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bethben

Homeschooling and losing self

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I have noticed this trend lately, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm seeing it more or because I'm dealing with similar issues.  All my children are in a school of some sort.  I am no longer homeschooling.  I completely burned out.  I ignored myself and am now in therapy for issues that I have not dealt with for over 10 years.  When my 8th grader was feeling stressed at school and wanted to quit, I became a sobbing mess.  I knew knew knew that I could not homeschool again.  Thankfully, ds has turned a corner and is doing great, but it showed the extent of my burn out.  I talked to a friend last night whose husband wants her to pull the kids from school (they were there a semester) and homeschool again.  She doesn't want to but is seeing her 8th grader with a lot of stress due to school.  She wants something for herself.  She wants to work part time at something she likes to do.  She was crying at having to homeschool again.  I also saw it in another woman who homeschooled successfully 8 of her 12 children and still has around 7 years to go until her youngest graduates.  She was burnt out. She does not know her value apart from her children.  Both of these women, like me, are shells of who they really were created to be.  

I guess I'm seeing a lot of moms who have homeschooled 10 years or more that haven't thought of themselves and their needs in a long long time.  I am finding that the only ones who seem to be continuing well are the ones who have outside ministries or outside jobs part time.  I'm seeing a lot of burn-out.  And when I find a former homeschooler?  They usually quit because they were tired and burned out--usually after the oldest was around high school.  Instead of sending just the high schooler to school, the whole family went to school.  

Is anyone else seeing this?  I feel like I could have a ministry just to homeschool moms about self care and knowing their value apart from their children.  

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15 minutes ago, bethben said:

 She does not know her value apart from her children.  Both of these women, like me, are shells of who they really were created to be.  

 

It can be the same for SAHMs whose kids go to brick and mortar schools and they are not involved in volunteer (other than PTA) or paid work. My mom went back to work because she was bored with being a SAHM. A few moms have their “identities” tied to the school PTAs and has nothing outside of their kids schools. Some are going to work part time to get a self identity separate from their kids before the empty nest syndrome strikes.

I was extremely bored as a SAHM before my kids were preschool age. So that did force me to work at keeping social contacts especially when I did originally intend to work part time once DS12 enters public school kindergarten. I still keep up with industry news and friends in the industry as I do intend to go back to work when DS12 enters college.

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Yes, I can definitely relate! I have 4 kids ranging from teen to age 6 with the youngest having very significant learning, therapy and medical needs. I do not want to give up homeschooling entirely because I do enjoy it, but I’m burned out to some degree and need a break from doing it full-time. 3/4 kids are in some sort of school this year (2 full-time public, one part-time private.) I expect it will be the same next next year and I’m fine with that. 

Edited by Gobblygook
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I’m only in my second year, but I started (intentionally) with my grade 7 child last year. These grades are hard! It’s been hard on me, so I can imagine how it must feel to hit them *after* years and years of homeschooling elementary grades.

The stress of having sole responsibility for a child’s education is huge. I’ve had meltdowns. The unreliable connection between ‘my work’ and the goals of that work as an outcome in someone else’s life is also a big factor.

I don’t think my outside work is helping.

What helps me is recognizing how much I’m putting in as something that had value (my time), that it will continue to have value (identifiable outcomes in the big picture), and that I have freely chosen it — no one owes me a reward.

It also helps that I make sure to take an, “Everyone matters, everyone is worthy, everyone deserves honour and good treatment.” — approach to my family life. It’s not just true when I act as my child’s educator, it’s true in all aspects of parenting and family living. I expect (in proportion to others) that others treat me well, respect me, and honour who I am and what I do. I feel that I deserve kindness, rest, indulgences, and whatever makes sense to meet my various needs and (within reason) to thrive — every bit as much as a child deserves those things.

I consider it a bad example to set children up to receive the benefits of a healthy family who loves them — while modeling that in order to achieve that ‘the mom’ should be the ‘go without’ and ‘make do’ (out of all proportion with other family members). I prefer to model that we all make sacrifices for others from time to time — because we love each other. I fundamentally believe that it’s bad for kids (especially girls) to see motherhood modelled (and honoured!) as an entirely selfless time of life. So I don’t usually feel pulled to act that way. (And I recognize it pretty swiftly when I do fall into that role.)

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I only homeschooled two kids who were close in age, so even though we homeschooled from K-12, my time was relatively short. Still, I hated homeschooling the last few years; I hated the pressure of college and being their guidance counselor. 

When it was over, I was relieved yet burned out. It took 6 months for me to pull out of it. I still felt my own worth as a person, mostly. Financial circumstances led me back to work, but I could have been happy and fulfilled as a homemaker.

I don't know, I think that parenting overall entails a lot of giving up of self. I homeschooled for a reason; whether I liked it or not, or felt fulfilled by it or not didn't really matter. My kids knew I worked hard and had little time for myself, but they also knew it was a choice I made. I could have kept working after they were born, and they knew that. They also saw their father work hard and give up a lot of his interests, etc. because there simply wasn't time for pursue them. Lots of men wither away and die once they retire, because they have worked so long they have no idea how to spend their time once the work is gone.

My mother made different sacrifices. When I was born, we lived on 2 acres and she grew flowers and had a big garden plot. She loved that. Then we moved across the country so my dad could get a better job, and moved into a little tract home with no room for much gardening. I would never have noticed it at the time but looking back, I'm sure that was a big sacrifice on her part.

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I know plenty of moms who homeschooled years and years without burnout.  But they didn’t martyr themselves, and cautioned me not to as well.  They were the ones who always told me to keep things balanced, keep hobbies and interests and mom time and time with God, even if it meant shortchanging the kids a bit.  

 

Because that’s a lie - caring for myself to be a healthy, whole person is not a zero sum gain.  We all win when I’m at my best, even if it means some things aren’t ideal.

