- Empower your children to take care of their own needs.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to infants and toddlers, but if you’re shouldering the responsibility for educating your school age children, as well as doing all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry yourself, you are setting yourself up for burnout. When I’m preparing a meal, and setting the table, and getting everyone their drink, and cutting up their food, I usually realize I’m doing too much around the time I start seething with resentment. Ask yourself, “Is this something my kids could do themselves?” and if so, redirect your energy from getting it all done to training your children to become more self-sufficient.
- Clear the clutter.
It’s hard to create a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere when your home is crammed full of stuff. Not to mention, someone is going to have to clean, organize and maintain all those possessions. Ask yourself, “Is this something that truly adds value to our family?”, and let the rest go. Implement a regular rhythm of decluttering to keep things from getting out of control. You can attack one room per month or enlist your kids’ help to purge their things periodically (before starting a new school year and before the holidays are great times to do this). With less stuff to look after, you’ll have more time and energy for the things that really matter.
- Set comparison aside.
Have you ever felt great about your homeschool day until you logged on to social media and saw someone else’s children drinking kale smoothies, reciting Shakespeare or taking a trip to Europe? It’s so tempting to measure our family (or worse, our children’s performance) against others we see around us, but comparison robs us of the precious resources we need to pursue God’s unique calling for our family. Rather than comparing your child to a sibling, a friend, or some kid you saw online, ask yourself, “Is this child moving forward?”. And instead of comparing your home to some pristine Instagram post, ask “Did I respond to God’s call for my life today?”
- Know what fills you up.
Managing your energy effectively is essential to effective homeschooling. If you are an extrovert who gains energy from spending time with other people and engaging in new, exciting activities, joining a co-op, a homeschool mother’s support group, or a weekly adventure club may be just what you need to keep you inspired. If you are an introvert who finds quiet time alone most energizing, joining a co-op or going to a big, crowded homeschool convention might be the worst thing for you. A quiet evening with a book or a morning at a coffee shop all by yourself might be much more restorative. Take the time to discover the activities that recharge your batteries, and keep in mind that just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it works for you. Try to develop a balanced set of practices that nourish you in different areas – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Weave these activities into your daily and weekly rhythms. Homeschooling when you are exhausted and depleted is no fun for anyone, but the hard work of homeschooling will feel less burdensome if you keep yourself inspired and energized.