Is anyone else struggling to keep it going? Spring has sprung, the days are beautiful (at least they are here in central Florida!) and it’s hard enough to keep myself motivated, no less these three little fun-thirsty souls I’m schooling. Every single day around 9:30 they’re begging for recess… They look longingly out the window at the big open field across from our house that is teaming with lizards and grasshoppers, just begging to be caught. As I look into their little glazed over eyes I know that there is no point trying to reel them in, it’s best to let them play and then settle back into the school day in an hour or two.
I know I can’t be the only momma who’s having this trouble so here is a list of my top ten ways to beat Spring Homeschool Burnout.
1. Library trips: Some mornings we fight burnout by packing up and heading to the library. Olivia looks at the books, I pick out a new James Patterson and the boys find themselves thumbing through a new series or playing checkers. This quick break from “real school” keeps them interested in reading, gets them playing together without fighting and is sparking a love of books in Liv. Afterwards, we try to grab lunch with Dad to really make the day special.
2. Netflix: Netflix is a funny little thing because the boys think they are slacking off and watching tv when they’re really learning all sorts of things. Frozen Planet, Mysteries of the Unseen World, Nature’s Weirdest Events, Myth Hunters, Blue Planet and countless other educational shows keep them entertained while they are learning a ton about things they are actually interested in. Do you know what kids do when they watch something that interests them? They learn.
3. Pool Days: Ok, so there’s no real educational value to a pool day. Kids running, jumping, swimming, splashing and enjoying the sun is just one of those things we homeschool mommas get to have that others don’t. We’re going to call this P.E, Vitamin D restoration and a Mental Health Day for Momma. It works for me!
4. Field Trips: It doesn’t have to be anything big, expensive or even planned out. Two weeks ago we went on a scavenger hunt through the woods with some friends. It was a simple walk but the kids had a blast exploring. They found leaves, compared them, watched birds, checked out all sorts of flowers, seeds, butterflies and bugs. They were outside, being kids, enjoying their childhood and making memories. That’s all a field trip needs to be.
5. Farm Days with Mamaw: My mother lives in a few acres out in the sticks. She’s had a slew of animals over the years, including chickens, roosters, catfish, worms, cats, dogs and even a goat. The boys will occasionally spend the day with her helping with the chores. They work in her garden, gather eggs, feed the animals and just have a great time being boys. Don’t get me started on how much fun they have with her composting worms! Know what they are learning? They’re learning the value of hard work. They’re learning how to grow food, how to care for something other than themselves. They’re learning that shoveling mulch in the hot sun won’t kill you, and it’ll probably earn you a little green and an ice cream.
6. Camping Trips with Dad: Sometimes my husband will take a day or two off of work and we all head out on an adventure. We don’t do anything special when we camp. The boys bring their skateboards and ball gloves. We do some nature hikes or bike rides, we may rent a canoe if the camp ground has a spring. There’s always something to learn at State Parks, things to explore and memories to make. We get just a few short years with these kiddos, we want them to remember them as much as we do.
7. Spring Training Day: Ok, ok, you got me. No learning here… unless I quiz them on their spelling words and multiplication problems in the car. But I say again… Memories. They aren’t replaceable. The kids learn what being a family looks like. They get to do something they love with their Daddy and that keeps that bond strong between he and I and them. That’s important to us, as Kaden approaches those teenage years especially.
8. Night School: We don’t do this often during baseball season because we just aren’t home enough in the evenings but some days, we forego the workbooks until after dinner. We play or read, sometimes they help me bake or cook. We just hang out, run errands or play. Then we do school at night, when the sun has gone down and all the fun is successfully wrung out of the daylight.
9. CHORE DAYS: Can I just say that I love chore days? We get the bedding washed, the laundry folded and put away, dust the furniture, sweep… mop. The boys “clean” their rooms and help Olivia with hers. Then we reward our hard work with a treat. Maybe some cookies or a movie. The boys are learning to be men. They’re learning what it takes to run a home and be an adult. Hopefully these Home Ec days will stick with them and make them great husbands one day!
10. I JUST DON’T WANT TO DO LESSONS DAYS: These don’t happen often but sometimes we just can’t. We’ve done so many days of double lessons and extra lessons that we sometimes just blow off school. Maybe someone has a cold, maybe momma needs a break, maybe Olivia really wants to play dress up all morning. These days are nice, laid back and important to any homeschool family. The day the table is covered in playdoh and board games. Maybe it’s tempura paint and construction paper… Trust me, they’re learning.
School is important but it doesn’t always have to be school. Sometimes it’s just family. Whatever that happens to look like for you. So momma, if you’re feeling the spring time burnout don’t fret. You’re not alone. Get outside, take a day off, make some memories and enjoy the freedom you have to spend your days with your kids however you want to.