SummaryAmy Pawlusiak shows us 3 ways that husbands and wives can accomplish much more when we support each other in our roles as parents of homeschooled children.
The day explodes before it even begins.
The toddler has decided he can make breakfast himself, and the milk and cheerios are all over the floor, while he cries hysterically in dismay.
Against this backdrop, the middle-schooler can’t seem to get dressed or fix his bed, and my other children are studiously hiding. I look at the clock ticking by as my husband walks in, ready to go to work.
One look at my pained expression and he knows. He rounds up the kids, gets my coffee going, and kisses me with a reassuring squeeze as we wish each other good day while we each move into our routine.
This is a battle. Not of us against the kids, but of us together, working to create productivity out of chaos.
Some call it a division of labor, but, I call it “divide and conquer.”
Together we can do so much more.
3 Ways To Help Each Other Keep A Unified Front While Homeschooling
It can be hard to include our spouses in our homeschooling. We need their help, but we don’t know how to ask for it, or even what we might need if they do offer.
Given that we don’t have special eyeglasses into each other’s hearts or minds, it’s important to stay connected so we can remain on the same page. I have found the following things have really helped my husband and me to stay united, while supporting each other in our God-given roles as parents of homeschooled children.
1. Discuss the Children’s Upcoming Year Together
I remember the first year I started homeschooling. I spent HOURS poring through homeschool websites to give me ideas on making our homeschool successful, deciding what activities we should join, and figuring out the placement of each child in various subjects with Seton (Okay, I was going a bit crazy!).
I couldn’t make sense of it all until my husband sat down with me and listened while I pondered the pluses and minuses of each decision, then considered the children’s personalities, and also what I could reasonably do during the year while homeschooling.
When I finally got it all out, my husband helped me pick out what was best for our family. Somehow, until he was with me on the decisions, I couldn’t make my “final” choices.
Moreover, once he understood all that I was planning, he became very supportive and excited with me.
He needed to be kept “in the loop” and I needed his listening ear and wisdom. After that first year, I have learned to always come back to him to ask his thoughts on the upcoming year’s activities, to hear his insights, and to include him in what our homeschool days will look like once we choose.
2. Don’t Compare Your Work
After a rough day, I used to fantasize about how much easier my husband had it. Sitting quietly in his office, not having to deal with all the stresses of young children and cleaning, planning meals, etc.
However, I have learned that he has many rough days too. His boss may have criticized his work, or something may have gone horribly wrong that he had spent days or weeks planning. And don’t forget the constant stress of being the only income earner in the household. In other words, each of us has it rough.
If we compare our days and our work, it becomes a competition for whose day was more difficult. I’ve learned that it’s much better to just ask, “How was your day?” and to truly listen and be connected and thoughtful.
Then, when my husband asks back, I can give him the low-down on which child caused problems and which ones shined. I can be tired or upbeat and happy, and so can he.
We’re rooting for each other, because we understand that we both have good days and bad days. We are equal in our efforts, even though we may be doing vastly different things. By appreciating this fact, we can be united.
Each of us has very important work to do, and both of us are doing our best to accomplish what God gave us to do that day.
3. Husband and Wife First
It’s easy to start putting ourselves into categories. I’m a homeschool mom, and this becomes an easy moniker to hide behind. I just say, “5 kids and homeschool” and this elicits anything from surprised gasps to admiring glances.
At some point, it’s easy to forget that I’m a wife first. Similarly, my husband can easily define himself by his career.
What he does for work is much easier to offer in a conversation than that he has five kids who are homeschooled from teenager to toddler. However, we are husband and wife FIRST. We are not the type of couple that is openly demonstrative, but we know that time spent together means that the other things we do all day are secondary to what we are together.
By talking together over ice cream, watching a TV show, reading an article to each other, or even just holding hands while walking, we’ve found that our vocation as husband and wife first keeps all the rest in check.
We can’t do it all on our own, and by staying connected, we have the blessed reassurance we don’t have to.
God Knew What He Was Doing
In the end, let’s face it; we all have a lot to do. The work will never end. Our lives will always have one more thing to do, or one more goal to attain.
The days run into each other, and the kids will eventually grow up. As my more mature homeschool friends can attest, this time of homeschooling is limited.
Our unity as husband and wife is where we started, and one day, where we will end.
God knew the stresses we would face when He created marriage, and we can depend on God’s design for families to keep us together when homeschooling, or doing anything else He asks us to do.
By staying united in Christ, we can show the foundering world that God’s plan for marriage and family is truly the best!