Avoiding Homeschool Burnout
by Drenda Keesee
During the years that I was homeschooling, I had difficult days. I had to remind myself, “This too shall pass.”
Even though my children and I had our share of rough days, we shared amazing days too! I can’t imagine what I would have lost had I opted to send them to public school.
If you are homeschooling and feel like you have reached your limit, I want to encourage you to stick with it. Sometimes, when we are in it, we have a hard time…
…trusting the outcome, but, trust me, all your hard work will pay off!
You have a high calling. You are teaching your children to love and to serve. You are showing them what hard work and teamwork look like, and, trust me, you will see the fruit of your labor in your life and in the lives of your children, just like I did and continue to!
Managing Your Expectations
Each day isn’t going to be perfect. The house might be a mess, and there are days when you might feel like a failure. When I was pregnant with my daughter Polly I was stuck in a recliner feeling miserable with morning sickness and just handing out worksheets.
But despite the bad days, I saw glorious days too! I saw my children’s kindness and creativity, and I was able to lead them in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and introduce them to Jesus! What an amazing gift!
The joys will always outweigh the pressures.
If you are reaching your limit with homeschooling, I want you to know I was there. I was ready to quit many times, but God had my number and He encouraged me every step of the way.
I want you to know I believe you can do it! You just have to believe it!
Letting Go of Perfection and Embracing the Unexpected
I see a lot of homeschooling parents twist themselves into knots trying to create the “perfect” lesson plan, field trip, or activity. Setting rigid goals and standards only makes the day stressful for you and your child.
Give yourself permission to forget how it is “supposed” to look and enjoy watching it unfold!
The great thing about homeschooling is that you know your child better than anyone. You know when they need to be pushed and when they need to take a break.
When I asked my children if they regret that they were homeschooled, I loved my son Tim’s response. “Homeschooling gives the child an edge and provides them with a specially tailored learning experience.”
One of the best things about homeschooling is that it’s flexible! What works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another. You can take it one day at a time, notice what is working and what isn’t, and change your teaching to meet your child’s needs. Can we say that about public school? I don’t think so!
When my daughter Amy replied to the same question, she said, “The most important things I learned you cannot learn from a book.”
Homeschooling isn’t about finding the perfect math workbook or making sure your child finishes their science project. Providing knowledge isn’t the only goal of homeschooling a child; you are fashioning your child’s character using your own daily example!
God gave you the amazing opportunity to cultivate love and respect within your children, so they can serve God and others.
God also gave you the amazing opportunity to create an environment for your children to be confident in who they are. My son Tom responded to my question by telling me that “Homeschooling means having the freedom to learn who you are without someone else telling you who you should be!”
That just touched my heart so much! My children were able to feel safe and comfortable in who they were from a very young age, and I see so much confidence in them today because of that.
When children go to school, they just want to “fit in,” and be “normal,” but God created each of us to be unique and to stand out!
I know when you are having a tough day it’s hard to remember what an incredible opportunity you have been given. But it’s remembering your high calling that will get you through those days.
Every homeschooling parent should have a network of people they can connect with about lesson plans, fields trips, meal prep, etc., or even just to have a cup of coffee together and chatting. The saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Talking to mothers who are right where you are can be a huge source of encouragement and information.
If you are homeschooling, it’s okay to rely on other people for help.
Being around children 24/7 is challenging for even the most patient mommies, which is why it’s so important to find a support system. First Thessalonians 5:11 tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”
Find a mommy group and set a weekly playtime at someone’s house or a local park. Joining a homeschool co-op through your church is another amazing way to get support for yourself, and it’s also a great opportunity for your children to build lasting friendships! My children have lifelong friends that they met in our church’s homeschool co-op.
Taking Care of Yourself
As moms, we live our lives for others, balancing meals, activities, laundry, lesson plans, and MORE! That is why it is so easy for us to get burned out. Treating yourself to alone time is also essential for any homeschooling parent. If you are feeling burned out, it’s important to give yourself little breaks. For example, hire a sitter for a few hours a week, if you can afford it, or enroll your kids in a class like gymnastics, art, or music. Remember, it’s okay to order carryout once in a while. Let your spouse put the kids to bed occasionally, and take a walk by yourself to clear your mind!
Perfection isn’t what homeschooling is about…
It isn’t what being a mom is all about, either. It’s about being human, doing your best, and asking forgiveness when you stumble. God will impart His wisdom into your circumstances and renew your heart.
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.