It's that time of year again when school of every kind begins and the flow of conversation is often directed by questions such as: "Where do your kids go to school?" and "What grade are they in?" With my family, the question quickly becomes: "You homeschool? How do you do it?" And then, the tag line...
"I could never do it. I'm not a patient person."
I heard this phrase so many times last year that I finally wrote a blog post about it. I wrote:
The working woman who believes she is "not patient" enough to teach her children is patient enough to refrain from screaming at, attacking, or otherwise acting inappropriately toward a chronically irritating boss, co-worker or client. She chooses to control her actions in order to maintain a decent and peaceful working environment (and to avoid being fired or arrested). If she's a Christian, she does it to be a credible witness and primarily, to love others for Jesus' sake. Is it true that nature has robbed her of the same measure of control with her children? (More here)
Patience is a virtue, a choice, and is cultivated through a tremendous amount of hard work. We do not homeschool because we have already attained perfection, but because this is our road to perfection. One of the biggest disservices that professional educators provide is to give the deliberate impression of being the intellectual and behavioral elite. We think that we cannot do what they do even though we do many things in life just as challenging or more so. Educating is a discipline not magic. No one is so patient that she doesn't need constant prayer and work and grace to persevere.
I have written in the past about other objections to homeschooling. Most are overcome simply by applying our intelligence and will to problem solving or becoming educated in the unknown. Doing research, talking to homeschoolers and spending time discerning in prayer are all ways to combat the primary obstacle, which I think is simply fear.
It is not my intention to try and convince every person to homeschool; simply to point out that if a person truly wants to homeschool, most objections are not as big as they think they are. Many moms and dads who raise these objections simply do not want to educate at home. But that is quite a different thing from struggling with one's actual limitations.
Sweet Jesus, I recognize that my heart is burdened by fear. I have become enslaved by it and see that I have failed to love and trust you under the burden of that weight. I beg you to grant me the desire and ability to love you freely, without fear, so that I may always pursue the perfection of Your holy will. Grant me courage to walk through trials, give myself over to my vocation and live a life of sacrificial love. Thank you, Jesus.