What do you do when homeschooling is not fun? I think we all go through blah seasons and even the occasional homeschool burnout, but what do you do when you’ve truly lost the joy in homeschooling and can’t seem to find it?
Okay, so your homeschool probably doesn’t look like the woman dancing in a meadow like this image portrays, but sometimes it can feel that way. It can make you want to dance or do cartwheels when you come back from a place of serious burnout and joyless homeschooling. Let’s talk about some ways to do that.
10 Ways to Recapture Your Homeschool Joy
Remember why you started.
One of the most important things to do when homeschooling is not fun is to remember why you started. We often start homeschooling with high ideals and an idyllic vision. Then, that idyllic view collides with reality and the day-to-day routine can cause those ideals give way to just getting by.
Sit down and write out the reasons why you began homeschooling. Have those changed? If so, make a list of why it’s important to you to continue. Even if your reasons haven’t changed, it’s a good idea to write out a homeschool mission statement to help you maintain your focus during the hard days of homeschooling.
Is it time for a curriculum change?
A poor curriculum fit can suck the joy right out of your homeschool. I know because I’ve been there. Do what you can to ensure that it’s really time for a curriculum change before just dumping it.
Sometimes you can tweak the curriculum to make it work for you. Other times, you may need to chuck the curriculum and start fresh. I know that can seem like a huge financial waste, but your well-being and that of your kids is ultimately worth it.
Are you overscheduled?
It’s hard to be joyful when you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water. As hard as it can be, it’s imperative that we homeschooling families learn to say no and guard our time. As much as the stereotypes insist that our kids are cloistered away at home, never being properly socialized with the masses, homeschoolers tend to be on the go. A lot. In fact, it often seems that we are addicted to busyness.
If the only reason you have your kids in all the activities is that you feel pressured to give them countless social outlets, stop. Give them and yourself a break by committing only to the activities that they truly enjoy and don’t feel guilty limiting activities because your family time and budget can’t keep up.
Do what you can in the season you’re in.
Make sure you’re being mom first, teacher second.
One of the hardest parts of homeschooling for me is making sure I’m spending time with my kids as their mom instead of their teacher. This has gotten easier as they’ve gotten older and have started working more independently, but when they were younger, my introverted self was done being with people at the end of the day.
Make sure you’re carving out ways to spend time with your kids and looking for creative ways to spend time with your teens. If your kids’ attitudes are part of the reason you’ve lost joy in your homeschool, it could be that they’re crying out for attention from their mom, not their teacher.
Read great books.
There is so much you can learn just from reading great books. I have very seriously been contemplating chucking all the curriculum except math for the rest of the year and just reading. History, science, geography, art…there are great stories for all of it and I think we retain more when we’re interested in what we’re learning.
You may not be ready to toss everything, but if you’re not reading some fabulous books in the course of your homeschool day, you are missing out on one of the best parts of homeschooling.
Create a change of scenery.
Sometimes a change of scenery can have a drastic effect on your mood and attitude. If the weather is warming up as nicely where you live as it is where I live, take school outside. Or better yet, in the warmer months of the year, use your garden as an outdoor classroom! Or consider giving your schoolroom a makeover with a fresh coat of paint, a fun new piece of furniture, some colorful artwork or some creative rearranging.
Don’t have a dedicated room for doing school? No problem! If you always do school in the dining room, move to the living room – or to the room with the most natural light. Sunshine is an instant mood lifter for me.
Identify the missing link.
Identify what’s missing from you homeschool that’s caused you to lose your joy. Is it a massive deviation from your initial vision? Maybe you need to reevaluate your approach to homeschooling. Consider tweaking your current approach with aspects of other styles that sound intriguing. Add a little dash of Charlotte Mason or a few unschooling philosophies.
Maybe there are some creative outlets that you’d love to pursue, but have been putting on the back burner. Jump into those fun electives. They can be as vital to your homeschool as the core curriculum.
Consider a year-round schedule.
Y’all, I can’t repeat enough times what a sanity-saver year round homeschoolinghas been for us. That one change pulled me out of the worst homeschool burnout I had ever experienced.
My kids sometimes complain when we have to start mid-summer or when their schedules don’t mesh well with their friends’, but despite the downsides, they’re unwilling to go back to a more traditional schedule. I have offered to let them since they’re teens now and my days aren’t as teacher-intensive as they were a few years ago, but they too easily recognize the benefits of a year-round schedule.
Ask a friend.
If you’ve got a good homeschooling friend, sometimes it helps to ask her for input. Sometimes someone who is a bit removed from the situation can view it with more clarity and objectivity. Talk things over with your friend and see if the two of you can pinpoint what is robbing you of your joy and brainstorm ways to get it back.
Pray about it.
I always seem to put this last, but it should be first. When the joy is gone from your homeschool and you can’t figure out where it went, pray and ask God to direct your path and give you wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5
Homeschooling has its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows, but if you find yourself facing days or weeks with no joy or enthusiasm for what you do, it’s time to evaluate and figure out where you’ve gotten off-track.
What are some actions that have helped you reclaim lost homeschool joy?
images courtesy of depositphotos