The Best Homeschooling Advice
Homeschooling is a significant lifestyle change. While it can be totally worth the time, stress, and effort, it can also take a toll on you! Home-based learning requires you to be the educator and administrator of your children in addition to all your other household duties. That amounts to a ton of responsibility and little time for yourself. So often, this is a recipe for stress and burnout.
If you feel exhausted and worried that homeschooling is to blame, you are in the right place. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice for your family. If you know homeschooling is the right choice for your family but you are in a rut, read on. We want to help!
We have eight of the best tips for avoiding homeschool burnout and pulling you out of your rut. We have also linked to some of the most popular homeschool programs, so you can find all the help you need to get started with homeschooling in one place!
Homeschool: Why is it so Hard?
Whether you are brand new to homeschooling or have several years under your belt, you know that home-based learning is challenging. Give yourself room to acknowledge just what a vast undertaking homeschool is. You should be proud of yourself for the effort you have put in. And it would help if you also told yourself that it’s okay that it feels so hard to homeschool. It is hard!
However, it can also be wonderful. One helpful trick is to immerse yourself in the milestone moments more fully. When your child has a breakthrough, or you overcome a hurdle together, take time to relish that accomplishment. Triumphs can feel few and far between—that’s normal. So when they do come, celebrate them and soak in that beautiful feeling.
Luckily we have combined the knowledge and advice from homeschool moms around the country to bring you the eight best tips to avoid burnout as a homeschool mom. Hopefully, these ideas can give you the boost you need to keep doing great work!
8 Ways to Get More Out of Homeschooling
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the household duties alone. However, add homeschooling on top, and the weight of it all can feel unbearable—but it doesn’t have to! If you are drowning under the weight of it all and struggling to find any joy in home-based learning, don’t give up! Try implementing each of these tips to avoid homeschool burnout.
1. Write Down Your “Why” for Homeschooling
Homeschooling is difficult. You have so much on your plate, but add in the responsibilities of homeschool, and things get much harder. You feel like you have to ensure each child is keeping up and completing their work, but you also have to manage different behavioral issues and learning styles. It is A LOT for one person to handle. However, you chose to homeschool for a reason.
What is the reason you chose to switch to home-based instruction? Each family has its own reasons for choosing homeschool; what are yours? Some of the most commonly cited advantages are:
- You get to have a more active role in what and how your child learns.
- There is less opportunity for exposure to bullying.
- Your child will have less social pressure placed on them.
- There can be more flexibility and one-on-one help for your child.
- Your child can progress at their own pace.
- More time for community, religious, or family involvement.
Perhaps one of these bullet points resonates with you, or maybe you chose to homeschool for a different reason. Whatever your reason for why you decided to homeschool, write it down. Make it as simple or detailed as you want, but make a physical copy. Hang it somewhere where you will see it daily.
Read your “why” and remind yourself daily exactly why homeschooling is worth your time and energy.
2. Find the Right Home School Plan For Your Family
If you are in a rut and struggling with homeschooling daily, it may be time to reevaluate your homeschool curriculum and plan. If every day is a struggle, it could be worth looking into different home school programs that may be a better fit.
Some popular curriculums that come highly recommended are:
- American Heritage School Online
- The Good and The Beautiful
- BJU Press
- Time 4 Learning
- Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool
Of course, when deciding between different curricula, you should first check your state’s laws regarding homeschooling. Additionally, you may have an excellent homeschooling plan in place, but you need to reevaluate how it can be better adapted to your current situation. Prioritize what you feel is most important and loosen up on things of lesser importance.
3. Adjust Your Expectations
As a homeschooling parent, you have taken on the responsibilities of not only the teacher but also the administrator. That is in addition to all of your household and parenting duties. Choosing to homeschool also means choosing to change your lifestyle. So you need to accept the trade-offs that come with homeschooling.
Talk with your spouse about the trade-offs that come with home-based learning so you can both be on the same page and receive the support you need. You should not expect a joyful day of homeschool, a sparklingly clean house, time for yourself, connective time with each family member, and a healthy homemade dinner each day. Those things are lovely but unrealistic for a homeschooling parent to expect to complete each day.
