In my first post in this series, I discussed some of my own personal reflections on what homeschooling is not. Then, in the intermediary post, I shared the basics of the classical educational model as presented to us by the NC State Manager for the homeschooling tutor community in which we participate, Classical Conversations. Originally, I planned on completing my series on homeschooling in one post, but I want to leave the door open for me to share more on what I think homeschooling may be or not be. I also ask that you share what you think Homeschooling Is or what Homeschooling Is Not.
Homeschooling is challenging, especially for the mother. Rather than looking at homeschooling with wide-eyes, and great expectations, it is best to understand homeschooling as a real, somewhat life-changing, challenge for your family. Homeschooling is not intended to be an easy road, as if it happens all on its own, without disrupting your life. I often hear people paint it, whether from good intentions or not, that it is easy, that the children do it themselves, that it is over quickly each day, etc, etc. Some of this may be true, but this picture is way too rosy, almost sugar-coated. Homeschooling is tough, it takes time, especially upfront, daily, and it takes serious investment by both parents, but especially by the mother. She has to teach her children day in and day out and still have the energy to do everything else she is expected or desires to do later in the day. Dad comes home, and he’s had a long day too at work, but its not like she’s getting a break–for the most part. If you haven’t homeschooled, and want to, keep in mind that the first year (or more) will take a mother down a path of complete exhaustion and perhaps close to depression if she doesn’t have some form of relief, respite, and complete freedom from her own children. Adding to pressure of just keeping up with the curriculum, children have discipline issues at home (just like they would at a school); they would rather play or do a hundred other things at times. They require discipline and motivation. This will take a lot out of a mother. She may also have preschool aged or younger children who require different supervision as well. It keeps getting complicated! Moreover, for some subjects, the mother is learning (or re-learning) too. The older a person gets the more exhausting asserting the mental faculties can be. Please take all this into account. So…Husbands, stay involved in this process and be very understanding of your wife. If and when you can, take up some of the teaching responsibilities. Give her rest, give her time to plan. Show her respect by giving positive affirming feedback. True, a husband has to be the principal, giving constructive criticism as well as praise, but don’t be cynical or patronizing. Trust your wife and help her be the best teacher she can be. Involve yourself in the co-ops/communities and the training! Husbands, by participating you are communicating something very healthy to both your wife and your children. The husband models love, honor, and service to his children as much as the wife models obedience and respect. Conversely, not only does an uninvolved husband make his wife’s job harder because he isn’t sharing the load, an uninvolved husband also models poor character to his children which causes his wife more work to overcome. Have we (read: I) done this well, not so much, but I’m hopeful we will improve. I believe this because we are wiser now, and I hope you also will be wiser realizing the tough road ahead!
See these posts at a workstation near you soon!
Homeschooling is a long-term commitment to your children.
Homeschooling is an opportunity.
Homeschooling is healthy for the social development of children, especially if they have more than one sibling.
Homeschooling is a choice.
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on homeschooling–this is only our third year (having completed only one through Classical Conversations); so I would appreciate your counsel and comments below–even if you totally disagree with me!