It’s easy to be inspired and hit all the academic targets during the first 2 weeks of September, but do you find you hit a point halfway through the year where you start feeling the homeschool burnout and end up in survival mode? Me too. In fact, it’s something we’ve struggled with every single year of homeschooling. In 4 years, we’ve learned about ourselves, and what works for us to be a successful homeschool family.
Here are a few ways to keep the Back-to-School momentum throughout the homeschool year.
1. Establish a morning routine. This is a tricky one for us, as not one of us identifies as a morning person. Not one of us loves to eat breakfast. So for us, starting school before breakfast just works. We take a break around 11:00 am (that is when the oldest two have a break from their live virtual classes) with a healthy, high protein snack. I usually do intermittent fasting anyway so it’s perfect for all of us!
2. Delay Back-to-School shopping. Technically we don’t DO back to school shopping at all; we spread out the purchasing of new shoes, warmer jackets, shiny colourful pencils, or even curriculum throughout the year. That way, there is always something new and fun to wear or use, instead of everything at once.
3. Outsource. I love Math. I love Language Arts. Numbers and books? Done! But history? Nope. I don’t love it, and teaching it is another level of Hades for me. So I signed the kids up for a local weekly hands on class to get up to date on history. We all love it so much more when taught by someone passionate about the subject!
4. Buy a membership. Every year, I buy a membership to somewhere fun, usually the Telus Spark science centre. We don’t go tons, but we do take the opportunity to go whenever we hit the blues or get cabin fever. Besides the presentations and dome shows we’ve attended, one of my 8-year-old’s favourite pastimes is taking apart old computers and DVD players. The bonus is, they get to do this kinda stuff without filling up our house. Win-win.
5. Get enough exercise. This is the probably the most necessary item on the list, especially with the rising amounts of testosterone in our household. The kids go to karate twice a week during the school year, which is incredibly physical, but also such a great mental and emotional building block for them all. We also make sure everyone gets outside daily for at least 10 minutes even if it’s -20°C (I’m a wuss so that’s about my limit!).
6. Change of scenery. When you live in your classroom – literally – it’s important to take some time off, away from the house. If we can’t get away during the winter for an actual vacation, we will often do a “stay-cation” at a nearby hotel with pool and water slides. It’s a great break for everyone!
7. Embrace hygge. We did this with the kids last year and it was the best thing ever! I’m talking about a Hot Cocoa Bar where the kids can access and prepare their own beverages throughout our long cold winter. I’m talking about candles and twinkle lights and soft throws to snuggle up in. Soft music and maybe a few more episodes on Netflix than usual. Maybe it’s fresh baked rye bread or lemon blueberry scones or even home brewed kombucha. Whatever “hygge” looks like for you, do that!
What would you add to the list? What puts the spark back into homeschooling when you just feel like you can’t do it another day? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!