The Gifts of Patience
We homeschoolers rode a wave of weird excitement earlier this year as everyone suddenly lost a grip on the status quo and frantically looked around for other options. All of a sudden, homeschool didn’t seem so out there. With normalcy out the window, alternative school choices have had their 15 minutes of fame. With this excitement came opportunities to share all of the wonderful things about teaching your kids at home. Freedom, Family, Time, Yay!
In the same way you don’t tell newlyweds about the real tribulations of married life, it wasn’t the time to tell all our zealous newcomers about the hard reality of it all. But y’all, make no mistake about it, homeschooling is hard. Just like anything worth anything, it is a struggle and a climb. That does not take away from what a wonderful choice it is when it’s right for your family! The gifts of the experience are many, but it is hard, and it requires loads of patience to see it through.
Patience. It’s a hallmark of the homeschool experience. Really, there is almost no instant gratification involved. From those first steps toward the discipline of independent work, to climbing the mountain of reading and math skills, there are many days that appear fruitless before you see the blossom of your time and work appear in your child. This year, for all of us, adults and children alike, has required more patience than anyone anticipated.
True patience isn’t the same as waiting. Waiting can mean you know when the end is coming, but you’re just not there yet. Patience runs a little deeper. It requires you to function in a place of unknowing. To work solely within the present and to trust. Almost every major religion and philosophy for living gives great value to the virtue of patience, and to consider its practice a noble trait.
I don’t know about you, but I always need more patience. More patience to sit and explain something to a child. More patience when they try something for themselves and make a mess. More patience with my husband when he can’t understand the 30 things I’m trying to tell him with a single facial expression.
I’m coming up on another round of adventures in postpartum living pretty soon, and when I think back to my first baby, I know I am supposed to rest, but I also long to feel normal. No one really gives you a clear answer on when and how that is going to happen. So you get up, put tiny jeans on your newborn, and try and move it all along. And then often, you crash. I have found the best remedy for this is — you guessed it — patience. That means sinking into the feeling that things aren’t yet where you want them to be, but having faith that with time, things will heal.
I think that is where many of us are left this year, especially when it comes to our kids and their education. We have pivoted and pivoted again. We have juggled and balanced and held it together the best we can. All without really knowing what will grow and how long it will take. Yet, even though we can’t see it now, growth there will be, and the fruit of your hard work and devotion to your children’s success will eventually come to bear. We all just need a little patience. And to 2021, here’s hoping.