Home School Burn Out

If you are expecting to find a post about how I’ve got all the answers and I can tell you how to cope and get through it, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

This is a post about me feeling the burn out and exploring in myself why I’m feeling burnt out and maybe discover what I can do to cope and overcome this debilitating state of mind.  I’ve just invited you all to come along for the ride.

It could be that I’m a perfectionist. I struggle with the difference between realistic expectations and expectations of perfection.  While I know, at least with some sense of reasoning, that I can not do it all and that the more I have to do the less of me I can give, I just can’t seem to completely overcome the part of me that seems to think I should be able to do it all and do it all perfectly with a smile to boot.

It could be my own lack of self-discipline.  You know the inability to make myself do what I know needs to be done.   Sometimes I just don’t wanna!  I don’t want to make myself do it anymore than my children want to make themselves do it (whatever it is LOL)

I’m also sure there is a sense of martyrdom looming on the edges .  Being a parent is a 24/7 job and we’ve had the approach that home schooling is a way of life.  That approach created a mom/teacher who would really really like the “work” part of home schooling to end by dinner time and  for the work of school to disappear completely over the weekend.  

I know that I fight the monster of resentment on Sunday afternoons as my family rests or relaxes or plays and I’m “stuck” grading papers and getting lesson plans together.  I want to play, too!  I want to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon reading a really good book that I choose to read that is NOT part of furthering the education of my children.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the literature approach to home schooling and we’ve read some *great* books out loud but I want to read books that I want to read that are NOT part of some curriculum or at the least that I am NOT having to read aloud to my children.  (I do love reading aloud to my children and I certainly don’t want to stop doing that!  I just want to read to myself every now and again and not feel guilty about it)

On the surface it would seem that the answer could be so simple: put the kids in school.   But I don’t the answer is as simple as a change of location for their education.  I think it is much more complicated and buried much deeper and I think it requires heart surgery to dig deeper.

When the  girls were really little, my house was cleaner.  When the girls were little, school didn’t take all day.  When the girls were little, we ate more home cooked meals.   When the girls were little, I had my weekends “free” to enjoy my family.   I think I have this unrealistic expectation that I should still be able to do what I did then when in reality they were not all doing school and 3 of them still took naps!

It’s time I adjust my expectations to more closely match reality.  It’s time to rebuild some habits that I’ve let slip away.  It’s time to lay my heart at the altar and let the Master Surgeon do His work.


  1. I think as we cycle through different stages of life, there's a readjustment period that is quite frankly difficult.

    I totally understand.

    Hugs to you. And, prayers.

  2. I feel that way a lot also but in time and prayer, the answers will find you.

  3. If taking the time to assemble your lessons is burning you out, perhaps it's time to look into purchasing a curriculum already assembled for you. That's why companies like Sonlight exist: To do the prep work for you so you can focus on the parts of homeschooling that you love.

    Now, as we often say, if you love putting together your curriculum then Sonlight may not be right for you. But if our efforts can help you, we want you to take advantage of the work we've done.

    Granted, this is a complex and multi-layered issue, so getting everything in a box isn't going to make all the other issues go away. Finding balance and time to rest and setting realistic expectations would help tremendously as well [smile].

    Hang in there, and may this time of looking to the Lord and reinstating good habits be fruitful!


  4. Oh, Tess, I hear you...

    You're ahead of me on this journey by a couple of years, but I'm finding as I get into high school and jr. high, that the level of intensity seems to be kicking up more than a notch. I can't do all I want to, and I most certainly can't do all my kids want to.

    Even with things like Sonlight, where the basic planning is all laid out for me, or with online classes where I don't really have to plan much of anything, there is still just this extra something.

    It's exhausting...

  5. Thank you, Luke. We're actually heading into our 12th year with Sonlight (I'm an heirloom member!) between you and Michelle (Mimi) I think I might have stumbled on some insight. Stay tuned for another blog post. (Oh and the reading great books to my kids.. those are Sonlight books!)

  6. Debra, yup the intensity does step up with high school and it does help to have things like an IG but it's trying to put this with that and make sure everyone gets enough of me. *sigh*


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