I saw an online discussion recently where a homeschool mom bemoaned the fact that her husband didn’t really understand, show any interest or know anything about what went on with the kids for homeschooling.
And everyone basically told her to stop complaining. He trusts her. He works hard. He shouldn’t do anything else.
Really? Nothing? Nothing at all?
Mind your place? Don’t bother your poor, hard-working husband? Seriously?
There’s all kinds of families out there that work all kinds of ways. But for my own part, there’s no way I would want to share parenting with someone who didn’t have any involvement with my kids’ education. We made these kids together, mister, and I expect you here, interested and involved.
In our house, the Husband works hard for us in a job with pretty strange hours that he likes but doesn’t always love. He does it for all of us and we really appreciate it. We help him take time for his own interests (he volunteers and performs in an improv troupe not to mention all those books he keeps reading and his local theater interests). We recognize that he does a full time job and then some and help him get some sleep (or we try, anyway!)
But he’s also a parent. Sure, I’m glad he trusts me, but parenting is a collaborative deal and homeschooling is more than just a 7-3 school. It’s a way of life. It’s a part of our relationship where I take the lead. I do all the daily planning and organizing, I choose and buy the curricula, I make the connections with people, I sit with the kids in the morning and do the actual teaching. That’s the job. But just because I do that job doesn’t mean the kids’ lives are my purview alone or that I’m any more in charge of them than he is. That’s not the kind of relationship I want.
What I expect (and what he delivers on consistently) is an interest in how the kids are doing. To have a sense of what we’re studying in science and history. I expect him to pitch in if he’s needed. To help teach something if we get at a stuck place. To play chauffeur sometimes. To read aloud to the kids sometimes. To know their friends. To be the person they show off their portfolios to after we update them and special projects when they’re finished.
If Mushroom and BalletBoy were in school, anyone would still expect him to go to the parent conferences, take them to soccer sometimes, and help with their homework. But with homeschooling, it’s even more. A family hike is P.E. A weekend vacation is a history field trip. We’re hardly unschoolers, and we have a time set aside for more traditional, three 3 R’s type learning, but we also make a concerted effort to be lifelong learners and to not erect too many artificial barriers between life and education. Without the Husband involved, supporting us, taking an interest, we couldn’t take advantage of those opportunities to their fullest. In our house, at least, homeschooling is a way of life for everyone.