In a perfect world, immediately upon a couple having a child, they would both agree on every single decision for the next 18 years …. and beyond. And, of course, they would both be fully committed to homeschooling.
But that’s not always how things go. Sometimes, it’s not just that they don’t agree, but one member of the couple actively disagrees with the idea of homeschooling. So, what’s a mom to do? (While today’s blog will be about getting your husband on board, it could also be the wife who doesn’t want to homeschool. The same ideas can apply.)
When my husband first shot down the idea of homeschooling, I did what any good homeschool mother would do … I went to the library. My husband comes from an engineering background and he likes facts and figures. So I figured that I needed to convince him via information. I checked out every book the library had on homeschooling and researched all the statistics. I made pros and cons lists. Every argument that I thought he might make, I found an answer for. I knew everything there was to know about homeschooling. Well, at least, I thought I did.
I had statistics about how well homeschooled students do in college and life. I had statistics about the disparity in incidences of deviant behavior between homeschoolers and public schooled students. I knew all sorts of facts about child development and learning styles. (See Homeschooling by the Numbers.)
However, when I walked into the room with all of my charts and graphs, my notes and data, it wasn’t the information I had, but the determination in my voice, the certainty of my decision, that convinced my husband to “give it one year”. That isn’t necessarily proof that emotion will always win the day, but it did convince me that it was best to have both emotion and intellect in mind when trying to convince your spouse to homeschool.
8 years later, as my oldest approached high school age, my husband felt that we needed to send him to high school in order for him to experience all that the world had to offer, including bullying. (Yes, he really did say that!) Once again, I made my pros and cons lists. (Don’t you just love those?) This time, I relied a bit more on emotion since he already knew all the statistics about homeschooling. I had to convince him that not only was homeschooling a viable option, but that it was the best option for our family. That our family was better, stronger, and closer because we homeschooled. That the positives of homeschooling by far outweighed any negatives he could conceive of. That our children weren’t missing anything profoundly life-changing by homeschooling. The intensity of my convictions once again swayed his decision, and we continued homeschooling both children all the way through high school.
One of the best ways to show your spouse how great homeschooling can be is to find other homeschool families and let him get to know them. After we decided to homeschool, my husband sat for an entire day in the “kids’ room” of a homeschool conference. He didn’t want to know about different styles of teaching or how to incorporate physical education into a homeschooler’s day … he wanted to know how well homeschoolers conversed with other people. That day was one of the defining moments of my husband’s conversion to homeschool proponent: the ease with which these children conversed with him, an adult and a stranger, assured him that our children would not be mutants. Getting to know other homeschool families helped him to see the close bonds they shared, the wonderful lifestyle they were able to create, and the fact that learning doesn’t always (or even mostly) come in a classroom.
I was very blessed. My husband was rather easily persuaded. Some women I’ve met or heard from have had a harder time convincing their husbands to homeschool. If that’s the case with you, my suggestion is to start early. Take your time. Slowly introduce the idea, begin to point out positive observations of homeschooled children or homeschooling in general, whether in the news, throughout history, or in your own neighborhood. (Just don’t expect to find many in the media … but that’s a thought for another day.) And before you know it, as he sees your continued commitment to the idea, and begins to acquire a better opinion of homeschooling, you, too, could one day find yourself homeschooling.