Sunday, September 09, 2007

Strengthening the Homeschool Marriage

Notes from Hal & Melanie Young's presentation to
Home Educators of Rainbow Forest, Troutville, Virginia,
September 6, 2007

Homeschooling is a tremendous responsibility. Even when everything goes smoothly, the demands on a couple’s time and attention are great; and nothing ever goes as easily as first planned. How we manage the pressures of homeschooling will not only reflect how strong our marriage is to begin with, but will either provide greater strength or compounded stress.

I. Husbands: Unity of Purpose

A. Not every couple is convinced about homeschooling in the same way or at the same time

B. The couple should strive to agree on this, though, especially the husband

1. OT law gave the husband responsibility even over his wife's vows (Num 30:3-15)
2. Husband needs to accept responsibility for the decision as the head of household (
Eph 5:23)

C. Move from "Permission" to "Vision"

1. As a practical matter, generally Mom does the actual instruction
2. Dad should still look for opportunities to be involved
3. Biblical pattern places father in the forefront of teaching the home

a. God revealed Himself to Abraham because Abraham taught his household (Gen 18:17-19)
b. Fathers are commanded to teach God's law to their children (
Deut 6:6-7)
c. Paul assumes the fathers are teachers (
1 Th 2:11-12)

D. Avoid the "School Bus of the Mind"

1. Fathers may risk transferring "responsibility" from the school to their wife
2. Home education is never "someone else's problem" - both parents are responsible and accountable

II. Wives: Love and Respect

A. Husbands need the love and respect of their wives, not because they deserve it, but because God placed them in a difficult position - and God commands it! (Titus 2:4-5)

1. Avoid public criticism (Pr 31:11-12)
2. Avoid comparisons to other husbands

B. Acknowledge the husband's role and authority over the home school

1. The mother's authority over the children's education is delegated from father's (Deut 6:6-7)
2. Enlist his active prayer involvement as the family's "priest"

C. Remember the wife's role as "home-keeper" (oikourgos, Titus 2:5)

1. Not just "housekeeping", but making the home a haven
2. Ensure the home is a place of unconditional love

III. Husbands: Provision and Protection

A. Husbands are responsible not only to provide for their wives (1 Tim 5.8)but to understand them (1 Pet 3.7)

B. Consider your wife's needs in the context of homeschooling, too

1. Be open handed with the school budget
a. Trust your wife to shop for curriculum wisely
b. Think like a school administrator - all teachers need "professional development" and the right tools to do their job
c. Define "educational expense" broadly - all schools have overhead

2. Respect the physical and emotional demands homeschooling makes on your wife
a. Be willing to give her "space" to rest and recharge
b. Be willing to help with her responsibilities (home or school)
c. Don't accidentally add expectations to her burden (
Matt 23:4, Acts 15:10)
3. Take active responsibility for your family's homeschooling decision
a. Be available to defend her from demanding friends, hostile neighbors or relatives, and so on
b. Also be alert to demanding friends, distracting opportunities, or even the impact of your own wishes

IV: Wives: Affection and Beauty

A. Husbands need protection against the sensual temptations of the world

B. Wives can provide that protection but it takes attention

1. Save some attention and energy for them
a. Designate quiet time for naps or "recharging" in the afternoon
b. Make time for quiet time with the Lord, too
c. Take a few minutes to prepare for their return home
2. Recognize that wives are called to balance their roles for children and husband
a. It is important to God as well as your family (
Is 66:11-13)
b. "Alma Mater" means "nourishing mother"
c. God will provide the grace needed

This is not a period of life we struggle to get over with quickly -- the Lord's perspective is very different:

“Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this law;
For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life ..." (Dt 32:46-47b)

May we embrace it, and enjoy it in Him!

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