Yesterday I talked about the first two causes of homeschool burnout: Busyness and comparison.
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Today we are going to look at the next three things that often lead to burnout.
God is a God of order.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” I Corinthians 14:33
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40
Taking time to organize a schedule, your household chores, and the use of your time may mean the difference between making it as a homeschooler, or giving up and quitting. A schedule will help you prioritize, so as to accomplish the things that matter. It will help you stay focused, and relieve the stress of having to make daily decisions.
Just remember that orderliness isn’t the same as inflexibility. You can have a schedule as a tool, but don’t let it be your master.
When your home is reasonably order, and daily chores are done, it will be easier to focus on the other things that need to be done. Also, your children will know what to expect each day, and will function better when there is a routine to guide them daily.
Keep in mind that there is no “ideal” schedule for every family. The plans will vary from family to family, and even in your home it will vary as circumstances change. (New baby, new student, etc.)
4. Out of Control Children
I mentioned this in my post 6 Causes of Frustration in Parenting, but I am going to mention it here again, because it is SO important!
Children need to be taken from parent control, to self-control, to God control.
That is the big picture to try to keep in mind as you are training them. If your children don’t obey you, or are out of control, you will have a hard time teaching then. You will soon be frustrated, and overwhelmed with the effort. So remember that your first job is to teach them to obey. That’s what God calls us to do as parents, and He calls the children to obey and honor us.
As you work on this, and other behavior issues with the kids, focus on what is going on in their heart. Don’t just deal with the disobedience, but ask what heart attitude is causing that disobedience.
“Be careful not to teach your children to clean up their behavior only to cover a decaying heart.When you see behavior problems, recognize that something deeper is going on. Target your discipline for the heart, because when the heart changes, kids make lasting adjustments in their lives.Jesus told the Pharisees how they could change: “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence….First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” –From Parenting is Heart Work
Focusing on the heart issues will bring to light areas of character that need to be worked on. For example, when you see pride in their heart, work on the character quality of humility. When untruthfulness is revealed, work on the charcter quality of integrity and honesty. Character training is an on-going process during our parenting years, and something we need to keep high on our priority list.
“Our energy bank is like a pendulum. We can be passionate at one end, but risk bottoming out at the other swing of the pendulum. To avoid that, we have to do things to nurture ourselves so that we don’t burn out. This is contrary to what others are teaching about selflessness, but I find as I get older that I need to be a little more self-nurturing. I’ve also seen too many moms who are burning out for homeschooling because they think they have to.” – Christine Field
Many moms who make the choice to home school their children tend to neglect caring for themselves. I used to see a Christian naturopath doctor, and he told me that all the home school mothers that came to him for treatment, were worn out. If you are struggling with fatigue, check how you are doing with getting enough rest, eating properly, and caring for your body. It’s normal for a busy mom to be tired at the end of the day, but if you are waking up tired every day, then it’s probably time to slow down, and take care of yourself. Know your limits, and listen to your body.
I learned this the hard way, and now I am much more in tune with my body. I can tell when it’s time for me to slow down, and get some extra rest. I have found that it’s much easier for me to be patient with my kids, and to speak kindly to them, when I’m not exhausted.
If you’re at the point of needing to slow down, don’t feel guilty about it. Do what you need to do to get better. That may mean not doing as much school work for a time, or just focusing on the basics temporarily. I needed find an easier curriculum that doesn’t require as much from you.
Once you know the cause of burnout, you can be careful and try to avoid them. What are you doing to guard against burnout?
*In my next post, I will talk about how to achieve the balance you need to avoid burnout.