When I first started homeschooling, my oldest child was 3.5. We were using Sonlight PreK with a Theme schedule I wrote myself in my spare time. I loved every minute of our days, and so did she. We read fun stories, made cute crafts, colored pretty pictures, and hit the mall once or twice a week. We were golden!
Back then, when older and wiser Moms would warn me about burnout, I ignored them. I loved what I was doing, and I was untouchable. Ah, the naiveté of youth.
Five more children and ten years later, and I have had a few brushes with homeschool burnout. Here are a few of the things I have found that keep me going.
- Slow and Steady Pace: Pushing to hard and too fast just wears everyone out fast. I like to keep everyone moving at an even keel. That’s not to say I hold back my advanced students, just that I am very careful not to push them into multiple lessons in every subject every day. Nor do I ask them to add more subjects then we can reasonably accomplish in the week.
- Daily Down Time: Most days, I have some down time while the youngest children take their naps and the big kids play outside. I read a book, work on my blog, or catch up on facebook. I could easily spend that time cleaning, folding laundry, planning ahead. Instead I choose to do something that will recharge my batteries.
- Daily Bible Study: In the evenings, I use part of my quiet time after the children are in bed to read my Bible. Being in relationship with God is difficult if you aren’t listening to Him, and he speaks to us through His Word.
- Weekly Group Bible Study: Each Wednesday night while my children are in AWANA, I meet with some other ladies and we study the Bible together. This wonderful fellowship helps keep my focus on God and His will in my life.
- Monthly Date Nights and Ladies Night Out: Spending some time with my husband on a date keeps me from living and breathing homeschool and housework. We enjoy time together and focus on our relationship. Spending one night a month with a group of friends just talking provides all of us with some much needed support and encouragement.
- Yearly Renewal: Every year, I spend some time renewing my commitment to our goals, evaluating our successes and failures, and planning the coming school year. If I can, I attend a homeschool convention. I have also enjoyed convention recordings and online conventions. These events help remind me why I homeschool and where we are going.