Are you battling burnout? Are your kids complaining of boredom? Feeling overwhelmed by all those daily homeschool must-dos? Does your homeschool routine feel stuck? Do you long for a happier, more connected homeschool? Looking for a way to preserve the joy of learning for your children and teens? Do you have a vision of how you’d like your homeschool routine to look and feel, but you are struggling to get there? Are you searching for a way to transform your homeschool?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I want you to know that you are not alone.
That said, if you’re sitting there nodding your head, if you’re looking to reduce power struggles with your kids, if you’re searching for a way to reboot and refresh your homeschool routine, I have an idea for you.
Feeling bored? Burned out? Transform your homeschool with THIS…
We all homeschool for different reasons. Some people set out to homeschool from the beginning. Others land here suddenly and without warning. Perhaps you homeschool because your child is struggling with certain academic or social-emotional skills. Maybe your kid was bullied. Perhaps you homeschool for religious reasons. I could go on and on and on.
But I’d venture a guess that we all have a few things in common. First, we all want our children and teens to grow into happy, healthy, and thriving adults. And, second, I bet we all fall victim to doubt and second-guessing more than we’d like to admit.
Because, whether we agree with it or not, our society values performance, output, and academic achievement. And also? Many of us are products of more traditional brick-and-mortar educational experiences.
Do you ever sit on the couch after the kids are in bed and silently berate yourself for not [enter expectation here]? Have you ever asked yourself whether your children would be “better off” in school? Do you ever find yourself wide awake at 3 am asking the question, “Do I really have what it takes to homeschool well?”
I’ve definitely done these things, and I know I’m not alone.
Do you know why we fall victim to doubt and second-guessing and feelings of inadequacy and worry?
It’s because of the public school mindset. The public school mindset is tough to shake. And it can be particularly challenging to shake if you are a product of public education or if you worked in public education.
It goes something like this…
You start off strong in September. You are full of ideas and motivation and energy and hope. And then, for whatever reason, you hit a snag. It could be the weather getting dark and gray. Or maybe it’s the post-holiday funk. Maybe you saw an Instagram-perfect homeschool while aimlessly scrolling and now you hate all the things. Perhaps it’s just a series of crabalicious days with crankalicious kids. Or maybe your son tells you that you never taught him to tie his shoes and your daughter declares that Paris is located in New York.
Whatever the reason, you lose your groove. And the doubt and second-guessing creeeeeps its way in. That, my friends, is the public school mindset.
That voice in your head? The questioning and doubt? That’s your public school mindset rearing its ugly head.
“Shouldn’t you be…?”
“Don’t you need more…?”
“Is that really the best…?”
“Math! Math! Math!”
We all homeschool for different reasons, we have different styles and methods, and wildly unique kiddos. But I’m going to venture a guess that if our homeschool journey was a story, our stories would contain the same villain.
The public school mindset is the bad guy.
One way to transform your homeschool is to say goodbye to that public school mindset.
I know this is easier said than done. Believe me, I do. But one way to transform your homeschool atmosphere is to push that public school mindset out of your noggin.
Because, really, when you think about it, why should we listen to that voice? We chose a different path because public education was not a good fit for our kiddos.
So, clearly, we must do it differently. Our homeschool routine shouldn’t look like the public school our children aren’t attending.
We need to remind ourselves that education and school are two different things.
Education and learning do not require a school building. Learning doesn’t begin at 8:00 am and end at 3:00 pm. It doesn’t halt on weekends, and there is no summer vacation.
Learning happens all the time, in all the places and spaces. And we all know this in our gut, it’s just that sometimes that public school mindset pops up and makes us feel inadequate.
I’m a school psychologist-turned-unexpected homeschool mom and I’ve learned a few things. And I have an idea for how you can transform your homeschool if you’re feeling stuck. But first…
My husband and I are both products of public education and I worked in public education. Homeschooling was never on our radar. It never even crossed our minds. We just assumed we’d send our kids off to public school, because we had attended public school and that’s what people did.
