"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Thursday, March 15, 2012

10 Ways To Ensure Homeschool Burnout

I found this thought-provoking post at The Holistic Homeschooler, which, by the way, is a wonderful place to visit if you homeschool using the Charlotte Mason methods of education.

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 special like that. In no particular order, here is my list of Top 10 Ways to Ensure Homeschool Burnout:

  1. Concern yourself with the expectations of others. Let all the negative remarks, the advice and opinions eat at your thoughts day and night. Worry about what the mother-in-law thinks of not sending your kids to school. Let what that other homeschool mom said about your curriculum choice cause you to second-guess your ability to choose for your own children. In this way, you can quickly become discouraged.
  2. Don't be organized. Shoot from the hip! Take each day as it comes with regards to household management. In this way 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". Many times this will cause lessons to fall by the wayside. This is probably the best way to drive yourself crazy because you'll start feeling like your failing the children with regards to their education.
  3. Set your expectations far too high. Expect that your 5 year old will read be reading college textbooks just that other homeschooling mom you know. Putting undue pressure on your children will cause meltdowns. You'll be disappointed in yourself and your child. Your child will spend their lesson time in frustration and tears and no learning will take place. While your 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 ever dreamed of being. That oughta do it.
  4. Overschedule outside activities. Make sure that you have so many playdates, 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. This will exhausted you and the children thoroughly.
  5. Never schedule any outside activities. Isolate the children and yourself. Make homeschool the sole focus of your world. Never take a day just to have fun or visit friends. Never attend a workshop at the local museum or a nature study with the county conservation group or whatever other activities are available in your community. All work and no play will make Johnny hate homeschool and your brain will be so overtaxed that you'll be sure to give up soon.
  6. Never tweak your curriculum. Keep pushing forward with your plans, even if they're not working. If your child isn't progressing; if you find yourself yelling and your child in tears on a daily basis.. you're well on your way! 
  7. Take no breaks from homeschool. Don't take a break during the 'school year'. If you're feeling tired; unmotivated and falling behind in everything, this would be a great time to take a week or two off to relax and rejuvenate so you can do a better job. So don't do that, your goal is burnout.
  8. 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 this during 'school' time. Don't inform your family and friends that your formal lessons occur at certain times and you'll not be interrupted during those times. Now you can have all the distractions necessary to a "failed" homeschool day! 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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-n-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 mom now. Your sole focus is homeschooling, cooking and cleaning. Deal with it.
And now you have all the keys to successfully reaching a point of homeschool burnout!

Happy Homeschooling!