 

I have my own things and guard them, even when I’m busy and stressed.  I think that’s really important.  Homeschooling (plus the special needs thing) is a very difficult balancing act, and it can’t happen by me being a non-person who gets consumed by the job.  A part time job would be no cure for that either, unless that was something that genuinely gave me joy and fulfillment.  There is no one magic bullet, but each mom owes it to her family and herself to not be a miserable shell who proclaims she is doing it ‘for their sake’.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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We did not start out homeschooling and my kids went o BM school for a couple of years.  As far as taking over our lives compared to homeschool I found it about the same.  Actually I found school more encroaching than homeschool in the primary years.  However, down the road homeschool can get to be quite a lot if you don't, can't or won't outsource anything. People who do everything seem to be very exhausted unless they have a very self directed learner.  My oldest did start outsourcing around 7th grade online and local classes and by 11th was in a hybrid school.  I sent my DS1 at the same time in 9th grade and at that time I did realize that I needed a bit of life of my own.  It took about a year to find my way again.  I have a little one and he's in the hybrid school this year, but just for one day.  I'm not sure he will go every single year during elementary, but he will be going 2 days a week regularly by 7th grade.  It's a good environment and they are fantastic.  I don't absolutely love every curriculum they use, but that's ok.  I'm not sure what I will do workwise.  Whether it's teaching or heading back to get a masters in something like speech pathology.  I'd like to work and build up more money for our family.  Homeschooling has been over all a very good fit, and dd is having success at college in academics and socially.  I do want to provide a similar opportunity for DS2, but I think adding in some personal interest/income will be great for our family.  Also DH has been a sole provider for these past 11 years and it will be nice for him to be able let off some of that anxiety even if it is just mentally.  I don't think it will make a real difference to his actual work life, but there is a nice feeling with having 2 incomes that is relaxing.  We both would like to be able to focus more on our health as well.

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I think this shows up a lot with unintentional homeschoolers.  The public school system in many places is inadequate, doesn’t provide needed services, is a poor fit, and a family might spend hours afterschooling and just decide to homeschool as it is the best of bad choices.  With atypical learners (special needs, gifted, physical or emotional differences), homeschooling may be the only realistic option but not what a parent was expecting to do.

 

ETA- atypical students also require much more time/energy/planning/emotions, etc, so the ability and time for self care is limited or nonexistent.  And think of how society has changed.  I think it’s more common to not live near family or other support and that makes child rearing harder as well.  

ETA2- I apologize for my wording that implies homeschooling is a bad choice and I hope I didn’t offend anyone!  After reading it, I didn’t explain well.  Someone who originally decided to homeschool because of a failure of the public or private school system may view homeschooling as a “making the best of it” option but may come to view it as the best option possible.  Regardless, even with open minds and desire to homeschool, in a situation where it is done by default, it may be harder than a desired first option choice.  

Edited by displace
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1 hour ago, bethben said:

I have noticed this trend lately, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm seeing it more or because I'm dealing with similar issues.  All my children are in a school of some sort.  I am no longer homeschooling.  I completely burned out.  I ignored myself and am now in therapy for issues that I have not dealt with for over 10 years.  When my 8th grader was feeling stressed at school and wanted to quit, I became a sobbing mess.  I knew knew knew that I could not homeschool again.  Thankfully, ds has turned a corner and is doing great, but it showed the extent of my burn out.  I talked to a friend last night whose husband wants her to pull the kids from school (they were there a semester) and homeschool again.  She doesn't want to but is seeing her 8th grader with a lot of stress due to school.  She wants something for herself.  She wants to work part time at something she likes to do.  She was crying at having to homeschool again.  I also saw it in another woman who homeschooled successfully 8 of her 12 children and still has around 7 years to go until her youngest graduates.  She was burnt out. She does not know her value apart from her children.  Both of these women, like me, are shells of who they really were created to be.  

I guess I'm seeing a lot of moms who have homeschooled 10 years or more that haven't thought of themselves and their needs in a long long time.  I am finding that the only ones who seem to be continuing well are the ones who have outside ministries or outside jobs part time.  I'm seeing a lot of burn-out.  And when I find a former homeschooler?  They usually quit because they were tired and burned out--usually after the oldest was around high school.  Instead of sending just the high schooler to school, the whole family went to school.  

Is anyone else seeing this?  I feel like I could have a ministry just to homeschool moms about self care and knowing their value apart from their children.  



It's interesting and I think it's NOT the result of homeschooling.

It could be the result of any choice we make where we feel compelled to throw ourselves into it so completely that anxiety swallows us whole.

Think on it for a moment.

Why does homeschooling burn out? I can't help but mesh mothering & homeschooling with the Mary/Martha story.  These things are constantly tied together in my mind.  "Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but only one is needful."

It is not that homeschooling DEMANDS that we pour 100% into it and then opt to use how we feel how we're doing as some way to define ourselves and our well-being.  It is that, because we are invested and then anxious and worried, that we allow this one facet to consume us and define us.  Can you see the difference?  We allow it to swallow us.

I think it's good and necessary that we say, "You can do this thing and let it be a PART of who you are, but it isn't WHO you are."  And I think that needs to be said.  I think the "competition" in the homeschooling community is fierce.  I think we need to all admit fallibility and it would go a LONG way to preventing burnout in others, because then they would know that less than perfection is okay too, that no one has "arrived."

You have to realize that if you talk to a former homeschooler who did not "finish" homeschooling but opted to put kids in school despite the fact that they once homeschooled and previously thought it the best choice, you are likely pulling candidates from a pool of burned out families or from families that have changed their opinions - otherwise they'd still be homeschooling.  Do you see?
Yes, I see burnout - and I've been there.  I hit a wall after William was born four years ago.  And it was more than burnout  - I'd add heavy to depression (post-partum, likely) to that - or potentially an effect from Lyme or a shocking life event, etc.  The perfect storm so to speak.

I'd been homeschooling for about 13-14 years at that point.  

