Monday, January 24, 2011

Are You Weary In Well Doing?

Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.:" (King James Version)

This week's Blog Cruise question is "How do you avoid burn-out?"

Are you feeling disillusioned, helpless, or completely worn out. http://zaazu.comAre you fatigued, weary, drowsy, drooping, haggard, weather beaten, done up, used up, bushed, exhausted, spent, overtired, overspent, overfatigued, unrefreshed, unrestored, worn out, battered, ready to drop, all in, dog-weary, on your last legs, or played out. Are you feeling feeble, heavy, lethargic, listless, overtired, or weak. Or a combo of the above.  Is reading about being worn out making you feel more worn out?? Do you avoid your work... more than usual that is??? LOL http://zaazu.comDo you want to crawl into bed and just stay there for a week?  Then you are Burnt Out or on your way to being so. How do you prevent this from happening or what do you do to correct the problem if you are already burnt out or heading that way? (I got the words from in case you were wondering.)

How do I avoid burn-out? My answer is: I don't!!!  Well, most of the time I do alright, really. But I have to admit I have gotten to the end of my rope and threatened to put the kids in public school. As a matter of fact that was just last week. LOL I was so frustrated with the attitudes in my teenage sons. At that point my hubby usually has some words of wisdom and sometimes steps in to help me make changes. I have been homeschooling for 20 years. I started homeschooling my oldest daughter in 1991. That was a long time ago. Homeschooling is a year to year thing but we decided somewhere along the way that this was what we were called to do and it would be a "lifetime" commitment. Homeschooling is definitely for the long hall in our family and diligence, faithfulness, and stick-to-it-iveness are a must. It really does help to know that this is what God wants us to do and that he will see us through. Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

Sometimes the causes of burnout are avoidable and sometimes not. We can be burnt out just from the daily trials of dealing with children and household work piling up around us... or we can be burnt out because we are pregnant, have a new baby, have to move, had a death in the family or, especially these days, our husband is out of work. I have dealt with all of the above while homeschooling, except for death in the family... at least not in my immediate family or parents. My dad did die but that was when I was in high school. My husband's dad died before we met and his mom died when I was pregnant with our second child... but we weren't homeschooling yet. 

When the baby is http://zaazu.comand you have to teach (chemistry) to your high school child you might just feel like screaming along with the baby! You need a vacation but you can't get away right now... You have to plow through and finish the school year. I never had a baby screaming while I was trying to teach an older child chemistry but I did teach chemistry and phonics in the same year so I was close to the previous scenario.

First know... I have been there... numerous time over the 20 years and was there just last week. What changed??? I talked to my husband. He talked to our sons. I prayed. I prayed some more. God did a work in my sons heart. I did not give up... I trusted God. Things are better this week.

Remember this: You don't have to do it all you only have to do what the Lord requires of you. Maybe others are putting unrealistic expectations on you... or maybe you expect to much of yourself or your kids. If you don't make changes and take the time to make things right you will end up with a complete breakdown or an illness that will force you to do thing differently. Don't wait until that happens. 

The first and most important thing I do to prevent/avoid burnout is to have my daily devotions. I could not complete the many jobs I have to do without my heavenly Father, Savior and the Holy Spirits help and guidance. God created me. He knows me intimately. God brought my husband and I together. He created my children and gave them to us. God called me to homeschool. I can't do this without him. Reading his word gives me wisdom and perspective to see myself, my sins, my children's sins, and a lot more, and the find way to conduct myself and how to lead them to do the same.

Prayer gives me a way to be honest with the Lord about my shortcomings and also my hopes and dreams. I can also intercede for my children and implore the Lord's help in raising them and get the Holy Spirits help since he indwells my children, since they profess salvation. The Lord loves them more than I do and he will do more from inside their spirit than I can by pushing from the outside. One of the things I keep remembering these days and use often is Love, Pray, Wait, Trust. If you did not see my post about that please check it out... I hope it will uplift you as it did me.

I also need Godly music. It plays a very important part in my life and in our families life. We have played and sung Godly music to and with our children since before they were born. It affects me sometimes like nothing else can. God really uses it in my life and I have to make sure the music I am listening to draws me to the Lord and does not glorify self but Him.

