September 25, 2012

Homeschooling-A Practice in Flexibility

 The most frequent response I hear when people find out we homeschool is: "Oh I could never do that. I don't have the patience for it."  I have often been baffled by this sentiment.  I wasn't aware that patience was a requirement of homeschooling.  Looking back, I realize that the patience factor didn't really play into my decision because I made the decision when my oldest was my only and was only two.  Back then I had tons of patience.  If I had all three of my children and was debating homeschooling, I suppose I would be worried about my patience.

In general, the patience thing hasn't been much of an issue for me yet *knock on wood*  Patient has never been a word that would accurately describe me, but I seem to have enough to make it through each week without pulling my hair out.  Barely.  But to me, dealing with multiple toddlers requires a thousand times more patience than trying to get a 1st grader through his lessons.  School doesn't require much patience (yet), it's fun, it's exciting, it's quality time together.  But dealing with toddler messes, tantrums, and wall art is not what I consider fun.

The sneaky trait that I didn't realize I would need is flexibility.  When reading homeschool books or blogs, I'd read about these glorious days of learning and fun and adventure.  Then I started hearing rumors that not all days would be like that. *That* was concerning to me.  I even spent some time floating in the river denial, thinking that I could be the exception and that I could make each day perfect.

I'm glad I've had the opportunity to test the waters these past three years.  They have definitely taught me to be more flexible.  It's hard to plan a school year when each day is so different based on the length of the toddler's nap, how much sleep you got the night before, the 3 year old's willingness to not be destructive, the ebb and flow of a 6 year old's mental capacity.  What I long for is consistency and I'm pretty sure I won't be getting it any time soon.  That's ok, I'm learning and growing in my ability to go with the flow.

It took me a long time to find the schedule and organization system that is working for us now.  There were so many tweaks along the way that my system doesn't really resemble what it started out as.  I'm sure the future holds many, many more adjustments as the children grow and their needs change.

Right now we're in the midst of adjusting to my daughter moving from two naps to one.  Sometimes the second nap happens, sometimes it happens at 530pm, sometimes she's quiet for half an hour before she starts crying.  Knowing how much time we have for school is virtually impossible.  We are also in the midst of a radical change in my husband's work schedule.  It is somewhat frustrating, but I know it's only a short season before we find our new normal.  I'm sure *that* season will be short before we are interrupted again.

I would like to leave with these words from Morgan Freeman's character in Evan Almighty, "Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

I think about the sentiment behind this quote often.  I don't homeschool because I have super powers of patience or flexibility.  But homeschooling does give me ample opportunity to practice.  As we all know, practice comes with many failures and many mistakes before you get better.  My hope in this journey is that, in the long run, I am able to move beyond these failings and have come out a better person.

Megan is the mother of three adorable children: Pigby (boy, age 6), Digby (boy, age 3), and Chuck (girl, age 1). 

6 comments - Add a comment below -:

Michelle said...

Really great post. I'm going to be linking back on Thursday with the Evan Almighty quote!

Eve | Inchworm Chronicles said...

Fantastic post!

You really captured that illusive (illusion? ;-) virtue of perfectly patient homeschool mothers well...I feel very similarly. I tell others, when I get the "you must be so patient" line, that I am more patient *because* we homeschool, not the other way round.

Your version of flexibility sounds exactly what we have around here. My husband's work schedule changes daily, sometimes hourly, and I can so identify with naps and kids' needs dictating a lot of what is possible for homeschooling during the day.

(I still have my floaties set aside for my dips in the river denial, though, because I still hold out some hope I can make everyday perfect and fun LOL...I guess that's what I live for, because those perfect days do happen every once in a blue moon, leaving me hoping for another....)

Thanks for such fun reading.

Len said...

Thank you, your post made me laugh! When someone says "oh, I couldn't do that, I don't have the patience." I tend to think I don't have the patience to send my kids to public school. As for patience to homeschool I think it requires as much patience as being a parent requires. Some days I have more than others!! We wouldn't trade homeschooling for the world. We don't have the time constraints like public school families, we just do what needs to be done and enjoy our time together!

JRoberts said...

Wish there was a "love" option above because I love this. :)

Megan said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words!

arjunseo123 said...

I totaly agree with your discription of homeschool very well sayed by you!