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Five Top Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burnout

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Five Top Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burnout


Don't forget to lighten up, stay flexible, and enjoy the ride.

By Linda Dobson

Homeschooling burnout occurs most frequently when a person is focused on one life aspect to the detriment of other life aspects, or when one goes about a pursuit in such a way that accomplishing it creates stress and dissatisfaction. You can help prevent homeschooling burnout by recognizing it as a possibility and taking steps to avoid it. Consider these five top tips as preventive medicine that will help no matter if you have clear homeschooling skies or if you need to weather a storm.

Five Top Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burnout

1. Take time for self and spouse. This sounds simple, but if you’re not alert to the possibility of keeping homeschooling in its rightful perspective, planning, creating, and carrying out homeschooling activities and adventures could take over your life. When this happens, something else will suffer, and the first effects become visible in a lack of time for your own interests as well s time with your spouse. Remember, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

2. Begin with the end in mind. It helps throughout all of your homeschooling to remember where you are going so that you keep your eye on “the big picture.” By doing so, a single bad day remains in perspective: It’s one day in a lifetime of learning. You’ll remember that your kindergartner, in what in retrospect will seem the blink of an eye, will one day be a man who will create his own roof and not always be the young and challenging bundle of energy and mischief, raw emotion, and nonreasoning being that you see today.

Keeping the big picture in front of you helps you see that even if you don’t accomplish all those wonderful things this month or this year, there is still time. Experience will teach you that you can always think of more wonderful things than you will ever have the time to accomplish anyway. Remembering this is a nice way to prevent burnout, as it will also help you cherish all the little things in your day that are the true gifts of homeschooling.

3. Don’t sign up for everything. It just happens. Every activity you hear about sounds better and more educationally valuable than the previous one, so you sign up for that one too. If you’re not careful, before you know it, people will be flagging you down on street corners, mistaking you for a taxi as you race between activities all day.

Can you think of anything that will burn you out on the idea of homeschooling any more quickly than physically running yourself ragged in the name of learning? In the name of impressing your mother-in-law with all that your children can do when free of the school schedule? Homeschoolers have seen a lot of miracles in their efforts, but to date no one has reported that it stretched their days beyond twenty-four hours.

4. Don’t conduct school at home. You may want to use a curriculum. You may join a homeschool charter school for support. You may choose an online course complete with tests and transcripts. You still don’t have to “do school” at home. After all,, a world of learning awaits you on your own schedule. Why burn out on someone else’s? Don’t forget to lighten up, stay flexible, and enjoy the ride.

5. Find support wherever you can. In decades past, many homeschooling families took off on this path with nothing but their own convictions to carry them through. Often no other homeschooling families lived nearby. While it’s very possible to homeschool in isolation today, why would you?

Since homeschooling evolves into a lifestyle, it’s others who live similar lifestyles who can join you in laughing and crying, venting and patting your children on the back, asking questions of others and answering the questions of still others whenever you can. Fellow homeschoolers can empathize, a very handy pick-me-up if or when you need one. They won’t let you burn out, because they’ll share options (often in the form of “that happened to us, this is what we did, and this is how it turned out for us”), resources, and words of encouragement that “this, too, shall pass.”

Adapted from The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start

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4 Responses to “Five Top Tips for Avoiding Homeschooling Burnout”

  1. mrs. dani says:

    Something our family has done from day 1 is we pick 1 day a week and we go NO WHERE that day; no getting out of pjs, no music lessons, no visiting, no shopping, no church. We stay home all day long and after lessons, we have a free day. Kids can do any activity they want to do: art, legos, reading, video games, tv, etc. This day changes every year depending upon our schedule but we always have one.

  2. Excellent points, Linda. I might add–be open to creating your own schedule, whatever that may be. We don’t “do school” on Wednesdays because it’s Dad’s day off. We also don’t feel we need to follow the public school’s schedule. We just kinda go with the flow.

    • Absolutely, Carol. I’m VERY big on your own schedule, it just didn’t make the cut. You keep going with the flow…the ONLY way to fly! My very best to you and yours. {{{{}}}} Linda

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