Thursday, August 4, 2011

Burned Out? How about a refresh?

Even if you haven't burned out as a home educating mother, chances are you've experienced this at some point in your life.  Have you considered that it could happen to you as a mother?

My oldest is 21 years of age and I have been teaching my children at home for over eleven years, now.  I've had periods of, what I would call burn out, and I am currently suffering from a bit of weariness.  My oldest daughter is in her senior year and I if I had to describe my current attitude I would do it with a huge sigh.  This would be the kind of sigh that you would let out after completing a final exam.

This is a minor burn out and I am addressing it by relaxing the school day for my younger two.  It won't be as structured and I am going to focus on enjoying the learning process with them.

Sometimes the burn outs are much bigger.  I've known mothers who couldn't recover from them without enrolling their children in school.  I believe that to avoid this we have to use preventive medicine.  We need to schedule time during the day and the week to refuel.

My daily refuel comes early in the morning before the kids get up, and again during quiet time.  I have a dear friend who is an evening person and she enjoys her quiet time after the kids go to sleep.  When my children were younger I would walk in the morning, before Boodhound left for work.  The kids would snuggle under our sheets and talk to their father while he got ready to leave.  My friend, in New Orleans, had a teen-age neighbor who would watch her kids ride bikes, while she walked around the block.

As much as these daily quiet times invigorate me, I still need longer periods of quiet time, and I don't do a great job of scheduling them, at all.  I am going to work on that this year.  My goal is to get away for a morning every two weeks.

Just the same, what if you are already burned out?  What if all the prevention didn't nip it in the bud?  What if your hormones went whacky?  That happened to me, and I reached a level of depleted unlike anything I have ever experienced.  And I think it left my family rather exhausted, too.

If you are feeling rather worn here are some suggestions I've created...

*  Scale back
*  Prioritize - the dishes and the dust will wait.
*  Delegate - I'm constantly amazed at the chores my children can do, when asked.
*  Do things that make you happy.
*  Find some quiet time.
*  Exercise - I'd say this is one of the most important steps, but, also, the one you are least likely to do.
*  Make a doctor appointment.  See previous hormone comment.
*  Review your focus.  Why did you start homeschooling?  Did you write a mission/vision statement?    
    Can you add specific steps to it?

Now, I'd like to hear your thoughts...

How do you prevent burn out?  How do you treat exhaustion?  How can we refresh ourselves?  What refuels you?

I look forward to hearing your ideas.

To read more about my relaxed school structure click here.
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