I wish there were more "on the other side" homeschooling stories. ETA: On the other side of burn-out and still successfully opted homeschooling - what clarity does that person have and where does she lay that blame for the burnout?  How does one get over the wall of burn-out and continue on?  I think we are in dire short supply of these stories.

I honestly believe there is a lot of burnout in women as a whole who do something for 10+ years and then arrive at the conclusion that they've poured themselves into something that has exhausted them and they feel wrapped into it.  I spoke to a nurse this weekend that felt like that. I think it is more so in the homeschooling world because we receive very little outside recognition that what we do is hard and/or any validation for our work and efforts. That's a very hard atmosphere in which to persevere if expectations aren't coming to fruition and you're anxious about the journey and outcomes ALL the time (or at least a good part of it.)

Edited by BlsdMama
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My neighbor is a veterinarian, she's feeling the same kind of burn out with her job. She wants to stay home and homeschool now.

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3 hours ago, BlsdMama said:


<snip>
I honestly believe there is a lot of burnout in women as a whole who do something for 10+ years and then arrive at the conclusion that they've poured themselves into something that has exhausted them and they feel wrapped into it.  I spoke to a nurse this weekend that felt like that. I think it is more so in the homeschooling world because we receive very little outside recognition that what we do is hard and/or any validation for our work and efforts. That's a very hard atmosphere in which to persevere if expectations aren't coming to fruition and you're anxious about the journey and outcomes ALL the time (or at least a good part of it.)

I agree with you.

Re: the bolded. I think this is where being confident and knowing our purpose is important. Why do we need outside recognition and validation?  If we know we are doing the thing we know we ought to be doing, who cares what outsiders think?  (And I don't necessarily mean "ought to be doing" as "the Lord called us to homeschool" unless of course, that fits. I just mean, doing what we know is the best/right thing.)

I was what many of y'all here on this board would consider a slacker homeschooler. I was not very rigorous in all areas. (I have only one real regret though - not outsourcing math sooner.) I let my art kid slide a bit on some of the more distasteful academics knowing that hard science was not going to be part of her future. I caught flack from family members when my kids went to community college instead of straight into a very nice 4-year university.  Well, that wouldn't have worked for my LD kid - but he will transfer next fall and finish his bachelor's. My art kid was conflicted on what to do and art programs are expensive, so we gave her time to work on her skills at a price we could afford. We don't look like successful homeschoolers to a lot of people but we have been happy with the outcomes so far. 

 

 

Edited by marbel
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37 minutes ago, displace said:

I think this shows up a lot with unintentional homeschoolers.  The public school system in many places is inadequate, doesn’t provide needed services, is a poor fit, and a family might spend hours afterschooling and just decide to homeschool as it is the best of bad choices.  With atypical learners (special needs, gifted, physical or emotional differences), homeschooling may be the only realistic option but not what a parent was expecting to do.

 

ETA- atypical students also require much more time/energy/planning/emotions, etc, so the ability and time for self care is limited or nonexistent.  And think of how society has changed.  I think it’s more common to not live near family or other support and that makes child rearing harder as well.  

Add some depression (mine) and some financial difficulties and this is me exactly.

I’m considering putting the kids in an acceptable-to-me private school next year. My non-neurotypical firstborn might be ready, we need the income I could earn, and I need a reliable break from my seriously intense kiddos. 

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I wonder whether this is getting more common partly because there are so many folks using all in one curricula now.  That might or might not provide a rigorous education, but it certainly does not provide one that is flexible or customized to any appreciable extent, and it also puts heavy requirements on teacher and student—as relentless as school but without the breaks.  This is a trend that has been bothering me for a while.

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I don’t think it’s jist homeschooling moms. 

The working moms I know often feel similarly. I think people’s expectations are seriously out of whack across all spectrums. 

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I think for me, it was just not having support for my life in general.  I have a difficult family (dd with ADHD, DS with mild autism, DS with significant disabilities).  I had no one supporting me other than my husband who works full time plus.  My life was already isolating and homeschooling only made that part of it worse.  I think with others I've seen, they realize they are not homeschooling well and want better for their children.  Either their husbands are against putting the kids in school, or they have fear about the public school ruining their children.  

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I'm looking at it from the other end--done after 29 years. Our purpose in life is "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever". Notice it doesn't say our purpose is to enjoy ourselves or "find" ourselves. It is to glorify God. Is it hard? You betcha! Is it worth it? Yes. Did I have seasons where I was burnt out? Yes, with babies, and toddlers, and high schoolers all at once. Some of the years are just a blur, but it was worth it. I head to Denver tomorrow, to fly out to see dd play at IU. I see her as an adult, happily married, with a great career, finishing the doctorate. We are called to be faithful. 

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I think I could fit into OP's description.  We made a shift this year and I have some kids in school.

You know what? I was just flat out exhausted.  Tired.  I had been schooling 2 2E kids, one NT one, and chasing a preschooler.  I was waking at 5 to start chores before dropping ds off at an early morning class and hitting the gym at 6, flipping back around at 7 to pick him up (early morning seminary--something many LDS teens do), and then sending dh out the door, waking and finishing breakfast with the littles and starting school at 8. Everyone had a rotating schedule--lunch--and continuing school with the older boys while also balancing household, medical appointments, and the busy-ness of life with kids.  We had dinner, dh would get home at 7, baths and bedtime for the littles, the occasional evening activity for the older, a few minutes with dh, and then the cycle would repeat.  For about a year, dh was traveling close to FT, and so it was like I was single parenting a good chunk of the time. We had a fairly sane schedule--no team sports, no crazy activities, a few church things here or there....and I was still running from 5 am to 11pm most days.  That's sustainable for a while...until it's not.  

I'm getting my first "balanced" schedule in over three decades.  Before I was homeschooling, I had little kids. Before little kids, I had a law practice. About 18 months ago I realized I was more tired than I had been while carrying 18 credit hours and working three jobs in undergrad or when I was working in legal aid and going to law school.

