There are times in our homeschooling journey where mum get’s tired, not just the tired from a need of sleep but a bone-weary, lost my joy weary. This happens in every profession, every career.  But the answer isn’t always about changing our job – as a homeschool mum that was my very last, probably not even considered option.  But I don’t want to be tired – I want to be motivated and enthused about learning with my kids.  Check out the video where I share two suggestions for when a homeschool mum gets tired.

Or you can click here to read my thoughts instead.

 

Key points in my video:  When a homeschool mum gets tired she needs to take responsibility and make changes.  I share two suggestions:

  1. Take a season of de-schooling: a time where you focus on being a family, reconnect with each other, discover your passions and develop your interests.
  2. Establish the habits of obedience, responsibility and focus/self-control.

 

Skip the transcript of the video, and read More Ideas for when Mum gets Tired of Homeschooling

When a homeschool mum gets so tired she loses her mojo she needs to make changes so she can recalibrate.

Transcript from Video

As I’ve worked through this issue in my own life, and the life of my teens I’ve realized that being tired is a consequence of our choices.  This might be obvious to you but how often have you just complained that you are tired?  When we see it as a consequence we have to take responsibility for the actions that have created the tiredness.

Sounds tough – it is much easier to complain about being tired.  but it is the only way we can move on from it.

When we are tired we lose motivation for even the most important things:  we become inconsistent with teaching and training our kids, we become irritable and get angry, the house becomes messy, life tumbles around us because we keep on taking on stuff to do but we aren’t getting anything done!

This is true for every mum – but today I want to talk to you who are homeschooling.  What is a homeschool mum to do when they get over it, when they get tired, so tired it is affecting their homeschooling?

Do you know what fascinates me about human behavior – or one thing that fascinates me.  So many people live these full hectic crazy busy lives – they say they want change, but they can’t get themselves there – then some tragedy happens, serious sickness or an injury for example.  Suddenly all priorities change.  They are faced with reality and they respond accordingly.

I so don’t want that to be me.  I don’t want a major crisis to be the reason why I look after myself, I don’t want to have to go through a major event to see what my priorities really are.

I want to look after myself today.

Well, as I said in the article, the first thing you have to do recognise is that your tiredness is a consequence of previous choices.  If we made choices that have resulted in tiredness – we can make choices that can find rest.  We cannot be a victim or a martyr and just say this is our lot.  We can do something about it.

We may have to make permanent changes because we know that the way we are doing life is not sustainable.  Or we may have to make more short term change, giving us the opportunity to rest and recover.

Both are viable – and only you will know which course you need to take.

If you need to change the way you are homeschooling then can I encourage you to take a time of de-schooling.  Yes, I know that phrase is usually used when we transition from the traditional school situation to homeschooling.  But it applies in this situation as well.

De-schooling is a time where we just be a family – where we reconnect with each other, where we make time for our passions, and develop our interests. 

Actually, a season of de-schooling is what is needed whether you are planning to make long term changes, or just short term changes so you can have a bit of a rest.

I asked my kids once if we weren’t homeschooling, and if they didn’t have to go to school how would we spend our days.  The things that they listed in that conversation are the things that we did when life got too much, when I had to find ways to rest and recover and recallibrate.  It is an interesting question and one that I encourage you to ask as you look for ways to find that time rest that you need.

I think what this question exposes is the priorities for our family – and knowing those things is a really good way to go forward.

De schooling could create chaos in your home.  And so you keep up with homeshocoling just to keep order.  But it needn’t be the way.

The keys to deschooling, or lifestyle learning type of day working is for: 

  • Kids are obedient and respectful
  • Kids are responsible, they are used to doing chores and helping around the house
  • Kids are able to play or focus by themselves

So if you are tired, and your kids aren’t able to do any one of those three things (most of the time), then I would have a season where training in these areas is your focus.  Drop ‘school’ and teach your children these things.  Use every day family life to give your kids time to learn and practice these habits.   Obedience – Responsibility – Focus.

Once your children able to do these things you will find it much easier to create balance in your family life – even when you add homeschooling back to your day.

