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How to Convince Your Husband to Homeschool
Although we’ve been homeschooling since 2008, we almost didn’t homeschool at all. My husband was not supportive of homeschool in the beginning. Since he’s a pretty easy-going guy who is open to experience, I had never had to convince him of much. His hesitation to homeschool was difficult to take because I knew beyond doubt that homeschooling was right for our family. Still, my passion for homeschooling did not immediately transfer to him and, while he eventualIy agreed to give it a try, he had to see it work before he could say it was a good thing.
I had been interested in homeschooling since my oldest (D) was about two years old, but when it came time for him to begin Kindergarten I had my hands full with his two little brothers. I had returned to school myself and was working from home as a freelance writer. Between my writing assignments, finishing my Bachelor’s and parenting three children 5 and under, I was overwhelmed. Because D enjoyed preschool very much, we sent him on to public Kindergarten without much hesitation.
By the time he finished the 1st grade, however, I had finished my degree and his little brothers were a bit older. Things were calm at home, so just two weeks before school started when D expressed hesistation about returning to school, I immediately began to strongly reconsider homeschooling.
It took no convincing on my part. I already knew the benefits and wasn’t completely happy with the public school system anyway. I’d been researching homeschooling for years and had been sharing the information I found with my husband. He had never disagreed with any of the articles I’d shown him, so I thought when I told him I was ready to homeschool that he’d easily agree.
I was wrong. He did not easily agree. In fact, he didn’t like the idea at all. While he didn’t necessarily disagree with the benefits of homeschooling, he had not ever considered that we might actually homeschool someday. It never occurred to me that he might be patiently listening to me talk about homeschooling, but never expressing his opinion because he never thought we’d go through with it!
Here we were, just two weeks before school started, faced with making the decision to homeschool our children. I needed to find a cover school, submit paperwork, purchase curriculum, buy school supplies and plan our days in a short amount of time, but my husband wouldn’t be rushed into a decision.
I was worried that he might not change his mind and we wouldn’t be able to homeschool. I was worried that he would cautiously say yes, but that homeschooling would be a disaster and he’d regret it.
In the end, he relented and agreed to try homeschooling for one year. It took some input from our mothers, who are both retired public school teachers. It took some patience on my part, which is in limited supply when I’m ready to move forward on something. It took a lot of trust from my husband, which he has given me over and over when it comes to parenting. Although we agreed to take things year-by-year, we’ve been homeschooling for almost 7 years and have no intentions of stopping.
If you want to homeschool your children, but your spouse objects, don’t give up hope. You might not get your wish right away, but you can approach this challenge in a way that will strengthen your marriage and, in the right timing, set up a foundation for homeschooling where both you and your spouse feel comfortable.
What to do When Your Husband Objects to Homeschooling
If your husband is not supportive of homeschooling while you are passionate about it, it could cause some tension in your marriage. I don’t know many homeschool-minded moms who feel lukewarm about homeschooling. Most of us believe strongly that it is what’s right for our families.
Because the decision to homeschool your children can be emotionally charged it is important to approach your husband in a way that will not cause lasting tension in your marriage. To preserve your relationship while discussing this important decision use the following guidelines that are applicable anytime you and your husband are at odds on an issue.
Practice Active Listening
Often when two people have opposing viewpoints they listen to each other only enough to formulate a response. Active listening requires quietly listening to your husband without interrupting and then repeating back to him what you heard him say in order to gain clarification on his thoughts.
For example, your husband might say, “I don’t want to homeschool our children because I don’t want them to be socially awkward.”
Your active listening job is to tell him what you heard him say. Maybe it sounds to you like he thinks that all homeschoolers are socially awkward. Maybe he actually means that he doesn’t want the children missing out on what he considers to be a normal childhood. Give him a chance to explain his views in a way that gets to the heart of why he thinks homeschooling isn’t an option for your family.
By actively listening you are showing your husband that you care about his opinions. You don’t have to agree with his opinions, but you do have to understand them in order to counter them with facts. And more, importantly, you have to value his opinions in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
When it comes to making big decisions neither my husband nor I have the final say. How on earth does that work, you ask? We decided early on that when there was a decision to made, we simply wouldn’t move forward unless we were in agreement. We firmly believe that what’s meant to happen will happen, so either one of us will change his or her mind or the other will discover that what they once wanted is no longer a desire.
Fortunately, we haven’t disagreed too often on major decisions, but our decision to homeschool was one that required me to practice patience until one of us changed our mind. Rushing your spouse into agreeing to homeschool may force him to make a decision he isn’t comfortable with. In the long run that could cause resentment and damage your relationship.
Leave Outsiders Outside
One of the most unloving things you can do in your marriage is to bring in outsiders to try to convince your husband to agree with you. It is never okay to shove the opinions of your mother, your counselor, your best friend or anyone else on to your spouse when the two of you are at odds on a decision.