Homeschooling is hard work. It was easy when my youngest was 8, and I only had two at the table. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot are burning out when they have kids in high school and a long string of kids behind that to get through.

 

ETA: I suspect we will bring our daughters home in a few years and I'll be back to homeschooling a larger number of kids. I hope by then, though, that my health will have improved (also dealing with RA) and that life will be more balanced since my girls do not having learning disabilities. 

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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1 hour ago, marbel said:

Re: the bolded. I think this is where being confident and knowing our purpose is important. Why do we need outside recognition and validation?  If we know we are doing the thing we know we ought to be doing, who cares what outsiders think?  

 

Not having the financial stress on paying for homeschooling helps though. A friend’s husband is willing for her to homeschool their kids only if she can do that for free using public charter funds or the online public virtual academy. She isn’t working so there isn’t a loss of income for her case. She decided not to because having to homeschool for free would stress her out.

I think it’s harder when the homeschool budget is tight or worse if household budget is tight and a secondary income would be highly appreciated. Then the question of homeschooling versus working and after schooling being the more viable choice comes in.

When my husband had a hard time finding work, bringing a paycheck home on work that was okay but not fulfilling is still a morale booster to him. Being a homeschooling parent is like being a homemaker, it can become a thankless “job”. My MIL felt like a “second class citizen” in her household which is somewhat patriarchal, FIL and FIL’s dad (deceased) have all the decision making power. She is feeling better now that she is the sole breadwinner. 

1 hour ago, bethben said:

  I think with others I've seen, they realize they are not homeschooling well and want better for their children.  Either their husbands are against putting the kids in school, or they have fear about the public school ruining their children.  

 

My husband is against putting our kids back in our local public schools. He thinks the teachers won’t have the patience with our “slow worker”. We use a mix of classes and tutors because our kids want classmates for some courses. I think it is hard if the homeschooling parent is given no options other than homeschooling without outsourcing anything. It’s a heavy responsibility.

Edited by Arcadia
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I home our youngest daughter for 6 years. I stand in awe of those who homeschool multiple children and for many more years then I did. I made sure to take time to excercise and eat properly. My DH also validated me in what I was doing. For me, I think this helped with the issue of burnout.

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I have been burned out (in multiple jobs including homeschooling) and have come out the other end. None of the jobs, including homeschooling, were “at fault “. (Put in quotes because there is absolutely no blame to be attached in feeling burnt out).   Sometimes it isn’t a good fit. Sometimes circumstances are just stressful. Sometimes there is something extra like depression in the mix just making everything more of a slog. 

I have noticed a tendency though for people to blame the thing (like homeschooling) and disparage others who are still doing it. This is a general observation. I have had people say this about teaching in general, about mission work, about being a SAHM, about being a working mom...  I don’t find that very helpful. 

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Moms, in general, are burning the candle at both ends.  I see it in working mom, SAHMs who PTA, SAHMs to homeschool, special needs moms, average needs moms, happily married moms, single moms, unhappily married moms.  

It's not just homeschooling or working for pay or caregiving, it's project managing life + all the emotional labor we do.  

The low regard in which we hold both caregiving and preK-12 teaching in this culture doesn't help.  

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46 minutes ago, bethben said:

I think for me, it was just not having support for my life in general.  I have a difficult family (dd with ADHD, DS with mild autism, DS with significant disabilities).  I had no one supporting me other than my husband who works full time plus.  My life was already isolating and homeschooling only made that part of it worse.  I think with others I've seen, they realize they are not homeschooling well and want better for their children.  Either their husbands are against putting the kids in school, or they have fear about the public school ruining their children.  

 

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.  Not having a support system and having students with significant disabilities is a different ballgame from regular garden-variety homeschooling.  

Sometimes I get bored with homeschooling or feel overwhelmed with the high school paperwork/counsellor side of it, but never am I reduced to tears.  I still consider it a precious, precious gift that I can be with the kids all day long.  

BUT.  If my husband wasn’t a support and others in the family weren’t a support, and if the kids were fighting me...then I’d hate it and would probably stop.

 

Edited by Garga
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51 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I wonder whether this is getting more common partly because there are so many folks using all in one curricula now.  That might or might not provide a rigorous education, but it certainly does not provide one that is flexible or customized to any appreciable extent, and it also puts heavy requirements on teacher and student—as relentless as school but without the breaks.  This is a trend that has been bothering me for a while.

 

 

Honestly, I don't use an all in one and think it would be easier at times. I can't because my children have some disabilities and others just have quirks but we incessantly feel behind and I think that is a cultural thing to some extent. In other words, I feel many feel in the same boat.

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I'm only midway through with my oldest, but as of yet I have not experienced burn-out.  I've been long-term tired, I've struggled with depression, but while those things all made hs'ing *hard* - and sometimes required changes in how I hs'ed - none of it led to burnout.  I *have* experienced burnout symptoms with other, lesser, commitments, though.  (Thankfully they were all short/medium-term commitments - I was able to power through to the end, and then stop, secure in the knowledge that *I didn't have to do it anymore*.)  Which makes for an interesting question - why burn out here and not there?  But I've never felt like I've been losing myself.  I think that burnout and losing oneself don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

WRT losing oneself, I agree with a lot that pp said:
*It helps to have a strong reason *to* hs (as opposed to just strong reasons to *not* use non-hs options), so that hs'ing a good you are pursuing, not something you feel forced into.  As well, knowing *why* you hs can help moderate outside pressure - you aren't at the mercy of others'
*It helps to have other roles in your life than just hs'er, to pursue good in other areas of responsibility, too.

