Homeschooling can be mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. The pressure and challenges of getting schooling done, while parenting kids, maintaining a home, and balancing extra activities amongst other things can really take a toll on homeschooling parents.
There are days where no matter what you’ve had planned, everything gets derailed by one bad attitude or someone who doesn’t want to go with the plan. There are days that are just so jammed-packed it makes you exhausted before you get out of bed. There are days that feel like they will never end. There are lessons to plan, things to prep, chores to do, groceries to buy …….
So, how can you keep your sanity and not burn-out?
I decided to poll the community of veteran homeschoolers to see what advice they could offer. With their feet on the ground in the midst of every day’s chaos, I figured they would be able to suggest some great ideas to help. I was right.
1. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea or whatever your favourite drink is. Then take some time to enjoy it in peace.
2. Have a Personal Quiet Time. Try yoga, meditation, reading, Bible time, prayer, etc.
3. Make sure you prioritize physical exercise. Do something that makes you feel good. Don’t forget to do this for the kids too – wear out that excess energy they (always) seem to have.
4. Get out in nature and take some deep breaths. Go for a walk, smell the flowers, and listen to the birds.
5. Take up a hobby that’s just for you, like knitting, scrapbooking, painting, or gardening.
6. Spend time with other homeschoolers, chatting and commiserating about your shared experiences, even if that’s only once a week at swimming lessons or to your online community.
7. Reflect on your homeschool journey, remind yourself that this is hard, and think of why you started in the first place. A little perspective can help sometimes.
8. Take some time alone, even if that’s just running errands or getting groceries.
9. Plan regular afternoon family quiet times. After lunch, everyone heads to their rooms and has a quiet time – reading, napping, drawing, etc. – for a designated chunk of time.
10. Take a day off. Call it a PD Day, call it a snow day, call it a mental health day – whatever you want. There’s no school today.
11. Change your expectations. Maybe you are trying to do too much. See what happens if you break up the curriculum, cut back to the basics, drop or add an extra activity as needed.
12. Mix things up – teach completely differently today. Play a board game, read aloud, skip the lessons and do something unexpected.
13. Schedule a big chunk of time away from the family just for yourself: go to a homeschool conference, a girls’ night or weekend away.
14. Have regular get-togethers with other adults where your conversations can be more focused on something other than school work or the needs of your kids.
15. Make your school schedule different. Plan to do school for 4 days a week, and then take the next 3 as an extended weekend, every weekend.
16. Kick start your sense of humour, and be sure to laugh a lot.
17. Use the distraction tools you have – educational television, computer time, etc. to help past those challenging moments.
18. Keep a structured, regular routine so everyone knows what to expect each day.
19. Organize the other areas of your life. If you have a meal plans, housekeeping schedule, etc. it will take the pressure off and allow you to feel less stressed about trying to figure out everything at once.
20. Hide. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Take a minute to catch your breath. It’s totally ok to do this.
And as a final resort:
Accept the fact that sanity is a luxury. We’re all going crazy together. Welcome to the club.