Homeschooling is a family affair. Too often, however, only one parent is really on board when it comes to homeschooling. Too often, the mother (typically), the person who will be doing the actual homeschooling is talked into doing the job by the father and she does so reluctantly. Alternately, the mother may feel a compulsion to homeschooling and convince the father to go along with it. While it is perfectly normal for one person to come up with the idea and to convince the other, it is not a good idea to proceed with homeschooling if both parents are not on board.
Here are all the things that can go wrong if the parents don’t agree with homeschooling.
Poor homeschooling: When the parent who will be home teaching the kids does not buy into the idea, they can be unenthusiastic and merely go through the motions of homeschooling. Children will suffer as this parent will not be constantly educating herself and being as creative and adventurous as they could be. Homeschooling will end up as flat a any public education might be, or worse.
Inconsistent schooling: When homeschooling is not done enthusiastically, and with a willing instructor, it is just a matter of time before the child ends up back in school. It is not uncommon for a child to go back and forth from school to home to school over just a few semesters. The child never gets the consistency, and a change to get traction either at home or at school and they will surely fall behind.
Uncooperative children: When children sense that parents are not on the same page they can take advantage of that fact. They may run to dad and say that mom is being too hard on them in homeschooling. They may try to override one parent’s decisions with the other parent is not looking. They will learn that they can manipulate instead of following through and that does not bode well for growing up as a responsible person.
Marital tension: Marriages have broken up over homeschooling. One parent may feel bullied into homeschooling and become unhappy. They may feel misled with the other parent saying “just for one year” every year, with every intention to continue. They may feel like the other parent is not homeschooling well. This can lead to mistrust and tension in the marriage.
Court battles: It is amazing how many people find themselves shocked to learn that the other parent want’s the kid back in school. All this time they have been homeschooling, they thought happily, only to have the other parent say they were dead set about it the entire time. HSLDA will help with a lot of homeschool battles, but they won’t touch this kind of battle! So if you decide to homeschool, you have to make sure the other parent is in 100% agreement on the issue.
So how to you convince your child to start homeschooling without twisting their arm and causing problems later? You wait. In my case, I remember my husband suggesting I homeschool my kids soon after my first child was born. I thought it was a horrible idea and graphically told him just how crazy I thought he was. Fast forward eight years, and problems with several teachers, and I found myself in a situation where I had two very unhappy children who were miserable in school. Because my husband had planted a seed many years before, I knew homeschooling was a very do-able option and began to investigate. When I announced to my husband that I wanted to homeschool our kids, I did have to put up with a shameless I-told-you-so happy dance. We are both now happy that we homeschooling, and that we did it in agreement with each other.