Q&A Friday: What to do when you want to homeschool but your spouse doesn’t

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

I try to notice and pay attention to recurring themes that come through my inbox. Recently, some of these have had a common thread–spouses being on separate pages when it comes to homeschooling.

I am fortunate to be blessed with a husband who not only supports our family’s homeschooling endeavors, but also agrees with my unique educational philosophies.

But what should you do when this isn’t the case?

Here are a few messages I’ve received recently from readers:

“What happens when husband and wife are on two different pages when it comes to education? I would like to homeschool, but my husband wants to send our son to public school. Would you address that at some point on your blog? What to do when the house is divided?”

Another reader asked:

I have been wanting desperately to homeschool and my husband is totally against it. Any advice to advocate homeschooling to him?”

So that’s our question today:

What are the options when one spouse wants to homeschool and the other doesn’t? Has anyone been in this situation and dealt with it successfully? What was your experience?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Rhonda S says:

    Our family went through this in the typical way, while neither of us were happy with our twin’s public school debut year, my husband wanted to send them to private school and I wanted to homeschool.

    We addressed his fears, which included what we refer to as isolation (socialization issues) and my temperament. And, honestly, I kind of worried about the “lack of down time” myself. I never once worried about isolation, rightly so since this has not proved to be an issue – ever. We agreed to try it for one year.

    What we have learned is that as much as this is about finding the right education strategies, it is also a lifestyle. As our children are growing older it’s so easy to appreciate how close our family is and just how less run ragged we are than our friends and peers. Sure, we still run to horse riding lessons and baseball and hang out with our friends who send their children to institutionalized schools and we come home and count our blessings. Our family is just tight and for us it is perfect.

    I’ve listened to my friends who lament that school can’t come soon enough after a long summer and that their kids desire the routine of school. I just don’t feel that way. And I am surprised by it. I am the mom who would throw my hands in the air and head to my room as soon as my hubs came home from work, leaving him to tend to two little ones b/c I was at my stress induced breaking point. I don’t know why it’s all different now – but it is and it has been and it’s my goal to make sure it always is. Perhaps, if I had to hazard a guess though, I would venture that this lifestyle is something that the entire family is working together and not a pet project to rush to complete. There is beauty in the journey, we are loving this journey.

    Finally, this journey is not for everyone. It is a valid option, though, and one certainly worth investigating completely before ruling it out.

    • Michele Martin says:

      Thanks so much for your post Rhonda, it really touched my heart and encouraged me. See as how I am somewhat like you in the first part of your testimony. I just hope and pray that my testimony after adventuring on this new journey starting next school year, (probably & prayerfully), turns out as good as yours. Thanks and God bless.

    • Shawntae says:

      <3

  2. Mine was the other way around! My husband was pushing for it and I had reservations! We did what we do in every important decision…we prayed about it. It sounds like something so simple but it really works. It also helps for both people to come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to talk and listen.
    Nicole’s latest post: Why Catholics Hang Crucifixes

    • Michele Martin says:

      Hi Nicole, how did your reservations turn out? Did you end up homeschooling? I kind of have the same reservations and same situation. My husband and the Holy Spirit are pushing me to homeschool, but I’m scared of so many different things with it.

  3. Pray a lot. If God wants you to homeschool, he can change your husband’s heart. I think it’s wise to address your husband’s fears and help him understand that those fears don’t have to be an issue.

    In the mean time when you have your child with you, just do fun educational activities with them. Read to them, take them to interesting places, and answer their questions. Games teach kids a lot. Even if you can’t homeschool, you can still make the most of the time you do have with them.
    Heidi’s latest post: HomeScholar Interview

  4. My husband and I went through this before our son began Kindergarten. I didn’t want to send him to public school and private was not an option financially. I truly felt compelled to homeschool and my feelings became stronger every time I researched school choices. Neither of us agreed with our county’s math program (which was abolished to no math program when he was in 1st grade), we both had concerns over our son’s size, number of students in a class, and how schools teach in general to girls’ learning styles. I didn’t care for the fact that I would not be able to volunteer and be in the classroom, since we have a younger daughter. Neither liked the idea of sending him off to the unknown with unknown people simply because the state tells us we have to do so. How do I know what background these people have? At 5, our son no longer napped but was definitely in need of a rest about 1pm every day. This doesn’t work well in a school setting. And why do the schools need our children from 8:30-4:30, Mon.-Fri., for a Kindergarten curriculum? I just didn’t see the logic behind it and convinced my husband to let me keep him home for Kindergarten only. My husband was adament it was only for 1 year! He was very skeptical and made it a point to tell everyone it was only for this first year. Needless to say, he subbed for me twice that year, and was amazed at how much progress our son had made in learning! When we discussed 1st grade, it really came down to an attitude of “how could we not do what is working so well”. Since then, his schedule has changed and he works from home a few days a week and is on hand to see the amount of work we do and how quickly (most days) we can accomplish it. I’m now homeschooling our daughter as well and we’ve gradually stopped talking about enrolling them in middle or high school. We will continue to take things year by year but it looks like we are “lifers” with homeschooling.

