Monday, July 12, 2010

Burned Out Already?

Is it too early to be burned out with the school year?  ‘Cause I think I am – and I’ve been feeling this way since June.  Maybe it’s the string of headaches.  Maybe it’s having a 12 and 15 year old.  Maybe it’s because I’m about to be 43 years old in 2 days (ACK – 43!!).  Whatever it is, I’m just not feeling my usual interest and excitement about planning this year’s school year.

We’ve been educating our kids at home for their entire educational career.  Officially, it’s been 10 years for Rosie Girl and 7 years for Wild Man.  And I think I’m getting a little tired.  (As an aside, I’ve read articles on homeschooling sites about preventing burnout by moms who have been homeschooling for 2 or 3 years!  But, I want to hear from the moms who have been doing it for 20 years!!)

I debated calling it an unschooling year and just letting the kids do what they want for the year.  But, Rosie Girl is 15 and I’m not sure how I’d make a full year of watching anime movies look like useful education on a transcript.  And Wild Man . . .  well, let’s just say that he needs some structure.

My next thought is to buy the books and just hand them to the kids on September 1 and then take a really long vacation.  Hopefully, when I get back in May, they’ll have learned something.  Since I like homeschooling because it allows me lots of relationship time with my kids, though, I’m not sure that this is the best plan.

So, I’m back to planning the school year.  Rosie Girl does work quite independently.  Even her chemistry lab should require less input this year than her biology did last year.  Wild Man is reading much better this year, but I need to tweak Sonlight Core 5 before the year starts.

Strategies I’m employing to try to manage this burnout:

1. Plan a reasonable school year – I’m not trying to do too much with Wild Man and I’m using the types of curricula that he likes and works well with.  I’m comfortable that Rosie Girl’s schedule is manageable for her and she works mostly on her own.

2. Let the kids know how I’m feeling – Not only am I feeling a little overwhelmed before we’ve even begun, but the kids are a year older, so I expect that they will do what’s expected without fussing. 

3. Add games to the schedule – I know that Wild Man doesn’t always learn best with traditional techniques, so I’m looking for interesting games that go with our subjects.

4. Pray, pray, and pray some more – I’m choosing to continue homeschooling for lots of reasons and I firmly believe that it’s God’s will for our family.  I’m praying for God to support our educational endeavor, like He’s done, every other year.

5. Keep perspective – I love educating my kids at home.  I loved it when my husband was doing the teaching and I was working and I love it now that I’m at home all the time.  Whether or not I get the perfect curriculum or have it perfectly planned, my kids will learn.  Mostly, we will be learning and living together, which is what’s important.

What do you do when you start to feel burned out?  What kinds of new ideas do you have for middle and high school kids?

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I've heard veteran homeschoolers say that when you get tired and need a break, it's okay to take a Teacher Workday (they recommend at least one a month). An idea that I implemented this past year was Fun Friday. Once a month on a Friday, I would give E the freedom to choose a subject he wanted to learn about. He had guidelines to follow (i.e. he had to research it, write about it, and then do some type of creative project such as sculpture, painting, etc. that related to it). He loved it and it gave me a break from the day-in, day-out. It also taught him how to do research on his own and how to be creative, among the other things he learned. I plan to do this again for the upcoming year. I did have to guide him initially but after the first time, it was no big deal. I think the more you can delegate to them to work independently, the less burned out you'll get. Rosie Girl is there so you'll just have to help Wild Man have days where he can do that, so you can have a break. And maybe instead of doing an entire year of unschooling, you can have one day a week? Just some thoughts. I like all of your ideas! I'm sure that whatever you do, it will all work out and like you said, your kids will learn. They always do! :)