There are SO many times over the years when someone has found out that I homeschool and replied by saying, “I could never do that. I’m not patient enough to homeschool!”
Seriously. SO. MANY. TIMES.
And believe me, when my husband and I first considered homeschooling, I felt this same exact way.
I doubted my ability to stay calm and grounded day in and day out.
I was worried that my lack of patience would sabotage my ability to create a rich and rewarding educational experience for my kids.
What if I lost my cool?
Blew up in front of my kids?
Felt terrible and had to go back and apologize later?
I kept thinking…
I’m not patient enough to homeschool!
Well, guess what?
I DID lose my cool.
I DID blow up in front of my kids.
I DID feel terrible and had to go back and apologize later.
More than once.
Repeatedly, in fact!
Because in all honesty, I have NEVER considered myself an especially patient person.
Developing my patience is something I’ve tried hard to work on over the years.
I’m a work in progress, for sure!
But thinking back to those early years, just before we started homeschooling, I remember how much I doubted my abilities.
I was so worried that homeschooling would overwhelm me.
I was nervous that the responsibility combined with spending so much time with my children every day would turn me into an impatient basket case.
But I’ve learned two very important things throughout my homeschooling adventure.
First, having a lot of patience is NOT a necessary requirement for homeschooling.
Second, patience is something that can be developed and improved.
Let’s start at the beginning.
While this might be tough for you to believe, having a lot of patience is NOT a necessary requirement for homeschooling!
In fact, some of the most incredible homeschooling mamas I know are not naturally very patient.
But along with their lack of natural patience, they also have a variety of unique strengths and talents that they bring to their homeschooling.
One of these women is ridiculously creative. She paints, draws, writes, gardens, sews, cooks, and brings all kinds of creative energy to her boys.
Another is super organized and does an excellent job planning field trips and coordinating homeschooling gatherings.
And while you might think I’m nuts for suggesting this, I actually believe that there are benefits to our children seeing us lose our patience.
It’s important for our kids to see that we’re human and make mistakes.
This gives them permission to be human and make mistakes too.
They’re able to see what their natural tendencies are, including both strengths and weaknesses.
They have opportunities to develop skills and to improve in areas that challenge them.
They are able to recognize that every single person on earth makes mistakes.
It’s also good for our kids to recognize that our impatience is sometimes a direct result of them testing us or being disrespectful.
When our children are whining, talking back, or being disrespectful in some other way, it’s common to lose our patience.
When they don’t pick up after themselves, or finish their assignment, or pinch their brother, it’s easy to explode.
But I think it can be tremendously beneficial for our children to see us lose our patience over unacceptable behavior, so they have an opportunity to adjust their behavior accordingly.
We also have a beautiful opportunity to model apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
When we do lose our patience, we have the ability to apologize.
Believe me, I have apologized to my children countless times over the years.
And this has helped to establish a solid foundation of respect and trust.
It goes both ways.
My kids are also quick to apologize, once they recognize their behavior was not acceptable.
This is a beautiful opportunity for all family members to model apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
PLEASE don’t try and turn yourself inside out and into some preconceived idea of what you think the ideal homeschooling mom looks like!
Instead, focus on what YOU bring to your family!
There are steps you can take to develop and improve your patience.
I used to believe that a person was either patient or they weren’t.
End of story.
But I’ve learned over the years, that patience is a skill that can be developed and improved.
Like any other skill, it takes consistent practice, but increasing patience is absolutely doable!
Here are some helpful tips to increase your patience:
1. Acknowledge your struggle with patience
The first tip is to simply acknowledge your struggle.
Be honest with your kids too. Let them know that lots of people struggle with impatience and that this is something you struggle with too.
Sometimes just naming the struggle is half the battle.
2. Engage in consistent self-care
One of the toughest things to stay consistent with as a homeschooling mama is self-care.
It’s so hard!
But it’s also critical!
Because if you don’t get in the habit of caring for yourself, you WILL experience homeschooling burnout!
Ask me how I know!
So brainstorm ways that you can practice self-care.
How do you like to start your day?
Are you a coffee drinker? Tea?
Do you enjoy reading? Watching certain shows?
Do you need alone time to recharge or do you thrive in larger groups of people?
Do you need more water in your life?
How can you get consistent activity each day?
Are you interested in meditation? (Meditation has been a game-changer for me!)
Taking this time to engage in consistent self-care is going to improve your overall well-being and create more space for patience to grow.
3. Outsource when necessary
Don’t try to do it all when it comes to homeschooling!
This is a recipe for serious burnout!
Instead, consider outsourcing the subjects that you don’t enjoy or struggle with teaching.
Online classes, tutoring, in-person classes, homeschool co-ops, and trading off teaching with other homeschooling families are all feasible ways to lighten your load.
Are there ways to lighten your load when it comes to making meals, cleaning the house, and running errands?
Can your partner help take some things off your plate too?
Outsourcing will help tremendously, I promise!
4. Find a support system and community
Having support with homeschooling is critical for long term success.
It really is!
If you don’t already have a local homeschooling co-op, group of friends, or another related group, I recommend you go online.
Start by doing a search using trusty old Google and see what comes up in your area.
If you’re having trouble finding a solid support system or community, your people are likely online.
Isn’t this great news!?!
While finding solid in-person homeschooling support can feel tough sometimes, the internet is bursting with interesting and engaged homeschoolers.
You just need to do a bit of searching and between blogs, Pinterest, and social media, you WILL find your people!
So start looking around for a support system and community!
5. Cultivate a growth mindset together with your children
First, what the heck is growth mindset!?!
This term was created by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. who is one of the leading psychologists and teachers covering achievement and success.
In a nutshell, a growth mindset is the belief that basic abilities can be developed through consistent hard work and dedication.
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, believes that basic intelligence and talents cannot be improved significantly.
A growth mindset creates a love of learning. It nurtures a resilience that is essential in order to achieve great success.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth?
This book is all about how the most successful people are not those who are talented and lucky, but those who learn how to work hard, demonstrate grit and determination and refuse to give up.
And as someone who has been homeschooling for nearly a decade, let me tell you, homeschooling is all about having a growth mindset!
Not only does this include academic subjects, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and connection, but it also includes our own personal development.
And guess what quality is included here?
So cultivate a growth mindset together with your children and reap the rewards!
I hope I’ve been able to reassure you, (at least a little!) that you can still homeschool successfully even if you don’t think you have the patience to homeschool.
I promise you, having a lot of patience is NOT a necessary requirement for homeschooling! And remember, patience is something that can absolutely be developed and improved!
Also, be sure to check out the other posts in this series:
I’m Not Creative Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Not Smart Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Not Brave Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Too Exhausted to Homeschool!
And if you have any other specific homeschooling-related insecurities, let me know in the comments below!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your perspective on this topic! That is the most common response I have gotten when I tell people we have decided to homeschool. I’ve heard it so much that I’ve started to believe I’M not patient enough because I do lose my cool occasionally and we only started in January. I needed this so THANK YOU again for putting some encouragement back in.
Sarah Takehara says
Grayson, it makes me SO happy that you’ve found encouragement from this post! Along with frequently hearing “I’m not patient enough to homeschool!” I’ve also heard “I’m not organized enough…” and “I’m not smart enough…” which makes me think I need to address these feelings more in future blog posts! Here’s to losing our cool, making mistakes, apologizing, and living this wild and beautiful homeschooling adventure with our children! Wishing you all the best in the months to come.