  5. We are at that point now. My husband is very “iffy” about homeschooling, while I desperately want to homeschool. One thing I’ve learned in our marriage is that pushing and pestering to get my way isn’t loving or fair to my husband.

    I pray about this decision often, asking God to help us come to an agreement. (Lord, you know our desires don’t match up. Please change my heart or change his heart. Help us to come to the right decision for our family. Help us do what will be most honoring to you, whatever is best for our children and our family.) Our oldest is 4.5 y

  6. Sorry – I bumped submit! our oldest is 4.5. He will start K in 2013. IN the meantime, my husband and I have occasionally watched videos or talked with homeschooling friends. We have a conversation about homeachooling every few months, and I have seen my husband becoming more open to the idea.

    I don’t k ow yet which way
    Dawn’s latest post: Happy 1st Birthday, Jensyn!

  7. (See what happens when typing with a 2 year old on your lap? Sorry!)

    I don’t know yet what our family will do, but I know it’s in Gods hands.
    Dawn’s latest post: Happy 1st Birthday, Jensyn!

  8. Hmmmm….this could be a can of worms, and it’s a bit of a tangent.

    What do you do when your EX spouse, who formerly was all about being a homeschooler, suddenly turns the other direction?

    When I married J, we were already determined that our children would be home schooled. We were farmers, we each had a child from previous relationships, we both were college-educated, though he never finished his B.S. (Still hasn’t apparently–pun intended!)

    When we divorced, our older daughter had already been “unschooled” up to age six. He now insisted that she and our younger daughter be in a traditional, public education track. I was heartbroken. So were the girls, who both expected to be home schoolers.

    I had to submit. The divorce was messy enough, since he was also suing me for custody. He lost, which was no surprise, but my attorney advised me–correctly–that fighting for homeschool in addition would probably make me seem quite radical and hurt my own case. We ended up with joint custody, placement with me.

    Fortunately, the schools in our district were not awful. But the behaviors of the other children were just wretched! By the time the older daughter was in third grade, and the younger in 1st, my older girl was (not kidding here) being sexually harassed by YOUNGER boys! Oh, how I wanted to pull them out of school.

    Unfortunately, any communication I had with my ex was a complete disaster. I began to wonder if it was just me. I did a quick inventory, asked a lot of hard questions to some very close and honest friends and discovered, flawed though I may be, communication is not a weakness.

    Two years later, my older daughter had been boosted from fourth to sixth grade, at the urging of her TEACHER (I make this emphasis because there is a distinctly different “flavor” to the request to boost when it comes from a parent). While this was a better fit for her in many ways, it was also incredibly overwhelming. Because of an “outbreak” of H1N1, I pulled them out of school until the hullabaloo died down. That lasted three weeks, during which time, we kept up on study at home.

    My older girl fell in love with the idea of homeschooling, and the younger followed suit. The older one begged me to be able stay home and keep studying. I told her that she had to discuss that with her father, and as an assignment, I directed her to do a lot of research and write a persuasive essay and research paper on homeschool. She did just that, and it was incredibly compelling. Her father refused, accusing me of “putting her up to it,” and a host of other nasty things.

    I went through the proper channels to withdraw my daughters from school. Not too much later, I was slapped with a summons to appear on a motion to force the girls back to school. And, interestingly, a plea for a reduction in child support.

    Very, very long story short, I won. Well, I won the homeschooling part, with great leadership from an incredibly competent attorney. My ex won his bid for lowered child support, which has been quite a hardship.

    My older daughter, for reasons too complex and grim for this post, has severed her relationship with her father, and is now a total unschooler. She’s amazing–smart, articulate, funny, talented, savvy beyond her ken. The other daughter has returned to a charter school, and still sees her dad. It’s a wicked, wicked thing that happens in divorced families with contentious communications. But overall, I’m confirmed in my choice to support my daughters’ choices about their education.

    Ultimately, my viewpoint was focused on what was best for the children, and his was focused somewhere else. The truth was, his argument in court against my desire to homeschool was that I wasn’t qualified. He also argued that, when we were still married, HE had been the primary educator of our children. This was just utterly false, but impossible to prove. Instead, I focused my effort on the present, proving that I was (with a Masters Degree) “qualified” and furthermore that ‘qualifications’ are not required for home school. I also became completely transparent about what we were doing at home. That was something with which he could not argue. The judge–THE JUDGE–was so impressed, she ordered him to back off and made me the chief of educational decisions in his family. Complete backfire!

    The lesson: if you are in conflict or disagreement with your spouse about homeschool, do not be afraid to TRY IT. Six months, one year–this will not ruin your child’s education. Just TRYING will be an incredible education for you all. Heck, up to this point, you’ve been TRYING mainstream ed, right? Let the other side have a go!

    Be sure you understand your own motives for wanting it. Ask yourself if your disagreements about the issue aren’t just a power struggle between you. Ask each other lots of open-ended questions, remain curious instead of defensive. You’ll figure it out, and hopefully, not go through what we endured. In the end, the BEST education you can give your children, in-tact family or not, is the spirit of CO OPERATION.

