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  1. #1
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    Default Preventing burnout: let's discuss!

    Preventing burnout: let's discuss!

    During my homeschooling years, along about this time of year, I always experienced that flickering-almost-flickered-out feeling. The holiday break was always helpful, but sometimes that burnt out feeling would persist into the new year. I wanted to kick off a discussion of anything you might have found personally that prevents total homeschool burnout.

    Or maybe you're in the absolute center of burnout yourself and just need some commiseration. Please share. Let's create a burnout-support thread!!

    All ideas, rants, ramblings, and personal experiences so, so welcome.
    Topsy
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    Senior Member Evolved BakedAk's Avatar
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    Definitely on the burning out end of the spectrum. When I started this journey, I was uber-excited to share all the cool things there are out there...and my kids are not interested. If it doesn't have to do with their current obsession, it has no meaning and will not stick. Could I use the obsession as a basis for learning, you ask? Well, I tried that, and "ruined dinosaurs." They think I'm trying to trick them into learning something if I suggest they might like something (I'm not trying to trick anyone), and they resist learning information that is presented in a more formal manner. I'm feeling like I'm not doing them any favors by keeping them home. Very demoralized.
    Melissa

    Mommy to Girl-12 and Boy-10, trying to keep my head above water with farm, school, home and art.

    http://ButterscotchGrove.wordpress.com

    You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.
    (Flannery O'Connor)

  4. #3

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    For us, there were two different times of burnout. One was yearly (dead of winter, Jan-Feb), and one was more long term, when the kiddos were middle school age (11-14ish).

    For the yearly version, if we had to, we threw books and "formal" lesson plans out the window for a week or two (or longer if needed). We took field trips where we could, vegged out watching videos and/or reading, cooked, and just hung out. Soon, boredom would set in (especially since there wasn't much to do outside in icky weather), and they'd be ready to go back at it.

    As for the perpetual tearing-of-the-hair of pre- or early teens, I learned they needed to feel more in control. Most of the push-back I got was because they perceived (sometimes correctly) that I was running their lives for them. The IDEA or FEELING that they were making their own decisions (whether they were or not) went a long way to gaining cooperation. So in clothing, hair, school courses, jobs, sleep cycles, etc, I tried to let them make the decisions (within safety parameters). They also understood that their goal was college one day, so that helped with the buy-in for some school work, even if it was not a favorite.
    Last edited by inmom; 12-07-2016 at 01:26 PM.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years

    Daughter (20), a University of Iowa sophomore triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

    Son (19), a Purdue University freshman majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BakedAk View Post
    Definitely on the burning out end of the spectrum. When I started this journey, I was uber-excited to share all the cool things there are out there...and my kids are not interested. If it doesn't have to do with their current obsession, it has no meaning and will not stick. Could I use the obsession as a basis for learning, you ask? Well, I tried that, and "ruined dinosaurs." They think I'm trying to trick them into learning something if I suggest they might like something (I'm not trying to trick anyone), and they resist learning information that is presented in a more formal manner. I'm feeling like I'm not doing them any favors by keeping them home. Very demoralized.
    I really could have written that very post multiple times, BakedAk. I swear my son even said one time that I had "ruined dinosaurs" for him. When it got super bad in the middle school years, we moved into our "unschooling" phase, and that did make an incredible improvement in the overall burnout for all of us. We moved back toward curriculum-based learning as they edged into high school, but I don't think any of us would have survived the middle school years if we hadn't trended toward a much more relaxed approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    As for the perpetual tearing-of-the-hair of pre- or early teens, I learned they needed to feel more in control. Most of the push-back I got was because they perceived (sometimes correctly) that I was running their lives for them. The IDEA or FEELING that they were making their own decisions (whether they were or not) went a long way to gaining cooperation. So in clothing, hair, school courses, jobs, sleep cycles, etc, I tried to let them make the decisions (within safety parameters). They also understood that their goal was college one day, so that helped with the buy-in for some school work, even if it was not a favorite.
    A beautiful piece of advice, inmom, and one I heartily second. Giving them control in every area feasible was much of the key to finding balance and peace when homeschooling in those difficult years.
    Topsy
    Loyal minion, er...ADMIN of SecularHomeschool.com


  6. #5

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    I was thinking about this... I feel like what's been really key for me when I'm feeling burnt out is to let go of my vision of education or ideals or whatever and just do the work. Breaks are important to, of course. And changing things up. But on some level, sometimes you're just worn out and even taking the month off doesn't really make you suddenly want to get back to it. Or you put a ton of effort into changing things up but then it doesn't work and it's more disheartening. Sometimes, just treating it like a job has helped me get through for a little while. And then eventually the spark comes back.

    The other thing that's been important for us has been portfolio assessment. It's so gratifying to have to stop and reflect on what we've done - the kids choose sample work, I write up what we've done for the last few months and list books and field trips, and the kids write a little self-assessment too and we put it all together and make it look nice and neat. And, you just can't believe how good this is for all of us. Every time I'm feeling like we're getting nowhere, we do this and I realize how much we've really done. It's always more than I realized. It always gives me confidence to keep going. I hate how some people roll their eyes at this and say it's not necessary. I find it to be the most essential thing we do, honestly - for so many reasons, but for keeping myself feeling confident and preventing burnout for all of us is definitely high on the list. It's a celebration of the kids and their work, which in turn makes me feel like this whole deal is worth it.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

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Preventing burnout: let's discuss!