Help! Homeschooling is Ruining My Marriage!

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Welcome to the "What's Your Secret Struggle Homeschool Mom?" guest post series.

Today, I've asked my husband to share his thoughts on how homeschooling affects our marriage. We're more than a decade into this journey and we've seen some ups and downs along the way. I can say with absolute certainty that communication with your spouse is the key! Knowing each other's concerns about matters allows you to more clearly understand their perspective.


 

Homeschooling is a very difficult part of our lives not only as parents but also husband and wife.  I am very proud of my wife for her obedience to God’s will and teaching our children each day, however, there are times that I want to sign them up for school and live a “normal” life.

I don’t regret our decision to homeschool or question whether we should follow God’s direction for my wife and children. It more closely resembles pockets of frustration in certain moments. I don’t think it’s even a conscious thing most of the time. That’s probably the most dangerous part because I have to search myself to understand what I’m feeling and whether it stems from a place of selfishness or concern.

How does this homeschooling thing actually affect our marriage? What are things that eat at me enough to drive a wedge between us? Let’s dive in!

Help! Homeschooling is Ruining My Marriage @ LifeInTheNerddom.com

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. This helps me keep my blog up and running without costing you a penny more! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

She’s Tired . . . Again

My love language is physical touch. I’m a hugger, a kisser, play with her hair, rub her back, hold hands, and so forth. The tank is completely fueled by the embrace of my wife. You might say, “That’s all men, right?”  Perhaps, but if you’ve read anything about the Five Love Languages you know this is a real thing and not just a man being a man.

For someone whose love language is physical, it can be frustrating to have a wife who is constantly drained from chasing, catering, refereeing, teaching, disciplining, and counseling multiple children all day. Raising children is work, but raising children you homeschool is a full-time job. It seems by the time I get home from work most days my wife is not only mentally exhausted but physically as well. I can see it in her face, her posture, and her demeanor. After a day like that, who would WANT to exert any further energy?!

There are days when it’s easier to deal with, and my selfish side gives way to the understanding side. It would be a lie to say there aren’t days where it is very frustrating, defeating, and downright rejecting.

How do I respond? I constantly have to evaluate my perspective to keep it selfless, not selfish.

  • What does she need help with?
  • Am I filling her love language tank?
  • Are there ways I can assist with school?
  • Are there household chores I can take on above my normal responsibilities?
  • A hot bath and lit candle for her while I tuck the kids in!

The job is never done . . . ever

One of the hardest things to deal with is that the job is never done. I leave for work every morning, put in my hours, and at the end of the day I can hit the clock. Each day my work takes an overnight sabbatical until I return to pick up the torch again. I can turn the work switch on and off in cycles. More importantly, I get to leave my work somewhere else and not give it another thought until I go back.

Not so with homeschooling.

We seem to be perpetually in homeschool mode most days because it’s so hard to shut it off. My wife and children don’t have the luxury of leaving school behind as it’s always present. For someone like my wife, she’s always turning things in her mind and Lord Jesus help us if it’s something she forgot to do or needs to look into.

The stuff to do is always there: work to be graded, planning, evidence of your child’s progress (or lack thereof), homework (laughable word for homeschooling isn’t it), fear you’re running the homeschool vehicle into the proverbial ditch, and more. This can have a big impact on family life.

We can’t forget about Facebook either; blogs giving you the newest ideas to introduce into your school environment, other moms' posts about how awesome school went for them and their kids, curriculum sales, and so on. Social media may be the biggest killer of positive momentum in homeschool when it comes to comparing yourself to what others are doing, the curriculum you’re missing out on, or the lists of “10 Things You Should Be Doing as a Homeschool Mom.”

So, how do you get away? Be intentional in your efforts to be a family first, not just homeschoolers.

  • Family excursions outside the home are rejuvenating.
  • Social media sabbaticals are chicken soup for the soul!
  • Conversations on the deck, while the kids chase lightning bugs, create simple kid and adult time.
  • Family time, family time, family time!
  • Relax….school will be there tomorrow.

