We all want to keep up with the Jones. As moms, we struggle with wanting to do the best for our children and make sure that they have all the opportunities that we can give them. One of our greatest fears in homeschooling is if we are leaving something out or if our homeschool is covering enough. The result? Homeschool burnout. Let’s talk about 5 ways to avoid CC Burnout in Foundations and Essentials.
Our family homeschools with the classical method and has participated in a Classical Conversations community for almost a decade. (All homeschools can suffer burnout at some point. You will find some of these tips useful even if you use another model or method!) I have seen so many families burnout before the Challenge years because they do TOO MUCH in the younger years.
It is my heart’s desire that you enjoy the younger years of homeschooling. I want you to be confident and not overwhelmed with homeschooling. These are the years that we lay the right foundation of purpose, balance, and relationships that are the key to a successful homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a slow burn and I don’t want you to burnout in Foundations and Essentials before you can see the fruit of your hard work!
Banish Burnout: #1 Stick in the Sand
There is a reason why this is a favorite saying in Classical Conversations. There is a reason why we are reminded of it again and again. Stick in the Sand means that we can teach if all we had were a stick and some sand or dirt to draw in. You don’t need PowerPoint presentations, smart boards, fancy worksheets, and printouts to teach effectively. You don’t need to spend hours preparing lessons and labor over time-consuming lesson plans. You will burn out and homeschooling will not be fun for you the teacher!
KEEP IT SIMPLE. You don’t need to have fancy laminated worksheets. You don’t have to have complicated add-ons. Keep it simple. If you have time and space to add something, you can. However, don’t be overwhelmed thinking you have to do those things. We are not recreating public school at home. Learning that sticks is the fruit of great books, quality conversations, and the exploration of the questions that your children have during this journey.
Remember, we are creating a lifestyle of learning. Keeping it simple is the best way to avoid CC Burnout in Foundations and Essentials!
Banish Burnout: #2 Start with the Foundation
Start your day together studying God’s word. This is the most essential foundation of all.
Homeschooling Mama – Your morning attitude sets the tone for the day. I know you are tired. You need to carve out the time and space to start your morning right with God. (Girls, I know you are tired. I get it. I have a child with Type 1 Diabetes. I get up at least three times a night – every night.)
Real knowledge points us always back to God. It makes sense then that our homeschooling day starts with God. We are not academic stars but disciples for Christ. Discipleship is a modeling process, and you are the model. Start your day with Bible study and prayer.
“It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last in the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering, ‘Wait a while. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that.’ Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us until the prayer of the day comes to naught.” – Martin Luther
Banish Burnout:#3 Focus on the Foundations
Foundations Memory Work, Math, and Reading. Those are the big 3 of Foundations. It really is enough.
Then, get your big three done. The rest of the day spend joyfully. Spend lots of time outside. Draw, paint, and create all kinds of things. Play, play, and more play. Go to the library. Pick up books that go along with the memory work but don’t feel obligated to read all of them.
Set aside 30 minutes a day to review your Foundations memory week. Yes, just 30 minutes. Here is a Classical Conversations secret! Foundations class is more for you than your student. Did you know that? You are learning how to present the grammar facts at home to your children. You are being taught how to do stick in the sand. You are being empowered to do what the tutor does in 30 minutes at home!
In fact, you will be able to do more than a tutor. In just 30 minutes at home, you are going to review the new grammar and information from previous weeks. Check out Half-a-Hundred-Acre-Wood for more great advice on how to review at home. (She has review schedules when you sign up for her newsletter too!)
Banish Burnout:#4 Stay in Your Season
Let your kids, be kids. When they are young, their play is their work. So, give them lots of time and resources to play and create. There will be a time for grammar. There will be a time for Latin. There will be a time for more rigor. Before third grade is not that time, so wait until the right season.
When they get to Essentials, focus on Essentials. You still don’t need to add Latin. It will come in Challenge A. The “Latin” work that you need to do in Essentials, is to focus on mastering as many charts as you can. Your child will go deeper in Science, History, etc. in Challenge. Classical Conversations is thoughtfully laid out to increase the workload when your child is developmentally ready. Sticking to your season is vital to avoid CC burnout in Foundations and Essentials.
They are still children. Give them space to play and be a kid.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:24
When we rush ahead of where we need to be, we burn out. This verse reminds me to slow down and savor the time we are in currently. When we rush ahead academically, we often neglect the things we ought to be focusing on.
In these early years, your time is wisely spent on training children to obey, to be diligent, and to be helpful with chores. Remember the focus of our homeschools is to make disciples. The Devil will whisper in your ear that you are falling behind, but the investments in your children’s hearts will be of lasting value.
Banish Burnout:#5 Don’t Recreate Public School at Home
You choose not to send your child to public school for a reason, so don’t recreate public school at home! Your child does not need to be sitting at a desk to be learning. They can learn on the coach, in a chair, on the front porch, on their bed, and in the car – lots of places other than a desk.
You don’t need to spend the same time to get things done at home as at a public school. What takes a public school an hour to cover is not going to take the same time for you. At home, your child doesn’t have to wait in line at the drinking fountain or for the bathroom. There is no waiting for the other kids in the class to settle down. Homeschooling is more efficient!
Keep the focus on learning, not punching the clock. If your child can get their math lesson done with lots of time to spare, don’t make them keep working on math for the whole hour. This will zap their love for learning and yours! Plus, it trains them to think like an hourly employee rather than to take ownership over their studies.
Check out these articles:
A good rule of thumb is to have your student spend about an hour of focused learning time per day based on their year. So, if they are in 1st to 2nd grade – one hour to an hour and a half. In 3rd grade, 2 – two and a half hours. In 4th – 6th grade, about four hours. When they hit seventh grade, it will be six hours in Challenge. (RaisingArrows.net has some similar suggestions about how long each homeschool day should last.)
What does this mean if your laws require a six-hour school day? Remember homeschool is not like public school. When your student is done with their required work, enable them to keep learning on their own. Reading, spending time outside, and playing are all learning activities. Going to the grocery store and helping mom are important life-long learning activities. If we cultivate a lifestyle of learning, and limit the screens, we don’t have to worry about making sure we get enough hours in.
Avoid CC Burnout in Foundations and Essentials by Keep Your Fire Kindled
Enjoy the homeschool journey by pacing yourself. You can avoid CC Burnout in Foundations and Essentials! Your family’s journey is your own, and you don’t have to keep up with anyone else. The most important part of the journey is to be walking alongside God.
Keep it simple. This vital lesson applies to so much of life. When we complicate things, we get stressed out and burn out. When we drop all the extras and just focus on meeting the needs in front of us, we find peace.
Focus on discipleship. Proverbs 1:17 tells us “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lay the foundation for your homeschool in Bible Study and prayer. When hearts and attitudes are in the right place, homeschool is so much more enjoyable, and learning is much more joyful.
Stay in your season. Be patient. Be content. Enjoy being a family and serving together. Trust the process. Trust in God’s calling for you.