The blog cruise topic for this week is “How do you fight homeschool burnout?” Well, this couldn’t have come at a better time, because we have been fighting a serious case of this at my house lately. I don’t know what it is exactly, but it seems like every year after we start back when the holidays are over, we all seem to lose our motivation to homeschool (me included!!). Summer seems to be so far away (we do follow a traditional school schedule, with some extra breaks worked in every year). Maybe it’s the weather…or just the letdown that comes after the fun of the holidays are over, but whatever it is, it makes homeschool hard.
So, what do I do when times like this set in? For starters, I look to provide a little extra “hands-on” fun at this time of the year. Usually, I deliberately buy a couple of science kits or some lapbooks and save them for this part of the year. During times when I feel we need a something little extra in our day, I take a break from our regular studies and pull these out. We especially like the ASK science kits because they have all kinds of cool experiments on different topics, and they come with LITERALLY, everything you need, except for water! So far the polymers one has been our favorite. I try to choose one or two that tie in with our general topic of study in science for that year, and when we get the blahs, we take a break from our regular science book, go to the library to pick out books that will go along with the kit, and have it!! My boys really enjoy this, and it helps to motivate all of us because it’s something “different” from what we’ve been doing since August.
Another thing I like to do is plan some extra field trips at this time. I look for places we can go that will tie into something we are studying, and we take a day off and get out of the house. We are fortunate to live in Florida, so our weather is pretty temperate, and there are an abundance of places we can go for nature walks, tours etc.
This year we decided to plant a garden (our first!), so we have taken part of our school days for the last few weeks to research, plan and plant. Our field trip was to the Walmart Garden Center, but the boys enjoyed choosing the seeds and all the things we needed for planting. This has been a really fun project and has gotten us more motivated to do school! We just had our first few sprouts this week and they are so excited. We plan to do some flowers in the front yard this month, so that is something they are looking forward to as well.
When all else fails, and we are really in that homeschool “funk” we take a day off and head to the beach or do something with daddy. Since we homeschool, we are in charge of our own schedule, and I would much rather take a day off to enjoy ourselves and recharge, and come back ready to work, than waste a whole day fighting with my kids and putting us all in a bad mood! When we do that, I simply add a day on to the end of the year. It’s really not a big deal, which is one of the reasons I LOVE homeschooling so much!!
Some other ideas my friends and I have come up with are having a movie day. Right now we are studying WWII in American History, so there are plenty of movies that tie in with that. We have also done “arts and crafts” days and “drama play” days where my kids spend time coming up with a skit (usually tied into history or a novel we are reading) and find their own prompts and costumes and act it out. I figure they are using lots of real skills to do that, and tapping their knowledge and understanding of what they have learned as well 🙂
Fortunately, as spring rolls around (and down here, it has definitely come early this year) our attitudes seem to naturally improve. Maybe because the sun is shining and the boys are anxious to swim and get outdoors, their motivation to work comes back, and my own attitude improves as well (probably because I know summer is right around the corner 🙂 ). That is how we deal with burnout in my house? Leave me a comment if you have other suggestions! To see what other members of the TOS Crew have to say about fighting burnout, click here: