Husbands seem to be full of doubts and worries sometimes, especially when it comes to how you raise your children. So if your husband doubts homeschooling now that you’re at least a year into it, know that there are lots of moms out there experiencing this with you!
Chances are, you either always knew you wanted to homeschool your kids, or 2020 forced you into it. Or maybe you’re like my mom, and your oldest was struggling at a school that had all the same resources you already had for him or her at home. You realized that you could give your kid the one-on-one attention they needed or that you always wanted in school. It seemed like your best option.
Or, if you’re like my friend Pilar Bewley of Mainly Montessori, you already have a background or expertise in teaching and want to offer it to your own children.
Being homeschooled, I know firsthand what it’s like to be in the middle of marital conflict revolving around homeschooling. Yet, by the time my parents’ divorce was finalized, we were enrolled in the local public middle school (and later private Catholic schools).
Homeschooling is often a privilege only afforded to families with married parents, yet can contribute to marriage’s demise.
Recently, Pilar polled her Instagram followers to see what was causing them grief when it came to homeschooling and their husbands. Questions poured in from all over the globe.
Pilar, her business partner Meghan, and I really feel for all the moms struggling with their husband’s homeschooling doubts so we created a masterclass just for you called Flying United.
In this online class, I give you three key steps to turning around your husband’s doubts about homeschooling.
“It was really wonderful!!!!! I’d LOVE to share with a couple of my homeschool mom friends.” – Flying United Student
Here are the FAQ’s from Mainly Montessori’s homeschooling moms about their husbands and my answers:
Q: How do I handle the clash between my homeschooling style and his homeschooling style?
A: There’s fear about who’s right. Work through your fears so you can respond to him with empathy and work together to make sure your shared objective is met.
Q: What do I do if he thinks a standard or mainstream education prepares them better for the real world?
A: First of all, it does. A mainstream education prepares your child to leave their house every morning, respect authority, be told what to do, work all day, and then come home and play. I actually remember being frustrated with my mom for showing us that we could roll out of bed, do our work, then go play or swim, with few people to answer to. He’s right, it didn’t prepare me for the real world. I was miserable there. However, it did prepare me for the work I do now in running my own business. You get to decide with your husband which world you want to prepare your children for: the world as it is, or the world as it could be. You can respond to his fear about the outcome with empathy after you’ve managed your own fears.
Q: He wants to see results or progress, but doesn’t help me at all. What do I do?
A: This is another case of fear about the outcome. He is likely concerned that his kids are going to fall behind or not be successful. And these concerns are valid. However, you can agree that your children will learn at their own pace. It’s a good practice regardless to have some kind of milestones that you agree on reaching by a certain point, and that way you can measure where your child is and be able to bring in supplemental resources or tutors to help if they’re falling behind.
For example, my mother always thought I had issues with spelling or reading and was so proud that I was able to go at my own pace, but I would have actually benefitted from someone who was familiar with dyslexia and could teach me how to read differently than my mother. If your shared goal is a child set up for success, then put any personalization or fears about your ability to teach to the side and work together to make sure your kids have what they need, no matter who it comes from. Going into school is rarely the ONLY other option.
Q: He doesn’t realize that this is a full-time job, that I’m not just casually playing with the kids all day.
A: This one depends on the situation, but you may have to realize that there’s a chance your husband doesn’t actually want to be the one at work, earning the income (if that’s the case). He probably longs to spend time with the kids as much as you do! While it may come out as fear about homeschooling, this one can actually be a trickier one about his overall dissatisfaction with the demands on his time from his career. You can respond to his fear about not being able to get enough time with the kids with empathy after you’ve managed your own fears. How can you work together to make sure he gets a lot of time with them, too?
If you both work, and this boils down to division of responsibility type issues, see “Q: My husband thinks I do nothing all day in homeschooling and that I should have everything picked up and all of the other household tasks done as well.” below.
Q: How do I talk to my husband about his anxiety around homeschooling, without joining him?
A: This is something we spend my whole Happily Ever After Marriage Coaching Program on. Getting hooked by their fear, or matching them with fear of your own, is a result of being unable to regulate your own emotions. It can be your empathic ability of sensing the energy of others, and it can just be how you entrain to (or match the energy of) those closest to you. You must feel safe to stand in your own energy no matter how he’s feeling. There is a simple practice to help you get into Energetic Coherence in the Flying United Homeschool + Husbands Workshop.
Q: My husband doesn’t understand the money involved in homeschooling. How do I help him understand?
A: With husbands so worried about our children’s success, it seems like they’d just throw money at it, right? Well, money is a sticky subject for men. At a primal level, they’re originally driven to make a lot of it so they have good mating options. As they grow their family, they need to have enough to be able to take care of them. His fear is about his ability to provide, not about the cost of the resources you’re trying to get for your kids. That said, husbands are great at grounding (bringing down to earth) our endeavors and making sure that we spend all of our resources wisely.
Can you commit to reviewing what’s essential? Can you rent or borrow some resources, or do a co-op with other homeschooling families? Is there anything you already have in your environment that would also help them understand the lesson? Would the money be better spent on a trip, class, or other experiential activity?
My mother bought so many books and tools for us through the years and I promise you that we never valued them, or got as much from them, as she was getting from feeling like a teacher. Unless you’re setting up a co-op and will benefit from all of the resources, find ways to DIY or simplify if you can. In any event, here’s another one where you can meet his fears with empathy after you’ve managed yours. A great question to pose for him when a purchase is essential is, “How am I supposed to do that?”
