Being a homeschool mom is tough. As a homeschool mom with two girls doing school and two younger ones looking on, I’ll be the first to admit that. I love having my kids at home with me and can’t imagine putting them in school, but there are still days when it’s hard to have four kids around ALL THE TIME. So here are my tips to avoid homeschool burnout.
1. Find a Homeschool Network
Whether online or local, it’s so important to have a supportive network of homeschool moms around you. I’m part of several homeschool groups, both here in Vancouver and on Facebook, and they are great. I also have other friends who are homeschooling so if we’re having a rough day, I can call someone and talk about it. That usually helps me regain some perspective or laugh about whatever was happening.
2. Keep Your Husband on Board
If your husband is like mine, he’s at work during the week and doesn’t see what happens at home while the kids are doing school. It can be hard for him to feel involved or to know what you put into your kids’ education. Often, when my husband asks the girls what they did for school today, they give him blank looks or tell him they can’t remember—which makes him look at me with raised eyebrows.
To help him feel involved, I try to chat with him about what the girls are doing in school and to start the conversations, rather than putting them on the spot. If we’ve done a cool science experiment, created some art, or built something for history, then it’s easy to get the girls to do “show and tell” for Daddy. When I’m picking curriculum, I talk with him about what we want the girls to learn and what I’ve heard about various curriculum options. We also discuss extracurricular activities together.
It’s also a good idea to discuss how you are doing with the homeschool plan. If you are feeling stressed, behind, or overwhelmed with the demands of homeschooling, housework and other tasks, let your husband (or friends) know. It’s time to ask for help. Often times, taking a break can help, whether that’s just going for coffee with a fellow homeschooling mom for an hour to chat or something more like getting a massage.
3. Make a Plan
I love my planners, both for homeschooling and for blogging. They help me keep on track with what we’re doing each day. When we started out, my planner kept me from doing too much every day and avoid homeschool burnout in my very first year! This year, when we took an extended amount of time off after Pearl’s birth, I knew exactly where we needed to jump back into school because of my homeschool planner.
Last year, I bought a plan with my curriculum so everything was laid out for me. This year, I’ve been creating my own plan, week by week. Figure out what works for you and your style of teaching (or learning), but make sure that you are doing some sort of planning.
4. Choose the Right Curriculum
Picking curriculum is hard. I’ve chatted with other homeschool moms quite a bit about various homeschool resources before ordering them for our school. I also read a lot of blogs about other resources available to homeschoolers and different learning styles (like Charlotte Mason or Montessori). It might take a year or two to figure out what works for your style; if something is working, keep doing it and if it’s not working, adjust or try something new until you find what does work.
When I was in school, we switched math curriculum halfway through one year. It was one of the best homeschooling decisions my mom made, as it made all the difference in my math education. Don’t feel like you’re stuck with one curriculum because you started it or are halfway through it. If it’s not working, take a break and find something that does work. Which leads me to my last suggestion…
5. Create a Library of Homeschooling Resources
Like a good friend, a good book can help you feel encouraged and renewed in your homeschooling efforts. Grab a book for yourself when you buy your child’s curriculum each year. Or, better yet, buy the audiobook so you can listen to some encouragement while folding laundry or driving your kids to their activities! Talk to your friends about their favourite books for homeschool moms. Another way to encourage and inspire yourself is through e-courses such as Tricia Goyer’s Homeschool Success. You’ll get practical tips from a mom who’s been there, done that, and tells you what she learned!
How do you stay inspired as a homeschool mom and avoid homeschool burnout? What resources would you recommend to fellow homeschoolers?
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