Guest post by Angie McFarren – Angie is a former homeschool mom of two high school graduates. One of her children went on to college and graduated Cum laude in three years. When she isn’t doing the social media posting for See the Light, she is serving as a church secretary.
As I said in last week’s post, moms need many tools to have a full-functioning homeschool such as paper, pencils, books, and so forth. The four essential tools I will talk about are unseen and far more important than school supplies. The Homeschool Essentials: Four Tools Every Homeschool Mom Needs will come to you in four parts.
Essential Tool #2 – Patience
How many times have you heard yourself say the following words?
Don’t do that.
Why have you not…?
I found myself saying those words all too often when my children lived at home. I was trying to calm my spirit, but it was a struggle at times.
Homeschool moms deal with many things during the day. Some of these include taking care of household tasks; handling discipline issues; teaching our children, driving to and from activities, and the list continues. All while doing these, we are to have a gentle spirit and be a positive example for our family and others. Well… it is easier said than done.
Imagine this scenario:
Your day starts out great. You have had prayer time. A smile is on your face. You hear your husband and children laughing and it warms your heart. School begins earlier than usual and the children are more agreeable than yesterday about their studies. Your tasks for the day are light and you just might be able to finish that project that has been sitting in the living room for weeks. All is great until…
You give your older children instructions so you can work with your youngest child. Your youngest son begins reading to you and struggles over words you have worked on for weeks. That is okay. You and your child work through it. Next, you check for reading comprehension. You hear the words, “I don’t know.” Sigh. You decide it is best to try again later. In the meantime, you give him instructions for the next subject.
You move on to help your middle child with science. You find her doing an experiment. You are so pleased she took the initiative to begin without you and both of you are happy the science experiment was a success. Oh no, you just noticed the awful mess she made with her science experiment. You had the area looking so nice before school began. You let her know it is important for her to take responsibility and she must clean up after herself. You walk away as the hair on the back of your neck begins to bristle.
Your oldest child needs help with his geometry. Just the thought of it makes you tense. The whole purpose of purchasing that DVD math course is so you would not have to remember how to use the Pythagorean Theorem. You take a deep breath, as you look through the teacher’s manual to decipher the lesson. Your eyes glaze over and you are developing a headache. Both you and your child decide it is best to wait for Dad to help.
Now you realize your youngest child is very quiet, which is unusual for him. You find him lying on the couch. You hear yourself say, “Don’t do that. You know what I said earlier.” The child uses a whiny tone when responding to your questions. You walk away gritting your teeth.
Your daughter is now working on a messy art project. You feel your shoulders become tense and your head is pounding, as you try to remind yourself she is a hands-on child and needs to “experience” her learning. Your temper flairs when you enter the next room to find she did not clean up her mess from the science experiment. You say, “Why have you not cleaned up your mess? Hurry up and do it!”
Next, you find your oldest child staring at the computer. You say, “Aren’t you done with your math yet!” He is distraught because he downloaded a virus. You are now beyond frustrated while talking to the computer, saying “Come on!”
Can you relate to that scenario? Did you notice all those words were said?
We homeschool moms need to exhibit another type of patience. We must be patient when our children are not learning as fast as we would like. We can easily add more subjects and activities to our children’s schooling than they can handle. This may be because we want to prove to those who disagree with homeschooling that our children are well educated and socialized.
If you begin to hear your children impatiently saying, “I am trying” or “I am doing the best I can,” it is a warning signal. Quickly determine what the issue is. Is it because of poor time management on their part? Are the subjects too hard? Is it because they have too many subjects or activities? On the other hand, are you expecting too much? Whatever the cause is, slow down and eliminate what is unnecessary. Remember children need time to learn. It is much better for children to learn for mastering rather than for us to impress others.
This second post of the Homeschool Essentials: Four Tools Every Homeschool Mom Needs series is not only for you; it is for me as well.