This post may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are you feeling a little burned out from homeschooling? You’re not alone. Homeschool burnout is a real thing. It’s easy to get into a rut during the school year, but there are ways to avoid burnout. Here are some tips to help you understand the signs of homeschool burnout as well as coping strategies. We all want to enjoy homeschooling our kids, and it is important we know what to look for.
Homeschool Burnout Causes and Coping Strategies
When we plan the school year we envision fresh and fun activities. We dream of cuddles on the couch and deep discussions over a cup of tea. But reality oftentimes looks a bit different. When we moms are pulled in a multitude of directions, it is easy to move from excited homeschool mom to exhausted homeschool mom.
One important caveat here – depression in homeschool moms is also a real thing and it goes beyond feeling like you’re in a rut. If you know this about yourself, please take special care. This post is dealing with the burnout that all homeschool moms feel eventually – please reach out to a person you trust or a therapist if you believe your symptoms are more closely aligned with clinical depression.
Is Homeschooling Stressful?
If this question makes you laugh, then you’re in good company. When you’re a homeschooling mom you feel pressures from a plethora of directions and most of us never get a break.
Homeschooling is physically and emotionally demanding. We often put a lot of the pressure on ourselves to find the “right” curriculum, to give our kids the extracurricular opportunities, to provide enriching experiences, etc. Support for homeschool moms is often limited – especially if you’re a secular homeschooler.
Homeschooling is rewarding but, yes, it is also stressful.
What Causes Burnout?
If you’re feeling all the signs of burnout you might wonder, “What is wrong? Why do I feel this way?”. If you find yourself asking those questions you might find the answer in this list of homeschool burnout causes.
- Trying to make your homeschool mimic public school
- Uncertainty of your child’s learning style or your teaching style.
- Overscheduling – either with your school activities or extra curriculars
- Power struggles with your kids
- Kids might have learning disabilities or challenging behaviors
- You aren’t prioritizing self-care
- Working at home and homeschooling
Do you see yourself in that list? Personally I am really bad at prioritizing self-care (it’s part of the reason I started this blog!) and we are notorious overschedulers and I work at home. It’s all the key ingredients for burn out! If you find yourself getting burnt out, chances are high your kids are also burnt out or at least feeling the effects of a stressed out mom.
What are the signs of Homeschool Burnout?
I think all homeschool moms experience burnout eventually. How do you know if it is a bad day or true burnout? Here are some clues it might be true burnout – and don’t fret – coping strategies are coming up next!
- Fantasizing about sending your kids to school
- Dreading doing one more long division problem (or grammar, or science, or . . . )
- Checking the boxes to mark schoolwork as done, but not really enjoying the process
- Searching for new curriculum because surely it will be the secret sauce
- A lack of joy in your days
Now, it isn’t realistic to think every day will be full of rainbows, sparkles, and unicorns. Some days just are truly harder than others. But when you begin to experience these symptoms of burnout as a pattern rather than an exception – that’s when you need to move on to the coping strategies and re-evaluate.
What are Coping Strategies for Homeschool Burnout?
Okay, so now that we have established burnout is real and normal and understand the symptoms – what the heck do you do about it? Here are 8 simple strategies for dealing with homeschool burnout.
- Look at the Big Picture. Why did you start homeschooling in the first place? Is that still your vision and goal? If your family vision has changed, does homeschooling still fit into the picture? When you first started homeschooling what did you love the most? Is there something you can do to get that feeling and experience back?
- What do your Kids Think? Homeschool burnout doesn’t effect just us moms. Check in with your kids and see how they are feeling. Do they feel too overscheduled? Overwhelmed? Is there something they would like to drop or to focus on?
- Try a new homeschooling method or curriculum – even if it’s short term. This happened in our family this year. I love Build Your Library curriculum, but because of how I had it structured this year, it just wasn’t working. We never really got into a groove. After talking it over with the kids, we are watching a lot of documentaries rather than focusing on literature. Sometimes you just have to do something out of the norm. A fun holiday unit study or a couple weeks focusing on an outdoor activity or favorite animal might be enough to recharge everyone’s spirits.
- Plan a fun day. Sometimes we really do just need a break. What if you took the day off school (or even a few days) and plan something fun to do instead? It could be a day of games or a field trip or a dance party or a park day. Definitely do something outside. Nature heals. The options are endless but just take the day to have fun together.
- Minimize your schedule. Again check in with the kids as they will have valuable input here. Are you overscheduled? Are there too many extracurriculars? You might need to drop an outside activity (or a school elective) all together. Or you might need to just drop one practice a week. I have 4 kids and they are all involved in competitive youth sports. We are always on the run. I used to think they could never miss a practice (gotta get my money’s worth, you know), but now I let them skip a practice if they need to. It’s very rare, but when they ask me for a day off, I know they really need it.
- Seek Support. When you are a homeschool family it can be hard to find a support system nearby. If you are able to, try switching kid duty with another homeschooling mom for one afternoon. Is there an activity at a local museum or sports activity your kids could attend without you and then you and the other mom could have coffee together? Use experiences like this to your advantage, especially if you don’t have family or friends nearby to take the kids for you. But if you do have a support system nearby, don’t hesitate to use them! My parents recently moved to our same town and it’s been amazing! Last summer my mom took my kids every Tuesday so I had a whole day to myself. I work at home as well so it was a very productive day for me.
- Outsource. If you find yourself struggling with one subject or one child in particular, look for ways you might outsource this. Outschool is my favorite way to do this. My kids have taken foreign languages, singing, hygiene and writing classes through Outschool. My oldest is not a natural writer and is resistant to try. We get into power struggles sometimes over this, so Outschool has been a godsend this year. He is doing amazing and I just get to be the proud mom watching him develop his skills.
- Stop Homeschooling. What??? Let’s be real, mamas, sometimes our vision has changed. Sometimes life circumstances have changed and we might truly need to take a break from homeschooling all together. If you have tried all the strategies to cope with homeschool burnout and you’re still not feeling the groove – it might be time to take a bit longer of a break. Investigate other schooling options in your area such as full public school, an online school, an enrichment program, etc. It doesn’t mean it has to be forever but sometimes everyone needs a different perspective. Try something different for a year and see if it works better for your family.
I’m sure all homeschool moms can attest to the fact that at some point during our homeschool journey, we experience burnout. It’s inevitable. We pour so much of ourselves into educating our children and managing our home that eventually we reach our limit. You are not alone, and there are ways to help avoid or at least minimize burnout.
I hope you have found these causes and coping strategies for homeschool burnout helpful. Solidarity, mamas!