Friday, April 8, 2005
Can You Convince My Husband to Homeschool?
Here is another goodie from my email box: Do you have any magic words or potions to convince my husband that homeschooling is truly the best thing for our children? --Frustrated Mom
To begin with, a wife should be willing to submit to whatever her husband decides, since he is the head of their household. Sometimes, just seeing that his wife has agreed to let him make the decision is enough to sway a husband into reconsidering a matter. If he already knows how strongly she feels about this issue, maybe he just needs to know that he has an important role in making the decision. Many husbands will have pre-conceived ideas about education to deal with, so they need plenty of time and space for thinking things through. Be faithful, be submissive, and leave it in God's hands. After all, God is big enough to change the mind and heart of even the most stubborn person -- look what He did to Saul (Paul) in the book of Acts.
If you are a new reader to this site, I am going to suggest several of my previous articles which include helpful background information that may help you answer your spouse's questions about homeschooling. These are for the pro-homeschool spouse to read (whether husband or wife), since shoving them under your mate's nose would be likely to produce the wrong effect entirely. If your spouse becomes more interested later, you will probably be asked where you found your information. These articles were not written for the purpose of browbeating a spouse into submission to homeschooling, but as you read them, you will likely come across situations you had not considered before. Use those topics for open, honest discussion with each other about how homeschooling will change your lives, in both positive and negative ways. Listen to your spouse's concerns with an open mind, knowing that the more you discuss, the more you will understand each other's point of view, and the more you will come into agreement with each other -- regardless of what decision is made.
Start here for the basics, the most frequently asked questions relating to homeschooling:
Common Homeschooling Myths Dispelled -- many commonly held (but false) beliefs about homeschooling
Socialization and Why You Don't Need It -- addresses the dreaded S-question
The Socialization Myth, part 2 -- ditto
The Myth of Age-Mates -- ditto, again
Discouraging Families -- how to deal with in-laws and others who may disagree with a decision to homeschool
Your husband may also be mulling over how the change to homeschooling will affect other areas of your lives:
--Increased workload for you -- see Where Do I Begin? and Using Your Household Staff
--No time away from the children -- see Family is Spelled T-E-A-M, and Siblings as Best Friends
--Financial burden of purchasing curriculum and supplies -- see But Public School Is Free...Won't Homeschooling Cost a Lot?
He may even worry that he could lose your attention, since your focus would be turned to the children most of the time. (See Involving Dads in Homeschooling)
If you know any other homeschooling families, you might consider putting together a casual fun night with them and your family, or ask if your family can attend a homeschool group function with them. That way your husband can get to know some of the other dads and see first-hand how things work. Men often relate better to hands-on activities than to reams of printed information, so the more face-to-face, eyewitness contacts you can provide, the better your case will be made. The same things apply to children who are not "sold" on homeschooling: providing an opportunity for them to spend time with homeschooled children near their ages lets your children see the "kid's eye view."
We spent several months checking things out before we actually began homeschooling: we made our decision in early April, finished out the school year in public school (not easy when the school was very unsatisfactory), talked with other homeschooling families over the summer, then began our first year of homeschooling in September. (We tried to start in late August, but --wouldn't you know it -- I got my first call to jury duty! Lesson #1: Life happens; homeschooling is flexible.) The more interaction we had with other homeschooling parents, the more assured we were in our decision. We attended potluck picnics with two different homeschool support groups, allowing our children to meet new friends and interact with them while we talked with the parents. We visited the home of at least one homeschooling family, who graciously answered all our questions as well as they could and encouraged us to interview their children for their opinions. That Mom also loaned me a stack of books and magazines about homeschooling to fill my summer. As I read every word, I took notes on the best parts, recording which book they were from. I still have that notebook and refer to it occasionally when I need an encouraging boost.
The first year of homeschooling can be very difficult, -- do not let anyone tell you otherwise!!! Removing your children from public school to switch to homeschooling is more difficult than starting to homeschool from preschool or Kindergarten level. However, the second year of homeschooling is infinitely easier because you realize you have done this once before, and each successive year continues to get easier as you develop your own personal, comfortable routine. (See Homeschool Failures I Have Known and What Can Be Learned from Them) If you are leaving "school" to begin homeschooling, you may find an area or two of weakness. (See Meatball Education: Filling in the Potholes of Public School)
Our personal testimony of choosing, then continuing, homeschooling can be found in Our Reasons for Homeschooling and Start Homeschooling for One Reason, but Continue for Another. Also see Homeschool Beginnings: A Child's Point of View for my daughter's testimony of what she experienced during the switch.
Finally, see Do the Best Job You Can and Pray for God to Clean Up the Rest. It is not worth strife in your home to have Mom and Dad at odds with each other over this decision. If you are not able to homeschool, or cannot begin as soon as you would like, your children will survive. Millions of us made it through public school, even though homeschooling may have been a much better option. Only God knows what your future holds, so you must trust that God can guide your husband's decision. Your willingness to abide by your husband's decision in this matter will provide its own rewards. You face your hardest job right now -- that of being the patient wife and mother who hides her emotions so as not to manipulate or cloud the facts.
No matter how strongly I may feel about homeschooling, I know that God has ordained our husbands to be the heads of our homes, and God will honor our obedience to our husbands. Only God can truly convince a person's heart of what He wants them to do. Be patient, be supportive, and be faithful in prayer for God's best for your spouse and for your children. God can handle the rest.
Posted by Carolyn M @ 11:13 AM |