    I imagine not too many people out there have the kind of vitriolic relationship with their former spouses as I do. At least I hope not.

    • Sara you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story. What incredible kids you have! I’m also curious how you managed to homeschool being a single (and I assume working) mom? Do you work from home?

    • Sara, thanks for sharing your story. I’m also divorced and homeschooling without support. In fact, lack of trust (and faith) in the choice to homeschool when there really wasn’t another choice, led to the demise of our 17 year marriage. One of my kids with high functioning autism was abused in our public school system and my older daughter’s private wouldn’t take him. I went home, threw up, and said guess we’ll give this a shot. He’s also a triplet. So I took on a challenge. The kids ironically flourished after the divorce. Homeschooling is still going great for them, although I fear a day we will be in court over it. You are an inspiration for those moms who don’t have support from the other parent. Praise God for you and your story to share with us.

    • I read your story and I just had to say that I think you’re doing an amazing job. I don’t understand what kind of man would deliberately give less to maintain his children’s standard of living, but you are lucky not to be with him any more. I really wish you and your girls the very best.

    • Florida Mom says:

      I have the very same problem with me ex. I wanted to homeschool when I was pregnant (our son is 8 now). He is at the top of his class and an avid reader. He could do in 3 hours what he needs to learn and then choose his other interests – computer programming and designing, reading. It would be the perfect education for him because he is self-led and has a love of learning (that I am seeing dwindle in public school). Unfortunately his fathers being against it is more about me since he chooses the opposite and has never once been cooperative, whether it be doctors, school, activities, etc. I am very scared of his threats but since learning everything I can about Common Core (and his refusal to investigate it) I am ready to go against the grain and do it. Please pray for me!

    • Thanks for your post. My wife and I are not divorced yet, but this decision is seriously straining our marriage. Neither of us seem to be able to fully understand the other side; my wife is for homeschooling and I am against it. Last year we decided to homeschool one of our daughters and put the other in the public system. My opinion is that she did poorly, but there is no way to tell how she would have done if she had been going to school. Now my wife feels she can assert the fact that she is ultimately in charge of whether or not she sends the other to school and intends to homeschool both of them next year. I hope this doesn’t result in the dissolution of our marriage (7 yrs) but that is where our trajectory is taking us. What advice (if any) do you have for me?

      • I’m so sorry to hear this, Dan. Personally I wouldn’t put the decision to homeschool (or anything) above a marriage. If parents aren’t together, children lose out no matter where they sit for their education. Praying that you find a way to discover peace in this situation. I’d also recommend checking out Thomas Jefferson Education if you haven’t already: tjed.org

  9. We’re there. When my son was a couple years old I felt like we were supposed to homeschool. My first method was to push the issue- we fought a lot. I felt convicted about the way I was going about it– so I shut my mouth.

    I started to realize that my pushing was actually going to push my husband further from the idea of homeschooling. So all I could do is pray. God could change my husband’s heart if it was meant to be changed. I have prayed for 3 1/2 years now for God to change one of our hearts- that we would both be on the same page when it was time to make a decision.

    August is coming, and I don’t know what’s happening yet. But I have peace. I know my husband is seeking the Lord in this area and so all I can do is sit back and see what happens….and continue to pray, of course! :)

  10. I took a bit of a different approach… I prayed, FERVENTLY for God to take homeschooling OFF of my heart. I prayed to have peace with my husbands plan to do public school or possibly private school. This prayer was not answered; I still knew that homeschooling was what I was being called to. What God did do instead was put an alternative choice RIGHT IN MY LAP!!! We found a local homeschool school where certified teachers teach classes 2 days a week and families homeschool the rest. It has been the perfect compromise because it is a certified school and all of the other families are homeschooling, like minded families. My husband’s heart has been changed and we are thriving as a homeschooling family. God is good!

  11. I have been there. Oh yes, indeed. Still kind of there. Out oldest is 8 and in 2nd grade. As kindergarten narrowed in for him I really struggled with public vs. home-school. I am a former teacher and loved many things the public school offered. I also personally loved teaching my own children and loved the life-style part of home-school families and being the sole influence in my young child’s life. I also loved the ability to teach Biblical views, which is huge for me and my kids training as they grow. And I simply love the time with them.
    My husband was 100% against home-schooling for various reasons…I think mostly fear of the unknown and the socialization part. Kindergarten we kept our son home on Wednesday’s and he went 4 days a week. I didn’t like full day kindergarten and we had no other option in our district. The 4 day weeks were great. 1st grade we sent him full time and he did very well, but I always felt this pull to have him home learning. I am the mom who loved school days off, snow days, holiday breaks, and summer vacations. I hated it when Monday rolled around :) I just like my little flock all home together.

