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Free Step-by-Step Guide from Well Planned Gal

Homeschool organization often feels so overwhelming. But what if there was a way to get organized by taking simple, systematic steps?

I have good news — there is a way! In 3 Simple Steps to Homeschool Organized, you’ll discover a tangible, manageable method that walks you step by step through not only preparing for your homeschool year and planning lessons but also engaging in regular evaluation that helps you stay organized. Grab your free copy today, and move from overwhelmed to organized in 3 simple steps!

Step #2: Planning Your Homeschool Year

From: 3 Simple Steps E-Book

Have you ever heard the term homeschool burnout? It’s a reality that can hit us all, whether we’re natural planners or not! Let me explain.

I’ve always been a go-getter. I love the feeling of accomplishing something and seeing all my hard work pay off. I also know, though, how much easier it is to pour my energy into completing a task that I enjoy than it is to tackle one I dislike. I know I’ll feel great when it’s done, but it can be a struggle to discipline myself to dig in and do it when there are more enjoyable tasks awaiting my attention.

Eventually, though, I get further and further behind on the distasteful tasks until I’m utterly overwhelmed by them. Can you identify?

Of course, there’s also the opposite extreme. That is the extreme of driving ourselves hard until a task is finished, zoning in on the job at hand and thinking that we can rest once the job is done. Instead of getting done and successfully moving on to the next task, we usually suffer the consequences through sickness or over-exhaustion that sidelines us for several precious days.

Both of these struggles are two sides of the same coin: tackling to avoid burnout. As we finish walking through the S.P.O.T. Method, we get to the final ingredient that will help you reach success in homeschooling.

You can create the perfect schedule, plan out a checklist that is workable in every way, and have every detail of your life, home, and school organized to prepare you for maximized productivity. But, if you don’t then progress forward and tackle the tasks well, you’ll either fall into the trap of procrastination or feel the weight of being overwhelmed.

Both of these lead to homeschool burnout, and ultimately will result in all the effort put into the first three steps being wasted.

The T.A.C.K.L.E. System for Conquering Homeschool Burnout

Although procrastination can present a struggle in any of the four S.P.O.T. Method focus areas, the primary place that both procrastination and homeschool burnout can be problematic is when it comes time to tackle or implement the plan. Regardless which way your struggle hits you, implementing the T.A.C.K.L.E. System can help you work push through and get the job done. Let’s take a look!

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Remembering That Tomorrow is Always Fresh

There is great power in recognizing that you always have a fresh start right around the corner. As Anne Shirley says in Anne of Green Gables, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” You might add the “at least not yet” tagline that so greatly characterizes the vibrant character of Anne, but the principle still stands. Tomorrow is fresh. So, what will you do with that? You will learn to not give up!

Homeschool burnout most often hits when you fail to get everything done, you feel overwhelmed, or you are unenthusiastic about the tasks before you. Sometimes the best thing to do is to close the book (and the planner!) on the day, focus on rest and re-energization, and come back with a fresh approach tomorrow.

Before you take that step, though, make some adjustments to make tomorrow easier. Revisit the prioritization of your planning checklist. Consider some quick organizational shifts that will make a distasteful task more palatable. Call a friend and ask if she can help you tackle something that feels overwhelming. Make decisions tonight that will help tomorrow truly be fresh.

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Avoiding the Pitfall of Procrastination

Of course, when the task ahead of you is something that you just don’t like or that seems overwhelming, the freshness of “tomorrow” can easily slip away when the new morning arrives and you realize it’s all still ahead of you. The temptation mounts again, and it’s easy to prioritize all sorts of other things ahead of the task that really needs to get done.

When this happens again and again, day after day, the tasks you’re putting off tend to loom over you, telling you that you’re lazy and a failure because you just can’t seem to get the “important” things done. As this happens, procrastination is no longer your biggest enemy. Now it’s the pitfalls of that procrastination: the lies that make you begin to think the worst of yourself and the job at hand.

The memories of failures pile up in your mind along with the magnitude of the project, and suddenly everything seems more overwhelming than ever before. This is the very definition of homeschool burnout!

Avoid this collapse into homeschool burnout by tackling these lies head-on. You’re not lazy, you are simply being confronted with something you really don’t like to do. The task at hand is doable, even in small chunks. Once you begin to tackle the task, you’ll be amazed how quickly the task becomes manageable and your healthy sense of self returns.

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Clearing the Way to Accomplish

Now you’re ready to really dig into the steps that will help you start fresh and climb out of the pit of homeschool burnout. You do this by backing up and clearing out the things that keep you from moving forward and accomplishing your goals.

First, set boundaries. Before you say yes to any commitment, back up and look at your schedule and your planning checklists. Also consider your overall goals and intentions for yourself and your family. Does the requested activity or commitment fit with your goals, schedule, and plan?

Some families even have a mission statement to help them with this decision-making process. Their schedules and plans are all designed to fit within that mission statement, and anything that does not fit has a default answer of “no” that can only be changed to a “yes” after very clear boundaries and guidelines are processed through together as a family.

Remember, it’s a good thing to say no! Other people do not have the right to demand your involvement in their activities. If their requests don’t fit with your goals, say no!

Admittedly, good as it is, it can still be hard to say no or make decisions on the spot. This is where a second step comes in handy: eliminate as much spur-of-the-moment decision-making as possible.

For instance, set a family rule where you don’t commit to anything without first talking to another family member. This gives you a chance to step back and consider, with the help of your spouse or even your children, whether or not an opportunity fits with your goals.

