A few women have shared with me their desire to homeschool and the disappointment they feel because their husbands are opposed to it. They then want my advice on how to handle their spouse’s opposition. My initial reaction is to encourage them with how my husband, Chris, was very much opposed to homeschooling at first, too. For fun, I interviewed Chris for this column.
When I brought up my desire to homeschool our future children, what was your initial reaction?
Not going to happen.
Why was this your response?
Because every homeschooled kid I knew just seemed socially awkward.
What made you change your mind?
My wife kept saying she wanted to do it, so finally I just gave up and let her.
Was there any kind of compromise?
I just remember wanting them to be tested.
Why would you want them to be tested?
To make sure they weren’t falling behind and were at the grade level they should be at.
It sounds like you were concerned I wouldn’t do a good job educating them? Is this accurate?
Yes, and I was concerned about the socialization of our kids.
What is your opinion now?
I am now very pro-homeschooling. But it does overall depend on the parent’s commitment.
What would you say to other Dads opposed of their kids being homeschooled like you once were?
Give it a try. Talk to your spouse about it. Find out their commitment level. Realize that in homeschooling, you can pick the crowd your kids hang out with and the values that they are taught.
Compromise by allowing the children to be homeschooled for a year and prove to the other spouse that they can be successful doing it. A year will show the other spouse the commitment of the homeschooling parent’s involvement and dedication. Other aspects of trying it for a year would be the way the family dynamic is impacted.
How has our family overcame the socialization aspect?
We involve our kids in community sports. They are able to choose two sports to participate in each year. We are a part of a Classical Conversation homeschool community that meets once a week, and you meet with other Moms once a week for a fun review. Our two older boys participate in a free library program every Wednesday at the local library. You do play dates. Our kids are also involved in the children’s ministry at James River Church. We encourage volunteering as a family and have done this several times in numerous aspects, the most regular one being SingleMomzRock three times a month.
Of course, it does not take this much involvement to raise a well-rounded kid. Grocery shopping is a learning experience in itself on how to interact with others. I tend to get several people wanting to talk to me and the kids when we go places. We stress the importance of making eye contact when talking to someone and we require them to politely respond to people we converse with.
Overall, what has been your experience with homeschooling and would you recommend it to others?
My overall experience is that my kids seem to be more advanced, more polite, and more structured. All of this has impressed me and really made me pro-homeschooling after seeing the results. I would recommend it to parents who are not lazy, because it’s a lot of work.
Do you help out with homeschooling or is it me who solely educates?
If I see you struggling with one of our kids, I step in and help. It’s just like helping a kid in public school with their homework. It is predominately you, but I do help when I can. I help you by doing housework so you can concentrate on homeschooling and not have as many things that need to be done. I don’t expect you to have all the housework done. I understand homeschooling does take time. I’m here to help you in whatever area you need help with so our home runs smoothly, with education being the top priority. Homeschooling overall is very flexible and very rewarding.
And do you still think home-schooled kids are socially awkward?
Some, but overall not as many. A lot of resources now exist for homeschooling family’s that didn’t exist in the past. Ultimately kids seem to mimic their parent’s demeanor, and it’s up to a parent to train their child in appropriate behavior.
Words can’t express how sincerely grateful I am to my husband for giving me the opportunity to educate our children, as well as how supportive he is by helping me with house work, our new baby, being a very involved Dad to our children, or just that hug when I need it. We have been overwhelmingly blessed on this journey by the friendships we’ve made, the amazing classical method of education Classical Conversations consists of, and the way it’s positively impacted our family. In the end, praying is the best advice I can give to someone whose spouse opposes the homeschool method of education. God will give you peace either way. In no way do I think homeschooling is “the only way”. It’s just “the only way” for us. Chris and I argued over this numerous times before coming to agreement. I am definitely thankful he “gave in to me”. And to note, they have “yet” to be tested.