Homeschooling is an All Family Affair

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.

Oh stop pouting! Being an amazing dad isn't that horrible!

13 thoughts on “Homeschooling is an All Family Affair

  1. This is a great post. Your husband is awesome and sounds like mine when it comes to homeschooling, either we both did something right or just got lucky, lol.

  2. Unsurprisingly, I completely agree. I would not have had children with a man who didn’t consider parenting, and the kids’ education, to be a joint responsibility.

    As I write this, I’m at work and my husband is with the kids. On their plate for the day: multiplication story problems, Writing With Ease, a new Five in a Row book with a lesson about Midwestern geography, nature/exercise time at the Arboretum, and hopefully some laundry and leaf raking. He only “officially homeschools” them one day a week, but he’s very active with educational discussions, practical lessons, and weekend field trips the rest of the time.

  3. Definitely! We didn’t homeschool our kids, but now that they’re 18 and 15, I can see how the benefits of having two actively involved parents really helped them turn into cool people. My husband taught my son all about buying and caring for his clothes because I have little interest in clothes. So my son thinks of men as people that shop and care about clothes too, not just women.

  4. You have an awesome, involved husband and some people in the comments and I do too. We are fortunate in this. I don’t think I could do this otherwise.

  5. Trust me, it’s possible. Just different.

    You can communicate expectations and still not have them met. Does that make your home education inferior ? Or just different ?

    On the one hand, of course it’s OK to have expectations of a spouse that goes beyond the financial. On the other hand, how long do you expect someone to beat their head against a brick wall on this issue ?

    Sometimes we must accept with grace that things are different to our ideal and move on. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to make such clear and level headed about their relationships early on and choose a father for their child who will be engaged with homeschooling. Especially if you have no idea you will ever be homeschooling!

  6. I feel about this much like you do, Farrar. In fact, it is my husband who actually encourages me to keep going when I want to throw in the towel. He takes off work to go on educational trips with us. The biggest thing for me, though, is that he handles a lot of the housekeeping stuff around here, freeing me to plan and read, etc. I can’t imagine doing this job without his very active support!

  7. “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.”

    Applauding! And despite my desire to say, “but not everyone is lucky enough… yada, yada, yada,” I can’t help but agree 100%. My husband also works very odd hours, but when he is here, he is more than happy to be a part of this parenting/homeschooling life. And truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t. Because it’s exhausting. It’s stressful. And I expect him to share in that with me.

    I also work from home full time as a social media consultant AND running a web/graphic design business. When my daughter was 6 months old, I went back to teaching and to Grad School. I could not imagine doing all of this with a spouse who did not want to be bothered in the the other stuff.

    My married friends don’t get it- they don’t understand the partnership and I wonder why they would marry someone who did not WANT to be a part of the whole package.

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