    As 2nd grade started we had a very rough transition with his teacher and our son was emotionally not doing well. I begged my husband to let me try dual-enrollment. Our son goes each morning to school and I pick him up for the afternoons with us. Within a few weeks, our son was doing so much better. I love the time and the pace we can have at home from 12:45 on. For our very social 8 year old, it is a great combo. We’re discussing next year now, but I am praying often that God puts on BOTH our hearts what His plan is for us in the education area for our boys. LOVE this topic and hearing other’s experiences…

  12. Hi , I have been homeschooling my children over a year now. They missed the birth date mark last fall. Now that they have been home with me I feel like I want to continue home school. We are in a new State and my husband likes and wants to send the children to school here. I’m also left with the feeling that I have much more to teach them. I would like to continue what I was able to start. They are all excited about going to”real” school but I know I am going to miss them. I still have one smaller child who will be home in the next two years (for the same birth-date reason) but now that we are in this new state, my husband has hinted at sending him to school early and I can go back to teaching at the schools again. This makes me sad, why was I a temporary fix? Is the school setting so much better than a child’s parent? Some of you mentioned how it was in your heart to home school I felt that too. I wanted always to be home and be their teacher. Due to economic challenges I was home, back at work and then home again and had to return to work and finally stay home. Each time was difficult but I don’t regret having the experience and making the necessary sacrifices of staying home. and homeschooling.

  13. Thank you for putting this out there. Eight years into homeschooling we are still doing it on a yearly basis! I have also come to realize that often when my husband talks about sending our kids to public school, it is because he has noticed a valid deficiency that needs to be addressed. I have come to see that I need his radar. And that he needs me to hear him out, and suggest concrete means for addressing those deficiencies. When I do, the public schooling rhetoric usually evaporates, and the kids benefit from my husband’s input. It took me a while to learn this instead of reacting in fear and vilifying public-schooling!
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  14. When my husband suggested homeschooling, I was not so keen on the idea. I prayed and thought about it for a year, then I wanted to do it. It helped me to have a plan for curriculum (and find people to help me through all the decisions). So for the wife persuading the husband I would say ask him to pray about it (pray together too) if you are Christians. I would show him the curriculum you plan to use, the places you would go and reasons why it would help the family. Get him excited to teach things he is into. Give him your ideas about socialization (even if you don’t worry about that, he may need to know that x,y,z times a week/month the kids will be doing such and such with other kids). Ask him to give you and year and see how they progress.

  15. We are addressing this right now. My in-laws are very much against homeschooling and put a lot of pressure on my husband. In our state if your child 5 but isn’t 6 by 9-30 of the school year, you pretty much have a “free” year. You can send to school, homeschool, or file a letter saying your child isn’t ready.

    We decided to try homeschooling for the kindergarten year. Honestly, it wasn’t what I expected. My husband is using that to say that we shouldn’t homeschool this year. I’m disappointed because the first year is the hardest and just because it wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. I see improvement in my son and in the process we’ve pinpointed that our son has sensory issues. I believe that putting him into a bright loud unpredictable classroom isn’t in his best interest educationally, emotionally or even physically; unfortunately my husband doesn’t understand it. I think we’ll be discussing it until August. There isn’t a lot of outside support groups here either. I find that the other kids are either a lot older or younger than our son so I am having a hard time finding someone who is at the same stage I’m in. I’ve already told my husband I’m going to the homeschool convention this year even if he doesn’t. At least I can make an informed decision on that we need to do this fall.

  16. So excited for this question, my husband and I were in this situation for literally over a decade. We started talking about it when we were dating and as our firstborn approaches 4 years old this year, we were getting desperate to come to an agreement. We both had experience with our teachers as our parents, I loved it, he didn’t. We both value education more than almost anything and so it wasn’t a decision that seemed would ever be easy. Seriously it was the only thing we would get steamed irrational arguments about. Whenever we would do a marriage workshop or seminar, we would ask people what to do in our situation, when there is no compromise but you have to make one decision. All we ever got were people’s opinions on homeschooling.
    About a year ago, I read an article about making difficult choices with only one resolution (ie. do we have another kid, do we move, do we homeschool). It said take a few days or a week to live/discuss the issue as if you have chosen path A. Then take a few days or a week to live/discuss as if you have chosen path B. Finally, take the time to discuss how/if your opinions have changed. I realized that my husband and I have had different experiences with homeschool and the reason we were having a difficult time was because we really love our kids and want the best for them. I started to think of my husband, not as my adversary on this front, but as a partner to figure out what would work for our family. I tried to get a feel for what kind of education he really wanted our kids to have and look for homeschool methods and ideologies that he might connect to. He surprised me and even ended up reading through “The Well Educated Mind” all on his own. I looked around to see if there were charter or specialty school that I could get on board with.
    We are looking forward to starting homeschool in the fall and keep evaluating what works and why it works for our family. Anyway, I don’t know if this will help or not, but remember that you both are the same team working for your family. And try and see things from this point of view, he might surprise you and try to see it from yours!