This can also help with those distasteful tasks you struggle with. If you don’t enjoy making phone calls to set up appointments, for instance, don’t just add it to your checklist. Instead, go ahead and make the decision ahead of time to have a specific spot where this fits. “After breakfast, I make phone calls.”

This pre-established boundary removes the decision-making process from your day, clearing the way for you to get that unpleasant task done and out of the way so you can push forward with your plan without the risk of falling into homeschool burnout.

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Keeping Your Head Above Water

Don’t let yourself get backed up or to the place where you feel like you’re drowning. I know, that’s easier said than done, whether your tendency is to procrastinate or overdo it. You feel like there’s never enough time in a day, and you just see yourself getting further and further behind, triggering homeschool burnout.

Here’s the thing we sometimes don’t realize: there really is wiggle room in our schedule. There are things in the plan and schedule that can be set aside for a day or two while we catch up.

No, you can’t put down the math or history books long-term or permanently. But, you can set them aside for a couple of days without any long-term negative effects. You can skip or consolidate a lesson or two. You can call out for pizza instead of taking the hour necessary to prepare a meal.

These things are not the marks of a failure. They’re the characteristics of a mom who sees that she’s about to go under and needs a boost to help her stay on top of life!

Take a look at your schedule and go ahead and mark some things that have a little flex room. When you start to feel overwhelmed, put a halt to the “normal,” set those pre-determined tasks aside, and take the time to catch up. Remember, this is not a moment of failure. Instead, taking time to catch up is a critical part of the plan to avoid homeschool burnout.

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Learning What Motivates You

This is about to sound counterproductive and maybe even a bit selfish, but trust me, it’s a necessary part of tackling the work. Figure out what most motivates you and go ahead and reward yourself! Is it a chocolate or ice cream break? A monthly massage? An afternoon cup of coffee or tea (add the cookie!)? A game with the kids? A walk around the block?

It’s easy to think that these things are self-indulgence and don’t fit with the successful implementation of the plan. But in reality they are a necessary part of tackling the work well and avoiding homeschool burnout. You need nourishment and motivation as surely as you need air and food!

When and how you motivate yourself depends on your personality. Perhaps you get off to a better start in the morning if you first enjoy that time to breathe and read and slowly walk into your day. If that’s the case, make that the norm for your morning, then make it a point to get down to business with a fresh mind.

It could be that you are motivated when you know you have a reward ahead of you. You can enjoy that piece of chocolate in peace rather than in the midst of craziness if you first get to a certain point on the planning checklist.

Whatever works best, choose a reward and utilize it, allowing it to help you avoid both procrastination and homeschool burnout.

Avoid Homeschool Burnout by Exercising Self Discipline

Ultimately, in order to tackle the plan, accomplish your goals, and avoid homeschool burnout, you just have to discipline yourself. I know discipline often feels like a bad word, but sometimes there just aren’t enough fresh starts, pep talks, cleared paths, or rewards to keep you going. What is needed is pure determination to put on your big girl panties and dive in.

When I was a mother of five kids under seven years old, I learned the hardest lesson of my life. I typically woke up exhausted. I had been up during the night to either feed a baby or deal with another child who wet through a diaper. Knowing my day would be full of bodily fluids, endless cleaning and laundry, and the lovely in-depth conversations of why, why, why, I learned to motivate myself.

Yes, I could call on Jesus and ask for the Lord’s help, but what kind of daughter would that make me? He’s always present in my life, but He created me with two arms, two legs, and a brain to learn and do. I sure didn’t want my kids to grow up and constantly call me just because the work was too hard. I trained them to tackle each situation, and I did it by being an example.

It started by having a conversation with myself. I became the voice that said the things I needed to hear, that nobody else would (or should) say to me. I was my own drill sergeant of sorts. I began with a reminder that what I did that day would impact my children: the words I’d say, the work I’d do, and the work I didn’t do. I could lie in bed and let the house and kids go to pot, but then it would all still be there whenever I decided to come out of my pit of despair.

Instead, I focused on the next thing. Get up, get dressed, brush those teeth, make my bed, and prepare breakfast. One thing after the next. I didn’t think too much about the bigger picture—it would slow me down. I repeated this system often, and it wasn’t too long until I formed a habit of tackling even when I was exhausted, didn’t feel like it, or didn’t like the task at hand.

Life can hit in unexpected ways, and no amount of scheduling or planning can truly guarantee “success” and avoidance of homeschool burnout. But, it’s also true that nothing can be accomplished until you do the work. Even if it’s not fun. Even if the reward (like the joy of seeing your children grow) currently seems so far away and very much not fun (like crying babies in the middle of the night).

There are going to be days when you really don’t want those big girl panties. You want to curl up like one of your children and throw a temper tantrum until you get your way.

But, when you choose to work through a schedule that fits your family’s personality, create planning checklists in a way that is helpful to you, organize your life and home to maximize your productivity, and work through each step of the T.A.C.K.L.E. System to help you stay on track, you’ll find that your diligence does pay off and the days when it all comes down to pure discipline end up much fewer and farther between than ever before.

Rate Yourself Tackling Worksheet

Tackling Tips from Homeschool Moms

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homeschool burnout
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homeschool burnout

Evaluate Your Tackle Week Worksheet

Track Yourself Tackling Worksheet

Tackle Printable

Success in any career requires the right tools. Homeschooling is no exception! You need resources that equip you to lay out lesson plans, teach time management, and keep good records while also managing home and life with ease. Well Planned Day Planners cover these needs and more!
Rebecca, the Well Planned Gal


The Original Homeschool Planner

Large Family Homeschool Planner

Day by Day Homeschool Recorder