Ok, time to get real here. Let's talk burnout. Or more specifically, homeschool burnout. I have homeschooled my kids for 9 years. I have homeschooled through years of care giving my dad who had Parkinson's Disease and Dementia. I have homeschooled through years of one of my own children having not one but two chronic illnesses. Through years when we knew something was wrong, but didn't yet have the diagnosis of what was really going on. I've homeschooled through picking up and moving from one house to another. I've done it through years when we had a community homeschooling group to get together with and through years when there was no one around we knew that homeschooled. I've purchased entire curriculums and put together my own. We've had years of structure and years with a more unschooling approach. You name it, we've done it.
Now I have to admit that....I'm so done. I know that sounds awful but you know what? It's real. It's true. There is no need to try and slap a pretty title on it and make it sound like it's better than it is. Everyday in the life of a homeschooling mom isn't happy kids, a content mom, fresh farm eggs and homemade bread. Yes, we do get to have those days and are thankful for them. But sometimes, the reality doesn't live up to the ideal.
I'm not here to say that everyone has or will experience homeschool burnout. I know some women can sail through 20 years of homeschooling without ever missing their stride. But the truth is, for me, I am so burned out. I realized it this past year. It was a very difficult year for me and my kids. Not because anything major happened, it didn't. As a matter of fact, it was one of the few years we've had while homeschooling without any major upheavals in our life. But it was hard because momma was burned out. At the end of the proverbial rope.
It took me a while to realize what in the world my problem was. Once I did, it was like the light bulb went on over my head and I knew that, at least for now, I just felt...done. We did finish our year. It was hard, but we did it. Then I sat down with my husband for a real heart to heart talk about it all. I told him how hard the year had been. I told him how burned out I feel after 9 years of homeschooling. I told him that we needed to change our game plan on how we approach this, because I couldn't bring my "A game" anymore...or at least for right now.
For us (and for reasons that I'm not going to get into on the Internet) simply sending the kids off to public school isn't an option. But considering my burnout, doing it the way we've been doing it isn't a very good option right now either. So we decided that for this coming year (and perhaps subsequent years as well) we will be enrolling our kids in a private school where they can take the classes via dvd and they will have educational support from the school as well. My role will simply be to keep them on task and up to date on assignments and I'll have to keep paperwork in an orderly fashion. I am, in most ways, going to be out of the loop on the teaching end of things and...I am ok with that.
Anyone who homeschools will say that one of the beauties of it is that it doesn't shove your child into a box that doesn't fit them. You can tailor things to fit their needs. Well, sometimes as moms we need to take advantage of that ourselves. When I realized I couldn't put my heart and my head into it in the way that is best for our kids, I knew I had to change something and fast. I'm not willing to play around with my children's education. It's much too important. So for now, this is the best that I can do. I know the program they are going into. I know how good it is and how thorough it is. I trust it. It will give them a very good education.
I am very glad that there are options out there like this for homeschooling families. One size doesn't always fit all and we shouldn't feel bad if we find we need to step outside of the "normal" homeschooling box and do things a bit differently. It's the beauty of homeschooling. Being just like everyone else isn't a requirement. :0)