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I Don't Have the Patience

I wish I had a dollar for every parent who's told me they could never homeschool because they don't have the patience. I could buy something really nice... Where does this belief come from?

Many young parents are very busy people. When they begin to encounter problems through the toddler years, they assume they "just need to survive until kindergarten" when the public school system will do its job and fix the problem, whatever it is. This "leave it to the professionals" strategy allows the problem to grow while the parent - child relationship fails to fully develop.

When the child does enter school, the problems continue as stressed parents attempt to help with homework assignments they didn't create and the inevitable interpersonal problems that crop up in the system full of people they don't know. For obvious reasons, the frustrated parent feels ill-equipped to help the frustrated child, and both of them endure the daily dread of the homework hour as well as the inevitable return to school - and now you can just add a mask on top of everything else! This is the typical scenario that causes parents to say they "don't have the patience" to homeschool. They are barely keeping their heads above water when the kids are in public school!

What few realize is that homeschooling actually reduces all of this stress. The fundamental issue in these scenarios is a lack of ownership and authority. The parent of the toddler has to learn by trial, error, and advice how to create an understanding and a functional relationship with this tiny, intractable human. If this task is successfully completed, the child will be better prepared for a formal education. If it isn't, the child will be in trouble at school and have a difficult beginning.

When a parent decides early on to homeschool, he or she knows there will be no place to pass the buck later on. It's up to the parent to establish a pattern of good behavior right from the start. When schooling becomes part of the picture, it just flows naturally as part of an already working parent-child relationship.

How much of your household stress is coming from all of those "other" relationships at school? In public school, your child may be spending the day with kids you don't approve of and there is nothing you can do about it. When you're homeschooling, you choose your child's friends. Negative influences are eliminated. Do you struggle helping your child cope with a teacher who just doesn't "get" them? Not a problem when you homeschool.

In homeschooling, helping children with homework is much simpler because you are the one who made the assignment, so you already fully understand it and you know how it will be graded. There are no mysteries, and you are not relying on your child's memory to know what the teacher actually asked for. If your child doesn't understand or has a question, her teacher (Mom or Dad) is right there. If an assignment is too difficult or there is an unexpected twist, you can modify the assignment on the spot to make it more appropriate for your child - you're the teacher, you're in charge!

If your child hits a roadblock and needs more time to understand, you don't have to worry that he'll get behind - he's in a class by himself! Taking the time your child needs helps to prevent frustration for you both. Making sure he masters every concept before moving on ensures that your child feels motivated by self-confidence every step of the way. Real self-esteem grows from mastery learning.

Finally, there is an accountability issue that homeschooling resolves. Children naturally tend to play one parent against another to gain some advantage. They also do this between the parent and the school. By reducing the equation to a single layer, you can make sure your child learns that honesty is the only policy right from the start. When you ask if she's done all her homework, you'll know if it's true. This alone can make a vast difference in keeping your child's education on track.

When you have the authority to tailor your child's education to meet his needs as a student and yours as a parent/teacher, much of the stress goes away. You need to be the primary influence in your child's life, and she needs you to be. You CAN do it!

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