  17. My husband was not on board with homeschooling at all. It was a real battle to even get him to try it the first year. He wasn’t interested in reading any books or articles on homeschooling. He was just stuck on stereotypes, isolation, and “socialization.”
    I really had to explore his reasons for resisting and realized he didn’t know anyone “like him” that homeschooled their kids. Everyone he knew fit the stereotypes which were negative to him.
    Thankfully, that first year we homeschooled, he started working with someone “like him” that was homeschooling his kids. This must have come up at work because he suddenly found many other co-workers homeschooling their kids. He was able to get beyond the stereotypes and really see the benefits of homeschooling. He was able to see in those first few months that his son was learning, just not in a classroom. And we had so much more family time since we weren’t tied to a school schedule.
    He’s totally on board now, 7 years later. It’s been a great ride!

  18. My husband hasn’t completely decided but when I hear him talking to others I hear him leaning towards bragging about homeschooling and not putting it down. We are taking it year by year. My oldest is 5 this year.

    My advice would be to take it slow. Don’t bombard him with information. Let him learn why it is good on his own with gentle persuasion from you.

  19. HeatherG says:

    My husband has never been completely opposed to it, but has had reservations in the past. However, his reservations about the school system were probably stronger than reservations about HSing. The thing that helped us to get him fully in the HS camp was his willingness to read books. The books really gave him confidence in our children that they will learn and they will enjoy learning if we help to foster that. Both of us are from public school childhoods so it was tough for him to really believe that the kids would really learn without the worksheets and teachers and everything we were brought up with. Of course the books we read opened our eyes to the fact that the school system can be detrimental in many cases.

    I agree with many others who have said not to push the issue. I didn’t buy a stack of books and make DH read them. But I would find a couple I really loved, mention that I thought he would really like them, leave them on a shelf and he’d pick them up and read them on his own. Occasionally I’d be reading with him in the same room and I’d read aloud some paragraph that was really great and this would start a good conversation about it.

    I also agree that trying it out for a year is a great idea and doesn’t have to feel like a huge commitment. Just take it one step at a time.

  20. My husband was reluctant to allow homeschooling initially. As I dealt with schools and homework and child-rearing primarily, and he mostly did not, he did not see the obstacles that I witnessed. He was reluctant to “buck the system”, didn’t see a need to take “drastic measures”, and didn’t want to defy society’s expectations.

    Two things helped us get past this.

    One was that I asked that he let us “try” homeschooling. I told him I’m not asking for a permanent change, just the ability to see how it works out for us. That to him was less intimidating than making a long-term commitment to homeschooling.

    The second thing was that I started to share with him more of the details of what wasn’t working for us at school (based on my personal observations) as well as excerpts of what I read about homeschooling.

    Eventually, it was witnessing what happened with our kids that convinced my husband that homeschooling was the right choice for us (after we’d embarked on it for a few months). He loved hearing about the interesting things we were exploring and enjoyed family discussions that came as a result. Our family grew more connected than before, and we grew a learning culture in our home.

    I think one last important aspect was that I put together a list of what a “good education” meant to me and ran this across my husband, who could gain insight into what I valued and could offer his own insights into what he found important. The long-term goals serve as our compass as we go through seasons of homeschooling.

  21. This is a tough problem- but in general, the spouse with the strongest feeling gets what they want in my family
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  22. This is exactly what I struggled with last year. I prayed for God to either change my husband’s heart or change mine and during that time, he got laid off. He was obviously focused on getting a job as HSing was becoming increasingly more important to me.

    After he was reemployed, he still wasn’t ready to discuss the HSing idea b/c he was so distracted with training and adjusting to his new position. I ended up pleading with him (okay, begging him) to let me give this a chance. He agreed to try it for one year, period. Then we’ll reevaluate.

    Here we are, 5 months into it and I absolutely love the results. He’s still a bit skeptical that our son is getting a “quality” education, but I see small and large victories every day. I’m hoping that our upcoming HS convention this summer will further convince him that this is not 1971 and I’m not creating some hippie way to educate my kids. There are tons of resources available nowadays and there are many ways to tailor education to fit your child’s needs.

    My advice, if you’re a praying person, is to pray that God changes his heart or yours. And remember to be OPEN to the fact that He might change yours! I prayed that prayer last April and realized the timing wasn’t right, but then in October, I couldn’t deny it any longer.

    HSing is enough of a challenge when you have excited kids and a supportive husband. Without the support of your husband, it will be that much more difficult and, in my opinion, not worth the potential strain on your marriage.

    Sorry if any of this is repeat from other comments…I haven’t read through them yet. But I will right now!!!

  23. Dahlia O'Neil says:

    Story of my life! I wanted to homeschool since my eldest daughter was barely 2 (she’s now 7). We were moving back to Alaska from Kansas, as my husband just finished law school. We were living with my parents, starting to build a house, and I was pregnant with our 4th baby. It just was too stressful to homeschool her for Kindergarten. My dear husband and I talked about what to do, as school was starting in a few days…he saw it wouldn’t be managable and I, in denial, cried and cried that my dream wasn’t coming true and that she’d be in public school.

    Well, we quit building the house (luckily we only got to digging the foundation and nothing more), moved to another town, have a home of our own, and Jeremy’s got a great job. We are settled.

    Jeremy and I haven’t been too pleased with the public school (which I already knew I wasn’t going to be pleased), but he’s finally seeing that it’s just not the right fit for our daughter – or any of our children.

