Jacqueline Wilson, The Homeschool Super Freak, is the #1 bestselling author of It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement, and is a homeschooling mom, writer, educator, and speaker with over 16 years of experience in the education field. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Talk to any parent who has been homeschooling for a while and, if they’re being completely honest, they’ll tell you that they’ve felt like quitting homeschooling at one point or another during their homeschooling journey.
For me, that point came last year.
Within the span of nine months, my dad spent 40 days in the hospital and then passed away, my closest aunt died, and then my mom had brain surgery and moved in with us for 3 months. In between all of that, I had to find time to homeschool. (You can probably imagine how that went.) At one point I thought, “Why am I doing this? I’m actually killing myself trying to homeschool with everything else going on. It would be so easy just to send her to traditional school . . .”
Homeschooling had become a burden and I started to hate it. I loathed finding lessons and staying on track and helping and trying to find time to take my kid to different classes. I was completely burned out . . . not just from homeschooling, but from life.
After things started to settle, and I got to rest, and I was able to reprioritize, I found a new spark for homeschooling. And, this year, I feel we’re on a pretty good journey so far.
You see, most of the time, it isn’t the process of homeschooling that gives you burn out. It’s a curriculum that you hate, or being too rigid, or having a child who is struggling. Or, like in my case, it might be outside forces that put so much stress on you that you start to hate anything that needs more of your time, including homeschooling. When you’re feeling the homeschool burnout, there are ways to combat it and coping strategies to put in place. And, be sure to do it before you fall down the rabbit hole of homeschool burnout depression!
1. Revisit why you’re homeschooling.
When you start to feel like, “Why am I homeschooling, anyway?” it’s time to slow down and think back to a time when you started homeschooling. Why did you want to homeschool in the first place? How did you feel when you first started homeschooling? Remember that excitement (and terror) of starting a new journey that got your adrenaline pumping? That’s where you want to be again!
2. Talk to your kids.
How are your kids feeling about homeschooling? Have you asked them lately? Maybe you’re feeling the burnout because your kids just aren’t interested in homeschooling any longer? Or, maybe your kids hate their curriculum and they’re just afraid to tell you so it’s creating some tension? Finding out where everyone is on the homeschooling scale can help clear the air and could, surprisingly, put you back on track.
3. Switch it up.
Maybe it’s time to switch it up and follow another method of homeschooling? If you’ve been following a specific curriculum, try out a child-led unit study method. Or, maybe you’ll enjoy joining a co-op and sharing some of the responsibilities with other homeschool parents?
4. Take a break.
Maybe it’s just time to take a break? Life and school can be extremely hectic, so taking a break from homeschooling for a little while can be refreshing. Try a period of unschooling where you just let your child “be.” You’ll probably be shocked at how much they learn on their own. Also, spend this time doing field trips and visiting festivals and museums. It’s a fun way to learn, but it seems like you’re getting a “break” from school.
5. Travel or roadschool.
Maybe you just need to get out of dodge for a while and gain a new perspective? Traveling doesn’t have to mean a big vacation or even real travel. (Although those things are great for homeschooling because kids learn so much during travel.) Travel can be a day trip or a staycation in your own area. Also, consider roadschooling if your work schedule and budget can handle it. You can spend an extended period of time traveling while also homeschooling.
Sometimes, you just need to take a step back and reassess where you are . . . not just in life, but also in homeschooling. And, don’t be afraid to change it up before you make any long-term decisions.