Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Burnout Prevention Interview Questions from homeschoolingahouseful elist and my answers.

1. How do you use wisdom and order in your home and your homeschool?
This is a big question, but what I do throughout the year is take time off for planning in detail, organizing the house and training to new chores then it helps me start back up ready to go.

2. How do you prevent homeschool burnout?
I try not to worry about the little things. If my son misses a Spanish lesson today, after the end of 18 years he is still going to come out okay. I also take off school when I feel I need it, so we may school for 12 weeks take off two weeks, school for six weeks take off two, six more, one off etc. I do better without a yearly start and end date. We also just keep going from year to year without waiting for the official start date. Saying that I have found that in between years whenever they fall, the more planning I do the better because mid year I am not as excited by the new years work and tend not to want to do it as much.
I think another thing I do is make sure what we are doing is interesting which is why I love Charlotte Mason, the work is enjoyable and I learn so much.
Also I train the children to independant works as early as I can so that they take the responsibility of it and I am not playing the pushing game. We also instituted a two hour quiet time which is usually followed by a movie and this gives me three hours a day to get the things done that I need to do.

3. What are some of your favorite resources (articles, books, scriptures,songs, groups) for battling back from or preventing burnout?Okay this may sound weird, but I really think a journal is one of the best resources, because you can write down everything that is going well and has worked and the reasons you are doing this and how wonderful your kids are, then you can go back and read it and remember and it is uplifting.I also find elists invaluable, because every question you have someone else seems to have faced and can give you suggestions.

4. How do you remember the reasons for homeschooling when it is hard?Journal. Also keeping up with the news about what is going on in the government schools. I have also done topical scripture studies about my responsibilities as a parent and this has helped to firm up the-why-I-need-to-do-this foundation.

5. What are some ways you use delegation to prevent burnout?I once attended an enrichment where they discussed how to train children to do chores at home. They passed out a list of what children were capable of at what ages and I was amazed. I went home and started teaching my 3 and 5 year old to do some of them and they really were able to help me. Now my kids do all of the picking up, much of the washing (things like doorknobs, carpet spots etc.) and some of the organizing and they are 6 and almost 8. As they get older and the little ones grow I fully intend to pass on the dishes and laundry too.I also occasionally have an older child help with a younger. For instance my 7yos will listen to my 6yod do her phonics lesson or read picture books to the 2yo or my 6yod may be put in charge of playing with the 1yo while I make dinner. I train the children in watching younger siblings. I show them what toys are appropriate and what the child is learning about, for instance my 2yo is learning to count so I tell the older two they can help him learn by building block towers and coutning the blocks. I also explain that the 1yo loves to knock the block towers down and that is just fine and is a great way to entertin him.

6. What are some things you do to fill your bucket to keep from burning out?Scriptures, creating a peaceful atmosphere in our home, reading homemaking and homeschooling books, reading novels, getting outside, going visiting, talking to my husband, planning and playing with the children.

7. What have you done to keep homeschooling during trials or other stressfultimes for your family?I just doggedly perservere and try not to take on more responsibilities then I feel I can handle. I think, to be honest, sometimes it is just my stubborness that keeps me focused and commited.

8. What are some relaxing fun ways you have homeschooled during times ofstress?We read aloud a lot. During one stressful year we actually, dare I say it, dropped math textbooks completely and used part of the time to read math and science books-and guess what, my son now likes math when it was torture the first year. We also use a lot of audio tapes, and some educational videos, games and computer porgrams which helps without me being directly involved.

9. What are some ways you have organized and created order in your home andhomeschool?During my major planning session I go through all of the books in the house, pull out the ones we will need for the year and they go in the 'school' bookcases and other books we are not planning on using now get boxed up. We do the same thing with other school supplies which we keep in a large cabinet.I have also found that a looser schedule works best for us. We schedule by week and I have a rough idea of what I want done each day, but if it all gets done by the end of the week we are good. I make 36 weekly plans during my major scheduling time, but only print out the first 12 as I find that after the first term I often need to tweak things before printing out the next batch.

10. Laundry, Dishes, meals, and housework what are some ways you cope withthese never ending cycles to prevent burnout?I do one load of laundry a day, the dishes once to three times a day. We eat a lot of really easy meals and canned, packaged and frozen dinners-I am not much of a cook. My kids help with the housework and I work on it daily during our clean up time. We also tend to have people over at least once a week which really helps, because we always clean really well before anyone arrives. Also if I am really not in the mood to clean I find that if I read a chapter from a homemaking book (I have a large collection, mostly from the 60's, 70's ad 80's) then I feel encouraged enough to clean. Our spring cleaning and heavy duty chores are either done during a break from school, as extra paid work for the kids or when my husband gets tired of something enough to clean it=).

11. What have you done to homeschool while moving to prevent burnout?I have moved 7 times in 9 years, so I should be good at this. I try very hard to keep up our regular schedule, then I begin packing about 6 weeks before the move so that I can do little bits here and there as I have time. I also do the deep cleaning at this time. The current school stuff is some of the last stuff to pack and we usually continue using it until a day or two before the move. We almost always take the first week or two off in our new place as all my time is consumed by setting up the house. I usually enlist family to help too. The children can begin their independant work shortly after we have moved and then when most things have found a home I'll pick up the basic subjects and slowly add the extras in as things get more organized.

12. What have you done to homeschool when pregnant or with a new baby toprevent burnout?
I have been fortunate here as my pregnancies are not that hard, just tiring. I use quiet times for naps which means a lot of other things have to be done at other times, so we may drop 'extra' subjects for awhile and I may let the children watch more videos or play computer games. I have not found that a new baby throws us off much as we just take breaks throughout the morning as the baby needs me. Sometimes we have done school during quiet time to make up for lost time in the morning or we may skip some of the extras.
Personally, I have found that a toddler throws me off more than anything. By two and a half or three I have enough independant activites for the preschooler to do, or he just joins us. But the ten month to two and a half period is the hardest for me. Not unsurmountable, just much more difficult.

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