I was reading an article that was saying that the homeschool movement is getting bigger. There are a lot of reasons for parents to choose that road in that article and they were all interesting big time. But, to be honest, maybe because I am part of a group, I see a lot of parents signing off on homeschool and decide to send their children to school when they are hitting the 7th grades or higher.
What you see, what you read is always different it seems. Nevertheless, I took the time to chat with some old pros, you know the moms who do have 4 or 5 kids and some have already graduated high school and are in college or even on the work force which did opened my eyes on things. I have only one child and yet I felt like they were talking about me (could it mean that I am down the road of a homeschool burnout?).
First of all, they told me that no matter how easy or hard it is to teach your kiddos, when you get to those upper level classes it gets very intimidating to teach. If you have plenty of money, you can get into the long distance classes via computer and life is great but it is not everyone who does have that kind of money, so intimidating it is. You might not have the knowledge and feel like you might fail your child in those upper subjects. We tend to forget that there are a lot of others resources out there to help with that. You might know someone who has studied in engineering and might understand those complex math problems and is willing to help you.
Second, I was told that you simply just run out of steam between 5th to 8th grades as a parent if you have been teaching since kindergarten. That you feel isolated from the rest of the world and it takes a toll. Being part of a group that shares the same path that you are in, helps since you can share your worries and you are with your peers.
Third, is a funny one that kind of contradict the last one that I mention but oh so true. When you look at others families that are homeschooling, you don’t necessary see the struggle that they are going through or have gone through. So you think that things are perfect on their sides of things and feel like you are the only one failing at this business of homeschooling. The reality is that NO ONE has a smooth road ahead, and that if you do open up to others (which sometime is hard, because you think that you are a failure and you might be judge by them), you will realized that they totally have been there too! So in short, don’t be so proud or ashamed for not opening up. I have never been in a homeschool group who wants one of theirs to fail. They are there to support you! And if you don’t have the ability to be in a group physically, there is plenty of group online that you can join to get that support that you need when you feel down.
Fourth, is so simple and yet so hard to do for some (including myself), TAKE TIME FOR YOU! As a mother or father who homeschool, you are the teacher, the principal, the mentor as well as the parent (who has a million things to do) and you will tend to put your need last. When you don’t take care of your mind, soul and body well you will go bunker at one point or another. It is ok to take an hour to read or go to the gym or set the boundaries with your children that it is your time during that day. Just found something you like and do it or find a time in your crazy schedule to do so. Do not feel guilty about it! You love your family and are doing all you can for them but if you are running out a steam and a burnout is in the horizon, you will be no good to them or you. This advice is a very simple one and yet how many moms will not do it just because…insert your excuse here, I know I have a million of them…..
So in short, burnouts are real in the homeschool world! We don’t want to mess up our kids and give them all that we can for them to go to the next level. But to do so, we need to have more tools than the curriculum part that comes for each subject that we teach. We need support of a friend, a group that we can count on and take the time for ourselves (without that side of guilt).
One things, that I haven’t mention because I take it for granted, but your biggest support of all is God, so go ahead bug Him in that role of homeschool parent (because I am sure you must ask Him “why did I start that homeschool thing” at least once a week) and He will guide you.