Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: When your husband is not on board with homeschooling

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When your husband is not on board with homeschooling

Lately I have been seeing so many posts online from distraught moms whose husbands either don't want them to start homeschooling or want them to put their kids back in public school. They are begging for encouragement and advice on how to move their husbands' hearts.

This has to be one of the hardest situations to find yourself in as a wife and mother. You're torn between wanting to stand united with your husband in one of the most important parenting decisions you can make, and needing to address your child's physical, emotional and academic needs. Frankly, there aren't any easy answers. But there are some important factors to consider.

You are your child's advocate

I truly believe that God gave mothers a special duty in life, to nurture, guide and advocate for their children. Children, especially young ones, cannot speak up for themselves and advocate for their own needs. Although there are exceptions, dads often aren't as in touch with their kids' needs as moms are. It is mothers who must stand for the children, educating fathers and helping them to take a more nurturing approach.

For instance, I knew a mom whose husband's argument against homeschooling was that her teenage son would not have friends and would not learn to stand up to bullies. But the boy was being tormented in school to the point that it was causing him to be depressed and withdrawn and he had no friends as it was. The mother knew better, and had to stand up for her son before he became a statistic.

Address your husband's concerns

Your husband may have completely valid concerns, and they certainly aren't frivolous to him. But one of the problems many moms have is that they don't know how to properly address their husband's issues with homeschooling.

You have to listen to your husband's concerns and take them seriously. He probably hasn't done the research you have, and he might not even care what others have to say. He wants to see concrete solutions to his concerns, and he wants to know, specifically, how you are going to accomplish your goals.

If you want your husband to be on board with homeschooling your kids, focus less on how you feel about taking your kids out of school and more on how exactly this will work better for your kids and for your family as a whole. If he wants the kids engaged socially, make connections and schedule outings with other homeschoolers. If he wants to see proof that the kids are making progress, consider using placement tests or other tools to demonstrate how much they've learned over time. Do what you need to do to show him you take his concerns seriously.

Consider a trial run

Many homeschooling families, especially those with young children, find that they can cover a lot more material in the course of a semester than their kids ever would have in regular school. Because they have one-on-one instruction and the flexibility to go at their own pace, kids often zip along in an attentive homeschool setting.

So why not propose a trial run, for just one year, or even a semester, to see how things go? Chances are slim that your child will actually fall behind academically during this period, especially if you are determined to succeed, and your whole family will be able to see whether homeschooling really is a good fit.

Who has the final say?

Clearly, if you can't come to an agreement over homeschooling, it's going to be difficult to make a go of it. Unfortunately, overruling an obstinate husband and homeschooling without his support is likely to create or worsen a negative atmosphere in the home. And his concerns may actually be so real that homeschooling really isn't an option for you at this time. In that case, as in so many important family matters, the spouse with the veto usually has the final say.

But if you feel that your child would be in danger of educational neglect, bullying, severe depression or anxiety, physical illness or other negative outcomes at school, you may have no other choice but to put your foot down.

Some may say you should just leave your kids in school and pray your husband comes around. I will not deny the power of prayer, and I encourage it in any situation! But while you are praying, keep advocating for your kids. Make sure that if the scale tips from simply wanting to try homeschooling and actually needing to remove your kids from school for their safety and security, you don't leave them suffering in the gap while you wait for a miracle.  

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