Prisma is the world’s most engaging virtual school that combines a fun, real-world curriculum with powerful mentorship from experienced coaches and a supportive peer community
Homeschooling can be incredibly rewarding. Many homeschooling families love tailoring their child’s education to their unique talents, strengths, and learning style; the greater flexibility in scheduling; and the bond built between parent and child. But homeschooling is not without its challenges.
As a homeschooling parent, you may find yourself overwhelmed, struggling to find the energy to keep going when you’re responsible for planning curriculum day in and day out. You might be questioning whether you're doing enough, feeling like you're falling behind, or finding it hard to motivate your children to learn. Perhaps all the time together has caused conflict in your relationship with your child, and you’re facing resistance each time you try to sit down to tackle schoolwork. Maybe your learners are entering high school age, and the content is getting too difficult for you to handle on your own.
These are all signs of homeschool burnout, and if you're experiencing them, it's important to take action before it gets worse. But should you quit homeschooling, or just try something new to shake up the school year?
Faced with burnout, some parents may decide to embark on a different form of homeschooling, such as enrolling their learner in a virtual school. Virtual schools like Prisma allow learners to still learn from home, taking advantage of increased flexibility, without putting so much burden on the parent to plan curriculum, establish a daily routine, and give feedback.
At Prisma, we also recognize many homeschool moms and dads relish the opportunity to be involved in their learner’s schooling, and don’t want to give this up even if they’re looking for more support in planning, assessment, and socialization. That’s why we also offer a Parent-Coach Program, in which learners use the full Prisma curriculum, participate in all live classes, and join all extracurricular programs, but the parent serves as the learner’s coach, providing feedback on their work and meeting regularly with them to guide them through the Prisma experience.
In this blog post, we will share some homeschool tips and resources to help you take care of yourself and thrive in your homeschooling journey.
Ask yourself if you identify with any of the three descriptions above. Can you put any of the suggested prevention measures in place?
So you’ve noticed the signs, and you’re definitely burned out. What to do next? Here are some strategies we suggest you try:
One of the beauties of homeschooling is you don’t need to keep barreling ahead if the burnout is becoming extreme. If it isn’t addressed, burnout can spiral to the point where you lose all motivation to continue. Homeschoolers don’t need to follow a standard school year schedule, and taking short breaks from certain subjects or structured routines can be healthy for everyone in the family.
In addition to taking a step back for an emergency burnout break, consider structuring your year to allow for weeklong breaks in between each unit study, or even schooling 3-4 days per week instead of 5. Educational trips and longer term projects can also break up the monotony of an established homeschool routine. At Prisma, kids study only 3-4 subjects at once in each interdisciplinary 6-week theme to make sure they really get to sink their teeth into each topic, and to increase variety.
It's easy to forget about your own needs and focus solely on your children's education. Make sure to take time for yourself every day, whether it's reading a book, taking a walk, or simply sitting in silence. This also models for your child what a healthy response to burnout & stress looks like, so let them know what you are doing and why.
Joining a homeschool group or co-op can provide support and community. Online programs like Prisma offer built-in community & support. You can also plan field trips, playdates, and other activities together. On the flipside, some families we talk to at Prisma describe being burned out from being over-scheduled with groups and co-ops. If you are more of an introvert, consider if there are ways to keep your child socially engaged independently (like elective classes, camps, or team sports) while giving you time to disconnect.
It's crucial to take breaks during the homeschool day to prevent burnout. Allow your children to take breaks and play outside, and make sure you take a break as well. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mental health, and children learn best when able to move their bodies frequently.
There are plenty of resources available to homeschool families, from full curriculum solutions with printables, online resources, or a mix; to collections of interesting resources online for learning about various topics like documentaries, podcasts, videos, and games. But searching through these can also be overwhelming. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to find the perfect thing for your child through tons of research, be willing to experiment and see what your child responds to before deciding on a solution.
Homeschooling doesn't have to be rigid or follow a strict schedule. Don’t feel pressure to cover every last standard of a traditional curriculum if you think your children would benefit from being able to go deeper into fewer topics. Some families consider unschooling, which allows learners to explore their interests and passions without a rigid curriculum. At Prisma, we take inspiration from flexible models like unschooling and self-directed learning by offering learners choice on which projects to complete every cycle.
Social media can be a great way to connect and find inspiration. Follow homeschool bloggers and join homeschool support groups to find like-minded families. But remember social media can be a “highlight reel,” and not to compare yourself with the glossy picture portrayed of homeschooling by online influencers. They don’t have it all figured out, even if it looks like they do! Consider finding groups for more niche topics & groups based on the reasons you are homeschooling, who may understand better where you are coming from. There are groups for secular & religious homeschoolers, parents of kids with disabilities, digital nomad homeschoolers, unschooling parents, and more. At Prisma, we're big fans of the Secular Eclectic Academic group.
Your health and your child’s health come first. If you've been homeschooling for years and are experiencing burnout, it's okay to consider other options. Deciding which option makes the most sense depends on what issues you are noticing and what solutions you think would best address the source of the problem. Ask your child what they think. Your family's education should be a whole-family decision.
And if the decision is to quit homeschooling, don’t feel defeated—your child will always appreciate the effort & thought you put into their schooling. Not every form of education is right for every child, and it’s rare for one system to work well for all 12 years of schooling!
Prisma offers itself as an option for families that love some parts of homeschooling but don't want to do it all themselves. With our Parent Coach Program, you can even remain your child’s main teacher but still get support with curriculum, scheduling, and socialization.
Homeschool burnout is a real issue that many homeschool parents face, but it doesn't have to be the end of your homeschooling journey. By prioritizing self-care, joining a support group, taking breaks, using resources, being flexible, connecting on social media, and knowing when to quit, you can thrive in your homeschooling journey and create a fulfilling educational experience for your children and your whole family.
We’re fans of online learning, but it depends how it’s done. Here’s some pros and cons of different kinds of online homeschooling resources to consider, plus links to a variety of options.
Unit studies blend multiple subjects together to create real-world, interest-driven learning experiences. Steal the approach our curriculum experts use to create themes with a free downloadable unit study planner.
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