 

Keep Reading for 

Further Suggestions for for when Mum is Tired {of homeschooling}

 

 Lighten the Load

Another suggestion is to pare back and only do that which is necessary.  I have found this works when my children have been independent learners, or mostly independent.

The trick with taking this option is ‘what is necessary’.  To be honest, doing what we are doing now, living the pace that is exhausting us, is probably happening because we are doing the things we deem as necessary.  But is it?

If there is stress in your life – either physical, emotional or social then you need to cut back and reassess.  Reassess what is truly necessary.

For me, and I share this as a starting place for you, for me the absolutely necessary things for my children, when I’ve been tired, have been Bible, Relationship building, Responsibilities, Creativity and 1 skill.   These things looked different at different times, depending on the ages and abilities of my kids.  But here is a rough outline:

–Bible: Family devotions or Bible study, however you do it, I think it is important to maintain a family habit of reading God’s word, prayer, and learning how to apply it to our lives.  During Bible time the kids would talk and draw/write in a journal.  This covered language arts for a season.

–Relationship building activities: I would prioritise doing things together as a family.  This might be a trip to the library, cooking a meal for someone, or playing board games.

–Responsibilities: If our children are old enough to do chores (and a preschooler is old enough) then I see this as a priority to ensure that they are helping around the house.

–Focus time: This would depend on the age and mix of my children but we would spend up to 1 hour a day doing something at the table (aka Table Time).  This is where the children had one skill that we worked on – usually independently (because at this stage I needed rest).

  1. For preschoolers it could be playdough, stamping, or lego
  2. For early readers it could be drawing, lego, typing, or math drill on the computer
  3. For independent learners it could be anything they wanted to do. As they grew older they often chose a particular project to complete during this time and worked on it every day.
  4. Sometimes Table time would be a board game – but only if they could play it harmoniously

–Productive time: this was generally the afternoon when they worked on individual hobbies and interests – the goal was that they would focus on a particular creative project for a set period of time.

 

Take a Break from Teaching

Taking a break from teaching may cut across some of our ideals – but we must come back to the idea that we are first a mum, and then a homeschool mum.  And if homeschooling is exhausting us so much, we have to make some other choices.  Some choices we may need to make will be long term ones, and others may only be for a season.  Two ways to take a break from teaching (and yet stay homeschooling)

  1. Find units of study, or resources that your children can use independently. This works better in the pre-teen years or older students who are able to be responsible for their learning.
  2. Find someone else to teach – this could be a homeschool tutor, or an online or DVD tutor
  3. Move to project based learning. Give your child a project for them to complete – depending on the age and ability of your child, and the project you choose, you may have to supervise, but otherwise they can learn, trial and error style as their project comes together.

I remember being a little burnt out over our homeschooling – my oldest was a gifted student and my youngest was struggling with learning difficulties.  And yet I persisted with my ideal of all learning together.  I had the opportunity to speak to Sally Clarkson, an older and wiser mum with homeschooling experience and she said: Let him go.  Let go of your ideals and let him study independently.  Following her advice gave me such freedom in our learning times.  Each of my children were better served by me letting go of an ideal and letting Josh learn independently.

 

4 Ways to help a Tired Homeschool Mum

So four ideas to help the homeschool mum find balance and time to rest when she is bone tired-weary and it is affecting the joy of homeschooling:

  1. Have a season of de-schooling
  2. Establish the habits of obedience, responsibility and focus
  3. Lighten the load
  4. Take a break from teaching

Which one resonates with you?  As I said in the video – we don’t want to be victims or martyrs to our circumstances.  We have the responsibility to look after our self.  It is our choice – we must find a way for it to happen.

 

Do you need help in your Family?

Hi! I’m Belinda

About Me

HI I'm Belinda - welcome to my online space. I am a family life coach and help parents to raise their kids with faith, values and life skills in a way that is intentional, relational and heart focused. I am married to Peter, and live in the far north-west of Australia on a small farm. We have four adult children whom we homeschooled from prep-year 12. They've all left home now. But over the years I have taught and supported mums and dad (both face to face and online). I am passionate about families being a strong and healthy unit that helps the individual to grow but also celebrates the community of family.

