Mary Ellen Barrett on Homeschool Burnout - IHM Talk Notes

Bless Me Father for I’m Exhausted was the title of Mary Ellen’s talk at the IHM National Catholic Parenting & Homeschool Conference Have you ever heard her?  She’s just one of those people who just puts you instantly at ease and has you smiling, then laughing. 

“Are you feeling frazzled? Tired? Listless? Irritable? Does the idea of one more Algebra problem make you want to weep? Homeschool burnout is a real thing that happens to all of us at some time. Mrs. Barrett will help you identify the symptoms and causes of burnout and give you the keys to allow you to enjoy your homeschool lifestyle once again.”

To hear this talk in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find audio of it at along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

Here are my bullet notes:

*  What can trigger burnout?  For some, it’s being out of the house too much.  For others it’s disorder…or noise…that robs them of their peace.

*  Take a Myers-Briggs test to know yourself better.

*  Need to know when to cut back, even on good things.

*  OK to say no, if something makes you crazy. Be stingy. Tell your kids to blame you.

*  We have unrealistic expectations and visions in our head…like we’re supermoms with minions.

*  If you can afford help, like a housekeeper, it can be cheaper than therapy!

*  We can’t teach everything.  Any education will have gaps. But we can teach how to learn.

*  There’s textbook fatigue and a 9-5  workload is too much. For some ages try combining subjects.

*  If you feel isolated, get out for margaritas or a mom’s night in with a rosary and everyone bringing a dish. Distract with people who get it.

*  Instead of comparing yourself to others, be happy for others. We all have a good life.

*  The cure is self-care. Take breaks and ease back into routine. When coming back to schoolwork start with science projects, museums, reading aloud.

*  Take vitamins, take naps, go on date nights, take a teacher service day, have quiet time with God.

*  If your burnout feels more serious, see a doctor.

(From me - Homeschool moms, any mom in general...we all have tough days.  We all need refreshment and Mary Ellen's talk was filled with helpful ideas. Remember WHY we homeschool and keep up the fight for your kids. )

   Mrs. Mary Ellen Barrett is a mother of eight children and wife to David. She is a lifelong New Yorker and an active member of her parish Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, New York.
   Mary Ellen is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and chronicles the journey of living a faithful, but imperfect, Catholic family life on her weblog: Tales From the Bonny Blue House. She is on the editorial review board of Mater et Magistra Magazine and has had her work published in Faith and Family Magazine,, Catholic News Service, Catholic Digest and was formerly a frequent contributor to Mary Ellen has guest blogged on Faith and Family Live,, and Catholic Cuisine. She also blogs about the occult and the New Age at
   Mary Ellen also owns and maintains a website called O Night Divine, which is dedicated to the Catholic celebration of Advent and Christmas. She has been heard on Relevant Radio and WTMR 800 in Philadelphia, as a webinar presenter at Homeschool Connections, a presenter at The Catholic Social Sciences Conference and a featured speaker at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool Conferences.        

   Mary Ellen speaks and writes on issues pertaining to homeschooling, Catholic family life, bereavement and special needs issues. She is passionate about good books and the Catholic faith infusing and informing her family’s homeschool life and is always willing to share her knowledge and experience.

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