The comments are flying fast and furious for this post over at Derfwad Manor, and no wonder. Mrs. G has written an eloquent piece on why she ended up homeschooling her 2 children, and people are falling all over themselves telling her either
A) thanks for putting that better than I could (that would be all her homeschooling readers)
B) you must be so patient to homeschool your kids (that would be the, um, uninitiated saying that, of course).
Last I checked, none of us has to pass an exam measuring how much patience we have with our children before we file that homeschooling paperwork. And it's a good thing, too.
Tell me, how many of you with children would have had the patience, BK (before kids), to put up with even a small percentage of what you tolerate on a daily basis now: the whining, the fighting, the mess, the poop? Almost none of you, I'm willing to bet. Yet here you are, doing it, and you haven't killed any of your offspring yet. Congratulations! We're all incredibly patient!
Of course, people think home schoolers need more patience than the average parent because they picture us sitting with the kids for hours and hours, going over worksheets and assignments. But most of us don't do that. Instead, we create an environment that encourages kids to read and to think (less screen time, more books); and we give them time to play and create (craft sticks, legos, you name it), mostly on their own or with each other. We make lots of homeschooling friends, too, and meet up with them at parks in the afternoon, or we arrange homeschooling drama clubs or tennis lessons. Believe me, you don't need a lot of extra patience to sit around and chat with other homeschooling moms while your kids are playing with their kids.
Oh, yeah, and we do make the kids do their math pages. Around here, that doesn't take patience; it takes chocolate. My children are easy to bribe.
People also think we need an extraordinary amount of patience because we are around our kids for more hours each day. It's true, there is only so much kid-parent interaction that any mere mortal needs/can take, no matter how much available time there is. So the homeschooling parent solves this problem of too much togetherness by saying "Go play" or "Go read" to his/her child when he/she has had enough; or the child sequesters himself behind a couch with a good book, because his mother has threatened to inflict household chores upon him if she hears his voice one more time before dinner. And you know what? We don't feel bad about that. We have no quality time worries, because the sheer quantity of time we have with our kids ensures that there will be a few minutes of quality per day in there.
Well, most days. The other days are simply hopeless.
Last but not least, outsiders think we need extra patience in order to settle sibling disagreements all day long. But I have a theory, based on observation of both my family and the families of schooled children. Siblings need to fight a certain amount of time each day. No matter what. So, if they've been at school all day, they will make up for lost time by starting in on each other as soon as they get home. In our family, we try to get all the sibling fights out of the way in the morning, so that we can have a peaceful afternoon. We're efficient, that way. Either way, though, the parent (homeschooling or not) suffers for approximately the same amount of time each day. I think that this is what is meant in Genesis by the words "...in pain you will bring forth children..." Believe me, I would rather go through labor than listen to my kids bicker on a rainy afternoon.
Homeschooling isn't perfect; but neither are any of the other educational choices for our children. So if you are going to spout nonsense about how I must be so patient with my children in order to home school (and, really, if you read this blog, you must know that's ridiculous), then I am going to praise you for how patient you are in dealing with the various people in the school bureaucracies, and with the PTA, and with all the gift wrap/chocolate/citrus sales you have to participate in.
Pick your poison, is what I say. Sometimes it's six of one, half a dozen of the other...