Burnout & Rediscovery - Eva Varga

June 8, 2012

For much of April and May (perhaps even longer),  I was struggling with burnout.  I am tempted to say even mild depression, yet I didn’t ever consult a physician and I certainly do not want to minimize the struggle of those who do.  I just was not myself.

I was not inspired to blog.  I was barely teaching any formal lessons.  So much of what I had enjoyed in the past – running, swimming, teaching, blogging – was lost to me.  I couldn’t find the desire to do the things I desperately wanted to do.  Rather than get up early as I generally would two years ago, I would sleep in and wake only when the sun’s rays shining through the blinds in my bedroom forced me out of bed.  In comparison to my ‘old self‘, I was lazy.

To make matters worse, the kids and I just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Sitting down to do lessons was a daily battle.  I was not into it and they knew it.  This further aggravated the situation.

My mom came down in mid-May to spend the week with us … to see #1s first play … to see the kids compete in a swim meet (#2’s first) … and to celebrate our birthdays.  The kids and I were very excited to spend quality time with her.  We planned a few outings and Grandma tagged along to some of our routine activities (Mandarin, swim team, & music lessons).  Though it wasn’t planned, her presence turned out to be a major blessing.  She stepped in a few times to reprimand #2 and made a few suggestions to me on how I might change my own approach.

After she returned home – I spent some time reevaluating things.  I knew in my heart that homeschooling was the right choice for us.  That was never in question.  What I discovered though was that I was still approaching it as I would if I were in a formal classroom.  I thought I needed to plan activities to engage them that would also demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter – lapbooks, interactive maps, elaborate projects, etc.

My kiddos were never very excited to do these and balked whenever I would ask them to do so.   One day, I asked them to simply write out what they knew about the Revolutionary War (our current focus in history).  I was amazed at how much they recalled … just from reading aloud Story of the World, watching Liberty’s Kids, and talking.  It suddenly became clear to me that a lapbook (or other tangible) was not critical to their success.  I discovered that we are much more “Unschoolers” than I anticipated.

I also came to realize that I missed blogging.  I do not have many followers and for a while, I was bummed to see the accolades and recognition that some of the other homeschool bloggers were receiving.  Pinterest didn’t help.  I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others.  Judging myself against all that others were doing.  To be honest, I was jealous and I let this interfere with why I started blogging and homeschooling in the first place.

A homeschool blogger friend recently posted a link on Facebook to a blog post by another homeschool blogger, why blogging matters, and it really hit home.  Blogging or writing helps me to process things. If I can write about it, I’ve learned it. If I can write about it, I can let it go. It is my creative outlet of expression. Writing also motivates me – knowing that what I am doing,  even what I am struggling with may help someone else.

These past few days, I have been aggressively playing a little catchup.  Composing blog posts to celebrate our successes and to share our adventures.  It is a fun way to reflect and relive these moments.  I am rediscovering me.

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