You’re homeschooling a child with special needs. Whether you’ve been at it for years or just a few months, it happens: burnout.
You’re a homeschooling mom. There’s no vacation or time off. What do you do?
I’ve been in your shoes. Very recently, in fact. It seemed my daughter’s academic progress had reached a plateau, and my enthusiasm for the learning process was definitely dwindling. I decided to go back to the beginning.
Before my daughter’s kindergarten year, she asked lots of questions about things she was interested in. I helped her find the answers, read books to her. I let her create art projects and spend hours on end outside, where she drew sidewalk chalk pictures on our driveway, blew bubbles, picked flowers, and played in the sandbox. She enjoyed life and all the learning that comes with living it, and she was looking forward to starting kindergarten and a more formal learning experience.
Then she started her kindergarten year, and we realized that learning through traditional means is very difficult for her. I began looking for ways to help her understand the concepts and did a lot of multi-sensory teaching. It helped a lot, but she still experienced frustration and difficulty.
Now, a few years later, we’ve reached this plateau and burnout. And I’ve taken her all the way back to the beginning, just for a while. I’m allowing her to read what she wants to read, reading to her more, answering her questions about the world, and letting her create to her heart’s content. In the process, we’re researching and learning more math, language arts, science, social studies, and reading than I was accomplishing with all my carefully prepared lessons and activities.
Her joy for learning is coming back. My enthusiasm for teaching is renewed. When we return to more structured lessons, I’m taking some of the beginnings back with me.
How do you beat burnout in your homeschool?
Jennifer Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband Jeremy, their two daughters, a few feline friends, and two gerbils. She spends her days doing Bible study, homeschooling, writing, reading, and knitting. She prefers blue ink when writing longhand, and she is a firm believer in eating gluten- and dairy-free dark chocolate daily. She writes about faith, family, and homeschooling and parenting a child with special needs on her blog, Jennifer A. Janes.
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