Homeschool Mom Burnout

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Homeschool mom burn-out. It’s a horrible feeling. I’ve had bouts with it off and on over the course of our nine-going-on-ten years homeschooling, but never as bad as this last year.

I was done. Wiped out. The last few weeks of our 2010-2011 school year can only be described as “muddling through.”

My kids will all tell you that this summer was the most boring ever. And, they’re probably right. We didn’t do anything remotely educational. We didn’t do much that was even especially fun. There was entirely too much video-game-playing, TV-watching, and Internet-surfing.

And, I can only muster up the tiniest bit of guilt over that because I needed it. I needed a couple of months to decompress. I didn’t think I would be excited to start school this year. In fact, I was dreading it. However, when the first day started getting close, I was surprised to find that I was excited.

There were three things that I think helped me bounce back and I’m discussing them today at Simple Homeschool. Stop by and share your thoughts.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I checked out the article, great advice!  I'm concerned that we are on the verge of burnout if I don't start taking some mental health days :).  Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

  2. While we did do some "educational" things this summer.  I really tried hard to just have fun with my kids and be "mom."  I had a very rough year with my son last year!  I knew that if we didn't have some time together without school being the main focus that I would not be ready to start back to school this fall.  Funny how that time together for 8 weeks re-energized me and I was ready to start back at the beginning of August!

  3. I'll go over and read it, but I will tell you that I am a firm believer that boredom is good for kids! Necessity is not the mother of invention- boredom is! My kids become more inventive and creative the less I serve up for them to do. 

  4. Hi Kris, I think I’m a little burnt out, and I remember reading your article a while a go. I’ve had a baby who has cried constantly for almost entirely the two years she has been alive. She has just started to talk and is now a little sweet heart! However Gary and I haven’t had sleep for two years (she woke 8-20 times per night!) She now sleeps through, and whilst we have muddled through the last couple of years, we are both exhausted.
    We are contemplating stopping school until September, or maybe doing a bit of writing and maths but nothing else. The way I home school requires a lot out of me, but I have nothing left to give at the moment.
    I ask this as a genuine concern- did you find that your children suffered academically by taking that summer off? We usually school year round so I’m nervous about taking an extended break. But I need to recover from my 2 year old!! Would you recommend taking it off entirely or doing a little? Sorry for the very long winded question, I don’t read that many blogs, yours being one of them and you were the only person I ‘know’ who has written about burning out.

    1. (((Claire))) If I were with you right now I would hug your neck and tell you to take the summer off! I can’t imagine how physically and emotionally drained you and Gary must be. I know, just from reading your blog posts, how much you pour into homeschooling your kids. You give 110% and provide them with such an incredibly learning-rich environment. You are amazing!

      I bet, even if you take off, you and your kids will be reading. They won’t be lolling around in front of electronics. They’ll still be learning. I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t in your home.

      I remember the first time we tried schooling year round. We were exhausted. We went to a birthday party around the end of May. We wound up eating dinner downtown, going to the aquarium, and a minor league ballgame. We had so much fun, we decided to just take the whole summer off and spend time together as a family. I don’t remember if the kids forgot stuff or not, but I still remember that being the best summer ever.

      Your kids might forget some things. You know what? Who cares! You homeschool. You just remind them of how to do it and you move on. Your kids are young. My fear would not be that they might forget a few things. My fear would be that I would become so burned out as to become complacent and apathetic. I think it’s much like a sports injury. If you don’t allow time for the injury to heal, you might risk permanent damage that would set you back much further than just taking some time to recover would have done.

      I honestly don’t think you’ll regret taking the time off and it really sounds like you need it.

  5. Thank you so much for your considered response (and the cyber hug!). I showed it to Gary and we are discussing the ins and outs of having an extended break. We mentioned it to the children who all groaned in unison- T11 begged me to allow him to do school!! Sigh, what’s a mum to do? I think I can find some middle ground though, where all our needs are being met. Thank you again, I could feel your support all the way over the ocean.

    1. You are so very welcome. You’re doing something right if you son is begging for school. 🙂 You’ll figure it out.

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