In the homeschool community, we hear about homeschool burnout. Many of us have experienced it. There are many things written about how this one or that one overcame it or gave into it. But has anyone ever told you how to actually reach the point of burnout? No?? Well today I'm going to do that for you because I'm just special like that. In no particular order, here is my list of Top 10 Ways to Ensure Homeschool Burnout:
- Worry about what others think. Let all the negative remarks, the advice and opinions eat at your thoughts day and night. Worry about what the mother-in-law thinks. Let what that other homeschool mom said about your curriculum cause you to question your abilities as a mom.
- Don't be organized. Shoot from the hip! Household management? Forget it. Now you can easily get caught up each day in the details of what's-for-dinner, cleaning up messes the kids made and other minor "emergencies". Lessons will fall by the wayside. This is a great way to feel like a failure!
- Have unrealistic expectations. Expect that your 5 year old will be reading college textbooks just like that other homeschooling family you saw on a TV talk show. This undue pressure on your children will cause meltdowns. Your child will spend their lesson time in frustration and tears. While you're at it, expect that you'll maintain a Martha Stewart type home, be Julia Child in the kitchen all the while being a better professor than Einstein. And by all means, beat yourself up when things aren't 'perfect'.
- Overschedule outside activities. Make sure that you have so many play dates, park dates and field trips that you can't keep up with them or your lessons. Worry so much about socialization that you're never at home. Your family will be so exhausted that you'll quickly lose momentum.
- Never schedule any outside activities. Isolate the children. Make homeschool the sole focus in your world. Never take a day for fun or visiting with friends. Never attend a workshop at the local museum or a nature study with the county conservation group. All work and no play will make you and little Johnny want to give it all up.
- Never tweak your curriculum. Keep pushing forward with your plans, even if they're not working. If your child isn't progressing, you find yourself yelling, and your child is in tears on a daily basis then you're well on your way!
- Take no breaks from homeschool. Don't take a break during the 'school year'. If you're feeling tired and unmotivated, this would be a great time to take a week or two off to relax and recharge. Then you could come back refreshed to start anew. So don't do that.
- Don't set boundaries with family and friends. Answer every email and messenger chat box that pops up. By all means, answer that ringing phone! Do all of these during 'school' time. Don't inform your family and friends that your formal lessons occur at certain times and that you don't wish to be interrupted. You'll have all the distractions necessary to a "failed" homeschool day!
- Find no time for enjoying your children. Make every moment a teaching moment. Don't play with your children, enjoy their company, talk to them or listen to them.
- Don't pursue your own interests. No sitting down to read or joining in that cropping class with your local scrapbook club. Don't have a mom-and-dad date night or a girls' night out with your friends. Don't get involved in a reading club or any other activity that interests you. You're a homeschool mom now. Deal with it!
Note: If you see yourself in any of these, rest assured that the rest of us do, too. We've all done some or all of these. Hopefully, this humorous look at the causes of burnout can help you to avoid it in the future.
I wrote three chapters in The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas including
- Navigating from High School to College with a Dyslexic Child
- Homeschooling the Bipolar Child and
- Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School Years.