Dealing with Homeschool Burnout

Homeschool burnout can strike at any time during the year. For me, it came at roughly the same time each year. Dealing with homeschool burnout is perfectly normal. As both a homeschool parent and a classroom teacher, I can tell you I’ve experienced some form of “homeschool burnout” every year.

Some call it “March Madness”

Others, “Spring Fever”.

Whatever you call it…

The struggle IS real! 

Where are you Easter Break?

Both as a homeschool mom and a classroom teacher this is the time I often found myself counting the days until Easter break. I worked at a Catholic school so heaven help us all if it was a “late” Easter! (Easter is not a “fixed” holiday like Christmas – always the 25th of December. Easter is celebrated based on the lunar cycle. It falls on the Sunday after the Passover full moon. More on that in another post!)

Is your to do list so long you’ve actually used up all the loose leaf paper you got on sale at back to school time? 

Perhaps you’re uncertain if anyone in the house has clean clothes to wear tomorrow. 

Did you just stop reading and get up to answer the door for the pizza delivery? 

I get it!

 Even though I’m out of the classroom and “just blogging for a living” – I understand burnout. I’ve been staring out of my office window looking at the squirrel getting  peanuts out of his feeder  for a good 10 minutes – trying to organize my thoughts for this post. 

Spring Fever is imminent. Perhaps it’s not spring and something else drew you to this post! Never fear!! 

We need a reset and we need it NOW. 

Ideas for Dealing with Burnout – for homeschoolers AND teachers!

 I’d like to share with you what I did, and still do even with my 17,18, and 19 year old children. 

I didn’t take extra time to catch up on all that “stuff”  – I took extra time to CONNECT WITH THEM. 

I knew the burnout feeling was telling me to make an adjustment, and make it quickly. Here are my 3 best ideas for beating burnout in the home and classroom settings.

Tips for dealing with homeschool burnout for homeschool moms and classroom teachers
Dealing with homeschool burnout is a s easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. No School Today

Homeschoolers: Take a day off – NOW don’t wait for a scheduled “break”, or the weekend.  Cancel school for the day. Say out loud:  “No school today kids – we are going to do XYZ instead. If you are a regular reader of the Homeschool Holiday blog this one may surprise you because I always say – We do school everyday 24/7. It’s true, we do – because everything is learning. My kids only got “off” on Leap Year Day and “burn out days”. 

Because I framed our school philosophy as : Everything is learning, we have school everyday, nights and weekends too, Burnout days were SO SPECIAL. 

Here are some things you can do on burnout days: (Remember, you are fully participating as well) 

Go on a scavenger hunt – indoors or outdoors

Changing the curriculum for the day has a major impact on both the students and the teacher. Routine is wonderful, but breaking it can be just as wonderful when you need to deal with homeschool burnout.

Spend the day doing arts and crafts or building lego, or a mix. Hold “centers” like they do in school. Let each child pick an activity. You pick one too. Set the timer and everyone does each activity for the designated time. 

Movie Day – Have you shown them Darby O’Gill and the Little people or Journey to the Center of the Earth? (The one with Pat Boone) The classics. Pop popcorn. Add butter. If you have to get in the car and go buy candy. Remember it’s a SPECIAL DAY. After the movie is over, download my FREE Movie Discussion Guide.  Depending on the ages of your children you can also design movie posters or make puppets of the characters. 

Go ahead and let them play video games – But the catch – I want you to play with them! The same for board games. Take a trip to the store and pick out a brand new one together. 

Pack a picnic and head to the park. Complete some impromptu nature studies. All you need is paper and a pencil. Just draw anything from nature that is interesting. Another method is to find 5 things and talk about them! If you can’t get to a park your yard is PERFECT. Nothing about the day needs to be complicated. 

“No School” Days work for Classroom Teachers too!

So many of these ideas work for a classroom teacher as well.  You can’t exactly cancel school – but what about a movie day with popcorn. Don’t grade papers – watch it with them. Pull your chair into the center of the desks and ENGAGE! Have a parent donate some candy and drinks. With a little planning everyone will be refreshed in no time at all. 

Think outside the box and anything can be learning!

A Picnic lunch in a grassy area of your campus with some Nature studies thrown in. Classrooms can also host the perfect Game Day. With a bit of planning, your “no school day” can work just as well as a no-homeschool day! 

One of my FAVORITE things to do as a classroom teacher when I needed a reset was to read to my class. I could do this with no warning and NO PREP. As a school administrator myself, I had leeway to cancel my own afternoon of social studies – so be sure not to get yourself into hot water. No matter the grade level I taught I always had plenty of “mentor text” or good old fashioned children’s books on hand. Just the act of reading to my class was refreshing! 

2. Adjust your schedule

Evaluate your schedule – are you feeling burnout because you are trying to fit too much in? As homeschoolers often we feel the pressure that somehow our children are behind so we try to cram every last everything into our day. Take a deep breath. Your children are right where they are supposed to be. Start to simplify and get ready for Summer. End your day 30 to 45 minutes early. Add 15 minutes to your lunch break if needed so you can read a story or do a quick nature study. 

Just getting up and moving every day can impact burnout. How about a dance party in your home or classroom as a way of dealing with homeschool burnout?

Do you use “Brain Breaks” in your homeschool? Simply put a brain break is a 3 – 5 minute mental break in between tasks so kids have a chance to reset and refocus before moving on. When Burnout hits – it just might be time to remember to implement Brain Breaks! Physical brain breaks like dancing are popular, but mental brain breaks like playing with legos or pattern blocks are great too!  

A classroom teacher can evaluate and adapt their schedule too. Have you been teaching the subjects in the same order since the beginning of the year? Reducing burnout can be  as simple as switching math to first each day. Check your Brain Breaks as well. Add in a few more or take some out. Perhaps there’s a bit too MUCH stimulation. Switch to mental breaks vs physical. 

3. Find something to CELEBRATE!

Using the holiday of the day encourages celebration, builds connection and helps infuse fun into the day!

What are you celebrating? Burnout and boredom go hand in hand. Use the Holiday of the day to infuse some fun into the rest of the school year. Just one a week Is all it takes! Adding one everyday may produce overwhelm, lol. Use the CALENDAR OF HOLIDAYS to find resources available for each week and choose something that looks interesting. If there is a holiday there that I DON’T have a resource for – go for it. My feelings won’t be hurt, my goal is for you and your kids to connect, whatever it takes!

Looking for more ideas? Check out these resources:

Ideas for Self Care for Tired Teachers From PreKay Essentials

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