Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crash and Burn

I can't do it.  I can't let them go.  The girls are staying home, where they belong.

Yesterday will forever go down in our family history as the day Marney went to school and taught her class about Venn diagrams.  Then came home to stay.

Over the weekend while I was cleaning and purging the school room and the girls desks, I was reminded of how much we really have done, how much they really have learned.  More importantly, I was flooded with memories of the wonderful moments we have shared together through home schooling.  I was reminded how much I love seeing their faces light up at something new they had learned.

Although Jim and I have worked hard to Fireproof our marriage, we paid no attention to burnout proofing our home school.  Some early plea's for help went unnoticed by both of us.  The effects of the events of the last 8 months finally piled up too high.  I couldn't take the load any longer.  I crashed.  Something had to change.  I thought the answer was to send them to school.  That they we would be better of  there, where the qualified teachers are.  Not stuck at home with their obviously crazy Mother!

But crazy as I may be, no one loves my kids like I do.  No one else knows them like I do.  No one cares about their future like I do. 

Having their hearts is more important than getting them to Harvard.  

Ivy League has never been our goal, but I do want the world to be our children's oyster.  I want them to be able to do what ever it is that God calls them to do.  I don't want lack of education to be an obstacle that they have to overcome.  

State testing is coming up soon, my kids have not been tested since leaving public school.  Will they measure up?  Fear and doubt crept in so slowly, I didn't see it until it was too late.  


Eight months ago, Jim called me on his way home from work.  Through tears, he told me that he had been let go from his job.  He was devastated.  I was stunned.  First of all, he never cry's, second, those were words I never thought I would hear from my husband.  That happens to other people.   My husband is a hard worker, always going above and beyond at his job.  He truly enjoys working.  I pray for him daily.  I thought this was enough to keep him safe.  I was arrogant.

The job hunt and the financial worries that followed were very difficult.  

But the decision to move far away from everything we knew and kept us safe was even more gut wrenching.    

The move went smoothly, thank goodness, and the kids transitioned nicely.  

I was busy trying to get the house settled, keep the kids busy and happy, (and probably myself  too) so that no one would have time to be homesick.  To fill the hole in our hearts that was created when we left.  What I didn't do was take time off to let every one take a breath, heal, and get used to the idea of our new normal.  

I should have taken some time to just let things be.  Instead fear and doubt drove me to continue along as if nothing had happened.  To demand our old schedule from the kids and I.   They must keep up with their studies!  That little voice kept reminding me.  I was trying to keep all the balls in the air, to not let anything drop. 

I wasn't taking care of myself.  I didn't aknowledge everything I had lost, my family, our home, a job I loved.  I didn't give my self time and permission to grieve those losses.  I had to be strong.

Then came the holidays we had company, we traveled.  We were busy again and off our schedule.  

Then we all had the flu, of course we did!  We were exhausted. 

All of this created a perfect storm, a recipe for disaster, the perfect formula to create burnout.  I crashed and burned hard.

After lots of tears, and soul searching, I'm in a better place.  I'm reminded of what our priorities are.  I'm ready to finish this year with enthusiasm.


So what's our plan moving forward?

I have to stop thinking about what we are not or should be doing, and start concentrating on what we are doing.  What is going well, and how can we change the things that are not.

We need to remind each other daily of the big picture.  That our success may not come in the form of a big grand finish, but in the little every day victories along the way.

I need to exercise regularly, take my vitamins, and take a break every now and then.  While I doubt I'll get the weekend in Tahiti I've been hoping for, I can take time away in some (budget friendly) form or fashion.

We also sat down to tweak our schedule, what's working, what's not.  I think this one will be better.

I started reading some wonderful books about Homeschool burnout, and imperfect homeschooling, they are helping!


  1. Hang in there.

    In 15 months time we adopted a child, lost my father to cancer, sold a business, and moved 900 miles from family. Major life stresses that can cause difficulty in marriage. Praise God they didn't. BUT, I was a homeschool burnout from it all.

    Prayer. Prayer. And more prayer. And Patience.

    Just remember to breathe, take it one day at a time, and let this spring semester play out. It will be tough at times. But aim for the summer, time off, and some mental R&R.

    That was our plan and it worked. By the end of that summer, 10 months after we moved, I was more excited than ever to start school back up. Actually, believe it or not, that following fall (the year after we moved), happened to be THE BEST school year at home. It was the first time that we had "normalcy" flowing through our house. The first time we had no major life stresses to deal with.

    It will get better!

  2. Thanks Patty! It's great to hear from some one who came through it!

  3. We were foster parents and adopted two kids, got pregnant (after YEARS of trying) and added one more, and faced an emergency surgery for our oldest special needs son all in a 17 month period of time. Oh, we were also trying to fix up our old house with very limited funds. I totally dropped the school ball for five months. I panicked each Friday and made my son do some worksheets. The rest of the week he read in his room, helped renovate our 1931 home, practiced early childhood education on his new siblings and watched tons of PBS. He ended up making one of the biggest leaps ever in his end of year testing. Kids are learning all the time. Relax, pray and know that you are the best thing for your children.

  4. Wow, Dawn! I'm in awe. Thanks, I need to hear these things, count my blessings, and stop whining! I do really feel that home is best, and they are learning all the time.

  5. We had several life-changing events happen in our first few years of homeschooling too. Moving would have been the thing that put me under if that had been added on. I actually crashed and burned when the oldest of my 3 boys was starting Kindergarten. At that point I'd been homeschooling for 10+ years and just couldn't see starting over again. Happily, I went to a seminar of Barb Sheldon's (homeschool oasis) and came home ready to go- finding the right "shot in the arm" can make all the difference. Certainly taking care of yourself will be a good step!

    God bless your "new start" in your homeschool!

  6. Jill, your blog is inspiring and I love reading your stories! You are an amazing mother and wife, and I can only hope I will guide my Emily through life as well as you have your children;)....and your old neighbors miss you!

  7. Thanks for reading Pam! We miss you guys too. Emily is going to grow up knowing she is loved and cherished, she is one lucky little girl!