Many parents worry that homeschooling will not be a good fit for them because they lack the patience to educate their children at home. Parents wonder how they can teach their children everything they need to know while still maintaining their cool.
This may be especially true for large families, or for those who have children with special needs. How do you stay patient when life is chaotic and things don’t always go as planned? Here are six steps to help you maintain a peaceful composure when the stresses of homeschooling begin to build.
1. Plan Ahead
Not everyone is a planner, but in the homeschooling world, it’s a good idea to have some guidelines for your educational year. It isn’t necessary to plan every second of every day, but a general schedule will help you and your children.
Most children, especially younger ones, do better when they know what to expect from their day. Routines can be a very powerful tool because once they are established, children are much more likely to fall in line with the expectations of the day. They’ll be less likely to challenge you when they know what they have to accomplish each day.
2. Know Your Frustration Points
Everyone has something that pushes them to the boiling point. It’s a good idea to think about what drives you absolutely crazy! If there’s something in your day you can do to alleviate this frustration, definitely try!
You may find that you’re the type of person that can’t stand a messy home. If this is the case, make sure that you carve out a time in the day when you and the kids tidy up together. This will teach your children responsibility, and create a more relaxing atmosphere for you.
You may find that you’re not a morning person. Homeschooling gives you a lot of freedom, which means that you don’t have to follow a public school schedule. If waking up at 6 AM doesn’t work for your family, you can have a later start time.
On the other hand, you may find that you’re an early bird and you begin to drag in the afternoon. It may work better for you to have an early start, and have your evenings clear.
3. Know Your Child’s Frustration Points
Knowing what frustrates child off is just as important as understanding the things that frustrate you. When people start to run on high emotions the tendency is to feed off of each other. When you’re calm, it’s easier for your children to be calm. When they’re calm, it’s easier for you to be calm.
It would be impossible to avoid everything that might upset your children, but it’s helpful to limit the things that you know will cause them trouble. It’s a good idea to challenge your children in education, but if a particular concept becomes a battle, you can always set it aside and come back to it later.
You may find that your children have a very short attention span in the afternoon. This is common for children everywhere, whether they’re taught in private school, public school, or educated at home. You may find that a nap time is in order for very young children. For older kids or even teens, it might be helpful to have a restful time for reading or time alone. This gives everyone in the home a needed break from each other.
4. Be Flexible
Planning can be very helpful in avoiding frustrations, but it can be equally helpful to let go of plans when the need arises. Forcefully pushing through assignments and schedules may cause unnecessary burdens on you and your children.
If you and your children are in a rut, you may find that your day is better spent on a field trip. Getting out of the home can be very helpful for refreshing everyone and giving a new perspective.
This may also be true for your curriculum program. You may have acquired a curriculum program that has worked very well for lots of other families but just doesn’t work well for you. Or, you may find that you have to tweak a program here and there in order for it to function best for your family.
It’s perfectly okay to change or get rid of programs that don’t work for you and your family. Curriculum programs are made to help you, not hinder your progress.
5. Communicate With Your Kids and Partner
The truth is, not every day is going to be a win. You’re not going to wake up every day feeling passionate about educating. There are some days when you’re going to wake up in a really bad mood.
Don’t beat yourself about the days that are an extra struggle. This happens to all teachers everywhere. Keeping an open communication with your children and your partner is an excellent way of getting through the difficult days.
If you’re a family where one parent works and the other educates the children, it is important to ask your partner to give you some “off duty” time if possible. Let them know when you’ve reached your limit, and let them know the ways that they can help you.
It’s also important to discuss your feelings with your kids, and in turn, ask them about their own feelings. Teaching children to be able to discuss the things that make them mad, sad, or upset, is not only important for their emotional intelligence, but it can also help keep peace in your home. Teaching your children that you too have emotions and frustrations will help them think not only about themselves.
6. Understand You’ll Make Mistakes, and Reassess
Even if you do “all the right things” there will be days and moments when you find yourself frustrated and totally without patience. Unfortunately, this is a part of life no matter what situation you’re in.
Teaching children is a huge honor, but it’s also a huge challenge. Everyone in education shares this truth. Anyone who has raised, or is raising children, will say the same. There are no perfect parents in the world, and there are no perfect homeschooling parents, either.
Thankfully, we as parents have a tremendous capacity for growth. What you felt you could not accomplish in your first year of homeschooling will seem far more attainable in the following years.
Over the years, you and your child(ren) will learn how to work as a team. If something goes poorly, you’ll know for next time. If you or your child is having a bad day, you’ll know to change things up and restart. Or, you’ll find creative ways to help them reach their daily goals.
While you may not find that you’re perfectly patient every day, you will find that patience is a muscle that can be grown with practice.