When stress comes from just the day to day stuff of life here are some of the other things I do to prevent/avoid burnout:
  • Dates with my hubby. Time with my husband is necessary to keep our marriage strong which keeps our family strong. We try and do this weekly even if it is just a ride alone together to the library to pick up books I have put on reserve. We try and do a more extended date night at least once a month. Sometimes we even do dates at home. I set up a table in our bedroom and we eat dinner up there, spend time talking and sharing, listen to quiet music and spend the whole evening together. Sometimes we play a game, sometimes we watch a movie, sometimes we read a book we are working our way through together, usually it is on parenthood or marriage, sometimes we just talk more. When the kids were little we joined a babysitting co-op so we could go out and not pay for babysitters. I explained about this in my post Alone time... does such a thing exist? so check that out if you're curious. There are some more things in that post that may help, too, besides the babysitting co-op. Talk to your husband. He has a different perspective and can be helpful in meeting challenges and in dealing with problems with children... especially teenage boys. I should know. He has been especially helpful with our teenage sons lately.
  • Get out of the house. Take a field trip.. especially if you can spend some extended time in the out of doors. God and Nature... wonderful combo for revitalization.
  • Change up the homeschool routine. Do a mini unit study. Do a fun, kids choice, lapbook. These don't have to take a lot of planning there are great resources out there with everything laid out for you. For instance TOS has some great Curiosity Files that are lots of fun or try a lapbook... I have lots of links for them on my Freebies and my Favorite Websites pages... check out the tabs at the top. Or have a homeschool game day... my kids love these.
  • Maybe you need to reduce the number of outside activities you/your kids are participating in. Early on my husband impressed upon me that the first part of the name of homeschooling was home and so we reduced the number of activities the kids were involved in. We needed time at home during the day to do our schoolwork and to many outside activities work against you and can make you crazy busy and stressed. I have been wanting to do an update of my games post but until I do you can check out this link: Homeschool Memoirs #12 - Let's Play a Game
  • Simplify meals. Plan ahead. Double your meals, put one in the freezer for later. You may even have a church that can help out with meals in some cases.
  • Take a little time for yourself. Maybe you need a break. It is ok. If you can find the time and the kids will let you alone for a minute. Maybe your husband could do something with them. These days it is easier for me to find "me" time since my kids are older. I can even go to the bathroom without someone following me or knocking on the door wanting me for something. Work on a craft. Read a book for pleasure. Take a bath. Do something just for you. Get out of the house and go somewhere, I don't really like to do this... I like to be with people, so If I am out alone it is usually because I am on my way to some event. These days I even get to go to Ladies Bible Studies two Fridays a month, during the day!
  • Find support. I love my homeschool support group. I have been involved since 1992. I have been more and less involved at different times in the past 20 years. I have always had homeschooling friends, and some non-homeschooling friends too, that I could call on when I needed support. I also have my church family which is so important to me. I have now added to that with online friends. Especially my TOS Homeschool Crew Buddies.
  • Clean the house... yes I really said that. When my home is cluttered and dirty I feel more stressed. Take a day off from school and do some de-cluttering and cleaning. Get the kids involved. Let them work with you... join in as a team and work together to get things straightened up.
  • Take time to enjoy your children. Do something just for fun.. not for school. Let them choose an activity. Have a tea party or other special lunch, maybe a picnic in the house, on the floor. Play with them. Have fun.
If things are stressful because of out-of-your-control circumstances you may do some of the above things, and you may do some other things. Here are some things I suggest when in stressful situations that you could not control:
  • Let your kids teach each other. No, I am not kidding. When I was pregnant with my 3rd child my daughter Rachel taught her sister Jessica. Rachel was in 3rd grade and Jessica in K. I had terrible morning sickness. Some days Rachel "taught" Jessica while I laid nearby on the couch. It was good review for Rachel and she was such a big helper. We did not do this often but it can be a help on days when you just can't do it all yourself.
  • As my kids grew they helped out more. When the boys were little the girls took turns playing with them to keep them busy and to keep them engaged while I taught the other girl math. It gave the girls a break from their school and it gave their little brothers a break from playing alone. They even taught their brothers things as they showed them how to do puzzles, play simple games, colored with them, read them stories, went over abc's or colors and other things I am sure. It worked great.
  • Cut back on homeschooling. Do only a few main subjects and leave off the extra's. Read more. Read aloud more. Print some review worksheets instead of moving on to new material.
  • Take a break from homeschooling. A few days or a week off can really do a lot to revitalize things. You may even need more time off. Take it when you need it... you don't have to stick to the schedule that the public schools do.
So... if you are feeling stressed or close to being burnt out take one or more of the suggestions above and make a change. Then tomorrow, Tuesday, go to the TOS Blog and click on one of the links for the Blog Cruise for this week, "How Do You Avoid Burn-out?" and see what my Crewmates have to say about this topic... maybe they have some advice that can help you further. And remember... you are not alone. God is with you and you can also reach out to others. I am here if you need to chat. Leave me a comment.

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1 comment:

alecat said...

You're so right about cleaning the house! I have a habit of letting things accumulate, then I can't stand it any longer. Pulling everyone in for a quick tidy up makes a HUGE difference.


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