This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 14, 13, 10, 7, and 3.
As my kids get older people ask more and more when I will put them in school, as if I keep them home to shield them from the evils of the world. Or, that I am keeping them home to force brilliance onto them. And when said person speaks to my kids, it feels disappointing for them to find my kids are simply typical.
I don’t have a home school “starting” moment. I have been homeschooling the whole damn time. The other day I collapsed into bed and I thought, “I have been dealing with diapers for 14 years.” That is a long time. I feel burnt out. I don’t know if it is from being a mother or a homeschooler. Maybe it’s from being a Homo sapient.
Sometimes when I feel this way, I search for posts by other home schoolers who have burned out. I find two types: one ends up talking themselves into school being the better choice, and the others that pretend they are burned out and have dumb suggestions that don’t help with the root of the problem. For example, they might suggest:
1. Restrict outside activities
2. Plan outside activities
3. Get Support
4. Make Changes
5. Find something to be excited about
We moved from the east side to the west side of Washington state, we lived in a complete, to-the-guts remodel for 4 years, while my husband worked close to 100 hours a week and I lived with my fourth son’s fresh diagnose of autism. After 3 years I was burned out. You can read here and here as I fought to not be burned out.
Now, I am living in a new house with Andy only gone 50-60 hours a week. We have been living with special needs for four years and more and more we are getting the hang of it. Things are easier. But I still wanted to have several months of alone time. Until recently. So here is my biggest secret to overcoming burn out:
When I feel tired, I am always walking hand in hand with homeschool worry that is not mine to tackle. It is so hard to separate our kids’ successes and failures from our own self-esteem. I worry that I am going to screw my kids up for life, that they won’t turn out to be (society’s definition of) perfect. Or that they won’t be smart enough, socialized enough, or hate me for homeschooling them.
I must practice carpe diem within myself: Live with my choices each day, and let the worry die. When I do this, the load is much lighter.