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Who’s In Charge (in Your Homeschool)?

This post is an excerpt from Anne’s book on how to organize and plan for a new homeschooling year.

God’s precious Spirit would never guide you down any path that contradicts what He has commanded in His Word. We know that the Bible says wives are to be in submission to their husbands “in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24), which obviously must include the way we teach our children.

Sometimes the command to submit to my husband frustrates me. After all, he is away at work for most of each day and cannot see how our household runs minute-by-minute. I often feel that he doesn’t understand the problems my son is having in phonics, the hassles I face when trying to teach algebra while preschoolers are getting into trouble, or the difficulties of trying to finish laundry while reading chapter books aloud.

Why should my husband get to be the “principal” of our school when he is rarely on school property during the school day?

Yet God’s Word stands. His commands endure. If I want the daily help and guidance of the Spirit of God, I must walk in obedience to the Word of God.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:15-16).

The key to a successful “working relationship” between principal and teacher in your homeschool is communication. In fact, the key to a happy marriage is communication as well! Your husband is not likely trying to make you mad with his opinions and decrees; rather, he simply wants to know how his children are being taught and that they’re learning what they’ll need for life.

This is part of God’s will. God says to fathers, “Bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The man in your house is directly accountable to God himself for the training and instruction of his children.

God says that children must obey their fathers and mothers (Ephesians 6:1-3), yet mothers need to remember that fathers have the primary responsibility of being sure that the children do!

Mom, your job is to find out how God’s Spirit is working in your husband’s heart, then help him carry it out in your home. You are his helper, his completer, and his companion (Genesis 2:18). You can “strengthen, encourage, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3) your husband by staying within the role that God created for you.

1.    Strengthen him.

To strengthen and build up your husband in your home, in front of your children, the in-laws, and the community, you must first discover his wishes and desires. Remember, God’s Spirit is just as active in others’ hearts as He is in yours. How has the Spirit been leading your husband?

I suggest that you have a meeting with your husband. Schedule several hours away with your husband (get a babysitter), and make a point of writing down your husband’s wishes.

Ask him:

·    What are his likes and dislikes about homeschooling?
·    What goals does he have for each of your children?
·    What are his homeschooling style preferences?
·    Does he have any specific curriculum suggestions?
·    In what areas would he like to see the homemaking improve? (Ouch!)
·    What are his spiritual goals for your family?
·    How does he think your daily routine could improve?
·    What discipline issues concern him, and how would he prefer that you address those?
·    What are his frustrations?
·    What are his priorities for your marriage, your home, and your children?

Take careful notes, then schedule a time where you can get alone with God and this list. Ask God to show you how to strengthen your husband’s leadership in your home by implementing his ideas. Ask God to make your heart humble and submissive. Ask God for creative ideas!

Return to your husband with your ideas and be sure that you’ve heard him correctly. Check that the lines of communication are open and clear.

Finally, begin to communicate your husband’s wishes to your children. Strengthen his leadership by showing great respect to his words, his wishes, and his will.

2.    Encourage him.

As the school year progresses, you will be a huge encouragement to your husband by simply doing what he asks.

  • Each week, have the kids show their tests, their notebooking pages, and their projects to their father. When I was a child, I had to take my tests home in the evening for my parents’ signature. In the same way, be sure that your children are showing their work to their father.
  • Schedule at minimum a monthly time where you can privately report on each child’s progress and on the goals that Dad set up.
  • When Dad makes a comment about the progress (or lack of progress) of your children, be humble and open to suggestions. Don’t take his opinions personally. Remember that he is simply acting like someone who is directly accountable to the God of the universe!
  • Speak glowingly about your husband’s leadership to his parents and yours, to the neighbors, and to others at your church. Build his image in front of others by bragging about what a great father he is. Even if it’s difficult to find something positive to say, surely you can find at least one good point about which to praise him.

3.    Comfort him.

God has given each of your children a free will and choice. Sometimes our children make bad decisions and deliberately choose to obey both God and us. At these times, fathers can get discouraged. They can even get angry and in their frustration, go on to exasperate their children.

As a mother, we are often more sensitive to the atmosphere in our homes than men are. At these times of frustration, you can comfort your husband in several ways:

  • Always display unity with your husband in front of your children – even when you disagree with him! Children long for the security of a stable marriage. Of course they realize that you and Dad are two different people with often differing opinions! Even in your differences, however, they need to see that you are “one flesh” and determined to stay that way.
  • Wait until the tense situation has passed before speaking privately with your husband about your opinion. Ask God to help you speak softly and wisely. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
  • The “sandwich method” works well in disagreements. Comfort your husband by telling him one way that you agreed with him, followed by one thing you would done differently, followed yet again with something positive. Your encouraging comments will help take the sting out of your criticism and make his heart more receptive to you.

I have noticed repeatedly that a strong marriage makes for a strong homeschool, yet a dysfunctional marriage tears apart children and homes. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). Be sure that your homeschooling foundation is secure before bothering to organize binders and crayons.

This post is an excerpt from Anne’s upcoming book on how to organize and plan for a new homeschooling year. To be updated when her book is released, click here.

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Comments

  1. Hi Anne, I was truly blessed by your session at the HOTM! I really enjoyed this post. I have been trying to get my husband more involved in our hs-ing, so this gives me some ideas. When I ask him questions about what he thinks, he always says “But your the one who….”. I have been talking to him on ordering your Foundations set. I received some of it from Homeschooling ABC’s and we (I) really like it. I was trying to find something more indepth, and your Foundations was exactly what I had been looking for.
    Thanks and be continually Blessed!

  2. I took loved your session at the HOTM conference. I look forward to hearing it again when it comes out on mp3.
    This post is so relevant to we homeschool moms and a great reminder to not only keep God first but to really be attuned to what our husband wants. I know it’s easy for me to just go with what I want because for the most part my husband lets me do the decision making when it comes to the things we use and how I teach. I do need to remember to ask him those questions though and see what the respnses are!
    I look forward to your book!!

  3. Kat in England says:

    Dear Anne
    This post was both timely and inspiring. I’ve always wondered how to get my husband more involved in homeschooling (other than through the chequebook, of course!) and this has made a lot of good suggestions. I especially like the idea of asking him to answer some thought-provoking questions. Up until now, I’m sure he has been happy to delegate the homeschooling to someone he trusts to do the right thing, but it’s nice to have a way of including him in the implementation as well. K

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