This topic comes up frequently: how do I get my husband or partner on board with homeschooling?
This is a great topic, and a very important one. In order for homeschooling to work, it really has to be a family endeavor and one in which both you and your partner are on the same page.
I suggest that the first place one starts is to find the time to sit together without the children and really find out what your partner is questioning about homeschooling. I find the fathers that question homeschooling the most, in particular, tend to be fathers in highly technical or skilled fields. They may worry about things such as socialization, or if homeschooling is really going to be “enough” for their child to get into a college of choice. I also think some of this may do with what region of the country or world that you live in; for example, I live in the Southern U. S. and homeschooling is not uncommon in my region of the country. If you live in an area where homeschooling is not common, there may be more questions and concerns.
One thing to possibly share your spouse are facts about homeschooling in general. Here are some links about homeschooling:
- Research facts on academic success and socialization in homeschooling by Dr. Ray: http://www.nheri.org/Research-Facts-on-Homeschooling.html
- Homeschooling and Socialization Research: http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html
- From HSLDA, a Christian organization: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp and also here regarding research results of over 7,000 home schooled graduates and their adult lives socially and academically post-homeschool: http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/Socialization.asp
- List of references regarding homeschooling and socialization: http://www.indiana.edu/~homeeduc/topic_socialization.html
Perhaps your partner is worried about homeschool laws. Together you could contact the appropriate organizations in your state and look at those requirements. You could contact local homeschooling groups and meet with the parents involved. My local Waldorf homeschooling group makes a conscious effort to get fathers to meet other fathers within the group.
Perhaps the issue is more methodology of homeschooling; for those considering Waldorf homeschooling, perhaps Waldorf Education seems foreign and odd to your spouse. There are a number of books on the market that fathers could read and take away positive things about Waldorf; those by Jack Petrash come to mind. Also, if there is a Waldorf school in your area that hold open houses, sometime just going to look at the high quality of work the middle school and high school students are doing could be helpful. Again, this is also where a local Waldorf homeschooling group could come in handy if there are families in that group with older children.
Sometimes, however, the objections to homeschooling is much deeper. Many fathers I have spoken to worry that, quite frankly, their spouse will not be able to handle homeschooling well because she has seemed overwhelmed by the day to day care of the children in the past, or they worry she will not be organized enough, and they just don’t want to admit this to their spouse and hurt their spouse’s feelings.
So, if you are considering homeschooling, I think one thing is to be careful to get your physical space organized, your meal planning going, to really work on your rhythm, your own support system, your own attitude (!! and I say that with a smile!) and to think carefully how you can work together as a family team to take care of your home and each other. If those things go better and better then it is much easier to think of adding homeschooling on top of that as opposed to when everything seems chaotic. It can take time to build up Dad as an ardent supporter of homeschooling and your own personal support; it really is okay that Dad is on his own journey about this subject.
Also, I hear frequently from families who are trying to decide to homeschool when they have a tiny four year old who is in a hard developmental stage. That is really challenging. I always suggest to parents that the best thing one can do with small children is to work on rhythm of the house and family life for those tiny ages. That really is your “homeschooling” for that tiny age. Check what age compulsory schooling begins in your state. In my state it is age six, so if I was concerned about homeschooling my child and my child was four years old, I would still have two years to decide and two years to work on getting things in place.
Finally, you may have to compromise. Maybe there are co-op classes that Dad would feel better if Junior went one afternoon a week and you don’t think it is necessary, but this would make the difference between Dad being on board or not. Listen to his ideas; his opinions count too and you must find a way to be on the same page. Maybe you agree to give it a “trial run” for a year; many homeschooling families I know have started this way and never looked back.
I have written a few things about fathers and homeschooling in the past, perhaps these back posts would be helpful to you: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/12/15/a-letter-to-all-those-dads-undecided-about-homeschooling/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/20/dads-waldorf-homeschooling-and-parenting/. And here is one on working with differences in marriage between partners: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/27/more-on-marriage-how-do-you-work-with-the-differences/
Hope that helps some of you out there…