Does homeschooling currently feel dull and lifeless? Are you wondering how to add more joy to your homeschool?
You are not alone.
Chances are, you’ve got A LOT on your plate. And with all of the balls that you’re juggling, how to add more joy to your homeschool might feel like the least of your worries.
But in the back of your mind, you probably realize that joy is an ingredient that is essential to your long term homeschooling success.
But how do you find time to prioritize joy when you can barely get halfway through your daily to-do list!?!
let’s face it, with constant demands on our time and energy, homeschooling can feel completely overwhelming and exhausting.
In fact, many of us reach the point of homeschooling burnout (sometimes repeatedly!) throughout our homeschooling journey.
We make sure the grocery shopping is done and meals are prepared for our family. We select the curriculum and activities that look the best for our children, taking their individual needs and interests into account. Running errands, paying bills, making appointments, cleaning, organizing, planning… all with the goal of providing a loving and nurturing environment for our family.
Which is wonderful.
Of course it is!
But with all of this busyness and the constant demands on our daily life, it’s far too easy to operate on auto-pilot and neglect the very things that fill us up.
The things that fill us up as the unique individuals that we are.
The things that bring us joy.
And this is a recipe for burnout, my friend.
I’ve experienced burnout on many occasions throughout my decade of homeschooling.
In fact, every single homeschooling mama that I know has!
And while I’ve learned plenty of tricks and have picked up some effective strategies along the way, there is an underlying theme that has been life-saving for me.
What I’ve learned is that joy is an incredible antidote to burnout.
When there is an absence of joy in our lives, it trickles down to our children. Our lack of joy means an overall lack of joy in our homeschool.
Because guess what?
We are each a living, breathing, unique human being who has our own individual needs, interests, and curiosities.
And denying those needs, interests, and curiosities is a recipe for disaster.
So as we brainstorm how to add more joy to your homeschool, know that first we’re going to prioritize how to add more joy to YOUR life!
Let’s begin with a question…
When was the last time you participated in an activity that brings you joy?
I mean honest-to-goodness, fills up your soul kind of joy. Joy that comes when you’re caught up in the moment and you completely lose track of time because you’re so engaged.
Now my hope is that you’re able to conjure up a joy-filled memory without too much effort. But if you find yourself struggling to remember the last time you enjoyed this freedom, please know that you are not alone.
When we’re tired and cranky and running from one thing to the next, it can be hard to even remember which things bring us joy.
But it’s essential.
So if you’re struggling, I want you to answer the following questions.
1. What are 3 activities you enjoyed as a child?
There’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. So close your eyes, think back to when you were young, and see what comes up.
Answer this question and let’s start here.
If you’re struggling, consider some of the following:
- Riding your bike
- Playing board games
It may seem overly simplistic but so often, the activities that brought us joy as a child still bring us joy as an adult.
For example, as a child, I LOVED anything and everything artistic. Painting, drawing, crafting, decorating… any of these artistic activities brought me to life.
And guess what?
This STILL rings true!
Engaging in one of these activities doesn’t have to be terribly time-consuming. I can do some sketching. Get out watercolor pencils. Decorate my journal.
I also loved reading as a child. Again, I still do! So I make sure to incorporate reading into my life and I read each night before bed.
I really loved to sing as a child. And I don’t mean singing on stage in front of people. Nope! I mean I just really enjoyed singing by myself. In my bedroom, in the shower, in the car, at church… no audience, accolades, or reason. I just really enjoyed it.
My point is, DON’T OVERTHINK THIS!
Once you’ve identified your 3 activities, consider how you can incorporate one of these activities into your life this week.
Yep, THIS week!
Start with ONE activity that you can incorporate into your life starting this week.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.
But it does need to be a priority.
After identifying these 3 activities you enjoyed as a child, consider ways you can incorporate one of them into your life, starting now.
2. What makes you laugh?
Is there a show you really enjoy? A podcast or audiobook? A friend who’s hilarious? Those adorable and silly animal videos? A book that is laugh-out-loud funny?
In so many ways, laughter really is the best medicine.
And when life feels busy and overwhelming, it’s easy to lose our sense of humor and to forget to laugh. So try and prioritize your laughter each day.
What makes you laugh and how can you surround yourself with more of it?
3. Are you outsourcing?
My biggest homeschooling regret is that I didn’t start outsourcing sooner.
I was under the delusion that I needed to do everything myself. The planning, organizing, teaching, field trips, activities, appointments, errands, meal-planning, cleaning, bill-paying…
I’m exhausted just thinking about it all!
What I eventually learned, (later than I care to admit) is that I couldn’t do it all. And trying to do it all was only robbing me of my joy which then resulted in sucking all of the joy out of our homeschool.
An unfortunate result of attempting to do everything ourselves is that we often fall into becoming martyrs.
And we don’t want to become homeschooling martyrs. Because that’s not fun for anyone!
So what’s the answer to this dilemma?
What are some ways you could currently outsource?
Here are some ideas:
- Have your partner make any necessary appointments
- Do your grocery shopping online or use a drive-up service
- Consider using an online class for certain subjects
- Make sure your children are helping with household responsibilities
If your budget allows, there are certainly other impactful ways you can outsource. Hiring someone to clean your house, do the yard work, or teach a subject are definite possibilities.
Don’t feel any shame or remorse for identifying areas where you need help.
Because we ALL need help!
Identify ways you can get starting outsourcing.
4. Do you have a daily quiet time?
When my children were little but well past the napping stage, I implemented a daily quiet time.
For an hour (sometimes longer!) each afternoon, my children would go into their bedrooms and we would all have an hour to ourselves. They had access to their toys, books, and other activities.
This gave me the time I craved to do something that I enjoyed or to nap if I was really wiped out.
As my kids got older, we continued with this quiet time. It had become so natural at that point and was beneficial to all of us. So I decided we would continue on.
If you’re worried about boredom, rest assured that this quiet time is beneficial for our children in so many ways!
If you don’t have an established quiet time, begin to develop one.
5. What “extras” do you enjoy
What do I mean by extras?
Anything that is sprinkled throughout your day that brings you joy.
Think about think that you look forward to.
Your morning cup of coffee or tea. A favorite podcast, show, or movie. A book you’ve just started reading. LIghting your favorite candle. Picking up flowers while running an errand. Calling a friend. Snuggling with your dog. Listening to music.
These are things that are inexpensive or often, FREE.
Think of any “extras” that you look forward to throughout your day. How can you begin to incorporate them on a regular basis?
The more you’re able to prioritize your own joy, the more your children and homeschool will benefit.
So let’s recap!
How to add more joy to your homeschool:
Answer the following questions:
- What are 3 activities you enjoyed as a child?
- What makes you laugh?
- Are you outsourcing?
- Do you have a daily quiet time?
- What “extras” do you enjoy
And piggybacking on my encouragement for you to pursue joy, I’d love for you to check out a related blog post, What do YOU Want to Learn This Year?
Here’s to sustained joy and life-long learning!