Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patience Is a Virtue...Yeah, Yeah, I Know.

A pet peeve among homeschoolers is when they hear "I thought about homeschooling, but I just don't have the patience." As if to imply we must be sainted (or out of our minds). If anything, homeschool shows us how NOT sainted we are. And if I had a dollar for every time I've heard this, I'd be well on my way to compensating for that second income we don't have because I'm homeschooling. Homeschoolers aren't sainted...there is NOTHING special about us, really, other than a vague hope that our massive faults and little foibles will do less damage to our kids than whichever fault in the educational system has managed to convice us that our kids are better off at home.

Sometimes what cracks me up about this is that I think I hear this from school teachers who spend their days teaching 35 kids at a time that belong to other people, but know enough about themselves to realize that they would lose their patience with their own kids. I respect that honesty. We are more emotionally invested in our kids...and our kids know right where our buttons are as well.

But here's the thing. Homeschooling moms are not professional teachers. We don't need to be. When you are dealing with just a few kids, a few kids that you know intimately, it is easy to figure out what they know, what they don't, and most of the time, it is easy to figure out the best way they will learn it (sometimes it is a challenge). Teaching 35 kids at a time requires a completely different set of skills than teaching a couple of kids, especially your own kids.

And in relation to that...since I am not a professional teacher, I am not paid to teach other people's children according to a set guideline of behaviors and ethics. I am a mom. And moms get a lot more leeway than teachers because our kids know we love them. We are allowed to have bad days, teachers aren't (though they do....they even have bad YEARS...and that could be the year your kid was in their class. I'm related to several teachers that will vouch for this...but probably won't talk about it to the parents of their charges). We are allowed to decide to do something else entirely when we don't have the patience to tackle long division that day for the fifth time (teachers aren't. And they also don't have the luxury to stay there until the students all get it either, I do...and I have the liberty to decide now may not be the right time to learn it, and come back to it in a month or a year). And we are allowed to get angry and lose our tempers, because on the other side of that, we have the fact that our kids know that we love them. In fact, we often lose our tempers with them BECAUSE we love them.

In fact, I'd say I was a heck of a lot more patient when my kids were younger. I honestly would say that I don't have enough patience to do this either. My kids probably have more patience with me a lot of the time than I do with them. I'd be oblivious to half the sinner that I am if I could send my kids away for half the day and I would have many more delusions about my competency and capabilities. Homeschooling is definitely humbling. But love is what is really required. And I got that.


Sherri said...

Yeah, I get the "I don't have enough patience" line a lot too. I'm actually a lot more patient with my kids now than when they were younger. I get more relaxed year by year. It's other life situations that cause me to be impatient, like waiting two hours to get my driver's license renewed this morning.

Cheryl said...

The line that I seem to hear most often is "You must be so organized."

I guess I am more organized than most. But that is in other areas of my life. I'm sorry to say that my organized self seems to have taken a holiday when it comes to homeschooling. Not only that, I'm not nearly as organized as I used to be. Who has time? Especially when the blogosphere awaits.

allisaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
allisaw said...

I am neither patient nor organized.

Then my daughter had five teachers in one year at the local public school. I kind of figured, I'm more patient and organized than they are.