What is Homeschool Burnout?

homeschool burnout Jan 25, 2024
a mom sitting on the floor with her hand on  her head she's holding one small child and the other is dancing on the couch behind her. the text reads What is Homeschool Burnout? PLAY to Learn with Malia Phelps Waller

Are you new to this homeschooling thing still?

Then you may not have heard about homeschool burnout or the winter homeschool blues. You may have wanted to ask others if they too feel like they are failing their kids as a homeschool parent, but couldn’t bring yourself to raise your hand.

I get it. In the homeschooling mama world, we all want the critics to believe that we’ve got it all together and everything is going 100% as planned in our homeschools.

Today, you’re in luck because I’m going to show you everything you need to know about homeschool burnout that you’ve been afraid to ask, including how to differentiate it from its false friend-failing as a homeschooler.

You'll be back on your feet and ready to thrive in your homeschool in no time.


What is Homeschool Burnout?

I'm not here to bury the lead; in simple terms, homeschool burnout is when you are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted due to the demands of managing your kid's education not to mention household tasks,  trying to work and trying to take care of yourself too. 

Homeschool burnout leads to feelings of failing your kids, a negative cycle of self-doubt, and starting to believe that your kids might be better off in the neighborhood schools than home with you.

It also tends to leave us feeling like we're just hitting that wall of chronic stress, exhaustion, and overwhelm with no end in sight.

Want to know how to say bye-bye to burnout? 


Download the 10 Ways to Beat Homeschool Burnout List for free today!

Why is acknowledging Homeschool Burnout Important?

You may come across people out there who believe that homeschool burnout means that you’re failing at homeschooling.

However, the reality is that burnout is experienced by many parents, regardless of how their kids are schooled. A study from The  Ohio State University determined that 66% of parents are struggling with parental burnout. This means that whether you’re homeschooling or not burnout is out there in a big way and it's impacting parents of high-energy and neurodivergent children at an alarmingly high rate. 

When you pause and refocus, you'll be able to regulate and reflect to help bring you back to calm. 

Background of Homeschool Burnout

Don't worry,  this is no [boring AP history class].

One of the best ways to understand a new concept is to travel back in time and understand where it comes from and the processes that led to its inception.

For homeschool burnout,  we have to look at a few areas: social media and the social changes brought on by the pandemic.

The rise of homeschooling due to the pandemic coupled with social media influencers and online marketing has made it truly difficult to keep from playing the comparison game. 

How To Overcome Homeschool Burnout

So far, we’ve shared the not-so-pretty side of homeschool burnout (or as so many call it the homeschool winter blues) which often hit mid-year, following the highs of the holidays and when the end of the school year is looming ahead.

In fact, in my first year of homeschooling, right around February I hit a wall. The fact that we were only partially through our curriculum and behind what my teacher's brain knew to be Kindergarten Language Arts Standards had me freaking out that I was failing my child. I was able to slow down, refocus, reevaluate, and dive back into what I knew to be true–  that I was thankfully wrong.

I've put together a few ideas of how to refocus below to help you better build your confidence back up and feel more peace mid-year. .

 #1: Take A Break 

I know, I know this one seems counterintuitive but hear me out.

Decide to take a short pause. Take time to do only the things that you enjoy doing with your kids. Play board games, read stories or cuddle up and watch a movie or two. 

Spending time with each other means relationship building. Focus on that. Be in the moment for an hour with your kids, phone down, doing whatever activity they ask. 

Want access to our top tips for building relationships with your kids and getting playful in your homeschool? You're in luck because the PLAY to Learn Homeschool Hub brings you print and play activities, inspiration for playful learning, and new resources to support your homeschool every month. www.maliaphelpswaller.com/playtolearnhomeschoolhub

 #2: Ten Second Tidy

This is the key if you’re triggered by clutter like me.

The best ways to implement this in your own life  is:

  • Grab your air pods.
  • Cue up some early 2000s pop music
  • Grab an empty basket or two
  • Dance your way through your living space while you collect items that don't belong

Here’s how you can apply it:

Stay in one room of your house for a song or two and toss everything in the room that doesn’t belong there into the basket. I love to have two baskets. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. You don’t have to put the items fully away in this time but you will fill the baskets and then take it to the level of the house the items belong on. 

Here’s where you have a choice. Put items away or save it for another day. Either way, you have one tidy room in your home to sit in that feels orderly and calm. Soak it in!

#3: Assess and Celebrate the Small Wins

Now here’s where we’re reflecting on what we have accomplished in our homeschool and looking back at how far we’ve come. 

If you use a curriculum flip back and look through all of your progress. Celebrate the growth you have made in your homeschool.

If you don’t use a curriculum and lean more towards unschooling, flip back through your phone pictures and relish in all the activities and discoveries that have been made. 

Next, map out some simple goals to get you to the end of the year.

In our homeschool that meant looking ahead at lessons in our favorite open-and-go reading and math curriculums and determining how many lessons a week we should aim for to complete the books before June. Does that mean we will for sure hit that goal? Maybe, maybe not. It does bring back some feelings of control though as we journey on. 

I hope homeschool burnout is crystal clear to you now.

I first launched PLAY to Learn with Malia Phelps Waller because I found there was a lack of support for homeschool mamas with high-energy hands-on learners and learners with special needs. My goal is to provide support and collaboration for mamas who are doing it all and feeling overworked and overwhelmed with it all. 

Do you still have questions? No shame in that! You can contact me here or find me on Instagram, where I'm always happy to answer any questions.

One thing you can do to get started with beating homeschool burnout is join us in the PLAY to Learn Homeschool Hub for support, collaboration, and loads of fun as we lean into our children’s unique learning styles to ditch the overwhelm and bring on the fun!

Here's to overcoming burnout together, one mini step at a time. 


Grab the Homeschool Toolbox today! Your ultimate homeschooling and playful learning guide. 

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