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Division of Labor, Multiplication of Love

 

There are many non-obvious benefits to homeschooling.

In this post I want to talk about the fact that, done properly, homeschooling will actually strengthen marriages.

Homeschooling Can Strengthen Marriage ~ A Homeschool Dad's Perspective @hsbapost

Nothing pains me more than to see homeschoolers make classic mistakes. It can be so hard just to muster the courage to remove one’s children from *the system* in the first place….that I hate to see failure on much easier decisions and actions.

Just off the top of my head I would say that some of the classic mistakes include: recreating “school at home”, trying to purchase educational results, submitting to Minecraft, television, and cell phone mania, adopting the ridiculously low standards of government schools, trying to constantly make learning “fun”….and one more – having one parent do ALL OF THE HOMESCHOOLING.

Recently I was on a “homeschool dad” forum and one after another admitted that their wives do “99% of the homeschooling”. Some declared themselves the “principal” of their family’s homeschool, whatever that means. My gut reaction to reading all this, for the umpteenth time, was pretty negative. Although my wife’s was far more indignant! Her stance on the matter is very chauvinistic, “Hah….typical do-nothing men who think being in charge is work.”

You see, she’s employed by a large financial institution which is run by, well, the people she just described! And despite her lofty and vast responsibilities there, she still manages to play a very active role in the home education of our children. She does at least 50% of it despite 6 am commuter trains to catch and flying to so many countries that border control has trouble finding room for a new stamp on her passport!

There’s just NO EXCUSE for a homeschooling parent to, well, do nothing.

The off-parent can research materials and ideas on the web, can assign books to the kids, can go over their work each day even if for only 10 minutes.

The off-parent can help plan out each week’s assignments. They can do math. They can have important discussions with their kids. They can reinforce, rather than undermine(!), the daily rules and discipline of the household. They can email their kids interesting articles. My children, still only 8 and 10 years old, are emailing their mother all day long about their assignments and whatnot. All of this falls certainly under the heading of “homeschooling”.

Sure, exercise is important but the father who thinks his job is merely to throw a ball to his kids or explain televised football penalties, well, they aren’t doing anything more than a “school father”.

Sometimes it’s not totally the off-parent’s fault either. Sometimes they aren’t involved because the on-parent is territorial and all but discourages input or help. Think of the young mother who never lets or demands that Dad change a diaper….who then can never go away for a couple days because the baby (or Dad!) wouldn’t survive on Dad’s watch.

I’m old fashioned in many respects but am decidedly new-fashioned when it comes to the division of labor within a marriage. I feel strongly that both remunerative work and housework should be shared as much as possible. And the same goes for the homeschooling work!

After all, we are trying to raise polymaths, right? What kind of example is set for a son when Dad never does housework? How can a daughter ever learn to value math when her own mother avoids it like the plague?

It’s really incumbent on the parent who’s being squeezed out to insert and assert themselves more.

And it’s incumbent on the single homeschooling parent to demand more cooperation from their spouse.

Why?

What’s so wrong with having roles? What’s wrong with playing to our strengths as parents?

Nothing super horrible anyway. Except that such a working chemistry wastes a huge opportunity and can even introduce risks to a family.

There was a widely-read article in the Wall Street Journal recently that recommended couples marry while they are young, immature, and still struggling rather than when they were older and established in life. An early marriage was likened to a “start-up” – teeming with energy and potential and a later marriage was likened to a stodgy combination of intractable corporate behemoths.

Here’s the link again – Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray – take a moment to read it now. It’s short and worthy of your attention.

I couldn’t help but read that about “start-up marriages” without realizing that the very act of homeschooling is essentially a start-up.

A young family is a blank slate, a pile of clay,…it can be designed, dreamed, and sculpted into anything. Of course I’m talking about the kids, but also about Mom and Dad. Homeschooling presents a unique opportunity for a family to learn, work and grow together.

I realized that my wife and I, while having vastly different friends and hobbies, we at least have our kids in common. In addition to what we do directly with them, we’ve spent many, many nights up in bed talking about our children. We’re planning, hoping, commiserating, worrying, and strategizing any number of things: from hiring teachers, altering curricula, shifting foci of attention, how to better discipline them, etc. It can be so intense that many, many times one of us has declared, “Okay, no more talking about the kids tonight.”

