Overcoming homeschool burnout can be difficult, especially for families in highly regulated states. It is important to step back and re-evaluate how a curriculum is being implemented and then make a decision on how best to move forward. Sometimes all that is needed is a change in curriculum or the homeschool schedule to help get a family back on track.
What Causes Burnout?
Is your student feeling burned out, or are you as a teacher feeling burned out? Understanding where the root of the problem occurs is the first step in overcoming homeschool burnout.
Students can feel burned out when they have too much work to accomplish in a short period of time. If this is the case, it is a scheduling issue. Try spreading out the work a little more, avoiding multiple tests or papers being due at approximately the same time. This will alleviate stress for the student, and the family.
Another cause of burnout for students is a boring curriculum. If it is impossible to be at least a little enthusiastic about school projects, then the curriculum isn't a good fit for the student. Students benefit from a good balance between books, online work and outside field trips. If you're spending too much time at home pouring over books, shake things up a little bit for your student and implement other forms of learning.
Parents can feel burned out too. One cause of burnout is caring for children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even though the children aren't sitting down and doing schoolwork constantly throughout the day, the responsibility of coming up with new and inventive ways to teach them can be overwhelming. Parents need some downtime too, if only for a few hours each week. If there isn't a spouse to give a much-needed break, find a dependable babysitter, perhaps someone from a local homeschooling group, to help out.Is teaching certain subjects difficult? If so, consider enrolling your child in an online class or hiring a tutor. While this will increase the costs associated with homeschooling, getting your child the help they need to succeed in their classes should be the most important consideration.
A boring curriculum can also cause burnout for parents and students. Sitting at home day after day reading from books that are dry can be monotonous. There are a few things you should ask yourself when designing or selecting a curriculum:
- Are ideas presented in an engaging way for the student?
- Are there a variety of projects that can be done to keep a student interested and spur creativity?
- Is your child's learning style being addressed? There are four basic types of learners - visual, aural, reading/writing and kinesthetic. Children may be a combination of these learning types.
- Is your child being taught at the appropriate grade level? If the work is too difficult, a child will struggle with assignments.
- Do you include field trips to introduce new ideas and encourage analytical thinking?
- Is your child using local libraries and the Internet to expand their knowledge? Even if you've purchased an all-inclusive curriculum, students still need to learn how to use a local library and surf the Internet.
- Is your child involved in extra-curricular activities? Enrolling a child in art, dance or gymnastic classes is a great way to round out a curriculum and take some of the pressure off of you in those subject areas.
More About Overcoming Homeschool Burnout
It is possible to overcome burnout that is associated with homeschooling. First, it is always a good idea to take a break from school. A vacation, even if you don't go away, helps everyone unwind and relax. Second, re-evaluate the curriculum that you are currently using. Figure out what type of learner your child is and select a curriculum that will help them to succeed. Third, consider whether you are able to deliver the material and answer questions that may arise. If physics was a subject you struggled with, it may be better to hire a tutor or find online classes. Finally, make sure that your curriculum is well rounded and not entirely focused on book learning. Adding an art or dance class and a few field trips can help break up the school year and keep children interesting in learning.