Homeschooling is difficult. Rewarding, amazing, worth-it…YES! However, we can all agree that many moments, hours, days, or even years are just plain hard. Then, add in real life too. Oy. It can be overwhelming. Money, family, house cleaning, holidays, exercise, cooking, friendships….and MARRIAGE.
I’m going to stick my neck out there and say my husband and I have a very strong marriage. We both work hard, share the load, and are very happy. However, recently I’ve noticed that with the start of the homeschool year, things have been more difficult. We’ve not skipped a beat with our attitudes and work ethic…but I have noticed I have to diligently focus on our marriage amidst my role as Teacher. My husband has realized this as well. Here are a few things my husband and I reflected on recently:
Get on the Same Page
For us, that means laying out the ground rules of what we need and expect out of each other. My husband has come a long way in that he realizes the house will not be perfectly clean all the time. Heck, I’ve come along way with that. Homeschooling comes first. He also knows I need time to talk about our day with him. I need to be able to share that our 5 year old keeps forming his ‘c’ backwards without my husband spacing out from exhaustion from the workday. My husband expressed to me that he needs me to keep some of the Debbie downer details of our day to myself when he’s stressed. He also wants clean underwear. Deal. Sometimes these little conversations seem so obvious to state, but they help!
Set the Pride Aside
“Well I taught them all day!”
“You think I just sit at my desk? I’ve had a long day too!”
We’ve ALL had those prideful moments in marriage when we think we have it harder than our spouse. However, factor in educating the children, and I really had to get over myself. Some weeks I felt like I was doing SO much for the family and our home while I was getting a text from out of state about how his dinner at Red Lobster wasn’t ‘great.’ I’d feel as if I was doing SO much more than him. I’d get angry. I’d be jealous. Perhaps your husband doesn’t travel, but you long for those few minutes alone in the car with a radio station that does NOT include rhyming songs. Being a homeschooling mother (or father) and their spouse takes setting aside the ‘I work harder than you’ pride and the ‘my job is more important’ mentality. The Lord brought you together for a reason—different strengths! I would love a meal by myself, yes, but honestly, being away from my children all the time just isn’t for me. My husband may think staying in pj’s a little longer each morning is nice…but let’s face it, they’d lose it by 9am. You both work hard for each other, your kids, and your homeschool. Thank each other for it.
Play to your strengths
One of the things my husband and I are working on is dividing the curriculum to include him as much as possible. Now, our children are young (nearly 6, 4, 2, and baby on the way), but we are working on this concept now and planning to continue it in the future. Although the primary homeschooling parent, whether it be Mom or Dad, teaches the basic subjects, figure out what each of you is passionate about and make that an ‘elective’ for your children! My husband is athletic. Me, not so much. Add in an 8 month pregnant belly, and P.E. isn’t exactly my forte right now. So, he takes on teaching them many things in the evenings…how to do push ups, sit ups, how football works, the rules of the games, etc. My husband also plays the guitar and he’ll begin teaching the boys that soon too. I play the piano and can’t wait to share that with our children. I also LOVE to read aloud. My husband loathes it. He’ll sit with us while we do Bible time, but I do the reading. This system makes us each feel closer to our children and to each other. He knows he’s not just a paycheck and I feel his concern about all the educational aspects I’m instilling in the kids. It’s a win-win!
I hope these few points are a blessing to your homeschool and your marriage! We all know that old saying, “We’re our child’s first teacher…” It’s true. However, let’s not forget that even more important than reading and writing—is the gift of a strong foundation of family. Let’s show our kids daily how a marriage should look and work! Just like homeschooling, it’s hard, but it’s worth it!
Liz was a cheerleader swept off her feet by the football player back in high school. They’ve been married nearly eight years and are the proud parents to three young boys. She’d always envisioned working and sending her kiddos off to school so she could live the ‘normal’ American dream. However, life and the Lord surprised her and she’s learning to ‘redefine having it all’ while being a homeschooling housewife. She enjoys finding strength from God’s word, the Today show, talking on the phone with friends, and being real about finances and parenting. She’s blogging about homeschooling and much more over at The Hesitant Housewife.