Monday, January 24, 2011
How I Avoid Burnout
This post should really be called How I Avoid Burnout and Remedy it When it Happens. I have suffered from burnout occasionally in the 12+ years I have been homeschooling. It was never bad enough to make me give up on my commitment. I have dealt with the problem in different ways over the years. Since my memory of those times isn't perfect I will share what I do in the present.
Whenever I am feeling burnt out I know it is time to reevaluate what we are doing each day, refocus, and recommit to homeschooling. As the school year progresses I seem to add to our workload. There are so many wonderful things we can study and sometimes I am tempted to add more than I should. As the burden grows I become frazzled and worn out. When I start to feel this coming on I reassess what we need to accomplish and drop the extras for awhile. I always vow not to overburden myself again but all of the little extras I add on catch up with me eventually and I have to drop them and go back to basics.
I like to review some of my teacher resources, such as, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition), Art Robinson's Course of Study in the Robinson Curriculum, or articles about using Charlotte Mason's methods in the homeschool. These inspire me to keep going and make sure I'm focusing most of our attention on the most important school subjects instead of all the extras. I usually find myself reviewing my inspiration sources in the spring and fall. I am actually going through this process right now.
I try to study some subjects seasonally instead of always doing everything. We school year round so changing our electives every few months adds new life to our routine. For example, in the spring and summer we focus more on nature study and gardening and take a break from foreign language.
I try to keep our schooling focused on the basics to avoid burnout in the first place and that seems to work for us. I also focus on teaching my children to be independent learners so as they get older I will have the time to work with my younger students on phonics and beginning math.
If all of the above measures don't work I will schedule a school break for a week or two so we can all rest and enjoy some time just being at home together. I plan any big house projects over our holiday breaks. I know I can only do so much while our homeschool is in session so I keep my days as simple as possible. I find that burnout happens more often when I am overburdened with housekeeping so I train my children to help as much as possible. We call this home ec!
I hope I've offered you a few helpful suggestions to avoid burnout. If you have any tips for me, please leave them below in the comments section.