I remember back in the days when I was in school and in college, April and May sunny days were the WORST. We would sit in class and gaze out the window at the sunny sky and the bright green grass and it was so hard to pay attention, especially if it was warm and there was no air conditioning to help cool the air in the classroom! Back then we called it Spring Fever.
Many parents and kids also seem to get the fever come spring and homeschooling moms begin to feel burnout towards the end of the school year. After homeschooling for five years, this year I think I have figured out a few things. I am headed into April with a smile on my face and new excitement every day rather than being tired. Here are a few things I have done a little differently:
Focus on structuring Time NOT Content. In other words, rather than focusing on finishing pages 98 and 99 in Math and page 110 in spelling and reading chapter 35 in history followed by 5 books... I am structuring our TIME. I say for the next ___ amount of time we will read about the colonization of Virginia. We then have the time to leisurely read through as many or as few books as we want and discuss them. If I don't finish Story of the World in 1 year, then I will just keep going. There is no deadline since everyday is an opportunity to learn.
Focus on routines including a routine of family work. I am still working on solidifying some parts, but I am getting there.By making sure that the family work gets done, then I don't feel like I am never catching up and I can keep moving forward.
If it is a sunny day, take school outside if you can! Go on a field trip to the park with some books to read out loud and have school under a tree with a picnic lunch. Living in the Pacific North-wet we don't have a ton of gorgeous days in the spring, but we do take advantage of them.
Don't over schedule. Leaving time for the family and family activities helps keep enthusiasm up. We all need down time and if we are going going going all the time, we get sick of it. A day at home is a good thing.
Eat well. I find that when we eat the most fruits and veggies is when we are the happiest and have the most fun.
Don't stagnate your own inspirations. Take a specific amount of time each day to pray, study scriptures, and other inspiring works. By continuing to do your own studies, read inspiring books, and continue to grow yourself, you can help lessen the burn-out. Each of us has a mission in life and we need to live it. As a homeschooling mother, my primary responsibility is to the teaching and raising of my family, but God has given me a work to do and I always need to be in pursuit of that work. In order to live up to my full potential, I must continue to feed my own brain, even if it is only 1 page out of an inspiring book or an audiobook while I wash the dishes.
Relish the joys and drop the subject on the frustrations. Today I had a perfect illustration of this principle. I was trying to convince Strawberry to take a trip to the potty. She has been potty-learned for about 9 months, but I still have to make sure to take her every couple hours or we will have accidents. She didn't want to take a trip to the potty and was getting into a stubborn 2.5 year old battle. Rather than getting frustrated, I began to play with her, tickling her while I carried her. She giggled so much, she forgot about the battle. I thought about how I love hearing her giggle. It sure was one of the highlights of the day!
For more tips on ways to avoid burn-out, check out what other crew members do.