Homeschool burnout can leave you feeling defeated, stressed, and tired. How do you spot the signs of burnout, and what can you do to help your homeschool and yourself to thrive again?
This week I found myself sitting behind my closed bedroom door crying and gorging myself on giant handfuls of coffee nut M&M’s. Feelings of frustration and overwhelming thoughts had finally gotten the best of me. The constant sibling bickering, sickness, rain, and endless questions compounded by the extra weight of trying to do All. The. Things. Plus, adulting had finally won out.
Some homeschool seasons are just more challenging than others. So, I gave in to the moment and let the tears flow, releasing all of my pent-up emotions. Is this what homeschool burnout feels like for you?
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When You Can’t Do Everything: Overcoming Homeschool Burnout
I gave myself 10 minutes of reprieve before joining the children in the living room. I had made up my mind. We were done.
Done, I tell you!
I put away all plans and ideas of what should be done for the rest of the week. All expectations were thrown in the trash along with my empty M&M package.
How did this happen?
Simple. I tried to do EVERYTHING. Let’s face it. As a mom, that’s what I typically try to do. We moms are constantly pulled in a million different directions.
I know if I were a computer, I would regularly have 37 browser tabs and five programs open, AND I’d feel like I needed to open more…
You Can’t Do ALL. THE. THINGS.
But guess what? By trying to do All. The. Things. I am setting myself up for failure. Sure, I may succeed for a few days, weeks, or even months.
But eventually, it all catches up to me. I can’t continually give of myself and not put it back into me! Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?”
If I continually pour from my cup into everything else, my cup ends up empty. That’s when I find myself hiding behind the bedroom door (the bathroom works well too), stuffing chocolaty goodness into my face.
Dealing with Homeschool Burnout
So here’s the deal. Though I am usually sparkly rainbows and sunshine every waking moment of the day (totally not serious about the sparkly rainbows).
I have my own set of needs that must be met. My guess is that you are the same way. At least, I hope I’m not alone here.
Granted, I tend to go through cycles where I put my needs on the back burner and forget about them until the smoke from the fire catches my attention, and I quickly reach for the salt to put out the flames.
Am I the only one that does that?
I really should be better about my own needs, and as I get older, I am making progress. At this rate, I should be a PRO at parenting and personal care by the time I’m 721…too ambitious?
Seriously, I feel like I’m winging this whole parenting thing. It’s tough. Add in homeschooling, working, and most days, I feel like a Stormtrooper that’s been Jedi mind tricked.
Was that the droid I was looking for?
Tips for When You Can’t Do Everything
Taking the time to fill your cup, as a homeschool mom, can be stressful. I know I feel like I’m letting other things slide, and I am! That’s the whole point of letting other things go so that I can regroup and recharge.
Here are a few of the ways I get myself back on track and find joy so that I can be the best version of me for my children:
- Relax your schedule. Pull back or even make a full stop. Don’t worry about math or grammar or anything else until you feel the burnout is over. Burnouts look different for everyone, so give yourself plenty of grace and time to rediscover the joy of homeschool. Documentaries can help relax your schedule. Curiosity Stream is our very favorite for thousands of quality documentaries. Plus it’s affordable at only $2.99 per month!
- Get Outside. When I finally realize that I am burnt out, I immediately look to nature. Nature is soothing to my soul, plus the children get plenty of fresh air to play, garden, hike, and room to run. We all feel better, and my burnout fog lifts more quickly after spending time among growing things.
- Reading. Snuggling on the couch or under a shade tree and reading aloud to the children is a beautiful way for me to feel reconnected to them while feeding my soul. Children learn far more than you’d expect by being read aloud to. Check out our post 35 Favorite Read Aloud Books, if you need inspiration. Audiobooks count too! Did you know you can try Audible for FREE for 30 days AND get two FREE audiobooks?
- Find the Fun. Art, Music, Cooking, Movies, Dancing, Playing Games…these are all fun! My children enjoy all of these and learn tons while doing them. Strewing interesting items like puzzles, books, and science experiments can help bring excitement back into your homeschool!
Homeschool Moms NEED Self Care
- Self Care. Self-care will look different for everyone, but for me, self-care involves quiet time each day (hello, introvert here), reading great books, and exercise. Granted, some types of self-care are made even more difficult when you’re alone with the kids all day. Here’s where I incorporate dad, family, friends, or have a quiet hour in the afternoon where everyone colors, builds Lego’s or reads quietly to themselves. However, for you, self-care may be long baths, jogging, painting, saying no to extra activities, or any number of things that help you recharge. Find time for the things that fill your cup. You can read more about how I’ve improved self-care in my post: Self-Care for the Introverted Homeschool Mom.
You may find these posts helpful:
50 Favorite Games The Whole Family Will Love
The Art of Strewing Games in Your Homeschool
100 Strewing Ideas for Your Homeschool
The Art of Strewing Math in Your Homeschool
25 Movies You Can Pair With Books
Homeschool Strewing as Part of a Child-Led Education
Exploring Art: Art Books and Games for Kids
Encouraging Music Appreciation with SQUILT
I don’t think anyone is immune to burnout regardless of their homeschooling philosophies or methodologies. We are all in the trenches of parenting trying to do our best as we do it all. Parenting and homeschooling aren’t for the faint of heart, but it is oh so worth it!
How do you overcome homeschool burnout?
You may also enjoy:
Homeschooling with Depression
Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Pursuing A Slow December
Scheduling for Your Homeschool When You’re Not a Schedule Kinda Girl
Leaving Space in Our Homeschool Year
When You’ve Lost Your Homeschool Rhythm
Oh, I totally get this post because I have been there so many times. Fantastic tips!
Erin Vincent says
Solidarity sister! It’s a challenging road, but i’m confident we’ll make it to the other side.
Mother of 3 says
Yep! I find I put myself last until I just can’t take one more minute.. and then we tend to head outside, read, or just take a break until we all feel like we want to try schooling again. I’m trying to take more frequent breaks and head it off before I get to that snapping point. Today we ditched the books and headed to the ocean; even though it was cold and even though the sun went behind clouds the moment we arrived it was just what we needed. A fun day in the sand, socializing with family
Erin Vincent says
Brilliant move! I can imagine how the ocean was soothing to everyone! Nature does wonders for us too.
So not alone and yeah that is pretty much how burnout looked for me except I think I may have been yelling at my husband I QUIT *ahem* not recommended by the way. 😉 Atta girl for finding a way to deal and cope. <3
Susan Evans says
Getting outside or doing something fun has really helped to revive me on days that I feel burned out. Exercise is also helpful, especially if it’s outside!