Monday, April 08, 2019

Re Post: Walking through Burnout!

I originally posted this four years ago.  I had 7 children under 16 and I thought I would drown soon.  I still have a lot going on, but no longer feel burned out. (maybe worn out, but that is a different story. :-)   I am re-posting in case it is helpful again.   

About this time last year, I looked at my husband and told him I could not keep home educating.  I just did not have it in me.  Between our oldest son with multiple issues, all the kids, and my very busy little ones I could not go on.  He thought I was joking.  I convinced him that I meant it.  I started looking at the Baptist school down the street, and I am not even Baptist.  Something had to change.

I watched this video by Susan Wise Bauer. She starts talking about burnout at about the 9:30 minute mark.  It helped me to define my feelings, and realize I needed a plan to get through it to the other side.  I like home educating, but I needed a break.  These are some of the actions steps I took.

  • For me I started by taking the whole summer off.  I had never done that.  We had schooled all year with breaks in-between.  I had not taken a large chunk of time off.  It helped tremendously. 
  •  I realized I was not going to finish the whole curriculum, took a deep breath and cut my losses.  I did finish math, but that was all.  I dumped some things in my recycling bin and did not look back.  (Well, until the papers blew out of the recycle bin in a storm and landed on the deck posts and stuck there.  I did get over that.)
  • I choose a complete curriculum with lesson plans for the next year, and just followed that.  I would try to be more eclectic in the past and pull in all sorts of resources, but I did not have that in me.  I just followed the plan.
  • I was distressed with the state of my life and house and started doing a project a day.  My friend Kerry and I would write each other daily and share our projects.  It kept me going and as my house became neater my attitude changed.  My kids helped me with the projects.  We really had fun.  I felt like I was getting my life back. 
  • I shared with some other friends how I felt, and I was shocked that they felt the same.  One friend said she was so burned out she was crispy.  I loved that.  Just sharing with others made me feel better. It is so easy to think that everyone else is doing great and you are the only one.
  • I enjoyed just playing with my kids.  I played hours of badminton, sat in the back yard with them, took a few field trips, and just did not worry about school.   I remembered what it was like to just be with them. 

Next week. . . I will tell you what I did not do.


  1. thank you for sharing this! I know about this time every year I start to wonder if we have "done enough or if we should have done things differently or added more tests or quizzes and projects...then I get stressed and remember one of the biggest reasons I am doing homeschooling with Noah is to avoid all that stress and anxiety and rules and lists and things that just make learning more of a chore and not much fun. It can be overwhelming. I have tried different methods and use of different resources and as Noah gets older I also am trying to get him to be more independent in his studies...and focus more on his interests and his strengths to help prepare him for the world (as he is autistic though high functioning). This year since Noah is much older we are trying a more freestyle method for school to see how that would compare with our prior methods. It has gone well but because it has been much more "relaxed" I often find myself wondering if we still "have done enough?" Then when I start to look back and gather materials together to send (to you) for his assessment, I realize just how much we have accomplished and then I don't feel so bad. lol

  2. I'm so glad you've found some measure of peace, Becky! I'm SURE I will have months like this in my future, so you better believe I'm going to be e-mailing you in a panic when it happens. :)

  3. Hello Melinda--Thanks for your note and kind words. I think your freestyle work sounds great for Noah. You have worked so hard to make it all work. Reflecting on your year is a powerful. My hope is always that the process is helpful for families! Thank you!! Becky

  4. Christy! When we first started homeschooling I could not imagine ever being burned out. It sort of sneaks up on you. Thanks for your sweet note!!

  5. Wow! I just sat at the computer crushed at the way the year has been going. I even attempted to call my husband and tell him I quit but got voicemail. So, I decided to look for a teacher for our annual homeschool assessment since not having one yet was stressing me a bit.

    Lo and behold I saw your burned out post. Thank you!!! Sometimes it feels so lonely doing this, and you think you are the only one struggling so hard at times. I am grateful for this post. You touched all aspects. Feeling upset about the state of the house, feeling like what school work that has been done so far is inadequate and of course the whole reason behind homeschooling: being with your kids.

    What I want most is to enjoy their company and embrace the changes with each day. I hope I can continue to do this! I know I can do this!

    Thank you for the kind words and support :)

  6. Dear Ohiomom,
    Thank you for taking the time to write. I am so glad this post was helpful. I greatly appreciate your feedback. Burnout it hard, but you can come back from it. Enjoying your kids company and embracing the changes with each day is a wonderful plan. Keep going. It will get better.

  7. Hi Becky! I have to tell... because of this post, I actually took a summer off with my children for the first time in years!!! It was beautiful and wonderful! I have my babies back :) We played, laughed, lounged and loved <3

    Thank you Becky!!!! :)