Learning can be a mess. Accept that your house won’t be sparkling clean every day. Homeschooling can eat up time you could have spent doing other things. You are going to drop some balls you are juggling. It’s okay! You are prioritizing your kids and their growth and education. So, set more realistic expectations for each day so that you can be proud of all you accomplish, rather than focusing on the things you did not.
4. Stop Comparing
Looking at another family’s success and letting it drag you down will not motivate you to do better. Instead, it will cast a shadow on all the good efforts you have put in. Everyone has seasons of struggle—they just aren’t always posted on social media.
Instead of looking around and deciding everyone is doing better than you are, tell yourself that every family is different, so every homeschool is going to look different. So, focus on the feelings you want your kids to experience during your homeschooling. A warm, enriching environment is something that is more important than complex activities and well-planned field trips.
Stop comparing your homeschooling and start focusing on the good things you have created in your home. Focus on gratitude and look for the good in your children, in your home, and in your homeschool. Also, consider unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about your efforts or consistently make you feel like you are not doing enough. You would be surprised just how much better you feel when you have blinders on to all the suggestions and “help” out there.
5. Make a Plan for Dealing With Conflict.
Every kid is so different. You may have had great success homeschooling with one child, and then the next comes along and is more difficult. Personalities, learning styles, and behavior can all contribute to varying degrees of conflict during homeschool.
Battling your child daily will leave you exhausted and ready to give up. But on the other hand, giving in to every complaint and letting them off the hook will leave them falling behind. So what is the solution? Come up with a protocol and print it out. When a situation arises where your child is being defiant, go over the protocol and resolve the issue.
A conflict protocol will look different for every family, depending on your parenting style. Some ideas to incorporate could be how to speak to each other when you disagree and a template for a respectful way for you both to voice your feelings.
For example, allow your child to explain what they are frustrated about and why then validate how they are feeling and try to understand their point of view. Next, you can have a chance to explain why you have asked them to complete the task. Finally, you can ask the child to consider your side and devise a solution.
Rather than viewing conflict as a constant hindrance to homeschooling, try to reframe it as an opportunity to teach your child how to resolve conflict respectfully and problem-solve solutions. Of all the lessons you teach, this one may come up the most often, but it may also be the most important!
6. Find a Supportive Community
One of the best things you can do to avoid homeschooling burnout is to find a community of people that can relate to you and support you. Talking to others with similar experiences can bolster you through the highs and lows of homeschooling. Supportive friends will give you encouragement, insight, empathy, and resources you cannot get online or from your children alone.
If you do not yet have a supportive homeschool community, then create one! Yes, you will have to put in extra effort and put yourself out there, but the benefits far outweigh the risks.
If you know others around you who homeschool, reach out to them. If you don’t know others near you that are homeschooling, go to homeschool conventions and meet new people there. Look up homeschool groups using your city and state and join in with an established group. You can also look for groups near you using social media.
No matter how you go about it, make it a priority. You will feel uplifted and recharged when you have the support you need.
7. Meet Your Own Needs
This may seem obvious but really think about your day. How often do you come last? You may have every intention of eating a nutritious lunch, but then something runs long, and you are fielding request after request, only to get a phone call, and the next thing you know, you stuff a handful of something in your mouth and call it lunch.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of everything else. You have basic needs that must be met. You need food, water, exercise, rest, and connection.
Evaluate your current routine and pick an area of improvement. You may have to switch things around, and it may be an adjustment for your whole family, but you are worth it, and you will be better off for it.
8. Incorporate Your Own Interests Into Learning
One of the best things you can do to get more out of homeschooling is to do more things you love. Think about it, if you share something with your kids that you genuinely enjoy, they will feed off your energy, and you will both leave feeling more fulfilled.
So what skills do you have that you can share? Are you a reader, organizer, artist, creator, scientist, writer, gamer, or musician? Find a way to use your strengths in your home-based instruction.
Maybe it doesn’t align perfectly with the home school programs you are using, but that’s okay! Show your kids what passion and a love of learning really look like. Connect with them by sharing your strengths.
Just keep trying! No magic piece of advice will transform you or your kids into perfect homeschoolers overnight. That’s not the way it works. But day by day, do your best to create a comfortable, enriching environment.
Savor those rare moments of triumph, and pick yourself back up on days that just don’t go according to plan.
You will look back with pride at how far you have all come. We are rooting for you!