    So, this coming fall, we are bringing her home and will homeschool! Sometimes we just have to do what will work for our family, even if it means a dream deferred. It is better to pass through sorrow so we can know the joy.

    And I am full of joy that I get to teach my sweet children at home :)

  24. My son is six, and we just pulled him out of public school two months ago to homeschool. I wanted to homeschool from the beginning, but my husband was against it. Until he saw how awful the system was and how exhausted my son was every day. My son and I would fight about homework, and his behavior/attitude were pretty bad. My husband was even more concerned because of this, but the school was so bad, that he finally agreed to let me try. The difference was night and day – we are all so much happier now. Anyway, my advice would be to pray (of course), to not be afraid to try public school, and also to research all options and maybe compromise some. One of the reasons I got my husband to agree is because we are technically registered with a charter school. They offer classes two days a week (but we aren’t taking any now), and we have a supervising teacher we meet with once a month. I have not found the charter to be that helpful, but it reassures hubby so that is fine with me.

  25. It’s very interesting to read all the comments! Thankfully my husband is on board, even more so after seeing how public school changed some once-sweet children we knew and after reading excerpts of The Well-Adjusted Child (great book!). I’m sure this post is helpful to so many, I can’t imagine how hard it is to have your heart set on homeschooling and your spouse in disagreement. Now if only I could find a way for my in-laws to open up to it more, they don’t really speak English and they were quite shocked when they first heard about the idea of homeschooling.
    Anastasia @ eco-babyz’s latest post: FDA: Voluntary Initiative to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals

  26. My husband was hesitant about homeschooling, and I wasn’t confident about it either (even though I liked the idea). So we try it out with our 4 year old, who is going to Pre-K at our local church 3 days a week. On the other two days, I do some very minimal and basic lessons with her (phonics, math, Five In A Row curriculum). My husband is amazed at how much she has learned on homeschooling days compared to school days. At this point my husband is the one pushing for homeschooling because of what he has seen. In fact, it’s as if she’s getting her main learning from homeschooling, and fun/play at Pre-K. For this coming year, we’ll enroll our 4 year old in a University Model School, which is a good mix (school for 2 days a week, and homeschool for the other days). But we’ll evaluate our decision a year at a time.

  27. I never really considered doing it, but something (I couldn’t tell you what) made me start considering it. My daughter was in private preschool a few hours a week, and maybe it was the changes I saw in her. My husband was not even interested in considering home educating. One of my closest friends has been homeschooling for years, and while he likes the family well enough, so many of their choices are different from our own, that he thinks the kids are a little “different” and not in all good ways. But last winter, my friend told us about an introduction-type class being taught at the library that was sponsored by the state HS association, and I wanted to go. My friend invited us for dinner, and offered that her (0lder) children would watch our young ones while all the grown ups went to the session, and he did agree to go. I could tell afterward that he was still strongly opposed, so I didn’t bring it up at all. Several days later it seemed okay to talk about it. I think he had had a conversation with someone else, and he even brought it up. He shared his major concerns with me, which I listened to and jotted down without interruption or protest. His concerns were primarily about me, and the added stress, and my ability to cope with everything currently on my plate, plus teaching. He also mentioned socialization and social interaction, and his concern that the kids might be too naive. I told him that I thought they were valid concerns, and shared my own thoughts on each, and shared some of my own concerns. Since our oldest was still just approaching her 4th birthday, we had time. I told him that I would like to do more reading/research. I told him that I didn’t want to waste my time if he was adamantly opposed to it, and would never consider it, but that if he felt like it was alright to learn more, I wanted to do that. He agreed. I shared his concern with my patience and ability to cope, actually. As I read and researched I would share things with him from time to time. My daughter began to show reading-readiness signs, and I decided that maybe I should take the opportunity to do a little formal instruction on that. I also checked out a Five In A Row teacher’s manual from the library and began doing that with her over the summer. I figured we could dip our toes in the waters, and see how it worked for all of us. Our days actually went better! A little structure was good for me and the kids, and it gave us something planned and fun to do together. We loved it. Then one day my now 4-year-old daughter picked up an early reader I brought home form the library and read it! She had never heard the story, so we knew it wasn’t memorized, like we had been thinking was the case with our books at home. It was so amazing! She still had another year of preschool, so she went back in September. We did see some behaviors we didn’t like. She was studying the letters of the alphabet at school and reading at home. She was playing soccer and swimming lessons, and other things where she was getting social interaction. Ultimately, the proof was in the pudding. He couldn’t really argue with the progress she had made at home, or that I wasn’t able to cope. He said if we were going to try it, he wanted to do it first, not send her to public school and pull her out if there were problems. And that he didn’t think he wanted to do it through high school. I laughed at that, saying there was no way I wanted to commit to that at this point! I have continued to work with both kids while she has been going to preschool, and we are all committed to homeschooling for Kindergarten next year. We will see what happens after that. I can’t bear the idea of sending her off for full-day K, so I am extremely thankful that he came so far. At her K-readiness conference a couple weeks ago, her teachers said something about “I suppose she might be reading already” and I was flabbergasted that they didn’t know! I think my hubby now honestly feels like I can do a better job of meeting her where she is at (and my son too – though he is just 2) than a classroom teacher. He has really kind of embraced this lifestyle now, and looks forward to being able to travel when we want, etc. We will evaluate one year at a time as well, and consider other options if this isn’t meeting our needs.

