Burnout: Back to the Basics (Part 39)

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2023-2024, Back to the Basics

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I want to end this year’s vlog series by sharing a bit of ridiculousness that was prevalent when we began our home education journey, oh so many years ago.

I was one of very few certificated teachers home educating his children in the late 1980s.  In fact, what made me a real unique creature was that I may have been the only one teaching in a public high school while doing so.  This provided me with many opportunities to practice my debating skills on the one hand and to address home education groups, gatherings and conferences on the other.

In the early days of our home education journey, the majority of people truly believed home education meant bringing school methods and expectations home, in an effort to out-perform the school.  In fact, nearly everyone simply referred to the process as home schooling.  As a consequence of this mistaken mindset, there arose a cult-like belief that one could measure how successfully they were accomplishing their home education program by the level of anxiety and burnout they were experiencing.

I saw this to be of questionable value and wondered if it was a display of virtue signalling.  It was as if some were saying, “See how burnt out I am?  That is because I am so selflessly dedicated to out-performing the school at home! I really deserve a medal.”  While pondering the fallacy of this nonsense, I was asked to speak at the Alberta Home Education Association’s provincial conference.  I suggested Dealing With Burnout as my topic, which was readily accepted, as burnout had become a fad within the home education community.

However, it was a trick.  I actually didn’t deal with the symptoms of burnout, I went for the cause.  I pointed out that if one was burning out, it was not a badge of honour or an indication of superior dedication as much as clear evidence that the parent was doing something wrong.  I also pointed out how difficult it would be to have a Ford car operate using Chevrolet parts and so the likely reason people were burning out was that bringing school home and trying to outperform it, not to mention acting the martyr looking for accolades as mom of the year were not working.

You should know there is no competition for mom of the year.  There is also no need to beat school at its folly nor to seek public acknowledgement for superior dedication.  And there is most certainly no good reason for burnout.  Change what you are doing to mitigate the possibility of burnout.  Do not emulate a classroom teacher.  That doesn’t work.  Just love your children as a mom and things will be much more relaxed.

We have moms repeat the word “relax” several times during our initial meeting with new families and often thereafter.  If you are stressed out or burnt out in your home education program, it may be time to re-evaluate how you are approaching things. When you find what is not working or what needs to change, discontinue the offending activity!

Relax, have fun as a family.  Enjoy your summer… and don’t burn (out)!

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