6 Ways Learning Coaches Can Battle Virtual School Burn Out

4 min to read
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As a parent or Learning Coach, facilitating online school or homeschool for your students can be a tough job. The commitment and responsibility of balancing family, school, career, and personal life often bring tremendous stress. 

If you’re feeling at-home school burnout—when you’re finding yourself easily frustrated by helping your child with their virtual school curriculum—it's important to remember you’re not alone.

Let’s explore some at-home school burnout causes, coping strategies, and ways to find support:

How Do I Know I’m Burned Out?

The first step in dealing with burnout starts with recognizing the signs. The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines burnout as “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others.”

You may be feeling that coaching a child in online school is occasionally an arduous task. You may even be experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or even anger. One of the biggest reasons this happens is forgetting to take care of yourself. Sometimes homeschool or online school parents spend so much time making sure their kids have what they need that they neglect their own self-care. 

Six Coping Strategies for Burnout

1. Find your support network

Remember, you’re not alone! Many parents and Learning Coaches experience school burnout. There is an entire community of parents of virtual school students—and you can lean on them for advice, ideas, and support. Find local networks, homeschool support groups, and homeschool associations that will help you meet the requirements in your state. Joining these groups can help you meet families in similar situations and can even lead to lifelong friendships.

2. Prioritize your own self-care

While self-care looks different for everyone, Learning Coaches often need to make sure their day involves some quiet time to themselves. This could mean getting up an hour earlier than your kids for some extra alone time or leaning on another parent or family member to step in when needed. Whatever self-care means to you, make time for it.

3. Consider a schedule shift

Virtual school burnout can also be a sign that something needs to change. Maybe you need to switch up your daily schedule or add in more breaks and playtime. Every family has different needs and one of the keys to avoiding at-home school burnout is flexibility. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • “Quiet” hour: Some online or homeschool parents implement a “quiet” hour each afternoon where kids have the option to rest, color, read, or do another quiet activity of their choice. This gives everyone time to recharge and prepare for the remainder of the day.

  • Extra outside time: Many traditional schools implement after-lunch playtime outside to let kids work off some energy. You can use this time to take a walk or play a game together, or simply take some quiet time while your kids are outside having fun.

  • Spread out the learning: If you’re struggling to fit everything into the daylight hours, try adding some flexibility to your curriculum. Some families may integrate after-dinner learning activities or encourage more reading time before bed. Get creative and find what works best for you and your students. 

4. Take an extended break

The beauty of online and homeschool is the control you have over your schedule. If you’re feeling burnout from school, it’s likely your kids are too. It may be time to take some “mental health” breaks. Allow some extra time to get outside and explore or enjoy some quiet reading and relaxation. You’ll all come back to your regular schedule feeling rested and ready to take on the next school challenge. 

5. Feel free to have fun

There is so much joy to be found in school curriculum. From art and music to cooking, games, or educational movies—don't be afraid to incorporate fun into your lessons. Focusing on what you and your children enjoy can help bring the excitement back and release some feelings of school burnout. Start by talking to your kids about the subjects they love and want to learn more about. 

6. Lean on independent learning

Online learning is unique in that it provides many opportunities for students to study and learn independently. Another way to find more balance in your schedule is to rely on project-based learning that allows your child to learn independently and grow their problem-solving and research skills. This is especially relevant when managing multiple online students. Consider an online school curriculum, such as Connections Academy, which has programs to develop independence, personal responsibility, and other important life skills.

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