When Dad is Against Homeschooling
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Uh-oh. That thing where dad is against homeschooling, but you’re completely in love with the idea. How do you deal with this?
This is actually one of the more common questions I get at The Hmmmschooling Mom Facebook page and it’s generally along the lines I really want to homeschool our kids, but my husband is against it. Do you have any tips on how I can convince him it’s a good idea?
Here are a few options for how to approach the tricky dad is against homeschooling situation:
Option #1: Dad is against homeschooling, but I’m gonna do it anyway.
You could always just go on with yo’ bad self and homeschool the kids anyway. I mean, what does it matter what he says?
Girlfriends, no. Just…no.
Mamas, I highly advise against this option. Homeschooling is stressful enough without trying to do it in a household where one of you really thinks it’s a bad idea.
Deciding to homeschool without the support of your hubby also sets your house up as an us-against-him thing. As in mom-and-the-kids-are-rocking-this-homeschool-thing-and-did-you-know-mean-old-daddy-doesn’t-want-us-to-do-this?
No, sisters. Bad idea.
You really, really, really need the support of your spouse or partner if you’re going to homeschool your children. I cannot stress this enough. I can’t imagine what homeschooling would be like if my husband wasn’t supportive of the decision. I would still be sitting on the laundry room floor crying because of some concept the kids didn’t understand and the belief that I’d failed them.
You need your husband on board as your supporter and cheerleader. Pom-poms are optional. Squishy hugs and lots of coffee are not.
Option #2: Dad is against homeschooling, so I’m just going to completely forget about homeschooling.
You could just forget about homeschooling and send your kid to public/private/charter school.
You could. And a lot of people do.
But dealing with school can be stressful enough without sending your kids some place that one parent doesn’t want them to be. It will be that extra pokey dagger in your side as you look over school supply lists. Or read articles about school lunches. Or have to go around to the relatives with another fundraiser. Again.
So, what is a gal to do?
Option #3: Dad is against homeschooling? Find out why…and work through it.
If dad is against homeschooling, here’s the first thing you need to do: talk to the man, and really listen to what he has to say.
Seriously. I’ll be blunt: if you can share a bed, you can have an in-depth, honest discussion about the children you created there.
If you’ve been researching this a long time, you forget that not everyone has read what you’ve read and talked to who you’ve talked to—husband included.
Your husband isn’t receiving All Information About Homeschooling via osmosis from you while you both sit at the dinner table. All of the things you’ve got figured out in your head about how you think homeschooling will work for your family…he hasn’t even started on.
If dad is against homeschooling, here are some things he might be thinking—gathered from an informal survey of formerly non-homeschooling dads:
- I knew a homeschooled family when I was growing up. They were weird.
- What about sports?
- What in the world will I tell my mom? The guys at work?
- How in the world will they make friends?
- I don’t want my kids to be the weird ones. I do NOT want my kids to be the weird ones.
- Wife, you’re going to be a basket case. For real.
- Are you going to want me to be teaching too?
Fear of the homeschooling unknown is real, y’all. Don’t poo-poo your husband’s questions or laugh them off. And for goodness sakes, if he decides he’s going to be honest and share his reasons with you, don’t chastise him for his thoughts. Talk through them.
It’s quite possible he will raise some concerns you haven’t even considered.
Talk to other homeschooling families, both new and experienced. Have another homeschooling dad talk to him. Is there a workshop in your area that new families or dads can attend? Because let me tell you, there is power and validation in being in a room full of people who have the same questions and worries…along with other people who can answer those questions and address those fears.
Option #3, part b: When Dad is telling you why he’s against homeschooling, tell him why you want to homeschool.
If dad is against homeschooling, the second thing you need to do is be honest about the reasons you want to homeschool.
Wait. You have made a list of your reasons, right? This is not the time to be speaking on the fly.
By the way, I want to homeschool because my best friend is going to homeschool is not a valid reason and your husband has every reason to shoot that one down. There is so much more to homeschooling than who is going to be at the local homeschool co-op. Your reasons to homeschool don’t need to be complicated, but you do need to know what your reasons are.
This is where you give your sales pitch for homeschooling. Do you want to homeschool because of:
- academic issues?
- Emotional reasons?
- Is it for the flexibility it will grant you?
- Is it because of a social problem?
- Are you hoping to help your child in a specific area?
- Are you trying to strengthen family relationships?
- Do you have crazy schedules to work around?
After a conversation with Dad, maybe you could try homeschooling on for size?
When it comes down to it, you’re either going to end up trying it or not. Is Dad still not quite sure?
If your kids are young, you could just be intentional about the things you’re already teaching them at home. In talking with a couple husbands of new homeschooling families, one mentioned, “I just remember watching my wife one day and being struck by how much she was already teaching our son. Every single day. And that was really what spurred me on to say sure, let’s try this homeschooling thing.”
If your kids are a bit older, (either in school or not quite yet) you could suggest having a homeschool trial year.
If you’re going to have a trial year, it’s good to have a full year. It will take that long to go through the ups and downs and a good chunk of things the homeschooling life will throw at you.
If your kids are already in school and you’re wanting to pull them, some folks will suggest trying out homeschooling over a long school break, like winter or spring break. However, I don’t think this really gives you the feeling of what it’s actually going to be like.
Others suggest trying out homeschooling over summer break. But honestly, if your kids have been in public school…they want their summer off. I know I would have. Unless all the kids and mama are working together in some mad attempt to convince dad that homeschooling is the right choice for the following school year, a summer long preview of homeschooling might backfire. The kids will feel they had no time off of school.
(And no, I don’t think that homeschooling needs to look anything like public school. It very often doesn’t. But many times when trying to convince a family member that homeschooling can work, we tend to default, for the sake of time, to using what that particular family member might view as learning.)
If you decide to do a trial year, be sure to figure out how you will gauge success and failure. Will it be things learned? Experiences gained? Stress level of all family members? Grades? Tests? Improvement in life skills?
Remember, homeschooling doesn’t have to be forever.
Some people homeschool for a year, some people homeschool their entire school career. If Dad is feeling stressed because he thinks saying yes will determine your entire educational future, help calm him down by assuring him that if homeschooling doesn’t work for any reason, you’re willing to revisit the drawing board.
(As it should be. You should always be willing to look at the situation realistically and admit if something isn’t working.)
Be patient. Sometimes Dad, like a lot of people in your life, just have to see it in action to understand how it works and that it works. It takes a leap of faith to start the journey and then it takes time to prove it works.
And then, who knows? Maybe you’ll find out he loves homeschooling and becomes super involved in it!
Good luck, mama. We’re rootin’ for you. We’re rootin’ for your kids. And we’re rootin’ for Dad.
Question: Has Dad told you he’s against homeschooling? What reasons has he given? Was Dad formerly against homeschooling and has since changed his mind? What did the change stem from?