Monday, April 21, 2008

Your Husband Doesn't Want to Home School

I got a very thought-provoking question this weekend from a woman who asked, "How do you submit when (your husband) wants your children to go to public school?" Since this isn't the first time I have been asked this, I thought it would be a good time to address it here on the blog.

Dear (reader):

I assume that you wish to home educate your children for fear that a public education may be detrimental to their spiritual welfare. Though there are many temptations associated with institutional learning, one of the most spiritually harmful things parents can do to their children is to be in discord with one another at home. The home atmosphere is paramount to the spiritual well-being of our children. No amount of home schooling can ever make up for that.

I'm not saying that your fears are unfounded or that your desires are not good and right. However, it may be that the Lord intends to change your husband's mind about this and He wants you to glorify Him by humbly submitting and keeping this matter in believing prayer. You may have to wait a year, or two, or more, but it is always worth it to obey God's will regarding the authority structures in the home.

You want to protect your children from evil influences, but your husband feels that a public education would be within their best interest. So, what do you do?

I believe Debi Pearl addresses this issue very well in her book, Created to Be His Help Meet:

This is where firm conviction of faith in God becomes vital. . .The important thing is attitude. If you have a heart of surrender to your husband's will and a heart to obey God, it becomes God's responsibility to resolve the conflict. . .(U)nderstand that if you are willing to obey in all areas and you do not build a spirit of rebellion toward your husband or God, your appeal is more likely to fall on sympathetic ears.

Commit your way to God, and tell your husband that you will do as he says. Then express your concern for the children, showing to him the Scripture that constitutes your dilemma. . .Your attitude must be trusting, not accusatory or judgmental. Trust is the key work. Depend on your husband's wisdom and guidance.[1]
She suggests asking your husband if he can think of a way to compromise. Is it a matter of you needing to work? Debi has some really good ideas:

Ask him if there is a way you can stay at home while you and the children engage in some work that will bring in an income. Ask him if there is a way you can cut back on expenses so the family can get by on his salary alone. Ask for a trial period. Show him how you can save on unnecessary expenses. Shop at secondhand stores. Move to a less expensive home, if necessary. Have one less automobile. Don't buy new furniture. . .

Most men would allow their wives to stay at home if the wife could show that it was her heartfelt, Spirit-led desire to be obedient to God in the matter of child training and if she could learn to be more frugal and content. Pray, and ask God to change your husband's heart
and your financial situation....[2]
If he is worried about them getting a good education, are there classes or co-ops available in your area which would make up for where you may be deficient?

If it is a socialization issue, are there home school groups where they could participate in activities with other children?

If it is a matter of wanting them to be involved in sports, are there sports programs offered by community or church groups? Some public schools now allow home-educated children to participate in their sports programs without being enrolled for classes.

Is he open to meeting and talking with other home school parents who are successfully educating their well-adjusted children?

Do your homework. Prepare your heart before God to get the right attitude. Then approach your husband in a quiet moment alone and calmly discuss this issue. If he absolutely refuses to hear you, discuss it, or even consider the option of home education, then give it all over to the Lord and concentrate on what you can do to make your home a healthy, happy, holy place to come home to, including honoring and reverencing your husband.

Have any others out there been in a similar situation and come to a peaceful solution? We would love to hear how the Lord resolved the issue without ruining your marriage. ;)

[1] Debi Pearl, Created to Be His Help Meet (Pleasantville, Tennessee: No Greater Joy Ministries, 2004), pp. 210, 211.
[2] Ibid.