Tuesday, November 11

Battling Burnout, Part I

My husband and I have been involved in church ministry on some level for the full 14 years of our married life. We have planned and prepared many different kinds of programs, hosted innumerable (and delightful!) dinner guests, taught countless small groups, staffed youth programs, trained leaders, presented workshops, sermons and even dramatic productions. I could go on and on. Thinking about it makes me feel tired but satisfied. However, several years ago, when I was in the thick of it, thinking about it made me feel something altogether different.

After trying daily for years to get the point across, provide growth opportunities, teach with creativity, help handle conflict, expect good behavior, model a Christ-like ethic, pose challenges, and praise, praise, praise, it seemed that we were spinning our wheels. I’m talking about youth ministry, but I could also describe my own homeschooling journey in the same terms; stalled, going nowhere and feeling overworked and under appreciated. Yes, I have been burned out in both areas.

Burn out is different from stress. Stress often makes you work harder in order to reach a goal that you feel is worthy of attaining… even if it’s an unhealthy goal. Burn out is characterized by letting that work slip through your fingers. You are burned out when you feel ineffective, lose interest, and disengage. If you feel like the only reason you’re homeschooling this week is because you’re afraid someone might check up on you, you’re there. And you’re not alone.

I most often want to disengage from homeschooling in the dead of winter. I live in the rainy Northwest and I honestly don’t know anyone who loves homeschooling indoors in February. The books aren’t new anymore, the children aren’t listening anymore and you can’t just leave the house and blow off steam at the park. It’s prime time for burn out. It’s also the time when we have to shake things up a bit in order get back into drive.

I have made a list of 10 ideas that I have personally tried (and some I have waiting in my back seat yet) when the winter doldrums hit. I hope that you can find just one idea here that inspires you to get back to a place of delight and productivity in your homeschooling.

Tune in tomorrow to see them!

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