A reader recently emailed me and asked for my suggestions to help convince her husband that their children should be homeschooled. She mentioned that his concerns included finances, as well as the academic and social shortcomings that he perceived with regards to homeschooling.
Because I have often heard the “how do I convince my husband” question, I thought I would post my response (with some editing to protect the privacy of the mom who wrote me) here, in hopes that it might be useful to someone else.
Thanks for writing. My husband was resistant to homeschooling, at first, too. I’m good at making grandiose plans, but not so good on follow-through. He was worried about that and my oldest wanted to go to “big school.” Because of the combination of those things, she went to public school for Kindergarten and first grade. By the end of first grade, my husband and I were both convinced that we needed to give homeschooling a try. My daughter was struggling with reading, staying after school for tutoring and still bringing home no less than two hours’ worth of homework every night. In first grade.
I believe that, if God is leading you to homeschool, He will open the doors for you. He changed my husband’s heart. He even changed my mom’s heart. Not that my mom’s support was necessary for us to begin homeschooling, but it was nice to have. If you’ve prayed and really believe that God is leading you to homeschool, I would make arrangements to have some time alone to talk with your husband about it. Is he a Christian? If so, I’d ask him to begin praying about it, too.
Find out what his concerns are. You mentioned money. Does homeschooling mean that you’d have to give up your income? In today’s economy, that is, unfortunately, a reasonable concern. If you work outside of the home, do you do so full-time? Would part-time be an option for you? Are you currently paying daycare? If so, being at home could actually help your financial situation. If you don’t work outside the home, find out exactly what your husband’s financial concerns are.
As far as your children’s education goes, I think fears of a substandard education due to homeschooling are groundless. An honest public school teacher — and I know several of them — will tell you that their education to prepare them for teaching was mostly about crowd control, child development and administration, not about what to teach. Teachers go to school to learn how to teach a group of 20 or 30 kids, not what to teach them. The “what to teach” comes from the same place your education did — their own school experience. I can tell you from personal experience that learning along with your kids is one of the joys of homeschooling. You’ll learn things you never knew and teach them to you kids in the process. And, you’re teaching your own kids, not 20 or 30 of someone else’s.
You might want to search the Internet for studies showing how homeschooled kids compare, on standardized testing, with their public schooled counterparts. One source is found at HSLDA’s research page. You’ll find that homeschooled kids do just as well, and often better, than their public schooled peers.
If you and your husband are both Christian, you may want to see if you can get your hands on a copy of Let My Children Go by Ray Moore, Jr. It will give you some wonderful insight into the public school system and why it’s not the best place for Christian kids. You might also want to look for The Element by Ken Robinson. He is not, as far as I know, a Christian and doesn’t speak directly about homeschooling, but his book outlines much of what is wrong with today’s public school system.
Finally, you might see if your husband would agree to a trial year. That’s how our homeschooling journey started nearly eight years ago. We agreed to give it a try for a year — and I firmly believe that you need to give it at least one full school year — and reevaluate at the end of that year. It took only a few months to see that homeschooling was definitely the right fit for our family.
Finally, be sure to check out my FAQ page. I have recently updated it and it contains many helpful links to someone considering or just starting out with homeschooling.