So, I may have called ourselves homeschoolers since our oldest was born. All the board books I read to her and all our playtime was classified as school time. We were learning and we were “somewhat” official homeschoolers. Yes, I realize that most of this was simply parenting (and the lines between homeschooling and parenting are blurred anyway). I was just eager to get started. But we did have a real start date that was creeping closer every year. One day our little munchkin would be old enough for Kindergarten. All of our friends would do their back-to-school shopping and take their first day of Kindergarten photos, and I would be really homeschooling. I couldn’t wait until that day. And then suddenly it arrived….but it wasn’t quite like I expected it to be.
My husband gave me a kiss and walked out the door telling me to have a great day. I stood there with a school-aged child at my feet, a toddler clinging to my legs, and a baby on my hip. This was it! We were homeschooling! I took our oldest to the front porch and took some cute pictures and then we walked back inside to our kitchen and did some art at the table. By lunch I had fallen into a routine that looked suspiciously like the day before. When my husband came home from work he greeted me a huge smile and asked me how our day went. The only word that I could find to describe it was “fine.”
I thought our day went well; however, it felt nothing like I thought the homeschooling experience would feel. My hubby describes it as anticlimactic. We had no Kindergarten round up, no school bus send off, no back to school shopping lists, no meet the teacher night, or back to school night. We just woke up and our lives continued. I was on a homeschool honeymoon high or a few weeks because I just felt so official. My husband just felt disappointed. To him there was no change, no excitement, and nothing to really show for our day. And when a month had gone by and the honeymoon period had ended, I felt deflated and a little discouraged.
Maybe I needed a homeschool mom badge or an official homeschool room. Maybe I needed some friends who actually thought our little homeschool was legitimate. Instead, everyone viewed our Kindergarten year as a cute experiment and stood warily by waiting for us to fail or change our minds. I put in long hours planning fun crafts, picking out library books, and trying to make every day feel special and different. I had created a recipe for a quick death by homeschool burnout.
Now that we were “real” homeschoolers my husband had a new set of worries and expectations. And I can’t say we were exactly on the same page….
- My husband was secretly worried about how homeschooling would change us. When I took him to the homeschool convention he saw every variety of homeschooler and none of them were exactly his “type.” So, he was worried that after a year of this journey, we would look nothing like the two people who began.
- He was also terrified to make too many suggestions or step in and help out in any way until he saw how things were working (or weren’t working). He simply didn’t want to interfere and change things. He decided to stand quietly by and see what our homeschool reality would be. He was content to watch me work as I figured out what in the world homeschooling meant for our family.
My sweet hubby pictured me conducting school at home-complete with a blackboard and white chalk. I would stand there and teaching our children who would be brilliant scholars by the age of 6. We would do lots of sitting and read lots of textbooks. And of course, our children would be well-behaved and love every second of their learning experience.
My role was wife, mom, teacher, and housekeeper all rolled into one. He didn’t foresee any changes to our regular routine and thought things would stay happily the same. He would come home to a clean house, a home cooked meal, educated children, and a wife who was still completely and totally sane (and maybe even decently cute-or at least dressed with makeup). I would manage my time well and I would have time for everything in my nicely balanced day. There would be no change in the status quo at our house.
And what was his role in our homeschool? He didn’t picture himself doing much of anything in the homeschool. He wouldn’t be on the front line. All the curriculum choices, educational decisions, and actual teaching would be done by me. He would just enjoy hearing about what we learned during the day. Of course, he would work as the referee when problems arose. But he was content to let me make all the decisions as long as things were going well. He simply wasn’t interested in the mechanics of how our homeschool day worked. The kids would learn; the household would be run; and I would be the master of multi-tasking. He just assumed that I had things under control and he was pleased to let me take the lead in our endeavor.
Well, we would both have a reality check in the near future. When it came time for our performance reviews we both realized that we had to reevaluate. Homeschooling was not quite what either of us pictured………