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ACE as an Answer to Burnout

May 24, 2009

I purchased your booklet on “Burnout” at the recent convention and easily recognized myself in your descriptions.  It was as though you had written it specifically to me.  My only regret was that i didn’t get to read it until this morning.  I wish I had seen the information about ACE so that I could have visited their booth at the convention.  At first, as I was reading about it, I felt resistance.  I thought that homeschooling meant actively teaching each part of each lesson to my children and being a part of the entire process.  But I can see that this year (this is our first year of homeschooling our 8 and 10 year olds) has produced chaos, frustration, a totally messy home and a burnt out Mom. 

I had been using [a unit study curriculum] along with [a literature based curriculum] and [a certain math program].  I have been feeling like a total failure, beating myself up for not being creative enough to teach it well.  The last few months of Homeschooling has been unschooling.  In desperation and in not wanting to send them back to school, I enrolled them in … a costly math and language arts program that has me running quite a distance twice a week.  But I rationalized that at least they’re getting “something”.  My guilt and sense of failure have been overwhelming. 

I had to admit that you were right.  I had to consider that letting the kids do the basic core work on their own would solve a multitude of problems.  I had to consider that I don’t have to feel guilty about letting them work independently.  On the other hand, guilt does enter in if I end up “unschooling”.  And I really don’t want to send them back to school.  They were attending a Christian School, but we had problems.  My 10 year old daughter was accelerated and very bored (and a little too social and worldly) and our 8 year old son was slipping between the cracks. They used [a mainstream Christian curriculum], which was boring to one of them and too challenging for the other.  In fact, in the case of my son, I spent this whole year just doing damage control, trying to convince him that he wasn’t “dumb” and that he really could do some schoolwork without getting frustrated and tense and having an emotional meltdown.  I think if nothing else, we have at least had some success in this area.  But my daughter did not get anything out of this last year.  I was unable to teach to her level because my son was so far behind and needed so much support.  I couldn’t even do Bible or character work very well, because they could see that my attitude and my demeanor was a contradiction to what I was trying to teach them!  My own witness was destroyed.

I also loved what you said at the seminar, although I didn’t understand at that moment.  You said that the day should look like this: active/passive; active/passive; active/passive.  I didn’t understand how that could work with the unit study curriculum that we’ve been trying to use.  But I certainly see how it could work with ACE.  And the unit studies that I thought would be so fun, still can be!  But as extracurricular studies and not core studies.  That would actually bring the fun back into them!

Mrs. M. in Melbourne, Florida

Renee’s booklet on Burnout is available as an ebook or in print.