  28. I had one mother tell me that she knew God wanted her to home school her daughter. She was scared but willing to follow but her husband was totally against it. She returned to prayer and told God she was willing but that he would have to convince her husband. Then she relaxed and waited and sure enough her spouse saw the light. Another mother I know simply taught her toddler/preschooler as though she would always be home schooled. She didn’t push her desire with her husband or disrespect his opinion. She just taught her children until kindergarten. When they enrolled her daughter for school she scored way off of the scale. He realized then that home schooling was a better choice for his children, and that they would be bored in school. This has been my experience.
    Savannah@HammockTracks’s latest post: Hammock Home School – Home Education Live {Linky}

  29. I had the opposite problem – my husband wanted to homeschool, and I had no desire to do so. But I wanted to make an educated decision, so I read everything I could find on the subject – and when I got to The Well-Trained Mind, it completely changed my heart and made me realize that I could do this and provide for my children a far better education than they would ever receive in public school!
    CC Jen’s latest post: Ann Romney

  30. My husband is not against homeschooling, but not pro homeschooling. I find though that it can be a way of you present it.

  31. We approached the homeschooling debate by using the years leading up to kindergarten as our testing grounds. I started teaching in little snippets here and there, and adding to them, as the children’s attention and interest allowed. I spent that time praying, and trying not to set my heart on homeschooling. However, as the children grew, and my husband watched the wonderful things we were learning, and how much fun we were having, he didn’t feel quite so concerned about being “Those crazy, unsocialized homeschoolers” he had imagined. When kindergarten age arrived, it almost felt as though we weren’t making any big decision, or doing anything drastic, since we were just adding to what we had already been doing. Certainly, as the children grow, homeschooling can become much more time-intensive. However, starting with little teaching moments in the early years can help show how natural homeschooling can be, and alleviate the fearful debates between spouses.

  32. Kym Montgomery says:

    My ex-husband just refused the whole idea of home education. I took into consideration what the children wanted (having been sooo unhappy at school) and started home ed last Sept.
    My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!
    They love it…I love it…

  33. At first, my husband was tolerant of my wanting to homeschool. When we began however, he seemed to always threaten me that if the kids weren’t where he thought they should be, that he would enroll them in public school right away. Then, when my daughter was 7 we had a particularly challenging year, for many reasons, things didn’t go the way either of us had wanted and to add to the poor man’s stress I had become interested in unschooling. This was just too much and so after several arguments, we enrolled our oldest daughter in public school. It didn’t take long for my husband to have to see the challenges that many parents in this school district had warned me about. We stuck it out through the teachers medical troubles causing a long succession of substitute teachers to derail our daughter’s learning, we stuck it out through many arguments with the school secretary who didn’t like me to begin with, though I don’t know why. We had almost made it to the end of the school year, when at dinner one night our daughter made a very opinionated, and borderline offensive statement about a presidential candidate running for election at the time. My husband and I looked at each other in dismay and asked her where she had come to that conclusion. “My teacher said so.” she said plainly over her bowl of beans and rice. Finally, my husband opened up about all the things he had noticed, from the non stop coloring pages to our daughter lagging behind in Reading and Math since she had begun public school to the fact that our daughter was now sleeping with a bowl next to her every night because her anxiety was through the roof. That was it, I took the moment and ran with it, showing him all the things I had observed and even down to her schoolwork for the year which showed that she was doing assignments that were making her redo her skills she had mastered over a year before she entered the school system. I had talked to the teachers and anyone else I could about what could be done to help my daughter and no one listened, they said that a teacher had to make the evaluation. That was it, my husband fully supported taking our daughter out of public school and educating her at home. Since then, he still keeps a close eye on our day to day routine and while he isn’t completely comfortable with all of the methods I have chosen to use over the past four years, he has looked more at what they get out of it and has always been completely satisfied with that.
    I am grateful that I can at least say that my husband and I learned from experience and not from speculation why for us, homeschooling is the better option. It’s made us a better team and taught me a lot about what I can do for my kids.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks for sharing! My situation is similar in that my husband seemed to be hesitantly supportive when “we” pulled our daughter out of kindergarten. She is now in third grade and it’s been a tough year for us. Every time I turn to my husband for support he just tells me to put her in school. It’s been an emotional struggle for me to be so unsupported when it was a joint decision to begin with. I feel like he has memory loss and forgets all the reasons why we pulled her out of school and doesn’t even think about all the struggles we would deal with if we put her back in. Your post helped me feel like I’m making the right decision by not giving in to putting her back in school.

