So, you’d like to homeschool, but your spouse does not. Or, your children spend part of the week away from home, and your ex isn’t too cool to the idea.
Perhaps you’re a single parent relying on grandparents and helpers who just aren’t comfortable adding school work to their list of duties.
Or maybe it’s YOU who isn’t sure about homeschooling, and you’re searching for helping in coming to the right decision.
Sometimes, one parent wants to homeschool when another does not. Most often, it’s the moms who’d like to try it. But, dads can have difficulty convincing their wives, too. This situation is actually more common than one might think.
When parents disagree about the benefits or practicality of homeschooling, how can they to come to an agreement? Is there a reasonable compromise, or does one party have to give in completely?
After working with countless families over the years, I have listened to concerns from husbands, wives and significant others about homeschooling. I have noticed that their worries have everything in common. Classifying these issues into categories, I have developed this list of areas that appear to concern potential homeschoolers.
See if any of these ring true for you:
Problem Area #1: PROOF
One or both parents want to make sure the kids will actually be learning.
- One parent wants to make sure kids are tested to compare them to other students.
- One parent wants to hire tutors or other “experts” to teach the kids.
- One parent issues ultimatum that children who do not demonstrate progress within 6 months (12 months, 2 years, etc.) will be placed back in school.
Problem Area #2: SOCIAL LIFE
One or both parents want to make sure the children will have friends, activities, or a “social life”.
- A parent who wants a guarantee that the children will still be involved in clubs, team sports, and groups where there are lots of other kids.
- A parent worried the children may become weird, odd, different, ‘nerdy’, a ‘sissy’ or uses other similar terms in a negative way.
- A parent that asks about dances, proms, graduations, and other traditional school-like social events.
- A parent asking to see what homeschoolers actually act like by attending homeschool events and functions before coming to a decision.
Problem Area #3: QUALIFICATIONS and CAPABILITY
One parent has concerns about the other parent being able to handle it all.
- One or both parents worried they aren’t “smart enough” to homeschool.
- A parent concerned that the other is too busy, nervous, disorganized, undisciplined, permissive, or <fill-in-the-blank>.
- A parent worried about exceptional children, those with additional needs, and children with particular academic or behavioral challenges they believe cannot be addressed through homeschooling.
- A parent worried about being “different” and what other people will think.
Problem Area #4: MONEY
Parents worry about being able to afford it.
- Questions about who must leave a job in order to stay home.
- Concerns over where to buy books and materials such as expensive lab supplies or computers.
- Worries about enrolling children in expensive home study programs resulting from a lack of information about other, less expensive homeschooling options.
- General concerns about how to pay for it all.
Problem Area #5: SUCCESS
Will our kids be able to get jobs? Get into college?
- A parent worried about getting a child into a “good” college.
- A parent concerned about homeschoolers getting “good” jobs after graduation.
- A parent asking to see evidence of what homeschoolers really do once they become adults.
- A parent who worries about homeschoolers getting financial aid and scholarships.
- A parent who wants their child to receive an official high school diploma.
Gathering reliable information and discussing these problem areas will absolutely help spouses and others who disagree about homeschooling. If there are other worries not covered here, they need to be brought into the discussion, too. Laying the answers out clearly on the table serves to get concerns out in the open and come up with solutions that will satisfy both parties. This conversation isn’t always easy. It can take several days or weeks even. But only by addressing the most common concerns can families move toward making the right decision for themselves, their families, and most importantly — their children.
These issues have been amply covered in the homeschool literature. I also invite you to check out my book, Suddenly Homeschooling, to read about each of these topics at length:
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