Tips from one homeschool mom to another about when a spouse isn’t convinced about homeschooling:
(I originally published these tips back in 2008 on a previous version of this blog–but I think they are worth revisiting. What do you think?)
Sometimes it is hard for one’s spouse to get into the whole home school thing, no matter how excited you are about the idea–and you don’t want to let it disrupt your good relationship.
That said, you may be able to bring your spouse around to your way of thinking by “home schooling” outside of school hours for the time being, and even during school hours by being as proactive with the school as possible – volunteering in your son’s classroom and/or on the playground, personally communicating with school staff such as the teacher, administration, secretaries, librarian, etc. on a really regular basis (chat with one or another of them at least once a week). If you are positive with them, trying to find positive solutions rather than being too negative, and being willing to be part of the solution (as long as your son must be in the school), you will likely find that you can get lots of great ideas and positive help that you can use to home school during out of school time now, and in the future when your partner decides to allow you to home school your child. The thing is to let your partner see what you are capable of doing, and it may provide the confidence to let you actually home school.
I think that a really important thing to remember is that learning is a life-long, 24/7/365 journey. Ideally, home schooling is not school-at-home, but rather learning integrated into every part of life. So if you can see it that way, and really aim toward that, I think that your husband will begin to see the value of home learning.
You say your spouse is concerned because your child has “special needs” with sight issues. But it doesn’t matter what a child’s “special need” is – the truth is, all children have one kind or another (or several, for that matter), for no child is truly the “average student” the school system is set up for. It is wise, as you consider home-schooling, to think really, really carefully about what you believe about school/education/learning (and they are not all the same thing!). Talk to your spouse about this too. Ask your partner’s opinion on constitutes a good education. Let this be an ongoing topic of discussion, perhaps a bit at a time. As your partner comes up with personal thoughts about it, start doing things at home that show you can offer that to your child–in a better way than the school is doing it, quite likely!
If you can find ways to do it unobtrusively, involve your spouse in your “practice” homeschooling, too. For example, if your partner thinks “science” is a big deal, start involving your child in outdoor activities that not only are “playing” in nature but are “learning” too. Maybe your spouse likes fishing, so encourage sharing of knowledge (while fishing together, of course)–not only the skill of fishing, but the life of fish, their environment, what they eat, and so on.
As you drive places together as a family, talk about the environment you see and what humankind is doing to the environment. And if your child asks questions, go to the library on the way home, get books on the topic, and read them together. Maybe set up your own terrarium or aquarium, not just as a “pet” thing, but as a learning experience–a family learning adventure–and your partner will begin to see the excitement of your child’s learning, the depth of it (compared to filling in blanks on a worksheet at school). etc. Talk about what you see/hear on the news every day.
This is real home learning, by the way–integrating learning into every part of life–and you can start doing it right now. In fact, you have been doing it all along, one way or another – you are already a good teacher and/or learning facilitator! Who taught your child to walk, talk, etc., etc., etc.? But now, if you really want to officially home school–and get your child into life-long learning rather than 9 to 3 “school education” only–take all those daily activities and consciously encourage deeper learning, deeper involvement, and participation (not just lifting the lid and plopping in information). There is a good chance your spouse will soon see–and experience–the value of home schooling.
What tips would you add about this topic?
Please add your thoughts in the comments. Thank you!