This is usually the time of year when many homeschooling families hit a wall. The excitement and novelty of the new homeschool year has waned considerably. And now, with everyone back to what seems to be a mundane routine, smiles are slowly disappearing, grumpiness is grabbing hold, and tempers are becoming shorter and shorter. Oh, and it’s not just one-sided. That’s from both parents and children alike.
If this is your first year homeschooling, don’t panic; these “homeschool blues” are perfectly normal and are known to hit a few times throughout the year. For those of you who have been homeschooling a while, you may anticipate when they are about to set in. Either way, knowing why homeschool burnout happens, and what to do when it does, will get you ready to tackle it and help get everyone back on track with a smile.
The Whens and Whys of the Homeschool Blues
The homeschool blues tend to happen to almost every homeschooling family at least once a year. Sometimes it’s around October, after the newness of the homeschool year wears off. Sometimes it’s right after the holiday break when the year ahead seems long and daunting.The homeschool blues usually involve a lack of enthusiasm and energy, as well as boredom, fatigue, stress, and feeling like no progress is taking place. Sometimes, it’s just the time of year, a lack of social engagement, a routine rut, or too much time together that is the causing the blues. Other times, it may be due to the curriculum your family is using.Once you know the specific cause of your family’s case of the homeschool blues, you’ll have a better idea of how to get rid of them.
How do I get everyone back on track?
Getting everyone back to their old, happy self isn’t as hard you think. Changing your routine and adding some fun to your homeschool day will work wonders for everyone’s (including your own) outlook and attitude. Here are a few simple tips and ideas:
Switch It Up
Whether it’s your curriculum or your schedule that’s causing the blues, switch things up. If it’s the former, don’t be afraid to shop around. Look for a curriculum that provides free trials, money-back guarantees, or free demos so you can make sure it’s a good fit. If it’s the latter, either switch up your days and/or your subjects for specific days to help do away with some of the daily routine.
Fall into Fun
With the arrival of spring or fall, the weather is ideal for heading outdoors. Homeschoolers have flexibility, so take advantage of it. Take the kids to the park for some fresh air and exercise, prepare lunch together and have a picnic outside, or head to a local fall festival for some fun activities.
Surprise Suggestion Box
Every day, give your children a piece of paper. Have them write down a suggestion for something fun to do and drop the paper in a decorated shoebox or jar. Once a week, pick one piece of paper. Not only will everyone (including you) look forward to this day each week, but each new activity will be a fun way to help prevent boredom.
When the blues hit, bend, don’t break!
Life is full of challenges, and homeschooling is no different. As much as we’d all like to stick to a schedule, remember that being flexible will benefit everyone. So make sure to allow for some wiggle room in your days so that when things stop working you’ll be open to trying something new. Sometimes a few days is all it takes to get everyone back on track.