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How To Avoid and Conquer Homeschool Burnout
You feel overwhelmed, tired, and unmotivated. Your heart’s desire is to be with your kids and give them the best education possible, but you are struggling with even wanting to get started each morning. Can you relate? If so, you may be experiencing homeschool burnout.
What is burnout?
“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.” —helpguide.org
We’re all susceptible to burning out…especially considering the past year with its additional stresses. Homeschooling can be exhausting, and we often feel the weight of the demands put on us by our spouses, family members, state requirements, and ourselves.
At Homeschool Mastery Academy we believe education shouldn’t be overwhelming or stressful. That’s why we’re sharing how you can evaluate why you are feeling burned out—or headed that way—as well as some practical tips to find joy and freedom in your homeschool.
Evaluating Homeschool Burnout
If we don’t begin with evaluation, we’re likely to struggle more when it comes to finding practical help and solutions. It would be like picking up a random prescription without having a diagnosis of what is really wrong.
So begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What overwhelms me? This can include different aspects of homeschooling, as well as home, work, and outside commitments. Think about what you enjoy doing versus what you dread.
- What drains me emotionally? Are there things that aren’t necessarily physically draining, but are so emotionally draining you begin to feel it physically? What is going on in your life that makes you want to cry or give up?
- What demands have been placed on me by someone else? Are they realistic? If not, is there something I can do to mitigate them?
- What demands have I placed on myself? Are these demands realistic? Am I spending too much time watching what other people are doing on social media or in homeschool groups?
- Have I listened to too many other people telling me what I should do, instead of deciding what’s best for my family? Have I stopped and asked—Are these people raising my kids, or am I?
If we want to heal, or avoid burnout all together, we have to start with being honest with ourselves. If you are married, talk about these questions with your spouse. If you’re single, ask a friend who you can trust (and is supportive) if they would mind helping you think through these questions.
Healing for Homeschool Burnout
Take a break. Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. If you need to take a break for a week or two, do it. You’ll be stronger and a more effective teacher than if you just keep trying to “run through the pain.”
Go on a retreat. If you can get away for a weekend by yourself then DO IT! But if that’s not possible, see if you can get a friend to babysit for a morning or preferably a full day. You can always return the favor. Do something that is truly relaxing, If you can take several days, set some time aside to make a plan for what you need to change so you don’t end up burnt out again.
Make a plan. Your retreat would be a great time for this, but if that doesn’t work have a video learning day for the kids—or other activities they can do with minimal help from you—so you can spend time thinking through a plan. We have to be intentional if we want to make changes.
Figure out a way to homeschool that works for your kids and you! Often homeschooling moms focus on resources and curriculum that fits the needs of their kids. And that’s great! But that only works if it is a good fit for you as well. Yes, it’s fine to sacrifice sometimes, but you cannot homeschool day in and day out in a way that exhausts and drains you.
Ask for help. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman. She only exists in cartoons and movies. (Besides, who could really fight the bad guys in that outfit???)
Preventative Measures for Homeschool Burnout
If you aren’t experiencing homeschool burnout, then take care of yourself so you don’t have to. Here are some quick tips to keep you healthy—physically and emotionally.
- Take care of your health. Yes, we know that’s not always easy, but it will make a huge difference if you’ll go to bed at a reasonable time, choose healthy foods, and at least take a walk several times a week.
- Make time for doing the things you love. You need this. You’re children and their needs are important, but they can’t be the center of your world. It’s good and healthy for you to have your own interests that you pursue.
- Have some fun with your kids. Play outside, enjoy a board game instead of a math lesson, surprise your kids with a movie day. Even educational activities can be fun! Check out our ideas for poetry teatime!
- Stop comparing. Get off social media. Find people who will encourage you and offer practical help in ways that respect that you know what is best for your kids.
- Just say no. No to so many activities, no to the topics you don’t think your kids need, no to the person asking you to serve on another committee or board. Choose a few things and do them well.
You don’t have to be overwhelmed or exhausted because of homeschooling. Try some of these practical tips for dealing with homeschool burnout, and find what works for both you and your kids. It will be worth it, and it will teach your kids a life lesson something books never will: the importance of self-care.
A relaxed and rested mom is truly a gift.
And just a note: If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, and not just burnout, please talk to your doctor and seek help!