 

I live in an elementary classroom

Our dining room has an alphabet banner running along the length of it with various images and characters for each letter. A is for Apple, B is for Banana, C is for “Can I please rip that banner off the wall, that T for Turtle is giving me the S for Stank eye!”

The dining room table is typically used for school work so it’s home to various books, school materials and school work.

Our house is full of books; books on shelves, books on tables, books on books, books in boxes, books everywhere.

Now, before I move from the classroom to the dog house, our home is not a disaster. It’s just very evident we have a “school” home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, it doesn’t help with the previous issue of walking away from it. I have to keep our mission at the forefront so I don’t get frustrated that our home is a schoolhouse, not a house.

We can make the two separate, it’s a home first and that matters.

  • Designate a room that is free from school to step away and be a family.
  • Declutter, clear out and even turn some of the school extras into income from a yard sale.
  • Keep in mind you are blessed to see your child’s environment first hand, and have a say in how it is developed!
  • Organization is key to keeping most of the school in its place.
  • Count these days as blessings, they won’t be little and tugging on your shirt forever.

The pay sucks!

Clearly, the compensation for homeschooling our children is the ability to instill our values in them, have biblical based content, and overall teach them according to their learning styles, natural talents, and abilities. God never consulted us to negotiate a salary in this.

But, in today’s society, money talks. There’s no getting around that. There are so many ways our money can be spent: paying bills, buying curriculum, field trips, sports, hobbies, vacations, and more. Furthermore, the better part of our homeschooling journey has been as a single income family. There is a lot of pressure on one individual to keep the budget balanced and provide the necessities (and the extras) without going into debt. I’ve been stressed on so many occasions because I wasn’t sure how to make ends meet.

The pressure is not just on myself to provide an income, but also my wife to provide the best education for our kids with a tight budget. Sometimes that’s a very difficult task even for a thrifty researcher like my wife.

There are enough examples in the media of families who crumble as a result of financial issues. It’s easy to fall into that trap when the needs aren’t met due to lack of funds. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t had our share of those “discussions” over the years.

But God has been faithful in taking care of the financial needs and even blessing my wife with a job she can incorporate into her schedule. The ROI on my wife’s obedience is revealed in His plans now and along our lineage for years to come.

How can I make cents of it? Investing isn’t just about 401k and retirement, it’s eternal.

  • Maybe part-time, at home jobs are a solution. Editing jobs, transcription, eBay, blogging are just a few ideas.
  • Learn more about stewardship through a program like Financial Peace University from Dave Ramsey.
  • Used curriculum swaps or sales in your area.
  • Remember who you labor for, the Great Provider and eternity.

There’s more?

I’m sure there are heart-wrenching stories about divorce, broken homes, frustration, and anger as a result of the homeschool journey. It’s not for everyone, I’m sure of that. Even for those of us who dig our heels in and refuse to allow Satan to disrupt our mission, it’s tough.  There are so many challenges to overcome and there is definitely a price to pay. But I wouldn’t trade it for all the college tuition in the world. God’s call on our lives to homeschool our children is not negotiable nor is it impossible. He will deliver us through what He brings us to; God is good.

Don’t give up hope, don’t throw in the towel, don’t lose sight of the target.

 

 

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. This helps me keep my blog up and running without costing you a penny more! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Help! Homeschooling is Ruining My Marriage @ LifeInTheNerddom.com
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Posted in Family Life, Homeschool Life, Tips & Encouragement and tagged , , .

2 Comments

  1. Ugh… I get so sick of blog posts that suggest that a homeschool Mom should work from home. Hello?! With what time?! That’s like telling a full time public school teacher they should be able to work from their computer while teaching class. Maybe you have ridiculously kids that can be ignored but not everyone has that luxury.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Sasha. I actually do work from home as an editor and blogger and I don’t ignore my kids…ever. In fact, I work from home and homeschool because I want to be here for my kids. Working from home is very doable but, like homeschooling, it’s not for everyone.

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