I think that burn-out can come even when you have the above, though.  Sometimes hs'ing might require more of us than we have to offer, and sometimes all the other responsibilities of life combined with hs'ing can require more of us than we have to offer.  If that state of affairs goes on for too long, if we burn the candle at both ends for too long, then I think burnout is the natural result.  Doesn't mean you don't believe in hs'ing, doesn't mean you've subsumed yourself into hs'ing to the exclusion of other spheres of life - just means that everything has been too much for too long.  The stuff I got burned out on were things I valued, thought were worth doing - and they were just one thing in my life - but they were just hard, harder than I was prepared to handle.  I will say, they were a kind of hard that did spill over into the rest of my life - I felt like I never had a proper break from them.  By the time I recovered from one day, it was time to prep for the next - they did dominate my life out of proportion to their place and their importance. 

I think a lot of the practical things you can do to help keep yourself from getting burned out - like eating well, getting enough sleep, etc. - things that help you stay ready to handle life and help keep life within manageable bounds - might not be as effective if you are losing yourself in hs'ing (or in any one thing).  And I do think a strong sense of purpose and a generally balanced place for hs'ing can provide some help in not burning out even when things are hard. 

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This is a great reminder thread for me. I have felt burned out but mainly because of trying to find a way to pay for my oldest son's college has made me more worried for my younger children. Really, I need a chill pill and to remember why I homeschool in the first place. I will be launching children every couple years for quite some time. I really need to have a little faith and trust there is more than one way to succeed. 

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Well, I have just come through burn out and am happily homeschooling and not feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

For me, the real problem was teen struggles and crises laid over the responsibilities of teaching a reluctant to read primary student and kids all the way through high school.  Juggling all the teaching and the driving and the fact that the problems my kids were having were tied to one teen who was in our entire social group. Add to that my anxiety issues. If I'm honest, it wasn't really the homeschooling.  In fact, when I went to counseling, I realized that was the thing I really liked.  It was the teen struggles and my anxiety that brought me down.

What helped? Well SWB's burnout talk.  Also, counseling for myself to deal with my anxiety and the teen's issues.  Part of that was learning that I could head our lives in a new direction and seeing that change could happen from small choices was very empowering.

I actually have seen several people work through burn out and continue to the end.  Part of it is realizing that we are not responsible for our children's emotional life and choices, that we are our own person.  I think that is something all parents need to realize, but sometimes parents who get more of a break and are not also responsible for education can get a handle on it sooner.

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21 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

Moms, in general, are burning the candle at both ends.  I see it in working mom, SAHMs who PTA, SAHMs to homeschool, special needs moms, average needs moms, happily married moms, single moms, unhappily married moms.  

It's not just homeschooling or working for pay or caregiving, it's project managing life + all the emotional labor we do.  

 

 

And perhaps I'm just not remembering correctly but everything seems so complicated and costly. Picking out a health care plan is pure torture that I don't remember having a problem with 20 years ago. College didn't cost as much and you were actually given a real price instead of a made up price that few people actually pay.

Your child goes to the doctor and you get 5 different bills from different doctors and labs etc. Which would be ok but then they change and they send you another one and another one and then your insurance says they won't pay and three months later you are still stressing about how much you will evwn owe on one stinking bill. 

 

It just feels like everything is so complicated now.

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I start my 19th year of homeschooling in January.  I don't feel that way at all, but I have unapologetically had other things going in my life throughout my homeschooling career. 

For breaks from the kids:
I've taken vacations without my immediate family for trips I would like and with friends/extended family who would like it. 
I've had relatives nearby to leave the kids with when I needed a break, and extended family time is great for kids. 
I have no problem sending the kids and my husband to spend the day without me so I can have peace and solitude at home. 
I have used drop off homeschool enrichment activities and outsourcing along with non-homeschooled drop off classes on a regular basis to get a break.
I have invited neighbors'/nearby friends' kids over and sent my kids to the neighbors for the day to give me a break.
My husband reads aloud and plays games with the kids on an almost daily basis which takes at least an hour, so I can do my own thing.


For my own personal needs/interests:
quilter's guild with people in my city that I don't know outside of the guild
adult female relatives and very close family friends for sewing circles, craft shows, shopping
church that does involve my kids, but they have their own thing for peers going on in parallel to adult activities
hiking for adults (relative and his circle of friends I enjoy) for mentally and physically challenging hikes without kids
attending with a friend regular symphony performances a mutual friends performs in
making time to go out to coffee, meals, movies, other venues with homeschool moms or friends or family without kids

I'm an attachment parent, so I don't do that with wee ones or when youngest (an international adoptee) was in transition to our family, but once they're no longer infants and toddlers and they've settled in we had different things going on for me to recharge.
 

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42 minutes ago, frogger said:

And perhaps I'm just not remembering correctly but everything seems so complicated and costly. Picking out a health care plan is pure torture that I don't remember having a problem with 20 years ago. College didn't cost as much and you were actually given a real price instead of a made up price that few people actually pay.

Your child goes to the doctor and you get 5 different bills from different doctors and labs etc. Which would be ok but then they change and they send you another one and another one and then your insurance says they won't pay and three months later you are still stressing about how much you will evwn owe on one stinking bill. 

It just feels like everything is so complicated now.

2

 

And expectations are very high.  We are supposed to simultaneously:

-Earn a lot of money

- Earn that money from an interesting and/or inspiring career

-Prepare organic, from scratch but low-cost meals for families

-See to a litany of educational and other needs that didn't use to worry our grandparents overmuch

-Keep a bikini body

-Decorate a lovely home

-Find time for "self-care"

-Do 1,101 personalized fiddly things for our children (homeschooled or not)

-And on and on and on.  

And all of this shizznit is supposed to be documented on social media.  😛

Even for people who opt out of most of the noise and nonsense, the expectations are still very, very high.  

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I haven't read through the thread.

No, I'm not seeing this in my h/s world, though burn out still happens, of course.

Why ? A couple of things, I think.

1. This is an eclectic, natural learning, pretty relaxed part of the world. And that's partly down to the way our kids can enter uni, and the way their uni education is funded, imo. Less urgency. So...people just get on with their own thing, and I think that lends itself to less burn out.