  34. We had to deal with this when our son was about to turn four, and I decided to pull him out of formal preschool to teach at home. The only thing I can offer as advice is to T A L K – and I mean at every opportunity – about the reasons WHY your spouse is against homeschooling.

    Whether or not the concerns are totally rational, listen, then take some time to do your own research as to how to address the concerns.

    For instance – one of the biggest concerns my DH had was the S word – socialization. I wasn’t really sure myself how I was going to deal with it, so I took the question to local parents of homeschoolers, read as many articles on the subject as I could, thought about the ways I might get my shy son out and interacting with people, et cetera. By the time I sat down again to talk to my husband, I had a PLAN, and it turns out that was all he really wanted in the first place. He was worried, he didn’t know how to approach the problem himself, and now that we had a concrete answer, his main concern dropped away (talking to so many local HS’s taught me a lot, too).

    We just came to the end of our first school year, and the entire family is now on board with homeschooling. In fact, my DH actually said I’d have to come up with some pretty compelling reasons if I ever wanted to send our son to public school.

    One last compromise that might work – setting up a goal to try homeschooling for one year and one year only. You and your spouse can get together at the end of the year and decide what worked and what didn’t, then go from there. Maybe you find HS really is the answer, and maybe you find it would be better for your kids to go to public/private school. Whatever the case, as long as you keep the communication lines open, everyone’s concerns get equal weight, and sometimes that’s all anyone wants – to be heard.
    Angela’s latest post: Romance novels: a primer.

  35. Ok what do you do when you feel very strongly about homeschooling your child, but your husband says the government is met to pay for schools and he doesn’t want anything to do with the idea of me homeschooling as he would rather have him out of the house to get a break from him instead of having me teach him. Also he wants me to work fulltime and not take the time with the children to teach them. I really feel the need to homeschool as our child went to K in public school and he has to repeat it again due to his attention span. He was a distraction to the other kids and the other kids easily put him off pace. I have taught him more in the few weeks of summer that he learned all year at school using a different approach. I don’t want my child to always be noted as the trouble maker or end up in special ed classes because of his attention problems. I don’t believe in medication for this either which brings me to my next concern of the school possibly recommending meds by 1st grade. My boy is very smart and has really blossomed this summer and I hate to lose all that sending him back with peers that may not be the best for him to be hanging around. He is easily influenced.

  36. My husband said I could homeschool at the beginning of summer. But now public school is opening soon and he now says that they will go to “real” school. He says I am not smart enough to teach and that our children need real education. The school they go to has caused a lot of problems for us. They like to make “calls” on any single thing. I have 5 boys and they are always jumping around. I am scared for my children that they could be taken away just on the amount of calls the school likes to me over nothing. We are not the only family they do this too and the other schools in our town do it to many others as well but moving is not an option. Plus they want now to test my 2 children that were school aged. (Now I have 3 kids that are school aged.) One because he has little interest in learning and would rather do other things. This does not mean his is not smart or that he need LD classes. He does wonderful at home with the school work I provide. He is going into 3rd grade. My other son in kindergarden does great on his work but he is the last to complete his work. He does rock as a way of relieving stress but its not all the time. He has been tested by GLASS who said we was perfectly normal. The school wants to retest him and wants him in LD classes. They cannot provide me with real reasons and I think this is more of an issue that we have a lifestyle they dont like. We have 6 kids and not the greatest income but we manage. They are also contently putting stories into my kids heads that are fabricated completely and of course we come out ok because clearly they are false.

    We cant afford privet school and ok so I am not a collage grad nor do I know a lot of things. I am dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to give my kids a good homeschool education. If I dont know an answer we can look it up together. My spelling and grammar are bad, ok fine we will learn together.

    My kids dont listen to me much and in my opinion its because my husband likes to undermined me a lot. This is not helping our children or me as a parent. He said I could homeschool and I have prepped all summer to do so. I have been homeschooling for a week now and I find out that he has been telling the kids they are going to real school and not to tell mommy. My 8yr old told me because he wants to be homeschooled. All 3 of them do. (One in K, in 1st and in 3rd and another one in PreK and last two kids are a 2yr and 8mo old) I live in Indiana and here the laws are sooooo relaxed. I dont have to register unless a school admin requests it, must provide attendance sheet if requested, must each a curriculum equivalent to that of the school but there are no guidelines as to what that is, must teach in english and for 180 days. He has put his foot down and so have I. Now we are divided as a family and I am in tears. I refuse to give in because it seems I always have to. He said focus on my home cause its messy. Well yeah I have 6 kids and no family to assist and he is like another child to care and clean up after.

    This might sound silly but after I decided to homeschool I had this new found purpose and it gave me this extra energy where I am getting even more cleaning done on top of homeschool. My kids are even behaving better. I have only just started homeschooling but I dont want him to take this away from me. How do I convince him? How do I show him I can do this? I told him to give me a year. They are young so a year if I dont succeed wont hurt them (but I wont fail cause I am sooo determined).

    Any one know any good literature or sites I can show him that a basic mom/housewife can be a good homeschool teacher? You do not have to be smart to teach. You only need to be dedicated (and resourceful).

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