I needed some respite.
Not that January was all that restful. But it was different. Sometimes you need something different. I think that's one of the reasons why we kept changing homeschooling styles and ended up at unschooling. I'm the type of person that gives all of my focus to one thing at a time. Whether it is drawing, writing, juggling or yoga, I always try to put as much of myself as I can into my activities, especially when it is a new experience. And that means I am prone to burning out from them.
Over the years, I've learned my signs of burnout. I might not want to make the effort to travel for the sake of my interest. I'll try because of the people--I've met lots of interesting people for everything I've done--but if my heart isn't in it anymore, the activity becomes more of a chore. It drains my energy rather than energizing me.
This is why taking breaks is so important. Think of it as cross-training for the mind. If you only work one muscle group, you are more likely to strain something because only that set of muscles is doing all the work. When you train different muscle groups, shift from strength training to cardio, you work the whole body and end up stronger overall. Our minds can wear down, too.
There was a point where I was so worried about getting things accomplished in our homeschooling day, I did not see how our strict schedule was affecting us. The kids would get grumpy or tearful. One worksheet would take an hour to finish, and only if I stood over them the whole time. I yelled a lot. I would threaten to send them to school. Homeschooling became a burden. It wasn't fun. Fun is important. It opens us to learning.
It is our nature to avoid painful or uncomfortable experiences. Learning under stress makes us fearful of that subject in the future. I hated math because I couldn't do it fast enough to finish a test and getting a low grade was embarrassing for me. My fear transferred to my daughter when I tried to teach her algebra, a subject I never mastered in school. Reading "Algebra Unplugged" by Kenn Amdahl helped explain it from a different perspective. Now I've learned to see it as a puzzle I would like to figure out. (No. I haven't mastered it...yet!)
Now that we practice a more natural learning style, I see how my children are like me. My son needed to know it was OK to let go of taekwondo when he wasn't interested anymore. He had done it for at least five years straight and stayed with it that long because he didn't want to disappoint his teachers. My youngest shows an intensity with her pursuits, and will suddenly shift focus to something else, just like I do. The only down side is I've usually put some money into their interests right before they find a new passion. Hopefully they'll return to some of those activities. In my own life, I eventually returned to juggling, art, and writing after long breaks from them.
Recently, I took time away from my comics. I was busy with holidays and two other projects and I couldn't stretch my brain power any further. Now I feel more relaxed and ideas have started flowing in again.
It's time to go back to the drawing board.