Home­school Burnout

When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating his or her child, home­school burnout is one of the more common issues they have to deal with. There are many reasons that lead to this burnout: an illness, a new baby, added responsibility, change in routine. etc.

The symptoms of burnout vary from lack of patience to overeating and crying without any apparent reasons. Surprisingly, a burnout need not be such a bad thing. It is a wake-up call - an indicator that things are not going well and that you need to reschedule. Reversing or avoiding a burnout is possible if you get fair warning.

Coming to a place of “burnout” as a home­schooling parent, or as a home­schooler, means that somewhere in the process, you have lost sight of your goals. One of the many reasons parents choose to home­school is that they want to enjoy time with their children. They see home schooling as an opportunity to spend worthwhile time with their child, exploring learning together, and walking the exciting road side by side. Opening the world of our children is a delight and you enthusiastically begin by talking, reading, walking, and sharing life.

So keep things in perspective. You need to know where you are headed. Each family is unique and you should rejoice in that! You need to take time to consider your own family goals. Where are you headed? What is important to you? What is the lasting quality you want to pass on to your children? When you know that, you need to head in that direction and keep it up.

Avoid comparing. When your eyes stray to begin to compare your child with someone else's or your child to their sibling, you nip that thought in the bud. Break off the thought there and then. You need to be in control of your thought patterns, and dismiss what is not edifying.

Instead, you should substitute that thought with a positive one. If you train yourself to actively put another thought in its place, you will be more successful in nipping those thoughts of comparison.

Lower your expectations. Do not be a perfectionist. Take the good days with the bad. Next, when something does not seem to work, look for alternative methods. Flexibility is a key factor. If tension starts mounting, take a break. When necessary, change the style of teaching. For instance, small children love to take on their spellings when they quiz an adult.

Consider your own circumstances. Each family has different circumstances which will affect them as a unit. Health, number of children, abilities of children, parent and child personalities - all of these have bearing on who we are and what we can do. You should not be in judgment of yourselves because of your own limitations, but rather, accept your circumstances and move on confidently and maturely.

Be realistic with your time and avoid overkill. Do not pack too many activities for the sake of socializing your child. A worn out mom means a grouchy kid and that means no happiness. Get support from your spouse or a neighbor or a support group. Don't try to achieve everything by yourself. Everyone has different limitations according to time. You need to make decisions for your unique family as to how much time will be spent at the desk. Do your children have time for sport? Do they have for a hobby? Time to think and just “be”? Time for fun? When you stop “ enjoying” the learning experience, reflect on why you began and review what you are doing. Home­schooling means “happy schooling” - don't forget that.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please read: Home­school - Staying Connected.