The Homeschool Burnout Tea with Julie series continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, April 17, 2021

Hi Friend,

Your direct messages tell me a tale. Between the pandemic and the usual demands of parenting and homeschool, you're tired. We're ALL tired. I get it! Sometimes the "tired" is of a whole other level—it verges on being "burnt out."

See if any of these apply.

Signs of homeschool burnout:

  • Boredom (you and/or the kids).
  • Nagging (you have to nag to make things happen).
  • Reading, writing, and math are something to “get through” rather than to explore and enjoy.
  • Field trips are limited to excursions to the orthodontist and pediatrician.
  • Everyone else you know is better at homeschooling than you are.
  • Art supply closet is empty.
  • You imagine flagging down the next yellow bus and tossing a few kids onto it.
  • Clothing websites are more interesting than online book stores.
  • The house never feels neat enough to concentrate on anything meaningful.
  • The thought of teaching someone to read again makes you wilt.
You get the picture.

When homeschooling becomes a chore for everyone, it’s time for extreme measures. Clear out a week (cancel music lessons, no doctor’s appointments, no sports practices). Then follow this one week plan for breaking through burnout:

Day One

Get out of the house and go anywhere that is not an errand.

The zoo, the beach, the children’s museum, the music store (where your kids can test the drum kits!), Aunt Millie’s farm, farmer’s market, the art museum, the YMCA, the local pet store, a state park…

Pick one and stay all day. After a year of social distancing, this could be experienced as a real treat! Be sure to follow all safety protocols, but fully enjoy!

Day Two

Eat, drink, and be merry.

Drop all routines and eat fun foods (order in, go out, make a picnic, or cook a real meal that tastes really good). Drink something new (look up mock-tails on the Internet or make smoothies or add grenadine to Sprite for a Shirley Temple complete with the red cherries and straws). Have banana splits for lunch. Make a big tostada bar.

Watch a Shakespeare movie or one based on a children’s book you’ve read, or listen to a book on tape that you all would enjoy while you eat and drink.

Day Three

Stay in and play games.

Stack them up on the table, microwave popcorn, and play: Sorry, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Quiddler, Pictionary, Scattergories… When you get tired, watch TV for a break. Stay together all day and enjoy it. Can you include video games? Sure. Up to you.

Day Four

Everyone does their own thing.

  • Set the table the night before with art supplies, cards, cook books, clay, video games, dress up clothes and marbles.
  • Make a yummy breakfast.
  • Then everyone gets to pick whatever he or she wants to do. TV is a definite option (as long as your family doesn’t mind) and so is the computer. Unlimited, as long as everyone takes turns.

You can take the day off too and read a book or play on the computer or join in building a fort. It’s up to you.

Day Five

Family meeting over tea.

What activity was the most fun this week?

How can we fit that into the regular schedule?

When you look ahead to the rest of the school year together, loosen up. Drop one subject or curricula that saps your energy. Drop one that is sapping your children’s energy. Then rearrange the way you do the ones that you will continue.

Ask your kids: would you like writing better if we did it at Barnes and Noble every week over hot chocolate? Can we change math to three days a week for half an hour rather than every day for fifteen minutes? Would it help to drop history for now and focus on science experiments?

Make a rough plan for how to include games, outings and personal days so that you don’t get into that same rut again. Remember, we are homeschoolers, and not bound to the educational establishment. We can change course at any time and make everyone happier.

It's also okay to slide into summer (northern hemisphere peeps). You don't have to have an official end date in mind. Gradually let each subject go in favor of outdoor activities and more personal time.

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.





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Julie Bogart
© 2021 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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