Yeah of course we’ve had some legendary arguments: Spanish or French, punishments, how much academic work is enough, etc. and decision “spheres” certainly do take shape.

HOWEVER, most parents don’t have this; they don’t have this fodder to constantly talk about; as a couple, they don’t have common goals (i.e. children) they are working on, together. Sure school parents may also spend a lot of time discussing their kids….EXCEPT they are powerless to really do anything about how their kids are being raised, educated, and not to mention socialized!

The thing with marital relationships is, they either move forward and get better…..or they tragically deteriorate.

And as I said at the top, in the middle, and just above….done properly, homeschooling will strengthen your marriage – it definitely has in my case.

Lastly, I’ll explain the title of the post.

Mathematically speaking, when “labor” is “divided by 1″….it’s not effectively a division. In that case it’s more accurately a separation of labor and effectively a separation of people.

 

Dan (8 Posts)

Husband to Inez. Father of John and Christine. Homeschool Coach, Accelerated Math Teacher. Former derivatives trader and future scratch golfer! Follow our learning adventures at HomeschoolDad.com.


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Balance is Like a Book Discussion

My husband and I married when our first child was 3 months old. A second child came along just shy of three years later. There were strains on the marriage and we went our separate ways for awhile. Time passed and we decided to be a family again. Finally, when the kids were upper elementary and junior high school age, we decided to homeschool.

 

 

I knew nothing about homeschooling; hubby had been homeschooled K-12. I wanted to spend lots of money for resources and nifty things; he wanted it to be downright cheap (in cost, mind you, not quality). I thought I could do it; he had concerns that I couldn’t do it. The kids were just happy to not have to go to school. Oh yes, in the midst of this, we started to look to see what God would have us do.

Quite backward! Not everyone has the ‘fairytale’ story. And they don’t have it all together. We don’t have it all together. We are out of balance sometimes (er…too many times).

My husband and I have been together almost 20 years. We’ve been homeschooling for 6 years now. My daughter graduated in September and has started college courses. There are only two years left with my son for schooling. It has not always been easy but it is a balancing act. Without being too cliche, there needs to be a firm foundation or the balance will not remain. For our family that foundation is God. His is our Book.

Bookworm that I am, the balancing act of marriage, parenting and homeschooling could be seen a bit like being in a book discussion.

In the same book…{Long term goals}

One of the most important aspects of keeping balance is that everyone is in the same book. It is admittedly a little play on the phrase “on the same page.” When I say this I don’t mean that everyone has to have the same idea and be 100% in agreement. Everyone needs to know what the others are thinking. They need to at least be reading the same book.

For instance, I mentioned the differences in wants when we started homeschooling. Our book was “homeschooling”, but our ideas were different. We were on different pages of the same book.  I have always felt that if we were all the same, with all the same lines of thinking, it would be quite boring. But we do have a common goal.

For our marriage, we both know that we made a promise. At the time we made the promise we didn’t think it as serious as we do now. Our promise was to each other and to God. That’ll straighten things out, right there. Long-term: We are committed to be by each other; thick or thin (and all the rest).

When we get out of whack, we have to take a look again at our long term goals, at the book we are reading, and how we want it to end. It isn’t just about me, or him.

On the same page… {Short term goals}

When our family is going through our common book, each has to have the same pages. By this I mean we cannot take a page from a different book and insert it into only one person’s copy. It would cause disorder and unbalance.

It would not do good to be going through a book with the same title but to have the pages be something completely different. Everyone has to have the same content. This means that everyone has to have a voice, and use it.

Parenting, while it is really for the life of your children, is in some ways like short term goals. Each age and stage of our children we will have different goals; different hopes and dreams. Balance is possible only when the parents are on the same page and have those same goals.

Be willing to see others’ perspective… {Adaptability and compromise}

When going through a book we may come across something that we might not understand completely. When we are confused things can take a turn toward no good, especially if we do not search out help. If we take a passage to mean one thing and we stick with that no matter what others have to say about the matter, it is going to cause problems.