And then life threw us a curveball, our oldest son.
We sent him off to kindergarten with a spring in his step and Harry Potter tucked under his teeny-tiny little arm. I worried that the school would misunderstand him, that they would see only his twisty-tornado boy movements, his LOUD voice, and his ohsomany-thoughts-that-can’t-wait. I worried they would miss his big heart, hilarious sense of humor, and his amazing thoughts and ideas.
As the weeks wore on, we noticed a shift. The little guy would climb into my car at the end of the day with his shoulders slumped, tears welling in his big brown eyes. That spring in his step and his excitement for learning and school disappeared.
Then the behavior slips appeared. One day it was calling out of turn too many times, or straying from his seat. Then, it was fidgeting with his paperclip collection, doodling on another’s paper, and singing during class.
School wasn’t working. He wasn’t thriving, the school didn’t understand him, and his love of learning was dissipating.
Education and school are two different things. They can occur together, but not always. Sometimes, you need to take away the school to get an education.
And that’s how we found ourselves suddenly, unexpectedly homeschooling.
Homeschooling itself is a transformation. Remember that.
Sure, it’s not always easy that first year… especially if you landed in the world of homeschool unexpectedly.
Many of us attempt to recreate a version of public school at home because that is what we remember. It is familiar and feels safe. But it backfires.
Of course it backfires! We decided to homeschool because the more traditional path was not working. It makes sense that our homeschool should be different than public school.
As that first year progresses, we learn what works and what doesn’t. We adapt and evolve. We listen to our gut and homeschool in a way that meets our unique kiddos’ needs.
And then that public school mindset pops up and throws us off our game.
When you’re feeling burned out, it can help to remember why you chose this path. Remember that it’s supposed to look different. Remind yourself that school and education are two separate things.
Want to transform your homeschool? I have an idea that I think will help, but before I get to that, I want you to picture your child in public school. Would it solve anything?
I homeschool because my kid didn’t fit in the public school box. He fidgeted with paperclips and made paper airplanes when he was supposed to be doing other things. He was bored and so he sang the Frozen soundtrack when he was supposed to be practicing his letters. He was five and he was misunderstood. That month we took him home? There was an almost palpable shift in our family atmosphere. His smile and his curiosity returned. That spring in his step was back. Was it perfect? Nope, not even close. But it was better than before.
Remember your story. Remember why you’re doing this. Remember that kids in public school have bad days, weeks, and months, too. I know because I worked in public schools.
Want to eliminate homeschool burnout? Remember this…
If your mind is wandering, I want you to come back to me because this is important. Here is what I know to be true.
You were your child’s very first teacher. You taught her to get dressed, to brush her teeth, to use a fork, to tie her shoes. You’ve always been the teacher. Nothing has changed. No one loves this child more than you do. There is no one on this entire planet- not even the world’s greatest teacher- who understands this child more than you do. You know her strengths, her weaknesses, her loves, and her fears. There is no one on this earth who cares more about her wellbeing and future.
You’ve got this. There is no one more invested. You are in the game. And do you know what? Some days stink. Some homeschool seasons are ugly. That’s okay. You’ve got this.
Help For Overcoming Homeschool Burnout
Never Board Learning Can Help You Play More And Stress Less!
At Never Board Learning, we believe homeschooling can be almost all fun and games. The NBL Community will help your family to play more and learn lots!
Never Board Learning is a private online community for creative parents and educators who enjoy play-based learning and gameschooling. Never Board Learning features a private (non-Facebook) community forum, guest speakers, Q and As, day in the life family spotlights, and a growing resource library filled with challenges, monthly giveaways and promos, documentation resources, and print-and-play activities.
When you become a member, you embark on an NBL Choose Your Own Adventure. You’ll discover your character, your quest, and an enemy to look out for!
But don’t worry- the NBL adventure is a cooperative one. You’ll be able to call upon community members for support, inspiration, and encouragement!