Does homeschooling actually wreck marriages? Absolutely! But no more than sending your kids to public school…
No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we need to realize the impact on our marriage, and compensate accordingly. The fact is homeschooling presents different challenges than public schooling, or even having both parents work outside the home. Each scenario has its own challenges!
So, while homeschooling is great, it’s good to be specifically aware of a few things with regards to your marriage.
Here are some of the challenges to marriage that we hear about from people who homeschool:
- Husband can feel like he’s getting the shaft when it comes to the time, energy and commitment wife gives to the marriage. He can start to get resentful if he feels like there is nothing left for him at the end of the day. Marriage care tends to be pushed to the bottom of the list as day-to-day life becomes more child-centered.
- What if the kids went to public/private/Christian school and my wife got a job? Dreaming about the what-if’s of a two income family can create resentment. Finances are the #1 reason for divorce.
- Husband and wife are not together on this commitment. A cardinal rule of parenting is that both parents need to be in agreement!
- Poor role division. Overloading either mom or dad can have an adverse impact on their health, the marriage and the family. Also, it is easy for Mom to become the homeschooling parent and Dad to become only the breadwinner. That’s not healthy, Dad needs to know how he can be involved with the family (and be involved!) and Dad and Mom both need to support each other.
Here are four things you need to do to combat the unique challenges of a homeschooling marriage:
- Remember, God called you to marriage before parenting (usually), so love your spouse more than your homeschooling!
- Find your self-identity: Aim to have a thriving, passionate marriage of homeschooling parents – not a homeschooling marriage! Your identity is in Christ, not your educational preference. We are all going to grieve and celebrate becoming empty-nesters. If you define your identity as a home-schooling mom, then what are you going to be when you are not homeschooling? Who are you then? Another question to ask is if you are “homeschoolers” or people that teach at home? What is your identity?
- Have non-school conversations and non-school dates! If it’s the two of you together at the zoo – enjoy your time together at the zoo and stop planning your ecology module…
- Self Care! Homeschooling demands sacrifice by both parents. What are you doing for self-care? How are you investing in your marriage elsewhere to compensate for the sacrifice you and your spouse make daily?
A mom once told me that pre-children she used to be disgusted with woman who didn’t take care of their feet and had dry heels. Now, she is glad if she manages to shower on a given day. How priorities change when we have responsibilities 24/7!
What are you doing to take care of yourself and your marriage!?!
Obviously there is nothing wrong with your marriage and it’s not on the rocks just because you homeschool! We just want you to pause and assess whether everything is in balance. Every marriage needs to do this – everybody has his or her own challenges.
Homeschooling is a major commitment and decision that you feel is a clear blessing to your children. We wouldn’t dispute that, but we want you to stop, do a check-in and ask yourself, “Hey, is my marriage still first”?