6 Tips avoid home school burnout

Tonya Mead, CHFI, CFE, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, School Psychologist

The CoVID_19 pandemic brings with it stress related to furloughs, potential or actual job loss, official stay-at-home orders, loss of business income, and change in daily routine. Added to this is the close proximity of family members returning from college or those tele-working. See here (my Amazon store) for quick resources you might consider accessing to help your child say on track during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Now, you mean I have to teach my kids too? For many this may seem to be too much to bear. It is one thing to make the decision independently to home-school your kids, but when forces beyond one’s control hammers the edict; it can be too much.

Even if home-schooling was a choice made earlier due to religious beliefs or personal belief that public school systems provide poor instruction, when you are home with kids and teaching them, at some point, you may succumb to burnout symptoms.

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Fortunately, home school burnout does not have be difficult to deal with, if we take some precaution to avoid it and make homeschooling more fun and enjoyable for you and your child.

When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating his or her child, homeschool burnout is one of the more common issues they have to deal with. There are many reasons that lead to this burnout: an illness, a new baby, added responsibility, change in routine etc.

Typical Symptoms of Burnout

The symptoms of burnout vary from lack of patience to overeating and crying without any apparent reasons. Surprisingly, a burnout need not be such a bad thing. It is a wake-up call – an indicator that things are not going well and that you need to reschedule. Reversing or avoiding a burnout is possible if you get fair
warning.

Reducing Burnout Symptoms

  1. Lower your expectations. Do not be a perfectionist. Take the good days with the bad. Next, when something does not seem to work, look for alternative methods. Flexibility is a key factor. If tension starts mounting, take a break. When necessary, change the style of teaching. For instance, small children love to take on their spellings when they quiz an adult.
  2. Avoid overkill. Do not pack too many activities for the sake of socializing your child. A worn out mom means a grouchy kid and that means no happiness. Get support from your spouse or a neighbor or a support group. Don’t try to achieve everything by yourself. Homeschooling means ‘happy schooling’ – don’t forget that.
  3. Purchase resources. Sometimes the best way to reduce your stress level is not to re-invent the wheel. Several experts in school psychology, learning and teaching have already created tools you can use. Right now! So, if you’d like additional activity ideas that are backed by research-based studies that are proven to help your child stay on track during the Coronavirus Pandemic, please visit my Amazon store. All of the products listed have been expertly curated by a School Psychologist.
  4. Vary your routine. After you develop a daily schedule requiring English/Language Arts activities on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 1 to 2 hours and Math exercises on Tuesday and Thursday, for instance; feel free to vary your routine. The standard instructional method utilized by professional teachers (“I do—we do—you do”) is a sound pedagogy; however some researchers have found that this tradition may not be as effective “for supporting proficiencies and practices in other content areas” such as mathematics.
  5. Use multi-sensory activities for learning. Learning does not have to be boring; not for you or your child. Don’t forget to add physical movement exercises, outdoor games, creative arts, board and video gaming activities. In addition to making ‘learning fun,’ according to experts, “multisensory activities are based in whole brain learning, which is the belief that the best way to teach concepts is by involving multiple areas in the brain.”
  6. Find a way to reduce your stress load. Psychologists have long argued that children ‘feed off’ the stress of their parents. “Parents’ levels of chronic stress can seriously impact a child’s development.” Therefore, particularly as you are playing the dual role now of parent and teacher, it is imperative to find ways to reduce your own stress load (take several breaks throughout the day, meditate, talk with a friend, exercise, listen to music, or read a calming book or novel).
  7. Keep it fun. Remember to take the time to cherish this precious time with your child. According to the American Psychological Association, “fond childhood memories are linked to better health later in life.”

Sources:

Thinking about instructional routines in Mathematics Teaching and Instruction.

Why Multisensory Learning is an Effective Strategy for Teaching Students How to Read.

How Parent’s stress can hurt a child inside and out.

Happy Childhood memories are linked to better health later in life.

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