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Parents, Stick Together!

Homeschoolers are a rebellious bunch. Their lives are filled with everyday insurrections and ten-cent treasons. You know who you are.

Moms who sign their declaration of intent with the same spirit that John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. Dads who alarm their friends and neighbors by educating their kids during the summer. Students who "Stick it to the Man" by forgoing Senior Prom.

In general, you firebrands demonstrate a wanton disregard for societal norms by taking personal responsibility for the education of your children.

But revolution is a tiring business. I've noticed a trend in families to lose their subversive tendencies as their students approach high school. After pulling up roots from the old country and staking their claim in the New World, many lose their vision of being rebels. It seems they forget the reasons why they are rebelling.
"Homeschool fatigue" is entirely understandable. When friends, family and "the system" stand in judgment of you 24/7, it is enough to make your knees shake. Doubts creep in: "Maybe they're right." "Maybe we are ruining our children." "Maybe we are destroying their future."

Gradually, the features of traditional education that used to send you into a seditious froth begin to look more attractive. (Well, if not attractive, at least less revolting.) After all, a classroom setting offers tradition, security, a built-in social network and free curriculum. In essence, the World is tempting you with a ready-made answer to all your high school fears.
At this stage, parents resemble the children of Israel who looked back to Egypt and longed for the things that had driven them away!

4b) "Who will give us curriculum to use?

5) "We remember the stuff we used to get for free in the Public Schools, the math and the science and the reading and the social studies,

6) but now our desire is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except for this pile of bills."
(Numbers 11: 4b-6, New Homeschool Version)

Just like the children of Israel, such homeschool families face a crossroads. Which path will they choose: the one-size-fits-all "solutions" offered by traditional schools, or the "road less traveled" into homeschooling high school?
Fathers play a critical role at this crossroad. Oftentimes, homeschool moms are so enmeshed in the daily grind of lesson plans, schedules, and keeping the house that they cannot see the forest through the trees. Dads are needed to help draw the family back to the reasons why they chose to set sail to this new world in the first place.

"Without a Vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29: 18)

Dads are called to be the guardians and keepers of the vision. They need to be prepared when the forces of the King come back to lay claim to what they consider their rightful property. Sometimes the King will launch a frontal attack; for example, legislative action to "outlaw" homeschooling. But more often, the assaults come subtly: a sideways remark about "socialization," a parent who sadly comments on your child missing the prom, a friend who shares their concern about whether your child will make it into college.

These attacks are real, and the truth is, they can hurt.
After hearing such whispers for years, it is not uncommon for even the bravest homeschool parent to crack. One such mom confessed to us during a recent homeschool convention that she was going to put her child back in public high school next fall. When asked why, she couldn't give a reasoned response.

It was obvious that she was flat out tired - weary of defending herself to friends and family. She doubted whether homeschooling would work anymore. We asked whether homeschooling was working so far. "Oh yes, it has been wonderful..." she said, wistfully.

Following the time-honored maxim of, "it ain't broke, don't fix it" we suggested that perhaps high school would be a success as well. We gave her some hope and suggestions and she still left committed to pray about it more. Not insignificantly, she had come to our booth alone. Her husband was not there to help her stand.

So, what can be done?
The solution is not too complicated. Men, you need to understand the pressures that are placed on your homeschooling wife. Even in a perfectly supportive environment, homeschooling high school is tough business. Add the persistent drip, drip, drip of society questioning her work and she can easily lose hope.

And when hope has waned, despair will quickly fill the void.

One definition of a leader is a person who brings in hope. Husbands: step up and lead! Beat back the darkness! Remind your family about why you chose to homeschool. Talk about homeschooling issues and develop a plan that you can implement together. Talk frequently about the benefits you have already experienced through homeschool and the benefits you expect in the future.

Above all, underscore your commitment to this path by sharing the household burden!
That's right. Sometimes the path from utter despair to renewed hope can be blocked by something as mundane as a sink full of dirty dishes!

Not to put too fine of a point on it: Men, put down the remote and help!

Take responsibility for some of the housework! Teach your kids a subject! That means planning it, making the assignments, giving the instruction, grading the papers and giving feedback. In addition to lifting the burden on your wife, your kids will pick up on the not-so-subtle message that Dad is taking charge and they need to answer to him in the educational field as well!

All homeschool families need to remember that there will always be a day of reckoning for revolutionaries. It's out there, so prepare!
Moms - lean on those who have gone before you and can offer hope. Parents - talk to each other about roles and responsibilities. Remind and encourage each other on why you chose this path. Dads - above all, take some of the load off your wife.

Husbands, the gallows of history are filled with solo revolutionaries! Hang together so your wife won't hang alone!

by Matt Binz
Mr. Homescholar

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