Burnout & Rediscovery

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.

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