2. A generally helpful h/s community - if I really needed help right this minute, I could put out the word, and get it.

3. The long termers generally are philosophical homeschoolers, not in flight from poor schools. So that's something to sustain when it gets tough.

For myself, I did burn out after the first year of school at home! So we did a year of unschooling, I burned out after that too, and then I found CM and that suited everyone, so no burn out. It was the method burning me out, really, the expectations I had of myself using that method. I had a mini burn out a year ago, that was more of a 'wow, can this be over now ?' moment. Burnout isn't really a huge deal, I think, so long as you know what it is, what to expect, how to manage and recover, and have options. (OK, so it is a big deal)

I think some loss of self is inevitable in a job that requires one to be selfless. But for me it was mitigated by being advised early to have an exit plan - so I've done another degree, have worked p/t - that helped maintain a sense of self, though the working + the homeschooling a teen is no picnic, and honestly, he'd get a better education if I was teaching him full time. Most of my friends pick up work or other activities around the time their youngest one or two are hitting early middle school - maybe that helps ? Maybe it's just another pressure ? Idk.

 

 

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I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!)

I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime!

I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a weekly date night with my husband. I would also like a full-time cleaning service. We finally got an accountant for taxes and a lawn-service for our yard, and that has been magical. But a cleaning service would help a lot. 

But other people's idea of "balance" sounds like a longer to-do list to me, and there just aren't that many hours in a day!

 

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24 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

 

-Do 1,101 personalized fiddly things for our children (homeschooled or not)

 

 

Ha ha. I love the way you put this.

 

 I don't fall for any of those other things (gasp) but this one alone is enough to push me over the edge.

 

Well, maybe the low cost meals but I don't have a choice there.

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3 minutes ago, MinivanMom said:

I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!)

I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime!

I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a weekly date night with my husband. I would also like a full-time cleaning service. We finally got an accountant for taxes and a lawn-service for our yard, and that has been magical. But a cleaning service would help a lot. 

But other people's idea of "balance" sounds like a longer to-do list to me, and there just aren't that many hours in a day!

 

 

A book is enough for me too. 

A long self care list is self defeating for me - it becomes another pressure. 

Self care can be as simple as listening to a podcast while you cook, or taking a walk, or remembering to pick out a library book for  you too. It doesn't need to be complicated (though it can be, and some people thrive on those lists, and more power to them!)

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37 minutes ago, freesia said:

Well, I have just come through burn out and am happily homeschooling and not feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

For me, the real problem was teen struggles and crises laid over the responsibilities of teaching a reluctant to read primary student and kids all the way through high school.  Juggling all the teaching and the driving and the fact that the problems my kids were having were tied to one teen who was in our entire social group. Add to that my anxiety issues. If I'm honest, it wasn't really the homeschooling.  In fact, when I went to counseling, I realized that was the thing I really liked.  It was the teen struggles and my anxiety that brought me down.

What helped? Well SWB's burnout talk.  Also, counseling for myself to deal with my anxiety and the teen's issues.  Part of that was learning that I could head our lives in a new direction and seeing that change could happen from small choices was very empowering.

I actually have seen several people work through burn out and continue to the end.  Part of it is realizing that we are not responsible for our children's emotional life and choices, that we are our own person.  I think that is something all parents need to realize, but sometimes parents who get more of a break and are not also responsible for education can get a handle on it sooner.

 

Now, parenting burnout....that's a whole other story! Makes homeschool burnout look like a cuddly little teddy bear!

I love the bolded. This post really resonates.

 

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To the original subject, I experienced serious burnout around the time I had my 5th child. I had 5 children aged 8 and younger, no extended family, and was in the middle of handling a messy estate in another state. Every waking hour was taken up with child care, homeschooling, and estate work. Mostly I would get the kids to bed by 7 pm, work on the estate until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then get up at 6 am with the newborn to start it all again.

It wasn't about losing myself. I simply had more than any person could reasonably manage. My husband stepped in beautifully and that made a huge difference, but we just didn't have the money to pay for any extra help (child care, house-cleaning, etc). It was stressful. But I finished up the estate, the baby started sleeping through the night, and everyone got a little bit older. It was a hard season, but my own self was still there at the other end.

Thankfully I had a strong marriage, a helpful husband, and kids who were healthy and neuro-typical. If the situation had been different then something would have needed to give. It only lasted 2 years, but even that was about 2 years too long.

Our eldest is now in public high school, and that has been great for our family. She went because we have a good high school and she wanted to go, but it lightened a load that I didn't even realize I was carrying. I feel so happy with where she is and happy with homeschooling the younger kids. 

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The homeschool mums I see that have put their kids right through seem to be doing pretty well now at the other end of things.  

I do think there’s a couple of contributors to more burnout though.  There’s a lot more intensity to parenting expectations now.  People tend to feel they need to provide a full school level curriculum all the way through - the mums I know we’re more math and English for primary school and natural learning plus library visits for science and history etc.  the amazing range of choices for curriculum is great but creates pressure to do it all.

I think parents overall are under more pressure due to mortgage stress and job insecurity.  The post homeschool mums I know lived in a time where it was possible to be frugal and pretty much pay the mortgage off on one income.  Most people can’t do that now and I see the pressure affecting both homeschool and school parents.  Also they mostly had husbands with 9-5 jobs.  9-5 jobs pretty much don’t exist now.  

being a single income family is more of an out there choice which can make it more isolating.

social media wasn’t a thing.  I love my forums and Facebook but they are definitely a time suck.  They aren’t as mentally refreshing as reading a book or doing some gardening.

so basically yes - I think there’s more burnout but not just for homeschool mums but life in general.

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14 minutes ago, MinivanMom said:

I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!)

I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime!

I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a weekly date night with my husband. I would also like a full-time cleaning service. We finally got an accountant for taxes and a lawn-service for our yard, and that has been magical. But a cleaning service would help a lot. 

