How to Avoid Homeschool Burnout

Boy looking out window at winter time
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A canopy of grey clouds stretches across the sky and a blanket of snow covers the ground. It’s not the crisp, blindingly white snow made popular by the greeting card industry, though. It’s the dirty grey snow that’s been trampled and driven through, mixed with salt from treated roadways.

Inside your children are restless and so are you. Spring – and a break – seem so far away and the curriculum about which you were so excited last September now seems to mock you with its many pages still to be finished.

Sound familiar? You are dealing with homeschool burnout.

It doesn’t matter if you call it homeschool burnout, cabin fever, or the winter blues, the restlessness, discouragement, and sometimes even depression that accompany it are the same. The game-changer for me in avoiding this seasonal phenomenon was switching to a year-round homeschooling schedule, but that may not be feasible for everyone.

There are other ways to stay motivated as the homeschool teacher and banish homeschool burnout.

Switch up curriculum

A few years ago, we made a complete mid-year curriculum change. One of the unexpected benefits from that is that now we are set to start the new year’s curriculum each January. This off-sets the boredom that often contributes to homeschool burnout by giving us completely new curriculum to look forward to each winter.

You may not be able to make a complete curriculum change, but sometimes adding one or two fun electives can stave off the winter blues.

You might also try tweaking your curriculum just a bit to breathe new life into the remainder of your homeschool year.

Plan a spring fair

Our homeschool group used to enjoy breaking up the monotony of winter by planning a spring fair. When working on our fair topic, my family always preferred to spend the mornings on core work or anything we couldn’t set aside for a few weeks, leaving the afternoons free to delve into our spring fair topic with a unit study approach.

Spending afternoons studying something completely different than our regular curriculum always brought a refreshing sense of excitement to winter school days.

Some of our favorite spring fair ideas include:

  • People and places
  • Famous Inventors
  • The United States
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography

There are so many possibilities. Spend some time brainstorming with your homeschool support group to find the topics that will generate the most excitement for your families.

Get outside

Yes, it’s cold (or snowy or rainy or all of the above), but fresh air and sunshine (when possible) does wonders for cabin fever. Try some of these outdoor activity ideas:

  • A winter scavenger hunt
  • Nature study
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Have a campfire
  • Feed the birds or the ducks at a local pond
  • Blow bubbles and see how the cold affects them

Even taking the family dog for a walk or making a quick circle around the block can rejuvenate your body and mind.

Create a change of scenery

Sometimes simply breaking away from the ordinary makes a world of difference. Do school on a blanket in the living room – bonus points if there is a fire and hot cocoa involved. Go study at the library or a coffee shop.

Get some physical activity by visiting an indoor playground, rock climbing facility, trampoline park, or skating rink.

Indoor heated pools make a nice break from the winter cold and gloom, too.

Take a break

We always build in a break week for around the middle of February. Even if you don’t have time for an entire week, a long weekend can be a stress-reliever. Create some family fun with activities such as:

  • A movie or video game marathon
  • Read some new books
  • Nerf gun wars or a snow ball fight with balled-up socks

Taking a few simple steps to break up the monotony of long winter days indoors can help you avoid homeschool burnout, which doesn’t have to be inevitable, and finish your school year with purpose.