The Truth Behind Homeschool Burnout

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homeschool burnout copyHomeschool burnout comes in all sorts of forms.  Sometimes it looks like a new homeschooling mom overwhelmed by the thought of being responsible for educating her children.  Sometimes it looks like a seasoned homeschool mom who has grown weary of the day to day pressures.

Very rarely does a homeschool mom manage to escape burnout throughout her entire homeschooling career.  But all too often the true reason behind homeschooling burnout is not addressed.  We talk about options for lightening mom’s load or we point her toward support groups or we offer her nothing but a pat on the back and an, “I understand.”

While all these things are noble and good, they don’t get to the heart of the matter…

Homeschool burnout happens when
homeschooling priorities end up backward.

We can’t survive homeschooling for 12, 15, 20+ years putting our focus solely on academics.  We’ll never make it if we educate in fear of man made standards.  We won’t last if we try to mimic the public school system.  We will burnout.

How do we stop the burnout?  The answer is simple but easy to lose sight of.

In order to avoid homeschool burnout, we must keep Christ as our focus.

We must prioritize with

faith first,
character second,
and knowledge third;
each building on the previous, each built on Christ.

Practically, this is going to look different for every family, but it’s important to take time to bathe your homeschool in prayer and ask the Lord to guide your footsteps…every day.  Fix your heart and your children’s hearts on Him, direct and discipline with a focus on Biblical principles, and educate from a Christian worldview. 

So, when you begin to feel yourself “burning out,” take a moment to analyze where your priorities are.  You might just find that you have them backward.

homeschooling with purpose

14 Comments on The Truth Behind Homeschool Burnout

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14 thoughts on “The Truth Behind Homeschool Burnout

  1. One thing I am working more on lately is making memories instead of “just getting through the day.” For too long, I haven’t felt the freedom to just be a mom. By the time most of us moms have worked hard at cooking, cleaning, (and yes, with the children working too) and then homeschooling them, the last thing I really wanted to do is spend more time with them doing anything, (I deal with health issues too.)

    But I have purposed to change that as God so wills and try to make memory-making a priority and just love and enjoy them!

  2. One other reason that wasn’t mentioned here is that God may not be enabling someone to home school because it may not be what He has for her family. There are many very Godly, organized, character over academics women who embark on the home schooling journey only to discover “This isn’t a good fit for our family as much as I wish it was!” I am saying this in a completely non-antagonistic way. Many God-loving, Christ-pursuing people attended school outside the home and their lives will still matter for eternity. I realize this is a blog geared toward homeschooling families, but I just thought I would throw that out there to maybe encourage someone that may be struggling that it may not be something you aren’t doing, or believing, or appropriating…. it could be time for a new fork in your life’s road.

    • Thank you for this comment! I completely agree! I started homeschooling my children because I wanted to do it, I thought that’s what a “good Christian woman” does, and I really didn’t care what anyone else thought. My husband was never 100% on board with the idea. He LET me do it. I remember reading some of Teri Maxwell’s writings that most families do not homeschool without a clear leading from the Lord. I never had this. I just told the Lord I wanted to do it, and went for it. He was very gracious to help me endure about 2 1/2 years (Kindergarten, 1st, and half of 2nd for my 1st born).

      I was spending unending time preparing for school and my husband sat neglected. It would be 11pm and I’d be reviewing lessons for the next day while he sat on the couch watching TV. I truly felt like I was losing my mind and would have to be on some kind of medication if I didn’t change. I prayed. I sought council from other women at my church who homeschooled. All I got was, “I’ll pray for you.” I begged for help. No one would come along side me and give me advice. I always felt like people treated their homeschool as some secret thing I was not invited into. I’d ask sincere questions regarding other’s curriculum only to be met with strange looks, like I was prying. They would give me run-around answers. I tried homeschool groups but they only offered “field trips”. My pastor’s wife told me she was part of a small h-s group and maybe she could get me in. But they just wanted to keep it “small”. I was never invited, even after she saw me breaking down, crying in the church bathroom. She just prayed for me.

      So, LONG story short, my boys are in public school. I can honestly say I am in God’s will for MY family. God’s peace rests in my heart. I still miss homeschooling and wish it was God’s will for my life. I wish my husband desired this lifestyle for our family. God gave me these wonderful children and He loves them. I can trust HIS plans, even if His thoughts are not my thoughts.

  3. I can’t stress how true this is. SOOO TRUE!! Why, because whenever I get the homeschool burnout, THIS is the exact reason why!! Putting pressure on myself and comparing what school standards are verses where they are. ANd even though I can pinpoint what makes me so stressed and crazy, its hard to get a handle on it. Thanks for posting, makes me feel a bit more normal.

  4. Thank You! My goal has been to start everyday with prayer and some time alone with the Lord. Why is it we (or I) put this aside so often. It is the thing that should be first and so often gets put on the back burner. Thank you for encouragment!

  5. I was reminded of these things last summer. I was speaking with a pub. schooled youth from my church. He is a great guy, VERY intelligent and responsible. His parents really care about how they raise their children. But here he was heading out for a youth work project and looking kind of down. He let me know that there were so many things he needed to do but he had to head out on this trip to rack up volunteer hours for National Honors Society. I was stunned. I had been feeling very badly b/c our boy was not up to par with this kid academically, but our son returned form that trip joyfully anticipating the next opportunity he’d have to work in a soup kitchen and with no anticipation of the reward it would bring him. That little event put all of my fears and feeling of burnout in perspective. The character my son displayed (unbeknownst to him) made his mother’s year.

  6. Thank you so much. Our life seems difficult right now. The boys are 13 and 14, and very stubborn. I don’t have their learning styles figured out, and it is sometimes very difficult to know what to do. I have only just found your blog, and you are so uplifting. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for the advice. I still have a year and a half before my first is in kindergarten and sometimes feel overwhelmed at the prospect of homeschooling but know it is what I am supposed to do. I already hear all the pressure of those around me about the focus of academics but you are so right in saying that Christ must be the central focus. God bless!