When I first started toying with the idea of homeschooling I really wasn’t sure how The Husband would respond. I really expected him to scoff at the idea (and in some ways, I hoped that he would). But when I finally brought it up to him as a possibility he surprised me by being completely on board. And throughout our homeschool journey, he has been very supportive and encouraging.
But, it turns out, not everyone has that experience. In fact, I have a couple of friends whose husbands have balked at the idea. Their concerns have been everything from socialization, missed sports opportunities, concern about the educational value, and ultimately, the mental health of Mom being home all day with the little ones.
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So, what does a Mom say to her spouse? How can she help him let go of his preconceived notions about homeschooling and be a team player in this new adventure?
Have the Answers Ready
You’ve already done the research on homeschooling. Now you need to find references to the successes of homeschooling: successes that speak to your spouse and his/her concerns.My friend Denise’s husband loves sports so maybe her husband would be interested to know that Tim Tebow was homeschooled. Tebow was a a professional football player for the Denver Broncos, playing quarterback. He currently plays outfield for the NY Mets. Clearly, homeschooling didn’t hold him back from his sports goals.My friend Tina’s husband is a molecular biologist. This long list of scientists and mathematicians that were successfully homeschooled should provide great encouragement for the kids’ futures in the science and math field: 25 Modern Science, Math and Technology leaders who were homeschooled
My friend Shannon’s husband is a “techie.” The forward thinking computer programmers and developers of our society are a huge part of the modern homeschool community. This article on Wired.com is a great article: The Techies Who Are Hacking Education By Homeschooling Their Children.I think for nearly any interest your spouse may have, there is at least one, but probably a handful of extraordinary people that were homeschooled.
Show The Future Benefits
Maybe your spouse isn’t impressed by great people like Albert Einstein or Condoleezza Rice. If not, then he’s probably not going to be convinced by the “who’s who of homeschoolers.” If his concern is more about your child(ren)’s future, you could try appealing to the promise of a solid college career. Start with this article from U.S. News to warm him up: Home-Schooled Teens Ripe For College. Once you have him hooked, you can reel him in with the MIT Admissions requirements for homeschooled students. Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame, and many other ivy league schools have similar requirement pages especially for homeschoolers. You can also find several articles that talk about why homeschooled students are sought after by colleges.
Lay Out a Plan of Opportunities
After you’ve sent him every article you can find to address his external concerns, you should probably present him with a plan of what you will do to meet all of the needs of your child(ren) and address any concerns of socialization and extra-curricular activities. Go ahead and look at all of the local homeschool groups to see what they have to offer you in terms of support, co-ops, classes, and field trip opportunities. Don’t forget to look at the costs to participate in these. You can also look at local museums, historic sites, farms, community centers, libraries, etc. to find out what’s available for you and your children. A lot of these places offer classes and opportunities and/or will put together something for homeschoolers. There are some opportunities for homeschoolers through local public schools for things like school sports so you can always look into that as well.
Bring Hard Evidence to the Table
I suggest getting together some curriculum ideas to show him all of the cool things your kids will learn. Curriculum is probably one of the most daunting choices you will make, but it can also help showcase that home learning doesn’t mean TV and Minecraft all day. If you want to go ahead and buy curriculum, most curriculum companies have a 15-30 days return policy as long as the books aren’t marked in. Of course, you could borrow from friends too and then you would have a variety of things to show him without already committing. I think having that tangible item in front of you that you can flip through and look at can really make a difference.
Have a Plan For Your Mental Health
This one is just as much for you as it is him. You need to really think about your own mental health. Don’t take this lightly. Yes. We love our children absolutely. But I’m not going to lie to you. Being with them 24/7 can be very straining on even the strongest of people. Go ahead and think about what you will need to keep yourself as healthy as possible. For some people it’s exercise, for some it’s time to read a book, and for some (like me) it’s a glass of wine or two with the girls periodically. Whatever you need to keep your sanity, make a plan. Talk to your spouse about it because chances are, he’s going to need to understand and be a team player here. I know you don’t want to overwhelm him with responsibility when he’s already against this homeschooling thing, but even if the kids were in school, he’s still a part of a parenting team and just because you try to do it all, doesn’t mean you can.
Probably the most important thing is BE STRONG. If you feel in your heart that homeschooling is the right option for your family then follow your heart. Nothing in life holds more regret than our choices leading us away from what is in our hearts. You may just have to drag your spouse kicking and screaming for a year, but hopefully, at the end he will see how much better your family is because of this choice. Or, maybe by the end of the year you will change your mind and decide that homeschooling wasn’t the best option. Either way, hopefully you will both be on the same page.
I am a firm believer in “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” For our family, we still take homeschooling one year at a time. We do it, until it doesn’t make sense anymore. There are plenty of days that I want to quit, and I rely on The Husband to help me sort through my feelings and maybe give me a break to get away. There are plenty of times I know The Husband wonders if this is the right choice, but then one of the kids says or does something extraordinary and I can see his “Aha” moment and he’s back. Ebb and flow here. But ultimately, if we hadn’t taken this journey, we would never have known if it could work for our family, and well… you would have a lot less to read about on this blog here.