Maybe it will take a year, maybe it will take a decade, but one day it will probably happen. You wake up and simply realize that you can not face one more day of home school. Maybe it’s the school work, or it’s not having the energy to do fun stuff with your kids, because you used up your daily quota during the school day. It can be just the sheer exhaustion of having your kids in your house, and messing it up- all-the-time, or the exhaustion of being final arbitrator of all things scholastic. Maybe it’s time to explore other options, there’s no shame in that, but what about when there aren’t other options? Or maybe you are committed to homeschooling, but your heart just isn’t in it anymore? There is no magical cure, that I’ve found, but there are some effective coping strategies.
Coping strategy number one. Breaks
Take a Mom Break.
“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!” -Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason wrote a long time ago, to class that considered a nurse, a cook, and a maid to be standard issue. Even without this level of domestic help we, the moms, still need to clear our brains and play.
What would you do for a whole day without the kids if you could do it?
If you’re a fun person and you come up with something fun easily, good for you. If you’re like me and you think “Read a book without anybody talking to me” that is okay too. Just figure it out and do it when possible.
Take Daily Breaks.
Usually big fun breaks without our kids are infrequent, therefore carving out some planned alone time each day is important. Having a few minutes alone for my quiet time before the kids get up can really make or break my day. A regular ‘room time’ where your kids are all in there room (or you are in yours, whatever works) is another practice that can be a sanity saver. Now that my kids are older, I feel like I’ve spent the day with people, instead of children, so this hour is just as important to me now as it was when they were two. Figure out what daily rituals you need to keep yourself sane, and try to work them into your routine. Coffee with your spouse, a quiet time, a cup of tea with a little British television, a soak in the tub, they don’t need to be expensive or complicated, if you pay attention and enjoy them.
Take a School Break.
In “The Well Trained Mind” Jesse Wise says she learned to take a week off when she felt like quitting. For mild burn out this is an excellent strategy. It may mean an extra week or two of school this summer, but it’s usually worth it. Use this extra time to take care of any household organizational issues that may be making your life inconvenient. Few things sap your energy and focus faster than having to fight your space.
Hang in there, and start by giving yourself a break! Home school burn out does not a failure make.
So, what would you do with a whole day to yourself?