How to deal with homeschooling burnout is what every teaching parent should consider even before setting up the homeschooling classroom in the house. This is because homeschooling burnout is bound to occur, just as burnout will occur in any other job when you are not careful with your planning and doing. What is homeschooling burnout? When you are overworked at home, you are bound to become tired, depressed, anxious and negative in your perspectives. How do you deal with homeschooling burnout?
1. Call for a time-out.
Step back and give yourself a time-out. Every other week, put your children at a supportive family member or friend’s house for a few hours, and give yourself that much needed break to rejuvenate and consolidate your effort. If you are with a spouse, have a good talk with your spouse, and let your spouse handle the children for a day while you have time off. You need to salvage yourself and take control of the situation again before you can do any more good to your children and others.
2. Back to the drawing board.
First you need to understand how you got into this condition. Why does homeschooling burnout occur? The teaching parent is the Jack of all trades. Although the teaching parent is not working out of the home, he is in fact working at a job within the home. He is also likely to be holding some part time job to make ends meet, as well as keeping the housework in place.
Evaluate your work schedule. Do you really need that part-time job? Is there an alternative way to more cash than that job? Are there ways to cut down on expenditure so that you do not need to have that part-time job? Do you need to work that many hours? Can you cut it down an hour less so that you have an hour more to spend on yourself and recuperate from your work schedule at work and as a teaching parent?
In her article Homeschool Burnout, Ellyn Davis wrote about the 80/20 principle. She commented that many of the greatest achievements of a person are accomplished with 20% effort. Other 80% is wasted on activities that sap your energy, giving little productive output. Examine your own lives whether you are a homeschooling parent or not, and you will find some truth concerning your state of affairs in her article.
If you are homeschooling your children, chances are that you spend the bulk of your time at home, do the housework, and engage in some part time work to make ends meet. In other words, you may well be burning the candle at both ends. Basically, you are doing three persons’ jobs – the teacher, the maid, and the part time worker. Your mind, therefore is continually bombarded with planning, executing and consolidating activities.
Compared to your spouse who focuses full-time at a job, and helps out with the house and the children whenever he can, you are actually covering more ground, at least 60% of the roles. You need to identify the activities where the 40% of your time go to that are sapping your energy negatively and causing burn-out.
If you are a single parent, there is no need to feel self-pity. Many single parents have found the balance in their lives. So can you. In fact, get out of self-pity because that saps a lot of your energy. Have a talk with counselors, psychiatrists, family members or friends whom you can confide in. Join a single-parents group for solace and support.
3. Farm out the work.
A teaching parent is also managing most, if not all of the curriculum, meaning to say that although he has fewer students than a teacher in a school environment, he has to spend much time in preparations, especially when he has children of different ages spread over a few years. He may also be a new hand at teaching which might not come naturally initially.
Are there modules you could send your children to at the homeschooling co-operative? Tap on Internet or comprehensive computer-assisted modules that will mark and give you the grade rather than have you marking everything. Find another teaching parent who will take your brood for a while. You will return the favor when you are rested and when he needs the break.
Look for available help with the younger children. The grandparents or your family members may have offered help before. Now that you realize you have chewed off more than you have swallowed, see if their offer is still available. If they live nearby enough, hand them the toddlers for a couple of hours or so every weekday, so that you have peace and quiet in the house for your older children to spend on quality teaching.
Once you have done the necessary teaching and guidance with the older children, they can go about their assignments with minimal fuss while you take back the younger ones and go on quality playtime with them in a nearby but separate room so that the older children are not distracted. It is also a good way to inculcate independent learning in the older ones.
4. Make time – think out of the box with other responsibilities.
Can you afford part time help with the housework? If you can afford to ignore a little dirt in the house, you might be able to afford cleaners once or twice a week who will do the necessary. An alternate plan would be to work at different household chores everyday instead of doing everything everyday, and involve the children.
Your spouse or you are the commander in the home. Explain to your children the advantages of them chipping in household chores rather than forcing it down their throat. Praise them for their help in the family. You will be surprised at how much they can help the family.
5. Find inner peace.
If you have a religion, turn to your God for peace within. Locate the source of your burnout and pray for guidance to deal with it. Nothing beats having an Almighty to call upon and work things out with.
There must be a way to balance out everything. Find that balance and you are on the way to a more organized homeschooling lifestyle void of burnout.