There is nothing sadder than the look on a homeschooling mother's face when she reports that her days as a home-educator are over, and her children are going to public school. With a look somewhere between grief and horror she explains that her husband wants it that way. Now, don't get me wrong; I realize that homeschooling often means a one-income household and that means the financial support rests solely on the shoulders of the dads. But, the reasons are not always financial. Whatever their "good" reasons are, they seem oblivious to how profoundly this change-of-course compromises their wives.
I am not disputing the fact that wives are to submit to their husbands in the Lord. But, I wonder how many husbands realize that they are delivering a potentially fatal blow to their marriages. In many cases, were I to snap a picture of their wives and place a caption underneath, the caption would read, "I feel betrayed. I feel trapped. I feel abandoned."
Why should there be such a grave reaction to the decision to educate the way the majority of students in America are schooled? Because for mothers who have dedicated themselves to their children's education, homeschooling is much more than a nice choice. It is a lifestyle. It is the means by which they exercise their callings under God, to transmit Christian culture to their children.
This is a call for other homeschooling dads (whether casual acquaintances or from local homeschooling groups) to intercede and speak directly to these men. This is a call for the pulpits of America to stop appeasing the enemies of God and preach that only Christian education (not just on Sundays or Wednesday evenings) must be the norm for Christians, not the exception. These forlorn women need your help and so do their children.
I've observed the results on children when they go from the homeschooling environment (complete with co-ops and extra curricula activities) to a public school setting. Here are some observations:
- Their enthusiasm for learning wanes.
- They learn that knowing/offering the correct answers and interacting with their teachers alienates them from their "peers."
- They become "socialized" and tend to look adults in the eye less and less.
- They begin to deceive when it comes to assignments and grades.
- Their family is no longer a top priority.
- They become alienated from their sisters and brothers.
- They begin to doubt the validity of the Christian faith.
So, to these myopic fathers who only see the bottom line financially, or are tired of having to explain to others why they've homeschooled, I urge you to look at your wife and see what is happening to her. I urge you to reconsider your decision.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].