Summer is almost over and it's time to start another year of homeschooling!!!! Yay!!!!!!
Yeah, it's not working for me either. Even if you're still basking in the glow of summer freedom, it won't be long before you get to bask in the privilege of homeschooling. Dad, here's the deal: Your wife may be dreading the thought of starting back up again. It's not that she hates being with her kids ... it's just that the pressure can feel so great.
For us dads, not much changes. We still get up and go to work, enjoy a quiet office, eat power lunches, and engage in adult conversation. Not so with our spouses. Starting back up to school can feel overwhelming, and if we're not doing our job right, we make homeschooling even harder ... almost impossible. Read this email that I got a while back:
"Hi Todd ... As a homeschool mom, I am feeling the same way (discouraged). I am truly rethinking everything in my life right now. And my conclusion ... homeschooling is not worth it. I feel as if everything is on my shoulders. I deal with 5 boys and 2 girls ALL DAY LONG. I have been sacrificing for 16 years now and I am burnt out. I think it is so important for husbands of homeschool moms to know ... KEEP PURSUING YOUR WIFE. Keep fanning the flames. Keep speaking words of appreciation and encouragement. Keep wooing her. KEEP HER HEART. It is not an easy task but it is so necessary.
"I have talked to too many stay-at-home moms and I know that we all feel the same way. As soon as our husbands leave the door, we are an open target for the enemies of our soul. We are bombarded with thoughts that we know are from the enemy, yet we do not know how to control or stop them. And yes, the obvious and legalistic answer would be, 'Well, if you would pray, read Scripture, organize better, and blah blah blah ...' but that doesn't make it better. I feel as if I am dying inside and so alone. If this goes on too long I am not sure what I would do in order to climb out of this downward spiral." ~ A Mom
Now, I'm not trying to paint a portrait of a dismal existence, because I believe with all my heart that homeschooling is the best way to accomplish God's design for our children and families. I just want YOU, Dad, to realize how important YOUR job as husband is to your wife's joy or lack of joy, in homeschooling.
Did you hear the words the mom in the email spoke, "I know that we ALL feel the same way ...?" That means your wife feels like tossing in the towel sometimes ... maybe even now.
So here's a plan to ensure your wife doesn't enter the downward spiral:
- Step up to the plate. She can't do it all ... so help out where you can to lessen the burden she bears, often alone. That might include watching the kids while she goes out with a friend for dessert, putting the kids to bed, or keeping them occupied after dinner.
- Woo her. Plan a date every week or every other week and go somewhere so she can talk, debrief ... and talk some more. This is huge.
- Encourage her in the truth. Remind her of why you're doing what you're doing and why what she does matters. You might do that with small notes, texts, or emails.
- Pray for her. Make a list of things that she needs God to supply and then post it somewhere to remind you to pray daily.
- Make sure she has all that she needs to homeschool. The proper tools cost, so plan to shell out some bucks. Don't be cheap!
Need some more ideas? Get my book Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom. I'm telling you, Dad, if you do your job right, it just might be the best homeschool year EVER!
This is a post written especially for homeschooling dads who play more of a support role in their family's homeschool. We understand not everyone is in this situation, but think Todd has some helpful principles that could be adapted to your own personal situation. Take whatever is helpful here!
Todd Wilson is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. His humor and down-to-earth realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country, as well as a guest on Focus on the Family. As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what's most important through a weekly e-mail for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents. Todd and his wife, Debbie, homeschool six of their eight children (three have graduated) in northern Indiana and travel America in the Familyman Mobile. You can read more at www.familymanweb.com