For some parents, the decision to homeschool comes very easily. From the time they find out they are having a child, they know that homeschooling will be the way of life for them.
Other parents are skeptical about homeschooling. They believe that homeschoolers are unsocialized, sheltered and maybe even… WEIRD.
Sometimes the skeptical parent worries about how they will swing it financially, or emotionally.
Or, ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Sometimes, these two different types of parents are MARRIED to each other!
So begins the disagreement over whether or not to homeschool.
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Making a marriage work can be a really, really tough job. There are so many elements that keep a marriage ticking.
Add in a couple of children, and it just got more difficult.
There are so many decisions to be made when you are a parent. Together, you have to decide how to handle behavior, nutrition, sleeping arrangements AND… how to educate your children.
I have heard of so many couples who are at odds about whether or not to homeschool their children.
One spouse advocates for public (or private) school, while the other wants to pursue homeschooling.
Each parent believes they are doing what is best for the child.
But, what is best for the child is peace within their home and between their parents.
So, while I am an advocate of homeschooling, I advocate MORE for healthy and peaceful relationships between parents.
How do you get there, though?
What do you do when you and your spouse disagree about homeschooling?
How do you make a sound decision, while maintaining peace with your spouse?
Here is what to do when you and your spouse disagree about homeschooling:
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Remind yourselves of who this is really about.
Before you dive any deeper, think about your kids.
This isn’t a battle to see who wins. This is about your children’s education and future.
Sure, you are the parents, but don’t let your pride and ego take over. Remember that your children are depending on you to make a smart decision on their behalf.
This decision shouldn’t be made lightly and cannot be made until you and your spouse can see each other’s side of things.
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Stay civil and peaceful.
As parents, we are naturally passionate about our children’s futures. We will fight to the death for our kids and what we believe to be best for them.
But, remember that you and your spouse are on the same team. You both LOVE your children. And you BOTH want what is best. It’s figuring out what will be best that is the hard part.
Staying civil and peaceful is the key to making a decision about homeschooling. If you don’t discuss the issue in a calm and peaceful way, you are creating an entirely new problem of hostility in your marriage.
Don’t go there.
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Write down all concerns regarding homeschooling.
One of the best pieces of marriage advice I’ve ever received was to make sure to validate my husband’s concerns. This means that those concerns must first be acknowledged. I don’t have to agree with his concerns, but I do need to acknowledge them.
Take out a pen and paper and write down (acknowledge) the concerns of the spouse who is opposed to homeschooling.
Maybe you both have concerns about homeschooling. Write them down so they are clear and communicated!
Related Post: Busting Common Homeschool Myths
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Write down all concerns regarding public school (or the other educational institute choice).
Again, both spouses need to have their concerns heard.
Write down all concerns regarding the other choice of education.
Don’t hesitate to write down even concerns that seem silly. It’s important that everything is explored and discussed before making your decision.
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Look at Your Finances.
If money is a concern, make sure you look at your finances FIRST, before moving forward.
Nothing is worse than making a decision and NOT thinking about how it will affect your money situation.
If both you and your spouse work, you will need to figure out if it’s possible to change to a single income.
This could be something as simple as paying off debt so you don’t have any payments, or learning to budget more accurately so you know where all of your money is actually going.
Related Post: How We Paid off $26000 in Debt in 5 Months
Cutting back on your lifestyle might be another option to discuss with your spouse.
These financial decisions might take a month or two to figure out, and that is okay.
Make sure you have a concrete plan for your household finances.
You don’t want that added stress when you are trying to embark on a new adventure.
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Research the law.
Look at the legalities of homeschooling where you live. Depending on your state, there may be laws in place for homeschoolers to adhere to.
You can check out your state’s homeschooling laws here .
Find out what will be required of you if you decide to homeschool. Will you be able to keep up with the legal requirements?
Discuss the legal side of homeschooling with your spouse. Write down any concerns or questions you have so you can refer back to them.
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Get the facts.
It is always wise to base your life decisions on facts.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but since the decision to homeschool greatly impacts your children, it’s important to stick with relevant facts to make an educated decision.
There is so much misinformation that floats around about both homeschooling AND public schooling. You have to weed through the myths to find out what is REALLY true.
The Homeschooling League Defense Association posts research articles on homeschooling that are fact-based and relevant.
Go back to the concerns that were written down about homeschooling and see if any of them can be validated or debunked, based on facts you learn.
Do the same thing for the other education options.
The Department of Education puts out research articles, like this one on school crime and safety, that can be referred to when discussing options with your spouse.
There are also a TON of other statistics on their website that you can find here.
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Do more research.
When you and your spouse are disagreeing on homeschooling, it’s important to do as much research as possible.
This means that you will need to learn as much as you can about homeschooling AND other education options.
From homeschooling styles, to public school rankings where you live, make sure you have researched as much as possible before you make your decision.
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Talk to your kids about their education choices.
If your kids are old enough, discuss their schooling options with them. This doesn’t mean that they are making the final decision, but it allows you and your spouse to see their side of things.
So many times there are issues at school that have children begging to be homeschooled. Listen to these concerns, just as you and your spouse have listened to each other’s concerns.
Have your child write down their concerns and feelings about homeschooling AND other education choices.
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Reach out to other homeschooling families.
When considering homeschooling, I think it is so important to get a glimpse into the daily life of homeschooling families.
If you know of any homeschooling families, ask if you can pick their brains for information.
What does their day look like? Can you sit in for a few hours while they homeschool? Can you join them on an outing with their homeschooling group?
Jump in and explore to see if homeschooling would be a good fit for your family.
Related Post: 101 Reasons to Unschool
If you don’t know of any families that homeschool, there are blogs and vlogs all over the internet that document “Day in the Life” for their homeschools.
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Tour your local school.
Call the school or school district that your children would (or do) attend and ask to sit in on a class or two. Observe the interactions between students and teachers. Get a feel for the vibes on the campus.
If your child doesn’t attend school yet, think about how your child would fit in to this educational setting. Would his or her learning style be met? What about creative outlets and physical needs?
Or, if your child already attends public school, consider shadowing them for a few hours to get a feel for what they do on a daily basis.
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Go to marriage counseling.
This might seem really silly for a discussion about homeschooling, but the persistent inability to reach common ground can be very troubling in a marriage.
Sometimes it takes an outside person to help you communicate clearly in marriage.
If your disagreement with your spouse stretches beyond homeschooling, then there might be some underlying issues that need to be resolved before you can make a decision on how to educate your children.
It is tough to make decisions that will greatly affect your family’s lives.
You and your spouse might not agree about how to educate your children, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t discuss your thoughts calmly and with as many facts as possible.
No matter what decision you make, what is most important is peace within your family.
Your children won’t thrive in public school OR homeschool without peace at home and between their parents.
I wish you the absolute best of luck in your decision making!