Homeschooling: How Do I Convince My Husband?

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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.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I had the same problem, but we moved house and I convinced him to delay putting the children back into school for the summer and a term. They were to go back in January. He saw such a change in them in that time that he said they were not to go back! His main concern was that I would not have any time and space for me. That is actually a problem, but the benefits have been so wonderful for the children that I find ways around the “me time” problem.
    He would now be considered a “convert” to homeschooling!

  2. Thank you for this, you must have read my mind. I have one child being homeschool and the other still at school and trying to persuade DH to let me take other child out.

  3. Thanks for such a thorough and thoughtful response to this question.

    I continued in steadfast prayer (for us both) when my husband was initially resistant to homeschooling though it was on my heart.

    The Lord began to put homeschooling families into our lives. My husband was so impressed by their children in so many ways that he was soon considering it. Max is now finishing Year 1 at home!

  4. Lot’s of great info. I am so thankful my husband was on board with homeschooling long before I met him.

  5. We made the decision together! Our kids are doing so good — We plan to never send them back to public school! Hope everything works out for the lady you are writing about.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. My oldest son’s story is very similar to your daughters (K and 1st grade in public school, struggling with reading, lots of time spent on homework, then homeschooling)

    A few comments –

    1. Now’s a great time of year to be thinking about this. When we were first considering homeschooling our son, we tried it out for a month between mid-July and mid-August. If it hadn’t worked out, we could have sent him off to public school without a problem.

    2. Academic shortcomings – In general, homeschoolers do better than public school children. This has been researched and documented to death. That doesn’t mean that a given child might not do better with a given public school teacher than a given parent – IMNSHO, the ideal way to figure out what works for your kids is to try out homeschooling for a month or two over the summer, or even after school during the last few months of the school year.

    The only place where I’m concerned with my son’s academics are in the laboratory sciences. There, we’re looking at summer programs, community college courses, partial public school attendance, or working with one of the local co-ops.

    3. Social shortcomings – When it was me, I wasn’t much of a social person – I had no self-esteem, and I wanted to bury my nose in a book. School didn’t provide me any more socialization than homeschooling did. My oldest son gets much more socialization since we started homeschooling him than I did – he has Royal Rangers weekly, Swimming classes, and a homeschool co-op. Because we’re not spending two hours a night filling out mimeographed worksheets, we can spend time seeking out intentional social contacts.

    4. As a husband, I’ll freely admit that I’m not too easy to convince if something gets controversial. I’d be very careful about turning this into a confrontation – for one thing, if the wife finds that homeschooling isn’t working for her, it’ll be hard to back out later. I know each relationship’s different, but if my wife handed me a bunch of letters from people on the internet that told me I was wrong, I’d probably double down. Maybe your reader has a less stubborn and opinionated husband than me, but just something to think about…

  7. @ Richard – We tried homeschooling during the months between my dd’s K and 1st grade year. That didn’t work for me. I know everyone is wired differently and it certainly may give some families a good idea about homeschooling. For me, though, I knew that I didn’t *have* to do it, so it quickly fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until the year that I made it official and I *had* to take repsonsibility for dd’s education that I really knew it would work for us.

    And, I totally agree about not making the decision to homeschool an area of controversy. That was one thing that I *almost* went back and tweaked in this post — making it clear that I didn’t want this to be a “how-to” post on convincing a spouse who is dead-set against homeschooling or who has legitimate concerns. I think that it has to be a mutual decision, but I do feel that sometimes both partners have to be willing to at least try it before you know if homeschooling is a good fit for your family. This is definitely an occasion where praying more and talking less is probably the best course of action.

  8. GREAT post! for me it was flip-flopped. and my wifey had concerns, which i’m glad for. the REAL bummer is a disconnect or apathy toward the kids’ learning.

    we’d over-analyzed to death before realizing, for us, we needed to: 1) address all the concerns with an open mind. we even made a big “pros and cons” list; 2) pray for unbiased direction; 3) trust it was worth a try, with the condition that if it doesn’t work for the whole family, we were committed to look for another solution, 4)and understand that some failure and frustration happens anywhere there is a challenge. and growth rarely occurs without a good challenge.

    my working wife and i still have to constantly put on each other’s shoes and wear one another’s glasses for a while. and it takes the kids’ co-operation, too. but that’s gotta happen no matter what the outcome is…

  9. We have decided to homeschool for 1 year so that I could help cater to my daughter’s learning style. She was previously at a Christian preschool, and just wasn’t getting what the rest of the class was getting and wouldn’t be ready for kindergarten in the fall. So we found a very hands on curriculum and started a couple months ago. I am really enjoying it and hoping my husband will come around to the idea of homeschooling long term…but face many of the same issues…he is worried about finances, and probably her having a regular “social experience”. I’ll be praying that our finances are met so that won’t be an obstacle and that he will see the value.

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