Today I want to talk about homeschool burnout (a HUGE subject on my hear these days), and embracing the summer break! Before we get started, here are a few announcements:
- My friend and colleague, Andrea Thorpe, is the founder of African American Homeschool Moms and is hosting the first African American Homeschool Moms Conference 2015! If you are interested in attending this conference, it will be located in Burlington, New Jersey on Saturday September 26
Here’s my announcement video:
- Congrats to Tee S.- the winner of our recent giveaway with Brain Chase! Tee will be receiving free registration for one student to participate in the Brain Chase Summer Challenge.
I made a decision (right along with other homeschooling moms) to take a few months off this year.
In honor of keeping things real and in the attempt NOT to sugarcoat what homeschool life really looks like for us, I wanted to focus this post on how my school year went and why I look forward to taking a break this summer. (And if you haven’t already, take a few moments to read Gabby’s latest article on why she chooses not to homeschool year round.)
This past school year 2014-2015 has been for me full of changes, transitions, surprises, and even hangups: mental hangups, emotional hangups, and physical ones, too. While I’ve been in and out of doctor visits for asthma and IBS (and if you don’t know what IBS is, you can look it up and then understand why I won’t be relenting details on that icky condition), needless to say, I haven’t felt much up to homeschooling this year, much less keeping up any of my business blogs. Most days I just wanted to sleep-and that’s exactly what I did.
Emotionally, I felt drained. (I think if you’ve been homeschooling for longer than six months you might begin to feel that way, so I would say it’s completely normal.) I’ve been homeschooling for over 8 years and I do have those moments when I imagine somewhat of a different lifestyle. It’s all too tempting.
But no worries- I’m not going to leave this topic with a sense of Debbie Downer lurking around. I plan to leave you with some motivational tips on how to keep going even when the going gets tough. And there are times when the going does get tough. But there’s hope 🙂
But back to my story. Besides physical issues, I missed my coastal friends whom I used to see regularly and my kids needed to readjust and meet new friends all over again…and that was hard. And of course that affects homeschooling.
Sometimes finding local homeschool support groups in a bigger city is more daunting than it sounds, so it took me forever at first to begin getting plugged in.
Then besides my physical and emotional hang-ups, there were my mental ones. Just to be real with you, I questioned my motivation for homeschooling at least 3 times this year while considering a possibility of private school. Of course, where I live, the Bay Area private school tuition fees rechartered my thinking back toward homeschooling pretty quickly- but it was a nice thought while it lasted.
I share this with you to show you that, like many of you, I have been tempted to walk away, even RUN away at times from homeschooling. It’s okay to love your kids and love spending time with them, but not necessarily enjoying the homeschooling side of things. Know that you’re perfectly normal if you’ve ever felt that way. It happens to all of us at some point.
But again- there’s that cliffhanger, and you’re wondering how it was all resolved.
To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t solve anything. It’s all about seasons. When something is right, it’s just right- but when it isn’t you’ll know. And that’s how it was with me.
In the end, I knew that the best educational option for my kids at this time was to continue homeschooling. Online school for my 7th grader this past school year has really helped by giving me time to regroup. I was literally only homeschooling my 2nd grader so things slowed down quite a bit.
My best piece of advice to you when you feel like you’re over the edge and about to get into a real homeschool slump, is to:
Take a break!
That’s why I can now shout hallelujah as our family rounds the corner into year 8 of our homeschool (year 9 if you count preschool). We are winding down to the end of the school year- and yes, we had a late school year. My oldest daughter’s online school just ended, and we’re officially on summer break!
Taking a break can be relaxing and liberating and healing in so many ways. This summer I plan to unwind by not touching a single textbook for at least one month, and begin planning mode in month 2. Taking a break from it all for one month I think will clear my head and free me up to see things from a different perspective.
When you feel you’re experiencing homeschool burnout, it’s necessary at times to take a break.
And that’s why I’m so grateful for summer breaks!
Will you be taking a break this summer? What do you do to overcome homeschool burnout?