Are you the educator in your household and your spouse is not? What is an educator anyway? An educator is one who educates and develops the faculties and powers of another by teaching or instruction. In the modern homeschool, more often than not one spouse assumes the role of educator. Typically the mother will fall into this role, but not necessarily in every situation. This is normal as there is a natural balance occurring in the family. What your children don’t receive from one parent they tend to receive from the other. This balance helps to create a foundation and structure that’s crucial for home educating.
I work with many homeschool families, most of them chiefly organized and headed by the mom. There can be several reasons why moms typically assume this role, but the number 1 reason is that the dad is away at work providing. This is not the case in all homeschool families. There are many dads out there who head their homeschools while the mom works. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be organized to serve your family’s individual needs. It’s important to note that while one parent typically handles the day to day educating the other is the primary breadwinner, it doesn’t mean that the breadwinning parent misses out. There’s lots of opportunities in the evening for read a-louds and being involved with projects and other interests that can spark learning and family togetherness. The important factor is that both parents be supportive of each other in their respective roles and remember that you’re not just a partnership you’re a family.
When I first told my husband I wanted to homeschool I didn’t have anything, but a burning desire to homeschool my children. I had no formal plan or details on how to set up a homeschool. Thankfully, for me, my husband was supportive and encouraged me to research exactly what we needed to do. This was back in 1995 when the Internet and the World Wide Web was nothing more of a series of bulletin boards in its infancy predating the likes of Yahoo and Google. I was however able to locate other homeschoolers in the community. My first contact led me and my husband to seasoned homeschooler who sold curriculum from her home. She showed us what we would need to cover, how to get started and what to buy. We ordered a large stack of books, followed her instructions and we were well on our way to schooling at home. I reinvented my homeschool practices many times over since those early beginnings, improving year after year as we grow and learn.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” -Unknown
We’ve established that one parent is usually the primary educator while the other is the primary breadwinner. In order for this scenario to be successful, both parents truly must be on the same page and supportive of one another. What happens when this is not the case, when one parent is against homeschooling altogether?
I’ve met several families who have only one parent on board with homeschooling. They’re marginal success they experience is being stifled as stress and chaos are induced due to conflicting views. It’s critical for both parents to work together and find a common ground in support your children and your family as a whole. This will create the harmony and peace you long for strengthening your children’s core foundation.
If your spouse is not fully supportive of your homeschool, I recommend you take the following practical steps:
- Be open to an honest and thorough conversation allowing each parent to express their concerns around homeschooling. This is a time to be unconditional and really open to hearing each other. One spouse can take notes and list the concerns. Discuss what solutions you already have in place to resolve fears and concerns. For anything you don’t know how to handle, seek the advice of a seasoned homeschooler who is aligned with your principles of homeschooling.
- Learn more together. As a homeschooler it’s important that you support yourself and each other through continued study. This means reading a book together about how to homeschool, on education or parenting. Share videos and audios with each other discussing what you learned. What had the greatest impact on you? Create a plan together outlining how you will implement changes to improve upon, when, where, and who will do what and for how long. By doing this, you are aligning your mindsets in the same direction. This is extremely important for creating deeper more meaningful relationship as a couple and for the whole family.
- Share how you are utilizing the resources you’ve invested in. Sometimes there are expenses involved with projects, new books, research material and programs it can feel like something new is constantly being bought and the question can arise, “Are you really using all that?” Or, “Do we really need this?” Take the time to share what each child is working on and what tools he is using. To make it easier in An Inspired Education curriculum, we use the Parent’s Weekly Review. This is a tool I developed for mentor meetings allowing you to see the student’s progress, track changes or the implement new practices. You can meet as a couple and review together or both of you meet with the children as you deliver their mentor meetings.
Remember, we all start at the same place and grow from there. As you love more and live more, the whole family will learn more. Grow together and enjoy the journey.
Parents Inspired to Action
- Create and review your list of concerns regarding homeschooling. Look for help from an expert if necessary.
- Choose a book, video or audio to share with your spouse. Create an implementation plan together with your spouse.
- Set up accountability tools in your homeschool to ensure you are covering all the necessary academics and using the resources you have purchased effectively.
Children Inspired to Action
- Connect with other homeschool families.
- Set up weekly mentor meetings with your children to review work done and set goals for work to be done next.
- Carry on genuine conversations with your children throughout the day and over meals about what they are reading and learning. These can grow into discussions that increase the learning and development.