I’ve been reflecting back on home education, and thinking of some of the many myths that are out there (of which there are dozens). I thought it might be good to bring some of these homeschool myths to light and show that they are indeed myths and not good reasons not to homeschool. Today, I’m going to talk about the myth, “You must have a lot of patience to homeschool!”
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“You must have a lot of patience to homeschool!”
This phrase always makes me laugh! Oh, how many times I have heard this phrase over the past 9 years! And oh, how untrue it can be, too! Yes, I used to have quite a lot of patience…but then I married and had children and I’m not sure what happened to all of it. Perhaps it’s just that now I am around the same people 24/7 and tensions can mount.
No longer can I leave work and go home, or leave my shared accommodations and head out shopping, meet up with a friend, go to a movie, or even just out for a walk for some fresh air. These days, wherever I go, there are little people with me! I do occasionally now go to Belfast once a semester for a craft workshop, or to the library on a day that Phil’s home to watch the kids. But 99% of the time we’re all together in a 700’sq house.
Patience ebbs and flows, or so it seems when living near the sea. Yes, I know some people who appear so very patient at all times, even with faced with frustrations and chaos. But always remember that what we see isn’t always the way things may be when no one is around.
Teachers are often known for their patience, but then again…they’re being paid during school hours, and then the kids go home. Of course, many do stress and worry about some of those children and take those worries home with them, too, but I know from my private teaching years that having a change of classes or going home away from the classroom helps immensely.
I believe that the disagreements and annoyances we have would all still be there if our children went to school, as they’re part of growing up. Trying to encourage children that it’s time for learning, whether home ed or homework, happens to everyone from time to time. One difference is that when you homeschool, if a class truly isn’t working for your child, you have the freedom to back away and try something else to find a better fit, which helps to reduce the friction in that area. When children enjoy their classes and can see their progression, they are less likely to complain about them and more likely to complete their lessons.
A Different Perspective
What I’ve found is that more than having patience with my children, I need to have more patience with myself. I’m the one that gets the most frustrated with what doesn’t get done, and what I don’t have time to do. Even backing out of everything possible, I still didn’t have enough time in a day, a week, or a month. And my impatience with myself bubbles over to other areas.
Patience is a bit like a puzzle; sometimes you need to rearrange the missing pieces and look at them from a different angle in order to see what’s missing and how things can fit together. Take a step back and see what needs to be changed. Is it the schedule, the curricula (is it too difficult or not challenging enough), nutrition, alone time, personal space, family time to relax and have fun, or is it something else on the periphery?
We’ve changed our approach and now do 6 weeks of classes and then have a week off. It gives everyone a break and the kids can have some time to refresh and I have some time to catch up on things I didn’t have time to do when doing classes and correcting assignments, so we can all return refreshed.
All of us chose to have our children, and to bear the responsibilities that came with that. These change over time as our children grow, but ultimately, whether we send our children to school or home educate them ourselves, us, the parents are responsible for their learning.
Yes, having patience does help, but you don’t need to have it in spades. Having patience to homeschool takes some time and adjustment, and each family’s situation and personalities are different.