Recently my husband wrote a post about his role in our family (if you haven’t read it you can find it here). Today he’s back again for part two! This time talking about the decision to homeschool from his perspective. I hope you enjoy it!
To my wife,
Thank you for challenging me about my parenting values. You have taught me to question everything, to read and ask questions until I’m comfortable with a position, and to resolutely stand by what I think is right. What an amazing gift!
I should clarify. You haven’t taught me to think, or to question, or to ponder life’s mysteries. Rather you have challenged me to question something that I hadn’t given any thought to prior to fatherhood – that is, you have challenged me to question what it means to be a father and how to raise kids.
I have been taught how to analyze and research elsewhere. I already knew how to form an argument and to structure a response to a question. But the content has always been material that is fairly easy to research; moreover the content has never had much significance to me.
Fast-forward to today and I am being challenged on a daily basis to make decisions that will affect the lives of three humans. Three people. Three people that are not me. I’d say the content has now been given no small amount of significance.
I recall a conversation when we first began discussing education, not too long after we had dismissed homeschooling as a vague “hippie” concept that had no place in our lives as I would assume many parents would have thought. All of a sudden the concept was a little more real, a little more relevant, a little more interesting once you had done some research. Once you had done some research.
In this conversation you asked me if we should think about it some more, if we should consider it for our children. My response (like most people, like most fathers if I can be so bold in saying) was “no, I’m not homeschooling my kids…my kids are going to school”. Your response was not surprising to me and it’s why I love you so much – “Well unless you take the time to read about it and form an opinion based on factual information, then you don’t get to have an opinion”. I believe in chess they call that a checkmate.
So I read about it. I asked questions. I started to think about the concept of homeschooling and what it involved. I thought about what conventional school offered me and could offer my kids. I thought about what experiences they could have at school (good and bad). I couldn’t really picture what our lives would look like as it was a totally new concept. But mostly I thought about how I would explain a homeschooling decision to my family, my friends…this could be embarrassing right?
It was at this point that I realized that I was letting my own insecurities and my own self-conscious behavior influence my decisions on the lives of my kids. I was a little shocked with myself, angry at myself. This was a massive light bulb moment for me and was like the proverbial snowball. All of a sudden I was questioning everything and knowing that we could be doing it better.
We have always done things a little differently (we hold our babies to sleep, we do baby-led-solids, we don’t smack our kids, we treat them as real people…) but homeschooling was an obvious and very public statement about our intent to raise our kids in a certain way…for their benefit. It also went against the grain of the decisions our own parents had made, and their parents, and their parents…it challenged the positions of family and friends who worked in education…it was a scary, bold, and very invigorating moment for us.
I do find myself explaining our decision at times to people on the outer, but mostly I do it because I’m passionate about our life choices and I would like to think that I can open the eyes of others. I am supremely confident in the choices we have made so far in our 6 years of parenthood and I hope that my enthusiasm for questioning and challenging public conventions can rub off on others so they too can feel good about the decisions they make. Essentially, I want to pass the gift onto others that you so eagerly gave to me.
I am so thankful that we have a relationship that allows us to talk through our feelings, opinions, and objections on such a regular basis…
I am so glad that we were both able to let go of our own personal agendas and ignore public perception for the benefit of our kids – what a great example to set for them…
I am so grateful that we can acknowledge, understand, debate, and then move forward together as a team on all of our parenting decisions.
How lucky we are.