Five Minute Tips for Avoiding Homeschool Burnout – Part 3

In the world of homeschooling, the balance between enthusiasm and fatigue, excitement and concern, and joy and despair is usually an issue of proactive planning, solid academic progress, and a few indulgences along the way. Avoiding burnout is in part, connected to the above issues, but even if you have planned well and rewarded your children accordingly when they’ve deserved it, you may still find yourself struggling to find the joy in your homeschool program. Five minutes here and there, though, can truly make a difference and help keep you fresh rather than burned out.

As discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, homeschooling burnout is often the result of feeling behind, overworked, and under rewarded for your efforts. Taking a few simple steps and spending only a few minutes in planning can significantly offset those feelings, however. But there is still more to this issue. Sometimes, the feeling of being burned out is a result of inward-focus, not outward-thinking. In simple terms, sometimes we homeschoolers spend too much time thinking about ourselves, our programs, our children, our day, our activities, and on and on and on. We spend far too little time thinking about others. The result is that we tend to lose friendships over time, we wonder where “we” went as parents, and we forget that we have a life outside of school.

There is no fault in pouring yourself into your family, and I will be the first to advocate for that. But, if you are only thinking of your own interests, then you will lose touch with the rest of the world around you. One of the primary reasons that most homeschoolers begin to homeschool is to effect change in the lives of their children, to equip them with the skills to be effective adults, and to teach them to interact with others with integrity, solid character, and leadership skills. However, if we fail to interact with others around us, then those skills will be untested.

Because of this, one of the most powerful ways to avoid homeschool burnout is to get involved outside of the home. This presumes the fact that your students are on track, making solid progress in their academic pursuits, and gaining the skills that they will use outside of the home, but once those things are well underway and incorporated into daily plans, then you can begin to plan for outward-thinking time.

The five-minute version of this is to send a card or note to someone just to encourage them. Make a call to a friend just to see how they’re doing. Think about others for a few minutes every day, those who are outside of your home, and teach your homeschool children to do the same. You would be surprised at what a difference it makes just to spend a few minutes thinking about someone else. For instance, you could undertake a letter-writing campaign to soldiers, and in five minutes, write one letter each day. The impact that your family could have on others in such a plan is tremendous, and all in only five minutes every day.

If you have more than five minutes, go visit a friend with a surprise package of cookies, hand-deliver a note, or take on a volunteer project as a family outside of the house. Homeschoolers are in a unique position to be able to plan for the unexpected by planning their time to suit their schedule. Perhaps your family would want to serve for a meal delivery through a community organization. Those things can be planned for, incorporated into your schedule, and thus create an outward focus as long as you are planning your time wisely.

The combination of proper planning, core subject progress, rewards for attainment of goals, and giving time to your community or others will help to keep the homeschooling parent and student from feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated. Avoiding burnout is about the combination of activities, and if you are feeling out of order in your homeschooling program, check the order and emphasis of the things you are doing each day. If things are askew, spend five minutes each day, working to reorder these aspects of your homeschool program. You’ll find more success, a sense of accomplishment, and all of your feelings of burnout will fade away.

(To see Part 2 of this series, click here.)