Certified Life Coach

Further Reading:

Mothers You can Make your Time Out Happen:  Taking a Mummy-break is stewardship of your body – you need rest and time to refresh. It is our personal responsibility to make it happen.

Family Life Creates Learning Experiences:  Everyday family life creates learning experiences that teach relationship skills, life skills, character and academic learning.

Be a Heart Focused Homeschool:  To be a heart focused homeschool we have to be careful about the choices we make.

What to do when Homeschooling isn’t Working:  When we feel like homeschooling isn’t working we need to be intentional and look for solutions.

Over to you:

Have you ever felt burnout and just too tired to homeschool?  What did you do?

2 Comments

  1. Alistair

    I really enjoyed listening to your video on this topic. Its not so much that im tired of homeschooling, but rather im tired of my kids not doing what ive asked them to do. And me not ever getting to do the things i enjoy doing. My kids are 10 and nearly 8. I think its reasonable to expect them to get dressed, including hair teeth and shoes, have breakfast, and make beds without me asking them to do each step. And i realise that their inabilty to do that has a lot to do with me. This morning i just had an angry meltdown. And I’m not happy about how that might affect my kids. It’s not a positive way to start the day.
    But with all the pressures of getting through the work ive set for the term/year, the fact that we’ve already taken time out this term for family reasons, can i really take time out to work on discipline? Neither of them have learning issues, but already i have scaled back their workload to make allowances for all the other stuff of life. We only do school 4 days a week. What im trying to say, is i feel we dont do one heck of a lot, and still i dont feel i can just concentrate on obedience and scale back the workload even more.
    I really think all that you have suggested would be very beneficial. What im finding difficult is how to apply it practically to our life. Thanks so much for your blog. I often come here for encouragement and help. Perhaps right now i just needed to vent, and you’ve helped me to do that. I actually watched the video a few weeks ago and read through the blog as well. And its stuck in my mind. I really do want to live life with my kids before they go away all grown up and start thier own journeys. But it a challenge for us in so many ways. Thanks for the listening ear. God bless. 😊

    Reply
    • Marcie Hill

      Dear Alastair – when I read your comment I felt like I was reading a summary of my own life just a year ago. I relate so much to what you shared and the frustrations that weigh down on you, not finding time to do what you need to do or achieve the goals and plans you’ve set because you are so busy telling your kids what to do each step of the morning. We were struggling with these same issues and I had to take a big step back and reassess what was going on. I knew they were absolutely capable of doing all their morning steps independently but it wasn’t happening and was affecting our entire day. I spent extra time in prayer. I felt desperate. I had to face the fact that my kids were weak in self-discipline, and that nothing much was going to improve until that did. I felt God gently telling me that it was okay to focus on teaching self-discipline for a season, that it would pay big dividends later. I felt my own heart soften at this point and gain courage to do the hard and painful work of parenting, knowing God was right there booting me up. I counselled with my husband and helped him understand how essential it was to be totally unified as a team and that I needed his help and leadership to create lasting change and to survive this difficult phase of parenting. At first I decided to have a conversation and discuss the connection between self-government and freedom. I told them what I expected of them in the morning (eg be dressed with bed made, hair and teeth brushed, chores and breakfast, piano practice etc.) and if they weren’t able to do that then they would lose all their free time for the rest of the day and have to do extra chores instead. That got their attention albeit in a negative way. But the connection between responsibility and freedom is a big part of the real world and they got it. We later used a simple ‘bean jar’ system where the kids reported to my husband each morning and night about each step that they did independently without reminding. He made it positive and promised a fun family activity when the jar was full. The funny thing is, we never finished filling the jar. The habits just started getting back in place and the kids started to see the joy that came back when they became self disciplined. It’s definitely not perfect now, we do have harder days that we have to work through and my husband and I work hard to make sure the habits don’t slide back. It has made a huge difference in our family life and I have felt so much better about being flexible occasionally because the habits are in place.

      So don’t lose hope!! Have courage that the hard work of parenting is worth it!! May God strengthen you in your heart and mind. One of my favorite Psalms is 37:3-5

      3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
      4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
      5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

      Reply

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