Side note: There isn’t one single out-of-the-house experience that I’ve forgotten from my childhood. I LOVED most extracurricular classes, field trips, vacations, museums, etc. My mom always got us something from the gift shop to remember the experience and I fondly remember every last one. If you have to carefully choose where you spend money, I personally recommend spending it on travel. There’s nothing quite like bringing education to life, and as a homeschooling family, you’re uniquely able to do that!
Q: What should I do if my husband is worried that homeschooling will be too much for me?
A: This question is the most important one here because there’s so much truth to it. The fact of the matter is that if you’re depleted, you will be miserable, you’ll be a lousy parent, and your marriage will fall apart. Your own self-care and well-being are absolutely CRITICAL to your child’s success. If the way you’re raising your kids seems to leave you no time to take care of yourself, something must give. You may not put them in school, but you may need to give your kids to him on the weekends (not a great idea because family time is also essential) or hire either a teacher or a babysitter so you can have a break during the week.
His fear may not be only for his own missing connection with you, but for seeing how it’s impacting your ability to mother your children, too. Remember, your first and most important role is mother, not teacher. Your kids will never think back and go, “Wow, she was a really lousy mother but boy was she a great teacher!” All your children care about is how well you mothered them.
They WANT you to put them in school if that means they get a better mother back. But you don’t have to go that far if that’s really not your goal. You can find other options to help you meet your self-care needs and have an overflow of energy from which to give your kids and your husband time and attention from you. This concern is valid and you need to work together to figure out how to make everything you want possible, because it is possible!
Q: My husband thinks I do nothing all day in homeschooling and that I should have everything picked up and all of the other household tasks done as well.
A: This one boils down to fear about the division of responsibility in the household. Assuming that your husband is the one earning the income, he’ll start to feel resentful if he doesn’t think this is a fair divide. From his fearful perspective, it seems like you get all the time with the kids while he doesn’t get much at all AND is now feeling pressure to get the household chores done as well.
So first understand his fear and don’t get hooked by it. But then take a good look at your situation. If he is bringing in all of the income, then you are probably agreeing to take on more duties in the house because income-production is just so time-consuming for most people. If not, then you need to fairly (not equally) divide the rest of the duties.
A problem here is if only you chose to homeschool and he would rather the kids be in school. To him, that’s the obvious solution so that he doesn’t have to take on more labor at home. And if it was your choice to homeschool and it matters most to you, then he’s got a point. We kind of do have to deal with the consequences of our choices.
However, you don’t have to take on tasks BEYOND what’s fair. For example, involve your kids in the cooking and cleaning and laundry. After all, being independent with good boundaries is a huge factor in their future success as well. Bake it into your day and stop taking on everything yourself.
Maybe you wash everyone’s laundry, but each person puts away their own.
Maybe you plan the meals, but your husband buys the groceries and your kids help cook and clean up afterward.
Have your kids help with fixing snacks. In the Montessori school my kids went to, everyone helped with every task or at least put away their own trash and dishes.
Whether you use the Montessori model or not, don’t be afraid to involve your kids! The only tasks that feel off-limits here are the ones you should be doing as the adult in the home, which change depending on your child’s age. Everything they’re truly capable of that helps them learn how to clean up after themselves and take care of their things is fair game. I would have loved having some daily simple chores and jobs as a child. All of that either magically happened behind our backs or was some big production once a week, coupled with guilt and shame as my overwhelmed and overworked mother took out her frustration on us.
In short, get your kids in the habit of picking up after themselves after every single activity.
Q: He doesn’t respect my work, wants to have input but doesn’t have the expertise, or thinks I should do it a different way like giving worksheets or checklists.
A: What fear is coming up for your husband here? To me, it looks like fear of the outcome again, that he’s worried about your children’s success. And for you, it looks like fear about whether or not you’re really doing what’s right for your kids.
The best thing to do with your own fear is to explore it to see if there’s any truth to it. Are your children learning well? Are they retaining information taught previously? Is the learning sticking? Do you enjoy teaching and finding different ways to teach them? Not all kids learn the same way.
This question made me laugh because we went from Montessori to homeschooling to public then Catholic school as a kid, and I freakin’ loved worksheets!! Writing and repetition helped me retain information, and so did teaching the class things I’d learned (like doing a report and presentations). But workbooks at home didn’t do a whole lot for me. Montessori was incredibly lonely and if I had a question I didn’t feel like my teacher there was very involved in helping me to understand whatever it was we were learning.
My point is that ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT.
All kids need different things. And because your kids are a little like you and a little like your husband, he could have valid concerns about the way you teach not working for all of your kids.
Ask him what HE enjoyed as a child, and why? Talk to your kids about their favorite lessons and activities.
How do you test that they’re retaining what they’re learning? Is it effective? If so, how do you share those results with your husband?
It could be as simple as sharing, “Johnny was struggling to get these CVC words down but today we did a review and he nailed it! I finally figured out that he needed to learn this way instead of this other way.”
Don’t be afraid to talk about your day and say more than you think your husband wants to hear about how it’s going for you. You’re a team, and he has valid input that you can separate from his fear when you need to.
Can Your Marriage Survive Homeschooling or Will It Ruin It?
Remember that if your husband doubts homeschooling, it’s probably because he ALSO cares about you and your children and wants the best for your family.
I think the good news here is that homeschooling is just a part of your lives and it doesn’t have to rule them. If it seems to be creating a lot of conflict, remember that it’s conflict that exists whether homeschooling is the catalyst driving it forward or not. You can use these challenges to grow, become more authentic, and develop the skills to lead your team with boundaries, empathy, connection, and communication.
That’s exactly what we work on in my Happily Ever After Marriage Coaching Program, and I’d love to talk to you if you think your marriage might benefit from it. Set up a free consultation today by clicking here.