Have you considered homeschooling in the past but worried about your low energy getting in the way? Have you found yourself thinking, “I’m too exhausted to homeschool!” and writing the idea off completely?
Or maybe you’re currently homeschooling and you feel completely overwhelmed and frazzled.
I’ve been there.
Sometimes I’m STILL there, depending on the day and my current life season.
And while I ended up marrying a bundle of energy, I’m afraid I haven’t been blessed with the boundless stamina gene that he appears to have.
Not at ALL.
In fact, I’ve struggled with low energy ever since I was a teenager. While suppressing yawns and wondering if there was any way I could sneak in a nap, I was in awe of my friends who always seemed energetic and full of life.
Didn’t anyone want to lounge around a bit? Maybe take it easy for a while?
As I went from being a teenager to a college student, and then a wife and mother, my energy would wax and wane. There were seasons when my energy seemed fairly decent, but other seasons would follow when I felt completely drained and utterly exhausted.
So when it came time to make a final decision about homeschooling, I wondered if I’d be able to provide the education I longed to give my children, even with my “exhaustion issues”.
The decision to homeschool can feel overwhelming and anxiety-producing even for the most energetic parents. It’s common to doubt our mental and emotional capabilities as parents and educators.
But I was doubting not just my mental and emotional abilities, but my PHYSICAL ability as well! Would I be able to keep up with the demands of homeschooling? I kept working myself up into a mental frenzy, convincing myself…
“I’M too exhausted TO HOMESCHOOL!”
But here was the problem:
I REALLY wanted to give homeschooling a shot!
My gut and my soul were whispering to me, telling me that I’d always be plagued with “what if” unless we attempted the homeschooling path.
So I decided to break down what my biggest fears were regarding my low energy levels and homeschooling.
Here’s what I came up with:
- I was worried I didn’t have the energy to research curriculum and educational opportunities thoroughly and consistently.
- It felt draining thinking about having to keep my children engaged every single day, without any breaks.
- I didn’t know how to coordinate playdates and social times without feeling completely overwhelmed.
- I was afraid I would burn out and would fail my children.
That’s quite a list, right?
Short but INTENSE!
If you find yourself thinking that you’re too exhausted to homeschool, consider the following:
What if you were “allowed” to keep homeschooling simple?
What if YOU were the one to decide what your daily routine would look like?
Would you feel refreshed if you knew that you would receive a rest each day?
How would you feel if you knew YOU didn’t have to do it all?
What if you engaged in regular self-care?
Would this help put your mind at ease? Do you think you might opt to try homeschooling knowing that some of this pressure would be relieved?
Well, guess what?
I have some tips to help you HOMESCHOOL successfully, even when you’re struggling with exhaustion.
1. Keep things simple
Easy. Steady. Simple.
There is NO reason you need to choose a complicated curriculum, pack in tons of different subjects, and sign up for every extracurricular class you can think of!
Ease into your mornings as much as you can.
Things like reading, audiobooks, and background music are lovely ways to ease into the day while having breakfast.
Focus on a steady pace.
If things feel frantic and chaotic, pause, take a deep breath, and step back. There is no need to rush or cram in more than you and your children can handle.
Simplify your process.
Choose a curriculum or materials that are user-friendly and easy to understand. Select activities, social opportunities, and extracurricular activities ONLY when they fit well into your schedule and offer stress-free enjoyment.
You’ll be one step ahead of the game if you begin by keeping things simple.
2. find a routine that works for you
Almost every single homeschooling parent I know, (if not EVERY single one!) has started their homeschooling journey trying to select THE best materials, THE most enriching activities, and THE most fantastic experiences for their children.
For their CHILDREN.
This sounds noble and reasonable, right? I mean, OF COURSE we want the very best for our children. This is why we’ve made the decision to homeschool in the first place!
But here’s the problem:
When we put the anticipated needs of our children before OUR actual needs, we’re building a really rocky foundation.
Because if we choose materials that seem complicated and over-involved for OUR personalities and teaching style, we’re not going to have a successful learning experience.
