My Spouse Wants to Homeschool and I Don’t

This was me, eight years ago, when the twins were still little. It wasn’t my husband who was the doubter, but me. Not only did I doubt it, but I refused to even discuss the matter.

To be fair, he had been exposed to homeschoolers and had seen how well the kids did, and I had only had the stories from public school about homeschoolers. You know the ones, where the kids didn’t learn anything and it was implied, if not outright said, that it’s because the parents were parents… not teachers. Of course the kids didn’t learn anything. Rather than being open to listening, I shut down, making excuse after excuse for why it would never work. Yep, that was me: Terrified.

Later, Common Core’s impending implementation would drive us to homeschool, and I can’t imagine putting the boys back into a school, but at the time I felt justified. If you want to homeschool but your spouse doesn’t, or vice versa, this post is for you. I’ll be listing all my ridiculous (in hindsight) excuses for why I did not want to homeschool, and showing you just why they’re actually unfounded.

I’m not a teacher but my husband {or wife} thinks I’m a genius

Well isn’t it nice to have one who’s so supportive? Mine is the same. He’s pretty awesome but seeing him have so much faith in my ability sort of scared me. But rather than beat you up like I did to myself, I’ll just say this: If you have ever shared information, taught someone to do something, or helped your kids figure something out, you can do this. Teachers go to college, get a degree in whichever field, then do extra stuff to get a credential. Much of this extra stuff is focused on crowd management and teaching philosophies. Unless you have 20 kids all the same age, I don’t see that you need the first part. Learning about various pedagogical approaches is something you can do on your own, and let’s face it: private teachers are always more effective anyhow because they can adapt and personalize the lessons.

As Gandhi is credited with saying, “There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” Basically, if you have your kids’ best interests at heart and you use that to guide your schooling with them, they’ll turn out at least as good as they would in a school with a thousand other students.

My kids don’t listen to me

Who’s kids do? I mean really? We love and adore our kids and want them to grow and learn to question authority… just not our authority. But question and argue they do. We have good days and not-so-good days, and that’s part of life. Some days they listen to me and are respectful, and others they’re not. But when, as adults, are we always perfect? They need to learn from example, and when we are setting the best example we know how, they tend to follow it. Mostly. Because they’re individuals with free will, they will make choices that aren’t smart, they’ll hurt themselves and others, and they’ll ignore us. As parents, it’s our job to teach them how to be human beings to the best of their abilities and we can’t do that if they’re gone for 6-8 hours every day.

After all, who do you want to be the mentors and molders of your kids’ personalities, strengths, weaknesses? Who do you want them to emulate? If you’re with them most of the time, you get to be that person and you get to determine whether or not they grow up to be people who are respectful.

They need to be around other kids their age

Sure, that’s nice, but is that a reality in the world? Do we live in some bubble where only people our own age are allowed? Umm, no. Yes, it’s important to have friends close to your age and experience because it’s comfortable, but learning to interact with and get along with people of all ages is vital for success in this world. As homeschoolers, my kids are exposed to people from all ages, backgrounds and experiences. One of their favorite people is an elderly customer of my husband’s, and they look forward to seeing him when they work with dad. They can hold an intelligent conversation with nearly anyone they meet, and are confident in their knowledge and skill; and have been for a couple of years. They’ll be 12 next month.

Kids in school are forced to “socialize” with kids their own age, but I for one would rather they not be exposed to sex, drugs and violence without me to help them through it before they’ve matured enough to handle it effectively. Realistically… how safe was your school from that?

I can’t teach them everything, I’m really bad at {insert subject here} and I’ll just mess them up

Yeah, because I know everything. Only a little sarcasm there, really! Look, I’m not great at everything, and I’ll bet that most classroom teachers aren’t either. For some things you can take a child-led or unschool approach, and others you’ll want or need something more structured. In areas where you’re not comfortable, you’ll want to choose something more structured that gives you exactly what is needed at each stage of learning. That way, you can plan things out according to approximately how quickly or slowly they’re moving in a given subject. Purchased curricula offer one-step at a time direction that helps you keep kids moving along. And, if you’re willing to learn too, you’ll be fine. I swear. My algebra is actually improving…and I didn’t think that was even possible.

Being worried that you’ll mess them up is good. It means you care, and that you’ll work to be sure that you don’t mess them up. Really, it will.

I want them to get into a college…

Of course we want our kids to be able to get into a college of their choosing, if they so choose. The idea that homeschoolers can’t get into college is a myth. High-level colleges like MIT are starting to actively recruit homeschoolers, and many other colleges say that homeschooled kids matriculate better and have a higher graduation percentage. Besides… wasn’t that high school education supposed to prepare you for life? If you feel it didn’t, maybe you could do better.

Check these articles:

Look, I was the doubter, I was the one who refused to even discuss the idea, and thought it was ridiculous, and I am now a huge advocate of homeschooling. I know it isn’t always possible, and that’s okay. But where it is possible to homeschool your kids, I believe you should give it a fair chance.

If you’re already homeschooling, what myth or lie were you told that made you afraid to homeschool? Do strangers question you? Let me know in the comments!

What do you think?