As a mother who has been homeschooling for 14 years, I have learned a thing or two about avoiding burnout...and most of the time, I apply what I have learned BEFORE burnout sets in!
We cook, we clean, we teach, we shuttle kids from point A to point B and back again, some of us help out at church, some of us keep a weblog, and don't forget about the spouse. S-I-G-H...we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and headed for burnout just looking at the calendar. It's best to plan ahead to try and offset burnout, and sometimes it's best to simply admit we're in a season of "burnout" because the Lord may be using it to allow Him to do some pruning in our lives.
The first thing I must do in order to avoid burnout is to spend time with the Lord daily. That means I have to get up before my children, which means I must go to bed at a reasonable time. And in order to go to bed on time, I need to follow a schedule for things like meals, laundry, dishes, grading, and all the rest. Whatever you do, don't cut out time with the Lord. Make the rest of your day yield to your time with Jesus and He will fit the day's agenda into the remaining hours. Trust me, it works.
The second thing I do to keep homeschool burnout at bay is to regularly check my curriculum choices and cut out what is not producing fruit. I am the Queen of Overplanning - I always have way more in my homeschool cabinet come September than I could possibly teach in a nine-month school year. But by allowing the Lord to decide what stays in the cabinet and what is put away for another time, I am able to complete each year's school work in good time. In fact, we are usually done with most of our curriculum by April. Not mostly done, not 80% done, but all the way done. And that is a very nice feeling!
The third thing I do to avoid becoming a psychotic homeschool mom on the verge of starting the Third World War is to make sure I'm not taking too much time for myself. Yes, this is the opposite of what modern day psychology tells us, and is at odds with a lot of Christian advice. But just as a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion, so a mother who is greedy with her time becomes even more greedy with her time - to the extent that she never really feels rested or refreshed. Homeschooling moms are not greater than our Master, Jesus Christ, and He came not to be served but to serve. It's tough to crucify the flesh, but it's worth all the effort. God blesses this act of self-discipline in ways you would never imagine. I encourage you to try it for yourself. It is the path to a blessed life.
These are my top 3 tips for avoiding homeschool burnout, learned after 14 years (some years longer than others!) of living the home educating life. Thanks for taking the time to read them, and God bless you on your homeschooling journey!
Day 175 done :)
Jan L. Burt