Just about everyone gets excited at the thought of a brand-new homeschool year. Ah, the fun, the supplies, the new books, and don’t forget about the field trips! How the same folks get from there to burnout in just a few months isn’t always clear. But somewhere round the bend from the glorious first half of the homeschool year into the second stretch, as the weather warms and the sound of whining fills the air (yours as much as theirs), it sets in. It can happen around stressful events, holidays and even summers, too.
“Hello, Burnout. Haven’t seen you since this time last year.”
Yep, the desks are no longer clean. Supplies are severely disorganized. Frankly, so is your mind. Everybody is tired of the routine. Or maybe all heck has just broken loose altogether.
It’s not that uncommon. Everybody runs out of steam from time to time. But, maybe — you should have seen it coming? It’s not as though you haven’t been there before.
So, what to do? Better yet, how can you avoid burnout next year once-and-for-all!?
For starters, take a break. Yea, yea, you’ve heard it before. That’s because it works. A day, a week, a month. Whatever it takes to clear your mind, your desk, your plate.
Next, take notes. Why? So you’ll remember for next year. Keep a journal, a notebook, a diary. Write down the date, some notes, and what you were doing around that time. Mark the date on next year’s calendar…30 days BEFORE. That’ll give you time to arm yourself for the next time — hopefully side-swiping it entirely.
Lastly, switch things up. Once the break has ended and everyone is ready to head back to work, do things differently. Change subjects, change books, change rooms, change times, change methods. You can switch one thing, or many. Whatever it takes to inspire, motivate or give new life and perspective to what was taking place before.
Finally, as a rule of thumb, if burnout becomes a regular thing in your home, take a look at the bigger picture, too. It’s always okay to change things up any time of year, not just when burnout comes knocking. In fact, varying activities all year long can help avoid burnout altogether!
Keep in mind other tell-tale signs, like students who are overworked, or students who aren’t challenged enough. Trying to be a super hero yourself could be the problem. Or setting standards too high for everyone concerned.
Overall, homeschool life is joyful. Aside from occasional challenges, it isn’t supposed to be miserable. If burnout visits more often than you’d like, look deeper into the causes. But, for now, print these 3 steps and hang them somewhere handy: