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I’ve written about how to avoid homeschool burnout (check out an older post titled Recharging Those Batteries When They Burnout.) Or, maybe I should say alleviate that feeling.
Anyone who’s homeschooled knows all about that point in late winter or early spring when you are exhausted and ready to hang up the proverbial towel on this chosen path. Maybe you’ve been stuck inside with rambunctious kids for weeks on end and you are going a bit stir crazy. Maybe the kids (or you!) have fallen out of ‘love’ with a chosen curriculum and the guilt within you has everyone plugging along at a snails pace with a lot of complaining and serious “I don’t want to do that!” attitudes.
Whatever the manifestation, I have one golden key for helping to taper those feelings of being burned out….
take a time-out!
What does this time out look like?
I’m sure it can look different for each homeschool family. The big thing is that it is a break from the usual, almost a mini-vacation from your family’s chosen method of homeschooling.
Last week we had a mini-break as our charter school requires each child in grades 3 through 10 to take standardized tests. Honestly, I know how exhausted I get while working in the pick-up room and know that there is no way we’ll get any substantial school work done. So, we set aside the books and just included plenty of reading and a few educational videos in our afternoon time at home.
If you are a textbook driven homeschool, this might seem like a big plunge into the unknown. However, there are so many ways to keep learning without a textbook that the short break from the usual could help to breathe a breath of new life into your homeschool. (Or maybe show you an alternative way to homeschool altogether?)
Looking for concrete suggestions?
Head to the kitchen for some math and science fun.
Take a field trip to a museum for up close investigation of history and/or science.
Many communities have hidden gems that are often free and this could be a great time to check them out. Others have membership programs that allow you to visit several times in a year to really soak up all that they offer. Don’t forget that some business offer a field trip option and will share with the kids how they make a product. Make it a group event by inviting another homeschool family ( or more) to join you.
Visit your local library for an impromptu unit study.
Tell the kids they get to pick any topic to learn about with the caveat that mom (or dad) has to approve the selected books and multimedia materials found during a trip to the library. Let them find all those great books and then encourage some sharing through any presentation method they choose. The skies the limit and typically a child will be enthusiastic about a topic they chose and claim ownership. Some libraries also offer incredible programs with my favorite price point…free!
Raid your game shelf for a different way to reinforce learning.
Some games are just ready made for learning reinforcement. Boggle and Scrabble both work for spelling. Life and Monopoly have kids handling money for a life skill aspect of math. Pictionary could lead to some interesting art. Let your (or maybe the kids) imagination run wild. A quick internet search could also net you several ideas for games utilizing dice and cards that are hanging out in the house. (The photo above was a workshop we attended for math learning that I’ve yet to write about on the blog.)
Besides this break, I’d also advocate that the homeschooling parent seek out support. This could be from friends who also homeschool or maybe a support group (either in person or online.) Believe me, we’ve all been in this place and most homeschool parents are more than willing to share what has worked, or not worked, for them.
Finally, you might discover that the burnout you’ve been experiencing is really a sign that the materials you’ve been using are just a poor fit for your child or family. Guess what? It’s okay to set it aside and find another avenue for learning!
For my homeschooling readers, what is a tip that you’ve used or maybe just heard to help alleviate those feelings of burnout?
Be sure to check out the TOS Blog Cruise page on Tuesday, April 10th to see what other TOS Crewmates have to say on this topic. I, for one, am curious to read their posts.