However, if your husband is interested in advice from others, be open to it, even if you think they might not agree with you. When we were deciding whether or not to homeschool, my husband wanted to talk with our mothers, who are both now-retired public school teachers. I knew that my mother might have a negative opinion of homeschooling based on the few homeschooling families we knew when I was a child. I was certain his mother would be against it, as well.
As it turned out, they were cautious, but because they knew the decision was ultimately up to us, they expressed simply what they felt the pros and cons might be, but didn’t try to convince us either way. Just talking to someone outside of the situation helped my husband to be more comfortable with the idea of homeschooling.
Don’t Use Scare Tactics
I know it’s tempting to tell your husband about the evils of the public school system. There is plenty of negativity to be found online and right outside your door. It’s not fair to use scare tactics to convince your husband to homeschool, however.
Telling your husband that public school was set up to turn children into good little workers so that they can grow up to be 9-to-5 robots and be content living a working- or middle-class life is not okay. Don’t let emotions cause you to speak dramatically about homeschooling. Stick to the facts. Spend more time explaining the positives about homeschooling and less time bemoaning the negatives of traditional schooling.
Addressing Common Concerns About Homeschooling
If your husband doesn’t agree with homeschooling, he probably has one or more of the following common concerns about homeschooling: Socialization, Quality of Education, Financial Concerns or Time Constraints.
Concerns About Homeschooling and Socialization
Your spouse may be concerned about the effect of homeschooling on the socialization of your children. If your husband doesn’t know many homeschoolers or has had a lopsided experience with some stereotypical “awkward homeschoolers” he may fear that his children will be socially maladjusted as a result of homeschooling.
In most areas there are an abundance of opportunities for homeschooled children to interact with other children. In fact, when I was a child I was told that I was not at school to socialize. In contrast, the time my homeschooled children spend around other kids is almost pure socialization, team work and relationship building.
If socialization is your husband’s concern make a list of homeschool activities in your area. Find the local homeschool co-op. Talk with friends who homeschool and find what classes and free-play get-togethers are available each week.
I’m sure you’ve done your homework and you know that socialization doesn’t have to be an issue for homeschoolers. Here are some resources that talk about homeschooling and socialization:
Concerns about Homeschooling and Quality of Education
Maybe your spouse is concerned that your children won’t receive the same quality of education at home that they would get in a traditional school setting. The truth is that there are many great curricula for homeschoolers.
Find out if your husband is concerned about the lack of resources or if he’s saying that he doesn’t think the two of you could give your children a quality education because of a lack of knowledge. If he’s concerned about the resources available, do some research to show him that there are plenty of homeschool curricula available that fit the needs of different families. If it’s a lack of knowledge he’s worried about, check out some of the videos available on You Tube as just a small sampling of what’s out there to help you teach your children and to help your children become independent learners.
CK-12 (Free — for maths and sciences that you either never took in high school or have long forgotten.)
Khan Academy (Free — also great for maths and sciences.)
Concerns about Homeschooling and Money
If your husband has concerns about homeschooling and finances, this may be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. If you were set to return to work after your children reached school age (or if you already work) homeschooling could put a burden on your finances.
To convince your husband to homeschool with money as an obstacle, you may have to do some ground work first. Fortunately homeschooling doesn’t cost much at all. In fact, you can homeschool for free. But replacing your income might not be a quick fix. (But, it is possible!)
Consider working part time or working from home. Check out these work from home resources:
Concerns About Time and Homeschooling
Is your husband concerned that your family doesn’t have enough time to homeschool? Are you the picture of a stressed out mom? This is a legitimate concern if your family is always on the go. Your husband may wonder how on earth you’ll ever find time to homeschool the children.
The good news is that homeschooling takes a lot less time than traditional school. I wrote an article about how much time homeschooling takes for us. (And this was written before I set my boys up to working quite independently.)
Homeschooling will definitely give you more time together as a family. It will allow you to take vacations at off-season times, saving you time (and money) by not traveling during peak seasons. It will give your children more down time, plenty of sleep and more time for athletic and artistic pursuits.
One of the absolute best things about homeschooling for my family is the amount of time it saves us. In the time it took me to get my son ready for school, do homework, drop off and pick up, I could do an entire day’s worth of school work with him at home.
If your husband is just not convinced that your family has the time to homeschool, draw up a schedule that shows him how everything will fit into the day.
Do some searches around the internet for homeschooling bloggers who have documented their daily schedule. Here are some to get you started:
No matter what your husband’s decision is about homeschooling your children, the idea will be in his head as a possibility. He may need more time than you are happy with, but in that time things may happen that will show him why homeschooling is best for your family.
And, if homeschooling is NOT the right decision for your family, you will see that in time, as well. One way to gauge whether or not homeschooling is a good fit for your family is to establish a trial period in which you and your husband can observe if homeschooling is working well for you.
If you or your husband are not happy with homeschooling after that trial period, you can always send your children back to traditional school. Either way, you have worked together to make a decision for your family and to grow in your relationship. That is a great teaching moment for your children!