4 Ways to Keep the Balance Right Between Your Marriage and Homeschooling
I know, this may sound silly, but if you’re married…and you homeschool…sometimes one can get in the way of the other…
Think about for a moment:
In many homeschooling families, the day typically starts when one parent – usually dad – heads off to work. Mom continues the day’s activities with a combination of lessons, chores, activities, play dates, and various other events… A rhythm and life-flow develops between all the family members at home, and then Dad arrives back at the end of the day. Mom and the kids struggle in varying degrees to get him up to date to keep him in the loop, with varying levels of success…
When these efforts are not successful, this is what happens:
- dad becomes disconnected and/or withdrawn from the family,
- mom becomes resentful and assumes a “head of the household” role, and even more seriously in extreme cases,
- there develops an underlying stress in the marriage.
I suppose if you think about it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, right? I mean, when any group of people are together 24/7 (for the most part) they are most certainly bound to become close. And even when and as the kids gets older, most homeschooling moms can attest to the great amounts of evergy that are required of them throughout the day – even when it’s “just” helping older children keep up with online or co-op studies. And in addition to the day-to-day stuff that needs to get done, you have those added responsibilities to your co-op or homeschool group or church or… Well, you get my drift!
So by the time dear old dad gets home from work…well, sometimes there’s not a lot of “you” left…
It’s the wise spouse that sees this happening, and then takes steps to safeguard the priority relationship…
So what can you do when your homeschooling gets off-balance with your marriage?
1) Don’t settle
First of all, understand that this is totally normal. That being said, however, don’t settle! Develop an antennae to recognize when your spouse is out of sync, then immediately get to work on a plan to remedy the situation. Also, keep a finger on your own needs for “me time”, and ensure you get it! You’re not good for anyone else, if you’re no good for yourself…
2) Get to work
Here’s where the plan part comes in. Don’t expect your spouse to fix things, because often he won’t even know he doesn’t know what’s going on. Plan and ensure you have periodic times together to talk one-on-one about:
- what’s going on in your day;
- challenges you and the kids are facing;
- a struggle that you could use his help or input regarding;
- discipline or future study issues;
- scheduling field trips or classes or additional outside responsibilities or family activities.
Figure out how he processes information, and then deliver updates in that format. This might mean short, quick phone calls or texts throughout the day, or emails, or occasional “parent-teacher meetings” at home, or a date night designated as a homeschool update opportunity.
3) Maintain an attitude-check
Hey, nobody likes to feel like an outsider; this extends to your husband, too. Resenting the fact that he may have checked out does no good whatsoever, and is totally counter-productive. During the day, prep the kids to share their successes and frustrations with dad when he gets home, perhaps during or after supper. And make sure you give yourself the same pep talk! But remember that whatever you do is helpful only so far as your attitude is concerned. Whatever you do to strengthen your marriage in the context of your family life, make sure you’re doing it out of a heart of love and a desire to have a whole and healthy marriage and family.
4) Give it time
Remember that the issues and problems and habits didn’t happen overnight, and they don’t get fixed overnight, either. Make little changes on a consistent basis, keep tweaking as needed, and you’ll find that your husband get back in the game, you’ll have more energy and feel more support, and your family’s homeschooling efforts will make your marriage all the more strong and rich, healthy and fulfilling!
I have to tell you that as I write this, I’m getting a much-needed reminder to self. Balance isn’t easy for anyone…and if you’re sitting back all smug and secure-like, let me just warn you that you’re especially at risk!
The bottom line:
While not only being a tool to give your children a quality education suited to their individual needs and unique gifts, homeschooling can and should be another extension of life with your spouse, adding depth and richness to the marriage relationship.
What are some suggestions you can pass on for keeping a healthy balance between time and energy spent homeschooling, and time and energy spent strengthening your marriage?
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