we’re likely to play the board game, “Axis & Allies” to learn about it. We love using board games as much as possible in our homeschool (and puppet shows when my kids were younger)! I also don’t worry if we leave things out of the curriculum – with Tapestry of Grace (which we often use as our core curriculum) that is expected anyway, as you can’t possible cover everything in it; it’s like a buffet of options
You Can Be Successful at Avoiding Homeschool Burnout
Acknowledge that you and your kids all need a break sometimes. Remain flexible so you can enjoy all those unexpected moments that come up and can enjoy your children while you homeschool.
Love, Luck &
Please note: This article was originally published in January 2011 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.