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.