Family Life, Homeschool

Be Patient with All


One of my biggest challenges with homeschooling is dealing with distractions. It is an understatement to say that Gabriel is easily distracted. But what kid isn’t? I’ve already tried to incorporate many breaks in between tasks and giving him work in bite-sized pieces, but distractions still abound. I’ve tried using a timer, but the timer itself became a distraction. Then, there’s his chair, which needs to be positioned just right against the table. There’s his pencil that’s missing an eraser (he wants a new pencil now). There’s his eraser that has dark marks, which he has to rub off. Now, he hears the faint sound of a siren from a fire truck, which I could barely hear myself. And the list goes on.

If I give him work to do, and it is work that I know he is able to do, he will rarely stay on task. It’s not always a problem of laziness or even defiance. Sometimes, he feels like the work is too difficult. And, it’s not always a question of motivation because even with the promise of a small reward for finishing, I will still find him in dreamland. If I am able to remove the item of distraction, he will find something else to capture his interest. This makes it especially challenging to attend to my younger children. I would expect Gabriel to work more independently by now, but he doesn’t. So, how do we get through a day of school, even a single subject? By the grace of God!

I wish I could tell you I know how to eliminate a child’s propensity to be distracted, but I’m afraid I can’t. At the maturity level of a young child, his/her attention span is very short. This should not surprise us, but it can still be a source of frustration for the homeschooling parent. And though I may not have the solution for the complete removal of distractibility from a child, I do have an encouragement for the parent. This is a verse that a dear sister in The Lord shared with me a few years ago, and it has stuck with me since.

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

Even though this is not a verse that specifically addresses parenting, it is still something we ought to keep in mind when dealing with our children. First of all, admonish has the idea of a stern warning. When a child is being idle, he is unproductive and lazy … and I would even say, undisciplined and disobedient. We need to warn them that such a pattern in life can lead to suffering in the future. But, sometimes it’s not an issue of laziness, but the child is just fainthearted, or lacking in boldness or courage, so we have to encourage him. We have to spur him on with the things that he may be too timid to do. Other times, the child is simply weak; he lacks the power to do the task by himself. In that case, we have to come alongside him and help him. Finally, I love how this verse ends: ” … be patient with them all.” No matter the personality and tendencies of the child, we need to demonstrate the willingness to forbear, endure, and suffer long with them.

Isn’t that how God is with us?


(Photo Credit: apdk)

8 thoughts on “Be Patient with All”

  1. I’m enjoying reading through your blogs. These are all just great! We have 6 kids, 5 of which I homeschooled until around middle school (when I gave out-ha). They are all older now doing fine, but I remember the daydreaming and continual push to get things done. Try to stay connected to other homeschoolers 🙂 You Go Girl!

  2. Wonderful post! I deal with this, too, as I suppose all teachers do whether at homeschool or public school. It is hard to maintain that patience when your children seem to be constantly distracted, but that is what God calls us to do. I try to think of myself when I was my kid’s age. I had “daydreams often” on almost all of my report cards, so I guess I was easily distracted as well. I pray for patience daily, and I can only imagine how much we try God’s patience, yet he sticks with us!

  3. I cannot tell you how many memories this article brings! My son, Jonathan, was just as easily distracted and he was my main dreamer during class time. This was such a frustrating thing for me at the time since I had two other children to teach and a troubled marriage and I didn’t have any type of homeshooling support. I love the way you so beautifully apply the verse. Jonathan, grew up to excell in school. By the time he got to seventh grade, I felt homeschool was over my head in the areas of math and science. Thankfully, we were able to place him in Christian school then. He later got his BA while working full time as a police officer and running a full time Bible study and ministry from his home till the age of 27 when God called him home. He left a huge impact on his peers. There were 1300 people at his funeral. I believe it was partly all that extra energy that continued into his adulthood that propelled him to accomplish so much in such a short time. I plan on doing a post sometime in the future on this. All this to say hang in there sister, God may have an amazing work for your son in the future! 🙂

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