You might be thinking “burnout? It’s only October!” Well, we school year round and we started this thing way back in January 2 years ago. For us, this is the mid-year burnout crash. To be honest though, I go through a cycle of enthusiastically planning and working to a period of “I hate this! Why are we doing this anyway?” on a normal basis. I would love to be somewhere in the middle, comfortably secure in our routine and learning style, but that’s not to be. Oh well.
So. Burnout. It happens – and it happens a lot. Sometimes we homeschoolers don’t admit it and just power through it, but it’s a fact of homeschooling that newbies don’t understand when they start. It’s similar to teacher burnout, but it’s loaded with an extra dollop of guilt because these are my kids, and how could I not LOVE just being around them all the time?
I stood in the dollar store today simultaneously paying for Halloween decorations and grumbling at children to “stay there!” and stop wiggling all over the floor, and realized that I’m at the low end of the burnout cycle right now. It happens. It’s normal. It’s not fun.
I’m not happy with anything we’re doing right now. I feel like the kids aren’t learning enough, that we’re not doing enough “schoolwork” kind of school. I’m grumbling about designing all the activities for the Engineer and the Princess, and feeling slightly resentful about spending all night at the computer after the kids go to bed. To be fair, I don’t really watch T.V. anyway so being productive isn’t a large sacrifice.
In fact, today I was irritated with my kids for being themselves: for making shopping trips a form of torture, for being so loud patrons across the restaurant gave me the stink eye, for being bored at the science center. Clearly, I need a break. And I need an attitude adjustment. They do too, of course, but they’re kids. They’re still growing, developing, learning, and maturing. I’m just being a grump, they’re just being kids. I still wish we could go to the craft store without needing a set of muzzles, dog leashes, and straight jackets (kidding!) but that’s our normal and I have to learn to cope and adapt.
I think we’re taking a break. A few weeks break. I’ll try, of course, but the Engineer never stops learning and never stops questioning. No, I don’t know what those symbols mean on your robot. Yes, that girl’s prosthetic legs are kind of like robots, but can we not discuss it now in front of her because that’s rude?
My attitude is slightly influenced by wishing for things I can’t have while realizing all over again why I can’t have them. The Engineer’s best friend is having a blast in public school. She does music and art class, the kids get to talk during lunchtime, and her mom volunteers a lot and sees how she’s doing. I want that for my kid. I truly do. But I realize that it’s a pipe-dream for us – a wonderful shining opportunity of child-free time snatched out from my hands before I can even drool over it. Sure, that sounds selfish. Realistic and honest? You bet!
At the school the Engineer would attend, he would have to be quiet during lunch. He would get into trouble for talking. He would end up shoved into a safe room because of an emotional outburst triggered by a “that’s not fair!” kind of situation. We can’t have art class and music class and swim class and all the other “class” because he can’t handle it. He just can’t.
Oh well. Tomorrow, we’re doing rock painting. We’ll do Taino petroglyphs because I missed Columbus Day due to health issues, and we’ll finally paint that huge turtle rock that the Princess loves. We’ll have fun. We’ll relax and listen to music, and clean up the mess that’s bugging me. And tonight? Tonight I have the remedy for the burnouts: a new book from the library. An author I like, a book I’ve never read, and a piece of apple pie that the Engineer and I made together. It’s a good plan!