I’ve met a lot of moms who say they’re interested in homeschooling but don’t think they’re patient enough. It’s the number one “excuse” I hear from people on why they don’t homeschool.
If it’s not for your family, that’s great! You know what works for you. But if the feeling of needing patience perfection is holding you back, know that I don’t have enough patience either!
Aimee Smith is a homeschool speaker and author. Her first book was published last month. If you’re interested you can find it here. Aimee has been kind enough to share her thoughts on homeschooling and patience. If you’re interested in checking out her website you can find her at aimeesmith.com.
“I’m not patient enough to homeschool,” says the public school mom to the homeschool mom she meets at the zoo.
“I’m not patient enough to homeschool,” says the private school mom to the mom on the sidelines of the sports field.
“I’m not patient enough to homeschool,” says the mom who secretly wants to homeschool but doesn’t think she can.
“I’m not patient enough to homeschool,” says the struggling homeschool mom to herself.
“Me either!” says the homeschool mom who everyone else thinks has it all together.
As a homeschool mom of eleven years, I often wonder why I receive this response so frequently when I tell someone what I do. At times, I have responded with a blank stare because I cannot fathom how others assume I’m so patient. I know the truth of my heart and my homeschool, so I just couldn’t think of how to reply.
Why do others think we, the homeschool moms, are so patient?
A major assumption of that other mom is hidden within the comment I’m not patient enough, but the focus is more on the one asking. Rather than belittling yourself in comparison to the mom you think is so patient, try asking her for the truth. You’ll find she’s really not so different from you.
When did patience become a prerequisite for being a homeschool mom?
Rather than assuming patience is required for homeschooling, remember a fundamental truth of parenting. We don’t arrive at perfect character before becoming a parent. Instead, parenting reveals how much growth we need. It’s the same with homeschooling. Character is developed through it, not before it.
How can we all find help in our struggle with impatience?
Impatience is an area of common struggle, especially in our fast-paced, activity-filled, instant gratification culture. With the constant demands of parenthood, we would be wise to expect the struggle of impatience. A few reminders will help us all, regardless of the type of education we choose.
1. Parenting is hard. It’s hard regardless of our family’s education path, and impatience is a common struggle. Homeschool, public school, private school, hybrid school. . . it will all be hard. But it’s the hard areas of life that provide opportunities to grow.
2. Perfection is not the goal of motherhood. And we all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Would you have wanted to live with a perfect mom? Neither does your child. Your child needs you to love them, understand what it’s like to mess up, and offer grace in the failures.
3. Comparison will help no one. When a mom says, “I’m not patient enough to homeschool,” the assumption is more about herself than the other mom. Why do we tend to criticize ourselves so quickly? Let’s choose to focus on our own strengths as well as one another’s strengths.
4. The moments after matter. When you lose your patience, you have a beautiful opportunity. This is the moment to model saying I’m sorry to your child. This is the moment to model humility and reconciliation. This is the moment to teach your child how to deal with real-life relationships.
5. We can all grow in patience. The sigh of “I’m not patient enough” implies we want to be more patient. Don’t accept this is just how you are. Make a decision and take practical steps toward change. It might be two steps forward, one step back, but that’s still progress forward.
Choose a few practical steps to prevent situations that quickly kill your patience. Count to ten before responding. Anticipate the unexpected. Create margin in your schedule. Leave early. Expect your child to misbehave.
If you do homeschool, the same principles apply. Count to ten before responding when you child pitches a fit over the math lesson. Anticipate the unexpected spills, screams, and squabbles during your expertly planned agenda. Create margin by allowing half an hour for the fifteen minute lesson. Leave early because walking ten yards to the car can take twenty minutes. Expect your child to misbehave because that’s what children do.
Public, private, homeschool, and any other type of moms, we’re not that different from one another. Patience is not a prerequisite for being a mom or a homeschooler. As we walk through the daily struggles, we can all choose practical steps toward patience.
If you’re considering homeschooling, lack of patience does not disqualify you. If you’re already homeschooling and impatience creeps in, remember you’re not the only one. If you’re comparing yourself to others, recognize we’re not so different from one another.
I finally learned how to respond in that awkward moment someone assumes I am oh-so patient just because I homeschool: “Me either!” But I’m slowly learning, and you can, too.
Abby is a Writer, Wife and Homeschooling Mama to 3. She lives in Springville, AL with her Family.