Homeschool Support: Burnout
How to Reignite Your Passion
By Naomi Musch
Burnout is a scary word. It can quench our homeschooling fire before it flames or even quench it after months or years
of burning bright. It can make a family
feel like a troop of reluctant campers in
a rainstorm just trying to keep the last
match lit amidst the driving wind and
downpour of doubt. When the flame of
passion sputters, chances are it just might
. . . disappear.
Having homeschooled my five children over the course of eighteen years,
I’ve known the weariness that causes
frustration, despair, and the overwhelming desire to give up. But we can keep
our passion burning bright by first identifying, and then avoiding (if possible),
the reasons that we burn out.
Burnout usually stems from a lack of
confidence, and confidence is driven
down by a variety of factors such as these:
• Too many to-do’s, from household
tasks to outside obligations, that
have us functioning on overload.
• Children who are antagonistic toward “doing school” or are otherwise
strong-willed, defiant, and wearing
us down until we feel like we don’t
want to be in the battle any more.
• Lack of a solid support system within family or community. We feel like
Elijah, who, after he’d stood against
the prophets of Baal groaned, “I,
even I only, am left, and they seek my
life, to take it away” (I Kings 19:14,
68 February 2012 • Homeschool Support: Burnout
• No time of personal refreshing.
There’s no breather, and we’re at our
wits’ end physically and emotionally.
• Unexpected lifestyle adjustments,
such as a new baby or job change,
which disrupt our homeschooling
for a lengthy period of time.
• Feelings of inadequacy to instruct.
Lack of confidence at its most basic
level whispers that we just don’t have
what it takes—no degree, no understanding of certain subjects, no patience—to teach our kids.
• A combination of the above. When total burnout is at hand, we are likely to
feel a combination of all the above situations. At this level, we’re drowning in
circumstances, emotion, exhaustion,
lack of support—you name it.
Climbing out of discouragement feels
like trying to escape a cyclone of doubt
that keeps pulling us deeper and further
from our original goals. So let’s look at
some goals that can help us regain our
#1—Focus on the necessary. It’s been
said that “busyness is the enemy of fruitfulness.” It’s the old I’m-spinning-my-wheels syndrome of working harder and
faster but accomplishing little. Being
busy doesn’t necessarily mean achieving
results. To be effective without burning
out usually starts by figuring out what to
take off our schedules rather than what
to take on.
We can’t avoid doing the laundry and
going to the grocery store occasionally,
1/31/12 11:12 AM