Burnout: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.
Do you think you have it? It can be a common problem – for homeschoolers and traditional school students alike. But homeschooled teens have many more options for counteracting the negative effects of burnout than their traditional counterparts do – and hurray for that!
Steps for Changing Up Your Homeschool Routine
Track Your Slumps. Set up a database and record when you have that cranky or itchy feeling. Is there a particular time of day it seems to be happening? A certain subject? The weather? Write down anything that might give you insight into what’s triggering your blues.
Switch up Your Schedule. If you’re used to starting the school day at your desk or table at 9 a.m. – switch it up. Do a physical activity first, or schedule an outing. You may need to try working later in the day for awhile – and that’s totally ok – that’s the flexibility of homeschooling!
Take it Outside the Crib. Whenever the weather permits, you should scoop up your papers and laptop, and head outside with a blanket and snacks. If you live in town, try a local coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi, and sip some java. Sometimes a little hustle and bustle, or outdoor stimuli, can boost your learning capacity.
Take a Learning Styles Assessment. Be honest and careful with your answers, and share the results with your parents. Everybody’s brain processes information differently. You may need a more interactive way of learning if you are frequently bored or tuning out of your studies. Visual and kinesthetic (tactile) learners are notorious for not being able to sit still or pay attention to lectures. Does that sound like you?
Take a Break and Call a Friend. Just five minutes on the phone with a good friend can make a big difference on your overall mood. Studies have also shown that this contact – even if through social media – can raise the levels of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) in your body. Remember that homeschooled teens can feel more isolated than traditionally schooled students. Don’t feel guilty – it is very important and healthy to socialize as a teen.
Have an Emergency (Healthy) Snack Stash. Snacking can help ward off energy drops and mood swings in growing teens. Stocking up on healthier snacks that you enjoy can be a great diversion while pleasing the tummy.
Rely on music. Music can have a powerful effect on your mood. So keep a playlist of the kind that pumps you up on hand – if you are feeling low or lazy. Alternately, if you are feeling antsy or hyper, and having trouble concentrating, pick some tracks that are slower and calming to you.
Parental Homeschool Burnout
Remember that your parents can burnout just as easily as you can. Homeschooling takes incredible dedication, passion, energy, creativity, high ideals and whole-hearted devotion to your kids. It does get hard to keep chugging out that kind of mojo day in and day out. Learn to pay attention to your parent’s moods as well, and recognize the fact that it doesn’t do anybody any good to be in cranky moods. Make the effort to step in and say – “hey… why don’t we do something a little different today?” If you’ve got a few great suggestions to back up your statement, you are well on your way to winning the burnout battle.
So let’s give everybody a break once in a while to breathe and regroup. It’s natural to burnout. Try to appreciate the extra freedoms that you do have as compared to traditional school students. During these times, keep your eye on the main goal: individualized, quality education while remaining a closely bonded family unit.
Jessica Parnell is passionate about homeschooling. A wife, mother and former public high school teacher, Jessica has transferred this passion into her career as Principal of Bridgeway Homeschool Academy. Her passion grows out of a deep desire to see every child reach their God given potential and purpose through faith-based, customized, and flexible homeschooling. With over 25 years of experience helping over 24,000 families to homeschool their way, Jessica is dedicated to helping families understand the freedom that comes with homeschooling and to empowering parents, a child's first teacher, to feel confident in taking control of their child's education. www.homeschoolacademy.com