The title of this post might be, “The disadvantages and advantages on home educated children in learning about marriage, relationships and all-things-family-harmony.” But that’s kinda long.
It’s a truth, universally acknowledged, that if a family homeschools, the children will be intimately aware of the function, and dysfunction, of the homeschool parent’s marriage.
If we were flies on each others’ walls, what stories might those flies tell about our homeschool marriages?
- Is it early December, right before the frantic attempt at completing and clearing curriculum from desks so the family has time for Christmas cheer that an argument breaks out in front of the tree about how best to spend the holidays?
- Is it the first few months after the first baby is born when the partner relationship is being renegotiated as frustrations arise about the inequality of parenting efforts expended?
- Or is it two days before the menstrual cycle takes a downward hormonal monthly curve that everything our partner does isn’t hitting the sweet spot?
- Or is there a loss of job that causes one partner to feel irritated with the other’s inability to pull up his bootstraps and get going?
- Or is it when there’s a disagreement on which homeschool philosophy our family should follow, or whether we should even be homeschooling at all?
You fill-in-the-blank to whatever seems to get the two of you going. So many stories for the fly to tell.
But, for certain, perfectly harmonious marriage, without conflict or misunderstanding or disagreement, don’t exist.
When homeschooling a gaggle of girls, or a brood of boys, or a crew of kids, these homeschooling children are audience to our homeschool relationships.
Even if you step into another room to have a mature discussion, homeschool kids have their spider-sense wired to their parents. We’re the WIFI hotspot to their iPods. They’ve got you on auto-detection, auto-reception, mind-to-mind perception.
Thy know what mom says to dad, or dad says to mom, that confuses, confounds, or complicates harmonious connection. They know what gets mom or dad going. They might even know what will get them to stop going…
Perhaps they don’t have a mature understanding of how the relationship flows or understand the details of the dynamics and history of the relationship, or have the relationship skills you’ve learned from tenacious grit and persistence, but you are the actors on their “relationship-learning stage”.
Homeschooled kids are taught the value of these relationships, how one speaks to their significant other, how to manage conflict, and what one should expect from the other.
It’s all being taught, with or without intention. This is a daunting thought.
As with parenting, we come up imperfect in marriage too. These pivotal relationships reflect back to us what we need to learn and they teach us how to love. Because of grace, forgiveness, and humility, we can walk continually toward graciousness, forgiveness, humbling ourselves, so we can learn what needs to be learned.
After twenty years of marriage, our story includes three daughters and one son, stories of self-inflicted pain, confusion, frustration, grace, humility, and forgiveness — plot lines so thick, it would be a challenge to capture the themes of all we’ve learned into a single film series.
Ours is a story, like many others’ stories, or possibly not at all like your story. It is a story of grace, forgiveness, humility, and personal growth.
So we continue learning from one another, continue learning about ourselves, and continue learning how to love.
Check out these resources for your marriage:
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
- Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
We unintentionally teach our children stuff they might need to unlearn in their relationships, but we also teach our homeschooled children about humility, forgiveness, grace, what to expect of others and what to expect of ourselves: the homeschool marriage.