But other people's idea of "balance" sounds like a longer to-do list to me, and there just aren't that many hours in a day!

 

If it makes you feel better most of what I do for myself is dressing in a way I find attractive, going out to dinner and kvetching with my special needs mom friends group, taking care of my hair and nails *because I like it*, hiding in the bedroom to knit or read, and editing fanfiction for my online girlfriends because I love it and it feeds my heart right now.  

I also am at my best when I accept the help people offer me when I’m desperate (happysmilylady I’m looking at you bailing me out just this morning!) and when my spiritual life isn’t in a dry spot (which sometimes is just beyond my control, it depends on the season).

 

Your list isn’t going to look like my list - I’m a girl geek fiber artist Christian who is simultaneously social and introverted.  And just destroyed my left ankle in dramatic fashion.  So I’m helpless at the moment too.  

 

But you you have to strike your own balance where you don’t feel like your life is consuming your heart and soul.  It’s as much spiritual as practical and the other ladies are right - it’s not just a homeschooling thing either!  

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54 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

 

And expectations are very high.  We are supposed to simultaneously:

-Earn a lot of money

-Prepare organic, from scratch but low-cost meals for families

-See to a litany of educational and other needs that didn't use to worry our grandparents overmuch

-Keep a bikini body

-Decorate a lovely home

-Find time for self-care

-Do 1,101 personalized fiddly things for our children (homeschooled or not)

-And on and on and on.  

And all of this shizznit is supposed to be documented on social media.  😛

Even for people who opt out of most of the noise and nonsense, the expectations are still very, very high.  

So much truth!

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For me, having an outside job just gave me another thing to be mediocre at. My general attitude is that their education is still my job, even if they go to school. It is hard to fail at so many things simultaneously. With homeschooling, I'm just failing very hard at just the one thing....

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11 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

For me, having an outside job just gave me another thing to be mediocre at. My general attitude is that their education is still my job, even if they go to school. It is hard to fail at so many things simultaneously. With homeschooling, I'm just failing very hard at just the one thing....

I feel bad laughing self deprecatingly but that was my immediate response because I get it.  So much.  Hugs to you.

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46 minutes ago, MinivanMom said:

I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!)

I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime!

I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a weekly date night with my husband. I would also like a full-time cleaning service. We finally got an accountant for taxes and a lawn-service for our yard, and that has been magical. But a cleaning service would help a lot. 

But other people's idea of "balance" sounds like a longer to-do list to me, and there just aren't that many hours in a day!

 

Chuckled when I read this because I feel the exact same way!  I think people very much have different size "buckets" that need filling.  My bucket is best filled by structure and some solo time here and there, and I'd say it's a relatively small "bucket".  If I can have some time to do my bible study and read in the afternoon, I'm pretty good.  I like quiet evenings as well.  Going out all the time just stresses me out.  I am definitely an introvert!

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I haven't seen a lot of this in our somewhat smallish area. We don't have a lot of long-term homeschoolers in general though.  Lots of elementary ages and then the majority tend to go to public school for highschool.  I've struggled more with people recognizing that what I do is a job.  I often feel disrespected because I don't have an "outside" job.  It is frustrating and insulting. 

I have never felt like homeschooling defines me or who I am though.  Nor do I want it to define my kids - it's simply one way to deliver/receive an education.  I definitely felt more burnt out before I had kids and was working an outside job every day.  I would rather invest my time in my family, where I witness the fruits of my efforts.  With my other jobs, sure I got appreciation for a job well done, but they can also replace you in a heartbeat.  I have never felt the love for investing in paid positions, honestly.  I'd likely feel differently if I started my own company, but that isn't my path, I guess.  Anyways, I am rambling!  Just wanted to share my mind set and why I think I haven't went through a full on "burn-out" with homeschooling.  

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24 minutes ago, Jess4879 said:

Chuckled when I read this because I feel the exact same way!  I think people very much have different size "buckets" that need filling.  My bucket is best filled by structure and some solo time here and there, and I'd say it's a relatively small "bucket".  If I can have some time to do my bible study and read in the afternoon, I'm pretty good.  I like quiet evenings as well.  Going out all the time just stresses me out.  I am definitely an introvert!

I remember reading somewhere that for many stay-home moms (homeschooling or not), getting lots of "me" time (I hate that term) tended to generate discontent and a desire for more "me" time. I know where or when that was; but at least 10 years ago. And I found that to be true for myself.  I also found that if I went to a mom's night out and found the conversation lacking*, I would come home in a worse mood than if I'd just stayed home and read or sewed. 

*Lacking isn't the best word. More like, conversation I can't really participate in. For ex, a night when all the moms sat and compared their various food intolerances the whole evening. I felt bad for them and understand that it's a difficult thing, so I was glad they had someplace to talk about it, but I had absolutely no place in the conversation. It wasn't a case of wanting the conversation to be all about me, but I had nothing to contribute except sympathetic noises every now and then. And, honestly, it was boring. When I wanted to talk about LDs, I went out with moms of kids who had LDs, ya know?

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Maybe "me" time isn't really what it's about.  As moms, we give and give.  That's the deal.  I enjoyed homeschooling and it became a hobby of sorts for about 10 years.  I think the problem comes in when we don't listen to ourselves.  I guess that's what I'm finding.  The moms I mentioned in the original post were not listening to themselves and what was going on in their head.  I used busyness and homeschooling (because that's busy) to ignore the depression that was going on in my head along with some emotional wounds that I was not dealing with.  The healthy homeschooling moms I see usually have extended family nearby or an outside activity that they love.  The ones I see struggling are not listening to the voice inside their head that is telling them they are struggling and they need to change something but don't.  I guess when I feel like I need to yell at a husband to pay attention to his wife's unspoken pleads, there is something not right...

Btw, my husband did listen to my unspoken needs.  This is a big reason we're not homeschooling.  In fact, it's gotten to a point that he doesn't want me to do it at all anymore.

