Thursday, March 8, 2007

Burned Out and Fed Up

A reader writes that she is totally burned out on homeschooling, is about ready to put her child in middle school, and asks for my help. It's the end of a very busy day, and I'm probably not as articulate as I could be because I'm tired, but here's what I wrote to her. Maybe it will hit the spot for you or someone you know:

Burnout means you need to take a break from the way you're doing things, and think about where you're going down the wrong path.

Not all kids want to "do school." Sometimes the problem is that the schoolwork they're doing is boring. Other times the problem is a rebellious child who doesn't want to do what she needs to do. Which is the problem in your house right now? (I've experienced both, sometimes simultaneously!)

A teacher friend of mine calls middle school a box full of raging hormones. It's not something to be taken lightly. Putting your child there could turn out to be a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Think seriously (and if you're a Christian, pray!) before you make this decision.

When I've felt burned out in the past (I mean major burnout, not just "I'm tired of this"), I've found that taking a break from the materials we're using can help. Sometimes we need a few weeks of museum days and doing things at home like sketching outdoors, baking, sewing, etc. to rejuvenate our spirits. And if it's a rebellious child, there's nothing like taking a week off to clean the basement or attic to make them appreciate school.

Hope that helps. Hang in there, and know that this homeschooling thing is not always an easy road, but that it will pay off in the end. My first-born, the rebellious child who is to blame for much of my gray hair, is now 23 and has thanked me more than once for homeschooling her. Who would have thought the kid who said I was torturing her by making her do school would eventually thank me???


Beckaboo said...

Hey! Glad I found you here!! :o)

I love this entry. I can totally relate to this:
"Burnout means you need to take a break from the way you're doing things, and think about where you're going down the wrong path."

I have been there this year. It was ENGLISH! OH, MAN! We declared a no English winter. Of course, we are still doing English... my forth grader doesn't know it, though, because we are NOT using the dreaded English book. I am sneaking it in. *wink* We will go back to more "formal" English in the spring. This has worked for us. It's gotten us through our funk.

I just CANNOT throw my children to the wolves. I love them too much.

Thanks for sharing this!!

Blessings, Beckie :o)

Maureen O'Grady said...

Barbara, this is such excellent advice. I really wish I had taken it. I felt the pressure of "he's got to get this in" and drudged through book work day after day.

We should've been at the museums, driving around... anything! It got so bad he decided to go to school this year (high school). There were other factors too.

OH how I wish I had him home again. Lesson learned: don't feel pressure from the outside... esp. other well meaning hs'ers.