One of the comments I hear a lot from non-homeschoolers is “I couldn’t homeschool. I don’t have the patience.”
This is one comment that actually makes me really cross. I took a look at the definition of patience.
The bearing of provocation,annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like..
I suppose it is good that the implication is that I am some kind of homeschool supermom that can tolerate or accept things more than the average Mom. It is possibly a compliment (although the way they say it usually makes me think they believe I am on tranquilizers!).
I think what makes me cross is the assumption that spending all day with my children must involve ‘provocation,annoyance, misfortune, or pain’. If that was true then I probably wouldn’t want to do it either. Is that what people really think spending time with their children is like?
Ok, ok! I know sometimes it isn’t always easy to spend time with kids. That sometimes patience IS involved. For the whole family. But I have learnt that patience is a choice. It is something that you choose to do – or not do. Something that gets better with practice.
I was pretty impatient when I started homeschooling. Things bugged me! But part of homeschooling is that the whole family has to learn to get along together. I realized that I was going to have to give my kids some slack. Trying to control everything just made me stressy and unhappy.
So I consciously made an effort to be more patient – and an amazing thing happened. As I changed and relaxed, the things that were causing me to be impatient disappeared. The children co-operated more. There were less arguments and stand-offs. My attitude had a wonderful impact on my children that meant my patience was tested less and less. And really, what better example could I set my children than to see me trying to improve my character and be a nicer person.
If you are finding patience (or the lack of it!!) a problem in your homeschooling, then here are a few tips I picked up from my fabulously calm and relaxed friend –
- Give 10 minute warnings. Don’t just surprise your child with a ‘come on, let’s go’. It usually leads to temper tantrums! Give them a warning that in 10 minutes you are going to have to go shopping/clear up/put them to bed. It gives them time to withdraw from whatever is holding their attention so you can smoothly move to the next thing.
- Ask yourself if it really matters. Does it really matter if you don’t get to the park for another 5 minutes? Does it really matter if your child won’t wear her coat. Then – try to let go of at least one situation a day where the answer is no. If it really doesn’t matter that much then allow yourself to be a bit more flexible.
- Be more playful. One thing I found useful when my daughter asked for something impossible was to say “Hey, I wish you could have another ice cream too. If I had a magic wand I would wish one for you right now instead of us having to wait until we go to the store to buy some. What would you wish for?”