This week the Blog Cruise question is: How to avoid burnout? What to do if you burnout?
Calgon... take me away!! I take a bath and then I am all better! Believe that?? I hope not! It can help sometimes but there much more to this question than just taking a relaxing bath. The questions are actually separate though related. So I will answer them separately.
How to avoid burnout?
- Use your curriculum and don't let it use you. You are the authority when it comes to your children, you know them best, not some curriculum provider that never met you. So make your books work for you or get rid of them and find something else if they are not working for you or your children.
- Make things as fun and interesting as you can. Change things up and try new things. Try workboxes, lapbooking, notebooking, unit studies, add a new subject or a new book.
- Read aloud to the kids. Historical Fiction or a good moral fiction book. Read a little above the kids actual reading level so you stretch them and they see what good books are out there. If you have a variety of ages, which is typical, you may need to read aloud picture books to the younger crew and then they can listen in on the reading to the older kids to and play with a quiet toy. You will be surprised what they retain.
- Plan your breaks and schedule your year how you want. What fits you best. Try year round schooling with frequent smaller breaks, try a 9 weeks of school then a week or two off, try different schedules and see what works well for your family. At one point my husband had off Thursday and Sunday so we took of from school on Thursday and did school on Saturday. My kids do not like summer weather. We do not have a pool or a yard that is fun to be outside in, we live in the suburbs on a main road. So we start school the last week of July and we end the last week of April or Early May. We can enjoy the spring and early summer weather better and in August we homeschool... in the air conditioning. Do what works for you. Oh, we also take at least two weeks off at Christmas and when the kids were young we always did a special Christmas study to ease the tensions and make time for special projects at Christmas.
What to do if you burnout?
Don't give up. Plan ahead because we all have down times. Try some of these suggestions:
- Play educational games one day for school. One day we made a giant game board all through the house even up and down the stairs, and the kids were the game pieces. I asked each of them questions from their own level on a lot of subjects. We had some fun spaces and bonuses too. The kids thought it was a great change and lots of fun. I just put construction paper on the floor as the spaces, not taped down or anything. It was a great way to review and a fun way to spend a homeschool day.
- Take a nature walk. Take pictures or draw or both and make a little booklet up of what you find. Have each child choose a couple things they found and do a little research on them. Write it up if you want... or not.
- Study a topic the kids want to study for a week or two, let them lead and help plan. Include all the subjects and don't do any of the "regular" work. Use the unit study to cover as much as you can. Writing, history, science, math if you can think of anything, cooking, a craft, and anything else you can think of.
- Take a day and clean up the house especially the area where you educate. When we are down sometimes just a day of cleaning and organizing can make you feel like getting back to homeschooling. If you have been letting the house go it can affect your attitude so take some time to clean and organize.
- Take a week off and enjoy the kids. Don't do any "school." Play a game, read some books (but only fun ones... no "school" books), take walks, cook together, do a craft project, and any other fun things the kids want to do. Count all of it as school and don't let the kids know. Oh, take a field trip to a museum, park, or zoo, and count that too.
- Take a day off! Take a bath!
- Set a date night with your husband and keep it. Even if you only go out and get a drink and sit in a parking lot and talk that is something. You need time to be a couple and you need an adult to talk to about things that are going on at home.