Oh, yes, we got trouble,
Right here in Homeschool City!
With a capital T
That rhymes with B
And that stands for . . . Burn Out!
Why, just within the last two weeks
my bride plopped down on the couch
and said to me: “I hate this curriculum.
I’m tired of its repetitiveness and stupid
lessons. I mean, who cares if they know
about the Mastodon and his relationship
to the Woolly Mammoth? I don’t care!
And it says I need to teach them about
Ur, ancient trade routes, and the gods
Moloch and Chemosh. I could care less
about Ur and trade routes!” She looked
at me to come to her aid and to defend
her reason for choosing the “curriculum.”
Being a seminary graduate and know-
ing the value of knowledge for leading a
Godly and productive life, I said: “Who
cares?! Throw the curriculum out! I think
it’s a waste of time too.”
My wife wasn’t expecting that. She
expected me to say: “There, there, Dear.
Now you just need to plug away and
teach these things to our kids because
they need to blah blah blah blah blah.”
She’s absolutely right. Does everyone
have to know about the Mastodons? Yes,
some of our kids will want to know about
the big, wooly critters, but it’s not the end of
the world if others don’t. The history of Ur?
I didn’t learn about the place until I was in
seminary. And guess what? You don’t need
to know much about Ur to live a life that
pleases God, get a job, or be a dad or mom.
But we’ve been told that we do. We’ve been
fed a bunch of tripe in a lot of areas.
We’ve swallowed it hook, line, and
sinker, with the result that WE’RE
BURNED OUT!!!!!! We’re tired of unit
studies, monotonous curriculum, time-consuming programs, pie-in-the-sky
promises, and homeschooling!
I’m going to take a stab in the dark
and bet that you feel some of this. You’re
tired of the same old, same old—tired of
running through the same workbooks,
the same little rhymes, the same . . .
You don’t need to
know much about
Ur to live a life that
pleases God, get a
job, or be a dad or
So may I offer you a simple suggestion?
Do something different. I don’t think the
answer to burnout is vacation time or fun
times interspersed within our humdrum
lives; instead, I think the answer is a radical change in the way we do things.
If you don’t like the curriculum you’re
using, try something different. Or go off
grid and do your own thing. But first stop
and take a deep breath and get a piece of
paper. No, not after you finish this article.
Got the paper? Next jot down the
things you think are absolutely necessary
for your children to know. Just to get you
started, here’s the list for my little to mid-
dle school kids:
counts, key Bible verses, and books of
Now, there are other things that are
fun to learn, such as history and science,
but we’ve decided those are non-essen-tials (plus they already know tons just
because they’re readers and explorers).
Your list might be different than mine,
which is okay. You might want your
child to know how to yodel. If so, then
stick it on the list.
Next, write down the things YOU want
to experience with your children dur-
ing your school time. Again, here’s my
list (for my wife) for my little to middle
• Reading time—I want them to read
a bunch of good books out loud . . .
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