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25 minutes ago, marbel said:

I remember reading somewhere that for many stay-home moms (homeschooling or not), getting lots of "me" time (I hate that term) tended to generate discontent and a desire for more "me" time. I know where or when that was; but at least 10 years ago. And I found that to be true for myself.  I also found that if I went to a mom's night out and found the conversation lacking*, I would come home in a worse mood than if I'd just stayed home and read or sewed. 

*Lacking isn't the best word. More like, conversation I can't really participate in. For ex, a night when all the moms sat and compared their various food intolerances the whole evening. I felt bad for them and understand that it's a difficult thing, so I was glad they had someplace to talk about it, but I had absolutely no place in the conversation. It wasn't a case of wanting the conversation to be all about me, but I had nothing to contribute except sympathetic noises every now and then. And, honestly, it was boring. When I wanted to talk about LDs, I went out with moms of kids who had LDs, ya know?

LIKE ABOUT SHOPPING.  AND HOW EXCITING IT IS THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE A CLOSER IKEA STORE.  OMGosh this takes me back.

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8 minutes ago, marbel said:

I remember reading somewhere that for many stay-home moms (homeschooling or not), getting lots of "me" time (I hate that term) tended to generate discontent and a desire for more "me" time. I know where or when that was; but at least 10 years ago. And I found that to be true for myself.  I also found that if I went to a mom's night out and found the conversation lacking*, I would come home in a worse mood than if I'd just stayed home and read or sewed.

Related to this, I've noticed that for me there's a difference between using my alone time to do things that refresh and recharge me, and using it to escape.  When I use my free time to escape from the stress and responsibilities of life, it doesn't equip me to do anything more than to want to keep escaping.  The more I escape from life, the more I want to stay in my escapism, and the less I want to re-enter the fray.  But when I view my free time as a time of rest, instead of a time of escape, I'm better able to use that time in a way that *enhances* my overall ability to handle life. 

"Time of rest" isn't quite the right phrase - it's more like a time where I can do certain kinds of good things that are only possible when I have a block of uninterrupted time.  Sometimes that involves restful things (naps, pleasure reading, etc.), but sometimes it involves a different sort of effort-ful thing (research reading, writing, exercise, etc.) - so that I'm resting from hs'ing through doing other active things, instead of resting all of me.  So my focus is more on "what good things can I do with this time", instead of on "what bad things am I escaping from with this time".  I can really feel the difference between using my free time to do good and using it to escape from having to do anything.  (Which is really, in effect, the difference between using it to to do good and using it to escape from "having" to do good.)

(Which is why I hate the phrase "me time", too.  It turns doing good things to/for yourself into an act of selfishness, and so turns selfishness into a virtue.  And completely erodes the ability of people to understand the difference between selflessness and self-neglect.)

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With regard to the "losing yourself" idea - I think that I have always been able to find something in homeschooling that feeds my soul and excites me.  But then I was a teacher even before a homeschooling mom and wanted to homeschool even when I was single and kids weren't even on the horizon.  That doesn't mean that there weren't really difficult years and times.  But even in the midst of the worst aspie meltdown (for example), I could see the benefit of staying the course.  Also for me - perhaps because I only have two kids and they are radically different in needs, homeschooling itself was a constant time of new discovery of materials, methods and learning.  Right now I'm tutoring early reading and I am having so much fun going back to that phase of learning. 

I have enjoyed this new time of life as I have a son in university and my daughter is almost done with homeschooling.  I am stretching myself in different ways - though I am still a teacher and will be until I die, I think.  I have had some soul-crushing jobs though.  Those were the ones where I had no initiative in what I did and why or how.  There was no learning.  No real stretching of myself.  But I went every day and forced myself to go through the motions just for that stupid paycheck. 

Obviously not everyone is going to be excited about the same things though.  I know people who thrived where I "died" and vice versa. 

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3 hours ago, frogger said:

 

 

Honestly, I don't use an all in one and think it would be easier at times. I can't because my children have some disabilities and others just have quirks but we incessantly feel behind and I think that is a cultural thing to some extent. In other words, I feel many feel in the same boat.

Ita.  I wish I could use an all in one.  I have a hard time fitting one curriculum to each subject without any issues.  

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50 minutes ago, forty-two said:

Related to this, I've noticed that for me there's a difference between using my alone time to do things that refresh and recharge me, and using it to escape.  When I use my free time to escape from the stress and responsibilities of life, it doesn't equip me to do anything more than to want to keep escaping.  The more I escape from life, the more I want to stay in my escapism, and the less I want to re-enter the fray.  But when I view my free time as a time of rest, instead of a time of escape, I'm better able to use that time in a way that *enhances* my overall ability to handle life. 

"Time of rest" isn't quite the right phrase - it's more like a time where I can do certain kinds of good things that are only possible when I have a block of uninterrupted time.  Sometimes that involves restful things (naps, pleasure reading, etc.), but sometimes it involves a different sort of effort-ful thing (research reading, writing, exercise, etc.) - so that I'm resting from hs'ing through doing other active things, instead of resting all of me.  So my focus is more on "what good things can I do with this time", instead of on "what bad things am I escaping from with this time".  I can really feel the difference between using my free time to do good and using it to escape from having to do anything.  (Which is really, in effect, the difference between using it to to do good and using it to escape from "having" to do good.)

(Which is why I hate the phrase "me time", too.  It turns doing good things to/for yourself into an act of selfishness, and so turns selfishness into a virtue.  And completely erodes the ability of people to understand the difference between selflessness and self-neglect.)

Well said. Studying literature, history and writing in order to teach my older child is work, but it refreshes me. Studying elementary math did the same years ago. 

Not that I am opposed to naps, pedicures, eating out, fluffy novels, chocolate, or lovely stretches of time by myself! But I do find the value of those less weighty than the other sort of activity. 

 

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