Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
(I Corinthians 13:4-5)
There are a lot of things about home school that STRESS ME OUT. I have five kids ages 3 years to 10 years. I have to plan out lessons for 4 of them each week. Each one has a different way of seeing, understanding, and retaining information. The lesson plans have to accommodate those differences….or nothing is learned!
One of the things that can stress me out most is how to fit everything into my day – church commitments (not just on Sundays!), housework, meals, running errands, school work, supporting my husband with his school work (which means doing a few more things around the house to make it easier for him to focus), and getting the kids outside so we don’t all go crazy! I tend to plan way too much for each day, expecting perfection in attitudes and responses so that all of it can be done. It NEVER happens that way, in case you were wondering. 😉
In order to try and fit all these things in, I may or may not be rude and impatient with my kids. I hurry them along through every task – chores, schoolwork, readings, getting out the door. When the plans written in my planner are falling apart, I find it easier to grouch at the kids….like it is their fault or something. I always regret it afterward, but for some reason I find it easy to default to grouch when things don’t get done.
I am learning, this school year, the beauty in patience. Patience with failed plans. Patience with less-than-perfect children. Patience with myself when I just cannot keep up with my ridiculously long To Do lists. If I can be more in the habit of being patient, the days are much more enjoyable. I may not get everything done on the list, but I get to notice things I am unable to see when I am in “go” mode. I get to see my kids holding hands while we go on our nature walks (totally on their own, without me suggesting it). I am able to really see Ethan figure things out just by looking at his facial expressions. (He and I watched a video of a snail eating a mushroom, and it was amazing to see him taking it all in. His eyes lit up as the little snail munched, and he stumbled over what words to use in order to share his excitement. Would have totally missed it had I still been in my grouchy, pushy moment.) I get to ENJOY our time together.
I have heard from several moms that wish they could stay home. Moms that would love to school their kiddos at home. But they can’t; whether it is finances or job instability or whatever, they aren’t able to live their dream of being home. And here I am missing moments with my kids because I did not get to check off “scrub bathroom floors” from my daily list!
Today, I had planned to do the majority of our school readings and group time then head to the library to drop off and pick up. Then I remembered I had a package to mail. I felt myself getting flustered with MORE to put on my list for the day, but I was able to stop and remind myself that whatever we do today we get to do together. I changed up the day’s flow and we ended up going to the post office first, then we made a quick stop at the library before heading down a little sidewalk to the river. We spent about 45 minutes walking the little river walk and checking out seashells. I brought a little snack with, and we ate as we walked. Ethan WILLINGLY held my hand, and even let me hold him long enough to see two ducks snuggling on a rock together in the river. When we got to a good stopping place, the kids threw rocks in, searched for seashells and even found some dead river life (crayfish and small fish that washed up onto the rocks). I didn’t prod them to make an educational notes or do a drawing or discuss any life cycles. We just kind of hung out and enjoyed the river.
Sure, Ethan ended up with muddy legs, and I almost fell in trying to help a fish that got stuck in the shallow area….but it was just fun to be with them. I don’t always feel that way. Like I said, I am usually rushing everyone everywhere. Even if there is no real reason to rush, I just do. Like if we slow down, someone will act up and the day will be ruined! haha!
So, there is beauty (A LOT of beauty) in patience. Things typically unnoticed really get the spotlight. Relationships are strengthened. Moms realize the kids are pretty fun to be with during events that have the possibility of being chaotic. Kids realize Mom isn’t always a meanie. 😉
I am so thankful for homeschooling. I am thankful for the curriculum we have settled on. It was definitely God who brought us to it, and I am so happy we jumped all in with it this year. Even with what seems like more subjects than we were used to (definitely more reading aloud!), there is much more excitement with it and a peace to the day. Of course, we still end up with those crazy days where really nothing gets done because of bad attitudes. BUT, we are learning together how to avoid them and let go of expectations.
And I am learning the beauty in patience.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.