I really have a passion for wanting to homeschool our 4 children, however my husband and other family members think it would be better for the children and I would be better off sending them to school. Am I showing respect to my husband by dropping the subject and teaching them what I can when they are out of school for sick days and vacations? How can I get my husband to understand how badly I want to do this?
I believe that God inspires us, and if you feel a passion for wanting to homeschool, I think that feeling comes from God and you will be blessed if you follow it. It will take courage, but the results will be amazingly wonderful! I am so thankful—so very, very thankful that I homeschool!
How to convince your husband? Well, it depends on what type of a man he is. If you do the research, read things, find statistics for positive results of homeschooling (such as the fact that many of the National Spelling Bee winners were homeschooled, or that more homeschoolers per capita graduate from college and make more money, etc.), will he listen to reason? If you sincerely express your heartfelt feelings and do all you can to be a good, loving, attentive wife, will he want to honor your feelings and allow you your desire? Study out the best approach and patiently go about it, not trying to rush him, just trying to gently win him over. Discuss his concerns and fears and see if you can find a way to quell them. They are his children, too, and he wants them to have the best opportunity.
There is a lot of negative research that shows how awful public school is. I think mucking in the negative is not the right approach. I would rather emphasize the incredible results of homeschooling, the family unity, the smooth sailing during teen years, the love of learning that is ignited in homeschooled children. There is much that you can focus on that is excellent and uplifting.
“Dropping the subject and then trying to teach them when they are out of school for sick days and vacations” does not seem like a good way to honor your husband. It seems like a good way to make your children resent the fact that they have to go to school, plus spend their “time off” in school too! You will bring honor to your husband when your children grow upright, educated and respectful through your diligent teaching and mothering.
How to convince family members? I don’t think there is a need. Please God and be true to yourself. That is all anyone can do. You will never make everyone happy. Besides, even the most critical family members cannot ignore good results, and as your children grow into educated, sensitive, caring, good citizens, some of those critics will become your loyal supporters. The best way I have found to deal with family criticism is just to carry on, be loving with them, and debate it as little as possible. Understand that they care, and just want the best for you, and mean well. They speak out of love, generally. So take their remarks as if they had expressed love, and don’t discuss homeschooling pros and cons with them. Set your own boundary of self-respect—not allowing them to delve into the whys and wherefores. You won’t convince them with words, but “the proof is in the pudding” and when they see your children changing, becoming more mannerly, more respectful, and excited about learning, you won’t have to try to convince anyone.
And, above all, pray! There is a lot of power in consistent prayer.
I want to tell you about my friend. Her husband was dead set against homeschooling, and she yearned to do it so much. She left homeschooling articles on the coffee table. She dropped hints. She pleaded and begged. She cried. She was silent. She tried to do summer school and Christmas vacation school with her kids. Finally, she and I decided to pray every day consistently about softening her husband’s heart. She also determined to fast once a week asking God to touch her husband. Her husband did not know why she was fasting, nor did he know about our prayers. After 3 weeks, her husband was sitting in the living room reading the newspaper one evening while she fixed dinner. Suddenly, he folded the newspaper and said, “Okay, just go ahead and homeschool!”. He said it in a rather irritated tone, as if his conscience had been nagging him. She didn’t care what tone of voice he used—she was just thrilled to have his permission!
Be persistent in your prayers, and prepare yourself to homeschool. Get your school area set up, gather your books and supplies, decorate a bulletin board or a space on the wall. Make school look very fun! If you intend to teach a science unit on lizards, decorate with a toy lizard and some pictures. Get library books on lizards and let the kids look through them. Go forth getting ready with enthusiasm. If your husband asks about it, say you are exercising faith. Put trust in the fact hat God loves you and your husband loves you and they both want you to have the desire of your heart. Be upbeat and positive about it. It is hard to stop a happy, energetic attempt at doing good.