Coming to a place of "burnout" as a homeschooling parent, or as a home schooler, means that somewhere in the process, we have lost sight of our goals. One of the many reasons parents choose to homeschool is that they want to enjoy time with their children. We see homeschooling as an opportunity to spend worthwhile time with our child, exploring learning together, and walking the exciting road side by side. Opening the world to our children is a delight and we enthusiastically begin by talking, reading, walking, and sharing life.
However, it isn't long before "comparison" steps in and we begin to doubt if we are giving our child the best education possible. The focus shifts quickly from the relationship building opportunity to "an education", and unfortunately, our society has taught us to measure "education" by scores. So, driven by our need to see results in order to compare our children, we set them down to a plethora of textbooks, a CD course, another on-line program just in case.... and on it goes.
With our eyes on the next homeschooling family (who fits in so much in their day), we begin early in the morning. We become the task master - the time keeper - the driving force. We stay up late to control programs, we mark their work with a red pen, we become anxious when the book isn't being finished according to our timetable. We push harder, work longer, become more irritated.
Then we notice that there are so many activities that the children from the school down the road are involved in. We need to join a drama group, become a part of the home school choir, take some music and art lessons and be part of a home school network group or co-op if there is one close by. Our children are now being forced out the door, in the car, the baby needs to be woken up and dragged here and there. We keep our eye on our watches.... so that our children won't be the ones missing out!
It is easy to see how burnout can happen and how we can be swayed by peer pressure from our homeschooling circles and from the community around us. But, how can we avoid burnout?
Let us consider these ways:
- Focus on our unique goals
Firstly, we need to know where we are headed. Each family is unique and we should rejoice in that! We need to take time to consider our own family goals. Where are we headed? What is important to US? What is the lasting quality we want to pass on to our children? When we know that, we need to head in that direction and keep to it.
- Nip comparison in the bud.
When our eyes stray to begin to compare our child with someone else's or our child to their sibling, we need to nip that thought in the bud. Break off the thought there and then. We need to be in control of our thought patterns, and dismiss what is not edifying. Instead, we should substitute that thought with something else - with a sentence or Bible verse you memorize. If you train yourself to actively put another thought in its place, you will be more successful in nipping those thoughts of comparison.
- Be realistic with our time
Everyone has different limitations according to time. We need to make decisions for our unique family as to how much time will be spent at the desk. Do your children have time for sport? Do they have time for a hobby? Time to think and just "be"? Time for God? Time for fun?
- Consider our own circumstances
Each family has different circumstances which will affect them as a unit. Health, traveling distance to services, number of children, abilities of children, parent and child personalities - all of these have bearing on who we are and what we can do. We should not be in judgment of ourselves because of our own personal limitations, but rather, accept our circumstances and move on confidently and maturely.
So, whether you are a veteran or a new homeschooling parent, I challenge you to keep your focus, remember the goals you have set, don't give time to comparison, be realistic with your time and accept your personal circumstances. Remember why you began to homeschool and enjoy learning together as a family. When you stop "enjoying" the learning experience, reflect on why you began and review what you are doing.
Written by Marianne V from http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/index.html
Are you looking for a Guide to help you uniquely design-your-own homeschool to suit your family's goals, and develop your own individual approach that reflects these goals and complements your lifestyle and needs? Go to Design Your Home school Guide.
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