If we choose activities that require lots of time in the car during rush hour traffic, or way too big of a commitment, chances are we’re going to be stressed and overextended.
And not that it’s bad to want to search for fantastic experiences for our children, but if these experiences are outside of our budget, we’re going to feel way too stressed.
So consider what kind of daily routine would work best for YOU.
When do YOU typically have the most energy?
When do YOU experience the most fatigue during your day?
What are some ways that YOU enjoy moments of rest throughout the day?
Consider these questions and then be sure to find a routine that you think will work for YOU.
3. implement a mandatory daily quiet time
I realize this can seem like an absurd suggestion for parents with highly energetic kids.
“My son has boundless energy; there’s no way he’ll stay in his room for a quiet time!”
“My daughter is an extrovert and hates being alone!”
Look, I get it.
Some kids really struggle at first with the concept of a quiet time.
But the sooner you implement this daily quiet time consistently, the sooner it will become a family norm.
I suggest an hour, (or two, if you can swing it!) Set your kiddos up with a basket or crate full of quiet time activities. Books, drawing pads with colored pencils or markers, audiobooks, puzzles, legos, crafts… anything they can safely do independently and quietly.
And PLEASE don’t feel bad about screen time during quiet time! There are plenty of fantastic educational shows available. Spending this designated time each day watching something educational is a legitimate homeschooling activity.
So if any guilt creeps in, kick it to the curb!
Now pay special attention to this next part:
During quiet time, make sure that you’re doing something that is restorative for YOU . Reading, stretching, making yourself a cup of tea, catching up on emails, or anything that allows you to relax a bit. And if you’re really exhausted, please allow yourself to take a nap.
Make sure you implement a mandatory daily quiet time for everyone in your home.
As homeschooling parents, we tend to think we must DO IT ALL. (Whatever the heck ALL even means!)
But this is completely unrealistic!
Every single one of us needs support, encouragement, and community.
If you have the funds, hire out some of your least favorite tasks. Sign up for a live or online class or two, select an outside vendor, or find a tutor.
If you happen to live near extended family and your relationships are healthy and respectful, consider seeing if a family member would like to help out once or twice a month. Maybe they can watch the kids while you run some errands.
Think about trading teaching days with a fellow homeschooling friend. If you enjoy teaching history but despise math instruction, maybe you can swap. One morning a week you can drop your kids off with her to cover math, and another morning she can drop hers off with you to do some history. This means built-in social time for the kids AND a break for both you and your friend.
The opportunities for outsourcing truly are plentiful and easily accessible.
Do yourself a favor and outsource in whatever ways you can.
5. Practice daily self-care
After taking care of our family and all of our other responsibilities, it often feels like we have no time left for ourselves. How in the world can we squeeze in daily self-care!?!
I suggest starting small.
For me, this currently looks like doing the following each day: Sipping my morning coffee while snuggling my dog, 10 minutes of meditation, 10-30 minutes of yoga or Barre3, spending a little bit of time outside, writing down one thing that I am grateful for, and reading a little each night before bed.
All of these things take me around an hour and a half each day. And that’s spread throughout the entire day which means that these are ways I can realistically practice self-care every single day.
And when I have the time, I also enjoy lighting a candle, having music on, listening to a podcast, and walking my dog.
What’s especially wonderful is that in addition to not taking up a ton of time, these activities are all free or very low cost. They also make me feel better in the moment, as well as hours later.
Identify ways you can practice self-care, and incorporate them in sustainable ways throughout each day. Do your best to prioritize daily self-care.
If you’re currently struggling with exhaustion, please know that I understand.
I really, truly do.
The five tips that I’ve shared have helped me tremendously over the years. And while I still often battle fatigue, my children and I have been homeschooling together successfully for nearly a decade.
So please know that if your desire is to homeschool, you CAN do this!
For even more supportive tips, be sure to check out the other posts in this series:
Are there any other specific fears you have about homeschooling? If so, I would love to address them so please feel free to leave a comment below!