I don’t have the patience to home educate either

Without doubt the most common reaction people have to my saying that we home educate is that they wouldn’t have the patience. I want to write this post, not to convince people to home educate, but to say to those who want to, yet genuinely feel that they don’t have the patience, that that’s ok.
I don’t have the patience to home educate either. 
Sometimes I joke that my day is split 50% shouting at my kids and the other 50% apologising and seeking their forgiveness for shouting. Whilst this is (mostly) an exaggeration, I want you to know that home educating mums are not some rare breed of patient saints – at least not this one. As I’ve spent time reflecting on this one massive obstacle people seem to have, I’ve come to a few conclusions.
1. Home educating is not like doing homework
Lots of parents refer to their time doing homework with their children as truly stressful and they worry that they simply couldn’t do that all day. Here’s the thing – you don’t. You’re not trying to get your child to do something they don’t want to do after a whole day of school. You’re learning together, at a time that suits you both best, at a pace that suits you both best, in a style that suits you both best. This looks very different in different home educating families, but a commonality that many of us share is that we are most definitely not just doing school at home. It doesn’t have to be anything like homework. Please don’t assume you can’t home educate because doing home work tests your patience (and that of your child!).
2. Impatience is a sin, and we repent of sin
Period. Patience is a character trait that is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God is slow to anger, and as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and we walk the process of sanctification and transformation to Christlikeness, we should see an outworking of patience in our lives. In the meantime, using our sin as an excuse to not do something is, in itself, sin. We are to repent of our sin, not simply accept it and use it as an excuse not to do something we think God might be calling us to do.
3. Behold your God, not yourself
When God tells Moses to go and free the Israelites, Moses list a whole host of reasons why he can’t. But God’s response is to turn Moses’ attention away from himself and towards God. He doesn’t enter into debate with Moses about Moses’ protests. He affirms who He is, what He has done, what He will do. Who Moses is is largely irrelevant. What’s important is who God is.  Moses’ mistake is to look at himself, instead of at God.  Do we really think our impatience is greater than God and who He is? Behold your God, not yourself.
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5 thoughts on “I don’t have the patience to home educate either

  1. Interesting. Where do you see the role of human limitations in relation to this topic? My mental health crash of a few years back was in significant part due to working outside of my human limitations — although clearly that wasn’t in a parenting context. Would you agree that not all parents have the mental/emotional resilience to take on this kind home educating role?

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  2. You’ve gotten me thinking! 😊 Is your final point related to the idea that “God equips those he calls”? Do you feel like you’ve been specifically called to home educate? Or are you referring to going into battle with sin? i.e. a battle we’re all called to.

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    1. Hi Charissa 🙂 I absolutely agree that we need to be mindful of our human limitations – not least because they remind us that we are indeed humans and dependent upon God! And if we consistently work outside of these then we run the risk of damaging our health, both physically and mentally. That being said, alongside being wise and self aware, we do, as you point out, need to remember that God will equip those he calls. So, for us, this works itself out in that we have questioned our decision to home educate because I struggle with depression and anxiety. However, we are confident that home educating our children is God’s will for us, so we know he will see us through. Yet we are very careful about what else I take on and work to make sure I take good care of myself. I don’t think there’s one answer, apart from each person has to work out each situation with God.
      I think, though, that being aware of our human limitations and being wise to the way God made us is different from consciously allowing our sin to determine what we do. Mental health is not a sin, but being quick to anger is (though obviously there can be a very complex interplay between the two, which can, for me anyway, lead to me using my depression and anxiety to facilitate and excuse my impatience). I think it’s quite different to say ‘I have a number of health problems and so couldn’t home educate’ than ‘I’m not patient and so couldn’t home educate’.
      In terms of calling, I do think I am called to home educate (though as an outworking as part of a more general calling about how to raise the boys), and I think I was hoping to give some reassurance to those who might want to home educate but are worried about being impatient. But I think it does fall into the larger calling of doing battle with our sin xxx

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      1. Do you think that “I wouldn’t have the patience” could sometimes be code for “I wouldn’t have the resilience?” or “I don’t feel that would fit the kind of person that God has made me?”

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