In August, I always start the year with an over-zealous schedule that looks great on paper, but is usually unworkable. I end up tweaking the schedule here and there until it works well, but inevitably, we get to the end of November and I am done with that re-worked schedule.  Somehow, it is no longer efficient and we are unmotivated by it.  This is when it is essential I tweak things and make priorities to get us through to Christmas.  By this point, homeschooling is less than fun and the tensions between me wanting to stick to my schedule and the kids being drained by the schedule creates discord in our relationship.  Certainly, this is not the way I want things to be going. Private or public school is not an option, not something that can save me.  Besides, sending the kids to school would only put a band-aid on the situation.  The only other alternative is to be flexible and change things up.  Here’s how I do that…

First, make your list of priorities.

My list of priorities is small.  

1. Bible

2. Math 
3. Reading instruction (for J-jo) 
4. Language Arts for Bear

Science and History usually are not high on my list, but this year, because we are behind my master plan due to bedrest and grief, Bear is continuing to read on her own in these two subjects.


Decide if you want to switch up any subjects.

Remember this post is about being in a season of burnout.  When math becomes a daily altercation, for us it’s time to bring out Fred and just have fun.  You may want to focus more on math games during such a season.  

Instead of our grammar program, we might do daily grammar from the new-to-us website of online learning we got to review.

We’ll also take a break from a writing curriculum while Bear writes a picture book for her brother’s Christmas present (wishing now that I had bought more of those blank little books in the Target Dollar Spot).

Choose what order to put your subjects in.

In December, we do Advent.  This takes care of Bible. We are reading the Bible stories to go with the Jesse Tree in the morning at breakfast and reading Jotham’s Journey at dinner. 

Life of Fred

Logistically, Bear needs independent work first thing because I need to teach J-jo. She does her daily grammar from SchoolhouseTeachers.com and then reads her history or science, instead of starting with math.  (Saxon Math is independent, but Life of Fred is not, though it could be, because I like to know what is happening in the absurd storyline,)

While she is reading Science or History, I do an All About Reading lesson (affiliate link in side bar) with J-jo and usually start him on math (Singapore 1A) if he wants to.  Sometimes he wants to do Finding the Answer (from Rod and Staff).

Singapore Math

Once I am done with J-jo, I read Fred to Bear and we do her spelling.  She finishes the morning by working on the picture book.

After lunch, we read lots of books on various subjects, but really, it’s December, so mostly Christmas.

Get up a bit earlier (and so maybe go to bed a tad bit earlier too)  
When I am burned out, the key is that I get out of that zone as quickly as possible.  I need to be refreshed and the only way I have found to do that is to spend more time in prayer.  To spend more time in prayer, I need to get up early. To be able to get up early, I need to go to sleep before midnight. 


Celebrate

Celebrating a few feast days or doing something special like service projects usually helps heal weariness.  Saint Nicholas Day and Santa Lucia Day are special traditions in our home that we celebrate.  

Use this time to figure out how you want to start January.
We fell behind the master plan and I spent a morning figuring out how many pages/chapters of all our books we had left and how much we had to get through each week to still finish our curriculum.  Now I have to put that in a master plan that again will be great on paper, but less than stellar in action. It will get tweaked; it will end up working, but we will probably hit a season of burnout again by Easter.

How do you plan during seasons of burnout?