Previously: Part one: Adequate nutrition, adequate sleep
Part two: If you need a break, take a break
Part three: Less is more
Part four: Solve family problems
Part five: Feed your spirit
Keep the big picture in view
The final thing that I did to avoid burning out on homeschooling, is to keep the big picture in view. If compared to the perfect plan we have written down in our lesson book, a single homeschool day is a mixture of successes and failures: the spelling concept was finally mastered, but we got behind in history again; or little Johnny picked the math lesson as the time to test Mommy’s authority, therefore the math lesson suffered.
When the little details in the failure column seem to pile up higher than the little details in the success column, the discouragement of it all induces burnout.
So refocus off the little details. The plans and schedules in the lesson book are a necessary guide, but use them as a tool, don’t let it become your master. Sometimes there are more important things in life than math.
Little Johnny learning why he must not challenge Mommy’s authority is one of them. And Mommy and Daddy seeking the Lord as to why little Johnny must always challenge Mommy’s authority is one of them. And the child who resorts to reading the math book out of boredom while he is waiting for Mommy to “finish” with little Johnny, and gets the concept on his own, is one of them.
We can sometimes have the wrong view, that school is the stuff of real life, and that which interrupts school or derails our perfect plan are obstacles to be eliminated. In reality, the stuff that happens is the stuff of real life, and the perfect lesson plan is there to keep everyone busy in between the real life moments.
The stuff that happens is like a spotlight shining on everyone in the family, because how each of us chooses to respond to the stuff shows us where we are, and where we need to grow as people. That is a far more important lesson, and goal, than getting Chapter 8 done by next Tuesday.
At the end of those difficult days, when the failures (according to the lesson plan book) loom large and the success can’t be found, refocus on the bigger picture of real life. Refocus on that insight into little Johnny’s behavior that finally came. Refocus on being conscious of your patience being tested, and choosing to remain calm instead of losing your temper: those are successes. Those are bigger successes than having everything in the lesson plan book checked off.
The perfect plans in the book are a hard taskmaster; I know. Perfectly checking off the entries in the book provides a false sense of accomplishment. False, because that which is truly important cannot be checked off in a book. Celebrate real life, and keep the big picture in view.
I finally sat down and read all of these in a row. What an excellent write-up. I really enjoyed them, and I gave you a hat-tip today for them on my blog. I plan on keeping them bookmarked to come back and read again and again. 🙂