Cultivate this One Thing

My single best piece of advice? For homeschooling? For parenting? For working with 2e kids?

Cultivate patience.

In this marathon called homeschooling, there are no quick fixes. Across the board, in every aspect of your life, things will be made easier by your patience. What follows are two lists: a list of the places where you'll need patience, and a list of practices for how to cultivate it.

 

Places in Homeschooling Life that Require Patience

Be Patient with Homeschooling

If you are new to homeschooling, for whatever reason, don't expect all the problems to be solved right away. It took several months for my seven year old son to be ready to try my ideas of what activities we should be doing as homeschoolers and almost an entire year to reemerge as the dynamic and curious child he had once been. This is why you may have heard the term "de-schooling."

"De-schooling" is the process of shedding old habits instilled because of a public or private school system. Very little looks like school learning during this time. It is relaxed and personal. It is a slow and steady process, at the end of which is a beautiful life of freedom, learning, and laughter. You know when de-schooling is over when parent and child have renewed curiosity. Together, you develop your own rhythms of learning. You set goals, find resources, meet friends.

The rule of thumb is to expect one month of de-schooling per year of public school. For us, it was much longer. Be patient. You'll find your way.

Be Patient with Yourself

Homeschooling is a marathon. If a morning, day, week, or month isn't shaping up the way you thought it would then take notice of it. Be patient with yourself and your goals. You can meet your goals, it just might take a little longer than you expected.

Be patient with yourself when you lose your patience! It will happen from time to time. But you'll be grounded again after a good cry, five minutes of uninterrupted quiet time, or a walk around the block.

Be Patient with Your Child

Not being tied to the government's timetable for educational milestones is one of the most liberating things about homeschooling a special needs child. Your six year old can work on fifth grade math. Your nine year old can begin learning to read and write. Children can and will learn everything they need to learn in due time. It might feel asynchronous, mis-timed, early, or late and that's all OK. There's no rush. Take your time.

Be Patient with Your Community

Finding or building a local community takes time. Be patient and persistent and trust your gut.

 

"That's all well and good," you say. "But how?"

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How to Cultivate Patience

These are a few ways I cultivate patience.

Simplify Your Life

  • Don't overschedule.
  • Even on busy days leave plenty of space in your schedule.
  • Every day set simple, achievable goals.
  • Enlist your children to help make and execute plans.

By keeping things simple, you can be patient with your children when they need help getting dressed, finishing their project, or whatever. If you don't have to rush to get here and there and everywhere (physically or virtually) then you will likely also have patience for little sidetracks along the way.

We have daily and weekly routines that we lean on.

  • Daily routine anchored by meals and appointments.
  • Weekly routine rhythm alternating between adventure and stay-at-home days

Part of homeschooling is learning to use your time wisely. Do you need a rest every afternoon? Take a rest! Do you itch to get out and connect with people? Plan for it. Whatever it is, find and honor your rhythm. If everything is usually flowing, you'll have plenty of patience for when you hit a bump in the road.

Feeling under the weather? Maybe you or your child is fighting a cold? Then take it easy! Read a book and call it a day. If you don't try to do more than you have energy for then you won't run out of patience.

If something doesn't go the way you would have liked, that's OK. Own it. Ask yourself, "what happened today that got me to the point of having lost it?" and "What did I learn about my needs?" Life is a long game. Just try to do better next time.

When things are grooving, make a point to notice how good it is! Then you can hold on to that memory when things are going sideways. You'll have the confidence of the memory of that one time when you showed tremendous patience! One time, then another time, and another time after that. That is how you will cultivate patience...and the more you cultivate patience, the more you'll have.

 

No one should toil over worksheets so I wrote the guide for learning math from everyday life...because when the world is your classroom you are free to learn math that matters.

 

 

 

 

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