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… because it’s often difficult to do! When these efforts are not successful, dad becomes disconnected and/or withdrawn from the family, mom becomes resentful and assumes a “head of the household” role, and even more seriously in extreme cases, there develops an underlying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. Although it shouldn’t, this can come as a big surprise to both mom and dad. Many parents start homeschooling with dreams and visions of a growing warmth and closeness within the family, and this development certainly doesn’t fit into that picture…even though it’s totally normal. But it’s the wise spouse that may see this happening, and then takes steps to safeguard the priority relationship in the family. What can YOU do when you see homeschooling “get in the way” of your marriage? Be aware – First of all, understand that this is totally normal. I mean, when any group of people are together 24/7 (for the most part) they are most certainly bound to become close. 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. Be pro-active – 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. (This is akin to asking your high-school student “What part of rocket science do you not understand?” If they knew that…they could figure out the problem!) 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.