If we come to a point where there is confusion, we need to be willing to ask for or give explanation. Other times we need to compromise our stance or view (within reason- of course- never compromise on what is true and right). It lends balance. We are all in this together.

All of this- marriage, parenting, and homeschooling- requires balance but if every member of the family is rigid and refuses to budge or give, then it will fall. There needs to be a fluidity within all of these areas. Life is short; pick your battles.

Remember…

  • Understand we are all human and prone to mistakes…but God forgives even the most heinous sinner when they ask for forgiveness.
  • Love one another as yourself…as God loved us so much he sent his son to die for us.
  • Take time to enjoy each other…take family trips together, plan date nights, have one-on-one time with each of your kids, make traditions together.

I really think that keeping these things in mind is the most helpful for finding balance in these areas of life.

I would love to hear how you find the balance for your family’s needs.

North Laurel (18 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.


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Quick & Easy Trim Healthy Mama Recipes {that kids like too}

 

Guest post by Linda Rose.

I began my THM (Trim Healthy Mama) journey this past summer. In June I started training for a 5K using the Couch to 5K training program. Shortly after that, a friend started up a Trim Healthy Mama group at her house. At first I was like, ok sure I’ll come, but you can’t make me eat anything green or weird. After hearing people talk about THM, I still wasn’t convinced, but ordered the book out of curiosity anyway. I read the book and it just made sense. I had a light bulb moment! You see I had always thought that in order to lose weight I would have to eat weird or green food, but it turns out that isn’t the case at all.

It’s been slow going, and there are days that I find it challenging to eat on plan all the time, but even so, I’ve lost almost 27 pounds! I feel healthier, have more energy, and am still running. It almost feels strange to be able to eat some of the foods that I do eat and be able to still lose weight. And I don’t have to eat any weird or green foods (unless I’m feeling adventurous). I’m a pretty picky eater (so are some of my kids). In order to make THM work for me, I’ve had to make foods that the whole family will eat and love. I’m not about to make a meal for them and then make a separate one for me.

 

Many of the recipes in the THM eating plan are extremely quick and easy. If you are like me, you can appreciate that because honestly who has the time or the energy to slave away in the kitchen?

A couple favorite recipes at my house:

 

Chicken Alfredo (S meal for THM)

Ingredients:
6-8 frozen chicken breast tenders (or 3-4 whole chicken breasts)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 cups mozzarella cheese
garlic powder (or fresh if you have it)
salt and pepper to taste

Serve over Dreamfields spaghetti pasta or steamed broccoli.
Place the frozen chicken breast tenders into the bottom of the crockpot. Pour the heavy cream over the chicken. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the cream and chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the mozzarella cheese. Turn the crockpot on high. I like to stir the ingredients every hour or so. It just prevents the cream and cheese from burning on the edges. As the chicken cooks it becomes tender and breaks apart easily. I use a fork to pull the chicken apart before serving. I serve the alfredo sauce over Dreamfields spaghetti with broccoli on the side. It’s so easy and delicious. I put the ingredients in the crockpot at lunchtime and it is ready by dinner time. If it’s ready sooner, then I just turn the crockpot down to warm until we are ready to eat it. The house smells delicous while this is cooking! (adapted from a recipe in the THM book, which you can purchase here)

Ham and Cheese Scrambled Eggs (S meal for THM)

Ingredients:
6 eggs
4-6 thick slices of ham–diced
1-2 tablespoons of cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions:
Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk everything together. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter into your frying pan. Add the ham and cheese egg mixture, stirring to help everything cook evenly.
 
You can use more or fewer eggs; this is what I use for our family. Alternately you could substitute the ham for some other breakfast meat–bacon or sausage is yummy too. Be careful if you choose to substitute store bought pre-packaged bacon bits as many of these have sugar in them.

 

These are quick, easy, and yummy–perfect for a quick breakfast!

 

Linda RoseLinda Rose blogs at Rose Academy and Sew Happily Ever After. She has 15+ years of teaching experience in public, private, after-school, and home school settings. She enjoys homeschooling her own children as well as teaching small group English classes in her home and at local co-ops. Sewing has become an important creative outlet for her and allows her to use her talents to bless her own family as well as others.

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