We’ve all been there. One too many mornings of freezing temperatures and not being able to pull ourselves out from under the warm covers. So many sick kids, never enough cough syrup. Some days, it is all you can do to make sure your kids are just FED and CLOTHED. Never mind trying to think about their education and attempting multiplication and ancient history.
First of all, you aren’t alone! Most of us, if we’re honest, have faced periods of time in our home schools where things seemed impossible. Mom is tired. Very tired. Kids are grumpy from being indoors too many days in a row. The hot chocolate isn’t brightening moods any longer.
I want to share a few practical tips for keep-on-keeping-on in the midst of burn out. These are not “cure all” tips. These are survival tips.
5 Tips for Keeping On Despite Burn Out
- Despite the cold, get outside. Nature does wonders for our minds and bodies, as well as those of our children. Even if just for 5 minutes! Examine a snowflake under a magnifying glass, see how many winter birds you can spot in 1 minute, find evergreen trees and discuss why they are still green. Bring nature INDOORS. Do a winter nature study, learn about a bird that you still see in your backyard during winter, learn about which trees are evergreen and which are not.
- Time alone for mom. As an introvert, I have come to realize that I get my battery charged by spending a bit of time alone here and there. Go to a coffee shop and just sit. In the quiet. No kids pulling on your legs or yelling at you while you’re in the bathroom. :) Or it can be as simple as a hot bath after the kids are in bed. Make that an early bedtime. Browse a used bookstore. Have lunch/dinner with a friend. Sometimes I even consider grocery shopping by myself a vacation!! :) Lastly, do not neglect your time in the Word and in prayer. God refuels us as we spend time with Him. This is never more needed than when we want to give up!!
- Get your husband on board. Share your concerns with him, contrary to what I often act like, my husband actually cannot read my mind!! ha!! Tell him you’re struggling. Discuss together ways he can jump in and help around the house. Ask him for that time alone and sneak away…better yet, call grandma or a friend to keep the kids and BOTH of you sneak away to that coffee chop for a few hours!!
- Do the basics for school. Spend a few weeks reviewing those times tables. Take time to read those classic chapter books that you haven’t gotten to. Reading aloud is school in our home! What could be better than spending an entire afternoon with a cup of hot chocolate and a gripping tale read aloud by mom?? Find a math drill website and allow your kids to do that for math for a few days!
- Consider your perspective. Keeping a gratitude journal and counting my blessings has been one of the best things for my discouraged heart at times!! If you haven’t started one, find a notebook and start today!! If you’ve neglected yours, pull it back out! As you go about your housework, be mindful to PRAY…thank God for the little bodies that wear those clothes as you fold, thank God for His provision of food as you wash the dishes, pray for your husband at work while you put away his razor and wipe the bathroom sink clean. Sometimes just a small shift in our perspective can have LASTING and HUGE effect on our hearts!
Sweet friends, this journey we are on to home educate our children is hard. It is just that, though, a journey. There will be ups and downs. Keep in mind that we are in a marathon and not a sprint! This too shall pass. Until then, make some hot chocolate, bake some cookies with your kids, read a great book and enjoy the simple, everyday moments you’ve been given.
More about Candace: I am just a broken, messed up mama in need of God’s fresh, new mercies daily ~ moment by moment. My husband David and I live in beautiful East Tennessee where we homeschool our 3 children. You can read about our homeschool journey, my struggle with depression, great books and more at my personal blog His Mercy is New.