I too experienced burnout many years ago. Ten, to be
May I share a bit of my story with you?As a former classroom teacher and then a young home-educating Mom with four young children, I began our home-education journey with great enthusiasm and joy. I never doubted that we could home educate, and the first two years were downright fun for all of us!
But as the demands of motherhood and a houseful of young 'uns began to increase, I felt as though I just couldn't do it anymore. I felt as though my brain was made of lead. Something had to give, but I wasn't sure what besides my sanity and will to live. In case you have not experienced it, burnout is that feeling you get inside that tells you that you just can't do one more day of sitting beside your children to go over their lessons, check their work, listen to them read aloud, or do anymore lesson plans!
was where I found myself, unable to manage yet another day of
schooling. I was in despair over my lack of energy and my flagging
commitment. Somehow I had
grown to dislike checking the kids' work daily and doing lesson plans
weekly. I procrastinated. I still
desperately wanted to home educate, but I woke up each morning and had
to talk myself out
of the bed. I was BURNED OUT!
Well, Baby Number Six came along, and with her came utter exhaustion.
For a lack of other options, I began to allow my older two children, ages nine and ten, todo most of their work on their own so that I could tend to the baby and my other two children who did need me to work with them hands-on. I was desperately trusting Nick and Lauren to "do the next thing" in their books without me telling them what to do.
The truth was, in my exhaustion, I really didn't care what they
did, as long as they just accomplished something in each of their subjects.
Something surely was better than nothing.
My usual location in those days was on the couch with a baby or two on me, around me, on the floor beneath me, and always with me. Nick and Lauren would show me their math, spelling, language and other subjects' work as it was completed. I even allowed them to use the teacher's editions to check their work. (Gasp!) They made great progress without my constant intervention.
What happened at that point changed our home forever!
Not only could Nick and Lauren do their work
on their own, but they seemed to enjoy it more than
they did with me
standing over them, telling them what they should do, when they should
take breaks, and
of course checking all of their work for them. I knew we were onto
something. With the older children now taking the reins of their school
day activities, I was free to be Mom to my four younger children. I lost
the burden that was too heavy for me to carry, that of being Mom and
Just for fun one day,
I hopped on the computer and pulled up a program that helped me to design a prototype for what would eventually become known as
The Self-Propelled STUDENT Planners and
The Self-Propelled High School Planners
because I felt that what was lacking with our self-learning was a simple system to enable the children to keep track of their daily work themselves so that all I had to do was glance at it to see what had been learned at any given point in time!
And the rest is
history. With this new system the children could:
At the end of the year, I had
a complete portfolio for each student
to pop into my file cabinet for safe-keeping.
Let me tell you, peace flooded our
No longer was it my responsibility to make sure the
school work got done. The burden of educational responsibility was transferred to their
young shoulders, right where it belongs anyway. This process of transfer of ownership is
called self-teaching or self-learning.
my husband and I helped the children as needed. I helped them set
goals, looked over their shoulders occasionally, and asked questions to
make sure the
material was actually being absorbed. My job became that of coaching my
older students. I stopped micromanaging them, and simply began
monitoring them regularly.
I gained the confidence that learning with excellence can be done by
the student on his own. In fact, this was a superior way to learn. Students
become motivated when they are given the keys to their little kingdom, so to speak.
The change in my children was immediate.
The change in our lives was profound.
Time passes, as time tends to do.
Nick and Lauren have both graduated from the universities of their choice on full academic scholarships. Lauren actually earned cash back!
Taylor and Franklin are both attending their first choice universities right now.
FOUR out of our first FOUR children are on scholarship to their first choice universities. How did they get there? Self-learners are used to working independently and thinking independently day after day. Consequently, they test well.
Their SAT and ACT scores were amazing including perfect and nearly perfect scores because self-learning students ~ well, you can read more details about their individual success stories under the About Us tab. In fact, I hope you will pop over there to meet us all and get to know us a little better.
My kids' successes thus far have been truly outstanding, and I am so happy for them
that they have been so rewarded for their hard work and
You know, not only have we home educated all the way through high school with four
children so far, but our other four kids continue to work with excellence, confidence,
maturity, and responsibility. Would they take a day off from school if given the chance? Ummm...You
bet! They are not weird, but they are self-motivated and are high achievers quite
So if you are feeling overwhelmed, maybe frustrated with
your students' lack of joy, scared of failure, tired, worried that your children aren't
learning anything, or just discouraged with the state of your home, please be
encouraged! You don't have to STAY that way!
You have my guarantee that: