Take a risk
Sometimes to get what you need or want, you have to take a risk to try something new and foreign that seems like a threat to the old way of living, being, valuing. If you can step back from your guilt at not loving homeschool as much as you used to and think about how you can create a peaceful home that gives you a break and helps your kids to thrive, you will be closer to a solution. It’s very difficult to “recapture” a love for homeschooling when you are in burn out or you are facing challenges that feel bigger than your resources.
You can rekindle it IF you’ve got a very supportive partner, you have the energy to rethink how you home educate (bring in a new direction philosophically or in terms of curricula), and you feel you can find a way to reinvigorate your OWN life with something new and energizing that is NOT homeschool at the same time.
For instance, for me, I tried unschooling after a long season of Charlotte Mason and I started Grad School. Both of these helped pull us out of ruts. At the same time, one of my kids decided to try high school. She went part time to the local public school.
This was a really helpful shift for us (all three) as it took some pressure off of me to teach everyone, it helped me to see learning through a new paradigm (unschooling) but it also helped me appreciate the value of good lesson preparation (ironically) due to grad school. That combination helped us find new ways to learn together that helped me be more enthusiastic about homeschooling again.
That said, if you are in a season where change in homeschool feels like a burden, not like a relief, then consider other options: co-ops, part time public school, full time school, tutorials… Get some of the burden of teaching everything off of you.
If your kids are asking to go to school, hear them. To me, the biggest tragedy of homeschool is feeling that you must keep your kids home or you are betraying your value system. You value education. Homeschool is only one version of it. Traditional school can be an incredible learning moment for everyone and a new thrill. Don’t necessarily rule it out. We loved our involvement (I’ve had a couple kids go to FT high school).
Lastly, I don’t know your personal life situation, but if you are dealing with a painful marriage, chronic long-term illness, or depression, you deserve to take a break from homeschool. That’s a good time to allow the local schools to take up the burden for you and it gives your kids some relief from the painful pressure of home during this season.
Hope that helps!
P.S. I shared this on facebook today about this post:
The [above] blog post was meant to answer a specific set of questions by a mom struggling with homeschool burn-out. It may be surprising to read my recommendations. Your reaction to the article will tell you where you are with homeschool. If the idea of putting your kids in a school environment is painful, you know you still have some energy left in the tank for home education. At that point, you want to look at new models—try new ideas. Don’t rule any out. Give yourself permission to change gears and see where it leads. However, if you are in chronic pain (emotional, physical, existential), just know that your worth as a mother/father and person is not defined by home education. You matter, more than your homeschool.
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