I will never forget my first homeschooling conference. My sons were only two years old, so I reasoned I had plenty of time to spend researching all our educational options. I considered my attendance at the conference as part of my research.
The weekend was life-changing in many ways. Profound and inspiring. I felt encouraged and excited, fueled by the educational possibilities I envisioned for our family.
But I noticed something else, too. Many of the mothers attending looked…tired. Worn down.
This concerned me. “Is this what homeschooling does to mamas?” I wondered. It was really important in my mind to have a long-term strategy within our homeschooling lifestyle. I knew if I wore myself completely thin the first year there wouldn’t be much left in reserve for future years.
Over time, as I’ve traveled this path myself and have met many homeschooling families, I’ve noticed certain qualities that can lead a mama to lose her spark.
Here are ten ways to burnout as a homeschooling mother. Do you recognize yourself on this list?
1. Structure your home just like a school building–complete with a flag and rows of desks.
2. Plan your homeschooling day’s schedule to look exactly as it would at the school down the street.
3. Whatever the cost, trudge through that curriculum you bought cover to cover, in spite of the fact that both you and your children became bored three months ago.
4. Stay home at all times and never meet up with your friends.
5. Begin when your child is in kindergarten to plan his entire homeschooling career until high school, including how you plan to teach him algebra.
6. Never attend any homeschooling conferences or groups in your area.
7. Don’t read any homeschooling books, blogs, or forums online.
8. Spend too much time reading homeschooling books, blogs, or forums online–and be sure to compare yourself to what everyone else is doing.
9. Give up all your outside interests in order to serve your family and children–who needs free time anyway?
10. Don’t pay any attention to your cues or your children’s cues when they tell you it’s time for a change or a break.
We all go through seasons of ups and downs occasionally. One of the advantages of the homeschooling lifestyle is that, more or less, we get to manage our days the way we choose. But sometimes through our choices we neglect ourselves.
Homeschooling should bring life and joy to everyone in the family. If that’s not what you’re experiencing, take the time to consider where you burned out along the way, and what you can do to light your spark again.
Have you experienced a period of homeschooling burnout? What did you do to recharge and refuel?